George Waddell and Mary Alice Whittington, & the Two Mile Hotel.

George Waddell was my great-grandfather, and he was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1862 [1]. He emigrated to Australia with his parents around 1868 when he was about six [2] – I havent found the details of the ship yet but his brother Malcolm was born in Queensland in October 1867 so the family must have arrived before this date. The Waddell family initially went to Dalby Queensland, and then to Charters Towers Queensland [1,2].

In 1878, When George was ~16 years old, tragedy befell the Waddell family. George was working with his father Thomas Waddell at a gold mine. His father was down the mineshaft and George was at the top of the shaft working as the “braceman”. A braceman monitors the shaft cage and what is coming up and down – people and ore. George was hooking a bucket onto the hook to lower it into the shaft, but the hook was defective in someway, and the bucket fell down the shaft and killed his father Thomas, apparently instantly [5].

Report of Thomas Waddells death in a mining accident in theTelegraph, 22 Oct 1878. [5].

The accident occurred at Two Mile, near Gympie. The newspaper reports the mine name as the Bristol mine [5], but an interview with George’s son Jim gave the mine same as “Sedoa” mine (see previous blog post). Bristol mine was also known as “No. 1 North Mine” [6] – perhaps it had other informal names also?

Location of the Bristol Mine where Thomas Waddell was killed in a mining accident in 1878. [6]

Ten years later, George is back in Charters Towers for his wedding. He married Mary Alice Whittington in Charters Towers in 1888. She was born in Bromley, Kent in England in 1869 and arrived in Maryborough Queensland at 15 years of age, on the SS Merkara on 24 September 1886 [3]. She came to Australia with her newly-wed sister and brother-in-law, Albert Sparrow and Sarah Sparrow (née Whittington). Their eldest brother, George Alfred Whittington, has already been living in Queensland for about a decade and had settled in Jimna, Queensland (west of Gympie).

The Maryborough Family History group has a picture of the SS Merkara that Mary Alice and Sarah Sparrow arrived on – it was a steam ship with sails [4]. There are several other photos of the Merkara at

SS Merkara ship, to Maryborough 1888. From Maryborough Family History Pinterest page. and ‪‬
Passenger list for the SS Merkara showing Albert Sparrow, Sarah Sparrow (née Whittington) and Mary Alice Whittington. source:

Two years after arriving in Maryborough, Mary Alice Whittington married George Waddell on 8th December 1888 at St. Pauls Church, Charters Towers, Queensland. She was 22, working as a domestic servant, and he was 27 and already working as a miner. Mary Alice to meet I am unaware of any wedding photos of George and Mary Waddell.

George and Mary Alice Waddell had 10 children over the next 22 years:

  • Margaret Alice was born on 9 January 1890 in Charters Towers, Queensland.
  • Edith Mary was born on 12 April 1892 in Charters Towers.
  • George Malcolm was born on 9 June 1894 .
  • Maurice John (Jack) was born on 25 August 1896
  • Ida was born on 14 December 1899
  • Dorothy May was born on 9 May 1902 in Gympie, Queensland
  • James Charles “Jim” was born on 30 August 1904 in Gympie, Queensland
  • Amy Patricia was born on 7 January 1907 in Gympie, Queensland. (Amy was my grandmother)
  • Jessie Catherine was born on 3 August 1909 in Gympie, Queensland
  • Jean was born on 7 July 1912 in Gympie, Queensland.

There is a terrifically clear photo taken in a unknown photographers studio of George Waddell and three of his sons: Jim, Maurice (Jack) and George Malcolm Waddell. Jack and George Waddell were in the cadets and are wearing their cadet medals. Young Jim Waddell is in a white suit with a sailors collar. George Waddell has curly hair and a two-tone beard and has a pocket watch chain clearly showing in front of his suit. From this photo I imagine his hair to be red! but I have no idea what colour his hair was in reality.

George Waddell with sons Jim and Maurice (Jack) on the left and George Malcolm Waddell . Jack and George Waddell were in the cadets and are wearing their cadet medals. Shared by Kerry Cassidy on Ancestry.

By about 1900, George Waddell had earned enough money cyaniding for gold that he could afford to buy the Two Mile Hotel near Gympie, Queensland. This is the pub with the family gathered outside that I have written about in earler blog posts here and here.

George Waddell and family standing outside the Two Mile Hotel near Kin Kin, Queensland, Australia c1910. Family collection. George Waddell (far left), his son Jim Waddell and three of his daughters (two older, one younger, but exactly who is who is still unknown). Family Collection.

There is a second photo of the Two Mile Hotel from a different angle which shows the wide verandah at the front of the hotel more clearly. I dont know where this photo comes from – I have a copy but it looks like it comes from a book ? but it might be a scan of a photo of a photo….

George Waddell Two Mile Hotel. Source: Family collection.

Two of their sons, George Malcolm Waddell and Maurice “Jack” Waddell went to Gallipoli in 1915 as part of the 2nd Lighthorse Regiment. They survived Gallipoli but George was tragically killed in Egypt in 1916. There will be a future blog post on this sad family story.

We do have some photos of Mary Alice Waddell (nee Whittington)later in life, including this terrific one holding a cat. I would guess this is about 1930s from the dress style? Mary Waddell would have been in her 60s in the 1930s. The dress is a patterned sheer fabric – you can see the sheer fabric on her arms. She has grey hair pulled back and is smiling at the cat and seems quite fond of it.

Mary Alice Waddell nee Whittington, holding a cat, about 30s? Source: Family collection.
Mary Alice Waddell nee Whittington with her granddaughters Beryl & Phyllis Martin (daughers of Edith Martin nee Waddell) at the beach about 1935. Source: shared on Ancestry by Kerry Cassidy and Margaret Johnson.

George Waddell died in 1936 of cancer of the tongue and cardiac exhaustion. He was 75 years old.

Obituary George Waddell Chronicle And North Coast Advertiser (QLD) – Oct 9 1936

Mary Alice Waddell lived for about a decade after her husband George. She died in 1947 of general heart failure at the age of 78. She was living with her daughter Ida in Tewantin for the last year of her life.

Mary A Waddell Death Notice Nambour Chronicle And North Coast Advertiser (QLD) – Nov 7 1947

Mary Alice Waddell was buried at Gympie Cemetery in the Waddell family plot, with George’s mother Mary Waddell (nee Best), her husband George, and his brothers Malcolm and Francis “Frank”. There is a large headstone on the Waddell family grave, in loving memory of all the family members giving all the names and dates.


[1] Marriage Certificate, George Waddell and Mary Alice Whittington, 1862.

[2] Obituary George Waddell, Brisbane telegraph 1936

[3] and

[4] SS Mekara ship, to Maryborugh. From Maryborough Family History Pinterest page.

[5] Fatal mining accident Thomas Waddell 1878

[6] Map of Bristol mine.


  1. Hi, I would love to learn more about beautiful Mary Alice Waddell as her Brother George Whittington is our Great Great Grandfather. Kindest of Regards, Kat Banks


  2. Hi Kat. Glad you enjoyed it! Do you have any photos of George and Emma Whittington that you would be prepared to share on the blog? There is a great story about them working in a hotel together in the Uk and then George followed her out here…. My email is karenhapgood a t gmail dot com Cheers, Karen


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