Henry Russell Jones was born in Melbourne about 1840. His parents, Charles Jones and Caroline Wrenshall, were married in Liverpool, England in 1839. When Henry was about 10 years old, his father died and Caroline went back to England with the children (by this time there were six).
It seems Henry didn’t want to stay in England and returned to the place of his birth in 1859. He made his way north and married May Simmes in Mackay in 1866. This is where their first child was born.
Harry (as he was known) was a carrier, and the family followed the gold rushes. His second child was born in the Georgetown area – then known as the Etheridge Goldfields.
Harry followed the many diggers who went to the Palmer River when that rush began – one of Australia’s major gold rushes. His son, William Palmer Jones was born here, reputed to be the first white child to be born in the area. Harry and Mary set up a permanent home near Laura and Harry travelled between Cooktown and the Palmer with his bullock team and wagon. He also had cattle and set up a store, butcher’s shop and hotel (Telegraph Hotel) on the main track to the goldfield.
Another area of land was taken up near the Kennedy River. Harry named this place Koolburra, and it was here he met his death in 1890. He was shot by his young, aboriginal station hand.