|Name||Mary Ann Palmer, (female)|
|Birth Details||Date & Place||about 1822, East Brent, Somerset|
|Baptism||2nd June 1822, St. James the Great Church, Winscombe, Somerset|
|Father||Joseph Palmer, Somerset|
|Death Details||Date & Place||This is a bit of a puzzle, one possibility is about 1906 in Maylands Western Australia. Another is that she remarried after Charles's death to a Mr. Foster or Forester both are family stories and we haven't been able to sort out which is true.|
|Cause of Death||Unknown|
|Age at Death||Unknown|
|Marriage Details||Date & Place||20 December 1845, Winscombe, Somerset|
|Spouse||Charles Payne, 1822, Winscombe, Somerset|
|Occupation||Initially Domestic Servant with the Hemens Family in Woodborough, then Domestic Duties while Charles was alive then Mary Ann ran the family farm, punt and other businesses.|
|Residence||various places in Somerset, then Sydney, Merriang and Summerview, Alexandra, Victoria|
|Religion||Church of England|
Immigrated on Golconda to Botany Bay in August of 1858, somehow migrated to Victoria by 1862. Drawn to the area because siblings already resident in the area (Woodstock).
Mary Ann operated Payne's Punt on the Goulburn River, Alexandra, Victoria after her husband died.
Mary Ann Payne conducted business in her own right. She owned the punt, called the "Farmer's Friend", and operated it in conjunction with the store and hotel on the river bank (the Goulburn River). The hotel, much remodeled, eventually became The Water Trust pumping house
Bridges had preceded "The Farmer's Friend", but the first -- a footbridge -- was burnt down, while the second (a substantial log bridge built by John Wall under tender for six pounds was, like most bridges, washed away in the calamitous floods of 1870.
Punts were far from popular. Not only did they slow travel; as well, their fees were high, being:
Single horse One Shilling (about 10 cents)
(however, if one returned on the punt between 5am and 10pm on the same day, no return fee was charged.)
Dissatisfaction for some grew higher when the Thornton punt-keeper began refusing to serve certain local families.
Slowly as finances permitted, tenders were called for various bridges. The Thornton Bridge was completed in October 1873 at a cost almost four thousand pounds. Plans for the Riversdale bridge near Alexandra were re-drawn time and again. Finally a ten-feet one way bridge was opened on 7th July 1876. It had cost three thousand two hundred and twenty pounds. Mrs. Payne, who owned the now defunct punt, clamed considerable compensation, and eventually accepted sixty-five pounds "for loss of land, business from the punt, fruit trees and damage to buildings". Neighouring landowners Samuel Allardyce and Ah Kong also demanded compensation but without success.
Copied from Red Gum, the story of Alexandra and District, by Alexandra Library Officials 2002.
© Claire M. Hughes 2006, major research Debby Dolgner-De L'Eyre, website assistance Lindsay Brown