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James Clyde Young, the fifth child of Ashton CLARK 1844-1925 and Sarah,nee EATHER 1861-1923, was born at 'Willow Farm', Bulga on 30 May 1896. He was usually known as Jim. He grew up on 'Gerale' and attended the Bulga Public School with his brothers and sisters. About 1917 Jim and his brother Stanley took up land they named 'Hillsdale' near 'Willow Farm'. They worked the farm in partnership. While he was single, Jim used to ride home to 'Gerale' each week-end, and quite often on Saturday afternoons he would ride over to Bulga Post Office to visit the MCALPIN's, who ran it. There, on one occasion he met Rosamond CHAPMAN 1889-1990, daughter of Thomas CHAPMAN 1863-1929 and his wife Emily, nee WHITBREAD 1863-1902. Rosamond had come up from Sydney to visit the McAlpins, who were her cousins. Jim courted her and they were married in St.Paul's Church, Burwood in Sydney on the 22 June 1929. They made their home in a house that Jim built on 'Hillsdale'. Their only child Betty Joyce was born on 19 September 1931 in Garthowen Private Hospital at Stanmore in Sydney.
In the 1940's Jim had a property out in bush country that is now part of the Wollemi National Park. There, he ran a herd of cattle and every so often he would go out to muster them. He used to ride from Bulga on his horse 'Trigger', leading another horse 'King Pin' loaded with provisions in pack saddles. He followed a creek up to a place known as 'Junction' and then went on to 'Parnell Springs' and then further on to 'Paddock Hut' where he camped. There, he had a yard for the horses and a hut which he furnished with rough furniture, including a bed made with saplings and corn bags resting on two logs. He took the usual basic cutlery and cooking utensils and carried corned beef with him. He stored tea and sugar in Golden Syrup tins and kept the lot in a box because the rats used to invade the hut when he wasn't there. Loaves of bread were carried in a calico flour bag, which he always packed at the top of the saddle bags because the contents of the saddle bags were often damaged on the rough track. He'd boil the billy and cook pumpkin and potatoes over an open fire and supplemented his corned beef with tinned meat and finished it off with a desert of bread and jam.
On 14 March 1953 daughter Betty married Harold Onslow HARRIS in St.Andrews Presbyterian church in Singleton. Harold had been born in a private nursing home in Singleton, the son of Albert HARRIS 1896-1962 and Emily,nee WOODS 1893-1966. Harold used to go with his father-in-law on mustering trips to the bush country that Jim owned. They would set off with pack horses and food for a week. The property covered a huge area and was unfenced, so mustering the cattle was a difficult task. In 1961 they began looking for another grazing property, so that Jim could get rid of the bush country. On the 3rd of November 1962 Jim and Harold bought a grazing property known as 'Yellow Rock' at Carrabolla on the Paterson River, from Peter CAPARO. They stocked 'Yellow Rock' with a hundred head of Hereford Bullocks that roamed the mountains, and with the help of several drovers took them on foot a distance of one hundred miles to Carrabolla. The muster took five days. Some years later an adjoining property called 'Rudwood' was also purchased. From these properties the cattle were sold to the Newcastle Abattoirs at Waratah.
James Clyde Young CLARK died in the Singleton District Hospital on 24 October 1973 at the age of 77. A week previously he had been riding his horse around 'Yellow Rock' inspecting the stock. Rosamond, his widow, lived to be a centenarian, she was 100 when she passed away on 14 April 1990 in Elizabeth Gate Home in Singleton.
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 parents 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'
Born at Scarborough, Yorkshire, on the 28 December 1812,the son of James CLARK 1777-1863 and Susanna SWALES 1776-1831 who were married at Liverton on the 2 April 1798.
James was employed as a steward at 'Flowery Field' the residence of Cheshire merchant Thomas Ashton. In 1835 he married Elizabeth MCDONALD 1810-1899 from Largs, Scotland, the daughter of David MCDONALD 1781-1835 and Catherine YOUNG.(Catherine died at Black Creek,Branxton,NSW in 1844)
Elizabeth's brother Thomas McDonald, persuaded by family friend, the Rev. John DUNMORE LANG, had emigrated to Australia in 1831. James and Elizabeth with their children, Macdonald (b.1836), Susanna (b.1838), and James (b.1840), and Elizabeth's widowed mother, Catherine, left for Australia in 1842 on the 'Thomas Hughes'.
Arriving in Sydney in early 1843 the family went to the Hunter district; James worked for Helenus SCOTT at 'Glendon' and then later settled at Bulga, near Singleton.
The Clarks had four more children, Ashton (b.1844), Mary (b.1847), Harriet (b.1849) and Elizabeth, born in 1852 after her father's death the previous year. Of the Clark children, Mary died in 1857 and the others were married as follows : Macdonald to Susannah MCALPIN in 1863; Susanna to William T. SQUIRE in 1875; James to Mary DAWES in 1875; Harriet to John W. EATHER in 1872; Ashton to Sara EATHER in 1885; Elizabeth to Thomas S. COLLINS in 1879.
The Bulga farmers were plunged into sadness over the new year of 1852 when word reached them that their neighbour, James Swales CLARK of "Willow Farm", had been drowned on Christmas Eve in the river at Narromine. He had gone out there with his team of bullocks to load wool for transporting down to the coast. With him were his two eldest sons, McDonald and James Jnr. The news arrived in a letter from the station manager advising Elizabeth CLARK that her husband had drowned in the river and had been buried. When her sons returned she heard how James had gone swimming after lunch to help some of the station hands to learn to swim. He had appeared to dive but did not resurface and an aborigine who was a strong swimmer dived repeatedly and eventually found his body. They had buried him on Christmas Day on the bank of the river.James CLARK and his family had become popular members of the community in the three years that they had lived at "Willow Farm", and the community grieved with them in their sad loss. Six months later Elizabeth CLARK gave birth to another daughter and named her Elizabeth Catherine after her two grandmothers. James CLARK had wanted a daughter named after his own mother, so his wish was fulfilled. Elizabeth CLARK and her family continued to live on at "Willow Farm" in the years that followed.
Edwin EATHER, the third son, of Charles EATHER 1827-1891 and Eliza, nee HOUGH 1825-1870 was born at Richmond on 28 June 1852 and was a boy of about ten when he moved with his parents and siblings to "Henriendi". There he grew to manhood and learnt many of the skills of running a pastoral property.
At Gunnedah on 10 April 1877 he married Catherine Agnes TURNER 1855-1933 and they had three daughters and four sons. According to an old family bible, their first son, William Charles, was born at Gunnedah and died there when three months old.
The second child, Vera Eliza, was born at a place called "Cooboobindi"; the third in Eaton's Hotel at Muswellbrook; the fourth at Gunnedah and the fifth at Boggabri.
All the children except the first lived to adulthood and married.
Edwin EATHER and his brother Henry leased the 40,000 acre Namoi property "Norfolk" from around 1871 and still held the lease in 1878/1879.
About 1884 Edwin moved from Gunnedah to Narrabri, where he became the proprietor of the "Cooma Hotel". After a short while there he moved to Boggabri and took over the Centennial Hotel,the first hotel in that township.
They had been at Boggabri only a few years when Edwin died on 30 July 1890 - at the age of 38.
His youngest Edwin Royce was only a year old and his widow Catherine was left with six children all under the age twelve.
Their second daughter Blanche Marion EATHER, born at Gunnedah on 25 January 1883, married Albert Edwin HEAGNEY at the age of twenty. Nine years later, in 1912, Albert HEAGNEY died, leaving Blanche a widow at the age of 29 with five young sons. Blanche had outstanding musical talent and following the death of husband, she took up teaching music and soon had many pupils.
At night she played the piano at dances various social functions. During World War I from 1914 to 1918, she gave unsparingly of her services voluntarily played at every farewell function in Narrabri. She treasured the many letters of thanks that received from various patriotic committees. When silent movies became a feature of entertainment in a local theatre at Narrabri, Blanche provided the musical background to the pictures. She continued in this role until the advent of sound movies. For some years she supplemented her musical activities by managing the Narrabri Musical Store. With her sons, she embarked upon a moving picture undertaking in the Narrabri Town but it was a venture that proved unsuccessful. During her busy career, Blanche received engagements from such far-flung places as Mungindi, Walgett and Gunnedah, and legions of young folk learned to dance to music. In her later years she confined her activities to playing at socials and house-parties, while an orchestra which included her sons as instrumentalists, provided band music when required. Blanche HEAGNEY died in the Newcastle Hospital in May 1940 at the age of 57 after a long illness. She was interred in the Presbyterian section of the Narrabri Cemetery beside her late husband. Her five sons survived her. The eldest, Edwin, was at Narrabri West; Alexander (Alex) at Narrabri; Charles at Bellata, Matthew (Matt) Wollongong; and Richard (Dick) at Sydney. Her second son Alex attended the first EATHER reunion in 1977, but died during the following year. His youngest brother Dick subsequently became a subscriber to the EATHER Family Newsletter and attended a number of EATHER reunions in the years that followed. Dick's wife, Una Mildred, died on 6 September 1996 and her funeral service was held at the Woronora Crematorium three days later. Following her death, Dick moved from Kingsgrove to the Bethel Nursing Home at 96 Holder Street, Ashfield, and it was there that he died on 22 October 1999 aged 87 years.
Catherine in 1903 ar Narrabri married Matthew FANNING who died on 2 May 1913 at Narrabri, NSW
Catherine Agnes died on 4 November 1933 at Narrabri
CENTENNIAL HOTEL:- Corner Brent & Laidlaw Streets (north western corner)
In 1870, Mark Taylor built the Centennial Hotel on this site. It was a low flat wooden structure with a shingle roof. Catholic masses were celebrated in the parlour of this hotel until the new church was built in 1886. The Royal Hotel replaced the Centennial Hotel in 1909. Built by Laban Thomas Guest, it remains much the same as it was in 1909.
If you happen to be in the Boggabri area, call into the Museum,
Ellen EATHER who runs it will be more than happy to help with any enquiries about the history and the people of Boggabri.
The children of Edwin Eather and Catherine Agnes were:-
William Charles EATHER 18781878 Vera Eliza EATHER 18791940 Alexander Munro EATHER 18801965 Blanche Marion EATHER 18831940 Emily Gertrude EATHER 18851967 Joseph Mark EATHER 18871971
Edwin Royce EATHER 18891945
William Charles EATHER was born on 7 Jan 1878 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, died on 23 Apr 1878 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, and was buried in 1878 in Church of England cemetery, Narrabri, NSW, Australia. Vera May Elizabeth EATHER was born on 31 Jan 1879 in Cooboobindi, Gunnedah, NSW, Australia and died in 1939 in Narrabri, NSW, Australia at age 60.
Vera married Thomas BURT in 1900 in Narrabri, NSW, Australia.
Alexander Munro EATHER was born on 17 Jul 1880 in Muswellbrook, NSW, Australia and died in 1965 in Auburn, Sydney, NSW, Australia at age 85.
Alexander married Ethel May MILLS (b. 1890, d. 1953) in 1910 in Narrabri, NSW, Australia.
Blanche Marion EATHER was born on 25 Jan 1883 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, died in May 1940 in Mayfield, Newcastle, NSW, Australia at age 57, and was buried in 1940 in Presbyterian Church cemetery, Narrabri, NSW, Australia.
Blanche married Albert Edward HEAGNEY (b. 1881, d. 1912) in 1903 in Narrabri, NSW, Australia.
Emily Gertrude EATHER was born on 13 Jun 1885 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia and died in 1967 in Sydney, NSW, Australia at age 82.
Emily married ???? (--?--).
Emily next married Francis J THUELL (b. 1893) in 1920 in Narrabri, NSW, Australia.
Joseph Mark EATHER was born on 22 Apr 1887 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia and died in 1971 in Kempsey, NSW, Australia at age 84.
Joseph married Dorothy Maude HOLBOROW (b. 1897, d. Feb 1944) in 1915 in Kempsey, NSW, Australia.
Edwin Royce EATHER was born in 1889 in Boggabri, NSW, Australia and died on 31 May 1945 in Moparrabah, NSW, Australia at age 56.
Edwin married Mabel I JONES in 1918 in Bellingen, NSW, Australia.
Death Reg No: 8625/1890
Name: EATHER Edwin
District: Narrabri, NSW
Edwin married Katherine Agnes TURNER, daughter of John TURNER and Catherine A DETHICK, on 14 Apr 1877 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia.
Marriage Reg No: 4474/1877
Names: EATHER Edwin & TURNER Catherine Agnes
District: Gunnedah, NSW
At Gunnedah on 10 April 1877 Edwin EATHER married Catherine Agnes TURNER, daughter of Robert and Mary TURNER.
Edwin EATHER was born on 28 June 1852 in Richmond Bottoms, NSW, Australia, Birth registered Richmond, NSW V18521434 38A (and V1852911 158) Church of England Parish Richmond. He was baptized on 4 August 1852 in St Peter's, Church of England, Richmond, NSW, Australia. He married Katherine Agnes TURNER, daughter of John TURNER and Catherine A DETHICK, on 14 April 1877 in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, Marriage registered Gunnedah, NSW 1877 No 4474. He died on 30 July 1890 in Narrabri, NSW, Australia, at age 38; Death registered Narrabri, NSW 1890 No 8625. He was buried in August 1890 in Church of England Cemetery, Narrabri, NSW, Australia.
Birth Reg No: 8583/1864
Name: TURNER Catherine A
Father: Robert B
District: Goulburn, NSW (this is not Catherine A Eather nee Turner.j)
Death Reg No: 18328/1933
18328/1933 FANNING CATHERINE
Eather family Newsletter
Eather Family History
The Sydney Morning Herald Monday 13 November 1933
Mrs. Catherine Fanning, of Narrabri, who died at the age of 78 years, was a pioneer of the Narrabri district. She came to the district in 1890 with her husband, who later conducted the Cooma Hotel at Narrabri West. Mrs. Fanning was twice married. Her second husband died many years ago. She Is survived by three daughters and two sons.
Henry Charles, the eldest son of Charles EATHER 1827-1891 and his first wife Eliza nee HOUGH 1825-1870 was born at Richmond on 8 June 1849 and spent his childhood there. According to his obituary, he went to the Narrabri district when he was 16, about 1865, however, his younger brother, my great grandfather Alfred McAlpin was born at 'Henriendi', Narrabri in 1863, so, it is more likely that he went to Narrabri about 1862 when he was thirteen and the family moved from Richmond to the Liverpool Plains. He spent his teenage years on 'Henriendi' and learnt the skills of a stockman. After his father's bankruptcy in 1871, he was placed in charge of 'Henriendi', as well as neighbouring 'Pinegolba' and 'Gumanally'.
In 1876, the year that 'Henriendi' passed into the hands of John Kerr CLARK, Henry Charles and his brother Edwin were leasing 'Norfolk', a property of 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares)to the south of Narrabri on Jock's Creek.
On 23 May 1877 at Narrabri, Henry Charles married Lucina Sarah RIDGE 1857-1936, a younger sister of his stepmother. Martha May RIDGE 1843-1920
In 1878 Henry Charles was listed in the electoral roll as being a leaseholder of 'Norfolk' and a resident of 'Henriendi'. It appears that he was working either full time or part time for John Kerr CLARK, who, at that time was living in Tasmania.
In the early 1880s Henry Charles had a butcher shop at Tullamulla near Boggabri. By the year 1883 he was in financial difficulties (not necessarily related to the butcher shop). The insolvency index in the New South Wales Archives lists him as being in Insolvency Court on 2 April 1883.
Henry Charles and his wife Lucina had a family of five sons and two daughters. One son died in infancy.
By 1925 Henry Charles and his wife Lucina were separated and Henry Charles was living with his son Leslie Gordon 1884-1969 and his wife Ivy Josephine nee Kelly 1889-1971, who owned a large poultry farm at Wetherill Park near Smithfield in New South Wales.
Lucina spent her later years in Sydney and died there in 1936.
Henry Charles died on 2 September 1942 at the age of 93. His eldest and youngest sons had both pre-deceased him.
Thomas Frederick TUDOR was born in Newcastle, New South Wales in 1870. He was one of thirteen children born to Thomas TUDOR an immigrant born Staffordshire, England in 1829 and his wife Ellen nee WILLIAMSON born 1834 in Fifeshire, Scotland.
In 1898, 18 year old Thomas Frederick had a son to miss Emma May Ashton, She named the baby Albert Cyril ASHTON and Thomas Frederick paid his 5 shillings a week support for the infant.
Emma and the baby lived with her parents and Thomas made the occassional visit.
One evening Thomas arrived at Emma's house at Catherine Hill Bay and he, Emma and the then 9 month old Albert walked down to the boathouse to spend some time together. They laid the baby down on the floor of the boathouse where according to his mother the child fell asleep on a blanket. After about half an hour they headed back to the house it was dark and the baby began coughing and crying. Thomas lit a match to see what was wrong with the infant and they both noticed the baby's face was green.
Emma took the child inside the house and Thomas went home. The child became worse and Emma woke her mother. The mother gave the baby butter as an emetic but the child continued to cry and was obviously in pain. They sent for the doctor but by the time he arrived the next morning the child was dead.
The doctor performed an autopsy and declared the baby had been poisoned with Paris Green. Paris green was a mixture of copper and arsenic which was used as a rat poison and it is also a pigment which was used in paint. Emma declared Thomas had poisoned her baby because he didn't want to pay child support.
An inquest was held and the jury declared the child died from wilful poisoning. Thomas was arrested and committed for trial. The newspapers all over Australia ran headlines declaring Thomas Frederick TUDOR charged with poisoning his illegitimate son.
Thomas's popular and well respected family were held up to ridicule.The trial was held at the Sydney Criminal Court on 14 June 1899 and the jury disagreed on the verdict, so the judge ordered a retrial.
The second trial was held at Maitland Circuit Court on 27 September 1899. Thomas pleaded his innocence and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
Although Thomas was free, there was still the matter of the baby being poisoned and the population was divided over the issue.
Today, of course we don't use Paris Green in our dyes or paints.
And fishermen no longer paint their boats and boathouse floors with it to keep the barnacles away.
The Children of Thomas Tudor and Ellen nee WILLIAMSON:-
Ellen Tudor 1855 1860
Mary Tudor 1856 1861
Thomas Tudor 1858 1860
Robert Henry Tudor 1860 1861
Ann Jane Tudor 1862 1864
George Henry Tudor 1864 1912
Adelaide Tudor 1866 1945
Blondon Tudor 1868
Thomas Frederick Tudor 1870 ????????
Robert Ernest Tudor 1872 1948
Albert Hamilton Tudor 1874 1877
Alice Felecia Tudor 1877 1939
Blanche Tudor 1880 1880
Charles EATHER, My second great grandfather was the third child and second son of Thomas EATHER 1800-1885 and Sarah nee McALPIN, was born at Bulga 24 October 1827. In 1884 his parents moved back to Richmond, and it is there he grew up. He may have attended the little school in Francis Street, and used to help out on his father's farm near Richmond.
In 1840 he was an apprentice and apparently he absented himself from work on some occasions.
On 17 October 1840 he was charged in the court at Windsor with "having absconded himself". The case was settled. The trade in which he was apprenticed is not known and it is very doubtful that he completed it. His interests seem to have been associated with the land, and in his later teens he undoubtedly would have visited the family property "Henriendi", his father's station on the Namoi River, and there gained further valuable skills in grazing cattle and sheep and some knowledge of station management.
On 30 August 1848, shortly before he turned twenty-one, Charles married Eliza HOUGH, age twenty-two, the daughter of the late Peter HOUGH 1776-1833 and his wife Mary (nee WOOD) of Richmond. Eliza was the seventh of the nine children of Peter and Mary and had been born at Richmond. She and Charles had known each other since childhood. Her father had been born at Paris in France in 1776, but at the age of 19 years had been charged with stealing money and silverware from St Paul's Coffee Shop in London, where he had been employed. He was acquitted of this charge, but in 1797 he had been sentenced to transportation after a second offence, and arrived at Sydney on the ship "Hillsborough" in July 1799. He had married Mary WOOD, daughter of John WOOD 1768-1845 and Ann MATTHEWS, and all except the last of their children had been born at Richmond. Peter HOUGH had died in March 1833 when Eliza was seven. Her sister Ann was married to Charles's cousin, William ONUS. For about twelve years after-their marriage Charles and Eliza seem to have resided on the Hawkesbury, and then they went to live at "Henriendi" on the Liverpool Plains. Their first eight children were born in the Hawkesbury district, mostly at Richmond. The first to have been born on the Liverpool Plains was their ninth child, born in 1863.
Altogether during the first seventeen years of their marriage, ten children were born to them and all except one son survived infancy and lived to marry and have children in the next generation of EATHERS.
During the 1850's Charles probably assisted his father in his farming pursuits at Richmond and undoubtedly journeyed from time to time to "Henriendi". The size of that station increased over the years. In 1849 it was 15 square miles, but by 1853 it had been extended to an area of 25 square miles. In 1854 it was grazing 1,000 cattle. The annual rental at that time was £15/0/0.
In the late 1850's Charles's brother William Eather 1832-1915 and his wife Ann took up residence there.
On the 14 September at Richmond, another son and eighth child, Joseph Hiorns Rutter Eather was born, named after his uncle Joseph Hiorns RUTTER the son of Dr. Robert Champley RUTTER of Parramatta. 1861 Charles was given the station by his father.
It was just after the birth of Joseph that Charles moved his household to the Liverpool Plains.
On the 30 June 1863 Eliza gave birth to Alfred McAlpin at 'Henriendi'.
In 1865 at 'Henriendi' the tenth and last child of Charles and Eliza, Minnie was born, she was only five years old when her mother died. At age thirty she married Methodist minister Walter J WALKER 1868-1936 at Richmond in 1895 they moved to Bourke where their first child Gladys was born and then to Cowra where their second daughter Jessie was born. In 1908 Walter J WALKER was transferred to South Australia. Minni Hilton WALKER, nee EATHER died on the 3 May 1955 in South Australia.
The births of the last two children were registered at Tamworth, which was probably at that time the nearest centre on the Liverpool Plains where births, deaths and marriages could be registered. The births took place at "Henriendi".
The 1860's were important years for Charles, when he expanded his grazing interests. Settlement extended out beyond Bourke on the Darling River and runs were being taken up on the Warrego, Paroo and Bulloo Rivers in the south-west of the new colony of Queensland.
In 1864 the township of Cunnamulla. sprang into being on the Warrego River. By 1866 Charles EATHER had several runs on the Warrego. They included "Gumanally," "Back Bullinbillian" and "Back Moongonoo." In addition he held the lease of "Pinegolba," a run next door to "Henriendi" on Cox's Creek. Charles was well-known on the Liverpool Plains and had the nickname of "King of the Namoi".
In 1867, James EATHER, uncle of Charles and youngest brother of his father, then in his mid-fifties, left the Hawkesbury district and moved with his wife and some members of his family to the Liverpool Plains and obtained a part-interest in "Henriendi". About the same time, another of Charles's brothers, John Roland, who was age 24 years and still single, joined them on the station. Also living on the run or near by was yet another brother, Peter. With him were his wife and children. In 1868 there were no fewer than eight other men employed on the station. By then times were becoming hard for the graziers. Charles was grazing a large flock of sheep on "Henriendi" in addition to his large herd of cattle. Severe droughts persisted and pastoralists were faced with mounting problems, especially when the prices of wool and sheep slumped sharply. James EATHER's connection with "Henriendi" was short-lived.
By 1870 he had moved to land that he had purchased at Maine's Creek, a tributary of the Namoi River a few miles away to the north.
In the midst of these financial problems, tragedy struck Charles. He had taken Eliza down to Richmond for a holiday over the Christmas period and they were staying with Charles's parents at the "Union Inn". According to oral family history, on New Years Eve 1870, Eliza was reading a telegram when she died suddenly. She was only 45 years of age. Charles was left with nine children ranging in ages from twenty-one to five. He was faced with the unpleasant task of notifying Eliza's 77 year-old mother that her daughter had passed away. His affairs were about to crash and William Thomas Price, the undertaker who provided her with an expensive funeral, was one of the disappointed creditors still awaiting payment of their accounts months later.
Back at "Henriendi" in 1871, Charles was joined there by yet another relative. He was Samuel EATHER Junior, a second cousin of Charles and his brothers. Then in his mid-thirties, Samuel had grown up in the Hunter Valley near Warkworth. In that year 1871 Charles was pasturing 6,000 sheep, 500 head of cattle and 150 horses on the run, which was then a station of 32,000 acres (12,800 hectares), but before the year was out financial problems caught up with him and he became bankrupt. His eldest son, Henry Charles, was placed in charge of "Henriendi", "Pinegolba" and "Gumanally." There is a family legend that Charles's eldest brother Thomas, whose home was at Bulga, soon took over the responsibility of "Henriendi". If this was so, it was a situation which lasted only a few years, as by 1876 "Henriendi" was in the hands of one John Kerr CLARK, who was also the leaseholder of another run, "Gullenddaddy" (or "Ghoolindaadi") which adjoined the southern boundary of "Henriendi". By then "Henriendi" had been reduced in area to 11,920 acres (4,768 hectares) and was grazing 2,000 sheep.
The EATHER family had lost the historic station some forty-odd years after Thomas EATHER had established it in 1832. After 1870/71 the name of Charles EATHER no longer appeared amongst the "Henriendi" names on the Electoral Roll. His sons Henry Charles and Edwin had, by 1876, taken out the lease of another Liverpool Plains run "Norfolk", which had an area of 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) and established themselves there. At some stage prior to 1882 the Liverpool Plains was divided into parishes and "Henriendi" became part of the Parish of Baan Baa. Parish maps record the names of the original purchasers of freehold portions in the respective parishes. That of the Parish of Baan Baa reveals that at some time in the 1860's Charles EATHER had bought a block of 135 acres (54 hectares) upon which the "Henriendi" homestead stood. He had also purchased an adjoining block of 137 acres 2 roods (55 hectares). Both blocks had frontage to the Namoi River. This had been a very wise move on Charles EATHER's part. Holding "Henriendi" as a Crown Land Pastoral Lease, he faced the ongoing fear that he might lose part of the run to "free selectors". By purchasing the blocks as freehold land he had been protecting himself from losing valuable river frontage. When the Parish of Baan Baa was surveyed into portions, the two blocks which Charles had bought became Portions 1 and 2 in the parish. Most of the remainder of "Henriendi" was surveyed into 24 rectangular portions of varying areas, and allocated the numbers 20 to 43 inclusive. John Kerr CLARK had purchased much of the station during the period that he had held the lease from 1876. The parish map records his name on no fewer than 17 of the other 24 portions that had been the "Henriendi" run. He had also purchased two other portions further north in the Pariah. Charles EATHER would have had his two freehold blocks taken away from him by the bankruptcy administrators in 1871, and it is likely that John Ken CLARK purchased them too.
In the years following the loss of his station in 1871, Charles EATHER had a number of occupations and probably spent more time in the Richmond district.
On 4 January 1876, at the age of 48, he remarried. His bride on this occasion was Martha Mary RIDGE 1843-1920, age 32 years, the daughter of John RIDGE 1815-1867 and his wife Charlotte Margaret, nee COBCROFT 1820-1906. Martha had been born in Wilberforce and had lived in the Hawkesbury district for many years The wedding was held at Windeyer.
Charles entered into a new occupation in 1878 when his younger sister Sarah 1834-1926 who married William EATON 1828-1906, decided to relinquish the licence of "Eaton's Hotel" at Muswellbrook. Charles took out a publican's licence and became the new licensee of the hotel, which had been owned by Thomas COOK since 1872. Hard times seem to have continued for Charles during the period that he was the proprietor of "Eaton's Hotel", and he sometimes found it difficult to pay his bills on time. 1n 1879 he made out a promissory note in favour of one D EVANS for the sum of £80/16/- ($161.60), but the Commercial Bank at Muswellbrook, where he had an account, dishonoured it because of lack of funds in his account. Over two years later the sum of approximately £22 ($44) of the amount was still outstanding and Sarah EATON received a letter dated 15 February 1882 from a Muswellbrook solicitor, notifying her that, if the sum was not paid within seven days, proceedings would be taken against her. Apparently she settled the debt on behalf of her brother.
While Charles and Martha were running the hotel at Muswellbrook, a son was born to them in 1880. He was named Donald. At the end of that year Charles relinquished his publican's licence and evidently he took Martha and their baby son to the Narrabri district. There in 1883 a daughter, Emily Matilda, was born. They were still residing in the same district when their infant daughter died in 1885.
In his later years Charles lived with Martha and their children in the Narrabri district. Charles was a very popular figure in the developing town, where he was a supporter of local activities, especially those related to the Namoi Jockey Club. By then he was referred to as "old Charley EATHER", the name a household word. A sportsman of the old school, At one time he was an untiring habitue of racecourses, but advancing years made his expeditions somewhat circumscribed, and he was contented with doing a little handicapping and the mild excitement to be derived on country convincing grounds. The old man had the reputation of being one of the best starters in Australia.
Following his death on 2 November 1891 at the age of 65 years, Charles was buried in the Narrabri Cemetery where his friends erected an imposing monument on his grave in Narrabri Cemetery, adding to the usual details the sanguine remark;
"Praises on tombstones are idly spent, His good name is a monument"
Death of Mr. Charles Eather.
Obituary fron the Narrabri Herald, 4 November 1891
On Monday evening last, about 6 p.m., after a long and painful illness, there passed over to the great majority one of the pioneers of the Namoi, a man who for upwards of forty years had made the north-west his home, and seen many changes and vicissitudes.
One who at one time was owner of vast tracts of country with every promise of an old age passed in ease and affluence, and one who had endeared himself to all who had the privilege of his acquaintance-better still, of his friendship. Such an one was Charles Eather, who passed quietly away at the age of 64 years, on Monday evening. Tended to the last by loving and kind friends, his slightest wish was anticipated; and surrounded by his relatives and a host of friends, he "passed to the bourne whence there is no returning." Many a good and earnest man may yet make a name for himself on the Namoi, but out of the limits of the present generation the memory of the true sterling friend who has just left us will never depart.
The funeral, which left the deceased's late residence at 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon, was the most largely attended yet seen in Narrabri, the cortege measurirg fully a third of a mile in length, and was composed of all the principal people of the town and district. The pall-bearers, all old and tried friends of the deceased, were Messrs. J. Moseley, J. M McDonald, W. H. Gordon, James Ward, sen., R. Spencer, and E. Poole. The coffin, which was of beautifully polished cedar, was almost covered with flowers.
The whole of the business places in town were closed during the progress of the procession through the streets, and at the grave the burial service was very impressively read by the Rev. W. J. Walker.
His widow Martha survived him by many years In 1898 she took in Colin Charles Eather the 4 year old son of her stepson Alfred McAlpin EATHER and Theresa nee LOVELEE and raised him as her own after Theresa died and Alfred left the district. Martha known as May died at Boggabri in 1920.
The children of Charles EATHER and Eliza, nee HOUGH were:_
1.Henry Charles EATHER 1849 1942
married Lucina Sarah J RIDGE 1857-1936 at Gunnedah on the 23 May 1877
The children of this matrriage were:-
Frederick Charles Eather 1878 1917 m. Nellie PONT 1880-1953
Bertram Henry Thomas Eather 1881 1965 m. Sarah May Damaris FRATER 1887-1979
Leslie Gordon Eather 1884 1969 m. Ivy Josephine KELLY 1889-1971
Royston Clark Eather 1888 1891
Olive Eather 1890 1978 m. Victor S HUGO
Elsie May Eather 1899 1964 m Wilfred Rupert TAYLOR
Eric Vaughan Eather 1901 1930 m. Amy Edwards
2.Peter Thomas EATHER 1850 1851
3.Edwin EATHER 1852 1890
married Catherine Agnes TURNER 1855-1933 at Gunnedah on the 14 April 1877.
The children of this marriage were:-
William Charles EATHER 1878 1878
Vera Eliza EATHER 1879 1940 married Thomas BURT 1875-1950
Alexander Munro EATHER 1880 1965 m. Ethel May MILLS 1890-1953
Blanche Marion EATHER 1883 1940 m. Albert Edward HEAGNEY 1881-1912
Emily Gertrude EATHER 1885 1967 m. Francis John THUELL 1893-1077
Joseph Mark Eather 1887 1971 m. Dorothy Maude HOLBOROW 1897-1944
Edwin Royce EATHER 1889 1945 m. Mabel Isabel JONES 1901-1971
4.Mary Ann EATHER 1854 1943
married James Thomas BRACKENREG 1852-1922 at Muswellbrook on the 29 April 1879.
The children of this marriage were:-
James Carrington Brackenreg 1880 1957 m. Helen Jane PERFREMENT 1883-1964
Linda Pearle Brackenreg 1881 1965 m. Alexander EATHER 1878-1942
5.Susannah Elizabeth EATHER 1856 1937
married Percy Charles CORNWELL 1853-1909 at Richmond on the 15 December 1875.
The children of this marriage were:-
Ila Eliza Cornwell 1876
Frederick Charles Cornwell 1878 1878
Alfred Abraham Cornwell 1879 1953 Blanche Stella CORNWELL 1881-1968
Frank Eather Cornwell 1881 1884
Theo Ernest Cornwell 1883 1947 m. Mabel Georgina ROONEY 1885-1961
Joseph Athol Cornwell 1886 1966 m. Ruby Ethel HUDSON 1892-1978
6.Matilda Sarah EATHER 1858 1941
married Alexander Munro COUSINS 1854-1923 at Muswellbrook on the 23 November 1888.
The children of this marriage were:-
Glencairn Munro Cousins 1883 1941 m. Ruby Ada Beryl DUNSTAN
Royston C Cousins 1885 1885
Alexander Munro Cousins 1887 1946 m. Marjorie Agnes R TOWNSEND
Ardersier M Cousins 1889 1963 m. Gladys Elvina DENNE 1892-1961
7.Eliza EATHER 1860 1944
married Lieut.Col. Walter BAXTER 1862-1928 at Patricks Plain on the 15 July 1886.
The children of this marriaGE were:-
Minna Baxter 1887 1928 m. Arnold Chambers McKIBBIN 1885-1951
Beatrice Eliza Baxter 1889 1974 m. Harold John MOORE
Victoria Baxter 1891
Thelma Merle Baxter 1904 1954 m. Alfred Ernest Herbert LANE
8.Joseph Hiorns Rutter EATHER 1861 1884
married Clara RIDGE 1860-1941 at Richmond on the 6 October 1861.
The children of this marriage were:-
Frank Hilton Eather 1883 1917 r. Blanche M MORTIMER 1878-1913
Martha Ridge Eather 1885 1970
9.Alfred McAlpin EATHER 1863 1915
married Theresa LOVELEE 1865-1898 at Narrabri on the 25 December 1891.
The children of this marriage were:-
Alfred Charles EATHER 1892 1892
Colin Charles EATHER 1894 1966 m. Sarah Josephine McKEE 1894-1937
Kenneth Thomas McAlpin EATHER 1896 1898
Ernest Herbert Edward EATHER 1898 1898
Infant twin Stillborn EATHER 1898 1898
10.Minnie Hilton EATHER 1865 1955
married Rev. Walter John WALKER 1868-1936 at Richmond in 1895.
The children of this marriage were:-
Gladys Eileen Walker 1896 1934 in Adelaide the result of a car accident
Jessie Winifred Walker 1898 1988 m. Hurtle Peter ROWE 1897-1983 at Ashfield, nsw in 1923.
The children of Charles EATHER and Martha Mary, nee Ridge were:-
1.Donald EATHER 1880 1954
married Gertrude Mary Eliza McGRATH 1886-1953 at Boggabri on the 23 February 1910.
The children of this marriage were:-
John Ridge Eather 1910 1976 m. Marjorie Lydia Bateman FORRESTER 1913-1982
Percival Thomas Eather 1915 1975 m. Marjorie Ethel BRETT
2.Emily Matilda EATHER 1883 1885
I wish to acknowledge The Eather Family History Committee and in particular,
John St.Pierre for the early research and history, which enabled me to compile the above.
I have changed very little, apart from a few minor corrections and additions - having been, in the past, elusive; particularly surrounding the genealogy. I have discovered several facts previously unknown and
for that I wish to thank technology and my ancestors for passing down to me, "Tenacity" - janilye©
The photograph below of Charles EATHER taken about 1885
was donated to the Eather Family History Committee
by Jan Yelland
George Ernest MORRISON was born in Newtown,Geelong, Victoria, Australia on the 4 February 1862. His father George MORRISON was born in Morayshire Scotland in 1830 arrived in Melbourne,Victoria in 1858 where he met and married Rebecca GREENWOOD 1838-1932 a lass also from Scotland on the 7 December 1859.George Morrison senior became headmaster of Flinders National College at Geelong in 1861 where young George attended.During a vacation before his tertiary education, he walked from Geelong to Adelaide, a distance of about 600 miles (960 km). He initially studied at the University of Melbourne. After passing his first year medicine he took a vacation trip down the Murray River in a canoe from Albury, New South Wales to the mouth, a distance of 1650 miles (2,640 km), covered in 65 days. Failing in his next examinations he shipped on a vessel trading to the South Sea islands, discovered some of the evils of the kanaka traffic, and wrote articles on it which appeared in The Age and had some influence on the eventual suppression of it. He next visited New Guinea and did part of the return journey on a Chinese junk. Landing at Normanton, Queensland at the end of 1882 MORRISON decided to walk to Melbourne. He was not quite 21, he had no horses or camels and was unarmed, but carrying his swag and swimming or wading the rivers in his path, he walked the 2043 miles (3270 km) in 123 days. No doubt the country had been much opened up since the days of Burke and Wills, but the journey was nevertheless a remarkable feat, which stamped Morrison as a great natural bushman and explorer. He arrived at Melbourne on 21 April 1883 to find that during his journey Thomas McIlwraith, the premier of Queensland, had annexed part of New Guinea, and was vainly endeavouring to get the support of the British government for his action.
Financed by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison was sent on an exploration journey to New Guinea. He sailed from Cooktown, Queensland in a small lugger, arriving at Port Moresby after a stormy passage. On 24 July 1883 Morrison with a small party started with the intention of crossing to Dyke Acland Bay 100 miles (160 km) away. Much high mountain country barred the way, and it took 38 days to cover 50 miles. The natives became hostile, and about a month later Morrison was struck by two spears and almost killed. Retracing their steps, with Morrison strapped to a horse, Port Moresby was reached in days. Here Morrison received medical attention but it was more than a month before he reached the hospital at Cooktown. In spite of his misfortune Morrison had penetrated farther into New Guinea than any previous white man. Much the better for a week in hospital Morrison went on to Melbourne, but he still carried the head of a spear in his body and no local surgeon was anxious to probe for it in the condition of surgery in that day.
Morrison's father decided to send the young man to John CHIENE, professor of surgery at Edinburgh university, the operation was successful, and Morrison took up his medical studies again, at Edinburgh. He graduated M.B. Ch.M. on 1 August 1887. After his graduation Morrison travelled extensively in the United States, the West Indies, and Spain, where he became medical officer at the Rio Tinto mine. He then proceeded to Morocco, became physician to the Shereef of Wazan, and did some travelling in the interior. Study at Paris under Dr CHARCOT followed before he returned to Australia in 1890, and for two years was resident surgeon at the Ballarat, Victoria hospital.
Leaving the hospital in May 1893 he went to the Far East, and in February 1894 began a journey from Shanghai to Rangoon. He went partly by boat up the Yangtze River and rode and walked the remainder of the 3000 miles (4800 km). He completed the journey in 100 days at a total cost of £18, which included the wages of two or three Chinese servants whom he picked up and changed on the way as he entered new districts. He was quite unarmed and then knew hardly more than a dozen words of Chinese. But he was willing to conform to and respect the customs of the people he met, and everywhere was received with courtesy. In his interesting account of his journey, An Australian in China, published in 1895, while speaking well of the personalities of the many missionaries he met, he consistently belittled their success in obtaining converts. In after years he regretted this, as he felt he had given a wrong impression by not sufficiently stressing the value of their social and medical work.
After his arrival at Rangoon, Morrison went to Calcutta where he became seriously ill with remittant fever and nearly died. On recovering he went to Scotland, presented a thesis to the University of Edinburgh on "Heredity as a Factor in the Causation of Disease", and received his M.D. degree in August 1895. He was introduced to Moberly BELL, editor of The Times, who appointed him a special correspondent in the east. In November he went to Siam where there were Anglo-French difficulties, and travelled much in the interior. Morrison was very doubtful about his first communication to The Times and showed it to a friend who, in a letter to The Times about the time of Morrison's death, spoke of it as a perfect diagnosis of the then troubled condition of China, masterly in its phrasing, luminous in its broad conception of the general situation". His reports attracted much attention both in London and Paris. From Siam he crossed into southern China and at Yunnan was again seriously ill. Curing himself he made his way through Siam to Bangkok, a journey of nearly a thousand miles.
In February 1897 The Times appointed Morrison as the first permanent correspondent at Peking, and he took up his residence there in the following month. Unfortunately, his lack of knowledge in the Chinese language meant that he could not verify his stories and there is now much evidence to suggest that some of his reports contained both bias and deliberate lies against China. There was much Russian activity in Manchuria at this time and in June Morrison went to Vladivostok. He travelled over a thousand miles to Stretensk and then across Manchuria to Vladivostok again. He reported to The Times that Russian engineers were making preliminary surveys from Kirin towards Port Arthur (Lüshunkou). On the very day his communication arrived in London, 6 March 1898, The Times received a telegram from Morrison to say that Russia had presented a five-day ultimatum to China demanding the right to construct a railway to Port Arthur. This was a triumph for The Times and its correspondent, but he had also shown prophetic insight in another phrase of his dispatch, when he stated that "the importance of Japan in relation to the future of Manchuria cannot be disregarded". Germany had occupied Kiao-chao towards the end of 1897, and a great struggle for political preponderacy was going on. Morrison in his telegrams showed "the prescience of a statesman and the accuracy of an historian" (The Times, 21 May 1920).
In January 1899 he went to Siam and was able to point out that there was no need for French interference in that country, which was quite capable of governing itself. Later in the year he went to England, and early in 1900 paid a short visit to his relations in Australia. Returning to the east by way of Japan he then visited Korea before returning to Peking. The Boxer Uprising broke out soon after, and during the siege of the legations from June to August Morrison as an acting-lieutenant showed great courage, always ready to volunteer for every service of danger. He was superficially wounded in July but was erroneously reported as killed. He was afterwards able to read his highly laudatory obituary notice, which occupied two columns of The Times on 17 July 1900. After a siege of 55 days, the legations were relieved on 14 August 1900 by an army of various nationalities under General GASELEE. The army then ransacked much of the palaces in Peking, with Morrison taking part in the looting, making off with silks, furs, porcelain and bronzes. There was great uncertainty regarding the future of China in the following months, and through The Times Morrison managed to depict a skewed picture before the British public. While Russia and Japan united in opposing any dismemberment of China, the country was nevertheless punished by the imposition of a heavy indemnity. When the Russo-Japanese War broke out on 10 February 1904 Morrison became a correspondent with the Japanese army. He was present at the entry of the Japanese into Port Arthur (now Lüshunkou) early in 1905, and represented The Times at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A., peace conference. In 1907 he crossed China from Peking to the French border of Tonkin, and in 1910 rode from Honan across Asia to Andijan in Russian Turkestan, a journey of 3750 miles (6,000 km) which was completed in 175 days. From Andijan he took train to St Peterburg, and then travelled to London arriving on 29 July 1910. He returned to China and, when plague broke out in Manchuria, went to Harbin, where a great Chinese physician, Dr Wu Lien-teh, succeeded in staying the spread of a mortal sickness which seemed to threaten the whole world. Morrison did his part by publishing a series of articles advocating the launching of a modern scientific public health service in China. When the Chinese revolution began in 1911 Morrison took the side of the revolutionaries and the Chinese republic was established early in 1912.
In August Morrison resigned his position on The Times to become political adviser to the Chinese government at a salary equivalent to £4000 a year, and immediately went to London to assist in floating a Chinese loan of £10,000,000. In China during the following years he had an anxious time advising, and endeavouring to deal with the political intrigues that were continually going on. He visited Australia again in December 1917 and returned to Peking in February 1918. He represented China during the peace discussions at Versailles in 1919, but his health began to give way and he retired to England well aware that he had only a short time to live. He died on 30 May, 1920 at Sidmouth, Devon and is buried there.
On the 26 August 1912 MORRISON married in Jennie Wark ROBIN (1889-1923), From New Zealand and his former secretary, who survived him for only three years. His three sons, Ian 1913-1950, Alastair Gwynne 1915-2009, and Colin 1917-1990, all grew to manhood and graduated at the University of Cambridge.
For nearly 20 years "Morrison of Peking" was a name familiar in all parts of the world.
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 809 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
I have names on seven people in this photograph, taken in 1888. 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