Walter Adams, pillar of the church, one-time Mayor and current member of state parliament, had a secret.


Walter Adams is marked on the left of this picture from the late 1880s or early 1890s.


Like his daughter-in-law, Catherine Mackinlay Adams Forrester, he was a bigamist.


Catherine Mackinlay  1868-1939

Catherine Mackinlay


Walter Adams (1830-1892)

Walter Adams (1830-1892)













After their arrival in New South Wales in 1849, Walter’s family (parents, brothers and sisters) lived initially in Sydney and then in the Hunter Valley. 

In 1851, Walter married Elizabeth Parnell in West Maitland, New South Wales.  In 1854, he married Mary Shannon in Gayndah, Queensland.

Mary Shannon (1832-1904)

Mary Shannon (1832-1904)

There is no record of the death of an Elizabeth Adams between 1851 and 1854 although the early records are incomplete.  Walter claimed to be a bachelor when he married for the second time.

What happened to Elizabeth?  She may have married Henry Baker in Richmond, New South Wales in 1853 or that may have been a different Elizabeth Parnell.

Did Walter and Elizabeth just agree to go their separate ways?

Was the reason Walter started a new life in Queensland to put some distance between them?

Did Mary know?