Pioneer Memorial Service Citations

Pioneer Memorial Service Citations

East Perth Cemeteries Records

Royal Western Australian Historical Society’s

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service 1960s

  • Citation by Senator Malcolm Scott, Minister for Customs and Excise 1968

    on Sunday 2 June 1968 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Citation by Senator Malcolm Scott, Minister for Customs and Excise

    It was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, and the Western Australian Council of Churches to speak today at the Annual Pioneers Memorial Service.

    This is the first time I have had the opportunity of attending the Service, although I have, of course, been aware of the tremendous efforts made by the Society to record and commemorate the people who are part of our State’s history.

    I am greatly impressed by the beautiful setting of today’s service. This cemetery is itself almost a book of history of Western Australia; the authorities are to be congratulated on the way the lawns and headstones are cared for and preserved.

    When this cemetery was first laid out the site was far from the bustle of the two lusty infants – Fremantle and Perth. I doubt that our forebears ever imagined that the city would encroach upon, this area set aside for burials.

    Yet I think the early settlers would be proud to know the result of this dedicated work lies around us today. I am reminded of the inscription on Sir Christopher Wren’s tomb in St. Paul’s Cathedral – “If you would see his monument, look around”. How well we can adapt that epitaph for our pioneer ancestors – not only in Western Australia, but across our entire nation.

    “If you would seek their monument, look around”. No pioneer could wish for a better monument than the developing, thriving State of Western Australia. Minerals, oil, wheat and other primary products pour forth from this State to bring prosperity to its people. A space tracking station and satellite communication station have been established on our northern coast.

    The tracking station is playing a major role in the fantastic project to put men on the moon and to return them safely. A major defence establishment has been built on our North Cape. The State is surging forward at an incredible pace.

    Water has been harnessed to bring fertility to areas like the Kimberley’s and crops are now grown which would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. A network of roads has been laid down to carry produce to the ports and markets. Even today new railways are being laid to bring the mountains of metal ore to the ships which will take them to overseas buyers. Jet aircraft have reduced vast distances to a matter of hours and the State is served by a comprehensive series of air services.

    Western Australia is thriving not only in its industry, mining, primary production and communications, but also in education and culture. The University is one of the foremost in Australia and our cultural festivals are the envy of other States. Our population is enriched each year by a steady flow of migrants who settle easily in the West to enjoy our free, democratic and pleasant way of life.

    The Pioneers who founded this State, and who worked so valiantly to make sure that the foundations were firm, came from every walk of life. They were explorers, prospectors, farmers, teachers, lawyers, churchmen, simple labourers, and administrators.

    Many of them were buried in this cemetery. From 1830 to 1890about 10,000 men and women were brought here – and sometimes, as we are pathetically reminded by the headstones, their young children. The first burials to be recorded was that of John Mitchell, aged 22 soldier of the 63rd Regiment.

    I thought this was particularly interesting, because I discovered that it was men of the 63rd Regiment who built the first church in the settlement of Perth. John Mitchell doubtless worked on that church. In doing so he would have been working for another pioneer buried here – John Burdett Wittenoom, first Colonial Chaplain in Western Australia. His story exemplifies the single-minded efforts of these early pioneers.

    Wittenoom was a widower. He arrived in Fremantle in 1830 at the age of 41 with his mother, four sons and a sister. For six years, single-handed, he ministered to a scattered parish, which included settlements at Perth, Fremantle, Guildford, Canning and Albany. His stipend was £250 a year with an extra 2/6d for his horses’ keep. In 1838 he supervised a school in Perth. He was a member of the first Education Committee convened in Perth in 1847 and he was chairman of the committee for a number of years He was a leader in social and cultural matters. He was the Secretary of the Children’s Friendly Society and the Juvenile Immigration Society.

    His grandson, Sir Edward Wittenoom, gave his name to the famous Gorge.

    This man, John Wittenoom, is typical of our pioneers: dedicated, selfless, and determined. It is fitting that he should take his place among the pioneers who lie around us today and that a plaque to his memory should be placed – as it was, in 1857, two years after his death – in St. George’s Cathedral, Perth.

    There are many others who are interred in the East Perth Cemeteries and to whom homage is due.

    For example, John Septimus Roe, first Surveyor-General of Western Australia, who arrived at the mouth of the Swan River in the “Parmelia” with Captain James Stirling in 1829. It was he who recommended the sites for Fremantle and Perth. A patient and thorough explorer, he discovered coal on the Fitzgerald River and in the mouth of the Phillips; he was largely responsible for the setting aside of King’s Park as a permanent reserve. Since 1955, his logbook, diaries and letters have formed a fascinating part of the Perth Library Collection. He was buried in this cemetery, in 1878.

    Sir Andrew Clarke, a fine soldier and administrator, the only Governor of Western Australia to die in office, lies buried here; so does George Leake, and his brother Sir Luke Leake, who were lawyers and administrators; also Sir Archibald Burt, the Colony’s first Chief Justice, whose daughter married George Leake’s son George, Premier of W.A. in 1901.

    There are many others, both famous and humble, who not only gave their working lives to the State, but who also established great families and traditions to carry on their work and their aspirations. I am pleased that descendants of our pioneers are present at this service.

    Today we celebrate the 139th anniversary of the foundation of Western Australia; we gather here to remember the old pioneers of the State. I should like to couple with this remembrance a tribute to the modern pioneers – the geologists, the scientists, the engineers, the economists and the managers, who, in their own fields are the 20th century pioneers of Western Australia.

    What the next 139 years hold for us no one can tell; but I believe that we shall continue to see miracles of development and progress. I believe, too, that our successors will have cause to be as proud of today’s pioneers, of today’s West Australians, as we are of those of a century ago.

    As a people, Australians have never been slavish to the past. We have made it a virtue to be of the present, to avoid sentimental reminders of what has gone before. As a result, for many years, documents and records were tossed aside as of no account and it is often exceedingly difficult to piece together our detailed history. We have always known the broad grand story of Australia and her development, but the day-to-day details of people’s lives, of their hopes, their worries and their domestic problems, have been largely lost because of the attitude that only today matters.

    This is a great pity. I believe that if we had followed the magpie instinct of the Europeans we should have a far more engrossing story to tell of our past. The hoarded records of our ancestors would have made for rich and rewarding study.

    As it is, we have much for which to thank the various State historical societies. The Royal West Australian Historical Society does wonderful work in patiently researching our history and piecing together those social and domestic patterns which go to make up a nation.

    It is thanks to the Society, and to the Council of Churches, that we gather together here once every year to honour our pioneers.

    But it is a small thing to devote but a part of one Sunday afternoon a year to remembering the past. As you leave today, I ask you always to give a thought for the pioneers – as you drive home through the city’s attractive suburbs, as you go to work each day and as you travel about the State on holiday or on business.

    Remember as you go that it was the pioneers we commemorate today who blazed the trail and made all this possible for us.

    We can look around now, and see the monuments to the pioneers of long ago – not just the graves and the headstone, for these are but symbols. What we see are our cities and industries, and the peaceful bustle and beauty of our modern State which is building so excitingly on the foundations laid by those who went before.

  • Citation by Christopher Adam, Scotch College 1969

    on Sunday 1 June 1969 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Citation by Christopher Adam, Scotch College

    People go ‘into “cemeteries for a variety of reasons. Some, of course have little choice. But of those who walk-in, I suppose the largest group come to pay their respects to the dead. They notice little about a cemetery except the particular grave in which a friend or relative is buried.

    People who are interested in history are more likely to look at a large number of gravestones and to read the inscriptions carefully; and thoughtfully I am sure you have done exactly that in this unique cemetery.

    I should like this afternoon to ask you to look at a few other features of this cemetery. Indeed I shall suggest to you that it is quite fascinating for anyone who is interested in history to leave aside the inscriptions and to concentrate their attention first on the location of the graves, the materials used to construct the tombs and headstones, and the style and decoration of the gravestones.

    If we examine the graveyard we can discover some interesting facts from the position of the graves. The oldest tombs before 1860 are situated on the west side of the present church; All the old graves are here. Was this a prestigious position in which to be buried in the Swan River Colony? Or was it merely an unwooded area of ground?

    Originally, when Town Lot R1 was given over to the cemetery, neatly surveyed paths criss-crossed the total site. With the uneven pattern of growth these paths became blocked by graves. This feature can be seen in many English churchyards, as well. Why did it occur? Did the authorities simply open up new areas anywhere, or was it because families and relatives wished to be buried together?

    The number of graves in the various religious groups is one of’ the interesting sidelights on life in Perth in Victorian times. No one would be surprised to find twice as many Anglican graves as those of any other denomination; the colony was clearly very British.

    But the names on many of the Roman Catholic headstones show that difficult times in Ireland forced hundreds of Irish people to emigrate to Western Australia. I am sure you will have noticed also the Jewish graves with their distinctive symbols and wording. A few Japanese headstones remain standing, a tribute to Asians who died far from their homeland, and were buried in alien soil.

    I can find only two aborigine graves in this cemetery; I suppose it is understandable that most of the native people preferred to be buried in their own way and in their own burial grounds.

    It is somehow rather sad, that the different religious and racial groups thought it necessary to keep their graves in separate sections of the cemetery; that pioneers who stood shoulder to shoulder in life facing such tremendous difficulties should find it necessary to be separated in death. One of Man’s oldest building materials is stone. Our early settlers constructed an enormous number of buildings from it, and also made graveyard memorials from it, The early settlers of the 1830s in Perth were able to find only sandstone and some slate for their gravestones, These rocks lay along the coastal plain,, All the older gravestones, then, are made from either the powdery, easily destroyed sandstone, or the slate which tends to split with age.

    Later, after 1860 when the colonials were pushing into the heart of our State, new stone forms – red granite, quartzite, feldspar – were used for headstones. These were harder? Longer-lasting.

    So we can see, merely from the type of stone of a grave, how old the grave is, and, by reference to geological maps, how far the colony had expanded, It is also worthwhile noticing that transportation of heavy stone from the inland only occurred after a substantial road had been built, and so new stone forms generally reached the cemetery about four or five years after initial exploration.

    Already we have made some accurate guesses about the size, type and religion of early Perth and the extent of exploration and good transport communication in Western Australia, merely by a glance at the layout of the tombs and their construction, without studying their inscriptions.

    From the style of gravestone, we can trace the effect of Victorian England on her colonies. The early stories cure simple rectangular oblongs with hemispherical tops. The later graves, after 1860 are more elaborate: they possess fence railings and occasionally “foot-stones”. Then, after 1875 the full tide of Victorian English grandeur washed over Perth, and the tombs are incredibly varied in design and ornamentation, with pillars and caskets, and intricately carved pall clothes and urns.

    The multiplication of such graves reflected the colony’s growing sophistication: one British visitor in 1880 said:

    “The condition of society in the whole of Western Australia was decidedly agreeable and bespoke a greater refinement than is usually to be found in new countries.”

    In keeping with the flourish of design in gravestones, ornaments on graves bloomed, after about 1875. Previously few carvings had enhanced the plain, stone, low artistic fervour reached a peak.

    An enormous confusion of artistic expression flowered in the cemetery. Most were a standard form copied from England -clasped hands, the broken chain, the snapped flower, garlands, birds, and, of course, crosses in all the varied heraldic patterns.

    Three graves are of particular interest because of their ornaments: they bear coats of arms. The study of these reveals a very great amount, both about Perth sophistication and the actual families concerned. The Commander-in-Chief of “Western Australia and all its dependencies”, Lt. Col. Andrew Clarke, Mr Edward Hamersley and Mrs Eliza Barrett-Lennard have escutcheons engraved upon their tombs.

    The study of heraldry is complex and difficult: it has a language of its own with lions couchant, beacute, flaunches or, cross-crosslet fitchees and a hundred other terms. But its value is clear when applied to gravestones such as these. It can tell us a great deal about the proud and ancient families whose members found a last resting place in this historic cemetery.

    I mention heraldry as one of the historical tools which could be applied more often to research in Western Australian history. It is perhaps surprising that one can find no truly Western Australian symbols on the tombstones in this cemetery. I found no black swans and no kangaroo paws. Perhaps those who carved these stones were afraid of provoking a storm of protest like that which greeted the announcement of the State coat-of-arms. They preferred to use less provocative designs!

    May I draw attention to the fact that we have learned a great deal from this cemetery and have not read a single word on the gravestones.

    What is the overall impression which anyone receives who makes an intensive study of this cemetery? It is surely one of deep admiration for the strength and courage of the early settlers in this State.

    Their trials and tribulations are writ large here: droughts, floods, fires, epidemics took their toll of the tiny band who were so far from their homeland.

    And yet they stayed. The temptation must have been strong to climb on board the next ship that arrived and leave this barren sandy soil forever. But they stayed; they rebuilt houses lost in floods or fires. They replanted crops destroyed by drought or disease. They brought up their families under incredibly difficult conditions. They taught their sons and daughters to share their strength and their faith. This cemetery, with its crumbling monuments to people now dead for a hundred years shows clearly the belief of our early settlers that they were under God’s protection and that their faith in Him would ultimately enable them to build a great city.

    Look around you, their faith was justified: they have built a great city. If we can share their strength, their courage, their faith, we shall develop a way of life, a quality of life, worthy of those who are buried here

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service 1970s

  • Commemorating John Septimus Roe 1976

    on Sunday 6 June 1976 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating John Septimus Roe

    Citation by Mr A E Williams, B.A, B. Ed, M.A.C.E., Th.A,

    President of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society

    It is an honour and privilege to deliver this eulogy of John Septimus Roe in the presence today of so many of his descendants, relatives, well-wishers and members of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society.

    Roe was born on May 8th, 1797, just over 179 years ago. His birthplace was The Priory, Sandleford (note the spelling), at Newbury, Berks, England. His father was the local rector, and also the incumbent of Dorchester, Oxon. John Septimus, as the name implies, was his seventh son.

    He was sent to Christ’s Hospital, London, a school where such famous men as Leigh Hunt, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Lamb were also educated. From the beginning he showed a strong aptitude for mathematics. He was an outstanding scholar, studying trigonometry, geometry, arithmetic, chronology and geography with equal zeal and facility. The discipline was harsh; there is no doubt, however, in the wide world, that he possessed a high 10. Copies of his books still exist for our inspection; they show a depth of painstaking talent with draughtsmanship and calligraphy well above the average. At the age of 15 he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman.

    From midshipman to lieutenant was natural progression. He saw service first in H.M.S. Rippon. Then he transferred to H.M.S. Horatio. He was only twenty when he joined Captain Phillip Parker King on his long and arduous survey of the Australian coastline. His ship, the Mermaid, was a mere 85 tons. The Bathurst, to which King transferred after the first year, was 170 tons. Ships like these were to be Roe’s home for many years. Yes, they were tough men in those days!

    In H.M.S. Tamar (1823-28) he surveyed waters to the north of Australia. He charted the Gulf of Aden, the coast of Somaliland (Africa); Malaya, the Philippines, Macao (China). His nautical work brought him many encomiums from those in authority. His cartography was of a high order.

    Several times, in these adventurous, formative and maturing years he narrowly escaped death. He was attacked by Aborigines; once he nearly drowned while swimming in the Kalgan River at Oyster Harbour, King George’s Sound; on another occasion he fell 50 feet to the deck and was knocked unconscious – it was a miracle he survived that fall; he was nearly drowned when his small boat was capsized in a squall on Sydney Harbour…But Fate had obviously singled him out for higher duties elsewhere.

    He returned to England to assume work at the Hydrographer’s Office at the British Admiralty in London. He was 30 years old. Then, within twenty months, he accepted the appointment of Surveyor-General in the new Swan River Colony to be begun by the British Government on the west coast of New Holland.

    It is interesting to recall here that he was given this appointment three weeks before Stirling gained his as Lieutenant-Governor. The two men – Stirling was 33 – were about the same age. Quickly they established a warm rapport.

    Roe joined the good ship “Parmelia” at Spithead with his newly-married wife – the former Miss Matilda Bennett. No doubt you have heard of Bennett Street and Matilda Bay.

    Through all the vicissitudes and the hard survival pioneering years Roe stood firm by Stirling’s side. He was his right-hand man, a really tremendous 2 I/C. Stirling was to leave after six years. But Roe was to remain for the rest of his life to devote all his time and talents to a new land.
    He was the man who made the plans and surveyed the sites of our original Perth and Fremantle. He named the first streets. He was present when Mrs Helena Dance cut down her famous tree on 12th August, 1829. He was present at the opening of the Perth Town Hall in 1871. He set aside the reserves for our Government House; for our Government Gardens. And among others, Kings Park, on Mt. Eliza, a wonderful heritage. Roe reserved this as Perth Park; John Forrest later only legislated for its keeping in perpetuity. He surveyed all the locations taken up around the Swan and the Canning, and even farther out, Toodyay (Newcastle), York and the Dale. He mapped Cockburn Sound and Gage Roads; he set out sailing directions for our South-West coast and north to the Abrolhos; he sited Rottnest’s lighthouse; he began Perth’s first footpaths and arranged for its first Causeway. He drained Stone’s Lake (which is now the Perth Oval) into Claisebrook. In 1835 he went down into the King George Sound area, and indicated the future line of the Perth-Albany Highway. He explored along the coast to discover Peel Inlet and delineate the lakes along the coast. In 1848-9 he led an important expedition south and west to eventually traverse the Phillip River area and east beyond Esperance. This was a journey of 149 days which covered more than 1800 miles. In 1 &39 he led the relief expedition to succour Grey’s party southing from Gantheaume Bay.

    Yes, he was an explorer of credit and renown in his own right. The Gregory’s; Alexander and John Forrest were all inspired by his examp1e.

    For 42 years he was a pillar on which much of the administration of the Colony rested. He had been in the Royal Navy for 15i years; he was our Surveyor-General for 28. He was a member of our first Legislative Council. In 1864 he was promoted to the rank of Commander (Retd). Richly he deserved a knighthood. But Western Australia in those days was a far-off forgotten land.

    He was the Foundation President of the Swan Mechanics Institute; later Perth Literary Institute and State Library. He was a founder of the Perth Museum. His own collection was its first.
    His property at Sandalford still remains the only property on the Swan with which its original owners are connected. Rightly so, perhaps, because it was John Septimus who was the keenest horticulturist in the whole Colony. He had a scientific bent and much versatility. His character was unimpeachable; his conduct exceptional.

    Truly we can say:

    He was a great benefactor to the Colony;
    He was a great benefactor to Western Australia;
    He was a great benefactor to Australia;
    He was a great benefactor to Mankind.

    As he himself said: “I have not been idle in my generation.”

    His death occurred on May 28th, 1878, and his public funeral, with full military honours, was the most impressive ever seen to that time around the Swan River.

    Roe once had hopes of Perth becoming a great city on the Swan. They were not realised in his life-time. But what of today or the future? We can look back on his aspirations now with both pleasure and pride.

    His fame and recognition have been unduly delayed. Roebourne in the north; a Roe Range in the south; a Roe Parliamentary district and a fine memorial erected by the RWAHS in Kings Park. Little enough, surely there should be more.

    But perhaps, after all, he doesn’t need them. Here on ground which he himself sited, it is fitting we should pay tribute to him in our own words and also tribute in the words of that Good Book which was seldom far from his side, on the sea or on the land; at home or while on service. These were some of his favourite verses:

    Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
    For the Lord is a great God; and a great King above all gods.
    In His hand are all the corners of the earth; and the strength of the hills is His also.
    The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands prepared the dry land.
    O come let us worship and fall down; and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
    For He is the Lord our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
    The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting: His truth endureth through all generations

  • Commemorating John Burdett Wittenoom and the Wittenoom Family 1977

    on Sunday 5 June 1976 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating John Burdett Wittenoom and the Wittenoom Family

    Citation by Mr A E Williams, B.A, B. Ed, M.A.C.E., Th.A,

    Of Dutch origin the Wittenoom family reached England during the time of William of Orange and Mary – the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

    John Burdett came to the Swan River in the “Wanstead” of 365 tons in early 1830. With him arrived his mother; his sister Eliza Burdett, and five motherless sons – Edward, John, Henry, Frederick and Charles. John was then only 41; in the prime of life. He was a former graduate of Brasenose College, Oxford; a former Southampton parish rector; a University lecturer; a Headmaster of 15 years standing. Such were the academic achievement of this new colonist. As Colonial Chaplain he earned a mere 250 Pounds a year. Because, he said of his long hours of work and travelling, Governor James Stirling soon increased this to 350 Pounds. He also awarded him the princely garage allowance of 2/6 a week for his long-suffering horse.

    Wittenoom was only off the boat at Fremantle for 14- days before he set about building Perth’s first church. He cited it,’ appropriately enough on a later University campus, the corner of Irwin and Howick (later Hay) Streets. It was built out of rushes: soldiers of the 63rd Regiment helped in its erection. For seven years it was Perth’s only Anglican building. On weekdays it was used as a School.

    Wittenoom visited his scattered parishioners at Fremantle, Perth and Guildford as often as possible.

    In 1835 and 1842 he worshipped with them at Albany. His journeys here took him several weeks through virgin bush. He steered by the stars and compass and saw only an occasional homestead on Captain Bannister’s old track.

    In 1837 the “rush-church” was sold to the Fremantle Whaling Company, and reerected as living quarters on Carnac Island. So he continued his pastoral and educational work in a new Court House, which still stands in the Treasury Gardens. His school curriculum included Latin and Greek, much moral education and considerable divinity. Such was the best educational thought in the Colony at the time.

    In 1839 he married again to a Miss Mary Watson Helms; and this happy union produced three more children.

    Wittenoom had earlier taken up 5000 acres of land inland on the Avon. This property at Gwambygine near York, eventually became 9000 acres; one of the best and well-known properties in the Colony.

    He lived in Perth in a two-storied house (he brought the frame out from England) on the present site of the Weld Club in Barrack Street. His dwelling was roofed with slate; people referred to it as “the best house in town”. Bricks for it were made and burnt on the actual block. The Wittenoom sons and daughters acted as labourers for this building. John wheeled the bricks along with the rest. Close by his house towards the present Esplanade he planted 12 mulberry trees which grew and flourished. Naturally Perth’s “heathens” soon referred to them as the Twelve Apostles.

    A tablet commemorating John Burdett Wittenoom’s life and work can be found – I hope you see it this afternoon – in our present St. George’s Cathedral, Perth. It came from the old Cathedral of 1845 and was transferred to the present one in 1880. It bears this inscription:

    The Rev. John Burdett Wittenoom, M.A., who for a quarter of a century discharged the sacred duties of Chaplain to this Territory, and officiated as Minister to this Church from its erection to his decease, and under whose Ministry, amidst the struggles and privations of an infant Colony, a scion of the Church of England was planted in the wilderness.

    This tablet has been erected by members of the flock of which he was so long the respected pastor.

    Died 23rd January, 1855

    Aged 66 years

    400 people, a great gathering for 1855, attended his funeral on a hot summer’s day here. Shops all closed in Perth. Wittenoom was universally respected and mourned.

    Scholarly, eloquent, active, conscientious, faithful and true he showed intestinal stamina and steady courage. He was a living exponent of what I like to call “muscular Christianity “.

    And yet, Ladies and Gentlemen, in paying due tribute to him today, let us also pay due tribute also to the Wittenoom family, who, like their founding Swan River father, have served this State faithfully in innumerable ways over many days. I cite two more Wittenooms now only -because of time – and only because I know many of you listening to me now will remember them – first, Sir Edward Wittenoom, pioneer grazier and pastoralist, the State’s Agent-General in London, erstwhile Acting-Premier; second, Mr. Frederick Home Wittenoom, the Mayor of Albany for 16 years. The Wittenoom grazing and fanning and business interests, and their happy association with the Lefroy family – another great family of our State’s pioneers are written in the records for all to read, and names like Yuin, Murgoo, Boolardy and Cranmore Park – historic names I mention now at random, will, no doubt remind many here of ” far-off times and battles long ago”.
    So with thanksgiving let us remember the Wittenooms – in final words which John said during his last long lingering illness.

    “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to Thy Word”
    and again
    ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you.
    and also in the
    Jubilate Deo, his favourite psalm :
    “O be joyful in the Lord: all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness and come before His presence with a song.
    Be ye sure that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
    O go your way into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and speak good of His name.
    For the Lord is gracious: his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth from generation to generation”.

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service 1980s

  • Citation by Honorable Ron Davies 1983

    on Sunday 12  June 1983 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Citation by Honorable Ron Davies

    First of all, I must apologise for the Premier this afternoon. He regrets very much that prior commitments prevent him from being with you but he does send along his best wishes and also has asked me to express his appreciation for the job the Historical Society does in continuing to honour our pioneers in this way.

    I, nevertheless, am delighted to be with you and honoured to have the opportunity of presenting a short address.

    When I was much younger, I imagine that if someone had asked me to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in a Cemetery, I would have heaped scorn upon them, but I suppose our attitudes change with age. Consciously or unconsciously we recognise we are going to have an appointment with a Cemetery and that it’s probably best to get on at least friendly terms.

    This, however, is a special occasion. I have been fortunate enough to travel overseas on quite a few occasions and have often been in awe of the places visited. The younger I was the more impressed it seems I was.

    In many countries in some towns, museums, buildings, paintings, even roads, mountains and the like, often had a special attraction and I was probably in awe of them, because it had been drilled into us at school that these were places to wonder at; these were places often associated with history, or with people we should respect and revere. I was ‘reacting to some sense of history.
    Apparently there was nothing in our own country that we should so honour. It always seemed that things falling into this category were overseas. On reflection, it is probable that our education was lacking in regard to local content in my school days.

    It is true we were taught the brief history of our founding, something of people such as Stirling, Roe, and Forrest and one or two others, but because our State was young, perhaps we were expected to know its history without having to be taught.

    There were still people around directly associated with some of the early settlers and many who could speak with authority of the latter part of the 1800s.

    Foundation Day was just another holiday, as I recall it, acknowledged only by a flag raising ceremony at Fremantle. But we ignore history to our peril.

    Thankfully, some modern-day pioneers have done something to awaken awareness of national and State pride.

    Progress has been slow but it has been sure.

    Our 150th celebrations did a great deal in this regard. Generally, we are now more conscious of what there is to interest, respect, even revere, right here in this State.

    Moving around the city, there are many things that jog our memory. We have been made conscious of our history.

    There is Captain Stirling’s statue, if we walk down Barrack Street, and plaques marking such historic events as Mrs Dance’s official attack on the environment, another commemorating the first Methodist Church service, and indeed many others, thanks to the Historical Society.

    I like visitors to ask me why and what is the Barracks Arch and I like to explain something of its history. Even in the building where my own office is located, the Old Treasury Buildings, I thoroughly enjoy, the environment and sometimes,, leaving the building late at night, half expect to see some old ghosts wandering down the corridors. I appreciate talks from time to time with the Executive Officers of the National Trust. I enjoy talking with the people from the W.A. Historical Society. I feel lucky, therefore, that I can relate so easily to the things around us which are part of our heritage, but I find a real kinship with our history when I make a visit to this Cemetery. That’s why, for myself, I mark this ceremony a very special occasion.

    Not only does this graveyard mark the last resting place of many of our well known and famous pioneers, but it’s also the last resting place of many ordinary people, ordinary pioneers.

    To have merely lived in this State in the early days would have warranted respect and recognition and who amongst us would not fail to acknowledge the remarkable qualities which our pioneers possessed; the remarkable vision; the remarkable spirit, dedication and energy reflecting, I believe, a faith which, as referred to in the New Testament reading this afternoon, was a substance of things hopeful, the evidence of things not seen.

    I said earlier we ignore history to our peril. We do indeed G.K. Chesterton said some 50 years ago: “The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or a high point of vantage from which alone men can see the towns in which they live or the age in which they are living”.

    Much later, Adlai Stevenson said, in 1952: “We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present”. And when we look at the past and when we survey the present, we realise that the remarkable qualities shown by our pioneers are the very qualities equally needed in our lives today, so it’s good and proper that we should be reminded of our history by celebrations such as todays.

    While it is a matter for some regret that it has taken so long for local history to come to the fore, and for events such as W.A. Week to take on some meaning, we can be grateful that some people have been dedicated in their endeavours to promote State pride through its history.

    If I could draw on another quotation, Thoreau said a century or more ago: “Wherever men have lived, there is a story to be told and it depends chiefly on the story teller or historian whether that is interesting or not”.

    And it’s to these latter-day pioneers who have made the story, — the history,—interesting that I would like to include today’s tribute.

    These are the past and present members of the Western Australian Historical Society. This embraces a great band who have been diligent and dedicated in researching and recording our past; lobbying and prodding Members of Parliament; causing community leaders to think about our heritage; educating people; liaising with kindred organisations to bring people with a common cause together; printing and publishing books and papers; arranging displays; recording old history, and so on, and so on, and so on.

    All of this is done by a band of dedicated people in practically a completely voluntary effort to ensure our history, be it good or bad, does not pass into obscurity.

    Founded in 1926 initially to commence thinking about the 1929 Centenary Celebrations, the Society has enjoyed the support and assistance of many distinguished people. Many scholars have contributed to the Society’s records. The volumes of early days are, to me, a great pleasure to read and I am sure Thoreau would class the authors of the various articles as story tellers or historians with a flair for an interesting tale.

    I take this opportunity to extend the thanks and sincere appreciation of the Government to the Society for the work that it has done and is continuing to do so very well and i would like, also, to add my personal thanks, particularly for organising this ceremony today as it has every year since 1954 to honour our pioneers.

    I hope that for you, as for me, the ceremony enables you to experience a special link at this time with those pioneers, the people who built this State, be they famous or ordinary, whose lives, deeds, and example will show us the way to a great future

  • Commemorating Louis Hyam Seeligson 1987

    on Sunday 7 June 1987 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Louis Hyam Seeligson

    Citation by Louise Hoffman

    The pioneer grave to be honoured is that of the infant son of Louis and Lily Seeligson, Louis Hyam Seeligson, who passed away on 1st September 1896.

    He is buried in that small portion of the East Perth Cemetery which was set aside as a Jewish burial ground in 1867. The grant of land was made on the application of Abraham Rosenberg, Isaac Harris and Henry Seeligson. This was the first evidence of any organized Jewish activity in Western Australia despite the presence of some Jewish settlers from the earliest days of the Colony.

    The Western Australian Census figures indicate very few Jews in the first fifty years of settlement.

    In 1859 the presence of 72 Jews, Mahometans and Infidels was recorded. In 1870, including 4 who were held in convict prisons and outstations, a total of 57 Jews was counted. By 1891 there were 129 Jews of whom 82 were male and 47 female. In 1901 the Jewish population of Western Australia had grown to 1259.

    In 1887 a Hebrew Congregation was formed at Fremantle followed by the formation of the Perth Hebrew Congregation in 1892. Congregations were established in the last decade of the 19 century at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. In 1896 the Perth Hebrew Congregation commenced; the building of a Synagogue in Brisbane Street, Perth. It was consecrated on its completion in the following year by Rabbi D.I.; Freedman who was its first Minister.

    The establishment and practice of Judaism in Western Australia owes; much to the efforts of a small group of pioneer Jewish families dedicated to the task of founding a community wherein they could provide all the facilities and services needed to maintain their Jewish religion.

    The Seeligsons were one of those families and the name Seeligson is still closely associated with the Western Australian Jewish Community which benefits from their initiative and generosity. Phineas Seeligson, elder brother of Louis, and uncle to Louis Hyam, bequeathed the greater part of his Estate to the Trusteeship of the Perth Hebrew. Congregation for the purpose of helping to meet the spiritual, educational and philanthropic needs of the Jewish Community.

    When Louis Hyam Seeligson died in September 1896 he was able to be buried in consecrated ground according to the proper custom of Judaism. This was due in large part to the efforts of his family and others like them determined to keep alive in this remote corner of the world the ancient traditions and principles of the Jewish faith

  • Commemorating Lewis Hasluck 1989

    on Sunday 4 June 1989 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Lewis Hasluck

    Citation by Nick P Hasluck

    LEWIS HASLUCK was born in London in 1824, the fifth son of Samuel Hasluck, goldsmith, clockmaker and jeweller. Various persons of this name had flourished in Norfolk from the time of King Canute until the 15th century. In the 16th century branches of the family appeared in Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The direct ancestors of Lewis Hasluck settled in the neighbourhood of Birmingham early in the 17th century. With the coming of the industrial age in the 18th century, some of them rose to prosperity in such trades as metal refining and clock-making and as hardware merchants. Samuel, the father of Lewis, trained as a goldsmith, left Birmingham for London as a young man early in the 19th century and set himself up in Hatton Garden, the centre of the jewellery trade. He was described variously as goldsmith, clock-maker and jeweller. Later he added to his other interests a trading business based in Gibraltar. In his prosperity he built a residence at West Ham in Essex and called it Hazeloake House.

    Lewis Hasluck was born and educated in a period of rising prosperity and topped off his schooling by living “en famille” in France to learn the French language. This was apparently a common practice in families in the jewellery trade.

    As a young man Lewis went to South Australia in 1848. He also had a period in the family business at Gibraltar and this was followed by a second visit to South Australia. He returned to England in 1855 With his first wife. About this time there was a division of the family interests, probably after the retirement of Samuel the father on reaching 70 years of age. The Gibraltar interests were given to the eldest son (another Samuel). The second son, Frederick, took over the Hatton Garden business. Lewis was set up as a watch and clock manufacturer and jeweller on his own account in Cornhill, central London. He continued in his own business for nearly twenty years but suffered a succession of losses from the defalcation of an employee, two burglaries and a fire. In the most serious of the robberies the major booty was a parcel of diamonds from Amsterdam which he was handling on behalf of the owner and he had to make good the loss. He had not been covered by insurance against any of these misadventures. So, at the age of 50, he found himself with severely reduced means, a second wife and a baby and further bereavement in the family. His parents, three of his brothers and the closest of his sisters had died and he was not feeling very well himself. He hoped a warmer climate might relieve asthma. He lived briefly in France, looked around for a new life and came to Western Australia.

    Like many another migrant his decision to come to Western Australia resulted as much from his disappointments in England as from the lure of the Golden West. He had originally thought of somewhere in America, either north or south, but, according to what he told his son in later years, he was swayed by the fact that a ship to Fremantle was readily available and he had the prospect of getting some land. Under new land regulations which had come into force in 1872 agricultural land in Western Australia had been set aside in rural sections of 100 acres each at a fixed price of eight shillings an acre, payable in annual installments of one shilling an acre, subject to conditions of occupation and improvement. With his second wife and two young children Lewis set sail in the Lady Louisa and reached Fremantle in late December 1875. He had some sort of dream of being a gentleman farmer on his hundred acres, but it was over three years before a block was available and when he went to look at it he found it was a patch of virgin scrub in the middle of a swamp near Torbay, west of Albany. He rejected it and returned to the metropolis.

    Before going south he had lived mostly at Fremantle doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that without much profit. It was during this period at Fremantle that he did some carving. It was not his trade but he could draw a design and handle tools. He carved a few tombstones and shaped the stones for the ornamental parts of St John’s Church, but his pride was chiefly in the carvings he did in wood for the bow and stern of vessels being built for the coastal trade on the beach at Bathers’ Bay. This wood carving led to a request from the Chief Judge to carve a coat of arms for the law courts in Perth and this is now on show at the Old Court building in the Supreme Court gardens.

    After returning from Albany he lived mostly in Perth and finished up with a shop in Wellington Street, opposite the railway station. It was what would be called an antique dealer’s shop today. The back room of the shop, according to a story written by an old-time journalist, Horace Stirling, became the “attractive rendezvous of collectors of art”. He supplemented his income by giving lessons in drawing at the Perth High School and writing occasional editorial pieces for Horace Stirling’s newspaper. Perhaps he added something to the urbanity of life in the little colony before the gold rush and shared in arguments about the colony’s progress.

    Lewis Hasluck died in 1896. Unfortunately the records he left of his 20 years in Western Australia suffered a fate similar to that of many other documents. His elder son (my grandfather) was in the colonial postal service in the Goldfields when my great grandfather died. By the time he was able to return to Perth a new tenant was already bustling about to take over the shop in Wellington Street. He had already cleared out what he called “the rubbish” from the back room (namely everything except a few personal effects). Instead of recovering my great grandfather’s papers my grandfather sadly contemplated a big heap of ashes in the back yard. Most of what I have recorded is derived partly from what my grandfather told my father, Sir Paul Hasluck, and partly from a few letters recovered in later years from relatives in England.

    A few years after my great grandfather’s death his widow and his only daughter, who had married an Englishman, returned to England. They left here his grave and two unmarried sons to carry on his name. Our family thanks the Society for honouring his resting place

  • Commemorating Richard Wells 1989

    on Sunday 4 June 1989 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Richard Wells

    Citation by Mr J Seabrook

    Richard George Wells – Born 1805 – died 1846

    Richard George Wells was born at Holwell, England, in 1805, to comparatively well-to-do parents. He was given a good education and at an early age was apprenticed to a London bank. He progressed well in his chosen profession and was, in 1826, at the age of 21, sufficiently well established to marry Susanna, four years older than himself, and a friend since their childhood days. By 1829 they had been blessed with two daughters and Richard had risen, in the bank, to the position of Chief Clerk.

    At this time there was much talk in English farming and professional circles of the, soon to be established, Swan River Colony in Western Australia, and the very great opportunities open to early settlers in that country. Richard and Susanna decided, with some trepidation, to transfer their young family to the other side of the world.

    They arrived in the “Calista” the second migrant ship to reach the Colony, on the 5th of August 1829, after a long and arduous trip, suffering many delays, for various reasons, during the voyage, and the passengers were immediately disembarked on Garden Island.

    Up to this time, although the “Parmelia” had arrived some two months earlier, Captain Stirling had thought it wiser to leave all women on the Island for safety reasons. Now, being satisfied that possible danger had been minimised, and that satisfactory shelter had been arranged, he gave the order for the first contingent of women to make the long awaited move to the mainland. On the 8th of August 1829, long boats from the “Parmelia” and the “Calista”, with families from their respective ships, set out for the small bay under the rocky bluff now known as “Arthur’s Head”, just south of the entrance to the Swan River.

    With your permission I will now quote from my Grandmother’s written description of this first day’s landing, as told to her, as a child, by Susanna Fortescue, the second Mrs. Richard Wells.

    “On approaching the shore the boatmen commenced to race and a boat from the “Calista” catching an opportune wave, beached first. Richard Wells, seizing his wife, placed her ashore saying. ‘There my dear, you are the first white woman to set foot on the mainland of the Swan River Colony.”

    There are other versions of this landing, but I have been able to prove that boats from the two ships did arrive on the beach at the same time, and I, as a great great grandson, like to think that this family description is the correct one. My grandmother always said that her grandfather could get no favours from Governor Stirling, during the whole of his time here, owing to that ‘Fancied slight of the first day ashore’.

    Richard Wells first found employment as an agent for “Latours”, an indent firm, before taking up land in the York district in 1830. However, as a professional man, he was not a happy farmer, and in 1837, he sold part of his holdings and became an agent in York for the short-lived ‘Bank of Western Australia1. When this bank was taken over by the London based ‘Bank of Australasia1 in 1841, much to the dismay cf some of the shareholders, who considered it to be ‘gratuitous financial suicide’, he returned to Perth and was for a short time Chief Clerk in the Colonial Secretary’s Office.

    A number of disgruntled settlers, influential men in the Colony, not satisfied with a bank controlled from far away London, had by this time taken the necessary steps to establish another, which opened in 1841, under the new name of ‘The Western Australian Bank’, with a paid up capital of 2000 pounds. They invited Richard Wells to be the new Cashier-Manager.

    The bank was opened in the front room of a private house on the corner of Pier Street and St. George’s Terrace, opposite the ‘Deanery’, which still survives today. It prospered from the very beginning, and finally moved, in 1886, to the corner of William Street and the Terrace, where the State Head Office of its successor now stands. Over the door of the building erected in 1886 was placed a carved Key-stone bearing the bearded likeness of Richard Wells. This was often pointed out, in later years, to younger family descendants, in passing, who were requested to smile, and wave, to “Great Grandpa”. When the Western Australian Bank building was demolished in 1968 the Key-stone was rescued, by the good offices of Malcolm Uren, Assistant Editor of “The West Australian”, from the rubbish tip where the rubble had been taken, and placed on a pedestal in the foyer of the present building. It remains the only known likeness of Richard Wells in existence.

    Richard Wells, a deeply religious and much respected man, suffered a heart attack, and died suddenly in April 1846, at the age of 42. Susanna, his first wife, had died eight years before in 1838, leaving him with seven daughters, and lies with him in the grave we are commemorating today. He had been re-married in 1839, to Susanna Fortescue and four more children had been born to them. Richard’s second wife Susanna Fortescue, survived him by thirty one years, dying in 1877, at the age of seventy.

    Also buried in this grave with Richard and Susanna is their infant grand-daughter, Millesa Maud Badcock, the only child of their daughter Sophie.

    The actual wording on this headstone, now unfortunately,vandalised and almost obliterated, originally read:-

    Sacred to the Memory of Sarah Susanna, Wife of Richard Wells – Died June 17th, 1838 – Aged 37.
    Richard Wells – Died April 2 8th, 1846, Aged 42.
    Millesa Maud Badcock – Grandchild.

    Ladies and Gentlemen – I would like to thank the Royal West Australian Society for the opportunity of giving this short description £ the life, and times of my pioneer ancestors.

    I have enjoyed presenting it to you – Thank you

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service 1990s

  • Commemorating Anthony O'Grady Lefroy 1990

    on Sunday 10th June 1990 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Anthony O’Grady Lefroy

    Citation by Mr Bob Lefroy

    The Lefroys are of Huguenot origin, and it was to escape religious beliefs with which they did not agree that Antonie Lefroy left France for England about 1587.

    The first Lefroy to come to Western Australia was Henry Maxwell, who arrived in the early part of 1841 and immediately leased and bought land near York. He eventually gave up farming, returned to England in the mid to late 1840’s, but came back to the Colony in 1854 to take up a Government appointment.

    It would appear that his enthusiasm for the place rubbed off on Anthony O’Grady and Gerald de Courcy when he visited Ireland around 1840. These two arrived in the Swan River Colony aboard the ship “Lady Grey” on 4 January 1843. Unable to go to Maxwell Lefroy’s York property, they went to the Burges family at “Tipperary”, also near York, where they paid fifty pounds each to secure experience in farming under colonial conditions.

    By the early part of 1844 the brothers, had left Tipperary and were renting a property at Springhill. Two years later they were well established and looking for more land, which they eventually found at Walebing, twenty miles to the north of Dom Salvado’s newly established mission at New Norcia.

    Soon Anthony O’Grady Lefroy was to pursue an early aspiration for a government job. “My reasons” he wrote “for seeking a Government appointment … are these – our Capital is too small to engage us both. De Courcy likes a settler’s life and could as well by himself as with me work the Capital we have. In town, I could be of much use in the management of our affairs when I had time to give to our own business..”

    The break he was looking for came in December 1849 when he received an appointment as Private Secretary to Governor Fitzgerald. O’Grady was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin University and it was recognised that his exceptional qualifications would be of great benefit to the Colony. Appointment then followed appointment. In 1851 he became Clerk of the Legislative Council and of the Executive Council. His work proved so satisfactory that in 1856 he was appointed Colonial Secretary, a position he held until 1890, when the Colony was granted Responsible Government. Another appointment was that Acting Colonial Secretary, a position he held from 13 July 1875, until 20 August, 1877. He was on the Board of Education in 1858 and by 1876 had become a Justice of the Peace, a Director of the W.A. Building Society and a member of the Committee of the Weld Club. In 1878 he was shareholder (1850) in the Galena Mining Company near Northampton and Paymaster of the Pensioners’ Board.

    O’Gardy became engaged to Mary Bruce in April, 1851, when she was aged 15 years and 8 months and he was 36. This no doubt raised a few eyebrows, but they were not married until 3 June 1852, when she had attained the age of 16 years and 10 months, and one must assume that this satisfied the social standards of the period. They lived on a block at the corner of St. George’s Terrace and Mill Street where the Capita building now stands. Their first house was a modest one for that area, a single storey structure where all their family were born. About 1870 this dwelling was replaced by a very elegant two storey building, constructed of locally baked brick with a shingle roof.

    Anthony 0’Grady Lefroy died on 21 January 1897, leaving his widow, one son, Henry and three daughters, Mary, Dorothea and Emily. A comment made at the time of his death stated that:

    “Few men have left a more lasting and favourable impression on the Colony than Anthony O’Grady Lefroy”.

    There are about 37 descendants of Anthony O’Grady Lefroy and Mary Bruce – male and female – living in Western Australia who carry the Christian name of Bruce, with a total of some 50 who are direct descendants

  • Commemorating Benjamin Bristow Ranford 1990

    on Sunday 10 June 1990 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Benjamin Bristow Ranford

    Citation by Mrs Gladys Whittle

    Mrs Whittle, aged 91, is the eldest child of Ernest Ranford, the sixth son and ninth child of Benjamin, and the eldest of the few remaining grand children.

    Benjamin Britow Ranford was born in Surrey, England, on 29 September, 1826. He was the third son of Samuel Howard Ranford and his wife Louisa, nee Bristow. He had four brothers and two sisters. His father was a wool “stapler”, now called “classer”, and a merchant dealing in skins and hides. In 1848, at the age of twenty-one, Benjamin sailed from Plymouth on a ship called “Marrion” to Port Adelaide to join his eldest brother Henry, who had already settled there. Three years later he sailed to W.A. on a schooner of 38 tons, which took 68 days to reach Bunbury after being forced by rough weather to put back several times into King George’s Sound.

    Benjamin Ranford soon saw the need for leather in the colony and leased the Perth Tannery from Walter Padbury and later bought it. The business prospered and he won medals for excellence at the International Exhibition of Victoria and the Melbourne Exhibitions of 1866-7-8.

    In 1853 Benjamin Ranford had married Sarah Ann Summerland in St. George’s Church, Perth. She was born in Fremantle on 10 February, 1836, her parents having come from northern England in 1832 with three sons and their first daughter, who later married Richard Morrell of Northam.

    The first home of the newly-weds was on the corner of Barrack Street and Wellington Street, Perth. When the land was resumed for the railway line they moved to Duke Street, near the tannery, and then closer to town for the children’s education. There were six sons and four daughters. One son, who died at the age of seven, is buried with his parents in the East Perth Cemetery. The eldest son was sent to Bishop Hale’s Anglican Boys School where John Forrest was a contemporary, both boys eventually becoming surveyors. The younger sons went to the first Perth Boys School, which also survives as a National Trust centre on St. George’s Terrace.

    The tannery was to suffer two successive fires, in the days before fire brigades – and insurance. Following the first Benjamin ordered new machinery from England and carried on. After the second, however, he retired and handed the business to two of his sons who later sold it.

    Benjamin Ranford was tall, strong man and a good cricketer. As a member of the early Perth City Council he advocated widening Hay Street which would have been easy then, but unfortunately he was ahead of his time. He lived to 81 and died peacefully without illness, his wife have predeceased him at the age of 59

  • Commemorating The Three Wives of George Randell 1990

    on Sunday 9 June 1990 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating The Three Wives of George Randell

    Citation by Betty Randell

    We are here today to honour the three wives of George Randell – Jane Hyde, Mary Louisa Smith and Lucy James (nee Francisco). Jane Hyde was baptised in 1830 at Bransgore in Hampshire.
    Her father Joseph was a butler, and her mother Elizabeth was also in service. Jane married George Randell at the Baptist Chapel at Milford near Lymington on the 8th of April 1850, when they were both aged 19 years. She knew of his dream to go to the Colony of Western Australia – to get away from England where, in 1850, there did not seem to be the opportunities for an ambitious young man who wanted to make his way in the world, George’s father had been a Cordwainer – that is a shoe maker who works in very fine quality Spanish leather from Cordova – but George had not followed in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he became a blacksmith but had some knowledge of carpentry. Surely there would be a place for them in Western Australia -“especially for a young man who had such an astute business mind and was prepared to work very very hard. This was to be their “Great Adventure.”

    The young couple sailed from Plymouth in April 1850 aboard the “Sophia” – the ship being under engagement to Her Majesties Colonisation Commissioners. Also onboard was George’s older brother Samuel Henry who was to meet his future wife on the “Sophia” -her name was Agnes Ashcroft. We can try to imagine the thoughts which must have gone through their minds as they left England’s shores – knowing that they would probably never see their parents, families and friends again. Exactly three months later they arrived at Fremantle, and had to leave the last link with Home, and to be greeted, by a great sandy expanse. Did they have feelings of regret then? There would have been sad partings from newly found friends they had made on the long voyage, and there could maybe have been some relief in parting company from many other passengers on the ship who were girls from the Holborn Poorhouse in London, who seemed to have caused so much bother during the long voyage. They also continued to make trouble once ashore, particularly down in Fremantle. Unfortunately I have not been able to find out just where the young couple lived when they first arrived in Perth, but it is known that they attended services at the Wesleyan chapel and George acted as their librarian. Later they attended services at Trinity Congregational Church in St. George’s Terrace, with Henry Trigg arid his small band of worshippers. Henry had been the founder, but other outstanding men who were to dominate the church for the first twenty years were Thomas Smith, Frederick Glaskin, Edmund Birch and George Randell.

    George meanwhile, was working very hard and building up his shipping business on the Swan River. There was an added incentive to succeed as Jane had presented her husband with a son George William born in 1854 – and he would later marry Maria Ann Buggins from an old pioneering family. The young couple were finally blessed with six sons, one of them Alfred Henry Randell marrying the first-born daughter of William Golding, convict 191 of the “Mermaid”, who is buried here in the East Perth Cemeteries, with his in-laws, the McMullins. Another of their sons Edwin Hyde Randell who died at the age of 45 was also buried in this cemetery, as was their infant son Samuel Davis Randell. Despite the difference in their ages, Henry Trigg and the young George Randell were very good friends, and the younger man confided in him in all matters. In later years, George liked to tell the story of Henry, who was from Gloucester in the West of England, telling of the time when Robert Raikes, the founder of Sunday Schools, on one occasion placed his hands upon Henry’s head.

    The boats on the Swan River were the special pride and joy of George and Jane. How lovely they looked sailing along the placid waters of the Swan. They would load up with goods at Fremantle, and then commence their trip to Perth Water; some of the goods would then go by lighters on to Guildford. Some of the vessels owned by George over the years were, The City of Perth, The Enchantress, Friends, Advance, Transit, Tribune, Florence, and the dear old Lady Stirling, which appeared to be the favourite. She used to leave Perth Jetty at William Street, at eight o’clock in the mornings, carrying passengers and cargo to Fremantle, and she was always well patronised. What a spanking sight she looked when they had her painted red and white, with a black band just below the deck. She was always very popular for Sunday school picnics. George employed many ticket of leave men on the boats, and the majority of them proved to be good workers.

    Jane had been at George’s side throughout the struggling years, happily raising her sons, regularly worshipping at Trinity, and industriously working for the good of the church. She was an expert needle woman, and the success of the bazaars was largely due to her efforts. Sadly, George’s beloved Jane died in 1868 in her 38th year, and was buried here in this cemetery at East Perth. Perhaps no other lady did more important service to the early life of the church.

    In the book History of Trinity Church, mention is made of deciding to look into the proper conducting of “our cemetery” ie the Congregation Section of the East Perth Cemeteries. There being no document showing title to the cemetery, it was voted that “means be used at once for securing a proper title deed, and that it be made over in trust to Messrs. G. Randell, E. Birch, P. Glaskin, H. Saw, J. Dyer, and T. Smith”.

    Nineteen months later, George Randell married his second wife, Mary Louisa Smith, the daughter of his great friend at Trinity, Thomas Smith. Thomas held George in high esteem, and was later to make him Executor of his Will. Mary presented George with three children, Laura Jane, Ernest Arthur and Ella Lenore. Mary’s father, said to have been born in Lincolnshire, was a prominent builder and carpenter in Perth – a widely respected old Colonist. He married Sarah Strickland in Perth in 1842, and she was the daughter of Robert Strickland who arrived on the Hooghly in February 1830 with his wife and family. Mary Louisa passed away in 1874 at the age of 29 years, and her little daughter Ella Lenore was to follow at the age of 10 months. They too were buried in the East Perth Cemeteries, as was Mary Louisa’s father Thomas Smith. Mary Louisa’s son Ernest Arthur Randell was a very talented cricketer, and because he had a partly withered right arm, he became a left-arm slow bowler. He was always known as Penny Randell. It seems he used to talk to Fred Glaskin on his way home from school in the Terrace, and Glaskin liked to call out to him – “Randell – Candle. Well candles sell for a penny a pound, so I’ll call you Penny” One day Penny was playing against the team from Paddington in NSW, and he took nine wickets for eight runs. Apparently for years the W.A.C.A. tried to get the ball that had been used so effectively from him to be on show at the ground, but the family would not agree and urged Penny to keep the ball for the family – and they still have it. Penny’s sister Laura Jane married the well known pastoralist Ross Anderson, from the Le Grey River, and they lived at the beautiful property called Illareen at Katanning.

    Saddened by the loss of two wives and children, George Randell decided to retire from business – he had become a wealthy man, and felt he would like to commence a new career as a civic leader. He had an astute brain, and felt it was now time to do something in return for Western Australia. The boats were then left in the hands of Randell, Knight and Company – the partners being Messrs. G. Randell, G. Knight. R. Sholl and W. Laurence. George had been a member of the Perth City Council as early as 1870 and Chairman of the Perth Municipal Council in 1874. Now he was to be elected to the Legislative Council for Perth in 1875-77. Never a physically robust person, his health at this time gave concern to his family and friends, and he decided to go back to the old country for two years to try and regain his health. Prior to leaving Perth however, he arranged for his lovely home at the western end of St. George’s Terrace to be used for the formation of The Perth High School. His departure also involved his resignation as Deacon, Trustee, Treasurer and Sunday School Superintendent at Trinity. After two years away, he felt well enough to return to Perth, and fortunately he kept a diary during the voyage of six weeks on board the “Indus”. He tells of coming into Albany harbour after dreadful gales, and having to slide down a rope over the stern of the ship to get into a boat to take him ashore. On his return from England, he was offered by Governor Robinson, a seat as nominee member in the Legislative Council, which he accepted and held until the general elections under responsible government in 1890.

    In 1881 he married for the third time. The lady was the widow Lucy James (nee Francisco, proprietress of the old Freemason’s Hotel on the corner of William Street and St, George’s Terrace – the site of the present Palace Hotel. Lucy had been the wife of Colonel Edwin Senior James, and he too was buried in the Church of England Cemetery at East Perth. One of their sons, Walter Hartwell James, was later to become a Premier of Western Australia. George once remarked of Walter – “being a step-son of mine had certainly been no hindrance.” There was probably much amused comment when George and Lucy married at The Church in Fremantle. George was a strict teetotaller, condemning drink as “a curse” and Lucy was the proprietress of the Freemason’s Hotel. In the Hillman Diaries is the entry – “It is reported this morning that Randell is going to marry Mrs James of the Freemason’s Hotel, and this will be the Hon. Member’s third wife. I think Mrs James is a fool for her pains, but I suppose the honour of becoming wife of an M. L. C. was too much for female vanity to resist”. At the time they were married, George was 50 years old, and Lucy aged 41.

    It has been very very difficult for me to find out much personal information about the first two wives, especially Jane Hyde, the great grand-mother of my husband. These women married, produced their children, and then died at quite an early age. Luckily, there is more information on Lucy, whose father Alexander Francisco was a prominent man down in Fremantle. He had the store and post office in High Street. When Lucy’s first husband’s health started to decline, she ran the Hotel with great energy and ability, which obtained for her the name of being one of the most capable business women in the Colony, she was always delighted to associate her name with many religious and charitable works, and was held in high esteem- She had a large circle, of friends amongst the Colonists, and was foremost in works of benevolence, which she performed quietly, she held a very special place in the musical circles of the Colony, especially in Perth and Fremantle. At a very early age she displayed a great talent for the piano, and thoroughly devoted herself to the study of her favourite instrument. Lucy was regarded as one of the leading pianists in the Colony, and there were very few concerts performed where her name was not mentioned as principal accompanist”, She was one of the leading members of the Minstrels of the West, the predecessor of the Musical Union – and invariably was the principal and often, the only, pianist.

    She too had known great sorrow in her life with the deaths of young children. She and Edward James had lost a young son aged 4 years named Selby Francisco James, who died at the Freemason’s Hotel in September 1873. Then their 12 year old daughter, Louisa Kate James had died from Cholera whilst visiting her Uncle in Madras in India. Lucy and George were to have sixteen years together, before her health started to fail. Who would have guessed that this busy lady was suffering from heart disease? On the advice of her physician, she visited Fremantle for a change of air and scene, and for some weeks was residing in the house of Mr W.A. Saw at North Fremantle, and this is where died. George Randell and all the family were at her side. Lucy was buried in the Congregational Cemetery at East Perth on the 25th January 1897, sadly her little son Francisco was probably in the Church of England section. George Randell himself did not die until the 2nd of June 1915, but he had undoubtedly made arrangements for the remains of his first two wives and their children to be re-interred with him in the Randell plot at Karrakatta. This was done several weeks after George was buried, and their remains rest alongside his. It was comforting to see that Lucy’s coffin was exhumed from East Perth Cemetery in July 1922 and buried in the Anglican section at Karrakatta, and also in the casket were the remains of her first husband, Edward Senior James.

    Although George Randell was not buried in East Perth Cemetery, mention could be made here of his enormous contribution to the Colony. Besides his business ventures, he was a member of the Perth Town Trust from 1870 and Mayor of Perth 1884-85. Elected to the Legislative Council for Perth 1875-77, and nominated member from 1880. He was a member of the first legislative assembly 1890-92, becoming Colonial Secretary and Minister for Education and Post and Telegraphs.

    As Minister for Education, he gave strong political support to the new Inspector-General Cyril Jackson and they worked hard to modernize W.A’s state school. He was the first chairman of Committees and a Governor of the Perth High School. Education had always been dear to his heart, and he himself, showed all the triumphs of self education. He liked to tell people he had been self-educated in the University of Work, and in his retiring speech to the Council he “confessed his extreme difficulties in not having had that professional education with which to contend against the gentlemen who were lifts opponents in the upper chamber. The Editor of the Gazette frequently permitted his office humourist to lampoon him under the title of “Classical George” – just because of his keen support for higher education in the Colony. He was sometimes described as a Conservative of Conservatives, but many councilors regarded him as a steadying brake on the wheel.

    Perhaps the special joy of his life was his 60 years association with Trinity Church, holding every office. There were also the 26 years spent as Treasurer of the British and Foreign Bible Society. These are just a few of his accomplishments; it would be possible to go on and on. When George died at St. Omer’s Hospital in West Perth at the age of 84 years, his old Lord John Forrest, wrote from Melbourne to George’s step-son Sir Walter James, saying “He was in my opinion, one of our very best men – an upright, honourable man, with all his ideas and instincts in the direction of right and justice. He has gone down to his grave in the fullness of age in peace”. On his gravestone at Karrakatta are the following words -“”The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Mark the perfect man and behold the upright. For there is a happy end to the man of peace”.

    It is good to think that the steps of his three wives were ordered by the Lord. Jane Hyde, Mary Louisa Smith and Lucy James whom we have honoured today, stood at George Randell’s side throughout all those years, and I am proud and happy to have been able to give a talk on these three pioneer women. I thank you.

  • Commemorating Alfred Carson – an Exceedingly Clever and Learned Man 1991

    on Sunday 9 June 1991 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Alfred Carson – an Exceedingly Clever and Learned Man

    Citation by Rica Ericson

    Read by Barry Carson

    Alfred Carson was born in about 1810, and arrived at the Swan River Colony on 2 June 1831 as a member of the crew of the Sterling. This vessel had been chartered by Marshall McDermott who, with his supercargo George Cheyne, planned to settle in the colony. The Sterling sailed from Scotland, bound first for Sweden, where it took on board prefabricated houses, stores and animals.(1) Cheyne also engaged a Swedish carpenter and a servant woman, while McDermott arranged for some of his crew to be his labourers when they arrived in the colony.

    With Scottish frugality, while in Sweden McDermott also purchased the crew’s provisions for the voyage. This later became a matter for contention with the sailors, because Swedish weights were equivalent to only three-quarters of English weights, and the crew’s rations therefore were lighter than those usually offered to British sailors.

    On arrival at Fremantle, Cheyne severed his connection with McDermott and proceeded to occupy land on the south coast, to the east of Albany, where he established a settlement strongly reminiscent of a Scottish sea coast, with whitewashed cottages snugly nestled into a green clear-ing. McDermott went in search of land in the Swan district, leaving his crew to guard the stores which were landed on the beach.

    The crew sought redress for the poor food and accommodation they suffered during the voyage. Five of them signed a petition drawn up by the steward, and addressed to His Excellency the Governor, begging leave to inform him

    ‘of the usage we have had on board the ship Sterling since we embarked January 5th, on an allowance of 6 lbs Swedish bread per week, coarse mouldy and full of maggots … 3 lbs of Beef, 2 lbs of Pork per week, both Swedish and poor Thin flabby stuff… (a quarter of it cut away as bone and waste), Vi lb of Butter, % lb of Sugar and 2ozs Tea per week, all Swedish weight 11V2 ozs to the lb; Peas and Pearl Barley not fit for anything, old, mouldy and full of maggots, all clotted together; not a single potato, nor fresh mess, neither at sea nor in Harbour. No allowance of spirits except once.'(2)

    The indentures stated that they should have ‘proper and sufficient’ rations. Failure to provide them incurred a payment to some of them of £200 and to others £100, which could be claimed by action of debt. The signatories were Thomas Harrington, Isaac Nadon, Alfred Carson, Robert Nyon and John Predy, the last signing with a cross. Isaac Nadon added a postscript:

    ‘I have been a Steward on several Respectable Vessels, but I never experienced such usage—2 plates, 2 knives and 2 forks to 9 people, and a Spitoon to eat out of… [and made] to sit down under the steerage ladder to eat.’

    The immediate outcome of this petition is not known but in the 1832 Census these disgruntled sailors were listed among McDermott’s employees, on a property known as ‘Ashby’ at Middle Swan. Alfred Carson gave his age as twenty-three years, born at Devon and unmarried. Later information suggests that he spent much of his life in Scotland. He remained at Ashby, at least until January 1835, when he married Ann Hunt, an illiterate servant woman who worked for J. S. Harris, the proprietor of a neighbouring grant named ‘Strelley’. However, by 1836 Carson was working at Perth as one of a group of artisans who tendered successfully for the building of the Public Offices.(3) He was then employed by W. L. Brockman of ‘Herne Hill’, the leading landowner in the Upper Swan district. The 1837 Census listed Alfred and Ann Carson at Herne Hill, along with two sons, George, who was born in 1835, and Alfred, who was born in 1837 but was destined to die a year later.

    By this time Alfred Carson had a reputation as an engineer (or mechanic) and assisted William Cruse, an illiterate miller, to build a water mill in 1837 at ‘Ellensbrook’ in the Upper Swan district.(4) Carson did not own land and his family depended upon his employer for accommodation but he appears to have rented a cottage at ‘Albion Town’ about this time. Three of the Carson children were born there, Frances in 1839, Thomas in 1842 and Mary Ann in 1843.

    Carson was a skilful blacksmith and was in demand to make or mend the simple farm implements in use in the early days. In April 1841 he advertised for an apprentice to be taught the trade of millwright and wheelwright, giving his address as ‘Herne Hill’.(5) To facilitate his work at the forge, he improvised a new kind of forge blower using a centrifugal blast. Having an inventive turn of mind, in 1842 he devised a plough which was better suited for rough colonial conditions. After a successful demonstration at a ploughing match, he was awarded a silver medal in 1842 at the Guildford Agricultural Show, as reported in the Inquirer of 4 October. Thus encouraged he turned his attention to other farm implements. Harvesting with a scythe or sickle was costly in time and labour. Late in 1842 news came from South Australia of the invention of a horse-powered reaper. Carson’s attention was then turned towards making one of his own. According to the Inquirer of 3 January 1843, ‘One of our most enterprising settlers in conjunction with Mr Carson has already planned a reaping machine’. The public use of the title ‘Mr’ must have been gratifying to Carson, for it represented a rise in social status above that of a labourer or servant. But he was dependent upon constant employment if his inventions were to come to fruition. He was fortunate to come under the patronage of Samuel Moore of ‘Oakover’, a very progressive and generous settler in the Middle Swan district.

    In 1845 Moore leased the Guildford steam mill, the chequered career of which has already been researched by W. J. de Burgh.(6) Samuel Moore had a horse-powered mill at Oakover before the steam mill was transferred from Perth to Guildford in 1843. He had been one of the most regular customers of the Mt Eliza steam mill at Perth. After transferring the mill to Guildford the new owners suffered financial losses. When Moore leased it in 1845, he employed the former miller and engineer John Smith to operate the concern as a saw mill and flour mill. New boilers were designed and made by one Powell to replace the original boilers which were always breaking down. In 1845 the boilers burst twice, the wooden spindles broke and the driving cords proved to be too weak.(7) Moore’s troubles were multiplied when arsonists tried twice to burn the mill.

    The use of steam power had long exercised Alfred Carson’s brain. He was an avid reader, especially of anything relating to science. He knew the force of water power, having observed the strong spiral flow of water when it was directed through a narrow hole, such as a plug hole in a tub of water. He may have read of the construction in 130 BC of a little toy, a spherical boiler rotated at high speed on trunions by two reaction arms opposite each other’. He may also have known of the adaptation of this idea in the 18th century, as well as subsequent improvements in the 19th century by Whitelaw.(8)

    The repeated failures of the Guildford steam mill obliged Moore to employ ten men on repairs, including an American engineer named John Byrne. Another was Alfred Carson, whose forge blower, the most valued of his inventions, was capable of creating a blast strong enough for casting brass and iron. Moore gave Carson the facilities for building an engine using centrifugal force. It has been said that Moore was interested in helping Carson to patent his inventions, but was informed that the Colonial Government had no power to grant letters of patent, so these moves were deferred temporarily. Carson was a slow, deliberate worker, too engrossed in making his invention to be involved in patents at this time.

    John Byrne, who took charge of the repairs to the steam mill, was a bustling, fast-working mechanic. Moore’s bookkeeper, William Wade, wrote in his ‘Reminiscences’ an interesting account of Alfred Carson at work.

    Carson disclosed to Mr Moore some idea he had formed of the application of steam to machinery Two circular sheets of boilerplate 3 to 4 feet in diameter [were] to be united by a hoop of the same, some inches wide and strongly riveted together at the rims … The inside divided into many sections by curving separations, or compartments, and all made steam tight. Steam to be admitted by an aperture to the cylinder, causing it to revolve at incalculable speed, horizontally, producing a power applicable to many uses on farms and universally.

    Wade continued:

    He received ‘carte blanche’ and went to work (or I might say, to play). The weeks and weeks he shaped and hammered and filed and riveted I cannot say, but he made the thing at last; not like Byrne, at fever heat, but languidly, slowly, lazily, and constantly desiring a stimulant, saying,

    ‘I must have it, I cannot work as I desire without it’.

    So he had it. Mr Moore did not prohibit him, but I tried to limit him to two bottles of wine a day, but sometimes he got spirits and became intoxicated; not like an ordinary ‘drunk’, but just smiling blandly and ceasing work. I made a sketch of him one day in his old Scotch bonnet, with his hair all abroad all over his face.

    Wade concluded:

    This was an exceedingly clever and learned man, self taught, I should say [but] there was no demand for talent in the colony in those days, and [except for] Mr Moore scarcely [any] for a mechanic, a carpenter or a smith.(9)

    While working for Moore at Guildford, Carson was too distant from his family at Albion Town to return home daily. Nevertheless he was happy with the separation from his wife Ann, for according to Wade their house was ‘a wreck and a misery’ and the children were neglected and ill taught. Also for some years Ann had shown signs of being of unsound mind. At Guildford, Carson found peace and quiet in lodgings with another woman. On 30 August 1845 Ann complained to the local Justices of Peace asking for Government relief, saying that she and her three younger children were destitute and deserted.(10) The eldest child George was already employed elsewhere at the tender age often years, possibly as a blacksmith’s boy, for smithing was to become his trade. Ann set a precedent with her appeal, for she was the first in the colony to seek Government aid as a deserted wife. The Governor and Council moved quickly to preserve the lean coffers of the Treasury from similar requests. Within two days, on 1 September, they passed an Act in Council (No 9: Vic 2), published in the Government Gazette, making it obligatory for relatives to support destitute persons, under penalty of a maximum of three years’ imprisonment. The Act also covered de facto wives and illegitimate children.

    Carson refused to give a suitable allowance to Ann, so he was committed to the Round House Gaol at Fremantle for three months. The editor of the Perth Gazette on 6 September commented that Carson

    ‘was estimated to be a good millwright … and we can only regret that a person of Carson’s character … valuable in his particular avocation, should have placed himself in such a situation through sheer obstinacy.’

    Ann Carson received Government relief. The two Justices, W. L. Brockman of Herne Hill, and J. S. Harris of Strelley, were both well acquainted with the family, and they recommended that the children could be better maintained by William Martin and his wife, their neighbours, at Albion Town. The Justices thought, however, that it would be less costly to place them all in the Perth Hospital where Ann would receive suitable treatment. They believed that Carson, who had some affection for his children, would be more amenable if threatened with their removal from friends upon whom he had depended to give help when needed.

    Despite the counsel of his friends, Carson remained in prison, obdurate and unrepentant, until the end of November, when he agreed to abandon the woman with whom he had been cohabiting, and he promised to support his wife and family. Even so, having been so long out of work he was unable to provide funds until 1 January 1846. Carson’s work often took him away from Albion Town, and when his wife’s mental condition worsened he paid his neighbours to keep an eye on her during his absence.

    On 9 June 1847 Carson advertised in the Inquirer for

    ‘suitable employment as a mechanic where he and his three children could be boarded at moderate terms’,

    adding that the eldest child, a girl of eight years of age, was becoming useful. Girls as young as this were thought to be lucky if given a position as a ‘teeny maid’ in a gentleman’s household where often she would be better fed, better clothed and better housed than if she remained with her parents. It is not known what response Carson received to this advertisement.

    In those days when candles were used sparingly, settlers often used blackboy chips which, when thrown on coals, gave a brilliant light by which they could see to read, write or sew. The light, although bright, was spasmodic, so Carson devised a means of storing the sweet-scented gas in bullock bladders to give a continuous light sufficient to serve his needs in his home and workshop—a feat which the Inquirer noted on 12 September 1849.

    When Carson’s wife became very poorly on 5 July 1850, he asked Dr Viveash to attend her, and he visited her several times before she died on the 22nd. Evidence was given by Mr and Mrs John Spice that Alfred had paid her every attention and no blame was laid at his door.(11) After a decent interval, Alfred Carson married Ann Combes in February 1851. In October that year he won a lucrative Government contract worth £243 (about ten years’ wages for a labourer in those days, although some men in the Civil Service earned £200 per annum) to construct a revolving apparatus for lights to be installed in a new lighthouse being built at Rottnest.(12)

    Carson then moved to Perth where he immersed himself in the mathematical problems of producing a flash, precisely every two minutes. He had to make the tools required for the job, as well as design the castings. Six months later, when the work was not completed, two gentlemen visited his workshop to view his progress. They left quite impressed by his ingenuity, and praised the admirable castings, with a beautifully worked black swan which he had added as an embellishment.(13) Although when first viewed from Fremantle the lighthouse gave but ‘a dim glim’, Carson’s revolving apparatus could not be faulted. To his gratification it was still functioning satisfactorily after more than a quarter of a century, when replaced by a modern lighthouse in 1877.

    With his reputation thus assured, Carson moved to a place called ‘Dove-bridge’ at York, where he apparently was constructing a steam engine for a flour mill.(14) There was competition since Solomon Cook had called upon his fellow American, John Byrne, to assist in building his steam flour mill at York. A laudatory report on Cook’s steam mill appeared in the Inquirer of 28 January 1852, remarking that the engine was constructed on an entirely new principle. Carson’s response was to publish a letter in the Perth Gazette on 13 February, voicing his concern that, although Cook did not claim to be the inventor, many readers would not know that Carson was the original designer of the new steam engine. He hoped to have his rights recognised (and protected) by seeking the help of Governor Fitzgerald, who was visiting York at the time. The Governor, however, did not have the time for Carson to raise steam in the model which he had made. So in April 1852 Carson wrote a very lengthy letter instead, describing the operation in great detail; but asking that his notes be kept confidential. He concluded:

    I can prove I made the same discovery in August 1849, and it is but just that I should obtain the same privileges which are granted to other important discoveries of inventions. Therefore I should feel grateful if his Excellency would lend his influence towards obtaining patent for the same.

    There is little doubt that John Byrne had observed Carson’s work on his steam engine while both were employed by Samuel Moore. Moore had died suddenly in July 1849 when Carson was most in need of his patronage. Fitzgerald’s reply on 29 April was encouraging—

    ‘the granting of a patent as requested does not fall within His Excellency’s province as Governor, who will however further Mr Carson’s views in any way in his power. ‘His Excellency supports Registering the Steam Engine in question.’

    Neither Carson’s nor Cook’s steam mill functioned satisfactorily. Nevertheless, Carson was anxious to protect his rights as inventor of the centrifugal engine. A year later, in April 1853, he wrote again from Dovebridge extolling its merits and explaining why the steam engines at York had not performed as well as expected. Carson blamed the wood used to fire the boilers. He dwelt upon the respective values of the timbers at Guildford and York, for giving not only a fierce, but a lasting heat, and commented also upon the foul water of the Avon as a detrimental factor. He explained also that his own engine, unlike Cook’s, could transmit sufficient power to drive a pump, a blower and a condenser to purify the water, all from the same axis. Colonial Secretary merely noted on the correspondence that Carson sought a patent for his steam engine. People in high office gave little encouragement to those of lower social rank, especially when they wrote often and at great length to editors as well as to officials in the Civil Service.

    Later that year Carson was again living at Perth. On 28 October 1853 he advertised in the Perth Gazette that he was in residence in Adelaide Terrace and was seeking

    ‘support and patronage … in his profession as an Engineer, wheelwright etc’

    He added as an afterthought,

    ‘Clocks cleaned and repaired’.

    It is possible that his youngest child, Mary Ann, at ten years of age was no longer dependent upon him, while during the previous year his youngest son, Thomas, at ten years was employed in the bush as a stock minder by Richard Mayo, an innkeeper who managed a wayside inn on the Guildford-Toodyay Road. At the end of the boy’s year of indenture Mayo refused to pay the balance of wages due to him. When Carson sued Mayo he learned that the boy had lost six sheep, as well as causing the; death of a pony. As reported in the Inquirer on 1 September 1852 there was no redress for Carson, who was obliged to pay costs.

    Carson did not remain long in Perth. His old employer, W. L. Brock-man, was developing a pastoral run at ‘Cheriton’ on the Gingin Brook, planning to make it a profitable farm. The constant-flowing stream of water favoured the erection of a water mill. When Carson was offered this job he decided to settle there as a miller. He took up 20 acres of land and in due course, in July 1859 qualified for the title deeds, having fulfilled the necessary conditions of occupation and improvements.(15) His son Thomas by then was working at ‘Cowalla’ on the Moore River, but in the same month of July 1859 died there of an accident. The Carson daughters had accompanied Carson to Gingin, where Frances was married to Ralph Thomas Dewar in 1858, and Mary Ann was to marry John Stewart in 1860. The eldest son, George, remained at Upper Swan where he was in business as a blacksmith and wheelwright. George married Charlotte Hadley and their son Alfred, born in November 1859, was to be his grandfather’s pride. All these incidents had an unsettling effect. Carson contemplated moving to Upper Swan once more, having given up earlier plans to move to the Greenough.

    Carson had apparently no intention of remaining in Gingin because in 1858, the year before young Thomas died, he applied for a tillage lease of one hundred acres in the Greenough district, where land was being opened up for small farmers. Confusion occurred over the relocation of Carson’s selection, which included a narrow pass known as the Gorge, connecting the Front Flats with the Back Flats. The whole region from the Greenough to the Irwin had been dominated by pastoralists since 1850, chiefly the members of the Cattle Company—Phillips, Hamersley and Burges—all very influential men, and there was opposition from these at the appearance of small leaseholders. Carson saw opportunities for a millwright in a district about to become the granary of the colony, but L. C. Burges at ‘Irwin House’ foresaw difficulties of access to the Front Flats along a track through Carson’s land. Carson had never seen the land he applied for, but was not inclined to change its location. For nearly a year he waged a wordy battle with the Colonial Secretary, the Survey Department, and also the Surveyor at Greenough, who attempted to solve the dispute.(16) Carson eventually vented his spleen publicly in a long letter to the Perth Gazette on 25 March 1859, before finally relinquishing his claim and moving to Perth.

    Carson was in Wellington Street, Perth, in 1861 when his next letter of protest was sent to the Colonial Secretary. An Intercolonial Exhibition was to be held in Melbourne, but the Western Australian Committee in charge of exhibits was of the opinion that

    ‘works exclusively of art and industry, worthy of being sent to the Great Exhibition, may possibly be difficult of accomplishment in the colony.’

    In Carson’s very long letter he mentioned two of his own inventions which could qualify as exhibits. One was an engine which could propel a boat or ship by steam power, without either paddles or screw; the other was a pneumatic machine unrivalled for producing a strong and steady blast which could be very useful in a chemist’s laboratory or for blowing a large organ. Also he had several specimens of timber useful for specific purposes, not previously defined. Then he added an attack on the Government policy of allowing farm machinery and implements to be imported free of duty, while the price of iron and steel and working tools, which he used in making farm machinery, was much enhanced by taxation.(17) Free trade was a hot topic with agriculturalists who were suffering from the import of cheap South Australian flour.

    Colonial Secretary F. P. Barlee, who was a member of the Exhibition Committee, wrote a cool reply.

    ‘Inform Mr Carson that I do not differ from some of his views. His proper course is to Memorialize the Governor in Council’.

    Officials were tiring of Carson’s argumentative letters. Nevertheless he continued to seek attention from the Government. In March 1862 he applied for the post of an Instructing Warder with the Royal Engineers, a Department which was in charge of many major public works.(18) However the Royal Engineers were controlled by the Convict Establishment and there was no place in it for a civilian such as Carson.

    A domestic matter which concerned Carson was the health of one of his daughters. The letter which he wrote from Guildford in August 1862 asked for her admission to the Colonial Hospital, but he was informed that she could not be received, and she was even denied accommodation in the Lunatic Asylum,(19) where women suffering from delirium tremens were frequently treated. It was clear that Carson’s children still depended upon him in time of trouble. A week later her husband offered to pay any charges and no further letters were written on that subject. Others written from Guildford and Fremantle in 1863 and from Gingin in 1864 indicate that Carson was at Upper Swan during 1863 but had no permanent home in any of these districts. For some years Carson’s inventions were copied without his consent or benefit. Despite the Governor’s affirmation in 1852 of support for registering Carson’s invention, no regulations regarding letters patent had been enacted in the colony. Carson’s concern was heightened when in 1863 he learnt that an Englishman had extended his patent rights to Western Australia, to protect his invention of a new method of excavating rock.

    In October Carson wrote anxiously to the Colonial Secretary asking what conditions were required for his own applications for patents. Many of his plans of inventions were locked away. Early in 1864 Carson was commissioned by W. L. Brockman to construct a new reaping machine, improving upon his earlier model. He was planning to move back to Gingin where his work at Cheriton would be under public gaze and he feared his ideas would be pirated, as they had been in the past. Also he wished to make as many reaping machines as possible before the 1864 harvest to satisfy other customers.(20)

    An Act relating to Letters Patent in Western Australia came into force in March 1864. Although Carson wrote in April asking for details, a copy of the Ordinance was not sent to him until August. He learnt that patenting required a fee of £25, as well as full notes regarding the invention, and also a working model had to be supplied. Such conditions were difficult to meet by a man whose income was often insufficient for his family needs. Carson’s reply in September indicated that his application may have been deferred. The final paragraph reads as follows:

    I hope that too much will not be expected from me this year. I have to contend with much discouragement and various disappointments and even opposition, from those who voluntarily proffered their assistance, and to afford me facilities for carrying on my work, so that I am entirely dependent upon my own hard labour for everything; and it should be remembered that a Foundry (even on a small scale) and the most necessary appendages (besides the required model) requires much time and in the meantime I have to earn a living. But notwith-standing the great disadvantages under which I am labouring I hope to be able to prove satisfactorily the utility of my invention. … I should have written sooner but sickness and other domestic afflictions have prevented me.(21)

    While waiting for a reply regarding the patenting procedures, Carson endeavoured to find other means of earning a living. In May he applied for the position of Postmaster at Gingin but was informed that the schoolmaster would receive that appointment.(22) The special skills which he possessed were rarely in demand, and work was hard to find. Among the tasks he performed during the following decade was the installation of the clock in the new Perth Town Hall in 1869. He was commissioned also to design and make the weathervane for the soaring spire of Wesley Church, which was completed in 1870. John Summers, the blacksmith in Hay Street, offered Carson the facilities of his workshop to complete this work. When Robert Cecil Clifton in 1875 began building organs for colonial churches he enlisted Carson’s help to determine the correct length and diameter of the organ pipes. According to family legend, Carson made a six-keyed flute from a gun barrel upon which he played with admirable skill. His studies in these fields included calculations to the ninth decimal point, covering pages of figures. He was credited also with the installation of the first steam-driven printing press when the West Australian (originally the Perth Gazette, and then for a few years in the 1870s the West Autralian Times) bought a modern Wharfdale printing press during the 1880s.(23)

    The story of these achievements was handed down through Alfred Carson’s grandson’s family. Alfred Carson, the younger, was educated at Guildford Government School and in 1877, at the early age of eighteen years, was appointed assistant master at Perth Boys’ School. A year later he was the headmaster of a boys’ school at Geraldton where his father, George Carson, soon joined him with other members of his family. Young Alfred Carson became involved in editing the newspaper at Geraldton and, when he moved to Perth in the 1890s, quickly rose through the ranks to become editor of the West Australian, the leading newspaper in the colony. He is remembered today for his outstanding contribution to social welfare.(24)

    Alfred Carson senior suffered the bereavement of his second wife in 1869 and for several years was befriended by John Summers, the Perth blacksmith who became a prosperous carriage builder and wheelwright, employing many workmen. Summers commissioned Carson to install a forge blower capable of servicing seven forges at the same time and dispensing with bellows, a task which Carson accomplished with ease, having perfected the original forge blower designed in 1844.(25) Summers was impressed by the workmanship and mechanical knowledge displayed by Carson in his earlier years and although Carson was not able, through age and infirmity, to do much work, he was very useful with ideas on machinery in Summer’s establishment and thus earned his accommodation.

    Carson, in his old age, suffered from rheumatism and sciatica which quite crippled him. He left Perth late in 1876 to live at Upper Canning with his daughter Mary Ann, whose husband John Stewart was working for Thomas Buckingham. They had several children and Mary Ann was pregnant. They could ill afford to keep Carson also. Improvidence, the burden of domestic afflictions, lack of business enterprise and possibly a preference for study instead of labour, all contributed to Carson’s inability to provide for his old age. In a long letter to the Colonial Secretary, written on 23 May 1877, he pleaded for a little pecuniary aid.(26)

    Carson wrote with pride of his early work, much of it done with little encouragement under great disadvantages, all of which contributed to the welfare and development of the colony. He acknowledged the kindness of Summers and the efforts of his daughter and son-in-law to make him com-. All he asked for was a little regular money so that he could spend his few remaining years with his children without being a burden to them. He was in fact in dread of his decline in the social scale and being classed as a pauper. This letter was backed by testimonials from Summers and Buckingham. The Colonial Secretary, A. G. Lefroy, was sympathetic and recommended that Carson should receive an allowance of’£25 per annum, which would be the amount he would cost the colony for clothes and maintenance if he had to be admitted into the Mt Eliza Depot,’ the last and dreaded refuge for destitute old men. Carson received this reply in August, three months after his plea was received.

    Alfred Carson died eleven years later on 6 September 1888 at the age of 78 years. His death was registered by William Dale. Superintendant of the Mt Eliza Depot where Carson would have been an inmate. The undertaker’s announcement in the Inquirer of 7 September that the funeral would take place at half past nine on the morning of the 8th, added

    ‘Friends will kindly accept this intimation to attend’. A brief note which appeared in the same paper stated that ‘A very old colonist, in the person of Mr Alfred Carson passed away last night… The deceased was for many years a contributor to the press on scientific and other subjects, in which he displayed the possession of no inconsiderable amount of sound practical sense.’

    William Wade’s assessment of Carson’s achievements is worthy of notice. He thought that Carson was

    ‘a strange compound—there was no subject—science, mechanics, history, religion, astronomy, natural history, of which he did not know something … from cutting a tombstone, making a plough, to distilling gas from the blackboy … To a new process of applying steam to machinery, which … must have been something akin to a turbine’ (27)

    —which incidentally was not patented in other parts of the world for years to come.

    No headstone marks his grave in the East Perth Cemetery. Carson never patented any of his inventions and the fate of his designs which he had locked away is unknown. A man of genius, he was little appreciated in his day and is almost forgotten in present time, his memory overshadowed by the remarkable public career of his grandson and namesake.

    1. State Archives of Western Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Records, Ace. 36, Vol. 15, fol.183, 4 June 1831.
    2. CSR Ace. 36, Vol. 15, fol. 176,2June 1831.
    3. Government Gazette, 15 Oct. 1836.
    4. Undated letter from Alfred Carson’s grandson Alfred to Bray, held in the archives of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society; Western Mail, 13 June 1929.
    5. Perth Gazette, 3 Mar. 1841.
    6. William J. de Burgh, ‘The Smith Family and the Steam Mill’, Early Days, R.W.A.H.S. Journal, Vol. 10, Part 3, pp. 223-36.
    7. Samuel Moore, Diary and Journal (permission of great-granddaughter, Joanna Seabrook), 27 June 1845, 3 Sept. 1845, 2 March 1846 et seq.
    8. John Guthrie, A History of Marine Engineering (London, 1971), pp. 156-8.
    9. Wm Wade, Reminiscences, 1824-1912, Battye Library, 949A, 1026A, 1075A.
    10. CSR 36, Vol. 142, 30 Aug. 1845,3 Aug. 1845,8 Sept. 1845.
    11. S.W. Viveash, Diary, Battye Library 1220A, 5-22 July 1850.
    12. Perth Gazette, 13 Sept. 1850, 6 Oct. 1850.
    13. Inquirer, 16 Apr. 1851.
    14. CSR 36, Vol. 228, fol. 268, 24 Apr. 1852; and Vol. 253, fol. 222,28 Apr. 1853.
    15. CSR, Index to Settlers Letters 1854-1875, A-N; 50/2, 7 July 1859.
    16. State Archives of Western Australia, Survey Department unregistered, C/4, 456A, 15 Mar. 1859; Perth Gazette, 25 Mar. 1859.
    17. CSR 36, Vol. 467, fol. 158, 26 June 1861.
    18. CSR 36, Index of Settlers Letters 1854-1875, A-N; 50/2, 2 Mar. 1862.
    19. CSR 36, Vol. 582, 1 Sept. 1862.
    20. CSR 36, Vol. 515, fol. 266, 26 Oct. 1863; and Vol. 534, fol. 12, 18 Apr. 1864.
    21. CSR 36, Vol. 535, fol. 3-4, 5 Sept. 1864.
    22. CSR 36, Index of Settlers Letters 1854-1875, A-N; 50/2, 20 May 1864.
    23. Family notes and undated newspaper cuttings, and an undated letter written by Carson’s grandson Alfred, held in the archives of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society.
    24. O. K. Battye, ‘Alfred,Carson’, in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 7, p. 579.
    25. Perth Gazette, 4 May 1844.
    26. CSO 36, Vol. 871, fol. 59, 23 May 1877.
    27. Ray Oldham, ‘The Reminiscences of William Wade’, Early Days, R.W.A.H.S. Journal, Vol. 6, Part 2, p. 26.
  • Commemorating John Thomas Denny 1991

    on Sunday 9 June 1991 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating John Thomas Denny

    Citation by Ian Denny

    John Thomas Denny was born in 1836 in County Waterford Ireland, the fifth of seven children and the first son born to Joseph Jacob Denny, a merchant and his wife Mary. The family have for generations been Freemen of Waterford. Currently this honour is held by Henry Denny of Waterford, a second cousin of the family here today.

    John Thomas’s mother died when he was nine years old; so he was probably brought up by his older sisters. He was educated at the Waterford Academy and then obtained employment in a merchant’s office where he stayed for four years before entering the service of the Provincial Bank of Ireland at Cork in 1856.

    His father died in 1860 and thinking that brighter prospects existed in Australia he sought and was appointed to a position in the Union Bank of Australia in Melbourne by its London Board of Directors.

    He arrived in Melbourne in 1863 on the ship “Result” and worked there until April 1866 when he was appointed to the Portland Branch, first as accountant & afterwards as Manager During these years he married Frances Wilcox and their first child was Charles Maynard, father of Rosalind Janet Denny, who is present here today along with other family members.

    John Thomas S Frances had four more children Henry, Arthur Gerald, Kstherme and Enid Mary who married Laura Fanny Gill, Mildred Davies, Alfred Bussell and Charles Sweeting respectively.

    In 1878 John Thomas Denny was sent to Perth to set up the first branch of the Union Bank in Western Australia. The opening of the Perth branch was soon followed by branches in York, Geraldton and Albany. The first issue of “The West Australian” dated 18th November 1879 contains a notice inserted by J.T. Denny, advising that :

    Branches are now open at Perth (with agency at Guildford), York, Albany, Geraldton and Fremantle where every description of banking business, including exchange operations wiith Europe, America, Mauritius, India, China, all the Australian colonies, Tasmania and New Zealand is transacted on the most favourable terms.

    Present rates of interest on deposits:

    • for 3 months 3% per annum
    • for 6 months 4% per annum
    • for 12 months 5% per annum.

    By 1882, a branch had been established at Roebourne. The Union Bank was therefore strategically placed when major gold discoveries were made in the Kimberly region in the 1880’s.

    In 1885 there was an incident at the Bank in Roebourne in which the Manager, Thomas Anketell and his Clerk Henry Thomas Burrup were both found murdered on the premises. To this day the murders have not been solved. As W.A. manager John Thomas Denny had to write to Burrup’s mother in Gloucestershire to notify her of her 23 year old son’s death. Burrup Peninsula (associated with the North-West Shelf Gas Project) was named after his family.

    Twenty years later, in 1905, the son of John Thomas Denny, Arthur Gerald, aged thirty-one, died of peritonitis while working for the Union Bank in Roebourne, leaving a widow and two young children.

    It is interesting to peruse official records and discover that when John Thomas Denny commenced work in London he received the grand sum of 270 pounds per annum. Upon commencing employment in Perth it rose to 600 pounds plus another 100 as “servant’s allowance”. At the time of his death in 1892 he was receiving a total of 1000 pounds per annum.

    In later life John Thomas Denny must have been lonely as his wife suffered from ill health and lived in Sydney with his younger daughter. His three sons, after attending school in Melbourne, sought work outside Perth. About twenty letters written by John Thomas Denny in Perth to his oldest daughter Kitty studying in Melbourne have survived. The letters cover the period December 1887 to February 1890. They express old-fashioned sentiments, and are sometimes humorous, sometimes serious and moving. He speaks of his dull life in Perth. He tells of tennis tournaments at Government House and meeting the new Dean, the Rt Rev. Goldsmith.

    “He is a great success, a good preacher and most enthusiastic. He is trying to put new life into the old bones of Church Services to work here.”

    Life for his eldest son Charlie a surveyor however, appears to have been far from dull in the Bridgetown area. He had little time for writing and was in demand with the young ladies as he was an excellent dancer. Harry the second son, after a short time as a bank clerk went up north to seek more adventurous work.

    John Thomas Denny took a keen interest in Kitty’s education, exhorting her to work hard and pass her exams. Upon the subject of proper manners he wrote

    “I hope you will keep your head inside raiIway carriages on your future trips. I don’t think it good form to do otherwise”.

    Kitty was very upset that nature had not been kind to her in the matter of stature – she was only 4 feet 11 inches tall.

    The poems of Henry Longfellow were great favourites of John Thomas Denny. He recommended one to Kitty entitled “Maidenhood”, and particularly the ninth verse :

    “0, thou child of many prayers ! Life hath quicksands,- Life hath snares! Care and age come unawares!”

    He tells her in the letters about various families in Perth with young people of her own age – the Steere family

    “any amount of black-stockinged girls”

    the Hicklings late arrived from Warnambool

    “the fair-haired blue-eyed type evidently very attractive as they always have young cavaliers laughing after them”


    “Florrie Wittenoom has not grown up nice looking she is pleasing and very “jolly” as of old always ready for a pleasant laugh and like all the family chatters like a magpie”.

    On social matters generally he wrote

    “Perth appears to be broken up into cliques more pronounced than ever and there is but little going on that is worth narrating”.

    On 13th April 1892 John Thomas Denny died following an operation for an abscess on his right hand, performed under chloroform.

    His funeral, “held in very heavy rain”, was attended by a large number of people, many of whom were prominent citizens of the Colony including Sir John Forrest. The service was conducted by Dean Goldsmith. According to his death notice

    “The head office of the Union Bank in W.A. was established by John Thomas Denny in Perth and with the exception of a short interval when he visited Fiji on the Bank’s business – he has remained ever since without having a holiday and it is feared that his assiduous devotion to his work, has in a measure been the cause of his death”.

    “The Australasian Insurance and Banking Record” published on May 18th 1892 when reporting the death of John Thomas Denny remarked that he

    “was a man assiduously devoted to his work and considered an able banker. He had been Chairman of the associated Banks since their inauguration into an association”.

    He was also an active member of the Perth Chamber of Commerce and one of the leading men in the Perth business community.

    To his wise management may be attributed the prosperity of the Union Bank in Western Australia which in turn contributed to the prosperity of the Colony in the late 19th century as the Bank did more than any other financial institution to build up its pastoral industry. Today, its successor, the ANZ Bank continues on the solid foundations laid by the pioneer we are remembering here today John Thomas Denny.

  • Commemorating Sophia Hester and Louisa Jones 1992

    on Sunday 7 June 1992 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Sophia Hester and Louisa Jones

    Louisa Jones died on 23rd December 1830 giving birth to the first European children conceived in Western Australia.

    The infant son, Joseph, was to live only a few months, but Louisa left five other children to her husband Richard. Fortunately, Richard had confidence in himself and could turn his hand to everything from goldsmithing and printing the intricate wording for the windows of the Anglican Cathedral in Perth to being an active member of the first Perth Town Trust before venturing out to a pioneering life. The original family home on the Blackwood River was named Southampton House and still stands today.

    Richard never remarried and his two sons remained bachelors. Of the daughters, young Louisa married Adam Armstrong, whose family established Dalkeith Farm in the area of the present suburb of that name. Three grand-daughters married into the pioneering Dempster family of Buckland House. Descendants of Louisa Jones, such as the Pattons of Waddi Forest, the Armstrongs of Bridgetown, the Yorks and Scotts of Watheroo, have pioneered farming properties throughout the state, besides being active in the timber and mining industries.

    It is unfortunate that the tombstone of Louisa Jones is no longer standing. Records show that it remained in the cemetery until about the mid 1950s and was the oldest surviving tombstone. When it disappeared descendants had a new one built incorporating both Louisa and Richard on the same headstone which now stands in a family plot.

    Sophia Hester of Canning, Western Australia was born in London on December 2, 1795, the daughter of John and Sarah Everett, and died just after her 35th birthday. Nothing is known directly of her until she married Thomas Hester in 1817 when she was twenty-two. Thomas had entered the British Army in the 60th Rifles as a Lieutenant, but was forced to resign his active duty in 1816 after having killed a brother officer in a duel. It was a legend, at least in the family, that the duel was fought about Sophia. In any event, the two were married shortly after these happenings and because dueling was by then outlawed in England, Thomas was exiled and had to remain abroad. For the next twelve years the couple lived in Calais, where their five children are recorded as having been born.

    On June 1st, 1829 the Hester family set sail for the Swan River in the Lotus, which Joshua and James Gregory had chartered. The ship was 350 tons registered with Lloyds and carrying about 100 passengers, including children. It may be deduced that the experience of living in Calais, so close and yet so far from home, and the thought of unending exile in a foreign country, together with the prospect of over 6,000 acres of land, must have prompted Thomas and Sophia to risk the long and dangerous sea voyage to an unknown country.

    On November 9, 1829, just over a month after arrival, Thomas took up 200 acres on the Canning River near where Langford is now and where a park has been named Hester. Later, with the addition of other land, the property was called Red Cliff Farm. Sophia had in her care at this time son Thomas aged eleven, Edward aged nine, Sarah seven, Robert five and Fredrick two years. In April 1830 she was pregnant again, but the harsh conditions were to prove too much for her. She lost her new-born son John and within a week she too had passed away.

    The citation ended with a tribute to the first settlers’ courage and perseverance and to the women like Sophia who agreed to come with their husbands to this unknown place and who died in the doing of it.

  • Commemorating Edmund Birch 1992

    on Sunday 7 June 1992 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Edmund Birch

    Citation by Mr Rodney Gifford

    Edmund was born in Staffordshire in 1831 and was 11 years old when his father and mother, Lewis and Hannah Birch, and the remainder of the family stepped ashore at Australind with others who participated in that ill -fated Western Australian Company project. With his father a medical man and chemist and his older brother already a qualified chemist, it is not surprising that the young man was apprenticed to George Shenton, Perth’s first apothecary. After five years there, Edmund spent the next three as dispenser and assistant to the Surgeon in the Colonial Hospital in St George’s Terrace. It is believed he was the first in that role. After the passing of the Medical Ordinance Act in 1869, Edmund registered as doctor, but never practiced. Indeed, his many and varied activities would have given him little time to do so.

    In the 1860’s Edmund and his brother Lewis, who died shortly after, built a two storied business and family dwelling on the corner opposite where the Town Hall was later built. They set up as chemists and druggists.

    Edmund’s ability and interest in financial affairs was evident when he acquired sufficient shares in the Western Australian Bank to become one of its Directors. He also became a Director of the Perth Building Society and at the time of his death was the Society’s Chairman. The satisfactory state of his finances allowed him to support (through the Electro Magnetic Telegraph Company) such a venture as the building of telegraph lines to Albany, Bunbury, York and Newcastle.

    Edmund was a member of the Perth Town Trust and when the Trust became the Perth City Council he was elected to represent the Central Ward. Then in 1873, on the retirement of J G C Carr, he was elected as one of the two members for Perth in the Legislative Council and retained the seat at the next elections.

    The other activities of this versatile and energetic man, who fathered seven sons and a daughter, included an involvement with the Perth Company of the Rifle Volunteer Corps, of which he eventually took command. He retained a deep and lasting interest in the Congregational Church and was a Deacon for twelve years. Reflecting the strong association of all the churches with education, he served for some time on an Education Board, made up of nominees from all denominations. He was a Provincial Grand Master of the City of Perth Lodge of Oddfellows, a Brother of the Park Lodge of Freemasons and, at the time of his death, Vice President of the Perth Working Men’s Association.

    Edmund’s tragic death, as the result of injuries from a fire, at the age of 44 years, cut short the beginnings of a brilliant career.

  • Commemorating The Right Reverend Henry Hutton Parry 1993

    on Sunday 13 June 1993 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating The Right Reverend Henry Hutton Parry 1826-1893

    Bishop of Perth 1877-1893


    It is a nice thing indeed for members of the Parry family to be able to join in with members of the W.A. Historical Society in honouring the memory of a forbear who played a significant part in the development of Western Australia, last century.

    Henry Parry, (my grandfather), came to Perth in 1877, after a background in both England and The West Indies, and in casting our lot for us in this fair and pleasant land, we share something with the family of our present Governor whose great grandfather also came here from The West Indies, just a decade earlier. I feel qualified to bring in this comparison because my mother was a Burt.

    I like to think that back in the palmy days of the British Empire; these movements of prominent individuals from one colony to another must have brought new ideas and experience to bear here and to break down inward-looking tendencies and feelings of isolation.

    I must just briefly mention the bare biographical details of the man we are honouring: – Bishop Parry’s father was the second Bishop of Barbados, the island that was an important focus of British interests in the widespread West Indies. Both father and son must have witnessed the difficult economic times experienced there as a result of the abolition of slavery and the collapse of the once flourishing sugar industry. After his university and theological education back in England, Henry Parry served the Church in the West Indies for a total of about 23 years, successively as curate, priest, College tutor, archdeacon, vicar-general and co-adjustor Bishop; and having succeeded his father, as the third Bishop of Barbados.

    His stay in that office came to an early end when (in 1864) his wife’s ill-health compelled him to return to England, to other less demanding parochial work there. It was not long before he was offered the Bishopric of Colombo, but his wife’s health obliged him to turn down that option. Then, in 1876 when the first Bishop of Perth, Matthew Hale, had transferred to Queensland, the Church authorities here asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to find them a successor – and his choice fell on Parry.

    Henry Hutton Parry, accompanied by his wife and three children, accordingly arrived here in May 1877, and was destined to spend the last 16 1/2 years of his life here, performing the onerous and various duties as second Bishop of Perth. Barely six months later, Parry’s wife again became very seriously ill, and she died in November 1877.

    In April 1879 the Bishop re-married, his new wife being the widowed Mrs Mary Alexander, a daughter of George Walpole Leake. They subsequently produced four children, Theodore, Herbert, Lionel, and Maude. Like Bishop Hale before him, he had the great personal tragedy of losing one of his sons (Theodore aged 12) in a boating accident on the Swan River. For most of his time here, Parry had to share the often difficult and primitive conditions existing in Western Australia. Doubtless he found many comparisons and contrasts between the West Indies and Western Australia.

    In both places his little home base was quite a pleasant one – at Bridgetown in Barbados and then here in Perth. But he had much travelling to do in his widespread diocese.

    The state of communications exercised exeryone’s attention in those days. When he arrived here, as in The West Indies, local shipping played a very important role for those whose work required them to travel about, and for land transport the horse still reigned supreme. In 1877 the first Government railway in WA was under construction (Geraldton to Northampton) , and later in that year, the telegraph line to Adelaide was completed and opened for sending messages by wire.

    Thus in some respects progress was evident, but in general the colony’s development was painfully slow in the 16 1/2 years he held office here – the span of time between the end of the convict system and the start of the gold rush.

    It was largely as a result of primitive communications that Parry met his death. The railway line between Perth and Bunbury opened in May 1893, but he was carrying out his pastoral duties well to the South of Bunbury at our own remote Bridgetown in November 1893, which necessitated his travelling in an open sulky. Already in sensitive health due to two short illnesses he suffered earlier in that year, such exposure resulted in his becoming seriously ill upon his return to Bunbury. Despite the efforts of the two doctors who hurried from Perth to treat him, his condition rapidly deteriorated. His wife and children were summoned and were present when he died (from Pneumonia) on the 15th November 1893. Dr Harry Kelsall, a brother-in-law to Henry Parry, was one of the doctors concerned. A son of his, Dr George Kelsall, is present here today.

    Henry Parry’s widow lived on until 1909 and was buried here with him. Six children survived him and all but one of them made their lives and careers here and made their contributions to the life of the community in many different ways.

    Though my own father was only eleven when he lost his father, I understand that Henry Parry was a good father devoted to his children, and daughter Maudie attests to this in various things she has written.

    And so we give thanks for the life, work, example and inspiration of Henry Hutton Parry.

  • Commemorating Mary Charlotte Blythe (nee Coppin) 1994

    on Sunday 12 June 1994 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Mary Charlotte Blythe (nee Coppin)

    Citation by Thelma Jones

    Mary Charlotte’s parents, James and Charlotte (nee Collington) Coppin, were married in St John’s Parish Church, in Croydon, Surrey, on 18 April 1831. In December, 1841, they boarded the barque, Diadem, bound for the Australind Settlement in Western Australia, with three children, Eliza (7), Sarah (5) and Christopher (2). They arrived, after a voyage of four months, on 10 April 1842 (an anniversary of which Coppin descendants proudly celebrate each year by a picnic in King’s Park)

    In August of 1842, Charlotte was delivered of a boy (Henry), and, in about 1843, the family moved from Australind to the Vasse, where James worked as a sawyer, and established a farm on a property sometimes known as “Salisbury” and sometimes as “Millstream Farm”, along what is now Queen Elizabeth Avenue in modern Busselton.

  • Commemorating Samuel Game and William Nicholls 1994

    on Sunday 12  June 1994 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Samuel Game and William Nicholls

    Citation by Thelma Jones and Reg Withers

    A common theme title for the papers this day being delivered by my cousin Thelma Jones and me would be “a tale of three sisters and their three soldier husbands”.

    The three sisters and their three soldier husbands and some of their descendants all form part of our two papers today.

    The three sisters were Comfort, Esther and Ann Stanton who arrived with their father Joseph on the bark “Diadem” at Australind on 10 April 1842.

    On 19 March 1843 at the place of public worship Bunbury Comfort aged 19 was married by John Ramsden Wolleston to James Blyth aged 30. On the marriage certificate he is described as a carpenter.

    James had arrived in the Swan River Colony from Hobart Town in September 1833 as a Private in the 21st Regiment also known as the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

    James signed the marriage certificate as did his witness George Wallace. As James had been born in Dundee and as Wallace was most likely also a scot one is not surprised that they were literate. Comfort and the other witness Mary Ann Walker both used a mark.

    Of Comfort’s twelve children reference will be made to four of them. Albert born 1844, Roland born 1848 and whom I remember quite well, Joseph born 1850 the ancestor of Thelma and Esther born 1856 my father’s mother.

    On 9 October 1844 at the sub registrar’s office Perth Esther Stanton aged 19 was married by George Fred Stone to Thos. English aged 26 he being described as Private 57 St Ives and that is about all that is known of the second sister and her soldier.

    Thos and the male witness J M Maguire signed. Esther and the other witness Eliza Laidley both made marks.

    William Nicholls 1856-1894

    On 9 June 1846 at the same sub registrar’s office and by the same person Ann Stanton aged 20 married John Nicholls aged 27 a Private 57 S.I. John’s male witness John Truslove, signed but the groom the bride and the female witness Eleanor Truslove all made marks.

    John Nicholls had joined the 51st (St Ives) Regiment of Foot in Cambridge in 1837. He saw service in Van Diemans Land and the East Indies. He arrived in Perth with his regiment in 1840 on board the Runnymede to relieve the 21st Regiment.

    John and Ann Nicholls left the colony with the regiment in 1847. In 1856 in England John received his honourable discharge. It was in that year that William Nicholls their second child was born in Manchester. The family later moved to Great Everden in Cambridge.

    In either 1861 or 1862 the Nicholls family with three children arrived in Perth the father having been appointed as a Pensioner Guard. William would have been about 5 years old.

    On 31 August 1876 at St Georges Cathedral Perth William then aged 20 married Elizabeth aged 22 the daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann Game. On his marriage certificate he is described as labourer but other occupations such as ‘teamster’, ‘ brewers carrier’ were also followed.

    Finally he became licensee of a hotel known as firstly the ‘Eagle’ then ‘The Retreat’ but which is better known today as ‘The Melbourne’ on the corner of Hay and Milligan streets.

    William and Elizabeth had 9 children. The eldest, Rose May then about 16, was with her father when they went to Bunbury in 1894 to stay with William’s first cousin, Albert Blythe.

    Their visits to Albert’s sister Esther wife of Edward Henry Withers are recorded in my grandfather’s diary as follows:

    • Sunday 28 October 1894. At home. Will Nicholls here & Rose.
    • Sunday 4 November 1894 W Nicholls & Rose with Esther
    • Wednesday 7 November 1894 W Nicholls died 1/4 6 pm
    • Friday 9 November 1894 W Nicholls went by train

    The death certificate shows cause of death as ‘inflammation of the lungs’ and occupation as keeper of wine and beer shop in Perth.

    William Nicholls died aged 38. At the time of his death there were 8 children and one was born after he was buried in the Anglican cemetery East Perth.

    William’s parents John who died in 1892 and Ann who died in 1891 whilst no stone survives are presumed to be also buried here.

    Samuel and Mary Game

    Samuel and Mary Game (nee Hines) who were married in Cambridge England on 31 May 1846 arrived in the colony from Cambridge aboard Sabrina on 13 June 1853.

    With them were 5 children. After their arrival Mary had another 9 children, the first being Elizabeth who was born in Fremantle in 1854 and who later married William Nicholls.

    At first they appear to have lived at or near Fremantle as some of the younger children were baptised at St John’s Fremantle.

    Their eldest daughter, Emma, married a warder Charles McMullen and she was later matron of the roundhouse in 1886.

    Samuel was once described as a ‘brickmaker’. In 1854 on Elizabeth’s birth certificate his occupation is shown as ‘baker’.’ on Elizabeth’s marriage certificate he is described as ‘general dealer’. On his own death certificate he is shown as ‘carter’.

    After they moved to Perth, Samuel and Mary had a store on the corner of Hay and Pier streets where they sold homemade pies, pasties and cakes as well as confectionery. Mary Ann’s father, William Hines had been a confectioner. They also sold goods imported from England including, according to family legend, life sized dolls.

    At public gatherings on the Esplanade Samuel and Mary Ann conducted a food tent.

    With their covered wagon they travelled to country fairs such as York where they set up refreshment tents.

    It was hard work especially travelling in the 1860’s and 1870’s but with all the self made family labour available they were able when the Belmont racecourse first opened to erect the game refreshment tent.

    Little is known of the death and funeral of Samuel who was buried here in 1884.

    Mary Ann lived until 1910 and as the matriarch of such a large family was the subject of the following report in the ‘West Australian’ in January that year.

    A very old colonist in Mrs. Mary Ann Game died in Perth on the 1st instant. She was born in Cambridge England and arrived in the state 56 years ago. She was the mother of many children now residents of the state. The funeral took place on Monday and moved from her late residence 546 Murray street. To the Church of England cemetery East Perth where her husband Mr Samuel Game and several members of her family who predeceased her are interred. Of the large gathering at the graveside the chief mourners were Mr. F Game (son) Mr E Hines (brother) Mesdames E Macmillan, E Moore, M Passmore, E Nicholls, W Pegler (daughters) Messrs J Moore, H Passmore, W Pegler (sons-in-law) and several grand and great grandchildren. The Pall Bearers were Messrs W. Moor, J. Holland, A. Lee, A. Pearce, J. Walker and B. Flores.

    Many wreaths and tokens of sympathy were received.

    Rev. Mr Bowen conducted the burial service at Church and graveside.

    Children of Samuel and Mary Ann who are also buried here are Alfred Robert died 10 September 1866 aged 2 years, Thomas died 2 March 1877 aged 25 years and Frances Selina died 29 August 1886 aged 12.

    However, only the names of Alfred and Selina appear on the tombstone.

  • Commemorating Enoch Barratt 1995

    on Sunday 28 May 1995 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Enoch Barratt

    Citation by Murray Hewett

    In the same year that the first settlers arrived in the Swan River Colony, Stephenson’s rocket was chosen as the engine to haul the first trains on England’s first railway line, the Liverpool to Manchester railway. It was a great success and marked the start of the rail revolution. Other railway companies quickly followed and began building lines to link England’s other cities. Among them was the London and Brighton Railway and that’s what brought Enoch Barratt to the Swan River colony – that is to say it was the reason that Enoch Barratt found himself aboard the William Jardine along with other convicts in the northern summer of 1852. You see, Enoch was England’s first great train robber.

    The convict with the green thumb was transported to help bolster the labour force of the struggling colony after having been sentenced to 10 years for robbing the trains on the London and Brighton line. As the switchman at Bricklayers Arms junction, it was his job to hold the trains on the branch line until the mainline trains went through. However, along with his brother George, he took the opportunity to lighten the load while the wagons were waiting. In 1851, after two years of padding their pockets, the brothers were caught and sentenced to 10 years transportation.

    Family folklore has it that Enoch had previously worked at Kew Gardens, so soon after his arrival in the colony, and after being conditionally pardoned, he began working in Government House Gardens. As part of an immigration program, his wife Mary and their three children were among 2412 people who arrived in Perth in 1854 -helping to boost the population to 11,743.

    Two years later Enoch is recorded as working for George Shenton, a man of substance who donated lilac trees that lined St Georges Terrace in the 1850s. This horticultural experience, along with his stint at Government House Gardens, gave Enoch the required confidence to strike out on his own when he received his full pardon in 1858. Initially he stuck to street trees, which he sold to the city council. The records show that the council paid him 16 shillings for street trees in 1861.

    By 1868, with the population of Perth nudging 25,000, Enoch is listed in the WA Almanac as a market gardener operating from a spot about where the Entertainment Centre now stands. The land was fertile because it was in an area that was once Lake Kingsford.

    An open drain flowed from the drained lake along beside Roe Street, into an underground drain and on to Claisebrook. The enclosed section of the drain tended to block during heavy rains and the fledgling nurseryman had to endure periods of flooding.

    But the fertility of the ground made it all worthwhile, because by 1867 he was advertising in the Inquirer fine young lilac trees fit for transplanting. The colony had its first commercial nurseryman. A year earlier he had received a special mention at the Perth Horticultural Society’s February show and a prize of five shillings for his rhubarb. To show it was no flash in the pan, he did the same again in 1867, a first prize for his rhubarb and a second prizes for his pansies.

     In 1868 he pulled off the hat trick with a first prize and yet another five shillings for the champion rhubarb.

    As a family, we are so proud of the rhubarb that one branch has been the custodian over the generations. And thanks to Florrie Thompson, Enoch’s great -grand-daughter and current custodian of the rhubarb, allow me to introduce the great-great-grandplant of the original champion rhubarb.

    The rhubarb isn’t the only floral descendant from the nursery in Douro Place, the street we now call Wellington Street. Over here we have the same variegated aspidistra that has blossomed in the gardens of Barratt descendants in the 100 – plus years since it first took root in the fertile ground of the old Kingsford Lake.

    At 56, Enoch was appointed Government Gardener and his domain was what was then called Government Gardens on the comer of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street. His salary was 70 pounds a year plus an extra 13 pounds to make up for not having accommodation on site. The land had been set aside by Governor Hutt as an acclimatisation garden.

    Enoch was a busy man, with Government Gardens to attend to plus his nursery business that, between regular flooding from the overflowing drain, was starting to blossom. His advertisements started appearing regularly in the Inquirer, offering mulberry, peach, pear and loquat trees, along with grape vines, oaks and lilacs.

    His son James joined the family business and in 1871 his grandson Edward was born into the horticultural household and was destined to become the one of three brothers to carry on Wellington Nursery into a third generation.

    In his book The People of Perth, Tom Stannage relates the tale of an ex-convict gardener who carried a knobbled stick to chase away children who took fruit from the fruit trees in Government Gardens.

    With the help of James, Enoch expanded his range of trees to include guavas, cypresses, poplars, Sydney cedars and Australian ash. All were available from the shop he opened at the top of what was called Barrat Lane which ran down to Wellington Street. Along with Chipper Lane, which continued across the street and joined Murray and Hay Streets, Barratt Lane was renamed Shafto Lane, a move by the Perth City Council in the 20th century that left both families bemused and which erased a historic link with the colony’s early days.

    Although given the grander title of Head Gardener of the Public Garden and Public Reserves in the late 1870s, Enoch continued to take an active interest in the family business, though son James was taking an increasing role in the day to day running. They became locked in competition with Joseph Wylde who also began advertising in the Inquirer, then with Charles Howlett. Joseph Wylde travelled to South Australia and returned with conifers and garden seeds which he quickly advertised.

    Enoch’s Wellington Nursery, with son James at the helm, continued to expand, broadening its range to cover bulbs, tubers and roots along with the plan and ornamental flower pots and saucers. Enoch retired as the government’s head gardener in 1881, at the age of 68, so that he was free to travel to Melbourne the following year to arrange more seed agencies and expand on the firm’s range.

    Between them, Enoch and James owned 15 blocks along what is now Wellington Street, ranging west from the present Entertainment Centre site. These were successively resumed when the Perth to Fremantle railway was built and some of the land was required for the railway itself or for the associated sheds. Two were sold to Bunning Brothers.

    The last remaining trace of the once thriving nursery was a line of giant poplars, once planed as a windbreak, that stood at the northern boundary of the Entertainment Centre car park until two years ago when they were removed to make way for earthworks for a proposed bridge to link Fitzgerald Street to the city.

    The family business, by this time run by three of James’s brothers, took up land in the Wanneroo district for their nursery. They also moved into the retail florist business, opening two shops, one in Hay Street, near the old Central Arcade, and one in Murray Street. Enoch, the pioneer nurseryman, married a second time after the death of his first wife, Mary, and became a partner with his second wife, Maria Church, in a clothing and furniture shop in Murray Street.

    It is just short of 100 years since he died in December 1895 at the age of 87. By then discovery of gold in WA had swelled Perth’s population to just over 82,000 and the number of nurseries had grown to five.

    It was from these small beginnings, and thanks to the dedicated nurserymen like Enoch Barratt that Perth is such a beautiful and bountiful place for us and future generations.

  • Commemorating Frederick Sherwood. A Rugged and Stout Hearted Pioneer 1995

    on Sunday 28 May 1995 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Frederick Sherwood. A Rugged and Stout Hearted Pioneer

    Citation by Margaret Love nee Sherwood

    Nine years before Enoch Barratt there arrived in the colony another of Western Australia’s pioneering quiet achievers, our great-great-Grandfather Frederick Sherwood. Five members of his family are buried here, at the East Perth Cemetery. They are Frederick himself, his wife Jesse, his sons Henry and Alfred and his son in law George Young.

    Frederick Sherwood was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Sherwood. He was born somewhere in Dorset in the year 1810. He had a very solid classical education, probably at one of those small classical schools that were to be found in vicarages all over England. The family seems to have moved to London in about 1821 where Richard Sherwood had a large and successful building company at 20 Cornwall Road, in the Parish of St. Mary at Lambeth, Surrey. In 1835 young Frederick married Jessie Hay daughter of Ninian and Ann Hay, of the Parish of St Giles-in-the Fields, Middlesex By then England was in the grip of a terrible economic depression, there was mass unemployment, endemic disease and poverty on all sides. The situation must have offered no hope for the future and these two young people escaped to the colonies in August 1842.

    They arrived in the Swan River Colony on the 4 January 1843 in the Brig the Lady Gray with their three small children, Jessie, Thomas and Frederick Junior. Five more children were born to them in the colony. They were Henry, Alfred, Charles, George and Annie.

    Frederick Sherwood came out to the Swan River under contract to Marshall Clifton at Australind, as a surveyor, but by the time he arrived the Western Australian Company was in financial trouble and the expected job did not eventuate. To make matters worse, the colony was experiencing an economic depression nearly as severe as that in England, and Frederick must have feared that he had made a terrible mistake in coming. They lived in Fremantle for two years (where two more babies were born) until December 1845 when they moved to Perth. Sherwood found that in the Swan River Colony it was necessary to diversify in order to earn the kind of living that he expected for his family, and over the course of thirty years he worked variously as Accountant, Architect, Builder, Surveyor, School Teacher, Brewer and a part time Farmer. But he always called himself an architect/surveyor.

    His first job in Western Australia was in 1843 as Civil Administrator (whatever that may have been, probably a kind of Town Clerk) in Fremantle. In August the same year, he advertised that he would survey land, make architectural drawings and adjust accounts. Two years later he successfully tendered for repairs to Perth Barracks (opposite Government House) and was congratulated for completing the job so cheaply When he moved to Perth he was appointed a Clerk in Civil Service, and in the same year leased (later bought) from George Leake, the eastern moiety of Perth Town Lot L4, where Sherwood Court now is. There, “halfway down his block he built a brick house”-(If we look very closely at Horace Samson’s painting of Perth from Mt Eliza we can see the house just where it ought to be.) In 1846 the Sherwood’s were part of the St George’s Cathedral Congregation.

    In 1848 Frederick began his career in education when he was appointed Administrator to the Perth Boys School and in the following year, in 1849, he opened the Perth Classical School putting his solid classical education to good use in the evenings, for senior pupils of Perth Boys and any others. This school seems to have continued until 1865 and it is reported that he “enjoyed a reputation for the success with which he developed the abilities of his pupils” and that “a great number of the sons of early settlers received a good part of their education there”. In 1850 he was appointed Assistant teacher at Perth Boys School (But the salary was very small).

    When the convicts arrived to provide more labour for the colony, he clearly hoped that there would be an increased demand for his architectural skills and he advertised to that effect in 1851. But he had only limited response and took instead an administrative post in Fremantle which must have been more lucrative.

    It must have been a very trying time for his wife Jessie, short of money and holding the fort alone in Perth while Frederick worked in Fremantle. Not only did she have a new baby and two unsuccessful pregnancies at that time but she also had the anxiety of coping with nineteen-year-old daughter Jessie who was in love with a young man of whom they did not approve. Letters from her uncle in England tell us of her homesickness and her dreams of returning for a holiday. But she and Frederick didn’t allow their homesickness to interfere with their resolve to build a new life for their children. By 1855 the family included eight strong healthy children. Eldest son Thomas had started his pupilage in accountancy in the Commissariat Department, and elder daughter Jessie was an essential help to her mother in the house. Although they were still struggling to make ends meet the Sherwood’s must have been feeling that at last things were starting to pick up a little.

    But then, without any warning, like a bolt from the blue, tragedy struck Jessie was riding in a vehicle on the Fremantle road when it overturned and she was very badly injured. Worn out by the hardships of colonial life and too many pregnancies she had little chance of recovery. She died twelve days later on the 22nd July 1855. Like most of the pioneering mothers in the Swan River Colony Jessie had always been a full time mother and homemaker. She made everything they wore and everything they ate; she made the candles, the soap, grew the vegetables, looked after the children and did all the washing On top of this it seems that she was also schoolmistress to her family. When she died they must have been absolutely devastated.

    It is at this time too that George Young, who is also buried here, came into the story He was a ticket-of-leave-man, born in 1828 in Frome, Somersetshire, the son of a weaver. He was a boot and shoemaker, was literate and a Church of England. He arrived on the Pyrenees on 1851 and quickly obtained work in his trader. Just one week before the tragic death of her mother he eloped with young Jessie, the beloved nineteen year old daughter of Frederick and Jessie Sherwood. These two headstrong young people were married on 14 July 1855 at the Congregational Church in Fremantle. (The fact that they were both Anglican and married in a Congregational Church is one of the clues that tell us that they eloped). Their children were Charles, Clara, (who married Joseph Ulrich), and Dora (who married Reuben Lewis), some of whose descendants are here with us today. George prospered, had his own boot making business in Barrack Street, between Hay and Murray Streets on the east side. Their house on the comer of Barrack and Murray Streets had a beautiful flower garden and a trellis with grapes. George always made beautiful shoes for his grandchildren and Jessie is remembered as a wonderfully warm and generous grandmother.

    However, the star of today’s story, is Frederick Sherwood When his wife died he immediately returned to Perth to look after his children. It is more than likely that young Jessie and her new husband moved into the family home and that she took over her mother’s housekeeping role. Frederick became Acting Senior Ordnance Clerk in the Control Department in Perth, a position which he held until his death. The following year in 1856 he advertised for additional pupils in the family schoolroom.

    Ever on the look-out for ways to increase his income, in 1857 he founded the Swan Brewery at the southern end of his property. The land once occupied by the brewery is now under the road at the Esplanade end of Sherwood Court, but in those days it was the comer of Bazaar Street and what was called “Sherwood’s Lane”, just a lane nine feet wide which had originally allowed access to George Leake’s little store on Bazaar Terrace. For sixteen years with the help of his two teenage sons Frederick and Henry, and some ticket of leave men, Frederick Sherwood owned and ran the Swan Brewery until his death. The brewery prospered. Its’ success allowed him to expand his interests and in 1860 he bought a section of farmland at The Springs, (just near what is now Tranby House), and progressively bought the rest of that location, owning all 960 acres of it by 1867. (The land stretched from the river at Maylands out to what is now Mt Yokine. Sherwood Street in Maylands is named after him). 1861 the cottage there burned down, and he is reported to have “built a substantial brick house and barn with shingled roof. In the early 1860s he owned several properties in the Victoria District (which the family still owned in 1875) but disasters in those districts seem to have absorbed much of the income from the brewery.

    In 1873 tragedy struck the family again taking the life of fourth son, twenty seven year old Alfred. He had toiled alone in the wilderness for ten years, trying to establish those farms at Champion Bay. But drought, flood, bushfires and repeated crop failures had broken his health. We don’t know how he died but he was in Perth, in the care of his father and youngest sister Annie, and is buried here, at East Perth Cemetery.

    The energy and intellect of the man who was Frederick Sherwood must have been quite extraordinary his lively mind constantly alert to opportunities to increase his income. At the age of 59 he was still working as Chief Ordnance Clerk in the Control Department, at the same time coordinating his family’s interests, and running the Swan Brewery That he continued to follow his interest and maintain his skills in architecture is evidenced by the fact that in 1872, when a hurricane blew down St Matthew’s Church at Guildford, a new one was built to his design. Early in 1874 he won a competition for the best plan for improvements to the city’s drainage system. After so many years of professional disappointment he must have been absolutely delighted. It is easy to imagine the warm smile and the inner rejoicing of the quiet and unassuming man as he at last accepted the approval of his peers. Several months after his death a barrel drain at Claisebrook was built to his design. (This would have helped Enoch Barratt’s garden!)

    On the 13th May 1874 an announcement inserted by his grieving family in the Inquirer read simply

    Sherwood. At Perth on the 9th May, after a short and painful illness Frederick Sherwood, Clerk in the Control Department: aged 64 years.

    An obituary in the same edition reported that he had “devoted himself in his peculiar and unostentatious manner to promoting the best interests of his adopted country”, and referred to him as “the designer of some of the principle edifices in Perth”, (Unfortunately the writer did not identify those buildings for us.) He was what Australians today call a “quiet achiever”. A much later writer who seems to have remembered him well described him as a “rugged and stout-hearted pioneer”, and whatever that might mean, it sounds like a recommendation.

  • Commemorating Phoebe Hymus, a life 1997

    on Sunday 8 June 1997 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Phoebe Hymus, a life

    Citation by Robert Worsley Hymus

    It is with an equal measure of caution, respect and pride that I speak to you here today.

    I am cautious because I know there are those amongst you who are more practiced and knowledgeable in the art of history than I am. Respectful, because of the patience, courage and wisdom of the pioneering people we commemorate. And proud, because these pioneers are my ancestors, our ancestors.

    My name is Robert Worsley Hymus. My great grandfather was Daniel Hymus, one of the sons of Frederick and Phoebe Hymus. I had intended to talk to you at length about Frederick and Phoebe, and about their children. It is a fine story, one worth telling, but it has been told before, and by people more skilful than I. In no way though do I want to diminish the importance of William, Ann, Catherine, Frederick jnr, Daniel, Eliza, Susan, Elizabeth, and Sidney in this commemoration of a pioneering family; nor the contribution of the Moore’s, the Birch’s, the Moir’s, the Bell’s, the Smirk’s, the Day’s, the Hurst’s, the Stirling’s, and of course the succeeding generations of Hymus’s to Western Australian history. Rather, I felt I could not do them all justice in the time available this afternoon.

    My intention is therefore to focus on one person, on one life, that of Phoebe. I am of course very much interested in Frederick; he is after all my great great grandfather. We share the same name and the same blood. But as I researched the various sources for today’s service, it was apparent that Frederick was assured of a place in history, as was his children, regardless of what was said by me.
    Phoebe on the other hand, has had no voice. The more I looked into the historical record, the less there was. If anything was said about her, it was, to put it bluntly, not very flattering. How could this be? She had given birth to eleven children, journeyed across the world, and then survived the extremes of the Western Australian wilderness.

    As a professional librarian, I am well acquainted with the vagaries of historiography – the difficulty of researching and writing history when the original sources no longer exist; when there is conflicting evidence; or no evidence at all. But in the story of Phoebe, I sensed a great injustice. It has been my experience that Hymus’s tend to favour the underdog, and they certainly don’t shy away from a fight. What better then, than to stand up for my great great grandmother. It is with respect that I speak on behalf of Pheobe. Any errors or omissions are mine and mine alone.

    Phoebe Barrett was born on August 2 1804 at Great Thurlow, Suffolk, England. She spent her childhood and early adult life in this small rural village, just over six kilometres from another small village, West Wickham, where Frederick Hymus lived. On October 25 1828, Phoebe married Frederick at St Mary’s Church, West Wickham. The ceremony was performed by The Reverend Wollaston. Phoebe was twenty four years of age.

    The Reverend John Ramsden Wollaston was, according to noted historian Geoffrey Bolton, “a scholarly, reticent man… a conservative and traditionalist by instinct”. He was part of a largely masculine world, where respectability was dependent upon dress and manners, deference to one’s superiors, church attendance, and sober habits. Phoebe on the other hand, has been described as having a lively personality and unrestrained manners. Today she we would be called vivacious. In an age when strong spirit was the universal drink, it is not surprising that a young sociable woman would be so easily affected by the occasional sip. None of this sat well with the reverend gentleman though. Religion at the time was a powerful source in holding the home together and women a subordinate place within it. Phoebe, according to the Reverend Wollaston, was a drunkard.

    I question this. No doubt the reverend was a sincere man, whose generosity towards his parishioners is unquestioned. His scholarship gives him a valued and honoured place in Western Australian history. Yet, the views and prejudices of a conservative, rural clergyman should not be taken at face value. They were certainly not Frederick’s views.

    Frederick did, after all, marry Phoebe. Why would a quiet, peaceable man from a Quaker background marry a woman like Phoebe? I put it to you, that the very characteristics that the reverend judged so strongly were in fact, the essence of Phoebe’s attractiveness. One need only look at the photographs of succeeding generations of Hymus women to appreciate their fine lines, proud bearing and strength of character. It does not surprise me that Frederick was attracted to a good looking, fun loving woman who did not necessarily meet the moral expectations of a clergyman.

    The Reverend Wollaston had a lot more to say about Phoebe in his journals – none of it good. I maintain though, that the historical record has misjudged her. She was, I believe, a strong willed, affectionate woman, devoted to her husband and children, as evident from her experiences after she left England.

    By early 1840, Phoebe had had eight children. Frederick was a skilled thatcher and builder with, we are told, many respectable connections. Since the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 until the late 1830s, there had been an agricultural recession throughout Great Britain. This may have been a good part of the reason for Frederick’s and Phoebe’s decision to become members of the Western Australian Company’s settlement scheme. The Western Australian Company was launched in 1839 with a view to establishing a settlement on the Leschenault inlet, a few miles from Bunbury. The settlement was to be called Australind. Frederick and Phoebe with their children left Gravesend on December 18 1841 on board the Diadem. After a difficult voyage (11 people died), they disembarked at Australind on April 10 1842. Phoebe was thirty seven years of age. She had eight children; the eldest was twelve, the youngest not quite two. Moreover, Phoebe had undertaken this journey half way around the world, in the final months of pregnancy. She gave birth to Caroline on April 18, eight days after arriving. Within weeks the baby had died.

    Further hardship followed as the new settlement struggled in vain to provide work, shelter and food for the several hundred people who had committed themselves to Australind. Frederick acquitted himself well, obtaining work from the Reverend Wollaston by thatching the roof of the Picton Church, and the following summer, assisting a surveyor on a property some distance from the settlement.

    In early 1843 hardship turned to tragedy. Frederick was involved in an incident that at this point in time, is best described as an affair of honour. It would seem that Phoebe was at the centre of this incident, and rightly or wrongly Frederick defended his honour and that of Phoebe’s, by shooting a long time friend, James Everet, in the leg. Frederick was imprisoned at the Round House, Fremantle for twelve months with hard labour.

    Phoebe did not go unscathed. Her character was viciously attacked and her suitability as a mother seriously questioned. Severe censure quickly followed any deviation from the ‘good’
    woman role model. A woman’s total duty was the preservation of family life. Her own comfort and happiness mattered little.

    And how unhappy it must have been for Phoebe. Alone for a year in an environment where other less disadvantaged settlers were themselves barely able to survive, she had to fend for her family, and contend with an establishment that was at best, uncaring. The Reverend Wollaston acted in what he regarded as the best interests of the children, but he offered no support, nor a kind word to Phoebe.
    Sometime before 1848 Frederick and Phoebe moved their family to Mowerinup, a farm on the Serpentine River, half way between what is now Rockingham and Mandurah. The farm was owned by Governor Hutt, and Frederick was hired to work this property. I visited this property when I was a child. It is well situated on the coastal plain between the river and the sea. My aunt, Pat Chester (nee Hymus), reliably informs me that Mowerinup was a favourite place of the Hymus family. My aunt recalls successive generations of Hymus’s hunting there, herself included, as well as my grandfather Worsley and his father Daniel. The availability of wild game and plentiful seafood no doubt made life a little easier for Frederick and Phoebe.

    But let us picture for a moment a two room limestone cottage, with a dirt floor and no windows, that was home to Phoebe and her family while they were living on this property. In summer, the heat, flies and mosquitoes would be a torment. In winter, the cold, strong gales and heavy rain would make life uncomfortable to say the least. The problems of hygiene, of keeping food fresh, of obtaining adequate clothing, and of maintaining equipment were accepted as a way of life. Added to this were the inherent dangers of living in a wilderness. In April of 1847 two of the children were attacked by a wild boar and badly mauled. Flooding from the Serpentine River and bushfire were risks the Hymus family had to face each year. One must also reflect on the isolation that confronted the family, especially Phoebe. The rugged terrain and distance from other settlements at Fremantle and Mandurah would have made travel hard work. The companionship of other women would have been rare.

    Phoebe gave birth to two children at Mowerinup. More than likely she did this without the assistance of a doctor or a midwife. She was probably aided though, by aboriginal women from the Murray River tribe, for it is a significant point that the Hymus family where on good terms with the Murray River tribe and its leader Winjan. The children of both groups played together and Pat Chester can recall that her grandfather Daniel, hunted with an aboriginal warrior called George, Winjan’s son. Two of the Hymus girls, Eliza and Susan became so fluent in the aboriginal language, that as adults they served as official government interpreters.

    Such a relationship is notable, not just because of the respect both peoples had for each other, but because it stood well outside the context of general aboriginal/white relations. Indeed, it is all the more significant today as Australian society attempts to deal with the issue of reconciliation. On December 11 1852 Frederick died at Mowerinup aged 49. At some point during 1853, Phoebe moved her family to Rockingham where they proceeded to take up land. In 1855 William, the eldest son, was granted title to twenty acres, and as a result, the Hymus family was one of the first, if not the first family to settle permanently in Rockingham. Life would have been better for Phoebe, now that the family owned their own property. Tragedy in these pioneering days though was never far away, as Elijah the second youngest child was killed in 1859, aged fourteen years, as a result of a fall from a bullock wagon.

    In the early 1860s Phoebe went to live with her eldest daughter Ann, who had married in 1856, and was now living in Hay St Perth. Phoebe died there on July 30 1864. She was buried at this cemetery on August 2 1864, her sixtieth birthday.

    Throughout her life, Phoebe Hymus had to contend with a regular cycle of birth and death that was close and personal. As Jean Northover notes in her article on women and colonial settlement, “families at this time, continually experienced marriage, birth and death in close proximity within the isolated living conditions of the family home”. Phoebe was not alone of course, she had her children and she had Frederick – a remarkable man by anyone’s standards. But she did face great hardship and many difficulties in an Australian bush that was essentially wilderness country. All of this at a time when social services were non-existent and a woman’s worth was measured by men in authority.

    That Phoebe faced these challenges, with patience, fortitude and courage is a fair indication of her true worth. I doubt that Phoebe would have fared so well, if not for that lively and unrestrained spirit she demonstrated as a young woman. It is ironic that during his 1853 tour, Archdeacon Wollaston noted that Phoebe brought six of her children, in a cart, to his service at Mandurah, and that the eldest son William, arrived well dressed, riding a fine horse excellently equipped. The Archdeacon was pleased that Phoebe was so well provided for.

    Throughout all these life experiences Phoebe Hymus’s voice is silent. She left no diary, no letters. None of us have heard her voice, seen her photograph or a portrait of her likeness. But if she did not leave us words, she did leave a legacy more lasting and more valuable – her children. Phoebe not only provided her children with the physical necessities of life, but she clearly had given them the emotional security, spiritual guidance, and necessary education to lead fulfilling, successful lives themselves, as they continued to pioneer Western Australia, and become leaders in their own communities.
    The finest tribute to Phoebe is the presence of her great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren here today.

    It is I think fitting that I close now with extracts from a letter written by Phoebe’s eldest daughter Ann, to her sister Catherine informing her of their mother’s death.

    My dear Sister,

    It is my mournful duty to inform you of the Death of our dear Mother. She departed this life on the 30 July and was buried on the 2 August, it was her birthday. 61 years old. I believe she has gone from a world of sorrow and sin to a world of everlasting happiness, where all tears are wiped from her eyes. May our end be as peaceful as hers was. A few mornings before she died she was asked if she was afraid to die. She said “On no I believe my sins are all pardoned. I have been talking to Jesus all night”. She is my all from that time until her death. She never seemed to have any fears. She felt herself a great sinner. She believed Jesus to be a Saviour. Mr Innes the Independent Minister visited her. She was always so pleased to see him and old Mrs Birch frequently came to see her. No one that saw her could help liking her, poor dear. She was so patient. I am sure she was a great sufferer. For two days and two nights before she died she could not lie down in bed at all. What a blessing to know that her sufferings are all over. I am so thankful that I was permitted to see the last of her, although I did not think to part with her so soon, it would have been a great pleasure to have had her with us a few years at least but God’s will was otherwise… I enclose a piece of dear mother’s hair for you and Elizabeth. Give my love to her as I cannot write this time except the same for yourself and Alex, he looks very serious.

    God Bless you all. Your loving sister Ann Birch

    Ann died on May 9 1909. She is buried with her mother.

  • Commemorating Catherine and Thomas Davis 1998

    on Sunday 31 May 1998 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Catherine and Thomas Davis

    Citation by Lyn Coy

    Thomas and Catherine Davis with their two small children, John aged three, and Charlotte aged two years, and with them their nephew John Davis aged thirteen, arrived in the Swan River Colony in the barque Parmelia with Captain James Stirling on 31st May 1829.

    Captain Stirling anxious to make land took the helm on sighting the coast and promptly hit the Sandbanks now called Parmelia Banks just off the coast. The next eighteen hours the ship was thumped and bumped and the men in their wisdom decided they would have to lighten the load.

    Of course the most logical thing for those naval men to do was to offload the 28 women and children of the workmen on the Parmelia. With the stores, over the side onto the jolly boats in the midst of a raging storm went those poor unsuspecting souls.

    They were rowed to nearby Carnac Island and dumped on the beach with no shelter, no food but salt beef and biscuits and they had ‘one mug and one knife’ to share among nearly thirty people.
    The weather was appalling, they were marooned on the Island for five days and nights until the weather changed and they could be rescued.

    I don’t know if any of you have been to Carnac Island, but I did the trip a few years ago because I wanted to see what the Island was like, because my GGGGG grandmother was one of the twenty eight stuck on that island with her two small children.

    And believe me it is no tropical paradise. Carnac Island lies around 10km south- west of Fremantle, rising between its better known and larger neighbours, Garden and Rottnest Islands. Several thousand years ago, all three were joined to the mainland when sea levels were significantly lower. Nyoongar people knew this island as Ngooloomayup which means ‘place of little brother’. Rottnest Island was the big brother.

    Carnac Island is now a class A nature reserve. James Stirling changed the name to Pulo Carnac after John Rivett Carnac who was a second lieutenant of his ship HMS Success. Pulo is Malay for Island. The Pulo was dropped and it became Carnac Island. In the early days it was used as a penal settlement for indigenous Australians.

    It has very stunted growth, and on the beach sits great wallowing sea lions that looked very menacing to me, and behind the small sand dunes it is infested with tiger snakes.

    There is no permanent fresh water on the island – the island is a paradise for the sea lions. And did you know that the sea lions on Carnac Island are all male?

    This breed of sea lion is the rarest in the world, and the only one found solely in Australia. There are several thousand of them and they are now given special protection by WA’s Wildlife Conservation Act. These sea lions off WA exhibit an unusual breeding pattern. Breeding takes place on offshore islands about 200 kilometres north of Perth for four to five months every 17.5 months. After the breeding season is over, the males migrate south to Carnac Island and other islands off the Perth metropolitan coast, probably to relieve feeding pressure from the females and young pups. Australian sea lions are the only seals or sea lions with a 17.5 month breeding cycle. This could be because in the waters where they live, there is no appreciative difference between food availability in winter and summer. Instead, mothers feed their pups over a longer period of time, which is an advantage in an environment low in food resources. But the male sea lions on Carnac are large wild animals that are often aggressive if they feel threatened. There are strict guidelines for visitors on Carnac; you are not allowed to approach them at any close distance.

    The tiger snakes found on Carnac Island are one of the world’s most deadly snakes and pose a potential risk to visitors landing on the Island. The snakes consume the seagull chicks, mice and lizards and are an important predator to the frog eating seagulls on the mainland. There are no frogs on Carnac. Many of the adult snakes on Carnac have lost one or both eyes. This is the result of damage caused by silver gulls protecting their young by foraging snakes. Some of the fattest, healthiest snakes on the island are totally blind. There are a couple of stories of how the snakes got there but the most logical conclusion is that the snakes were marooned there after the connection to Garden Island (where the snakes are also found) sank under the sea thousands of years ago, but there is also a story that a snake charmer called Rocky Vane rowed them to the island after his wife Dorothy was bitten and died in 1928 from tiger snake bite.

    He was ordered to get rid of the snakes because the government, after several cases of deaths from tiger snakes, restricted snake shows – so the story goes that Rocky decided to get in a rowboat and take them to Carnac Island.

    Great story – but he may have got the snakes from there in the first place…

    It is no wonder with all this stress of being marooned on the Island with those great wallowing sea lions and those deadly snakes, my poor ancestral grandmother took to drinking rum. In the following year, she was fined for brawling in the street with her husband and it is recorded that she hit him over the head with a bottle and it was most likely a rum bottle and probably the reason she hit him on the head was that she was really annoyed that it had run dry.

    One has to keep ones spirits up…..

    And who could really blame her for her actions? – that damn ancestral grandfather of mine had carted her half way round the world, watched while she was lowered over the side of the ship in the midst of a howling storm, left her stuck on a snake infested island with great menacing sea lions and with two kids for five days and nights with twenty six other miserable women and children and she was supposed to be in good spirits? She was ‘Not Happy Jan’. And therein started my first known line of ‘Grumpy Old Women’ in the Swan River Colony.

    Sadly Catherine died eight years later and her husband was left with two small children.

    Catherine Davis was buried in East Perth Cemetery 21 August 1836.

    Thomas Davis later remarried Martha Withnell who was probably also a grumpy, grouchy old woman because she had been widowed in the Colony in 1841 – and she had four kids to bring up on her own for another five years until she married my great grandfather Thomas Davis.

    Thomas’s daughter Charlotte Davis married at the age of 18 years to John Herbert and he ran the ‘Royal Oak Inn’ at West Toodyay and hubbie John Herbert, took an extreme liking to the product he was selling. The spirits got the better of him and he was sent to the ‘lunatic asylum’ to dry out. That is where you got sent to in those days, for all sorts of reasons, and not just because you had lost your mind. But I guess he had the DT’s and that was good enough reason for anybody.

    Charlotte had to manage the hotel without him and then she was fined ‘five shillings’ for running the Inn without a license as women were not permitted to hold a licence at that time. She was left doing all the hard work, with a pub to run, four kids to raise, whilst hubbie was drying out in the lunatic asylum. So GGGG grandmother daughter of cranky, grumpy Mother who had been ‘put over the side’ with women and kids and stuck on an Island for five days and nights was also ‘Not Happy Jan’. There followed the second succession of Grumpy Old Woman’ in the Swan River Colony.

    You will be pleased to know that after Charlotte died my GGGG Grandfather reformed and became a foundation member of the Temperance Society of Oddfellows in Toodyay and became a tee-totaller. A bit late for Charlotte but at least there was some hope for family sobriety.

    And so now another descendant Grumpy Old Woman of Charlotte Davis lives in Charlotte’s Vineyard – I have Charlotte on the brain. If I had known years ago, what I know now – my daughter would have been called Charlotte, my dogs would have been called Carnac, but at least I do live in the right place – the Swan Valley – I have inherited the family genes – there is nothing like a fine wine produced in the Valley and I can truthfully can say ‘I live, work and play’ in Ellenbrook – just like the LWP slogan and letter that called me here years ago …

    Lyn Coy – Convenor, Swan River Pioneers Inc 1829-1838

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service 2000s

  • Commemorating Quinlan, Connor & O'Connor 2000




    Your Lordship Bishop Robert Healy, Sir William Heseltine, President of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, Mr Joe O’Sullivan, President of the Australian/Irish Heritage Association, members of the Australian Irish Association, members of the Quinlan and Connor families, welcome to this celebration of the families, gathered near the graves of Daniel Connor and his daughter Teresa, my Grandmother, and wife of Timothy Francis Quinlan. Of course I must include many other families who can claim descendancy from the original ones. They include the Murphy, Hayes, Daly, Benari, Dease, Bourke, Esmonde, Whitely, Peacock, Kirwan, Mclntyre, Secombe, Poland, Oakes, Summerhayes, Byrnes, Walsh, Arundell, Sheldrick, McCall, Clune, Thompson, Coffey, Onn, Keleman, White, Pine, Harding, Coltrona, Gilman, Peachey, Rice, Collins, Treadgold, Hales, Ladyman, and Noble families, and I am sure others for whose omission I apologise.

    Max Connor has referred to the extended family as the Catholic Mafia, a term I have heard before and again just recently when I was told that I was the hidden instigator of the inquiry into King Edward Hospital with the aim of having it closed down because of my opposition to abortion! What an extraordinary power – but totally unfounded.

    Life is full of coincidences. Today is no exception as it just happens that while we are here, just down the road to the West the Eagles are hopefully beating Carlton! I am grateful that Bishop Healy, a devoted fan of the Eagles has gracefully consented to be with us for the celebration this afternoon. Indeed we are graced by the presence of an A.F.L commissioner, Mr Terence O’Connor, as well; although I believe that a bolt of lightning from heaven, sent by Desmond, his father, would have struck him down at Subiaco Oval if he had dared to turn up there.

    There is another remarkable coincidence about today the 28th May 2000 because almost to the minute my grandfather Timothy Francis Quinlan met the S.S. Adelaide at Fremantle wharf as it docked at 3.00 p.m with the first Dominican Sisters to come to Western Australia – the date May 28th 1899. It wasn’t the first or the last time he had welcomed a Religious Order to Perth – but more of that later.

    The first member of the Quinlan-Connor families to come to W.A. was my greatgrandfather Daniel Connor in 1851 on the good ship “Phoebe Dunbar” courtesy of Her Majesty’s British Government. Daniel was from county Kerry and there is some doubt as to his birthplace. This piece of history is being vigorously pursued by his great-grandaughter Elizabeth Connor, now Peacock, and her husband Peter. He was a farm labourer and a licensed hawker who walked around old Newcastle/Toodyay, and to quote the description of that time:-

    “with a bundle of small goods, such as needles, pins and cottons tied up in a red handkerchief dangling from a stick over his shoulder”

    He later became a storeowner, farmer and landowner, merchandiser and miller and property owner in Perth, Fremantle and Guildford, and finally according to the record he was classified a gentleman. At one time a very large part of the Central Business District of Perth was owned by him and the extended family. Meanwhile my other great-grandfather, Michael Quinlan and his wife Maria had arrived in Perth on the ship Palestine in 1863 with their two children Timothy Francis aged 2 and Mary, newly born, from the town of Boris O’Kane in Tipperary. He was a blacksmith and they settled on a small farm near Toodyay. In 1865 he joined a Government Expedition to the ill fated settlement at Camden Harbour in the far North-West.

    He was described by the Government Resident Commissioner Sholl in the none too flattering phrase of “a civil, lazy fellow” although it was acknowledged that he was an expert craftsman and that the enervating climate of the North West at that time of the year could have accounted for his “laziness”. He died by drowning on September 5th 1865 while the party was fleeing from a group of aborigines. He was just 24 years old. He did not know that in the meantime his wife Maria had died on 13th June 1865 giving birth to twins neither of whom lived. Interestingly Daniel Connor was asked to look after the 3 family cows. He claimed £6 18s for the fodder required. In 1866 Father Mathew Gibney, later Bishop Gibney, famous for his role in the events surrounding Ned Kelly’s last battle at Glenrowan, and a Mr J T Reilly journeyed to Toodyay by gig and brought Timothy and his sister Mary to Perth. J.T. Reilly and his wife fostered them both. J.T. Reilly was the founding Editor of the Record newspaper and his book, Reminiscences of 50 Years in Western Australia, published in 1901, remains an invaluable source of information about the Swan River Colony in the second half of the 19th Century. J.T. Reilly was an extraordinarily generous man and brought up his foster children as his own and encouraged Timothy in his early business career as well. Mary later went to Adelaide to marry and settle there. By 1859 Daniel Connor had married Catherine Conway and they had a family of three sons and three daughters, one of whom, Teresa, married Timothy Quinlan in 1883. They had five sons and four daughters. Teresa died at the age of 41 from what was described as peritonitis, in 1904. It was most likely due to a ruptured appendix – remembering that the first successful appendicectomy was done on the Prince of Wales in 1900. Teresa was by all accounts an extraordinary woman, described as being very generous and concerned for all who came into contact with her, as well as much loved by her husband and family.
    Perhaps his care and concern for her was responsible for Timothy’s belief, stated in the Legislative Assembly in the 1899 debate on the vote for women that “women, like cats were best kept at home”. You can imagine the uproar this created in the House as well as the West Australian the next day. A wholehearted apology and explanation occurred quickly!

    Descendants of four of Daniel and Catherine’s children are here today. Somewhere in that generation the surname O’Connor came into being, so that we have Connors and O’Connors with us now. Two of Daniel’s sons became doctors, Daniel and Michael. I remember Terry O’Connor’s father Desmond referring to “Uncle Mike”. He was quite an identity in Perth as Perth’s Health Officer, Senior Physician of the Perth Government Hospital and Chairman of the Stanley Brewing Company, and later the Swan Brewery. He had been educated as a doctor at Trinity College in Dublin. Perhaps Dr Michael O’Connor’s Chairmanship of the Brewery put the imprimatur on beer as a health food! Certainly a considerable number of the family down the generations since, have assiduously incorporated beer and wine as essentials for their survival – with some achieving legendary status in that regard!

    Timothy Quinlan became a wealthy businessman, landowner, vigneron, Publican and Politician. He was extraordinarily and quietly philanthropic. As a politician he was a colleague of Sir John Forrest and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for 8 years. He was also a very prominent figure in the Catholic Church and was made a Papal Knight in his early 40s. As mentioned previously he personally welcomed religious orders to Perth, not just the Dominicans but also the Sisters of St John of God, the Sister of Our Lady of the Missions, the Good Shepherd sisters and the Oblate fathers. He was also by repute a dab hand at poker – a very serious game of the day, played for high stakes.

    My father, Daniel, was of the next generation, with his sisters Eileen, Gertrude and Kathleen, brothers Cecil, Harold, Gerald and Frank along with Daniel, Francis, Clem and Vincent Connor, Eileen, Sheila, Ted and Dorothea Hayes, Desmond, Bob, Kevin and Maurice O’Connor. Many of them were educated at secondary and tertiary level in Melbourne, England and Ireland. There were a smattering of doctors and farmers and soldiers amongst them and the beginning of what was to become a Legion of Lawyers in later generations. Desmond O’Connor, as many of you know, died recently leaving only Kathleen Connor, nee O’Neill, and now in her 90s, as the only survivor of that generation. Two – Harold Quinlan and Clem Connor were killed in the First World War and Arthur Patrick (better known as Kevin) O’Connor in the Second World War. The next generation of which I am a member with my brothers Tim and Tony and sister Mary, along with Max Connor, Dan Connor, Clem Connor, Betty Connor, Dorothy Connor, Dorothea Connor, Terry, Erin, Jock and Prudence O’Connor, Jeremy, Jocelyn, Monica and Rosemary Hayes, Sally Gywnne and many others have personal memories of many of our proceeding generation.
    Who will forget Bob O’Connor, Leo O’Connor and Stan Murphy. Stan the learned studious man who generously endowed St Thomas More College. Major Bob, jovial big-hearted bon vivant and master of the good ship Dorina, Sheila Hayes, later Gwynne, supreme horse breeder and winner of important races across Australia. I will not forget my Aunt Eileen, Imperial Hostess of extraordinary soirees at the Palace Hotel – in earlier days wife of the owner of a station on Dirk Hartog Island. I will not forget my uncle Sir John Kirwan, first editor of the Kalgoorlie Miner and Federal Member for Kalgoorlie in the First Federal Parliament and later Speaker of the Legislative Council in the Western Australian Parliament.

    I read an article on the first traffic accident in Perth, held in Sir John Kirwan’s pages in the Battye Library. He wrote of the occasion in a newspaper article. He was seated alongside the driver of the car as it sped at something like 6 m.p.h. down the dusty unsealed surface of St George’s Terrace of the time. Out of the dust loomed the figure of a man and before they could stop, the car caught the man a glancing blow and he was bowled over in a cloud of dust. They got out and helped him up and after brushing him down recognised the victim as the then Premier, Mr A E Morgan -fortunately unhurt! The article did not name the driver, but in the archival copy my uncle had written his name in the margin – none other than Dr Michael O’Connor! Here today is Sir John Kirwan’s daughter-in-law Mary and by wonderful coincidence Teresa Quinlan now Teresa Bourke, the oldest member of our generation named after her grandmother Teresa Quinlan, whose grave we honour today. Teresa and her husband Joe delayed their return to England to be here and it was entirely apt that she was able to do the reading today. She is the daughter of Patrick Francis Quinlan who captained the W. A. State cricket team and died at an early age of tuberculosis. Two of that generations were killed in war, Edmund Kirwan in World War II and Keith Maclntyre in the Malayan campaign.

    The next generations number a very large number, scattered throughout Australia and the world, contributing to their communities and society, representing all the major professions, priests, farmers and horse breeders, soldiers, sailors and airmen, vintners, geologists, businessmen and women, teachers, nurses, hoteliers, tourism and the arts and many more. Several nights ago, Josephine Byrnes unforgettable presence was seen on T.V. again. On my mother’s side I can claim the late Johnny O’Keefe as a cousin. It is no surprise, therefore, that my sister Mary is such a great singer and my brother Tony’s and my ability to tell great jokes is a common talent with our other cousin Dave Allen! Our children deny that we have this talent – unfortunately!

    Such a short overview cannot do justice to the individual members of the family, many of whom have contributed greatly to their own families, society in general, their communities, local, State and Federal Politics, Education and the Church – but that is the story of the Pioneers in Western Australia. Dan Connor, a labourer and Michael Quinlan a blacksmith bringing their Irish Heritage with them would not have envisaged the legacy that followed their arrival in their new country.

    Finally, on your behalf may I thank the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and the Australian/Irish Heritage Association (W. A.) and Bishop Healy for the honour they have done the family on this day of commemoration.

  • Commemorating the contribution of Dr John Ferguson and Isabella Ferguson to early settlement in Western Australia. 2001

    on Sunday 27 May 2001

    at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating the contribution of Dr John Ferguson and Isabella Ferguson to early settlement in Western Australia.

    Citation by W de Burgh, Read by Andrew Plunkett

    John Ferguson described as small, wiry, tough and red bearded, came from a farming background at Eastern Dalmabreck in Scotland. Born in 1802, he was well educated and graduated with a medical degree from Edinburgh University. He practiced, apparently profitably at Auchtermuchty until 1835, when he moved to Dundee. There he met and married on 12 June 1838, Isabella, the nineteen year old eldest daughter of Dr. John and Elizabeth Maxwell. Dr Maxwell had practiced for 39 years in the West Indies and owned a plantation in Jamaica before retiring to live in Dundee where he married Elizabeth Stormouth of ancient lineage. There were eight children of this marriage and Isabella was to keep in touch by letter with her sister always.

    Times were tough in the 1840’s, in many parts of the British Isles, and migration to the colonies became an attractive alternative. Especially as comparatively large areas of land were available to those with limited capital, but an adventurous spirit. Such was our Dr John Ferguson who decided to join, as a farmer, the large Australind settlement set up by the Western Australian Company on the eastern shore of the Leschenault Inlet. He had sufficient funds to purchase 400 acres of rural land and sixteen town allotments at Australind before embarking and, although not a farmer himself, he had plenty of experience of how farming worked.

    So it was that John Ferguson at age 40, his wife Isabella, 23, and their infant children, Elizabeth and John Maxwell arrived aboard the Trusty on December 6, 1842. With an eye for good land he soon exchanged his rural allocation, for 400 acres at the foot of the granite range between the Collie and Brunswick Rivers. They named this property Weddenburn after some of Isabella’s relatives.

    With hard work and the help of William and Margaret Forrest, who came on the Trusty with them, the Ferguson’s made a viable farm of Weddenburn over the next three to four years. However, with the doctor’s background it was inevitable that his services would be sought elsewhere. Soon after landing he accepted the position of Medical Officer for the Company at a salary of £150 a year and in December 1843 he was made a Justice of the Peace for the Colony. His medical and magisterial duties caused him to become widely known and respected by the settlers and the Government.

    In May 1846, the Colonial Surgeon, Dr Joseph Harris, died. Of the six applicants Dr Ferguson was chosen to succeed him. This new appointment led, inevitably, to the leasing of Weddenburn and a move to Perth. Here the doctor found himself in charge of a rather ramshackle Colonial Hospital and Medical Officer to the Government officials and their families. His initial salary was £275 a year and the right to practice privately. Although very busy, he managed to keep in touch with the latest advances in his profession and reputedly, only a year after chloroform was used in the United Kingdom, he used it when he amputated an Aboriginal’s leg.

    By 1851, after the arrival of shiploads of convicts with their guards and families, the doctor became a driving force behind the building of a new hospital, on high well drained land in Murray Street. It was opened in 1855 and became the beginning of what is now Royal Perth Hospital.

    It was nearly a year before suitable residential accommodation could be found for Dr Ferguson and Isabella with the children were able to move to Perth. In the meantime, John lived at Leeders Hotel on the corner of William St and St Georges Tee. In due course, Mrs Camerons Cottage on Bazaar Terrace, now the Esplanade became available. There a second son, Charles William, and two more daughters, Helen and Isabella were born. Later the Government built them a fine two storey house, near the eastern end of St Georges Terrace, much closer to the hospital. The family was readily accepted into the social set of Perth Society and became firm friends with Colonel Bruce, the acting Governor and his family. They took an active part in the festivities surrounding the first royal visit to the colony, that of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh in 1869.

    The Fergusons were a thrifty family, as befitted their tradition and upbringing. They were able to give all of their five children a first class education. Each in turn was sent to Isabella’s sisters in Scotland for two years. The three girls to complete their schooling at a good boarding school. John, the eldest son, was of a rather restless and adventurous nature. After attending St Andrews in Scotland, he joined the British merchant navy, graduated to having his own ship and eventually settled down to being a prominent Perth businessman. Charles, after his two years in Scotland returned to be one of the inaugural students at Bishop Hales school in Perth. Before taking up his life’s work, as manager and later owner of Houghton.

    Dr Ferguson never lost his love of good land. His salary was increased from time to time and during the 1850s he sold his interests in Australind. This enabled him to invest in urban blocks in Perth and rural properties within easy reach. Principal among these were the 322 acres of Houghton, which he purchased for 350 pounds in January 1859. To this he added the adjoining 250 acres of Strelly in 1863. Houghton was the fertile river end of Swan Location 11, one of the original grants on the Upper Swan river flats. Houghton became a famous vineyard and wine making venture under Charles Ferguson’s lifelong management and later that of his sons. Although sold by the family in 1950, it is still a famous vineyard and winery. The farm land was not sold until 1972. Another acquisition of note was that of Barndon Hill, now the suburb of Rivervale, which he bought from Solomon Cook in 1871. This 500 acres was part of the original Swan Location 35 and was leased for a good many years to Archie Clifton, a grandson of their old friend Marshal Clifton of Australind. Archie ran a dairy farm from there for 26 years.

    Dr Ferguson held the position of Chief Medical Officer and was Chairman of the Medical Board from its institution in 1870. He retired on a pension in August 1879, and died at his residence in St Georges Tee on September 11, 1883, aged 81.

    Four of John and Isabella’s five children married into well known pioneer families, and their descendents continue to play a prominent role in Western Australia’s affairs. Helen the middle daughter did not marry. She was active in many ways and was the first secretary of the Karrakatta Club. She and her mother moved to a house in Mount St, where Isabella died aged 91 in 1910 and Helen 3 years later. They are both buried in the doctor’s grave, which we honour today, in the East Perth Pioneers Cemeteries.

  • Commemorating The Jewish Cemetery at East Perth 2003

    on Sunday 25 May 2003 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating The Jewish Cemetery at East Perth

    Citation by Mr David Mossenson

    The first Jew to be buried in the old East Perth cemetery was the convict David Joseph, a thirty-eight year old Londoner who had been transported to Western Australia after being convicted on a charge of breaking and entering. Following his death in May 1867, not many months after his arrival in the colony, he was buried in the Church of England portion of the East Perth cemetery. Three of his fellow Jewish ticket-of-leave men — Abraham Rosenberg, Isaac Harris, and Henry Seeligson — had earlier appealed to the authorities seeking a separate burial ground for Jews. Governor Hampden acceded to their petition. Through the Executive Council he designated Perth Town Lot E72 containing one rood and thirty-two perches bounded on the north by Stokes Street, on the south by Wickham Street, on the east by North Plain Street, and on the west by Town Lot E73 to be “a cemetery for members of the Jewish persuasion”.

    Having fenced a section of the land assigned to them, and being permitted to exhume Joseph’s body, Rosenberg and his associates re-interred it in their new graveyard in accordance with Jewish custom. Rosenberg and Harris then addressed the following letter of appreciation to the governor and his officials through the medium of the Inquirer and Commercial News: Would you be kind enough to insert in your valuable paper one of the many kindnesses of His Excellency the Governor, namely —In August last year we petitioned to His Excellency to grant us a portion of land for a Jewish Cemetery which he freely granted; and we have completed our duty on Friday 6th instant, of fencing in a portion of the grant, and have had removed from the Church of England Cemetery to our new Cemetery the body of David Joseph, a Jew who died on the 1st May last and we have consecrated the new burial ground according to our law and custom. Now, on the part of ourselves and those of our persuasion in the colony, we feel ourselves bound to return to His Excellency our humble sincere thanks for his kindness and likewise to those gentlemen whom we gave so much trouble on this occasion, namely the Hon. the Colonial Secretary, Mr. W.H. Knight, Mr. G. Phillips and Messrs. Charles and Bernard Evans. It is our earnest wish that Western Australia may become a large and prosperous colony, and that those Jews who may make the colony their home in after time will ever remember the great kindness of His Excellency the Governor and his officials of Western Australia.
    We remain Sir
    Your humble and obedient servants
    Abraham Rosenberg
    I. Harris
    Perth, Dec 9th, 1867

    Apart from the events surrounding its formation not much is known about the old Jewish cemetery at East Perth, and of the individuals who were interred there during the thirty-odd years that it operated as a burial ground. Throughout the 1870s and eighties Perth’s Jewish population was quite tiny, numbering forty-three in the census of 1891. That year was nevertheless a notable one for the colony’s Jews as it marked the first visit to Western Australia by an ordained minister of the Jewish religion. Reverend Abraham Tobias Boas of Adelaide spent several weeks in the colony at the behest of the Fremantle Jewish community which in those days was larger than that in Perth, and already possessed an organised though rudimentary congregation. One of the tasks Boas performed during his stay was to consecrate the Jewish cemetery at East Perth.

    Soon after its establishment in November 1892 the Perth Hebrew Congregation assumed control of the Jewish cemetery. No doubt this action was facilitated by Henry Seeligson, the surviving member of the three original trustees, who actively associated himself with the formation of the congregation.(1) For some years Solomon Levi Horowitz, one of the congregation’s founders, served as honorary director of funerals. After Reverend Freedman’s arrival in 1897 he took charge of all aspects of the congregation’s religious activities, and within a few years he constituted an elective Chevra Kedisha to supervise burial arrangements. When the Karrakatta Cemetery was brought into use after 1899 the East Perth cemetery was closed. Unfortunately the number of Jews who had been buried in the Jewish section on the western side of Plain Street must remain a mystery. Apparently no register of these burials or list of names was maintained by any official or private sources; certainly no such record is extant. With the passage of the years the headstones fell into disrepair and disintegrated. From time to time in the new century suggestions were made to utilise the East Perth cemetery land located on the western side of Plain Street. This land had been allocated to various denominations and included the Jewish portion between Wickham Street and Wittenoom Street (formerly Stokes Street). Unlike the other allotments, the Jewish area had been partly fenced and was known to contain approximately twenty headstones.(2) In 1916 the Perth City Council sought to acquire the Jewish cemetery site and convert it into a public park. No reason is advanced?? to explain the council’s failure to gain the necessary approval, but it can be inferred that the congregation refused to relinquish its holding. (3) In 1932 following the continued deterioration of the old Jewish cemetery and the non-usage of other sections located west of Plain Street, the government of the day enacted legislation which revested these grants in the crown and placed their management in the hands of the State Gardens Board. (4)

    No action followed the passage of this legislation for almost two decades. In the meantime the East Perth cemetery as a whole continued to deteriorate sadly. Also the Education Department sought access to nearby land to serve as playing fields for the East Perth Girls’ School (now Police Traffic Branch). This action induced the government to act. Between 1950 and 1952 the East Perth cemetery was restored. Headstones were repaired where possible, rubble was removed and the area was generally cleaned and tidied. Part of this process entailed the closure of Wickham Street east of Plain Street with the resultant land being incorporated in the cemetery. In addition the northern boundary of the cemetery site was extended to Wittenoon Street.

    Memorial of the Real Estate Vested in the Trustees of the Perth Hebrew Congregation required to be registered under the provisions of the Associations Incorporation Act 1895

    Name of Trustees Name of Incorporated Association Description of property & Nature of Tenancy

    Abraham Rosenberg       The Perth Hebrew                                Parish Town Lot E72
    Isaace Harris                     Congregation Incorporated                Enrolled N. 2640
    Henry Seeligson
    Bounded on the North by one and a half chains of
    Stokes Street. On the South by one and a half
    chains of Wickham Street. On the East by three chains of North
    Plain Street and on the West by Perth Town Lot E73 measuring three
    I, Ernest Emanuel Erug of St Georges Terrace Perth Financier being one of the Executors of the late Henry Seeligson who was the last surviving Trustee
    hereinbefore referred to in this memorial DO HEREBY DECLARE that in the best of my knowledge and belief the above Memorial contains a true
    statement of the names of the Trustees in whom the Real Estate of the said Congregation was vested AND ALSO a true description of all such Real
    Declared at Perth aforesaid
    This 28th day of E E Erug
    August One thousand nine hundred and six
    Before me ???
    This Memorial is requested to registered by William Percy Smail of St Georges Terrace Perth Public Accountant
    Signed by the said William Percy Smail
    In the presence of Alfred ???

    In restoring the East Perth cemetery, now frequently referred to as Pioneers’ Cemetery, the original Jewish portion of 1867 ceased to exist. The eight recognisable headstones it then contained were transferred to a new Jewish portion constituted for this purpose from part of the reclaimed former Wickham Street. The rubble from the collapsed and broken headstones was removed and buried in Karrakatta. The original Jewish cemetery remains today an unused block on the corner of Wickham, Wittenoom and Plain streets.

    The eight headstones now preserved in the relocated site within the main cemetery area relate to burials undertaken by the Perth Hebrew Congregation between 1892 and 1899. The essential details contained in these memorials are as follows:

    Abraham Kott, Aged 29 years, buried 1896;
    Louis Hyam Seeligson, Aged 5 months, buried 1896;
    Lipman Kaufman, Aged 39 years, buried 1898;
    Philip Bernard Kensler, baby, buried 1897;
    Charles Gustus Israel Cohen, Aged 3 years, buried 1896;
    Eric Abraham Joseph, baby, buried 1898;
    Barnett Fein, Aged 34 years, buried 1898.

    The eighth stone bears no inscription and may be part of the headstone of Herman Salomons, aged fifty-nine years, buried 1896.

    With the exception of David Joseph’s name, and the names listed above, nothing is known of other Jews who had been buried in the old East Perth cemetery between the granting of the Jewish portion in 1867 and its use by the Perth Hebrew Congregation after 1892.

    Today the Perth Hebrew Congregation possesses a substantial collection of documents covering its own activities and much of the history of Western Australian Jewry from the 1890s to the present day. In view of the completeness of these archives it is somewhat surprising, and also disappointing, that over the generations which encompassed the period 1892 to 1950 no congregational official recorded the data depicted on the other, then recognisable headstones at East Perth. As a consequence valuable information relating to Perth Jewry and its history, especially in the pre-gold rush days, has been irretrievably lost.

    1. Perth Hebrew Congregation Memorial dated 28 August 1906 following death of the remaining trustee.
    2. Lands and Surveys File 2996/88.
    3. Ibid. 1608/16.
    4. East Perth Cemeteries Act 23 George V No. IX.

  • Commemorating Sir Alexander and Sir Thomas Cockburn-Campbell 2004

    on Sunday 30 May 2004 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Sir Alexander and Sir Thomas Cockburn-Campbell

    Citation and Read by Bonnie Hicks

    The Cockburn-Campbells, Alexander and Thomas, made a rare combination in colonial days, a father and son who were equally successful in the public and cultural circles of the era. Whilst some of us may be chary of the contribution of hereditary factors to success in life, it does assist us to understand the motivations behind such men if we trace their lineage. The Cockburn-Campbell saga goes back a considerable way into antiquity. The genealogy commences with PIERS DE COCK-BURN, who inherited the lands of Cockburn, so called from a burn bearing the name COK running through the property in the Merse region. This event took place in the reign of the Scottish king William the Lion in 1214. “Burke’s Peerage” claims that Sir Robert Cockburn was the first knight and received the honour from Alexander III in the 13th century. At any rate, from him can be traced 22 heads of the family down to Sir Alexander Cockburn, Lord Chief Justice of England, in whom this line of the family terminated. It was this family which showed the cocks and six mascles (diamond shapes) on their coat-of-arms.

    Cockburn was joined to Campbell when Sir Alexander Cockburn inherited under special limitation a Campbell baronetcy and assumed the additional surname. At this point is is appropriate to note that Alexander and Thomas have always been used almost exclusively for the first two sons of every generation, or alternatively father and son, right down to the present Sir Thomas Cockburn-Campbell, living in Forrestfield, and his son Alexander.

    “Cockburn”, writes the family historian, Mr Samson of Cottesloe, “is the cradle of the family and on the slopes of the Cockburn River once stood Cockburn Castle, the ruins of which were removed about 1827 for a farmhouse. In 1857 Langton, which had been in the possession of the family for over 400 years, was sold in 1793 for £60,000 to a Mr Garvin, whose heiress married John Campbell, 4th Earl and 1st Marquis of Breadalbane”. The name of Langton was perpetuated in W.A. when Sir Thomas bought a property at Mt. Barker in the 1870s and named it after the Scottish “Langton” or “Langtoun” his family once owned. Langton in Mt. Barker is now the property of parliamentarian C. B. Mitchell.

    One ancestor, Sir William Cockburn, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1627 and a Cockburn Island exists in Arctic Canada. This Sir William was Usher for the Scottish Court and in 1641, wrote historian Baillie, Langton, too rashly took a rod and put himself in possession of the place. The king was offended at his presumption and ordered him into custody. The royal action caused dissent and the nobles required the king to enact a law that neither himself nor his successors should thereafter permit a member of the house to be committed without consulting the legislative body. This incident provides ample illustration of a Cockburn as resolute as future generations were to be.

    When the two branches of Cockburn-Campbell were grafted together, Sir Alexander Cockburn, G.B.C., P.C., D.C.L., LL.D., 10th Baronet, succeeded his uncle the Very Reverend Sir William, D.D., Dean of York. Sir Alexander was a member of the Bar of the Middle Temple (1829), Queen’s Counsel (1841), M.P. for Southampton 1847-56, Recorder of Bristol 1853-6, Solicitor-General 1851-2, Attorney-General 1851-2 and 1852-6, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1856-9, then Lord Chief Justice of England. In 1871 he was arbitrator on behalf of the Crown under the Treaty of Washington and for this was created a G.C.B., having previously declined a peerage.

    Sir Alexander was involved in a link between Australia and the American Civil War. In January 1865 the Confederate steamer Shenandoah entered Port Phillip and asked permission of the Victorian governor Sir Charles Darling to affect repairs and take on fuel. Suspicion was aroused because during the voyage the ship’s name had been changed from The Sea King, and she had sunk several Yankee vessels, it later transpired. When the Shenandoah’s captain tried to enlist local men to fight in America, the governor sent a police officer aboard. When the ship left several Australians had stowed on board. The Shenandoah committed depredations to Yankee ships to the tune of $6,300,000. With the war over, the United States sued Britain for damages done by Confederate ships allowed to sail from British ports. A court of arbitration sat at Geneva in 1872, and Britain was declared liable “for all acts committed by that vessel after her departure from Melbourne”. Sir Alexander was a member of this court but he had dissented from the general judgment on the grounds that all reasonable precautions had been taken.

    Another story of this Alexander of Langton is of a certain trial involving a very pretty girl witness. Cockburn-Campbell was very particular about recording her name and address, as was the sheriff’s officer. That evening both arrived at the girl’s door simultaneously. “No, no, Mr Sheriff’s officer”, boomed Cockburn-Campbell “judgment first, execution afterwards”.

    Cockburn Sound and Mount Cockburn near Wyndham were named after the 8th baronet, who at the time of Stirling’s visit to W.A., was a Lord of the Admiralty. This position he held twice, from 1818 to 1830 and then from 1841 to 1846. Sir George entered the Royal Navy at nine years of age. In 1809 he forced the surrender of Martinique to the British and was thanked by the House of Commons.

    In 1811 he was sent on an unsuccessful mission to negotiate reconciliation between Spain and her American colonies. Then he was created a rear-admiral and took a prominent part in the American war, especially in the capture of Washington. Early in 1815 he received the Order of the Bath for transporting Napoleon to St. Helena for exile. He was created Lord of the Admiralty and was returned as parliamentary member for Portsmouth. From then on he climbed steadily to become Admiral of the Fleet. He inherited his brother’s baronetcy in 1852, a year before his death.

    Another ancestor of note was Mrs Alison Cockburn, a famed Scottish beauty who wrote the exquisite ballad “The Flowers of the Forest”. A graceful dancer, she spent two debutante winter seasons in Edinburgh society, and in 1731 she married Patrick Cockburn of “Ormiston”, an advocate at the Scottish Bar. After her marriage she met and knew all the celebrities of the day, including Dr Johnson and Robert Burns, and many intellectuals graced her salon. She was a friend and connection of Sir Walter Scott’s mother. She lived to the ripe old age of 83, engaged in writing and musical pursuits to the last.

    The renewed patent which linked the names of Cockburn and Campbell was instigated by Lieut. General Sir Alexander Campbell, a victor at the battle of Talavera, under the command of the Duke of Wellington. The title was extended to his grandson, and after him to the male issue of his second wife Isabella, Lady Malcolm. The military Sir Alexander married twice and one of his daughters married a cousin, a Madras banker, Alexander Cockburn. The banker did not use the hyphenated title, but his son . . . confusingly also Sir Alexander . . . (and a Madras banker also) . . . assumed the title in 1825, by sign manual. This was the man who was later to become Government Resident at Albany. His father had been the second son of Thomas Cockburn of Rowchester and had joined his own brother Thomas as banker in the firm of Cockburn, Harrington, Barnaby and Co., Madras, in the great era of colonial expansion in India. When his son married his cousin Margaret Malcolm he became linked to a celebrated soldier, statesman, historian and archaeologist of Persia, and famed raconteur. Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B., Governor of Bombay, has a statue erected to him there and also one in Westminster Abbey, sculptured by Chartry.

    When the coat of arms of the Campbell’s, of this particular branch, is examined, they show an elaborate shield. Here the cocks, hand escutcheon and six mascles are for Cockburn of Langton and Cockburn of Ryslaw. The galley ship with sails furled and oars set for action, the two medals and the likeness of Gibraltar, stand for the Campbell who fought under Wellington, but the gyronny of gold and black, and the fesse chequy of blue and gold, and the dexter hand wielding a scimitar, are found on earlier Campbell coats of arms. The two mottoes, “WITHOUT FEAR” and “FORWARD”, are relatively new. The Cockburn’s also had a tartan, even though they were a Berwickshire family in the main.

    This then, is the background to the baronets who settled in Western Australia.


    In India Cockburn-Campbell acted as military secretary to his father-in-law. Of this marriage there were two daughters, Charlotte and Olympia. At this period the young Cockburn-Campbell’s returned to England and lived in some style; their portraits were painted by the famous Scottish artist Raeburn. Margaret (nee Malcolm) died in 1842 and her husband married Grace, daughter of Joseph Spence of York. There is a sensitive portrait of her showing a gentle and pretty woman, painted by Pickersgill. There were three children of this marriage, Alexander, Thomas and Cecilia.

    Sir Alexander married thirdly, on the 4th April 1871, in St. John’s church, Albany. Sophia Jane Trimmer, and thus linked himself with an old established Western Australian family, for the original Spencer Trimmer had arrived in this colony in the ship Caroline in 1834, and Miss Trimmer was also a grand-daughter of Sir Richard Spencer of the Old Farm. With his wealthy and celebrated family background it is hard to determine why Sir Alexander migrated to Western Australia No-one amongst his descendents appears to know but the reason may have been financial. In 1858 Sir Alexander arrived in the colony to take up the appointment of Superintendent of Police. Two short years later he was appointed Government Resident at Albany, where he succeeded the kindly but irresolute old settler Henry Camfield, who had also reached this colony on the Caroline in 1834.

    One gets the distinct impression that Cockburn-Campbell was sent to Albany to clear up an official muddle. He was barely in office in 1861 when he stirred up a hornet’s nest. He penned:

    “I write an official letter requiring advice, putting a distinct question which the Attorney-General distinctly replies to on a non-official form, while his marginal annotations on my letter are meaningless. I act upon these and find I have erred. I send up the official letter with the annotations to explain how I came to make the mistake, trusting the Attorney-General will ingenuously acknowledge that he misled me. Instead of that, he writes a minute and sends me a second non-official letter. If magistrates are allowed to be misled by non-official answers to official questions . . . which answers are afterwards ignored . . . their position is indeed perilous.”

    The object of his fury was Alfred Stone, a lawyer who had arrived with Cam-field and others in 1834. Stone answered bumptiously that the friendly note was written in reply to a private note from Sir Alexander couched in terms equally friendly, and however much it appears to have led to misapprehension and mistakes it was not calculated to mislead a careful mind with the clear wording of the ordnance before it. The simple language in that section must be plain to any gentlemen of the most ordinary intelligence and its interpretation only requires the aid of plain common sense. What was the object of all these hot words but cart licenses!

    Governor Kennedy, in office at this time, wrote to him with familiarity and friendliness;

    “Many thanks for your letters of the 4th and 8th. The ladies saw the apples safely and gratefully. Mrs Kennedy goes on well and we hope for the best, she has borne her first trial bravely. I know you have plenty of work before you— I would only enjoin patience and caution . . . you cannot reform a community in a month.”

    As for Mr Trimmer (ten years afterwards to become Sir Alexander’s father-in-law) if he cannot keep sober he must cease to hold a position to judge others for like offences; give him time and a friendly warning. At that time Trimmer was Protector of Natives and a Justice of the Peace.

    J. S. Hampton, the new governor, stepped in at this point and admonished both correspondents by letter;

    “I object to private official letters which are ‘to go no further’, and I must decline receiving any such letters as it would in my opinion, be very unfair to me to receive a statement regarding any person that I cannot openly deal with.”

    Cockburn-Campbell found himself at variance with some local Albany identities. He admonished the P. & O. Steamship Navigation Co. agent and local American consul, W. C. Clifton, for using native constables without anyone’s authority, to track down and arrest deserters from American whaling ships. When the captains of the American whalers Mermaid, Gov. Troupe, George and Susan protested against light dues which had to be paid every time they entered port, even if only for mail or medical purposes, Cockburn-Campbell was stiff-necked about it and asserted:

    “Albany no longer needs the notions sold by the American ships”.

    The captains replied very smartly that they brought money into the district by buying meat and potatoes and generously spending liberty money at the inns and pubs. The governor decreed that they should only pay once a year one way.

    Successive heavy floods had reduced Albany’s York Street to a great ravine over which the settlers had placed footbridges. Patrick Taylor had convened a public meeting about it and sent off an official petition requesting financial aid back in the 1840s, and that was how matters stood for twenty years. Things moved under Sir Alexander and in 1870 the completed road was handed formally over to the Town Trust. Much of the work had been done by convict labour; quantities of stone and brushwood from Mt. Clarence were laid down for a firm foundation. Clifton, chairman of the Trust wrote to Baron Von Mueller asking what type of trees would best grace this lovely straight stretch of road. The distinguished botanist suggested elms at 3/6 each, but after discussion the Town Trust resolved prosaically that it would be better to build more new roads than to do

    “work that is solely ornamental”

    The elderly Government Resident’s relations with the Albany Town Trust resembled a running battle. No doubt the baronet had some contempt for traders and small officials, but, from his official reports, one cannot ignore that he generally aimed at the overall good of the community. Hawker licenses were not reissued in 1861, the year of Cockburn-Campbell’s arrival. It created a furor and he felt obliged to explain his action: –

    “The present working of the system I believe to be the most unqualified evil. It has I believe afforded an opportunity for the disposal of stolen goods and the supply of the means of intoxication and gambling to an extent little appreciated by the respectable portions of the community. Smuggling both of spirits and tobacco, especially the latter, has also been practised, while the goods supplied have been of inferior quality and charged for at the most exorbitant rates.”

    He went on to sympathetically cite the plight of shepherds and rural workers employed on distant farms, at the mercy of squatters or storekeeper when obtaining goods, but felt that hawkers were twice as bad.

    Cockburn-Campbell objected to the Town Trust’s practice of hacking into any handy block that might contain building sand or gravel. The Trust wrote straight to the governor complaining. This stung Cockburn-Campbell to write also: “If it is expected that the Resident Magistrate should have weight sufficient to efficiently protect the public’s interests and carry out such measures as may be for the benefit of the district, the inhabitants and especially public bodies should be instructed to make their communications through him at the first instance. If he is only required to do the work of a magistrate the case is of course different, but I believe that His Excellency’s intention in sending me here was not so restricted.

    Piqued, the Town Trust’s chairman, John Dunn, ignored one of Sir Alexander’s notes;

    “I do not know this gentleman”

    he scribbled on the paper, and haughtily wrote a memo of his own requesting the baronet to remove one of the working parties from York Street. The clerk, who had written the original note for Sir Alexander, informed Dunn that since he had refused to point out the place where he intended removing gravel he was not permitted to take any. Dunn answered by threatening the law . . . one presumes not in the shape of the Government Resident

    “until I can refer to His Excellency for a ruling. Cockburn-Campbell reiterated that all convict workers would be withdrawn until the Trust abided by the ruling.”

    After a special meeting the Trust resolved that it disagreed with the ruling of Sir Alexander but that the town works should not be held up by lack of a free work force. As a final touch Sir Alexander referred them to a letter from the Colonial Secretary to the previous Government Resident, Camfield, wherein one of the benefits Albany was entitled to was non-disfigured private allotments.

    By the 1870s Albany’s Minon tribe was only a pitiful remnant. They had been pitifully decimated by influenza and measles. Cockburn-Campbell had the settlement’s official medical officer Dr Baesjou examine such of the remainder as could be located. Venereal disease was found to be rife and Cockburn-Campbell took strong measures. Sergeant Tunney was relieved as warder, and ordered to place the natives into a small yard and cells attached to the former guardhouse, and there they were to be medically treated.

    One of the most irksome aspects of the seaport was the extremely neglected condition of all the official buildings, mostly ranged along what was termed the ‘beach’, an area ranging from the present Lawley Park almost to the entrance to the harbour. The land is now buried under many tons of reclamation sand. Cockburn-Campbell scathingly wrote:

    “I am sorry that His Excellency concurs with the clerk of works in the opinion that it is proper to compel the Resident Magistrate to use a room which is 9ft. 8in. wide by 13ft. long, which I declare on the credit of a gentleman is, in winter, a very gloomy room, being to the south, having no sun, with a verandah the eaves of which project 7 feet in front of the window; as for there being no fireplace, the idea in this climate is absurd.”

    The Town Trust later held meetings in the Court-House, (the old Post Office since 1965). This was not the original court-house, its predecessor having been another building on the ‘beach’. Thanks to Sir Alexander the grand building was erected which then became the hub for most of the official work of the town. Sir Alexander suggested the site and he corresponded at length with the governor, suggesting a lower storey for a bonded customs store, middle floor for post-office and sorting room, and a top floor for court-room, magistrate’s room and rooms for prisoners and witnesses. The costs could, he surmised, be borne from buoyant local revenue. In 1867 Manning, the Government architect drew up plans incorporating most of these ideas, though the building differed from the one we see now; for example, the clock tower was not added until 25 years later, and the business of securing a clock dragged on through father and son’s official lives. Francis Bird, who purchased the Old Farm, did the 1895 architectural work.

    Sir Alexander was first elected president of the Albany Mechanics’ Institute in 1866, and during his term a new reading-room and caretakers’ rooms were added; the institute was open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The institute was extremely popular with expatriates and colonials alike, a place of education which met a great need in the isolated colony. The institute provided the small community with good literature, English and intercolonial papers, and occasional cultural or scientific lectures.

    Why Sir Alexander went to England toward the end of 1869 is unknown but it was obviously a quick trip. Not only is it mentioned in his daughter’s journal . . .

    “Papa went out to Australia in 1857 and returned on Tues. Nov. 30th, 1869. He is so changed, so absorbed . . . slow . . . infirm and sad.”

    Cockburn-Campbell refers to the trip:

    “April 1st, 1871 . . . since returning to Albany from England” . . .;

    he further related the criticism by his ship’s captain of one of Albany’s local P. & O. officers, Toll, the captain having satisfied the baronet’s curiosity about Toll’s lack of promotion by adversely commenting on Toll’s seamanship.

    The last official act of the Government Resident baronet was to receive (but not sign, as it was returned to Perth by his successor George Augustus Cockburn Hare to be rectified) a writ to provide for the establishment of a Legislative Council, the division of the Colony into electoral districts, and the election of members to serve in it. The election was to be supervised by Cockburn-Campbell. The winner for the local Plantagenet division was Sir Alexander’s second son. When Sir Thomas succeeded to the title it was a twist of the fist of fate. Sir Alexander was actually succeeded by his eldest son Alexander who died in the same year, 1871. Old Sir Alexander is buried in the old Anglican cemetery near two Spencer graves, the family to which he linked himself so late in life.

    What we know of Alexander the son is very slight, and mainly culled from the journal of his sister Cecilia. This record is in the hands of the present family and in its original form was so candid … or so erroneous . . . that Sir Thomas’ daughter tore out the first few pages and burnt them. The journal starts in 1868 and sets down the family events in retrospect. She writes of “Alick” being very ill as a baby but then states,

    “Alick is now 27 and tho’ not strong capable of a great deal of exertion.”

    She adds,

    “In the year 1864 he became acquainted with dear Janie … a charming Irish girl who came to Guernsey deep in a decline. He was engaged without our knowledge. Her name was Jane Amy Robsart Leonara Mac-grath. Her smile was lovely. Poor child! She died in Alick’s arms at 9 a.m. Sunday July 30th, 1865, aged 23. My darling brother Alick is in Australia now. He sailed Jan. 1867 and on the 3rd May the Woya Woya cast anchor in the lovely bay of the Sound. Alick mentions the church of Albany in his diary. It is very pretty with good windows partly painted, partly cut and with a tessellated pavement. The altar-piece is very elegant. There is an organ but no organist.”

    According to “Burke’s Peerage” Alexander or Alick would have been 27 at his death.


    Second sons frequently turn out to be more outstanding than the elder sons they succeed and Sir Thomas fits well into this pattern. Here was a man who was an explorer (in a minor way), surveyor, farmer, intellectual, musician, linguist and parliamentarian of considerable note. Educated at Heidelberg University, he travelled for some time in Europe. On arriving in Australia he joined the Gregory brothers, famed explorers, in Queensland, in the 1860s. About 1870 he must have visited his father at Albany, possibly when his father married Sophia Jane Trimmer. Shortly afterwards Thomas married the new bride’s sister Lucy Ann. Cecilia wrote of her,

    “She is a gentle, lovable girl of 19, born and bred in the colonies but well understands the bush life and will make Tom a managing wife.”

    In later life Lucy Ann achieved considerable local fame as an accomplished accoucheuse. Amongst the many babies she delivered was Frederick Marshall Johnson, later Commonwealth Surveyor-General.

    Their first home was at “Langton”, about 5 miles out of Mt. Barker. Part of the original homestead still stands as part of the main house. Their offspring were baptised either at St. John’s or at the Egerton-Warburton’s chapel St. Werburgh’s. Sir Thomas’ calling in the baptismal registers is variously listed as “farmer and grazier” and sometimes just “baronet”.

    The Dowager Lady Campbell, as Sophia Jane became known, owned “Goblup” at Ettikup and according to the Wray’s made frequent trips there, no mean feat in the days of rough bush tracks and before the advent of the railroad. Eventually Lady Cockburn-Campbell sold the property to Lord Brassey, who visited Western Australia with his invalid wife in his private yacht. Brassey was later Governor of Victoria from 1895 to 1901.

    On the death of his father Sir Thomas returned to Albany. Mrs Patrick Taylor frequently mentions them in her diaries, including:

    “I saw Lady Campbell with her brother trying to get him out of town; she supposed she had succeeded but he has returned. Have we not all our trials,”


    “The McKail girls walked with me to Mrs Hare’s, who was going to the school board meeting so left me with anxious Mr Hare but she soon came back as no-one was there but Sir Thomas.”

    People found Sir Thomas a good friend and companion. Mrs Taylor recounts:

    “After dinner they all went over the river and the major asked them in to look at his harmonium. Just as they were leaving Sir Thomas Campbell and H. Warburton, who joyfully mounted and rode away with Sir Thomas, came over with the girls and we all had a very pleasant evening. The visit has done Patrick so much good. It is nice now and then to be with civilised people,”

    and I had a long chat with Sir Thomas and we went into the kitchen, ne to smoke his pipe and watch our proceedings.” The Bunbury artist and landowner Henry Charles Prinsep recorded,

    “At Cattle-Chosen I was delighted to help entertain Sir Thomas Cockburn-Campbell with whom I talked about operas, plays, etc. and all.”

    Sir Thomas must have been a very busy man, farming at Langton and contributing regularly to colonial and overseas magazines as a writer, a member of the Legislative Council, and last but not least he held an esteemed place in the local government affairs of Albany.

    Sir Thomas was nominated chairman of the Municipal Council in 1875 but because his Legislative Council affairs would probably detain him six to eight weeks of the year in Perth he put it to a meeting whether it would not be better to appoint a special chairman to act for him during this period.

    The Council had

    “an expenditure of £170, a balance of £33/10/0, provided that nothing unforeseen should occur to reduce the account”,

    morosely recorded the Town Clerk, Hebb. This gentleman died the following year and Sir Thomas was obliged to make a statement that he had carefully examined the state of the Council’s affairs and found them greatly confused. Some of the sorting out he performed himself and he also recommended the appointment of John Wray, Jun., to assist and to take on the position of clerk, and collector.

    Surveying remained one of Cockburn-Campbell’s interests. He wrote to the Surveyor-General on 11th October, 1874:

    “I am requested by the Albany Municipal Council to inform you that their maps of the town are very defective and that as I had seen a new map supplied from your office to the Resident Magistrate they would be glad if they could be supplied with a similar one.”

    Sir Thomas was as interested in justice for the working-man as his father before him. He wrote to the P. & O. agent, H. K. Toll, on 6th November, 1874:

    “You will see from the Bye-laws printed on the jetty board that no goods may be landed or shipped away from any place except the jetty without a special permit. This of course I can give you but I would not do so without payment being made both of the jetty dues and the trucking fees . . . the truckmen have contracted to do the work for certain fees, and in fairness to them I would not be justified in allowing them to be deprived of the fees which they are justly entitled to under the Bye-laws. The trucking fees are paid to the truckmen themselves.”

    Judging by correspondence files Cockburn-Campbell may have begun to spend more time in Perth but he also regularly communicated with and made strong representation for his Albany electors in a most conscientious manner. To us many of the matters seem trivial but to the Albany citizen of the 1870s they were of prime importance . . . matters such as a Government grant of £10 for local recreation grounds, a request for the clock from the Perth military barracks to be re-erected on the Albany Post Office, through Cockburn-Campbell, the government was informed,

    “as we consider Albany to be the next town of importance to Fremantle in this colony we think our application ought to be entertained.”

    In 1895 Sir Thomas was urged to petition to the government for £1,000 to build a town hall in Albany, but the government proved unobliging. Still, the rejection rankled. A meeting was held in the Court-House in 1887 for the lofty purpose of considering the insanitary condition of the town but matters moved quite smartly onto the proposed and now scuttled Town Hall. They again petitioned Cockburn-Campbell to obtain a grant of money or land.

    When the ebullient J. F. T. Hassell thought he had discovered payable gold on his Kendenup property, Cockburn-Campbell became one of the members of the company formed to mine the gold. The venture, the Standard Gold Mining Company, commenced operations in 1874 but folded up in 1876. It has been reputed enough gold was mined to make a small ring for Hassell’s wife. Three years after this ill-starred venture Cockburn-Campbell became editor of the newspaper, the West Australian, and in this was associated with Charles Harper under a memorandum of agreement dated 3rd September 1879, Harper was to advance all the purchase money and Cockburn-Campbell was to be the nominal half-owner and to pay Harper 7% per annum on his half until he could repay the principal. He was to receive £300 a year as managing editor and the net proceeds were to be equally divided. The partners quickly decided that the name of the paper, then published only on Tuesdays and Fridays as the Western Australian Times should be changed and it first appeared under its new name on 18th November 1879. There was an increase in its size on 1st June, 1880; it began to appear three times a week in 1883 and as a daily in 1885. All those changes occurred during Cockburn-Campbell’s editorship which was prematurely ended in 1887 by his ill health, but he continued to write for the West Australian and other papers published both locally and abroad.

    Cockburn-Campbell had a considerable literary background and had written for local, intercolonial and overseas magazines since his arrival in the colony. One of the first innovations he introduced was a translated version of a very long French novel. About this time he also composed a waltz which was published under the title of “Fair Maid of Perth”. This he dedicated to Mrs Cockburn Hare, whose father-in-law succeeded Sir Alexander as Albany’s Resident.

  • Commemorating The Fong family and the Chinese in Western Australia 2005

    on Sunday 29 May 2005 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating The Fong family and the Chinese in Western Australia

    Citation and Read by Kayleen Poon

    Emeritus Professor Reg APPLEYARD, President of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, The Hon. Sue WALKER, ML A, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Professor David DOLAN, Chairman of The National Trust, Mr CHEN Mingjin representing the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China, Mrs. Siau Mee TEH, Senior Vice President of the Chung Wah Association, Mrs Edie HOY POY OAM Cit WA, esteemed Elder of the Council of Elders Chung Wah Association, The Reverend CHEH (JER) Chu, from the Buddhist Light Association. Ladies and Gentlemen.

    We know MOON Chow the first Chinese arrived in the Swan River colony in October 1829. He settled in Fremantle, married Mary Thorpe and none of their children survived early childhood. His occupation was a carpenter and he died after being struck by a horse drawn mail van. He was elderly at the time of his accident but was held in high regard. As a result of his death speed limits were introduced for the roads of Fremantle. This short summary of one man’s life contains more detail than most of the Chinese who may have lived and died in this state. Many who came here to seek their fortune for themselves and their families have perished with little or no fanfare or documentation. Their families and descendants have no idea where their remains may be. For traditional Chinese this is a very hard situation to accept.

    Today I would like to share with you some of the history that reflects both the Chinese in Western Australia and a brief glimpse of my own ancestral heritage that is the FONG family. Between the 1880s until the early 1900s, several Chinese men from an area known as Toi Shan in the province of Canton (now Guangdong) came to Western Australia seeking their fortunes and a better future. These men were carpenters, gardeners, cooks, shop assistants and business managers. Work saw them travel to many parts of the North-West, besides the Perth metropolitan area. I would like to touch on the stories of several members of this family to illustrate the Chinese story in WA.

    We are not so sure when the first FONG clan member arrived. Official records show much of the information; however many of us researching have come to the conclusion that this is not a complete or accurate record, especially with the listing of Chinese names, which I will explain later.

    First I must give you a brief background to the origins of the family name. The descendants of Louie (Louey), Fong and Kwong can trace their paternal blood ancestry back to our one common ancestor, Ldttie Goan. Four thousand seven hundred years ago in China, during the reign of Emperor Huang-ti, Louie Goan was the emperor’s right-hand minister for both military and civil matters. Louie adopted the name FONG after he was made a feudal prince of this region. One of his two sons reverted back to the original name while serving in the Imperial Court. Later another descendant Yee Ping FONG served as Imperial Advisor and Mayor of the national capital. He impressed the Emperor who bestowed upon him the family name of KWONG, which his line of descendants still uses to this day. Chinese believe that if you share the same family name, you must be a relation, some use the term a ‘village cousin’.

    Depending on where you may have been born or lived in this great state the odds are that you may have heard of or encountered someone with the FONG surname. They have been important members of the communities of Broome, Carnarvon and Geraldton in particular.

    Traditionally Chinese say their family or surname first, followed by their given names. As I mentioned earlier this has caused much confusion especially when researching family history as quite often official documents and recordings have changed the names around. It must be noted that several families now have quite different names from their original, due to a lack of understanding or misinterpretation on the part of local authorities. Examples here today include the HOY POY family, whose correct family name is YUAN. Hoy Poy being the given name of the first of the family to arrive in WA in May 1894, 111 years ago.

    Another example of name transposing involves the family of LOUEY Wah, the first President of the Chung Wah Association. He was a successful businessman in Melbourne who made generous donations to the Melbourne Hospital before he came to WA in the late 1880s. His selection as the Association’s first President highlights the difference between the Chinese community here and in the eastern states. Leaders in the east tended to be scholars and intellectuals, rather than successful businessmen. With regards to the name change, Louey Wah’s son LOUEY Ling Tack was recorded with TACK as his surname. This continued for the next generation with his son Arthur TACK becoming a well known and respected member of Broome’s Chinese community. However, today Arthur’s children use the FONG variation of the name. His son Doug recalls as a teacher he often arrived in new country postings to be confused with Les FONG the West Perth footballer from the 1970s and 1980s. No direct relation but it certainly helped Doug to assimilate into the local community, having in interest in sport. Until recently he was playing veterans hockey and one of his nieces has also represented the state in women’s hockey.

    Another example of name derivatives is WASHING. Currently the family is unsure if their family name should be WAH SHING, WAH HING or WAH YING” However as operators of Washing Bros Furniture Factory in Newcastle Street they were obligated under the factories Act, 1904 to register their business yearly and stamp their furniture with the ‘Asiatic labour’ stamp. It is ironical that the authorities issued them with a ‘European Labour’ stamp one time, obviously unaware it was a Chinese factory.

    Moving on to the next story I wish to highlight, is that of FONG Lang another prominent clan member. He was born in Canton in 1858 and lived in the USA between 1878 until 10lh April 1888, when he arrived in WA. He founded the Wing On Woo store in Geraldton in the same year. It is interesting to note that less than 5 months later he applied for naturalisation. While this was refused on the grounds that he had not been in the Colony long enough to qualify, I find it intriguing that he considered such a request. At that time Chinese made up the bulk of the Asians living here and their presence was at best only tolerated. They were certainly never encouraged to set down roots here.

    Fong Lang’s application might have been as a ‘reaction’ to the imposition of the various colonial acts from 1874 through to 1897 restricting the immigration and activities of Asians in particular the Chinese in the Swan River Colony. The culmination of these of course was the Federal Government’s Immigration Restriction Act, 1901. He had spent nearly 10 years in America and no doubt witnessed the persecution and suffering of the Chinese there.

    However Fong Lang’s persistence paid off when he successfully reapplied for naturalisation in 1890, citing the ownership of freehold land in Geraldton and he was also a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church. He also managed to have his wife and family join him in 1895, another highly unusual request. During this time the number of Chinese in the colony would have been approaching its peak of 1601 males and 20 females.

    Most Chinese in WA at that time were indentured labourers, with no family members allowed to accompany them. He had four more children in WA and even managed to have a Chinese nurse brought out to assist his wife. Fong Lang however did not stay and left WA in 1906. We do not know the reasons why he moved; maybe he became disillusioned with the continual fighting for rights for the Chinese. The family moved to Hong Kong and descendants are now spread across the globe. Recent research was undertaken by Professor KWONG Tai his grandson at the Battye Library and uncovered newspaper clippings and other reminiscences. Tai lives in New York, and made a brief visit last year to attend a conference in Perth. One of his siblings lives in New Zealand and other family members in Canada. There is still a relation living in Sydney. Like many Chinese trying to trace their family history it is an arduous task because records were not kept or considered important. Tai even managed a quick trip to Geraldton to meet with the descendants of Sydney Fong, his grandfather’s nephew.

    By the time FONG Lang left Geraldton in 1906 his nephew Sydney FONG had established a thriving business in Geraldton Sydney Fong & Co. This comprised of shops, warehouse and a farm. The main shop being located in Marine Terrace and the buildings still carry the business name today. Sydney was able to bring several cousins from China to work in the business. This ‘paper chain’ connection was similar to other migrant groups. Once one family member was established they were able to ‘invite’ others to come out and employ them. With the Chinese however there was the added hurdle of the immigration laws. Sydney’s direct descendants have made their mark in various ways. His eldest daughter Irene and her husband Capt WAN ran the very successful Canton Restaurant in Perth for many years. Their two children Brian and Shirley WAN carried on after their parents retired. Brian only recently retired from the restaurant business having operated the Swan Lake Chinese Restaurant in Churchlands for many years.

    Sydney’s other children established themselves in Geraldton, Perth, Melbourne and New South Wales. Sydney himself continued Fong Lang’s active involvement with the church and on his passing was considered to be an important member of the Geraldton community. Athol one of his sons better known as Chummy, carried on the family business in Geraldton until his untimely passing in October last year. His funeral was attended by over 600 mourners, with family relations travelling from as far as Canberra and Melbourne to attend. The procession out to the cemetery was also given a police escort. The family’s standing in the local community is still strong and descendants spread across Australia are involved in various professions from medical, pastoral care, the IT industry through to the crayfishing industry in Geraldton. I am pleased to see several of his descendants here today. They are all actively researching their branch of the Fong family tree.

    The scenario today is quite different from 100 years ago. Some of you may be unaware that in 1910 a bill in State parliament was tabled which would have outlawed intermarriage between Caucasians and Asians. Luckily it failed. Prior to Athol’s generation such liaisons were fraught with great difficulty. Families would often disown daughters who married Chinese and the police would charge women who cohabitated with Chinese with, vagrancy.

    This failed bill and other earlier discriminatory acts were a catalyst for the formation of the Chung Wah Association in 1909.

    The Chung Wah Association is the state’s longest continual running ethnic organisation. Our headquarters in James Street Northbridge is a lasting symbol of the Chinese contributions to the state. Its main aim is to provide welfare services for the Chinese community, which we still do today. This has been broadened to include cultural activities to support the more tolerant multicultural community we live in today. The battle for recognition has been tedious and now I would say swinging in the opposite direction. So much so that some members of the community were and still are suspicious of attempts to recognise the Chinese. The example which most polarised the Chinese was the recent classification of the Hall in James Street by the Heritage Council. This had been mooted for many years prior, with resistance from the community, as it was seen as another legislative form of control. It was not deemed to be a ‘reward’ or ‘acknowledgement’ of achievement. However with education from our Historical Group we are slowly changing this pattern of thought.

    Sydney and Henly FONG would have been founding members of the Association. By this time the numbers of Chinese had dropped to 1175 males and 37 females, due to the influence of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. This huge imbalance between the ratio of males to females led to some Chinese males taking a second ‘wife’.

    Henly FONG, my great uncle arrived in 1896 aged 20 years. Anne Atkinson’s dictionary ‘Asian Immigrants to WA 1829 – 1901’ shows a 20 year gap between his arrival and setting up his tailoring business in 1916. I will fill in some of the gap today. Henly initially tried his luck gold mining in the Northern Territories. He arrived 10 years after the Goldfields Act 1886 which prohibited him from obtaining a miner’s license in the Swan River Colony. My father has told me that the Chinese miners would often plant sweet potatoes by the water holes so that when they returned they could either dug up the vegetables to eat or the leaves, whichever was available. The Chinese were also responsible for planting tropical fruit trees such as mangoes, paw paws and lychees around the territory. Unfortunately Henly did not strike it rich through his gold mining endeavours He moved to Cossack and was involved in the Chinese articles in the area, however the Sharks Bay Shell Fishery Act, 1886 had also impeded the Chinese from establishing themselves. Henly moved to Broome and was a tailor from 1916 to 1935 in Napier Terrace. He had a Chinese wife back in Toi Shan, and had a Japanese wife in Broome who bore him a son and daughter. Unfortunately I am still to discover the wife’s name, as this is still a sensitive issue. Henly travelled back to China three times which meant he had to apply for three CEDTs (Certificate of Exemption from the Dictation Test). The wife and son returned to Japan and Henly’s daughter Pearl** later married into the Ellies family, the well known Ceylonese pearl sorting family. Mixed marriages were very common particularly in the north west, and reflected by the census ratios I have mentioned earlier whereby there was 1 Chinese female to every 80 Chinese males, prior to 1901. This dropped to 1:32 in 1911, however still not great odds for a Chinese union.

    My father John Kee FONG recalls an incident as a young child in Broome when he wanted a new pair of shorts to wear to school. He started to cut some khaki drill only to be scolded by his uncle, who insisted that he use white material, worn by the white gentry. My father’s only thoughts were that this meant more washing after playing in the red dust with his cousins the children of FONG Sam! These cousins have also spread throughout the state and overseas.

    Many of Henly’s descendants are now living in the USA after his Chinese son Frank left China during the liberation and settled in Hong Kong, eventually moving the family to America in the 1980s.

    My father stayed with Henly until he enlisted in the Australian Army in 1943, after putting his age up. Unlike Jack WONG SUE and Doug SUE who had been rejected earlier, my father was accepted first time round. Jack was famously rejected by the Australian Navy only to be accepted by the Air Force, later winning the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Doug SUE (no relation to Jack) also was rejected on the grounds that he was employed in essential services.

    His father was a market gardener in Northam. He was successful on his third attempt to join the Air Force. His mother lost her Australian citizenship upon marrying and years later was sent a letter from the Australian Government querying why she had not voted in the elections. Similarly when Yuen Hoy Poy married Mary Brewer in 1910 she was listed as being born in China not Victoria.

    When my father returned from active service overseas he moved to New South Wales and married my mother Winifred QUAN MANE in 1954. They returned to Perth in 1955. This was quite a culture shock for my mother who had been used to a large Chinese population in Sydney. The 1954 census shows only 137 males and 15 females of Chinese by ‘Race’. In fact they were the only Asians listed on the census of WA for that year. Also when my parents listed my birth in the notices in August 1956 they were contacted by the local West Australian newspaper which noticed there were 4 birth notices for FONGs born within 4 days of each other. It is pleasing to see that three of us are here today.

    During my time trying to research the Chinese in WA I have found there to be some contradictions. On varying levels there existed much discrimination, whether through economic or social tiers. For example English Classes taught by the Church for the Chinese migrants were not so much for helping them to integrate but hopefully to convert them to Christianity so they could take the message back home when they left. The Asiatic labour stamps pushed by the trade unions were to discourage shoppers from purchasing Chinese made goods. This back fired as shoppers often found these products to be of a better quality.

    At a grassroots level I have seen family photos whereby the head of the Chinese male has been cut out. The stigma of such an acknowledgement was too much for some families. Requests for assistance from descendants from mixed marriages are very common now. They have hit a ‘brick wall’ with either no living family members who can remember or have information.

    However on the personal level I have discovered that most Australian born Chinese today do not hold the same fears and experiences of their forefathers. Like most children we have all suffered some form of isolation, be it name calling because of our look, size or the way we dress. I did not experience discrimination when seeking employment or friendship.

    In fact I would consider living at this time to be the most acceptable in our short history. However it is tempered with the fact that we must always be on our guard to counter any new situations. History does show that things have a way of repeating themselves, if we let down our guard.

    On closing I wish to thank the Royal Western Australian Historical Society for inviting the Chinese community to today’s celebration. Thanks go to the Society members who organised the lovely flowers and music and to the volunteers from The National Trust for their time and work preparing the venue.

    Thanks also to the Chinese instrumentalists Mr CHEN Zhi and Ms LEI Cai Hua.

    Lastly a special thank you to the Reverend Braden Short for officiating at today’s service.

    ** Henly’s daughter was not called Pearl. Her correct name was Agnes or ‘Aggie’. One of her daughter’s is Pearl. Her other children’s names are Charles, Pat and Alan.

  • Commemorating Joseph Hardey 2006

    on Sunday 26 May 2006 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Joseph Hardey

    Citation by Greg Hardey

    When I consider the Hardev story I can’t help but think of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ who left England in a planned and organized way, to follow their faith into the new world.

    The Hardey’s were people of faith. We know John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, was preaching in and around Barrow on Humber, the small village in the north of Lincolnshire where the family lived. Wesley’s diary records he spoke at Barrow at least five times up to his death in 1791. We wonder what affect this had on Robert and Ann Hardey, the parents of Joseph who with his brothers John Wall and William come to the Swan River Colony in 1830, and whom we are commemorating today.

    Like the Pilgrims the Hardey’s were working class people. After the English ‘Enclosures Act’ the family had been granted several fields of land while the records show that Robert was a Merchant, working his trade from a grain store in the middle of Barrow. That building still stands in Barrow today.

    The voyage to Australia was not undertaken on a whim, it was well managed and planned. Three boys including the eldest son, John Wall Hardey took part in the trip to the Swan River Colony.

    Robert and Ann Hardey had fifteen children (10 boys & 5 girls) twelve who lived to reach adulthood. Of these in addition to the 3 who sailed to the Swan River, Samuel was a minister who preached in India, South Africa and the Swan River, Susannah married and sailed for Kingston Jamaica, Edward sailed for India while Henry also came to the Swan River before trying his luck in New Zealand.

    Like the Pilgrim settlements to ‘New England’ the trip to Australia was independently financed. It was backed by a Mr Bernard Clarkson Senior, banker and member of the powerful Missionary Branch of the Committee of British Methodism. Clarkson was a local Methodist preacher at the time John Wesley was still alive. As an aside, two of his sons also formed part of the party to make the trip to the new colony. Bernard Clarkson himself came to the colony at a latter date with ‘Uncle John’ an uncle of Joseph and John Wall in the Cygnet. This is described in local Methodist history as the ‘second wave’ of Methodism to the colony.

    Other members of the group to make the voyage included the previously mentioned Clarkson Brothers (Michael & James). John Leach (a missionary), other steerage passengers and the Hardey’s five indentured servants.

    Joseph and John Wall were married to their lifelong partners prior to departure. John Wall married 14 days prior to departure while Joseph Hardey married Ann Robinson 49 days before they set sail.

    Their plan was to arrive in the new colony prior to the end of 1830 so they would be eligible for land grants proportional to their capital. We know they intended to farm the land as they brought with them livestock, an assortment of machinery, seeds & plants, household effects, a boat and a variety of building materials. Also included were a library of books and an array of musical instruments, indicating a commitment to the finer aspects of life apart from farming.

    The preparation was so complete to include a prefabricated house that was erected in Fremantle and subsequently used as a church.

    Finally the group left from Hull (on the other side of the Humber) in the ‘Tranby’ a small ‘Snow’ (a type of barque) on the 29th September 1829.

    Joseph Hardey’s dairy indicates the journey was uneventful however dairies of fellow travelers indicated it poured with rain, with the situation so dangerous the captain was ready to abandon ship. Stock were lost, servants absconded at the Cape, there were incidents with pirates and a fireball passed over the ship. Joseph was obviously focused on the job at hand and the Tranby anchored off Fremantle on the 3rd February 1830 after a journey of 128 days.

    Brother William died 12 days from the Swan River in mysterious circumstances. Some dairies indicated colic while others speculated he was strangled by a silk handkerchief wrapped around his neck.

    Within three days of arrival they had partitioned the Governor for land on the Swan River. Most of the land close to the city we know had been allocated however they were able to convince the governor to allow them to take up the May-lands Peninsula, not very far from here. The Peninsula had originally been set aside as a reserve to be used for a research station. The manner in which they went about settling the Peninsula indicates the unified desire of the group. The land was surveyed and divided amongst the ‘Tranby’ folk and they worked in a communal fashion to establish and support each other.

    Having arrived early in the colony with a purpose and vision, their achievements were many. Too many to raise in detail. Some of these included:-


    Joseph Hardey quickly set about establishing ‘Peninsula Farm’ at Maylands. By April his dairy notes ‘boarding the roof of the house and tarring it’, by June he was ‘clearing wood off land for com and beginning to sow rye and Oats’ while in July 1830 he writes about making a fence across the Peninsula.

    The brothers held 204 acres at Maylands with the balance (16,138acres) allocated in the Avon Valley just outside York at a place called Mount Hardey. The land was originally fanned jointly between Joseph and John Wall but at a later date was split into two properties, Josephs called ‘Cold Harbour’ while John Wall’s property remained known as ‘Mount Hardey’. While the York property has long been divided and sold, Joseph Hardeys original home on the Maylands Peninsula “Tranby House – Peninsula Farm’ still remains under the stewardship of the National Trust.


    John Wall took place in the second expedition to the Avon Valley undertaken by Robert Dale of the 63rd Regiment. The first had discovered the Avon Valley and had generated favourable reports. In October 1830 Dale undertook his second foray into the hinterland with the Hardey’s invited to join the party because of their considered expertise in agriculture. This expedition passed not far from where the brothers were allocated land in December 1830, almost 12 months after their arrival in the colony.


    During his first Sunday in the colony Joseph conducted a service on the beach for the Tranby’ people to express gratitude during their voyage.

    Later he sought and gained permission from the governor to preach in the streets of Perth. Joseph spoke under a tree and noted in his dairy the Governors Lady and another came and stood awhile. Both Joseph and John Wall were lay preachers and engaged themselves in extensive social work on behalf of the church. The helped build the first Methodist chapel in Perth called the ‘Subscription Chapel’ due to the fact that many Methodists bought shares as a contribution to the building fund. This was located on the corner of William and Hay Street where the present Wesley Church stands in Perth.


    Joseph was deeply interest in children’s education particularly aboriginal. When the ‘Education Committee’ was formed in 1847 he was appointed to the ‘Secular and Scriptural’ subcommittee. This in time came to be the Central Board of Education. This was followed later with one of Josephs daughters (Sarah) playing a role in establishing Wesley College and later Methodist Ladies College in Perth.

    Wine Industry

    Being an enterprising farmer Joseph realized the land at ‘Peninsula Farm’ would lend itself to the cultivation of a vineyard. As early as 1834 he noted in his diary the planting of 6 vines. Later his production reached such a level that he partitioned the governor to allow Store Keepers a license to sell Colonial wines by the bottle to the public.

    The product reached such a standard that the Chamber of Commerce awarded him a premium in 1857 for the best sample of colonial manufactured raisins and olive oil while in 1878 wines from his property were the first from Western Australia to win a gold medal in Paris.


    Three family stories of interest.

    1. Up until a few weeks prior to departure the Hardey’s were booked to sail on the ‘Mary’. It was only at the last minute that the ‘Tranby’ was commissioned when there was some problem with the ‘Mary”.
    2. Family legend has it that Joseph insisted that none of his daughters was allowed to marry unless she married a minister of the Methodist church. As there was only one minister in the colony all but one remained single. Mary Jane, Josephs second daughter did marry the Rev. William Lowe who by that time was a widower.
    3. Rev. Lowe was already associated with the family in another way as his daughter from his first marriage (Janie Vounder Lowe) had married Josephs only son, Richard Watson Hardey. Ultimately Janie died young and my grandfather was raised by his aunty, Richard’s sister (Mary Jane) and his step uncle who was also his grandfather.

    After a life of hard work Joseph Hardey died on the 6th September 1875 aged 71. His obituary in the Inquirer included

    Few old colonists have lived a name better known for integrity, uprightness and every quality that commands respect than that of Mr. Joseph Hardey. His life was the fulfillment of a true Christian life and his memory will live green in the hearts of all who knew him. Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather his funeral was very numerously and respectively attended … nearly every shop in town was closed as the procession passed through the streets.

  • Commemorating the Strickland Family 2007

    on Sunday 27 May 2007 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating the Strickland Family

    Citation and Read by Cherie Strickland

    Robert Strickland and Mary Turrell married in St Olave’s Church; London in 1809 and during the following nineteen years raised six children. At the age of 40 Robert decided to seek new opportunities in Australia and made arrangements to travel to the Swan River Colony with Thomas Peel as an indentured servant. In 1829 the family boarded the vessel Hooghly and set sail for their new life in a distant land.henry robert strickland

    During their journey, the development of Peel’s grand plan had already begun to deteriorate. The Hooghly arrived at Clarence in February 1830 to find the conditions difficult and discouraging, stores and shelter were in short supply. As Peel had failed to arrive in time to claim his allotted land, the future of his planned settlement was left in doubt. It is believed that during this time their youngest son John passed away.

    Robert was released from his indenture by October 1830 and had applied for and received land in Wellington Street, Perth. The 1832 census lists Robert as a butcher, later records indicate that he changed his profession and became a milkman. During 1834 the family resigned the Wellington Street property and relocated to higher ground in Mount Street. Records indicate that Robert took a active roll in the community and was often listed as a jury foreman. Robert died in December 1852 having spent twenty two years in the colony, Mary his wife, followed him 8 years later in May 1860. Robert and Mary had brought six children out to the colony, five of whom who would go on to establish the Strickland name and spirit. Robert had achieved his dream and had established an exciting and prosperous life for his family.

    At an early age Robert and Mary’s eldest son William owned land in Perth and Fremantle. William married Jane Woods, the daughter of an ambitions man, who too had sought opportunities for his children in the new colony. William Strickland, seeking further challenges, decided to head east and took his wife and young son to South Australia, where they had another two children. William worked as a civil administrator in Fremantle and a compositor for a printing company in Adelaide. He died in November 1875 and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery South Australia. Robert’s strength of character had clearly been passed down.

    Robert’s second son David fell in love with the sea during the voyage from England, and he spent a number of years working the shipping routes between Perth and Java. David’s seafaring career was nearly ended, when at the age of seventeen, the Government owned schooner Ellen encountered a fierce gale near Albany. When the schooner returned to Perth, David and other members of the crew asked to be discharged. However this experience did little to discourage him and like his older brother William, decided to venture east. David travelled to New Zealand on a whaling ship where he met his wife Harriett Baldick and settled at Lyttelton in the South Island were they raised eight children. Later he worked as a waterman in Lyttelton harbour Captaining the boat General Palmer, locally know as the Jumping Jackass.

    The wandering sprit of the Strickland’s continuing with many of David’s descendants travelling around the globe, and making new lives in South Africa, Australia and Canada.

    Henry Robert, the third son of Robert and Mary commenced working at a civil engineering company at the age of twelve. Three years later he turned his hand to whaling, where he laid claim to being one of the crew that harpooned the first whale off the coast of Western Australia. The excitement of whaling lasted for about three seasons before he began a thirteen year career in the brewery business with James Stokes, the pioneer brewer of the colony. During this time Henry married Mary Ann Hokin who had arrived on the Parmelia in 1829 with her parents and brothers. Mary Ann relayed to family members the story of when she was lifted out of the small vessel and placed on the sands of Garden Island she was told by the sailor that she was the first white child to set foot in the new colony. Henry Robert made his mark in the brewery industry, owning and operating many hotels in the Perth area including the Freemason’s Hotel and the United Service Hotel. Their last home was situated at Barrack Street, next to the Weld Club, he also owned property in Geraldton and Bunbury and two mines situated in the Victoria district near Geraldton. Henry Robert and Mary Ann were the parents of twelve children and their descendants are gathered here today to acknowledge the contributions that their ancestors made to the development of this State.

    Robert and Mary’s eldest daughter Sarah married Thomas Smith, another seafarer, who arrived in the colony as a crew member of the Maraboo. Thomas liked the look of life in the Swan River Colony, so he sort permission to stay. Eight years after his arrival Sarah and Thomas married, they had eleven children and lived most of their life in Hay Street. Like her mother Mary, Sarah strongly supported her husband and assisted their establishment in the new colony. Thomas conducted several businesses from the corner of Hay and William Streets and at different times employed 45 Ticket of Leave men. He was also a foundation member of the Metropolitan Rifle Volunteer Corps and achieved the rank of Quarter-master sergeant.

    Louisa the youngest daughter married William Inkpen, yet again another Strickland woman supporting her man whilst he forged business interests. William’s family had also been part of Thomas Peel’s settlement, and Louisa and William had probably played together on the beaches of Clarence whilst their fathers planned their family’s futures. In the 1832 Census, the Strickland and Inkpen families were neighbours. Unfortunately Louisa and William were unable to have children, but they supported the future generations with many of their nieces and nephews benefiting from their hard work.Henry Robert Strickland and Mary Ann

    The generations that followed are too numerous to detail here, however some of their achievements deserve mention. The Strickland interest in the brewery trade continued with the family managing hotels such as the Freemason’s in Albany, the Shamrock Hotel in Hay Street, and the Stanley Brewery. William Henry John the eldest son of Henry Robert in 1853 was Dux of Perth Boys School; he received a bible (which is displayed here today thanks to the National Trust). He later helped his father in the hotel business, and was also one of the founders of the original Perth Gas Company. A strong interest in racing lead him to owning a number of racehorses. His horses won the “Maiden Plate” a number of times, and in 1870 he won the “Plantagenet Cup” (the cup is on display here today thanks to his Great Grandson Jamie Quinlan, William’s enthusiasm for the racing industry resulted in him becoming chairman of the WA Turf Club. The Club acknowledged his contribution to the industry by naming a race is his honour; the “Strickland Stakes” is still run today. John Charles Strickland played a large part in the military, he attended Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London where he received the Queens’s Medal, and he also took command of 340 men at the official opening of the Federal parliament in Melbourne. George Thomas Strickland built and managed the Windsor Hotel in South Perth, and later became a City of South Perth councillor. Strickland Street is named in honour both George Thomas and his father. Many of the Strickland men were members of the Freemasons with some of them obtaining high ranking positions; John Charles was honoured with a chapter named after him.

    The pioneering spirit of the Strickland’s has continued for over 170 years. William Henry Strickland, the great grandson of Robert was working for the Surveyor General in the North West in 1883, an entry from his Journal reads “Sunday December 16th, this is my 21st birthday and I don’t think I have spent one in a more out of the way place and to make matters worse my finger is 3 times it’s ordinary size and giving me fearful pain. The “Ivy” came down with a fair wind this morning and anchored just abreast of here. She brought NO mail”.

    During 1998 Colin David Strickland (geologist) the great, great grandson of David Strickland was exploring for gold in the Sahara Desert and an entry in his diary reads “Today is my 50th birthday and my whole world consists of a bedouin campsite surrounded by camels and scrawny goats.”
    Today we acknowledge the 28 Strickland settlers buried in the East Perth Cemetery and their numerous descendants. It has been a pleasure sharing my knowledge of their history and my admiration of their achievements.

  • Commemorating the Honouring of Pioneers 2008

    on Sunday 24 May 2008 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating the Honouring of Pioneers

    Citation and Read by Rev’d Fr Edward Doncaster

    Of the estimated 10,000 burials in the East Perth Cemeteries in the seventy years to 1899, only three of that number were of clergymen of the Church of England, as the Anglican Church was then called. This begs the question: “Were the remainder given to longevity?” Not necessarily so, for in the 19th century nineteen Anglican clergymen died in Western Australia: we have the mortal remains of the three hereabouts, three more were buried in the Middle Swan churchyard, one at the Fremantle Cemetery and twelve were buried in country cemeteries ranging from Roebourne to Albany. The remainder either continued in ministry on the other side of this continent or returned to England before their deaths occurred.

    We are honouring on this occasion the three whose remains lie buried near this little church: namely, the Rev’d John Burdett Wittenoom – the first Colonial Chaplain, the Rt Rev’d Henry Hutton Parry – the second Bishop of Perth and the Rev’d Edwin Hughes – the first Priest-in-charge of St. Mary’s West Perth.

    Today’s remembrance has been triggered by the fact that New Year’s Day 2008 was exactly one hundred and fifty years after the first Anglican Bishop of Perth, Mathew Blagden Hale, had arrived off Fremantle after sailing down the East coast of South America. Following such a long journey he would have been glad to disembark the next day for more reasons than one for the ship in which he travelled was the ‘Nile’ – a convict vessel with 268 of them on board. However, that number was two less than at the commencement of the voyage for they had been killed in a disturbance on board. The papers of the time referred to his welcome at the Port and in Perth, recording the addresses which expressed genuine pleasure that at last there was a Bishop of their own in the Colony. The general tone was that of welcoming home an old friend, as he was indeed to so many of them. At the other end of the spectrum, it is sad to note that the mortal remains of his son Mathew, who was drowned in the Swan River in February 1862 at a young age (as was one of Bishop Parry’s sons) were to be laid to rest in this cemetery, along with two of his siblings who died in infancy – John and Augusta. “The good Bishop” (as he was affectionately styled) lived until his eighty-fourth year when he died after ten years of retirement in England following his ten years as Bishop of Brisbane after his time in Perth.


    John Burdett Wittenoom was born in England in 1788 and was educated at Winchester and Brasenose College Oxford where he was granted his Master of Arts degree in 1811. After his Ordination he served as a Curate at Millbrook and became Rector of a parish in Southampton the following year. He was appointed in 1814 as The Master of Magnus College Newark, in Nottinghamshire, a post he held for fifteen years. The Master of those days was virtually the equivalent of Head Master or Principal in our day. He embarked on the ‘Wanstead’ from London on 15th August 1829, having been appointed Colonial Chaplain to the newly established Swan River Colony and he arrived here on 30th January 1830 with his sister Eliza Burdett Wittenoom and the four surviving sons of his deceased wife, Mary Margaret nee Teasdale whom he had wed in 1815 and who had died in October 1824. Several sources state that his mother also came out with them but she did not do so until 1835.

    He was allowed to select 5,020 acres, and took up 5,000 acres at Gwambygine, south of York settling his sons there. In 1832 he took up 20 acres in the Swan District.

    Although his appointment was as the first Colonial Chaplain to the Colony, he found on arrival that a priest was already present in the person of the returning Archdeacon of New South Wales, Thomas Hobbes Scott, whose ship was marooned here for about six months. It was he who was responsible for the first temporary church building in the new colony. Wittenoom gradually assumed the reins holding services in Perth, Guildford, Fremantle and occasionally at York and on the Canning. He made two trips south with the Governor to the Vasse and King George Sound. It is his signature that appears on most of the early entries in the Register of Burials in the cemetery which surrounds this church. After Archdeacon Scott’s departure he was the only resident priest in the whole Colony until 1836.

    He built his first house of wood and the second was a two storey brick edifice on what is now the site of the Weld Club in Perth. This had cost £250 towards which the Government paid him £60 per annum house allowance in addition to his annual stipend of £250. This house was demolished in 1891 to make way for the new Club buildings but a pencil and wash etching he did of it earned him a place in the Dictionary of Australian Artists. The first Church of St. George was opened in Perth in 1845 after eight years worshipping in the Court House – Wittenoom had the double joy of being the presiding priest at this service as well as the preacher. In his first year he set up the first Colonial school which later developed into what became known as “Perth’s first classical seminary” which he began in March 1833 – in 1838 it merged with the colonial elementary school to become the “Classical and English School”, but by 1847 only four boys were attending. He also fulfilled the role of Visitor of the Wallingford Classical and Mathematical Academy in York for a time. He sponsored a book society which met regularly in his home and he was also an accomplished musician, even preferring on one occasion to leave Archdeacon Wollaston at his home with one of his sons while he went off to a musical evening.

    Perhaps a word ought to be said about the appointment of the one and only Archdeacon of Western Australia by Bishop Short of Adelaide in 1849 for, although Wittenoom would have been the senior, Wollaston was chosen for the work. It may well have been that Wittenoom was not interested in the administrative side of church affairs, and even if he had been it does not appear that he would have been as free as Wollaston to cope with the demands of the position and the travelling that was necessary. Wittenoom was Secretary of the Children’s Friend Society and also of the Juvenile Immigration Society. He was chairman of the Education Committee for the last eight years of his life, a Justice of the Peace and a Freemason. All of which reveals that he must have taken a very active role in community affairs as well as church work. Although Archdeacon Wollaston described him as being

    “of the old High Church Tory Party, argumentative, somewhat stiff and unyielding in matters of secondary importance” others, like Sir Edward Stone, saw him as “a man of charming personality.”

    When his mother arrived she rejoiced to see her grandsons again: they were -John Burdett Jnr (1816), Henry (1820 – later buried in old church cemetery York WA), Frederick Dirck (1821 – 1862: Sheriff of the Colony) and Charles (1824). On 3rd January 1839 Wittenoom married Mary Watson nee

    Helms (born 1809 and died at the Bowes 1878), the officiating priest being the Rev’d William Mitchell of the Swan. Children of the second marriage were Mary Elizabeth Dircksey (1839), Augusta Henrietta Maria Burdett (1842) and Cornelius John Burdett (1854 – who died in infancy).

    Wittenoom died on 23rd January 1855 so he, as well as Archdeacon Wollaston, would not have lived to see the arrival of the first Bishop of Perth. His remains were buried by the Rev’d Zachary Barry of Fremantle after a service in St. George’s Church Perth led by the Rev’d Wm Mitchell. An obituary in The Inquirer stated that “A feeling of deep regret for the departed extends from one end of the colony to the other. This will probably be the case more particularly with those who remember the subject of this notice in the early days of the settlement. The little flock he came out in charge of has indeed increased and altered materially…but a link in the old colonial chain has been withdrawn which cannot be replaced”. The grave also contains the remains of some of his sons and his sister Eliza. A plaque was placed in the old Cathedral and transferred to the present one and is to be found on the north wall of the nave. In 1936 a room in the Weld Club Perth was paneled in jarrah in his memory and he is also remembered in the naming of a street in East Perth.


    Was born in Antigua in 1827, the second son of Thomas Parry (then Archdeacon of Barbados) and Louisa (nee Hutton). He was educated under the great Dr Arnold of Rugby and passed out on a scholarship at Oxford. He was made Deacon in 1851 in the Cathedral at Bridgetown, Barbados, and Priest the following year by his father who by then was the Bishop of Barbados. He served curacies in Trinidad and in 1854 became a tutor at Codrington Theological College. He was appointed Archdeacon in 1861 and three years later he became Administrator during his father’s illness. He was consecrated a Bishop in London on Sunday 15th November 1868, his father being one of the Bishops assisting. Henry Hutton succeeded his father when he died in 1871 but in 1874 he returned to England because of his wife’s health. He served in two parishes before being called two years later to become the Bishop of Perth in succession to Mathew Blagden Hale – previously he had been offered the Bishopric of Colombo which he had declined because of his wife’s continued ill-health.

    Obviously it was thought that Perth might be the more healthy place in which to live!

    At the age of fifty years, he arrived at Fremantle on 26th May 1877 in the ‘Hastings’ with his wife and their three children. The Inquirer and Commercial News carried the text of Addresses presented to him upon arrival and also reported on his Enthronement by Dean Gegg in the former St. George’s Perth. Another newspaper said that Parry:

    “in person, is a tall, well set-up man, of wiry, muscular physique; with an extremely pleasant, mobile face, embrowned but not florid.”

    Financial conditions were very difficult in the Diocese during Parry’s time, exacerbated by the withdrawal of some of the Imperial Grants. Even the upkeep of Bishop’s House was too much for the Episcopal purse and he moved into less suitable accommodation nearby. Yet it is to him that credit must go for the erection in 1880-8 of a worthy Cathedral for the Diocese. Only the other week I came across one of the service sheets from the opening day. Although he was not noted as an orator he was held in very high regard for the depth of his spirituality. He travelled tirelessly visiting the far-flung settlements of his Diocese, parts of it on horse-back and it was recorded in The West Australian in November 1884 that on one occasion near Australind he was

    “riding a horse somewhat addicted to bolting, (when) the animal suddenly exhibited this vicious propensity and decamped with the Bishop, who retained his seat till arriving at a dense thicket, impassable to the rider, when he was thrown from the saddle, without however sustaining any injury; and, the steed being quickly caught, His Lordship resumed his seat in the saddle none the worse for his fall.”

    His diary bears but scant reference to his first journey by train in the Colony on 10th October 1879: “Left by 8 o’clock train for Oakabella (Mr L.C. Burges Junr) where we arrived about 10am – went over in the afternoon to Mr Sewell’s -Evening service at Mr Burges’. N.B. This our first experience of railway travelling in West Australia, the line from Geraldton to Northampton having been opened for passenger traffic within the last few months”.

    By steamer he visited northern ports as far as Cossack and spent some time in Roebourne. He endeavoured to initiate missionary work among the indigenous people, he oversaw the setting up of the Boys’ Orphanage at the Swan and it was in his time that the pioneering work of the church in the Yilgarn Goldfields was commenced. He opened the Bishop’s Boys’ College as an hostel for students attending the High School and made provision there also for theological students to be prepared for ministry. It was at his hands that the first Western Australian-born clergyman was ordained in the person of Edwin Foley Parker in 1882 but sadly he died at Roebourne three years later. The Bishop also created opportunities for the clergy of all religious persuasions to give regular religious instruction in the Government schools throughout the Colony. However, he experienced the usual round of difficulties with the appointment of clergy the greatest among these being the Gribble affair of 1885-1886. The Goldfields around Kalgoorlie were just beginning to grow as his life’s strength began to wane.

    After two short illnesses, he died of acute pneumonia in the Bunbury Rectory on 15th November 1893 aged 66 and there is no doubt that this must have been hurried on by the fact that he was caught in a bad storm while travelling in an open buggy on a visit to Bridgetown shortly before his passing. Following services in St. George’s Cathedral Perth, his remains were buried in the East Perth Cemetery at the East side of this church. A Roman Catholic woman, upon learning of Bishop Parry’s death, said: “Ah! if the Bishop does not go to heaven, we need not hope to!” It is interesting to note how the date 15th November featured in his life: it was the date of his consecration as a Bishop, it was the date of the consecration of St. George’s Cathedral Perth and it was also the date of his death.

    His first spouse – Elizabeth Mary nee Thomas – died in Perth only six months after their arrival here and her remains were buried in the grave in which her husband and son Theodore were later interred. Their children were Henry Ernest, Alfred Edward and Mary Edith. In 1879 he wed Mary Susanna Alexander nee Leake, the widowed daughter of George Walpole Leake. Children born to them were -Theodore Hutton (born 1880 he drowned in Swan River in February 1892), George Herbert (who became a leading architect in Perth), Lionel Walpole (who was ordained and served with distinction as Archdeacon of Perth for many years) and Maude Louise Rose (who married Archibald Sanderson). Mrs Parry returned to the England after her husband’s death although she must have come back to Perth later on, for her remains lie buried with those of her husband.

    A memorial plaque was dedicated in St. George’s Cathedral Perth; the Chancel Screen was installed in his memory as well as of that of his predecessor, Bishop Hale. The former Archbishop’s Throne was also a memorial to both bishops and there are inscriptions in their honour in the paneling in the north transept. His name is commemorated in the retirement village “Parry House” in Lesmurdie. Bell number 6 in the tower of St. George’s Cathedral was named in his honour in 1903, too.

    The son of the Rev’d Charles Clay, Henry Ebenezer Clay, was a Perth poet of some renown whose initials still adorn the gable of Kakulas’s shop in William Street, Northbridge, and he also was buried in this cemetery. He composed a poem entitled “God’s Guest” in the Bishop’s memory, the last verse of which reads:

    Near God’s Altar lies God’s Guest,
    And the Cross all ills hath barred;
    And dear love keeps holy ward
    In the Chamber of his rest.
    The final person whose memory we recall today is


    Of whom, sad to say, very little is known.
    He was born in North Wales in 1839, the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Hughes. He came out to Australia as a young man and worked on a sheep station in NSW before returning to the UK to study theology at Oxford. He was made a Deacon in 1887 and ordained Priest at Chichester Cathedral in 1888 being almost fifty years of age, which, for those times, was quite late in life. After a curacy he went out to the lonely island of St Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, where he served as a Vicar for four or five years before returning to Chichester, due to the poor state of his health.

    It is not recorded how it came to pass that he was offered work in Western Australia yet he arrived with his wife in late February 1899. He was appointed as the very first Priest-in-charge of the parish of West Perth St. Mary, being there in time for the opening of the first church in Colin Street. This building became the parish hall when a more permanent Church was erected in 1906 and it later served as the home of St. Mary’s School for Girls, which is now situated at Karrinyup. There is an interesting little link between the first and last of the clergymen named in today’s Citation: one of the very earliest fund-raising efforts for the new church in West Perth was held at the beginning of the year 1899 in the grounds of the Colin Street home of the grand-son of Chaplain John Burdett Wittenoom – namely, Sir Edward Wittenoom, M.L.C., whose daughter we welcome here with us today.

    However, Edwin Hughes died in the Parsonage in Hay Street from a heart attack early on Tuesday 24th October just eight months after his arrival, and, following a service in St. George’s Cathedral the next day, his remains were buried just to the north of this church. Bishop Riley reported to the next Diocesan Synod: Mr Hughes “was taken away very suddenly, for he was found dead in his bed. Except for his wife, he was almost friendless in our midst. For this reason I am very thankful that the clergy put a memorial on his grave.” Even the Christian names of his wife were not available when the death certificate was being made out! So far as we know there were no children of the marriage and Mrs Hughes returned to England. Yet her love for West Perth must have lingered for she made several Altar cloths for the new church and had them sent them out to St. Mary’s.

    These three clergymen whom we remember today all had connections with Oxford, and two of them had the unusual distinction of serving on islands in the Atlantic Ocean, while each of them served the church in Perth to their very best ability. We thank God for their faithfulness in the sacred offices to which He had called them. One came at the very beginning of the existence of this cemetery and conducted many of the early burials in it while another came near to its closure – may all whose remains were buried here with them, enjoy that peace which passes all understanding and may that peace also embrace such of their descendants as may be here today and others who are still living.

    The first clergyman to be buried in the new Karrakatta Cemetery was the Rev’d Canon George Hallett Sweeting on 10th June 1900, even though the original Anglican portion of that Cemetery was not consecrated until 4th November 1900 by Bishop Riley – and that was a whole year and a half after its official opening.

  • Commemorating Pensioner Guards 2009

    on Sunday 24 May 2009 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Pensioner Guards

    Citation by Gillian O’Mara

    We are here today to honour the contribution made to the Colony of Western Australia by the Pensioner Guards. Pensioner Guards were enrolled as pensioners from the British military through Chelsea, Chatham and several other appointed pensioner hospitals throughout Britain. They applied to come out to this Colony and guarded the convicts on the voyage. The exception was the Naval Brigade which brought out a contingent after the transportation of convicts ceased. There are always exceptions to the rule and this applied also to a handful who were pensioned off in Western Australia when their regiments were moved to another colony or overseas. They became Pensioner Guards when they were employed by the War Office and put in charge of convicts at such faraway places as Breaksea Island. These included a few who came on ships such as the Travencore. Their pensions were paid by Britain and the amount varied according their service and sometimes their injuries. Ages normally ranged from the early 20s to the late 50s.

    Those who remained in the pensioner service had to parade weekly in full uniform and be on call by the Colony for use at any time. Others were employed on arrival at the Chief Convict Establishment in Fremantle, others to Ticket of Leave Depots and government departments throughout the Colony. Some were only hired for the voyage and had to seek fresh employment on arrival. Many brought their families with them, some sent for them later while others married in the Colony.

    After seven years service, some qualified to obtain or purchase an allotment of land which was normally registered as a P location. Locations ranged from Butler’s Swamp, Coogee. North Fremantle, Geraldton, Guildford, Kojonup, South Perth to Toodyay and York. On their death, this land was either retained by the family, or the family was displaced and the land given to another Pensioner Guard. Pensioners who gained or owned the title to their lot were able to sell their land and in some cases Pensioners’ widows were able to keep plots. The average land block was about two acres.

    When representative government came to Western Australia, a few Pensioners were retained in the new Enrolled Pensioner Force but many, according to records, were unemployable through ill health or age. Nevertheless, all still received pensions.

    Military funerals became part of Pensioners’ duties. Today we honour two men who were but a very small sample of the Pensioner Guards. The red ribbons you see fluttering in the breeze with name tags are spread over what remains of the several cemeteries which hold about 10 per cent of pensioner gravesites. Take time to have the opportunity of visiting these sites today.

    The two men we are honouring are Martin O’Dea and William Thomas Wimbridge both of whom brought their families to Western Australia and who have many descendants. Martin O’Dea was born in County Clare, Ireland about 1832 He enlisted as a private of the British Army in the 41st Regiment of Foot, which by 1881 was called the 1st Battalion of the Welsh Regiment Jean McDonald, (who is here with me) from the Enrolled Pensioner Guard Special Interest Group of the Western Australian Genealogical Society writes that he served in the Crimea becoming a Lance Corporal, although the War Office listings on arrival state he was a Private. Martin married Bridget Warren in 1856 at Ennis, Countv Clare, Ireland. Between 1857 and 1863 they had four children—John Martin, Bridget, Mary Anne and Michael. There is no record of Bridget and Mary Anne arriving in WA and it is assumed they died in Ireland.

    After his term of service in the military, Martin’s pension was paid to Ennis, his birthplace. He enrolled as a pensioner and applied to serve as a guard to the convicts on the ship Vimiera in December 1865.

    More children were born after their arrival in the Colony—Francis (1868) was joined by Mary Rosary (1870), Peter (1872) and Patrick Joseph who, although unregistered, was said by family to have been born in 1873. Both Francis and Peter died in 1873 aged four years and eight months respectively.

    The family lived in the Barracks at the top of St George’s Terrace before Martin was transferred to the Avon Valley and then to the South West. He acquired Perth Location Y145 which we now know as the Northbridge area of West Perth, near the site of St Brigid’s church. Bridget died in 1886 aged 46 years and Martin died on 23 September, 1893 aged 60. Martin was honoured with a military funeral. The photo of the procession, showing an impressive number of Pensioners in full regalia, is shown in The Dismal Trader: the undertaker business in Perth 1860—1939 by Leonie Liveris. They rest together here in the Roman Catholic Section. Their son Michael became a partner in Bowra and O’Dea.

    William Thomas Wimbridge was born at St Marylebone, Middlesex about 1806. He enlisted as a private in Manchester in April 1827 with the occupation of a cotton spinner. In 1840 he was promoted to corporal in the 69th Regiment which was later to become the 2nd Battalion of the Welsh Regiment. During his service of 19 years and 47 days, he spent seven years in the West Indies and British North America. He became a sergeant in 1845 and held two good conduct badges. He was discharged from the Salford Barracks, Manchester, at the end of 1846. William arrived in WA on the second voyage of the Pyrenees in 1853 and in September of 1854 was appointed to the Chief Convict Establishment without the sanction of his commanding officer. William brought with him his wife Eleanor Barbara, known as Ellen, son Thomas, aged three, and three other children. In 1857 he was employed with a pension and granted an allotment in North Fremantle, paying a shilling per day for nearly a year towards his cottage. By 1878 his pension was increased to 1 shilling and 7 pence per day as Commissariat Messenger. His record notes that the staff office returned his old pension certificate to the War Office in the first quarter of 1880.

    During his life he was a subscriber to the Florence Nightingale Fund in 1857 and in 1869 subscribed to the Pensioners Benevolent Fund of which he was a founding member. These subscriptions were seen as compulsory for Pensioner Guards.

    William died on 4 January, 1881 and was buried in East Perth Cemetery with his 17-year-old daughter Sarah, who had died 7 years before him. Eleanor died 10 years later and her gravesite is just west on the pathway around the chapel.

    Today’s ceremony is only possible because of the co-operation between the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and the National Trust which is now in charge of this resting place of many citizens of Western Australia but historically our Colonial settlers one and all.

    May they all rest in peace. Thank you.

  • Commemorating Unmarked Graves 2009

    on Sunday 28 May 2006 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Unmarked Graves

    Citation by Ruth Marchant James

    The remains of numerous Australian inhabitants, ranging from members of the indigenous, European and Asian races, as well as explorers, pioneer men and women, labourers, landowners, officials and paupers, lie buried in unmarked sites across the width and breadth of this large continent. East Perth Cemetery, the first designated burial ground to be set aside in the Swan River Colony, is no exception. Indeed present research suggests that of the near 10,000 Western Australian pioneers interred in this hallowed ground, before it closed in 1899, only 773 headstones now exist. Surveyed in November 1829, the first burial took place in the hilltop cemetery, or ‘Boot Hill’ as it was later irreverently referred to, on 6 January 1830 with the death of John Mitchell, a 22 year-old private of the 63rd Regiment.

    Today we honour and remember the large number of early settlers who, like Mitchell, have no headstones or memorials to mark the spot where their remains lie buried. The original tombstones or wooden crosses that once identified a large number of gravesites have either disintegrated with the passage of time, been removed, or vandalised over the years, whilst the majority of paupers, itinerates and persons without family, were understandably never recognised. Only eight surviving headstones from the original Jewish / Hebrew cemetery site were transferred to the corner of Wickham and Plain Streets when the old portion of their allotted burial ground was resumed and used for housing. Fortunately, most of the original names have since been recorded and a memorial erected by the Jewish community now acknowledges people of that faith earlier laid to rest. Likewise, when the Chinese section, once located behind the old Presbyterian burial ground, was also excised for development, a commemorate monument to deceased Chinese pioneers was raised in their memory by the Chinese community in 1994 and a brass plaque placed on the original site. Headstones, retrieved from the original Presbyterian burial ground, which is now a car park, were replaced in the fenced-in area of the cemetery on a reclaimed section of Horatio Street.

    Death is not and never has been selective and the final call certainly knows no social boundaries. As with most consecrated burial sites, the rich and famous lay side by side with the poor and unobtrusive members of the community in the East Perth Cemetery. In the founding years of the colony the infant and child death toll was exceedingly high and the premature deaths of adults not uncommon. Cemetery records endlessly reveal a list of repeated causes rarely heard of in modern times. These included loss of life as a result of apoplexy, visitation, rheumatic fever, convulsions, mortification, dropsy, consumption, colonial fever, dysentery, whooping cough, childbirth, water-on-the brain, inflammation of the lungs, as well as excessive drinking. Suicides, being buried alive in wells and sand falls, falling from a horse, fatal injuries by horse-led carts and accidental drownings, were regularly documented along with general debility, as reasons for the demise of many early citizens. As colonists these individuals made an enormous contribution to the establishment of Perth and the colony’s fledgling settlements.

    Buried in a gravesite minus a headstone, Dr John Whatley, surgeon and agriculturalist, was one such pioneer. Accompanied by his wife Anne and two small daughters Whatley arrived on the Atwick, some four months after the foundation of the colony, and was granted 1000 acres of land which ran from the present railway station at Bayswater to the river. Sharing an optimistic view of life in their adopted country Anne Whatley confidently recorded in her diary: ‘We were much interested in planning our house to be divided into six rooms and to have glass windows and a floor, the outer doors to be of native mahogany of which John cut down a fine tree at Perth’. After attending Colonel Lautour’s sale at Fremantle in mid-September 1830 to buy a cow and a side saddle, both Dr Whatley and Captain John Macdowell Stroyen were tragically drowned whilst ferrying the purchased goods across the Swan River. John Whatley was just 32 years of age when he lost his life and, two months after his burial on 19 September 1830 in the East Perth Cemetery his bereaved family returned to England aboard the Cleopatra. WheTheTSoc or’s grave was left unmarked due to the suddenness of their departure, or whether the original headstone was later destroyed is not known. Among other colonial surgeons laid to rest in the old pioneer cemetery without a headstone were Dr Charles Simmons, who died in 1831, and Doctors John Harris and Richard Brinsley Hinds RN both of whom were interred in the 1840s.

    We also dedicate this day to popular bandmaster Lieutenant John Joseph Bryan, better known throughout his lifetime by the Christian name of Thomas. Born in India in 1852, he was the son of a soldier serving with the 96th Regiment, who came to Western Australia in 1863 to take up an appointment as bandmaster to an Imperial Regiment. Young Thomas, who was also musically talented, joined the Fremantle Volunteers Band and for a time performed under the conductorship of his father. He later became a member of the Perth Volunteers and when his father retired from the military band he was elected in 1878 to replace him as bandmaster. In 1897, after 33 years service, Thomas was appointed lieutenant and continued to conduct the group which later became known as the Headquarters Band. Widely regarded as a loyal and talented leader Lieutenant Bryan, who never missed a review in 37 years, was also a well-known identity in the Perth printing industry.

    In 1901, Lieutenant Thomas Bryan was afforded the honour of leading the massed bands chosen to perform at Flemington, Victoria, during the Royal Visit to celebrate the foundation of the Commonwealth. Regrettably he suffered a fatal heart attack just before the commencement of the Federation March and was held in such esteem that the then Premier, George Throssell, personally made arrangements for his remains to be brought back to Western Australia by the SS Pilbarra. The impressive funeral procession left the late lieutenant’s home in Murray Street on Sunday 2 June 1901, accompanied by three bands taking turns to play the Dead March, and after a service in St Mary’s Cathedral, proceeded down Lord Street to Adelaide Terrace, wending its way via Bennet Street and the former Forrest Avenue into the Roman Catholic portion of the East Perth Cemetery where he was buried with full military honours. Among the huge crowd of mourners in attendance were Governor Sir Arthur Lawley, the new Premier of Western Australia George Leake, various military personnel and a 50 member firing squad, Wreaths were laid by hundreds of well-wishers, including representatives from old established Perth firms and members of the Theatre Royal Orchestra.

    In the Holy Year Celebration in 2000 Bishop Healy officiated at a ceremony when a small Celtic Cross, transferred from Karrakatta, was re-erected as a memorial to six Roman Catholic priests who were originally laid to rest without a headstone in the East Perth Cemetery. Father John Coyle accompanied the colony’s first Roman Catholic Bishop John Brady to Perth in 1851 and loyally stood by the controversial Irish clergyman when he fell out with Bishop Serra, a Spanish Benedictine. The young Father Coyle was illegally appointed Vicar-General by Bishop Brady and consequently excommunicated by Archbishop Polding of Sydney. On 23 December 1853 the ill-advised priest met an early death at the age of 36 through dysentery, whilst a patient at the Perth Colonial Hospital. Reconciled with the Church, during Bishop Brady’s absence, he at least experienced a peaceful spiritual end to his short turbulent life. A second priest commemorated in the year 2000, Father Thomas O’Neill, arrived in 1853 with Bishop Salvado and was soon afterwards appointed prison chaplain at Fremantle Gaol. He proved to be a popular figure, but was unprepared for the bigotry he encountered in some quarters and lacking maturity his outspoken involvement became counterproductive. Eight months after his arrival the 24-year old Irish priest died unexpectedly on 25 April 1854 and was buried in the pioneer cemetery at East Perth. Similarly another youthful Catholic priest, Father Michael Kirwan, was appointed chaplain in 1869 to a party of convicts stationed at Guildford and later served at Albany, Newcastle and Perth. Afflicted with poor health Father Kirwan died at the age of 30 on 14 November 1872. Forty-three year-old Father John Joseph Quinn, a former professor of history at Longford Ireland unfortunately spent only three months in the colony before he died suddenly of heart disease on 23 September 1896.

    Father Denis Paul Long, who served in both the Murchison and Eastern Goldfields, was buried close to the original entrance leading to the Roman Catholic section. It was during his time at Kanowna that he naively made headlines when publicity over a fake nugget led to an unexpected gold rush and a great deal of angst. Recalled to Perth the mortified 29-year-old priest died of typhoid fever in the Perth Public Hospital on 14 May 1899. The sixth priest to be recognised, Father William Prendergast, a former Dominican turned secular, served the people of Roeboume, Geraldton, Toodyay, Northam, Guildford, Southern Cross, Kanowna and Coolgardie before failing health led to his admittance to St John of God Hospital, Subiaco, and to his death on 2 July 1899 aged fifty-seven.

    James Woodward Turner, a London businessman, arrived on the Warrior on 12 March 1830 and became one of Augusta’s original settlers. His successful application for land included a list of 21 general servants and a long list of imports for which he was granted 20, 026 acres of land. Turner accompanied the Molloy and Bussell families when they departed for Augusta and to accommodate his wife Maria and eight of their nine offspring Turner erected a pre-fabricated house that he had imported to the colony and named Albion Cottage. Involved in trading, he built a 40-ton boat in 1844 called the Alpha. After the failure of the south-west settlement and the exodus of its settlers James Turner set up residence in Adelaide Terrace, Perth, and became a general dealer in Howick (now Hay) Street. James Woodward Turner died when he was 83 on 13 November 1862, but for whatever reason his grave remains without a headstone.

    The Sherwoods, Frederick, his wife Jessie and their sons Henry and Alfred, members of a well-known pioneering family share the same fate. Brought out to the colony as a surveyor, under contract to Marshall Clifton at Australind, Frederick did not foresee that, due to financial problems, his position with the West Australian Company no longer existed. New opportunities were boundless however, and throughout his life Frederick Sherwood held positions in the civil service and worked as an accountant, architect, builder, surveyor, school teacher, part-time farmer and brewer. Despite the lack of identification in the East Perth Cemetery the family’s name is perpetuated in the creation of Sherwood Court.

    Thomas and Catherine Davis, son John and small daughter Charlotte arrived in the Swan River Colony with the first group of settlers aboard the Parmelia, Born in 1799 in England and married in 1822 to Thomas, a blacksmith who was employed at the government depot at Mt Eliza, Catherine was only 37 years-old when she passed away in 1885 and her remains like so many other early settlers occupy a site without a headstone. The list of unmarked graves is long, and for many the backgrounds and tribulations of their earthly lives remain shrouded in mystery. This afternoon we break with a 52-year-old tradition and instead of commemorating pioneers in legible gravesites we have chosen instead to honour those, who because they have been buried without visible identification, could so easily have been forgotten. As one unknown poet observed:

    If the lonely graves are scattered in that fenceless vast God’s acre: if no bells chime across them, and no mourners tread between, Yet, the souls of those sound sleepers go as swiftly to their Maker and the ground is just as sacred, and the graves are just as green.

    In April 1899 the first burial took place at the new cemetery at Karrakatta. It is to be hoped that with the cemetery renewal program presently taking place history will not repeat itself and that future generations will not be left with endless rows of unmarked graves in Karrakatta, a repository full of records and a plea for countless volunteers to act as caretakers.

Annual Pioneers Memorial Service 2010s

  • Commemorating The Leake Family 2010

    on Sunday 30 May 2010 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating The Leake Family

    Citaition by Marie Watts

    in consultation with Mr Ian Berriman and Mr Henry Soutar Lodge

    The name Leake is indelibly written on the pages of West Australian History. It is the name of one of the first -and most influential – of the pioneering families that settled here in 1829. From the very beginning and throughout the nineteenth century the first three generations of the Leake Family contributed considerably to the establishment and development of the social, economic, commercial, legal and political institutions of the new colony. Many members of those three early generations lie buried here, in this Pioneer Cemetery. Today we pay tribute to them. There are of course many descendants still living in Western Australia, including some who are here today. However because most of them have descended from the female members of the family and only very few from the males, the name Leake is not often encountered these days. In fact I think there are only two people here today with the name Leake -Dr Eleanor Leake, granddaughter of George Leake III, the premier who died in 1902 – and her brother Tom Leake from NSW.

    However, the recorded history of the Leake family spans a period of about 350 years, beginning with a goldsmith in London, who was active during the third quarter of the seventeenth century. This man was, in effect, the patriarch of the Western Australian Leake family.

    Research has shown that he had a son, Luke Leake (who I will call Luke I) who lived in the town of Sudbury, in Suffolk, who, like his father – was a goldsmith – and also a bookseller. Until some of them came to Western Australia in 1829, the Leake family continued to live in rural Suffolk, with some members establishing themselves as merchants in London.

    Luke Leake I had married Ann Heading in October 1783 and they had three sons – George, Luke and John – all of whom came to the Swan River Colony. We know little else about Luke I, except that he was born in 1756 and died in 1800.

    However, this Luke’s widow, Mrs Anne Leake, is well known to Western Australian historians because she has always been identified as the oldest of all the early colonists who arrived in those first months of settlement. She had been born on 28 March 1758, and was a month or so past her seventy-first birthday when she, her son Luke II and grand-daughter Anne Eliza Leake left England in the ship Atwick bound for the Swan River.

    Now – a voyage from Britain to Australia in those days was a major undertaking, even for someone who was young and healthy. The Atwick was at sea for a total of 125 days. By modem standards the vessel was small: she was 98 feet 7 inches long, with a maximum breadth of 28 feet one inch. Room had to be made on this tiny ship for about eighty passengers – with all their luggage, fanning equipment and livestock. But the seventy one year old Mrs Leake survived the trip, and settled happily with her sons and grandchildren in Fremantle and Perth. She proved to be an admirable pioneer, making the best of things at all times. One anecdote recounted by Jane Roberts in the journal of her voyage to Australia, evokes a delightful image of Mrs Leake and her granddaughter, serving a very graceful and formal afternoon tea – of dry biscuits and black tea – in the most primitive of circumstances.

    This brave woman eventually died in October 1836, aged 78, much loved by all who knew her. She was – in fact -the matriarch of all the West Australian Leakes and was the first of the family to be buried in this cemetery.

    Luke II, the eldest of her sons, appears to have been a scholarly man, with interests in history, religion and literature. He didn’t marry until 1825 when, at the age of forty, he married Mary Anne Walpole, then aged about 25. After their marriage they lived in Stoke Newington, just to the east of the City of London. Mary Ann produced three sons in the space of three and a half years who, in accordance with Leake family tradition, were named George, John and Luke. A further child Catherine was born in the Swan River Colony.

    George (that is George I), younger brother of Luke II, was married in 1813 to Anne Growse, from Suffolk, who died shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Anne Eliza. George lived in Mecklenburgh Square, in the centre of London, and it seems that his widowed mother Ann lived with him, and took on the task of raising her granddaughter.

    John, the youngest of the brothers, married Mary Sheen, also from Suffolk. He visited the colony in 1837 but stayed only for four years, going on to Adelaide in 1841 and then back to England. London at the time when Luke I and Ann lived there was the financial capital of Europe (if not the world) and their sons set up in business as bill brokers. At that time most of Britain’s commerce was conducted through the medium of bills of exchange, and bill brokers were employed in buying, selling, accepting, presenting, guaranteeing and endorsing bills of exchange. Many of these brokers conducted their business in the City of London.

    However, London in 1825 experienced a severe contraction in business activities – and the Leake family suffered a serious financial crisis. It appears that they had made some unwise investments, and suddenly lost a lot of money. The shock was such that Luke 2 then aged only 44, had a stroke, and became an invalid for the remaining ten years of his life.

    Fortuitously, at that time – around September 1828 – James Stirling was in London, attempting to persuade the British government to establish a colony at the Swan River, in Western Australia. It is possible that the Leake family was already acquainted with Stirling, and that it was on his advice that, late in 1828 they made the momentous decision to salvage what they could from the business, and attempt to renew their fortunes in Western Australia. George took passage in the Calista, the first merchant ship going to the new colony, and arrived there in August 1829. As I said before, his older brother Luke 2, together with his elderly mother Ann Leake and George’s daughter Ann Eliza followed shortly afterwards in the Atwick.

    Luke Leake was never happy in Western Australia. As we know, he was an invalid, and he appears to have spent his time reading, and yearning to return to London and the Stock Exchange. He didn’t see his wife and sons again until four years later in January 1833 when they finally arrived in the colony aboard the Cygnet. He never recovered his health and eventually died in 1838, aged 54. He was buried here in the same plot as his mother.

    But his brother George (that is George I) nourished. This first George Leake would have to be a prime candidate for the title of the Swan River colony’s most prominent citizen.

    Most of you will be well aware of the stories of failure, disaster and heartbreak that mark the records of the early years – and yet George’s career shows that it was possible to prosper. He took up a grant of just under 15,000 acres on the Upper Swan, at its junction with Ellen’s Brook and he appointed Lt Bull R N as manager . The Property on which was erected a flourmill, was developed into one of the finest properties in the Swan Valley.

    As a merchant, George ran a successful business as an importer and retailer of all types of goods. He acted as agent for merchants and traders in India, Cape Town and Britain. He was a shipping agent and he became a financier and banker. He was a member of a group of colonists who tried to establish an export trade in horses to India.

    He was an extremely busy man but nevertheless he made time for many Public duties. He was appointed the Government Resident in Fremantle and later a Magistrate for that area. He was a guardian for the Children’s Friend Society.

    He was a nominated member of the Legislative Council, Chairman of the Perth Town Trust and later of the Swan Road Trust. He was a director of the Agricultural Society, and a founder and director of the Bank of Western Australia. Research shows that in almost every edition of the Perth Gazette in the 1830s and 1840s his name is mentioned between its pages – in some capacity or another.

    AND…. on a lighter note it is recorded that when the first horse races were held in October 1833 on the beach at South Fremantle, it was a horse owned by George Leake that won the day. According to the Perth Gazette, “…in the second race there were only two starters, Mr. George Leake’s Jack and Mr. Samson’s black mare”. (As most of the ponies didn’t really want to participate – running anywhere but on the gazetted course – it seems to have been a day filled with exasperated laughter!)

    Then, in 1840, at the age of 54 George married the much younger Georgiana Kingsford, only daughter of the flour miller Samuel Kingsford, who had built a flourmill on the site of what is now the Parmelia Hotel. This young woman was an artist, painting in the years 1840 to 1850 the collection of delicate wildflower paintings that are at present on display at the Royal Western Australian Historical Society. Georgiana Leake’s album of paintings was donated in 1933 by Mrs Jane Adam, who had brought it back from England – and it has now become the subject of a thoroughly researched monograph on this artist’s life and work.

    George died in 1849, aged 63. He had only the one child, his daughter Anne Eliza (from his first marriage) who had married Richard McBride Broun (brother of Peter Broun the colonial secretary). She was left well provided for by her father – but the family’s businesses passed to his three nephews, the sons of his invalid brother Luke 2.

    This fine and enterprising man George I is buried here in the same plot as his mother and his brother Luke.

    Interestingly, research has suggested that after the death of Luke, George had taken it upon himself to support his sister-in-law and children wherever he could. Mary Anne Leake had proved herself to be an admirable settler and for many years she seems to have run a shop in St George’s Terrace. However, such an enterprise would not have covered school fees in England for her sons – or the several passages home that seem to have occurred – and it could only have been Uncle George who provided the wherewithal. That his nephews George Walpole Leake and Luke Samuel Leake were such high profile and successful Western
    Australians must largely be down to their Uncle George.

    Luke’s eldest son, George Walpole Leake (George II), like his uncle George, became one of the most prominent citizens of Perth. He was educated at King’s College London and completed his legal qualifications in South Australia and Victoria. He commenced the practice of law in the Swan River Colony in 1852 and was subsequently called to the Bar there. He was appointed a Q. C. in 1875 and Crown Solicitor in 1857, a position he held for many years. During the next 30 years he occupied many temporary official positions, including Attorney General (four times), Supreme Court Judge (twice) and Chief Justice (three times). He was also for many years Local Court and Police Court Magistrate for the Perth District. In addition to his legal duties he was for many years a nominated member of the Legislature. George Walpole was a colourful character of whom many stories were told. He had a keen and quick wit, which sometimes descended into ridicule and sarcasm. While he also had a sharp temper he was apparently a very kind and generous man – with a mischievous sense of humour. He died in 1895 at the age of 70 and is buried here in the Family Plot with his wife Rose Ellen (nee Gliddon) and other members of his family.

    His brother Luke Samuel Leake (that is Luke III) was a more easy-going man. He married Louisa Walpole in 1855. He took over the family’s businesses, and accumulated a substantial fortune as a merchant and trader. In 1870 he was elected to the Legislative Council, and in the same year was elected the Speaker, a position he held until his death in 1886. Luke was also a director of the Western Australian Bank from 1854 until 1886. He was Chairman and then Auditor of the Perth Town Trust. He was president of the Swan River Mechanics institute. He was appointed a magistrate and Inspector of Rottnest and Perth Prisons. He was on the Board of Education and was the first Captain of the Perth Volunteer Rifles. He was knighted in 1876.

    Sir Luke died in 1886 near Malta. He was given a State Funeral and his memorial is next to the Family Plot. (A very fine and formal court costume that was worn by Sir Luke Samuel Leake is presently on display at the Society’s museum.)

    Catherine Ann Leake the youngest of the Luke and Mary Ann’s family was born in Perth in 1834. She married James George Lee Steere in London in 1859. When his brother in law Sir Luke Leake died in 1886, James Lee Steere became Speaker and in 1898 he too, was knighted. James and Catherine had 15 Children. Lady Catherine died in Perth in 1922 Although Sir Luke’s marriage to Louisa Walpole produced no children, G.W. Leake’s marriage to Rose Ellen Gliddon produced seven daughters and one son and 52 grandchildren. The seven Leake sisters were famous in their time.

    Mary the eldest married Bishop Parry.

    Jessie married Colonel Skinner of the British Army

    Amy married Stephen Henry Parker who became the Chief Justice.

    Constance married T. S. Lodge.

    Rose married Cecil Clifton who became the Commissioner of Lands

    Blanche married Dr Kelsall.

    Jane married Keith Adam a magistrate, who was a descendant of the famous and influential eighteenth and early nineteenth century Adam family of architects.
    And when the last of these seven daughters married their mischievous father placed an advertisement in the local press, apologising to the young men of the Colony that he had no more daughters for them to marry.

    G W Leake’s only son, George Leake (i.e. George Leake III) was born in Perth in 1856. He was educated at the Bishop’s Boys School – later known as The High School, then Hale School – and finally at St Peters College Adelaide. He was then articled to his father and in 1880, at the age of 24; he was admitted to the West Australian Bar. He was the Solicitor General for someyears and like his father was QC. In 1890 he was elected to the first Parliament under Responsible Government. He was very active in promoting Federation and in the political turmoil that followed when John Forrest went to the Federal Parliament; he twice became Premier and was Premier when he died of pneumonia in 1902 at the age of 46. He was given a State Funeral and is buried here in this Pioneers Cemetery near the other members of his Family. In King’s Park a fine memorial fountain was erected in his memory.

    This George had married Louisa Emily Burt the daughter of the former Chief Justice Sir Archibald Burt. They had six children one of whom, Francis Walpole Leake, took silk as his father and grandfather had done before him. Sadly, another son, Lt George Arthur Leake (ie George IV) was killed in action at Hill 60 on Gallipoli. He is commemorated on his father’s tombstone in this Cemetery.

    This citation would not be complete without some mention of the strong and industrious Leake family women who contributed so much to all aspects of the development of the Colony. Those of the second and third generations became the wives of some of the leading men of their time – and in turn the mothers and grandmothers of those who were to lead the state through the Twentieth Century. Tragically, some of their men were to give their lives in the two great 20″‘ century world wars. The pioneering Leake women who worked quietly beside so many of our great pioneering men are – with them – honoured here today, for their contribution to the development of Western Australia.

    We honour them all.

  • Commemorating McCann Family 2011

    on Sunday 29 May 2011 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating McCann Family

    Citation by John James

    Premier, Canon Sheehan, Professor Appleyard, Other Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

    Writing in 2000 about the Irish in Western Australia, Anne Partlon observed that “Today at least 20 per cent of Australians can claim Irish ancestry. These figures identify the Irish as the largest ethnic group in Australia after the English.” (i) Descendants of John and Mary McCann are certainly able to make that claim, with John having been born in Lancashire of Irish parents and Mary a native of Terryglass, County Tipperary.

    The story of how they arrived, met, married and produced 10 children in the Victoria District (which we now know as Northampton and Geraldton) of nineteenth century WA is like many Irish stories – part fact, part myth and part fairy story. The challenge is to differentiate them. Like all good stories, it has its fair share of drama and heartache and is set against a harsh, unfamiliar landscape.

    That, after many hardships, John and Mary are buried in this colonial cemetery with a fenced headstone speaks largely to the fortitude and determination of Mary. After 18 years of marriage, John died of pneumonia in Geraldton on 13 November 1880 (two days after Ned Kelly, a far more notorious Irishman, was hanged) leaving Mary to raise their seven surviving children.

    Records of John and Mary’s births have not been found, but the 1841 Census of England for Manchester has a family consisting of Francis and Ann McCann and their two sons, Samuel (10) and John (5). We know that ages were rounded to the nearest 5 years in the 1841 Census, so 1836 is only an approximate year of birth for John. Unfortunately, searches of later census’ failed to find any further trace of the family.

    What makes us think that we may have the right John McCann here is that his father is named as Francis on his marriage certificate; Ann was the name of his eldest daughter and Samuel his eldest son. Further, John’s year of birth tallies closely with that calculated at the time of his trial in Manchester and subsequent transportation.

    Mary, whose maiden name was Keane, always gave Borrisokane, County Tipperary as her place of origin. A 1985 search of the baptismal records by the then parish priest at Borrisokane yielded no matching baptism. However, a more recent search of the Irish Family History Foundation records produced a Mary Keane, daughter of Patrick and Ellen, baptised on 12 October 1834 in the parish of Terryglass, slightly northwest of Borrisokane and just below where the Shannon flows into Lough Derg.

    Evidence for this being the Mary of interest to us comes from a marriage two years later in Terryglass of Patrick Keane to Bridget Walsh. We know from stories handed down from Mary that her mother died and that her father married a Biddy, Biddy being a contraction of Bridget. More support for this view comes from Mary naming her second daughter Ellen, her mother’s name.

    (Mary’s view of her stepmother is best summed up by the frequently repeated quote: “If ever there’s a soul in Hell, it’s Biddy!”).

    While John’s arrival in WA is a matter of public record, Mary’s has not been established to date. What we do know is that she was accompanied by her brother William, an Enrolled Pensioner Guard whose job it was to guard the likes of John. Little wonder then that William was opposed to the relationship and eventual marriage of his younger sister. We know this from some notes written in the 1980s by Nina Parkinson, based on stories told to her by her mother Eliza Dye.

    Those who are embarrassed by having a convict forebear may take some comfort from Professor Patrick O’Farrell’s (1986) description of the Irish convicts as “…a better type of convict, less criminally inclined, more likely to completely reform, less inclined to return to crime in Australia…(and)…their criminal impulses those of the destitute and desperate.” (ii)

    How well did this description fit John McCann? His crime, according to the trial records of 15 June 1857 of the Manchester Quarter Sessions, was to steal one shirt, one sheet, one handerchief, one pair of boots and one pair of shoes. For this he received a sentence of six years transportation to WA.

    As for reoffending, “The West Australian” of 23 November 1880, as part of an obituary, reported that “…His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to remit the fine which was recently imposed upon Mr Walker (the alias under which John was convicted) by the bench here for selling by auction without a license, some old newspapers, the property of the Working Men’s Society” The article concludes “…the remitting of the fine has met with the universal approval of the public.” (iii)

    To show how complete was John’s rehabilitation, we have only to read the obituaries in the Geraldton newspapers, one of which concluded by describing him thus: “…a straightforward Good Templar (he was a member of a temperance lodge), a kind husband, and an affectionate father.” Earlier in the same obituary, he was described as “a hardworking and industrious man, was at all times ready and willing to assist in matters of public interest.” (iv) He was a member of three committees within the town of Geraldton, including one formed to celebrate on 6 June 1879 the Jubilee of the founding of the Swan River Colony.

    The ship which brought John McCann and 279 other convicts to the Colony was the “Edwin Fox” which arrived at Fremantle in November 1858. Remarkably, the teak hull of the ship can be seen today by visitors to Picton, New Zealand where it has been preserved and is on display. Before being used as a convict ship, she was a troop carrier in the Crimean War and then transported immigrants to New Zealand. She ended her days as a coal hulk. In 1965, she was bought by the Edwin Fox Restoration Society.

    Little is known of John and Mary’s lives after their initial arrival. John received his Ticket of Leave on 11 June 1860, the couple married in the Catholic Church, Fremantle on 4 March 1862 and John had his Certificate of Freedom by 22 Aug 1863. Their first child, Ann was born in January of that year.

    It is the birth certificates of the McCann children which give us the clues as to where the family lived and how John was employed. The first two children, Ann and Samuel were both born at the Wheal Fortune Mine, Samuel succumbing to convulsions in July 1864 aged only one month.

    Research reported in 2002 by Dr Martin Gibbs (v), an archaeologist now at the University of Sydney, suggests that both the Wheal Fortune Mine and the nearby Gwalla Mine, referred to below, were developed by the merchant capitalist, George Shenton. The Wheal Fortune Mine, just off the Port Gregory road near Northampton, formed part of WA’s first mining operations which later came to be known as the Northampton Complex. This consisted of more than 100 deposits of lead, silver and copper which were worked between 1850 and 1973. According to Ethan Minerals (vi), the current lessee, the overall historical production is conservatively estimated at 77,000 tonnes lead, 4,268 tonnes copper and 212.3 kg silver.

    Ellen, the third child of John and Mary, was born at the Yanganooka Mine in 1865 and John, the next born, at the Gwalla Mine, just south of Northampton, in 1867. While Wheal Fortune was a lead mine, both Yanganooka and Gwalla were copper mines. In 2009, the National Trust included the Gwalla Mining Precinct on its list of Heritage at Risk for that year, noting that the church and cemetery had been included on the state’s Register of Heritage Places in 2002, but not the rest of the village.

    According to later research by Gibbs (2010), Gwalla had been known originally as “Gwalla Estate” and was owned and managed by Joseph Horrocks who was himself an ex-convict. Described as a philanthropist, Horrocks attempted to establish his own village at Gwalla and donated to the community the non-denominational church he had built in 1861. Gibbs comments that “the fact that accommodation was made for all of the different denominations is of great interest, as it speaks of a concern for the broader community, beyond the usual sectarian approach seen in the colonies.” (vii)

    Religion, or rather the particular brand of it, became a major issue for the McCann family after the births in Geraldton of Mary (1871), William (1873), Eliza(beth) (1874) and Francis (1876) and, more especially, after the death of their father in 1880. The only account we have of the events leading to Mary leaving the Catholic Church and embracing Methodism comes to us from Kath James, daughter of Mary McCann, the younger who married Patrick Brennan. Kath recorded a series of oral history interviews in 1992, four years before her death. (viii)

    As the story goes, because John died before the priest could give him the last rites and hear his confession, the priest refused to bury him in consecrated ground. Mary is supposed to have said that there was no way he would be buried in unconsecrated ground and she would have the Methodist minister bury him. Going further, she took the children away from the convent school and brought them all up Methodists.

    In an attempt to make up for what he had done, the priest offered to educate Ann and Ellen at what is now Mercedes College at his expense. Legend has it that Mary led him to a pile of empty bottles at the rear of her little house on the beach and said: “See those bottles, Father? I would rather carry them around on my back and sell them from door to door than let you spend one penny on my children after what you did; because my husband is today lying in a Methodist grave because of you.”

    When Mary, the younger brought Patrick Brennan to meet her mother, Mary is quoted as saying that she had two things against him – he was an Irishman and a Catholic. So strong were Mary’s views that she did not attend the wedding in St Mary’s Cathedral, nor any of the other Catholic weddings of her children.

    Mary made a deathbed return to Catholicism in 1915. Her daughter, Mary is said to have sought and obtained permission from Bishop Gibney for her to be buried as a Catholic, but in the Methodist portion of the cemetery. This was to allow her to be buried with John who had been reinterred at East Perth after the family moved to Perth. It is likely that they are the only Irish Catholic couple buried in this portion of the cemetery.

    The other occupants of the grave are their son, John who died in 1905, ten years before his mother and Maria Mary Waldock, the seven year old daughter of Ann and her husband, William Waldock who died in 1897. William was a police inspector, the irony of which would not have been lost on John McCann, had he lived to see his daughter marry.

    The oldest living Waldock descendant is also William, a 92 year old career Air Force officer who retired with the rank of Group Captain. Bill’s health does not allow him to be here today and the family is represented by his younger sister, Dorothy, former private secretary to successive Commissioners for Railways. Their late brother, Len was the official timekeeper for the Perth Football Club for 63 years, a position his father had held from 1909 to1947.

    Ellen married Thomas Mulligan, an Irishman from County Cork. Their oldest descendant is Thomas McMullen who, with his wife Veronica, has lived for 61 years in the West Leederville home built by his Mulligan grandparents in 1910. Apart from war service with the RAAF, Tom had a 40 year career with the Australian Taxation Office. We wish Tom well as he approaches his 90th birthday.
    John remained single and died at the young age of 38 and, as mentioned above, is buried with his parents. Mines Department records show that, in 1894, he was the first listed leaseholder of a gold mine near Mt Magnet known as the White Rose Mine. His brother-in-law, Patrick Brennan is said to have worked on the mine with him for a period.

    By the time Mary married Patrick Brennan, he had moved to Perth and begun to work in the tramways where he became foreman of construction. Ruri, one of their four sons, was politically inclined and campaigned for Philip Collier (1873-1948), Labor Premier for nine years up to 1936.

    After war service in Papua and New Guinea where he was commissioned in the field, Ruri returned to work in the public service there and became President of the Public Service Association which he led from 1952-57. In his 1976 account of Australia’s administration of the Territory, Sir Paul Hasluck described Ruri Brennan as a “remarkable public-spirited officer”. (ix)

    Of Mary and Patrick’s grandchildren, Fay Brennan would have been the one most likely for other McCann descendants to have encountered, perhaps unknowingly. As Sister M Anastasia, she nursed in midwifery at St John of God Hospital, Subiaco for 30 years until her premature death in 1968.

    Like his older brother, William McCann never married. A teamster on enlistment in the First AIF in 1916, it was logical that he would join the 10th Light Horse Regiment which saw service in the Middle East for the remainder of World War I. It was William who was given the responsibility of supervising the disinterment of his father’s remains from the Geraldton cemetery and subsequent reinterment at East Perth.

    Elizabeth, or Eliza as she was better known, married Matthew Dye and they had four daughters, Mamie, Nina, Jean and Corrie. Depending on whether your interest is in politics or sport, Eliza could have laid claim to being the grandmother of two of the most distinguished of the McCann descendants.

    Corrie and Jim Barnett’s son, Colin has been our State’s Premier since 2008. Any dispassionate observer of WA politics would say that the position is his to occupy for as long as he chooses. One wonders what John and Mary McCann would have made of their great-grandson preparing to host the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this year. As with the rest of us, there would have to be a measure of pride that a family member has achieved the highest elected office in the State.

    By contrast with the Premier, his cousin, John Parkinson’s football career is well behind him. However, John has the satisfaction of having tied with Bill Walker for the 1967 Sandover Medal and helping Claremont to win two WANFL Premierships. The only blot on John’s illustrious career is that he lowered himself to play some games for Collingwood in 1971, before seeing the light and returning to finish his career at Claremont.

    Francis was the youngest of the McCann children. He married Ellen Harris in 1905 and they had three children, Alice, John and Francis. Kevin, son of Francis and his son, Benjamin are the only two people still to carry the family name which gives them a special place at today’s commemoration.

    At this, the first gathering of the clan since 1980, we honour John and Mary McCann and give thanks for their lives. We also ask for mercy for the priest whose actions created generations of bitterness and division within the family. It is to be hoped that this commemoration will complete the healing of the breach.

    A quotation from Edmund Burke, the 18th Century Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher seems an appropriate note on which to end this citation:

    “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”

    Collated and presented by John James in consultation with Beverley Kiddey, granddaughter of Eliza Dye, nee McCann.

    Acknowledgement must be given to the following for their assistance in the preparation of this citation: Bevan Carter, Frank De Cinque, Dr Martin Gibbs, Tom Joynes, June Lambert, Gillian O’Mara, Annette Richardson and Moya Sharp. Special thanks to Anne Rogers for her editorial suggestions.


    (i) Partlon, A. (2000). Singers Standing on the Outer Rim. In Reece, B. (ed.), The Irish in Western Australia, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
    (ii) O’Farrell, P. (1986). The Irish in Australia , 3rd edn, UNSW Press, Sydney, NSW
    (iii) The West Australian , 23 November 1880
    (iv) The Victorian Express, 17 November 1880
    (v) Gibbs, M. (2002). Archaeological Survey of the Wheal Fortune Mine , Northampton, Western Australia: Midwest Archaeological Survey 01/02, Report to the Shire of Northampton, Northampton, Western Australia
    (vii) Gibbs, M. (2010). Landscapes of Redemption: Tracing the Path of a Convict Miner in Western Australia, Int J Histor Archaeol, Published online: 12 June 2010, Springer
    (viii) Verbatim transcript of an interview with Kathleen James (1911- 1996) by Erica Harvey, Oral History Unit, J S Battye Library of West Australian History, Reference number OH 2540
    (ix) Hasluck, P. (1976). A Time For Building: Australian Administration in Papua New Guinea 1951-1963, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria

  • Commemorating the Chipper Family 2012

    on Sunday 27 May 2012 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating the Chipper Family

    Citation and Read by Elizabeth Borrello

    This year’s 2012 Annual Pioneer’s Memorial Service we commemorate the Chipper family. As some of you maybe aware, this service has been taking place since 1954 and at the beginning the aim of the service was to commemorate in general, WA’s 19th Century Pioneers. However, since 1964 the focus has been mainly on certain individuals, families or certain groups buried here at these East Perth Pioneer Cemeteries. The Chipper Family is one of the largest pioneer groups buried at these cemeteries. While the official count is 26 (10 adult and 16 babies and/or young children), it is also important to note that there are more Chippers buried here – as still- births have not been officially recorded. (1)

    Undertaking this Chipper Family research has created a dilemma as I discovered that the name Chipper is a constant in WA’s history. To attempt to highlight all the Chippers in WA would make this citation less effective and unworkable. Hence the general focus has been on the adult Chipper pioneers buried at this particular East Perth Cemetery.

    The first of the Chipper family to enter the pages of Western Australian history is one of this State’s earliest colonists, John Chipper. On 6 June 1829, at the age of 24, John Chipper with his new bride of a few months, Mary (nee Whidby), left West Tarring in Sussex on the chartered ship the Caroline to arrive at the Swan River Colony on 12 October 1829. Ship records inform us that John Chipper was a contracted labourer to the notable graziers and bank merchants, the Thomas Henty family. Thomas Henty’s three sons, James, Stephen and John, chartering the new brig, the Caroline were sent ahead by their father to re-establish the family’s English farming enterprise in Western Australia. Arriving with prized Spanish merinos and with many of their old family employees (including John Chipper), the Henty clan did not stay long in WA as they sought greener pastures than the impoverished soil of the Swan River Colony and left for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). (2)

    In 1832, having been released from his contractual obligations to the Henty family, historical records indicate that John Chipper was back in Western Australia. Determined to make the most of the opportunities available, Chipper, now a private contractor, worked hard at his trade of carpenter. It was during one of these private contracting jobs that John Chipper made a unique entry in WA’s history books. Travelling from Guildford to York on the hills of Greenmount, (east of Perth) John Chipper and his 14-year-old work companion Reuben Beacham were attacked by a group of Aboriginal people. Sadly the young boy Beacham was fatally speared; however, Chipper miraculously escaped by leaping off boulders on top of a steep hill and although injured, was able to run seven miles (approximately 11 kilometres) to safety. History has officially recorded the place where Chipper jumped on 3 February 1832 and today a commemorative monument can be still located on the site in Greenmount, which has been known since the attack as Chipper’s Leap. (3)

    John Chipper soon established himself as a significant landowner and reputable citizen. Purchasing allotments in the central part of town in Murray and Hay Streets and more importantly became very involved in public service. Chipper is recorded as the first paid Police Constable in Perth. Peter Conole’s historical account of policing in WA, Protect & Serve points out that John Chipper was employed as the “first permanent salaried police officer on 2 April 1840 with an annual salary 20 pounds.” (4)

    To compensate for this reasonably low pay, Chipper was also allowed to have another job and held the post of Bailiff of the Supreme Court for 25 years. Other recorded positions held by John Chipper were, Pound-keeper and Collector, member of the Perth Town Trust and Merchant and Inspector of Weights and Measures. John Chipper – son of Richard Chipper and Mary Payne died on 29 January 1871. (5)

    The pages of Western Australia’s history have recorded little of John’s wife, Mary. Ship records indicate she was 20 years of age when she arrived in 1829 and came from another Sussex village (near and east of Tarring) known as Broadwater.

    John and Mary Chipper had eight children -six sons and two daughters. Thomas (1831 -1903), Richard William (1833 – 1888), Stephen James (1835 -1886), Mary Jane Olive (1837 – 1839), George Frederick Whidby (1843 – 1878), Jane Frances (1845-1931), John Charles (1847- 1906), Henry Edward (1849-1850). Mary Chipper daughter of Jane and Thomas Whidby died 29 October 1878 and is buried here at these cemeteries, together with her husband, daughter Mary Jane Olive sons Henry Edward, Stephen James, John Charles and George Frederick. (6)

    This industrious and resourceful work ethic of John Chipper was indeed passed on to his sons and subsequent Chipper generations. In 1856, the older sons, Thomas and Richard took advantage of work opportunities that availed in this new settlement and became the operators of the first Perth to Albany mail run. The mail run set off from the old United Services Tavern in St George’s Terrace, Perth where – incidentally the licensee of the Tavern was their younger brother Stephen. These red and yellow coloured royal mail horse-drawn coaches left from the United Services Tavern and travelled to Albany’s King George’s Sound. It is important to recall that during this period in WA’s early history this service was of fundamental importance to the colony. It was at this time that the Fremantle harbour was deemed unsafe by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, (P&O). In the early 19th Century the P&O shipping company from the UK operated the world’s first passenger ships and subsequently became, in 1832, the first passenger routes to Australia. Noted Western Australian historian, Tom Stannage comments on this very issue;

    The absence of safe anchorages outside Fremantle, especially during winter months, had long been lamented by the colonists. Indeed in the early 1850’s the P & O Shipping Company refused to allow its mail-carrying vessels to call there and made Albany, with it safe anchorages, their main port of call. This encouraged other shipping companies to do likewise…forcing the expansion of mail/freight service overland between Perth and Albany. (7)

    Linking the two settlements, the mail service involved an arduous horse drawn journey, which originally took up to two weeks and demanded eight stops on route. Furthermore, the journey was made more challenging as the horse-drawn coaches were forced to travel through bush tracks and on unmade and inadequate roads. Western Australian Historian, Professor Reg Appleyard describes Thomas Chipper’s hardworking efforts:

    At first he used a spring-cart which also carried mail to farmers along the way. The journey took up to two weeks and Thomas, at his own expense, had to maintain and improve the route including changing the road to avoid seasonal hazards. (8)

    Recognising that Thomas Chipper was forced to personally maintain and improve the roads illustrates the colony’s serious financial troubles at this point of time. These particular poor economic trends are clearly reflected in the then government’s failure to provide adequate roads, bridges, harbours and public buildings for the colony’s small population, which was dispersed over such a vast demographic area. It should also be noted that this same period coincides with the historical and controversial Government decision to introduce convicts to the fledgling and almost bankrupt colony. Yet, when convict transportation finally ceased in 1868, the colony was experiencing a higher rate of economic and demographic growth and it was during this time that the Perth to Albany mail run was taken over by the Government. History also acknowledged that this economic growth was short lived. The drought, which soon followed, had a negative and enormous impact and remained until the boom of the gold rush of the 1890’s – when Western Australia’s economic prosperity undeniably improved!

    In a 1979 West Australian newspaper article, current generation and member of today’s Chipper family, Kim Chipper states that five members of the Chipper family were involved with the mail run and when the Government took over, two Chippers remained and were employed by the Government to operate the service. (9)

    Nevertheless, the other three Chipper brothers Stephen, Thomas and Richard soon sought to undertake other business activities. Stephen became a prominent Perth landowner and investor, Thomas an Innkeeper in Kojonup and Richard became a Publican in York. The youngest brother, John Charles was also the notable Publican of The John Bull Inn, which was located near the Perth Town Hall and later demolished and re-built as the hotel we recognise today, the Criterion in Hay Street. Another son of John and Mary Chipper, George, although only living to 35 years was a well-known employee of the prominent Perth based merchants and shipping agents, Habgood, Absolon and Co.

    Granting that at this point of time, we have only progressed to the second generation of this WA pioneering Chipper family, it is without doubt that these Chippers have already contributed significantly to the history of the new Swan River Colony.

    The focus of this citation is now drawn to the third son, Stephen James. Stephen James Chipper married Scottish born Maria Sophia Campbell in 1861. Their children were; John Henry (1863) died after 9 days, Stephen James Junior (1863 –1933), Henry Richard (1866-1892), Donald John (1868 -1917), Charles William (1872), died 6 weeks, Alfred Aenas died 3 months, William Francis Whidby (1874) died 19 weeks, Jessie Sophia (1870-1892), Margaret Mary (1876-1902). Evidently many of their nine children sadly did not survive and together with their parents are buried at this cemetery. (10)

    Today the Chipper name brings immediate recognition to many Western Australians because of its prominence and historical links in our community to the long established company that has involved three generations of funeral directors. Stephen James was the first Chipper to initially venture into the business of undertaking as Leonie B Liveris’ in her historical account of the undertaking business in Perth writes;

    In 1861, 1862 and 1865, Stephen James gained government grants of the tender rights for burials of destitute paupers whilst his brother, John Charles, had the contract in 1869. (11)

    When Stephen James’s fourth son, sixteen year old Donald John Chipper undertook an apprenticeship as a coach -builder, wheelwright and undertaker, – it would be correct to assume that there may have been some paternal influence regarding this decision. Having been left property that was part of his father’s deceased estate, Donald John Chipper, at the age of twenty-one years, was able to establish his own business at 385 Murray Street, Perth. Later Donald would just focus on undertaking and built larger premises in Hay Street as well as establishing undertaking branches in Fremantle and Kalgoorlie.

    Professor Appleyard describes Donald John Chipper by the following statement;

    Chipper was a personable man, had a keen sense of humour, never drove a car but owned many, and travelled frequently to the eastern States by ship. He was a foundation member of the Grand Lodge of Western Australia and its first master (1900-01), and also senior trustee of the Grand Lodge of the United Ancient Order of Druids. (12)

    Donald John Chipper was married at St George’s Cathedral on 25 September 1889 to Florence Edith Lima Maude, daughter of William Dale, immigration and charities officer with the Western Australian government. They had four children, including a son Donald John Jnr who after his father’s sudden death in 1917 did not take responsibility of the family funeral business until much later. Meanwhile, for the next ten years the business continued under the guidance of his mother Florence Chipper and her son-in-law Stanley Johnstone. A prominent landmark at 1023 Hay Street, the Donald J Chipper & Son funeral director’s business eventually relocated to Rokeby Road Subiaco so as to make way for the construction of the new Mitchell Freeway. Today the Chipper Funeral businesses are still run by the current generation and the business located still in Subiaco with other centres in Myaree, Rockingham and Mandurah.

    Other notable Chippers who have left their historical footprint upon the pages of WA’s past have been the children of Richard William, (second son of John and Mary). Their youngest daughter Miss Eva Chipper (1881-1985) who was born in York and resided in Claremont lived to 104 years of age. A 1980 newspaper article announcing her 100th birthday also highlighted Miss Chipper’s remarkable career as postmistress and her 50-year service to Australia Post.(13)

    Eva’s older sister, Laura Ethel (1879 – 1978) was also another resourceful Chipper trailblazer – as she was one of the first woman police officers commissioned in Western Australia. Again Peter Conole refers to this historical fact:

    The first women appointed were Mrs H Dugdale and Miss L E Chipper in August and September of 1917: their main duties were to prevent truancy; to patrol public places and watch out for vulnerable young females; to assist drunken women and their children; to make enquiries on behalf of the State Children’s Department… (14)

    An interesting and ironic observation to note about these two sisters is that although Eva worked as Postmistress for over 50 years in what was deemed a respectful female career for a woman during the Victorian era – her sister Laura as female Police Officer, however, tackled the most difficult and perhaps least accepted by society at the time. While Laura Chipper and her fellow female constables excelled in a very male dominated environment, she had to contend the strong and varied opinions by men and women regarding the true value of her gender in the police force. Also referring to this very issue in the recently published Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia edited by Jenny Gregory and Janice Gothard, the appointment of this State’s first female constables took place after strong and intense lobbying by the Women’s Service Guild. These women invariably had nursing qualifications, worked in plain clothes and their wages were equalled as those of the male officers –indeed a significant and perhaps unknown historical fact to many of us today. Both sisters never married because if so they would have had to abide by the requirements of the day and that was to relinquish their careers. (15)

    Unfortunately Eva and Laura’s younger brothers, Ross Richard Chipper (1883 – 1915) and Lindsay Lewis Stirling Chipper (1887 -1915) did not live such long lives as their sisters. Both brothers were assigned to the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment and were killed in action on the same day, 7th August 1915 in Gallipoli. Writing about the young Claremont men who fought in the Great War, Western Australian historians Geoffrey Bolton and Jenny Gregory’s, book Claremont a History highlight a very poignant historical fact. Referring to the Chipper brothers who resided in the Claremont Street, Agett Street, the readers are informed that every house in Agett Street experienced a war casualty.(16)

    The brothers are buried in nearby graves in Ari Burma Cemetery Gallipoli. The Australian War Memorial’s archives also cite that two more Chipper men also died during the 1914 to 1918 Great War. Henry Thomas Chipper (1893 – 1915) was part of the same Australian Light Horse Regiment and alas he was also coincidently killed in action on the same day as his cousins Lindsey and Ross. Henry Thomas was the grandson of John and Mary’s eldest son Thomas. At the Villers Bretonneux Memorial in France, a Michael Chipper is buried. Michael Chipper was killed in action in April 1917 and was the son from the second marriage of Thomas Chipper. (17)

    The Boer War Nominal Roll also lists Lieutenant and Quartermaster Stephen James Chipper (older brother of Donald John) as a member of the Bushmen’s Contingent who fought in South Africa in 1900 and returned in 1901. A tree planted in the Boer memorial site in Kings Park on 17 November 1933 honours Lieutenant Stephen James Chipper, Past President of the South African and Imperial Veterans Association, who had died the previous month. (18)

    As I conclude this citation, I am well aware that I have not been able to include all the Chippers – as indeed there are many descendants of Mary and John Chipper whom have left their mark in regard to this State’s development and historical narrative. I have attempted to keep the selected focus on the Chippers buried at these East Perth Pioneer cemeteries and of some of their ancestral predecessors. During the research my thoughts would also often reflect upon all these babies and young Chippers who did not reach adulthood or at least childhood- as at least 16 are buried here at East Perth. It is well established that child mortality from contagious diseases was a common occurrence in the 19th century. Nonetheless, the death of babies and children would have had a profound impact – in particular upon the family and without a doubt the mother. One is reminded of these Chipper pioneer wives, (beginning with Mary Chipper) of who little is known and of their physical and emotional struggle in the tough and remote living conditions of the Swan River Colony.

    As I mentioned at the beginning of this citation, the name Chipper appears constantly in the pages of this State’s history, from the time of settlement in 1829 until today. There have been resourceful entrepreneurs, successful publicans, pioneering policemen and policewoman, war heroes, hardworking pastoralists, prominent businessmen, public servants – to list a few. Should a book be written exclusively on the history of the Chipper Family it certainly would be a comprehensive and substantial volume.

    End Notes
    1. The Friends of Battye Library (Inc); East Perth Cemeteries Project
    2. Appleyard R. T. Chipper, Donald John (1868 -1917), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,
    3. Ibid
    4. Conole, P. 2002, Protect & Serve: a history of policing in Western Australia Success Print p 60,
    5. Liveris, L. B. 1991 The Dismal Trader – The Undertaking Business in Perth Park Printing p48-49
    6. The Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc; East Perth Cemeteries Project
    7. Stannage, C. T. 1981 A New History of Western Australia University of Western Australia Press p222
    8. Appleyard R. T. Chipper, Donald John (1868 -1917), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,
    9. Newspaper Article Chippers Ride Again. The Western Australian 14 June 1979
    10. The Friends of Battye Library (Inc); East Perth Cemeteries Project
    11. Liveris, L. B. 1991 The Dismal Trader – The Undertaking Business in Perth Park Printing, P49
    12. Appleyard R. T. Chipper, Donald John (1868 -1917), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 
    13. Newspaper Article. Looking Back on 100 Years The Western Australian 25 December 1980
    14. Conole, P. 2002, Protect & Serve: a history of policing in Western Australia Success Print, p 171
    15. Gregory J. & Gothard J. 2009 J. Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia. University of Western Australia Press. p940
    16. Bolton G. and Gregory J. 1999 Claremont a History. University of Western Australia Press p133
    17. Australian War Memorial History:
    18. Ibid
  • Commemorating John Septimus Roe 2013




    Good afternoon everyone. Thank you, Lenore for your welcome. It is a privilege for me to be included in this year’s memorial service. Without taking away from the significant contribution of the many thousands of pioneers whose endeavours developed this great state, as we have heard, this year the Society is honouring John Septimus Roe and his family.

    Before we commence the Citation, there are some “thankyous” to be made. Following the service, we’ll have an opportunity to wander around the cemetery and you will notice that many of the headstones and the cemetery in general, are in need of some TLC. Recently, the Septimus Roe gravesite underwent some minor refurbishment, and I’d like to thank Ian and Philip Roe who have been instrumental in getting this work done. I’d also like to express sincere gratitude to the John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School, (in particular Dr Ken Evans, the Chairman of the Council, and Dr Matthew Hughes, the Principal,) for the generous donation that the school made towards the work.

    Today is the 2nd June and in about a week’s time it will be the 11th June 2013. If we go back 100 years to 1913, it is the eve of World War 1. Now let’s go back 200 years and it’s 1813. The Sydney and Hobart settlements have been going for some years; however, in Europe, we are in the middle of the Napoleonic War.
    In just 10 years Napoleon had risen to be Emperor of France and conquered most of Europe. But, he has had some setbacks – such as the defeat of his fleet at Trafalgar in 1805 and his disastrous Russian campaign in 1812. We’re all familiar with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture – that famous composition commemorates the Russian victory over the French. Although losing most of his army in the snows of the bitter Russian winter, Napoleon was far from a spent force. By the early summer of 1813, he had rebuilt his Grande Armee. But facing him was a coalition of forces from England, Prussia, Austria, Portugal and others. Although Waterloo was still two years away, the battles between the two sides throughout 1813 were some of the largest of the war.

    Now let’s come back to the 11th day of June, not 2013 as mentioned earlier, but 1813. On that day, lying at anchor in Plymouth in SW England was HMS Rippon, a 74 gun heavy cruiser of the British Navy. Although somewhat smaller than battleships such as HMS Victory, Rippon, less than one year old, was an ultra-modern warship of the period. And joining her crew that day was a 16 year old lad, John Septimus Roe – fresh out of school, and about to be introduced to life on board ship, at sea, and at war.

    To continue the story of John Septimus, I’d like to introduce to you, Ian Roe, one of the most senior of the Roe descendents, retired farmer and amateur historian, who will continue today’s Citation.

    Ian Roe

    Ladies and gentlemen I welcome you all to this occasion celebrating The Honourable Captain John Septimus Roe the very first Surveyor General of Western Australia who planned Perth and Fremantle and personally led 14 major expeditions and directed many more. He was held in high esteem by his fellow settlers. My intention is to briefly tell the story of his life starting from the very beginning.

    There were three generations of Roe clergy who married the daughters of clergy which indicates the Roe family were very religious.
    John Septimus Roe was born on the 8th May 1797 at Newbury in Berkshire County, England. His parents were the Reverend James Roe and Sophia. Being the 7th son of a family of 10, he was named John Septimus. As a boy his life was sheltered and deeply entrenched in church life.

    At the age of 10 John Septimus was enrolled as a border at Christs Hospital School, London. Because they were a large family, the Reverend James and Sophia were not in a position financially to give the small boy much pocket money, or the little things that would make life easier at a boarding school which in the past had a reputation of being hard and tough on students from outside London. John Septimus persevered and became a brilliant student and was selected to enter the mathematical school and it was there that he qualified for his naval service.

    At the age of 16 John Septimus Roe joined The Royal Navy as a midshipman and sailed on HMS Rippon, a heavily armed warship under the command of Captain Sir Christopher Cole, and saw much action during the French Blockade and Napoleonic Wars. Roe sailed on several ships taking him to many parts of the world where he was required to survey and map coastlines of various countries. His maps, charts and illustrations drew much admiration from his superiors in the Admiralty. He saw action at the siege of AVA in Burma and received the Burma Medal.

    In 1817 Lieutenant Phillip Parker King, HMS Dick 437 tons in the company of masters mates Roe and Bedwell sailed for Sydney.
    Rio de Janeiro – disgusted by the slave trade.

    HMS Dick anchors at Sydney Cove on 3rd September 1817. Roe and Bedwell savour the sights of Sydney, did not like what they saw. Public hangings on Market Day and convicts wherever they looked, some in chains. Aborigines not even covered where Eve placed the fig leaf.
    Well received in Sydney social circles.

    The little ship Mermaid was purchased for 2000 pounds to carry out and complete Mathew Flinders survey work on the Australian coast line. Escapes from death- divine providence intervenes. The Mermaid is replaced by 170 ton colonial brig Bathurst.

    Cairn cross Island, shocking weather. Roe falls 50 feet from top rigging to the deck and recovers to complete survey work. HMS Bathurst completes survey. Between 1817-1823 Roe circumnavigates Australia five times. Roe promoted to Lieutenant.

    1824 HMS Tamar bound for Australia. Voyage took five months – weather extremely bad. Port Essington and Fort Dundes – Proclamation read. Surveying and charting between India, Ceylon and Rangoon.

    Surveyed parts of African coast and Arabian coast.

    Returned to England late 1827. Took up work in the Hydrographers’ Office. Wrote Sailing Instruction Vol 1. Published 1830.
    In 1827 Stirling returns from a voyage to the Swan River. Stirling gives a glowing report of the excellent soil and wonderful possibilities. Conditions in England were dreadful, the economy bad, unemployment, poverty – families financially ruined.

    Stirling puts pressure on the Colonial Office for a Colony at the Swan River. The Colonial Office agrees on conditional settlers to be self-funded. Roe seizes the opportunity to apply as Surveyor General and is accepted.

    The Parmelia due to sail for the Colony early February 1829.

    Roe has a lady love and wants to marry before departure. Roe married Matilda Bennett on 7th January 1829. 6th February 1827 Roe and Matilda sail to the Promised Land.

    On board Stirling gives Roe his instructions. Roe could not depart from the instructions without Stirling’s permission however; he was encouraged to be frank with the Governor. From information from the Colonial Office, Stirling listened much to Roe who was not averse to giving his opinion.
    The Parmelia arrived at the Swan River on 1st June 1829. Roe set up his Bell tent and named it The Surveyors Department and set about carrying out Stirling’s instructions.

    All the territory to be divided into counties, hundred and sections.
    Specify quality of soil.
    What the various soils are capable of growing.
    Report of favourable situations for towns, ports, roads, bridges and other essential Public Works.
    Appointed Roe Commissioner of the Board of Land Control. Assess each settler’s assets and allocate land according to the amount invested.
    Forty acres for every three pounds invested. Extra 200 acres for every servant brought out.
    Surveyed town site of Perth then the mouth of the Swan River which had navigational problems.
    Between 1st June 1829 and 29th January 1830, 25 ships arrived, all with self-funded settlers on board. Roe was grossly understaffed with just 1 assistant who was not well and had to resign. Those that expected a land of milk and honey were devastated at what lay ahead of them. Morale was at an all-time low. Complaints and disputes over allotments and boundaries were almost a daily occurrence. The tasks Roe had to deal with are too numerous to speak of. In 1829 Christmas Day brought forward to mid-October to try to boost morale.

    John Septimus and Matilda’s first child born on Christmas Day (25th December OR Mid October 1829). First registered white child born in the Colony – a daughter named Sophia.
    Between 1829 – 1854 a span of 23 years Matilda gave birth to 13 children.
    Sophia Matilda May
    James Broun
    Eliza Naylor
    John Henry Hayden Lucille Emma Frances Jessie (didn’t survive) Ellen Elizabeth William Henry Lyons Frederick Mackie Alice Maude
    George Harriot
    Augustus Sanford Keats

    Roe personally led 14 major explorations inland. The most memorable 1848 – 1849 to the Russell Range – 1800 miles there and back on foot.
    In 1859 Roe takes leave of 18 months to attend to private matters in England, together with Matilda and two daughters. While in England he was called before a Select Committee from the House of Commons. Roe was directed by the Committee of 13 to answer 293 questions regarding the Swan River Colony. Roe stated between 1829-1850 the Colony was failing through lack of satisfactory labour. With the introduction of convicts in 1850 the Colony started to prosper. Roe
    said convicts should serve their time and then be free – but not to return to England. Roe told the Committee he blamed the failure of 1829-1850 on hasty settlement, too many of the wrong kind of settlers, lack of satisfactory labour and inadequate support from the Home Government.
    On return to the Colony the Perth Gazette stated “The cheers for Roe and his family were an unmistakable proof of the high esteem in which he is held by his brother settlers and of their gratification at his return to the Colony”.

    Roe, the Colony’s longest and most knowledgeable public servant was invaluable to all seven Governors. Some historians claim him as Father of Australian Explorers. No doubt because of his long exploration on land and sea and he taught Forrest and Gregory brothers and others the art of exploration.
    1870 22nd July. The death of Matilda aged 62 years. Nineteen days later, after 41 and a half years of service, of a long struggle with determination and dedication to keep the Colony going, Roe resigned from office.

    On 28th May 1878 John Septimus Roe died aged 81 years. A State funeral was held with Military Honours on 30th May.
    In his lifetime he became involved in many activities:

    Member of Legislative Council Keen horticulturist
    Director and Chairman of the first bank Fellow to the Royal Geographical Society Justice of the Peace
    Vice-President and foundation member of the Weld Club Chairman and Director of W.A. Mining Company
    Fellow of the Linnean Society – classification of plants Chief founder of the Swan River Mechanics Institute which was the fore runner of the Perth Museum

    It was Roe that set aside the reserve now called Kings Park. He also established the Anglican Church of W.A. – settlers named it the Rush Church because it was built in such a hurry.

    At Roe’s death there was a tribute to his life’s work … I quote: “His hands were clean: he never used the privileges of his office unduly to his own advancement or the advancement of his numerous family. He died full of his years, having done his work among his fellow men with earnestness and singleness of purpose, and was as far as lay in them a benefactor to mankind.” Western Australia will long feel the benefit of his unobtrusive service, though perhaps they will not know the extent to which they are indebted to the first Surveyor General of the Colony.

    Historian J.S.Battye wrote of him: ‘His ability, tact, wisdom and judgement were always at the service of his fellow settlers and no official did more – if any did so much – to further the interests of the colony’.

    Matilda, his long suffering wife bringing up her family in the most trying conditions yet, was never failing in her whole hearted support for her husband who sacrificed his adult life to the future of the Swan River Colony.

    Thank you for your attention.

    I call on Melford Roe to speak about the children of J.S.Roe and Matilda.

    Melford Roe


    Ian has been talking about John Septimus, and now I’d like to share with you a little about his 13 children. Matilda Bennett was 24 when she married Septimus at Newbury in early 1829, and over the next 30 years she bore 7 girls and 6 boys.

    Sophia, named after Septimus’ favourite sister, was the first born, and one of the first children born in the new colony, arriving on Christmas Day 1829. At 18 Sophia married Samuel Phillips from Culham near Toodyay, who had settled in the colony some 10 years previously. Samuel had acquired good farming land in the Toodyay valley and had also established a beef grazing property on the Irwin River, near where Mingenew is today. Samuel and Sophia had 9 children, some of whom did not survive infancy, and Culham Homestead, the centre of their family and farming interests, remains to this day. Sophia died in 1902.
    Matilda Elizabeth was the 2nd daughter. At 18, she married Philip John Butler, a 33 year old pastoralist from South Australia. Butler, an orphan, had arrived in that colony some ten years earlier and soon had extensive lease holdings near Gawler and Mallala – some 50 km north of Adelaide. At Yattalunga, just south of Gawler, he built a large impressive two-storey house and for a while, doubting its completion, the locals called it Butler’s Folly. After having 5 children at Yattalunga, Matilda and the family moved to England (where she had 3 more children), but, a few months after her 8th child, aged 31, she died. Butler re-married and returned to SA, however, his new wife thought that Australia was too much of a wilderness, so Butler sold Yattalunga, and the family returned to England. The Yattalunga homestead is still there. Ten years ago it underwent a complete restoration, and today stands as a grand monument to that pioneering family.
    Matilda’s 3rd daughter was Eliza Naylor. At age 19 she married ex-navy lieutenant George Clifton who was Deputy Superintendent of the Fremantle Convicts. George, by several accounts was an exceptionally brave fellow, at various times taking on mutinous convicts, salvaging valuables from wrecks, and rescuing a grounded ship from certain destruction on the Parmelia Bank. In 1864 George Clifton was appointed the Deputy Super of the Portland Prison in Devon and the following year Governor of Dartmoor. In their 60 years of marriage, Eliza and George had some 12 children, 7 being born in Fremantle, and the remainder in England. It appears that 4 of her boys came back to the colony – marrying local girls and establishing lives for their families in Perth, and in the Wellington and Australind districts.

    Emma Lucille, the 4th daughter, was just 17, when, returning to the colony after 2 years in England, she took a fancy to the First Mate of the ship they were on. Two years later, Emma married her “first mate”, James Guy Thomson. Big sister Sophia noted in her diary that “it was a fine day and the wedding went off beautifully. 64 sat down to a handsome dejeneur in a pretty tent erected by Papa in the backyard”. For a time, Emma and James Thomson lived at Bolgart before heading south to establish the family property at “Brookhampton” near Donnybrook. Emma had 9 children, the youngest was just two when she died in 1876, aged 39. Today one of Emma’s grand-children calls “Brookhampton” home.

    Matilda’s 5th daughter was Ellen Elizabeth. Now I’ve just mentioned the ship-board romance of Emma Lucille, well on that same ship, the “Avalanche” was a sprightly 20 year old lad by the name of Augustus Lee Steere, a friend of the family heading for a new life in the colony, and in 1859, he married Ellen Elizabeth. Together they went farming at Toodyay and York, with Ellen having 7 children. Over the years, the children of Augustus and Ellen extended the initial holdings and added pastoral and business activities. Two of their grand-children paid the ultimate sacrifice in WW2.
    The next daughter for Matilda and Septimus was Alice Maude, their 10th child. At 18 years, she married Dr. George Attfield, some 19 years her senior, who had been the Chief Medical Officer of Prisons in the colony for 6 or so years. Living at Fremantle, Alice and George had 5 children, one of which died soon after birth. With the end of transportation in 1879, the family moved to England where Dr Attfield established a practice at Brighton on England’s south coast. Alice, aged 80, died in 1925, just a few months after her husband. He was 98.

    The 7th and youngest daughter was Jessie, born in 1859. Sadly, Jessie only lived a few months.

    Now for the 6 boys – the eldest was James Broun. His early adult years were spent in the Survey Department, starting as a junior clerk and rising to the dizzy heights of record keeper. Having a go in his father’s footsteps, in 1858 he was 2IC to Gregory in exploring the Murchison and the Gascoyne. However, it appears that was the only bush-bashing he undertook. In 1865 he was appointed Registrar of Births and Deaths, and to that was added Inspector of Prisons, and in the mid 70’s was appointed Sheriff – a position he held for some years. He married Alice Stone, daughter of the Attorney General, and together they had 5 children, one of whom did not reach their first birthday. James was highly respected – his obituary stating that he held “a (most) arduous and responsible position”, displayed an “iron nerve” and “good discipline” and “a capacity to manage men”.

    The next son was John Henry Hayden. We don’t know much about this fellow. He moved to Adelaide and married Wilhelmina Wilson Haining in 1862. The couple appear to have moved around, having one child on a sheep station, and others at Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Clare. Sadly for Wilhelmina and the children, their dad died at sea off Cape York when only 41. Their children remained in SA – marrying local boys and girls.

    The 3rd son was William Henry Lyons, who, by age 22, moved to SA – maybe to follow his brother, John Henry. In 1864, at Gawler, he married a New Zealand girl, Alice King, and together they had 7 children. William developed farming interests and ran a country store, however, from the mid-1860’s it seems as though his circumstances took a turn for the worse. He died in 1890 and his family started a new life in New Zealand.

    Frederick Mackie was the 4th son of Matilda and Septimus. Like his older brother, Frederick initially tried his father’s profession, for in 1866, at the age of 23, he was 2IC on the Charles Hunt expedition to the Lake Lefroy and Coolgardie regions. The Hunt party extended a previous track along a string of wells, which some 25 years later would be followed by prospectors heading for the eastern goldfields, and again later would form part of the route for Kalgoorlie pipe line. In 1871 he married Sarah Jane Clarkson and settled into farming and grazing in the Wongan Hills area. At 33, he died unexpectedly on his property, leaving his 30 year old widow with three young children. It must have been a terrible year for Sarah, for within a few months, their baby daughter also died. After some years, Sarah remarried, living to a ripe age, only dying in 1912. The two boys went on to have families and properties of their own, forming an extensive branch in the Northam and Grass valley areas that are still there today.

    The youngest of the sons – George and Augustus are to me, the most colourful.

    George Harriott, the 5th son, appears to have had quite the adventurous career. Following a short apprenticeship, he carried the chain (as they used to say in the world of surveying) for John Forrest throughout the South-West. Leaving his father’s profession behind, he headed north to the Kimberley and Pilbara, developing pearling, trading and pastoral interests – operating pearl luggers and leasing Thangoo Station, some 50 km south of Broome. There is a fascinating account of an adventure he had involving piracy – first having his vessel overrun by his Macassan passengers off Broome – the captain being killed and the mate severely wounded, and then, after obtaining another boat in Fremantle, he tracks down the culprits in the middle of the Dutch East Indies and sees that they are brought to justice. Pearling and pirate adventures aside, George Harriott had an extensive family and many hundreds of his descendents can be found across the north and throughout the state. He died at Queenscliff, Victoria in 1924 and is buried in the local cemetery. By one account George Harriott was “a fine big burly figure of a man – a gentleman all through, and a pioneer among pioneers.” More detail about George and his descendents can be found in a little book titled “Proud Heritage” by Sister Kelly.

    Last, but far from least, we come to Augustus Sanford – son number 6. Augustus has been described as “lawyer, pearler, mariner, daring exploiter of the rivers of the East, mining investor, and judge of the Supreme Court of the North-West”. Augustus was admitted to the Bar in 1873, aged 21. It appears that office work didn’t appeal to the young “Gus”, as he became known, because after practicing for just one year, he went north pearling with his brother George. When pearling hit a downturn, and a number of other ventures proved futile, Gus, following somewhat in his father’s footsteps, studied navigation and gained his master’s ticket. For 7 years he skippered a steamer trading around the Far East and the South Seas. In the mid 80’s, Gus settled down and opened a legal practice in Roebourne, married Mary Newman in 1888 and together they had two sons – both serving in WW1. He was appointed by special commission as a judge of the Supreme Court for the NW. With the discovery of gold in the Pilbara, Gus was quick to extend his business interests, becoming a director of several public gold companies – even travelling to England to gain investor support. In 1897, on being appointed the Police Magistrate in Perth – a post he was to hold for 13 years – Augustus built a comfortable house on the river. Although no longer in the family, that house, beautifully restored and maintained, remains to this day. Mary died in 1908 and Gus in 1921.

    So these were the children of Matilda and Septimus – all but one growing to adulthood and making a valuable contribution to the country. Time today doesn’t allow me to include much about their life experiences, however, the simple facts I have mentioned highlight lives which included – pioneering at it’s most basic, starting out with little, miles from a town, and for the women, marrying at a tender age, spending many years bearing 8, 10, 12 children, losing 2-3 babies before they can walk, widow-hood came early for some, success didn’t come easily, and not to everyone. To me, it can be said about the early settlers and this first generation born in the colony, that they had fortitude, courage, and resilience. They were responsible, capable, innovative, loyal, and industrious. Their hard work helped build the state. However, their accomplishments and reputation is not vicarious. We can admire them and be grateful for what they achieved, honour them with services such as this, but their standing, their distinction does not rub off on us, their descendents. We must forge our own path, build for ourselves and make our own mark. Thank you.

  • Commemorating Walter Padbury and his wife Charlotte 2014

    on Sunday 1 June 2014 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Walter Padbury and his wife Charlotte


    Read by Marie Watts

    How Walter’s early life evolved.

    From a homeless twelve year old, stranded, penniless and in a hostile and primitive environment, following the untimely death of his father Thomas, Walter Padbury became one of Australia’s greatest philanthropists and pastoralists.

    No individual opened up more land for agriculture and grazing within the colony than Walter, yet in 1830, few children could have had a more difficult start so early in their life.

    Born on the 22nd December 1817 at Fawler in Oxfordshire, England, Walter was the second of five children born to Thomas and Ruth Padbury and was baptised on the 11th January 1818 at the nearby St James Church, Stonesfield, a traditionally conservative farming district. With its massive oaken roof frames, this Church of St James the Great, was built early in the 13th century. Great battles disturbed the peace of this ancient and docile region back to the early Anglo-Saxon period of the 6th century AD.

    Following the attractive publicity given to the establishment of the “Swan River Settlement in Western Australia” and with Thomas’ dream to own 1,000 acres of good-quality freehold land, he became interested in taking up the challenge by sailing to the other side of the little known world in order to make his dream become a reality.

    Thomas, with Walter’s assistance was commissioned by the newly appointed, Governor James Stirling, to care for his valuable consignment of 20 cattle, 85 merino sheep and one horse. This twenty one week voyage proved to be both an invaluable and unique experience, especially for Walter as these animals required constant attention while at sea and then, they had to be delivered to Freshwater Bay, Peppermint Grove, an area still virtually uninhabited by the earliest settlers. They sailed from England aboard the small barque “PROTECTOR” in October 1829, arriving at Fremantle on the 26th February 1830.

    Unlike the glowing publicity in England relating to the new Swan River Settlement, on their arrival, Thomas was confronted with a bare and barren looking landscape. He was unable to survive the primitive conditions and after a bout of pneumonia died in July 1830 only five months after their arrival. Prior to his death the dying father entrusted Walter’s welfare to a couple that had sailed out to the new colony with them. The unscrupulous pair, however, quickly squandered Walter’s entire inheritance that included his money bag containing a number of valuable gold sovereigns, before abandoning him. Walter became a virtual orphan, 10 thousand miles from his mother and siblings and with no prospect of returning home.

    Alone in the Colony

    After his father’s death, Walter became increasingly concerned that the authorities could institutionalise him because of his age and circumstances. He had to start thinking about his limited options just to survive. Subsequent jobs he tackled included working in the building trade, servant work and as a farmhand, cleaning out stables and pigsties and also as a shepherd erecting wooden fencing and yards. In mid 1835, while still only a 17 year old Walter gained a more permanent job as a shepherd on a property run by the Burges brothers, initially, on their Upper Swan property, earning £10 per year including bed and “rough keep”. He remained with the Burges brothers for seven years during which time they established a large grant of land at York called “Tipperary” – a wheat, sheep, cattle and pig property. He gained invaluable experience with the Burges brothers and among other tasks he became their slaughter man and butcher, an excellent horseman, drover and miller. Whenever possible, he also studied as a scholar from Mrs Tanner – a lady teacher who lived in close proximity.

    In 1842 he left the Burges family to work for himself doing contract fencing. Working very long hours he found it difficult to find labour to assist him at the pace and hours he wanted to work at in order to progress more rapidly.

    During the 1840’s cash remunerations were still unreliable for employees in the colony, he was often compelled to barter his labour for wheat that he soon ‘on-sold’. Having terminated his employment with the Burges brothers he was dealing in sheep that he subsequently resold to the early settlers and butchers by droving them in a wide circular-like route bounded by Guildford, Toodyay, Northam, York, Beverley and then back to Guildford. In effect, he became both a dealer and stock agent. These contacts and the experience he gained also proved invaluable in later life.

    Along Comes Charlotte Nairn (reader: Patricia Webb).

    In 1843 the Court House, a law court and a school on weekdays, became “Perth Church” on Sundays with Walter attending morning and evening services whenever possible. Built in 1837 the building is still firmly evident today standing next to the Supreme Court building.

    Attending one particular evening Church service, Walter was introduced by a friend James Nairn, to his favourite sister Charlotte, who, with parents Billy and Mary Ann Nairn, had arrived in the colony from Scotland in 1829 when Charlotte was only 3 years old.

    To Walter, Charlotte was absolutely beautiful. He later described her as having hazel eyes, exquisite skin, a perfect nose and a pert chin. From that point on Charlotte became more important to him than anything else in life. She had similar characteristics to Walter in as much as they were both hard workers, optimistic, planned with precision and determination but most importantly to them, they both possessed a sincere Christian belief.

    After a whirlwind courtship, Walter became engaged to be married to Charlotte Nairn with their wedding planned for 23rd of April 1844 when she turned 18 years of age. The Colonial Chaplain the Rev’d J. B. Wittenoom was the officiant.

    Billy Nairn was a gifted and hard working craftsman as a blacksmith, whitesmith and locksmith, and Walter bonded immediately with the Nairn family. Billy purchased a block of land in Perth described as ‘G7’ that had a frontage to St Georges Terrace, King Street and Hay Street and then, gifting it to the young couple as a wedding present. Walter soon purchased the adjoining G6 block to its east, from Henry Strickland, where they established their initial business by reconstructing a small brewery on the site into a butcher shop and merchandise business. He then leased a 500 acre grant from his new neighbour, Henry Trigg, who lived on G5 and G4, that now incorporates the location of Floreat. He subsequently purchased this and additional adjoining freehold land that eventually totalled 1,234 acres.

    On this new “Lime Kiln” property Walter established his stock yards and slaughter house. This particular investment subsequently initiated his enormous land tenure and his generous philanthropy favouring a great number of impoverished and needy people throughout the colony.

    Emergence of Walter, the Businessman

    By early 1844 he was generating an expanded income base, primarily through his livestock activities. They were now living in their new and attractive brick house on G7 that was completed prior to their wedding day. Their spacious new house had four bedrooms that could potentially accommodate a sizeable family but sadly their only child, a daughter, died as an infant shortly after her birth.

    In mid 1847 Walter leased 4,000 acres south-east of Toodyay and took out a depasturing licence over 4,000 acres in the Moore River region. Charlotte by this time was often serving unassisted, at their butcher shop, with their combined efforts starting to reap just rewards, especially during the convict era between 1850 and 1868 with approximately 9,500 men being transported to the Colony enabling Walter to secure numerous valuable Government contracts supplying meat to the convicts and their guards. Walter subsequently engaged 69 “Ticket-of-leave” men, guiding most of them to a sound and prosperous future.
    In 1849, in company with his wife Charlotte, he returned to England and fulfilled his father’s dream by bringing his mother Ruth, and siblings, Caroline, Ruth, Edwin and Mark to W.A.

    Towards the end of 1851 Walter leased 30,000 acres in the Champion Bay district (now Geraldton) and in 1855 whilst overlanding stock south from there towards his Moore River property and came across Yathroo Station. He knew his land well and to him this was some of the finest country he had seen. Walter found his way to a small thatched hut where he was greeted by Edward Conlin who had spent a number of years alone on this isolated property. Then, as casually as asking for a drink, Walter asked Conlin if he wanted to sell Yathroo? Conlin responded immediately with a price of £2500. Walter wrote out a cheque on the spot, with the deal, as often was the case in those days, being sealed with a handshake. The deal included 16,000 acres of leasehold land and 10 acres of freehold land around Yatheroo Spring in addition to the cattle and sheep. He contacted eleven year old Edward Roberts, whom he knew wanted a shepherding job, to work on the property, mainly taking care of the livestock until additional experienced employees could be Edward Roberts, who live ‘next door’ to Walter with his parents on the site now accommodating His Majesty’s Theatre and, with few belongings slung over his shoulder, walked the 110 mile journey from home to Yathroo Station to take up this new position, with history showing that he also was to become a remarkable pioneer. Walter continued to expand Yathroo Station building a flour mill and expanding the stock levels to become one of the largest herds of beef and dairy cattle in the colony. Edward Roberts later managed the Yathroo property and eventually purchased it from Walter.

    Throughout the following years, Walter purchased and or, leased, many additional valuable farming and station properties. Those he actually purchased included “Glentromie” at New Norcia when he outbid his old friend, a very disappointed Bishop Rosendo Salvado from the New Norcia Mission and whose land adjoined “Glentromie”.

    He bought Yere Yere (north of Yathroo), Koogan (near Moora), Baskerville (Upper Swan), Padbury’s Paddocks, that he subsequently bequeathed to the Church of England and where the Swan Orphanages were ultimately constructed. He bought, and or leased vast acreages from Champion Bay, down to the southern ocean, south of Balingup, together with other properties in the southern and eastern agricultural areas including his father’s original grant at Dardanup, now called “Padbury Fields”, on the outskirts of Bunbury. He purchased a 2,000 acre property on the banks of the Canning River (now Thornlie) where he established the first experimental horticultural farm in the colony, growing a range of vegetables, fruit and vines on a major scale.

    It was at his “Koogan” property at Koojan, originally a 60 square mile lease adjoining “Glentromie”, that Walter established his nephew, Matthew Thomas Padbury in 1892. Matthew had earlier fulfilled a family tradition by serving in the Queen’s own Oxfordshire Hussars in England and on his arrival in W.A. served his farming apprenticeship under Charles Davidson’s management at “Glentromie” and then under Edward Roberts at Yathroo. Matthew was later to become a trustee of the Church of England Diocese of Perth from 1925 through to 1951/52.

    In 1898 Walter built the Peerless Roller Flour Mill in Guildford that was capable of producing 10 bags of flour an hour with a storage capacity of 25,000 bags of grain. Peerless flour was subsequently exported to many overseas countries especially to South America and Asia. He set up the colony’s first tallow factory and then a tannery, producing a range of quality leather and in the far north of the colony Walter pioneered the breeding of cattle and sheep, on his De Grey station. He established Cossack and had his first ship, the cutter “Mystery” built to enable easier communication with this new area of his business. The north-west region soon expanded rapidly, as did his fleet of ships to service them. He later built or hired additional ships to enhance his expanding international trade, particularly to India, Singapore, China, and especially to London.

    Public Life and Benefactor (reader: Marie Watts)

    Walter occupied many public posts, representing the Swan electorate in the Legislative Council from 1872 – 1878. He was elected as Perth City Councillor several times, and was President of the Royal Agricultural Society over several years and Guildford’s first Mayor. He was a Council Member on several Roads Boards, a Justice of Peace and also finished up a prolific writer, addressing a wide range of subjects including free trade, immigration and education.

    His wide range of business interests brought him in close contact with many of our great pioneers including Lord John Forrest, John Septimus Roe, Governor Stirling, George Shenton, Charles Harper, Major-General Sir Talbot Hobbs, Sir Edward Stone and his good friend Bishop Hale and many other distinguished dignitaries, both at home and abroad. Walter was a member of The Church of England, Perth Diocesan Synod and attended sessions between 1874 and 1903.
    In 1867, he donated land and capital towards the construction of St. James Church at South Greenough and in 1903 when Walter became aware of the financial difficulties the Church of England faced in seeking to set up the Diocese of Bunbury, he withdrew £3,500 from the bank and delivered it to Bishop Riley’s office to enable the new Bunbury Diocese to be established. He followed this up with a further £500 donation. Following the dispersement of Walter’s will the Bunbury Diocese also received £10,580 and the Diocese of the North-West an amount of £3,000.

    Typical of Walter’s concern for others is the story of a widow, anxiously concerned about her home and family after the death of her husband. The man was deeply in debt to Walter and the lady sought out Walter to explain her situation to him. She explained her plight, he listened then said, “Go home young lady, raise your family as best you can, I forgive you all the debt”. Through tears of gratitude she tried to find words to thank him, but Walter added, “If God had not helped me, I could not have helped you, thank him”.

    Walter died on the 17th April 1907, aged 89 years, and was buried in the family vault at the East Perth Cemetery alongside his wife, Charlotte, who passed away in 1895.

    Charlotte Padbury contributed to numerous charities that were both private and secret. She was one of the earliest members of the House of Mercy (now known as Ngala) and a foundation member of the Dorcas Society, a prime mission of which was to provide clothing for the poor.
    In his will, Walter bequeathed £156,000 to charitable organisations and institutions in need and to the Church of England. The bequest was split three ways, one third to the Trustees of hospitals for the disadvantaged and the asylums, one third to the Trustees of the poor houses in the colony and one third to the Trustees of the Church of England in Western Australia.

    In order to appreciate Walter’s financial contribution to the Church it might well be compared to the £17,000 cost of St. George’s Cathedral that was consecrated in 1888. It is estimated that his financial support to the Church would have been sufficient to have build around 6 cathedrals at that time.

    Some of the many charitable organisations and institutions that benefitted considerably from Walter’s benevolence included Parkerville Children’s Home; the Royal Institute for the Blind; mental health asylums; hospitals; Lady Lawley Cottage; various poor houses; Sunset Men’s Home in Dalkeith; Mt Henry Women’s Home in Manning; Saint Bartholomew’s House; Orphanages, with a number of these bodies being supported for over 100 years from when he died through the “The Padbury Bequest”.

    This is an “extraordinary achievement” when considering his start in life within the colony as a 12 year old, virtual orphan and penniless.
    The extremely valuable G7 block in St. George’s Terrace, comprising around 10,000 square feet of land was left to Walter’s sister Ruth in his Will, but on her death it was then to go to the Church of England. The Church took over the land in 1912 with the Will further stating that the rents and profits from G7 be directed to the Treasurer of the Vestry or any other managing body of St. George’s Cathedral and “that such property shall never be sold”.

    It is understood the Trustees, in consultation with the Padbury family, sold G7 in 1937 for £35,000 to cope with a period of severe financial stress following the years of the depression and when the Church was experiencing great difficulty to even pay stipends to their inadequately remunerated clergy.
    Following his passing away and as a lasting tribute to Walter Padbury, the Synod of the Church of England, Perth, resolved in favour of a proposal from the Padbury Memorial Committee (formed to bring forward suitable recommendations), chaired by Bishop Riley, that a church, already planned for Moora, be build on a somewhat larger scale and that it be regarded as “The Padbury Memorial Church”.

    The Committee were influenced by the significant contribution Walter had made to the Dandaragan/ Moora area where he had been generally regarded as the patriarch of the settlement in that district, particularly in Dandaragan where he established Yathroo Station that arguably became the showpiece property of the colony during that period, and for some years to come.

    St. James Anglican Church, Moora was consecrated in 1911 with an inscription on the foundation stone reading “To the Glory of God and in memory or Walter Padbury who landed in this State in 1830. This stone was laid by the Honourable W.T. Loton J.P.”
    As a further recognition of Walter’s contribution to the Church, a stained glass window in the north transept of St. George’s Cathedral was dedicated in his honour on 12th April 1911 in a ceremony conducted by Bishop Riley.

    This condensed biographical coverage only provides a brief reflection of Water and Charlotte’s contribution to the development and well being of our State. They must surely go down in history as two of our greatest pioneers.

    For Walter, it can be said of him that no rich man could have been more modest in his outlook on life and removed from the influence and accolades that success can bring. He truly proved himself to be a sincerely committed steward of the Lord. End

    Regarding Walter Padbury’s date of birth, recent extensive research has confirmed that the date shown in John Nairn’s book mentioned below is the correct date: That is 22nd December 1817. A number of biographies, including those on the internet, show the year as 1820, which is incorrect.

    This profile was compiled jointly by Albany Richard Padbury, of “Koojan” Kojonup (from family records) together with research conducted by John Whitton, a member of the Anglican Church Provincial Council of WA and with supporting references from The Life and Times of Walter Padbury by John Nairn, who basically authenticated the family records and who was so emphatically and sincerely eulogistic about Walter’s dedication and contribution supporting the development of Western Australia during its initial establishment.

    Dated 9.05.2014

  • Commemorating Barnard, Read and Edmund Stirling Families 2016

    on Sunday 5 June 2016 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Barnard, Read and Edmund Stirling Families

    Citation by Ann and Rod Read

    Welcome honoured guests, family and friends, my name is Rod Read and, like many of you here today, I am a direct descendant of George Read, my fourth great-grandfather.

    George Read was a pioneer of the Swan River Colony and I am proud to tell you something of his story:

    The year is 1829, not far from Gillingham Dorset in England on an estate owned by the Weld Family, lived George Read, with his wife Elizabeth Coward and their five children. About ten generations of the Reads had worked and lived there in the previous years.

    One evening, George was called to a meeting with Squire Weld. England’s high taxation, due to the Napoleonic Wars had financially embarrassed Weld and he could no longer employ farmers on his holdings. Weld suggested George should take his family to America, or alternatively Thomas Peel was looking for families to settle in the new Colony on the Swan River in Western Australia. An advertisement in The Times, described the Swan River Colony as a land of milk and honey, with abundant water, fertile soils and the opportunity to become landowners, something England would never offer.

    “Settlers will have no purchase money to pay for their lands ……”

    said one such advertisement in 1828. George decided to take the plunge.  So, in 1829, when preparations were being made for the founding of Perth, George was busy selling up some of his possessions and saying goodbye to family and friends. Packing what they could, George, his wife Elizabeth (Coward), sons Charles and Mark and daughters, Maria, Ethel and Emma, started on the hundred-mile journey to London.

    On arrival at St Katharine Docks, they saw for the first time their transport to the new Colony, a wooden three-masted tea clipper of 427 tons, built twelve years earlier at Sunderland England, by Laing Shipyards. Her name was “Rockingham” and at only 109 ft long and 30 ft wide, not very big at all, about the size of our Endeavour. There were people everywhere, the goods and chattels of 170 people were being loaded as well as cattle, horses, pigs and barrels of this and that. There is a picture of this very scene featuring the Rockingham, painted by Ross Shardlow, hanging in the restaurant at The Gate Tavern at Cockburn. We are honoured to have Ross and his wife Barbara join us today.

    The City of Rockingham named some of their streets after passengers of the Rockingham and most of you probably know that Read Street in Rockingham was named after the Read family.

    On 7th January 1830, “Rockingham” cast off and slowly made her way down the mighty Thames River, heading for sea and the coast of Western Australia. Evening came, and as the ship had no Captain as yet, the Owner being in Court at that time, the Pilot in charge decided to anchor for the night. The wind was blowing quite steadily, and the anchor was lowered. Suddenly the anchor separated from the cable and the Rockingham was adrift. Blown for some miles, she finally ran aground on “Mouse Bank”. Adding to the worries of the Pilot, the cannon was jammed. Fortunately, one of the passengers, Mr Cox an experienced seaman, cleared the touch hole with a borrowed knitting needle and the cannon fired its distress signal many times. Eventually help arrived and the Rockingham was towed into Sheerness and tied up to an old hulk, where she stayed until a new anchor and steel cable could be brought from London. Captain Halliburton was appointed the Rockingham’s new Captain and she proceeded out into open water, only to be struck by a fierce storm and after losing most of her rigging and sails slowly made her way to Falmouth on the south coast where she was laid up for some weeks being re-rigged with new yard arms and sails. Repairs to the hull were needed, where the cannons, which had gone overboard in the storm had punched holes in her side and copper sheathing was also added below the waterline. The trip was rather uneventful from then on and even with light winds, made good time around the Cape, completing the journey in just over four months.

    The Rockingham arrived off the coast of Western Australia on 13 May 1830 and dropped anchor in Cockburn Sound the following day. A huge storm blew up that evening and the ship’s anchor couldn’t hold. With the capstan jammed, the crew were forced to cut the anchor cable by firing at it with their muskets throughout the night. By morning, the Rockingham was blown ashore, probably about where the BP oil refinery is located. The passengers were all landed safely onto the beach and they joined other settlers at Clarence Beach, also known as Peel Town, although sailors called it Canvas Town, due to the makeshift shelters the settlers had put up. After failed attempts to obtain help from Peel, having cleared and tilled land, no seeds were sent, no wages paid and nor was any fresh food supplied. After many months in camp at Clarence, and writing to Governor Stirling of their plight, George Read and his family, travelled to Perth.

    George built the first four-roomed house in the colony in Mount Street. According to his grandson Horace Stirling, in his “Recollections of Early Perth”, it stood on the block later occupied by the residence of Mr. Ernest Lee-Steere. The materials for the clay walls, she-oak shingles and jarrah window frames, were brought from Mount Eliza, now Kings Park. In 1837, Lot 37 Mount Street was purchased by Mark Read from William Kernot Shenton for 35 pounds and the property stayed in the family. Charles Read, Mark’s older brother purchased or was gifted Lot 37 from Mark, however in 1846 Charles gave it back to Mark “in consideration of brotherly love and ten pounds”. In his will, Mark left the western half of the property to his daughter Emma and the eastern half to his son Albert. George is said to have obtained a fig and olive tree from the Cape of Good Hope on their voyage and these were planted at his Mount Street home. Strangely, there appears to be both a fig and an olive tree in pictures of later buildings on this site, although we can’t be sure they’re the same ones!

    In 1869 George gifted Location W19, on corner of Stirling and Wellington Streets, to his sons Charles and Mark in “consideration of the natural love and affection”. Later Mark passed this land onto his son Edmund William for the sum of 5 pounds. George and Elizabeth Read’s children made successful lives in the new Swan River Colony, and I will briefly tell you something of their history. Their elder son Charles Read worked as a labourer, gardener, sawyer and carpenter, employing a ticket-of-leave man in 1854. I’m sure there was much to do in those days and his farming skills would have been very useful in the settlement. He lived his life in Mount Street where he died in 1875 and is buried here with his father George. Their eldest daughter Maria Read had been assisted ashore from the stricken Rockingham by a Mr. William Foster. They maintained their friendship and six years later they married. William and Maria had eight children and for a time, farmed in York. Later they became publicans of the Narrogin Inn in Armadale, which still exists today.

    William Foster was murdered at the Narrogin Inn in 1874 by the convict cook in his employment a Mr John Gill, also known as John Goodall, who held a Conditional Pardon at the time. One day there was an argument between William Foster and Gill, after Gill complained that the meat he had eaten for lunch was of poor quality. William assured Gill it was the same meat he and his family had eaten that day and later Gill apologised and continued with his normal duties. After the evening meal, William found Gill had disappeared without finishing his usual evening chore of washing the dishes. Taking a lantern, William went to the stables looking for him and was shot in the right side. Gill had produced a musket and fatally wounded William Foster. Matilda, William and Maria’s daughter heard the gunshot and on finding her father and realising medical help was some twenty miles away in Perth, ran on foot to their neighbour Mr Cronin’s house. Although, elderly, he set off to Narrogin to get help. The young son of another neighbour, Mr Martin, went on horseback to Perth and returned with a Doctor Hora, but sadly they were too late, William Foster had died from severe blood loss. Gill was arrested, tried and met his ultimate fate on the gallows at Perth Gaol and is buried in the Felons Cemetery here at East Perth. Maria left the Narrogin Inn and returned to Perth. Maria died ten years later in 1884 and is buried here with her husband.

    Daughter Ethel Read’s story starts back on the farm in Dorset in 1827, as related by her son Horace Stirling in “The Golden West” in 1926 – 27. His article about the Swan River – “The Adventures of Ethel” – tells of a group of Gypsies who had camped on the Read land and tried to induce Ethel to leave her family to join the gypsies. When this failed, they asked to read Ethel’s future with fortune-telling cards. On the night of her 8th birthday, they predicted that:

    “The future of Ethel Read will be a remarkable one and full of incident. In less than two years she will take a long sea voyage to a far-off country, from which she will never return to her native land. She will marry a man with dark hair before she is 20 years old. She will have a large family, comprising more girls than boys. She will never want bread. No bone in her body will ever be broken; nor will any of her children ever have a broken bone.”

    Ethel never returned to England. On her 18th birthday, she married a dark-haired journalist by the name of Edmund Stirling in the Bullrush church in Hay Street. Family history suggests that Edmund asked for his inheritance early and headed for Australia, arriving in Fremantle in 1830. It seems he changed his name from Starling to Stirling at some point.

    In 1831 the colony’s first printed newspaper, the Fremantle Observer, Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, was published by Macfaull and W.K. Shenton, with Edmund Starling as reporter. Printed on a small hand-operated Ruthven Press in a flour mill in Fremantle, the ink was made from lamp-black and oil and the rollers dressed with treacle and glue. From Patricia Reynolds wonderful biography of Edmund Stirling, we understand this printing press is now in the W.A. Museum, Fremantle. Horace Stirling wrote, in his “Recollections of Early Perth” that Edmund went on to become the owner of the “Inquirer”, one of the first newspapers of the colony. Another newspaper the “Perth Gazette” was produced by Arthur Shenton and there was much rivalry between the two men. However, in 1870, united by their journalistic principles, they clashed with the authorities over articles printed in their respective newspapers. Edmund Stirling, his son John and Arthur Shenton were jailed, with only a joint apology securing their freedom.

    Edmund was a respected member of society. A member of the Town Hall Trust, City Councilor and part-owner of the WA Telegraph Company, becoming responsible for the construction of the first telegraph line from Perth to Fremantle in 1869.

    Ethel and Edmund had 11 children – 6 girls and 5 boys. Neither she nor any of her children ever experienced an injury to their limbs. Ethel lived to 68 after a long, useful and eventful life. She is buried here at East Perth with her husband.

    Emma Read, George and Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, married Henry Laroche Cole, who arrived on the “Marquis of Anglesea”. Henry, a seaman by trade, was known as “King Cole” and became a merchant in Perth. He built and owned the United Service Tavern, as well as two top-notch race-horses, Stringer and Wonder. He had shares in the first gold mine in WA at Armadale and was Chairman of the Town Trust and Perth Town Council. Henry died in Albany in 1866 but was returned to Perth to be laid to rest here at East Perth alongside his colleagues. Emma outlived her husband by 39 years and is buried with Henry.

    Mark Read, George and Elizabeth’s second son was 16 years old when he arrived with his parents in 1830. Mark is my 3rd great-grandfather. He married Ann Barnard, daughter of John Barnard and Elizabeth Challen, who had arrived on the “Lotus” in 1829 with Ann and their sons Edward, William and Charles.
    John Barnard was a foreman in Latour’s party of colonists at Leschenault and later moved to the York district, where he died in 1859. He was returned to Perth to be buried and shares his resting place with Charles Read and George Read.

    Edward Barnard became the Publican of “The City Arms” hotel in the 1840’s. Moving to Victoria and South Australia, he spent many years in New Zealand, eventually returning to the Vasse district. Edward died at 75 at his sister Ellen’s residence in Mounts Bay Road and is buried here at East Perth.

    William Barnard stayed in Perth, marrying Ann Lewis and was a gardener, boatman and storekeeper. He also qualified as a juror in 1860. William died at 53 and is also buried here at East Perth.

    Charles Barnard sadly died as a young child in the new settlement.

    Ellen Jane Barnard was born in Perth in 1834, after the family’s arrival and became Mark Read’s second wife. Mark Read bought a parcel of land on Mounts Bay Road at the foot of Mount Eliza and built a two-storey home for his wife Ann. They named it ‘Elmsley’ after Mark planted an elm tree on the property. They went on to have six children, although two died in infancy. Mark was a successful business man, operating a boating business on the Swan River and at Fremantle. He earned a living as a gardener and waterman, ending up with three lighters transporting passengers and cargo from Gage Roads and Garden Island. He owned many vessels, among them the Faith, Hampton and Gazelle. Tragically Ann died at the young age of 30 in 1855. Mark and Ann’s sister Ellen Jane found comfort with each other after her death and later married, going on to have five more children. Mark and Ann are buried here at East Perth.  Mark, Ann and Ellen’s children made significant contributions to the young settlement and there are many stories, but here are just some of them.

    Charles Edward Read, my second great-grandfather, was a fine carpenter and worked on many buildings in Fremantle and Perth. He married Emily Howlett, daughter of Elizabeth and Charles Howlett, who operated one of 3 brick kilns at the clay pits near the Causeway, now known as Queens Gardens. Many of the bricks made here were used in the Perth Town Hall, the Cloisters, the Pensioner Barracks (now known as the Barracks Arch) and the beautiful Wesley Church. Work at the Howlett’s Brickfield was sometimes hazardous. It was reported that in 1880, one Leonard Weston, who had arrived on the Vimeira in 1865, as a convict also known as Newcastle Jack, died when 2 tons of clay fell on him.

    Ellen Selina Read became rather prosperous and in 1895 contracted builders to construct the “Read Buildings”, now heritage listed on the corner of Hay and Milligan Streets in Perth.

    Edmund William Read worked for the Victorian Harbour Master and later, on his return to Perth, worked for CY O’Connor as a dredge master, clearing away the rocks blocking Fremantle Harbour entrance and opening the harbour for larger ships. Edmund also operated his father’s boats on the Swan River. Like the Rockingham, three of their vessels met a tragic end. Faith was dashed on the rocks at Fremantle, Gazelle was lost in Fremantle Harbour and Hampton was wrecked at the North-West Cape.

    John Frederick Read was also a carpenter and served his apprenticeship working on the Perth Town Hall and Wesley Church, one of only a few ‘Free’ men to do so. I am told that on enquiring of one of the convicts working on the Town Hall, as to what brought him here, the man replied that he was here “to teach you people how to build”. This wonderful story was relayed to me by Patricia Treasure, who is John Frederick Read’s grand-daughter and told to her by her father Frederick Mark Isaac Read, who himself was a stipendiary magistrate in Perth. John Frederick was an accomplished rifleman and ran a successful business in Guildford. Like many others who lived in Guildford, he was very interested in the welfare of Guildford and protecting its uniqueness. He was a Municipal Councilor for the area for over 20 years, as well as a Senior Justice of the Peace in the Swan District.

    When still in her teens, Agnes Jane Read, daughter of Mark and Ellen, was appointed organist of the Perth Wesley Church, being the first girl to play a pedal organ in this state. Sir George Shenton was choirmaster at that time and Agnes continued with her work as organist until the time of her marriage to Joseph Wood Langsford. I was fortunate to be contacted recently by Joseph and Agnes’ grandson, also Joseph, with information and a picture of Agnes. Residing in Claremont for over 40 years, the Langsford’s had 5 children and 13 grandchildren at the time of their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1938.

    Among the passengers who also made the long journey on the Rockingham was James Read, his wife Ruth Hopkins and five children. Although his relationship to George Read is not clear, they were family and from the same town. James and Ruth were only fifteen when they were married in Dorset about 1815.

    James set himself up as a market gardener on Garden Island, where he lived for almost 30 years, supplying vegetables to Fremantle and Perth. One night, about midnight in 1859, five prisoners escaped from a quarry gang at Fremantle. They fled to Melville Water where they stole a boat and headed for Garden Island. On arrival, they tied James and his employee John Grant to a tree, then headed for the house where Ruth and their young grandson were. Ransacking the house, they stole food, clothes, watches a spyglass, sextant, compass, guns, swords and a quantity of sovereigns. After cutting all the other boats adrift, they left taking James’ whaleboat, and headed for the North-West Cape. Their plan was to make their way from there to the Malay Islands and freedom. Making it as far as Shark Bay, and pursued by the police, they took to the bush and the boat was confiscated by a Mr Caporn. Returning to their hidden bounty a few days later, an altercation ensued between them over the rations, a lack of food and water having become severe. One of the convicts, Stephen Lacey, died and was buried near their camp. After searching for about three weeks, the police located the men after a fire was spotted, and reduced to submission by starvation, the remaining escapees gave themselves up. Returned to Fremantle, John Williams was convicted of murder and all four were found guilty of being illegally at large and robbing with violence. Even though James had been severely beaten by them, James and Ruth made submissions for mercy. The Court agreed. Peter Campbell was spared jail time, as he had turned State’s evidence and the remaining three were sentenced to 15 years in prison.

    Here I must mention the convict connection of the Read family – George Little, Convict No 3864, my 2nd great-grandfather, without whom I would not be here. George was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 15 years in the Swan River Colony. Arriving on the ‘William Hammond’ in 1856, George got his ticket-of-leave in 1858 and a Conditional Pardon in 1861. In 1859 we find George Little working as a shoemaker in York. He met and married Matilda Fleming the daughter of a York farmer in 1860. After giving birth to a son Albert, Matilda tragically died. At some point George ran a bakery in Dongara, employing three fellow ticket-of-leave men. He later married Harriet Chuck of Jarrahdale, who is my second great-grandmother.

    So, George Read, the man who started it all and is responsible for many of the folk here today, lies at rest, well-deserved I think, to the west of this Chapel, together with Charles his son and John Barnard.

    George Read’s wife Elizabeth Coward shares her final resting place just over near Bronte Street, with two of her Stirling great-grandchildren, Adelaide and Edmund, together with a Mr. William Hinton Campbell.

    William Hinton Campbell was the captain of the first paddle-steamer on the Swan River – “Les Trois Amis” – and was likely well-known to the Read family, being involved with the boats plying the river at that time. William Hinton Campbell drowned in the river, while swimming to retrieve a dinghy.

    Sadly, it wasn’t until I was 60 years old that I found some of our ancestors final resting places. There were over 10,000 burials here, many of them untraceable due to lost and damaged records over the last century, but we have found 32 members of the Read family were buried here at East Perth Cemetery.

    These were ordinary people, men and women, who contributed much to the Swan River Colony, through sheer hard work, enterprise and endurance of the many hardships. Starting with the arrival of George Read and his wife Elizabeth and their five children, by 1875 when George Read passed away, the Read clan numbered more than 65. They would be surprised and proud, I’m sure, to see so many of their descendants here today in this historic chapel.

    We have with us today, the great-granddaughter of Mark Read and Ann Barnard – Patricia Treasure and the great-grandchildren of Mark Read and Ellen Barnard – Jocelyn Kardash, her sister Lyn, Howard Read and Joseph Langsford, together with great-great-grandchildren of Edmund Stirling and Ethel Read and many other descendants. We are so pleased you were all able to join us.

    Thank you to Mrs Sally Anne Hasluck, Mrs Lennie McCall and the Royal W.A. Historical Society for giving me the opportunity to tell our family’s story and to Lorraine Clarke and Cherie Strickland of Swan Genealogy for their valued support and assistance.

    The Reverend Ted Doncaster, I understand, has held many services for Perth’s pioneers in this wonderful St. Bartholomew’s Chapel and we sincerely thank him for conducting the service today.

    I would also like to pay tribute to my sisters, Irene and Gwenda. They are my inspiration and did so much to help me in my research.

    So many of you have contributed wonderful pieces of information and photos, for which I sincerely thank you. Together, we have been able to put together a family history that we are very proud of and I thank you all for joining with me to honour and pay tribute to these pioneers.


    • Battye Library, State Library of W.A.
    • Trove, National Library of Australia
    • Bi-Centennial Dictionary of West Australians, 1829 – 1888
    • Recollections of Early Perth, by Horace Stirling
    • The Golden West 1926-27, by Horace Stirling
    • The Ship Rockingham, by R.H. Shardlow
    • Jane Dodds 1788 – 1844, by Lilian Heal
    • Edmund Stirling, Swan River Colony Pioneer, by Patricia Reynolds
    • Steam Whistles on the Swan, by Rod Dickson
    • Collaborative family genealogy research by Rodney Read, Irene Sorensen, Gwenda Hopkins and Ann Read.


  • Commemorating Lt Col George Braithwaite Phillips JP, Police Commissioner 2017


    My daughter, Sally, and I are delighted to be here to present to you today a synopsis of our forebear, George Braithwaite Phillips (1836-1900). He is my Great Uncle, and Sally’s G G Uncle.

    Our research has established the earliest references to the Phillips family shows that they came from the Bristol area of England and settled in Barbados in the seventeenth century.

    Thomas (1694-1748) and Margaret Phillips ( -1757) were both born and died in Barbados. Thomas’ son, John Randall Phillips (1724 – 1773) is listed as a Merchant with the ship Britannia in Barbados. We believe that they were originally involved in the commercial shipping trade, as merchants and traded in tobacco and sugar.

    John Randall Phillips was a very wealthy man and his Will demonstrates his bequeathal to a vast number of family members, and also assigns slaves of his to his mother-in-law. Having only one son, George Phillips, he also would have been a wealthy gentleman. This is assumed to be the means by which George’s son John Randall Phillips (1789-1852) acquired the wealth to emigrate to the Swan River Colony.

    We have established that a number of family members were born, married and had their children in Barbados. When I visited, I found plaques and gravestones to various members of the Phillips family in many parish churches and churchyards.

    One difficulty which arose frequently in our research was the recurrent name ‘John Randall Phillips’.

    These families were very involved in the sugar industry, and one plantation, “Lamberts” was purchased by the Phillips family for £28,000 in 1800. I have visited the plantation in the northern end of the island, and the original sugar mill still exists, however turned into an entertainment area. We believe the original homestead, which was timber, burnt down and has been replaced with a substantial plantation home. Adjacent to this is a stand of mahogany trees, which are now heritage listed and very slow growing. The original outbuildings, being stables, sheds and storage are there and in good condition. We know that the family also had interests in other plantations on Barbados including “Durants”.

    Amongst the British settlers in Barbados, education was paramount. This entailed the children being sent back to Britain for schooling and university studies. We have tracked many of the family members who became successful doctors, lawyers and merchants, plantation managers and of course entered the Holy Orders. The Randall Phillips Polyclinic is prominent in Barbados today and responsible for much of the formal education and training in health matters on the island. It is now run by the Government.

    Our John Randall Phillips was born at St Michael, Barbados on 17th December 1789, the son of George and Mary Phillips, nee Lovell, and educated in Bristol. We do not have details of his life prior to boarding the ship Protector in London, bound for The Swan River Colony in 1829.

    There were 68 passengers on board the ship with a crew of 20. The ship carried 2 guns and weighed 380 tons. She left St Katherine’s Dock on the River Thames in October 1829 and sailed to Australia via the Cape of Good Hope, arriving on 25th February 1830.

    J R Phillips arrived in Western Australia having been described on the passenger list as an agriculturalist, and had £195 worth of plant and equipment and two letters of credit totaling a further £700. He was accompanied by 21-year-old servant Martha Jane Smith on the ship. They later had their children and married at the Canning River and Albany.

    George Braithwaite was born in 1836 at Canning River District, third child to John Randall Phillips and Martha Jane Smith.

    In 1839 John Randall Phillips was appointed by the Governor as the Governor’s Representative at Williams River, and within a year had been offered a similar position for the District of Plantaganet, centred on Albany. He was later appointed as the Resident Magistrate at Albany, and the Sub-Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages. He was the Chairman of the Court of General Sessions in Albany and the Sub-protector of Natives for the Plantaganet District.
    George was initially schooled at the Albany public school, and later tutored by his father and a private tutor, leaving school at the age of 13.

    In 1851, at the age of 15, he was employed on probation and without pay as a writer in the Colonial Secretary’s Office in Perth.

    The next year on 27th December 1852, John Randall Phillips Snr, George’s father died in Albany of influenza and was buried in the Albany Memorial Park Cemetery, in an unmarked grave, (Lot 58 we believe).

    By 1852 George Braithwaite Phillips was employed as 3rd Clerk in the Colonial Secretary’s Office.

    In October 1854, aged 18 years, Phillips was to lead a party planned to rendezvous at Shark’s Bay with the North-east Expedition led by Robert Austin, Assistant Surveyor. Phillips was in charge of the stores and travelled in a small boat called ‘Perseverance’ to Shark’s Bay to meet Austin, but Austin failed to arrive. Phillips remained there for sixty-one days instead of the expected few weeks. Unbeknown to Phillips, Austin could not penetrate the thick scrub and subsequently abandoned the expedition. Phillips eventually returned to Perth. Letters of instruction for the expedition are held in the Battye library.

    The Inquirer, 13th December, 1854: In connection with the above [The North-east Expedition] we may mention that the ‘Perseverance,’ which went up to Shark’s Bay in October last to meet Mr Austin, and was directed to wait there two months for the party, is still absent to the Northward, and, doubtless, in blissful ignorance of the fate of the party which she had conveyed stores for. This small craft may soon be looked for; and the sooner she arrives now the better, as her longer detention will only be adding to the already large expenditure on account of this unlucky expedition.

    The Perth Gazette, 9th February, 1855: Shark’s Bay – The Perseverance returned on Saturday last from the mouth of the Gascoigne River in Shark’s Bay, where she awaited the arrival of the Exploring party under Mr Austin for 61 days. On the first day of arrival there the boat of the vessel entered the river, which was found almost blocked up by a dry sandbar, reaching almost entirely across, leaving a channel available only for the passage of a single boat at high tide, when there was not more than six feet of water, and as the tide rises there to nearly that height, this opening was nearly dry at low water. The boat went up the river about one mile and a half, and it then got so shallow as not to allow of proceeding any farther; large samphire flats extended on both shores, crossed by numerous natives but of the country nothing was seen except a range of elevated land apparently covered with scrub about seven miles distance in the interior. They did not again visit the river during their stay, but according to their instructions buried a bottle on the beach at the south end of Babbage Island, containing information of their arrival for Mr Austin. This spot was visited every morning and their movements were watched by the natives, who dug the bottles up and broke them. On one occasion the natives, as the boat approached the shore, waded into the water to meet it, those in front pretending to throw their spears away, but it was noticed that they were picked up by those in the rear who concealed them behind them, and under those circumstances the crew of the boat declined their offered friendship. After waiting in vain the full time for the appearance of the Expedition party, the Perseverance on the 7th January proceeded to Egg Island, where she took in about twenty tons of guano, and then sailed for Port Gregory and Fremantle.

    In 1856 Phillips was appointed 2nd Clerk in the Colonial Secretary’s Office. Whilst in this position Phillips was also employed as Confidential Clerk to Governor Hampton in the Governor’s Private Office. Phillips was also appointed Assistant District Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Perth in 1856.

    In 1857 his mother, Martha Jane Phillips (nee Smith), died aged 46 while staying with her son John Randall Phillips Jr at Kanyaka in the South Australian Flinders Ranges. She is buried in the historic cemetery at Kanyaka ruins with a slate headstone.

    On 14th September 1858 Phillips married Ruth Rachel Perry, widow, in Perth. There is no marriage record of this union and they had no children.
    In 1861 Phillips was appointed by the Royal Geographical Society to 2nd in command of their expedition led by surveyor Francis Gregory to explore the north west coast of Western Australia. Phillips accepted the offer, but the Governor requested him to resign and remain at his post in the public service, which he did.
    In 1861, in concert with Alfred H Stone, Phillips embarked on photography. It was Albumen silver photography and Phillips took images of Aboriginals dressed in ragged European clothes, together with a coastal shot and buildings.

    In 1865 Phillips was appointed Acting Chief Clerk of the Colonial Secretary’s Office and became Chief Clerk a year later.
    Phillips was the Honorary Secretary of the Perth Racecourse from 1866 to 1869 [may have been longer].
    Phillips was a Steward of the Perth Assemblies in 1868 and 1870 [may have been additional years].

    On 22nd July 1869 Phillips married Annie Emma Hare, daughter of Gustavus Edward Cockburn Hare a former Governor’s Resident at Albany.

    In 1869 Phillips was elected the Secretary of the WA Turf Club and was Acting Clerk of the Perth Racecourse.

    In 1871, their first child, Edith Georgina was born.

    From 1872 to July 1873 Phillips was Registrar General, Registrar of Titles and Registrar of Deeds.

    Phillips acted as Colonial Secretary from December 1872 to July 1873.

    On 20th October, 1873 Phillips was a passenger on the mail steamer Georgette on her journey from King George’s Sound, Albany to Fremantle when she struck a reef and was stranded. Phillips was in his bunk at the time the vessel struck and was on the reef for about 20 minutes before the vessel then lifted into deeper water. Having sounded the pumps and finding six feet of water in the hold, the engines were reversed to bring her round and she steered for the beach. She grounded at about 3.30am and Mr King, the agent, together with George Phillips were landed and proceeded to Fremantle with intelligence of the disaster and for assistance.

    The vessel had been swung for the purposes of adjusting her compasses since her arrival in the colony; she had been swung two or three times each trip she had made. The steamer had deviated 15 miles of course. Witnesses on board had seen Captain H Wilson test the compass before departing Bunbury and stated that he was very careful throughout the voyage. The log was frequently heaved and bearings, when possible, were taken. The helmsman was the only person on board on the look-out when the vessel struck the reef, the other members on watch were taking in the staysail. There was a strong sea running and the captain mentioned that the deviation of the ship’s compass ‘sorely puzzled him’. The captain did not have a Master’s certificate from the Board of Trade, but had a Mate’s certificate from the Board. He had a local Master’s certificate which was signed on the day the vessel left Fremantle for Albany.

    The Perth Gazette, 24th October 1873: FREMANTLE (From our own Correspondent)
    In my last I was, or rather I have been accused of being, too beautifully, classically discursive. This time I am not going to err upon that side of things. I must simply tell a true tale, and tell it as truly and as succinctly as I can. I was not a passenger by the Georgette, and I am truly sorry I was not, on her voyage from Albany hither. It would have been pleasant to have been shipwrecked safely. You have heard, you and others, in Perth all sorts of rumours about the catastrophe. I, being a fountain-head of news, can give you almost as correct a version as if I had been present myself.
    On Monday morning we of the port were anxiously expecting the arrival of the mails. We were dissatisfied, most of us, although we were afraid to say so, that we had not received our portion of the English mail before. Some of us with bated breath did whisper to our neighbours that if Chipper had been carrying the mail overland we should have had our letters three or four days ago at least. We did not care about saying so too loud for fear of being indicted for high treason, or of being tarred and feathered by an infuriated mob of Government officials. Still the prevailing feeling, although it did not express itself in high words, was that the colony was badly treated in the matter of its mail service. However, after a few growls, at the steamer not coming in, the population of Fremantle had dispersed to their various occupations of doing nothing. Had the steamer never come at all, and had nothing more ever been heard of her, the Fremantle population would have forgotten all about her. We should have survived alike the loss of the mails, and the male and female passengers.
    One of my Bunbury correspondents, in writing to me under date of last Sunday, says: “The steamer scarcely remained here five minutes, not even long enough to take passengers and cargo from here.” A fortunate thing for Bunbury passengers and cargo that she did not. They would, if on board, have only helped to swell the general ruin. At three o’clock on Sunday afternoon (which, by the way, was a nice day, if a superfluity of water is nice, in Fremantle) I went to the Telegraph Office to inquire about the steamer. She was not heard of at that time or sighted in Bunbury. Just as the office was closing, however, came a telegram to state that the vessel was in sight. Soon after four she got into Bunbury harbor, soon after four she left en route to Fremantle. The night that followed was a fearful one, and the wind blew strong from the NW and WNW. Hence the Georgette must, in her endeavour to make a straight and the shortest possible course, have lost a great deal of lee-way. She sagged bodily inshore. At about a quarter past two on Monday morning the vessel was driven on to the Horse Shoe Reef. There she remained bumping for about a quarter of an hour, and would in another quarter have gone to pieces, losing the lives of crew and passengers. Fortunately, a heavy sea came boiling and surging over the reef, lifting the steamer like a feather on its crest, and depositing her in deep water inside the reef. Steam was at once made, and in half an hour the vessel was on the beach within a few yards from shore in the sand at Long Point, where she now lies in nearly two fathoms of water.
    Mr George Phillips and Mr Stockley King, who were among the passengers, were the first people to bring the news to Fremantle. They had some ten or twelve miles to walk from the scene of the casualty to Rockingham. There they procured horses and came with all speed into Fremantle. By noon on Monday the accident was made known, and occasioned as much gloom as might have been expected. Thinking people felt that a national calamity had been sustained. Verily, it is most disastrous that the two first steamers which have tried this coast should have both been ship-wrecked almost as soon as they arrived here.
    The English and Colonial mails were put on a bullock team and carted towards Fremantle. At this town, directly the news was received, Mr Letch’s four-wheeled van was put in requisition, and went as far as Rockingham, where the mails were got. The van returned to Fremantle by eleven o’clock on Monday night, and having deposited the port mail, took the remainder to Perth.
    I will send you a full report of the investigation into the cause of the loss, when that investigation takes place, which will not be till next week. I must not forget to mention that the crew and passengers, among whom were Misses McKail, King, and Warburton, were all saved.

    The Perth Gazette, 7th November, 1873: In consequence of the accident which has happened to the Georgette coasting mail steamer the overland mail service has to be renewed. Mr Chipper’s vans are again called into requisition for the conveyance of the passengers and mails between Perth and Albany. The interruption in the service will, we trust, be only temporary. The Georgette will soon be in a sufficiently safe condition to go to Adelaide where she will undergo a complete overhauling, and repair. The calamity can only be looked upon as a misfortune of national importance. It is simply disastrous that the first steamer which has been regularly subsidised by the Government for the conveyance of mails should on her first voyage meet with a terrible accident.

    In 1874 their second child Frances Annie was born.

    In 1874 Phillips was a Lieutenant in the WA Troop and Volunteer Horse Artillery and held numerous ranks including that of Colonel and retired as a Captain on the Colonial Office list in London.

    By 1875 he was Acting Colonial Treasurer and held that position until August 1877 and also from January 1878 to January 1880. In 1875 he was also provisionally appointed to be ‘The Registrar’ under ‘The Lands Title Act, 1874’.

    In 1876 he became a member of The Weld Club in Perth.

    In 1876 his wife and 2 children visited the UK departing on the 8th of January per the “Charlotte Padbury”. Whilst in the UK, their third child, Julie Marguerite Phillips was born at Dorking.

    In May 1876 Captain Phillips lead the Western Australian Horse Artillery in the Queen’s Birthday celebrations in Perth. This body of men came in for very favourable comments.

    On 13th September 1877 Annie returned with their 3 children as cabin passengers per the “Helena Mena.”

    On 20th August 1878 Phillips was appointed Justice of the Peace for the Colony.

    On 6th September 1878 Phillips was appointed Acting Colonial Treasurer also taking a seat on the Executive Council. He took the title of Honourable George Phillips.

    Phillips was appointed Staff Officer of the Volunteers from 1879 to 1883.

    On 10th January 1879 Phillips was appointed a Steward of Western Australian Turf Club.

    On 24th January 1879 Phillips was appointed Secretary of The Weld Club Perth and held that position until 1883.

    On 6th December 1879 Phillips’ wife Annie Emma Phillips died aged 32 years.

    On 30th December 1879 Phillips was one of twelve JP’s who visited the Perth Prison.

    Phillips resumed duties as Assistant Colonial Secretary from January 1880 and was a Member of the Central Roads Commission throughout 1880.

    On 24th February 1880 Phillips was appointed Acting Post Master General and Superintendent of Telegraphs.

    On 7th September 1880 Phillips was once again appointed Acting Colonial Secretary.

    On 17th December 1880 an advertisement in the The Western Australian lists an “Important Sale of Furniture”. Wilkinson, Courthope & Co were instructed by Phillips to sell the “whole of his very valuable Furniture and Effects” by auction at his residence, James Street, Perth on 29th and 30th December 1880. Items that were listed for sale include furniture from his Drawing Room, Dining Room, Hall, Bedrooms, Kitchen, Saddlery and Sundries. We have no idea as to why Phillips sold all his furniture and effects – maybe because he was going on leave of absence. This was a year after his wife, Annie, died.

    The Inquirer and Commercial News, 12th January 1881: “I am informed that Mr George Phillips, the Assistant Colonial Secretary, is not to leave us just at present on his intended leave of absence. Considering Mr Phillips’s long tenure of office, with scarcely any respite from his labors, there is not the least doubt but that he really deserves a holiday. But can he be spared at the present time? I think not. In Lord Gifford the colony has an officer of real merit, one who will put his shoulder to the wheel whenever he sees it is necessary, but, considering his short experience amongst us, it would be unfair to him if Mr Phillips commenced his holiday tour just yet. The assistance of Mr Phillips is absolutely indispensable, until such time as Lord Gifford can make himself thoroughly acquainted with the duties of his department. However, no one will more readily join in the matter of giving Mr Phillips his holiday, when it is advisable, than your humble servant, Cos.”

    Victorian Express (Geraldton WA) 9th February 1881: “Mr George Phillips left Perth, per overland mail, on Saturday last.

    21st June, 1881, Phillips was appointed Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of a newly established club called ‘The Perth Chess Club’. “We trust that this endeavor to promote the cultivation of a very interesting and intellectual pastime will meet with every success”.

    14th June, 1882, Phillips was elected a Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute.

    The Daily News (Perth WA), 21st January, 1884: We regret to hear that the Assistant Colonial Secretary (Mr G Phillips) is suffering from a severe attack of the measles.

    The Daily News (Perth WA), 7th March 1884: His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to appoint the following Committee to advise him as to the best manner of expending the vote of £200 provided in the current Estimates for the Acclimatisation of Plants, viz: – Dr Waylen, MD, President of the Horticultural Society (Chairman); Geo Randell, Esquire, MLC; G B Phillips, Esquire, Assistant Colonial Secretary.

    The Inquirer and Commercial News, 30th April 1884: The Committee considered that, owing to the small sum voted, it would not be advisable to open up new ground for the formation of a Botanical Garden, but that the grounds known as the Public Gardens should again be brought under cultivation, with the addition of a glass-house and other improvements; without which it would be futile to introduce or attempt to propagate new or rare plants – this and the re-arrangements of the Gardens would necessitate the constant employment of a fully qualified nursery gardener, who should be engaged at once, and who would, in addition, be able to put up specimens of horticulture for exchange with other parts of the world. This man should be under the immediate control of a Committee appointed from time to time by the Governor, and should be afforded adequate assistance of prison or other labor; he should reside on the spot, in the quarter, originally built for such purpose. For the proper upkeep of the gardens, rules would have to be framed to regulate the admission of the public. The estimated cost of the glass-house is £150, leaving a balance of £50, which the Committee suggest might be at once expended in the introduction of useful plants and trees. The Governor requested the existing Committee to undertake the roll of the Committee to manage the Public Gardens.

    Once again Phillips was appointed Acting Colonial Secretary from 19th November to 29th December 1883.

    Phillips was Acting Commandant of the Volunteer Force from February 1885 to January 1887.

    The Herald (Fremantle), 2nd May 1885: “The Defence of Albany – His Excellency the Administrator, accompanied by Colonel Angelo the Inspecting Field Officer of Volunteers, and Mr George Phillips, assistant Secretary to the Government proceed this day to Albany. The object of His Excellency’s mission is we believe to consult with the Naval authorities on the spot, and mature, if possible, with all dispatch, some practical means for the defence of the port of Albany.”

    Phillips was appointed Acting Superintendent of Police from December 1885 to January 1887.

    On 16th February 1886 Phillips married Victoria Ellen Jane Burges, daughter of Samuel and Jane Burges at St George’s Cathedral Perth.

    In April 1887 Phillips was appointed Commissioner of Police.

    A meeting was held in St George’s Hall on 12th October 1897 at which it was unanimously resolved that a children’s hospital should be established in or near Perth. Phillips was appointed to a sub-committee to further the movement.

    On 23rd July 1888 Phillips resigned his commission in the volunteer army and was granted the Honorary rank of Major and was able to continue to wear his military uniform.

    Coolgardie Miner, 23rd February 1895: The Minister for Mines, accompanied by Colonel Phillips (Commissioner of Police) and Sub-Inspector O’Connell, left on Tuesday morning for Kalgoorlie and other outside centres.

    In the late 1890’s, Phillips, at the age of nearly sixty, took part in the gold escort from White Feather to Coolgardie. This was a risky duty and was a demonstration that he was prepared to mix it with his regional police officers.
    The Inquirer and Commercial News, 8th March 1895:

    A deputation from the Coolgardie Gold Diggers’ Association waited on the Commissioner of Police while that gentleman was at Coolgardie, to call attention to the various depredations of the blacks throughout the district and the want of further police protection. Mr Vosper, who acted as spokesman, urged that a regular patrolling system of a semi-military character throughout the field should be established, and that further the gold escorts should be an independent force, while better arrangements should be made for the recovery of persons lost in the bush. Colonel Phillips, in reply, said that the matter had occupied his attention, and he had come to the field for the purpose of ascertaining the police requirements of the district. He found, on arrival, that nine members of the force were down with fever, and that temporarily made matters worse than they would otherwise be. He heard complaints on all sides of the want of adequate police protection, and he considered the establishment of a police patrol highly necessary. He also thought that, as suggested, the gold escort should be composed of members of the force told off for that duty alone, and he should, on his return to Perth, endeavour to have the force increased and the suggestions of the deputation carried out. Before leaving Perth he had purchased additional camels for the purpose of searching for lost persons. He thanked the speaker for his valuable hints on the subject, and would do his best to have them carried out. The deputation then thanked the Commissioner and withdrew.

    In 1897 Phillips established a Police School to teach theoretical instruction and drill activities.

    The West Australian, 7th January 1898: In a letter published in yesterday’s issue, complained of the footways of the city being frequently blocked either by groups of people standing in the centre of the path or by parties of men walking abreast on the footpaths, taking up the whole width. The rule of the path, “Keep to the right,” he contended, was utterly ignored, being now a tradition of the past, as the police some months ago certainly did endeavour to keep people on the paths continually on the move. Our, correspondent hinted that it would be well for the police to revert to this practice. He also complained of the danger to pedestrians caused by reckless drivers in driving furiously round the street corners, and of the neglect of the authorities to attend to complaints when sent in to them. Yesterday afternoon the attention of the Commissioner of Police (Colonel Phillips) was drawn to this letter by one of our reporters. In reply, the Commissioner said he had been asked to undertake the control of the street traffic. He could not, however, do so as long as the city authorities maintained their staff of traffic inspectors. As a matter of fact, though the Police Act, 1892, gave the Commissioner of Police power to deal with the traffic on public occasions, such as processions, the by-laws of the City Council, framed under the Municipal Institutions Act, 1895, placed the whole of such power in the hands of the Town Clerk, notwithstanding the fact that the city authorities did not possess the means of carrying out those duties. ln reference to the grievance that complaints of furious driving remained apparently unnoticed by the authorities, Col Phillips stated that what was needed in Perth was a metropolitan police force in addition to the ordinary force, and towards the upkeep of which the City Council should pay a moiety of the funds needed, as was the case in Melbourne and other large cities. If the police were required to control the traffic, the Commissioner holds that the licensing of all vehicles should be left in their hands, and then, instead of licensing a lot of men as cab drivers of whom the City Council knew nothing, the police would make full inquiries before granting any application. The Commissioner added that the police had reported to the civic authorities several infringements of the city by-laws, but apparently nothing had resulted. On the subject of the obstruction of the footpaths the Commissioner was equally explicit, remarking that though he had given no definite instructions to his officers and men to cease to enforce the “move on” order, he had no doubt that the policemen got very much discouraged when they found that offending persons, on being proceeded against before the magistrates, were let off with a shilling fine. A section of the press and numbers of the public, added the Commissioner, had also cried out for the discontinuance of the “move on” order.”

    The Goldfields Morning Chronicle, 23rd February 1898: Gold Escorts – At the last executive meeting of the Chamber of Mines the difficulty experienced in securing the safe conveyance of gold from mines in remote localities to the nearest branch bank was ventilated. As the outcome of the discussion, a letter was addressed to the Chief Commissioner of Police, by the secretary (Mr B W Hine), which has elicited favorable reply. Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips writes: — “There is no objection to police escorts taking charge of parcels of gold en route from centres where there are no banks, provided that the gold is consigned to a bank, and that the parties remitting same pay the usual escort rate, 2d per oz thereon. It must of course be distinctly understood that the Government accept no risk, and will not be accountable for any shortage in weight. Further, the parcels of gold must be securely made up and sealed, and a consignment note furnished. The district police officer at Coolgardie will be instructed as necessary in the matter.”

    The West Australian, 9th March 1898: STATEMENT BY COLONEL PHILLIPS
    The Commissioner of Police (Lieutenant Colonel Phillips) informed a representative of this journal yesterday that no police had been sent to the goldfields, except those mentioned in yesterday’s issue as having escorted a number of prisoners for trial at the local sessions. The sole duty of these police, Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips said, was the escorting of the prisoners, and that duty having been completed they will return to Perth. Their dispatch to Coolgardie had no connection with any possible disturbances on the fields.

    The Inquirer and Commercial News, 18th March 1898:
    For some considerable time the police in this colony have experienced the greatest difficulty in connection with the re-capture of escaped prisoners owing to the very feeble chance of identification consequent upon the descriptions of the escapees being in the main extremely vague, and known only to a few of the constables. In the case of a prisoner sent down from the goldfields the custom was to pass the man on to the Fremantle gaol in custody of the police officer who escorted him from the place of committal, and the man consequently went into seclusion without any of the constables in Perth or Fremantle having seen him. The result was that when such a prisoner escaped the members of the police force were nearly always unable to recover him, as his identity was to them a sealed book. If the man had any physical peculiarity which distinguished him from all other men in a very marked manner — a by no means common circumstance — the fact might be accurately communicated to the police throughout the colony, and a slight chance given thereby for identification, but in the majority of cases the description given of an escaped convict was such as would apply to hundreds of other men, as well as to the man for whom it was intended. This state of things was fully recognised by the police authorities, and as, with the experience of other countries to guide them, they were satisfied that nothing less than the photograph of a prisoner would suffice for recording a faithful description of his appearance, representations were made, with the result that authority was given for establishing a photographing gallery, at the Fremantle prison. Superintendent George, in charge of the gaol, obtained advice from a local firm of photographers (Messrs Nixon and Merrilees), and, acting on this, he had suitable apartments erected close to the western wall of the prison. The Commissioner for Police (Colonel Phillips), who is an amateur photographer, selected the apparatus, and he succeeded in securing the latest appliances used in photography. The camera is designed for very fast work, and it is capable of taking an impression in the one-ninetieth part of a second. Within the last few days the apparatus was set in position and the apartments completed, and then the whole concern was handed over to Inspector Farley, of the Criminal Investigation Department. Mr Farley succeeded in securing an officer well versed in all branches of photography, and yesterday a start was made in the matter of putting the apparatus to a practical test in connection with the subjects for whom it was procured. Before commencing with the prisoners, Superintendent George took his seat in front of the camera, and he was given the distinction of being the first to test the efficiency of the apparatus and the suitableness, of the studio. An excellent photograph was produced. Afterwards 51 prisoners were subjected to the ordeal, and, although the light was extremely variable, and at times rather bad, perfect photographs of the men were obtained. Each man sat in his convict clothes, with his official prison number in large letters affixed to his shirt front. An ingenious, though simple, device, whereby a profile view of each subject was procured simultaneously with the full-face photograph, was tried, and proved very satisfactory. It consisted of an adjustable mirror, supported on a movable stand. This was placed on the right of the prisoner, and at an angle of about 45 degrees to the stool on which the man was placed. The glass had a circular piece cut out of one corner, and in the rest thus formed the prisoner had to place his shoulder, the glass being, of course, adjusted to suit the height of the person occupying the seat. A start was made with the work at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon, but after a couple of hours the light failed so much that operations had to be suspended. Today, the photographing will be resumed, and it will be carried on until all the prisoners, with the exception of those doing very short sentences for minor offences, have faced the camera. The whole of the work in connection with the developing, printing, and finishing of the photographs is done in a room adjoining the studio. The intention of the Police Department is to photograph all the principal prisoners in batches as soon after they are brought to the gaol as may be found convenient.

    Western Mail, 15th July 1898: INCREASE OF CRIME
    On this subject Colonel Phillips says: “The proportion of crimes shows a tendency to increase, despite the vigilance of the police. This is probably due in part, so far as the less serious offences are concerned, to the temporary commercial depression. The increase in more serious offences must be attributed to the continued influx from other colonies of old offenders who have acquired a high degree of skill and cunning in planning and perpetrating crimes with a minimum risk of detection. It is to be regretted that such individuals occasionally succeed in covering their tracks so well as to baffle the police for a time; but there is no large city in either the old or the new world which has not occasionally witnessed a temporary triumph on the part of its social beasts of prey.”

    On 7th September 1899, Phillips’ daughter, Edith Georgina died. She had always been delicate in health but had devoted herself to charitable works in the city. Edith died at the age of 27 years from ‘failure of the heart’s action’ after a short illness. She is buried in the family enclosure at the East Perth Historical Cemetery. The funeral was a large and representative one, among those present being the Premier Sir John Forrest.

    On 26th March 1900 Lieutenant Colonel George Braithwaite Phillips died from pneumonia and hear failure whilst Commissioner of Police.

    The Phillips years were difficult ones for the police of the day due to the impact of problems relating to the Gold Rush, a large number of remote communities being established, many disturbing people from the eastern states arriving, labour disputes, the pastoral frontier and budgetary restraints. The population had increased and the police force had to be augmented. Phillips proved to be a master of organization and chose his appointment of new members to the force wisely. The Police Act of 1892 was brought into effect in his time – it is still the governing legislation of the Western Australian Police. The Act made the organization stronger, stable and less subject to political change. Phillips grew the police force to cope with the increasing demands made upon it and cleverly placed his forces so as to secure effective administration.

    Phillips had reserves of both moral and physical courage and was active in the Colonial Defence Force. He was Commandant on two occasions and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

    He was related by marriage to other families of the colonial elite, such as the Burts and Hares. Phillips, like Smith and his successor Frederick Hare, was a member of the influential Weld Club. He was criticized by some for relying upon his contacts in the Weld Club for the recruitment of some of his police personnel.

    The Daily News, 26th March 1900: “As Commissioner for Police, Colonel Phillips has occupied a difficult and responsible office since the influx of population a few years ago, and the ability with which he has met the strain upon the resources of his department has reflected the utmost credit upon him.”

    Mount Magnet Miner and Lennonville Leader, 31st March 1900: “By the death of Police Commissioner Phillips, the colony has sustained a severe loss. Colonel Phillips took the keenest of interest and spared neither time nor energy to bring the force up to the highest possible state of efficiency.”

    The West Australian, 31st March 1900: Anglican Church News: – On Monday afternoon His Lordship [Bishop Riley] received a telegram informing him of the death of Colonel Phillips. He travelled in a buggy all night to Beverley, where he caught the morning train to Perth in order to officiate at the funeral service.
    Funeral of Lieutenant Colonel George Braithwaite Phillips JP

    The death occurred of Phillips, aged 64, after a very short illness on 26th March, 1900. All classes of the public were represented at the funeral. Several thousand people gathered along the route of the procession and all bared their heads as the gun carriage which bore the coffin passed by. The police and the volunteers with whom he had associated with were prominent in the funeral procession.

    He was given a full military funeral, and the coffin arrived from his residence, Yeoville House, 81 Adelaide Terrace. There were eight bearers consisting of 4 sergeants of police and 4 sergeants of the No. 1 Field Battery. The Union Jack covered the jarrah coffin upon which was laid the sword, helmet and belt of the deceased officer together with several wreaths placed there by his widow and two daughters. The coffin bore the simple inscription “George Braithwaite Phillips, died March 26, 1900, aged 64 years”.

    The cortege was formed. A company of the Perth Infantry, commanded by Major Strickland and constituting the firing party, being in advance, and carrying their arms reversed. Then came the Headquarters Band and the Fremantle Volunteer Band, which played appropriate slow marches, including the Portuguese Hymn and the Dead March in ‘Saul’. The gun carriage with the remains followed. The official procession was about a quarter of a mile long and included the chief mourners in carriages, over 120 police on foot, inspectors, detectives, plain clothes policemen, members of the criminal investigation branch, Perth Artillery, Fremantle Artillery and Infantry, Guildford Infantry, officers of the Fremantle Gaol, officers of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, a number of Military Officers and numerous civilians. The Late Commissioner’s vehicle and pair were used for the conveyance of wreaths, which were numerous.

    Phillips’ charger, led by two officers of police, followed the chief mourners. The animal was saddled, and in the stirrups were a pair of Wellington boots reversed. This represents a fallen leader looking back on his troops for the last time.

    The pall-bearers were Sir George Shenton (President of the Legislative Council), Sir James Lee Steere (Speaker of the Legislative Assembly), Sir John Forrest (Premier), Mr J B Roe (sheriff), Mr George Glyde (chief clerk in the Lands Department), and Mr James Morrison.

    On arrival at the cemetery the coffin was borne to the church by officers of the police and artillery. The first part of the burial service was said in St Bartholomew’s Church, and the remains were carried to their last resting-place on the eastern side, close to the chapel and at the foot of the grave of the late Bishop Parry.

    As the coffin was lowered into the grave, the large congregation sang “It is well with My Soul”, a relatively new hymn written in 1873 by Horatio G Spafford after his four daughters were drowned at sea. The scene at the grave, around which the immediate relatives and friends were congregated, was very pathetic, and many eyes were dimmed with tears as the last rites were read.

    Following the burial service, the Perth Infantry fired three volleys over the grave.

    It was a much publicised funeral and the media accounts give much detail of those present, and the form of procession and interment. Much of the sentiment was shown by the Premier minute published in the Police Gazette where he stated:

    “The long and valued services of Lieutenant Colonel George Braithwaite Phillips in the civil service of Western Australia, extending over nearly half a century, were greatly appreciated by the Government, and his high personal character was recognized and esteemed throughout the colony. The example of the late Commissioner, both as a loyal and zealous servant of the Crown, and a private citizen, may well be followed by members of the civil service of the colony”.

    Flags were flown at half-mast across the colony on receipt of the news of Colonel Phillips’ death, including the Signal Station in Albany.

    In 1900, probate was granted to Phillips’ widow Vittoria Ellen Jane Phillips of £333.12s which equates to approximately £37,600 today.

    The West Australian, 30th November 1900: The Late Colonel Phillips – Yesterday in the Legislative Assembly a message was received from His Excellency the Administrator, recommending that an appropriation of £500 out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund be made, to the widow of the late Colonel Phillips, Commissioner of Police, and who for 40 years had been in the service of the colony. In Committee, Sir John Forrest moved that the recommendation be agreed to and explained that the widow of the deceased officer had been left poorly provided for. Several members spoke to the motion, and as the general opinion seemed to be that a larger vote was justified, the Premier moved to report progress, with the view to the introduction of a fresh message from the Administrator recommending an appropriation of £750 for the widow, which is equal to one year’s salary of the late Commissioner of Police. This course, was adopted. Later during the sitting a second message was received from the Administrator recommending the larger appropriation which was agreed to.

    Phillips’ widow, Vittoria Phillips (nee Burges) died in 1933.

    George Braithwaite Phillips was an extraordinary man for his time. He started on the bottom rung of the ladder in the Colonial Secretary’s Office, on probation and working for no pay, and steadily climbed his way up to the esteemed appointment of Commissioner of Police in Western Australia. The immense pressure he worked under during some very trying times demonstrates his strength of character and determined will. He was not one to rest on his laurels, instead, he was a ‘hands-on’ Commissioner of Police and this led to his great achievements whilst in office.

    We are here to honour Lieutenant Colonel George Braithwaite Phillips, JP who rests within the marble monument which we are about to visit. It was erected as a tribute of respect and esteem by the members of the Police Force and the departmental staff.

    In closing I wish to thank the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and Lorraine Clarke of the National Trust. We have received considerable help from a number of people who have contributed to facilitating this wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate a truly magnificent man and perpetuate his memory.

    Interesting notes:
    George Braithwaite Phillips’ daughter, Julie, married Cuthbert Edmund Hudleston MA, an Anglican Minister, and a son, Edmund Cuthbert Hudleston, was born in Kalgoorlie in 1908. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1927 and led a long and distinguished career holding some of the highest British Air Force and NATO positions and retired in 1967 as Air Vice Marshal Sir Edmund Cuthbert Hudleston GCB, CBE, ADC, RAF. Sir Edmund died in 1994.
    Australian National Botanic Gardens Australian Plant Name Index: Eremophilia phillipsi
    Etymology, “This rare plant is dedicated to the honourable Captain George Phillips, of Perth, West Australia, in recognition of generously advancing the writer’s research”.

    Contact details:
    Tom Chapman, AM Email:
    Sally Grundy Email:
    (4th June 2017)

  • Commemorating Carr and Guilfoyle Families 2018

    on Sunday 1 June 2018 at St Bartholomews Church, East Perth Cemeteries,

    Commemorating Carr and Guilfoyle Families

    Citation by Ann-Louise Cahill

    Read by Ann-Louise Cahill and Margaret McKenna

    Carr Family

    William Carr was born 1820 in the Parish of Loughguile, in or near the town of Ballycastle, Antrim the son of John Carr. William joined the 89th Regiment of Foot on the 18th January 1838 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. During William’s time in the military he spent most of it on recruiting duties. This is very unusual as the soldiers’ rolls varied between recruiting, cooking and other duties, so he must have been a very persuasive person. William only spent a very small amount of time in the camp kitchens, so he was obviously not very good at cooking.

    During his service in Ireland, William was jailed from the 14th April to 9th June 1841 for assaulting the Night Watch (police). From the 26th to the 29th June 1843 William was given civil powers, the reason for this is unknown at this stage.

    William and a detachment of men under Captain J.F. Stanley left England in May 1846 to join the Service Companies in Quebec, Canada where he spent 10 months. After serving in Canada, William return to serve in Ireland with the 89th Regiment.

    On the 2nd January 1857, William arrives at the Invalid Depot, Chatham and 27 days later he is discharged from the 89th Regiment as being medically unfit due to large varicose veins. William served for nearly 19 years and left having received 3 Good Conduct Badges with pay.

    It is interesting to note on the 89th Regiments Quarterly Pay Sheets that there is a Colour Sargent John Carr serving within the same regiment. John was also born in the Parish of Loughguile in about 1813. It is possible that John could be William’s older brother or cousin.

    It is not known what William did after being discharge from the army. We do know that he was selected or volunteered to serve in the Enrolled Pensioner Force in Western Australia. During the period between being discharge and entering the Enrolled Pensioner Force William must have married and his wife gave birth to a son, William John.

    William and his family arrived in Western Australia on the 11th February 1861 on board the convict transport ship the “Palmerston” as a pensioner Guard. He served at Fremantle jail as a Warder and at the Perth Goal as a Night Warder. In April 1876, William was one of the warders who went after the Fenians after they escaped from Fremantle Prison. A document which has his signature on it is in the Battye Library. On the 5th April 1881 whilst on duty as Night Warder at Perth Goal, William was reported drunk on duty. In 1881 he was assigned Perth Railway Block 151/V. William died on 15th July 1893 at Brown Street, Perth. He was interned in the East Perth Cemetery, East Perth.

    Sarah Carr née Wasson or Mason was born in about 1828. Not much is known about her and her surname is very hard to decipher from the varies legal documents that are available, thus could be interpreted as Wasson or Mason. Sarah arrived on the Palmerston with her husband William and young son William John. Sarah gave birth to their daughter Mary Ann in Fremantle. Sarah died of Consumption (TB) on the 1st April 1870 and was also interned in the East Perth Cemetery.

    Ann Carr nee Lyons was born in 1841. Ann’s 1st marriage was to Pensioner Guard Owen Cronin and it ended with his death in 1869. Owen had served in several different Regiments the last being the RA 6th Battalion 18th Brigade. Owen and Ann arrived in the colony on the Hougoumont on the 9th January 1868. After Owen’s death Ann married William Carr on the 2nd December 1871. Ann took on the responsibility of William’s two children and was a loving Grandmother to many grandchildren. Ann died 29th October 1922 and is interned in the Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta.

    William John Carr was born in about 1859. William arrived with his father and mother on the Palmerston. William’s occupation was carpenter and builder. William held the licences for the Royal Hotel in William Street, Perth in 1898 and the Australian Hotel in 1900. William married Mary Ann Elizabeth Peach on the 12th August 1885 at St Patricks Church in York, Western Australia. John Guilfoyle and Mary Ann Carr where witnesses to the marriage. William and Mary had 8 children; Frederick William Peach born 1886, Marion Elizabeth born 1887, William Lionel born 1889, Evelyn Mary born 1891, Alma Elizabeth born 1893, Harold Ernest born 1895, Reginald John born 1897 and Frank Lawrence born 1900. Frederick William Peach died in 1888 aged 2 years, Marion Elizabeth died 1888 aged 7 months and Frank Lawrence died 1901 aged 11 months. Marion and Frederick William Peach are buried in the East Perth Cemetery and Frank Lawrence is buried in Karrakatta. William John died on the 8th April 1942 and is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.

    Mary Ann Elizabeth Carr nee Peach was born 26th October 1859 in Perth, Western Australia to Mary Johanna Farrell and Frederick Peach. When Mary was 4 months old her father a Jeweller watchmaker died returning from Newcastle (now known as Toodyay). He drowned in the Swan River in Guildford and is buried in the East Perth Cemetery. In 1864 Mary’s mother remarried when she was 5 years old to George Kemp (an expiree). Later that same year Mary’s half sister Sarah was born. Mary died 19th May 1929 and is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.

    Mary Ann Guilfoyle nee Carr was born 10 July 1862 in Fremantle, Western Australia to William Carr and Sarah Wasson/ Mason. Mary wanted to enter the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy but didn’t have the dowry to do so. Mary instead taught children at the Convent of Mercy, Victoria Square, Perth. Mary married John Guilfoyle on the 30th August 1885 at the Roman Catholic Church and they had 10 children. These children where Mary Josephine born 1886, John Michael born 1888, William Thomas born 1890, Denis Paul born 1892, Cecil Aloysius born
    1893, Delia Kathleen born 1896 and died 1896 aged 2 months, Joseph Carr born 1897, Francis Patrick born 1900, Veronica Mary born 1903 and died 1905 aged 2 years and Michael Perrill born 1905 and died 1910 aged 4 years and 9 months. Mary was quietly involved in charity and also helped to the run the Australian Hotel whilst bring up her children. Mary never recovered from the death of her youngest child and died on the 7th January 1911. She is buried in the East Perth Cemetery.

    Guilfoyle Family

    John Guilfoyle was born in Scariff, County Clare, Ireland on the 27th September 1858 to Michael Guilfoyle and Mary Peril. He was educated at Whitegate School in Galway, Ireland.

    In 1878 John and his brothers Michael, William, Denis, Patrick and Thomas came to Western Australia and his Mother Mary and sister Bridget arrived later. John 1st cousin Patrick Maloney also came to the colony, so John and his family either followed Patrick or came out with before him. John’s father and 2 sisters had died in Ireland.

    John got a job navyving on the northern railway line between Geraldton and Northampton. He then started work on the first section of the Perth to Fremantle line. John was the 1st Porter at the Perth Railway Station and was then promoted to Guard on the Perth to Fremantle line.

    In 1891 John had to go to York to identify the body of his younger brother Denis, who was a Railway Guard killed when the train he was working on ran over him at the York Station.

    On the 30th August 1885, John married Mary Ann Carr. In the same year, he resigned from the railways and took on the license of the Victoria Hotel for 4 years. Finding that boring he then went into business as a Financier and Builder with not a lot of success. He returned to Hotel- keeping in 1890 when he brought the Oddfellow Hall and renamed it the Australian Hotel. For 2 years John ran the hotel, then he subleased it when he accepted the Government contract to erect the Beverley to Broomehill telegraph line. John resumed control of the Australian Hotel in 1902.

    John’s mother Mary Guilfoyle nee Peril dies on the 20th April 1919. She is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta.

    In August 1924 the Licensing Board decided that John had to build a hotel “worthy of one of the main City thoroughfares”. John eventually secured a loan of £45,000 with the help of Mr Tom Molloy and the Abraham brothers Louis and Alfred from Melbourne. The new 3 storey hotel was built and was called the “Hotel Australia”.

    In later years John’s sons where all partners of the Hotel Australia and took over the running of the hotel and John went to live with one of his sons Dr. Francis Patrick Guilfoyle and his wife Lilian Gwynne Helena Guilfoyle nee Degnan. On the evening of 15th July 1930 in a heavy rain storm, John was hit by a tram and killed outside his home. He was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.

    Mary Josephine Guilfoyle was born 13th August 1886 in Perth. Mary’s father John nicknamed her Toots, and she was known by this by all family members throughout her life.

    Mary was educated at the “Sisters of Mercy”, Victoria Square Perth and performed very well at school. After leaving school Mary wanted to enter the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy. Mary’s mother was happy for this to happen, but her father did not want her to enter the religious order.

    John decided to take Mary on a trip overseas to the old Country, England and the Continent hoping that this would change her mind. This didn’t change Mary’s mind at all and on returning to Western Australia, Mary entered the Sisters of Mercy as a postulate on the 21st November 1907. Mary’s profession occurred on the 4th August 1910 and she took on the Religious Name of Sister Stanislaus.

    Mary taught in many of the schools of the Sisters of Mercy and she would often walk many miles during the week to visit the poor and the sick.

    During the 1930’s Mary was made Reverend Mother of the Queens Park Covent and then later she was appointed as the administer of St. Anne’s Hospital. Mary undertook this role for many years until in the later stages of her life she was given the less arduous role of running the small hospital “tuck Shop” which she ran with quite efficiency.

    Mary reached her Golden Jubilee in about 1960 and was celebrated with her family, priests and Nuns at the chapel at St. Anne’s Hospital. A citation from the Pope was read by the officiating priest.

    Mary died 6th July 1964 at St. Anne’s Nursing Home, Mt Lawley and is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery with her citation from the Pope.

    John Michael Guilfoyle was born 12th August 1888 in Perth. He was known in the family as Jack.

    John was educated at Christian Brothers College (CBC) in Perth. John also did well at school, enough for him to go to Oxford University and graduate in 1911 as a Doctor of Medicine. Whilst at England John met and married Olive Violet Prendergust in 1914 in London. Their only child John Patrick was born in Paddington, London on the 6 March 1915. Whilst living in England, John worked at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.

    On returning to Western Australia in December 1921, John set up a practise in Perth and was also involved with the running of the Hotel Australia.

    John eventually retired and live in Marine Parade, Mosman Park where he died on the 12 January 1964. John is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.

    William Thomas Guilfoyle was born in 1890 at Australia Hotel, Perth. William also went to CBC Perth. He worked at the Hotel Australia for many years and as a Public Servant.

    William married Ellen Mary O’Dea on the 21st November 1912 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Perth. William and Ellen had 6 children. Mary Teresa born 1913, William John O’Dea born 1st August 1915, twins Joseph Michael born 1920 and died 30th October 1921 and Michael born 1920, John Denis born 25th July 1924 and Kathleen born 1927.

    On 6th March 1916, William enlisted as a Private in the 43rd Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. He arrived in England on the 29th December 1916 and proceeded overseas to France in the 20 March 1917. Whilst in France he was admitted to hospital on the 10th April 1917 with Pleurisy, again on the 6th July 1917 with Pyrexia of unknown origin and again on the 4th October 1917 when he was wounded. William suffered from Trench Fever on the 21st April 1918.

    2nd August 1919, William disembarked in Fremantle and was demobilized. He was discharge from the Australian Imperial Force on the 10th September 1919.

    William along with his brothers was involved with the Hotel Australia.

    William died in 1956 and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta.

    Denis Paul Guilfoyle was born in 29th June 1892. Denis also went to CBC Perth. Denis also did well at school, enough for him to go to Oxford University and graduate in 1918 as a Doctor of Medicine. Denis also trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. It was said in a newspaper article that Denis served in the Imperial Forces during the First World War, but I haven’t found his records yet.

    Whilst in England Denis met and married Kate Lilian Poole in September 1914 in Moorfields, London. Their only child Joyce M was born in 1915 in Islington, London.

    On returning to Australia in 1919 with his family he set up practice at 621 Hay Street, Perth. In 1921, Denis went to Sydney for a short period and on returning to Western Australia he went to Albany for 3 weeks. Denis’s wife Kate was not coping with the move to Australia and in November 1921 she went back to England taking their daughter. This move back to England was to be for twelve months only. In 1926 he transferred to Bega, New South Wales and returned to Perth in 1934 to take over Frank’s practise when he entered the Navy.

    When Frank returned from the Navy, Denis returned to Sydney where he set up practice again.
    In 1937 Denis filed for Divorce on account of desertion by his wife. Kate and their daughter had never returned from England. The divorce was granted in December 1937.

    Six months later Denis died on the 10th June 1938 in Waverley, NSW. He is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Botany, New South Wales.

    Cecil Aloysius Guilfoyle was born in 6th October 1893. Cecil also attended CBC Perth and graduated in 1912.

    On the 15th January 1916 Cecil married Edith May O’Dea (sister of Ellen Mary O’Dea). They had 5 children, Edith born 1917, Veronica born 1919, Cecil Aloysius born 1922, Mary born 1928 and Francis born 1931.

    Cecil worked as clerk, barman and casually for the Western Australian Railways 30 January 1929 to 27 April 1935. From 2 May 1935 Cecil was employed full time with the Railways as a Porter at Perth Station. Cecil did 2 stints in Albany working as a shunter. From the 27 April 1942 until his death Cecil worked as Head Shunter at Midland Junction.

    Whilst working in Albany in 1941 for the Railways he nominated to contest the Albany seat for the Albany District Council of the A.L.P in the Legislative Assembly election for the next year. He was unsuccessful.

    Cecil was injured on the night of 6th May 1942 at the Cresco Siding, Bassendean when he was crushed between railway trucks after being thrown from the leading truck. He died at 3am the next morning. Cecil was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta.

    Delia Kathleen Mary Guilfoyle was born in 1896 at Brown Street, East Perth. Delia unfortunately died after 2 months on the 20 June 1896 at Brown Street, East Perth of Diarrhoea which she had for 14 days. This was probably the result of some other illness not diagnosed. Delia was buried in the East Perth Cemetery with her Mother and Grandparents.

    Joseph Carr Guilfoyle was born in 1897. Joseph was also educated at CBC.

    On the 25th February 1916, Joseph enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a Private. His joined the 25th Battalion. Joseph’s occupation at time of enlistment was noted as clerk. He sailed for England on the 18th July 1916 and disembarked in England on the 9th September 1916. On the 4th December 1916 he was transferred to the 28th Regiment. On the 1st October 1917 Joseph was admitted to hospital, he re-joined his Battalion on the 24 December 1917. On the 11 December 1918, Joseph was serving with the 13th Reinforcements of the 28th Battalion when he was wounded. Joseph’s father John was notified of his wounding, but his name was recorded as Private Joseph Carr Guilford and after correspondence with his father

    John the Australian Imperial Force amended his documents to show his correct surname as Guilfoyle.

    Joseph returned to Australia onboard the “Ormonde” on the 24 July 1919 and was then medically discharge from the Australian Imperial Forces on the 7th September 1919

    On the 22nd January 1923 Joseph married Constance Eileen Horan at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Perth. They had 3 children, Constance Mary born 1923, Maureen Rosa born 1926 and died 31 October 1927 and Joseph Bernard Carr born 28 August 1928.

    Joseph was working as the clerk of the Australian Hotel in 1941.

    Joseph died on the 14th July 1942. At the time of Joseph’s death, his occupation in the Probates was noted as fitter’s assistant.

    Francis Patrick Guilfoyle was born 27th December 1900 at the Australian Hotel, Murray St, Perth. Francis was known as Frank to family. He was educated at CBC Perth until his mother’s death in 1911. After this Frank was educated at the Marist Brother College at New Norcia. Frank did well at school which allowed him to go to Oxford University where he graduated as a Doctor. He then practises at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Whilst in London Frank met Mary Hilda McKay whom he married on the December 1921 in Chelsea, England. Francis and Mary arrived in Fremantle on January 1927. Frank went to work out at Quairading and on the 30th October 1927 his wife Mary died. She is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta.

    Frank then met Lilian Gwynne Helena Degnan who was working as acting Matron at the Quairading Hospital. Frank and Gwynne (as she was known) got married on the 17th April 1929 in Quairading.

    Frank and Gwynne came back to Perth to live at the Hotel Australia. There first child Pauline Gwynneth was born in 1929. Their son Gerald Francis was born in 1931 and he died in 1937. Frank and Gwyn’s youngest daughter Margaret was born in 1935.

    Frank joined the Australian Navy for a short service on 7th April 1934 as Surgeon Lieutenant. He served in the top end of Australia and resigned his commission on the 18th September 1936 so that he could return home to Western Australia to help run the Hotel Australia. On returning to help run the hotel Frank set up his medical practice inside the Hotel.

    Frank died on 6th March 1953 on board M.V. Kanimble, berth at North Wharf, Melbourne, Victoria. Frank is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton.

    Veronica Mary Guilfoyle was born in 1903 and died 2 years later, on the 10 July 1905 at Murray Street, Perth. Veronica died of bronchitis which she suffered from for 3 weeks. On Veronica’s death certificate it states that she was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta, but her name is inscribed on her Mother’s and Grandparent’s headstone at East Perth Cemetery. There doesn’t seem to be any record of a burial in Karrakatta Cemetery.

    Michael Perrill Guilfoyle was born in 1905 and died of meningitis on 4 May 1910 at the Australian Hotel. On Michael’s death certificate it states that he was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Karrakatta, but his name is inscribed on his Mother’s and Grandparent’s headstone at East Perth Cemetery. There doesn’t seem to be any record of a burial in Karrakatta Cemetery.

    I would like to thank Margaret McKenna, Tresna Back, Kerry Katich, Pauline, Harper, Robyn Hovell, Trish Cahill, Michael Guilfoyle and Lorraine Clarke for their help in researching the Carr and Guilfoyle Families. Your help has been invaluable.

Join the National Trust Community
Subscribe now
Follow Us On
Back to Top of the page.