James Sampson Wearne 1852-1924 & Mary H. Higgins 1855-1939
Married 19 May 1878 in a Catholic Church in Kadina, South Australia


James Sampson Wearne with grandson Kenneth Hescroff (circa 1922)

Mary Helena Higgins

James Sampson Wearne

Fifth child of James & Christiana Wearn

Born: 10 May 1852 in Adelaide, South Australia

Died: 20 Aug 1924 in East Melbourne, Victoria

Buried: Fawkner Memorial Park, Moreland City, Victoria

Occupation: Miner

Mary Helena Higgins

Daughter of Robert Higgins (1824-1887) and Margaret Burke


Died: 8 Jul 1939 at home – 80 Albert St., East Melbourne, Victoria

Buried: Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton North, Melbourne, Victoria

James was known to have been farming at Thomas Plains, east of Kadina in the 1880s.In his youth he was a good dancer and once received a medal for “tap dancing”. He was also very good horseman and often rode as an amateur jockey in Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta

James went into mining.  As a young man was a wanderer, moving from mine to mine, from Tasmania to New Zealand, in search of work in the mining trade. He was involved with the following mining locations: Caledonian Gold Mine, New Zealand. 1874 – 1878, Mount Charles Gold Mine. 1880 – 1882,  Silver Fields in N.S.W.,  and Bird in Hand Mine South Australia. 1886 – 1889. In 1889 he moved to South Africa and worked for De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. Kimberley, South Africa. 1889 – 1903. James was a member of the Kimberley Town Guard during the Boer War 1899-1900.

James was blinded in a mining accident at the diamond mine, probably around 1903-1904.  The dynamite fuses, instead of being lit from long to short had accidentally been lit from short to long. James went back and started pulling the fuses to save the lives of the other miners. The last stick went up in his face.

James returned to South Australia with Mary and his daughters in 1904, resided at “Addington”, West Terrace, Adelaide. He became financially well off in Kimberley, owning a house there and was able to purchase several properties in Adelaide, including “Addington” on his return. He may also have received compensation from De Beers. The family lived on the rentals from these properties.

The family moved to Melbourne in 1920 and lived at 80 Albert St. East Melbourne. James was remembered fondly by his grandchildren.  They agreed he was a kind man, and a very brave one, he never complained of his blindness which must have been a great “cross to bear”. He loved having them take him for walks in the gardens near his home (the park across the road in West Terrace, Adelaide, and then the gardens in Albert St. and sometimes in the Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne), they often did this on their return from school. In these walks he would regularly take a break and sit on a seat and chat on about his travels around Australia and South Africa and, indeed, his memories of his mining days and his collection of “stones” from many different places.

Chronicle Saturday 30 Aug 1924 p.39 TROVE