Francis Beech

A peculiar, but tragic coincidence relates to the burial of two old friends in adjacent graves. One is George Hiscox, who died on January 19th, 1884. His funeral two days later was attended by his old acquaintance, Francis Beech, who had driven in from Pettavel. The same evening, soon after returning to his home, Beech was cruelly murdered, and was buried two days afterwards alongside the friend whose funeral cortege he had so recently witnessed. The murdered man’s tombstone is fittingly inscribed, “Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for “thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Francis Beech had arrived in Sydney in 1844 as a private soldier in the 11th Regiment and later established himself as a butcher and farmer at Pettavel, where the winery is now. It was there that he was murdered ‘at midnight by persons unknown’. His wife Jane and a servant were charged but later released due to lack of evidence. Nobody else was ever charged, and Jane erected that headstone with its cryptic inscription.

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