In the main the first representatives of our families arrived in Australia and in most cases, Port Phillip (now Victoria), during the years 1845 through 1855.
A mix of assisted and unassisted migrants, from England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany; some escaping famine and/or persecution and seeking a better life for their families, others were simply seeking adventure a trait which continues to this day.
The various family trees demonstrate the courage and stoicism of our women, the bravery and determination of our men and the ingeniousness and patriotism of their many, many children.
It is hard to determine which of my family immigrant ancestors arrived in Australia first, records show that Christian Diedrich and Elisabeth Mahine arrived in 1856, Oliver Devlin in 1860, John Molloy and his wife Margaret where married in Ireland in 1853 but their first child, Mary, was born (and died) in Melbourne in 1855, an exact arrival date for them is yet to be discovered; and Thomas Kersley and Bridget Buckley may have arrived on the same ship, the British Queen, in May, 1853.
However in Stevenson McGilchrist’s book he writes: “William Robertson, his wife Marion (nee McGilchrist) and their 6 children left the Port of Leith (Edinburgh) in the Sailing Ship Thomas of London in February, 1833: Sydney being their destination. After sailing for six months and nineteen days, Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land was sighted, but unfortunately, after having braved the elements successfully, a fire broke out in the vessel and the Captain ran her aground on the sands, all on board escaping with their lives and most of their belongings.”
Joseph Browning Mummery is thought to have arrived in NSW in 1849 though this is still to be confirmed.
There are still many branches to be researched particularly for spouses and their families, yet at this stage it would seem, that William Robertson, my great, great, great, great grandfather carries the honour of being the first to arrive.
From all the four winds........
.... and nary a scallywag among 'em.
Queens Wharf, Melbourne
They came for many reasons – to join their fathers, brothers, husbands or wives who had been transported, some to know the freedom of a land where there was no class system and ownership of a home or land was the result of hard work, not privilege. They were escaping poverty, hardship and often persecution; and alongside the convicts, they became the workforce which created modern Australia and turned a number of autonomous colonies into a nation. They were adventurous, forward thinking, hard working and ambitious, they were all migrants and we owe them their place in history.