The Robson Family of Wallsend and Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland England and Newcastle and Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Our Robson family were from Wallsend, Northumberland, a town 10 km east of Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England. This general area is where our family had probably lived for centuries. Border wars between Scotland and England would have occasionally disrupted their otherwise peaceful community. The Robson clan were convenient border hoppers, depending on where the war was being fought, they would make sure they were on the winning side of the wall, thus ensuring their family’s survival from the invading and marauding troops.

St Peter’s Church, Wallsend, Northumberland, England

Wallsend is an apt description for this township, marking the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall, and the border between England and Scotland. The Roman wall survives well in this area and the folklore of the Roman occupation would have been handed down through the generations. Coal had been mined since the earliest recorded history of the area. Coal was needed primarily for heating in the earliest times. The Romans used the coal for their under floor heating, and elaborate examples can still be found at Housesteads on the English side of the wall not far from Wallsend. Water was heated and the hot water was piped under the floors to keep the Roman forts, baths and barracks warm in the bitter English winters. The coal seam at Wallsend was lucrative and large. Later Newcastle became an important port for the exporting of coal, and demand for coal during the industrial revolution rose exponentially. Coal mining though was notoriously dangerous, cave-ins and gas explosions were part of the everyday risk faced by the miners of Wallsend. Coal would then have been sent to Newcastle via wagons to the River Tyne, then loaded the coal onto barge boats which took the cargo to Newcastle’s port, ready for export. Industrialised England also used coal for steam engines to power their trains and machinery. Our Robson ancestors were variably miners, waggon men, keelmen, coal agents, coal engineers and colliers.

During the Industrial Revolution, the Wallsend Colliery consisted of 7 pits which were active between 1778 and 1935. In the 1820s the pits became incorporated as Russell’s Colliery, which then became The Wallsend and Hebburn Coal Company Ltd.

Between 1767 and 1925 there were 11 major incidents recorded at the colliery resulting in over 209 deaths. On 18 June 1835 a gas explosion in one of the tunnels killed 102 miners, the youngest of which was aged 8 and the oldest 75. Many of the dead were found with their cloth caps in their mouth. This is believed to have been an attempt to prevent inhalation of the gas which eventually killed them. The bodies were extracted and buried in St Peters churchyard at the top of the bank overlooking the Wallsend Burn. A plaque has been erected within the churchyard to commemorate this tragedy.

Another important industry in this area of England were the English mariners and shipbuilders. Wallsend has a history of shipbuilding, and was the home of the Wigham Richardson shipyard, which later amalgamated to form Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, probably best known for building the RMS Mauretania. This express liner held the “Blue Riband”, for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic, for 22 years. Other famous ships built in Wallsend included the RMS Carpathia which rescued the survivors from the Titanic in 1912.” Wikipedia

Slate mining also took place in Wallsend, and much of it was also exported around the world, being used as ballast in the merchant and migrant ships that moved between England and Australia.

Portrait of Matthew Robson, the father of William Robson J.P., detail from a photograph entitled Four Generations of the Robson Family, from The Robson Family Photograph Album lodged with Wollongong Library. 

St. Peter’s Church at Wallsend was where Matthew Robson and his wife Margaret Miller, worshipped and baptised their children. Sunday was the only day off for the miners and other workers. Their day would have focused around their families and their church. No holidays were granted to the English worker. Holy days would have been observed for Easter and Christmas, and it was during these times that marriages often took place, knowing that their extended families were already gathered together.

The first Robsons in our family to step ashore in Australia were William Robson (1817-1888), his wife Ann Robson nee Veitch (1816-1854), and their young daughter, Margaret Robson (1839-1903) and new born baby Matthew Emerald Robson (1841-1899). Their ship, the Emerald Isle left from Portsmouth in the south of England on 3 September 1841. William, his heavily pregnant wife and daughter Margaret probably travelled from Newcastle by a small ship or ferry, with other mining migrants to join the Emerald Isle in Plymouth. William Robson had been employed by the Australian Agricultural Company and his occupation was listed as a pitman. The opportunity for a new life in a new country must have been appealing to William. It is probable that his journey to Australia was a dual purpose. One was his occupation as a miner, and the other, his religion. William’s family had become devout Methodists and there was certainly an almost missionary zeal to his migration, for the purposes of setting up Primitive Methodist Churches in the Newcastle and Hunter areas of New South Wales. During the voyage there was encouragement for the passengers to undertake educational opportunities and I believe this was when William Robson learnt to read and write. The majority of the passengers listed on the ship were assisted Irish migrants, often called bounty passenger, unfortunately if you paid your passage, or in William’s case he was independently employed, you and your family were simply listed as a number and not a name.

From Right to Left: Emerald Isle, Eden, Goshawk and Henry Porcher, at anchor, 1839, Port Adelaide, South Australia, image courtesy Pinterest

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Shipping Intelligence, “Arrivals” Sydney Morning Herald 23 Dec 1841

I spent a good deal of time searching for a shipping record for the Robson’s aboard the Emerald Isle, hoping to gain any migration information about William Robson’s family, and the Robson family’s life in England, hoping for an address. I was thrilled to find a document written by the ship’s surgeon which showed that Ann Robson had given birth to a son on 11 September 1841, during the voyage to Australia. Ann and William named their son Matthew Emerald Robson in honour of the ship that bought them to Australia. Matthew was also named in honour of his paternal grandfather, Matthew Robson (1794-1884). I actually knew that Ann Robson’s maiden name was Veitch, this information came from a photograph of Four Generations of the Robson Family, which used to hang on my father’s dressing room wall at Point Piper. Also the knowledge that my grandfather was named William Elliott Veitch Robson, but always known as W.E.V. Robson, named in honour of his two grandmothers, Margaret Elliott and Ann Veitch who were both married to William Robson Snr. William Robson Jnr had been a small child when his mother Ann Veitch, had died, and he was bought up in the loving family that his father William Robson Snr. created with his new wife Margaret Elliott.

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Emerald Isle “Surgeon’s Report” listing Ann Robson’s birth of a male child.

After Matthew Emerald Robson (1841-1899) birth, four more children were born to William Robson and Ann Veitch in Newcastle, Maitland and the Hunter Districts – William Robson (1843-1920), Thomas Robson (1846-1937), Mary Robson (1847-1848) and Jane Robson (1848-1851).

The Australian Agricultural Company was charged with the job of developing the coal industry in Australia and thus when the Robson’s arrived in Sydney, they were immediately taken by ship to Newcastle where apparently they arrived on Christmas Day, 1841. I found this information in a folder which had been lodged with the Newcastle Library by John Elliott Robson circa 1980. There was much information on William Robson’s early activities, below are a few notes I took from this folder. Much of the information dealt with William’s land purchases, and how he was involved in the laying out of the Morpeth Township, naming several streets after his children. Interestingly, one piece of information my father, Reginald George Robson told me as a child was, that Robsons Road, at the bottom of Mount Keira in Wollongong, was named after William Robson Snr, was confirmed by John Elliott Robson in his folder.

Granted a Hawkers licence in the Hunter River Area on 31 January 1846

Committee member of the First Singleton Cricket Club on 24 July 1850

Witness at Coronial inquest into the death of Thomas Connor, 9 April 1851

Preacher at the Primitive Methodist Church, Maitland, 6 September 1851, together with other members, they borrowed money for the purpose of operating meeting places allowing for schools to be built also on properties in Newcastle, Morpeth and Crown St, Sydney. Later a member of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, being Newington College, near Frederick St.

Witness at the trial of Robert and Thomas Hawke, 6 September 1851.

His first home was in Wickham, later called Tighes Hill, and later the Robson family lived in East Maitland, mortgaged for 1000 pounds, and was directly opposite John and Martha Elliott’s home, before he moved to Wollongong purchasing a home of approx. 50 acres, 30 acres of it being on the banks of the Shoalhaven River.”

Notes taken by Virginia Rundle from John Elliott Robson’s documents

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Maitland Mercury, 17 September 1853

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NSW Burial Transcription for Ann Robson, 17 September 1853

After finding the funeral notice for Ann Robson from the Maitland Mercury on Trove Digitised Newspapers, a newspaper research and clipping service, which is a free online server provided by the Australian National Library, I then purchased her burial transcription from NSW BDM Registry. The age has worried many Robson family researchers, as it is obviously incorrect and should read 35 years. The Newcastle Family History Society regards it as human error at the time by the minister John R Blomfield.

It was also interesting to see that the status of William Robson had changed in the community and he was now calling himself a collier rather than a coal miner.

Ann Robson’s death in the Upper Hunter was a tragedy for this young family. William must have been devastated by his loss, coupled with the fact that he was left with one surviving daughter and three sons to support and raise. I don’t know what caused Ann’s death, and I did purchase her death certificate in the hope that the cause of death would have been revealed, however, minimal information was provided.

I started collecting Australian records for the Robson’s children born in Australia, primarily searching for my direct ancestor William Robson Jnr., a record that proved elusive at first. The first record I found was the Baptism of Matthew Emerald shortly after the family arrived in Newcastle, from the Family Search website. At first I was wary, in case I was collecting the wrong records, especially the one for William Robinson, however I gained corroboration for these records as correct from the Newcastle Family History Association (NFHA) who have a lot of our Robson documents and memorabilia in their files.

Matthew Emerald Robson, “Australia, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981”

Name: Matthew Emerald Robson
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 06 Feb 1842
Birth Date: 11 Sep 1841
Birthplace: New South Wales, Australia
Death Date:
Name Note:
Father’s Name: William Robson
Father’s Birthplace:
Father’s Age:
Mother’s Name: Ann
Mother’s Birthplace:
Mother’s Age:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C13544-5
System Origin: Australia-EASy
GS Film number: 993954
Reference ID:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I joined in January 2011 and took up an annual subscription for UK and Australian record access. It has proved to be an amazing research tool. The Robson records were collected from and are extract transcriptions from the originals. Originals can be purchased from NSW BDM Registry Office, however they do charge extortionate prices for these documents.

Australian Birth Indexes 1788-1922:

Name: Matthew E Robson
Birth Date: 1842
Father’s name: William Robson
Mother’s name: Ann
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1842
Registration Place: Hoxham, Newcastle, New South Wales
Volume Number: V18421575 26A
Name: Thomas Robson
Birth Date: 1848
Father’s name: William Robson
Mother’s name: Ann
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1848
Registration Place: Maitland, West Maitland, New South Wales
Volume Number: V1848771 55
Name: Jane Robson
Birth Date: 1849
Father’s name: William Robson
Mother’s name: Ann
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1849
Registration Place: Hunter River District, Newcastle, New South Wales
Volume Number: V18491878 55
Name: William Robinson
Birth Date: 1843
Father’s name: William Robinson
Mother’s name: Ann
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1843
Registration Place: Hunter River District, Newcastle, New South Wales
Volume Number: V1843945 54

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:

Name: Mary Robson
Death Date: 1848
Death Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1848
Registration Place: Black Creek, Bulwarra, Cloden, East Maitland, Hinton, Hunter District, Maitland, Morpeth, West Maitland, New South Wales
Volume Number: V1848993 53B
Name: Jane Robson
Death Date: 1851
Death Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1851
Registration Place: Black Creek, Bulwarra, Cloden, East Maitland, Hinton, Hunter District, Maitland, Morpeth, West Maitland, New South Wales
Volume Number: V18511139 378

The website has an excellent messaging system and I have been impressed with the membership courtesy. There is also a story and document sharing area and often other members will place certificates on the site. There is no birth record for Mary, the Newcastle Family History Society claim Thomas was born in 1846. This is understandable, as the Robson family were living in a remote area of New South Wales, which was barely mapped and recorded. There was probably a large gap in time between birth and registration.

I found many interesting documents that have helped me in my quest to piece together the Robson puzzle. The fact that three of my direct descendants in a row were called William Robson was something that I needed to sort out as carefully as possible. I firstly found that the Australian National University had an online biography of prominent Australians and all three William Robsons are listed at the Australian Dictionary of Biography. My uncle Murray Robson also had an online biography.

The Robson Family Tree was authored by Samuel Warren Carey A.O., a copy was given to our Robson family by Kenneth “Ken” Robson in an A3 format. Samuel Carey did an amazing job authoring this tree and it was a life time achievement,  put together in the 1970’s. It was done with incredible thoroughness. It is impressive, being done at a time when there were no computers or internet records and is a feat of his intelligence and perseverance. He would have had to apply in writing and paid for any documentation. I am not sure what has happened to the original family tree, but our Robson family was lucky to be given a precious copy. I originally had thought that the Robson Family Tree was authored by Kenneth Robson, however I am very grateful to Samuel Warren Carey’s son Harley Carey who contacted me to set the record straight after reading my chapter on this website, he left me a message. After corresponding with Harley he told me his father had one of the earliest Mac computers in Australia and from this he devised and invented his unique system of indexing his relations and ancestors in code form. I don’t want to take anything away from Ken Robson’s contribution, he was a first cousin of Samuel Carey and I know he worked on the Robson Family Tree, as I can remember seeing all his documents in his apartment and he explained how he used to send requests to UK Registry Office for birth and marriage record, and he always enclosed a stamped addressed envelope for the returning documents.

Robson Family Tree Index1, authored by S Warren Carey, kindly provided by his son Harley Carey

Samuel Warren Carey A.O. was married to Austral Mary Robson, who was a great granddaughter of William Robson Snr and his second wife Margaret Elliott. Kenneth Robson and Austral Carey nee Robson were first cousins. Kenneth’s father George William Russell Robson and Austral’s father Allan Roberts Robson were the sons of George Robson and Mary Russell Robson. George Robson was born at Keira Cottage, the son of William Robson and Margaret Elliott on 6 September 1858.

Birth of George Robson, son of William and Margaret Robson, 9 Sept 1858, Illawarra Mercury

The Robson Family Tree was a most accurate document and it took a great amount of time to analyse the huge amount of information and the intricate handwriting. An online website called The Early Gracies had most interesting and useful information on the Robson and Elliott families, and another website Tizzana concentrated on a cousin of William Robson Snr, namely George Robson and his two wives, Hannah Hornsby and Elizabeth Browlee. The mention of George Robson became a major challenge for my research. Not only was I determined to find and place William Robson Snr back into his family in Northumberland, but I was now wanting to find out the connection with his “cousin” George Robson.

It was William Robson’s association with the Elliott’s of Segenhoe that bought him most conveniently together Margaret Wiseman, the “widowed” daughter of John Elliott and Martha Sadler. William Robson and Margaret Elliott Wiseman’s marriage was a great success.

Margaret was a loving and kind mother to William Robson Snr’s surviving children, Margaret, Matthew, William and Thomas. It cannot be underestimated what a strong and supportive wife Margaret was to William Robson Snr. William and Margaret had nine children from their marriage, and it really was a case of a “his, hers and theirs” marriage, that was both large and happy. Their first two children John Eggleston Robson (1854-1939) and Jane Ann Robson (1855-1868) were born in Maitland. William and Margaret Robson later moved all their children from Maitland to Wollongong when William became the manager the Mount Keira Colliery in 1857/1859. Seven other children were born in Wollongong, Mary Robson (1857-1891), George Robson (1858-1920), Henry James Robson (1860-1945), Frederic Robson (1861-1926), Rosabel Robson (1863-1942), Ellen Robson (1864-1944) and Martha Jane Robson (1866-1876).

In 1857 William Robson opened the Osborne-Wallsend colliery for the owner Henry Osborne.  In 1859 following the death of Henry Osborne, William Robson along with three other men, Jackson, Nixon and Tulip became a member of the Company, and took out a 25-year lease from the Osborne family.  In 1867 Jackson, Nixon and Tulip sold their interests to Robson and Spiers, who continued to mine for a further 4 years until their retirement in 1871.  The mine then returned back into the hands of the owners, the Osbornes.” Information provided by Kay Rayner

It was around this time in my research that I found an online website named The Early Gracies, which went into some depth regarding William Robson’s second marriage to Margaret Elliott Wiseman, and her parents, the Elliotts. It would appear that there was a strong relationship between William Robson and the Elliotts due to the fact that John Elliott’s mother was a Robson, and most definitely a relative connecting the families from Northumberland, England.

“John ELLIOTT was the third son of William ELLIOTT and Mary ROBSON and was baptised on April 10, 1796. John and Martha SADLER (the daughter of William SADLER and Margaret BLYTH) were married February 15, 1824 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and shortly after, on March 18, 1824, their first child, a daughter Margaret was born. This early birth of their first child Margaret probably caused hostility in Martha’s parents and resulted in John’s signing a seven-year indenture with Thomas Potter Macqueen to come to Australia as a blacksmith. Margaret was seven months old when the Elliott family sailed from Gravesend on the HUGH CRAWFORD early in November 1824.

Thomas Potter Macqueen MP had been granted 20,000 acres of land in the Hunter River district of NSW and had set about acquiring people, stock, equipment and stores and the means to transport them from England to Australia. His ship was the HUGH CRAWFORD. Built by the Americans as a privateer, the “Hugh Crawford” of 420 tons was reputed to be one of the fastest sailing vessels in the world. Thomas Potter Macqueen claimed that his original investment in this venture was the largest by an individual that had left England up to that time. His land grant was the largest individual in NSW and his estate, “Segenhoe” was the greatest to be formed at once by a single proprietor.

The voyage started from London and lasted from November 1824 until April 3, 1825 when the ship arrived in Sydney; Macqueen was also travelling in the ship. The enterprise was then delayed in Sydney for five months and it was not until September that they sailed from Port Jackson for Hunter’s River and then over a week before they reached “Segenhoe”. Here John and Martha lived during the period of his indenture however Martha was the only one of the three women to remain at “Segenhoe” more than two years.” The Early Gracies

John Elliott, the son of William and Mary Elliott nee Robson was christened and also married at All Saints Church, Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northumberland, England. It is probable that this Robson connection in the Elliott family was more than simply a coincidence, but at this stage I can draw no relationship.

Marriage of William Elliott and Ann/Mary Robson 2 April, 1782 Rothbury Northumberland

I have collected a Parish record for the marriage of William Elliott and “Ann” Robson, this is probably a Bishop’s Transcript, meaning it is a copy of the original record, ordered for their official records. Other records of the same marriage clearly list the bride as Mary Robson, see this transcription below. Either the Vicar transcribed incorrectly, especially as the bride listed directly above is named Ann, or Ann was Mary Ann. I can’t explain this discrepancy. I can only put it down to human error.

England, Select Marriages, 1838-1970:

Name: William Elliott
Gender: Male
Marriage Date: 2 Apr 1782
Marriage Place: Rothbury, Northumberland, England
Spouse: Mary Robson
FHL Film Number: 94975







Baptism of John Elliott son of William and Mary, 3 April 1796, All Saints, Newcastle on Tyne

Other Bishop’s transcription records give the birth date of John Elliott as 7 February 1796. This baptism above gives John’s father the occupation of Glass mr. William and Mary Elliott had two other children, William Elliott born 1785 and Mary Elliott 1789, both baptisms record their father William’s occupation as Glass mr.

England and Wales Christening Record 1530-1906:

Name: John Elliott
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 7 Feb 1796
Christening Date: 3 Apr 1796
Christening Place: All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England
Age at Christening: 0
Father’s name: William Elliott
Mother’s name: Mary


Marriage of John Elliott and Martha Sadler, 15 Feb 1824, All Saints, Newcastle upon Tyne

The marriage record for the Elliott lists one of the witnesses as Matthew Sadler, presumably a relation, possibly a brother or uncle. Martha’s father is named as William in the Australia Death Index.

Australia Death Index, 1787-1985
Name Martha Elliott
Death Date 1877
Death Place New South Wales
Father’s Name William
Registration Year 1877
Registration Place Maitland New South Wales
Registration Number 6389

1828 New South Wales Census listing John and Martha Elliott and their children living at Segenhoe

Pioneers’ Honoured by Descendants, Newcastle Sun, 7 November 1938 page 6

Death of John Elliott, Maitland Mercury 11 August, 1874 page 1

The information from the death notice of John Elliott regarding the staggering number of grandchildren of the Elliotts is quite mind boggling. It was a fact that the Elliotts were large land owners, and established their own cemetery at Buttai Creek, and indicates that they had almost begun their own township. So many of the Elliott children remained in the area and are buried in this most historic cemetery.

John and Martha had twelve children, in fact Martha was still giving birth to her last child after her daughter Margaret Elliott had started her own family with Thomas Wiseman. This generational overlap was probably not uncommon, but in today’s modern family it is a surprising piece of information.

Gravestone of John and Martha Elliott, The Elliott Family Private Cemetery, Buttai Creek, image courtesy of Gallagher family tree on 21 January 2011. 

John and Martha Elliott’s headstone, covered in lichen, is now barely readable, photo by Virginia Rundle, 4 July 2017

I had long wanted to visit the Hunter Valley to find Buttai Creek Cemetery, on land once owned by the Elliott family. In July 2017 Geoff and I travelled to the Hunter Valley for a short break and my opportunity to find this cemetery happened on 4 July, on a magnificent sunny morning. The land the cemetery sits on has now been sold to Bloomfield, a coal mining company, which is in the process of long wall mining the valley between the cemetery and the creek, which runs along the valley floor. I was able to locate Buttai Creek on Google Maps from my mini iPad as my husband Geoff and I were driving on a nearby roadway, and with the help of a hotspot we came an open valley beneath a large hill. With the help of kindly neighbours in the area we were sent to a home still owned by one of the Elliott family. They kindly told us that the Cemetery was at the top of the hill opposite their home. We had gotten so close, yet so far, because they explained that the land was closed for mining purposes.

Determined to get further, we paid a visit to a house on the opposite side of the road, and turned our car up a driveway which wound up the hill. We drove right up to the house hoping to find the householder at home, but were only greeted by their friendly dog whose barking didn’t bring anyone out of the house; clearly there was no one home. In an incredible moment of my family history, I looked up from the house towards the hilltop and a short distance away I could see a headstone glistening in the morning sunlight. I turned to my husband with a wry smile, and I think he knew straight away that my adventure was not ending here, it was just beginning!

As Geoff drove back down the hillside and parked our car beyond the gate, I spied, beyond the property fence a disused roadway, which hugged the side of the hill as it ascended. I took this route for my adventure, and marked out in my mind, that the cemetery couldn’t be more than two golf holes away – my usual method of describing distances. A par four across the hillside and a short par three up the hill to the cemetery. In no time at all I was half way there, and to my consternation, the ground started to vibrate and I could hear in the distance the rumbling of very large coal trucks! Only another short par four towards the noise would have found me at the clifftop of the mine face, and incredibly, from where I stood I could see the open cut mine spreading before me.

However, I had a small hill to conquer and my quest was getting closer. It was so exciting to find this lovely cemetery at the top of the hill with a 360 degree view of the Hunter valley. It is amazing how often cemeteries are built on the top of hills and in prime positions in country towns and large cities. Geoff and I spent a quiet and inspiring half an hour looking at so many of the historic Elliott graves, nestled amongst long grasses, overlooked by a few lovely gums, which gave shade to some of the graves. It is the most beautiful spot, and it was one of the highlights of my research to find this sacred spot and to give thanks to this wonderful and brave family of Australian pioneers who were such an integral part of my Robson family of Wollongong.

Headstone of William Elliott (below), son of John and Martha Elliott and brother to Margaret Elliott Wiseman Robson, the Elliott Family Private Cemetery, Buttai Creek, image courtesy of Gallagher Family Tree on 21 January 2011


My photos from July 2017 show a fair degree of lichen covering the still very readable inscriptions, the long grasses and gums in the surrounding areas makes this such a pleasant, green and peaceful space.

Google Maps aerial photo of Buttai Creek, the heritage listed Elliott Family Cemetery at Buttai Creek showing how alarmingly close the cemetery is to the open cut cliff face of the Bloomfield Mine

Google Maps aerial photo of the Elliott Family Grave at Buttai Creek

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Documents\Ancestry\Robson Files\Elliott\Arrival of the Hugh Crawford Sydney Gazette 7 April 1825 page 2.jpg

The arrival of the Elliott Family, The Sydney Gazette, 7 April 1825, page 2.

John and Martha Elliott’s children were Margaret (1824-1896), William Elliott (1826-1890), Mary Ann Elliott (1827-1900), Elizabeth Elliott (1828-1908), Isabel Elliott (1830-1915), John Elliott (1832-1874), Eleanor Mary Elliott (1834-1905), Martha Elliott (1836-1907), Edward Elliott (1837-1903), George Elliott (1839-1918), Wilfred Elliott (1841-1913) and Ann Elliott (1844-1900).

Margaret Elliott married Thomas Wiseman in 1841, and she had four children from this first marriage, William John Wiseman (1842-1922), Thomas James Wiseman (1844-1894),  Margaret Elliott Wiseman (1847-1897) and Charles Appleton Wiseman (1848-1880).

All accounts I have seen suggest that Margaret was a neighbour of William Robson in East Maitland in 1853. Margaret was living there with her parents after Thomas Wiseman left Australia for the Californian goldfields, never to be seen again. The mysterious ‘death’ of Thomas Wiseman has never been properly explained, and it must be assumed that John Elliott was mightily disappointed with his unsuccessful and absent son-in-law. The Robson Family Tree co-authored by Ken Robson suggests that he died as a result of a snake bite, others suggested that he died of a feverish illness. I have never seen a death certificate, and it must be assumed that he absconded, leaving his wife with no alternative but to return and live with her parents in Maitland.

Thomas Wiseman was a gentleman’s outfitter by profession and had arrived in the colony with his brother James aboard the barque, Robert Newton on 23 Jan 1841. Thomas and Margaret married later that year and resided in Clarence Street, Sydney not far from his work premises in Pitt Street, Sydney. Thomas was listed on the historic rolls 1842-43. Various accounts in Sydney have him working for David Jones in Elizabeth St. Below are some of the records that I am confident belong to this couple.

Australian Marriage Index 1788-1950:

Name: Thomas Wiseman
Spouse Name: Margaret Elliott
Marriage Date: 1841
Marriage Place: New South Wales
Registration Place: Derbie, Hunter District, Maitland, Morpeth, Paterson, Singleton, New South Wales
Registration Year: 1841
Volume Number: V A

The next image shows a transcription of the Wiseman’s marriage. This document I found on kindly shared by Richard Gillard who runs the Gillard Family Tree. There are many other Wiseman researchers. Richard is a descendant of Thomas Wiseman and Margaret Elliott. Richard also claims like Ken Robson, on the Robson FamilyTree that Thomas Wiseman died in California from a snake bite in 1851.

NSW Marriage Transcription of the marriage of Thomas Wiseman and Margaret Elliott

It is interesting that a witness to the marriage is John Portus, possibly Porteous. Mr and Mrs Porteous were also amongst those listed migrating on the Hugh Crawford.

Australian Birth Indexes 1788-1922:

Name: William J Wiseman
Birth Date: 1842
Father’s name: Thomas Wiseman
Mother’s name: Margaret
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1842
Registration Place: Sydney, New South Wales
Volume Number: V18424029 45B
Name: Margaret E Wiseman
Birth Date: 1847
Father’s name: Thomas Wiseman
Mother’s name: Margaret
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1847
Registration Place: Sydney, New South Wales
Volume Number: V1847351 49
Name: Charles A Wiseman
Birth Date: 1848
Father’s name: Thomas Wiseman
Mother’s name: Margaret
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1848
Registration Place: Sydney, New South Wales
Volume Number: V18486449 45C

Citizen Roll for Macquarie Ward, Sydney 1842-43 listing Thomas Wiseman’s tailoring shop in Pitt St.

Another Wiseman researcher placed this message on the rootsweb family research engine:

“Thomas and John Wiseman (brothers) arrived in Sydney on the Barque ‘Robert Newton’ on 23rd January 1841 after leaving London on 22 August 1840. Thomas served an apprenticeship in London with S.W. Silver & Co. Merchants of London and brought with him a shipment of goods to set up in Sydney. He commenced business as a Wholesale and Retail Clothier and General Outfitter in Pitt Street (Australian 13/41/1841p.3) Thomas and Margaret Elliott were married in East Maitland New South Wales.


1)  William John Wiseman born 20 June 1842.

2)  Thomas James Wiseman born in 1844.

Thomas Wiseman went to Mauritius hoping to open a business there. This did not eventuate and he took a position with Barlow and Co in Port Louis in Sept. 1844 and remained till April 1846.  He returned to Sydney towards the end of 1846. If I get any more information I will give it to you bye for now, Maria.”

Shipping Intelligence. Messrs J. and T. Wiseman arrive aboard the Robert Newton 25 January 1841, Sydney Morning Herald 

This Shipping Intelligence about the arrival of James and Thomas Wiseman aboard the brig, the Robert Newton is helpful to confirm that they left London, and then Downs, near Deal in Kent on 22 August 1840. In many cases this Shipping Intelligence was the only means of identifying early migrants and travellers arriving in Australia, as there were no strict controls over migrations. Those travelling on an assisted migration system were more easily identified and regulated. The newspapers actually sent their reporters down to the docks to record the arrival of the merchant ships, and their passengers. This newspaper document supports the information in previous online blog, however it is impossible still to ascertain their country of origin, be it Ireland or England.

The following is a transcribed letter written by Margaret Wiseman in about 1850, to her brother William Elliott, warning him not to follow his brother-in-law Thomas Wiseman to California. It seems that Margaret was so hurt and confused by these events. Her naming her husband as Wiseman and not Thomas seems to indicate some estrangement to their marriage, as if she couldn’t bear to write his first name. It is also evident that at no stage did Margaret ever travel to the USA, as some researchers have suggested. This letter is probably written from her home in Maitland, New South Wales, just prior to confirmation that her husband had died.

Dear William,

I write to inform you that I have heard from Wiseman. He had arrived in California but two days when he wrote to me, so that he could have a little idea what kind of place it is. He says it is exactly the same as the papers state it to be. He said that many had made an immense fortune and many had not made a shilling. He bids me write to you to persuade you not to go to California. He says you can have no conception of what the people have to put up with there. I know by the way he writes that he is in great distress, and I expect he is sorry for going himself. He mentions nothing about the sickness, but no doubt he does not like to say anything about it for fear we might be uneasy.

The papers give an awful account. No doubt you have read these, by God is good and we must trust in Him. I am afraid there will be many widows in this colony, but God keep me from being one. I often think it is very hard for my parents to keep my children. They never grumble about it, but if ever Wiseman returns, and he fetches anything with him, I will make him share it with them. I know he will not forget them, but it is hard to trust anybody’s life in California. As I said before, we must trust in Providence, and there will be no fear, but if I were you I would not venture to any such place.

You must know that I am stopping at Mrs. Price’s for a few weeks. She has a great deal of sewing to do, and I thought I might as well earn a few shillings when I could. She is giving me five shillings a week. It is hard to get jobs in Maitland. My father intends to build a small place at the end of his shop for me. I can sew a few things no doubt, anything for an honest living.

Mr. Price wishes me to write to ask whether you know of a station anywhere near you that is vacant, as he wishes to take one near you. He would like to know soon if you know of any.

So no more at present,

From your affectionate sister

Margaret Wiseman

Letter kindly supplied by Richard Gillard, another Robson family researcher

Australian Marriage Index 1788 -1950:

Name: William Robson
Spouse Name: Margaret Wiseman
Marriage Date: 1854
Marriage Place: New South Wales
Registration Place: Maitland, West Maitland, New South Wales
Registration Year: 1854
Volume Number: V

NFHS Record of the Marriage of William Robson and Margaret Wiseman 7 Jan 1854

Marriage Certificate of William Robson and Margaret Wiseman kindly provided by Terry Larke

Three months after the death of Ann Robson, William Robson marries Margaret Wiseman nee Elliott in East Maitland. This record is sketchy but it does give the date for their marriage, as well as the witnesses, William Elliott, Margaret’s brother, and Martha Elliott, Margaret’s mother. I am sure that her father John Elliott was also present at this marriage, and that the Elliott family were very pleased with this marriage. I am sure William Robson would have impressed John Elliott and he would be pleased that his daughter had found new security and financial independence, after a sad and worrying period.

I employed Marion Wilson, a researcher from the Newcastle Family History Society (NFHS) to undertake four hours work on the Robson family. It certainly saved me another trip to Newcastle, and she would have been more familiar than me with the records and where to find them. She kindly put a package of records together with a report.

Marion pointed out the fact that the bride’s marital status had not been completed on her marriage certificate. This is most interesting because there probably was no firm evidence, such as a death certificate for Thomas Wiseman death in California, USA, at this stage. I think this issue was sidelined, and the Robsons and Elliotts were not going to let a bit of paperwork stand in the way of this very compatible and convenient marriage.

I am sure the Elliott family was sad when Margaret Elliott Wiseman Robson moved to Wollongong. However, they knew that William Robson was a man of ambition, and the opportunity to manage and co-own the Mount Keira Colliery in Wollongong was a major business opportunity, and too good to pass up. William Robson involved himself in the religious and community life of Wollongong. He was an Alderman on the Wollongong Council for many years, and the Mayor of Wollongong in 1867. He was also involved as a lay preacher in the Primitive Methodist Church. Above all he was a business man, he promoted Wollongong as a major player in the coal industry, and he was a visionary in his goal to organise an effective transportation service for his coal, from the mine at Mount Keira to the wharves at Wollongong. In his pressing for a train or tram-line he probably thought it was better to join the Council to fast track his ideas and the project. William was also a Trustee of the Wollongong Building Society, and he became a Justice of the Peace and a New South Wales Government Magistrate.

Mount Keira Colliery, photograph from the Museum Geological & Mining, now lodged with Wollongong Library, image courtesy of Narelle Ahling.

By 1870 William Robson Snr’s. lease on the Mt Keira Colliery had ended and he reverted to managerial duties under the Osborne family for a year before retiring. After his father, Matthew Robson’s death in 1884, William moved from his home Sunnybank into his father’s house Stella, which was on the foothills of Mount Kiera.

Sunnybank, home of the Mayor of Wollongong Mr William Robson Snr. 1867, image taken 1870 by James Brothers. Image courtesy of Wollongong Regional Library where photos of the Robson Family of Wollongong have been lodged.

I believe that William Robson Jnr. inherited Stella from his father, and my own dad used to tell us about his school holidays, spent at the Robson family home in Wollongong. Dad and his family were actually staying at Wollongong when his grandfather William Robson Jnr died of an infection after a ruptured appendix in October 1920. Tragically the same ailment had afflicted Dad’s brother Alan Robson, who died at Newington School after being misdiagnosed in December 1919.

William Robson Jnr was a Wesleyan Preacher, and his religious dogma played an enormous part of his life. After he married Annie Robertson Kippax on 17 March 1868, the couple moved to Young, where he took up the offer to be the Wesleyan preacher in the area. He was also very involved in the Methodist Conferences held in Sydney. It was probably at one of these events that he met his wife Annie Robertson Kippax, whose father William Henry Kippax was also involved in speaking at these events. William Henry Kippax was for many years an Alderman on the City of Sydney Council. It was probably the encouragement through the Methodist Church that William Robson Jnr moved away from preaching and was elected to the New South Wales Upper House as a Member of the Legislative Council in 1900. He represented the community until his death in 1920. I will deal with William Robson Jnr more fully in my next chapter entitled The Robson Family of Sydney.

Rev. William Robson Jnr and his wife Annie Robertson Kippax had three children, William Elliott Veitch Robson (1869-1951), Ethel Kippax Robson (1872-1961) and Reginald Norman Kippax Robson (1878-1907).

Photo of the Robson Family of Wollongong. 1864. Image courtesy of Wollongong Library

“Caption from Wollongong Library Reads   ” * Robson, William — Photographs          * Robson, Matthew Emerald — Photographs          * Robson, Walter William — Photographs          * Robson, Matthew — Photographs”     A collection of Robson Family Photos lodged with Wollongong Library.” Image courtesy of Wollongong Library

I believe this very historic photograph is a four-generational photograph of our Robson Family. Standing is Matthew Robson 1795-1885, the father of William Robson Snr. 1817-1888, who is seated on the RHS. Seated on LHS is William’s son Matthew Emerald Robson 1841-1899.  Matthew Emerald Robson’s eldest son is standing between them, four-year-old Walter William Robson 1860-1950. No date is given but I have dated this photograph to about 1864.

The next few pages are newspaper clippings dealing with William Robson Snr during his time in Wollongong and his activites. However, one of the clippings is in regards to the terrible explosion on 31 July 1902 at the Mount Keira Colliery, with a loss of 96 men and boys, leaving 33 widows and 120 children fatherless, at the time it was described as the worst non-wartime disaster to face Australia. It was also well after any association of the mine with the Robson family.

The Illawarra Mercury 28 October 1871 page 3

Terrible Colliery Explosion Southern Times 2 August 1902

Public Meeting Convened, Illawarra Mercury 26 March 1867

Relief from Calamitous Floods Illawarra Mercury 28 June 1867

Political Association for the Suppression of Intemperance Illawarra Mercury 19 March 1867

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Illawarra Mercury 10 April 1888, page 2

Death of Mr William Robson J.P. Kiama Independent 13 April 1888

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The Late Mr William Robson, The Newcastle Herald 17 April 1888

Marion Wilson attached some pages to her report on the work of S. Warren Carey and a lot of it I had uncovered already. Marion questions some of the research in regarding the English Robson ancestors. However, it is a most thorough and in depth analysis of the Robson’s involvement in the coal industry in Newcastle, New South Wales and William Robson’s purchase of land in the area, some of it private, some of it regarding the Methodist Primitive Church.

Regarding William Robson’s will, I have nothing to add here, as it would only be speculation. In the future, some family researcher may be able to shed some light on this. It may be worth purchasing from either the Supreme Court Probate Office or it may well be now lodged with the NSW Archives at Kingswood. It would seem that Rev. William Robson, his half brother George Robson and his step brother William John Wiseman were the executors of the will.

William John Wiseman, Wollongong Library, Robson Photographic Collection

William John Wiseman who died on 16 January 1922 is buried in the Robson family grave in the Wesleyan section of Wollongong Cemetery. It would appear that the Wisemans and the Robson siblings retained close family ties. I heard my Grandmother Mabel Robson talk of the Wiseman’s of Wollongong when I was a young child, I am glad to have now connected the family. Richard Gillard, a Wiseman family researcher is descended from Thomas James Wiseman, whose family moved away from Wollongong and settled in Balmain, Sydney. He married Louisa Harriett Robinson. Thomas was a chemist by occupation.

Australian Death Index 1778-1985:

Name: William Robson
Death Date: 1888
Death Place: New South Wales
Father’s name: Matthew
Mother’s name: Margaret
Registration Year: 1888
Registration Place: Petersham, New South Wales
Registration Number: 3209

I found this death record for William Robson from 1888, which confirmed William’s parents as Matthew and Margaret Robson. This information was also confirmed on my copy of The Robson Family Tree, with Margaret Miller named as the wife of Matthew Robson. This copy of The Robson Family tree was given to our family in about 1980 by Ken Robson.

This came about because Kenneth Robson re-connected with my parents in the mid 1970’s and I can remember being introduced to him as cousin Ken Robson. He was very fond of my father’s brother, Murray Robson, who had helped him with legal matters to purchase two apartments in the Park Regis building in the city. He also became very fond of my husband Geoff, when he discovered that there was yet another lawyer in the family. In the early 1990’s Geoff helped Ken to write a will. I believe Ken left his properties to his nephews and nieces. I think Ken had a hard life, and he lived very frugally, squirrelling away every cent he ever made from the rent of these properties. For the last few years of his life Ken lived in a one bedroom apartment in Paddington. Mum and I visited him in the months before his death, and I can remember seeing a Kerosene stove set up in the middle of the room for his meals. However, he was happy and content. Ken died in on 7 October, 1997.

Ken is a descendant of William Robson through William’s marriage to Margaret Elliott. Their son George Robson married Mary Russell Roberts on 25 February 1879 at Bullocks Island, Newcastle, New South Wales. They lived at Tighes Hill in Newcastle. This association with Tighes Hill is interesting, as this is where William and Ann Robson lived when they first arrived in Australia in 1841. William Robson very astutely acquired a large amount of land in this area, and the profits later went towards the purchase of the mine lease at Mount Keira in Wollongong.

Australia and New Zealand Rootsweb Index 1813-2003:

Name: Kenneth Russell Robson
Residence Date: 1997
Residence Place: Paddington
Death Date: 7 Oct 1997
Notes: newspaper (death notice); late of Paddington

I remember my mother, Vena Robson, telling me that Ken Robson was so kind to her in 1980 when my father Reg Robson died very suddenly and unexpectedly from lung cancer, and again in 1986, when my brother Bill Robson died of medical complications in Chengdu, China on a trip. Ken came by the house quite often and enjoyed a chat and appreciated a cup of tea and gave my mother a much needed sympathetic ear. On these occasions Ken would always chat so knowledgeably about the Robson family and his endeavours with his research on the Robson family.

When our family home was sold in late 1997, I carefully packed up the contents of my dad’s filing cabinet, noting that there were a lot of letters along with The Robson Family Tree, and I put the box in the hall outside the kitchen ready for the removalists. A few days later I noticed it was gone. My mother told me that my sister, Lavinia Chyrstal had taken it for safe keeping, and I was happy with this. However, as time went by I became the family historian, and I was eager in 2011 to find this document and compare it with my Robson research. My sister told me how during her move from her home at Double Bay she had walked past the dump bin outside their home and had seen a box on top, and she peered inside to discover it was this very cardboard box from Wunulla Road and she rescued it! Lavinia didn’t know where it was since she had moved. I must have become tiresome in my quest for her to find it, and I didn’t give up! Finally, one morning, I got the call I had been waiting for. At last I was able to peer into the very large hand written sheets and see Samuel Warren Carey’s masterpiece. Every generation in Australia, every branch was covered and more importantly Samuel had notations about Northumberland and the mention of Wallsend. It was this information that helped me take our Robson family back to England and firmly place them into this jigsaw puzzle and take the family back a few more generations.

The Robson Family Tree by Samuel Warren Carey, a copy was lodged by Kenneth Robson at Wollongong Library, images courtesy of Narelle Ahling

Just recently I had another wonderful family connection with the Robson’s. Narelle Ahling contacted me after I uploaded a photograph of her great grandfather Thomas Robson to my family tree on which I found on Trove Digitised Newspapers and is illustrated in my family chapter, The Robson Family of Sydney. Thomas was a brother to Rev. William Robson, both the sons of William Robson Snr. J.P.

It has been great to collaborate with Narelle who kindly offered to go to Wollongong Library and do some research work on the Robson’s. Narelle was able to confirm that Ken Robson had in fact lodged Carey’s Robson Family Tree with the Library. How clever of Ken to do this, knowing that Carey’s Robson Family Tree was such a valuable document. Now nearly thirty years later we are reaping the benefits of this wisdom and continuing our Robson research. Narelle photographed a few pages of The Robson Family Tree and sent them to me recently. I have uploaded them to my website and I hope that readers and Robson relatives will be able to enlarge these images and find their Robson branches. The pages are dotted with coded information on each person which includes specific burial, place of birth, death and religion to name just a few codes. This page I am sure will be found amongst the files in Wollongong Library. I am so grateful to Narelle Ahling for her great work and her kindness in sharing her Robson photos.

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This historic photograph is yet another Four Generation Robson Photograph that hung on the wall of my father Reg Robson’s dressing room in our family home, Routala, Point Piper, owned by Reg and his wife Vena Fuller for over 45 years. William Robson Jnr. was the son of William and Ann Veitch Robson, born at East Maitland on 25 February 1843. Seated second from RHS, next to his wife Annie Robertson Kippax.

My Australian research on the Robsons uncovered the fact that William’s father Matthew had migrated to Australia after his second wife’s death and that he had married again. A notice in the Illawarra Illawarra Mercury confirmed his father’s migration, as well as a small funeral notice for his third wife, Eleanor Robson nee Neville. I also found that the family had a grave at the Wollongong General Cemetery in the Wesleyan Section. It was at this stage that I also applied to the NSW BDM Registry for the death certificate for Ann Robson and the marriage certificate of Matthew Robson to Eleanor Neville to see what information I could find.

Incredibly both these death records on the next page gave information regarding the names of Eleanor and Matthew’s parents. The naming of Matthew’s parents as William and Ellenor was an absolute gift to the family researcher. I was hoping that this information was correct, as I worried that Matthew’s wife was listed instead of his mother, as death notices are notoriously unreliable. However, that was not the case, armed as I was with new information I was ready to start my English research.

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:
Name: Ellen Robson
Death Date: 1892
Death Place: New South Wales
Father’s name: James
Registration Year: 1892
Registration Place: Wollongong, New South Wales
Registration Number: 14135
Name: Matthew Robson
Death Date: 1885
Death Place: New South Wales
Father’s name: William
Mother’s name: Ellenor
Registration Year: 1885
Registration Place: Wollongong, New South Wales
Registration Number: 11032

I purchased the marriage of Matthew Robson and Eleanor Neville. Noting that the name James Nevil (sic) was a witness, I think it is a strong possibility that James is a brother to Eleanor.

I am incredibly grateful to my sister Lavinia Chrystal for photographing the Robson grave in Wollongong for the family. By the time she had visited the Wollongong Library Family History Section and gained information there and directions to the cemetery it was getting dark and she described to me the desperation in trying to find the Robson grave and photograph it before it got completely dark. I must add in here that her husband Digger and daughter Lavinia Jnr were also helping in this quest. The excitement when they found the grave was amazing. Lavinia rang me to tell me how impressive and large the grave is and we both wondered how it was that we had no knowledge at all that this grave exists. She explained that William and Margaret Robson and some of their children are inscribed on the monument, as well as Matthew and his wife Eleanor and on another side is a inscription for the Wiseman family. It is a truly amazing discovery. We wonder if our dad knew about this grave, he never spoke about it. It was the same about the Wises, Kippaxes and William and Annie Robertson Kippax Robson, who are buried out at Rookwood Cemetery. It was all new to us, Dad had never discussed cemeteries with us.

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Robson Grave, Wollongong General Cemetery, Methodist Section, photo courtesy of Lavinia Chrystal

The Robson grave at Wollongong General Cemetery, Wesleyan Section. The headstone lists Matthew Robson 1795 – 1885 (aged 91 years), father of William,  William Robson 1817 – 1888, William’s daughter from his first marriage to Anne Veitch, Jane Robson 1849 – 1865, age 14yrs, William’s second wife Margaret Elliott Wiseman Robson 1824 – 1896, her daughter Margaret E Wiseman 1847 – 1897, and her son William John Wiseman 1842 – 1922, his wife Annie Musgrave Wiseman 1843 – 1901, their daughter Alice Wiseman 1878 – 1918 and in the same plot with a separate Headstone, their son, Henry Alfred Wiseman 1881 – 1887, age 6yrs. The Wesleyan Graveyard has been vandalised but the Robson’s Headstone survives.

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The grave is in good condition although there is severe cracking due to soil subsidence, photo courtesy of Lavinia Chrystal

Matthew Robson’s Death Certificate 6 December 1885, image courtesy of Sandy Murray.

Matthew Robson’s death record furnished many interesting details, and confirmed that he had three wives, Margaret Miller who died in 1825, and Eleanor Neville, whom he married at the age of 70 years. Children still alive were listed as William, Mary Ann, Eleanor and Hutton, with one male and one female listed as deceased. It was also certified by William Robson Snr., his son, giving his address as Sunnybank, Wollongong. However, the truly standout piece of information was the naming of his mother as Eleanor Morris. It was exciting to have so much information about Matthew’s life back in England.

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Illawarra Mercury, 9 Dec 1884 page 2

After collecting this newspaper article about Matthew Robson’s death, one has to ask the question, how did the Robson grave record the incorrect date and year of Matthew’s death? It sent me checking my facts. I went back to the Illawarra Mercury and to Matthew’s death certificate to make sure I hadn’t transposed the date, and found it to be correct. The newspaper records important details including the fact that Matthew died on a Saturday and gives his age at 92 years.

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Illawarra Mercury, 6 August 1892, page 3

I decided to try and find out more about the people listed on the marriage certificate of Matthew and Eleanor Robson. These names were surely a key to finding out more about their lives. John and Jane Graham were the witnesses to the marriage. Mr John Watkin, the Reverend, and also Mr Thomas Armstrong, at whose home their marriage was celebrated were definitely worth an investigation. It intrigued me that one of the witnesses, Thomas Nevil must have been a relative of Eleanor’s. Knowing that her father was named James, I thought this man may be her brother, and I hoped that records and newspaper clippings would reveal his identity and the others.

A quick search revealed the marriage record for James Neville, probably the younger brother of Eleanor Robson. This marriage seems a strong link now to the identity of Margaret Graham, witness to the marriage of Matthew Robson and Eleanor Neville.

Australian Marriage Index 1788-1950:

Name: James Neville
Spouse Name: Margaret Graham
Marriage Date: 1872
Marriage Place: New South Wales
Registration Place: Wollongong, New South Wales
Registration Year: 1872
Registration Number: 3813

Evening News 23 September 1909 page 3

The following page shows a most interesting article on the death of James’ wife Margaret Neville nee Graham and what was more supporting for me was the connection of the family to the Methodist Church

Margaret Neville, Illawarra Mercury 28 June 1940 page 7.

It was thrilling to find this second newspaper article on Margaret Neville’s reinforcing the association with the Wollongong district and the Methodist Church. I was on such a jag now developing this story and unravelling a little more about the Methodist influence on the Robson family. The article below also revealed the children of James and Margaret Neville, and showed that her husband had predeceased her by some 30 years. This would make it easier for me to find James Neville’s death record.

Illawarra Mercury 28 June 1940 page 7 

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:

Name: James Neville
Death Date: 1909
Death Place: New South Wales
Father’s name: Henry
Mother’s name: Margaret
Registration Year: 1909
Registration Place: Dapto, New South Wales
Registration Number: 9021

This record above scotched my thoughts that James Neville was Eleanor’s brother, however I still consider it likely that he was a relation. It is always a consideration that the death record for Eleanor is incorrect, and that possibly the only known relative in Australia was in fact her brother James.  Death records are notoriously unreliable. Margaret is listed here as James’ mother, but it is also a fact that this was his wife’s name. Many times, I have seen records filled in with totally incorrect information including dates, places and names. Time lapses, changes of country and witnesses at the death, who are possibly more recent acquaintances, and the recorders of the death, who mix up current information with historic family information. I can’t speculate on this without seeing the actual death record. It has been a source of great disappointment that more information was not filled in by our Robsons on their records. Possibly the great exception here is Matthew Robson’s death certificate.

Australian Death Index 1787-1985:

Name: Margaret Neville
Death Date: 1940
Death Place: New South Wales
Father’s name: John
Mother’s name: Jane
Registration Year: 1940
Registration Place: Wollongong, New South Wales
Registration Number: 7831

The entire Graham family migrated to Australia from Ireland in April 1844. I found John Graham Jnr listed as travelling separately to his parents and younger siblings on board the United Kingdom, as at the age of 16 he was considered an adult on board.

Assisted Immigrant Passenger List 1828-1896, for John Graham on board the United Kingdom, April 1844

John Graham Snr. had an impressive life and was most highly regarded in the Wollongong area. It has been of great interest to me to have seen John and his daughter Margaret as the witnesses to Matthew Robson and Eleanor Neville’s marriage. Seemingly the Robson family associated within their own social and religious groups. Sundays must have been a great social gathering for these families as they prayed together and then celebrated their Sunday lunch, traditionally a roast where extended family and friends would have shared their meal. My father explained that his Robson family were from a long line of abstainers and that they were involved in the Temperance movement in Wollongong, and later in Sydney. Temperance Halls were a meeting place and a social gathering place for families, and I believe that their main goal was one of encouragement of others to join their cause. Conversion was also an important part of the Primitive Methodist Religion which also demanded that members have had at least one “overwhelming religious experience”. It is also a fact that William Robson was very happy to employ Methodist miners for his Mount Keira Mine, secure in the knowledge that they entered the mine in a sober condition.

Below is the ship’s manifest for the children of John and Jane Graham. The children were minors whilst their elder son John was listed separately on board the migrant ship, United Kingdom.

Assisted Immigrant Passenger List 1828-1896, for the Graham family on board the United Kingdom, which arrived in Sydney on 29 April 1844.

I found John Graham (45) and his wife Jane (40) listed at the bottom of the previous page of this passenger list, and it could have been quite easy not to have explored the next page, which to my delight revealed all their other children. Edward, Charles, William, Neville, Catherine and Margaret. John Graham Snr. is listed as an agricultural labourer and his wife as a domestic servant. Interestingly the family lists themselves as Protestants, and not as Methodists.

Kiama Independent Newspaper, page 30 September 1881

Death of Mrs John Graham, Illawarra Mercury, 29 March 1888.

A clarification is needed from this newspaper obituary for Jane Graham, the mother of Margaret Neville, which appeared in the Illawarra Mercury on 29 March 1888. Jane Graham, the mother of Margaret did indeed have a son named John. John, being the eldest son of John and Jane Graham, who married Jane Armstrong on 14 October 1850. The article should have stated that John’s wife Jane was the daughter of Ald. Armstrong. Confusion indeed with two generations of John Grahams, father and son both marrying Janes. I was excited by the name Armstrong, thinking this was the man named on the marriage record of Matthew Robson and Eleanor Neville.

However, Jane’s father was James Armstrong, and I was interested to discover that she had a younger brother who was named Thomas Armstrong, born in County Fermanagh, Ireland in 1826, and arrived in Australia in 1839 and died on 22 September 1882. However the Armstrong family lived at Kiama and not Keira, and grave photos confirm he is buried in Kiama cemetery. Indeed, I would have thought that the newspapers would have reported his death, but at this stage I cannot find an obituary.

I then found a most interesting newspaper article for another Thomas Armstrong, also of Kiama, whose parents were John and Ellen Armstrong, but his birth in 1842 would surely mean that he would hardly be in a position to host a wedding in his home in 1860.

Obituary for the Late Mr. Thomas Armstrong, Illawarra Mercury, 3 March 1922 

I now have two Thomas Armstrongs living in the Wollongong/Kiama area, both very much connected to the Methodist church. I then found yet another Thomas Armstrong living on Mount Keira. There are no records from NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages for his existence in the Keira/Wollongong area – no marriage or death record. It has only been this year that so many more regional newspapers have come online through Trove digitised newspapers, the Illawarra Mercury being one of these.

Thomas Armstrong of Mount Keira, died in his 77th year. I feel that this James Armstong’s home is more likely to be the house from which the Robson’s were married. He certainly is more of a contemporary of Matthew Robson.

Illawarra Mercury, 27 March 1877 page 2

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 April 1877, page 2

The sale of Thomas Armstrong’s effects certainly tallies with the death notice. Perhaps a search for his will would resolve this issue. Never wanting to speculate over my research, I threw in the towel pondering over which Armstrong hosted the Robson wedding.

A few other Australian records of interest were the sponsored migration of family groups by William Robson. I was intrigued by these sponsorships because I could see that William was paying deposits for family groups from Northumberland and the men were listed as miners. William was astute, he needed miners for his Mount Keira Colliery, and who better to mine, than people he knew from his life in England. I then realised that one of these groups was his sister Elizabeth Robson, her husband John Richardson and their children.

N.S.W. Australia, Immigration Deposit Journal, 1853-1900 for the Richardson Family

This was a wonderful document to find because I had earlier seen that The Robson Family Tree listed William’s sister as Elizabeth, who had married John Richardson and noted that they had a large family and had migrated and settled in the Wollongong area. In fact, I had found a death record for Elizabeth who had died at Jamberoo, in NSW which is very near the coast at Wollongong. This record has some wonderful information. Their children, William, Matthew and Margaret are again all familial names in the Robson family. Their address was Marley Hill, Wagon Row, near Newcastle upon Tyne. It also listed John as a miner, and the agent that clearly was responsible for the despatch of migrants. Lastly it gave the ship, the Wanata, which the Richardson travelled on to reach Australia.

I placed all this information into my tree on ancestry and immediately I had a family “leaf” directing me to a Robson family tree. I then corresponded with the Rayner family who were very excited by my find, as they had not known on which ship their family had arrived. Kay Richardson Rayner then kindly provided me with some of her family certificates including Elizabeth’s death certificate and a photograph of the Richardson grave at Jamberoo. Matthew, the son of Elizabeth and John Richardson’s middle name was Robson. Matthew Robson Richardson invented the Hillside Reversible Plough. These inventions in Australia were incredibly helpful to the early agriculture industry. This invention stands alongside the Stump Jump Plough, another amazingly helpful Australian plough invention which helped farmers prepare the tough and harsh Australian soils.

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John and Elizabeth Richardson’s grave, Jamberoo Cemetery. Image courtesy of Kay Rayner.

Matthew Robson Richardson, inventor, The Downs Star, 20 Dec 1956.

Death Certificate of Elizabeth Richardson. Image courtesy of Kay Rayner.

Margaret Robson migrated with the family aboard the Emerald Isle and she died in 1903 in Petersham, New South Wales. She married John Loudon in 1884 in Sydney, New South Wales, aged 45. He was aged 50. John Loudon died in 1906 in Petersham, New South Wales. John and Margaret’s marriage announcement in the Sydney Morning Herald 9 February 1884, was the first time I saw the reference to the Robson’s home in Wollongong being called Sunny Bank.

Australian Marriage Index 1788-1950:

Name: John Loudon
Spouse Name: Margaret Robson
Marriage Date: 1884
Marriage Place: New South Wales
Registration Place: Sydney, New South Wales
Registration Year: 1884
Registration Number: 170

Marriage of Margaret Robson and John Loudon, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 1884.

I came to a full stop on my Robson research in Northumberland, stalling over finding out which were our correct family records. I could see that the Robsons had moved away from Wallsend, and were now living in Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne. This may have been a result of the dangers the miners faced, after a series of explosions in the Wallsend mines. William Robson was possibly looking to find better opportunities than those that could be offered in the north of England.

Below is a Pedigree Chart for my great grandfather William Robson M.L.C. which will help readers place William’s ancestors into the Robson Family.


Finally, I was ready to search the English records now that I had the Australian Robson family firmly placed in my ancestry family tree. I firstly searched for the marriage of William Robson and Ann Veitch and even with the spelling error in her name I am confident that this is the correct marriage record listed below.

Marriage of William Robson and Ann Veatch, 10 Sep 1836, St John, Newcastle Upon Tyne

1841 English Census listing William Robson, pitman, wife Ann and daughter Margaret of Buckingham Street, Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne.

This census was taken on 6 June 1841 just a few months before the family set sail on the Emerald Isle for Sydney, Australia. How amazing it was to be able to collect this record which showed their address in England.The two children of William and Ann Robson, Thomas Robson Robson and Margaret Robson were born in England. Thomas was baptised at St Peter’s, Wallsend, Northumberland. Margaret was baptised in Newcastle upon Tyne, possibly at St John’s, where her parents were married. It is interesting to note that William and Ann and their family had moved away from Wallsend at this stage in their lives.

Baptism of Thomas Robson, son of William and Ann Robson, 3 December 1837, Wallsend

Sadly young Thomas must have died in Newcastle upon Tyne in about 1840 as he did not appear on the 1841 English Census, nor did he accompany the family to Australia later that year.

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975:

Name: Margaret Robson
Gender: Female
Baptism Date: 25 Nov 1838
Baptism Place: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England
Father: William Robson
Mother: Ann
FHL Film Number: 847923
Reference ID: p 286 Street, Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, circa 1930’s. Courtesy

I came to a full stop on my Robson research in Northumberland, stalling over finding our correct family records. Determined to do better, I resumed my research about a year later and googled Matthew Robson into my search engine. In one of those incredible moments in family research I came up with an internet message from Sandy Murray, who is a direct descendant of Elizabeth Richardson nee Robson, the younger sister to my direct ancestor William. Elizabeth and William are the children of Matthew Robson and his wife Margaret Miller. Sandy was asking for information about the Robson family and so much of her information concurred with mine. Clearly the Robsons had moved away from Wallsend and were now living in Newcastle upon Tyne. This may have been a result of the dangers the miners faced. William Robson was obviously looking to migrate and find better opportunities than those that could be offered in the north of England. I was also able to put Sandy in touch with the Rayners and I know they shared a good deal of information together.

The above link I found on an offshoot called rootsweb, a family research listing service, and is most interesting:

From: “B & S Murray”

Subject: Re: [ROBSON] Robson as a surname

Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 16:54:18 +1000


Hi listers,

I too have a Robson, a Matthew Robson, son of William Robson &  Ellenor Morris, born 1792 at Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland who married a Margaret Miller about 1813 in England (somewhere).  He had 5 children, according to his death cert:

William b c1816 (no birthplace known),

Mary Anne b 1820 (no birthplace known),

Elizabeth b 1824 (my ancestor) at

Wallsend, Northumberland;

Ellenor b 1836 (no birthplace known) and

Hutton b 1838 (no birthplace known).

Matthew died on 6 Dec 1884 at Mt Keira, near Wollongong NSW, but I have no other details of his parents, William & Ellenor.  I also have no idea when his first wife Margaret died, if anyone can put the pieces together, it would be most appreciated. He and Margaret arrived in Australia around 1854, and his 2nd marriage was to Eleanor Neville in 1860 at Wollongong, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and his death cert states no children from 2nd marriage.

Elizabeth (b 1824 – see 1st paragraph) married John Richardson in 1844 in

England, and came out to Australia in 1864 (on board Wariata) with her husband and 3 children, William b 1848 Fanfield Lea, Durham; Matthew b 1850 in Dipton, Durham; and Margaret (my ancestor) b 1851 in Marlow Hill, Durham.

I would love to hear from anyone who may think they may be related, and to share information. Kind regards,

Sandy Murray, Brisbane, Australia

Sandy Murray included an email address and I immediately wrote a reply, hoping it was still current.

From: Virginia Rundle
Sent: Thursday, 6 June 2013 9:38 AM

Subject: Matthew Robson of Northumberland

Dear Sandy,

I saw your message on Matthew Robson. I believe he may be my 3 GGG Grandfather. Is this email still working I wondered? Your message was from 2007! I have lots of info to share. Cheers Virginia Rundle nee Robson

Sandy Murray almost immediately replied:

Hi Virginia,

Thank you for responding – I have kept this e-mail address just in case I receive a message just like yours!!  Wonderful to hear from you. Matthew would be my 4xG grandfather.  Since that posting I’ve done a little more digging but not too much.  I have discovered he was baptised on 3 Feb 1795 in Carlisle, Cumberland, England and a few other items.  I’d love to hear from you and what you have discovered, and I can provide a bit more as well, including his 2nd wife’s name, etc. Looking forward to hearing from you, Sandy, Brisbane, Australia

Sandy and I corresponded over quite a long period of time, corroborating and collaborating our research. It was a joy to work with Sandy, who is a most experienced researcher. We took Robson records only when we were certain they were correct. It was Sandy who showed me how to go “behind the scenes” on Family Search, a free website operated out of the USA by the Mormons. I also used this trick to find my mother’s Northey family in Cornwall. Sadly this search opportunity has now been closed. It was slow work, as one had to go through the parish records of page by page, picking up the name Robson and deciding if it belonged to our family.

Original Records are difficult to find and assess, before my connection with Sandy I had approached the Durham Record Office for William Robson’s Baptism, yet another system where you buy online credits, and with fairly scant family information provided, such as a date, place, and parents, they will supply you with a simple digital copy of the record. It is not ideal, but it is acceptable as a family record for my great great grandfather, William Robson. I also bought the death record for Margaret Robson, William’s mother.

Durham Records Online

Here are your orders from Durham Records Online, which you recently requested from our website.

———Order Number: 326376————

Baptisms, Tynemouth District

Record Number: 667414.0

Location: Wallsend

Church: St. Peter

Denomination: Anglican

“22 Jun 1817 William Robson, of Wallsend, son of Matthew (pitman) & Margaret Robson”

Burials, Tynemouth District

Record Number: 734063.2

Location: Wallsend, Northumberland

Church: St. Peter

Denomination: Anglican

“3 Jan 1825 Margaret Robson, of Wallsend, 30, wife of Matthew Robson”

Baptism of William Robson, son of Matthew and Margaret, 22 June 1817, Wallsend

Sometime after I purchased the Durham online records, I collaborated with Sandy Murray on the Robsons, and she kindly sent me several extracts from the Parish Books of Northumberland that she had captured from Family Search. Note the way that Walls End is spelt on the Baptism document for William Robson. There is so much more to see with these original copies than just a transcription from the Durham Online Records Office. I feel it is a great mistake that these records have become digital copies, as so much is lost in translation. For me looking at this document, it is an historic piece of our family history, whereas earlier when I purchased the Durham transcriptions, I just did not have the same feeling of excitement when receiving the record.

Marriage of Matthew Robson and Margaret Miller 4 May 1816 St Andrews, Newcastle upon Tyne

This marriage record for Matthew Robson and Margaret Miller clearly shows so much precious information. Neither Matthew nor Margaret could write, and they signed the marriage record with their mark. Interestingly one of the witnesses John Reid could sign his name, however Matthew Robson, the other witness only signed with his mark. Matthew Robson, witness to the marriage must have been a close family relation. Knowing that Matthew’s father was William, as listed on his death certificate, he could then be possibly an uncle or a cousin.

These documents are not the original church records but are copies of the originals, and are called Bishops Transcripts, a scribe would have laboriously copied from the original Parish Record to create a copy for the Bishopric, so that there were at least two copies of the church documents. If only our Irish ancestors had been as diligent as the English. It is so lamentable that there are scant records for my father’s Wise and Murray families in Ireland.

Matthew Robson’s wife Margaret must have died from complications shortly after giving birth to a daughter, named Margaret, in early January of 1825. These next set of records I found searching for Wallsend Parish Records for St Peter’s Church on Family Search.

Burial of Margaret, wife of Matthew Robson aged 30 years, 3 January 1825, Wallsend

I discovered from these records that Margaret Robson, the wife of Matthew Robson was buried at St Peter’s Church, Wallsend, on the same day that her baby daughter Margaret was christened. I found out these sad events from two different sources and by putting them together I could see that I was uncovering a family tragedy. I felt so melancholy for Matthew Robson, it was such a great sadness for me to have uncovered this tragedy in the Robson family. The birth of a baby daughter, and the death of his wife was such great sorrow.

Baptism of Margt Robson, daughter of Mattw. and Margt., 5 January 1825, Wallsend

Further tragedy followed when the baby daughter, also named Margaret and clearly named after her dead mother, died on 25 February 1825, and was buried at St Peters, Wallend. It was such a sad time for Matthew and his small family.

Burial of Margt, daughter of Matth and Margt Robson, 4 mths, 25 January 1825, Wallsend

Apart from William Robson born 1817 and Margaret Robson born 1825, Matthew Robson and Margaret Miller also had several other children, Thomas Robson born 1819, Elizabeth Robson born 1823 and Mary Ann Robson born 1821. Thus, when Matthew’s wife Margaret died in 1825 he was left with four children under the age of eight to care for. It is hardly surprising that Matthew married so quickly after the death of his first wife, as he was desperately needing someone to care for his children, so he could go back to work in the mines. Matthew needed a new wife, and in less than six months, he had remarried to the widow Anne Davison nee Hutton, who was also caring for a young family of her own.

Baptism of Elizabeth Robson daughter of Matthew and Margaret, 23 Feb 1823, Wallsend

Baptism of Mary Ann Robson, daughter of Matthew and Margaret, 12 Aug 1821, Wallsend

Baptism of Thomas Robson, son of Matthew and Margaret 9 May 1819, Wallsend

Sandy and I also worked out the details regarding Matthew Robson’s second wife, the widowed Ann Davison nee Hutton. I must say I was pleased to be able to help Sandy here, as I had found the marriage certificate for Ann Hutton, and I was able to help work out her very complicated matrimonial life. I discovered that Ann Davison, Matthew Robson’s second wife was a widow and had been married before to Thomas Davison. In uncovering Anne’s previous marriage I also uncovered another family tragedy. Thomas Davison was killed in a mining accident at the Wallsend Mine on 23 October 1821, and to make matters worse for their unborn child Thomasine was born six months later in 1822, and the added heartache for Ann, as she lost two brothers, William and John Hutton in the accident as well.

Marriage of Thomas Davison & Ann Hutton 20 Dec 1813 All Saints Newcastle Upon Tyne

Thomas and Ann Davison had four children, William Davison 1815, Jane Davison 1817, Frances Davison 1819 and Thomasina Davison 1822.

Burial of Thomas Davison, 25 Oct 1821, St Peters Wallsend, also brothers-in-law William and John Hutton

UK, Coal Mining Accidents and Deaths, 1700-1950:

Name: Thomas Davison
Birth Year: abt 1785
Event Type: Death
Event Year: 1821
Death Age: 36
Death Date: 23 Oct 1821
Death Place: Wallsend, Northumberland, England
Colliery: Wallsend “A” Pit
Owner: Russell’s Colliery
Notes: Explosion of gas. 52 killed.

On the morning of Tuesday 23rd October 1821 a dreadful explosion took place at Wallsend, Northumberland.

Wallsend Pit Head, circa 1835, unknown artist

“At around 8:00am the new pit shaft called New Belcher Seam, in Wallsend Colliery, on the river Tyne, blew up with a most tremendous explosion, which was heard at the distance of several miles around. It is not known with any certainty how the accident originated, but it is thought to be by the ignition of the hydrogen gas.

The report of the explosion having alarmed the people belonging to the collieries in the neighbourhood, hundreds instantly came running to the fatal spot, wishful to ascertain the extent of the calamity.

As soon as possible endeavours were made to render assistance to the sufferers, at least such of them as might have survived the accident. In the pit, out of fifty-six men, it was found only two had escaped unhurt – four men got out alive, but in a very weak state, two of whom are since dead. The rest, to the amount of fifty souls, had all perished.” Pitman Newspapers Nov. 1821 Vol II 1821

Mining Map of Northumberland and Durham, showing major coal mines in red

The youngest working in the mine that day was only 7 years old, the oldest 77, however the average age of those who died was 28 years of age. Four children under the age of 13 died, and many more in their teens and twenties were amongst the worst fatalities. It was an absolute tragedy which cast a terrible quiet over the village, many mourners turned up to witness the many funerals that took place over the next few days. St Peter’s Wallsend was the scene of terrible grief for one family who buried 14 relations in one mass grave. In all 46 miners were buried in the churchyard at St Peters, Wallsend. The mine managers undertook to look after the widows of the many miners who perished that day. A one off payment of one guinea, plus a home and firewood, and an allowance of 2 shillings for 26 widows and 90 fatherless children per week.

It was probably a marriage of convenience for both Ann Davison and Matthew Robson when they married on 25 June 1825. These were desperate times for Matthew and Anne, and it was a matter of survival for their families that they married, and therefore kept both their families fed, clothed and looked after. It would have been deemed a good arrangement for them. It was not acceptable for a young single woman to enter a single man’s home, and constraints over propriety would have made it difficult for Matthew to have entered into any other type of relationship with Ann. Arranged marriages were common and successful, especially in the desperate times that Matthew and Ann were placed. I am confident that theirs was a happy marriage, although I do wonder why William Robson failed to name his step-mother on his father’s death certificate.

The 1780-1840 era was marked by unemployment, poverty, crime, epidemics, rioting, slums in large cities and towns, shocking working conditions for women and children, and the fear and uncertainty due to the Napoleonic Wars, all contributing to a tumultuous time for English history. This came about partly by the social and economic conditions, but also through an unsettled period due to the instability of the throne and hostility towards the Germanic Kings of England. King George III ruled England from 1760-1820, at first a popular king, he then lost America during the War of Independence, sadly he then went mad In 1810 and died in 1820, the same year his fourth son, the Duke of Kent died, leaving his only child, Alexandrina aged just one year to be raised by her German mother. Today we know this woman to be Queen Victoria. Victoria was actually fourth in line to the throne, with three uncles, her father’s elder brothers ahead of her.

George III’s eldest son, George IV inherited the throne, however, he had no surviving children, and even tried to divorce his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, to the amusement of many and refused to crown her his Queen. Sadly George IV’s only daughter, Princess Charlotte and her unborn baby had died in a tragic childbirth ordeal in 1817. His greatest memorial is the Brighton Pavilion, and on his death in 1830 he left the English throne even shakier than he had found it. George’s brother Frederick, The Duke of York, was also childless, however, he had died in 1827, so the throne passed to William IV the last surviving son of George III, the former Duke of Clarence, a sailor by occupation without the slightest expectation of becoming King. William IV had several illegitimate children to his mistress Mrs Jordan, however no legitimate heir to the throne by his wife Queen Adelaide, who had borne him two daughters, who had sadly died in infancy. The English throne passed then to Victoria, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent in June 1837, and her reign marked an era of prosperity, security, peacefulness and order. It was also a time when Britain dominated almost one fifth of the Earth’s population and 40% of its land mass, it was the most dominant Empire in modern history.

A population explosion at the end of the eighteenth century had resulted in huge over population and this had eventually ended with a large amount of poverty and resulting crime. A solution had to be found for the overflowing gaols of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Transportation, firstly to America and after the American War of Independence was lost, the English founded a penal colony in New South Wales, Australia. Migration was also encouraged as many British peoples make a new life in Australia, Canada, United States and New Zealand. In Ireland, the failure of potato crops due to blight, resulted in nearly half their population migrating from 1850 -1900.  Migrants were happy to try their luck in a new country half way across the world, in search of a better standard of living.

Marriage of Matthew Robson and Ann Davison, 20 June 1825, St John’s Newcastle upon Tyne

This marriage record for Matthew and his second wife Ann Davison is interesting because Matthew Robson now signs his name to the marriage record. I also noticed that the witnesses are Elener Robson and Henry Cockburn. Elener Robson is Matthew Robson’s mother, Elener Morris. It was comforting to think that Matthew had the love and support of his family during this time.

The 1830s and 1840s in the Victorian era was marked by unemployment, poverty, rioting, slums in large cities and the working conditions for women and children were terrible. This is bourn out first hand by uncovering the Wallsend mining disaster of 1821

I also found an 1841 and 1851 English Census for William and Elener Robson, and it appears that both lived to old age. In the 1851 English Census which gathered much more information than the earlier 1841 Census, it gives the place of birth of each individual. What is important here is that both William 84, and Eleanor 74, give their place of birth as Newcastle. They are living at Gallowgate which was one of the gates leading to the Castle.

1851 English Census for William and Eleanor Robson, Pitman, Westgate, Northumberland

Matthew and Ann Robson had two children together, Eleanor Robson born in 1826, and John Hutton Robson born in 1829. John Hutton is cited on Matthew’s death certificate simply as Hutton Robson.

Baptism of Eleanor Robson, daughter of Matthew and Ann Robson, 2 April 1826, Wallsend

Baptism of John Hutton Robson, son of Matthew and Ann, 1 June 1829, Wallsend

Matthew and Ann Robson, were living in Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1841 when the English census was taken, this is the same district as his son William and daughter-in-law Ann Robson were living. Matthew and Ann are listed along with their children Mary Ann, Thomasina, Eleanor and John. Mary Ann being the daughter of Matthew and his first wife Margaret, Thomasina, being the daughter of Thomas and Ann Davison, and Eleanor and John being the children from Matthew and Ann’s marriage. Certainly, another example of a “his, hers and ours” marriage in the Robson family. It is interesting that Matthew’s occupation is listed as a shopkeeper now and, while intriguing, it shows his ability to move on from mining, and into a safer occupation. It must have been comforting for his second wife Ann, who had lost her first husband in such a shocking mine accident.

1841 Census for Matthew and Ann Robson, Tempest Street, Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne

Interestingly this suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne is called Stella, and this is of course the name of the house that Matthew Robson lived in Wollongong, New South Wales. It is never surprising that migrants name their homes after their places of origin.

Census for 1851 for Matthew and Ann Robson, Nun Street, Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne

The important thing to point out on this 1851 English Census is that Matthew Robson confirms his birth place as Carlisle, England, which supports the Baptism transcription I have accepted which gives his mother’s full name as Eleanor Morris. Oddly this census shows a son named Featherstone, aged 22. This date corresponds to the Robson’s son John Hutton Robson. Whether this is a joke or a scribe’s mistake is certainly curious. I have not seen this sort of error or name before. I also saw that they were sharing their house with a confectioner named Bowman McCullick. I captured an early photograph of Nun Street and it look to be a rather upmarket street in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. Google maps shows this part of the city relatively unchanged.

Nun Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England, circa 1950

1841 English Census for William and Eleanor Robson, Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne

This census lists both William and Ellen and their youngest son Edward. William and Edward both give their occupation as “miners in coal”. It is interesting to see that there are three generations of Robsons all recorded in the 1841 English Census and all now living in Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne. It would seem that the whole family have all moved away from Wallsend. Thanks to some information from the Newcastle Family History Society (NFHS) here in Australia they describe this move by the family on the closure of the colliery in Wallsend, which would have meant that many men were left unemployed. Another very sobering fact is that in 1835 there was a shocking explosion in the “Church Pit” mine that left 101 men dead. We are lucky that our Robson men were not on that shift, as potentially they could all have been killed.

C:\Users\Virginia Rundle\Dropbox\VR\Ancestry Stuff\Robson\Rowan to unbuckle\Explosion-at-Walls-end.png

Excerpt from a Wallsend Newspaper giving an account of the horrible explosion. It is courtesy of the NFHS who kindly provided me with this copy from Thursday 18 June 1835.

Subsequently the mine was closed, men were put off and our Robsons moved away from Wallsend to seek new work elsewhere. It was probably this event which changed the course of all our lives and encouraged William and Ann Robson to consider migration with their family to Australia. We now know what a wonderful decision it was, but it was a brave decision and also one that was to prove most favourable to the fortunes of the Robsons.

Baptism of Edward Robson, son of William and Eleanor, 1 June 1817, St Andrew, Newcastle Upon Tyne. William’s occupation is listed as a pitman.

On the same page is another baptism for Robert Robson son of William and Eleanor, however I don’t think this is “our” Robson’s, as this William Robson occupation is listed as a tin plater. Ellenor must have been about 45 years of age when she gave birth to Edward. This is the same year that Ellenor’s grandson William Robson was born to her son Matthew Robson and his wife Margaret Miller. It was not uncommon with these large families for this sort juxtaposition of generations to occur in families. Indeed in our own Kippax family this event occurred again, just two generations later with the Robson family, with the birth of W.E.V. Robson’s mother Annie Robertson Robson nee Kippax, whose own mother was having her youngest two children after W.E.V Robson was born.

England, Select Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991
Name William Robson
Gender Male
Death Date 1853
Burial Date 05 Oct 1853
Burial Place St. John’S, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England
FHL Film Number 847922
Name Eleanor Robson
Gender Female
Death Date 1853
Burial Date 07 Oct 1853
Burial Place St. John’S, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England
FHL Film Number 847922

St John’s Church, Cnr Grainger Street and Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne


The 1841 and 1851 Census give William and Ellenor’s address as Westgate. I am confident these death records are correct for our family.

I collaborated with Sandy Murray on our 4th Great Grandparents, William and Ellenor Robson, and we collected the death record transcriptions for William and Ellenor Robson, who both died in October 1853. William would have been aged about 84 and Ellenor was about 79. I decided to investigate their deaths as I suspected they may not have died from natural causes and to my horror I unearthed a most dreadful cholera epidemic of 1853 and I am sure that they both died from this terrible disease.

The Cholera outbreaks in Newcastle upon Tyne – by Doctor John Snow

“The town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne affords a remarkable instance of the influence of the water supply on the prevalence of cholera. In 1831-32 there were no waterworks at Newcastle; it was supplied, in an insufficient manner, with spring water, which generally had to be carried some distance to the houses from “pants” in the streets. The epidemic was pretty severe at this time. From November 1831 to November 1832 there were 801 deaths from cholera out of a population of 42,760.

The disease prevailed chiefly amongst the poor, and was worst in the least elevated parts of the town, near the river. Subsequently to 1832, waterworks were established on the river Tyne, a little above the town; but these were abandoned, in 1848, in favour of a supply from a rivulet and springs at Whittle Dean, about ten miles distant. In 1849, there were but 295 deaths from cholera in a population then increased to 71,847.

In the beginning of July 1853, two months before the reappearance of cholera in England, the Whittle Dean Water Company found their proper sources insufficient for the demands of the population and the various factories, and they made use of the former waterworks, mentioned above, to obtain water from the Tyne. The point at which they obtained water from the river, is scarcely a mile above Newcastle, and the tide flows for six miles above the town, carrying the contents of the sewers with it.

There are also villages, containing several thousands of colliers and iron-founders, on the banks of the Tyne, above the waterworks. The water from the Tyne was mixed, without filtration, with that from Whittle Dean, to the extent of one-third; and the mixed water, so supplied, was discoloured, and contained the large quantity of 7.1 grains of organic matter per gallon.

In the autumn of 1853, the cholera was prevailing extensively at Hamburg, and in nearly all the ports of the Baltic, whence a number of ships were arriving every day in the Tyne. The first cases of cholera commenced, with diarrhoea, on the 27th and 28th August, at Bell Quay, on the banks of the Tyne, three miles below Newcastle. One of the patients’ from Bell Quay was taken worse whilst on a visit to her mother at Newcastle: she died on 2nd September. Her mother was taken ill the same evening, and died on the following day.

Other cases occurred in Newcastle on the 1st and 2nd of September, having no connection with these. A ship from Bremen was lying at Bell Quay, opposite the house where the first cases occurred; but there had been no illness on board this ship, and the precise way in which the cholera was introduced on this occasion, is not known.

The disease soon spread to an extent almost unprecedented in this country: by the 15th of September the deaths exceeded a hundred a day. In nine weeks there were 1,533 deaths from cholera in a population of 86,114, being 178 to each 10,000 inhabitants; but the greater number of these deaths occurred in a few days, as 1001 took place from the 13th to the 23rd Sept. inclusive.”

George Robson was a first cousin of William Robson, this document below shows his children, Matthew and Demster Robson arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, aboard the Queen of the East in March 1864. Also on board was his married daughter Mary Robson and her husband Michael Phillips.

Migration of Matthew and Demster Robson, sons of George Robson of Wollongong, aboard the Queen of the East, arriving in Sydney, 30 April 1864.

During my Robson research, I found a link to, a family history website and found references to George Robson and Hannah Hornsby of Wallsend, Northumberland, England. In particular George was mentioned as a cousin to William Robson J.P. and had encouraged George’s migration and eventual employment at the Mount Keira Mine in Wollongong.

George and Hannah Robson had five children born in England, Mary Robson (1838), Margaret Robson (1839), William Robson (1841), Demster Robson (1844) and Matthew Robson (1852). Hannah died in Longbenton, near Wallsend, aged 40. Her widower George Robson migrated to Australia, aboard the Nabob, apparently after the encouragement of his cousin William Robson, who was part owner of the Mount Keira Colliery. George then sponsored three children from his first marriage to migrate and join him, and he married again to an Irish woman, Elizabeth Brownlee, in Australia in 1861, and they also had a large family of children. George was a miner at Mount Keira and later a farmer at Woodland, Cross Roads, West Wollongong where the old homestead remains. George was a Methodist, like so many of his relatives, and he is buried in the Methodist section of Wollongong General Cemetery. He died of a carcinoma to the leg. Also mentioned on the website was that George Robson was the son Matthew Robson and Mary Jobling.

George Robson and his second wife Mary Brownlee had ten children, Jane (1862), Edith (1863), Letitia (1865), Emma (1867), James (1868), Matthew William (1871), John (1872), Hannah (1874), Martha (1878) and Lily (1886). It is interesting that there is some familial naming patterns also happening in George’s second family, with Matthew William and John being used. 

George Robson, son of Matthew Robson and Mary Jobling. Wollongong Library, circa 1870

 Illawarra Mercury 10 June 1865 page 2.

 From his first marriage to Hannah, their son Matthew died shortly after arriving in Wollongong. It must have been a tragedy for him. He then went on to name another son Matthew William Robson from his second marriage in honour of this dead son, and after his father Matthew, and his grandfather William.

Arrival of George Robson, miner, aboard the Nabob, ex Liverpool, England, December, 1854.

The obituary for George Robson, Illawarra Mercury, 29 December 1905, page 7

Obituary for Demster Robson, the son of George Robson, Illawarra Mercury, 29 September 1905, page 4

The Demster Robson Family of Wollongong circa 1860. Back row from left: Emma Maria (mother), Hannah, Demster (father), Demster Jr and George. Front row: Emma E and William. Image courtesy of Wollongong Library.

Information I found earlier from the online Auld family tree which referenced George and William Robson Snr. being cousins was unfortunately removed. However, I became interested in finding the family relationship between these ‘cousins’. The interesting thing is that in the hand-written Robson Family Tree, authored by Ken Robson, it lists Matthew Robson and Mary Jobling and their children, with George being one of these children, but with obvious confusing and non-substantiating relationships at the top end of the tree, and a confusion that Matthew Robson was the son of my GGG Grandfather Matthew Robson. When Matthew Robson married Margaret Miller, their marriage was witnessed by another Matthew Robson. Many Robson researchers assumed that this was the father witnessing his son’s marriage. I think that this Matthew Robson was probably his uncle, Matthew Robson who had married Mary Jobling, the parents of George Robson. Matthew was a brother to William Robson, who had married Ellenor Morris, the father of my GGG Grandfather, Matthew Robson. A bit convoluted, but it is hard to explain these relationships.

Marriage of Matthew Robson

mentioned in the record of Matthew Robson and Mary Jobling

Name Matthew Robson
Spouse’s Name Mary Jobling
Event Date 22 Dec 1798
Event Place Wallsend, Northumberland, England


“England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” database, FamilySearch( : accessed 21 October 2015), Matthew Robson and Mary Jobling, 22 Dec 1798; citing Wallsend, Northumberland, England, reference 142; FHL microfilm 993,567.

Baptism of George Robson, son of Matthew and Mary Robson, pitman of Wallsend, 17 December 1817, St Peters, Wallsend, Northumberland, England

Marriage of George Robson and Hannah Hornsby, 1837, St Nicholas, Newcastle Upon Tyne

George Robson sponsored his children to migrate to Australia, I was curious with regard to the unusual name Demster. It turned out that Durham Records Online produced a regular online newsletter and once I had purchased records they continued to email me their updated records. A feature of one of the newsletters was unusual Northumberland Christian names. They cited the Hornsby Family for the unusual name Demster/Deemster, and I immediately knew the connection to the Robsons. Hannah’s father was called Deemster Hornsby, this record below I found on ancestry, and this is where this interesting name of Dempster enters the Robson line. His wife was Margaret Wile, and Longbenton is the next parish to Wallsend.  These families were probably all associated with the coal mining industry in this area.

Baptism of Hannah Hornsby daughter of Deemster and Margaret, 15 August 1813, Long Benton, Northumberland, England

Now that I have resolved the relationship of William Robson and his cousin George Robson, I went on to look at further documents.

With the help of Sandy Murray, and Matthew Robson’s death certificate I was able to confirm that Matthew Robson’s parents were William Robson and Eleanor Morris. They are also listed at the top of The Robson Family Tree, authored by Ken Robson.

William Robson married Eleanor Morris, he was the eldest son of William Robson and Jane Moor.

William had two brothers, Matthew and John Robson. As previously mentioned Matthew Robson married Mary Jobling, the father of  George Robson. John Robson, the younger brother, I know less about, because he wasn’t a miner, and presumeably he lived in Newcastle upon Tyne, and he and his family were possibly the mariners that my dad Reg Robson used to referred to when recounting stories about the Robson family.

As I continued to collect records, I could see that there was a traditional English familial naming pattern happening in the Robson family. I collected records which show that the three sons of William Robson were all baptised at All Saints, Newcastle upon Tyne, however, no mother was recorded on their baptism, which does cause difficulties going back one more generation. Earlier I illustrated the birth record of Eleanor Morris, 17 Apr 1774. Below is a copy of the original marriage record for William and Eleanor.

Marriage for William Robson & Eleanor Murrays (sic), St John’s Newcastle upon Tyne, 22 April 1792, courtesy of Sandy Murray.

Matthew Robson

England Births and Christenings

Name Matthew Robson
Gender Male
Christening Date 03 Feb 1795
Father’s Name Wm. Robson
Mother’s Name Eleanor Morris


“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch( : accessed 21 October 2015), Matthew Robson, 03 Feb 1795; citing SAINT MARY,CARLISLE,CUMBERLAND,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 0252807-0252810.

Baptisms of Eleanor, born 5 March 1803 and Margaret Robson, born 4 December 1804, Daughters of William Robson and Eleanor nee Morris in the Chapelry of All Saints, Newcastle on Tyne 31 March 1805 – two entries at very top of page. Eleanor Robson, the mother, is identified as the daughter of Matthew Morris. This is very possibly where the name Matthew enters the Robson family.

 Matthew and Eleanor’s eldest son was also baptised at St John’s Newcastle Upon Tyne, and this shows that the family were established in this parish until they moved to Carlisle in Cumberland, probably for William’s employment as a coal miner. 

Baptism (extract) of William, son of William Robson Pitman and Eleanor his wife, 15 January 1794, born 18 December 1792. Image courtesy of Sandy Murray

Baptism of William Robson, son of William and Eleanor, 15 January 1794, St John’s, Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. William being the eldest son.

Baptism of Eleanor Morris, daughter of Math. Morris, 17 April 1774, St Andrews, Newcastle upon Tyne

The records reads “Eleanor D of Math Morris, Pitman”.  Such a simple entry, however such a precious record for the family. My grateful thanks to Sandy Murray for finding this record of Eleanor. This is without doubt the oldest original record I have for the Robson family, note the name Matthew here again as Eleanor’s father.

Below is Matthew’s death and burial record at St Andrews, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Burial of Matthew Morris, aged 75 years, 10 May 1824, St Andrew, Newcastle upon Tyne

St Andrew’s Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland

As shown in the previous census information the whole Robson family moved away from Wallsend by 1841. Thanks to some information from the Newcastle Family History Society (NFHS) here in Australia they describe this move by the family as a result of the closure of the colliery in Wallsend, which would have meant that many men were left unemployed. Another very sobering fact is that in 1835 there was a shocking explosion in the “Church Pit” mine that left 101 men dead. We are lucky that our Robson men were not on that shift, as potentially they could all have been killed.

From 1802 onwards the family must have moved back to Newcastle Upon Tyne and settled into the area near the parish Church of St Andrews, where eight more of their children were baptised. This church was also where their mother Eleanor Morris was baptised.

In taking the Robson family back one more generation Sandy Murray and I felt confident in accepting these next three baptisms for William, Matthew and John, the sons of William, thus making the connection between the Robson cousins. There was another son, also named William who was born 1764 and died 1767. William below was named in his honour the following year, a common custom. The Bishop’s Transcripts that I accessed through the Family Search Website gives incredible access to these early records, however some are damaged by virtue of their age. Records between 1762 and 1769 are missing and my search for William was destined for disappointment. However other copies of these baptism books must remain as there are modern transcriptions. Luckily I was able to find William’s two elder brothers, John and Matthew.

William Robson

England Births and Christenings

Name William Robson
Gender Male
Christening Date 11 Dec 1768
Father’s Name William Robson

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch( : accessed 21 October 2015), William Robson, 11 Dec 1768; citing Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England, reference item 1; FHL microfilm 1,068,939.

Baptism of Matthew Robson, son of William, 30 June 1771, All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Baptism of John Robson, son of William, 12 December 1773, All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne

It was disappointing that there was no mother listed for these three sons of William Robson.

My final research is in regard to exactly when and how my 3 x Great Grandfather Matthew Robson arrived in Australia. His son, William Robson Snr was the first of our Robson family to arrive in Australia in 1841, and Matthew Robson, migrated after the death of his second wife Ann Hutton who was alive in 1851, when the English Census was gathered. Matthew must have migrated around 1855. This fact comes from Matthew’s death certificate, which stated that Matthew had been in the Colony of NSW for thirty years when he died in 1885. William’s cousin George Robson migrated in 1854 aboard the Nabob, after the death of his wife Hannah Hornsby Robson in 1853. He settled in the Wollongong area and remarried to Mary Brownlee. I believe that Matthew and George Robson both migrated because my great great grandfather William Robson encouraged them, as he realised that there were so many more opportunities for advancement in Australia than there were in England.

My father Reg Robson used to tell a tale about a Robson sea captain who commanded a merchant ship. Some of the Robsons of Wallsend and Newcastle upon Tyne were offered a place aboard his ship, after telling the family that Australia was a land of opportunity. My father particularly mentioned that this Robson sea captain used to bring slate to Sydney from Newcastle upon Tyne.  I believe that this is how my GGG grandfather the twice widowed Matthew Robson came to Australia, as unlike William and George Robson I have found no shipping record for his arrival in the mid 1850’s. I have done some research in this regard, and found a Robson sea captain venturing into Sydney at this time, a Captain Matthew Robson of the Royal George. In this case I have no records to substantiate this, only family folklore from my dad. However after some research on Captain Matthew Robson of the Royal George I found he married Mary Ann Thorne in 1853, a fact mentioned in the Robson Family Tree by Ken Robson.

Marriage of Captain Matthew Robson to Mary Ann Thorne, Empire, 1 Jan 1853 

Matthew and Mary Ann Robson had a son, Archibald Clement Robson. His marriage announcement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald with the interesting mention of Newcastle upon Tyne as Captain Robson’s birthplace. Ken Robson placed Matthew as the son of Matthew Robson and Mary Jobling, but date wise this is not correct. However, he may be a descendant from John Robson who possibly become a mariner rather than a miner. More research will need to be done to place him correctly into our family tree.

Marriage of A.C. Robson to Esther C Peters Sydney Morning Herald 22 Nov 1888 page 1

Captain Robson made several trips from England to Australia, and his wife settled in London for a few years and they had two children, Jessie born 1854 and Archibald, born 1856. However tragedy struck the Robson family again when Captain Matthew Robson was returning from Australia to England in 1856. He drowned off his ship The Grahamin the Indian port of Maharashtra, near Bombay. His death was recorded in the Sydney Morning Herald on 25 Mar 1857 (see page 89). His son Archibald was born just two months before his death on 20 September 1856. Mary Ann Robson had Archibald baptised in London at the Chapel, St Mary in St George’s in the East, on 12 October 1856, just a month before the death of her husband. The family returned to Australia and Mary Ann Robson died in Tasmania.








Burial of Matthew Robson, Captain of the Graham, 14 November 1856. Find My Past Record.

Death notice for Mr Matthew Robson, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 1857

London, England Births and Baptisms 1813-1906. Baptism of Archibald Robson 12 Oct 1856

Andrew Robson, New South Wales, Australia, Immigration Deposit Journals, 1853-1900 

When Andrew Robson sponsored his family to Australia in 1854 he also included John Hutton Robson aged 23. John Hutton Robson was the son of Matthew Robson and his second wife Ann Davison nee Hutton. However John, a coal miner, didn’t take up this offer to migrate and he remained back in England where he married Mary Joby, and they had three children, Eleanor, John Hutton and Alice Hutton Robson. When I saw this record I realised that Andrew Robson must be a member of our family. Together with Sandy Murray we worked out that Andrew was a brother to Matthew Robson, my GGG grandfather and Sandy’s GG grandfather.

Baptism of Andrew Robson, son of William and Eleanor, 12 April 1815, St Andrews Newcastle Upon Tyne

My next chapter will feature the story of William Robson Jnr and his wife Annie Robertson Kippax and their children, W.E.V. Robson, Ethel Larke nee Robson and Reginald Norman Robson, in The Robson Family of Sydney. I will also include the Larke Hoskins branch of the family, and the development of the early car industry of Australia. I have also written two related  chapters, The Kippax Family, which will reveal our convict heritage from Yorkshire, England, and The Robertson Family, which will take the family back to Dundee in Scotland. Finally I will conclude with the Robson war effort of World War II with W.E.V. Robson’s two sons Ewan Murray and Reginald George, and some more contemporary Robson family details including their sister Kathleen Drury nee Robson.

It has taken me nearly seven  years to complete my research on the Robson family. I have worked on it in fits and starts, and now I must concede that reliable records for our Robsons dry up at around 1750.

My goal was to take our Robson line back to Northumberland, and then to write the story of our Robson family. I am very happy that I was able to find the father and grandfather of Matthew Robson, my GGG Grandfather. It is an amazing to think that there were five William Robson’s in this direct line. My brother Bill was the sixth William Robson in the descent line. It has been one of the most interesting and challenging areas of my family research to date, and I know my dear dad, Reginald George Robson, would have just loved to have read and known about our Robson family back in Northumberland.

I would like to dedicate The Robson Family of Wallsend, Northumberland, and Newcastle and Wollongong, New South Wales to my father, Reg Robson (31 March 1915-30 June 1980), who would have just loved my research. In the little spare time he had, he often wrote to his extended family asking about the past and provided information to his cousins about our family.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my husband Geoff for all his support and encouragement to put my research into family chapters. His wise words to me were, “if you don’t write up the family history, all your research will one day be lost.”

Here is my Robson Family Direct Ancestor Line:

William Robson (abt 1740 – )

5th great grandfather

William Robson (1768 – 1851)

son of William Robson

Matthew Robson Snr (1795 – 1885)

son of William Robson

William Robson Snr JP (1817 – 1888)

son of Matthew Robson Snr

William Robson Jnr MLC (1843 – 1920)

son of William Robson JP

William Elliott Veitch Robson MLA (1869 – 1951)

son of William Robson MLC

Reginald George Robson (1915 – 1980)

son of William Elliott Veitch Robson MLA

William “Bill” John Robson (1947-1986)

son of Reginald George Robson

I will endeavour to update this chapter when more information comes to hand.

Virginia Rundle 12 November 2015 updated 27 July 2017

At the end of this chapter I have placed some family groups together as a quick reference.


In due course I will place a descendant line from William Robson b 1750, this will be a growing list of our Robson descendants. I hope descendants will contact me by leaving a message on the website. I can update this chapter adding in more information, photos, memorabilia and newly discovered descendants.



Kenneth Russell Robson research papers lodged with Wollongong Library

Samuel Warren Carey A.O. author of The Robson Family Tree and other documents lodged with the Newcastle Family History Society

Find My Past

Family Search


ANU online bibliographies

Marilyn Rowan Transcription Services

Marion Wilson and the Newcastle Family History Society

Wollongong Library Services, including Robson Family Photos

John Elliott Robson Manuscript, Newcastle Regional Gallery

Trove Digitised Newspapers

Family Tree Maker 2012, for the chart and the summaries on the following pages

Durham Records Online

Elizabeth Jansen website:

Family acknowledgements to Ken Robson, Lavinia Chrystal, Sandy Murray, Kay Rayner, Richard Gillard, Terry Larke, Narelle Ahling and Harley Carey.

Website constructed by my son, Rowan Rundle






Summary of the children of John Elliott and Martha Sadler:

i.MARGARET ELLIOTT was born on 19 Mar 1824 in Newcastle Upon Tyne,

Northumberland, England. She died on 03 Oct 1896 in Wollongong, New South

Wales, Australia. She married (1) THOMAS WISEMAN, son of Mr Wiseman in 1841 in Hunter

District, Maitland, Morpeth, Paterson, Singleton. He was born about 1810 in England UK. He died about 1852 in California, USA. She married (2) WILLIAM ROBSON JP, son of Matthew Robson Snr and Margaret Miller on 07 Jan 1854 in Maitland, West Maitland, New South Wales. He was

born on 25 Feb 1817 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He died on 05 Apr

1888 in Frazer Road, Petersham, NSW, Australia.

ii. WILLIAM ELLIOTT was born on 01 Mar 1826 in ‘Segenhoe’ Scone, New South Wales,

Australia. He died on 03 Jun 1890 in West Wallsend, NSW. He married Elizabeth Warren Hawke on 21 Jun 1855 in East Maitland, NSW, Australia. She wasborn on 01 Sep 1838 in Stoney Creek, NSW. She died on 04 May 1882 inBoggabri, NSW.

iii. MARY ANN ELLIOT was born on 18 May 1827 in Segenhoe, New South Wales,

Australia. She died on 18 Oct 1900.

iv. ELIZABETHELLIOT was born on 03 Jul 1828 in Segenhoe, New South Wales,

Australia. She died on 05 May 1908 in Buttai, New South Wales, Australia.

v. ISABELLA ELLIOTT was born in 1830 in Scone, New South Wales, Australia. She died

on 13 Jun 1915.

vi. JOHN ELLIOTT was born on 15 Aug 1832 in Segenhoe, New South Wales, Australia.

He died on 05 Aug 1874.

vii. ELEANOR MARY ELLIOTT was born on 31 Jan 1834 in Maitland, NSW Australia. She

died on 10 Mar 1905 in Queensland, Australia.

viii. MARTHA ELLIOT was born on 28 Jan 1836. She died on 27 Oct 1907.

ix. EDWARD ELLIOTT was born in 1837 in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. He

died on 03 Jun 1903 in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.

x. GEORGE ELLIOTT was born on 24 May 1839 in Hexham, New South Wales,

Australia. He died on 07 Dec 1918 in Maitland East, New South Wales. He married

Margaret Jane Considine on 04 Sep 1867 in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.

She was born in Jun 1849 in York, Yorkshire East Riding, England. She

died on 13 Apr 1943 in Kurri Kurri, NSW.

xi. WILFRED ELLIOTT was born on 04 Mar 1841 in Derbie, Hunter District, Maitland,

Morpeth, Paterson, Singleton, New South Wales. He died on 09 Oct 1913 in East

Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. He married Mary Ann Groves, daughter of

William Groves and Alice in 1868 in Maitland, NSW. She was born on 10 Oct 1846 in Black Creek, Bulwarra, Cloden, East Maitland, Hinton,Hunter District, Maitland, Morpeth, West Maitland, NSW. She died on10 Aug 1933 in Buttai, Maitland, NSW.

xii. ANN ELLIOTT was born on 26 Jun 1844 in Maitland, West Maitland, New South

Wales. She died on 18 Oct 1900 in West Wallsend, NSW. She married (1)

ALLAN CAMERON on 12 Nov 1866 in East Maitland, NSW, Australia. He was born in

1829 in Invernesshire, Scotland. He died on 14 Jan 1873 in Buttai, Maitland, NSW. She married (2) WILLIAM SHELTON on 06 Oct 1878 in Hexham, NSW. He was born in 1841 in England


Summary of the children of Thomas Wiseman and Margaret Elliott:

i. WILLIAM JOHN  WISEMAN was born in 1842 in Sydney, New South Wales. He died in

1922 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He married (1) ANNE MUSGROVE, daughter

of Charles Musgrove and Matilda in 1866 in Wollongong, New South Wales,

Australia. She was born on 06 Jun 1843 in Bungonia, Goulburn, New South Wales.

She died on 10 Jan 1901 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He married (2)

REBECCA N BAYLISS, daughter of Benjamin Bayliss and Johanna Golsby Tuzo in

1905 in Manly, New South Wales. She was born on 27 Jan 1848 in Abercrombie

District, Bathurst, NSW. She died in 1924 in Parkes, New South Wales, Australia.

ii. CHARLES APPLETON WISEMAN was born on 31 Aug 1848 in Sydney, New South

Wales. He died in 1880 in Goulburn, New South Wales (Charles died falling from a

horse. The Coroner’s inquest found it an accidental death.). He married Sarah

Simons on 03 Mar 1874 in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. She was born on

08 Jul 1844 in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. She died in 1895 in

Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia.

iii. THOMAS JAMES WISEMAN was born in 1844 in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.

He died on 23 Feb 1894 in Balmain North, New South Wales. He married Louisa

Harriet Robinson on 14 Oct 1864 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She was

born in Jun 1843 in Northamptonshire, England.

iv. MARGARET ELLIOTT WISEMAN was born about 1847 in Sydney, New South Wales. She died in 1897 in Wollongong, New South Wales.


WILLIAM ROBSON was born in Abt. 1740 in Newcastle upon Tyne St Andrew, Northumberland, England. He married Jane Moor on 13 Oct 1759 at All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland,

William Robson and Jane Moor had the following children:

i.WILLIAM ROBSON was baptised 28 October 1764 at All Saints,  Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

He died about 1767 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

ii.WILLIAM ROBSON (1) was baptised on 11 Dec 1768 at All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland,England.

He died on 7 Nov 1851 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England  He married Elenor Morris, daughter of Matthew Morris on 28 Apr 1792 in Newcastle On Tyne, Northumberland, England

Surname listed as Murrays not Morris and Christian name as Eleanor and not Elenor. She was born in 1774 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. She died in 1853 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. Burial date is 7 Oct 1853 at St John’s Newcastle Upon Tyne

iii.MATTHEW ROBSON (2) was baptised on 30 Jun 1771 at All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland,England

He died in Apr 1851 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland. He married Mary Jobling, daughter of George Jobling and Jane on 22 Dec 1798 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England

She was born in 1779 in Northumberland, England. She died before 1840 in Northumberland, England.

iv.JOHN ROBSON was baptised on 12 Dec 1773 at All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northumberland, England.

Summary of the children of William Robson (1) and his wife Elenor Morris:

i.WILLIAM ROBSON was born 18 Dec 1792 and baptised on 15 Feb 1794 at St John’s, Westgate Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

ii.MATTHEW ROBSON was in 1794 and baptised on 03 Feb 1795 at St Mary’s Carlisle, Cumberland, England.

He died on 06 Dec 1884 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. He married (1) Margaret Miller, daughter of James Miller and Margaret on 04 May 1816 in St. Andrew’s, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. She was born on 29 Nov 1793 in Wickham, Durham, England. She died on 03 Jan 1825 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He married (2) ANN HUTTON of Ferry Hill, Durham, England, (widow of Thomas Davison) on 20 June 1825 at St John’s Newcastle Upon Tyne. She died abt 1852. He married He married (3) ELEANOR NEVILLE, daughter of James Neville and Ellen, on 05 June 1860 in Keiraville, New South Wales, Australia. She was born in 1816 in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. She died on 04 Aug 1892 in Mt Keira, Wollongong, NSW.

iii.MARY ANN ROBSON was born on 28 Apr 1798 in Newcastle Upon Tyne and baptised on 28 November 1810 at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland.

ivJOHNROBSON was born on 7 September 1801 and baptised on 24 Jan 1802 at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland. He died on 23 June 1803.

v.ELEANORROBSON was born on 5 Mar 1803 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and baptised on 31 March 1805 at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

vi.MARGARETROBSON was born on 04 Dec 1804 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England and was baptised on 31 March 1805 at St Andres, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland.

She died on 20 Aug 1826 and was buried at Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

vii.JANE ROBSONwas baptised on 19 January 1812 her brothers John and Thomas at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

viii.JOHN ROBSONwas baptised on 19 January 1812 with his sister Jane and brother Thomas at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

ix.THOMAS ROBSON was baptised on 19 January 1812 with his sister Jane and brother John, at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

x.ANDREW ROBSON was baptised 12 April 1815 at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England

xi.ROBERT ROBSON was baptised 15 June 1817 at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

xii.EDWARD ROBSON was baptised on 1 Jun 1817 at St Andrews, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

Summary of the children of Matthew Robson and Margaret Miller:

i.William Robson JP, was born on 25 Feb 1817 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He died on 05 Apr 1888 in Frazer Road, Petersham, NSW, Australia. He married (1)Ann Veitch who died on 15 Sep 1853 in East Maitland, New South Wales. He married (2) Margaret Elliott Wiseman. She was born on 19 Mar 1824 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. She died on 3 Oct 1896 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

ii. Thomas Robson, was born in 1819 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England.  Baptism 9 May 1819 at St Peter’s Church, Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

iii Mary Ann Robson, was born in 1821 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England (Birthplace listed as Wallsend, Durham Records Online).

iv Elizabeth Robson, was born on 25 Dec 1822 in Wallsend Northumberland. Baptism 23 February 1823 at St Peter’s Church, Wallsend, Northumberland, England. She died on 07 Oct 1884 in Jamberoo, NSW (Buried in the Wesleyan Chapel, Jamberoo). She married John Richardson, son of William Richardson and Mary on 18 Feb 1844 in Parish of St John, Newcastle upon Tyne (English BD 25/302). He was born on 25 Jul 1822 in Dipton Durham U.K.. He died on 05 Apr 1887 in Jamberoo, NSW.

v. Margaret Robson, daughter of Matthew Robson Snr and Margaret Miller was born about 03 Jan 1825 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England (Margaret’s mother, Margaret Miller died in childbirth. Baptism 3 January 1825 at St Peter’s Church, Wallsend, Northumberland, England, the same day her mother was buried. The funeral and Baptism presumably at the same time. I would think she was named in honour of her mother.). She died on 25 Feb 1825 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England ( St Peter’s Church, Wallsend, England).

Summary of the children of Matthew Robson Snr and his second wife Ann Hutton:

i. JOHN HUTTON ROBSON was born in 1829 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He died in Jul 1906 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, United Kingdom (Age at Death: 77). He married MARYJOBY. She was born about 1824 in Rennington, Northumberland, England. She died before 1891.

ii. ELEANOR ROBSON was born in 1826 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

Summary of the children of William Robson Snr and Ann Veitch:

i. Thomas William (Robson) Robson, was born in Dec 1837 in Wallsend Northumberland. He died on 21 Jun 1840 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.

ii. Margaret Robson born 1838, and who accompanied her parents on the voyage to Sydney, Australia aboard the Emerald Isle in 18411. When Margaret was in her mid-forties she married John Loudon on 5 Feb 1884.

iii. Matthew Emerald Robson, was born on 11 Sep 1841 in at sea, in the Bay of Biscay aboard the immigrant ship, the Emerald Isle, and Matthew was named after his grandfather Matthew Robson, following English naming traditions, and also in honour of the ship they were travelling on. His birth was registered at Hoxham, Newcastle, New South Wales 1842. He died on 16 Mar 1899 at Wallsend Cottage, Mt Keira, Wollongong, NSW. He married Anne Elliott in 1859 in Wollongong, New South Wales and they had a large family. She was born in 1840 in Tyrone, Ireland and died on 31 Dec 1916 in Woollahra, New South Wales.

iv. William was born on 25 Feb 1843 in East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. William married Annie Robertson Kippax on 17 March 1868 at The Wesleyan Church, Bourke Street, Sydney. She was the eldest daughter of William Henry Kippax and Elizabeth Whitton Robertson. They had three children, William Elliott Veitch, known as W.E.V Robson b 1869, Ethel b 1872 and Reginald b 1878.

v. Mary Robson, was born in 1846. She died in 1848 in Black Creek, near Maitland, New South Wales, and is presumably buried with her mother Ann in a cemetery near this area.

vi. Thomas Robson, was born in 1848 in West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1937 in Wickham, New South Wales. He married Mary Ann Rossborough in 1868 in Wollongong. She was born in 1846 in Sydney, New South Wales.

vii. Jane Robson, was born in 1849 in the Hunter River District, Newcastle, New South Wales. She died in 1851 in Black Creek, Maitland, New South Wales. Jane is probably buried with her sister Mary and mother Ann. Her mother Ann died on 16 Jan 1853 in Black Creek, near Maitland in New South Wales.

Summary for the children of William Robson Snr. and his second wife Margaret Elliott:

i.JOHN EGGLESTON ROBSON was born on 31 Oct 1854 in Hunter River Circuit, New South Wales, Australia. He died on 12 Dec 1939 in Lisarow, New South Wales, Australia (St John’s Presbyterian Church, Lisarow, Central Coast). He married Sarah Anna Frances Elizabeth Emery, daughter of James Emery and Sarah on 19 Apr 1876 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She was born on 19 Aug 1854 in Kiama, New South Wales, Australia. She died on 27 Mar 1934 in Ourimbah, New South Wales, Australia.

ii.JANE ANN ROBSON was born in Jun 1855 in Maitland, West Maitland, New South Wales. She died on 20 Oct 1868 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia (Buried in the Robson/Wiseman grave at Wollongong, Old Cemetery, NSW. Aged 14 years.   Death record states death in 1865.).

iii.MARY ELIZABETH ROBSON was born in 1857 in Wollongong, New South Wales. She died in 1891 in Wollongong, New South Wales. She married (1) ROBERT CRAM, son of James Cram and Sarah Jane Hedley in 1882 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. He was born in Oct 1855 in Tynemouth, Northumberland, United Kingdom. He died in 1902 in Wollongong New South Wales Australia (Coronial Inquiry found his death from accidental coal mining injuries. See note in profile.).

iv.GEORGE ROBSON was born on 06 Sep 1858 in Dapto Road, Wollongong, New South Wales. He died in 1920 in Mittagong NSW. He married Mary Russell Roberts, daughter of James Scobie Roberts and Elizabeth Russell on 25 Feb 1879 in Bullock Island, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (The Robson family lived at Tighes Hill, near Newcastle.). She was born on 17 Jun 1860 in East Maitland, NSW, Australia. She died on 22 Dec 1938 in Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia.

v.HENRY JAMESROBSON was born in 1860 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He died in 1945 in Granville. NSW. He married (1) EMMAHODGKINSON, daughter of Henry Hodgkinson and Jane in 1886 in Shoalhaven, NSW. She was born in 1863 in Shoalhaven, NSW. She died in 1947 in Paddington NSW.

vi.FREDERIC ROBSON was born on 07 Oct 1861 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He died in 1926 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

vii.ROSABEL ROBSON was born in 1863 in Wollongong, New South Wales. She died on

Jun 1942 in Wollongong, New South Wales. She married (1) EDWARD JAMES LINDSAY, son of William Lindsay and Sarah in 1887 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He was born in 1860 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He died in 1917 in Boulder, Western Australia. She married an unknown spouse in 1887 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

viii.ELLEN ROBSON was born on 27 Oct 1864 in Sunnybank, Wollongong, NSW. She died in 1944. She married Charles Edward Broome on 20 Dec 1888 in Wollongong, NSW. He was born on 20 Oct 1864 in Pit Town, Newcastle, NSW.

ix.MARTHA JANE ROBSON was born in 1866 in Wollongong, New South Wales. She died in 1876 in Newcastle, New South Wales.

Summary of the children of William Robson Jnr and Annie Robertson Kippax:

i. William Elliott Veitch Robson MLA, elder son of William Robson Jnr and Anne “Annie”

Robertson Kippax was born on 23 Mar 1869 in Sydney, New South Wales. He married Mabel Wise on 21 December 1901 at Ashfield Presbyterian Church, NSW.

ii. Ethel Kippax Robson, only daughter of William Robson Jnr and Anne “Annie”

Robertson Kippax was born in 1872 in Braidwood, New South Wales. She died in

1961. She married William Bain Larke in 1904 in Chatswood, New South Wales.

Larke was born about 1873 in Oshawa Ontario, Canada. He died in May 1945 in Chatswood,

New South Wales.

iii. Reginald Norman Robson Reverend, younger son of William Robson Jnr and Anne “Annie”

Robertson Kippax was born in 1878 in Morpeth, New South Wales. He died on 07

Feb 1907 in Chatswood, New South Wales. Death certificate attached. Cemetery details: (Surname ROBSON Given Names REG Age 28 Y Date of Death Date of Interment 09 Feb 1907 Denomination Methodist Section 1D/OC Grave Number 0000227 Rookwood Cemetery).

Summary of the children of Matthew Robson (2) and his wife Mary Jobling:

i.JOHN ROBSON was born on 22 Sep 1799 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

ii.ROBERT ROBSON was born on 29 Dec 1801 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

iii.MATTHEW ROBSON was born on 03 Dec 1803 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He died on 13 Feb 1879 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He married HANNAH ROBSON. She was born in 1804 in Heburn, Durham, England.

iv.JANE ROBSON was born on 4 Dec 1805 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

v.WILLIAM ROBSON was born in 1809 in Northumberland, Wallsend (Father is wrongly transcribed as Martha, I had seen this before and had not collected it until I found the 1851 census listing his father in the household, giving Wallsend as his place of birth.). He married MARY. She was born in 1805 in Northumberland, Wallsend.

vi.MARY ROBSON was born on 26 Nov 1811 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

vii.GEORGE ROBSON was born on 28 Nov 1817 in Wallsend, Northamptonshire, England. He died on 17 Dec 1905 in Wollongong New South Wales Australia. He married (1) HANNAH HORNSBY, daughter of Deemster Hornsby and Margaret Wile on 05 May 1837 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England ( Newcastle Upon Tyne, St Nicholas). She was born in Aug 1813 in Longbenton, Northumberland, England. She died on 28 Nov 1853 in Longbenton, Northumberland, England (Buried at    Parish Longbenton, St. Bartholomew, Northumberland. Information from Auld Family Tree, see note in George Robson’s profile.). He married (2) ELIZABETHBROWNLEE, daughter of James Brownlee and Jane on 05 Aug 1861 in Wollongong New South Wales Australia. She was born on 21 May 1836 in Armagh, Ireland. She died on 12 Dec 1910 in Wollongong New South Wales Australia.

Summary of the children of George Robson (from previous page) and Hannah Hornsby:

i.WILLIAM ROBSON was born in 1841 in Wallsend, UK. He died in 1853 in Wallsend, UK.

ii.MARGARET ROBSONwas born on 25 Dec 1839 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. She died in Oct 1853 in Wallsend, UK.

iii DEMSTER ROBSON was born on 06 Oct 1844 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He died on 27 Sep 1905 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia (The death occurred at Wollongong on Wed last of Mr Demster Robson, for many years a resident of Golden-square, and for a considerable time underground boss at the Shenandoah Co.’s mine. The deceased was a brother-in-law of the the late Mr D. Cronin.). He married Emma Maria Chandler, daughter of George Nicholas Chandler and Elizabeth Ann Wright in 1874 in Strathfieldsaye, Victoria, Australia. She was born in 1854 in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. She died in 1929 in Bendigo, Victoria.

iv.MATTHEWROBSON was born on 23 May 1852 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England. He died on 16 Jun 1865 in Wollongong.

v.MARYROBSON was born on 05 May 1838 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. She died on 27 Nov 1908 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. She married Michael Phillips, son of John Phillips on 10 Mar 1863 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. He was born in 1838 in Wellington, Northumberland, England. He died in 1918 in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

Summary of the children of George Robson and his second wife Elizabeth Brownlee:

i.LILLY M ROBSON was born in 1886 in Balmain, New South Wales. She died in 1961 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She married GEORGE MAGUS. He was born in 1875 in Estonia. He died in 1963 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

ii.HANNAHFLORENCE ROBSON was born in 1874 in Wollongong, NSW.

iii.JANE ROBSONwas born in 1862 in Wollongong, New South Wales. She died in 1862.

iv.JOHN ROBSON was born in 1872 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

v.MARTHA ZILLAH ROBSON was born in 1878 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

viEMMA E ROBSON was born in 1867 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

vii.EDITH MARGARET ROBSON was born in 1863 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

viii.MATTHEW WILLIAM ROBSON was born in 1871 in Wollongong, New South Wales. He married MARIA E BASSETTin 1911.

ix.JAMES GEORGE ROBSON was born in 1868 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

x.LETITIA J ROBSON was born in 1865 in Wollongong, New South Wales

13 comments On The Robson Family of Wallsend and Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland England and Newcastle and Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

  • Thanks for this comprehensive article. I was researching George Robson (1817 – 1905) of Woodlawn Wollongong as part of my interest in my sister in law's family history. She is a great granddaughter of Edith Margaret Robson, from George's second marriage. I had already concluded that George had probably on the Nabob and your article added so much detail on the Robson family.

  • Hello Kerrie Anne, glad to be of help. I am eager to place this part of the family into my tree. I would be most happy if you could email me the descent line of your sister in law., as it really helps everyone to stay connected. It is such an interesting story, and I am so pleased to have been of help to you. Kind regards Virginia

  • Was researching my GG Grandfather William Robson as I felt my father may have had some incorrect information and came across your excellent research. I do believe there is an error in citing the ‘Ken Files’ and he may not have known the code numbers meaning unless my father had explained them.
    These flow charts were drawn by my father Samuel Warren Carey AO and are in his hand. If you look at the code numbers you will see he has started with himself as 1I1 and my mother Austral 1I2. 1 is the degree of blood separation, I is his generation, the next number is random as to when he entered that person to the tree. Those with O at the start are no blood relations. William Robson b 1817 is 1F20
    I am 1J3 – J generation, 3rd child of Sam & Austral. Happy to provide any info on our side that you may not have.

  • I am related to John Eggelston Robson through his wife, Sarah Ann Francis Elizabeth Emery and have researched their family through one of their descendants. There is also a bit about William and Ann Robson and his mines down in Wollongong (John Elliot Robson, ‘Robson Family Background’), but mostly about John E. and Sarah A.F.E. Robson and their 11 kids. One reason for John E. being left a comparatively small amount of money (large by today’s standards) was that he was also a hawker and, along with most of his brothers, had no interest in mining. I re-read my account of the Robson Family right back to Scotland and there’s more than I realised. So, if you would also like what I have about John E. and Sarah A.F.E. Robson’s kids, I’ll email it.

  • Hi Virginia,
    I met Narelle Ahling at the Kiama Family History Centre last year.
    I believe my Robson descent in Australia is:
    William Robson (1817-1888) m1: (1836) Ann Veitch (1816-1853)
    Thomas William Robson (1845-1937) m: (1868) Mary Ann Rossborough (1846-1905)
    Edwin Charles Robson (1881-1940) m: (1903) Jane Herbert Swan (1882-1968)
    Leslie William Robson (1922-1978) m: (1944) Helen Mary Carlaw (1925-1951)
    I’m in awe of the research you have done to compile Relatives Matter.

    I’ve downloaded some reports about the 1835 mine explosion at Wallsend N-u-T where a Robson father & son died.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research into my maternal Carlaw line who lived in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne before migrating to Australia.
    Earlier ancestors may have come from West Lothian (Carlaw), Ayrshire (McCandlish), Mid Lothian & Lanarkshire (Tennent & Sandilands), in Scotland.
    So far, my parents appear to be the 1st Robson & Carlaw marriage, but I’m looking for earlier marriages by tracing siblings of my direct Carlaw ancestors, possibly via Ann Veitch’s family.
    I’ve found Veitch descendants of the Carlaws, but no other marriages as yet.

  • Hi,

    Who designed your website?


    Amortoae Petru


  • Hi, just came across this article. I believe there may be some connection between my Robson’s and yours but I need to really sit down and read this article again more closely. My grandmother was Isabel Robson, daughter of George Robson (1858-1943) and Mary Ann Drury. George was son of Thomas Robson (1832-1920) all around Wallsend NSW area. Thomas (1832-1920) was son of Thomas (1799-1886) son of William (1760-1844).
    Hope to find a connection.

  • Hi I came across this article as well, my great grand father was cecil bertram robson son of John and Isabella Robson were married in 1890 at West Wallsend, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:7327/1890 and had only 1 child. Cecil Bertram Robson born 1892 at west Wallsend, N.S.W.

  • I reckon our family is related

    • Thanks for these comments Craig. It is interesting that your Robson family migrated very early to Newcastle, New South Wales early as well. I had quite an extensive search to see if John and Isabella Robson were related to my Robson ancestors, however at this stage they remain unconnected. Your family of Robson miners hailed from Durham in England and my Robson family came from Wallsend in England. During my research on your Robson family I did uncover a lot of records and I was pleased to have successfully placed the family firmly into the townships of Houghton Le Spring and Chester Le Street in Durham, England. I have uploaded original baptism and marriage records, collected English census information as well as their migration records to Sydney aboard the Conway in 1856. All this can be found on my “Rundle Family Tree” however, at this stage they remain “floating” and unconnected to my Robson’s of Wallsend. Regards Virginia

  • Lisa Kitson (nee Robson)

    I believe we may also be connected. My great great grandfather was Jospeh Robson of Middridge, Durham, coal miner, married Margaret Harrison in 1863, Joseph’s brothers were George, Fred & Henry. Their son Thomas William Robson emigrated to New Zealand, and here we are. Haven’t much more information than that.

  • Hi Virginia,
    I wonder if we are connected, & if so would you have any information to help me – tidbits you might have on my great grandfather James Lindsay, a coal miner in the Newcastle area. His marriage certificate says he was born in Smythesdale in Victoria in about 1853, and he married Margaret Elliott of Happy Flat in Newcastle on 22 Apr 1878 when she was 19. Her father approved the marriage. James was residing at Minmi at that time. Margaret’s parents were George Elliott and Margaret (?)Esmond, & she was born 1859 & died 5 Nov 1921, buried in the Elliot family cemetery @ Kurri Kurri. James died on 7/6/1924 & is buried at Buttai. I’m not sure if references are to the same cemetery, it seems strange that they would be buried so close together but so far apart. James’parents are listed on his marriage certificate as James Lindsay (a miner) & Margaret Robson.

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