4 – 1835 again

Posted originally on January 12, 2015

Though this time there is nothing about my family. It is just that I have found a wealth of fascinating information (and trivia) about the period.


Some might see that story as prefiguring a legendary Aussie attitude to work. Sydney Herald,  Monday 12 January 1835.


William IV

Geo St 1835 1974 Annual Rpt

George and Bridge Streets, Sydney – 1835

There is a fascinating compilation about 1835 in the Lynne Sanders-Braithwaite and the  late Izzy Foreal’s pages on Melinda Kendall. See also IN THIS YEAR – 1835. It appears Basil and Melinda Kendall were married at the Second Scots Church , Sydney. Rev John McGarvie officiating, just as my great-great grandfather William Whitfield was in 1836.

And very locally I knew little about this: Battle of Fairy Meadow 1830.

When interviewed by Archibald Campbell in 1897, Martin Lynch – who had arrived in the Illawarra in 1827 – described the Battle of Fairy Meadow – a tribal encounter which took place around 1830 between the Illawarra and Bong Bong Aborigines. The location was Fairy Meadow, just north of Wollongong. Lynch also included an account in a later letter to Mr Campbell. Both accounts are reproduced below – the first as recorded by Campbell in the original 1897 meeting with Lynch, and the second from the letter written by Lynch in 1898. These are the only extant records of the conflict.

On a larger scale 1835 is worth reviewing. The voyage of the “Beagle”, Charles Darwin aboard, happened; they called in at Port Jackson and Darwin had a look at the Blue Mountains.

4a: 1835: a side-post on Conrad Martens

Posted originally on January 13, 2015 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

The London-born artist Conrad Martens arrived in Sydney in 1835. Wollongong historian Michael Organ (pdf):

Martens was with the Beagle for nearly a year (December 1833 – November 1834) working under Fitzroy and alongside the soon to be famous naturalist Charles Darwin. This was to be an important period for Martens as the close contact with such brilliant scientists as Darwin and Fitzroy was to profoundly affect the manner in which he was to view nature and express that vision within his art.

During the artist’s period aboard the Beagle the vessel was involved in a survey of the southern most coast of South America. This took him to places such as Port Desire (December 1833); the Straits of Magellan (January 1834); Port Famine, Mount Sarmiento, Cape Horn, and the Beagle Channel (all during February 1834); the Falkland Islands (March); up the Santa Cruz River (April – May); the Cape Virgin Islands (May); Chiloe (June); and Valpariso at the end of June, 1834. From June to November 1834 the Beagle was stationed at Valpariso, during which period Martens and the scientists made numerous excursions into the local countryside.

When time came for the expedition to move on in November 1834 Martens was signed-off by Captain Fitzroy, mainly due to lack of funds and shortage of storage space upon the Beagle in which to house him….

After leaving the Beagle in November 1834 Martens decided on travelling to New South Wales, possibly with the intention of settling there. He left Valpariso on 3 December 1834 aboard the Peruvian bound for Tahiti, where he arrived on 22 January 1835.

The route he took to New South Wales would basically follow that taken by the Beagle nine months later, and in many ways he was still acting as their unofficial artist.

Martens spent approximately seven weeks at Tahiti sketching and painting, before boarding the Black Warrior bound for Australia via New Zealand. He left Tahiti on 4 March 1835 and arrived at the Bay of Islands a month later, on 4 April. After spending six days at the Bay of Islands the Black Warrior weighed anchor on 9 April and set off on the final leg for New South Wales. She eventually arrived at Port Jackson on 17 April 1835, with Martens recording her passage through the Heads in a pencil sketch. Upon this work he also noted the prevailing weather conditions, revealing the influence of Captain Fitzroy who was an expert in the developing science of meteorology.

Throughout his time in Australia Conrad Martens would continue to experiment with sky and atmospheric features such as clouds, sunrise, moonlight, and storms; incorporating these aspects within his paintings with the skill of an experienced meteorologist and viewer of nature…


Fort Macquarie (site of Sydney Opera House now) from the north shore, 1836


Para Creek, Near Wollongong, Illawara District, New South Wales


Sydney Heads 1854

“The appearance when off the heads of Port Jackson is that of a wild and iron bound coast and the entrance that of a gigantic gateway, but the scene changes immediately upon entering the calm and beautiful islands, bays and headlands … the town of Sydney is seen tho’ still at a distance … and still further the faint outline of the blue mountains in the interior.” – Martens, 17 April 1835

5 — 1845 — Jacob Whitfield again

NOTE: Recent family history research has William Whitfield aged 10 on arrival in the colony, as indeed he is in the “Thames” passenger list. Also, it appears Jacob Whitfield’s first wife, Mary, was Goss not Gowrie.

Posted originally on January 14, 2015 by Neil.

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.


Ann Bushby’s Dove and Olive Branch public house in Sydney, 1845.

Sydney town.

Sydney occupies a space of more than two thousand acres; but from this must be deducted fifty-six acres, reserved for recreation and exercise, and known as Hyde Park or the Race Course. By the Census taken in 1846, the number of houses in the city was seven thousand one hundred; there are now, at least, two hundred more. But, independently of the city itself, the suburbs have, during the last few years, steadily increased {page 6} in size and importance. To the eastward is Wooloomooloo; to the southeast, Paddington and Surry Hills; to the south, Redfern and Chippendale; to the south-west, Camperdown, Newtown, and the Glebe; to the west (across Darling Harbour), Balmain; and, to the north, the township of St. Leonard’s. All these, except the two last, are more or less connected by streets with the parent city; and, in 1846, contained one thousand seven hundred and fifteen houses: they now probably number two thousand.

Sydney is divided into four Parishes–St. Philip’s, St. James’, St. Andrew’s, and St. Lawrence’s; and was, in 1842, incorporated by Act of, Council, and municipally divided into six Wards: viz. Gipps Ward, Bourke Ward, Brisbane Ward, Macquarie Ward, Cook Ward, and Phillip Ward. Each of these divisions is represented by four Councilmen and an Alderman, of whom one retires annually by rotation. The Mayor is chosen from their own number, by the Aldermen and Council.

The Population of the city, in 1846, was 38,358; and, adding the average annual increase, taken from the five years previous to that year, must now be 41,712. The suburbs also, in 1846, returned as 6832, from their very rapid extension may be safely stated at 7500–making a total of 49,212.

— Joseph Fowles (1848), Sydney in 1848


Francis Webb Sheilds Map of Sydney, 1844-5


I have alluded before to this article from 16 October 1839 concerning my ancestor the convict Jacob Whitfield. See Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days and Respectability achieved–and rapscallions left behind? Jacob was here:


Jacob was accused of receiving stolen goods, namely hats, but the outcome of the trial was in his favour:


So that gunsmith, who was murdered in 1864, may have been just a bit unfair about my ancestor. Then in 1846 there was the curious case of the goat…


Jacob had gained his Conditional Pardon, making him an emancipist, published in October 1842. “A Conditional Pardon, when approved by His Majesty through the Secretary of State, but not before, restores the Rights of Freedom, from the date of instrument, within the colony. But it bestows no power of leaving the colony, and no rights whatever beyond its limits”.  The last we hear of Jacob is in 1851 when he was still living in Market Lane and witnessed a domestic.