top of page

James Joseph Healey – Boer War Veteran and Itinerant Teacher

Updated: May 14, 2023

James Joseph Healey was born on 30/01/1878 to Patrick Healey and Maryann Healey nee Dunn. He was the first of their eight children; 6 girls and two boys.

James served in the Boer War (1899-1902) with a service number of 242. His service was in the Queensland Imperial Bushmen with the rank of Private. He was around 22 at the time of his enlistment. James was reported as “slightly wounded” at Oliphant’s River on 26/4/1901.

On returning to Australia, he commenced his teaching role in Western Queensland as an Itinerant teacher travelling from station to station to instruct and test students.

Two documents and a newspaper article give a feel for the role James took on.

Firstly, James’ own annual return in 1914 cites temperature, distance and an unsuitable vehicle as major burdens of his role. Another document is an extract from a book by Ruth Kerr and whilst not specifically about James it does paint a vivid picture of a similar role in North Queensland. Finally, an article from 1911 quotes James’ struggles whilst stationed at Dareell. James also participated in the Itinerant Teachers Conference held in Brisbane in 1909.

Patrick took a break from teaching in 1921 and whilst living in Brisbane city started work in the Railway Department at the Roma Street Goods Yard. He was only in this job for a couple of days when he collapsed and died on 19/12/1921. He was 43.

James’ younger sister, Lily Eliza (DOB 7/6/1881), passed away on 18 May 1949 and is also buried in this grave. The beautiful granite and Helidon Sandstone headstone date from this period. This grave has been cleaned and the headstone lettering restored by the Friends of Balmoral Cemetery in January 2022.

(Special thanks to Jim Spurdle for identifying James and for material on Itinerant teachers).

RUTH KERR ITINERANT TEACHERS129475 - The life of James Adam
Download PDF • 4.53MB

Annual Return J Healy Birdsville 1914
Download PDF • 2.37MB

Map Birdsville District Families 1914
Download PDF • 2.10MB

Download PDF • 85KB


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page