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The Neptune of the notorius second fleet 1790

My 4th great grandfather Thomas HEATHER/EATHER 1764-1827 arrived on the Neptune in 1790
The Neptune was built on the river Thames in 1779, at 809 tons she was the largest ship of the second fleet. In company with the Surprise and Scarborough she sailed from England with 421 male and 78 female convicts on 19 January 1790. Her master was Donald Traill and surgeon was William Gray. She arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 13 April 1790, and spent sixteen days there, taking on provisions, and twelve male convicts from the HMS Guardian which had been wrecked after striking an iceberg. She and Scarborough were parted from Surprize in heavy weather and arrived at Port Jackson on 28 June 160 days out from England. On the first fleet 48 people died on the voyage, but this time 158 convicts died (31%) and 269 (53%) were sick when landed. The voyage was in the hands of private contractors.

The treatment of convicts aboard the Neptune was unquestionably the most horrific in the history of transportation to Australia. Convicts suspected of petty theft were flogged to death; most were kept chained below decks for the duration of the voyage; scurvy and other diseases were endemic; and the food rations were pitiful.

When reports of the complaints reached England, the 'strictest inquiry' was promised into this 'shocking calamity'. Towards the end of November 1791, the depositions of some of the Neptune's crew and several marines were taken before Alderman Clark at the Guildhall in London.

These witnesses certified that Traill and his first mate had kept the convicts short of rations and upon arrival in the colony they opened a warehouse and sold the said provisions.

Traill and his first mate absconded until the outcry died down. Upon their return to England, the Master, Donald Traill and Chief Mate, William Ellerington, were privately prosecuted for the murder of an un-named convict, along with a seaman named Andrew Anderson and a cook named John Joseph. After a trial lasting three hours before Sir James Marriott in the Admiralty Court, the jury acquitted both men on all charges "without troubling the Judge to sum up the evidence". There were no public prosecutions. Traill who had been master of the 'Albermarle' under Nelson went on to become Master at the Cape.

The 2nd fleet contractors Camden, Calvert and King also escaped prosecution.

Amongst the arrivals on the Neptune during this voyage was D'Arcy Wentworth, John Macarthur his wife Elizabeth, and their son Edward. Edward Macarthur who left England on the Neptune, transferred to the Scarborough during the voyage after a quarrel with the captain.

The Family of Richard Norris 1776-1843

Richard NORRIS, was born in Dublin, Ireland 1776. As an adult he was 5'6" (167.6 cm) in height and had a fresh complexion and hazel eyes. On his lower left arm he had the tattoo of a mermaid.
An Irish rebel convicted and sentenced to death for Robbery in Dublin in 1797, the sentence was commuted in 1798 and he was transported to Australia on the conditon that he never return to Ireland. Richard arrived fron Cork to the Colony of New South Wales aboard the ship "Minerva" on 11 January 1800.

As early as 1801, he was granted a provisional ticket of leave which was common because farming was proving to be a major problem in the Colony and farmers were needed.

In 1802 he found a wife in Mary WILLIAMS. She had arrived on the ship "Nile" on 14 December 1801. She had been born at Bath in Somerset England about 1778, Mary was convicted at the Wells Assizes, Somerset Summer Circuit on the 16 August 1800 for stealing 4 muslin handkerchiefs and 3 check aprons the property of Elizabeth Ann COX Widow, Hestor CATTERSON Spinster, and Frances MOUNTEREY Spinster' in the parish of Stone Easton and sentenced to 7 years.

Richard and Mary's first child, John, was born at Cornwallis in the Hawkesbury district in 1803. There does not appear to be a baptism record for him, but when the general census was taken in November 1828, John stated that he was 25 years of age.

By 1805, when the muster of convicts was held, Richard NORRIS was renting Barrington's Farm of about 8 acres near Green Hills. He had the whole of the farm under wheat, and he had three pigs. In storage were 6 bushels of wheat and 2 of maize. Mary WILLIAMS, who had arrived on the ship "Nile", was described as his housekeeper, and they had two children.

1806 NSW General Muster shows Richard had a ticket of Leave and his occupation was that of farmer.

It's believed that Richard and Mary were married by the Reverend Samuel MARSDEN when he visited Windsor in 1806

When the general muster was held in 1814, Richard NORRIS was described as a landholder. Mary WILLIAMS was his wife and the number of their children had increased to six. At that time, Richard had two convicts, Patrick McGUINIS and Thomas HEWITT, assigned to him.

At the 1822 Muster, Richard NORRIS was a landholder with a farm of 50 acres near Windsor. At that time 20 acres were under maize, 16 under wheat, 4 under barley, and he had 2 acres of potatoes. He also had a herd of 24 cattle, and owned 4 horses and 60 pigs. He was doing well with his farming pursuits and had in storage 200 bushels of maize and 20 of wheat. He and Mary then had a family of 11.
The age of their eldest son John was recorded as 20, but it is more likely that he was 19. According to NORRIS family records, Richard NORRIS owned two 30 acre farms (one that had been originally granted to Michael DOYLE, and the other originally granted to Jane EZZY at Cornwallis, and also a town allotment in Brabyn Street, Windsor as a place of refuge in time of flood.

On 3 May 1838 at the Sydney Supreme Court, Richard with two very successful farms and a house in Windsor pleads 'not guilty' to a charge of stealing his neighbour's pig.- He was found guilty and sentenced to death - later commuted to 'life' on Norfolk Island. He was transported on "Phoenix" where his crime is recorded as "robbery.

Mary and Richard Norris had 14 children; 11 boys & 3 girls; and about 92 grandchildren.

On the 19 February 1843 at the Norfolk Island General Hospital Richard NORRIS died. He is buried in the cemetery by the beach at Kingston. The grave is unmarked.

Mary NORRIS, nee WILLIAMS died on 26 January 1863 at Cornwallis and is buried at the Windsor Catholic Cemetery.
The Inscription reads

In Memory of
Mary Norris- Died 18 8 1854
Weep not for me children dear
For I am not dead but sleeping
Now buried in the deep cold clay
For is a debt we all must pay
May she rest in peace Amen

The children of Richard NORRIS and Mary, nee WILLIAMS were:-

1. John NORRIS b:1803 Cornwallis, NSW d:26 Sept. 1864 at Sally's Bottoms. m. Rachel EATHER 1807-1875 on 17 Dec. 1823 at St.Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Sydney, New South Wales.
The children of this marriage were:-
1. Maria NORRIS 18241903 m. (1) Patrick DUNN 1823-1850 (2) Peter PAGE 1816-1878
2. Harriet NORRIS 18281841
3. Michael John NORRIS 18321909 m. (1) Jane COLBRAN 1838-1875. (2) Barbara Ellen GRUBB 1842-1895
4. Elizabeth NORRIS 18341894 m. Cornelius MCMAHON 1824-1894
5. Thomas NORRIS 1836 1903 m. Catherine LONDON 1843-1911
6. Rachael NORRIS 18391915 m. John Michael COLBRAN 1836-1914
7. Ann NORRIS 18421931 m. Henry GREEN 1839-1916
8. Rebecca NORRIS 18441936 m. John COOK 1843-1915
9. Stephen NORRIS 18461888 m. Ellen MCGUINESS 1855-19--
10.Susannah Mary NORRIS 18521940 m. (1) Isaac COOK 1846-1895 (2) Alfred T DRUITT 1859-1934

2. Thomas NORRIS b:1805 Cornwallis d: 16 January 1890 at Old Cullen m. Elizabeth Sarah CONNOR 1810-1876 at Cornwallis 4 April 1826.
The Children from this marriage were:-

Elizabeth Maria NORRIS 18271891 Richard William NORRIS 18291905 Mary NORRIS 18311891 John William Joseph NORRIS 18331887 Sarah NORRIS 18361838 Harriet NORRIS 18381915 Maria NORRIS 1841 Michael NORRIS 18421928
Esther NORRIS 18451890 Anne NORRIS 18481858 Caroline Annie NORRIS 18501923

3. Richard NORRIS b:1807 Cornwallis d:11 April 1868 Windsor m. Mary Ann COSTELLO 1815-1853 at Sydney on 3 September 1835.
The children of this marriage were:-

Julia Ann NORRIS 1836 ? Mary NORRIS 1837 ?
Ellen Ester NORRIS 18391927 Richard NORRIS 18401877
Louisa Mary NORRIS 18451918 John Jeremiah NORRIS 18491921
Albert Joseph NORRIS 18511918 Infant NORRIS 18531853

4. James NORRIS b:1810 Cornwallis d: 7 March 1875 Windsor m.Ann BROWN 1818-1883 in 1834.
The children of this marriage were:-

William NORRIS 18351885 Rachael NORRIS 18361930
James NORRIS 18411845 Edward NORRIS 18431876
Mary Ann NORRIS 1845? James NORRIS 18471926 David NORRIS 18501893 Emma NORRIS 1852 1874
Charles NORRIS 18561858 Elizabeth NORRIS 1856 ?

5. Christopher NORRIS b:6 December 1811, Cornwallis d: 18 May 1898 at Orange m. (1) Mary CRABB/SHRIMPTON 1814-1854 in 1834.
The children of this marriage were:-

Joseph NORRIS 18351899 Thomas NORRIS 18361899
Jane NORRIS 1838 1902 James NORRIS 18401893
Maria Matilda NORRIS 18421892 Robert NORRIS 18461924
Charles NORRIS 1848? Mary A NORRIS 1850 ?

(2) Mary Jane GIBBONS, nee DOUGLASS 1806-1856 at ST Matthews Catholic Windsor 1855 NO children

6. William NORRIS b:18 Nov.1813, Cornwallis. d:25 September 1843 Windsor. m. Lucy UPTON, nee BROWN 1814-1876 at Windsor in 1836 Lucy had been married to Jesse UPTON 1806-1872 and after Williams death went on to marry Laban WHITE 1794-1873.
The children of this marriage were:-

Alfred James NORRIS 18371875 Jane Emma NORRIS 18381916
Emma Amelia NORRIS 1840? William NORRIS 18401887
Henry NORRIS 18431876

7. Harriet NORRIS b: 6 Oct.1815 Cornwallis d: 17 August 1894 Nelson, NSW. m. Samuel MASON 1806-1880 at Windsor on 15 May 1831.
The children of this marriage were:-

Sarah MASON 18321833 William MASON 18331833
Samuel MASON 18361909 Frances MASON 18391839

8. Maria NORRIS b:1818 Cornwallis d:10 September 1853 Cornwallis. m. William Henry MELLISH 1809-1858 at St.Matthews Catholic church Windsor on the 2 August 1835.
The children of this marriage were:-

Maria MELLISH 18371909 Caroline MELLISH 18401902
William Henry MELLISH 18441922 Francis Charles MELLISH 18461905 John Frederick MELLISH 18481935 Edward MELLISH 18501913
Samuel MELLISH 18531854

9. Michael NORRIS b:1820 Cornwallis d:25 September 1854 Cornwallis. m. Margaret DONNELLY 1820-1838 at Windsor on 27 August 1837

10. Ann NORRIS b: 14 September 1821 Cornwallis d:2 March 1906 at Bulli, NSW m.Andrew Alexander FRAZER 1817-1886 at Ebeneza on the 13 Feb. 1837.
The children of this marriage were:-

Elizabeth FRAZER 18381881 Andrew A FRAZER 18401922
George FRAZER 1843? James Christopher FRAZER 18451938
Sarah FRAZER 1846? John Thomas FRAZER 18481917
Richard FRAZER 1850? Ann FRAZER 1853 ?
Francis Stephen FRAZER 18551950 Amelia Jane FRAZER 18571912 Alice Maria FRAZER 18591932 Emily Unah FRAZER 18621948

11. Francis Stephen NORRIS b:14 September 1821 Cornwallis. d: 9 October 1901 at Windsor. m. Mary Ann ELLIOT 1821-1903 at St.Matthews Catholic Church on 14 June 1845.
The children of this marriage were:-

Christopher John NORRIS 18461925 Harriet NORRIS 18481919
Maria NORRIS 1850? Francis NORRIS 18531903
Stephen Francis NORRIS 1853? Patrick Joseph NORRIS 18551930
William NORRIS 18571864 John NORRIS 18601879

12. Patrick NORRIS b:1823 Cornwallis. d:9 March 1890 at Windsor. m. Eliza WILSON 1826-1905 at Windsor on 27 October 1845.
Children of this marriage were:-
Stephen NORRIS ?-? Maria NORRIS 18441891

13. Paul NORRIS b:12 December 1826 Cornwallis d: 19 Feb. 1827 Cornwallis

14. Joseph NORRIS b:1835 Cornwallis d:4 February 1899 at Kogarah, Sydney, New South Wales

8 comment(s), latest 1 year, 11 months ago

John Norris 1803-1864

After their marriage, Rachel EATHER and John Norris became farmers on a small farm of ten acres close by the farm of John's parents at Cornwallis. It was land which had been granted originally to a man named GRIMES, and which John was leasing. At the time of the land and stock muster in 1825, the had all of the ten acres cleared, and had 7 acres sown with wheat and 3 with maize. They had 30 pigs. Their first child, Maria, was born in 1824 when Rachel was about 17. Four years later, when the 1828 census was held, they were living at Cornwallis and were farming ten acres of land, probably the same farm as they had been leasing in 1825. All of the land was under cultivation. They now owned two horses, but no cattle. They still had only one child, Maria, who was four. Nearby, John's parents still had their farm of 50 acres. Of this, 45 acres were cultivated and they had 4 horses and fifteen cattle. Richard's age was recorded as 52 and Mary's as 39. Nine of their twelve children were living at home with them. Their second son, Thomas, was also married and farming nearby, while their third son, Richard, was 20 and working away from home.

A month after the census was taken, Rachel gave birth to their second child, Harriett, on 15 December, 1828 She was baptised at Windsor on 10 February 1829 by the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1932 their first son, Michael John, was born. No record of his baptism has been located. In the autumn of the following year, when Michael John was still a babe in arms, there occurred an event which was to cause a major disruption to the lives of his parents, and which shattered the tranquillity of the lives of their many relatives and friends. The police arrived at John and Rachel's farm; found them in possession of some meat which the police believed to have been from a stolen calf, and arrested John on the charge of cattle stealing. Also arrested that day on charges connected with the same offence, were two of their neighbours, Robert FORRESTER and Jane METCALF. News of the incident spread rapidly through the district and aroused a good deal of gossip and consternation. The trial was held on 25 April 1833 before the Chief Justice, Judge DOWLING. It was alleged that a calf had been stolen from one, Thomas CORBET, and had been slaughtered for meat. John NORRIS was said to have been found in possession of some of the meat. The three accused were found guilty and were remanded for sentence. Alarmed by the situation in which her son had been placed and fearful of the outcome, John's mother, Mary NORRIS, on 5 May 1833, wrote a petition to the Chief Justices, imploring his 'humane interference' upon behalf of her son. John evidently felt that his lawyer had not presented his defence satisfactorily at his trial, and he had a petition prepared on his behalf on 27 May and forwarded to the Chief Justice. His petition was supported by a number of statements by prominent Hawkesbury citizens, including one from Thomas CORBET, the man from who the calf had been stolen. The month of June passed with Rachel and her relatives and friends in state of apprehension as to what effect the petitions might have. On 1 July 1833 to Executive Council met and the petitions were laid before its members, Judges DOWLING and BURTON.
The petition of Mary NORRIS read:-
"To His Honour, Mr Justice DOWLING the Humble Petition of Mary NORRIS Humbly showeth That the Petitioner is the Mother of John NORRIS who was tried and convicted on 25 Ultimo before Your Honor, for Cattle Stealing and remanded for sentence. That Petitioner since her arrival in the Colony has always maintained a respectable Character, now thirty years, and has reared a large family in the paths of virtue and morality and no blemish attached to any of them until the present unfortunate affair, which have thrown them into deep affliction. Petitioner therefore humbly implores Your Honor's humane interference for her son, who is yet to receive sentence, and that Your Honor condescend to inform Petitioner what steps she should persue (sic) in this unfortunate affair. And Petitioner will ever pray.
Sydney, 5th May 1833.
The petition of John NORRIS was a longer document. It read:-
" To His Honor Judge DOWLING Chief Justice of New South Wales The Humble Petition of John NORRIS most respectfully sheweth - That Petitioner was tried for Cattle Stealing on Saturday and found Guilty. That your Petitioner on the day of his trial had three witnesses to prove his innocence but thru' the neglect of his Lawyer they were not called upon - in consequence of which he was found guilty. That the Witnesses your Petitioner has (the benefit of whose testimony he was deprived of) could have Certified upon Oath that the Meat found in his house was sent as a present from the House of the Forresters, without his knowing that it was unlawfully come by, as it was the Custom to make such presents one amongst another - That your Petitioner is a married man and has a Wife and three small children which he is obliged to support by his industry which if they were deprived of Petitioner they would not be able to support themselves. That Petitioner was born in this country and was never before brought to trial for any offence which the accompanying testimonials as to character can certify. That your Petitioner most humbly begs your Honor will be kindly pleased to take his case into your humane consideration to remember that he has a family, dependent upon him, to consider the character that he has formerly bore - to dwell upon the respectable testimonials of Persons that has known him so long and that you will be pleased by the power that is invested in you to use your interference in his behalf with his Excellency the Governor, that he in the humane exercise of his power will be as lenient and show as much mercy to petitioner as circumstances will permit. And Petitioner as is duty bound will ever Pray -
John NORRIS Petitioner"
Accompanying this petition were the following six testimonials:-
" I certify to their Honors the Judges that John NORRIS has been known to me from his infancy. His Father came to the Colony in 1800 with myself and they have always lived in this district. Prior to this conviction I have never heard anything against them. The Father has accumulated some property and I am utterly at a loss to account for him stealing Meat when it is so cheap and the young man in the enjoyment of his health to work and maintain his family.
Wm COX JP 27th May 1833, J BRABYN, Thomas DARGLE"
"I beg leave to certify to their Honourable the Judges of the Colony that I have known the Family of the Petitioner for upwards of twenty years, and that the Crime he has been found guilty of is the first I have ever heard him accused of. I therefore beg leave to recommend him, for the favourable consideration of their Honors, for the most lenient sentence the crime will admit of. John HOWE Coroner Windsor 27th May 1833 George LODER"
"I certify that I have known John NORRIS upwards of four years and that he has never been charged with any offence except the one for which he has lately been tried. S. North JP Supt. of Police Windsor 26th may 1833"
" I certify that I have known John NORRIS upwards of Six years and that he has never been charged with any offence what ever. Benjamin HODSON Chief Constable Windsor"
" I do certify that I have known John NORRIS from his infancy and always considered a sober honest industrious character Patrick BYRNE Thomas CORBET Chief prosecutor"
" I do certify that it does not appear to me that John NORRIS had any part in stealing my Calf that he is convicted for. Given under my hand. Thomas CORBET Witness: Thomas LYNCH"
" I certify that I believe the foregoing statements to be correct. John COBCROFT Jnr District Constable Wilberforce"
The members of the Executive Council studied the petitions that had been laid before them and made decision with regard to them. Soon afterwards they handed down the sentences for which the three accused had been remanded.
The following report appeared in the newspaper, "The Sydney Morning Herald", in its issue that day: " LAW INTELLIGENCE Civil side - The Chief Justice and Judges DOWLING and BURTON took their seats in Banco this morning, when the following persons were put to the bar, and received the judgement of the court Robert FORRESTER and John NORRIS, for Cattle Stealing, Death recorded, and Jane METCALF for receiving part of the meat known to have been stolen, to be imprisoned in the third class of the factory for 12 months". Whatever hopes that Rachel had nourished that the petitions might have had some effect upon the judges were dashed by the announcement of this verdict. Despair engulfed her with the realisation that, within the brief passage of days, her husband could go to the gallows. The cloud was soon lifted. Within a short time John NORRIS's sentence was commuted to 7 years penal servitude in Van Diemen's Land. This verdict, coming after the period of great anxiety and trauma which Rachel had suffered while she had waited for the outcome of her husband's trial and then his sentence, would have been greeted with some feelings of relief, although tempered with the firm belief that fate had dealt him an injustice. For a few weeks John was held in the Sydney Gaol. Then he was transferred to the hulk "Phoenix" in Sydney Harbour, pending his transportation. From there he was transferred to the "Medway", and on it made the voyage from Sydney to Hobart, where he arrived in October 1833. This was a new experience for him, but one which he would have enjoyed much more under different circumstances. His convict indent described him as 31 years of age, over 5'9" tall, with fresh complexion, light brown hair and grey eyes. He was married with three children; his wife Rachel being at Windsor. He stated, "I expect her by the first ship." John was evidently aware that his wife intended to join him in Van Diemen's Land as soon as possible. Early in the following month Rachel bid a sad farewell to her mother; her sisters and brothers and John's relatives, and travelled to Sydney. On 8 November 1833 the vessel "Sir John Rae Ried" under Captain HAIG departed from Sydney Harbour for Hobart. One of the passengers on board was Mrs Rachel NORRIS. Presumably she had her three children with her. The youngest, Michael John, was scarcely a year old. By the middle of November John and his family were reunited and they set up house in Hobart. John had been allocated to 'Public Works' in or near the town. On 27 September 1834 a daughter was born to Rachel at Hobart and named Elizabeth. John's period of penal servitude was whittled away gradually by the passage of time. In 1835 he was still on Public Works. Time probably passed slowly for Elizabeth, who undoubtedly missed the familiar sights of her Hawkesbury surroundings and the familiar faces of loved ones. On 17 July 1837 another son was born and named Thomas. Two more long years passed and on 3 November 1839, after Rachel had been in Hobart for almost six years, a daughter Rachel, was born to her. She and John now had six thriving children. In 1840 John NORRIS completed his sentence and was granted his freedom. The family returned to Sydney by ship in late July or early August and were soon residing once more at Cornwallis. Excitement would have prevailed as they were greeted by their relatives after an absence of nearly seven years. On 23 August 1840 infant Rachel was baptised at Windsor, and a week later daughter Elizabeth and son Thomas were baptised. One sad feature of their homecoming was that John's father was not there to greet them. In 1838, as a grey-haired old man of over sixty years, he had been found guilty of some transgression of the law, and transported once again. Forty years had passed since his former conviction. He made his last will on 15 March 1838, and was transported soon afterwards to Norfolk Island. He was there when John and his family returned from Van Diemen's Land, and they were destined never to see him again, as he died on Norfolk Island on 19 February 1843 and was laid to rest in the cemetery down by the beach at Kingston. Rachel found some changes amongst her relatives too upon her return. Her brothers-in-law, Joseph ONUS and Robert WILLIAMS, were both dead, and her sister Ann was remarried to William SHARP. Her brother James was married and living at Richmond. For a few months John and Rachel resided at Cornwallis and then, on 3 October 1840, John bought 60 acres of land at Kurrajong from Roger CORNER. The family had taken up residence on their new farm by early in 1841. The house into which they moved was a simple dwelling of timber construction. It was a home that twelve year-old daughter Harriet was to know for only a few short months. On 10 October 1841, that year, she died and was buried in the Churchyard of the Roman Catholic Church at Windsor. Her mother, Rachel was pregnant again at that time and five months later, on 17 March 1842, was safely delivered of another daughter who was named Ann. Born at Kurrajong, she was christened in the Roman Catholic Church at Windsor. On 30 January 1843 Rachel and John celebrated the first of their family weddings. On that day their eldest daughter, Maria, aged eighteen, was married to Patrick DUNN of North Richmond. Before the year was out they became grandparents when Maria's daughter, Elizabeth Letitia, was born on 1 October. During the 1840's Rachel and John continued to add to their family. Another daughter, Rebecca, was born at Kurrajong on 30 June 1844 and was later baptised at the Roman Catholic Church at Windsor. She was followed in 1846 by a third son, Stephen, who was also born at Kurrajong. John added to his farming activities by the purchase on 5 April 1851 of 30 acres of land at Kurrajong from Francis BEDDEK. On 7 March 1852, nearly six years after the birth of son Stephen, Rachel gave birth to her tenth and last child. She was 44 years old. The new baby, her seventh daughter, was named Susannah and was baptised on 28 July that year at the Roman Catholic Church at Kurrajong. Throughout the 1850's John persevered with his farming activities on his land at Kurrajong. In 1853 he turned fifty. In 1854 there were two mare weddings in the family. On 26 May eldest son, Michael John, at the age of 21, married Jane COLBRAN, a young English lass who lived on a nearby farm at Kurrajong. The young couple soon settled on a farm of their own in the same district. Six months later, on 2 November 1854, Michael's sister Elizabeth, age 20 years, married Cornelius McMAHON, son of another Kurrajong family. They also settled at Kurrajong and there raised a large family. During the winter of 1855, fifteen year-old daughter Rachel married John COLBRAN, a brother of her sister-in-law Jane. By the end of the decade there were ten Norris grand-children. In the winter of 1860 Rachel's mother died at the venerable age of nearly ninety. Her funeral at St Matthew's Church at Windsor, saw the gathering of numerous relatives and friends who had come to pay their respects for one who had been amongst the pioneer settlers in the Valley, and whom most had known for all of their lives. It was an occasion that Rachel would have remembered vividly in the years that followed. Two more family weddings were celebrated within the next two years. On 30 October 1861, Rachel and John's second son, Thomas, age 24 years, was married at North Richmond to Catherine LONDON, seventeen year-old daughter of a neighbouring farmer, William LONDON and his wife, Dinah (nee RILEY). Seven months later, on 27 May 1862, twenty year-old Ann, the fifth NORRIS daughter, was married to Henry GREEN, a twenty-four year-old farmer who had been born in the Richmond district. In November 1862 Rachel's sister Charlotte died. It was the first death amongst her siblings and undoubtedly Rachel felt the loss deeply. As they had both lived within a few miles of Richmond, the sisters had seen a great deal of each other over the years, ever since Rachel had returned from Tasmania and had moved to the farm at Kurrajong. On 26 January 1863 there was another bereavement in the family when John's elderly mother, Mary NORRIS, died after two decades of widowhood. Mary had retained ownership of the old family farm at Cornwallis which had been granted originally to Jane EZZY. In her will, she bequeathed it to her son John. He and Rachel continued to live at Kurrajong and worked their farm there. Whether John leased the Cornwallis farm or endeavoured to run it as well, is not known. He had had possession of it for less than two years when tragedy struck again, suddenly and unexpectedly. John was proceeding along the road at nearby Sally's Bottom, when he fell from his loaded cart and was crushed as a wheel passed over him. He died instantly. Rachel and her family were thrown into a state of grief as news of the accident spread throughout the community. John had reached the age of 61, but could have enjoyed many more years to see his grandchildren increasing in number and growing to adulthood. Widowhood had been thrust upon Rachel at the age of 56. A large crowd of relatives and friends gathered at St Matthew's, Roman Catholic Church at Windsor a day or two later to pay their last respects as John's body was laid to rest. Rachel inherited the family farm at Kurrajong. The Cornwallis farm, which John had inherited only the previous year, was sold for £65 and the proceeds shared amongst Rachel and her children. Further sadness followed for Rachel, when her eldest sister, Ann SHARP, died on 7 April 1865. Rachel was from then on the only EATHER daughter still living. The 1860's saw the beginning of an exodus of some of the NORRIS children from the Hawkesbury district to the western plains beyond the Blue Mountains. The first to go may have been Rachel's sixth daughter Rebecca. Early in 1865 at the age of 20, Rebecca was married at North Richmond to John COOK, the son of Isaac Cook, who had lived for many years in the Hawkesbury district. Within a few months of their marriage, Rebecca and John packed their family possessions and their farm equipment and proceeded over the ranges to the district of Spring Creek near the town of Orange. There they made their home on 120 acres of land that John had purchased, and began farming. Other members of Rachel's family soon followed and eventually Rachel decided to follow them. Just when she left her Kurrajong home for the last time has not been determined, but she spent her final years in the Orange district and died at Spring Creek on 3 August 1875 age 67 years. All of her children, with the exception of the eldest two of her daughters, survived her. Nearly fifty grandchildren had been born by then, and many more were added to the total in the years that followed.

Daniel Mad Dan Morgan 1833-1865

Below is a photograph of the dead Daniel MORGAN. He's propped up against a wool bail holding a pistol, the same pistol he took from sergeant MAGINNITY after he shot him at Tumberumba on the 24 June 1864.

This photograph was taken in the woolshed at Peechelba Station situated at the junction of the Ovens and Murray Rivers about 20 miles north of Wangaratta in Victoria.

Little is known about Daniel Morgans early years but it is thought he was the son of ex-convicts* and that he was born in 1833. He grew up in the Campbelltown area of New South Wales. He was first in trouble in 1854 when he held up a hawker at Castlemaine in Victoria. He was sentenced to 12 years with hard labour under the name of John SMITH, a Jockey. He spent this time on the prison hulk Success where he lost the top joint of the third finger of his right hand. He was released after serving six years.

Morgan used several nicknames including Sydney Jack, Down The River Jack and Bill The Native. But his final nickname Mad Dan was given to him because of his violent mood changes. He could be kind and sentimental one minute and the next shoot a complete stranger in cold blood, as he did when he shot sergeant MAGINNITY, a stranger on the road who wished him good morning.

Mad Dan was 510 tall with a spare build and long dark brown hair and beard. On the back of his head he had a tumorous growth the size of a pigeon egg. His nose was a prominent hook and crooked and apart from his cold grey/blue eyes, was the first thing you noticed.
After his release from prison he began stealing horses and then holding up travellers on the road. In 1863 he was involved in a shootout with magistrate Henry BAYLISS, and the following year on the 19 June 1864 he held up a mail coach at Round Hill Station and shot John MCLEAN a price of £500 was placed on his head.

Morgan once turned up at the homestead of an overseer whom he thought was collaborating with the police, his intention was to shoot him. However, the man was away on a cattle drive and his wife was there alone so Morgan demanded money from her, forcing her back against a blazing fire. When her clothes caught alight, Morgan watched and waited before throwing water on her. She survived but had severe burns to her back and legs.

Another time, Morgan held up a group of chinese workers and, forced them to sing and dance for him. He casually shot one of the men in the arm and he later died of blood poisoning.

By 1865 the bushranger was promising to take the flashness out of the Victorian police and crossed the Murray at Corowa and after several robberies in the area headed for Peechelba Station and the home of the MCPHERSON family. It was here that MORGAN met his end, as Alice KEENAN a housemaid of MCPHERSON was able to slip out of the house unobserved and run over to George RUTHERFORD , a squatter and part owner of Peechelba who lived close by. RUTHERFORD sent James FRAZER a carpenter with a note to Sergeant MONTFORD at Wangaratta, requesting police assistance. MONTFORD dispatched three policemen and twelve volunteers to Peechelba. They, along with Peechelba workers, staked out the MCPHERSON house waiting for Dan to come out.

Around 09:00am on the morning of the 9 April 1865,after Mrs. MCPHERSON cooked Dan a hearty breakfast, Morgan told MCPHERSON he wanted a horse to take him on his way. MCPHERSON offered to send his son Gideon to get one but Morgan said he preferred to choose his own.
The front door opened and two men who were cohorts of Morgan walked outside followed by MCPHERSON then MORGAN with Gideon at the rear in single file. They walked across the paddocks towards the stables, Morgan was walking between MCPHERSON and his son when MCPHERSON noticed the men under cover in the bushes. MCPHERSON stepped to the left away from Morgan and a shot rang out. Morgan was shot in the back by John WINDLAN ** The other men raced forward and disarmed MORGAN and carried him into the woolshed.

MORGAN was still alive and Doctor DOBBYN the coroner was sent for. Just after he arrived Morgan died.His last words when asked how he was feeling by Dr. DOBBYN were, "I'm choking".
The body was sewn in hessian and removed to Wangaratta where it was on display. About 100 people turned up to have a look at Mad Dan many taking locks of his hair as mementos. Then his head was cut off and sent to be cast.

*Some historians think Morgans true name was Jack Fuller the illegitimate son of George Fuller and Mary Owen. There was no family to claim him when he died
**there was a lot of uncertainty about the name of the sharpshooter some said his name was Quinlan and some say Windlaw but the reward of £500, paid by the government went to John Windlan. The housemaid who sounded the alarm also received £500
The old rivalry between NSW and Victoria came to the fore with Victorians jubilant that they managed to catch Morgan after only 3 days in the state and New South Wales had been chasing him for years.
This is a short bio to write the life of Mad Dan Morgan would fill a book, which of course has been done


2 comment(s), latest 3 years, 11 months ago

Information on Plural Voting

Plural Voting (where rich people voted more than once in Legislative assemblies) abolished in NSW 1893. where can I find out a bit more about this

2 comment(s), latest 3 years, 10 months ago

Peter Lalor 1827-1889 List of Killed and Wounded 1854

also those brought to trial.

I have copied this original report written by Peter Lalor after the massacre at the Eureka Stockade on 3 December 1854.
Report of the killed and wounded at the Eureka Massacre

on the morning of the Memorable Third of December, 1854

The following lists are as complete as I can make them. The numbers are well known, but there is a want of names. I trust that friends or acquaintances of these parties may forward particulars to The Times office Ballaarat, to be made available in a more lengthened narrative. P.L.


John HYNES, County Clare, Ireland
Patrick GITTENS, Kilkenny, do.
______MULLINS, Kilkenny, Limerick, do.
Samuel GREEN, England
John ROBERTSON, Scotland
Edward THONEN (lemonade man), Elbertfeldt, Prussia
John HAFELE, Wurtenburg
John DIAMOND, County Clare, Ireland
Thomas O'NEIL, Kilkenny, do.
George DONAGHEY, Muff, County Donegal, do.
Edward QUIN, County Cavan, do.
William QUINLAN, Goulburn, N.S.W
names unknown. One was usually
known as "Happy Jack"

Wounded and since Dead

Lieutenant ROSS, Canada
Thaddeus MOORE, County Clare, Ireland
James BROWN, Newry, do.
Robert JULIEN, Nova Scotia
_____CROWE, unknown
_____FENTON, do.
Edward M'GLYN, Ireland
UNKNOWN,No Particulars

Wounded and Since Recovered

Peter LALOR, Queens County, Ireland
Name Unknown, England
Patrick HANAFIN, County Kerry, Ireland
Michael HANLY, County Tipperary, do.
Michal O'NEIL, County Clare, do.
Thomas CALLANAN, County Clare, do.
Patrick CALLANAN, do. do.
Frank SYMMONS, England
James WARNER, County Cork, Ireland.
Luke SHEEHAN, County Galway, do.
Michael MORRISON, County Galway, do.
Dennis DYNAN, County Clare, do.


Commander- in- Chief

Requiescant in pace
Lieutenant ROSS refered to was Captain Henry ROSS

*Of the approximately 120 'diggers' detained after the rebellion, thirteen were brought to trial.
They were:

Timothy HAYES, Chairman of the Ballarat Reform League, from Ireland

James McFie CAMPBELL, a black man from Kingston, Jamaica

Raffaello CARBONI was an Italian revolutionary and writer.He is the author of the ONLY eyewitness account of events.

Jacob SORENSON, a Jew from Scotland

John MANNING, a Ballarat Times journalist, from Ireland

John PHELAN, a friend and business partner of Peter Lalor, from Ireland

Thomas DIGNUM, born in Sydney

John JOSEPH, a black American from New York City

James BEATTIE, from Ireland

William MOLLOY, from Ireland

Jan VENNICK, from the Netherlands

Michael TUOHY, from Ireland

Henry REID, from Ireland

All were charged with treason, the U.S.Consul intervened and had 2 other Americans released, but not John Joseph, this brave black American also faced the court.The jury quickly pronounced them all NOT GUILTY, and the court erupted in loud cheers. The American from New York, John JOSEPH that night was carried triumphantly around the streets in a chair above 10,000 jubilant people.

Many consider 'Eureka' the beginning of true democracy in Australia.

The image below of Peter Lalor was created by Ludwig Becker in 1856
The original resides at the National Library of Australia

Laban White 1794-1873

Laban ( pronounced Law-Bawn) WHITE was born in Pedington, Wiltshire, England in 1794,the son of Robert WHITE 1754-1829 and Mary HOLLOWAY 1752-1844, Laban was in his early twenties when he married Jane WILLIAMS nee EVANS 1778-1846, a widow with a daughter called Mary Ann born in 1801 and Jane was aged about thirty-eight. There was one child from this marriage, also, Jane WHITE, baptised in Bristol in December 1817.

Laban WHITE had served an apprenticeship as chemist and druggist in Bristol but is listed in a Bristol directory as china and glass dealer. In October 1821 he was committed to Bristol Gaol on a charge of embezzlement. He was sent to trial the following January and sentenced to fourteen years transportation. He left in the convict ship "Eliza" on her second voyage to New South Wales. The ship arrived in November 1822. Laban was assigned to a wealthy landowner, William Cox, who also happened to be a friend of Laban's parents,and sent inland to Bathurst.

His wife Jane, daughter Jane, and step-daughter Mary Ann WILLIAMS were left behind in England. It was probable that the women were virtually destitute. Some support came from Uncle William WILLIAMS and his wife Harriett, nee BALL-WILMOTT. A sentence of fourteen years meant that Laban could never return to Britain. The women had not expected to ever see Laban again.

However by 1828 the NSW Governor Sir Ralph DARLING was encouraging families to emigrate and join their convict menfolk. Jane WHITE with her daughters Jane White and Mary Ann Williams embarked for Sydney on the "Borneo". After various mishaps, the ship arrived in port. Laban WHITE drove to the docks to meet them.

In the intervening time Laban had been employed by William COX, first as butler and then estate manager at Clarendon, near Windsor. However while at Bathurst he had fathered a child, Lydia Jane,1827-1862 to a young convict woman named Mary JOHNSTONE. The child was adopted into another family, although Laban acknowledged and supported his daughter.
In 1845 Laban began a relationship with Lucy BROWN 1814-1876 The wife of Jesse UPTON 1806-1872 and just coming out of a relationship with William NORRIS 1813-1843 Lucy and Laban produced a son Laban WHITE b: 5 June 1846 3 months after his wife Jane died on 12 March (probably wishing she'd stayed in England)June was a big month for Laban for just 25 days after Laban junior was born, on the 30 June Laban walks down the aisle with the twice widowed Mary HOWE 1798-1882 Mary's previous husbands had been firstly George LODER 1796-1894 then Thomas DARGIN 1800-1843 both very famous and prosperous men in the Hawkesbury district.

Laban too became a prosperous and well respected member of the community. He was local chemist, druggist Auctioneer and in 1860 appointed the Coroner for the district of Windsor.
Laban's daughter Jane WHITE married George GUEST at St Peter's Church of England, Richmond in 1834. There were fourteen children, all (half) nieces and nephews of Mary Ann WILLIAMS. Laban's daughter Lydia Jane WHITE married Richard EDWARDS 1823-1862,a chemist from Herefordshire, the son of Thomas EDWARDS and Susan BENNETT. There were five children from this marriage.

Mary Ann sought employment in NSW. She was appointed by the Misses MARSDEN to be the first matron of the Parramatta School of Industry, which opened in June 1829. The school was troubled financially, but Mary Ann received a glowing report from the trustees.

In September 1831 Mary Ann embarked for Paihia in the Bay of Islands, where she was to assist with the European "Girls' School" of the Church Missionary Society. She later transferred to Kerikeri Mission where she assisted with the "Native Girls' School".

In January 1833 she married Catechist James PREECE in the CMS chapel overlooking the Kerikeri Basin. It was said that her young Maori pupils helped to stitch her wedding dress.

Mrs Jane WHITE died in 1846.Buried at Richmond
Her tombstone bears the words "Thy Will By Done".
Laban WHITE died in 1873.also interred with his wife Jane and daughter Jane and and son-in-law George GUEST

Oh! Yes and Jesse UPTON in 1853 was indicted for bigamy at the Central Criminal Court, in Sydney Before Mr. Justice THERRY. The first witness (Jesse Upton's sister Ann BOLLARD nee UPTON, called failed to produce proof of marriage to Lucy Brown and the charge was abandoned and prisoner acquitted. Including Lucy Brown, Jesse had three wives and died at Emu Plains on the 15 November 1872, without ever having divorced Lucy who died four years later.

John ARROW 1829-1859 and the Brutal Murder of Catherine Leary

John ARROW, was born at Bathurst on the 26 February 1829. He was the son of William Arrow 1802-1886 and Sarah BURTON 1814-1867.

William ARROW had been born in Albury, Surrey the son of John ARROW 1778-c1810 and Ann ATFIELD 1779-1845 William was sentenced to 7 years transported for 7 years for stealing a bottle of whisky and shooting game fowls belonging to "Weston Manor" Albury, Surrey.

On arrival he was assigned to the church of England minister at Bathurst whom I believe was William HASSALL.
After receiving his ticket of leave William worked as a shoemaker at Kelso where he met and married Sarah BURTON in 1828.

Sarah was born in Albury, Surrey on the 24 December 1814, the daughter of James BURTON 1792-1856 and Elizabeth Hillyer 1795-1829. James had been transported in 1816 and Elizabeth and daughter Sarah followed him out here in 1829.

William ARROW took up a grant of 40 acres at O'Connell, in the Bathurst district, in 1836, where he built a house and they raised their fifteen children. His eldest son John took land further up on Mick's Mount.

The children of William ARROW and Sarah, nee BURTON:-

* 1.John Arrow 18291859 m. Sarah Ann CAMPBELL 1838-1884 in 1858

2. William Arrow 1831 1841

3. Anne Arrow 18331896 m. (1) Joseph FARNORTH in 1850 (2) Arthur Robert BURTON in 1854 (3) Matthew CONROY in 1882

4. Ellen Arrow 18341877 m. Michael William FARRELL 1815-1877 in 1851

5. George Arrow 18381921 m. Catherine McNAMARA 1847-1917 on the 30 April 1864.

6. James Arrow 18401915 m. Euphemia WALLACE 1835-1908 in 1867

7. Roland Arrow 18411866 m. Catherine FINES 1845-1942 in 1863

8. Samuel Godshall Arrow 18451910

9. Peter Arrow 18481901 m. Ann KITT 1857-1897 in 1878

10. William Arrow 18481905 m. Martha LAWRENCE on 23 January 1875

11. Sarah Arrow 1851 xxxx m. George F CLEMENT in 1869

12. Mary Arrow 18521899 m. Dennis RUSHWORTH in 1871

13. Susannah Arrow 18541899 m. Richard HODGINS in 1871

14. Elizabeth Dinah Arrow 18581928 m. John James PEARSON 1851-1923 in 1875

*John ARROW married 24 year old Sarah Ann CAMPBELL 1834-1884 in Bathurst in 1858. John unhappy with this marriage and Sarah Ann rarely saw him.
The couple had no children and John left Bathurst soon after the marriage. Using the alias John HALL, he took a job as a labourer for Edward NICHOLLS at Summerhill near Orange. He moved in with Catherine LEARY and the couple were known as Mr.and Mrs.John HALL, husband and wife. Catherine gave birth to a daughter, she named Eliza.

The following year, on Tuesday the 22 March 1859 John ARROW was indicted for having on the 3rd. of December 1858 at Summer Hill in the Colony of New South Wales, wilfully and feloniously and with malice aforethought murdered Catherine LEARY.

On the evening of Friday the 3rd of December 1858 when doctor Henry WARREN entered a hut at Summerhill near Orange, New South Wales, he found half naked, laying on the floor partially hidden under a mattress, Catherine LEARY whom he knew as the prisoner's wife, as he had been treating Catherine over the past three weeks for another complaint.

On closer examination of the body Doctor WARREN determined she had been dead no more than two or three hours, as the body was quite warm. Her body was covered in bruises, some recent some older. Over the head and face there were a great many bruises and contusions. Several of her teeth had been knocked out, her nose was broken as was her jaw and her skull was fractured. The walls and floor of the hut were covered in blood. He saw an old gun barrel in the hut also covered in blood which he deemed to be the murder weapon.

Although the evidence against John ARROW was circumstantial, the jury only took five minutes to pronounce him guilty.

John ARROW preserved a remarkably cool demeanour throughout the trial, not the slightest emotion having been exhibited by him even during the recital of the most shocking and most painful portions of the evidence.

When his honour sentenced John ARROW to hang and said. " May the Lord have mercy on your soul". John ARROW petulantly exclaimed, "God will have mercy on me." He was then removed from the court quite unconcerned for the awful situation in which he had been placed.

The afternoon of the murder John had been drinking at a nearby public house and Catherine LEARY went to the Inn and asked him to come home for his dinner. He ignored her the first time and she repeated the request. He then left the Inn and went home with her where they quarrelled and he then bludgeoned her to death with the barrel of a gun, stripped her of her clothes and burnt them.

On the 11 May 1859 the day of execution a special train was dispatched for John ARROWS's wife and his family for their final farewell. According to The Sydney Morning Herald 100 people attended the execution and John Arrow confessed his guilt and acknowleged the justice of the sentence.
After the execution, the ARROW Family returned to O'Connell's Plain with John's body for burial on the family property.

The newspapers at the time described it as one of the most savage and barbarous murders ever committed against a woman.

Catherine Leary had a daughter in 1858 she named Eliza. The infant died a month after her mother was killed whilst John Arrow was in gaol on the 5th January 1859 the death was registered at Orange.

The children of James BURTON and Elizabeth, nee HILLYER were:-
Sarah Burton 1814 1867
James Burton 1819 1868
Elizabeth Burton 1821
Elizabeth Burton 1823
Hannah Burton 1825 1912
Catherine Burton 1827 1876

bd&m.nsw marriages;

Maria Burton 1829

Researched and Written by janilye 1990

* please note. In Australia up until only about forty years ago Australians had three meals a day namely, Breakfast, Dinner and Tea so when looking at records etc. Dinner was our midday meal and usually our main meal. It occurred between noon and 1.00pm

17 comment(s), latest 8 months ago

The 1867 Floods in New South Wales

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, the Anglican Church, and The Courthouse. 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.

6 comment(s), latest 3 years, 5 months ago

Samuel Heather 1795-1841

Samuel HEATHER was born at St.Pauls Cray, Kent, England on 17 May 1795. The son of Robert HEATHER (1758-1837) and Charity Williams AKA Timmins (1745-1815). He was arrested at age 22 for stealing two fowls and tried for Larceny at Maidstone Kent in 1817 and sentenced to seven years transportation. He was placed onboard the ship Morley which left Downs on 18 July 1818 and arrived at Sydney Cove on 7 November 1818. Samuel Received his Certificate of Freedom on the 20 January 1825. He received a grant of land and began farming at Cornwallis on the Hawkesbury where also his uncle Thomas 1764 and cousins Thomas b:1800 Robert b:1795 and Charles b:1800 were also farming.IN Newcastle on 15 February 1828 Samuel married Mary Hedges alias DONOVAN a convict from Cork in Ireland.
The children from this marriage were:-
Sarah EATHER b:22 April 1828 at Wollombi d:27 April 1919 at Jerry's Plains Sarah married John FRITH (1810-1859) on the 5 April 1847 Next Sarah married Henry Hugh TUDOR (1819-1872) on 5 August 1861.
Mary Eather b:19 November 1830 Wollombi d:10 December 1913 at Dubbo. Mary married William THORLEY (1825-1901)on 21 July 1844 at Mt.Thorley, Singleton.
Robert EATHER b:22 January 1832 Wollombi d:13 August 1897 Muswellbrook. Robert married Mary CURTIS (1853-1887)on 18 July 1870 at Holy Trinity Church Dubbo.
Samuel EATHER b:17 October 1834 Warkworth d:19 July 1894,at Narrabri. Samuel married Elizabeth GILES (1845-1954) on 14 December 1816 at Wee Waa.
Hannah EATHER b:17 March 1836 at Warkworth d:16 June 1918 at Moree. Hannah married Thomas PITTMAN (1831-1910) on the 27 November 1854 at Warkworth.
Charlotte EATHER b:1838 d:8 September 1922 at Merriwa. Charlotte married Henry PITTMAN (1827-1916)on the 20 January 1852 at Warkworth.
Elizabeth EATHER b:3 April 1840 at Bulga d:1 December 1903at Mortlake. Elizabeth married Samuel WALLACE (1822-1867)on 1 March 1858 at Patricks Plain. Elizabeth next married Peter HORNERY(1838-1902)on 7 July 1869 at Singleton.
Thomas Eather b:1843 after Samuel's death father unknown was brought up as the son of Samuel
The Name HEATHER gradually changed to Eather in this family between 1828 and 1843 and after 1843 all were known as EATHER