My Ancestors and their role in early Australia
history of Australia
my direct lineage family tree photos
Some of my ancestors, associates and their roles in the early British colonisation:
Captain James Cook:
Capt. Cook was not my ancestor but he did go to school in the town Great Ayton so this is a nice association to start with.
Gov. Bligh was also not my ancestor but he had dealings with several of my ancestors.
seems Gov. Bligh got to his position because he was good at obeying orders and a capable naval officer but was the key figure in a few infamous events of historic importance:
the death of Capt. Cook:
when Capt. Cook returned to Hawaii for repairs, the locals were not pleased he had came back and one of them stole a boat. Seems Capt. Cook ordered Bligh and his crew to guard the bay and prevent all boats leaving while he went ashore to deal with the locals. A group of locals tried to row out of the bay in a boat and Bligh & his crew fired upon them killing them.
Capt. Cook was at the time ashore and with not enough manpower to prevent the locals becoming very upset and attacking them, dismembering Cook.
I can imagine Cook thinking, "I told him to guard the harbour, not to kill them while I'm trying to negotiate!, Damn!".
the Mutiny on the Bounty:
Bligh was captain on the Royal Navy ship the Bounty in 1789 when half his crew led by Fletcher Christian mutinied and set Bligh and 18 of his men adrift in a small boat near Tofua and Timor. On a epic 47 day, 6710km voyage on the boat, Bligh managed to navigate his way to Timor using just a sextant and pocket watch. Bligh then returned to England to report the mutiny.
he chose my ancestor Lieutenant Peter Burnett French Mills to man his ships:
in 1804, Mills was chosen by Bligh as a midshipman to the Warrior under Bligh
in 1805, Mills was chosen by Bligh to man the HMS "Porpoise" to Australia, arriving in Port Jackson in 1806
ironically, Mills was to marry the daughter of one of Bligh's antagonists, John Brabyn (another of my ancestors) - see below.
after the rum rebellion, he is said to have acted as secretary to Bligh and was recalled to London to give evidence at Major Johnston's trial.
Mills soon became bankrupt and for a short period resorted to being one of Australia's first bushrangers although found this a bit hard and gave himself up to be granted freedom by Gov. Macquarie.
see here for more.
the Rum Rebellion which changed the nature of the Australian colony:
Bligh was appointed Governor to the NSW colony but his orders were more to maintain a penal colony than a commercial state and soon became in conflict with the local entrepreneurs such as Macarthur (who was become the father of Australia's sheep industry).
my ancestor Capt. John BRABYN was one of the 6 magistrates who supported Macarthur and went against Bligh, an action which resulted in Australia's only Government coup with Bligh being placed under arrest on Jan 26th, 1808 - another reason to celebrate Australia Day.
Capt. John Brabyn (1758-1835):
my ancestor who joined the British army and was sent to Australia with his family as part of the NSW Corps.
in 1782, he was said to have married an Irish convict Mary Allyn - the 1st white free woman to die on Norfolk Is. (1796) - she died within a week of them arriving on Norfolk Island, but it appears she may not have been his wife nor mother of his 1st two children, there is evidence that their mother was a Spanish lady John had met in Flanders where he was placed in the British Army, but she died after her 2nd child was born - this is being researched by Evelyn Weir who will be publishing the details of her research soon.
arrived in Sydney Cove, Port Jackson on 11th Feb. 1796, only 8 years after the first white settlement of the Colony of New South Wales (ie. the first white settlement of Australia) by Governor Phillip in 1788.
he was later promoted to Lieutenant & then to Captain & was known as a man of judgment, tact & ability who held important & honourable positions as a member of court at several notable trials resulting from conflict between important civil & military personages, and the governors.
given a grant of 19 acres land on Norfolk Island in Oct. 1796 by Governor John Hunter, and a further grant of 200 acres by Governor King in 1801.
he sat with the judge-advocate in connection with the Paterson-Macarthur duel on 4th Sept, 1801.
he was a member of the court in the trial of D'Arcy Wentworth for contempt in 1807.
he sat with the judge-advocate in the trial of John Macarthur (the one who brought merino sheep to Australia) in 1808 and which resulted in the Rum Rebellion (see under Bligh above).
"Boy" Brabyn (1789-?):
John Brabyn's son, who at thirteen, was a member of the Lieutenant Murray's crew on the Lady Nelson, possibly as a mid-shipman, which, in 1802, discovered the entrance to Port Phillip Bay (the entrance to the bay on which the city of Melbourne was later founded).
the Lady Nelson
during this trip his alertness saved the crew from spears thrown by the local Aborigines with whom he, as part of a boarding party were trading goods, becoming Victoria's first "boy hero". He was present when Lieutenant Murray took formal possession of Port Phillip for England.
when returning to England, it was supposed by his family to have been captured by Spaniards & to have spent his life toiling in the silver mines of Peru - a similar fate ended the career of George Bass (of Bass & Flinders fame), the surgeon to HMS Reliance, who with Matthew Flinders made important coastal discoveries around Australia. However, this may be incorrect as new research by Evelyn Weir will hopefully provide us with more information soon.
John Brabyn Mills (1810-1877), Charles Frederick Mills (1812-1855):
grandsons of Capt John Brabyn and sons of Lieutenant Peter Burnett French Mills
Victoria's 1st settlers, the founders of Port Fairy, Victoria
highly respected seamen, champion boat-steerers, ploughmen & whalers
see here for more
James Glare (c1801-):
my convict ancestor
James GLARE's conviction for allegedly stealing 5 pounds in England.
James was born in Middlesex, England circa 1801, a convict transported from England to Launceston in 1820 aboard the Lady Ridley for theft of a 5 pound note, and who received conditional pardon in 1836 and full pardon in 1846.
married Eliza Sophia Mills, daughter of Lieutenant Peter Burnett French Mills and grand daughter of Capt John Brabyn
By 1840 he & his wife had acquired land in Brisbane St, Launceston.
James migrated with his wife, family and mother-in-law to Port Fairy in 1846 where he became a farmer, carrier & bridge builder who sometimes went whaling with the Mills brothers, and settled on land that Charles Mills had sub-divided in Port Fairy to allow them to be nearby. They later moved to Ellerslie near Warrnambool.
see here for more
Glare's Bridge - a stone bridge built by James GLARE which still stands today in Rosebrook near Port Fairy near the Princes Highway.
Robert LANE (1826-1904):
my ancestor, Robert, his wife and family arrived in Australia in 1855 on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the luxurious "Shomberg" which was shipwrecked en route near Petersborough, Victoria, resulting in loss of all their furniture but fortunately, all the family survived.
another ship to succumb to the infamous Shipwreck Coast of Victoria near the 12 Apostles and the Great Ocean Road.
see here for more.