Trove Tuesday

Trove Tuesday – David Slawson

For this week’s Trove Tuesday, I decided to use a family I haven’t written much about, so I decided to do the surname from my direct maternal line, Slawson, and to search for articles about David Slawson.

David Slawson was born 19 February 1839 at Kingston upon Thames, Surrey England. He was the son of John Slawson and Mary Price. I’m descended from John’s brother George.  He was therefore the cousin of my 3x great grandmother Ann Slawson.

David died 23 June 1921 in Queensland, Australia.

The following is his death notice.

Death of Mr. D. Slawson
REDLAND BAY. (1921, June 27). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), , p. 8. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from

Death of Mr. D. Slawson
The death of Mr. David Slawson, and old resident of the district, occurred at Wynnum on Thursday. The funeral, which took place at Redland Bay cemetery on Friday, was largely attended. The Rev. H. T. Prowse conducted services at the house and graveside.

In searching for information about David, I found that two of his sons died when their yacht “Zenobia” capsized.

The following is the article I found about when the boat was first launched.

The Zenobia
The Zenobia. (1894, January 20). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947), , p. 6. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from

The Zenobia
The 22-foot yacht, built by Mr. Anderson, and designed by Mr. Hamilton, the shareholders being Messrs. W. Slawson, F. Slawson, R. T. Kirkwood, and P.O. Gorman, was launched on Thursday afternoon. Mrs Kirkwood christening the boat with champagne and naming it Zenobia. The launch was most successful; ladies and friends of the shareholders were present; and after toasting the success of the boat, she was taken down to Newstead to be rigged. She will compete with the rest of the 22-foot boats.

This is the article when the boat first went missing.

Missing sailing boat
MISSING SAILING BOAT. (1897, September 13). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947), , p. 5. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from


22-footer Zenobia
Anxiety Concerning Crew
Pippo Gone in Search

Considerable anxiety is felt concerning the safety of the sailing boat Zenobia, which left Brisbane on Saturday evening, the 4th instant, for a cruise in Moreton Bay. The Zenobia is a 22-footer clinker built boat, well known to sailing men. When she left Brisbane her crew consisted of six persons, including Messrs. W. Slawson, Fred Slawson, A. Kimber, F. McCabe, a youth named Harry Slawson (said to be a son of Mr. W. Slawson) and another person familiarly known as “Scotch Bob” (said to be Mr. R. McConnell). Their intention was first to visit Caloundra, and then make their way south to Cleveland and Redland Bay by the end of last week, but nothing has been directly heard of them since they left.
It will be remembered that during last week some heavy blows and squalls occurred, and on one day we had a hailstorm in Brisbane. On September 9-that is last Thursday, the lighthouse-keeper at Caloundra telegraphed to Captain Almond, the portmaster, to the following effect: “A sailing boat went over to Caloundra Bay yesterday morning. At 1 p.m. to-day a very severe hailstorm occurred. Saw the boat 10 minutes before the storm, but could not pick her up afterwards.” Subsequently a telegram was received at the Port Office from Cleveland, stating that the sailing boat Zenobia that should have arrived had not turned up. Upon receiving this news Captain Almond communicated with the various stations in the bay, with instructions to the lighthouse-keepers at Caloundra and Bribie to search the beach for wreckage. No satisfactory news having been received up to Saturday evening, he then sent away the Government steamer Pippo, with instructions to further prosecute the search. The Pippo has not yet returned to Brisband. Mr. Fison, inspector of fisheries, who knows the bay well, went down in the Pippo, and this is sufficient guarantee that a most careful and thorough search will be made.
A report was current in town this morning that the Zenobia had been seen by Mr. M. Colclough, who was down in the bay on Saturday and Sunday in the Australian; he had seen the Zenobia off Green Island, at anchor with his sail up. Mr Colclough felt very certain the vessel he saw was the Zenobia till this morning he has been reluctantly compelled to come to the conclusion that it was not the Zenobia but the Lassie that he saw. He this morning saw Mr. Kent, who was in the Lassie, and, on comparing notes with him, it was conclusively shown that Mr. Colclough had made a mistake.

This chart shows how the Zenobia drifted.

The Zenobia Disaster
THE ZENOBIA DISASTER. (1897, September 16). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), , p. 5. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from

The accompanying article was 3 pages long, so I haven’t included an image or transcription of it here. There were also quite a few other articles about the disaster. There were 9 pages of results in Trove for the search term “Zenobia Slawson” in Queensland newspapers, with 12 pages of results Australia wide.

A year after the disaster, these In Memoriam notices appeared:

In Memoriam
Family Notices (1898, September 9). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), , p. 4. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from

MCCABE – In Memory of Frank McCabe a victim of the Zenobia disaster, 9th September, 1897.
Inserted by the Brisbane Safety Bicycle Club
SLAWSON.- In loving memory of our two dearly-beloved sons, William and Frederick Slawson, who departed this life 9th September, 1897.
May their souls rest in peace.
Inserted by their fond parents.
SLAWSON. – In loving memory of my dearly beloved husband, William Slawson, and my dear little son Harry, also Brother-in-law Freddie, who departed this life 9th September, 1897.
May their souls rest in peace.
Inserted by his loving wife.
SLAWSON. – In memory of the brother Willis and Fred. Slawson, victims of the Zenobia disaster, 9th September, 1897.
Inserted by the Brisbane Safety Bicycle Club.
In memory of William Slawson, Frederick Slawson, Francis McCabe, Robert McConnell, and Harry Moar, who died on the Zenobia, 9th September, 1897
Inserted by the Zenobia crew.