REUBEN CHARLES FREW
Aged 2 years and 9 months
PHYLLIS EDNA FREW
Aged 8 months
Who were accidentally burnt to death
4th February 1904
Precious darlings they have left us
Left us not for evermore.
As we hope to meet our loved ones
On that bright and happy shore.
Lonely the house and sad the hours
Since our dear ones have gone.
But on a brighter world than ours
In Heaven is now their home.
Erected by their loving father, mother,
Grandmother and aunts.
On 5 February 1904, a newspaper report read: "Two children, named Charles and Phyllis, of Mr. John Frew, met their death early this morning through their home at Champion being totally destroyed by fire. Phyllis, the baby, was burnt to a cinder, and Charlie died from his injuries a few hours after wards. The origin of the fire is unknown." Mrs Mary Frew gave evidence at the hearing: She put the boy to bed before his father went out at 8 o'clock and the girl to bed at 10 o'clock. There was no light in the room, and the candle had burnt out prior to the children being put to bed. There was no fire in the stove. After putting the children to bed, she herself went to bed. The next she knew, the little boy came screaming into her, calling, "Mummy!" He was in a little shirt, only, and was terribly burnt. She at once pulled his little shirt off over his head. The house was then in a mass of flames and she had no hope whatever of saving the girl. Mr John Frew had left the house at 8 o'clock. He returned some time between 12 and 1 o'clock and the house was all ablaze, the hessian being all burnt off and only the frame standing. He and his wife took the boy into Kookynie to the doctor and thence to the hospital. There was no insurance on either building or effects, nor on the lives of the children. There were a good many mice about the place. . At the inquest into the deaths of the two children, Reuben Charles and Phyllis Edna Frew, the jury returned the following verdict : "That Phyllis Frew met her death at the Champion on the early morning of February 4 by burning, and that Charles Frew died in the Government hospital, Kookynie, at 4 a.m. on February 4 from shock, the result of burns received at the Champion, and that there is no evidence to show how the fire originated." The enquiry had been held in adjournment for a considerable time due to the mother, Mrs. Frew, being prostrated by shock. The little boy had been in New South Wales for the first year and four months of his life. Reuben and Phyllis were the firstborn children to this couple, who were married on 28 November 1900 at Hillgrove, New South Wales (Marriage Registration 8816/1900, Hillgrove). Their other children were: Robert Archibald Henry born 1904; Elsie Maud born 1906; William Thomas born 1908 (died 1908); Irene Elizabeth born 1910; John Edward born 1912; Margaret Rachel born 1914. In late December 1907, there was a report that Mrs Frew again suffered at the hands of fire. The report read: "A fire occurred last night at Kookynie whereby the contents of premises occupied by Mr. Freeman, draper, Mrs. Frew, boardinghouse keeper, and the " Kookynie Press," were destroyed. It is understood that the contents were insured. The buildings were only partially destroyed, and the adjoining buildings were saved owing to the exertions of the fire brigade.