Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie

I do love the genealogy online community. People help one another, collaborate, chat and set up memes and challenges.

Here’s the latest geneachallenge  – it’s for Australia Day, from that bonza blogger Pauleen Cass of Family history across the seas. Pauleen writes:

The geneameme comes in two parts: one to test whether your family is ridgey-didge and the second to show us how Australia runs in your veins.

Well, if you’re a regular visitor here (thank you!) you’ll know the first part is a doddle, but the second is a true challenge! Why? Read on and you’ll see. And if you stick around to the end there’s a special Australia Day announcement. Here we go:


My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was: Nicholas Delaney, an Irish rebel from the Wicklow/Wexford borders, convicted for murder in the Rebellion of 1798. He arrived in Port Jackson in 1802 on the Atlas II.

I have Australian Royalty: I’ve found four convicts so far: as well as Nicholas Delaney, my 3x great grandfather, there were Sarah Marshall (Friendship) and John Simpson (Ocean II), who arrived in 1818, and James Thomas Richards, whose voyage on the Royal Sovereign ended in 1836.

I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from: England and Ireland, as far as I know. There are a few mysteries like Elizabeth Bayly and (Thomas) Robert Sandon Wilson. Thomas’s name could be Scottish or English, and Elizabeth could have come from anywhere in these islands.

Convict ship the Lady Penrhyn. Wikimedia Commons.

Convict ship (Lady Penrhyn) Wikimedia Commons

Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? As far as I know, most of them either got a free one-way ticket (ahem) or were assisted immigrants. The only two who might have paid their passage were Elizabeth and Thomas/Robert, my mystery ancestors. I’d love to know how they arrived.

How many ancestors came as singles? Seven: Nicholas and Elizabeth, John and Sarah, James Thomas and his wife Rebecca Harrington. The elusive Thomas/Robert is so slippery I have no idea.

How many came as couples? None.

How many came as family groups? Sarah Emma Henley, old mystery man’s wife, came with her family. John Winter, from Westmorland, and Ann Graham, from County Durham, who later married each other, did too.

Did one person lead the way and others follow? There may be a link between the Winters and the Grahams but it’s very speculative so I’ll say no.

What’s the longest journey they took to get here? That depends. In terms of distance, Nicholas’s voyage from Wicklow to Cork, then via Rio de Janeiro to Sydney Cove, is probably the greatest. But for time, it has to be Sarah Marshall’s journey on the Friendship, which took 195 days. I’ll be writing a lot more about the trip on this mis-named ship soon. Stay tuned!

Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place? No, just the usual stops for food and water on the way.

Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive? All New South Wales

Did they settle and remain in one state/colony? Yes, they stuck to NSW.

Blue Mountains in New South Wales

Blue Mountains, JWC Adam

Did they stay in one town or move around? The Delaney/Simpson side moved further west. My Delaneys crossed the Blue Mountains to settle near Little Hartley. The Richards and Winters stayed around Sydney.

Do you have any First Australians in your tree? No.

Were any self-employed? Many of them were.

What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in? Farming, roadbuilding, running a ferry and a pub. There was a tailor, a gold inspector, servants, miners and watermen. And a heck of a lot of housework and looking after large families – well, that’s work, too.

Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation? Only the housework. But much less of it, thank goodness.

Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”? Yes, my grandparents. That’s why the next part of the challenge is going to be a bit thin…


What’s your State of Origin? Er, well, London. The UK one. It’s almost a state on its own.

Do you still live there? Yes, though I’ve lived in other places, too.

Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? I always wanted to go to Sydney. It sounded so exciting.

Any special place you like to holiday now? If only!

Photo of Moyne Farm

Moyne Farm (© Patricia Owen 2002)

Share your favourite spot in Oz: Moyne Farm, near Little Hartley, is dearest to my heart because it was the family home for a century.

Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had? Mine is all in books and online. I think that finding my ancestors, writing this blog and getting to know lots of great Aussie genealogists and historians has been a wonderful adventure.

What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list? Can I say everywhere? Oh, OK. Well, Sydney is a must. Not just because it’s Sydney – it’s got family ties for me, and all those museums and records to look at. Hartley Vale, because of Moyne, and the Blue Mountains. Anywhere my rellies are. And I’d love to meet some of my genealogy pals as well.

How do you celebrate Australia Day? Writing Australia Day challenges. They’re always a joy. Thanks again, Pauleen, for this year’s!

Here are my previous Australia Day posts:

PS: I promised you some Australia Day news. First, Ancestry is offering free access to its Australian records until Monday 27th.

The second is more bittersweet. You may have heard that Lesley Uebel, much loved and respected creator of the Claim a Convict site and administrator of the Port Jackson convicts and Hawkesbury mailing lists, died on Monday, 20 January.

Her work lives on, though. Michelle Nichols has taken on the herding-cats job of keeping the PJ listers in order, and she and Jonathan Auld have worked long and hard to refresh and relaunch Claim a Convict, which opened at its new home on Australia Day. It’s looking good.

Fitting tributes to a splendid woman. Thank you, Jonathan and Michelle, and Colin and Coralie too. And most of all, thank you, Lesley.



 © Frances Owen and A Rebel Hand, 2010-2014

About rebelhand

A Rebel Hand is: about Nicholas Delaney, Irish rebel of 1798, transported as a convict to New South Wales, roadbuilder, innkeeper and farmer. My great-great-great grandfather. Other ancestors transported to Australia, like Sarah Marshall, John Simpson and James Thomas Richards, pop up as well. This blog's also about the historical background to their lives, in England, Ireland, and Australia. My respectable Welsh ancestors sometimes get a look in.
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9 Responses to Australia Day Challenge 2014: C’mon Aussie

  1. Pingback: We apologise for the delay… | A Rebel Hand

  2. Pingback: Australia Day 2014: C’mon Aussie Compilation | Family history across the seas

  3. cassmob says:

    Behind with this Frances, sorry. It’s such a pleasure to see posts from people living overseas but with Aussie roots -something of a role-reversal. That was some voyage Nicholas took and you’d hope he had a strong stomach! I’m looking forward to the story of the Friendship – 195 days sound horrendous -can’t have been pretty.

    Another swimmer there with Thomas/Robert…may your luck change and you find him soon.

    It would so great to meet you at some stage and I do hope your Aussie adventure comes sooner rather than later. You will get such a thrill seeing the places where your families lived, especially Moyne Farm.

    Loved the comment about housework -and the reminder not to forget the women who did such a sterling job…I omitted to mention their hard work.


  4. Crissouli says:

    I hope you do get to follow your bucket list… it would be great to meet.So much to see over here and so many trails to follow.

    It is great to see Lesley’s site revamped and relaunched and a great job by all involved, including my cousin, Coralie.


    • rebelhand says:

      I’ll be over one day – watch out Aus! I’d love to meet you.

      I’m thrilled to see Lesley’s site up and running and looking so good. It’s a true memorial to all she did. I didn’t know Coralie was your cousin. She’s been brilliant on the PJ mailing list, please thank her for all of us. It can’t have been easy for her, or Michelle and Jonathan.


  5. Robert Burke says:

    I always look forward to reading your blog as so much of my family history is the same as yours, beginning with Nicholas.


  6. Sharon says:

    I had a chuckle at “Only the house work. But much less of it, thank goodness”

    I’d highly recommend the Bridge Climb and Rocks Ghost Tour, when you can get to Sydney.


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