Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hold the press....

Just after completing my report on Allan Hughan's death in the wee hours of this morning (thank Heaven for school holidays!),I was rummaging through my notes and came across the newspaper notice of his death, and discovered that the two reports differ.
The report that he died whilst on a field trip came from Patrick O'Reilly's book. He wrote of the difficulty in compiling the biographical details of Allan Hughan's life, and how he found it impossible to obtain birth, death and marriage details for Allan and his family using official Government sources both in Noumea and Australia.He at last had success with help from a Parisian friend who was the director of overseas French Archives.She obtained Allan's death certificate, and supplied the information that he had died in Tamoa, in the district of St. Vincent, New Caledonia, during a field trip.
On Saturday, December 1, 1883, the Argus newspaper in Melbourne published the notice of Allan's death( page one, top right corner). It read as follows:
"DEATHS: HUGHAN- On the 17th ult, at the residence of Francis Holworthy Esq, of Tembea, New Caledonia, Allan Ramsay Cunninghame Hughan, aged 46."

The two reports differ in date- one stating the 16th November and the other the 17th- and place...the former reporting that Allan died at Tamoa, the second at Tembea.
I feel as though the latter,'Tembea', may be a mispelling as I can find no reference to a location called 'Tembea' anywhere. I wonder if Francis Holworthy's property, or residence, was called 'Tembea'? Francis, of course, was Allan Hughan's son-in-law, and the widower of the eldest Hughan daughter, Ruth, who had died the previous May.
There was also a misspelling of Allan's name in the Argus notice...his name was 'Cunningham" not "Cunninghame".

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