Graham Gillam fills us in on his family’s local history.
Graham Gillam fills us in on his family’s local history. Jenna Cairney

Celebrations bring blast from past

GRAHAM Gillam’s great, great-grandfather was told there was plenty of land to be farmed here and a need for skilled agricultural workers.

The advice came from some relatives who were already running Warwick’s first Criterion Hotel.

So in 1863 Charles, Elizabeth and their brood of children left Oxfordshire, England, on the Golden Empire to Brisbane.

Half the family came to Warwick by coach while some of the boys came with the family’s belongings on the bullock wagon, which took four weeks to get up Spicer’s Gap Road (Cunningham’s Gap didn’t exist in those days.)

“They came here and we stayed here,” Mr Gillam said from his home on Warrienbah St, Warwick.

Mr Gillam grew up on the same street he lives on now and remembers the many days he walked to Warwick East School.

“There wasn’t much in the way of public transport in those days,” he said.

His home is a shrine of family history.

From the black and white fuzzy photos to new shining coloured prints of smiling children, there’s a great deal of pride and Mr Gillam has always been intrigued by his family background.

The timing of the Daily News visit coincides with the lead-up to celebrations in May of 150 years since Warwick’s proclamation as a town.

Council is asking for people who have ancestors from Warwick’s past to come forward and share their story as part of a family history display, which will be held in the library from Wednesday 25 to Friday, May 27.

Submission forms and guidelines are available from council offices.

They must be lodged by Tuesday, May 10.

To bring to life your family story, they are looking for photos, names and dates, details of who married who, the number of children, occupations, military service and details of their origin.

Mr Gillam is a fountain of local knowledge and has written his own book about his family tree.

His family would have been in the second wave of migrant settlers in Warwick and he still has family dotted around the region.

Look out for more stories in the Daily News in the coming weeks as we preview the planned celebrations of Warwick’s 150th anniversary of proclamation.



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