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George Bannister 1768-1864

George Bannister was one of three youths who were convicted at the Old Bailey on 21 April 1784 for the theft of clothing from a house at Millbank. A small girl saw one of the boys getting out of the window with the clothes under his arms. They were traced through their tracks in the snow. Bannister said he had gone to look for his mother's ass, and was running along the river bank to warm himself when he heard the cry of 'stop thief'. He was found hiding behind some willows: he said he had taken shelter there from the storm. After being sentenced to 7 years transportation to Africa, Bannister was sent to the 'Ceres' hulk on 5 April 1785, aged 18, and delivered from the 'Censor' hulk to 'Alexander' on 6 January 1787 of the First Fleet.

On 15 March 1789, Bannister suffered 50 lashes for theft of three pounds of flour from James Stewart, though he pleaded it was his first offence. On 15 November a daughter, Sarah, by Ann Forbes was baptised. Bannister was sent to Norfolk Island by 'Sirius' on 4 March 1790, as also was Ann Forbes, though she does not seem to have stayed with him. At 1 July 1791 he was maintaining two persons on a Queenborough lot, of which he had cleared 66 rods and felled 25 rods of timber. His only recorded misdemeanor on the island was a theft for which he received 50 lashes in March 1791. He had been supplied with a pig under the lieutenant governor's scheme to make as many persons as possible independent of stores for meat. On 7 January 1792 he was settled on 12 acres at Morgan's Run, Queenborough: by the end of the year he was selling grain to the government.

Bannister left Norfolk Island by 'Kitty' in March 1793 and by this time Ann Forbes had started a relationship with William Dring and remained at Norfolk Island.

William Dring 1767-1854

William Dring was convicted of feloniously stealing six bottles of brandy three blue and white shirts two pair of trousers a pair of red leather boots and several other things of the value of ten pence from Joseph Mitchinson.

William Dring was tried at Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire on 7 October 1784 for theft of unknown value. He was sentenced to transportation for 7 years and left England on the 'Alexander' of the First Fleet aged about 17 at that time (May 1787). He had no occupation recorded.

Governor Phillip sent a party of Officials, Marines and convicts to settle Norfolk Island and in October, 1788 Dring was one of those sent. He was employed there in various ways, probably in preparing the land for farming. In 1790 Dring and another convict volunteered to swim out to the "Sirius", which had been wrecked on the reef, in order to throw off the livestock and any remaining stores, which were still on the ship. They were allowed to do this and were successful in their efforts. They remained on board after they had completed the task and got drunk on the alcohol still on the ship. Eventually a marine was sent out and he removed the two men. They were punished by being put in prison and also made to wear leg irons. Even when they were released they were forced to continue wearing the irons.

Dring was apparently a competent seaman and contributed much in the associated work. He was praised by Governor King for his work. He was given a grant of land on Norfolk Island and then formed a relationship with Ann Forbes who had arrived in the First Fleet, on the "Prince of Wales". She had been convicted of stealing ten yards of cotton, the property of James Rollinson. Her trial was held in 1787 at the Surrey Lent Assizes. She was sentenced to be hanged but was reprieved and her sentence changed to seven (7) years transportation. Ann was sent to Norfolk Island and with her was the child she had borne to George Bannister, in 1789.

During their lives together William and Ann had three children, the last of whom was born in 1796. There was a great deal of unrest on the Island, because there were many marines stationed there and they endeavoured to entice the wives away from their husbands or the men with whom they lived. This brought many complaints form the emancipists and Dring had had cause to complain that his wife had been 'tempted away' twice. Finally he assaulted a marine and was charged. Governor King interceded on his bahalf and Dring was only fined 20 shillings. This judgement was another source of trouble on Norfolk Island. The family returned to Port Jackson in 1794 by the "Daedelus". They stayed together at least until the 20 August, 1796, when the last child was baptised. After this the partnership broke up. Little is known about Dring except 'he died in the Colony'.

1 comment(s), latest 1 year ago

Roadside Inns of NSW 1830

The Australian Roadside Inn was a witness to a grand parade of history, characters and communities. The roads that passed their doors carried on its corrugated surface the future of the fledgling colony and the inns were encouraged by the Governors to assist the adventurous travelers. There were good inns and then there were just barley inns. The glow of the light in the distance was welcoming to the weary traveler and the warm fire in the parlor was eagerly looked forward to at each stop. Once inside, the cozy glow of the fire was a good setting for cheerful discussions with fellow travelers. Conversation was as varied as was on the state of intoxication were the travellers. It was a chance to catch up with the news from the regions and swap stories and titillate over tales of scandal.

A law was passed in 1825 that stated that every inn must provide accommodation for at least 2 persons and in 1830 another law came into being which required all innkeepers to burn a whale oil lamp outside the inn at night

In 1830 the first year that license fees were introduced and a fee of 25 pounds had to be paid to keep a Common Inn, Alehouse or victualling House, and to sell fermented and spirituous liquors in any quantity, The 25 pound license fee commenced on the first July and continued in force until the 30th June of the following year. In 1833 the fee went up to 30 pounds which was quite a large expense.

Flourishing Family Tree - The longest in the world 551-479 BC

I thought my family tree going back to Kenneth MCALPIN 800AD was pretty big. But it's small potatoes compared to the tree of The Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius 551-479 BC.

He has the longest family tree in the world.

It spans eighty three generations of decendants contained in 80 volumes and includes more than two million names.
The tree begins with Confucius but let's not forget that he was decended from King Cheng Tang 1675-1646 BC of the Shang Dynasty.

The Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee in 1998 began an international project involving more than 450 genealogy branches, set up around the world to revise this tree. This huge effort was to coincide with the 2560th. anniversary of the birth of Confucius in 2009.

The pedigree had only ever been revised four times before, the last time the clan register was updated was back in 1937 when 600,000 names were added.
According to custom it should be revised at 30-year intervals but in 1967 the terror and persecution of the Cultural Revolution made that impossible

Kong Deyong, a 77th-generation descendant of the great thinker led this massive upgrade by the 450 genealogists, which produced another 1.3 million living members. and finished in 2007 in plenty of time for the celebrations.

With family records scattered or destroyed, the restoration of the complete genealogy has taken more than a decade of international research, conducted by individual Kong clans in China, but also in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Kong Ming, a 33-year-old businessman from Shanghai, began researching his branch of the family from the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in 1998 when his elderly grandfather dug up the coffin in which he had hidden the family records to escape persecution during the Cultural Revolution.

He spent more than 40,000 reconstructing the 800-year-old history of the family, sending out 100,000 direct marketing leaflets and putting posters all over the city to recover the links that had been lost over time. He believes it was money well spent.


More than 40,000 overseas descendants were added to the fifth edition of the Confucius Genealogy, with 34,000 of them from the Republic of Korea.

The descendants flourished on the Korean Peninsula after the 54th-generation descendant arrived there at the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)

Happily the genealogists managed to recover 900 descendants in Taiwan and two branches which have been lost for more than 1,000 years in Shanxi and Henan provinces,


2 comment(s), latest 3 years, 1 month ago

Convict Assignments. Our first Public Servants

Convict Assignment was like a great big rehabilitation program. It was a sort of nineteenth century 'Outward Bound'. With abrupt change, new surroundings and personal challenge, but without the floggings

John Dunmore LANG told us in 1837,that:- "when a convict-ship arrives it is the practice of the colonial government to reserve as many of the convicts, whether labourers or mechanics, as are required for the public service; the rest are assigned to persons who have previously transmitted duly attested applications for convict-servants, agreeably to a code of regulations recently established by the present Governor, and denominated the Assignment Regulation. One pound sterling is paid to Government for each convict so assigned, as the price of his bedding and slop-clothing, which he carries along with him to his future master's. If the master resides in Sydney, he is employed in the various menial capacities in which house-servants are employed in Europe; if he resides in the country, as is much more frequently the case, he is employed in tending sheep or cattle, or as a farm-servant.

The convict-servants on the different farms of the colony are usually lodged in huts formed of a split-timber, and thatched with long grass or straw, at a little distance from the proprietor's house. Two of these huts, with a partition between them, form one erection; and each of them is inhabited by four men. A large fireplace is constructed at one end of the hut, where the men cook their provisions, and around which they assemble in the winter evenings, with a much greater appearance of comfort than the sentimentalist would imagine. Rations, consisting of ten and a half pounds of flour, seven pounds of beef or four and a half pounds of pork, with a certain proportion of tea, sugar, and tobacco, are distributed to each of them weekly; and they receive shoes and slop-clothing either twice a year, or whenever they require them. Pumpkins, potatoes, and other vegetables, they are allowed to cultivate for themselves.

On my brother's farm at Hunter's River and I believe a similar system is pursued on most of the large agricultural farms thoughout the colony the overseer rises at day-break, and rings a bell, which is affixed to a tree, as a signal for the men to proceed to their labour. The greater number follow the overseer to the particular agricultural operation which the season requires; the rest separate to their several employments, one to the plough, another to the garden, and a third to the dairy, while a fourth conducts the cattle to their pasture. The bell is again rung at eight o'clock, when the men assemble for breakfast, for which they are allowed one hour; they again return too their labour till one o'clock, when they have an hour for dinner, and they afterwards labour from two till sunset".

* Lang makes it sound so 'Cosy' and it was for some who were fortunate to have honest and fair masters. But for a great many others it was no more than slavery where they were bullied, flogged and had their rations taken away by their cruel masters. For the ones who ran away, the outcome was often 30 to 50 lashes, 12 months in irons or the rope.

Convict Ships, Entitlements and a little bit of trivia 1790

A typical layout for a convict ship did not exist. On the Neptune which was 200 tons heavier than most of the other ships, the cabins were 6 foot square and mean't to hold 6 prisoners on 18" wide beds. However often more were crammed into the cabin.

There was no ventilation and it was either hot and suffocating or cold and wet depending on the weather.

The rations issued to each mess of 6 convicts per week were as follows:-

1.16 lb. of bread
2.12 lb. of flour
3.14 lb. of salt beef
4. 8 lb. of salt pork
5.12 pints of pease
6. 2 lb. of rice
7.1 1/2 lb. of butter
Female prisoners also received a ration of tea and sugar. All prisoners received a ration, for the voyage, of 2 gallons of good Spanish red wine and 140 gallons of water.

The rations were good to adequate and the same for all onboard. However the ships masters were unscrupulous and cheated the prisoners out of their rations and sold them elsewhere for a profit. Starving them on the way out.

Upon arrival in the Colony female prisioners were issued with:-

1.1 brown serge jacket
2.2 linen shifts
3.1 petticoat
4.1 linen bonnet
5.1 pair of worsted stockings
6.1 pair of shoes
7.1 neck handkerchief
Until 1810 convicts were permitted to wear ordinary civilian clothes in Australia. The new Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, wanted to set the convicts apart from the increasing numbers of free settlers who were flocking to Australia.

The distinctive new uniform marked out the convicts very clearly. The trousers were marked with the letters PB, for Prison Barracks. They were buttoned down the sides of the legs, which meant they could be removed over a pair of leg irons.

A convict's daily rations after arriving were by no means substantial. Typically, they would consist of:

Breakfast: One roll and a bowl of skilly, a porridge-like dish made from oatmeal, water, and if they were lucky, scrapings meat.
Lunch: A large bread roll and a pound of dried, salted meat.
Dinner: One bread roll and, if they were lucky, a cup of tea.

When convicts arrived in Australia, detailed reports were compiled of their physical appearance, including distinguishing marks. At the beginning of the 19th century one in four convicts was tattooed, and although it's hard for us to fully understand what these may have meant to the individual, some are interesting, even witty comments on convict life.

Some tattoos appear to be poignant love tokens and permanent reminders of the life and loved ones they left behind.

Some are cheeky remonstrations with the officials, such as the words 'Strike me fair, stand firm and do your duty'.

Similarly, a crucifix tattooed on a convict's back would give that impression that Christ himself was being flogged, and angels were standing by with a cup to catch the blood. This implies that it is the authorities that are sinful.

Male convicts were brought ashore a day or so after their convoy landed arrival. They were marched up to the Government Lumber Yard, where they were stripped, washed, inspected and had their vital statistics recorded.

If convicts were skilled, for example carpenters, blacksmiths or stonemasons, they may have been retained and employed on the government works programme. Otherwise they were assigned to labouring work or given over to property owners, merchant or farmers who may once have been convicts themselves

Women made up 15% of the convict population. They are reported to have been low-class women, foul mouthed and with loose morals. Nevertheless they were told to dress in clothes from London and lined up for inspection so that the officers could take their pick of the prettiest.

Until they were assigned work, women were taken to the Female Factories, where they performed menial tasks like making clothes or toiling over wash-tubs. It was also the place where women were sent as a punishment for misbehaving, if they were pregnant or had illegitimate children.

Other punishments for women include an iron collar fastened round the neck, or having her head shaved as a mark of disgrace. Often these punishments were for moral misdemeanours, such as being 'found in the yard of an inn in an indecent posture for an immoral purpose', or 'misconduct in being in a brothel with her mistress' child'.

As women were a scarcity in the colony, if they married they could be assigned to free settlers. Often, desperate men would go looking for a wife at the Female Factories.

The officials had an unpleasant cure for hangovers and drunkeness, which they imposed on convicts who were overly fond of rum. The 'patient' was forced to drink a quart of warm water containing a wine-glass full of spirits and five grains of tartar emetic. He was then carried to a darkened room, in the centre of which was a large drum onto which he was fastened. The drum was revolved rapidly, which made the patient violently sick. He was then put to bed, supposedly disgusted by the smell of spirits.

Leo Heman Abel EATHER 1906-1994

On 18 February 1994, one of the best known of the 20th century Eathers passed away at Sydney.

At a time when the decendants of Thomas and Elizabeth were down to the 10th generation, Leo held the unique position in the Eather family of being the last of the third generation descendants. He was born on the 24 August 1906, the youngest of the five children of William Abel Eather 1855-1917 and his wife Cecilia Ruth nee VILE. William was the youngest son of James Eather and Mary Ann nee HAND. Leo was the last born of approximately 540 great-grandchildren and for the last eight years of his life was their only surviving great-grandchild. His passing saw the end of an era, which began in 1831 when their first great-grand child was born.

As a young man Leo trained to be an engineer and proved not only to be gifted and talented, but an ingenious designer. At the beginning of world war II he was in charge of highly secretive work for the Australian Air Force, manufacturing carburettors for aeroplanes. It was a mammoth task, as the equipment to extrude parts came from the United States and delivery was sometimes haphazard under wartime conditions. It was at times such as this that his ingenuity proved invaluable. Soon after the outbreak of war Leo tried to enlist in the armed forces but was refused because his skills and knowlege were more valuable in the essential industry in which he was employed.

During his engineering days he was highly commended by the Safety First Council for his expertise in designing safety devices for factory machines and tool shops. His contribution in this field has saved many workers from serious accidents. However Leo didn't remain in the field of engineering throughout his working life. From his boyhood days he had been interested in the evolution taking place in the cinema and he used to dream of having a cinema of his own. Eventually he did have his own movie theatre and conducted business for many years at Pendle Hill.

In August 1937 he married Joan SLATER, and subsequently two daughters, Doreen Rosemary (1940) and Wendy Joan (1942) were born. In the 1960s Leo became interested in his family history and made a trip to the north-west, seeking information on his grandfather and relatives who had lived in that region. During his travels he met another pioneer of Eather history research, the late Sister Augustine Cahill. He became interested in the efforts of Errol Lea-Scarlett to research the history of the Eather family and was one of the original subscribers to the Eather Family Newsletter when it was launched in december 1973. With the assistance of Joan, he organised the first Eather Family Reunion, which was held at Parramatta Park and Wilberforce on 19&20 March 1977. The occasion was outstandingly successful with an attendance of about 400, and from it sprang the Eather Family Committee, of which he became the patron. He was a familiar figure at all subsequent reunions until 1992 and became a well-known and friendly personality to the hundreds of Eather decendants and their relatives and friends who attended these gatherings over the years.

He had a keen interest in the people and cultures of other countries, and with Joan he travelled extensively both within Australia and overseas. During one visit to England in 1974 he went down to Maidstone in Kent to see the town where his great-grandfather had been tried and sentenced in March 1788, in the prelude to his voyage to New South Wales.

In the 1960s Leo suffered his first serious heart problem and thereafter sometimes suffered from indifferent health, but he displayed a strong will to live and survived for another thirty years to reach the fine age of 87. For many years he and Joan resided at 101 Pendle Way at Pendle Hill, but eventually they moved to "Marlborough Gardens" in Addison Road, Manly,and there he spent his twilight years. He was very devoted to Joan and his children and grandchildren, and in return received a great affection from all of his family. He was a talented man with a great sense of humourand very much admired by all of his friends.

Leo went to his last rest on a grassy hillside in the cemetery at French's Forrest, following a service in St,Matthews church, Manly.His pall bearers were his five grandsons, Lee and Gregory Dalton, Murray, Glen and Jules Barnes.

Much of what's written here is taken from the address given on that day by his son-in-law, David Dalton.

* and yes! it is Heman not Herman

Major General Kenneth William Eather, CB, CBE, DSO ED 1901-1993

The son of William Senior Eather 1870-1961 and
Isabella Theresa Lees 1869-1962
Spouse: Adeline Mabel Lewis 1901-1966 Married 1923

Kenneth William EATHER was born on the 6 June 1901 at Balmain, a suburb of Sydney. The only son and eldest of three children.

Ken's father moved to Papua to manage a plantation and the family lived in Port Moresby.
As a boy Ken was sent to board and be educated at Abbotsholme College in Wahroonga, New South Wales, an elite boarding school which was also attended by future prime ministers Harold Holt and William McMahon.

Ken Eather left school at 14 to become an apprentice dental mechanic. He had been in the army cadets since the age of 12 and when he turned 18 he joined the Conscript Militia, now called the Army Reserve. When war was declared in 1939 Ken sold his dental practice to form and assume command of the 2/1st Battalion in the AIF which he led with distinction in Bardia, Australia's first battle of WWII.

As officer in Command of the 25th Brigade, 7th. division, in the Markham Valley and Lae Campaign in New Guinea during the second world war, Kenneth was dubbed "Phar Lap" because of his speed with which he pushed his men down the Markham Valley.

On the 3 July 1941 Awarded Distinguished Service Order 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack on BARDIA during the period from 2 Jan 41 to 5 Jan 41.

On the 1 November 1943 awarded the United States Distinguished Service Cross 'For extraordinary heroism in action in New Guinea, during the Papuan campaign, July 23, 1942, to January 8, 1943. As Commander 25th Infantry Brigade, Australian Army

On 23 December 1943 at St.James Palace, London made Commander of the Order of the British Empire

August 1945 promoted from Brigadeer to Major General

At the end of the war he was selected to lead the Australian contingent which marched in the Victory Parade in London in June 1946.

Ken Eather retired from the Army on 18 September 1946 and became a poultry farmer in Penrith, New South Wales He became active in the Primary Producer's Association of New South Wales and was elected its president in 1953, a position he held for the next five years.

However, the death of his son Ken in a motorcycle accident at Bathurst led him to reconsider life as a farmer.

In 1958, he became the head of the Water Research Foundation of Australia, an organisation that dispensed funding to researchers investigating water related issues.

Adeline died in Sydney in 1966 and in 1968 Ken married Kathleen Carroll. Kathleen's son, Owen took the name EATHER and Ken treated him as his own son.

When Owen Eather, returned from the Vietnam war as a captain. Ken was very upset at the way the Vietnam veterans were being treated. He made it a point from then on to lead the Sydney Anzac Day marches with Owen by his side.

Major General Eather continued to lead Anzac Day marches through Sydney until 1992.

Ken Eather's grandson Eamon, joined the Australian Army Reserve and served with the International Force in East Timor.

Kenneth William Eather died at a nursing home in Mosman, New South Wales on 9 May 1993.

As the last surviving Australian general of World War II, he was given a military funeral at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney Three companies of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment provided an honour guard and an oration was given by General Sir Francis Hassett. Some 1,000 veterans lined George Street, Sydney to pay their last respects to Eather, who was cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.

There are many stories about Ken Eather. I do recommend the biography. 'Desert Sands, Jungle Lands'. by Steve Eather


2 comment(s), latest 3 years, 4 months ago

John Patrick Eather 1837-1916

Son of James Eather (1811-1899)and Mary Ann Hand (1815-1899)

John was born in Richmond 25 December 1837 and in 1874 at Narrabri, married Ellen Mary Spencer b:1853 in Surrey, England. She arrived with her parents Richard and Eliza Spencer on the ship 'Dorigo', 13 April 1860.
They had 12 children. 9 boys and 3 girls.

Until 1899, John Eather owned the Mountain View, a property of some 1100 acres situated 2 1/2 miles from Narrabri, where during the 1880s he conducted the Mountain View Hotel.

On selling the property, he moved his family to the Inverell district where his activities during the first years of the new century included farming and keeping the Royal Hotel at Bundarra.

Several of his sons remained in Inverell where they made their name a well established one in the business life of the town.

EDWARD PROSPER HUXLEY (1848-1921)

Edward Prosper Huxley (1848-1921)and Amy Susannah Eather (1857-1943)

Edward was a 25 year old butcher in Narrabri when he married the 16 year old Amy Susannah, the granddaughter of Thomas and Sarah EATHER in 1873.

For a few years Edward continued to run his butcher shop at Narrabri, by 1887 had become a publican between Narrabri and West Narrabri, and in 1889 he was recorded as being a grazier at Boheno Creek. In 1897 or 1898 he and Amy left the Narrabri district and took over a produce dealership at Moree. Amy became a substantive partner with Edward in their produce/ merchant business. Her signature is recorded in the East Moree Bank of NSW (Westpac) signature book, dated 24 August 1898.

They continued to operate this business until 1900. In 1903 Edward was shown on the electoral roll as a storekeeper at Ravenswood, but residing at Warren with Amy and some of their family, of whom daughters Olive and Norma were also on the electoral roll. In 1906, Edward was still at Ravenswood but Amy, Olive and Norma were recorded as residing at Trangie. In 1909 Edward had joined his wife and children at Trangie where his occupation was given as a drover. By 1913 they had all moved to Milson's Point in Sydney, and by then daughter Vivienne was also on the electoral roll. All except Vivienne remained at that address between 1915 and 1919. Edward died on 7 June 1921 and was buried at Waverley. After his death Amy moved to Cremorne and appears to have remained there. She died on 30 August 1943.

They had had a family of ten, but all three of their sons and two of their daughters died in infancy or early childhood. Of their five daughters who reached adulthood, Mary married Henry J SAMUELS in 1896, and Olive married Sidney SHIPTON, but Norma, Vivienne and Gladys all remained spinsters. Two of the sons Edward Prosper( who was known as Prossie), and Richard Lionel, died within a month of each other in 1890 at Cooma Station. There are very few decendants of Amy and Edward, and none that bear the HUXLEY surname.

For a comprehensive history of the Huxley Family I recommend the book called " Transported to Paradise " by Doug Huxley