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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.
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
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.
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
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
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)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
RICHMOND CORNWALLIS EATHER (1888-1966),
Soldier, station-owner and manager, was born on 18 January 1888 at Goodooga, New South Wales, son of John Rowland Eather 1843-1923, storekeeper, and his wife Hannah Ann Crothers 1858-1952, both native-born. He was educated at Goodooga Public School but left at 13 to work in local shearing sheds. In 1907 he moved to Richmond, Queensland, and later to Muttaburra and Hughenden, to manage properties owned by his uncles, Robert, Thomas and Henry Crothers.
Eather enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a private on 17 June 1915, embarked with reinforcements for the 15th Battalion in August and saw action at Gallipoli. In March 1916 he was transferred to the 47th Battalion which reached France in June and in August-September fought in the battles of Pozières and Mouquet Farm. Eather was awarded the Military Medal for personal bravery during this period. Promoted sergeant in September, he was posted to the 6th Officer Cadet Battalion at Oxford, England, and in March 1917 was commissioned second lieutenant in the 25th Battalion.
Early in June 1918 a series of minor counter-blows was made by British and Australian formations to relieve pressure on their French allies. On 10 June near Morlancourt the 25th took its objective in a twenty-minute assault. As the battalion's intelligence officer, Eather showed conspicuous gallantry by maintaining communications with the attacking companies after the signals officer had been wounded. He repeatedly passed through heavy enemy barrages to bring in the wounded as well as to maintain telephone lines to the forward companies, and for these actions was awarded the Military Cross.
In September the allied offensive against the Hindenburg line began, and on 3 October the 25th Battalion spearheaded its brigade's attack in a two-corps assault on the Beaurevoir line. Eather again showed great bravery and initiative for which he won a Bar to his Military Cross. The battalion attacked at 6 a.m. across three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) of open country and, after hard fighting, captured its objective. Eather then went across to the right flank under heavy fire and returned with information that the neighbouring battalion was unable to move forward. The 25th immediately established a flank defence to protect against an enemy counter-attack. Eather then went further forward towards the enemy line and brought back valuable information for guiding the next phase of this crucial operation. He was transferred to the 26th Battalion later in the month.
On 13 March 1919 at Knockbreda, Antrim, Ireland, Eather married Mary Jane McFarlane Longmore, a British Army nurse who had won the Royal Red Cross. They returned to Australia in May and until 1927 managed a family property at Muttaburra. Eather then managed Sylvania station near Hughenden and eventually bought the partners out; in 1954 he sold Sylvania and retired to Warwick. He was a prominent citizen in the Hughenden, Richmond and Muttaburra districts and served several terms on the Flinders Shire Council. His main hobbies were horse-racing and exhibiting hacks and hunters in shows. Survived by his wife and two daughters, he died on 21 April 1966 at Warwick.
Darryl McIntyre wrote the above story.
In the photograph below taken on the occasion of their investiture at Buckingham Palace by King George V, Richmond is sitting on the table.
Thomas Eather 1800-1886
submitted by janilye on 21 August 2009
MY 3RD GREAT GRANDFATHER
They came of bold and roving stock that would not fixed abide;
They were the sons of field and flock since e'er they learnt to ride,
We may not hope to see such men in these degenerate years
As those explorers of the bush -- the brave old pioneers.
'Twas they who rode the trackless bush in heat and storm and drought;
'Twas they who heard the master-word that called them farther out;
'Twas they who followed up the trail the mountain cattle made,
And pressed across the mighty range where now their bones are laid.
But now the times are dull and slow, the brave old days are dead
When hardy bushmen started out, and forced their way ahead
By tangled scrub and forests grim towards the unknown west,
And spied the far-off promised land from off the range's crest.
Oh! ye that sleep in lonely graves by far-off ridge and plain,
We drink to you in silence now as Christmas comes again,
To you who fought the wilderness through rough unsettled years --
The founders of our nation's life, the brave old pioneers.
The history of Thomas Eather contrasts dramatically with the failures and sadness associated with the family of his twin brother Charles.
Taught the trade of shoemaker, he was able by the age of 20 to divert his interests to farming whilst continuing to employ several men in his shoemaking establishment at Richmond. In the tight confines of the Hawkesbury valley there was no room for pastoral expansion, so, in 1826 Thomas made his first venture across the rugged mountain ranges seperating Hawkesbury from the hunter, taking with him his young wife Sarah, nee MCALPIN and their 2yr. old son Thomas.
In company with Sarah's brother William Glas MCALPIN, some aboriginals and a stockman named Billy Freeman, the pioneers set out over the mountains, with two pack bullocks and another bullock on which Sally (as she was called) rode with young Tommy on her lap. There was a distance of 100 miles to tramp through the trackless mountains, guided only by the marked trees, blazed a short time before. The aboriginals knew the route and they arrived safely at the foot of the Bulga Plateau where on Cockfighter's Creek (a reach of the Wollombi Brook), they made camp and lived for a short time. Sarah (Sally) EATHER was the first white woman to cross the mountains from Hawkesbury to Bulga.
The name of the Eather property there is called 'Meerea' an aboriginal word meaning Beautiful Mountain.
Before survey and location of lands in the Bulga region there was no possibility of obtaining title, even though many pioneers used Crown Lands as pasturage. On the creek, Thomas EATHER managed to obtain a "clearing lease" where in November 1829, he was living with his wife and four children (Elizabeth, Charles and Annie had now joined young Tommy) and four free servants.
A gauge of his enterprise is given by the fact that in addition to the shoemaking business at Richmond, he had then 20 acres clear of which 10 were fenced and planted with corn and was also running 150 head of cattle and two brood mares far away to the north at 'Muggarie' on Liverpool Plains.
Towards the end of 1829, Thomas EATHER established residence on a farm near that of his brother- in- law Joseph ONUS, at Wollombi where he built two residences and made other improvements before it was discovered that all the occupants of land in the vicinity were on the wrong blocks. Meanwhile he had leased the mistaken farm to a tenant and moved back to Richmond, so that when the error in locating the Wollombi farms became an issue in 1833 there were only two owners ( Thomas TAILBY and George EATON) living on their farms. When the confusion was straightened out EATHER was given title to his Wollombi land, but he had made his headquarters in Richmond. Nevertheless, his interests did not narrow and he extended to the west as well as the north. In 1840 he subscribed 5pound to the building of the road from Windsor to Mt. Tomah. He died at Richmond on the 19 November 1886, surviving his wife by two years.
The earliest official record of the Liverpool Plains squattage mentioned by Thomas EATHER in 1829 does not occur until ten years later when it's name was given as "Muggarie".
From the book "A Million Wild Acres"
[Thomas Eather from 'Henriendi' went beyond them all, an extraordinary move to Muggarie on the Narran River near present day Angledool, over a 100 kilometres north-west of the junction of the Namoi and Barwon. The station was so remote that even when it was described nine years later for the 1848 Government Gazette there were no neighbours. In 1847 three of Thomas Eather's nephews, Abraham, Thomas and James, were working at the station. Abraham, one of his brothers and two other young men left to bring up more cattle. By the time they got back with the mob, probably a couple of months later, the water holes had dried up. John GRIFFITHS, an orphan reared with the family, died of thirst. The others abandoned the cattle and barely got through. Aborigines found them and helped them in]
In 1849, Muggarie totalling 32,000 acres, on Narran Creek, was occupied by Robert EATHER 1795-1881 while Thomas's holding, measuring 15 square miles, was "Henryandie". According to family tradition, the original name was "Ing-in-ing-in-ing-indi" but it finally settled into "Henriendi" and as the boundaries were gradually determined it was located on the Namoi River, six miles east of Baan Baa.
Thomas EATHER and Sarah McALPIN 1805-1884 were married on the 24 August 1824 at St.Matthews Church of England. They had 13 children;
Thomas EATHER 1824 1909
Elizabeth EATHER 1825 1884
Charles EATHER 1827 1891
Ann EATHER 1829 1918
Peter EATHER 1831 1911
William EATHER 1832 1915
Sarah EATHER 1834 1926
Charlotte EATHER 1836 1888
Robert EATHER 1838 1838
James EATHER 1839 1934
Susannah EATHER 1842 1848 Susannah and her little friends were playing in a pound paddock next door to the house, when one of the children set fire to some long grass. Susannah's dress caught fire in the flames. She died 2 days later as the result of her severe burns
John Rowland EATHER 1843 1923
Catherine EATHER 1846 1928
Thomas Eather's second son, Charles who was born at Bulga on 25 October 1827, was sent to Henriendi in 1841 and twenty years later was given the station by his father. In 1866, in addition to Henriendi(which had then an area of 16,000 acres and was grazing 1,000 head of cattle). he controlled four Warrego squatting stations- Back Ballinbillian, Gumanaldy, Back Moongoonoola and Pinegobla- with a total area of 82,000 acres and a total carrying capacity of 16,000 sheep.
The frequent trips between the Muggarie and Wollombi took two months by spring carts, braving the dangers of the terrain and the threat of surprise by bushrangers.
Frederick Wordsworth WARD 1836-1870 aka Captain Thunderbolt (his sister Amelia was married to Thomas's twin, Charles EATHER 1800-1891 stepson James GOUGH), who terrorised the New England district and the north-west of New South Wales between 1863 and 1870, was a frequent visitor to "Henriendi".
" He always said he'd not molest the Eather's", recalled a daughter of the family many years later, "but he wasn't above stealing a good piece of horseflesh when he saw it".
Excerpt from Aunt Liz's Jottings:
Bulga's original discovery dates with the discovery of St Patrick's Plains by John Howe's party of explorers in March 1820, being the first place reached on leaving the mountains. The explorers, Howe, Singleton and Thorley, descended from a spur in Welsh's Inlet, on the Milbrodale Estate, formerly owned by Mr Len Dodds. Its first pioneers, of which there is an authentic record, were Thomas Eather and William Glas McAlpin, who came to Bulga In 1826, accompanied by aboriginal guides. The journey was made on foot from Richmond, through Colo, Putty and Howe's Valley, leading a bullock used as a pack animal. In some places the track was so steep, that the bullock had to be relieved of his burden, and the packs man-handled down. One night the bullock decided to dissolve his partnership with the men, and ran away. Young William Glas McAlpin said to Mr Thomas Eather, "What ever will we do now?" and Mr Eather replied, "Carry the packs on our backs." This they did all that day, but by nightfall the bullock had become lonely, and changing his mind, caught up with the men. Were they glad to see his old face again! After looking at the possibilities at Bulga, they retraced their steps to Richmond. In the same year, 1826, they returned; Thomas Eather bringing his wife, who was formerly Sarah McAlpin (she was known as "Sally"), a sister of young William Glas McAlpin. At this time horses were extremely scarce and expensive, so Sally rode a bullock led by her husband who was on foot, and holding her 18 month old son, Thomas Eather (the third), in front of her. William Glas McAlpin and Billy Freeman led the pack bullocks, and with some aborigines and dogs, the procession started on the 100 mile tramp through the trackless mountains. Marked trees were the only guide they had, but the black fellows knew the way and where to find water. At last they arrived at the foot of the mountain at Bulga, where they made camp for some time near the creek before erecting a dwelling where "Richmond" stands today. Mr Thomas Eather II had acquired a grant of land from the Crown. From Eather Family Newsletter September 1998
No 142 Editor Mildred Reynolds.
Excerpt from the Eather Family Newsletter September 1997 :- On the 26 June 1834, Thomas Eather Junior took out a license for the "Union Inn" in Windsor Street, Richmond, located in premises owned and built for his sister Ann's husband, Joseph Onus. The public house was situated on land bought from Edward Powell and was one house removed from the home of Thomas' brother-in-law, William Glas McAlpin. In 1835, Joseph Onus died and the two storey brick building housing the "Union Inn" passed into the hands of Thomas Onus, who in 1842 married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Eather Junior. Nearly two years after Joseph Onus' death, his widow Ann, nee Eather, married William Sharp/Sharpe. Hence, on later maps of Richmond the land acquired by Joseph Onus from Edward Powell, appears in the name of Ann/Anne Sharpe. On 10 January 1837, Thomas Eather Junior and William Price were granted a small town allotment in Richmond, consisting of one acre, three roods, and thirty nine perches in West Market and Windsor Streets. Whereas, Thomas occupied the corner section of the grant and held land in both streets, William Price owned a portion of the town allotment fronting Windsor Street. Thomas Junior's daughters were "fine looking women" and the three young women portrayed on the sign of the "Union Inn" were said to strongly resemble Thomas' three eldest daughters, Elizabeth, (Mrs Thomas Onus/Mrs Joseph Rutter) Annie, (Mrs Edwin Young) and Sarah (Mrs William Eaton). These three girls were said to be beautiful although their beauty was not that - "of fair skin and, yellow hair, but the beauty of bright eyes, fine features and good style." Said to be - "a man of very quiet habits who would not allow anyone to impose on him," Thomas managed his hotel, "in a manner beyond reproach."
For more details Please ask.janilye
Below is a photograph of 'Meerea' taken after restoration
The first land grants were made in the Hawkesbury area to 22 emancipists in response to the need for additional agricultural land. By the end of 1794, over 100 grants were made in the region between present-day Windsor and Pitt Town. A government store, soldiers' barracks, granary, and government cottage were established at Green Hills (later known as Windsor) to service the settlement.
A road was established between the Green Hills/Hawkesbury area and the older settlement at Parramatta. The road amounted to a track, suitable for travel by horseback or foot. The road traversed the Government Domain at Parramatta and approached the Government Farm at Toongabbie.
Governor Hunter ordered landholders to undertake road improvements along the Hawkesbury Road, including widening the road to 20 feet. (This is the date for the creation of the Windsor Road as a carriageway.)
A bridge was constructed at a new South Creek crossing of the Windsor Road, financed by tolls, and replacing the previous punt crossing further east. The current road alignment at South Creek dates from this time. The earlier road alignment, leading to the punt crossing, is reflected in the alignment of the present day Hawkesbury Road.
Convicts from the government farm at Castle Hill revolted and were confronted by military forces near Rouse Hill. The battle came to be known as the Battle of Vinegar Hill after a 1798 uprising in Ireland against British rule. The soldiers were able to apprehend the rebels by quickly travelling via the Old Windsor Road, which was the key to the containment of the rebellion.
Surveyor James Meehan surveyed an alignment between Parramatta and Kellyville which became the basis for the (New) Windsor Road in 1813. A committee was formed to collect funds for the upkeep of the colony�s two main roads: Sydney to Parramatta, and Parramatta to Windsor.
Surveyor Grimes' map of 1806 shows the road from Parramatta to Green Hills (the Old Windsor Road) and from Prospect to the Cowpastures.
Governor Macquarie described the Windsor Road as "scarcely intitled [sic] to that name...in so bad a state of repair as to be scarcely passable." Later in the year, Macquarie established five towns along the river: Windsor, Richmond, Pitt Town, Wilberforce, and Castlereagh. A contractor, James Harrex, was engaged to build a new turnpike road between Parramatta and Kellyville, following Meehan's 1805 alignment via Castle Hill. This new alignment would avoid the hilly section (referred to by Governor King in 1803 as "the Seven Hills") of the original (Old) Windsor Road. The new alignment also enabled a more direct route to the Hawkesbury from Sydney. Most importantly, the new route avoided the newly-proclaimed Domain at Government House, Parramatta, and was part of Governor Macquarie's extensive plan for the improvement of Government House and its landscape setting.
Upon the failure of James Harrex to complete the new road works, John Howe took over and completed the contract, which included the construction of 70 bridges. The new road was 32 feet wide and alignment stones marked the carriageway.
Governor Macquarie introduced a toll system on the Windsor Road with toll gates north of Parramatta and south of Rouse Hill.
Land granted to Richard Rouse who built Rouse Hill House and moved in between 1818 and 1825. Rouse also constructed a toll house opposite.
A regular passenger coach service between Parramatta and Windsor commenced; however, the poor condition of the road caused the coach service to be suspended in the late 1820s. Complaints about the poor condition of the Windsor Road continued in the following decades. By the 1830s, passenger and mail coach services were established. 1826-1832 Governor Ralph Darling held an ambition for the colony�s roads to be developed along the concept of the English system of "great roads."
Newspaper report on "an outbreak of bushranging on the road between Sydney and Windsor. Several vehicles have been stopped and the passengers stripped of all valuables." Escaped convict, 'Bold' Jack Donohoe, described in 1830 as "the most notorious of the bushrangers currently operating in New South Wales," got his start robbing bullock drays on the Windsor Road. Donohoe is remembered as the last of the convict bushrangers and the first of the bushrangers to be romanticised in bush ballads.
Windsor Road was proclaimed as a Main Road under 4 Wm IV No 11, gazetted 11 September 1833, to be maintained at public expense.11 The Old Windsor Road was declared a Parish Road. 1835 A toll house, the second on the site, was constructed at the South Creek crossing near Windsor.
The deteriorated condition of the Old Windsor Road rendered it "impassable" in sections, and the options of either repairing and re-opening the Old Windsor Road or creating a new road alignment were debated. The alignment stones along the Old Windsor Road may date from this period.
The No. 12 Road Gang, a convict gang, was assigned to maintain the Windsor Road, however lack of men and ineptitude of the overseer compromised were complained of in correspondence by the Roads Branch of the Surveyor General's Department.
The Windsor Road Trust was formed to oversee maintenance of the Windsor Road. Convict labour carried out maintenance in the previous two decades to the establishment of the Windsor Road Trust.14 Responsibility for the road between Vinegar Hill and Windsor was charged to the Windsor Road Trust, while from Vinegar Hill to Parramatta, responsibility for maintenance of the road was under the Parramatta Road Trust.
Fitzroy Bridge constructed across South Creek at Windsor, replacing the earlier Howe's Bridge.
Steam railway extended from Penrith to Richmond via Windsor.
Factors including the 1867 flood of the Hawkesbury River, the opening of land west of the Blue Mountains brought about by the railway in 1869, and the onset of the rust disease which affected the area's wheat crops combined to bring about the end of the Hawkesbury's role as Sydney's 'breadbasket.' Maize and vegetable crops replaced wheat farming, and in the 1880s, farmers in the Hawkesbury Valley turned to orcharding.
Surveyor Mackenzie surveyed the Old Windsor Road for the Surveyor General.
Dairying and poultry farming industries took hold in the Hawkesbury Valley. Orcharding continued to take place along the roads in areas such as Baulkham Hills area.
The Department of Public Works used water-based macadam in reconstructing the Windsor Road near Rouse Hill. A bitumen coating was laid down in 1925-6, and renewed in 1928-9. Water-based macadam was an improved road surface treatment necessitated by the rapid rise of the motor vehicle.
Windsor Road, together with Bells Line of Road and the Darling Causeway was announced as Main Road 184 on 22 May.
Cutting and filling of the Old Windsor and Windsor Roads was reportedly undertaken by the United States military to prepare evacuation routes should a Japanese invasion take place in Sydney.
Shoulders of the Windsor Road were widened to 22 feet to provide for anticipated traffic.
High-level bridges constructed by the Department of Main Roads over Pye's Crossing and Johnston's Bridge. The last unmade section of Old Windsor Road was surfaced by Blacktown and Baulkham Hills Councils
Written Clive Lucas Stapleton 2005 Windsor and Old Windsor Roads Conservation Management Plan.
*Historical Significance The alignment (route) of the original Hawkesbury Road (now Old Windsor Road, and part of the Windsor Road) is of historic significance as the second road alignment to be established in the colony of NSW. The alignment influenced human activity in the region from its establishment in 1794, related to the earliest phase of expansion of settlement beyond Sydney and Parramatta. The alignment defined aspects of the settlement pattern (such as the laying out of grants and the consolidation of services at Green Hills) and provided the region's primary overland transport route, vital to the settlement of the north-western Cumberland plain. The re-alignment of the Windsor Road in 1812-1813 (after the foundation of the Macquarie Towns in 1810) is historically significant as a component of Governor Macquarie's vision for the orderly settlement of the colony, particularly for the Hawkesbury region and the Governor's Domain at Parramatta. The new alignment's avoidance of the hilly section of the original route provides evidence for the presence and naming of the 'Seven Hills' now known as the Hills District. The Windsor Road is part of the first turnpike system in the colony. The decline in status of the Windsor and Old Windsor Roads post-1850 reflects the corresponding decline in the Hawkesbury region's importance as Sydney's breadbasket.
Son of James Joseph EATHER 1829-1906 and Bridget Harriet Honan 1833-1886.
James was 21 when the provisional school was opened on the Bellinger and the total length of his formal education was twelve months.
He married Millicent Sarah BATH (1867-1960) at Walcha,New South Wales in 1885. Producing 11 children.
Millicent was the daughter of Thomas Hull BATH (1836-1890) from Wiltshire, England and Rebecca TURNER (1839-1887)from Berkshire, England.
James cut cedar in the Dorrigo mountains for several years, and taught himself to read and write. He joined the police force as a mounted trooper when they started recruiting 'colonials'. He rose to the rank of Inspector and was a recognised court interpreter for the aborigines in New South Wales. He patrolled with constable Walker who captured Thunderbolt, and was with him when Walker captured the Inverell 'Hairy man'