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Monday, 20 October 2014

Second Dead Man's Penny returned to family members! This one was found buried in a local garden.

The Ryde District Historical Society was absolutely delighted to be involved in the returning of a second Dead Man’s Penny to the descendants of the family it was originally issued to.
Recently, we were contacted by a local Denistone resident who had found the ‘penny’ about ½ metre below the ground when digging in his garden. He in turn contacted us at the Ryde District Historical Society hoping that the family could be traced and the ‘penny’  a memorial plaque or commemorative medallion, as they were officially known, be returned to them.

Frank Uther's Memorial Plaque, showing scratches incurred when dug up in a Denistone backyard.
The name on the penny was Frank Uther. Unfortunately for us, Frank was not on our list of Ryde service people, but with only one man named Frank Uther serving in World War One AIF, the Society members and especially Kim, with her extensive experience and resources was not only able to identify him, but make contact with his family. This was made possible by using the public family trees on All those people who had included Frank Uther in their trees were contacted and his closest family was found.
The ‘penny’ was returned to Frank Uther’s second cousin, Erica, the only one still surviving of 77 cousins.

Kim, Erica holding Frank's penny and Ben from

The practice of burying a Dead Man’s Penny, as they were commonly known, is not unheard of but how it ended up in the back yard of a Denistone home is still a bit of a puzzle.
The story of the penny's return was featured on Sydney’s Channel 9, 6pm news on Friday 17 October 2014, and will also be used by

Last year the Society and Ryde Library Services were able to reunite the penny for Oscar Henry Nelson, found in a Northern NSW garage sale, with descendants of his family – (see earlier blog stories for details).



  1. That's a great story, well done everyone@

  2. Congratulations - I enjoyed seeing the news item on TV.