My final post in the #52Ancestors for 2018 having now completed the prompts that I didn't do in the middle of last year when were overseas. The prompt is Work which provides the opportunity look at the types of occupations undertaken by family members in Australia over the centuries.
In the nineteenth century many of my Australian ancestors owned property of varying sizes and made their living from farming. Eight of the convicts in my family tree settled in the Hawkesbury area, usually around Windsor, where most of them farmed land growing crops such as wheat, maize, barley and potatoes - all crops needed to feed settlers in the colony. They also farmed animals including cattle, pigs and / or sheep. Initially land holdings might be ten or 15 acres but, over time, additional land was often purchased so Charles Daley, for example, originally had a holding of 15 acres in 1806 increased to 26 acres by 1822. Other former convicts with land in this area included William Roberts and John Pendergast.
Maintaining these properties would have been a family affair with the
women assisting as required as well as looking after large families of
Although Uriah Moses owned some land on which grain was grown, he primarily worked at his bakery and later general store in Windsor, owned properties in the town itself, and dabbled in real estate and money lending. Richard Holland also diversified his occupations by owning and farming land but also being involved with a bakery and butcher's shop in Windsor.
One of the convicts, Simeon Lord, although he owned large holdings of land in New South Wales, lived in Sydney where he worked as a merchant, owned sealing and whaling ventures and was a magistrate. He also established woollen mills at Botany which became a major family business. His wife, Mary looked after their large family but was also aware of the operation of the business interests as she took over when Simeon died.
Two of the convicts settled on Norfolk Island where George Guest ended up owning landholdings on which he grazed sheep. When the first settlement faced closure, George and his family settled in Hobart where he received land to replace his holdings on Norfolk Island and brought the first sheep to Van Diemen's Land. George could not read or write however he managed a number of businesses including owning the Seven Star Inn in Hobart.
Another entrepreneur in the family was Thomas Birch who travelled to Hobart as a ship's doctor and decided to stay. He became a merchant and was involved in whaling and sealing as well as ship building and owned large quantities of land in Hobart. He also sponsored an expedition to explore the coast of Tasmania in 1815.
Another family merchant arrived in Hobart in the early 1830s. George Mackillop was a Scottish merchant with the East India Company and also ran a number of other businesses back home in Scotland. George decided to try his luck in the new colony and as well as conducting his merchant business in Hobart he became interested in potential of the land that was to become Victoria. He led a small expeditionary party from New South Wales into northern Victoria in 1835 and when it was decided to settle parts of Victoria he acquired pastoral land and also purchased land in Melbourne. By the early 1840s George had returned to Edinburgh before relocating to Bath.
Other family connections with India included family members serving in the British army in India including William Forbes Hutton while one of George Mackillop's sons, John, worked for the East India Company. After leaving the army William Forbes Hutton purchasd a property at Lilydale, Victoria.
Three of the occupants of my family tree had trained as surgeons, Thomas Birch, William Clifton Weston and William Forbes Hutton. Thomas Birch was occasionally called on to assist medically in Hobart but he preferred concentrating on enlarging his fortune as a merchant and landholder. William Forbes Hutton decided that he was not interested in doctoring so served in the army as a soldier, rather than as an army doctor as originally planned. William Clifton Weston trained as a surgeon and worked as a Coroner in different regions of New South Wales.
Other family members also had government appointments.George Moses worked for the New South Wales Railways while James Campbell Thom was a solicitor as well as being an officer in the New South Wales Railways Army Corps. George Hutton owned a sheep station near Parkes but had to sell it during the Federation Drought. He then became a rabbit inspector in the Parkes region. When George Hutton lost his property his wife, Annie, returned to Sydney where she ran a boarding house.
John Hillcoat tried farming in South Australia when he first arrived in Australia in 1852 but the venture proved unsuccessful so the family returned to England. Returning to New South Wales in 1859, he opened a music store in West Maitland while his wife, Catherine, ran a school for girls. In 1868 John became manager of a mining company in Queensland earning enough money to purchase two properties and try farming again.
Charles Septimus Smith and his father John Smith both worked as warehousemen in England. Charles initially sold sewing machines when he came to New South Wales but is also listed in records as a warehouseman.
In general, many of the second (and subsequent) generation family members inherited, or purchased, large properties, usually grazing sheep or cattle. Arthur Lord owned and managed sheep stations in western Queensland before moving closer to the coast where he farmed crops before purchasing a dairy farm.
In the twentieth century family occupations diversified with family members often living in Sydney or Melbourne. My grandfather, RJH Moses, and my father, Ken Moses, were both journalists. My grandmother, Agnes Campbell Thom, and I became librarians. My other grandmother, Nancy Lord, would have liked to have been an artist but gave up painting when she married. My great aunt, Eleanora Hutton, worked in a government department in England during the First World War and in an office in Sydney during the 1940s. My mother worked as a receptionist for the music shop, Boosey and Hawkes when she left school.
My husband was an electrical engineer and consequently saw many changes over the years at PMG / Telecom / Telstra. Currently one of our sons is an IT Manager while the other two are accountants. My two daughters in law are primary school teachers though one was a nurse at the Children's Hospital before taking up teaching. Over the years occupations evolve so it will be interesting to observe the paths taken by our grandchildren - one day in the distant future.
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