The Ancestors of Harriet Rebecca Barber

These are notes and meant to be improved upon. This is an effort to add to and summarise what people know about this family tree. An index of related webpages is here: users.skynet.be/lancaster/

Please contact me if you have advice, questions, criticisms, etc, and please be careful about using this information without mentioning the source - not because I want brownie points, but because this information might contain mistakes, and so all people passing it around should be careful to help researchers trace back to the person who made them!


Harriet Rebecca Barber, my great great grandmother, married William John Nelson, 7 November 1877 at the Methodist Church in West Kempsey, New South Wales. She was 17, and was about to spend 70 years married to William. A separate webpage discusses their children and William's Nelson ancestry. She died 3 Oct 1950 at the age of 90, and is buried at Nambucca Heads cemetery.

Harriet's ancestry is one of the most interesting parts of my family tree, even from the small amounts that we know of it. Her family were in Australia the longest of all my ancestors, starting in 1804. No less than three of her four grand parents were convicts, and the other one was apprently the daughter of a convict, or indeed two.

It is also interesting however, that by her lifetime, this history was either forgotten or deliberately avoided. In my time a convict ancestry is not considered a negative thing in Australia. Us Australians have all been taught that the convicts were victims of over-population and were mostly convicted of very petty crimes, and generally given harsh sentences as part of a deliberate government policy to reduce the problems of the cities. There is a lot of truth in this, as we'll see from the examples of her family. But often we Australians do not even realize that we have convicts in the family.Harriet Rebecca Nelson

Harriet's obituary therefore described her grandparents as coming to Australia with governor Macquarie and having their children in Paramatta, which is approximately correct, but there is no mention of them being convicts.

"At Kempsey in September 1877 when 17 years old she married William John Nelson who died three years ago aged 92. [...] Shortly after her marriage Mrs. Harriet Nelson accompanied her husband to the Manning and they spent a year at Taree, before returning to Kempsey. There Mr.Nelson managed a sawmill he for some years. Later he was for many years a building contractor, and had farms at Clybucca and Warrel Creek. Mrs. Nelson retained vivid memories of pioneer days on the Central North Coast . When as a bride of 17 years she went to the Manning from the Macleay with her husband travelling on horseback. The journey took three days. A year later she rode back to Kempsey Mr. Nelson carrying their three months old baby on a cushion. In those days, over 70 years ago, Taree and Kempsey were tiny villages."

Disappointingly however, tracing these convict ancestors back within in England has proven difficult. The main thing I have been able to add to previous efforts has been gathering some of the convict records from Britain. Most of the Australian information I have originally from Nance Curry, Eleanor Lancaster and others, and is widely distributed amongst the very many Australian genealogists with links to this family.

Here is Harriet at the funeral of her husband, with her children, including my great grandmother "Lena", Eleanor Debenham Nelson, known to us as "Big Nana".

The Nelsons


Harriet's parents and siblings: Joseph and Charlotte

Harriet was one of the children of Joseph Rambler Barber and Charlotte Emma Avery. The photo to the right has been passed around family genealogists and came to me courtesy of Jen McLeod.

Joseph Rambler Barber was born May 30th 1821, baptised Jun 24 in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. The documents involved have the following references V18215497 1B/1821 V18211291 148/1821. These are early church records from before official state registration, and Parramatta was at this time one of the main centres of colonial life in Australia, which revolved around convicts in various states of freedom. 

Joseph's first marriage was to Agnes Kelly of Tarlow 3/2/1845 at St Saviours Goulburn. They were both said to be living in Tarlow. She died 1852 age 32. I am not aware of any children from this marriage. He married for the second time to Charlotte Emma Avery, 30 Jun 1853 in Brisbane Waters, New South Wales, Australia. As new lands began to be opened up, and the convict past began to be forgotten, Joseph moved north to the Macleay River region, which was possibly known to him via his wife's family, the Averys. 

The children of Joseph and Charlotte were:

  1. Andrew Bartley Barber. Born 1854 and married Margaret Cook in 1901 in Kempsey

  2. Emma Barber. Born 1856 in Gosford and married Henry Joseph Thompson in 1875 in the Macleay district.

  3. Charles Barber. Born 1859 in Wollongong.

  4. Harriet Rebecca Barber (sometimes spelled Harriot) was born 17 Sep 1860 in Wollongong.

  5. Matilda Barber. Born 1863 in Gosford and married Joseph Henry Downs in 1879 in Kempsey and married in Kempsey.

  6. George Henry Barber. Born 1865 in the Macleay River district, and married Sarah Jane Baker in 1887 in Kempsey.

  7. Priscilla Jane "Dolly" Barber. Born 1868 in Macleay River district, and married David H. Nelson, a brother of Harriet's husband, in 1886 in Kempsey.

  8. Arthur John Barber. Born 1871 in the Macleay River district.

  9. Theresa Mary Barber. Born 1873 in the Macleay River district, and married twice: Richard Morgan in 1891 in Kempsey and Robert H Clark in 1905 in Kempsey.

  10. Clara Elizabeth Barber. Born 1876 in the Macleay River district and married Robert Adams in 1902 in Kempsey.

Joseph died 25 Aug 1907 (ref. 9487/1907) and was buried at West Kempsey Church of England Cemetery, New South Wales. Charlotte died 11 August 1908 in West Kempsey.

Joseph Rambler Barber's Parents and Siblings: John and Jane

Joseph's father was named John. He worked as a farrier in the Parramatta, South Creek, Windsor and Richmond area in the 1830s then moved to the Goulburn area where he died in 1841. A history of Goulburn lists him as the first vet or horse doctor in Goulburn. 

John Barber married Jane "Dwyer" (actually Wyer) 23 April 1821 at Liverpool in the Sydney area. Because John was a convict special permission had to be give for this marriage, and that document is dated 31 March 1821. I will discuss John and Jane's origins in more detail below, but first here are their children:

  1. Joseph Rambler Barber. Born 30/4/1821. See above. There is also a widely distributed date 24 June, but I assume this was a baptism or registration. At this time John, the father, was a "Government servant", not a free man. He was assigned to Sir John Jamieson.

  2. William Barber. Born 22/3/1823. Died 26/4/1826. By this time John was assigned to I Mills of Liverpool.

  3. Lucy (Louisa) Barber. Born in Paramatta 20/5/1825 (St. Luke's Liverpool). She later married John Bryan in Goulburn 23 December 1842. Died 17/12/1902. Note: the 1825 records show that by now John was able to be assigned to his own wife, who was free, but was still not free himself.

  4. Andrew Barber. Born 29/2/1828, baptised 15/6/1828 at St John's Paramatta. Note that John Barber the father is now a farrier, and had received a certificate of freedom 21/4/1868, between the birth and baptism. I have received information that he married Phoebe Rose in 1849 and/or Margaret Cook 26 Dec 1877 at Matchams Land, Gosford.

  5. Samuel Barber. Born 29/12/1830. By now John Barber was a 38 year old protestant household in Paramatta, with 60 acres, 1 horse and 6 cattle.

  6. Elizabeth Barber. Born 5/4/1833

  7. Henry Barber. Born 25/1/1837. Baptised at St Saviour Argyle, whereupon the father was said to be a Cookbundoon Farrier.

  8. John Barber. Born 1/9/1838. Baptised at St Saviour Argyle, 8th Sep, whereupon the father was said to be a Goulburn Horse Farrier. Must have died young.

  9. Mary Ann Barber. Born/baptised 17 or 11? October 1840. Baptised at St Saviour Argyle, whereupon the father was said to be a Goulburn Horse Doctor. Died 1845.

  10. John Barber. Baptised 1 March 1841 in Goulburn Cathedral (father John Barber, 49 year old horse doctor).

John Barber died 1 March 1841 in Goulburn. Jane re-married and was buried as Jane Taylor in Paramatta. They will be discussed more in detail below.

John Barber, from stable hand to horse thief to veterinary surgeon.

John Barber was a convict. His horse credentials were in a sense real, because he had been a Stable Hand when Sentenced to death for stealing a horse 16/2/1814. No parents are ever mentioned in his known records, which is not unusual for convicts, but it is said that he was an orphan. (I am not sure if any record actually refers to him this way.) He was born about 1792 in Suffolk.

Transport "Marquis of Wellington" (or sometimes improperly "Lord Wellington") from London 1st Sep 1814 to NSW 27th Jan 1815 via Madeira and Rio. There seems to be very little record of the details of the trial, but the following report appears in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 25 February 1814 p.3.

"At the Isle of Ely assizes last week, John Bentick, for stealing six lambs, the property of Mr T. Cave, of Witchford: and John Barber, for stealing a bay mare, the property of Mr R.Burgess, of Wainfleet: - were both capitally convicted, and received sentence of death, but were afterwards reprieved."

The lead-up is also reported in local papers. The Stamford Mercury Friday 24 December 1813 has 

"STOLEN or STRAYED, but supposed to be Stolen on Thursday night the 16th inst. or early on Friday morning, from out of a Pasture in Wainfleet All Saints, (from three other horses,)A BAY MARE, rising three years old, With a cut tail, small star on her forehead, and black legs, except a little white just above one of the hind hoofs. If stolen, any person giving information of the offender or offenders, so that he or they may brought to justice, shall, on conviction, receive from Mr. ROBERT BURGESS, of Wainfleet aforesaid, Reward of Ten Guineas; if strayed, or rode off and left at any Inn or Public-house, any person taking care of the same, and giving information, by letter or otherwise, as above, shall receive a Reward of One Guinea, and be paid all reasonable expenses." Wainfleet, Dec. 20th, 1813.

The Stamford Mercury, Friday 7 January 1814 mentions that the "The mare belonging to Mr. Robert Burgess, of Wainfleet, advertised in last week's paper, has been since recovered, and the offender, hear, has been committed to Ely gaol to take his trial for stealing the same." The Norfolk Chronicle of 15 January gives a report that tells us John was committed to Ely gaol on the 30th of the month before, by Robert Hardwick Esq. of Wisbech, and tells us that Mr. Burgess's first name is Robert. I can trace that Mr Hardwick was town bailiff of Wisbech, which was within Ely jurisdiction, and not so far from Lincolnshire.

Interestingly though, the Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 9 October 1813 mentions a John Barber shortly before, servant to Mr. Edward Morse of West Dereham, who competed in a ploughing competition organized by the Norfolk Agricultural Society, near Swaffham. There were 4 competitors, one of whom did not finish. John Barber came third, but was fastest. The judges were looking also at the quality of the ploughing. But the name "John Barber" is exceptionally common.

1817, 1818, 1820 musters: servant to Mr Hassell.

1821 muster servant to Sir John Jamieson.

1821 Requests for permission to marry in Parramatta and Liverpool are in NSW state records.

m. Jane Wyer (or Dwyer or Myer) V18212726 3B/1821 Church of England Liverpool, St Luke's 23 APR 1821. Witnesses William and Sophia Burgin.

1822 census A00793 Govt Servant to J Wilde (I. Mills?) at Liverpool.

1825 A0NSW R2I54 Magistrate's book.

Certificate of freedom 15 Apr 1828. Sydney Gazette 21 April 1828.

On the 1828 census: B.0277 Free 38 years (so b abt 1790) Free by servitude Protestant Householder at Parramatta with 60 acres, 1 horse, 6 cattle. There is also a "Government Servant" named Esther Ogden, along with her baby daughter Catherine. It appears that Catherine was adopted into the family, and she later married as Catherine Barber to William Byrns in Parramatta on 1st May, 1848 at St. Patrick's Church.

In 1834 he was accused of for selling stolen fence posts and William Bergin his wife's step-father wrote a character reference.

Death: 1 March 1841 aged 49 (b. abt 1792) "Horse Doctor". Burial 3 March 1841. Parish St Saviour, County of Argyle.


Intriguingly, there is a Suffolk family who used the middle name Rambler about 100 years after John was born. See for example this family tree on Ancestry.co.uk. But as far as I know, no-one yet has a proven link.

Jane Wyer, convict child.

Jane Wyer or Wire is very hard to trace. She came to Australia free but as the child of a female convict who had a different surname (indeed, this female convict used two different ones), to be discussed below, and as a free child in shipping and census records she appears namelessly. What's more, when she is recorded, people frequently got her name wrong, writing Dwyer, Myer or Ware.

Jane Barber in 1828 census, B0278 is marked as 27 years (so b abt 1801) and has having come free on Experiment 1802, but the Experiment only brought settlers once in June 1804, and the only other time it came was 1809. She was protestant. 

Concerning the Experiment see http://www.blaxland.com/ozships/events/8/785.htm#76011 which like other online lists, shows a convict child amongst the free passengers on the 1804 (first) arrival of this boat. From what I understand however, this child does not appear on the original list (which was usual for free people on these ships). Such lists of free settlers (9 settler families are known to have been on board) are apparently normally based on other information such as the 1828 census. The ship left from Spithead 6th Dec 1803, and went to Sydney 24th Jun 1804 via Rio (arr 8th Mar, sail 8th Apr).

The ship was interesting. As explained on Jen Willett's website, it had 136 women, including both Elizabeth Ware and Mary West (a.k.a. Sarah Tandy) who will be discussed below. Two of the women on board, Ann Parsons or Mary Daniels, later received permission to return to England. Also interesting, considering what would happen to Elizabeth, is that the boat had two male convicts, Anthony Rawson and William Tucker, had escaped back to England by concealing themselves on board the Atlas.

The ship arrived into a very young colony. The Castle Hill convict rebellion happened that year, and the first of the famous "Female Factories" was opened for business in Paramatta. This is where able bodied women from the Experiment would have been assigned.

1804 is also the year that the word "Australia" was first used, by the explorer Matthew Flinders.

Many years later, having grown up with William Burgin's family in Paramatta, Jane must have already been pregnant with Joseph when she married John Barber in 1821. The letter asking for permission to marry calls her Jane Dwyer, but the marriage register apparently has Wyer. She had 7 more children with John, the last being Mary Ann b. 17.10.1840, who died in 1845. 

For the first few years of marriage, John was assigned as a convict to work for others, but in 1825 he came be assigned to his own wife! He was not a free man until 1828.

After the death of John in 1841 she re-married 22/6/1842 at St Saviour, County Argyle, as Jane "Wire" with Richard Taylor a boatman who had come on the Layton 8/11/1829 at the age of 19; after being convicted of Highway Robbery in Lincoln. 

They had 2 children in 1844 and 1851.

  1. William Taylor. Born 8/6/1844

  2. Richard Taylor. Born 31/10/1851

Jane Taylor died 1/12/1851 aged 49 years Philip St Parramatta, 2 months after giving birth to a son, Richard, who died 2 months after Jane.

Jane was buried 2/12/1851, and Richard 30/1/1852.


Who was Jane's mother?

There are two theories about who the mother of Jane was, and in a way perhaps both are true. The theory which came to dominate for a long time was that Jane's mother is the woman who treated her as her daughter in Australia, even though that woman did not use the same surname. (In fact she used several surnames, so there is no surprise there.) We shall discuss this further below. The other theory is that the mother is Elizabeth Ware, who had been on the same ship with Jane, and had a baby on board. The proposal is that the surnames Wyer and Ware can be equated, given all the spelling variations in convict records at that time. This theory seemed disproved once that genealogists showed who had brought Jane up, but then Wayne Mayo came across new evidence.

Elizabeth Ware, the likely biological mother

This proposal is discussed further on a webpage by Wayne Mayo.

If Elizabeth was Jane's biological mother, then there is a good reason that Elizabeth is not found associating with her in Australia: she had escaped back to England. On 6 July 1803 Elizabeth Ware had originally been convicted of forging bank notes and sentenced to 14 years transportation, as shown on the Old Bailey website. But later, Elizabeth Ware returned, was apprended 2nd of December, about 11:30pm, on board the ship Aeolus as she lay in the river Thames, "in the upper part of Woolwich Reach, in the parish of Charlton, in the country of Kent". She was then sentenced to death in December 1809. Part of her plea for mercy was that she wanted to return to her husband and children. If her husband and children were still together in England then it is a bit surprising that she took her baby with her to Australia, and then abandoned it there? But we no longer know how honest her plea was.

In May 2012 Wayne Mayo reported a breakthrough coming from correspondence with the Bank of England, which was the authority prosecuting her.

Around the time of the 1803 conviction there is actually a lot of correspondence concerning Elizabeth. It showed that her original husband was Thomas Ware, "a shoemaker who worked in the employ of a Mr Brown of Bridges Street, Stand, London, and of Levy Cohen 'near the new church in the Strand'". He was captured but escaped.

The letters show that she was leaving two daughters in England, and was with a young baby again, apparently born in jail. (In some early letters she mentions being pregnant.) She begged to be allowed to stay in England. The Bank finally at least agreed to send £15 to help her with her child, but it arrived after the Experiment left. The £15 was actually passed to the Ship’s captain when the ship had to return to Portsmouth for repairs. The Captain decided to give her ‘the better half’ of the money up front and the rest when she arrived in Sydney. By correspondence however the surgeon reported that Elizabeth was conducting herself with propriety.

When Elizabeth returned in 1809, her original husband was said to be dead, and she was intending to marry another man. But we do not know what happened to her. It appears she was not executed. Letters exist between her in Newgate prison, and the Bank of England, and she is also mentioned in records of the bank. 30 May 1810 is when it was announced that Elizabeth's sentence would be commuted to transportation, the "condition of her being transported to the Coast of New South Wales, or some one or other of the Islands adjacent". The last correspondence came from the bank on 6 November 1810, agreeing to give her £5. Amelia Bellars, who was with her on a similar charge travelled to Australia on the ship Friends, in April 1811, but Elizabeth does not appear in any known records back in Australia.

Concerning Elizabeth's origins, from her correspondence we learn that she had a brother, Mr Wm. Lightband, Taylor, St James' Market, 10 Market Row, London. Lightband appears to be a variant spelling of names like Lightbound and Lightbown, which in turn are variants of placename-based surnames like Likebourne, which seem to come originally from northwest England. There is a place in Ulverston called Lightburn. (Books about surname origins are often badly in disagreement with each other and highly speculative, but at least I can confirm that this theory has been published. For example see Henry Barber's 1903 book. In any case whatever the origin, it is clear that in London, filled with immigrants form the countryside who could not write, surnames got messed up.) My impression is that Lightband was specifically more found in the south, where all these names were uncommon. (Today this spelling seems to be mainly found in New Zealand.)

Therefore, as Wayne Mayo writes, it is "likely that Elizabeth Ware was the second child of William and Sarah Lightburn/Leightburn (of Ombersley, Worcestershire), baptised 4 October 1778. It is also likely that Elizabeth married Thomas Ware 19 Dec 1796 and had daughters Sarah (baptised 21 Oct 1798) and Eve (baptised 4 Jan 1801)." At her marriage in St Martin in the fields, Elizabeth's surname was given as Lightburn. The children were baptised in Stepney, and at that time the family lived in Poplar, with Thomas being described as a labourer. Sarah was 34 days old when baptised, and Eve, 17 days. There is some doubt about this Poplar family, because after 1803 a couple with the same name continued having children in Limehouse, also in the Docklands area.

William, Elizabeth's brother, would have been the baptism a few years earlier in Ombersley to the same parents, 6 Jan 1774. One of the jail records mentions that Elizabeth was born in Worcestershire.

Sarah Tandy AKA Mary Tandy AKA Mary West, the convict who brought Jane up

Transported on the Experiment arriving 7/5/1804 (apparently recalled wrongly later as 1802).

She was sentenced at Exeter Feb 1802 (according to AO records) and/or Horsemonger Lane, Guildford, Surrey 16/2/1802 (according to PRO in UK) for 7 years. I could find this record of events:

Calendar of Prisoners

4. Sarah Tandy } Committed the 29th of January, 1802, by G. Fournier, esq., charge on the oath of illegible - probably Samuel Smith) with stealing at Newington, four silver table spoons, two silver punch ladles, three guineas in gold, two or three one-pound Bank of England notes, and divers articles of wearing apparel, his property.

Minute Book

King GL Pl not guilty on trial

agt Guilty Transported for 7 years

Sarah Tandy o'wise West

Indictment file

Surrey } The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath present that Sarah Tandy late of the Parish of St Mary at Newington in the County of Surrey Singlewoman otherwise called Mary West late of the same Singlewoman on the twenty second day of January in the forty second year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the Faith with force and arms at the Parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid four silver table spoons of the value of twenty shillings two silver punch ladles of the value of four shillings one laced veil of the value of one shilling one cotton gown of the value of five shillings and one silk cloak of the value of six shillings of the goods and chattels of Samuel Smith then and there being found then and there feloniously did steal take and carry away against the Peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity

She was living with William Bergin (Burgin, Burgen, Burgan, Bergen) by 1804, not long after arriving in the penal colony. He had come on the Hillsborough 26/7/1799.

Jane Wyer who came with her on the Experiment appears as a child living with her and the Bergins in Musters.

She married as Mary West in 1818, a name which she'd also apparently used in England (LDS have two dates: 1804 and 1818; probably because children are recorded in 1805, 1808, 1811, and 1818) St Johns marriage register, presumably V1818851 147B/1818, V18182210 3A/1818 29 JUN 1818. 1828 living in Paramatta where William was a publican. Their children, Jane's half siblings, were:

  1. Henry Bergin. Born 1805. Married Mary Gowan in 1828, and died in 1846.

  2. Sophia Bergin. Born 1808. Married John Jamieson in 1825, for whom John Barber had worked. She had also been witness at John's wedding.

  3. William Bergin. Born 1811. Died 1831.

  4. Elizabeth Bergin. Born 1818, so the probably the only legitimate child in the family.

William Bergin senior had 18 acres at Prospect, with 30 cleared, 5 horses, 50 cattle and a couple of employees.

In 1825 their second child Sophia married John Jamieson

Death 16 DEC 1838 V18382863 22/1838 Mary Burgan in parish St John's, Parramatta (56 years old, so b. abt 1782). This was only 14 days after the death of William. She was buried 16 Dec 1838.


Speculation from IGI: George Wyer. Married with Mary West: 25 MAY 1800 Saint Luke Old Street, Finsbury, London, England.


Charlotte Emma Avery's Siblings and Parents: John Avery and Charlotte Davis

For this part of the family tree I must mention that I have been helped by Rex and Yvonne Toomey and Helene Cronin, who have done a lot more work on the Australian part of this family tree. Anyone interested for the right reasons should feel free to contact me about getting in contact with them (or any other genealogists relevant). Although this webpage is mainly trying to describe the outlines of this family tree, and especially to ask how much we can learn about the roots in England, I've taken the liberty of using some of the detailed dates that Yvonne has accumulated...

Charlotte's parents were John Abel Avery and Charlotte Emma Davis, both convicts, who married by permission on 24 May 1830 at St Johns Church Parramatta. The permission is dated 19 May. The children were as follows. Most had children aplenty so there were an enormous number of grandchildren!

  1. Charles Avery. Born 19 Jul 1830, Windsor. Baptized 19 Sep 1830. St Johns Parramatta. Married Ruth Kemp in Grafton in 1852, and also Louisa Philp, 29 Oct 1874 in Grafton. He died 14 Dec 1911 Lower Ulmarra, and was buried 15 Dec 1911 Ulmarra NSW. He had an amazing 14 and 15 children respectively from each wife.

  2. Mary Ann Avery. Born 6 Mar 1832 in Sydney and baptised 7 July 1833 St Philips Sydney. She married John Henry McMahon, 26 Jun 1848 at Sydney, Holy Trinity. She died 28 May 1878 Harrington Place, Sydney, and was buried the next day in the Sydney Necropolis. She had four children.

  3. Charlotte Emma Avery. My ancestor was born 9 Nov 1833 in Parramatta and baptised 12 Jan 1834 at St Phillips Sydney. She died 11 Aug 1908 in West Kempsey and was buried the next day. They had 11 children as mentioned above.

  4. Edward Ernest Avery. Born 12 Dec 1835, Sydney, and baptised 17 Jan 1836, St Philips Sydney. Married Catherine Reilly in 1855. Said to have died young?

  5. John Avery. Born 12 Jan 1837, Goulburn and baptised 24 Sep 1837 at Sutton Forrest. Married Ellen Butler in 1855. Died 10 Jul 1886 and was buried the next day in West Kempsey Cemetery.

  6. Robert Henry Avery. Born 28 Jul 1839 Sydney and baptised 8 Sep 1839 St Phillips Sydney. Married Rosetta Helps 20 Sep 1864 St Johns Stroud NSW. Was buried 29 Apr 1893 West Kempsey Cemetery, after having died the day before.

  7. William Avery. Born 14 Oct 1841 Clarence River NSW. Married Margaretta Gill, 3 Sep 1863 Stroud NSW. Was buried 17 Nov 1910, Tuncurry NSW, after having died the day before.

  8. Eliza Florence Avery. Born 4 Dec 1843 Clarence River NSW, and baptised 17 Mar 1844 Grafton C.E. Married John Clarke 14 Nov 1864 Myall River NSW. Died 17 Feb 1919 in Drummoyne NSW, and was buried soon after in Rookwood Cemetery NSW.

  9. Sarah Avery. Born 26 Nov 1845 Sydney, and baptised 14 Mar 1846 St Andrews Sydney. Married George Bramble 18 Apr 1864, St John's Port Stephen's NSW. Died 5 Apr 1928, Gloucester NSW.

  10. George Henry Avery. Born 23 Nov 1847 and baptised 6 Jan 1848, Clarence R Grafton. Married twice: Rachel Cook, 24 Sep 1873, Kempsey, and Ellen Baker 13 Dec 1898 Kempsey. Was buried 18 Sep 1928 in West Kempsey Cemetery, after having died two days earlier.

  11. Matilda Ann Avery. Born 23 Mar 1850, Swan Creek Grafton, and baptised 2 Jun 1850 in Grafton Church of England. Married James Robinson in 1871, and died 1872 in Sydney.

  12. Richard Avery. Born 22 Oct 1852 Sussex St Sydney and baptised 5 Dec 1852 St Phillips Sydney. Married Sophia Dorrington in Euroka 22 August 1875, and then Elizabeth Baker, 9 July 1892. Was buried 7 Jun 1908, W.Kempsey Church of England, after dieing the day before.

John Abel Avery died in the Macleay River District, 3 Jan 1880 aged 79 (6 years earlier than his son of the same name). Charlotte had already passed away 3 August 1874, aged 65, she was buried the next day in West Kempsey. John her widower was named as a sawyer in the death registration. Her birthplace is marked as London, and she had been 48 years in the colony.

John Abel Avery

Called an orphan on his death certificate 80.7660.

I could find record of his trial at the Old Bailey 3 Sep 1821:

Sessions Papers

JOHN AVERY was indicted for stealing, on the 4th August, one silver spoon, value 3s., the goods of Thomas Welch Hunt.

WILLIAM WRIGHT. I am servant to Mr T.W. Hunt, who lives at Clarges-street, Piccadilly. On the 4th of August, I saw the prisoner going up the area steps. I missed a spoon from the window, of the housekeeper's room, which was there three minutes before. I followed and took him at the end of the street, and found it on him.

(Property produced and sworn to)

GUILTY. Aged 20

Transported for Seven Years

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr Baron Graham


Newgate Prison Calendars

Wednesday, September 12th 1821

Name Age Trade Committed by, and when Offence charged with

John Avery 20 Labourer H.M.Dyer, Esq Aug 4 Stealing a silver spoon, the Property of Thomas Welch Hunt, Esq

Wednesday, October 24th 1821

(listed under Middlesex Prisoners on orders)

Wednesday, December 5th 1821

(listed under Middlesex Prisoners on orders)

Wednesday, January 9th 1822

(not listed - therefore delivered)

Cert. of Freedom - Notes: No.: 29/657 Date: 30th June 1829.

Ship : Asia (2); Master : Reid; Year : 1822; Native Place : High Wickham, Buckinghamshire; Trade or Calling : Chimney Sweep; Offence : ---------; Place of Trial : Middlesex Goal Delivery; Date of Trial : 12 Sept 1821; Sentence : Seven Years; Year of Birth : 1802; 5 feet 5 inches; Complexion : Swarthy; Hair : Dark Brown; Eyes : Hazel. Note : the following was written across the face of the Certificate of Freedom Butt -

"Torn up 23rd Jan 1832 on receipt from the Supt. of Police at Campbell Town in his letter of the 21st instant .... that it was found on the person of Joshua Rose Talbone (?) per Asia. A runaway from No 2 gang."

As I understand it, John had assignments in the north of NSW, land which was still being explored. He later settled there. He is therefore amongst the first generation of Europeans involved in that area for a living.


This is the one case where we could at least find a record of this family before conviction for a crime. It seems certain that John Abel Avery is the baptism of 19 Jun 1802 in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. His parents were therefore William Avery and Frances.

Peter Rowe informed me that the unusual name Abel had been used by the Averys of Bix in nearby Oxfordshire.

In older records, the combination of Abel and Avery appears several times in Yatton in Somerset, in the late 1600s. I suspect a family of Averys had moved to the London region from South West England and brought this name with them. (And another branch perhaps went to Connecticut?) The surname Avery seems to come from South West England.

Indeed, we can speculate that the parents were the William Avery and Frances Woodbridge who married 3 Jan 1791 in Hillingdon in Middlesex, so it is possible that John's family moved around within the London area, and that they might one day be traced.


Charlotte Emma Davis

Session Papers. Before Mr Justice Park, dated 26 October 1826, and now available online

1833. [Note: a reference number, not a year] CHARLOTTE DAVIS was indicted for stealing, on the 22nd of October, at St John at Hackney, 1 bag, value 1s, 16 half-crown, 30 shillings, and 7 sixpences, the property of Henry Pelling, her master, in his dwelling-house.

HENRY PELLING. I keep the Green Dragon public-house, in Well-street, in the Parish St John at Hackney. The prisoner was two months in my service. On Sunday, the 22nd of October, about three o'clock in the afternoon, my brother called me from the adjoining room to the bar; I searched the drawer where my money was kept, and missed it - it was not locked. I cannot say how much I had there; there were more than twenty half-crowns, some shillings, and sixpences --I went to the prisoner and accused her of it; she denied it - I requested to know where it was, as it had been in a bag; she still denied it; I told somebody to fetch a constable - she then said "Pray, sir, forgive me, I will never do so any more", and pointed to a corner in the wash-house, where the bag lay, covered up; it was my bag, and contained 3l 13s 6d in half-crowns, shillings and sixpences. Her box was searched, and nothing found but new clothes, worth about 3l; there were gowns, stockings, caps, thimbles, and a pair of scissors.

JOHN PELLING. I am the prosecutor's brother. At nine o'clock on Sunday morning, the 22nd of October, I saw this bag of silver in a drawer at the further end of the bar - I was in an adjoining room at three o'clock that afternoon; and saw the prisoner pass the door and go to the further end of the bar; I heard the drawer open; she passed the door, returned into the kitchen, came back, went to the further end of the bar again, and I heard another drawer opening, and silver rattling; she then returned into the kitchen, and I went into the bar, and sat by the drawer until my brother returned - I informed him - he afterwards called me, and showed me the bag.

JOHN WOODS. I am a constable. I took the prisoner in charge, with the bag, at Mr Pelling's house.

GUILTY - DEATH. Aged 17


We know from various records in Australia that her parents were William Davis, a wheelwright, and Charlotte. The names are unfortunately quite common.


There were various couples named William and Charlotte Davis in London. None of the records I have seen so far mention the occupation of any of the Williams as a wheelwright.