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If you are interested in exploring NSW’s land heritage, LPI has produced the following guides to assist you in conducting online and over-the-counter searches of current and historical information.

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A Brief History of the Records of the Registrar General (PDF 2.1 MB)

Published 26 Mar 2013

This publication offers a brief history of the Office of the Registrar General since its inception in 1843 and the records it holds which date back to 1792. It also describes how land was initially acquired and consequently managed.

First Stop Guide to the Records of the Registrar General (PDF 981.6 KB)

Published 26 Mar 2013

via Searching guides – Land and Property Information.

via Searching guides – Land and Property Information.

That Moment in Time: FRIDAY FOSSICKING MAY 8TH 2015

Sometimes, there are too many words within… sometimes they simply have to be written….. sometimes…. Since I was a little girl I have had a curious nature particularly in regard to who my family were…I was always asking questions and wanting to know more about where everyone fitted in to my extended family… now I have found the answers to many of my questions so have lots of new questions… all to do with family… You can contact me at crissouli (at) gmail (dot) com

View my complete profile

via That Moment in Time: FRIDAY FOSSICKING MAY 8TH 2015.

via That Moment in Time: FRIDAY FOSSICKING MAY 8TH 2015.


The Ryerson Index is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries.Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers – including in excess of one million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However, the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index.Indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who give freely of their time to ensure the site continues to grow. Site updates occur every couple of weeks, and more often in periods of high activity.The index itself cannot by definition be considered a primary source of data, but is purely a research aid to direct the researcher to the original source of a notice.




Hello everyone. Not good news about Lynne. I’ve never met her but truly appreciate the effort she has put in here over the years. I hope she is able to recover.

I posted this on some other Sanders site. Obviously not this one. So here is something you may find interesting.

Hello to all you Sanders people I am son of Tom, son of Clement, son of Frederick, son of William. As you all know, William was born in Kenton, Devon, England. I was just there in Kenton in early September 2104. I very nice quiet little village. We were given access to a book entitled “Extracts of Baptisms, burials and Marriages recorded at Kenton Parish Church” (We never actually wrote down the official name, but that is what I recall) The period covered was the late 1600’s up to the mid 1800’s. A couple of things that come to mind – Sanders and Saunders are freely interchanged. We found a couple instances of children form the same parents named Sanders and Saunders. From the extracts, William (Blackberry) was baptized April 15, 1823, so was probably born in March of 1823. That bears looking at, but the record is of baptisms, not births, which were not recorded in the extract. In every instance in the extract, Elisabeth (his mother) is spelt with an ‘s’ not a ‘z’. The only grave marked ‘Sanders’ was of an Anna Sanders. Died in 1893 aged 80 years. Was buried alone, so she may never have married. Couldn’t locate her baptism or marriage in the extract. Some other interesting bits. William’s male line goes William (father) then John (born 1716) This John had numerous other kids and had his last in 1779 at age 63. His first was Richard in 1758 when he was 42. He died in 1781. – some of his children entered as Sanders, some Saunders. Strangely, John’s baptism isn’t recorded. His marriage to Susannah Kerswell was, and he was a husbandsman – free tenant farmer or small landowner. Susannah died June 10, 1793. John’s brother Samuel had 2 sons – Richard and James, who married sisters Ann and Anna Anning in 1779. Time is running out here, but one interesting bit of family names. Clement’s wife was Ellen Bond Woodward. Found this marriage extract from 1779 “Clement Williams, a sojourner and Susannah Sanders, witnessed by John Bond…”

Old Sydney Burial Ground – City of Sydney

Sydney Town Hall sits on the site of what was once the principal cemetery of NSW. Dating back to the 1790s, the site is commonly called the Old Sydney Burial Ground.It is also known as the George Street Burial Ground, the Cathedral Close Cemetery and, retrospectively, the Town Hall Cemetery.The site, on the outskirts of town, was chosen by Governor Phillip and the Reverend Richard Johnson in September 1792.It was decided this place would not affect the health of the living and could remain a place of quiet seclusion.In 1812, Governor Macquarie authorised the extension of the burial ground to the north and west, and granted a site for a new church, St Andrew’s, next door. With the extension, the burial ground covered just over 2 acres.

via Old Sydney Burial Ground – City of Sydney.

via Old Sydney Burial Ground – City of Sydney.



By June Bornholt, 18th February 2003.

Transcribed by Gwen Hart February 2003.

Good morning to everybody. I am June Bornholt – born – I’m not afraid of my age – born in 1925 and I was named June Mary Dinsey.

I would like to tell you what happened to my family in their journeys that we had to find a better place to live, to work and to play – we did that – we’re here.

John and Elizabeth Dinsey, born in a small County or borough named Rutland in England – that County has since got another name, but that is where they were. They had suffered 2 or 3 early deaths of children and migrated to the Colony of New South Wales for what reason, we are unsure. They arrived in Sydney on a ship, the “Kate” on the 13th September 1849 and went to the Hunter River where they must have had friends or relatives as they were not Government assisted and I can find no records of John Dunmore Lang or any other person listed as their sponsor.

Elizabeth noted on the shipping list that she had two brothers here, George and William Church, who had boarded the “Mary Bannantyne” earlier than the “Kate’s” departure. We haven’t found them yet, so we’re still looking.

The family, John and Elizabeth and their boys, Thomas (10 years) and George (7 years) and Emily who was born on the ship, aged 2 weeks old when she was registered on arrival in Newcastle. We have a photo of the ship.

They farmed for a time on Foster’s property at Mulconda, a property with two homesteads on it and is near the village of Bandou Grove, a few miles out of Dungog on the Williams River. They farmed in the District for about ten to twelve years.

The Minister for Lands appointed Alexander Grant MacLean Acting Surveyor General in 1859 to try and speed the reorganisation of the Department and after the compilation of a Map of New South Wales, which must have been the first one that they had in the Department, which was published in 1861, facilitated the introduction of the Robertson Land Acts of 1862 which opened up the Northern Rivers for Selection so that they could come and select before they applied.

During this time, a son, John and daughter Sarah was born.

In 1865 my great grandfather, George Dinsey (we’re not sure about the date – it could have been 1864 because he came up a couple of times and some family stories have him coming up and down three times – I don’t think he was that slow) anyway, my great grandfather was accompanied in 1865 by Mr Thomas Robinson. They left the Williams River and journeyed to Lismore. I do not know whether by water or overland, but Mr Robinson decided to select land there, adjoining the present township of Bangalow. It was called Byron Creek at the time, I think.

My great Grandfather then continued on alone as his contention was that a water course was necessary for the transport of produce. He arrived at the Tweed after travelling through extremely dense scrub. He didn’t go over the Night Cap and he didn’t go up the beach so he’s getting a bit slow isn’t he? He went and hacked his own way somewhere through from Mullumbimby through to the river and according to an Aunt, which was the usual custom, he scarred certain trees with his own particular cut. You know it’s very risky by the sound of that. he then made a boat, native fashion, and rowed up and down the river for three months before selecting. He was very cautious, but he wasn’t slow. Three months is a long time rowing up and down the river looking for a place – except I took 4 years to buy a house here. He also rowed over what today is Knox Park, so it must have been very different in those days.

In those days, it was selection before survey so he pegged the area he wanted and returned to Williams River.

In 1867 he brought his mother and two brothers because in the meantime he’d got himself married, but he brought his mother and two brothers which is rather unusual.

He did all the work then and he brought the working bullocks and equipment and then he cleared the scrub and built two houses mostly from cedar because that was what was on the property. He then sent for Wilhelmina his wife and her two sisters Margaret and Christina. Now Margaret eventually married John Mc Eachran and Christina married John Quirk so that’s how we are mixed up with the Quirks and the Mc Eachran, but there’s worse to come. They came to Ballina on the ship and we haven’t found that ship yet. They were met there by her brother-in-law John Dinsey, one of the brothers that had come up, who later selected on the North Arm. Later, Margaret and Christina had a store at Tygalgah, opposite the present CSR Mill Manager’s residence at Condong. They even made men’s suits so they must have been very good needlewomen. One daughter later married John Mc Eachran and the other married John Quirk of Tumbulgum. Descendants of both of those families are still living on the Tweed. The trip from Ballina was made on horseback over the Night Cap with my grandfather James Dinsey being carried on the pommel of the saddle, he then being 18 months old. The last night of the trip, they camped at Tyalgum because James had caught the croup and finished the journey next day.   My great Grandfather and his two brothers felled the scrub, keeping their firearms handy in the event of Aborigines approaching. They logged up and then with the bullocks they ploughed the ground and planted corn and arrowroot. They ground both the corn and the arrowroot for cooking purposes. There was no markets for their surplus and money was scarce, so my great Grandfather left his wife and the family while he sought employment on the Brisbane to Ipswich Railway line which was being built just then. Of course they would have had the two sisters to be company.

One day a schooner arrived whilst he was away and they had a wharf on the river – everyone had a wharf, and the Captain offered the very good price of twenty shillings per bag for the corn that Wilhelmina had sitting on the wharf. On his return from up river, he loaded the corn and paid my great Grandmother 200 sovereigns. She was over the moon about it I suppose. He took a letter to post in Brisbane to my great Grandfather advising him of the sale and my great Grandfather returned to the Tweed.

Natural resources were utilised to the full. One section of the farm at the foot of “The Rock” was covered with natural grasses and this provided good grazing for the bullocks. Luxuries were few but game such as pigeons, wild duck and scrub turkey were plentiful. Fish were of course in abundance. Even peaches were growing in the scrub and the women would place sheets on the shingle roofs and sundry sufficient of this fruit to tide them over until the next season. There was not any fruit fly, which was a great help. Wild honey was always to be had for the collecting. The girls would be very busy I’d say. Lighting was fat from the pigeons with a wick of string to serve as a candle. The mattresses used for beds were a foundation one on a palliasse filled with the softest parts of the cornhusk, which was renewed after each corn season. On top of this would be placed a mattress of feathers. As you can imagine, with game as their main diet, the feathers were in plentiful supply.

There is another story about Mrs. Kelly of Eungella who arrived much later and there were a couple of relatives between Condong and Murwillumbah that had land there – Norman Bell and John Bell were their names and they had their little house as well, but Mrs Kelly walked down from Brisbane and they had pack horses – she wouldn’t ride a horse, she walked. She wouldn’t let her mattress go on the horse. It was a feather mattress she’d brought from Northern Ireland somewhere and so she carried it all the way. My mind boggles at the thought of that. when she got to Tweed Heads there was a Mr Scott who took them across the river or up the river and it was eleven o’clock at night when they got up to Mr Norman Bell’s house on the river somewhere near the old 2MW Station, and she said it was “So lovely to see a face I knew, he got out of his bed and I put my feather mattress on his bed and everyone else slept on the floor”.

This is a great story, I thought was really gorgeous about mattresses – I’m a bit fussy about my mattress too.

On the 24th December 1867, their second child was born at Mrs. Scott’s house at Dry Dock. Does everybody know about that? I’d never heard this before.

Mr and Mrs Scott arrived on the Tweed in 1857 and Mr Jack Lillie of Banora Point is a grandson – that’s if he is still with us. I don’t know.

A man named Perry bought what is Hibbard’s farm at Tumbulgum from that same Mr Scott. They had a very beautiful garden and brought the first lantana to the district. Of course, it was then a “Garden” variety. It’s only really a “Garden” variety now. I never see any lantana around that used to be there when I was a girl. I used to crawl under it to get the eggs from the chooks.

     In 1872, the first school was in John Quirk’s barn. Later the school was at Mrs. Logan’s residence. The Quirk’s farm was on the River just up-river from Tumbulgum, quite close, and the school itself (the barn) – there’s an old house there now and that’s where it was – right on the river. The children used to come by boat to it because there were no roads or anything.

The first teacher was a Mr. Harris and then a Mr. Gray. Mr Gray’s grave is on the hill above the quarry now – its where North Tumbulgum quarry used to be just about where the Seventh Day Adventist Church. There was a Hotel there not far away. Later a school and residence was built by Mr John Trute at North Tumbulgum, near the quarry. It had brick chimneys which were still standing in my father’s day. Mrs Mc Adoo was the first teacher in this school. The second school was held for a short time in a room at the back of the Hotel and then John Trute built the new one because they wanted the room back.

Going to and from school, the children had to follow the bridle tracks – this was later when the school was across the river – and at the creek crossings, logs were placed there for them to walk across and then they were rowed across the river at Tumbulgum or the Junction. The families attending that school included the Bignall’s, Boardman’s, Cashin’s, Dinsey’s, Kyle’s, Logan’s, Ritchie’s, Skinner’s and Quirk’s. most of those families have descendants still living on the river.

Mr Mason and Mr Yansen were also teachers at this school, the latter being the first teacher in the present school on the Southern bank, and then came Mr John Cameron who taught at the school for seventeen years.

The first sugar mill on the Tweed was built about half a mile on the Murwillumbah side of Tumbulgum by Messrs. Pringle, Shankey and Byrnes in 1872. cane growing was then considered to be the beginning of prosperity. In those days, the growers cut their own cane. The owners of the Mill stayed for some years before selling to John Morrison whose two sons continued working the Mill until the C.S.R. built at Condong. (I have a worry about the name John – I have a feeling it was another one. If anybody knows, they can correct me). One son, William Morrison remained on the farm until his death in the early 1930’s. He married my great Grandparents second daughter Janet Dinsey.

The Pages, my maternal great Grandparents, arrived on the Tweed River in 1880. they arrived out on a ship called the “James Burney” in 1856 – the others had come to Sydney. The Pages went to Ipswich – why, we don’t know and the Historical Society might have Ron Ritchie’s story of early in the Junction because they were there very early in the piece and had the first farm where the Literary Institute or the Hall is now. The Ritchie’s donated that land for the Hall to be built. This was built with donations of timber etc.; it has since been done over. I have a suspicion that it should belong to the Heritage Committee that the Council has just founded.

The Pages farmed on the north bank of the river below Tumbulgum and later keeping a store in Tumbulgum until my great Grandfather’s death in 1904. He was buried in the North Tumbulgum Cemetery with many of the earl settlers. Now, if you’ve been to the first Cemetery on the Tweed – apart from the mosquitoes, it’s a very lovely place in a way. It’s in amongst the trees now and a lot of the graves have been trodden down by the cattle. They restored it through work for the dole and it looks really good. I do not think that Cemetery was there in 1860 but the last burial was around the 1920’s when Mr. Jack Maye of Maye’s Hill was buried there. I do not think any Aboriginals were buried there as they had their own burial grounds, an early one of which my great Grandfather Dinsey’s property just near “The Rock”. The Aborigines also had their Bora ground and they had their corroborees and for years we had a pile of palms and all sorts of trees and my husband remembers them too, when he was young.

My Great Grandfather, whose only friend for years, was an Aboriginal boy, did all sorts of things together, trying to raise the horses and things like that. they kept this Bora Ring for the Aboriginals and they had their Corroborees there until such time as my Grandfather died. The trees were still there when I left the place – that would have been 1949. They’ve gone now, they’ve been razored down.

My great Grandfather was very interested in sports and the first Sports Meeting was held on his property. He was a keen sportsman, particularly as a cricketer. He organised matches between Tweed Teams and Coomera and Tallebudgera. I’ve come across the old newspapers. The men would come on horseback over the Range, somewhere near Tomewin, play cricket all day Saturday, dance all night and ride back on Sunday. It’s a fair way from Coomera to here on a horse, isn’t it? Then there would be return matches when the Tweed would go to Coomera or Tallebudgera. The last Sports Meeting held on his property was in 1897. It was an M.U.I.O.O.F Sports Day. The people from Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah on Skinner Bros, river boats called the “Uki” and the “Pearl”. The horse races were held on the plain at the foot of the “Rock” and the other sports, foot running etc., and were in the home paddock.

Mr. A. Baker selected where the Village of Tumbulgum is now and he and my great Grandfather planted a fig tree each in front of the Royal Hotel. The one Mr Baker planted must have been the victim of erosion. It was nearer the Ferry than the one my great Grandfather planted which is not still standing on the front of the river there, in front of what is now the Tumbulgum Garage. Why I’m telling you that is because it was a great thing to go past this fig tree, but we can’t do it anymore because I think the Council chopped it down to make room for the boats to get in the river. A beautiful tree it was.

In the 1880’s the young men used to round up brumbies, which is a horrible thought. They would drive them onto the Peninsula north of the Caves at Fingal. The poor things became cornered there. They had to either go into the sea or the river, or be lassoed. Mr. Harry Clarke and my Grandfather, James Dinsey, are the only ones I understand have participated, but there were many others that probably did the same, but we didn’t know about it.

My great Grandfather’s youngest daughter, Mary Dyce, wife of the first Official Postmaster at Tumbulgum, rode one of the those brumbies for years. An oral story that I heard that she rode one up Mt Warning. I have a photo of her on it too.

The first Bank on the Tweed was the C.B.S. It was on the riverbank, down river from the old 2 MW building. Mr. Waugh was the first Manager. The bank was later transferred to Tumbulgum where the premises consisting of Office and residence stood alongside the Metropolitan Hotel, the Manager being Mr Charles Budd. The Bank was later moved to Murwillumbah.

The Rev. Brotchie was the first Minister on the River, a Presbyterian. His circuit was from Brunswick Heads to Tweed Heads. His Headquarters on the Tweed was at Mr and Mrs Ritchie’s house at Tumbulgum. He baptised, married and buried all denominations

The first member of the Police Force on the river was Constable Torpy. Mr Tom Lickey had the first cordial factory. This was near where the cattle dip at Tumbulgum was and that is where Mrs Higgins has Dr Smith’s house and lives – right on the top of where the dip was. Tom Lickey sold out to Skinner Bros.

The Royal Hotel was built by a Mr Nixon, a brother-in-law of Mr Joshua Bray, where the General Store stands now. Mr Brett who married one of Mr Pat Smith’s daughters, built the Metropolitan Hotel, then came the Junction Inn built by Mr Collins who founded the first Masonic Lodge on the Tweed, the Masonic Hall being on the hill behind his Hotel at North Tumbulgum.

Question: (Joan Smith): Dinsey’s Rock – is that one on the left hand side going towards Murwillumbah? What’s the one on the other side?

Answer: (June). That used to be, I understand on John Dinsey’s place strangely enough. He was my great Grandfather’s brother. He selected over there, I don’t know that, that one has a name.

Joan: Maybe the whole thing is Dinsey’s Rock – that’s what they mean – John might even know about that. The reason I mention that is because when you’re driving down – I mean Joyce Martyn, my Geography Teacher, told me that, that rock had originally been one rock that the river has just gone through.

Answer, June: That might be so – Joyce may have been good at Geology – I’m not.

Question – Joan: The Corroboree ground you’re talking about was over near the left hand rock?

Answer – June: yes, on the southern side of the river – that’s a much bigger rock than the other one. That’s where they had their corroborees and this burial ground was sort of at the foot of the rock. My grandfather selected 100 acres at first and then he got another 40 acres which went right back to the rock, but the year before the surveyor got there. The Loder family and the Dinsey’s claimed the rock but you know we just did that for fun.

Question – Joan: So now that is all under can?

Answer, June: Oh yes, its all under cane, but I really don’t think anybody owns the Rock – nobody would want it. You know the magpies used to chase me up there – they were terrible – they’d peck you on the head.

Question – Fay O’Keeffe: With the Rock – I have a sort of memory of a local person who is still in the area, applying to build something on the top of that rock, because it’s part of his farm and I think it must have been refused, but a lot of trees seem to have disappeared fro the Rock itself – I think they’d be a bit dry now don’t you. I’ve been watching it over the years and it just doesn’t look the same as it used to – I don’t know what they have done to it – whether they’ve made a track up it or what it is.

Answer – June: I notice that it looks different – much barer than it used to be. I don’t know if anybody does own it, but all I know is that when we were living in Sydney an Estate Agent rang me up and asked me if I’d like to buy the rock back again, and I said, “How much”, and he said “One million Dollars” and I said, “Sorry, can’t do”. I often wondered what happened to that. He was an Estate Agent from Surfers Paradise and that would have been in the 1970’s.

Question (?) – John Smith: that would have been Laurie Wall – us local people wouldn’t do that. My name is John Smith – I’m old Paddy Smith’s grandson. I remember you when you lived alongside Dinsey Creek, your place right back to Eviron. There was a big rock at Eviron and when I was growing up – I’m a good deal older than you – that was always referred to as Dinsey’s Rock. Next door to you were the Whites – Hills owned the place next door to you and on the Eviron side of it – running right through there from the Highway back to Eviron, the Gills owned and all that property through there and the Gras to the right.

Answer – June: Yes, that’s Dinsey’s Rock.

Jack Bornholt:   Indecipherable


Well the other part of my family – well, there’s lots of parts as you know I’ll probably tell you, there are eight Great Grandparents.

First of all, I can say, that I inherited George Eric Dinsey and Eva May Coghlan as my parents. My father was of English/Scots descent. My mother was of Irish descent.

My childhood was fun as I remember it. Lots of hugs and lots of laughter and rides on draught horses, which was very difficult for a young child. My mother died in 1933 when I was eight years old and so my father and I went to live with my grandfather (67 years) and his sister, Mary Dyce (61 years). My grandmother Rosa (nee Page) had died four years earlier leaving one son (my father) and four daughters, Winifred Rosa, who married James Buchanan, Wilhelmina Sarah, who married Owen Charles, Janet McKay Dinsey who married William Morrison (there are still lots of these people around), Elizabeth Mary who married Denis Keeshan. She went to the Solomon Islands to marry him. He was looking after a coffee plantation. He had been thrown away in a heap in WW1 of the dead and somebody found him and saw his eyelids move and they dragged him out and he lived until he was 93, here on the Tweed. He was lucky to be with us.

It was during these early years, living with the adults that I became interested in my forbears, their circumstances, their failures and successes as I grow up, this interest continued with a lot of help from my son Graham. Mark Rogers, who is a descendant of the Quirks and lives in Canberra, my husband Jack, who is with me all the time and rescues me from all sorts of crisis and terrible things, and the representatives on our 1997 Easter Reunion, Marie Toshack (Our Laurie family historian) and Jan (Janice) Morrison, our (McLeod. Mc Kay and Bell families’ historian). This reunion was held at the Murwillumbah Race Track which was really a perfect setting because we had Mt Warning in the background and all the cane was lovely. We had a wonderful time but instead of the twenty or thirty people turning up, we had about four hundred. We then realised we had a lot more relatives than we really expected to have.

We then collected most recently Marie Toshack from Gloucester who is telling us of all the other relatives we have down there and Janice Morrison who lives in Sydney – she’s just retired. I think she probably gives you all an E-mail here at the Historical Society, looking for information. So, that is my present family doings.

That 1997 reunion brought a question from a Bert Dinsey descendant who I thought had been killed in the War and I’m sure I saw it in one of those War books that came out afterwards that he was killed. This family just came out of the blue from Queensland and turned up, so we had some surprises.

One incident in the early years of my childhood was the discovery of the family Bible in which I found a lot of records of births, deaths and marriages. I discovered that the Aunts that I was living with and calling (my grand aunt she was) her Aunt Mary for donkeys years. I found she had another name – Henrietta so I pushed out to tell her about this – I said, “Why didn’t you ever tell me your name was Henrietta?” and she said, “don’t you ever tell anybody that again,” so I’m very careful what I say about what I find out now.

I was curious about these names in the front piece of the Bible. There were many names and I wondered if they were still alive, had they all come to Australia or were they living with families in another country and we didn’t know anything about them.

So, when I retired I began a research of all these fellow relatives. I found lots, spent too much money on births, deaths and marriage Certificates, stamps and telephone calls, hoping that was worth the time spent. I found some things that surprised me, mostly good things but there are lots I haven’t yet discovered. A few other dedicated researchers have helped immensely. We added to our history and we’ve discovered many funny stories, some that I couldn’t relate to you, some sad ones also and we shared our laughs and tragedies. It was a very great experience.

I have decided we should contemplate and plan the future and reflect on the past and let us respect those assets of the past which if assimilated with due care; help us to solve the problems of the future.

Remember what we are, for good or bad, what the past made us. What and who are we?

We may find part of the answer to this question by delving into our own family history and trying to see what sort of genes were in our parents, their parents and their parents, parents.

Each parent owes what they have and what they are to two other people, one step further back into the past. These owed what they were to two other people, your great grandparents of whom, of course there are eight.

As first step in the examination of the past, let us try to discover what these eight people were and what made them tick. Try to bear in mind that one of their reasons for doing what they did, whether it was fleeing from the clearances in the Highlands of Scotland or being forced off their land by the English Duke of Sutherland in Scotland or by the Potato Famine in Ireland. Or, casting off the shackles of their old life to try life anew out in the colonies, or whether it was merely trying to be a better person, a better tradesman, a better mother, a better father – was because of us?

True, they did not know of our existence as individuals but they did know, as a conviction in their hearts, that one day their children would have children, who would have children. This they knew, that whatever they did to improve their lot to ease their suffering or simply to do their best, would one day benefit their own descendants.

Let’s assume –

In telling, these stories there will have to be a few assumptions based on the meagre information available.

We will probably never know the reason why they all came out to the other end of the world – we can only assume that there appeared to be a better prospect for them and their children to carve out a living for themselves.

The economic situation, coupled with the Clan system in Scotland and in England, the Class system in the late 18th and 19th Centuries probably meant they could see little chance of their Descendants ever becoming financially independent, vibrantly healthy or well educated.

No doubt newspapers of the time (in the way of newspapers of the present) were inclined to exaggerate the possibilities. Perhaps they did not tell of the streets paved with gold but they did relate the experiences of a few who struck it lucky on the gold fields, or as graziers or farmers, or independent business people and perhaps neglected to give equal space to the many stories of misery, privations of distance, no transport, financial loss, the loneliness especially for the women and, of course, half a world away from the family they had left behind, possibly never to see again.

We also have to do a bit of educated guess work when it comes to dates, spelling of names and so on.

During the telling of these anecdotes, I will not stop to explain the lack of evidence, so if some eager researcher in the future finds that something is ‘wrong’ and feels able to correct it, that will be a positive step forward and they will have my blessing.

The recorded facts of the Clearances make harsh, even distressing reading and it is said that such unhappy events should be forgotten but no one should ignore the history. One observer at the time remarked “There is something absurd and revolting in interpreting as a form of progress, the destruction of the happiness and the liberty of the very existence of a race in the interests of wealth”. (Mackay p.6)

That is true, when you think of it, they were just stripped of everything. They had one system and then almost overnight they had nothing but they were on the beaches looking for kelp to sell. I think that might have been a big thing of why they came to Australia and Canada. Canada had a lot of people, and America too.

The Clans Today.

After Cilloden, in 1745, the Clans no longer existed as a form of social organisation with their own Gaelic language, culture and landscape.

They were virtually tamed out of existence and it all happened so rapidly – within a few decades, when their original character marked by pride, independence and reverence for their Chiefs and their Chiefs had reverence for them too, was completely subdued so tragically and so totally that the clans survive now only in memory.

Hence, we have, perhaps, the reason John Dunmore Lang looked to those people to help populate the colony he was so passionate about.

The first assisted ships left Scotland in 1837. The “James Moran”, a ship of 600 tons, set sail under Captain Ferguson, from Loch Inver and Loch Broom on 21st October 1838 (These Lochs are right on the tip of North Western Highlands of Scotland). It carried 229 passengers, most of whom were clearance victims. They were brought to Australia under John Dunmore Lang’s Bounty Scheme. This scheme brought over 4,000 Scots to Australia and a large number of Canadians and some Americans too. They apparently flitted from country to country-getting very respectable people. I read that somewhere in this book, so I might be of very respectable Scottish Stock. I’ll have to remember that.

The voyage took almost four months – 113 days – sailing direct to Capetown on the way, where it arrived on 26th December 1838. Twenty passengers then left the ship for a new life in Africa and the ship sailed on to Australia on New Year’s Day.

The voyage was a happy one. The migrants had nothing but praise for the Master and his crew. A letter of praise was sent to Dr. Boyle, R.N. Her Majesty’s Commissioner for Emigration for Scotland, signed by 30 Captains of the Messes. i.e. those emigrants chosen for their leadership qualities to be responsible for a particular group.

The “James Moran” put into Port Jackson on the 11th February 1839. the 210 passengers disembarked, including infants born on the voyage.

I have different threads of that ship to tell you about – their relatives.

Thread 1. The first lady out was Janette McLeod – I was told that she had been asked to be Chief of the Clan before she left. It would have been the McKay Clan. Her husband died a few years before she left and she had a son Donald.

Thread 2. Donald who came out at 23 who was studying to be a Minister of Religion. They were Presbyterians or Free Church – I’m not up in Religions and he had a Gaelic Bible.

Thread 3. Ann Sutherland McLeod, her daughter was 20 and Margaret McLeod – Thread 4. who had apparently been on the boarding shipping list but wasn’t on the disembarking one. So, we found by reading a letter of Annie Laurie’s who was buried in the Murwillumbah Cemetery, I don’t know if you can remember it, but I can. It was a huge grave and it had a big tower on it. It was on the right hand side as you went into Main General Cemetery. She died when she was 88 or 89. She was that Ann Sutherland McLeod who had come out on the ship with her mother and she’d married Joseph Laurie of Barrington Tops. I have photos here of “Rordanvale,” their home which we saw last November. There are still Laurie’s living there. it’s a beautiful place high up on the Barrington Mountains. It is a very large home – all cedar – beautiful fire places, but has the most dreadful roof of rusted tin. It looks terrible – spoils the whole look. If I win the lotto I’ll ask them if I can put a new roof on it. We found Annie Laurie’s Will. She left money to her to all her sisters and this Ann Sutherland left money to Margaret McLeod and from that Will we found she’d got off the ship to marry a William McLeod who lived in Thurso – that’s further around on the top of Scotland, not far from that Nuclear Plant that’s up there and the North Sea Oil Wells are just off the Coast. She went back to marry him. She’d made up her mind to come to Australia but she changed it somewhere before they left England, and went back.

Thread 5. Wilhelmina McLeod who married a James Bell. There are seven James Bell in the Hunter Valley. We aren’t sure which one is ours.

Thread 6. Christina McLeod, the youngest daughter. She was 14 when she came out and she married a man called Jesse Hawkins and if you know the Williams River is not far from the Caitlin Goldfields, so with a name like Jesse Hawkins I thought he might have been an American but we can’t find either of them.

So Wilhelmina with those four girls and one boy (5) she was the only one that had any issue and only for her and James Bell with all these Quirks and Dinsey’s and everyone – we wouldn’t be here so we are really proud of Wilhelmina.

(See File for Further Threads)

Joan is winding me up. Have you any further questions. There are some photos you may like to look at.

We have a letter written from Tweed Heads in 1896 by the Wilhelmina I’m talking about and we have a copy if you’d like this.

Vote of thanks by Robert Longhurst.

I would like to thank June on behalf of the Society for a very interesting talk. The amount of research you’ve done is quite remarkable, really a lot of what you’ve been able to document will be of tremendous help to the Society in future.

I’m sure everyone will agree it’s been a very, very interesting talk.

E & O E. 3 March 2003. JCH.


Originally posted on LYNNE BELL SANDERS:

East Indiaman York  other vessels -Thomas LuneyTHE EAST INDIAMAN ‘YORK’ ON WHICH JAMES BELL WAS TRANSPORTED.
James Bell Ticket of Leave 1834JAMES BELL’s TICKET OF LEAVE.
norman bell son of james & wilhelminaNORMAN BELL SON OF JAMES BELL AND WILHELLMINA MCLEOD.
christina bell & john quirkCHRISTINA AND HER HUSBAND JOHN QUIRK.
Wilhelmina Bell Letters of Administration 1903WILHELLMINA BELL LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION.


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New South Wales Genealogy

What do you really know about your family?

We provide professional family history research into your NSW ancestors at affordable prices. We can help you to understand your ancestors more fully whether you just need a copy of a single document, help with a dead end, or would like us to trace your entire family tree.

We search out the lesser-known types of records that can broaden and deepen your knowledge of your ancestors – who they were, what they did, and what was important to them.

If you are looking for more than names and dates then these are the records you need.

New South Wales The first white colonists to arrive were convicts and their keepers, beginning with the First Fleet in 1788 with 759 male and female convicts under Governor Phillip.

via New South Wales Genealogy.

via New South Wales Genealogy.

Online Government and Police Gazettes | New South Wales Genealogy

Online Government and Police Gazettes


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I’ve discussed Government Gazettes and Police Gazettes before, with their enormous usefulness to family historians. They can be used to find out more detail about your ancestors, and can sometimes solve questions about what happened to them. They can give clues to further research about residence, land and occupations.

The good news is that they are increasingly becoming available online. Here is an updated list:

Government Gazettes


New South Wales 1832-1850

Queensland 1859-1905

South Australia 1841-1870

Tasmania 1907-1916, 1919

Victoria 1851-1852, 1855-1891, 1893-1901

New Zealand 1876-1878, 1880-1883, 1886


New South Wales 1832-2001 coming

Government sites

Queensland 1859-1900 online

Victoria 1836 to 1995 including NSW Gazettes 1836 to 1851

via Online Government and Police Gazettes | New South Wales Genealogy.

via Online Government and Police Gazettes | New South Wales Genealogy.


The Ryerson Index is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries.

Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers – including in excess of one million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However, the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index.

Indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who give freely of their time to ensure the site continues to grow. Site updates occur every couple of weeks, and more often in periods of high activity.

The index itself cannot by definition be considered a primary source of data, but is purely a research aid to direct the researcher to the original source of a notice.



Find A Library | Harvard Library Portal

Find A Library

Harvard’s libraries are rooted in the 1638 bequest of 400 books from John Harvard, and today they hold the largest academic collection in the world. More than 70 libraries contain approximately 17 million volumes and a rapidly expanding inventory of digital resources. These materials and the expertise of Library staff members support research by Harvard faculty and students, as well as an international community of scholars.

via Find A Library | Harvard Library Portal.

via Find A Library | Harvard Library Portal.

Would you like to help transcribe shipping records for the ‘Claim a Convict’ website?

The more names that are transcribed – the more information will be available for researchers and provide improved access to records. Volunteers do not require any special skills and only need to set aside a few hours to transcribe an indent per ship, from the comfort of your home. On average there are 200-300 names per ship which equals about 3-4 hours’ work of transcribing.

As part of the procedure of getting names listed onto the Claim a Convict website, we first have to transcribe primary records into a useable format. This is where we need your help – transcribing and checking information from the original shipping indents into a spreadsheet. Once this process has been completed, the material you have helped transcribe is then saved into another format and then the updated information is uploaded to the website. You will be attributed for any new information you contribute.

via .

via .

Crowded Houses, Empty Nests – Hindsight – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Crowded Houses, Empty Nests

Listen nowDownload audio

Sunday 23 March 2014 1:05PM

Utilising the collection of oral history interviews from the Australian Generations project, this feature goes inside that personal space we call home. We open the door on Australian houses and homes to discover the way we’ve lived domestically over the past eighty years. Boarders and lodgers, landladies and lovers all figure in households of the past; and while the recent decades have seen Australian houses expand in size, the number of people living in them has shrunk.


This program takes a long view of the story of house and home in Australia across the 20th century.

Participants from the Australian Generations Oral History project, whose memories feature in today’s program, include; Ronnie Gauci, John Christodoulou, Diane Singh, Judy Martin, Georgina Hammersley, Olinda Poulton, Robert Howard, Marion Mills, Susan Guerin, Patricia Barrkman, Lynne Sanders-Braithwaite, Marie Cousen, David Cooper, Kim Bear, Russell Elliott, Lisa Jackson, Jo Sanaghan Cross, Stephen Brown, Gwen Waters, and Clare Atkins.

via Crowded Houses, Empty Nests – Hindsight – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

via Crowded Houses, Empty Nests – Hindsight – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Sands Directory search – City of Sydney

Sands Directory search

Enter your keyword(s)

Wildcards: * matches zero or more characters, ? matches exactly one

Search for the exact phrase Search for any words


All years (1858 to 1933)

From   To

Single year

Number of results per file

Number of files per page

via Sands Directory search – City of Sydney.

via Sands Directory search – City of Sydney.

Sands Sydney, Suburban and Country Commercial Directory – City of Sydney

Step back in time

The firm of John Sands Ltd (Printers and Stationers) published their directory each year from 1858-59 to 1932-33 (except for 1872, 1874, 1878 and 1881). The household and business information it contains has become a fundamental source for research into Sydney history, especially family history.

Until now the directory has usually been accessed through a microfiche edition made by WF Pascoe Ltd which is available at many public libraries.

The City of Sydney has now obtained a complete digital edition of the directory from WF Pascoe, scanned from the microfiche, and is making it available for public access through this website.  This is the first time a complete set of Sands Sydney, Suburban and Country Commercial Directory has been made available online.

via Sands Sydney, Suburban and Country Commercial Directory – City of Sydney.

via Sands Sydney, Suburban and Country Commercial Directory – City of Sydney.

AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE UNIT: curated by Warren Fahey


Australia’s convict history shaped the Australian identity. It is hard to imagine how the transportation system was viewed by government and the general population let alone the wretched souls condemned to be shipped to what was generally held to be the ‘end of the earth’. For the authorities it was a system devised to reduce the number of people incarcerated in its asylums, jails and prison hulks. Reports show that the prison system was literally bursting at the seams from an over-zealous legal system, mostly protecting property, be it a piece of cloth or a squire’s holding. As a young lad growing up in the 1950s I regularly heard stories about ‘young boys’, usually around nine or ten year’s of age, being transported to Australia for ‘stealing a loaf of bread’. Although the majority of convicts were considerably older there were certainly some young boys and girls condemned to life in the Australian colonies.

The following section, gleaned from many sources, offers an insight into the why’s, how’s and where’s of the transportation system. Most are first-hand accounts. Grammar and spelling has been retained as per the original document.

via AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE UNIT: curated by Warren Fahey.

via AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE UNIT: curated by Warren Fahey.



CAWB – Save Windsor from the RTA
Some interesting photosWe have been sent some photos of Old Government House, Windsor that are new to us.

They are particularly interesting because they are the last taken as it was demolished in the early 1920’s. What is of particular interest is that it shows how it was built and some interior glimpses. Unlike stone and brick structures there is almost nothing existing from the 1700’s built of wood and wattle and daub, let alone an important building such as this.

What is extraordinary is it survived termites, fire and flood in this hostile new environment for about 130 years and by looking at the pictures could have been fully restored if the will was there.

If you look closely at the walls you can see the plaster finishing over the wattle timber straps, much of it still in place. The final shot of it being torn down reveals the ceilings of wooden boards. The front exterior shot shows amazingly the original wooden shingle roof which had been accidentally preserved under a replacement tin outer skin and only revealed in demolition.

One can only imagine the dozens of major figures of our colonial history that rested, ate, conversed and lived under its roof as they planned our new country.

It is a tragedy that this prime example of building techniques at the birth of our nation was systematically destroyed. This was done in spite of protests at the time to council.

As one looks at the torn down end wall we can see revealed the still solid cedar roof structure. One senses a repeat performance for the Jolly Frog Hotel.

The cultural vandalism demonstrated here robs us all of our shared cultural memory for short term gains and long term loss. The saga of the Jolly Frog is yet to begin but it is should become a symbolic marker that such disrespect for heritage ends here.

We, the guardians of our culture, are offended and degraded by such activity and do not regard expedience, greed, ignorance and laziness as valid justification for robbing us of a unique legacy to hand onto our great grandchildren – its our responsibility to resist and win.

CAWB - Save Windsor from the RTA's photo.



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