10a — Stray stories of family and Australiana — 3

This entry, originally January 23, 2014,  breaks the strict chronological arrangement I had been following, but nonetheless is worth posting now. We will be back with convict Jacob  and his son William before too long.

Mystery 1 – Jacob the convict (arr. 1822)

whitfield1

But compare those rather rosy last lines with my post Respectability achieved–and rapscallions left behind?

Mystery 2 – how many on the “Thames” (1826)?

Putting together the above with what Bob Starling has found out, it appears likely that Jacob’s wife Mary died c1826, and of the kids Mary (married Daniel Sweeney), Catherine, Judith and William survived but 12 year old James died on the voyage in February 1826, as did 9 year old Ann in March 1826.

Mystery 3: When did the family get to Picton?

whitfield2

So around 1846 – but without William’s father Jacob.

Mystery 4: When did Braidwood come into the picture?

whitfield3

So, originally to Araluen after gold, and well after the family settled in Picton.

And finally, what about my great-grandfather William Joseph John Whitfield?

whitfield4

Quite a man!

Pit-sawing

Not him, but what he did…

0_303505

The bridge he built over Stonequarry Creek

And the extract above goes on to say that he supplied timbers for wharves in Sydney Harbour during the 1890s.

wharves-building-darling-harbour-c1920-srnsw-9856_a017_a017000004

That’s linked to source, and is from the 1920s, but surely gives an idea…

These wharves went from smallish to huge structures such as those at Walsh Bay, Jones Bay and Woolloomooloo Wharf which remain (mostly).  All the wharves were built using timber, mostly Australian hardwood turpentine trees.  Impervious to marine borers, they were perfect.  Long and straight, the trees grew to between 12 and 35 metres long.

Cut into piles and spaced 3m apart, beneath the wharves resembled a giant, drowned forest.  As most wharves extended on average 35m from the shore, they needed upwards of 240 timber piles, or 240 trees each.  At the peak of the timber wharves in Sydney in the 1950′s, it was estimated that there were 40,000 timber piles in Sydney Harbour…

The framed extracts in this post are from my library research yesterday: Australian biographical and genealogical record series 1, 1788-1841, with series 2 supplement, 1842-1899 / series 1 edited by John T. Spurway, assistant editor Allison Allen; series 2 edited by Kenneth J. Cable and Jane C. Marchant.

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