History Matters || Martin's contribution to the growth of Glen Innes

Family gathering: James and Matilda Martin with extended family at Kent Park, 1895.
Family gathering: James and Matilda Martin with extended family at Kent Park, 1895.

James Martin junior was born in 1831 at Maidstone, Kent, to James senior and Mary, nee Witt.

His parents arrived in Australia on the Isabella in 1838 when young James was seven.

He left home at 19 and came to Glen Innes via California, Tasmania and Victoria and by 1852 was employed by Gilchrist and Mather at the first store in Glen Innes.

He married Matilda Hetherington, at Rangers Valley in 1854 - she had been born in County Cavan, Ireland and they had 13 children.

James led a very busy life in the early days of our community and later lived at Kent Park.

When our archives were started members of early families were asked to fill in a family history form.

James Martin's form is unsigned but it may have been written by granddaughter, Kathleen Hetherington Martin, daughter of John Alexander Martin, (born 1862) and it notes that he was the town's first postmaster, helped start the first Bank of NSW in Grey Street, was Chief Magistrate of both NSW and Queensland.

He was also Municipal Returning Officer.

Martin was largely responsible for the first Glen Innes district hospital, and was president for many years.

He was the first and only treasurer of the Glen Innes Municipal Council 1872 -1905.

He was also the first man to use galvanised roofing on buildings in Glen Innes.

His eldest son, James Charles, born 1854, was the first white child to have his name entered in the first register for the district of Glen Innes.

Emily Martin, born 1856, played the organ in the Glen Innes Church Of England from the age of 12 years until her death at the age of 19, without missing a single Sunday.

We had Martin's Lookout, then the name changed to Centennial Parklands, site of The Standing Stones.

Martin's Lookout is now marked on the map as the top of the hill above the Standing Stones area and Martin Street is a tiny little bit of a street at the beginning of Strathbogie Road where Derby Street swings left.