2014 Australia Day Challenge

Inspired by Cassmob on her blog Family History Across the Seas


My first ancestors to arrive in Australia were:

George Read 1840 Orleana GGG GF and his wife Harriet Nye 1840 Orleana GGG GM

Later came:
Charles Edward King 3 May 1847, GG GF Theresa
Maria Hunt 1851 GG GM Reliance
Robert Allan 1852 GG GF Marco Polo and his wife and cousin Janet Sim 1852 GG GM Marco Polo
Anne Nestor 1854 GG GM Lord of the Isles
Henry William Wardle 1854 GG GF Avondale
Priscilla Bryan 1854 (TBC) GG GM Medway (TBC)
Christian Frederich Ernst Theel 1855 GG GF Rosemuende
Thomas William Langthorn 1883 G GF Cicero
William Clark 1885 G GF Ashmore
Cyril T C Kirby 1919 GF ship unknown
Emily Kirby Newman 1921 G GM Beltana

14 ancestors arrived in Australia between 1840 and 1921

I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with):

I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from:
England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany/Poland

Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? 
Probably only the last

George Read 1840 GGG GF probably assisted
Harriet Nye 1840 GGG GM probably assisted
Charles Edward King 1847, GG GF probably assisted
Maria Hunt 1851 GG GM probably assisted
Robert Allan 1852 GG GF probably assisted
Janet Sim 1852 GG GM probably assisted
Anne Nestor 1854 GG GM probably assisted
Priscilla Bryan 1854 TBC GG GM probably assisted
Henry William Wardle 1854 GG GF crew member
Christian Frederich Ernst Theel 1855 GG GF crew member (ship’s carpenter), deserted ship at Port Adelaide
Cyril T C Kirby 1919 GF – may have worked his passage out as crew
Emily Kirby Newman 1921 G GM widow –unassisted immigrant

How many ancestors came as singles?
8 singles
Charles Edward King 3 May 1847, GG GF single
Anne Nestor 1854 GG GM single
Henry William Wardle 1854 GG GF single
Priscilla Bryan 1854 GG GM single
Christian Frederich Ernst Theel 1855 GG GF single
Thomas William Langthorn 1883 G GF single
William Clark 1885 G GF single
Cyril T C Kirby 1919 GF single, arrived to marry his Australian born fiancé

2 widows
Maria Hunt 1851 GG GM widowed on the ship coming to Australia
Emily Kirby Newman 1921 G GM widow

How many came as couples?
Two couples:
George Read 1840 GGG GF and  Harriet Nye 1840 GGG GM

Robert Allan 1852 GG GF and Janet Sim 1852 GG GM

How many came as family groups?
Robert Allan 1852 GG GF and Janet Sim 1852 GG GM and 4 children - 2 theirs and 2 hers by previous marriage.

Did one person lead the way and others follow?
Emily Kirby Newman G GM arrived in 1921 with her daughter, 2 years after my GF arrived.

Anne Nestor GG GM arrived in 1854. Her sister Ellen arrived in 1859.

Charles Edward King GG GF arrived in Port Adelaide in 1847. His elder brother Thomas Layton King arrived in Sydney in 1850, later moving to South Australia and farming near his brother in Morphett Vale.

What’s the longest journey they took to get here?
They came via the ports of Plymouth, Liverpool, Southampton, London and Hamburg as far as I can see. One left Ireland to set out for Australia from Southampton. Another couple made their way from near Glasgow, Scotland to migrate from Liverpool. The duration of the journey depended on what year they travelled to Australia as ships became faster and more efficient over the years. Additionally those who were crew members of cargo ships had a longer journey as the ship stopped along the way to trade.

Longest journey
Henry William Wardle 1854  Avondale as a crew member, 13 months from Gothenburg, Sweden via South Africa to Port Melbourne

Others, in order of duration
Christian Frederich Ernst Theel 1855 crew member of cargo ship Rosemuende, Hamburg-Liverpool?, Liverpool-Port Adelaide 121 days
Charles Edward King 3 May 1847,  Theresa, Plymouth - Port Adelaide 104 days
George Read and his wife Harriet Nye 1840 Orleana, London - Port Adelaide in 103 days
Maria Hunt 1851  Reliance, Liverpool to Port Adelaide 95 days
Anne Nestor 1854 Lord of the Isles, Ireland- Southampton?, Southampton-Port Adelaide 95 days
Robert Allan & his wife Janet Sim 1852  Marco Polo, Liverpool-Melbourne 68 days

Thomas William Langthorn 1883, Cicero, Plymouth-Port Adelaide, 92 days
Priscilla Bryan 1854 (TBC)  Medway, London-Port Melbourne 88 days (TBC)
William Clark 1885  Ashmore, Plymouth-Port Adelaide 79 days
Emily Kirby Newman 1921 Beltana London-Melbourne, 50 days

Cyril T C Kirby 1919 ship unknown

Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place?
Not that I’m aware of.

Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive?
Victoria (6) and South Australia (8)

Did they settle and remain in one state/colony?
All stayed where they disembarked apart from these two

George Read went to the Victorian goldfields about 1851-3 and evidently never returned to South Australia where his wife was waiting with 4 children.

Charles Edward King went from Morphett Vale, South Australia to Victoria, gold prospecting and came back to SA with enough money to buy new farm land opening up in Georgetown and to help his brother buy land in Morphett Vale.

Did they stay in one town or move around?
Henry William Wardle arrived in Melbourne in 1854, worked in Geelong but by 1862 was in Bungaree near Ballarat. At the time of his death he was living in East Melbourne.

Do you have any First Australians in your tree?

Were any self-employed?
Yes – farmers, grocer, seamstress, cabinet maker / carpenter, joiner /carpenter / inventor, gold prospectors

What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in?
Gold prospecting, farming, timber cutting and milling, bakery / confectionery, carpentry, cabinetmaking

Does anyone in the family still follow those occupations?
Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”?
Harriet Nye and her 4 surviving children returned to England in 1859 on the Champion of the Seas after hearing nothing from her husband George Read since about 1853. He had gone to the goldfields, probably Victoria. He sent one consignment of gold to her in 1852, the first year that overland consignment was possible. In 1853 Harriet gave birth to her fifth baby in Adelaide although it died 18 months later. Her eldest son Charles Read either did not go back to England or returned to Australia a couple of years later. He established a farm on the Gulnare Plains, near Georgetown, South Australia. His nephew William Clark migrated to South Australia in 1885 and initially worked for his uncle Charles at Georgetown, before establishing his own farm in the region.

What’s your State of Origin? Victoria
Do you still live there? No, in Western Australia, after 10 years in Malaysia
Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? 
Didn’t have many holidays as a child. But staying with my maternal grandparents in Adelaide was a treat. Have very fond memories of helping my grandmother in the kitchen and playing in their home orchard in central Adelaide.
Any special place you like to holiday now?
Lots, especially along the far south east coast of Western Australia

Share your favourite spot in Oz:
It’ll have to remain my secret. Don’t want everyone going there J

Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had?
Too numerous to mention all. Here are a few. Central Australia, Eastern Goldfields round Kalgoorlie, Great Victoria Desert, Pilbara, Kimberley…

What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list?
Always more camping, somewhere remote and beautiful

How do you celebrate Australia Day?
Nothing much. Might watch the fireworks from a cousin’s house. Have mixed feelings about celebrating at all. Avoiding yob events is a must. Excessive expression of Australian-ness (a la USA) makes for a divisive community.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more in the last comment. I have no issues with celebrating being Australian, it's just that there's an element that wants to divide us rather than unite.

    Poor Harriet, I felt for her being left alone with the children. It seems his initial intentions were good. I suppose he might even have died on the goldfields, been ashamed to return empty-handed, met another woman, or made his fortune and taken off -so many choices. interesting that their son stayed or returned.

    I feel for people like Maria Hunt who were widowed on the voyage. So many hopes shattered before they even landed.

    I have Sims too -my Sim family comes from Stirlingshire (Bothkennar).

    Thanks for joining in and sharing your family story.

    1. Thanks for responding Pauline. I think Maria made a successful second marriage to Charles Edward King.
      My Sims are from Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, but Janet's father John disappeared/died before 1841. Never found his death.

  2. A good mystery asking to be solved - Harriet and George!

    1. I had a strong lead a while back. There was a mine explosion in May 1866 at the Black Ball claim at Rutherglen, Victoria. A George Read died later from injuries received. But he was too young and the parents listed in the death index are wrong. Doesn't rule him out I guess. Perhaps I should order that death cert and settle it once and for all. It's these sorts of mysteries that keep us going, isn't it?

  3. I had one ancestor disappear but I think I have found him with a whole new family in another state! Just cannot prove that it is definitely him.

    1. Perhaps that happened for George. The family story wasn't quite the same as I discovered (so far). They said he deserted her in 1851. But in 1852 he sent her gold and in 1853 she had a 5th baby never mentioned in family stories. The baby died in infancy, but it begs the question whose baby was it? Hmmm.

  4. I enjoyed your post. I am fascinated that all the posts so far have UK forebears and then some with German forebears - but none others.

    Poor Harriet - I hope you find out what happened to George Read but it is tricky with a relatively common name.

    I too will watch the fireworks tonight but no other celebrations. Definitely mixed feelings about the date.

    Happy Australia Day

  5. Thanks people for reading my page. I'm going to tabulate the days travelled for each journey that I know of. Might be interesting. Robert Allan and Janet Sim however had a "fast" trip for when they came on the Black Ball Line's Marco Polo in 1852 it was the fastest journey recorded till then - 68 days. In July I am travelling on the Unlock the Past 5th gene cruise on the Marco Polo round the islands round Britain. Seems quite apt.

    1. It is interesting to see the improvement in time...............and now we fly!

      I cannot imagine my ancestor who spent over 3 years on a whaling boat before arrive in Australia! As a result of this meme, I may have found a diary of the trip. Fingers crossed!