The convict word was never mentioned in my husband Geoffrey Rundle’s family and as far as he knew, his family were First Fleeters whose famous ancestor, Frederick Meredith, had arrived on the Scarborough, as steward to Captain John Marshall. Geoff’s father’s side of the family had no convicts, however, I discovered to my great interest and vast amusement, that his mother Valmae Rundle nee Patterson (1926-2016) had convicts crawling out of nearly every family branch. Previous generations had most definitely decided to keep whatever they knew about their family’s convict past completely and very successfully confidential. If Valmae Patterson knew about any convicts in the family, she certainly was never going to tell anyone! Well, that was until I came along as the family historian/sleuth, aided by the invention of the internet, opening up the past and providing search engines that, at the click of my mouse button would reveal the convicts and early settlers documents of Australia’s past generations to their family members.
Australians today are fascinated about their past, and wear their convict family member as a badge of honour. I am quite sure that the reason Australians wish to unlock their past is because so many people today don’t know where their families originated from. It is a fact that so many convicts arrived in the Colony as felons, murderers and petty criminals and so many of them were the victims of poverty and neglect. These ancestors were banished from both their homelands and families, never to return. Over time convict’s homelands were forgotten, as well as their crimes, as Australian citizens transformed themselves into one of the most law abiding societies in the world. Victorian England’s influence on Australian produced a stiff upper lip attitude and any relationship to a convict past was quickly swept under the carpet of respectability.
Pedigree chart for Valmae Lenore Patterson
When I told my mother-in-law Valmae Lenore Patterson several years ago that I was going to write up and publish the family history she asked me not to put anything in my history that would reflect badly on the family. I know she was worried about herself personally and I simply replied, that if she has lived her life truthfully, then she should have nothing to worry about. I am not sure there was much comfort in my words for her, as I explained to her that I was interested only in historical and legal documents, and that my history would reflect and reveal these facts if they were relevant records for our family history. Family stories handed down the generations are almost always notoriously inaccurate and unreliable, and it is the documents that tell the truth about people. This was the very first lesson I was taught during my two year course in genealogy with the Society of Australian Genealogists.
In this chapter I will deal with the arrival in Sydney of the Stewart, Smith and Blade families from England, in the early days of the Colony, detailing the ships they arrived in, and how and why they came to be here. As far as practicable I will also show their extended families and produce as many original documents, newspaper clippings and photographs that I have been able to find during my seven years of research. It has been an amazing experience to journey back in time and uncover the early social history of Sydney, and see the extraordinary part my husband’s family played in shaping the history of the early Colony.
Sydney Cove had grown massively in the 50 years since 1788, spreading away from the Cove, up George Street keeping close by to the Tank Stream. Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s legacy of a clearly marked out roadway system of square blocks is still today appreciated by anyone who visits our fine city. However, by 1820 the old Burial Ground at the top of George Street was closed, due to overcrowding, terrible sanitation problems and a lack of clean air.
Devonshire Burial Grounds, now the site of Central Railway, abt. 1880
A new cemetery was created near Brickfield Hill on Devonshire Street, this site today is now Central Railway. The expansion of Sydney meant that the ever spreading city limits were deemed to be too close to the burial grounds for it to keep operating. The haphazard layout, lackadaisical record keeping and the fact that many early graves were simply marked with a cross allowed the caretakers to cram more burials into the area than it could cope with, rather than build over it, the cemetery was simply closed and an ornate fence was built around the perimeter. It stayed this way until 1880 when the Sydney Town Hall was deemed for the site.
It is this very area, around George Street and the Market Street Wharves down at Cockle Bay, now Darling Harbour and the pub areas around Sussex and Erskine Streets where the Stewart and Smith families settled in the early 1800’s. Later they moved to Millers Point before quitting the city for the more fashionable areas of Camperdown and Surry Hills. This was a time well before the eastern suburbs were subdivided and sold off, from their former very large estates owned by the Cooper and Wentworth families, and before ferries opened up the city to the north shore and more than a hundred years would pass before the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in the 1930’s. It was only natural therefore that the city moved west at a great pace.
My research into my husband’s family began shortly after I found, to my surprise that I also had a convict ancestor, well two, to be accurate, Samuel Howell who arrived on the Scarborough, as part of the notorious Second Fleet in 1789, and his son in law Richard Kippax, a convicted highwayman from Yorkshire who, in 1815 arrived in Sydney aboard the Indefatigable.
In January 2011 I took out a subscription for a year on ancestry.com and it took me barely five hours of research late one hot January evening, before I uncovered my Kippax family line. I clearly remember the moment that the website instructed me to click on the record to obtain my ancestor’s convict records. To be perfectly honest, I was absolutely gobsmacked, because no-one in my family had ever mentioned our convict heritage before. I wondered if my dad, Reg Robson had actually known and when I told my sister Lavinia Chrystal the following day, her reply came back “does anyone really need to know this?” I simply laughed at her! Today we both wear our convict heritage as a badge of honour.
However, I simply couldn’t bring myself to tell my husband about my convicts because I knew he would tease me remorselessly! So I kept it a secret for a few more days while I beavered away on his side of the family to see if he, like me, had convicts in his family tree. It was a complex process because my husband had difficulty even naming his grandparents, as all bar Sylvia Patterson, his maternal grandmother, had died before he was born. Geoff had the middle name Farrell, and when I placed this name tentatively into my tree as a surname for his grandmother Sylvia, records appeared for me to collect.
In no time at all I had accepted many Farrell records, newspaper articles and photographs which had been posted and accepted by other family researchers. In a few hours I had traced the Farrell family back several generations to Geoff’s 3x great grandmother Charlotte Farrell nee Meredith (1794-1851) who was the daughter of Frederick Meredith (1763-1836) and a young Yorkshire lass and convicted felon, Mary Kirk (1771-1809), who had arrived on the Royal Admiral on 7 October 1792. The Farrell and the Meredith Family, is another chapter I wrote up last year, telling the story of this remarkable family and their early involvement in the Colony of New South Wales, and in particular Port Macquarie and Sydney.
It was at this point that I came clean with my husband, Geoff, about what I was up to in the late hours of the evening, explaining that we both had amazing ancestors, including convicts, who had arrived in the early Colony. It was no wonder that there were convicts in some of our lines! Together Geoff and I have marvelled about each and every discovery and our quest to locate the graves of our ancestors has resulted in our uncovering graves and headstones, not only here in Australia, but in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland and has taken us on an incredible adventure of discovery, which has left us feeling more like amateur detectives and archaeologists, than just descendants.
After I had explored the Farrell and the Meredith family, I turned to uncovering the surname of Sylvia Farrell’s mother. Unfortunately Sylvia’s birth extract had not listed a surname for her mother, she was simply listed as Charlotte F. S., so I turned to other resources and it was from a very blurred newspaper clipping that I discovered Charlotte’s maiden name was Stewart. Charlotte or Sarah, known as Cissie, had married Charles M. Farrell and her marriage in 1887 had luckily been reported in the newspaper. The marvellous part about these newspaper clippings is that there is just so much information given about the families, including their addresses.
Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922
|Name||Sylva R L Farrell|
|Birth Place||New South Wales|
|Registration Place||Redfern, New South Wales, Australia|
|Father||Charles M Farrell|
|Mother||Charlotte F S|
Pedigree chart for Sylvia Rita Lenore Farrell
Sylvia Farrell’s pedigree takes her family back in so many family branches to the early Regimental soldiers, founders, pioneers, migrants and convicts of the Colony of New South Wales. All branches bar the Stewarts, Musts and Farrells are associated with the convict past of our Nation. I am proud to have been able to research this early Australian family and exorcise any shame that my husband’s ancestors may have had about their convict past. I am pleased to be able to reveal how these early Australian’s turned their lives around and turned adversity to triumph to became outstanding citizens in their communities. It has been such a pleasure to have researched these families.
Marriage of Charles Farrell and Sarah “Cissy” Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1887
In no time at all I had found Cissy Stewart’s birth record and collected it confidently due to her three Christian names, Charlotte Fanny and Sarah.
Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922
|Name||Charlotte F S Stewart|
|Birth Place||New South Wales|
|Registration Place||Kingston, New South Wales, Australia|
One of the most helpful online resources has been the addition of Church of England records to the ancestry website. The purchase of these records through Births Deaths and Marriage Registry would have been prohibitive, but collecting them on ancestry.com makes the annual subscription very good value. It was a great thrill when I collected and downloaded to my computer, the original marriage record for Charles Farrell and Cissie Stewart.
Marriage of Charles Mitchell Farrell and Charlotte Fanny Sarah Stewart, 17 April 1887, St Michaels Church, Surry Hills, Sydney
There was so much information on this record, including the maiden names of both Thomas Stewart’s wife as Eliza Brown and William Thomas Farrell’s wife, named as Frances Kidd. The bride and groom’s ages were listed as well as their marital state, and the occupations of the men were also given, as well as addresses. Not only that, but I was able to see an original document that was nearly 130 years old, and for me that this record was so precious.
Charles Mitchell Farrell (1859-1924) and Charlotte Fanny Sarah Farrell (1865-1942) had four children, Ruby Muriel Farrell (1887-1979), Gordon Charles Farrell (1889-1891), Doris Elaine Farrell (1890-1923) and Sylvia Rita Lenore Farrell (1893-1978). More information about this family is found in another chapter, The Farrell Family and the Meredith Family of Port Macquarie and Sydney.
The Stewart, Smith and Blade families are complex and large and the interconnections between them has been wonderful to discover. For the benefit of other descendants and family researchers, I will, as much as possible, expand these families and include some of the siblings in each generation in an attempt to help as many descendants find their family trees.
THE STEWART FAMILY
Thomas Stewart Jnr. (1841-1903), the father of Cissie Farrell was born in Sydney on 23 May 1841, the son of Thomas Stewart Snr. (1819-1883), a cabinet maker and publican, and his wife Ann Smith (1821-1856).
Pedigree chart for Charlotte Fanny Sarah “Cissie” Stewart
Baptism of Thomas Stewart Jnr. , son of Thomas Stewart Snr. and Ann Smith, 20 June 1841, born 23 May 1841, document kindly provided by Potsy Quigley nee Bathurst
Thomas Stewart Jnr. married Eliza Brown (1842-1898) at St Michael’s Church Surry Hills on 9 April 1863. Eliza was the daughter of a convict, William Brown (1805-1864) who arrived in Sydney aboard the Asia in 1822 and his wife, Mary Faughtley Wright (1815-1888), who was also the daughter of a convict, George F. Wright who arrived in Australia aboard the Somersetshire in 1814. I have earlier touched on Thomas and Eliza Stewart in my chapter on William Brown – A Proud Australian. William Brown was a business friend of both Thomas Stewart Snr. and Jnr., and had a successful timber business which he ran down at the Market Street Wharf and there he had come into contact with the Stewarts who were involved in the area as publicans. I can just imagine William Brown’s great joy when his daughter Eliza married into this fine early Colonial family.
Marriage of Thomas Stewart and Eliza Brown, The Empire, 14 April 1863
Marriage of Thomas Stewart and Eliza Brown, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 1863
Marriage of Thomas Stewart and Eliza Brown, 9 April 1863, St Michael’s Church, Surry Hills
Thomas and Eliza Stewart were the great great grandparents of my husband Geoffrey Rundle, and it has been an honour and fascinating experience to find out about this early Colonial family of New South Wales and their incredible contribution to the history that has shaped our nation.
Thomas Stewart Jnr. (1841-1903) and Eliza Brown (1842-1898) had ten children Florence Elizabeth Maryanne Stewart (1863-1933), Charlotte Fanny Sarah Stewart (1865-1942), Harriette Louise Stewart (1866-1948), Ann Jane Stewart (1868-1916), Thomas William George Stewart (1869-1903), Emma Lilian Stewart (1871-1934), John Robert Stewart (1874-1942), Harold Andrew Stewart (1876-1945), Mildred Alice Stewart (1878-1957) and Leslie Smith Stewart (1879-1940).
Thomas Stewart proudly placed birth announcements for his children into the newspapers giving wonderful information, not only about the birth dates of his children, but their address, and it can be seen in the early years of their marriage that they moved from Elizabeth Cottage, Paddington to Petersham and then to Wimbledon Hall, Surry Hills for their third daughter’s birth. Wimbledon Hall being the home of Eliza’s parents, William and Mary Brown.
Birth of Florence Elizabeth Maryann Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 1863
Birth of Charlotte Fanny Sarah Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald 22 February 1865
Birth of Harriet Louisa Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 1866
Waters v. Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 December 1885
Stable Fire in Redfern, South Australian Register, 2 February 1893
It was interesting that this fire was picked up by other states, I soon found a more in depth account of the fire which did so much damage to the stables of Thomas Stewart Jnr.
‘Bus Stables Burnt, Daily Telegraph, 2 February 1893
During my early research on Thomas Stewart Jnr. I had often wondered what his occupation was, and I became confident after capturing these newspaper clipping regarding Thomas Stewart that he was an omnibus proprietor. An omnibus is a registered horse drawn carriage for public patrons, and like any business it was subject to the advances of transportation, obviously Thomas Stewart found a niche business in a time frame that proceeded the motor car industry, which would put an end to the horse and carriage business right around the world.
Transit Commission, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 February 1893
A ‘Bus for Riley-Street, Australian Star 13 July 1899
Death notice for Eliza Stewart, Daily Telegraph, 14 April 1898
During my searches in old newspapers I came across the death notice for Eliza Stewart on 12 April 1898 at her residence, 16 Dowling Street, Redfern, aged 60 years. Again it was wonderful to be so confident collecting this notice and I was grateful for the added information confirming Eliza as the daughter of William Brown.
Friday’s Mails, Evening News 17 September 1903
Obituary for Mr. Thos. Stewart, Australian Star, 21 September 1903
Death notice for Thomas Stewart, bus proprietor, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 1903
Obituary for Thomas Stewart, Australian Town and Country Journal, 23 September 1903
The obituaries I found for Thomas Stewart were full of the most wonderful information bringing Thomas Stewart to life for me and explaining and filling so many of the gaps that I had in my family history. The journalists not only explained his various interests in the horse racing industry but also described his personality as that of a quiet and reserved man.
Funeral of Thomas Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 1903
This funeral notice for Thomas Stewart was exciting to find because it revealed that Thomas was buried at the family vault at Waverley Cemetery. A quick google of Waverley Cemetery showed that there was a document lodged in the State Library of New South Wales which gave descriptions of grave locations, and a list of those interred in the graves. Making things even easier, I discovered that there is an office at Waverley Cemetery with a full time staff who are very helpful in giving directions to the gravestones.
Stewart Vault Grave, Waverley Cemetery, Saturday 7 July 2012, photo by Virginia Rundle
What an exciting day Saturday 7 July 2012 was, not only was it my husband Geoff’s birthday, but armed with grave directions for the Anglican section of the cemetery, we set off on an adventure with our cemetery scout Roy, our West Highland White Terrier, to find the Stewart grave at Waverley Cemetery. It didn’t take us long to locate this magnificent brown granite pedestal grave atop a lovely mosaic of black and white marble tiles, in the dress circle position overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was quite magnificent, even on a wild and windy winter’s day. A vault beneath the grave allowed for the dead to be interred. However the grave was in the most desperate condition, and a tree had formerly been growing on the eastern side which had done considerable damage to the retaining wall. Thankfully the staff at the cemetery had cut it out, however it was still alive and we remedied that situation a few weeks later after we applied roundup liberally to the grave.
Family vault of Thomas Stewart, Waverley Cemetery, photograph taken by Virginia Rundle
It was wonderful to see other Stewart family members buried in the grave along with Thomas and Eliza Stewart. The Morris family had inscriptions on another side of the grave. Cyril H. Morris (1888-1947), who had died in an accident, the husband of Vera Adams, grandson of Thomas and Eliza Stewart and his parents Sydney J Morris (1867-1946) who was the husband of Harriet Louisa Stewart (1866-1948), a sister to Cissie and a daughter to Thomas and Eliza, who is also listed below her husband, parents of Sydney “Sid” Morris, Cyril H Morris, Emily E Morris (1891-1965) and Ida Neita Morris (1893-1981). Also listed below is Sydney Stewart Morris (1886-1962) the eldest son of Sydney and Harriet Morris who has his ashes interred in the vault. On another side of the grave Leslie S Stewart (1879-1940 and his wife Florence Bracken (1882-1962) are listed, the parents of Glen and Dulce Stewart. It was so helpful to be able to take photos of the headstone and then return to my research documents and work out the relationships of these other people who are buried in the Stewart Grave. I must add that the brown granite is very difficult to photograph, in particular on a sunny day when the reflections of the sun off the water and surrounding areas is too dazzling to get a clear photo.
Gravestone of Thomas and Eliza Stewart, Waverley Cemetery, photos taken by V. Rundle
Headstone of Cyril H Stewart, grandson of Thomas and Eliza Stewart, husband of Vera, photograph taken by Virginia Rundle
Headstone of the Morris family grave, part of the Stewart family grave at Waverley Cemetery, photo taken by Virginia Rundle
Headstone of Leslie S Stewart and his wife Florence, Stewart Family Grave, Waverley Cemetery. Photo taken by Virginia Rundle
Restoration begins on the Stewart grave at Waverley, photos V Rundle
Over a series of four weekends Geoff and I visited Waverley Cemetery and undertook restoration of the marble tiles which involved removing the tiles in sections and taking out a heavy matting of asparagus fern which had not been touched in nearly fifty years. We took out large green recycle bins and filled them many times over with this material. Then we carefully replaced the tiles and moved on to other sections of the marble. Finally I applied a heavy duty potion of round up to kill of any further regrowth in the future. We visit the grave several a times a year to weed and to admire this wonderful and peaceful place. On many occasions we have been blessed with the sight of whales rearing out of the water, and I must say it is a most amazing vantage point for whale watching.
Stewart Grave, Waverley Cemetery, Easter 2018, photo taken by V Rundle
The work continues to weed and preserve the Stewart grave at Waverley Cemetery, however as the years go by, less and less weeds pop their heads up over the Spring and Summer months and as long as we can, we will be vigilant caretakers of this lovely grave.
Death of Cyril H. Morris, Coroner’s Report, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Jul 1947
Cyril H. Morris was the grandson of Thomas and Eliza Stewart, his mother Harriet Stewart married Sydney J. Morris. Harriet was a sister to Cissie Stewart, my husband Geoff Rundle’s great grandmother.
How sad to find this newspaper report of the Coroner for Cyril Humphrey Morris, but how valiant he was in the face of a disaster that he gave his life so another could live. I am so grateful to Trove Digitised Newspapers, a free online resource funded by the Australian National Library, for without this information it would take many library visits to plough through the microfiche tapes to find the item required. Trove allows for parameters to be selected and at the press of a button copies of these original newspaper become available to download. I am indebted to this resource, without it my family history would be incomplete and many unanswered questions would have remained.
In researching Cyril H. Morris I also discovered that Vera was his second wife. I found his marriage certificate from the Anglican Parish Registers, 1814-2011 for his first marriage to Kate Massingham on 19 June 1906.
Cyril and Kate Morris had three children, Stewart Massingham Morris (1906-1987), Cyril Ernest Morris (1908-1966) and Hugh Morris (1909-).
Marriage of Cyril Humphrey Morris and Kate Massingham, 19 June 1906, St Thomas’ Church, North Sydney, Sydney Anglican Parish Records, 1814-2011
Marriage of Ernest Alfred Porter and Mildred Alice Stewart, 15 April 1902, St Michael’s Church, Flinders Street, Sydney 1814-2011, Sydney Anglican Parish Register
The Motor Omnibus, Australian Star, 21 February 1905
Partnership Dissolved, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 February, 1909
Sydney’s last line of ‘buses, Mercury, 9 March 1912
During my research on the Stewart family I received some wonderful correspondence from another Stewart family descendant, Potsy Quigley who is also a great great granddaughter of Thomas Stewart and Eliza Brown. Potsy’s ancestor is Ann Jane Stewart, a sister to Charlotte Fanny Sarah Stewart, who married Frances Bede Bathis/Bathurst. It has been an absolute pleasure to have collaborated with Potsy who has done an incredible amount of independent and extensive research on not only the Stewart family and the Brown family, but the Smith, Kent and Blade families of Sydney and London. I am indebted to Potsy for her generosity in sending me so many wonderful and precious documents that she has obtained from the Births, Deaths and Marriage Register of New South Wales. Potsy comes down a direct line from Francis and Ann Janes’s youngest son Thomas L. J. Bathis/Bathurst (1891-1952) who married Catherine A Field (1891-1925) at Marrickville, New South Wales in 1910. Their son Keith Allan Bathurst is Potsy Quigley nee Bathurst’s father.
Marriage of Francis Joseph Bede Bathurst and Ann Jane Stewart, 9 April 1888, St Peter’s Catholic Church, Surry Hills, document kindly provided by Potsy Quigley nee Bathurst.
Birth Registration of Ann Jane Stewart, daughter of Thomas Stewart and Eliza Brown 15 June 1868, born at Westbourne Street, Petersham, courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Thomas “Tom” Bathurst, circa 1916, kindly shared to ancestry.com by Noelene_W and her Bathis/Williams family tree
Thomas Stewart Jnr.’s (1841-1903) parents, Thomas Stewart Snr. (1819-1883) and his wife Ann Smith (1821-1856) were both born in the Colony of New South Wales, a testament to the early arrival of the Stewarts and the Smith to the Colony of New South Wales.
Thomas Stewart, Snr’s occupation was that of both a cabinet maker and later a publican whose family owned The Royal Oak Hotel, on the corner of Sussex and Erskine Street nearby to the Sydney Markets, which serviced Darling Harbour, formerly known as Cockle Bay. The site of the Sydney Markets is now where the Queen Victoria Building stands, and is adjacent to the Sydney Town Hall, which is the former site of the old Sydney Burial Ground. It is incredible to think that this part of early Sydney was where the Stewart, Brown, Smith and Blade families lived, worked and socialised.
Baptism of Thomas Stewart, son of Robert and Mary Stewart, 7 March 1819, born 17 February 1819, document courtesy of Potsy Quigley nee Bathurst
Thomas Stewart Snr. (1819-1883) was the son of Robert Stewart (1778-1834) a Napoleonic soldier of the 46th Foot Regiment, who was posted to Australia, aboard the Wyndham in 1814, together with his wife Mary Bowman (1777-1848), and their young children John Stewart (1801-1877) and Elizabeth Stewart (1804-1875). Shortly after their arrival in Port Dalrymple, Tasmania, twins Henry Stewart (1814-1866) and William Stewart (1814-1869) were born. Thomas Stewart Snr. was born in Sydney in 1819, after the family made Sydney their permanent home.
Ann Smith (1821-1856) was the daughter of a convict shoemaker, George Smith (1783-1855), who was transported aboard the Baring in 1815. George Smith’s wife Mary Ann Kent (1782-1837) arrived the same year aboard the Broxbournebury, following her then husband, the convict Thomas Blades (1774-1815), an artist, who was transported on the Surrey in 1815, a companion ship to the Broxbournebury on the voyage to Sydney. Thomas Blades was tragically drowned in Cockle Bay in 22 January 1815 when a pleasure craft sank in a sudden squall. George Smith was assigned to Mary Ann Blades after their marriage on 27 May 1818. Their daughter, Ann Smith was born in a wooden home along the eastern shore of Cockle Bay, which is now known as Darling Harbour.
Thomas and Ann Stewart had seven children, Thomas Smith Jnr. (1841-1903), Sarah Ann Stewart (1843-1869), George Robert Stewart (1845-1871), Mary J Stewart (1848-1848), Elizabeth Stewart (1850-1895), Martha Susannah Stewart (1852-1939) and Clara A Stewart (1854-1928).
Sydney Cove, looking down on Campbell’s Wharf, circa 1818, engraving by Captain Wallis of the 46th Regiment
1828 New South Wales Census which lists Thomas Stewart Snr., his parents Robert and Mary Stewart. Robert Stewart is listed as arriving aboard the Wyndham, a tailor of Erskine Street, Sydney and Thomas is listed as aged 9 B.C. (born colony). Listed below is Thomas Stewart’s brother John, wife Lydia and children, Mary Ann and John. John Stewart is listed as a shoemaker who arrived on the Matilda in 1813, another ship which sailed with the Wyndham.
There is just so much wonderful information on this census, and the incredible thing about this document is that it has survived until today and I was able to capture it on my home computer courtesy of ancestry.com who have made available an incredible amount of original Colonial and Convict documents in their original state.
Marriage of Thomas Stewart and Ann Smith, Sydney Monitor, 29 August 1840
Transfer of Publican Licence–refused, Commercial Journal and Advertiser, 14 September 1839, William Howard was married to Elizabeth Stewart, Thomas Stewart’s sister.
Marriage of Thomas Stewart and Ann Smith, 26 August 1840, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Witnesses to the marriage were Thomas’ brother William Stewart and Sarah Ireland nee Blades, who was a niece of Ann Smith, and the daughter of Sarah Ann Blades, a half sister of Ann Smith.
New South Wales Publican’s Licence, 30 April 1841, in favour of Thomas Stewart of the Royal Oak, Sydney,
Publican’s Licence, Sydney Gazette, 16 April 1842
Thomas Stewart, shipping agent, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 1851
Death Certificate of Ann Stewart nee Smith, 28 October 1836, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Ann had died at the relatively young aged of 35 years and I had often wondered whether she had died in childbirth, this document from Potsy confirmed this sad fact.
Death of Ann Stewart, Empire, 29 October 1856
Funeral of Ann Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 1856
New South Wales Government Gazette, 15 May 1857
Sands Directory, 1857 for Thomas Stewart, listed as a distillery inspector, Forest Lodge, Glebe. Also listed are his brothers, James and John Stewart, grocers from Elizabeth Street, Paddington and William Stewart, publican of the Royal Oak, Cnr Sussex and Erskine Streets.
Sale of Stewart property, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 May 1859
Marriage of Thomas Stewart and Elizabeth Coulton Sydney Morning Herald, 21 June 1859
It was not surprising that Thomas Stewart married again, just three years after becoming a widower, marrying a widow, Elizabeth Coulton, the self-described relict of Mr George Coulton.
Death of Sarah Ann Stewart, Empire, 27 October 1869
There is so much information in this death record for Sarah Ann Stewart, aged just 27 years, listing her place of death at the residence of her uncle Mr C Morris of Campbelltown, and that her father Mr Thomas Stewart was now proprietor of Charlton’s Hotel, foot of Market Street.
Funeral of Sarah Ann Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 October 1869
Sarah Ann Stewart was buried at Balmain Cemetery and this was the first time I had seen a reference to a burial ground for Thomas Stewart Snr.’s family. Like many cemeteries Balmain Cemetery was full to overcrowding by the 1930’s and its position on a slight hillside meant that in hot or very wet weather there was a shocking odour and run-off emanating most unpleasantly from the cemetery, which was then deemed to be unsanitary to public health. Balmain Cemetery was completely bulldozed during World War II, to create what is now known as Balmain Pioneers Park, even after there were concerted efforts from concerned residents as to the total disregard to the historic nature of the cemetery. Balmain Council gave surviving relatives the opportunity to have their ancestors re-interred, however the shocking truth was that it was a very inopportune time for many descendants to take advantage of this offer. Sadly the bulldozing included the crushing of all headstones in a very callous disregard to our Colonial history. At the very least one would have expected that the historic headstones would have been preserved and included in a surrounding wall of respectfulness, as has happened at other cemeteries that were turned into parks.
Funeral of George Robert Stewart, son of Thomas Stewart Snr, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September 1871
Death notice for Thomas Stewart Snr. Sydney Mail, 17 May 1883
Funeral of Mr Thomas Stewart Snr. Sydney Morning Herald, 8 March 1883
Thomas Stewart Snr. was buried at Balmain Cemetery with many members of his family, I still have to confirm whether the remains were resumed in 1940 and re-interred at Waverley Cemetery after Balmain Cemetery was bull-dozed.
Death Certificate of Thomas Stewart Snr. 7 March 1883, courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Private Robert Stewart 46th South Devonshire Foot Regiment
The 46th Regiment arrived in the British colony of New South Wales to replace the 73rd Regiment of Foot (1st Battalion Highlanders) in February 1814, and were relieved by the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot in 1817. Whilst in New South Wales, the Regiment saw service in Sydney, Newcastle, Parramatta and Van Diemens Land before leaving for Madras in 1817. During their service in New South Wales, the 46th were commanded by Lieut. Colonel G. Molle. In 1820 apparently a detachment travelled on HMS Coromandel as escorts for convicts bound for Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales.
Robert Stewart 46 regiment of foot . Private Robert Stewart (c.1778…..1834) Back To . .46th South Devonshire Regiment .48th Foot .The Northamptonshire Regiment 3rd Foot The Buff’s The East Kent Regiment. •Born : 31 May, 1778 •Where Born : Startforth, Co. Durham •Occupation : Tailor / Soldier •Date Arrived : 11 February, 1814 •Ship Arrived on : Wyndham •Rank on Discharge : Private •Date of Enlistment : 19 January, 1801 Enlisted 46th Regiment •Where Enlisted : Leeds •Transferred to 48th : 25 August, 1817 •Transferred to 3rd :25 March, 1818 •Date of Discharge :22 December, 1824 after length of service •Where Discharged : Sydney •Died : 10 May, 1834 •Where Died / Buried : Sydney / Sydney Burial Ground •Parents Names : Robert & Martha Stewart (maiden name Westerman ) •Spouse’s Name : Mary Bowman •Born : 1777 •Where Born : Yorkshire, England •Occupation : Soldier’s Wife •Date Arrived : 11 February, 1814 •Ship Arrived on : Wyndham •Died : 8 February, 1848 •Where Died / Buried : Sydney / Sydney Burial Ground •Date Married : 5 April 1801 •Where Married : St Peter’s, Leeds, Yorkshire, England •Spouse’s Parents : unknown.
Victoria Barracks, Darlinghurst, Sydney, watercolour circa 1840
Much has been written about Private Robert Stewart of the 46th South Devonshire Foot Regiment and I must say it was fascinating to discover this amazing piece of regimental history in my husband, Geoff Rundle’s family. Many family researchers have placed documents onto websites such as ancestry.com and there is a wonderful spirit of collaboration and great pride amongst this group of descendants of Robert Stewart and his wife Mary Bowman. I was determined now to try and take Robert back to England and place him into his town of origin.
Brass Hatpin for the 46th Regiment
Brass button from the uniform of the 46th Regiment
Foot Soldier, 46th Regiment of New South Wales, Australia
Section 54, Corner of Erskine and Sussex Streets, Sydney, the Stewart’s land is bottom LHS
Memorial to the Governor, New South Wales Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1856, Robert Stewart, November 1825
This plead letter to the Governor from Robert Stewart explains his predicament upon retirement, formerly of the 48th Regiment, he is married with five children to support and he is desirous of a land grant.
Robert Stewart, 10 square perches, Sydney, on a list of Land Grants by Sir Thomas Brisbane, 1824, New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Paper’s, 1788-1856
Incredibly, Robert Stewart pleaded for lands to be granted to him further west of Sydney so he could settle down as a farmer, and apparently he was dismayed to be granted only 1 acre of land on the corner of Sussex and Erskine Streets in the township of Sydney, in a busy acreage of the town, with little farming opportunity. If only the Stewarts could be alive today to see this area of land in the central CBD of Sydney, which can only leave one speechless to its value. Robert had no choice but to return to his previous occupation as that of a tailor.
Map of early Sydney showing The Royal Hotel on the Cnr. of Sussex and Erskine Streets image courtesy of Potsy Quigley.
Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Map showing the Stewart’s land on the corner of Sussex and Erskine Streets, and also George Smith’s land on Sussex Street, George being the father of Ann Stewart who married Thomas Stewart Snr. the son of William Stewart. Image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
New South Wales, Australia, Certificates for Publican’s Licences, 1830-1848, for Robert Stewart June 1838
Robert Stewart and Mary Bowman (1777-1848) had five children, John Stewart (1801-1877), Elizabeth Stewart (1804-1875), Henry Stewart (1814-1866), William Stewart (1814-1869) and Thomas Stewart Snr. (1819-1883).
John Stewart was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1802, where his parents were living, his father Robert Stewart was attached to the 46th Regiment of Foot and he had been serving in the army during the Napoleonic Wars.
Ireland, Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911:
|Baptism Date||6 Jun 1802|
|Baptism Place||Cathedral St Mary, Limerick, Limerick, Ireland|
|FHL Film Number||897365|
Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1949:
|Spouse Name||Lydia Bates|
|Marriage Place||New South Wales|
|Registration Place||Sydney New South Wales|
|Volume Number||V B|
John Stewart (1801-1877) and Lydia Bates (1806-1867) had eight children, Mary Ann Stewart ( 1826-), John (1828-) James Enoch Stewart (1830-1897), William Henry Stewart (1835-1899), Robert M Stewart (1836-1888), Joseph Nathaniel Stewart (1840-1840), George Stewart (1842-1843), Charles Richard A Stewart (1845-1845) and Lydia Stewart (1846-)
Land Grant to John Stewart, 24 November 1830, Cockle Bay, New South Wales. Image kindly provided by Warwickv1 from ancestry.com Venables Family Tree.
John was granted an allotment next to Thomas Bates in Sussex Street. Thomas Bates was John Stewart’s father-in-law.
N.S.W. Land Grant, Register of Memorials, 1788- 1963 for John Stewart, 24 November 1830
Headstone of John and Lydia Stewart, on left hand side, and Edward and Mary Ann Borton, on right hand side. Camperdown Cemetery, Newtown, Sydney, image courtesy of Neil Stewart
Neil Stewart has a well-illustrated and comprehensive family tree called Neil Stewart Family Tree on ancestry.com. Mary Ann being the daughter of John Stewart and Lydia Bates. Camperdown Cemetery is where the Brown Family Vault is also found, William and Mary Ann Brown being the parents of Eliza Brown who married Thomas Stewart Jnr. This grave and its restoration in 2013 is included in another family chapter, William Brown – A Proud Australian.
Earlier I illustrated the 1828 Census of Sydney which showed John Stewart, wife, Lydia and his two children Mary Ann and John living next door to his parents in Erskine Street, Sydney. I also illustrated the Sands Directory of 1859 which showed John, a grocer, living in Elizabeth Street, Paddington.
Funeral of Mr John Stewart of Elizabeth Street, Paddington, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Dec 1877
Robert and Mary Stewart’s daughter Elizabeth Stewart (1804-1875) married William Howard (1804-1877) in 1826, and they had nine children, William Howard (1827-1915), Agnes Howard (1829-1892), Mary Hannah Howard (1832-1866), Isaac Howard (1834-1914), Robert Howard (1837-1875), John Howard (1839-1894), Susannah Howard (1840-), Martha Elizabeth Howard, (1842-) and Annie Eliza Howard (1842-1882).
Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1949:
|Spouse Name||Elizabeth Stewart|
|Marriage Place||New South Wales|
|Registration Place||Sydney New South Wales|
William and Elizabeth Howard and son William, circa 1835, photo courtesy of Kath Booth nee Waterman, the daughter of Harold Osborne Waterman.
Harold was the son of Annie Eliza Howard, daughter of William and Elizabeth Howard. Kindly uploaded to ancestry.com by another Stewart family researcher, Ann Dodd, who, since 1995 now has the photograph in her safe keeping.
Death notice of Elizabeth Howard nee Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 November 1875
This is a wonderful notice, with so much information, confirming her father’s status as part of the 46th Regiment of Foot. Notice her brother Thomas is listed living at Campbelltown.
UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949 for Robert Stewart who served as a non-commissioned officer in the Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815
Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900, for Robert Stewart, 46th Foot Soldier, 19 January, 1801
This document contained an amazing piece of information, giving Robert Stewart’s place of origin as Barney (sic) Castle, Yorkshire, and his age as 22 years. “Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It is named after the castle around which it grew up. It is the main settlement in the Teesdale area, and is a popular tourist destination.” Wikipedia
Barney Castle, market town, Yorkshire, image courtesy of Wikipedia, free online encyclopaedia
Barney Castle is close by to Startford, Yorkshire where Robert Stewart was born.
Marriage of Robert Stewart and Mary Bowman, 5 April 1801, St Peters, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1510-1812
St Peter’s, Leeds, Yorkshire, 1855, J & E Harwood, antique print from Vignette view book
I then found this transcription for the Baptism of Robert Stuart which I am confident is correct.
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975:
|Baptism Date||31 May 1778|
|Baptism Place||Startforth, York, England|
|FHL Film Number||207584|
Marriage of Robert Stewart and Martha Westerman, 6 June 1774, All Saints, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812
UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Soldier Service Records, 1760-1920
|Name||Private Robt Stewart|
|Birth Date||abt 1783|
|Birth Place||Castle Barney York, England|
|Regiment||48th Regiment of Foot|
Baptism of Martha Westerman, daughter of James Westerman, 12 January 1754, All Saints, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812
The Smith Family
Ann Smith married Thomas Stewart Snr., she was the daughter of George Smith alias Taylor, a convict who had arrived in Sydney aboard the Baring in 1815. Various convict indents, census and prison reports describe George Smith as a native of Wiltshire, England. One documents even lists George as 5 feet 8 inches tall with brown greying hair, with a ruddy complexion and hazel eyes. George Smith was convicted of forgery and sentenced to 14 years transportation to Sydney, and before that he was apparently held on a prison hulk, the Retribution, in Woolwich, England. George Smith is listed as a boot and shoe maker and so must have been the sort of convict, if reformed, who the New South Wales Governor may have seen as desirable type of person to make a contribution to the Colony. George’s start though was surprisingly not a good one, and from the Colonial Secretary’s Index 1788-1825 the following year George along with other convicts aboard the Lady Nelson were transported to Newcastle, held in chains and put on a watch list. The conditions in Newcastle, New South Wales were appalling, and prisoners were often cruelly whipped and left without any medications for their wounds. The convicts were held in a camp on Nobby’s head which became notorious, rather like the Port Arthur of New South Wales and only the worst offenders were sent there. George Smith must have made up his mind to get out of that place and obviously had the good sense to mend his ways.
Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825
|SMITH, George. Per “Baring”, 1815; shoemaker; husband of Sarah, widow of Thomas Blades|
|1816 Nov 21||To be strictly watched & for some months to be kept in irons at Newcastle (Reel 6005; 4/3495 p.292)|
|1816 Nov 21||On list of prisoners sent to Newcastle per “Lady Nelson” (Reel 6005; 4/3495 p.293)|
|1817 Mar 29||Prisoner at Newcastle. Allowed to return to Sydney before his sentence had expired (Reel 6066; 4/1806 pp.68a-b)|
|1818 May 4,5||Re permission to marry Sarah Blades at Sydney (Reel 6006; 4/3498 p.202)|
|1819 Nov 20; 1820 Jan 3||Petition of his wife Sarah for mitigation of his sentence (Fiche 3200; 4/1860 p.35)|
|1825 May 9||Of Cockle Bay. Petition of Mary Smith to have her husband, Thomas Smith per “Grenada”, servant of George Smith, reassigned to her (Fiche 3252; 4/1875 p.212)|
|1825 Nov||To be granted a conditional pardon (Fiche 3292; 4/6974.1 pp.47, 74)|
SMITH, Sarah (Came free per “Broxbornebury”, 1814) see also BLADES, Sarah
|SMITH, Sarah. Came free per “Broxbornebury”, 1814; widow of Thomas Blades, per “Surrey”, 1814; wife of George Smith, per “Baring”, 1815|
|1819 Nov 20||Petition for mitigation of the sentence of her husband George (Fiche 3200; 4/1860 p.35)|
|1822 Aug 1||Memorial for land in Sussex Street, Cockle Bay (Fiche 3053; 4/1832 No.360A)|
|BLADES, Thomas. Per “Surrey”, 1814|
|1815 Jan 23||Referred to in evidence at inquest on Elizabeth Howell held at Sydney (Reel 6021; 4/1819 p.323)|
|1819 Nov 20||Lost shortly after the arrival of his wife Sarah and three children per “Broxbornebury” in a gale of wind in Cockle Bay; his wife subsequently married George Smith for whom she was petitioning for mitigation of sentence (Fiche 3200; 4/1860 p.35)|
|STEWART, Robert. Formerly of 48th Regiment|
|1825 Nov||Invalid from 48th Regiment. Memorial; as Steward (Fiche 3157; 4/1844B No.768 pp.763-4)|
|1825 Nov 15||On list of persons who have received orders for grants of land; listed as Steward (Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.102); on list of lands granted & reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane (Fiche 3269; 9/2740 p.28)|
Cover document from the Court Proceedings and Delivery to Middlesex Gaol for George Smith 11 January 1815, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Crime, Jury Findings and Sentencing for George Smith at Middlesex Gaol, 11 January 1815, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Transcription of Jury Findings at Middlesex Gaol, 11 January 1815, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
U.K. Prison Hulk Register and Letter Book 1802-1849 for George Smith aboard Retribution 1815
List of Prisoners sent to Newcastle aboard the Lady Nelson, 21 November 1816, per orders of Governor Macquarie, Colonial Secretary’s Office, 1788-1825, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
A list of prisoners, including George Smith, banished by Governor Macquarie to Newcastle, 1816, “these were convicts worth watching”, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1825
Permission for Sarah Blades and George Smith to Marry, 14 May 1818, Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1825
Marriage Certificate for George Smith and Sarah Blades, 27 May 1818, St Philip’s Church, Sydney, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
George Smith (1783-1855) and Sarah Blades nee Kent (1782-1837) had three daughters, Jane Smith (1818-1868), Ann Smith (1821-1856) and Lily Shepherdess Smith (1824-1859).
Jane Smith was born in 1818.
Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922:
|Birth Place||New South Wales|
|Registration Place||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Volume Number||V1818795 7|
Both Jane and her sister Ann were listed in Commissioner Bigges Appendix of 1816-1821 as “daughters of Mrs Sarah Smith nee Blades”. Appendix lodged with State Library of NSW.
Ann Smith was born on 3 March 1821.
Australia, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981:
|Birth Date||3 Mar 1821|
|Baptism Date||25 Mar 1821|
|Baptism Place||St. Philip, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Residence Place||New South Wales, Australia|
|FHL Film Number||993949|
|Name||Lily Shepherdess Smith|
|Birth Date||3 Feb 1824|
|Baptism Date||29 Feb 1824|
|Baptism Place||St Philip Sydney New South Wales, Australia|
|Residence Place||New South Wales, Australia|
|FHL Film Number||993949|
Jane Smith married Charles Morris (1810-1875) in 1837 and they had four children, Sarah Morris (1838-), Charlies Morris (1839-1876), Henry D Morris (1841-1884) and Elizabeth Morris (1843-1880).
Death of Jane Morris, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March 1868
Jane was described as daughter of the late George Smith of Sussex Street, Sydney.
Plea letter written by Sarah Blades asking clemency for her husband George Smith 1820, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1825
Attachment to Plea Letter for clemency for George Smith by his wife Sarah Smith 3 January 1820, stating that George Smith is in her employ as a tradesman, Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1825
Colonial Secretary’s Building, Macquarie Street, Sydney
George Smith, Baring, New South Wales, Australian Convict Muster, 1822
Memorials to the Governor, Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1825, Plea letter of Sarah Smith formerly Blades explaining her predicament as a convict wife of George Smith with children to care for and asking for a grant of four allotments of land at Cockle Bay, 1 August 1822
Cover letter to Plea Document 1 August 1822, Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1825
George Smith, Baring 1, Aged 48, 1828, New South Wales Australian Census, 1828
Public House, Sydney Herald, 31 January 1833
Ticket of Leave for George Smith, 12 Jan 1829, N.S.W. Ticket of Leave Butts, Aug 1828-May 1829
Section 54, Corner of Erskine and Sussex Streets, Sydney, the Stewart’s land is bottom LHS and George Smiths property is further up Sussex Street, image courtesy of Nathgate 31 ancestry.com
It was not wonder then that Thomas Stewart, the son of Robert and Mary Stewart and Ann Smith, the daughter of George and Sarah Smith had met, romanced and married, as they were living in such close surroundings to each other. The Smiths would have thought the marriage was a very good match, and no doubt George Smith must have had the last laugh, knowing the irony of the fact that it was no so many years ago that he was under the careful watch of the soldiers of the Regiment.
Application by Mary Howell, widow, Kent Street, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 1834
In effect Mary Howell is claiming squatter’s rights over the land “by the premises of the memorialist”, and I had studied the previously illustrated map and noted that Mary Howell’s property adjoined George Smith’s property in Sussex Street.
Col. Secretary’s Office Town Allotments – Howard, Stewart, Smith and Howell family 3 March 1835
Town Allotments, Colonial Secretary’s Office, 25 Jan 1836, Sydney Gazette 2 Feb 1836
George Smith was granted sixteen and a half perches on Sussex Street and his step daughter Marianne Ireland was granted fifteen perches.
Survey of Government Grounds, Sydney, including Sussex and Erskine Streets, circa 1836, image courtesy of Potsy Quigley
Death of Sarah Smith, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 July 1837,
Death notice for Mr. George Smith, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 June 1855
Funeral notice for Mr. George Smith, The Empire, 27 June 1855
The Blades Family
According to some Blades family historians, Thomas Blades was an artist and also possibly an excise officer on the Thames in London. However, the convict indent for his arrival in Sydney aboard the Surrey lists him as a brickman. Upon arrival in Sydney on 28 July 1814, Thomas was sent to Windsor, New South Wales where I collected a Convict Census for him in that same year, 1814, however, it gives very little information otherwise. The first record I was confident collecting for Thomas Blades was his marriage in London, in 1809 to Sarah Kent. Thomas states he is a bachelor and Sarah, a spinster. Thomas and Sarah were married on 5 May 1809 at Christ Church, Southwark.
London, England Marriages and Banns 1754-1921, for Thomas Blade and Sarah Kent 5 May 1809, Christ Church, Southwalk, London
Thomas was arrested in Middlesex, London, in 1813, accused of theft from a shop and he was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey on 19 February 1813. At some point his sentence was commuted to transportation for life to Australia. While he awaited his fate, documents list him on 13 September 1813, where he was sent to the Retribution at Woolwich, a ship prison hulk floating on the Thames. It must have been a desperate time for his wife Sarah and she was obviously a strong and capable woman who was able to handle this terrible predicament. The fact that she was able to make the decision to follow her husband to Sydney was an inspiration to others, I am sure, and she has my respect and admiration for her bravery. Sarah Blades nee Kent (1782-1837) also had two young daughters to care for, daughters Sarah Ann Blades (1809-1856) and Mary Blades, (1810-1812?) as well as a step-daughter Caroline Blades (1801-1867) whose mother Elizabeth had died before 1809. It is not clear if Sarah Blades sailed to Australia with two or three daughters. It is possible that Mary Blades died before the journey.
England and Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892, for Thos. Blade, Middlesex prison, 19 Feb 1813
UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849, for Thomas Blades, 2 September 1813 aboard the Retribution
New South Wales, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 for Thomas Blades arrived in Sydney 28 July 1814 aboard the Surrey
In January 1815 Thomas Blades departs England aboard the Surrey, for transportation to Sydney, New South Wales. An arrival indent states he arrived in Sydney on 28 July 1814. Thomas Blade is described as a native of Lynn (possibly King’s Lynn), from Middlesex Gaol delivery, convicted 17 Feb 1813, a lifer and a brick-man, aged 35, height 5 feet 4 inches, pale complexion, light brown hair and hazel eyes.
The Surrey is Quarantined, Sydney Gazette, 30 July 1814
This historic notice is the first time a ship from England, which arrived with Typhoid fever was quarantined on the north shore of Sydney Harbour, and the name Quarantine Station was coined for this beautiful and still relatively untouched area of Sydney, nearest to North Head and Manly, which became such an iconic, feared and frightening place of association.
The Surrey had 200 male convicts aboard, marine guards, and crew, and early in the journey, it was separated from its sister ship the Broxbournebury, just after calling in at Rio de Janeiro. Typhus fever was recorded early in the voyage and became so virulent that 51 convicts died, and the toll included the Captain of the ship, the First and Second Mate, the boatswain, six seamen, four soldiers and worst of all, the ship’s surgeon. The Broxbournebury was also carrying convicts, many women convicts, and this included a large contingent of “free on board” women, the wives and children of many convicts aboard the Surrey. Sarah Blades and her three daughters were on board and Sarah was hoping that upon arrival she would be “assigned” her husband Thomas, as a servant, as was the custom for many women in her predicament.
The Surrey was ‘adrift’ off Shoalhaven, New South Wales in late July 1814, when the Broxbournebury re-joined her. Without anyone to navigate the Surrey, the captain of the Broxbournebury transferred a “volunteer” to board the fever ridden ship and navigate it into Port Jackson. Once inside Sydney Heads on 27 July 1814, a voyage of 156 days, the ship was quarantined on the northern shore of the harbour and the many remaining sick were treated in tents erected as a temporary hospital.
In contrast, only 2 female passengers on the Broxbournebury died in transit. The stories of the female convicts from the Broxbournebury are many and varied and well recorded in many sources, one book in particular, “The Women of Botany Bay” by Portia Robinson covers this voyage very well.
Sarah arrived in Sydney on board the Broxbournebury with two daughters, Caroline and Sarah Ann, so presumably Mary Blades had died before the voyage. Caroline and Sarah Ann are listed as farm servants on some of the ship records.
New South Wales, Population Census, for Sarah Blades and two children, Windsor, 1814
Thomas Blades (1774-1815) was born in King’s Lynn in Norfolk, England. Thomas and his first wife Elizabeth had a daughter Caroline Blades (1801-1867). Thomas Blades married Sarah Kent in 1809 ad they had three children, Sarah Ann Blades (1809-1856), Mary Blades (1810-) and Thomas Blades (1815-). Other researchers claim the Blades had several more children, I have not established this yet, as I have not found firm documents to support these claims. I am happy to correct my chapter if further evidence comes to light.
After the family arrived in Sydney they were sent to Windsor, and I have been able to pick up the family from the 1814 Census, recorded on two separate sheets, the children are indicated by a “2” on the list beside Sarah Blades entry.
NSW Population Census for Thomas Blades, Windsor, 1818
Thomas Blades stay in Windsor was short lived because by early 1815 the family had settled in Sussex Street, Cockle Bay, on the western shore of Sydney town, an area we now call Darling Harbour. Thomas and Sarah had become involved in trade up and down the Parramatta River during the week-days with the purchase of a small sailing boat, and on week-ends they hired it out as a pleasure craft for recreational use.
Pleasure craft overtaken by a squall, Sydney Gazette, 28 January 1815
The Sydney Gazette article was so tragic to read, and it gave so much information about the day’s outing on the harbour. The small sailing boat, making its way to Birch Grove had only reached the entrance to the channel leading to Pyrmont when a squall overturned the boat tossing them all into the harbour and all perished. Some who witnessed the event made a desperate attempt to save some of the victims, and it would seem some of them drowned under the sheer weight of their own clothing. It would also seem that the newspaper article made some errors in its report, the Powells for instance, were actually the Howell family who had arrived on the Broxbournebury with Sarah Blades. I have often wondered if the only reason Sarah was not on board on the day was due either to her early pregnancy, or that she stayed behind to care for her small children.
The funerals for the victim’s names were all recorded in the Parish Records of St Philip’s Church and their funerals took placed at St Philip’s Church between 19 January and 3 February 1815. All were recorded as deceased on 22 January, the Howell family, Joshua Howell aged 31, Elizabeth Howell aged 30, Mary Howell aged 7 years and Elizabeth Howell aged 5 years were all buried on 23 January 1815. Thomas Blades, aged 34 years was buried on 29 January. Thomas’ body was the last to be found from the tragedy and I believe that the name Barnes was incorrectly used in the newspaper clipping instead of Blades. The names of the other deceased who were buried in January 1815 at St Philip’s Church were Michael Milham, aged 28 years and Timothy May aged 30 years, both convicts who arrived on the Sir Philip Davidson.
An official inquest by the New South Wales Coroner corrected these issues.
View of Sydney, taken from the western shores, John Eyre, 1806, watercolour, State Library of New South Wales
New South Wales Colonial Secretary’s Papers, Special Bundles, Inquest into the deaths of Thomas Blades, The Howell Family 23 January 1815
Map of Sydney Town 1834, image courtesy of Cathy Dee, Old Sydney Burial Grounds
Thomas Blades is listed as being buried in the Old Burial Ground at the top of George Street (see map) in a grave marked with a simple wooden cross, the Sydney Town Hall was built over the graveyard in 1880. Sarah Blades must have been absolutely heart broken by her husband’s sudden death and it is hard to think how she coped with this tragedy. To compound matters, Sarah gave birth to a son, a few months later and poignantly named him Thomas in honour of his father.
Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922
|Birth Place||New South Wales|
|Registration Place||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Volume Number||V18153659 1B|
Baptism of Thomas Blades, St Philip’s Church Sydney 6 Aug 1815
St Philip’s Church, Sydney
Many referred to this St Philip’s as the ugliest church in the Colony of New South Wales, mainly because of the ungainly unsymmetrical tower. It was built in 1798 after the first St Philip’s, a wattle and daub building, which stood on the corner of Bligh and Hunter Streets was gutted by fire in 1798, and opened in 1810. The new St Philips was built in 1856 at Lang Park on Grosvenor Street, Sydney.
1828 New South Wales, Australian Census for Thomas Blades Jnr.
Thomas Blades is listed as a 13 year old, who was born in the Colony of New South Wales, living in Sussex Street with George Smith, his step-father.
Thomas Blades Jnr (1815-) married Elizabeth Armstrong (1834-1878) in 1879, and they had two children, Christina Blades (1872-1883) and Walter Blades (1878-1885).
Sarah Ann Blades (1809-1856) was an older sister of Thomas Blades Jnr, and she married John Ireland (1799-1847) in 1826 and they had ten children, Mary Ann Ireland (1827-1895), Sarah Ireland (1829-1911), John H Ireland (1830-1864), John Thomas Ireland(1833-1909), James B Ireland (1835-1884), George Ireland (1837-1904), William Henry Ireland (1840-1917), Thomas Ireland (1842-1928), Jane Ann Ireland (1844-1891) and Isabella Ireland (1846-1888). After the death of John Ireland Sarah Ann Blades married Samuel Lucas (1819-1905) at Ashfield, in 1851.
John Ireland was a convict from Hereford, England who arrived in Sydney aboard the Guildford in 1824.
Permission for John Ireland and Saran Ann Blades to Marry, 1826, NSW Australia Register of Convicts Applications to Marry, 1826-1851
John Ireland, 1843 Publican of “The Plough”, NSW Certificate for Publican Licence 1830-1849
Death of John Ireland, Australian, 11 February 1847
Burial of Mr John Ireland, Australian, 18 February 1847
Ireland Family Crypt, Ashfield Cemetery, image courtesy of Kerrie Het, from the Hetrick/Cook, & Owen/Counsell Family Tree on ancestry.com
Grave stone of Sarah Ann Lucas formerly Ireland, wife of Samuel Lucas, Ireland Family Crypt, image courtesy of Kerrie Het, from the Hetrick/Cook, & Owen/Counsell Family Tree on ancestry.com
Caroline Blades (1801-1867) daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Blades married twice, firstly to William Henson (1792-1832) in 1822 and they had six children, Robert Blades (1820-1871), Thomas Henry Blades (1822-1900), Rebecca Elizabeth Henson (1824-1869), William Henson (1826-1903), John Charles Henson (1828-1890) and Mary Ann Henson (1830-1870). Caroline then married Samuel Jackson (1792-1870) in 1833 and they had five children, Samuel Jackson (1833-1884), George Jackson (1835-1884), Jane Ann Jackson (1838-1991), Charles John Jackson (1840-1877) and Sarah Jackson (1843-1909).
Baptism of Caroline Blades, 1 January 1802, born Nov 10 1801, St Botolph’s Church, Aldgate, London, London, England Baptisms Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
1828 New South Wales, Australian Census for Caroline Henson
Caroline Henson of the Broxbournebury is listed with her husband William aged 37, a shopkeeper living in York Street, Sydney. Listed are five of the Hensons children, Robert 8, Thomas 6, Elizabeth 4, William 2 and John just 3 months of age.
Marriage Certificate for William Henson and Caroline Blade, New South Wales, 12 Feb 1822, courtesy of Leigh Mc C ancestry.com Hutton Family Tree
Marriage Certificate for Samuel Jackson and Caroline Henson, St Philip’s Church, Sydney, 13 May 1833, courtesy of Leigh McC ancestry.com Hutton Family Tree
This is where I end my chapter on the Stewarts, Smiths and the Blades. It has been an honour to have researched this family tree on behalf of my husband Geoffrey Rundle, in the knowledge that this information will now be passed down to our children and grandchildren as a tribute to the early contribution their family has made to the Colony of New South Wales. It has been our absolute joy to find the Stewart Grave at Waverley Cemetery and to restore it to its former glory there among the stones overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If ever a more beautiful place in the world could have been chosen to remember and respect our early ancestors, you could search the world and find no better place.
I would like to dedicate this chapter of my family history to Potsy Quigley, for without her collaboration and very kind sharing of her Stewart Family documents this history would be unfinished. It has been overwhelming to meet so many wonderful family descendants of the Stewarts and without exception they are all happy to share their documents in the quest for finding out the past. I congratulate them all and in particular Potsy, who I look forward to meeting when she visits later this year. I hope I can be her tour guide to some of the very early cemeteries of Sydney!
I will look forward to any comments from the Stewart and Smith ancestors onto my website and if I will update and further my research as new evidence comes to light.
Virginia Rundle, April 2018
Leigh Mc C ancestry.com Hutton Family Tree
Warwickv1 from ancestry.com Venables Family Tree
Kerrie Het, from the Hetrick/Cook, & Owen/Counsell Family Tree
Potsy Quigley kindly copied me The Stewart Family Collection, a series of original documents, maps and other family information
Kath Booth for kindly uploading the photo of William and Elizabeth Howard to ancestry.com
Neil Stewart for kindly uploading John Stewart’s grave photos at Camperdown Cemetery
Noelene Williams, as Noelene_W and her Bathis/Williams family tree
Ancestry.com.au subscription website
State Library of New South Wales
Ashfield Cemetery, Sydney
Camperdown Cemetery, Newtown, Sydney
New South Wales State Archives
Ship’s Lists of New South Wales
Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia
Nathgate 31 ancestry.com
Colonial Secretary’s Index 1788-1825, online resource
Old Bailey, London, online