6 – 1845 again — Whitfields

Posted originally on January 15, 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.

Here my living memory meets the memories of people I actually met! For example, my grandfather T D Whitfield’s siblings no doubt recalled William Whitfield (1812-1897), the son of Jacob the convict (arrived 1822),  just as I recall some of them. Such is the story of European settlement in Australia.

I think I am changing my mind about Jacob too. For example in Respectability achieved–and rapscallions left behind? (2012) my assumption was Jacob was left behind in Sydney out of some sense of shame. I now doubt that; I suspect it was merely because he was old. After all, William did name his second child (Jacob 2 1838-1885) after him. That child was born in Sydney. I now rather discount the character sketch of Joseph provided by the gunsmith George Whitfield (no relation) in 1839 – see the previous post.

The thumbnail biography of William Whitfield is: born 16 Mar 1812 — date now in doubt —in Cootehill, Drumgoon Parish, Cavan, Ireland and died 12 Oct 1897.  He had arrived in Sydney 11 Apr 1826 on the “Thames”, master Robert Frazer, from Cork, Ireland. By 1856 he was in Picton, NSW. This is expanded with information in the reference book 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.

It appears that after his marriage to Caroline Philadelphia West in 1836 William lived in Brickfield Hill (2) and Strawberry Hills (3). (1) is where Jacob the convict lived in the 1840s.


I lived exactly in Strawberry Hills myself from 1992 to 2010, in Elizabeth Street indeed as did William. There are some remnants of the 1840s still in this area – McElhone Place, for example, with this former shop, which I photographed in 2008,  conceivably visited by William when he lived in the area all those years ago. In 1987 I lived in the next street to that building!

There is also a post marking the city limits, dated 1842.

Here is the entry on William Whitfield in Australian biographical and genealogical record.

They left Sydney in c1846 with five children… That’s about ten years after their marriage, and their wanderings, judged by the birthplaces mentioned there, were quite extensive.


A child born in Penrith at the foot of the Blue Mountains in 1846, another at Molongo near modern Canberra in 1848, and another at Mittagong in 1850. (“MITTAGONG is where the first iron smelting venture in Australia was established. The Fitz Roy Iron Works operated from 1848 with varying degrees of success until the 1880s.”) Soon after that to Picton where much of the family stayed into my lifetime, and where no doubt many still are in the district, though I no longer know them.

William had no easy arrival in the colony either, at the age of 14 in 1826: see William made it–or I wouldn’t be blogging, would I?, Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames” and William and his tribe…

And by way of background:

While the 1830s in Australia saw a land boom and economic highs, the early-mid 1840s experienced a fall in land values due to a slump in the price of Australian wool, wheat and livestock. The economy of the colonies was dependant on England and its buoyancy corresponded to harsher economic conditions in the ‘mother country’. Stock and land were hard to sell due to a drought that had started in 1839. Sheep that once provided fine wool for export to England were being boiled down for tallow to make candles and soap. Speculators who bought land expecting its value to rise found that they were no longer able to sell or repay their mortgages to the bank. The banks consequently made credit harder for the graziers and farmers to obtain. Shops faced difficulties selling goods as people earned less. Capital stopped coming from England. Mechanics and labourers were glad to get employment even at vastly reduced wages.

By 1844, a slow economic recovery had started and the value of exports exceeded the value of imports. By 1847, New South Wales had economic recovery, and the depression was officially over by 1845, although the boom times would return only after the discovery of gold.

7a: from “Respectability achieved–and rapscallions left behind?”

Originally posted July 29, 2012.

William Whitfield was born 16 Mar 1812 in Cootehill, Drumgoon Parish, Cavan, Ireland and died 12 Oct 1897.  He had arrived in Sydney 11 Apr 1826 on the Thames, master Robert Frazer, from Cork, Ireland. More on that soon. By 1856 he was in Picton, NSW.


This is my branch of the Whitfields, and we have been fortunate in having a great family historian in Bob Starling. “Jacob Whitfield’s journey from Cootehill County Cavan Northern Ireland to the land down-under : embracing the Whitfield family history /​ by Robert Starling… Research relating to Jacob Whitfield (convict) transported from Ireland 1822. Jacob’s wife Mary and four children migrated on the ‘Thames’ in 1826. Mary and two children died on the voyage. William, the only son of Jacob to survive was responsible for the Whitfield name propagating to towns of Picton, Braidwood and the NSW South Coast.”…

One of the remaining mysteries about [William’s father] Jacob concerns his final years. On Trove I have tracked down the latest mention of him in a case where he wasn’t the defendant!



The rest of that paper is rather devoted to the subject of gold…

So Jacob remained in Market Lane until at least the second half of 1851. In a 2011 comment on “About the Whitfields: Convict Days” Bob Starling wrote:

For some years I have been searching for Jacob Whitfield’s death. It was noticed that Jacob gave his religion as a Quaker on one of his applications to marry. With this fact the Quaker society in Sydney has carried out some research and came up with the following piece of information:

“In searching the incomplete records we have of burials in the Friends Burial Ground within the old Devonshire Street (Sandhills) Cemetery, I came across a reference to:
“Burial Notes missing of … Jacob Whitfield” Unfortunately, there is no indication of his date of death or burial. Burials took place in the Friends Burial Ground from about 1837 through to about 1880.”

Whilst we can now accept that Jacob died in Sydney, probably between 1851 and 1856 we cannot quite put him to rest until we find an exact date.

He was certainly around for a long time.


From Bob Starling

Bit of a villain though, it seems. [I have since moderated my views on this.]



It turns out there is another Whitfield family altogether extant – and with Shire links.

Perilous Seas: The Whitfield Family – Ancestors & Descendants England & Australia 1605-2012

The Whitfield family farmed in the Tyne Valley of Northumberland before moving to iron works on the Derwent River in Cumberland where two daughters drowned in separate accidents. Descendants experienced contrasting fates. One, James Whitfield made a fortune on the Australian goldfields before becoming a successful entrepreneur in Workington. His siblings lived and worked in industrial towns and the youngest, William Whitfield became a master mariner in Australia, experiencing a number of misfortunes before returning to Hull, Yorkshire, leaving his Australian family behind.

Now that is interesting, because my father used to say his Aunty Jessie and one other family member had traced the family to Hull, and there was allegedly a lost fortune there… That must be this family, but there is no doubt there is no close connection.  I suspect OUR Whitfields arrived in Ireland in the 17th century as part of the “plantations”.

And as for Jacob? Given the respectability his son William achieved I am beginning to think he was simply left behind when William and Caroline went south. Certainly he was erased from the family memory as I first encountered it in Picton in the 1950s with yet another William Whitfield – Dad’s Uncle Bill.

You will recall that we “found” Jacob, my convict ancestor, or we at least found the part of Sydney where he is known to have resided in the second half of the 1830s through early 1840s. By the 1860s the family had moved on – Braidwood, Picton… My grandfather was born in Picton in 1867. Him I remember. Just. He died in 1948. His brother William I remember more clearly, because he survived well into the 1950s. That William – son of William, the son of William, the son of Jacob – was still riding horses and ploughing his orchard almost to the year of his death. I remember his house, with its (to citified me) rather magic rural air, and tales of this one and that one, and timber getting, and horse breaking, and blacksmithing, and bullock teams… And Sao biscuits with tomato and cheese…

The tales never went back more than about one generation…

I think I can see why, for several reasons. Sometimes my father would mutter about the Old Testament curse on “the sins of the fathers”… Perhaps too, given what the area they had left behind in Surry Hills had become by 1900, you will see why it didn’t figure in the stories… Anyway, it was not part of my grandparents’ generation’s personal memories. They had become country people.

8 — 1855 — Picton

Posted originally on January 20, 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 1850s were certainly a turning point in our history. Mostly this has to do with GOLD! At least one of my family (this item from 1858 confirming oral history I heard when a boy visiting Picton) was involved in this decade, and more later on:


Mogo is now a goldmine theme park. But more happened in this decade: see the My Place site.

William and Caroline Whitfield were settled in PIcton; I visited their descendants there many times through to the 1960s. Indeed I recall having lamb for lunch one day in Picton’s beautiful King George IV Inn (established 1839).

Established in 1839 George IV Inn, is one of the oldest colonial inns, still operating as a hotel. Constructed from local hand hewn sand stone, the George (as known by locals) still contains that great colonial and vibrant heritage. Constructed on the banks of Stonequarry Creek, the stables (now know as the great hall) dates back to 1810 being one of the first buildings in Picton and possibly the oldest.

The Inn has a rich history with the transportation of convicts. Convicts were kept over night shackled in the cellar while en-route to Berrima prison from Sydney. You can still see some of the shackles behind the bar. In it’s early days the Inn has been providing accommodation for travelers over the decades, on the Great South Road from Sydney. Giving access to the areas of Bong Bong (Southern Highlands) and Argyle County (Goulburn).

Another early inn (established 1849) has changed function somewhat:


And here is one of the district bigwigs in William Whitfield’s day:


James Macarthur (1798-1867)

James Macarthur (1798-1867), landowner and politician, was born on 15 December 1798 at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta, fourth son of John Macarthur. He was educated privately at Parramatta by the Breton emigré, Huon de Kerilleau, until March 1809, when he left for England with his father and his younger brother William. He went to a school at Hackney, London, run by Dr Lindsay, classicist and Unitarian, until in 1813 he was apprenticed to a broker in a London counting house. From March 1815 to May 1816 he travelled with his father and William in France, Switzerland and Northern Italy. In September 1817 the three arrived in New South Wales. The elder John Macarthur had decided that his eldest son, Edward, should take up a military career in England, that the most intelligent son, John, should read law and represent the family’s interests in England, while James and William administered the colonial holdings. For the next decade James devoted himself to estate administration, although he also served as unpaid magistrate in the first Court of Petty Sessions in the Camden district and helped to establish churches, schools and other local institutions….

The gold rushes had accentuated the trend to increase the power of the popular party. Macarthur was becoming increasingly disillusioned: in 1854 he felt like selling all his assets except Camden Park and going to England. He displayed some interest in education, supporting the foundation of the University of Sydney and becoming a member of its first senate. He continued his political activities, albeit with gloom. In 1856 he was elected to the new Legislative Assembly for Camden. To enable Donaldson to form a cabinet, Macarthur agreed to serve briefly as colonial treasurer, for certain conflicts could not otherwise be resolved. When Donaldson had the support he needed, Macarthur resigned his seat and the portfolio and was re-elected for West Camden. In 1859 his unhappiness reached its peak: he retired and refused Governor Sir William Denison‘s offer of a knighthood. In 1860 he returned to England, his whole life seeming wasted. In the 1820s he had opposed representative government. In the late 1830s he adopted delaying and compromising tactics so as to make the constitutional change of 1842 as moderate as possible. In the early 1840s his economic affairs were suddenly changed when he began squatting, and he found that imperial control of immigration and land policy conflicted with his new interests; he began to work with desperate hopefulness for a conservative Constitution, partly to obtain independence from Britain, partly to forestall the liberals. But his constitutional checks and balances had been reduced and the nightmare of his whole life, popular anarchy, appeared imminent….

In that 1856 election one of his supporters was William Whitfield. See also Respectability achieved–and rapscallions left behind? but note that I now believe William’s father, the convict Jacob, was left in Sydney mainly because of his age. There I noted:

Here’s a bit of history.

The demands for self-government by the free settlers of New South Wales and the other colonies were largely met when the Imperial Parliament passed the Australian Colonies Government Act of 1850. This authorised the Legislative Councils in the Australian colonies to pass bills establishing themselves as bicameral legislatures. In 1853, proposals were submitted to the Imperial Parliament from the New South Wales Council. After some amendments, the Imperial Parliament passed a Constitutional Statute in 1855, (Imperial Act18 & 19 Vic. No.48 Cap.54). This authorised Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, to assent to a bill passed by the Legislative Council of New South Wales (New South Wales Act 17 Vic. No.41) giving New South Wales a fully responsible system of government, with two Houses of Parliament.

It was not, however, fully representative government. The franchise was still property and gender based, with only men able to vote; but it was a very low property qualification and it was a poor man who could not vote. To register, potential voters had to be male adults of over 21 years who owned freehold property of at least 100 pounds per year, or leased property with an annual value of at least 10 pounds per year, or occupied lodgings or rooms with a rent of at least 10 pounds per year or had an income of at least 100 pounds per year. In the nineteenth century, women were not considered capable of making a rational choice at the polls, so were therefore not given the franchise.

The property qualification for Members was lowered, but because Members of Parliament still received no salary, only those who were wealthy could afford to run for Parliament.

The first New South Wales Parliament established under this new Constitution met on 22 May, 1856. The population of the colony was approximately 300,000.

And here from 26 March 1856:



It does seem William and Caroline Whitfield have come a long way in the ten years since leaving Strawberry Hills.

And Picton? Still a place full of history – and ghosts, apparently.

10 — 1865 — Picton and more

Posted originally on January 22, 2015 by Neil with additional material from March 6, 2013.

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.

Here we are starting to see some people I actually remember.


That is enlarged from a tintype photo:

The invention of the tintype in 1854 brought the reality of photography closer to the mass population. A Tintype consisted of a thin iron ( not actually tin ) plate coated with a wet collodion emulsion. Once developed the tintype exhibited crisp detail on a varied gray background. The average tintype was about 2.5 x 3.5″ however many other sizes were produced, including miniature tintypes the size of postage stamps. Initially presented in ornate cases with pressed metal boarders similar to that of the Daguerreotype, most tintypes were housed in decorative card sleeves, specially designed albums or often left loose. While certainly more robust than a Daguerreotype, the tintypes emulsion was sensitive and often scratched due to careless handling….

It is a portrait of Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield, my grandfather, who was born in Picton in 1866.

His father, William Joseph John Whitfield, had been born in Sydney in 1836, marrying Elizabeth Ratcliffe in 1861.

While WJJ did go on to considerable success in the Picton/Myrtle Creek/Tahmoor/Bargo area, the 1860s had their moments, it appears. This is from February 1866.


Meanwhile Picton was being linked to the world by rail!

Following the completion of the first railway from Sydney to Parramatta Junction in 1855, proposals for the first railways to the rest of NSW were driven by postural communities interests seeking improved transport for their produce from inland centres such as Goulburn, Bathurst, Singleton and Muswellbrook. When John Whitton arrived in Sydney in 1856 to take up his position as Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways, “he understood his job was to plan the extensions which would take the infant railway into the interior of Australia. At that time only the railway from Sydney to Liverpool was open, just twenty-one miles (34km) in length. Its extension to Campbelltown and beyond to the banks of the Nepean River at Menangle, a total of about seventeen miles (27km), had been surveyed” (Lee, 2000, p98). This was one of the first sections of line completed by Whitton by 1862…

When John Whitton planned the railway extension from Campbelltown to Picton, he was under pressure from government to keep costs low by using as much local material as possible, and originally proposed a timber bridge for crossing the Nepean River at Menangle. However following a large flood in 1860, Whitton designed a high level wrought iron large span bridge to get extra clearance from the waterway. Flanked by long timber approach viaducts, the bridge was a total of 582 m (1,909 feet). It was a massive structure for its time, comprising 5,909 cubic yards of masonry, 1,089 cubic yards of brickwork and 936 tons of wrought iron for a total cost of 94,562 pounds. The completion of the bridge in 1863 was an internationally recognised engineering achievement (Lee, 2000).

The single line from North Menangle to Picton opened on 1 July 1863 with Picton Station opening on the same date. The contract for the construction of the station buildings was awarded to M Jamieson & Eaton. The design of the Georgian style station building at Picton is attributed to Whitton and was completed for the opening of the single line in 1863. Other notable early stations attributed to Whitton include Mittagong, Moss Vale, Scone, Muswellbrook, Penrith (No.3 platform), Bowenfels and Mount Victoria. These early buildings borrow heavily from Whitton’s design experience in England and increasingly move from Georgian to Victorian architectural styles and represent Whitton’s obstinate faith in British railway standards and workmanship which continued throughout his career (Lee, 2000).

A goods shed and engine shed were also constructed at Picton in 1863. Picton remained the terminus of the line until the line was extended to Mittagong in 1867…


Picton Station 1863

You can read about the difficulties attending that Mittagong extension here.


Segue to my mother’s family, and the first time England gets a mention in this series*:


  • Born: 2 JUN 1846, Kirkby Thore, Westmorland, England
  • Baptised: 12 JUL 1846, Kirkby Thore, Westmorland, England
  • Died: 20 JUL 1912, Dulwich Hill,N.S.W., Australia
  • Buried: Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney

married 31 DEC 1867, St Michael, Appleby, Westmorland — Isabella Ann NELSON

  • Born: 1845, Bongate, Appleby, Westmorland
  • Baptised: 30 DEC 1845, St Michael, Appleby, Westmorland
  • Died: 23 JUL 1925, Dulwich Hill, N.S.W., Australia
  • Buried: Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney

They had the following children:

  1. Elizabeth Anne HUNTER
  2. Mary HUNTER
    • Born: 15 AUG 1870, Middlesborough, Yorkshire
    • Died: 5 JUN 1872, Middlesborough, Yorkshire
  3. Margaret Jane HUNTER
  4. John Henry HUNTER
  5. Nelson HUNTER
    • Born: 29 DEC 1876, Sydney,  New South Wales,  Australia
    • Died: 2 AUG 1878, Sydney, New South Wales,  Australia
  6. Isabella HUNTER
    • Born: 7 APR 1879, Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
  7. Emily HUNTER
  8. Ada HUNTER
  9. Thomas HUNTER
  10. Mabel HUNTER

Ada Hunter was my grandmother, my mother’s mother, and wife of Roy Christison. Mabel was cousin Irma’s mother and wife of Horace Martin. My mother’s middle name, which she suppressed, was Isabella. My own name could have been Nelson as the uncle Neil Christison after whom I am named was originally Nelson.

In a post about my mother’s late cousin Irma Martin (1916-2013) I used this photo taken at Dulwich Hill during World War I of the Hunter family.

Irma was born on 21 August 1916, her parents being Horace Martin, a teacher, (1887-1970) and Mabel Martin, nee Hunter (1888-1966). Ada Hunter, Mabel’s sister, was married to Roy Christison, thus my mother’s father and mother. That is the Hunter family above with my mother and her brother Eric (with the boat) next to the pram. It would not be impossible that Irma is the one in the pram but it may also be my mother’s sister Beth.

I remember Aunt Margaret, married to Charles E. TREVOR, a baronet, so the story went – a title that was treated by some of us with a fair amount of derision.


But the story about the baronetcy was true, except Charles was a second son!


Thomas Hunter had a son, Harry, born in 1923/4 who was killed in New Guinea in 1944. I do recall hearing this mentioned at some time.

And am I right in thinking that the patriarch, Henry Hunter, was an engine driver? Certainly seeing Goulburn mentioned in that family tree brought back stories Grandma Ada told me about him and Goulburn, and his being crippled with arthritis partly as a result of time spent in the cab of steam locomotives.


Kirkby Thore, where Henry Hunter was born in 1846. The station, now demolished, opened in 1862.

So many half-recalled stories and such scope for someone to do some detective work.

I certainly remember being told that the old lady, Isabella, centre in that group photo, spent her last years imagining she was in Westmoreland again.

And I should also mention that my great-grandfather John Hampton Christison and my great-grandmother Sophia Jane Christison nee Lillie had both been born in 1858: in his case in Scotland, in hers in Australia. On GenForum:

George Lillie (Born 1834 in Aberdeen to Thomas [Lillie] and Martha Mathers) married Mary Collier in 1836. They went to Sydney, Australia as assisted immigrants and had the following children: Mary, George G., Thomas C., John K., Frederick W. and Sophia J.


Kind of true, given I haven’t mentioned it yet in this series, but the Wests (as in Caroline Philadelphia West, wife of William Whitfield) and the Ratcliffes (as in the wife of William Joseph John Whitfield) were of English background, just for starters.

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)


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?


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

Mystery 4: When did Braidwood come into the picture?


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?


Quite a man!


Not him, but what he did…


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.


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.

10c — Picton — Stray stories of family and Australiana — 1

This post was first published on  January 21, 2014.

Been to several funerals at both these locations, particularly in the 1950s and 60s.


Anglican Church, Picton. Comes complete with ghosts.


Cemetery in Upper Picton


My great-aunt Annie’s first husband. There is a back story there well worth exploring – and Bob Starling has: Unravelling the mysteries of the Janzen – Owen – Hooke – Vacchini families : who are these three men?


Ann Elizabeth Whitfield and Tiberio Janzen Vacchini:
Marriage: 1 Oct 1902


Picton Station 1870

1863: Extended line from Campbelltown to Picton and Picton railway station are officially opened. Historians believe the Antill family’s influence and desire to bring more people to Picton prompted it to be built. It was designed by John Whitton

Those Antills pop up all over the place: see Camden Remembers, Picton NSW – The Early Years.

Three generations of the Antill family of Picton are central to this paper: Henry Colden Antill (1779-1852), John Macquarie Antill senior (1822-1900) and John Macquarie Antill Junior (1866-1937). Henry Colden was born in New York of British stock, his great grandfather Edward Antill having migrated from England to America in 1680. His father John Antill had fought in the war of American Independence. The family migrated first to Canada; Henry was in the British army in India; he migrated to Sydney on 1 January 1810; he married Eliza Wills in Sydney in 1818; settled near Liverpool, N.S.W.; in 1825 settled on his estate near Picton, named Jarvisfield; and, in 1844 he subdivided part of his estate on the north of Stonequarry Creek, as the result he made possible the founding of the town of Picton (originally known as Stonequarry). He died and was buried in the family vault at Jarvisfield, in August 1852, survived by six sons and two daughters…



My dad pointed the place out to me, and there were stories about it too – but I didn’t really listen or have forgotten…

11 – 1875 – to Araluen and Braidwood

Posted originally on January 24, 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.

I have long been aware of the existence of the Braidwood branch of the Whitfield clan but I don’t recall meeting any of them, nor have I travelled to Braidwood. But it is a good story, how they got there.


From Geological sketch map of NSW, 1880. 1. Picton; 2. Araluen; 3. Braidwood.

So this is about two of my father’s great-uncles, Jacob 2 and Richard Whitfield.

The information in Jacob 2’s entry is more evocative: “Jacob was farming in the Picton district of NSW until 1875 when with his wife, Eliza and five children, his brother Richard, his wife, and other family members, he left Picton to walk to Araluen NSW to the gold fields. They took with them a cow and horse and cart with their belongings. After three years in Araluen they went to Braidwood NSW where they set up their first blacksmith shop in 1879. Jacob died six years later on 22 Oct 1885…” His wife became a midwife in the district.

By the way my great-grandfather William Joseph John Whitfield, who stayed in the Picton district, and his brothers Jacob and Richard all married sisters from the Ratcliffe (Radcliffe) family, respectively Elizabeth, Eliza, and Mary Ann….


Araluen Ball 1867

See also Stray stories of family and Australiana — 1

And then there is Braidwood and tales I partly remember. Dad mentioned Quong Tart and the Nomchongs more than once.


Group portrait of the Nomchong family, Braidwood, N.S.W., 1902

See The Braidwood district’s Chinese heritage.

Jews Hill 1870 ref WALLACE 10 V2

Braidwood 1880 – image from Braidwood & District Historical Society

More at Stray stories of family and Australiana — 2. That entry was one of a 2014 series leading up to Australia Day. So it is with this series. More on that later.