Williscroft & Woolliscroft

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Henry Benjamin Wooliscroft 1876-1932 (alias Henry Arthur Brawn) of Queensland & New South Wales, Australia

Life Story

Henry Benjamin Woolliscroft was born in Queensland, Australia on the 31 Oct 1876. He was the son of Ellen Woolliscroft from Leek in Staffordshire who had arrived in Queensland in April 1875, aboard the ‘Winefred’. What happened to Henry has been a bit of a mystery to me but after a recent search of the Australian newspapers I am confident in saying that Henry is the same person as Henry Arthur Brawn who died in Lismore, NSW, Australia in 1932.

Henry Arthur Brawn’s obituary (1932, July 9. Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), p. 8) states that he was born in Brisbane and came to the Richmond River in 1888 with his parents, both of whom predeceased him. However, Henry's mother was living in the Richmond River area of New South Wales earlier than this. She married her first husband in Tweed River in 1881 and was living in German Creek (now Empire Vale) as early as 1886. When Henry was 13 years old she married her second husband, widower, James Samuel Brawn. Henry adopted his stepfathers surname and was known as Henry Arthur Brawn. However, his death certificate states he was the son of James and Ellen. In my opinion it is unlikely that James was Henry's biological father as he was living in Staffordshire, England on the census returns between 1851 and 1881. James Samuel Brawn did not die until 1938.

Henry was aged 56 at the time of his death in 1932. He was well known throughout the Richmond River district as a business man. He was an active member of the Masons and Presbyterian Church. In 1911 he married Mimi Elizabeth Gordon at Goolmangar Presbyterian Church. On the Electoral Roll of 1930 Henry and his wife were living in Wyrallah Road, Lismore and his occupation is given as a farmer. Henry and Mimi did not have any children.

Henry died on the 8 July 1932 at his home at Wyrallah Road, Lismore, NSW, Australia. His funeral took place at the St Paul's Presbyterian Church in Lismore the following day. A report of the funeral states that “hundreds of people from all walks of life” attended and about 91 motor cars followed the “wreath decked” hearse to the cemetery. 

Presbyterian Church, Lismore, NSW 

Henry's obituary states he lived in German Creek and attended school in Ballina. On leaving school he worked firstly in Ballina and then Lismore before moving to Kyogle. He then purchased Clarke's store at Coraki and successfully conducted it for nine years before returning again to live in Lismore. After the sale of his Coraki business Henry bought a homestead at Jiggi, which he owned until the time of his death, although he never lived there. He purchased a newsagents and stationer's business in Woodlark Street, Lismore which he later sold to Mr. F Carmont and Son, who were the owners at the time of his death. 




Homage to one whose friendship was valued, and to one who zealously assisted in the advancement of Freemasonry in the Richmond River district, was paid by hundreds of people representative of all walks of life at the funeral in Lismore on Saturday afternoon of Mr. Henry Arthur Brawn, a retired businessman, who died after a comparatively short illness on Friday night.

About 91 motor cars followed the wreath-decked hearse from the Presbyterian Church to the cemetery, but many prominent Lismore citizens, including the Mayor (Ald. E. J. Eggins), and many aldermen who attended the impressive service at the church were unable to proceed to the cemetery on account of official engagement at South Lismore. The funeral was attended by Freemasons from lodges in all parts of the district.


Rev. A. T. Parker, B.A., delivered an inspiring address to a congregation which crowded St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. He referred to the outstanding qualities of the late Mr. Brawn's life, and said he had an unassuming personality which gained him the respect of those with whom he came in contact. He was an ardent supporter of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, a member of the committee of management. As a businessman he commanded the highest respect of his fellow tradesmen.

The late Mr. Brawn was a past master of Masonic Lodge North Coast United Service  No; 459 and a Lodge of Sorrow was held, at which members of Masonic lodges at Alstonville, Eltham, Dunoon, Coraki, Bangalow, Casino, Kyogle, and the three other Lismore lodges were represented. Members of the craft followed the chief mourners in motor cars in the funeral procession.


The casket was covered with wreaths as it was borne from the church by Messrs. Andrew and Richard Brawn (brothers), R. and T. Gordon, E. McPhee, and D. McPhee (brothers-in law), who were the pall bearers, and the overflow of wreaths decked the hearse. At the cemetery the pall bearers were Past Masters of Lodge North Coast United Service, No 459, W. Bros. C. E. Craddock, A. McGuiness, H. Riddle, A. Guthrie, W. Black, and A. V. Overall. Rev. A. J. Parker performed the last rites at the graveside, and the Masonic service was conducted by W.M. Bro. F. H. Mattress. Messrs. W. Riley and Son had charge of the funeral arrangements.

The chief mourners were Mrs. H. A. Brawn (widow), Mr. Andrew Brawn (Tamworth), Richard Brawn (Teven), brothers, R. and T. and T. Gordon, E. and D. MePhee, Mr. and Mrs. J. Gardner (Kyogle), Mr and Mrs. A E Holmes (Casino).


At St. Paul's Presbyterian Church yesterday afternoon at the close of the  teaching staff meeting reference was made to the death of Mr. Brawn and to the fact that he had in earlier years been a teacher at the Sunday school. At the instance of the superintendent (Mr. S. Selwood) a motion of sympathy was carried.

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), p. 4. (1932, July 11)

Mimi married Ralph Pinchin in 1949 but Ralph passed away the following year.  Mimi passed away in 1984 in Queensland, Australia.

Owner/SourceJill Dixon
Date28 Dec 2017
Linked toHenry Arthur Brawn (Name)

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