Deaths of Old Settlers.- Several old settlers in different parts of the colony have laterly passed away. Among the number is Mr. W. Dorset, senior of Wellington, who for several years occupied the position of Provincial Auditor, and was a Justice of the Peace. He was seventy-five years of age, and was one of the oldest Wellington settlers, being one of the three brothers who arrived in 1840. Another Wellingon settler, Mr. Robert Lucas, has died from the effects of a fall from his horse. He was well and favourably known in connection with the Commissariat Department in Wellington, whence he removed to the Wairarap where he carried on the business of auctioneer, land and commission agent. At Waimea West Nelson, Mrs Bolton has died after a prolonged illness. She was a daughte of the late Mr Henry Redwood. At Waimate Mrs. J. W. Gaitt, one of the first inhabitants of the district, died last week at the age of seventy-two.
[Source: PRESS, VOLUME XXVII, ISSUE 3666, 10 APRIL 1877]

Ryde Remembers

Today the Ryde Remembers Book Launch occurred at Willandra in Ryde. The Ryde Remembers book launch was to launch a book about the Honour Rolls that can be found in schools, churches, parks etc that commemorate the fallen from WW1 and WW2. The focus was mainly on those from WW1, however, many places had Honour Rolls from both so both Wars were included.

Ryde Remembers Book Launch

I was one of the contributors to the book and it was wonderful to see the book come to fruition through the hard work of so many people. If anyone wants a copy the book will shortly be available through the Ryde District Historical Society at

Ryde Remembers

Gransdens go to War

100 years since the end of World War 1. It is time to write about a Gransden experience of War.

Lest We Forget!


Private Stimpson Alfred Gransden enlisted on the third of November 1915. Within months he had participated in the Battle of Pozieres and become a member of the 4th Machine Gun Company.  In this position, he participated in the first Battle of Bullecourt where he was wounded and went missing. For the remainder of the First World War, Stimpson Gransden was moved from one Prisoner of War camp to the next.

Private Stimpson Alfred Gransden No. 3830, 4th Australian Machine Gun Company, 4 Section, 4 Brigade, 4 Division, Late of the 27th Battalion went missing since the 11th of April 1917[i]. There were very few details in the telegram, just, “Reported missing since April 11th 1917”. It was enough that the local newspaper printed a photograph of Stimpson Gransden, captioned “The Late Private S. A. Gransden[ii]”.

Like many war-torn families, Louisa Gransden, mother to Stimpson Gransden, wrote to the Red Cross, asking them to help her to find her son[i]. Only a few days later Louisa received another telegram. Again Louisa unfolded a telegram to see the words “Reported Missing[ii]”. This telegram was to inform Louisa that her son Oliver Alfred Gransden had also gone missing on the 11th of April 1917[iii].

The Red Cross kept in touch and helped many hundreds of family members like Louisa Gransden. Their volunteers and workers wrote back to Louisa and her family to reassure them that they would search for both of her sons. They sent her commiserations on the loss of two soldiers during the war. They also let her know, that it would take many weeks before the German lists would show her sons names, searching would take time.[iv]

After almost two months Louisa finally heard back from the Red Cross. Both of her sons had been taken prisoner during the first Battle of Bullecourt. The telegram read;

“We are today in receipt of a cable from the Red Cross Commissioners stating the above soldier is a Prisoner of War in Lazarett Verden Aller, Germany, slightly wounded in the leg.

A few days ago we notified Mrs. Gransden that your other son, Private O.A. Gransden, 2165 of the 48th Bttln was also a Prisoner. We feel sure the knowledge that although your boys are prisoners in Germany, they are alive will comfort you a little”.[i]

Many things had sent Louisa’s sons to war. The family lived on a farm in South Australia[ii]. It was not a well off-farm and both boys had little to look forward to other than a life of farm labouring. By joining up, both boys could look forward to adventures and would possibly get the opportunity to meet their cousins who lived in England. They would also gain skills and knowledge that may help them expand beyond the confines of the farm for work, once the war was over. After the elder boy, Stimpson had joined up, it was only a matter of time before the younger son, Oliver, also joined up. It was a source of happiness to both men, that within months of the younger man joining they had been able to spend a short time with their cousin, in Kent England, in between spells on the Continent at War[iii]. This was an experience that neither boy had ever thought they would be able to have, living, as they did, on a small farm in rural South Australia.

Oliver and Stimpson Gransden

When Stimpson had first joined the 27th Battalion, he had joined with a group of many young men from South Australia[iv]. It was not long before they were on their way to the Western Front. Stimpson joined the Battalion as a member of the 9th Reinforcements and like many others, his first experience of war was when he entered the front line trenches, for the first time on the 7th of April and later fought at the battle of Pozieres[v]. By November that year, Stimpson had moved to the 4th Australian Machine Gun Company[vi].

The next major conflict that Stimpson participated in was the Battle of Bullecourt. Stimpson was part of the 4th Australian Machine Gun Company. Stimpson and the other members of the 4th Australian moved forward at 4am. The Company experienced heavy machine gun fire almost immediately. Although the Company achieved their first and second objectives they were unable to hold their positions due to a strong counterattack and failing supplies. At 12.30pm the Company was forced to retire leaving behind the majority of their men, including Simpson Gransden and more than 100 others. Of the 4th Australian Machine Gun Company, in the first Battle of Bullecourt, just over 10% of men, officers and equipment made it back to their own lines[vii].

After the Battle of Bullecourt Stimpson and many of his fellow soldiers were officially classified as missing. The Redcross, during this time, spent many weeks looking for the Gransden men, and thousands of other soldiers who had gone missing, in this battle and in others. It took them almost three months to find Stimpson Gransden and others who had gone missing that day, including Stimpson’s brother Oliver Arthur Gransden of the 48th Infantry Battalion[viii]. The wait for news meant that many family members were both in mourning and still waiting for news of their loved ones. This was a difficult situation for families to be in, particularly as they had their own work to do at home. Louisa, in particular, was looking after an unwell husband and running the family farm.[ix]

Stimpson and his brother never saw battle again. They were moved from one Prisoner of War Camp to the next until the end of the War when they were repatriated back to England and then onto Australia. During this time Stimpson experience starvation, deprivation and mistreatment. He remained cheerful in the very few letters and postcards that he was allowed to write home, but he also made it clear that he was surviving on the Redcross parcels, that he was receiving, of food and clothes.[x]

On the 17th of June 1919, Stimpson was discharged from a Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia. He had spent just 14 months in the trenches fighting against the Germans. The remainder of his three years and 283 days was spend as a Prisoner of War. Stimpson returned home to a hero’s welcome and a loving family. His time during the war had changed him, it had changed his family and the lives of everyone around him.

Stimpson and Agnes Gransden

[i] Ibid.

[ii] National Archives of Australia. Gransden Stimpson Alfred : SERN 3830 : POB Port Broughton SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK M Gransden Louisa. (Accessed 27th Apr 2017)

[iii] Authors Collection. 2003 Oral History, interview between Christina Bean and Kathleen Welch.

[iv] Australian War Memorial, 27th Infantry Battalion, (Accessed 27th April 2017)

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Opcit National Archives of Australia. Gransden Stimpson Alfred : SERN 3830 : POB Port Broughton SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK M Gransden Louisa. (Accessed 27th Apr 2017)

[vii] Australian War Memorial, AWM4 24/9/10- April 1917. RGDIG1007720. (Accessed 28th Apr 2017)

[viii] Opcit South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919. Ref SRG 76/1/2453.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Opcit South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919. Ref SRG 76/1/2375




1917 ‘THE LATE PRIVATE S.A GRANSDEN.’, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), 26 May, p. 39. , viewed 22 Apr 2017,

Australian War Memorial, AWM4 24/9/10- April 1917. RGDIG1007720. (Accessed 28th Apr 2017)

Australian War Memorial, 27th Infantry Battalion, (Accessed 27th April 2017)

Authors Collection. 2003 Oral History, interview between Christina Bean and Kathleen Welch.

National Archives of Australia. Gransden Stimpson Alfred : SERN 3830 : POB Port Broughton SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK M Gransden Louisa. (Accessed 27th Apr 2017)

South Australia Library (SLA). South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919. Ref SRG 76/1/2453. Packet Number. 2453 Private 2165 48th Infantry Battalion

South Australia Library (SLA). South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919. Ref SRG 76/1/2375. Packet Number. 2375 Private 3830 27th Infantry Battalion. Viewed 23 Apr 2017



[i] Opcit. SLA. Ref SRG 76/1/2375.

[ii] South Australia Library (SLA). South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919. Ref SRG 76/1/2453. Packet Number. 2453 Private 2165 48th Infantry Battalion

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Opcit SLA. Ref SRG 76/1/2375.


[i] South Australia Library (SLA). South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919. Ref SRG 76/1/2375. Packet Number. 2375 Private 3830 27th Infantry Battalion. Viewed 23 Apr 2017

[ii] 1917 ‘THE LATE PRIVATE S.A GRANSDEN.’, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), 26 May, p. 39. , viewed 22 Apr 2017,


North Auburn Methodist Church was the scene of a very pretty wedding on August 1, 1925, when Miss Marjorie Lockwood, of Auburn, was married to Mr. Stanley Lawrence, third son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Lawrence, of “Ashley,” Smithfield. Rev. W. N. Lock officiated. The bride’s smart frock of ivory charmante was trimmed with silver lace and shell pink ostrich feather. Her tulle veil, which was hand-embroidered by her aunt, Mrs. Condle, was fastened with silver bandeaux and orange blossom, and she carried a pretty shower bouquet of roses and snowdrops, which, together with a diamond brooch, was the gift of the bridegroom. Tile bridesmaids were Miss Doris Lockwood, who wore a charming frock of pleated lemon georgette, with black georgette hat, and carried a bouquet to tone. Miss Evelyn Lockwood, whose pretty frock of eau de nil crepe do chine was hand-embroidered, also wore a black georgette hat, with bouquet to tone, and Misses Hilda Lockwood and Thelma Sclater were frocked alike in shell pink crepe de chine, embroidered, and wore black hats trimmed to match; they carried gold baskets of mignonette, maidenhair, and violets. Their bouquets and gold bangles were the gifts of the bridegroom. Mr. Stanley Coleman was best man and Mr. Wesley Morrison groomsman. The bride was given away by her father, and during the signing of the register, an uncle of the bride, Mr. Laurie Barber, sang “Because. Mrs. A. E. Hunt aunt of the bride, officiated at the organ.

Stanley Lawrence and Marjorie Lockwood at their wedding 1 Aug 1925.

After the ceremony, the bride’s mother who wore a smart frock of black charmante, trimmed with silk tassel and, embroidery, entertained about seventy guests at St. Phillip’s Hall, where the usual toasts were honoured at the breakfast, and the evening finished with a dance.

During the evening, the bride and groom left by car for the South Coast, the bride’s frock being of hand-embroidered navy morocaln, worn with fur stole and cinnamon felt hat. Many handsome gifts were received, amongst them being several cheques. The bride’s gift to the bridegroom was a Jacobean smoker’s pedestal. Mr. and Mrs. S. G. Lawrence Intend taking up residence at Ryde.

1925 ‘WEDDING BELLS’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 21 August, p. 3. , viewed 22 Sep 2018,

Ice on the Horizon

I had forgotten about this story. It was one of the stories that I wrote when I was doing the Family History Diploma. This story is about Edwin Gransden and one of his experiences on the ship that migrated to Australia on. Edwin was an ‘Able Seaman’ on the Washington Irving when it came across ice one morning.

The call came out- ice ahoy! The air was heavy with the scent of frost and the call of men looking out at the horizon. The wind was blowing fresh and strong and the scent of salt had permeated everything. It could not be avoided. The deck was slippery and the ropes hard to hold in his hand. Each step was treacherous with the ice and the cold building up, with the wind was blowing us along at a good speed.

All the sailors were watching. Ice could sneak up on you, going through the side of the ship like a knife. This was the worst time to have ice on the horizon. No daylight and fast winds meant that ice could suddenly catch a ship unawares.

Many of the passengers were up. They were on the decks getting underfoot and wanting to see a sight to them that was exciting and different. But for the sailors, it was another matter. We knew what that could mean. Ice could be the death of a ship. At least as the sun rose the visibility may get better helping to keep us away from the threat of the ice.

The shouting rose to a crescendo as more and more ice appeared. By 4am we were surrounded. Myself and others had climbed the slippery masts and bought the sails down. We needed to slow the ship and take it slowly through an icy passage of it would be our last passage.

Gransden – Burrell Wedding


I have a photograph for this wedding, however, it is unfortunately very blurry as it was taken through glass. The original was unable to be taken out of the frame. However, it is still a lovely photo.

Toma Gordon Gransden and Ethel Mary Burrell. Wedding 25 Jun 1919.

A very pretty and popular wedding took place at the English Church at Cranbury on Wednesday,  25th of June, when Miss Ethel, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burrell, and Mr. Thomas Gransden, of Burdett, were united in the happy bonds of matrimony. The bride looked charmingly pretty in white georgette, handsomely embroidered, and wore the customary wreath and veil.

Miss Dorrie Seaton, niece of the bride, acted as bridesmaid and was daintily attired in a pale blue dress and cap, and wore a gold bangle, the gift of the bridegroom. The bridegroom’s gift
to the bride was a pretty gold necklet and pendant.

After the wedding ceremony the party motored to the residence of the bride’s parents, where breakfast was partaken of in a large marquee. The Rev. Bate, who united the happy couple, presided. The usual toasts were honored. After the breakfast Mr. and Mrs. Gransden motored to Manildra, to catch the train for Parkes, where the honeymoon is being spent.
The presents were numerous and costly, including many cheques.
1919 ‘GRANSDEN-BURRELL WEDDING.’, Canowindra Star and Eugowra News (NSW : 1903 – 1907; 1910 – 1911; 1914 – 1922), 11 July, p. 1. , viewed 24 Jan 2018,

Tom and Ethel Gransden and children Lola, Ida and Clarice Abt 1924

The Trials of Richard Lees cont.

In 1835 Richard Less again found himself committed for trial at the Windsor Quarter sessions, this time in February of 1835.

Windsor Court House (authors collection)

Once again the charge levelled against Richard Lees was for Larceny. This time Richard was charged with having stolen two shillings from the till of the King’s Head Tavern.

The King’s Head Tavern was a small Public House on the Penrith High Street. Originally built around 1825 the tavern provided accommodation for two guests. The house was set back from the street and had a shingle roof and small garden with a large Mulberry Tree. In 1830 the Tavern, at that stage known as the Depot Inn, was sold to John Mason. John Mason upgraded the Tavern and changed the name to the Kings Head Public House. With the addition of four new rooms, stables and further outhouses the idea was to build a Tavern that could rival any of those from London. Descriptions of the Tavern in 1835 included that the Inn had every comfort -“cane back chairs, metal dinner plates, wines, sauternes, clarets, port and superior champagne”.

Once again Richard Lees, despite having witnesses speak out against him, was found Not Guilty.

King’s Head Tavern
1830 ‘Classified Advertising’, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), 13 March, p. 3. , viewed 11 Mar 2018,

The prisoner fully committed for trial at the next court of quarter sessions to be at Windsor Quarter Sessions February 1835

Tried 6 Feby by a civil jury verdict-

Not Guilty

The King on the prosecution of James David against Richard Lees Information for a Larceny witnesses James David, John Holdson, Ann Murphy, New South Wales to Wit

  • Richard Lees Twenty Pounds
  • Thomas Frost Ten Pounds
  • Edward Fields Ten Pounds

Be it remembered, that the above-named Persons acknowledge themselves bound to Our Sovereign Lord the King, His Heirs and Successors, in the penal Sums expressed against each of their respective Names; Conditioned if the above named Richard Lees shall personally appear before the next Court of General Quarter Sessions to be Holden at Windsor then and there to answer to an Indictment to be professed against him on a charge of Larceny and shall not depart the Court without License then this Recognised to be null and void, otherwise to remain in full Force and Virtue Law.

Taken and acknowledged before me, One of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the Colony of New South Wales at Werrington in the said Colony, this eight day of January One thousand eight hundred and thirty-five.

  • James Davies Twenty Pounds
  • John Hodsons ten pound
  • Ann Murphy ten pounds

Be it remembered that the above-named Persons acknowledge themselves bound to Our Sovereign Lord the King, His Heirs and Successors, in the penal Sums expressed against each of their respective Names; Conditioned if the above-named individuals, James Davis shall personally appear and present and the above named John Hodson and Ann Murphy do appear and give evidence at the ensuing Quarter Sessions to be Holden at Windsor in a case the King against Lees for Larceny then this Recognizance to be null and void, otherwise to remain in full force and Virtue in Law. Taken and acknowledged before me, One. Of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the Colony of New South Wales at Penrith in the said Colony, this third day of January one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five.

In the Court of Quarter Sessions New South Wales to Wit- Be it Remembered, that John Kinchela, Esq. Doctors of Laws, His Majesty’s Attorney General for the Colony of New South Wales, who prosecutes for His Majesty, in this behalf, being present in the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace now here on the fifth day of February in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and thirty five at Windsor in the said Colony, informs the said Court that Richard Lees, late of Penrith in the Colony of New South Wales, Labourer on the third day of January in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty five at Penrith aforesaid, in the Colony aforesaid two pieces of the Current Silver Coin of the Realm called Shillings of the value of Two Shillings of the monied Goods and Chattels of one James Davis then and there being found, feloniously did steal, take, and carry away, against the Peace of Our Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity, and against the form of the Statute, on such Case made and provided.

John Kinchela


Jurors Impounded

  • Joseph Smith JP
  • John Tebbutt JP
  • John Richard Rounde
  • William Smith
  • Jesse Upson
  • James Rochester
  • Thomas Tebbutt
  • William Thomas Bayless
  • John Allen
  • Charles Sampson (foreman)
  • Robert Williams
  • James Smallwood


Windsor Quarter Sessions February 1835

Rex v’s Richd Lees Native of the colony

Court House Penrith

3rd January 1835

Before R. B Lethbridge Esq JP

Richard Lees, free, charged with Larceny

James Davis of Penrith states on both that this morning about 6 o’clock Richard Lees a free man and native of the Colony came into Deponents House and called for some Liquor and sat down in the Bar. Deponent left the Bar for a short time to go to the Taproom, and while absent it appears the said Richard Lees opened the till and stole therefrom two shillings in silver, that on Deponents return to the bar he was informed of the circumstances by his servant girl who was present and who asked if I allowed such things to be done by Lees. When Deponent, on opening the drawer missed two shillings, Dept charged him with the robbery when he immediately returned one shilling saying that was all he took out of the drawer.

James Davis John Hodson free, states on both that this morning about 8 o’clock he was in the bar at the Kings Head Public House, when the defendant was there, that he saw defendant open the drawer and take two shillings in silver out and put them in his pocket at the time he said to those present “take notice of it” Dept advised him not to do so.

John Hodson (his mark)

Ann Murphy free, states on oath that this morning about half past 7 o’clock, she was coming out of her bedroom into the area of her masters house, when she observed the Defendant with his hands in the money drawer, which was then open, Deft laid hold of his hand and advised him to lay down what he had got, which he would.

The Trials of Richard Lees

NSW State Archives. Quarter Session Cases, 1824-37. Lees, Richard, Feb 1835, Windsor. No. 10, Item 4/8488.

1830 ‘Classified Advertising’, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), 13 March, p. 3. , viewed 15 Mar 2018,

1830 ‘Advertising’, The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 – 1838), 26 May, p. 1. (AFTERNOON), viewed 15 Mar 2018,

1830 ‘To the Editor of The Australian.’, The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), 17 September, p. 3. , viewed 15 Mar 2018,

1830 ‘SHIP NEWS.’, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), 23 November, p. 3. , viewed 15 Mar 2018,

Garth Gransden and Freda Gransden nee Mulligan- Wedding

I came across a very complete account of Garth Gransden and Freda Mulligan’s wedding. I had already had a newspaper article about Garth and Freda’s wedding but it was not nearly as lovely as the one that I came across last night.

While reading the account I realised that I had a photo of the wedding that was being described. It isn’t often that you do have something that links so nicely into a story in a newspaper but Weddings are likely to be the occasions when you do. So I am putting the details of the Wedding up on this page. Does the description measure up to the photo? Or the other way around?

Garth Gransden and Freda Gransden nee Mulligan wedding. 2 Nov 1945

Gransden- Mulligan

Of Interest to Eugowra and Orange friends was a pretty wedding solemnised at St. Matthew’s C. of E., Eugowra, last Saturday, at 1130 a.m., the contracting parties being Miss Freda Grace Mulligan and W/O. Walter Garth Gransden (R.AJLF.).

Garth Gransden

The fair, graceful bride, who Is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. F. Mulligan, of “Woodlands,” Eugowra, looked lovely In a gown of white satin, the bodice and sleeves featuring ruching, while the full skirt formed a train. Cuttulle viel (kindly loaned by Mrs Hurcum) fell in cascadeds from a headdress of silver leaves and to complete the picture the bride carried a beautiful boquet of white tuplis, lily-of-the-vallye and lupins, tied with white satin.

The bride was greeted at the church by her small flower-girl, Diana McClintock, who wished her “good luck” and hung a satin horseshoe on her arm. As the bride entered the prettily decorated church on the arm of her father, who gave her away, she was preceded by the bridesmaid. Miss Shirley Gransden (sister of the bridegroom), who was a charming figure in a full-skirted frock of blue taffeta, with a blue tulle veil falling from a spray of red-shaded sweet peas, the same effective colours being repeated In her lovely bouquet of tulips, sweet peas and stocks.

Freda Gransden nee Mulligan on her wedding day

After Nuptial Communion and while the register was being signed, Misses Glad and Con Herbert rendered a glorious duet, “I’ll Walk Beside You,”Mr, Eric Hill being accompanist and also organist for the occasion.
Following the bride was the dainty little flower girl, who wore a pretty dawn pink silk frock with a pink tulle veil gathered to a spray of shaded blue delphiniums. She carried an artistic basket of sweet peas and blue delphiniums, while an armlet of the same lovely flowers completed her attire. The bridegroom, eldest son of Cpl and Mrs. R. Gransden of Orange was attended by F/Lt. Frank Dixon, Q.F.C. (ex-
P.O.W), who returned during the week from overseas.

Following the wedding a reception was held In the School of Arts, where the guests were received’ by Mrs. F. Mulligan, assisted by Mrs. R. Gransden, both looking very smart, the former in a beaded navy satin-back crepe frock with a shoulder spray of pink sweet peas, while Mrs. Gransden chose a beaded black silk ensemble with a spray of red sweet peas.

In the centre of the attractively arranged tables a two-tiered wedding cake held pride of place.

Well-deserved credit is due to Mrs. J. Copeland (the bride’s aunt), who catered so efficiently. Rve. Richards, who officiated at the marriage, was chairman and the usual toasts were proposed and honored. Many telegrams of congratulation were received and among the valuable wedding gifts were several cheques. During the reception the guests were charmed with a vocal solo by Miss Con Herber, who rendered Toselli’s “Serenata.”

Among the many guests were two of the bridegroom’s Air Force friends, F/Lt. Ashley and F/O. Goldsworthy, also a cousin of the bride, W/O. J- Mulligan.

When the happy couple left for Orange, en-route to Sydney, the bride wore a smart long-waisted turquoise blue frock, with black accessories.

The Rise of the Davidson Family- Part 2

Joseph Davidson was born and grew up in the hamlet of Kilgrammie in the parish of Dailly. Kilgrammie is about two miles below the village of New Dailly. The area is surrounded by the Girvan Valley coalfield. New Dailly, the village, was created in the 1760’s as a coal mining village[1].

Dailly Church and Churchyard

Joseph’s parents were James Davidson and Margaret McMurtie they were married in New Dailly and lived there most of their lives. New Dailly had been built at the expense of John Hamilton of Bargeny, who paid for the town to be built so as to encourage traffic to move further away from Bargany House[2]. The hamlet of Kilgrammie was in a beautiful location with ruins of castles and the old village of Dailly nearby and also some stunning countryside. However, the village itself was very limited. A description from 1913 of the area detailed the houses that had been in the hamlet at the time that the Davidsons had lived there.

Marriage of James Davidson and Margaret McMurtie 1761 Dailly. Scotlands People. Parish Registers 585/ 10 428

There is one dry-closet of two compartments, one of which had no door, and ashes and filth were strewn around. There is no ash-pit, no coal-house, and of course no washing house.

The single houses measure 16 feet by 11 feet. The double house measures- kitchen 14 feet by 9 feet, the room 18 feet by 10 feet.

The floors are of brick tile, very badly broken.

The coals are kept below the bed, and the washing is done in the middle of the floor. One woman, we saw in a one-apartment house doing her washing there. A wet winter day, an abominable path into the house, a floor littered with dirty clothes ready for the wash, made a picture which one is almost ashamed to think about.

The houses are very damp, and much of the plaster is badly broken. All of them need repair.

The fronts are unpaved and filthy. All around were ashes, filth, and broken glass, with the other rubbish which one sees in an ash pit. … The whole row is a pollution[3].

Although the description is dire, it is also more than a 100 years after the Davidsons were living in this area. The size of the cottages would not have changed in that hundred years but the level of repair would have and the expectations of a family.

James Davidson was a servant with William Crawford, a Coal Grieve, at Bargany, the manor house near to Dailly. The Coal Grieve was the manager of the Coal Pit. At this time coal miners and their families were bound to the colliery and the owner of the colliery. Gradually during the latter 1700’s, well after James and Margaret were married the emancipation process began to free colliers and miners. Without the 1775 Act of Parliament allowing miners and their families to become free of their owners, the Davidsons would never have been able to leave the mines of Dailly or change their profession. They would also never have been able to look forward to an education.

Bargany House, Dailly, Ayrshire, Scotland.

At the time of the emancipation act James Davidson was 37 years old[4]. This meant that he had to serve 7 years from the date of the act, before he was allowed to leave the Colliery and find work with another mine or elsewhere if he chose. With James’ freedom would come that of the younger members of his family. Any children already working in the mines would have to serve their term before they too, and their families, could become free. However, this possibility set in motion events that would change the Davidson family and eventually bring many of them to Australia.

With the freedom to choose his own career, after the Emancipation Act James and his children were also free to decide where he would live. James remained for the rest of his life in Dailly, but his son Joseph, and Joseph’s family moved to Auchinleck, sometime between 1824 and 1831. Auchinleck was also a small mining town but it was close to other towns with a wider variety of employment opportunities. The town was larger than Dailly and situated close to other towns that employed skilled craftsmen.


Despite these options, Joseph, like his father before him, stayed in mining. Joseph married twice, first to Janet Welch. This first family resulted in five children. However, less than two weeks after the birth of her youngest son, James, Janet died. Leaving Joseph with five children under the age of 6 in his care. Given the timing of Janet’s death, it is probable that she died of Puerperal fever, often as a result of an infection due to incomplete expulsion of the placenta after birth. Puerperal fever is an extremely painful infection that creates a sepsis throughout the entire body of the sufferer usually resulting in death[5].

Baptism of Joseph Davidson. Scotland’s People. Old Parish Registers Births 585/ 10 208 Dailly

John Davidson did not stay in the family profession of mining. Instead, like many people in the Auchinleck area of Scotland, John Davidson went into box manufacturing. The Auchinleck area was just starting to become well known for the quality of its snuff boxes. In particular, a hinge developed by William Crawford, not known if he is related to the William Crawford that James Davidson was a servant of in the 1760’s, was very popular because it was hidden. This hinge defined the quality of the early snuff boxes from the Auchinleck area[6].Left with five young children and no way to care for them while he was working in the mines Joseph married Agnes Walker less than 18 months after the death of his first wife. Unlike Janet, Agnes survived the birth of eight children and went on to live to the age of 80, well past the death of her husband. Janet also got to experience, at first hand, the changes in the lives of the Davidson family.

By the time of the 1841 census, John Davidson was calling himself a box manufacturer. Just 10 years later John Davidson was not just a box manufacturer, he was a manufacturer employing 14 workers[7]. John Davidson and Sons seem to have been established around the time of the census, in 1851. The firm was first listed in the Mauchline Post Office Directory for 1851 as Clark, Davidson and Co[8]. By 1855, John Davidson had entered a partnership with Robert Wilson, calling themselves Davidson and Wilson. The firm referred to themselves as “Manufacturers of Scottish snuff boxes, cigar and razor cases”. The next year they had added “Scotch plaid designs upon leather etc” to their catalogue.

Mauchline Post Office Directory 1851.

Within a couple of years, the company had diversified further, creating a selection described as “articles of Scotch fancy woodwork”. By 1864 they were the “patentees of an improved application of photographs” for the transfer work on their “fancy boxes”. The firm was by this stage well established and well known, although not as big as W and A Smith, the other main manufacturer of what was later to become known as Mauchline Ware, in Mauchline. The firm became large enough to attract other investors and manufacturers and with the addition of Samuel Amphlet, the company became known as Davidson, Wilson and Amphlet.

Mauchline Ware Items. Authors Collection

In 1867 John Davidson left the firm, which then became known as Wilson and Amphlet. Davidson started his own company, John Davidson and Sons. In particular, this new company included John Davidson and his sons Joseph, William and George. John’s remaining children were too young to participate in the running of the company.

The inventory of John Davidson and Sons expanded further into tartan ware and a diverse range of other souvenirs. However, over the next five years, the family were to experience a number of personal tragedies, including the loss of the wives of both George and William Davidson. Then John, himself, only lived for five years after the formation of the company. When he died his three eldest children, Joseph, George and William maintained the business until around 1889 when the business folded[9].

Kellys Post Office Guide 1862- Scotland

Davidson and Sons provided the finances that enabled the remaining Davidson boys to receive an education, giving them opportunities that earlier members of the family would never have been able to dream of.

After the closure of Davidson and Sons in 1889 Joseph and William continued in the industry but no longer running their own company. George disappears from the records at this stage and may well have either immigrated or died. David Davidson, the fifth child became an Engineer and immigrated to Australia. Alexander Boyd Davidson died in 1870. John Davidson is missing from the records and Robert Davidson, like his older brother David, immigrates to Australia. Of the girls Jane and Agnes, Jane also disappears from the records. Agnes married Alexander Gibson Alexander and has a large family. Alexander also works in the timber business as a wood turner.

Rise of the Davidson Family Part 1

 [1] (Dailly (New Dailly), South Ayrshire, 2016)

[2] (Paterson, Facsimile Reprint 2001)

[3] (Scottish Mining, 2017)

[4] (Scottish Mining, 2017)

[5] (Burch, 2009)

[6] (Brooke, n.d.)

[7] (Davidson, John. 1851 Census, Scotland, 1851)

[8] (Mauchline, 1851-1852)

[9] (Trachentenberg & Keith, 2002)



(1856, September 4th). Retrieved August 27, 2017, from Scotlands People:

(1861). Retrieved August 27, 2017, from

(1883, August 31). Retrieved August 27, 2017, from Scotlands People:

Brooke, B. (n.d.). Mauchline Ware still a mystery to many. Retrieved from Bob Brooke Communications:

Burch, D. (2009, January 10). When Childbirth Was Natural, and Deadly. Retrieved from Live Science:

Dailly (New Dailly), South Ayrshire. (2016). Retrieved from Gazatteer for Scotland:

Lang, D. (1905). Centenary History of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales. Sydney: S. T Leigh and Co. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from

Laws relating to Coalworkers in Scotland. (1609- Act). Retrieved from Hood Family and Coal Mining:

Laws Relating to Coalworkers in Scotland. (1775 Act). Retrieved from Hood Family and Coal Mining:

Paterson, J. (Facsimile Reprint 2001). History of the Counties of Ayr & Wigton Scotland. Maryland, UK: Heritage Books.

Records of Trinity College, college of theology, Glasgow, Scotland. (n.d.). Retrieved from Jisc:

Robert Davidson. (1979, September 24). Port Macquarie News.

Scotlands People. (1851). Retrieved from National Records of Scotland:

Scottish Mining. (2017). Ayrshire Housing Part 5. Retrieved from Scottish Mining Website:

Scottish Mining. (2017). Early Mining History. Retrieved from Scottish Mining Website:

Scottish Post Office Directories. (1851-1852). Retrieved from Scottish Post Office Directories:

Trachentenberg, D., & Keith, T. (2002). Mauchline Wate: A collectors guide. Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club Pty Ltd.


The Trials of Richard Lees

Richard Lees had a troubled career spanning a number of decades. Mostly he was a carpenter who ran to petty theft and other minor misdemeanours. In the early days, these seem to have been focussed on trying to provide food for himself and his family, mostly that of his father and mother and the remaining children of the Lees family. Later his misdemeanours became more adventurous.

Richard Lees, son of John Lees and Mary Lees nee Stevens was born in the Colony of New South Wales in 1805. In 1833, according to the Gaol Admission information about Richard, he was a tall, stout man with straw-coloured hair and brown eyes. Richard had a smattering of freckles across his face, probably due to continuous work in the sun, as a farmer and carpenter, in the early colony. He also had a small scar under his left eye.

In one of Richard’s earliest trials, he was arrested and held at Penrith before being handed over to stand trial at Windsor. Richard may well have spent his time at the Emu Plans convict farm, close to Penrith, where he would have been expected to help with the farming prior to his trial at Windsor.

The Windsor Court House was built in 1822 and this is where Richard would have faced his trial. The Windsor Court House was an imposing building. Richard would have faced a magistrates bench composed of military officers. Richard got off lightly with this early case, so his fathers standing as an ex-soldier, farmer and religious man may have helped Richard.

Windsor Court House –—in-the-beginning-part-one.html

Windsor Quarter Sessions

Tried 13th July

Verdict- Not Guilty

The King of the Prosecution of Joseph Ludd


Richard Lees

Information for a Larceny


  • Joseph Jubb
  • Thomas Beanham
  • Robert Claxton
  • James Rew
  • Samuel Henry Salinon (Salmon)

In the Court of Quarter Sessions New South Wales to wit -Be it remembered, that Frederick Garling, of Sydney, in the Colony of New South Wales, Esq. who Prosecutes for Our Sovereign Lord the King, on his behalf, being duly appointed for such purpose by His Excellency the Governor of the said Colony; and being present in the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace now heron the twelfth day of July in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty one at Windsor in the said Colony, informs the said Court, that Richard Lees late of Parramatta in the Colony of New South Wales, Labourer on the first day of June in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty one at Parramatta aforesaid in the Colony aforesaid one silk handkerchief of the value of two shillings of the Goods and Chattels of one Joseph Jubb then and there being found, felonious lay did steal, take, and carry away, against the Peace of Our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity, and against the form of the Statute, in such case made and provided. And the said Frederick Garling further informs the said Court that the said Richard Lees afterwards to wit on the same day and year call aforesaid at Parramatta- aforesaid in the Colony aforesaid one other silk Handkerchief of the value of two shillings of the Goods and Chattels of one William Hamilton then also there being found felonious lay did steal take and carry away against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity and against the form of the Statute in such Case made and provided.

Frederick Garling

Richard Lees states that on Monday the 30th May 1831 he was proceeding on the Road from Penrith to Sydney and at Dean’s on the Western Road he fell in company with Prosecutor, since circumstances took place- between them respecting the Examination of Thomas Bean at the Penrith Court House, a short time after Prosecutor saying he was going to Sydney, we agreed to walk together, we called at several places on the road and had something to drink until we arrived at Snowden’s were we had supper after which Prosecutor finding himself the worse for Liqueur wished to go to bed and desired me to take care of his handkerchief and some papers stating he was incapable himself. I did so- the following morning he enquired for his Handkerchief- I produced it and told him to come along and I would give it him on the Road at the Parramatta Turnpike.

Prosecutor being some distance behind. I took coach and proceeded to Sydney on the following morning I saw Prosecutor and gave him a letter directed to Mr Forbes which he had given me to take care of and I told him if he would go with me to my Lodging I would give him the Handkerchief as I had left it there, he did not and I returned to Penrith bringing the Handkerchief with me this was the Saturday and on the Monday following I received a summons to attend the Court at Penrith to answer a complaint there and then be brought forward – I thought this an opportunity to send the Handkerchief to Prosecutor my house being distance 3 Miles from the court and not having an opportunity before a short distance from the Court House I saw the before mentioned Ths Bean and gave him the Handkerchief to return to Prosecutor which he did- shortly afterwards I was to my surprise arraigned at the Bar on the charge of stealing from Prosecutor the Handkerchief I had returned I was remanded the second examination W Cox, JP Alexander was on the Bench with the Police Magistrate who contended there was not sufficient evidence to commit me, I was again remanded- third examination remanded again and on the fourth same committed being further evidence than was advised at the time Capt Cox was present no Magistrate save Cpt Wright upon the Bench. Under the above circumstances, I did not think it necessary to employ an attorney.

Rex V’s Richard Lees

Charged with theft

Fully committed to stand his trial at the next court of quarter sessions to be Holden at Windsor

Police office Penrith June 7th 1831

State Archives NSW, Quarter Sessions, Windsor 1824-37. Lees, Richard No. 10 Item 4/8485 Jul 1831, Windsor.

Quarter Session at Windsor

Before Thomas E Wright Esq. J. P.

Sup of Police

Rex v’s Richard Lees free

Charged with theft

Joseph Lubb prisoner being duly sworn states that he is assigned servant to Sir John Davis, that he borrowed a silk handkerchief from Hamilton Sir John’s Butler to go to Sydney the deposed believes the silk handkerchief produced to be the one he received from Hamilton, if it is not the same handkerchief deponent swears that produced is exactly like it- it was red and marked like the one produced and deponent has no doubt that this is the same handkerchief. Deponent on his way to Sydney last Monday, fell in with Richard Lees, the defendant, they passed the evening and slept together at Snowden’s where deponent had passed, a letter for Judge Forbes and the silk handkerchief also in his possession, in the morning when deponent rose he missed them all deponent then asked the prisoner for them, prisoner gave him the pass and then denied all knowledge of the letter and handkerchief, they proceeded on to Sydney and dept went out to Parramatta whilst Lees went into the town. Lees overtook them on the coach and then deponent again asked him for the handkerchief which Lees denied all knowledge of then again, when deponent arrived in Sydney- he went in search of Richard Lees the following morning and found him at the bottom of Brickfield Hills- Deponent asked him for the letter & Lees said he had it at ?Lawes? And whilst they were on their way there, Lees took off his hat and produced the letter and gave it to deponent, prisoner stated that he had lost the handkerchief when dept returned he told Hamilton who acquainted Sir Joshua Jamison of the facts on deponents return he met a man named Salman at Snowden’s again he told him he would bring the handkerchief up from Lees when he came up to the Nepean or else give him the value for it.

Signed Joseph Lubb

Being sworn states that this morning the 7th of June Richard Lees called to him and asked if he knew Sir Joshua Mills Wright, deponent said he did, and Lees asked him to give the handkerchief now produce to him.

Signed Thomas Beaham

Joseph Lubb re examined being sworn states that when at Snowden’s he saw the silk handkerchief with the possessions of Lees, who said he would give it to deponent when he got on the road- before this deponent had asked for the handkerchief and the prisoner denied all knowledge of it, Lees and the man named Salmon who were with them at Snowdens at the morning of deponent producing his silk handkerchief went aside to converse before they left Snowden’s deponent was coming towards them to try and get the handkerchief when Lees said if you attempt to follow me I will strike you, when deponent arrived in Sydney as detailed in his first examination Lees told him in presence of a Man named Claxton that he could not give him his silk handkerchief as he had lost it together with another of his own when drunk the night before, deponent never saw the handkerchief again until Lees got it at the Police Offices on the morning of the examination.

Signed Joseph Lubb

Robert Claxton prisoner being sworn deposed that about the week before last the end of May or beginning of June that he was in company with a man named Lubb in Sydney who told deponent that he wanted to look for a man who had a letter and handkerchief of his as deposed and Lubb was coming down the Brickfields Hills they met with some man and Lubb asked him for his letters and handkerchief- the answer the person made was that he had lost or mislaid the handkerchief and that he could not give it to him deponent does not know the person of Lees being sick at the time but the person Lubb accosted was tall and resembled the prisoner in size.

Signed Robert Claxton

James Rew free being sworn deposed that he was at Snowden’s when a man came there with Richard Lees, they had supper and slept there in the morning when the same rose he said he had lost his silk handkerchief which was round his neck, he went to Snowden to complain of it. Snowden then asked Lees if he had taken it. Lees asked what, why this handkerchief said Snowden and said here it is, deponent learned nothing of the pass or letter being given to Lees to keep. The parties went away and deponent knows nothing farther but when Lees returned from Sydney he saw the handkerchief again in Lees possession who said he should give it to them afterwards.

Signed James Rew (his mark)

James Henry Salmon so worn deposed that he was at Snowden’s as above mentioned and confirmed the statements deposed hearing nothing of a pass or letter given to Lees to keep, he heard Lees say he had Jubbs handkerchief when Lees was in Sydney and that he would give it up, on his return to Penrith.

Signed Samuel Henry Salmons

State Archives NSW, Quarter Sessions, Windsor 1824-37. Lees, Richard No. 10 Item 4/8485 Jul 1831, Windsor- Not Guilty

The Trials of Richard Lees cont.