Thomas Eather 1800-1886
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 Eather 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