Colour photograph of the grave of Donaldina MacLean, Tiree, in the Australian outback near Charleville in Queensland.
Courtesy of Mr Chris Hurst
A few years ago, four friends on a trip in central Queensland came across a grave near Charleville. The inscription on the headstone reads: ‘In loving memory of Donaldina McLean only daughter of Dugald and Mary McKinnon Born on the Island of Tiree Argyleshire Scotland November 30th 1880 Died May 1st 1886 Aged 5 years and 3 months.’
According to local knowledge, the child was restless and crying, and the parents attended to her several times during the night. In the morning they found the girl dead with a snake in her bedclothes. She had been bitten several times.
Isolated graves like these are not uncommon in the outback, a testament to the hardships and tragedies endured by the early settlers.