Hope in Fortitude
Origins of the name Cheney
The name Cheney derives from the Old French word chesnai, meaning a grove of oaks. There were several villages in France called Chenoy, Chenay or Chesnoy because they were near oak groves. It is likely that the Cheney family's English ancestor migrated from one such village - though we cannot know which one - at the time of the Norman Conquest. There is a Radolphus de Caisned, a tenant of land in Sussex, listed in the Domesday Book in 1086. He came from a village called Le Quesnay in France; the French origin suggests that the more accurate pronunciation of the name is Chaney, as opposed to Cheeney, the version preferred by our branch of the family. Hugh de Chaisnai, or de Chesnei, is referred to in records dated 1140 and 1166. There are also references to Roberd de Cheinnei and William de Chennei in the twelfth century, and similar names appear through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Surrey, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Kent. Lord Cheney, of Shurland (or Sherland), on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent (which was an island a thousand years ago but, as a result of silting from the Thames River, is no longer so) was summoned to parliament in 1487. His family inherited the property from the Shurland family by marriage and took over the Shurland family crest (Black; six lions rampant, silver a canton;ie white spots on a black field).
There is a mock-Gothic Legend of Sheppey about a medieval Sir Robert de Shurland, entitled "Grey Dolphin", in the Ingoldsby Legends, by R H Barham (1840). This, based on a legend handed down from the late thirteenth century, tells a story of how Sir Robert, when the local priest refused to bury a drowned man washed up from the Thames because he had been buried before and mysteriously dug up on the instructions of St Bridget and had been initially buried without absolution, became angry with the priest and kicked him into the grave prepared for the corpse and had it filled in. Regional noblemen were very little under the control of the king or central government at that time, but they were subject to punishment by the Pope, who, in this instance, through the agency of the Capuchin abbot at Canterbury, took up arms against Shurland, but Sir Robert soon drove them off, despatching several knights in the process. The Pope instructed all Christians to oppose Sir Robert, but the Pope was out of favour with King Edward I (Edward the Confessor) at that time, and Edward, intercepted by Sir Robert de Shurland as he sailed down the Thames on his way to an encounter in France, pardoned him. In the meantime an old witch warned Sir Robert that his trusty horse, Grey Dolphin, would be the cause of his death. To forestall this possibility, Sir Robert killed the horse. After fighting with the king in France (against Phillipe IV) and in Scotland (against Wallace and Bruce) for a period of three years at the end of the thirteenth century, he returned to Shurland, and there saw again the old witch poring over the bleached skull of a horse. Reminded of the threat, he kicked the skull into the Thames, but a tooth stuck in his foot and he died of blood poisoning and gangrene. If this was our ancestor, the Cheney family had a somewhat rugged beginning. But the legend says that he had no male heirs and the Isle of Sheppey reverted to the Crown. Sir Alexander Cheney, of Patrixborne, who had also fought with Edward I in Scotland, for which he was knighted, married Robert de Shurland’s heir, Margaret, and inherited the Shurland estates, but his son Sir Robert Cheney, sold some of them. The Cheney family owned extensive lands both in Kent and in Staffordshire.
According to a contemporary historian, Thomas Cheyne raised a rebellion in Kent against King Henry VI (the mad king - it appears that he suffered from schizophrenia, inherited from his French grandfather) on January 31, 1450, in an attempt to get rid of some of the king's advisors whom Cheyne regarded as traitors. These included the Duke of Suffolk and Lord Say, who were most unpopular. These people were also the targets of Jack Cade's revolt, which also originated in Kent, and took place during the months of May to July in the same year. The mob succeeded in having Lord Say executed. Cheyne claimed that Lord Say was a servant of the king of the fairies. For his troubles Lord Say was hanged at Tyburn on February 9, and his entrails were torn out and burnt. He was then beheaded and quartered.
Perhaps this inauspicious beginning was atoned for by the most illustrious member of this family, Sir John Cheney, later Baron Cheney, who, on the battlefield of Bosworth, Leicestershire, on August 22, 1485, had a personal encounter with Richard III, who personally unhorsed him. Sir John lost the upper part of his helmet, which he replaced with the skull, horns and hide of an ox which he slaughtered nearby. As a result of this he was granted by the new king, Henry VII, a crest which depicts a bull's scalp. When Henry led his invasion force to England, one of his first acts on landing at Milford Haven in South Wales was to knight several of his followers, including Sir John, who had already been denounced by Richard III, in October, 1484, for supporting the Duke of Buckingham's efforts to rally forces to support Henry. After the battle of Stoke on June 16, 1487, when the Yorkists made a last attempt to displace Henry VII, he was made a Knight of the Garter and a Baron. At the coronation of Henry VII he was given the role of leading the king's courser. Sir John (together with his two brothers), was a close associate of the king, and had been with him when Henry was in exile in Brittany from 1483 to 1485. Before the invading force left Brittany, one of the conspirators, the Earl of Dorset (son of the Dowager Queen Elizabeth, widow of Edward IV), made an attempt to desert. Humphrey Cheney, Sir John's brother, was given the task of following him and bringing him back.
 There is a village called Sutton Cheney near Bosworth; if this was one of the seats of the Cheney family, then Sir John would have known the local topography very well. Baron Cheney died without heirs in 1499, so the Lord Cheney, who was summoned to parliament in 1572 must have been descended from one of his brothers.Baron Cheney's tomb, with stone effigy, can be seen in Salisbury Cathedral. He was said to have been seven feet tall, which is no doubt why he was chosen as Henry's standard bearer after the previous standard bearer was killed by Richard himself at Bosworth. When in 1964 the tomb was raised in order to deal with a problem of salt damp, the opportunity was taken to verify his height by measuring his bones; it was proved that the seven-foot effigy on the tomb was accurate.
A Cheney was Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol in 1572. There were also Cheneys in Buckinghamshire, Devon, Cheshire, Oxford and Staffordshire. Apart from the family in Cheshire, the Cheneys were virtually all from the south of England. There is a plaque in Winchester Cathedral commemorating Sir Thomas Cheney, a colleague of the Duke of Northumberland in the fifteenth century. This appears to be the Lord Cheney who was summoned to parliament in 1572. He was associated with John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, Duke of Northumberland, who was for a time chief advisor to Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. Northumberland was corrupt and greedy and was executed in 1553. There is a Cheney Gate in Westminster Abbey, leading in from the cloisters. There is a twenty-six inch brass effigy of Isabel Cheyne (died 1545) at Blickling, in Norfolk. She was Isabel Boleyn, great aunt of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII; she married William Cheyne of Sheppey.
Our Cheneys migrated to Australia from Staffordshire. If they were descendants of the Cheneys mentioned in the records in Staffordshire they were related to the Cheneys from the Isle of Sheppey and shared the family crest. William Cheney (born 1822) and his wife Mary (born 1825), daughter of Thomas and Mary Downing, came out on the General Hewitt (more usually spelt General Hewart; at 973 tons one of the largest ships on the Australian run, with fourteen guns and a crew of eighty, a three-decker, built in India in 1812), leaving Plymouth on August 12, 1848, and arriving in Sydney on November 13. William is described in the Shipping Record as a farm labourer who was born at Stoke, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, in Staffordshire, the son of Ian and Sarah Cheney. His father was still living in Manchester and his mother was dead. The Shipping Record says that Mary was born in Nutpiece, Staffordshire, but no such place can be identified. We know from William and Mary's Marriage Certificate that she came from Knutton, a little village about two miles west of Newcastle, in the Parish of Wolstanton. Nutpiece is perhaps the Shipping Clerk's version of Knutton; just as the clerk years later recording Tom Cheney's [WC2] report of his father's death compensated for what he considered was the typical Australian speech laziness and wrote down the address as Nutting, Georges Plains. Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme are now virtually one big metropolis, and Knutton has been absorbed as a rural suburb on the western outskirts. William and Mary were accompanied by their two eldest children, George [WC1], who was also recorded as having been born at Nutpiece, and Thomas [WC2], who was born at Manchester. It appears that after they married at Knutton on January 23, 1843, they had moved to Manchester, no doubt in search of employment. William's father Ian had also moved to Manchester.
, one of the tributaries at the headwaters of the Trent River, in undulating country. The castle from which the town took its name was new in the twelfth century, and only earthworks remain to mark its position not far from the town centre. On the west of the town there are many coalmines, brickworks, potteries and tileries, as well as farmlands. Newcastle-under-Lyme is today on the trunk road from London to Birmingham and Manchester, but road communication in the first half of the nineteenth century was very poor because the roads in that area travelled through swamps. The Trent and Mersey Canal was built to the town in 1777 and, in 1846, a branch railway was extended through the town. The district, but not the town itself, has been famous for potteries; the most famous names associated with the area being Josiah Spode and Josiah Wedgwood. The neighbouring towns of Turnstall, Burslem, Healey, Stoke, Fenton and Langton were the Five Pottery Towns made famous in Arnold Bennett's novels. There are actually six towns - Bennett left out Fenton. Buildings were mainly of timber until about the middle of the seventeenth century when timber stocks were exhausted. After that, brick became popular. Bennett gives a description of the Five Towns as they appeared to him at the beginning of the twentieth century; they would have been very little different fifty years before that, already disfigured by industrial pollution: NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME IS ON LYME BROOK
"They are mean and forbidding of aspect - sombre, hard-featured, uncouth; and the vaporous poisons of their ovens and chimneys has spoiled and shrivelled the surrounding country till there is no village lane within a league but what offers a gaunt and ludicrous travesty of rural charms. Nothing could be more prosaic than the huddled, red-brown streets; nothing more seemingly remote from romance. Yet be it said that romance is even here - the romance for which, for those who have an eye to perceive it, ever dwells amid the seats of industrial manufacture, softening the coarseness, transfiguring the squalor, of those mighty alchemic operations. Look down into the valley from this terrace-height, .......embrace the whole smoke-girt amphitheatre in a glance, and it may be that you will suddenly comprehend the secret and superb significance of the vast Doing which goes forward below. Because they seldom think, the townsmen take shame when indicted for having disfigured half a county in order to live. They have not understood that this disfigurement is merely an episode in the unending warfare of man and nature, and calls for no contrition. Here, indeed, is nature repaid for some of her notorious cruelties. She imperiously bids man sustain and reproduce himself, and this is one of the places where in the very act of obedience he wounds and maltreats her. Out beyond the municipal confines, where the subsidiary industries of coal and iron prosper amid a wreck of verdure, the struggle is grim, appalling, heroic - so ruthless is his havoc of her, so indomitable her ceaseless recuperation. On the one side is a wrestling from nature's own bowels of the means to waste her; on the other, an undismayed, enduring fortitude. The grass grows; though it is not green, it grows. In the very heart of the valley, hedged about with furnaces, a farm still stands, and at harvest-time the sooty sheaves are gathered in." 2
Bennett gives us a glimpse of the same view at night:
"In front, several miles away, the blast furnaces of Cauldon Bar Ironworks shot up vast wreaths of yellow flame with canopies of tinted smoke. Still more distant were a thousand other lights crowning chimney and kiln, and nearer, on the wastelands west of Bleakridge, long fields of burning ironstone glowed with all the strange colours of decadence. The entire landscape was illuminated and transformed by these unique pyrotechnics of labour atoning for its grime, and dull, weird sounds, as of the breathings and sighings of gigantic nocturnal creatures, filled the enchanted air. It was a romantic scene, a romantic summer night, balmy, delicate, and wrapped in meditation."3
It must be borne in mind that Bennett is viewing the Five Towns from the vantage point of the north-eastern high side, whereas the Downings and Cheneys, living at Knutton and Chesterton, were on the western and lower end of the valley where agriculture was not blasted quite so much by the smoke of furnaces; where the grass was perhaps greener and the sheaves not quite so sooty.
Marjorie Hall [WC481] has a photo of what is said to be the Cheney home at Knutton, a substantial two-storeyed brick building. Alan Cheney [WC1J5] also has a copy, with a notation that it is the birthplace of George Cheney's wife [nee Jane Drew - WC1]. Since there is a copy in the family descended from Prudence Hamer [WC4] with no connection with the Drews, it is more likely that this is a photo of the home of William Cheney's wife, Mary Downing [WC]. The Downings seem to have been more prosperous than the Cheneys at Knutton, which is another reason why this photo probably shows the Downing home. William and Mary moved to Manchester after the birth of their first child, and William's father Ian was already there, and there is little evidence that he ever lived at the Five Towns since his name does not appear in the 1841 Census there. The Cheneys were simply too poor to have owned such a home. Thomas Downing, on the other hand, if he was a coal mine manager as indicated on Mary Cheney's Death Certificate, is more likely to have occupied such a substantial house; Ian Cheney does not appear to have had a permanent job when living in the Newcastle area. A house which appears very like the one in the photo still stands near the brickworks which the Downing family owned in Knutton until 1983. It would be good to discover whether this was the Downing home but, of course, there could have been many similar buildings in the neighbourhood.
The castle at Newcastle-under-Lyme was built on low-lying ground surrounded by hills which made it an easy target for cannon fire after the advent of gunpowder in the sixteenth century, after which it fell into disuse and decay. It had been granted by Henry III in 1267 to his son Edmund, Earl of Lancaster. Prior to that the defence of the castle was the responsibility of a group of sergeants known as king's sokemen who, up to 1255, were granted the use of the neighbouring land, including Knutton, which became part of the estate of Lord Knutton, descended from Ralph de Knutton, a royal sokeman4 in 1212. Their farming tenants had to provide the king with bowmen to guard the castle. The castle provided water-powered mills for farmers to grind their wheat from as early as 1193, but there were other mills in the neighbourhood from 1537, and farmers preferred to grind their wheat at these independently owned mills. Cattle were pastured on the commons but, after landowners enclosed these areas in the early nineteenth century, farmers switched to the grazing of sheep. An Enclosure Act of 1816 enclosed Knutton Heath in the Manor of Knutton. The trustees had the power to allot areas to burgesses and also to lease coalmines for up to 31 years. Ironworking began as a local industry at least as early as 1421, chiefly making nails, frying pans and saucepans. The making of felt hats was a notable local industry in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while silk throwing began in the early nineteenth century. Newcastle was one of the first towns to introduce gas lighting in the street - in 1799. Knutton had street lights in 1855.
The population of Newcastle increased fivefold between 1801 and 1901. This population pressure would have accounted for William and Mary's and William's father Ian's exodus to Manchester, despite flourishing local industries; there were more employment opportunities in Manchester, or so it must have appeared. When this proved to be a delusion, William and Mary and Mary's brother George and his wife set off for Australia. Coal was mined at Knutton, as well as at nearby Silverdale, where the Downings lived, and Mary and George Downing's father is described as a coal mine manager on Mary's Death Certificate. One would have expected that if he were a coal mine manager he could have got jobs for his son George, who came to Australia at the same time as Mary, and his son-in-law, William Cheney. Perhaps they had visions of escaping the pits for the open paddocks of Australia; or perhaps, by 1903, when Tom Cheney [WC2] reported his mother's death, he had idealised his grandfather Downing from a humble collier to a coal mine manager. There was a system of sub-contracting operating in Staffordshire mines5 by which a butty miner contracted with the mine owners to operate a section of the mine, hiring his own employees and supplying tools. This was a pernicious system leading to exploitation of miners and unsafe work practices. It is possible that William and Mary Downing’s father was such a butty contractor, in which case he could conceivably have been described as a coal mine manager, and would have been well aware of the dangers of working in the pits under such conditions, and would have preferred his own family to emigrate.
The Downings would have been caught up in the Chartist agitation which stirred up much excitement in the Pottery towns in 1842, when the colliers went on strike and riots occurred. As a result of the agitation of Thomas Cooper, one of the Chartist leaders, the workers, especially the colliers of North Staffordshire, became very excited and riots occurred, culminating in the burning of the home of a local clergyman, and other dwellings. Huge crowds of people went about the streets causing considerable apprehension of violence; a number were arrested and tried for rioting. This would have been a factor in the decision of William Cheney and George Downing to emigrate. In any case, William Cheney's decision to try Australia paid dividends in the long run, though George Downing did not fare so well. Knutton, like most of the pottery towns, was a strong non-conformist, mostly Wesleyan, village in the nineteenth century, but the Cheneys, coming from further afield, were, like Newcastle itself, staunchly Church of England.
THE ONLY CHENEY RECORDED IN THE 1841 CENSUS IN KNUTTON was our William Cheney, aged 20, who lived with a householder named Allan Booth. There were two other young boarders living with Mr Booth, one aged twenty and the other fifteen. William had no doubt moved from Stoke, just a few miles further east, where he was born, in search of employment; but no records of other members of the Cheney family have been found at Stoke either, which suggests that they had come from elsewhere. They may have been transients in search of work, and may have already moved on by 1841. Neither have records of the Downings been found at Knutton at that time, though the Downing family are prominent there today; they owned the local brickworks until 1983. Nevertheless, William and Mary Cheney felt a firm attachment to Knutton, so strong that they named their farm at Georges Plains after the Staffordshire village when they began to have a degree of material success in New South Wales. They were married in the Wolstanton Parish. The village of Wolstanton is just a mile north of Knutton at the end of Knutton Road. Perhaps they lived between Knutton and Chesterton, a couple of miles north-west, since Tom Cheney [WC2] called his place in Queen Charlotte's Vale Cheston, which he thought was his birthplace. Tom was wrong on two counts: he was, in fact, born at Manchester, and the name of the village near Knutton where his parents lived was Chesterton. His attachment to Chesterton seems odd since he never lived there or, if he did, he was still a baby when his parents migrated to Australia. Chesterton, Knutton and Silverdale, all within a couple of miles of each other, are coalmining villages. The name of Chesterton is of Latin origin, which suggests that there was a Roman camp there. There was a castle, possibly built on the site of an earlier Roman fortification, which replaced the one at Newcastle-under-Lyme destroyed in the twelfth century. Only the fosse (or moat) remains.
The Cheneys travelled to Kelso after disembarkation in Sydney on November 13, 1848. Where they lived at Kelso is not known, but their next four children were baptised at Holy Trinity Church, and William was described in the Baptismal Register as a labourer at Kelso when Alfred [WC3] and Prudence [WC4] were baptised. In the Shipping Record he had been described as a farm labourer and his wife as a farm servant. He could both read and write; but she could read only. Prudence Hamer's Death Certificate [WC4] says that she was born at Borenore, near Orange. She was born on July 13, 1851, but not baptised until the family returned to Kelso on January 9, 1852. There was a tradition in the Hamer family - Prudence's descendants - that William and Mary moved around several villages in the central west of NSW, where Mary taught school, thus accounting for Prudence's birth at Borenore. This seems unlikely in view of the evidence of the Shipping Record that Mary could read but not write, and the fact that she marked her Marriage Certificate back in the Wolstanton Parish Register with a cross. There must have been some purpose that took them away from Kelso between Alfred's baptism in 1849 and Prudence's delayed baptism in January, 1853. By the time Letitia [WC5] was baptised on September 17, 1853, William is described as again living at Kelso, but he is now a farmer. All the children up to Rachel [WC8], born August 19, 1860, were baptised at Holy Trinity, and their address was given as Kelso; but when the youngest child Arthur [WC9] was baptised, this time at All Saints, Bathurst, in 1864, the family's address is given as Milltown (South Bathurst) and the father's occupation as Publican. In fact, the Register of Hotel Licensees shows William Cheney as the licensee of the Jolly Hurler, at the corner of Rocket and Bent Streets, Milltown. The licence was transferred to him on April 17, 1861. By this time he had bought a farm also - 150 acres - from John McPhillamy at Georges Plains, just over the road from T J Hughes's place, "Mildura", which was later bought by Joseph Smith.6 This was the farm which the Cheneys called Knutton, and where they lived for twenty years. He bought another farm of 287 acres at Evans Plains, Barry (near Teapot Swamp, or Moorilda); and he also built two cottages on land that he was granted in Blayney. By now he was fairly prosperous.
His acquisition of property at Barry and Blayney gives credence to the story of his peregrinations in the central west. It seems fairly evident that it was the gold rush (beginning at Ophir in April, 1851) that took him west; and it is further apparent that he was fairly successful in his gold digging enterprise, enabling him to buy a hotel and two farms, and to build two cottages. An advertisement in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal on November 1, 1855, for a lost tarpaulin, gives his address as Georges Plains; so he must have been farming "Knutton" at the same time as he was running the Jolly Hurler. This seems to be in contradiction of the Baptismal Register at Holy Trinity which gives their address as Kelso until 1860. Despite the assumption that it was the gold rush that lured him to the west, there is another piece of evidence that complicates the issue. His name appears in a list of unclaimed letters at the Bathurst Post Office in the Bathurst Free Press on August 3, 1850, over seven months before the gold rush started. Was there something else that took them west before the gold rush? We know from the record of Alfred's baptism in April, 1949, that they had come almost immediately to Kelso after disembarkation in November, 1948. They may have been looking for a suitable occupation further west before settling in Kelso. Besides, Prudence was born at Borenore on July 13, 1851, just three months after the gold rush started. The answer seems to be connected with the fact that Mary's brother and sister-in-law, George and Ann Downing, were in the Orange district.
MARY CHENEY'S ELDER BROTHER GEORGE DOWNING7 migrated to Australia with his wife and family, arriving at Moreton Bay on the Artemisia on December 13, 1848, a month after William and Mary Cheney arrived in Sydney. It appears that George and his sister Mary decided to migrate at about the same time, but Mary arrived first. This is acknowledged in the Shipping Record which states that George Downing had a brother (actually brother-in-law) and sister living in Bathurst. Since the Cheneys had arrived in Sydney only a month earlier, it had not taken them long to get to Bathurst, where Alfred was born on February 17, 1849; nor had it taken long for the news to reach George and his wife Ann at Moreton Bay; unless it can be assumed that they knew of William and Mary's intended destination and took it for granted that they had arrived in Bathurst. We also learn from the record of George and Ann's arrival that George Downing's and Mary Cheney's parents were Thomas and Mary Downing, who were living at Silverdale, just half a mile south west of Knutton, in Staffordshire. Silverdale is a mining village, still part of the Parish of Wolstanton up till 1855. t is said to have taken its name from the proliferation of silver poplars which shone silver in the sunlight.8 Ann Downing was born at Hull, on the east coast of Yorkshire, and her parents, Charles and Sarah Wakelin, were also living at Bathurst at the time of George and Ann's arrival. George Downing was born at Stafford, the administrative centre of Staffordshire, but had been baptised at Knutton on October 7, 1821, according to church records. They had sailed from the Port of London on August 15, 1848, only three days after the Cheneys set out from Plymouth; they had two daughters with them, Isabel and Clara. There was said to have been a son left behind in England who, at the age of fourteen, stowed away on a ship to join his parents in Australia, but was drowned off Newcastle, NSW. It seems odd, however, that they would have left one child so young back in England when they migrated.
It is not clear why George and Ann disembarked at Moreton Bay rather than Sydney; it is probably because the terms of their sponsorship required them to travel to Moreton Bay, where free settlers were being sought at the time. The Artemisia was, in fact, the first migrant ship to sail to Moreton Bay and it is therefore likely that all the immigrants on board were contracted to go to that destination. It is possible that during a stopover in Sydney the Downings and Cheneys made contact with each other. At any rate, it appears that the Downings returned from Moreton Bay within a short time. Their first child born after arrival in Australia, Mary Priscilla [GD3], was born at Larra Lake, near Bathurst; and the next, Elvina Ann [GD4], at Orange, on November 11, 1852, but the record of her baptism appears in the Church of England Baptismal Register at Carcoar, and her father is recorded as a Settler at Orange. It is likely that they were living at Orange; Church of England services began there in 1846, which was the year in which the village of Orange was proclaimed, (although the name Orange was applied to this spot as early as 1829 on a map drawn by Surveyor J B Richards who marked a reserve for a village there.) This area was chosen because of the availability of water from Blackman's Creek that ran through Blackman's Swamp. The site of the swamp is now occupied by Robertson Park and the creek is an underground stream concreted over and can still be seen under the Hotel Canobolas. Because of the difficulty of negotiating the swampy area with horse drawn vehicles this became an overnight stopping area, and at least three hotels and a blacksmith's shop were established there by 1844, (two inns on the eastern side of the swamp and at least one on the western side near Duntry League). The Church of England Minister came across from Carcoar, and it is likely that he brought his Carcoar Parish Register to record baptisms at Orange. It is not known where the early services were held, but it was probably in private homes. After 1854 they were transferred to the new Court House built in that year. Prior to 1846, the spot where Orange developed was known as Blackman's Swamp, named after John Blackman, who was the Chief Constable at Bathurst from 1842 to 1846. He had accompanied Oxley on his expedition through the central west in 1818 and, when it was decided to form a settlement at Wellington in 1823, the Commandant appointed to that district, Lieutenant Percy Simpson, took Blackman with him; he helped him map out the road from Bathurst to Wellington which branched off from the Vale Road across the hill to Fitzgerald's Valley and thence to Millthorpe and Blackman's Swamp (now Orange).
George and Ann Downing's next child, Martha Charlotte [GD5], is recorded as having been born at Frederick's Valley, which is about ten miles east of Orange. They later again moved to Plattsburg, near West Wallsend, just out of Newcastle. George was engaged at first in farming and then in gold mining during the gold rush which began in April, 1851; and afterwards became a coal miner at Plattsburg. He and his wife had nine children. The two eldest daughters were born in the Parish of Wolstanton, perhaps at Silverdale; but when the fourth child, Elvina [GD4] was born in 1852 the Birth Certificate records the father as a "settler" at Orange; and when the fifth child Martha [GD5] was born, in 1854, his address was given as Frederick's Valley, but he is no longer a "settler". The term "settler" perhaps implies that he was trying his hand as a farmer, since he was recorded in the Shipping Record as a farmer. It appears, however, that this venture was unsuccessful, and George looked for an occupation with which he had some familiarity back in Staffordshire - that of miner. By this time there was deep shaft gold mining at Lucknow, on W C Wentworth's property. The Cheneys were back at Kelso by January, 1853, when Prudence was baptised, but it is possible that the Cheneys and Downings had tried gold mining together, though obviously not in partnership, since George Downing did not share William Cheney's financial success.
The Downings were at Plattsburg at least by the time their youngest child Henry [GD9] was born in November, 1862, since the Birth Certificate gives their address as Back Creek, Plattsburg. However, George Downing's name appears on a map of Orange dated April, 1866, as the owner of Portion 31, Lot 13, on the northern side of Summer Street, just one Lot east of Clinton Street.9 Plattsburg was one of the most flourishing coal mines in the Newcastle area, but was soon overshadowed by Wallsend and West Wallsend mines. It looks as though George Downing had finally settled for the occupation of his forefathers. Many of the family remained in the Newcastle area for generations to come. The eldest daughter Isabel [GD1] married a miner at Wallsend named Thomas Davies. Priscilla Downing [GD3] married Henry Forrester, a Scottish miner, and had ten children. Priscilla's third child, Emma Forrester [GD33], married a man named O'Brien and they moved to Perth, Western Australia, where they had seven children. They spent some time at the Kalgoorlie goldfields and Henry died in a mine disaster in 1903 or 1904, and the family returned to Newcastle. Their granddaughter Agnes Forrester [GD362] was stricken with infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis) at the age of two and never walked again. Other members of the family were talented musicians. Elvina Downing [GD4] married Charles Milsom, a miner, at Wallsend. He came from a family of miners at Bristol; his parents and brothers and sisters migrated to Pennsylvania. Charles and his elder brother were the first to venture forth - one went to America and one to Australia. They kept in touch by letters. Charles and Elvina owned a 40 acre block of land at Morisset at the southern end of Lake Macquarie, across the bay from Dora Creek, where they eventually built a two-storey home called "Lake View". The children attended Dora Creek school, crossing the creek by the railway bridge. When Elvina died at the age of 92, she left the Dora Creek property to a younger daughter, who promptly sold it, causing a rift in the family. Charles went to Kalgoorlie during the gold rush there in the 1890s, and was joined by his second surviving son Randolph, known as Ron [GD44], while the eldest son Alonzo [GD42] stayed at Wallsend to look after his mother and sisters. Unfortunately, Charles was killed in the Mount Charlotte mine accident which occurred on the night of March 31, 1897, when Charles was preparing dynamite for shot-firing at the 300 foot level. He had dynamite, nitro-glycerine powder and detonators in separate boxes. He hung a candle in a candle holder inside the powder box; the candle burnt down, falling onto half a packet of powder which immediately caught fire; another man removed the candle and threw it away.All six men present ran for the exit ladder; an explosion occurred before they had ascended very far, forcing smoke and fumes up the exit shaft. The men inhaled the fumes and were gasping, vomiting and in a state of collapse when they reached the surface. They would not have inhaled so many fumes if they had stayed at the site where they were working and found a spot away from the fumes which were forced up the shaft where they were climbing. No doubt they expected the dynamite to explode, but it was only the powder and detonators that exploded and the fire soon went out. On the surface they appeared to the Mine Manager, who quickly arrived and helped some of them climb the ladder, to be well enough after being given painkiller, brandy and coffee, to go to their various camps. However, their condition deteriorated and a doctor was called in the morning and they were removed to hospital. Charles Milsom, the first to die, died that day, April 1, 1897; and the sixth man died a month later. A Coroner's Inquest was held that day, and the Coroner found that Milsom's death was caused by his own carelessness. However, the Mining Warden in a report to the Under Secretary of Mines was critical of the safety procedures at the mine and recommended prosecution of the Manager. He reported that there was more than the regulation amounts of explosives at the site of the mining operation, that they were not adequately stored, and that Milsom should have been supplied with a covered lamp and not a candle. His conclusion was: "Mines Regulation Act 1895 with regard to the use and storage of explosives in the workings have been recklessly violated at this claim." However, it does not appear that any prosecution ever occurred. The evidence from the case was presented to a Royal Commission into Ventilation and Sanitation of Mines in 1905.10 This must have been quite a burden for the son Ron; but there were other members of the Downing family in Kalgoorlie at the time to support him. He subsequently returned to New South Wales; his daughter Beryl Milsom [GD441], who married J Bathgate, was a kindergarten teacher, and his son Randolph (Ron) Milsom [GD442] was at first apprenticed as a bootmaker in Newcastle, but he did not continue this trade; instead he worked for over 40 years for the NSW Railways. He became a Foreman Brass Dresser at Eveleigh Workshops at Redfern, and was also a crane driver at Chullora. He married Emma Orrett, from Narrabri, and they established their home at first at Drummoyne, but later moved to Annandale, and finally to Concord. Like most railwaymen he suffered unemployment during the depression of the 1930s. Alonzo Milsom [GD42] was an amateur boxer of some note who trained at Quinlan's gymnasium at Parramatta. His son Charles Milsom [GD422] was a carpenter who worked on the building of Parliament House in Canberra in the 1920s, and later spent many years as a publican.
MARTHA DOWNING [GD5] MARRIED JAMES ASHWORTH IN 1875 and, in the gold rush of the 1890s, they took their family to Kalgoorlie where they ran a boarding house in a series of tents. No doubt they were associated with the Forresters and the Milsoms in Kalgoorlie. The family returned to Sydney in about 1904. Thomas Downing [GD6], with his brother-in-law James Frost, was drowned at the age of 35 when attempting to cross a flooded creek in a sulky on November 11, 1891. His funeral notice indicated that he was a member of Lodge St James, at Wallsend. He left a widow and two young children and a third was born after his death. One of these, a boy, was adopted outside the family, and the two little girls were brought up by other members of the Downing family. Sadie Downing [GD8] married Michael Wilkinson who was a butcher at Toronto, just south of Newcastle. They later moved to Mayfield, an inner suburb of Newcastle. George and Ann's youngest son Henry Downing [GD9] married Elaine Coxon whose family ran a horse-drawn bus service and later the first motor bus service which ran from Hamilton and Newcastle to Wallsend, and Henry worked for the bus service. His wife's family lived at New Lambton. His nephew Ron Milsom [GD44] had a misshapen nose which was said to have been caused when he fell twice, as a result of skylarking, from Uncle Harry's horse-drawn bus. Their eldest son George William Downing [GD91] was a carpenter. Their second son Edward Downing [GD94] served in France in the First World War.
The second daughter, Clara Downing [GD2], married an Irishman named Irvine Elliott who had been a farm labourer in County Fermanagh and, after emigrating to Australia, had gone farming with his brother at Araluen West on the south coast of NSW. Unfortunately, he died of consumption (tuberculosis) at the age of 33, leaving his wife with five young children. With her sister she ran a boarding house, first at Araluen and later at Hamilton, in order to keep her family, and, though she moved to Woollahra in Sydney, had to struggle to make ends meet for the rest of her life. She died of pneumonia after breaking her leg at the age of 90. She had to nurse her eldest daughter, Maude Hodges [GD21], who at the age of 40 became seriously ill with a lung disease. Maude moved with her children into a shed at the back of her mother's house at Woollahra, where she died at the age of 42. Maude had worked as a dressmaker to keep her four children. Dorothy Hodges [GD212] married John Jones, a farmer at Manila, and had five children. Isabel Downing's husband was named Thomas Davies [GD1], but the family dropped the e from the name and later generations have been known as Davis. It is common practice for the Welsh surname Davies to be pronounced as Davis, so it can probably be assumed that Tom Davies was a Welsh miner at Wallsend. Their eldest daughter Clara Davis [GD11] married Tom Wilson and had two sons and a daughter. Both boys served in the First World War and the eldest, Walter Davis [GD111], was killed in action. Their fifth child, Alma Davis [GD15], married Thomas Law and had four children. The eldest, Albert Law [GD151], was killed as a result of a fall from a horse, and the only other son, Harold Law [GD153], was killed in action in World War I.
THE DOWNINGS WERE DESCENDED FROM PURITAN STOCK, despite the fact that they were members of the Church of England. Staffordshire was a strong Wesleyan area (as can be seen in Bennett's novels). Newcastle in NSW was also a Methodist stronghold, with many immigrants from mining regions in Wales, as well as from Newcastle-on-Tyne and Newcastle-under-Lyme. George and Ann Downing were said to have brought with them a copy of Pilgrim's Progress in which details of the family had been inscribed. It is interesting that they should use a copy of Pilgrim's Progress rather than a Family Bible for this purpose. Unfortunately, the book has been lost. Pilgrim's Progress and the Bible were treated with almost equal reverence in English homes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially amongst non-conformists, but also amongst members of the Church of England. The Downings and the Cheneys in Australia were fond of quoting Pilgrim's Progress. Perhaps this says something about their ancestry: the Downings were said to be descended from a family who, in the early seventeenth century, were associated with the Puritan settlement in America. Emmanuel Downing (baptised August 12, 1585, died c 1660) was sent as ambassador from James I to the new colony of Massachusetts and married Lucy Winthrop, sister of the first governor, John Winthrop, his second wife.
A lot of research has been done on this family in England and America but so far the link with our family has not been established. Nevertheless, it seems safe to assume this connection, particularly in view of the prominence of the names George and Mary. This family can be traced back beyond Emmanuel Downing through his father Calybut Downing and his grandparents Arthur Downing and Susan Calybut to his great grandparents Geoffrey Downing and Elizabeth Wingfield. Calybut Downing married twice, and it is not clear which wife is the mother of Emmanuel. If it is the first wife, Elizabeth Wingfield, widow of Edward Morrison, then her mother was a member of the Cecil family, a sister of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I's favourite minister (who was the prime instigator of the persecution of Elizabeth's half sister, Mary, Queen of Scots). Lord Burghley's son, Robert Cecil, also served Elizabeth, and was responsible for bringing James VI of Scotland to Westminster where he was crowned James I of England. The ancestry of the Cecils can be traced back through the Fitz Alan family to Henry III.11
A thousand pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic in 1630 to set up the colony of Massachusetts, and John Winthrop was elected their leader and appointed governor by James I. They settled first at the seaside town which they called Salem (later to be made notorious by the trial and burning of so-called witches - an aberration of Puritanism) and then moved to establish their seat of government at Boston. Strict and narrow principles were applied to government as well as to personal and social behaviour, rigidly controlled. Emmanuel Downing fitted into this colony very well since he was as narrow a Puritan as the settlers were. He had been baptised in St Lawrence Church, Ipswich, on August 12, 1585, and had become a Clerk of the Inner Temple, London. He lived for some years in Dublin where he married Anne Ware and had three children - James, 1615; Susan, 1617; and Mary, 1620. After his first wife died he married Lucy Winthrop, the governor's sister, and they had a further eleven children. Emmanuel returned to England permanently in 1654 and died in Edinburgh in about 1660.
Emmanuel Downing's family were prominent in University, law and the church back in England in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. George Downing, the eldest son of the second family was probably born in America but he spent his early childhood in England and returned to Massachusetts when he was fifteen and became the second graduate of Harvard University where he gained second place in the list of first class graduates in the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1642. It appears, however, that the placings on the graduates' list were determined not by merit but by social standing; George's connection with the governor would have won him the position. On graduation he was given a job at the college "to read to ye Junior pupills as ye President shall see fit."12
THE CHRISTIAN NAME GEORGE WAS POPULAR in the Downing family, making it difficult to trace particular family lines. This George was somewhat spoilt by a doting mother and turned out to be a rather objectionable character. In 1645, when he was 22, he went to the West Indies as a clergyman and instructor of seamen. He came from a long line of clergymen: the first George Downing, his grandfather, lived at Eccles, in Suffolk. His uncle, also George Downing, after obtaining his BA and MA degrees from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1574 and 1577 respectively, became Master of Ipswich Grammar School from 1589 until his death in 1610. Another uncle (though there is some uncertainty about the relationship) was a graduate of Trinity and Queen's College, Cambridge, and became Rector of St Stephen's, Ipswich, and later of Layer Marney in Essex (from 1626 to 1646).
After his missionary work in the West Indies the notorious George Downing went back to England in 1646 and, after being an itinerant preacher for a short time, he became Chaplain to Colonel John Okey's regiment fighting the Stuarts in Scotland. (Okey was one of Cromwell's leading generals who played a major role in his victories at Naseby in 1645 and Dunbar in 1650.) He then became Cromwell's scoutmaster in Scotland (ie spymaster), and was soon made head of Cromwell's spying service. After Cromwell's victory he was given a senior position in the Exchequer. One of his junior assistants was Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist and later the founder of the modern English navy. Pepys worked with George Downing from 1658 or 1659 as a clerk on a salary of £50. Downing and Pepys were of two entirely different temperaments, one being a hypocritical Puritan and the other a frivolous lover of wine, women and song. Pepys began his Diary on January 1, 1660, when working in Downing's office. He did not have a very high opinion of Downing of whom he said: "He is so stingy a fellow I care not to see him; I quite cleared myself of his office, and did give him liberty to take any body in." (May. 1660). Downing was, in fact, a self-serving scoundrel who supported Cromwell servilely while it suited him but did not hesitate to become a turncoat in his own selfish interests after Cromwell died and it became clear that Charles II would be restored to the throne.
George Downing was a member of parliament under Cromwell, representing first Edinburgh and then Carlisle. Under the Commonwealth he held several posts: he was sent to Paris in 1655 to protest to Louis XIV about the massacre of the Waldensian protestants and was received with great civility and even flattery by Louis's powerful minister Cardinal Mazarin; his mission was successful in getting assurances for the future safety of French protestants, and relations between England and France began to improve considerably; though the French had more pressing reasons for seeking friendship with England, namely the need to cement an alliance against the expansion policies of Spain and later threats from the Nethgerlands. George was appointed Ambassador to Holland (at a time when relations with Holland were not good because of commercial rivalry, frequently breaking out into naval skirmishes). His credentials for the post were written out by none other than John Milton, who was Secretary to Cromwell's Council of State, the executive body of Cromwell's government. Milton described Downing as "a Person of eminent Quality, and after long trial of his Fidelity, Probity and Diligence, in several and various negotiations, well approved and valu'd by us. Him we have thought fitting to send to your Lordships, dignify'd with the Character of our Agent, and amply furnished with our instructions."13 Milton was totally blind from about 1652 and his official letters were dictated to an amanuensis; with regard to Downing's character he must have been doubly blind.
Downing had been a staunch supporter, like Colonel Okey, of the proposal to try and then execute Charles I and towards the end of the period of the Commonwealth he also took a prominent part in the campaign to offer the crown to Cromwell. One of his duties as Ambassador to Holland was to spy on Charles and James Stuart and their supporters in exile. Thus he got to know some of the inner workings and intrigues of the Stuart camp. He was in Holland when Cromwell died and the government of England under Cromwell's son Richard - Tumble Down Dick - degenerated into a situation of near anarchy. George Downing saw the writing on the wall and decided that it was time to cross over to the Royalist party. When Charles II visited the Hague in 1660, Downing got access to him in disguise, then immediately revealed who he was, fell on his knees and warned Charles that the Dutch were planning to arrest him and hand him over to the English. Charles was so grateful that when he was restored to his throne he knighted George Downing and gave him £1000 "as token of his favour".
Downing was not so successful in his diplomatic dealings with the Dutch, whose mercantile rivalry with England soon developed into all-out war. It took several years to defeat the Dutch navy which even at one point sailed up the Thames and set fire to England's finest warships at Chatham. It was after it became completely run-down that Pepys was given the task of building up the English navy, making it the strongest in Europe at least until the First World War.
Downing set out to ingratiate himself further with Charles II by betraying three of the regicides who were subsequently executed. What made this such a despicable act was that one of them was Colonel John Okey, whose regiment Downing had joined as Chaplain when he first returned from America as a young man. Pepys recorded in his Diary on March 12, 1662: "This morning we had news.....that Sir G Downing, like a perfidious rogue (though the action is good and of service to the King, yet he cannot with any conscience do it) hath taken Okey, Corbet and Barkstead at Delfe in Holland, and sent them home in the Blackmore. Sir W Pen,14 talking to me this afternoon of what a strange thing it is for Downing to do this, he told me of a speech he made to the Lords States of Holland, telling them to their faces that he observed that he was not received with the respect and observance now, that he was when he came from the traitor and rebel Cromwell; by whom, I am sure, he hath got all that he hath in the world - and they knew it too." Downing proved himself to be such a treacherous person that he was despised by both sides. Despite the fact that Charles regarded him with contempt - or perhaps because of this - he again appointed him as Ambassador to Holland and made him leader of a Customs Commission in 1671 to try to sort out some of the points of contention still rankling after the Treaty of Breda which ended the War with the Dutch in 1667. When Charles decided to send him again to Holland, one of the king's council said, "The rabble will tear him to pieces, ....the king smiled and said, "Well, I will venture him,"15 no doubt regarding him as more expendable than some others, since the Dutch were being difficult to deal with. They on their side were still conscious of Downing's earlier treachery and shocked by his perfidy to his former associates, and they expelled him.
When he got back to England he was put in the Tower for deserting his post. The king, of course, was playing with him to show his contempt, and had him released after two months. His political machinatons had not prevented Downing from amassing great wealth. This began with a very advantageous marriage in 1654 to Frances Howard, a member of one of the noblest families of England who were supporters of Cromwell. This family, of Howard Castle in Yorkshire, the Earls of Carlyle and later Dukes of Bedford, were said to be related to the original Howarth family who were neighbours of the Hamers at Rochdale. One of Frances Howard's brothers, Thomas Howard, went across to the continent to become a supporter of Charles the Pretender. Downing made use of him to gain favour with Charles, even stealing some of his secret papers from his mistress and using them to blackmail Howard into supporting his own nefarious plans. George Downing's wife is buried in Croydon Church, East Hatley, where there is a coat of arms in the porch quartered with the coat of arms of the Howards of Howarth.
After his marriage Downing bought Hampden House, a valuable mansion seized from the Crown by Cromwell and occupied by Cromwell’s aunt. When all Crown property sequestered by Cromwell and Parliament was restored to the king after the Restoration, Downing persuaded Charles to give him a 99 years lease of this property. He did not take possession until 1682 but in the meantime he set about leasing from the Collegiate Church of St Peter land adjoining Hampden House on which he built a number of semi-detached houses in a new street which he developed and called Downing Street. It was these properties which, almost a hundred years later, George II presented to Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister under the new system of government involving a cabinet of ministers, as residences for himself and senior ministers. Walpole accepted only on condition that the gift should not become his in perpetuity but should be passed on to his successors. Winston Churchill's complaint that No 10 Downing Street was gerry-built is testimony to Downing's stinginess that Pepys complained of. this stinginess extended even to his treatment of his mother in her old age. He refused to give her a substantial allowance and she complained: "more... Georg will not hear of for me: and that it is only covetousness that makes me ask for more. He last summer bought another town, near Hatley, called Clappum, cost him 13 or 14 thousand pound, and I really believe one of us two are indeed covetous... The good Lord help me to live by fayth and not by sence, while he please to afford me a life."16
When Charles II’s financial affairs got into a mess because of inefficiency and dishonesty in the Treasury, he appointed a Commission to reform matters. Downing became Secretary of this Commission.
SIR GEORGE DOWNING HAD AT LEAST THREE SONS - George, Charles and William - all of whom were educated at various colleges at Cambridge and became lawyers at the Inns of Temple, London. The eldest, George, established Downing College at Cambridge. The baronetcy created in 1663 became extinct in 1764. The name of Downing became a household word at Harvard in the nineteenth century when the law students called a person whose word could not be trusted "an arrant George Downing". George's total gift to Harvard University was £5, though substantial legacies were left to his old university by his descendants.
Pepys's low opinion of Sir George Downing was shared by another seventeenth century diarist John Evelyn who served with him on a Commission appointed by Charles II for regulating farming and the making of saltpetre. He recorded in his Diary on July 12, 1666: "We sat the first time in the Star Chamber. There was now added to our Commission Sir George Downing (one that had been great.... against His Majesty, but now insinuated into his favour; and, from a pedagogue and fanatic preacher, not worth a groat, had become excessively rich) to inspect the hospitals and treat about prisons." Such was our most notable ancestor in the Downing family.
WILLIAM CHENEY WAS KILLED on December 18, 1886, at the age of 64, when he met with an accident in a horse drawn cart on the Mildura Bridge across the Vale Creek at Georges Plains, about half a mile from home. According to a report in the Bathurst Times of December 21, 1886, he was returning from Bathurst at about two o'clock on the Saturday afternoon when the cart collided with a post on the bridge. Mildura Bridge was a low-level bridge in those days; perhaps the horse, sniffing the wind of home, went too fast as it descended the bank. William's skull was broken and he died about ten hours later. He had been a fairly enterprising person who had achieved worldly success far beyond what he could ever have aspired to back in Staffordshire. His sons and their descendants in many cases were also able to build on this. He had prepared his Will four years before: he left "Knutton" to his unmarried son John [WC7]; the farm at Evans Swamp, Barry, to George [WC1] and Alf [WC3]; two blocks of land in Hamilton Street, Bathurst (off Brilliant Street), to Prudence Hamer [WC4]; a cottage at Blayney to Letitia Fardell [WC5]; another cottage at Blayney to Rachel Potter [WC8]; as well as sums of money to Tom [WC2], Arthur [WC9] and Prudence [WC4]; with provision for his wife until her death. She died in 1903 of bronchitis and senile decay, aged 78.
The Cheney family motto is Prudentia Fato Major Est - "Prudence is Greater than Fate". Perhaps this accounts, not only for the success of various members of the Cheney family in business, including that of William Cheney, our original Australian ancestor, but also for the prevalence of the Christian name Prudence for daughters of the family for several generations. Perhaps also there is some reflection of family loyalty to Prudence in Pilgrim's Progress.
According to the Shipping Record, the eldest son George Cheney [WC1] was born at Nutpiece, probably meant to be Knutton, Staffordshire. He married Jane Drew whose father John Drew, a farm labourer on immigration in 1841, held the licence of the Golden Fleece Hotel on the corner of Keppel and Seymour Streets, Bathurst, where Tattersall's Hotel stands now, from 1850. They were married at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Bathurst, on September 21, 1864. Jane Drew was a sister of Tom Drew who married Becky Peacock [WP8]. John Drew, the father, fell into the well at the Golden Fleece Hotel and drowned on May 26, 1862, when he was 46 years of age. His wife later re-married a man called Brown. At the time of his marriage George Cheney could not read or write, for he marked his Marriage Certificate with a cross. If his mother had been a teacher, one would have expected that she would have taught her eldest son to read and write. He began his working life as a carrier, driving horse drawn trolleys across the Blue Mountains delivering goods from Sydney to western towns in NSW, one of the pioneers of this work. There is a story that when carrying loads that included consignments of whisky George and his offsiders often broached the jars and drank some of the whisky, making good the leeway with weak tea. At Mudgee in 1889 George's loaded waggon ran over his foot and cut off half of it. According to the Baptismal Register of the Parish of St John's, Georges Plains, in which his older children were baptised (but probably at Lagoon, where the same Register was used) he lived on the Rockley Road south of The Lagoon where he ran a small farm while also conducting his carrying business. Between 1879 and 1884 the Baptismal Register gives his address as Georges Plains The name of Clara Gertrude Ann Cheney [WP12], born July 8, 1868, was only the second entry in the Baptismal Register of the new Georges Plains Parish. The Lagoon would have been part of the Bathurst Parish prior to that. George and his brother Alfred [WC3] inherited their father's farm at Evans Swamp, Barry, but George could not have lived there before 1884 at least - perhaps not until after his father's death in 1886. Perhaps Alfred had run the Evans Swamp farm until then. Only George's youngest child, Sonny Cheney [WC1J], was born at Evans Swamp - in 1886. In view of the accident at Mudgee in 1889 it appears that George continued his carrying business after moving to Evans Swamp.
George's part of the farm at Evans Swamp went to his youngest son, Sonnie Cheney [WC1J], the only one born on the property, and it passed via his son Keith Cheney [WC1J3] to the present owner David Cheney [WC1J31]. In the process it was added to and given the name of "Willow Park".
Tony Cheney [WC1J51] was educated at Blayney Primary School, Bathurst High School and the Australian National University in Canberra, where he gained a law degree. He practised as a solicitor at first in Sydney and then moved to Orange. He was appointed to the Council of Kinross-Wolaroi School in Orange, where his two children attended.
Alfred Cheney's son Christy Cheney [WC36] took over his share when his father died. Alfred had married a widow, Matilda Fowler (nee Hetherington), who died at the age of 41 when Christy was born in 1895. Christy was reared by George and Jane Cheney; he married Emily Doulman, a member of the Doulman family who were amongst the early settlers at Rockley, where her grandparents had conducted the Rockley Inn for a short time, and also the Angel Inn for a couple of years, and then became farmers. Christy's eldest son, Ken Cheney [WC361], worked with his father on the family property, which they called "Osborneville", at Barry, and they also sharefarmed on Joe and Gordon Gordon's property at Moorilda and on Jack Donnelly's farm on the road from Barry to Blayney. They also rented a farm of 350 acres, called "Glen Lomond", adjoining "Osborneville", and this was where Ken lived after he married Ethel Chapman, of Barry, in 1937. During the Second World War, Ken worked at the Lithgow Small Arms factory as a machine operator making .303 rifles (the body section), so he and his family moved to live there in 1941. The .303 operation (or at least the body section of it) was moved to a new Munitions factory at Bathurst in 1942, and the family then moved there. Munitions workers worked twelve hour shifts, alternating between day and night shifts each week, so that production was continuous. In 1943 Ken was promoted to the position of cutter-grinder. Early in 1945, the manpower authorities decided that small arms production, which had been in desperate straits from 1941 to 1943 (when many soldiers either had no rifle or were issued with Boer War or First World War relics), had now caught up, and food production was more urgent, particularly in view of our commitment under the Lend-Lease agreement to feed American troops; so Ken was moved to Edgell's Cannery in Bathurst in 1945, where he was employed variously on the pea viner (since peas were harvested vines and all, and the pods were plucked and shelled by machine), or cutting asparagus on local farms, or working at Taylor's sawmill at Eglinton cutting pine board for cases to hold Edgell's canned products. When the War ended he stayed on in Bathurst and joined the Railways, starting as a cleaner at the Locomotive Depot, until appointed Acting Fireman, and then Fireman, on steam engines travelling to Lithgow, Cowra, Molong and Orange. In 1947 he was transferred to Lithgow, travelling to Enfield, Eveleigh, Oberon, Mudgee and Bathurst. He qualified as a driver of steam, diesel and electric engines by 1953. He retired in 1979, after 33 years as an engine driver, and worked as a taxi driver in Lithgow for ten years.
Ken's grandson Graham (Spike) Cheney [WC36134], son of Bruce Cheney, who also lives at Lithgow, has achieved considerable fame as a light middleweight and welterweight boxer. He started at the age of fourteen, following in the footsteps of his older brother Christopher Cheney [WC36131] and his uncle Max Cheney [WC3612], who both had brief amateur boxing careers. Spike was NSW amateur champion in the light welterweight and welterweight division from 1985 to 1990 and Australian champion in 1987, 1988 and 1990. (He did not compete in 1989). He was Oceania champion from 1987 to 1990; he represented Australia in twenty one international tournaments, boxing in Thailand, Indonesia, Canada, South Korea, Morocco, Russia, Ireland, China, New Zealand, England and the United States, as well as several countries in the Pacific islands, winning ten gold medals, two silver and five bronze medals. He was the first Australian to win a gold medal in the President's Cup competition in Indonesia (Jakarta 1987). He won a Silver medal in the Seoul Olympics in 1988, being only the second Australian boxer to contest Olympic Games finals. (The first was Snowy Baker in 1908; no Australian has ever won a gold medal in Olympic boxing). Spike was beaten by a Russian, Vyatcheslav Yanovski, whom he beat four months later in a match at Homebush Stadium. Because Cuba did not compete at Seoul, a Post-Olympic contest was held in Morocco in 1989, when Spike won the gold medal. In that year also he won a gold medal in the King's Cup competition in Bangkok; he won a gold medal at Taipei in 1990, and a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games at Auckland in 1990. As an amateur he boxed 197 times, winning 185 of these matches. Despite the fact that Spike enjoyed a number of sponsorships, these were inadequate to meet his costs and he therefore turned professional in 1991. In that year he won the NSW light middleweight and Australian welterweight titles. In 1992 he fought in the main supporting bout against world-rated boxer Alberto Corteaz at the Fenech-Nelson fight before a crowd of 45000 at Princes Park, Melbourne, winning on points. In 1992 also he won the World Boxing Council International welterweight belt, beating Argentinian Hector Vilte at Darling Harbour. He defended this title in 1993 at Bethnal Green, in London, and in 1994 in Michigan, USA. He has successfully defended his Australian professional welterweight title four times at Coolangatta, Melbourne and Sydney. He is currently the Australian and World Boxing Council international welterweight champion and Pan-Pacific light middleweight champion. Since turning professional he has had sixteen wins out of eighteen fights, including twelve knockouts.
Spike's parents, Bruce and Carol Cheney had a thrilling experience at the Commonwealth Games at Auckland in 1990. They had taken in a Papuan-New Guinean boxer named Abel Adeu to live with them at Lithgow for three months so that he could train with Spike. When they arrived at the stadium on the final night of the boxing competition the Papuan-New Guinean team gave them an ovation as they entered, calling out "Mum" and "Dad". As they neared their seats close to the ring the whole crowd of 8000 - 9000 people joined in and gave them a standing ovation.
Two other descendants of Christy Cheney are making their marks in their chosen profession. Matthew Bird [WC36611] studied to become a chef and hospitality manager and in the process won the Award for the Orana Regional Work Skills competition in 1992 and the Gold Medal for Chefs in the national titles in 1993, when he was also Apprentice of the Year for the Central Western region of NSW and a finalist in the NSW Training Awards competition. He was also selected as Blayney's Young Citizen of the Year on Australia Day, 1995. His brother Jeremy Bird [WC36612] is studying to be a Mechanical Engineer at Orange TAFE College.
Alfred Cheney's daughter Violet [WC33] married George Kable who also had a share in the farm at one stage. George's ancestor Henry Kable (also spelt Cabell) had come out as a convict in the First Fleet on the Friendship, the same ship that carried Elizabeth Powley, the progenitor of the Shute family,17 and had known her in Norwich Gaol. He was sentenced in Norwich for housebreaking; his father had been arrested with him and, at the age of seventeen, he witnessed the public hanging of his father outside the prison. It is said that Henry Kable was one of the first ashore at Sydney Cove, given the responsibility of carrying Governor Phillip himself to keep the Governor's legs dry. He was appointed a convict overseer in Sydney and regarded as a very reliable person; despite the fact that having been given the run of the ship on the way out he was found, with another convict, to have been stealing wood and beef, no doubt to supplement their meagre rations.18 He was selected by Lieutenant Ralph Clark to play the leading role in the first play produced in Australia, The Recruiting Officer, by George Farquhar, on June 4, 1789. He was given certain privileges as a convict because of his role as an overseer, including being allowed to live on the eastern side of the Tank Stream where the officers lived. He went on to become a very successful businessman in NSW. He began in the rum trade and then ran a packet boat and a coaching business between Sydney and Parramatta and the Hawkesbury. He formed a partnership with two other emancipists, Simeon Lord and James Underwood, in a very successful sealing and whaling enterprise, also trading in sandalwood with India and China. As one of the ten convicts who helped Cox build the road over the Blue Mountains he was rewarded with a grant of land at Bathurst. He raised a family of ten children and lived to the age of 84. His son George Kable ran a hotel at Gorman's Hill, where he also started Bathurst's first stock saleyards.19
TOM CHENEY [WC2] BORN IN MANCHESTER, bought land between Perth and Georges Plains on the eastern side of the Vale Creek adjoining the northern boundary of his father's property at "Knutton". His holdings were in two parts: the southernmost portion, called "Gestingthorpe", was originally owned by A J Pechey; and the property north of this, opposite Hamer's, where the Swamp Creek ran into the Vale Creek, he called "Cheston". He also bought "Shiraz", just across the Rockley Road, from C W Croaker. "Cheston" had been owned by Jacob Barnes who owned a lot of land in Queen Charlotte's Vale. A J Pechey was a nephew of Henry Rotton, the Bathurst bank manager who bought "Blackdown" at Kelso (originally granted to Thomas Hawkins), and whose daughter had married Henry Keightley of Dunn's Plains. Pechey was present when Ben Hall's gang held up Keightley's place and rode into Bathurst with his cousin to collect the ransom money from her father after Burke was killed. Pechey was killed years later when his horses bolted and overturned his buggy in Bentinck Street, Bathurst. Tom Cheney later sold "Gestingthorpe" to Harry Bestwick whose daughter Hilder married Clem Hill [AH415] and whose son Ted married Reta Hamer [WC475] and lived there for many years, together with his brother Cecil and his family. The house, in two sections, one of basalt and the other of brick, was large enough to accommodate two families very comfortably. Harry Bestwick's father, William Bestwick, had had a farm on the Campbell's River where the Chifley Dam is now, and therefore must have been a neighbour of William Peacock and the Shutes.20 The ruins of his house can still be seen on an island in the middle of the dam. Unfortunately, he became bankrupt in 1879. The farm on the Campbell's River comprised 69 acres, of which 30 acres were farmed by his son Harry.21 In the 1930s, Tom Cheney sold "Cheston" and "Shiraz" to the Bestwick family as well and moved to South Bathurst where he built a brick cottage on exactly the same design as "Cheston" opposite where his father had kept the hotel in Bent Street.
This was perhaps an indication of his stinginess for which, like his ancestor George Downing, he had a reputation. Stories were told by his nieces and nephews in the Hamer family who lived just across the creek that illustrate this aspect of his character. Whenever the relatives paid an unexpected visit, Tom would express the hope that they had had dinner, since otherwise they would be hungry before they got home. Like the phrase about "arrant George Downing" amongst the Harvard students, this became a by-word among the Cheney relatives: "You'll be hungry before you get home!". One of the Fardell nieces was reduced to tears on an occasion when she was actually invited to stay for dinner, and, being particularly fond of tripe, she left it on the side of her plate to eat last, but before she could savour it Uncle Tom snatched it from her plate with a fork and put it back in the meat safe with the words: "I see you're not going to eat your tripe, Dolly. We'll put it away for tomorrow." "I see you're not going to eat your tripe, Dolly" also became a standing joke. Tom had the reputation for lending out money at exorbitant interest, even to his brother-in-law Ellis Hamer [WC4] across the creek. After Ellis died, his son Art negotiated a loan from the bank at a much reduced interest rate to pay out the loan to his Uncle Tom. Whenever Tom Cheney turned up in his beautifully varnished sulky at the Methodist Church - his wife must have been Methodist - which was only about once a year, he always created a stir amongst the children by putting ten shillings on the plate. This proved to be not so much a wonder when wiser adults pointed out that those who attended weekly and put threepence or sixpence in the collection each week were in fact contributing much more than Tom Cheney was. Tom married Mary Treneman but they had no children except an adopted son who died young. After Mary died, Tom's niece Martha Fardell [WC57] acted as housekeeper for him. He left most of his money to her in gratitude, but with the proviso that she must not marry before he died. She had married secretly and the court waived this condition.
THOMAS AND JANE FARDELL and son John and daughter Ann came out on the General Hewitt with William and Mary Cheney in 1848 and settled at Kelso and the families remained close friends. Letitia Cheney [WC5] married George Fardell and they lived most of their lives on a farm at Lewis Ponds, between Bathurst and Orange. Late in life they retired to a house in Seymour Street, Bathurst. Several of their descendants live around Bathurst and Orange.
RACHEL CHENEY [WC8] MARRIED GEORGE POTTER, who worked on the Railways. She was born in 1860, and went to school at St Joseph's Convent, Perth. This school was established in 1871, only two years before the Perth Public School was opened virtually alongside it but, since Rachel was already ten years of age, her parents would have been keen not to delay her schooling. A non-vested school operated for a short time probably in the Vale Road Wesleyan Church in 1865, but Rachel would have been too young to attend school at that time. The nuns at St Joseph's still have a sampler embroidered by Rachel which has worked on it: "Rachel Cheney aged ten years."
WILL CHENEY [WC6] BECAME A BLACKSMITH and coachbuilder as well as being a farmer. He began his operations in Bathurst but moved to Walli, near Mandurama, then to Manildra, and later he retired to Sydney. He taught his brother Arthur [WC9] who then set up a blacksmith's shop and coachbuilding works in Parkes. Will and Mary had no children of their own, and adopted three children. Wesley [WC63] was born Wesley Willis at Berry, on the NSW south coast. His mother was Emma Granger, the sister of Will Cheney's wife, Mary Granger. The Willis family were bakers and, because Wes was born with a hare lip and cleft palate, he needed a lot of care as a baby which his mother found difficult to give him because of her very busy life in the bakery, so her sister Mary Cheney took on the care of him and he eventually was regarded as one of Will and Mary Cheney's family. Wes lived with the Cheneys on their farm at Walli until it was sold when he was eight years of age and they moved to another farm, called "Redbank", about eight miles out of Manildra, but lived in the town where Wes went to school. The family moved to Canterbury in 1913, where Will lived off rents from properties that he had bought. Wes spent two years back at Manildra working first on farms owned by the Murray brothers. During this period he rode a horse named "Phyllis" to deliver another horse named "Chester", which he led, which he sold to Tom Cheney [WC2] at Perthville. He was so saddle-sore from the journey that he could scarcely walk for three days. He then went back to Sydney for a few years and was apprenticed to a cabinet maker and worked for his uncle Joe Jarvis in a furniture factory on the corner of Pitt and Hay Streets, in Sydney. He worked for the Willis family bakery for a while and then returned to Manildra to work for Gus Bradley for two years. In 1924 Will Cheney financed the purchase of a farm for Wes, called "Velvedere", seven miles out of Parkes on the Condoblin Road. He married Mildred Cooper from an adjoining property and, except for the years 1929 and 1930, Wes and Mildred lived on "Velvedere" until Wes died in 1984. His wife Mildred died in 1995. Wes was a very keen cricketer, being an active player and umpire, and played a leading role in cricket administration as President and selector for the Parkes District Cricket Association and the Central Western District Association. In recognition of his services to cricket a Cheney Pavilion was built in Woodward Park at Parkes and, on the occasion of the opening, New South Wales selector and former Test cricketer Jack Chegwyn brought a hand-picked team comprised largely of former Australian players, captained by Richie Benaud, to play a game against a local XI. A further honour was bestowed on Wes (and another local stalwart) when the Parkes Municipal Council named the local playing area the Middleton-Cheney Park. Will and Mary Cheney's older adopted daughter, Ada Watson, known as Ada Cheney [WC61] married Mark Willis, the younger brother of Wes's biological father.
ARTHUR CHENEY'S COACHBUILDING BUSINESS flourished in Parkes. At first he rented premises but, in 1895, he moved to the corner of Bogan and Church Streets. Like his brother Will he specialised in making farm implements (including hand-beaten harrows), sulkies, buggies, drays and waggons. The original premises on the north western site were built of slabs and were partly destroyed by fire in 1905. Arthur's son, Reg Cheney [WC91], began to work with his father in 1911 as a coachbuilder and blacksmith. A local farmer named Leslie Miller, a descendant of Jacob Muller, a German migrant, who came to Australia in 1857 and settled at The Lagoon and later moved to Meranburn (Manildra), married Reg's sister, Lillian Cheney [WC92], in 1919. The Muller family anglicised their name to Miller. Leslie was the son of Jacob Muller's eldest son and his wife, who was the daughter of Jacob Barnes, who had bought part of the Wardell estate and other land throughout the district.22 In 1923, Leslie and Lillian Miller left the farm and joined the Cheney business, which by now had become a garage and service station, since motor cars and lorries were largely displacing sulkies, buggies and waggons. They had the Oldsmobile agency from 1925 and the General Motors agency to sell Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Vauxhall and Buick cars. Reg's sons, Ralph [WC911] and Dudley [WC912] joined the firm in 1936 and 1937 respectively, starting as motor trade apprentices. During the Second World War the firm of Miller and Cheney carried out Army and RAAF maintenance contracts. Several members of the family served in the military forces. Blacksmithing was discontinued in 1950. Les Miller's and Lily Cheney's son Ken Miller [WC923] joined the firm as Secretary in 1951. He participated in several Round Australia Car Reliability Trials. A new and used car display yard was developed on the opposite corner in 1958. The firm is the local NRMA representative, covering the districts of Parkes, Peak Hill, Tomingley, Baldry, Bumberry, Cookamidgera, Heinzell's Hill, Gunningbland and Bogan Gate. Reg Cheney's son Noel Cheney [WC9115] married Veronica Shute [WP5222], a descendant of Charlotte Peacock and George Shute. Cheney Road and Cheney Park, in Parkes, are named after this branch of the family. When Arthur Cheney retired from the firm he took up beekeeping and won prizes at western Shows for his honey as he had done with his sulkies and waggons. He was a devoted member of the Parkes Methodist Church and an enthusiastic member of the church choir for over forty years. He was also a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows.
SONNIE CHENEY [WC1J] WAS A COUNCILLOR of the Lyndhurst Shire Council from 1925 to 1937, and a member of the Committee and President for many years of the Blayney Agricultural and Pastoral Association which ran the annual Blayney Show. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Blayney District Hospital for over 27 years; he was Vice Chairman for twenty years from 1938, except for the period from 1950 to 1954 when he was Chairman. In 1960 he was responsible for the publication of a booklet to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the hospital.
Two of George Cheney's sons married sisters: William Cheney [WC11] married Sarah Wallace; and Tom Cheney [WC14] married Hannah Wallace. Two of his daughters married brothers: Clara Cheney [WC12] married James Gleadhill; and Minnie Cheney [WC18] married John Gleadhill. William Cheney's and Sarah Wallace's son Horace Cheney [WC111] was born at Walli and went to school at Osborne, now called Moorilda. He was a good footballer and represented the Blayney district. At the age of nineteen he lost his left arm just below the elbow in an accident with a chaffcutter. He was working on his uncle Jack Gleadhill's chaffcutter at Billy Hamer's [MH9] property at Newbridge at the time. Knowing that railwaymen were given first aid training the men working with him ran and stopped a passing train and the enginedriver staunched the bleeding by binding a two-shilling piece tightly on the severed artery and Horace was taken to Blayney hospital. After marriage to Lily Cole at Sofala he built his house of rammed earth at Barry with the help of friends. During the depression of the 1930s he was able to get work only each alternative fortnight on the construction of the Wyangla Dam on the Lachlan River not far from Cowra. During the Second World War he could not be accepted for military service because of the loss of his arm, and so he worked with the Commonwealth Construction Company, first at Cairns and then at St Mary's. After the War he worked as a parking attendant for the Sydney Truth and Sportsman in Hunter Street, Sydney, and lived with his family at McMahon's Point, and later in Keele Street, Crow's Nest. Late in life he also lost several fingers on his remaining hand in an accident with an electric plane. His wife worked for over 58 years for the Red Cross, the Church and other community service activities and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1980.
HAROLD CHENEY [WC114] WAS ONLY FOURTEEN when his father died. A few years later he bought a house in Narromine where he lived with his mother and worked on the Railways. After his marriage he moved to Thirroul and later to Bargo. His brother Roy Cheney [WC112] during his early life travelled around the western districts of NSW in a sulky getting employment where he could. He finally got a permanent job on the Railways and settled first in Parkes, but was then transferred to Strathfield. He was there only a short time when he was accidentally killed by a train. Topsy Cheney [WC113] was a nurse at Strathmore Private Hospital in Bathurst until her marriage to Joe Smart. After Joe returned from service in the First World War they took up a Soldier's Settlement farm at Young where they produced dried prunes.They later moved to Orange where they had an orchard and then to Sydney where, after her husband died, Topsy conducted a boarding house. Dorrie Cheney [WC115] married Bill Smith, who ran a taxi service at Peak Hill. During the Second World War they moved to Sydney and Bill worked with the Commonwealth Construction Company at St Mary's. Cyril Cheney [WC116] worked for farmers in the central west until establishing a dairy farm of his own which one of his sons still runs.
ERIC CHENEY [WC131], SON OF George Cheney Junior and Jane Paynter, was born at Barry and educated at Bathurst High School. He enlisted in the Light Horse Brigade of the AIF in the First World War as soon as he turned eighteen and was immediately sent to Egypt. He was seriously ill with enteric fever for some time and, on leaving hospital, he was transferred to the Camel Corps. In a charge against the Turks at Amman in Palestine on March 30, 1918, his unit was subjected to fierce bombardment in which Eric was killed. No trace of his body was found. His aunt Clara Gleadhill [WC12] was in charge of the Barry Post Office when the telegram came through to inform Eric's parents that he was Missing in Action. She went with her sister Ada Hildebrandt (WC16] to break the news to them. When a further telegram arrived to confirm that Eric was killed in action the local Minister delivered it. Eric's friends erected a monument to his memory at the Moorilda Church where many of the Cheneys worshipped and are buried. The church is no longer in use and is in a sad state of disrepair.
IRIS CHENEY [WC1111] WAS BORN AT "Morris Vale", near Blayney, and went to school at Barry. She married Beau McAndrew who served in the Army in the Second World War. After the War they lived at Bathurst but moved to Guilford, in Sydney, in 1955. After her husband's death Iris retired to Ashcroft, near Liverpool.23 Iris suffered impaired hearing from adolescence and became profoundly deaf at the age of thirty. Her sister Daphne Cheney [WC1112], after early schooling at Barry, worked first in Barry and then in Heath's Cafe in Bathurst. During the Second World War she worked at the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow, where her uncle Ken Cheney [WC361] also worked for a time. After marriage to Alf Archer they made their home in Stewart Street, Bathurst, and moved to Dee Why in 1970. Daphne then worked for ten years at McDowell's department store in Sydney and Alf was manager of one of Woolworth's stores. Bill Cheney [WC1113] was educated at Barry Public School and then went to Sydney and worked for the Kalamazoo Business Organisation in North Sydney. After marrying Paula Butler at Mudgee in 1954 he worked for Casben, makers of swimming costumes at Greenacre, near Bankstown, where they established their home. They had a small farm at Kelso for five years from 1959 to 1964 and then returned to Sydney. Paula worked for the Royal North Shore Hospital at St Leonard's for ten years. Bill suffered from epilepsy from the age of thirty and was not able to work. In 1982 they retired to Killarney Vale. Oscar Cheney [WC1114] suffered chronic ill-health as a child and spent many years in hospital in Blayney and Sydney. He began his working career at Kalamazoo Business Organisations at Turramurra. In 1961 he bought Wynwood House Nursing Home at Wahroonga which he re-built and sold in 1963 and then built a shopping centre at Waitara. He sold this in 1984 and retired to his farm near Maitland. His son Neil Cheney [WC11141] went to school at Barker College, Hornsby, and then went to Wollongong University. Oscar's daughter Nola Cheney [WC11142] went to school at Abbotsleigh, Wahroonga.
TED CHENEY [WC1121], SON OF ROY AND MOLLY CHENEY of Forbes (later Parkes), joined the RAAF in 1947 and served as a navigator in Malaya where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), the only one awarded in the Malayan emergency in 1952 - 1953. He flew through and tracked atomic clouds during Operation Emu in South Australia in 1953 after attaining commissioned rank. He performed a similar task during the Monte Bello atomic explosions off the coast of Western Australia in 1956. After serving ten years in the RAAF he entered real estate with the firm of Alfred Grant Pty Ltd and managed the Canal Estates on the Gold Coast in Queensland. After that he managed a concrete block factory and then bought a mixed business at Mermaid Beach, Queensland, which he conducted for eight years. He subsequently worked as a postal officer for Australia Post.
 Sir John Byron of Rochdale also fought on Bosworth Field. (See Hamer Family).
2 Anna of the Five Towns (Methuen edition, pp 19-20) Originally published 1902.
3 Ibid. pp 74-5.
4 Or socman; a freeman; some shires were divided into sokes or wards..
5 Described by A J Taylor in M W Greenslade and J G Jenkins’s book, A History of the County of Stafford, Vol II, 1967, p 94.
6 See p 77.
7 Information about the Downing family is from Dinah Arnold [GD2121] and Marcia Seymour [GD4421].
8 Sir Joseph Cook, Prime Minister of Australia in 1913 and 1914, was born in Silverdale in 1860.
9 The name on this map is difficult to read; it may, in fact, be Downey.
10 Police File AN430/5/1/1218/1897 and Mines Department File 964/AN350/2987/1897, in the State Archives, Battye Libary, Perth
11 Downings of Europe and America Vol 2, by HMC Gregarth (Gregarth Publishing Co, Cullman, Alabama) n d .
12 Quoted in No 10 Downing Street - The Story of a House, by Christopher Jones, BBC, London, 1985.
14 The founder of Pennsylvania.
17 See p. 110-111.
18 The Journal and Letters of Lt Ralph Clark 1787 - 1792, Australian Documentary Library. Entry for Dec 23, 1787.
19 June Whittaker has written a (very poor) novel based on the life of Henry Kable, called Raking the Embers. Thomas Keneally has written an excellent novel about the staging of the first play in Sydney, called The Playmaker. See Holden R: Orphans of History; the Forgotten Children of the First Fleet, Text Publishing, 2000, for an account of the transportation of Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes and their infant son.
20 See map at the front of the book.
21 Bathurst Times, May 17, 1879.
22 See pp 50, 117, 192.
23 Named after the ancestors of Clive Hamer's wife, Joan Ashcroft [WC478] who had a farm there.