Mary Glass (c1879 - 1910)

Born: c1879. Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Died: April 11, 1910. Onslow, Australia1
Married: November 3, 1909. Carnarvon, Western Australia2
Mary Glass
Mary Glass
John Joseph Griffin
John Joseph Griffin
Grave Glass, Mary. Old Onslow Cemetery, Western Australia
Mary was the second eldest child of William and Margaret Glass. She had seven siblings. The family originated from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland but the three oldest boys, as well as Mary, emigrated to Western Australia.

Some months after her marriage, Mary developed pneumonia and pleurisy. Very limited medical care would have been available in Australia at that time. In less populated parts of the country a pair of doctors could be expected to provide medical care for an area of almost two million square kilometres. The Royal Flying Doctor Service3 which provides medical care for people in remote areas did not begin until many years later, in 1928. It is perhaps surprising then, that records indicate that Mary was attended by a doctor in the small town of Onslow in 1910 (it currently has a population of less than 1000 people4). However the choices for treatment would have been limited. Antibiotics, for example, were not available in 1910; they were not developed until the 1940s.

Mary died of pneumonia and pleurisy aged 31 years on the 11th of April 1910 in the Rob Roy Hotel, Onslow. This was the Old Onslow Township which is south of the modern Onslow. The doctor had attended her for two weeks before she died. Mary was buried on the same day she died (which was normal at that time) at the Onslow Cemetery, now referred to as the Old Onslow Cemetery. At the time of her death Mary had been in Australia for three years and had been married for less than six months. Recollections of family members5 suggest that Mary may have been pregnant at the time of her death although there is no official verification of this.

The original town of Onslow (Old Onslow, also known as Ashburton or Old Ashburton), was abandoned fifteen years later, around 1925, due to its vulnerability to hurricanes6 and also to repeated difficulties with the mouth of the Ashburton River silting up. A new town was built on the other side of the bay about 46 km away from the old town7.


1. Grave Glass, Mary. Old Onslow Cemetery, Western Australia
2. Marriage certificate Griffin, John Joseph and Glass, Mary
3. Royal Flying Doctor Service
4. Onslow, Pilbara, Western Australia Information from Wikipedia
5. Jones, A.E. (1998) Mansfield of Maroonah: From West Ireland to the Ashburton District of North West Australia 1874-1913 and beyond. Bibra Lake, WA. ISBN 0957788355
6. The Advertiser, Monday 19th April 1909
7. Old Onslow