Charles Vaughan was a timber cutter at Nambucca when the population of the emerging town was less than 300.
The inscription on his headstone, which lays in disrepair at the Nambucca Cemetery, tells us that he was accidentally killed whilst felling timber at Cedar Creek on May 18, 1900. He was just twenty years old.
The inscription tells us further that his headstone was erected by his friends and mates – a large concrete monument which now sadly lays untended on the ground.
In itself, the headstone shows the Australian ideal of mateship and friendship and if it could be remounted, would be a fitting preservation of Nambucca Heads history.
Restoration of the headstone may be possible, as an application to do this is currently before Nambucca Shire Council.
Newspaper reports record the early timber cutters, like Charles Vaughan, were a hard-living lot.
Charles’ father, Richard William Vaughan, a native of Liverpool, England died in 1891 of cirrhosis of the liver.
His sister, Alice Lydia Vaughan died of self administered strychnine poisoning and his brother Arthur Albert Vaughan died from being hit over the head with a piece of wood.
Charles, to this writer, is a more romantic figure, swinging his axe at Cedar Creek, just where the Pacific Highway exits at Giinagay Way and he has the distinction of having the oldest surviving headstone at the Nambucca Cemetery.
There is a detailed history of the Vaughan family compiled by Anthony Vaughan of Sydney at the Nambucca Headland Museum. Whilst Charles Vaughan had no issue there are many Vaughan descendants at Urunga and spread throughout New South Wales.
Thanks to the Nambucca Headland Museum for the use of their records.
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