janilye on Family Tree Circles
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When the first HEATHER's had settled at Chislehurst, the civil war had been raging in England, with Charles I and the Royalists battling against Cromwell and the Roundheads. By the time the fourth Robert Heather died in 1780, a hundred and forty years had passed. The Commonwealth had come and gone. The restoration which followed had seen the return of the Stuarts who in turn gave way to the House of Hanover. Wars had been fought in Europe and America and the American war of independence was currently in progress. Times had changed and people tended to travel more.
Thomas HEATHER reached adulthood and found employment as a labourer at Chilsehurst, the birthplace of three of his forefathers.
We do not know when or where Robert & Thomas's mother Elizabeth died, but if she was alive in 1787 she must have been appalled by the events which overtook the family. Younger son Thomas, then twenty three years of age and working at Chislehurst, was arrested in October 1787 & held in goal to answer a charge of having robbed a man of money and possessions. Five months later, on 17 March 1788, when the home circuit held it's next sitting at Maidstone, Thomas HEATHER appeared before the judge & jury. He defended himself as well as he was able without the assistance of any legal adviser, but was found guilty of the charges of having robbed one George COTTON of a silver watch and fifty shillings in a field near the Kings highway. He was sentenced to be hanged. On 18 April 1788 the Justices of the Assizes at Whitehall in London reviewed the sentences of the Home Circuit, and Thomas HEATHER was one of those who had their death sentences commuted to fourteen years transportation to a penal settlement beyond the seas.
Thomas spent the first two years of his sentence in goals in England. The first 14 months were probably spent in goal at Maidstone, where most Kent convicts were confined.
In May 1789, Thomas was moved from Maidstone goal to one of the hulks on the Thames river near Gravesend. These hulks were derelict ships tied up in the river to house prisoners who toiled in the nearby dockyards. About mid November, he was transferred to the ship NEPTUNE , the transport ship aboard which he was to make the voyage to New South Wales.
The ship "Neptune" was a vessel of 792 tons which had been built on the Thames in 1779. It was a three-masted, square rigged wooden ship, and was twice as large as any previous convict transport. On 14 November 1789, it left it's anchorage at Longreach and moved down the Thames to Gravesend. Three days later, with it's consignment of convicts on board it sailed for The Downs, the roadstead about five miles North-East of Dover. The part of the ship set up as the Convict's prison was the Orlop deck, the lowest on the vessel, well below waterline, so they had no portholes, no view of the outside world, and very poor ventilation.
There were four rows of one-storey high cabins, each about four feet square, two rows being on each side of the ship from the mainmast forwards, and two shorter rows amidships. Into these cabins no fewer than 424 male and 78 female convicts were crowded.
The appalling conditions under which these convicts were forced to live can be better appreciated when it is remembered that, immediately they had come on board, all convicts had been placed in leg-irons and these were not removed throughout the entire voyage. Into each of these tiny cabins were crowded four to six persons, chained in pairs.
Chained below, Thomas HEATHER would not have been able to take in the scenery as the ship "Neptune" had moved out of the Thames and come to anchor at The Downs, there to spend four days while stores and equipment were taken of board. Then anchors were weighed and the vessel left for Plymouth, a slow voyage which took six days after the ship overshot that port and the error wasn't detected until she was off The Lizard, from where a retreat was made back up The Channel. At Plymouth a series of disputes arose, involving the military, the contractors and the captain of the ship "Neptune". Amongst the military was Captain John MACARTHUR who was on his way out to the Colony for duty there. Accompanying him was his wife, Elizabeth, who kept a diary of events during the voyage. A feature of the dispute was a formal duel between MACARTHUR and Captain GILBERT of the ship "Neptune". As a result of the duel Captain GILBERT was replaced by Captain TRAILL, of whom Mrs MACARTHUR wrote prophetically that "His character was of a much blacker dye than was even in Mr GILBERT's nature to exhibit".
The ship "Neptune" stayed at Plymouth until 10 December and then sailed back along the coast to Portsmouth where it anchored in Stoke's Bay on the 13th. There she met up with two other vessels of the Second Fleet, the "Surprize" and the "Scarborough". The convicts endured the cold weather for twenty-four days before the West winds abated and allowed her to sail on 5 January 1790. She anchored at Spithead until the 8th, but then the winds proved "Faithless" and the vessel arrived back at Mother Bank on the 15th.
At last, on Sunday 17 January 1790, more than two months after leaving The Thames, the ship "Neptune" left Portsmouth and moved down the English Channel. In chains below, Thomas HEATHER would not have had the opportunity to gaze for one last time upon the land of his birth. The voyage was really under way and the convicts became well aware of this fact two days later when they crossed the Bay of Biscay. The sea was so rough that Mrs MACARTHUR recorded in her diary, "It could not be persuaded that the ship could possibly long resist the violence of the sea which was mountain high".
After a month or so the MACARTHUR's succeeded in being transferred to the ship "Scarborough" after they had had a series of disputes withe John's superior, Captain NEPEAN. Captain TRAILL might have been relieved to see them go. The voyage was nothing new to Donald TRAILL. He had been First Mate on the ship "Lady Penrhyn", one of the transports of the First Fleet. Apparently he had learned a few tricks from his earlier experiences.
Historical records indicate clearly that he deliberately starved the convicts on the ship "Neptune" so that he could draw extra rations for himself, and in addition, enrich himself by disposing of surplus rations on the foreign market at ports of call. One convict wrote later to his parents, "we were chained two and two together and confined in the hold during the whole course of our long voyage, without as much as one refreshing breeze to fan our langous cheeks. In this melancholy situation we were scarcely allowed a sufficient quantity of victuals to keep us alive, and scarcely any water".
Sickness was prevalent right from the beginning of the voyage. Heavily ironed and without adequate access to fresh air and sunlight; inadequately fed and without sufficient bedding for warmth at night, the convicts soon began to succumb to the ordeal of their conditions. By the time the ordeal of the cold weather was over they found that they were faced with another which was just as trying - the heat and humidity of the tropics as the ship "Neptune" crossed the Equator and continued south down the coast of Africa. By the time The Cape of Good Hope was reached after 87 days, no fewer than 46 of the convicts had died. Anchoring in False Bay at Capetown on 14 April, the ship "Neptune" stayed for fifteen days, taking on board food, water, a large number of cattle, sheep and pigs, and also twelve convicts from the ill-fated ship "Guardian".
The HMS "Guardian" had been dispatched with supplies for the infant colony of New South Wales in response to an urgent plea sent home by Governor PHILIP with the last returning vessel of the First Fleet. Unfortunately, after the ship "Guardian" had left Capetown on its voyage eastwards, the skipper, Lieutenant RIOU, had taken it too far to the south in his quest for the Roaring Forties, and the ship had run into an iceberg. Two months later RIOU had brought his crippled vessel back into the port at Capetown. The mishap had played a large part in the food shortages which Sydney Town suffered in 1790.
After its stay at Capetown, the ship "Neptune" departed on 29 April to commence its run across to Van Diemen's Land. The existence of the strait we now know as Bass Strait was unknown at that time, so all vessels heading out to Sydney Town via Cape of Good Hope sailed around the south of Van Diemen's Land. More deaths occurred amongst the convicts on board during this leg of the voyage, and while the ship "Neptune" beat its way up the east coast of New South Wales. By the time the ship made its way up Sydney Harbour and dropped anchor in Sydney Cove on 28 June 1790, it had built up the worst record of all convict ships of all time. In all it had lost 147 male and 11 female convicts, and upon its arrival landed 269 others who were sick.
Into Sydney Cove on the same day as the ship "Neptune" arrived, came also the ship "Scarborough". The ship "Surprize" had arrived two days previously. Fortunately the convicts on those ships had fared much better than had the unfortunate souls on the ship "Neptune". The arrival of the Second Fleet was a source of interest for those already in the colony, and many were attracted to the shore to take in the scene. What they observed as the prisoners disembarked was a shocking spectacle. Great numbers of those who came off the ship "Neptune" were not able to walk, or even move a hand of foot. These were slung over the ship's side in the same manner as a box would be slung over. Some fainted as soon as they came out into the open air. Some dropped dead on the deck, while others died in the boat before they reached the shore. Once on the shore some could not stand or walk, or even stir themselves. Some were lead by others and some crept upon hands and knees. All were shockingly filthy, with their heads, bodies, clothes and blankets full of filth and lice.
Somewhere amongst those who came ashore was Thomas HEATHER. It was a scene which he undoubtedly remembered for the remainder of his life. Whether he was one of the sick we do not know, but if he was he soon recovered. He had arrived in a settlement which was so short of food that the hours of public work had recently been shortened, and even the soldiers had pleaded loss of strength. Amongst those who witnessed the shocking spectacle down at the shore that day was Governor PHILIP himself. Not surprisingly, he ordered that an inquiry be held into the conditions on the ship "Neptune".
Thomas HEATHER arrived in the colony when the settlement at Sydney was 2 years old. A second settlement was also being developed on a tract of land at the head of the harbour, and ground prepared for sowing corn. The farm so established became known as Rose Hill. By June 1790 Rose Hill had a population of 200, and in the following month a town was laid out there under the Governors instructions. During that first year that Thomas spent in the colony, many convicts were transferred from Sydney to Rose Hill. It is most likely that Thomas was one of those at the new town before 1790 was out.
The following, is a letter published in the London Morning Chronicle on the 4 August 1791 from a female convict at Sydney Cove, dated 24 July 1790.
"Oh! If you had but seen the shocking sight of the poor creatures that came out in the three ships it would make your heart bleed.
They were almost dead, very few could stand, and they were obliged to fling them as you would goods, and hoist them out of the ships, they were so feeble; and they died ten or twelve a day when they first landed.
The Governor was very angry, and scolded the captains a great deal, and, I heard, intended to write to London about it, for I heard him say it was murdering them. It, to be sure, was a melancholy sight.."
Convict Women on the Neptune
Ships of the Second Fleet
A History of THE EATHER FAMILY:
Thomas EATHER and Elizabeth LEE
by John St PIERRE
for the EATHER Family history committee.
The Women of Botany Bay, by Portia Robinson
Australia's Second Fleet - 1790 by Jenny French
The children of Thomas and Elizabeth LEE :-
1. Ann EATHER 1793 - 1865
2. Robert EATHER 1795 - 1881
3. Charlotte EATHER 1797 - 1862
4. Charles EATHER 1800 - 1891
5' Thomas EATHER 1800 - 1886
6. John EATHER 1804 - 1888
7. Rachel EATHER 1807 - 1875
8. James EATHER 1811 - 1899
for some of my family tree images
A meeting of the Singleton branch of the St. John Ambulance Association was held at the Drill Hall last night for the purpose of winding up the affairs of the branch and to present the certificates to successful candidates. There was a good attendance of members. The secretary (Mr Eric J. Robson) read his report which paid a tribute to the splendid service rendered by the honorary instructor, Superinten dent W. O. Blackwell, without whom the members would have been un able to make such advanced training.
Members appreciated his valued co-operation, and were indeed grateful for the valuable time he had allotted in the furtherance of the Association's aims. Thanks were also extended to the local doctors for the service they had rendered both as examiners and lecturers.
The report referred to the first examination when Drs. A. D. Barton and R. Errol Maffey kindly gave their services, and later Drs. Gordon and Dalton. These medical men had given their services without thought of reward, and their help was much appreciated.
Thanks to the Press for publicity and help, and to the local military authorities for the use of the Drill Hall as a meeting place, were also mentioned, and in connection with the latter special tribute was paid to Sgt. Major Mackenzie, who had been a tower of strength to the branch. Constable Giddings deserved congratulations for the time he had given in the tutoring of the Bulga-Milbrodale school children, who were a credit to him. The Secretary had also suggested to Head Office that they should offer heartiest congratulations to successful pupils and a wish that the know ledge will be useful to them. The Secretary then called upon Superintendent Blackwell to make the presentation of certificates to members. Mr Blackwell stated that he was very pleased to be able to instruct the class, and he desired to congratulate the successful candidates and sympathise with the unlucky ones.
The examination in First Aid was held at the Drill Hall on April 4th. 1939.
The officials were as follows:
Examiner, Dr. C. P. Gordon; Lecturer, Dr. R. T. Dalton; Instructor, Superintendent W. O. Blackwell; and Secretary, Mr Eric J. Robson.
The following candidates were successful:?
First Aid Certificate, Junior Section: -
Robert Ainslee, Joan Anderson, Neville Archinal. Elma Bates, Raymond Bates,
Elizabeth Clark, Nina Clark, David Eather, James Eather, Coral Giddings, Gordon Halton,
Essie Harris, Harold Harris, Audrey Leslie, Reginald Mason, Sylvia Medhurst, Lawrence Medhurst,
Ronald Medhurst, Errol Partridge, Keith Partridge, Noel Paul, Herbert Pike, Keith Sylvester,
Edna Thompson, Noel Tuckerman, Arthur Turnbull, Daphne Turnbull, Reginald Turnbull,
Errol Bailey, Ella Burgmann, Rae Woods; Glory Holey.
First Aid Certificate, Adult Section:-
Alfred Clavey, Francis Paul, Reginald James Tulloch.
First Aid Medallions:-
Raymond George Manuel, Leslie Gordon Morriss, Trevor George Blackwell, Noel John Partridge,
John Albert Bartrop, John Thomas Austin, Eric John Robson, Edward Partridge (label),
Margaret McLeod (label).
Honorary Instructor's Certificate:-
Eric John Robson.
The Bulga-Milbrodale children were not present, but the certificates were forwarded out to them in readiness for presentation at a function at Bulga.
Mr. R. J. Tulloch, in a few well chosen words, thanked Mr Blackwell for his untiring efforts on behalf of the class, and the Secretary for his services. To the latter he handed out congratulations in connection with his recent appointment to the New Guinea medical service. Mr. E. Partridge supported the remarks of the previous speaker, and stated that the services of Mr Blackwell and the doctors were greatly appreciated. Mr L. G. Morriss also spoke a few words of praise in regard to the services rendered by the officials. Mr Blackwell, in returning thanks, stated that he would do all in his power to help members to gain a further knowledge of first aid. Mr Robson also, returned thanks, and in conclusion hoped that he would have the pleasure of meeting members again at a future date.
The Secretary placed the matter of medalion awards in the capable hands of Mr E. Partridge. Mr Partridge will arrange for the necessary awards to be placed on order.
Wednesday 24 May 1939
Transcription, janilye 2013
As an interesting aside, the photograph below, taken at the Milbrodale Public School in 1962 shows three
little girls all decended from some of those named above EATHER, TURNBULL, PARTRIDGE HARRIS and CLARK.
Jane Charlotte, the second child to survive infancy in the family of Thomas EATHER 1824-1909
and Eliza, nee CROWLEY 1822-1897, was born at Bulga on Wollombi Brook on 14 January 1851 and grew up there on her parents' farm. As a child she attended school in the local St Mark's Church, which was used as a school house on week days. At the age of 24 Jane was married on 8 October 1875 to Samuel PARTRIDGE, the 3rd. son of nine children to William PARTRIDGE 1818-1906 and Elizabeth nee RUSSELL 1822-1899 both from Kent, England, who were farming in the Bulga district. Samuel PARTRIDGE was known as Sam. He was very short in stature, being scarcely five feet (152 cm) in height. As a fourteen year-old boy he had been present during the hold-up on Warland?s Range, when Peter CLARK 1837-1863 had been killed. It was Sam who had ridden off to Murrurundi to alert the police.
The young couple settled on a farm in the Bulga district and over the years had a family of four sons and one daughter.
1.Edgar Clarihew PARTRIDGE 1875-1960, their eldest son, married Susan Jane METTAM on 2 October 1905. The daughter of James METTAM 1838-1930 and Elizabeth, nee MERCER 1842-1880. They had two sons and five daughters. Both the sons died in childhood. All the five daughters married and four had issue numbering fifteen altogether.
Edgar and Susan both enjoyed long lives. They had been married for 55 years when Edgar died at the age of 85 on 28 November 1960. Susan survived him by over eight years and was 92 when she passed away on 6 July 1969.
2.Vera Caroline PARTRIDGE 1879-1941, the eldest daughter of Jane and Samuel, married Alfred CLARK 1864-1951 on 19 April 1911 when she was 32. He was generally known as Andrew and was about fifteen years older than her. They had two sons and a daughter.
3.Guy Russell PARTRIDGE 1881-1954, the second son and third child of Jane and Samuel, married Elizabeth Hazel SQUIRE on 2 November 1940 at Singleton. She was the daughter of Victor William SQUIRE 1878-1930 and Annie Felicia, nee CLARK 1891-1970. Annie was a daughter of Jane's sister Sarah Eather 1861-1923 who had married Ashton CLARK. Therefore Guy and Elizabeth were first cousins once removed. He turned 60 in the month that he married. His bride had been born at Quirindi on 29 March 1918 and was 22. They had three sons all born at Singleton.
4.The fourth child of Jane and Samuel Partridge, Oscar EATHER PARTRIDGE 1884-1963, he married Ethel Florence Isolda May MORGAN 1885-1962 in 1911 at Armidale, NSW. She had been born at Armidale 17 September 1885, the daughter of Hananiah MORGAN 1846-1904 and his wife, Jemima Agnes, nee McMICHAEL 1852-1928. They had four sons. Oscar died at Traralgin in Victoria in 1963 at the age of 88.
5.The fourth son and fifth child Darrell PARTRIDGE 1891-1953 married Ada Teresa CALLAGHAN 1893-1979 the daughter of Patrick and Margaret CALLAGHAN from Dungog, New South Wales.
Jane PARTRIDGE who suffered from heart disease, died suddenly whilst doing her housework on 3 June 1897 at the early age of 46, so she did not live to see any of her children married or any of her grandchildren. Samuel survived her by 31 years. Beulah SQUIRE, a sister of Guy PARTRIDGE's wife, lived at her parents' home "Gerale" at Bulga when she was young. In later years she remembered Samuel PARTRIDGE - 'Uncle Sam'. He used to go to "Gerale" every Saturday. He rode a pretty cream horse and tied it up behind the cow bails. When the school van was running, Beulah and her siblings caught it at Bill COOKE's gate. Uncle Sam used to time his arrival from town to be at the gate so that the young ones could open it for him. He then used to give them a lift down to his gate, thereby saving himself from having to open and close three gates. Sam was a small man, as were his two brothers. Sam's brother Peter PARTRIDGE 1859-1918 married Amy Hilton CLARK daughter of Macdonald CLARK 1836-1918 and Susannah, nee MCALPIN 1842-1882 at Patrick's Plain in 1887. Sam was age 72 years when he died on 11 June 1928 - his death was registered at Singleton, New South Wales
Sam and Jane are buried together at St.Mark's Church of England Cemetery, Bulga, New South Wales.
The photo below was taken in 1896, at the side of Thomas EATHER's house 'Meerea' at Bulga, NSW
Standing from left Peter McAlpin, William Glas McAlpin, William Partridge 1817-1906
Sitting Thomas Eather, Eliza Eather, nee Crowley, Elizabeth Partridge, nee Russell 1822-1899 and James Coe 1828-1910
Sitting in front is Elizabeth McDonald relict of James Swales Clark.
There are altogether 12 people in this photograph unfortunately not all are shown here, Mrs Sarah Coe, nee Howard 1828 - 1908 is seated beside her husband; whilst on the left-hand side were Thomas Hayes 1824 - 1914 with his wife Mary Ann , nee Broughton 1826 - 1904 and standing behind them is Mrs. Susannah Holmes, nee Taylor. All are related by marriage except for Mrs. Holmes.
Just reading about Sue Graham's post regarding the whoppers families
tell brought to mind a whopper in our family.
I really can't mention names, because I am sworn to secrecy.
But a certain person's great grandmother was so secretive about her age that
she went so far as to cut up her marriage certificate and hide the pieces
inside her handbag, never ever leaving the bag out of her sight.
No ammount of pleading or trickery would loosen her lips as to her age.
Then on the 7 September in 1989, with all the family and friends gathered,
preparing the house and food for her birthday celebrations,
(we still only knew the date and not the age) the doorbell rang,
"Will somebody get the door?" she called.
Can you imagine our surprise when we saw it was a telegram from the Queen;
congratulating her on reaching 100 years of age!
God love her, she died the next year on the 14 April 1990
You see! she had never wanted anyone to know that she was 7 years older than her husband - It was like that back then.
Sarah Elizabeth, the youngest child of Thomas EATHER 1824-1909 and Eliza, nee CROWLEY 1822-1897, was born at Bulga on 26 November 1861. She grew up on her parent?s farm and as a child had formal schooling in the Bulga Public School, which was newly established about the time that she started school. On 8 October 1885, when she was 23, Sarah married Ashton CLARK, son of James Swales CLARK 1812-1851 and his wife Elizabeth, nee McDONALD 1810-1899 who had married at Largs in Scotland and had later lived in the English county of Yorkshire before migrating to Australia. They had arrived in New South Wales on the ship "Thomas Hughes" in 1843 with their children, McDonald, Susannah and James. They had worked for a time at Black Creek (Branxton) and it was there that son Ashton had been born on 20 October 1844. In 1846 the CLARK family had moved to Bulga and had settled on a farm owned by Mr HALSTEAD. In 1848 they leased a farm of 550 acres from Joseph ONUS and named it "Willow Farm". It was just across Wollombi Brook from where Sarah lived and the two families knew each other well. The wedding was held at "Willow Farm". Ashton was age 40 years and Sarah 23 years. Ashton had been a boy of seven when his father had been accidentally drowned while teaching some shearers to swim away out at Narromine. He had grown up at "Willow Farm" and in 1863 he and his brother James had been on the ill-fated droving trip with their cousin Peter CLARK to stations near the Queensland border, when Peter had been killed by a bushranger while they were crossing the range north of Murrurundi. Sarah and Ashton made their home at "Gerale", a farm next door to "Willow Farm", where Ashton constructed a house. It was remembered by their granddaughters as a lovely old home. Sarah was a slim straight woman who always wore a white apron. After lunch she would change her dress, put on a clean apron and then spend the afternoon mending clothes or preparing fruit for preserving. She made excellent jam and was a good cook generally. She kept a good vegetable garden. "Gerale" was a busy place after Church on Sundays, when relatives would arrive for a baked dinner. Ashton had a sulky painted black and gold. On every second Sunday morning, when there was a Church service, they would dress in their best clothes and go off to Church in the sulky drawn by their pretty chestnut horse. The parson travelled to Bulga by sulky from Jerry's Plains, and often stayed to lunch at "Gerale". Usually Ivy and another of the daughters would stay back from Church to cook the baked dinner. Ashton's mother died in November 1899 and subsequently he took over "Willow Farm" as well as retaining "Gerale". Sarah and Ashton's family consisted of three daughters followed by three sons. All had been born at "Willow Farm". Ashton developed a fine farm on "Gerale". He ran a flock of sheep and a herd of cattle, and he developed a useful orchard. He had a very good set of stock yards and some of his neighbours without stock yards made use of them at times. There were numerous wild cattle in the ranges to the west of Bulga, and on occasions some of the farmers would muster some of them and succeed in driving them into Ashton's stock yard. From there they would drove them into sales at Singleton. On "Gerale" was a large dam fed by a spring. Ashton used to carry buckets of water for his garden from the dam with the aid of a yoke across his shoulders. He kept a small herd of dairy cows on the farm and had a set routine at milking time. He bailed up the cows and Sarah and their eldest daughter Ivy milked them. When the milking was completed, Ashton separated the milk and fed the separated milk to the pigs, while Sarah washed up. If there were young poddy calves to be fed, Sarah attended to this. All the milking chores were completed before the family returned to the house for breakfast. In the orchard there were three or four rows of fruit trees of different varieties, including plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears. Quince trees were scattered around the paddock and Sarah became noted for her quince dumplings. A passion fruit vine grew on a large trellis at the end of the corn shed and nearby was a vineyard of table grapes. As on most farms, there was a large poultry run. Sarah was almost 62 when she died at Bulga on 2 October 1923. Ashton was a great bushman and had a very good eyesight, even in his old age. Following the death of his wife he often went off into the bush nearby and spent hours enjoying the tranquility of his surroundings
The photograph below of Ashton and Sarah with the family was taken on the front verandah of 'Gerale'
Much has been written about our terrible family loss in the drowning of 12 EATHER's during the June 1867 flood at Cornwallis, but little about the other poor souls who drowned or the terrible losses and hardship to the people of New South Wales in the middle of a very cold winter.
It is to be noted, the flood was not just in the Cornwallis/Windsor district, but encompassed most of the state. In all, it is probable, that thirty lives were lost in New South Wales between the 21 June and the 26th June 1867.
Firstly, I'd like to tell you about the appalling tragedy of Daniel Isaac BAKER (1814-1886) and his wife Mary Ann, nee MYERS (1824-1867). On the night of the 21 June 1867, Mary Ann and seven of her nine children died in the freezing water. Daniel and Mary lived in a hut at the junction of the Mudgee river, working as shepherds for the Blundun's at Burrandong. This isolated family was surrounded by water that rose six feet in ten minutes. At the first rush of water, they all climbed onto the table, then up to the loft and then, Daniel cut a hole in the bark and hoisted them onto the roof. Daniel held the children in his arms, dropping them as they died from the freezing cold. They remained on the roof until the water reached their mouths then they tried to swim for a tree. Only Daniel and two children, Moses 17 and Cecilia 15 survived. The children who died with Mary Ann were;
Daniel Baker 1854-1867, Henry Shadrach Baker 1856-1867, Andrew William Baker 1858-1867, Charles Frederick 1860-1867, John Isaac Baker 1862-1867, Thomas Edwin Baker 1864-1867, Mary Ann Elizabeth Baker 1866-1867.
Also in the same house was a neighbour, Frederick SMITH the son of Edward and Elizabeth Smith. He arrived at dusk to help, whilst his wife Mary Ann Smith went to find a boat. Mrs. Smith survived the flood and came about daylight the next morning. The brave Mrs. Smith could hear them cooeying for a long time but had great difficulty navigating the boat for a mile through the strong currents. She rescued Daniel , Moses, and Cecilia from the tree by the swamped shepherd's hut and took them to shore.
In Wagga Wagga on the Friday night of the 21 June 1867 the Murrumbidgee broke it's banks flooding the town, two lives were lost. One was Samuel CHATTO 1839-1867 from Sydney, working as a labourer at Henry PAUL's station. The free selectors suffered severely on the flats, many losing their homes. 100 head of cattle and 450 sheep were washed away.
On Saturday night the Denison Bridge at Bathurst was washed away and at Murchison, the railway station was completely under water. Between the Pitt Town Punt and Wisemans Ferry the water was sixteen feet deep, you could not see the telegraph poles or wires. All communication was lost.
At Penrith, the families living on the banks of the Nepean had to quickly abandon their homes and seek shelter at the police barracks, the public hospital or railway station. On Friday morning several houses were submerged, some carried away bodily. 200 houses from High Street to Proctors Lane were filled with water to the ceilings of their ground floors. The once neat and comfortable homesteads surrounded by orchards and gardens had disappeared. Hundreds of bushels of corn, hundreds of pigs and poultry, many horses and cattle were all swept away. Fowls drenched almost to death were to be seen roosting on the saddleboards of the deserted and innundated houses.
On the night of the 21st, to the north, on the Wollombi, people took shelter in the Church of England and at the Court House as the freezing waters rose to their highest level in history, indeed, at midnight on the 21st the water was six inches into the church of England. But, for the promptness of the Police Magistrate Mr. Doppling and his dingy, the Rev. Mr. SHAW would have drowned whilst trying to save his stock. Few people escaped some loss at Wollombi, the Wesleyan Chapel and the homes of Mr. WHITEMAN and Mr. BOURNE were completely washed away and the Catholic Church had fifteen feet of water in it.
As the town flooded at Fordwich, Joseph CLARK 1817-1889 watched in horror as his store and the post office was carried down the street in a river of water.
Whilst over in Lochinvar on the night of the 22nd Mr. P GREEN at Kaludah, saw a seven knot an hour river race through and destroy his grapevines. Mr J.F.DOYLE, vineyard owner, with his own boat, tirelessly, rescued a dozen families even though he needed the boat at his own place to save his belongings.
Of Course, Windsor and surrounds suffered greatly. From Thursday at 11:00am when the water was over the banks at South Creek and in Windsor it was up to the bank and as it rained all Thursday night with gale forced winds the people were in imminent danger. With the few private boats available people were being taken from the roofs of their houses in Wilberforce and Cornwallis. By the afternoon of Friday the 21st the river had risen by forty eight feet, three feet higher than during the flood of 1864. The only parts of the town habitable were the upper portion of George Street, the water on the lower portion was three feet high. The Catholic church and McQuades Corner were above water. The Reverend C F GARNSEY's residence "Fairfield", was not overly large, but still managed to squeeze in two hundred people. The residence of Mr. William WALKER 1828-1908 local solicitor and MLA was also above water and crowded with the refugees. Everything else was out of sight in the town, but for the chimneys on the higher houses. Two thousand homeless sufferers crowded around the School of Arts, The Catholic Church and above the floodline in the Wesleyan, and The Courthouse. The Rev.Henry Carleton Stiles at St.Matthew's Anglican lay dying when the great flood was at its highest, and from his deathbed he gave orders to throw the church doors open and admit the crowds of homeless sufferers.
Everybody, whose house was above the floodline threw open their doors to the victims. The Reverend C F GARNSEY said, at a meeting chaired by Mr. WALKER MLA on the 2 July to devise a means of relief for the sufferers, " No one, unless he had been an eyewitness to the scene could have believed what had happened. There were only two small necks of land left to bring the comfortless people and he knew, as the waters rose, there were many who looked with anxious eyes and thoughts of where they might next take themselves for safety". The houses of the settlers had been razed to the ground and in many instances, not a stick, not an article of clothing had been left to the sufferers. The government boats from Customs and the water police did not arrive from Sydney until Friday night, by then, too late for most. As the waters subsided it was noted that, from the Windsor Ferry to the township of Wilberforce and also along Freeman's reach to the Highlands, no more than eight houses were left standing and all were badly damaged.
Amongst the tragedies there were many, many hero's and several very lucky escapes. One, very lucky to be alive was Alfred NORRIS 1837-1875 and his family, Here is his story;
Alfred took his family to a large willow tree and lashed his wife and two of their children to the highest branches. The third child he held in his arms. There were few boats available, and in the dark the rescuers had a very difficult time finding the people who had sheltered in the trees. By 4:30 pm Friday 21st the rivers had risen by forty eight feet, three feet higher than the 1804 flood. The water, had almost swamped Alfred. He was exhausted from holding the child and on the point of collapse when a boat found him and took Alfred and his family to safety.
Written by Janilye 2010
Inquest on six bodies of the Eathers lost in the Flood
Wednesday 26 June 1867.
Commercial Hotel, Windsor, New South Wales
A coroners inquiry was held on Wednesday 26 June 1867, at the Commercial Hotel, Windsor before Mr. Laban White and a jury, on the bodies of Catherine Eather, Mary Ann Eather, Catherine Eather the younger, Charles Eather, Emma Eather and Annie Eather. The wives and children of William and Thomas Eather of Cornwallis, whose mournful fate will never be forgotton in this district.
Thomas Eather, having been duly sworn deposed: I am a farmer and resided in Cornwallis, my family consisted of my wife Emma, aged 36 years, and four girls and two boys of the several ages of sixteen, fourteen, twelve, ten, eight and three. The last time I saw six of them alive(the eldest son of Thomas Eather the deponent, was fortunately from home and not in the flood) was on Friday night. Yesterday my oldest daughter Annie was brought into Windsor, the body having been seen floating near the place where she was drowned; today the body of my wife Emma was found. On Friday afternoon the waters had risen and continued to rise, very rapidly; we were all obliged to fly to the ridge pole of the house hoping to be rescued by some boat; we remained some hours in awful suspense till the violence of the wind and the waves swept the building and the whole of us into the water. I came up from the water and found myself in the branches of a cedar tree; I looked round after my wife and children, but could see none of them; in about an hour after I was rescued by three men in a boat. I told them what had happened. They landed me at Mr. Arthur Dight's, Clarendon. There must have been twenty feet of water where my family was drowned.
William Eather, being duly sworn deposed: I am a farmer and resided at Cornwallis; my family consisted of my wife Catherine Eather aged 37 and my children, Mary Ann, Catherine, Charles, Clara and William, of the respective ages of 11, 9, 6, 3 and 1; on last Friday night I saw them alive; they were then on top of a house of my brother, George Eather, having gone there for safety; I was with them; we were about 200 yards from my brother Thomas's; we had been there from Thursday night; on Friday night, I was about taking my oldest boy into my arms, when I was washed away by the waves; I saw a tree close by, after I surfaced and managed to make for it. I heard the screams of my wife and children, but I could not see them; I fastened myself to a tree and in a short time was rescued by a boat specially sent by Mr Arthur Dight; I believe my wife and three of my children have been brought to Windsor dead.
Phillip Maguire, having been duly sworn deposed: I am a farmer and live at Nelson, and a brother in law of Mrs. William Eather; I went with Charles Eather, Thomas Eather and Charles Westall in search of bodies; yesterday (Tuesday) about 2 o'clock in the afternoon we found Thomas Eather's eldest daughter Annie, floating about 40 yards from where the family had been carried away; this morning we found four more bodies; the dead bodies of which the coroner and jury have had to view, I recognise as the remains of Catherine Eather, wife of William Eather, and Mary Ann, Catherine and Charles the children of William Eather, also Emma, the wife of Thomas Eather and Annie, his eldest daughter.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental drowning. Boats have been out all day searching for other bodies, but have returned unsuccessful.
transcribed by janilye from a report in the Sydney Morning Herald 1 July 1867.
I have names on seven people in this photograph, taken on the 11 November 1896. Can anyone name the others? Unfortunately I think the view in here is too small, so if you have an inkling please contact me and I will email you an original. janilye
Standing in the back row is Peter MCALPIN 1809-1898. William Glas McAlpin 1810-1902
Sitting in front of them is Thomas EATHER 1824-1909 and wife Eliza CROWLEY 1822-1897. in front of them is Elizabeth Clark nee McDONALD 1810-1899
The woman in the wheelchair is Elizabeth RUSSELL 1822-1899 and beside her is her husband William PARTRIDGE 1818-1906
I now have all the names
The lady standing on the left is Susannah HOLMES, nee TAYLOR b: 1841
in front of her sitting is Thomas Hayes b:1824 d:1914 and beside him his wife Mary ann, nee Broughton b: 1826 d: 1904.
Then the centre group which I had .
Over on the right sitting beside William Partridge is James Coe b:1828 d:1910 and his wife Sarah, nee HOWARD b: 1828 d:1908. All are related by marriage except Mrs. Holmes.
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