Monthly Archives: July 2009

Why did they come?

>For non-Indigenous Australians the key questions of family history are ‘when did your ancestors arrive and why did they come’. The answers in my case are below – insofar as they can be known:

1. John Lyster ‘Ganges’ 1797: convict
2. Margaret Mooney ‘Anne’ 1801: convict
3. Tom White Melville Winder ‘Surry’ 1816: merchant trader
4. George Billet ‘Sesostris’ 1826: convict
5. William Jenkins ‘Champion’ 1827: convict
6. Emanuel and Catherine Hungerford and family ‘Alexander Henry’ 1828: free settlers
7. Julia Hogan ‘Red Rover’ 1832: sponsored female emigrant
8. James Fitzgerald and family ‘Atlas’ 1833: soldier
9. sometime before 1834, parents of Richard Goodwin: unknown
10. Eliza Tully ‘Pyramus’ 1836: convict
11. John and Catherine McLean and family ‘Brilliant’ 1838: forced removal
12. John Sproule ‘Berkshire’ 1841: assisted immigrant
13. Thomas and Jane Gay and family ‘Margaret’ 1841: assisted immigrants
14. John Finly Thomson, sometime before 1845: unknown
15. Margaret Darcy, sometime before 1847: unknown
16. James and Ann King and family ‘Steadfast’ 1849: assisted immigrants
17. Edith and Edwin Spratt ‘Duke of Roxburgh’ 1849: assisted immigrants
18. John Henry Hawley, sometime before 1855: free settler
19. Thomas Pywell and family ‘Bengal’ 1855: assisted immigrants
20. Thomas and Mary Ann Way and family ‘Gloriana’ 1855: assisted immigrants
21. Sampson and Emma Lees and family ‘Castilian’ 1857: assisted immigrants
22. Hugh Chalmers Rose ‘Glenmarra’ 1858: free settler
23. James Aldridge Newth, circa 1873: clergyman
24. Archibald Phipson ‘Aorangi’ 1906: wanderer
25. John James Sherlock ‘Narrung’ 1908: single male immigrant

What a variety of reasons: lots of people forced to emigrate on account of criminal conviction, forced removal from their tenancies, lack of opportunity at home; others taking advantage of government assistance and chain migration; still others wandering the world in search of somewhere better or different, maybe somewhere well away from family and the known. And there are those whose reasons remain unknown, or whose very migration experience may never be dated and catalogued.

The list hides the surprises though, of long chains of family migration, and of trial stops along the way in other lands, not to mention those who returned Home or made several trips. These (largely) nineteenth-century figures were not so different from the world of suburban Australia today.

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