Family Tree of the Adlers, Edwardses, Hogans, Lipscombes and Olivers

Charles Standen (1842 - 1904), and Sarah Frances Bulley (1843 - 1915)

Charles Standen
Born: 1801, Croydon, Surrey, England
Died: 16 Nov 1879, Bulla, Vic, Australia

Mary McMahon
Born: 1814, Limerick, Clare, Ireland
Died: 20 Oct 1894, Bulla, Vic, Australia

Born: 7 Apr 1842, Port Phillip, Vic, Australia
Died: 25 Dec 1904, Cairns, Qld, Australia


  Sarah Frances BULLEY
Born: 3 Apr 1843
Died: 14 Jan 1915, Australia

C. Standen
Source: Gary Standen.

S.F. Bulley
Source: Gary Standen. 

Story: Charles Standen (1842 - 1904)

From Kuranda Bob, added to this site 28 Dec 2002

The life and times of CHARLES STANDEN ( Kuranda Pioneer )

Charles Standen was born in 1842 at "Port Phillip" only 7 years after John Batman's "treaty" purchase of the south-eastern tip of Australia (Melbourne, Victoria) from the local Aborigines. This was done at the cost of a few boxes of axes, mirrors and assorted trade goods.

At this time the entire east coast of Australia was known as New South Wales. By the time Charles was 5 years old, in 1847, Port Phillip was renamed Melbourne, and was made a city; such was the rush of new Australians looking for a new start, escaping from the hell-hole England had become due to the long-term social effects of the Industrial Revolution.

By the time Charles turned 9, in 1851, the Port Phillip area was separated from New South Wales, and the state of Victoria was declared. Charles' father and mother came to Australia from England as shepherd free settlers for the New South Wales Corporation, who were the main importers of labour to fill up and "use" the land called "Terra Nullius" (empty land) by Capt. James Cook in his report to the King of that time.

Little is known about Charles' activities until 1864, when he had moved to the Manning River area in Northern NSW. It is assumed he was a shepherd as his father was, and had arrived in the area herding sheep. It was there that he married Shara Bully, at the age of 22. Within 4 years, in 1868, his first boy, William Standen was born. This coincided with the last Convict (white slave labour) ship to arrive in Western Australia. Ten years later, in 1878, his second son, Victor Charles Standen was born, which was the year of the first telephone in Australia at Melbourne. Eight years later, in 1886, his last son, Ernest Leopold Standen was born. In this year the North Sydney cable tram opened to the public, the first of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mystery surrounds the movements of Charles and his family, other than the assumption that Charles was a shepherd, and the fact they kept heading north, arriving in the Cairns area in the early 1890's. We know that in 1891 the Cairns-to-Kuranda railway was completed, and Charles and his family had set up house looking for business opportunities. Atthis time Cairns was a true frontier town, with opium dens, brothels, wild-west shoot outs, slave trading (white, black, Asian), and all the rest of the carrying's-on associated with the notorious "BARBARY COAST" as the area was known.

We do know that by 1897, Charles had commissioned and built with his boys, the now-historic KURANDA BOTTOM PUB. It was made of local rainforest timbers, and the heart of the building in its original form is still part of the now-standing hotel. A photograph of Charles and his sons, on horseback outside the Barron River entrance of the pub facing the train station, still adorns the walls of the still-standing dining room. Within two years, in 1899, Charles sold the pub, and became a "Selector". He was granted a tract of land in Kuranda, and started farming with his family, at the age of 57.

This must have been a very hard life, fighting the virgin rainforest, insect pests, wildlife, and the black frosts of the period, which were noted for wiping out the first commercial coffee crops in Kuranda. This is why coffee is still not commercially-grown in Kuranda. We know that Christmas Day, 1904, was a bleak day in Charles Standen's life, as, sadly, it was to be his last. During the Christmas festivities, in the heart of his family, he had a massive gallstone attack, and was carried to the Cairns Hospital in a horse and cart, down the original dirt Kuranda road. This would have been a long, arduous journey, of several hours' duration, over the most primitive terrain in fierce tropical summer heat and humidity. Charlie died the same day on the operating table, from exhaustion during the gallstone operation. He was 62 years old. Charles was buried on the same day, due to the lack of any refrigeration at that period in time. He now lies buried, an unsung hero of Kuranda's history, in unmarked plot number 1209, in the Protestant Section of the McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery. This plot is in a grove of pines immediately adjacent to the Cairns-to-Kuranda railway line. However, the name Charles Standen is now forever displayed in the Hall of Honour at the cemetery.

Charles Standen's sons grew up to be well-known identities at the early Palmer River gold fields. William Standen started a highly-successful heavy haulage business at the gold fields between Cooktown and the Palmer River. He used bullocks and drays. Standen Creek, off the Annan River south of Cooktown, is named in his honour. Hundreds of his deservedly-proud descendants still reside throughout all of Far North Queensland.

From the website of "Kuranda Bob"

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