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THE HISTORY OF THE WOODHOUSE/ROSE FAMILY IN AUSTRALIA

This document formed the basis of the talk given by Robert Jones at the Rose Family Re-Union on Saturday 22nd May 1999. 

This story commences with the arrival in Australia of Susannah Ballard in 1792. Susannah was a 14 year old convict who arrived on the “Royal Admiral”, part of the Fourth Fleet.

Little is known of Susannah.  In 1794 she gave birth to a son David, the son of John Asksmith. I’ve not yet been able to find any other reference to either father or son. 

In 1794, the HMS “Supply”, which was part of the First Fleet, returned to England for supplies.  James Aickin made the return voyage to Australia as the Master’s Mate. Records show that he was 35 years old.

In 1796 James and Susannah had a daughter Elizabeth and while the records indicate that James and Susannah lived together until James’ death in 1807, there is no record that they ever married. 

James lived a short but very eventful life in the Colony.  For the first few years, he remained on the “Supply” plying the NSW Coast, mainly between Sydney Cove and Norfolk Island.  By 1800, he had been appointed the Master of the Colonial Schooner the “Francis” in which he continued the work he had done on the “Supply”. His most famous voyage was to Wreck Reef in 1804 to rescue Matthew Flinders and the crew of the “Porpoise” and “Cato” 

Just months later, he threw in his government job and went into partnership with the merchant Simeon Lord.  Over the next three years, he opened up trade in beche de mer and sandlewood between Feejee and China, despite the determined opposition of the Governor of the Colony at the time, Phillip Gidley King. 

James’s adventures took their toll on his health.  By 1807, he was ravaged with scurvy and hepatitis and he died  on 24th November 1807 at Sydney Cove, a wealthy but broken man, 47 years old. 

He left three quarters of his wealth to Elizabeth and the remaining quarter to her mother Susannah. 

Susannah survived James for many years. In 1826, she married Robert Whenman, a bricklayer and former convict who had arrived in Colony on the “Dick” in 1822.  She died in 1834, aged 54.  Whenman died in 1847, aged 75. 

Meanwhile, Elizabeth, who had lost her father when she was 11 years old, had inherited a substantial estate and just four years later at the end of 1811, aged 15 years, she married George Marriot Woodhouse. It’s interesting to note that Reuben Uther was a witness at this marriage. 

George Marriot Woodhouse had arrived in Sydney Cove just two years earlier in December 1809 on the “Dromoderry” as part of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s entourage which included the new Judge advocate, Ellis Bent. George had been engaged by Bent to be his chief clerk and was 21 years old.  

Just prior to marrying Elizabeth, George had a dalliance with a Mary Talmage.  This produced a son, named after him, in 1812. The child died in infancy. 

By 1816, G. M. Woodhouse had left the Government service and he and Elizabeth had either been granted or purchased the property “Schuldum Farm” adjacent to and north of Mount Gilead. It would appear that the first four of their five children were born on this property. 

From 1816 to 1827 George and Elizabeth added to their land holdings both south of and to the north east of Mount Gilead.  In addition, they had applied for a land grant at Burryong, near Gunning. A notice in the Sydney Gazette early in 1818 indicates that in 1818 Woodhouse was renting Mount Gilead from Thomas Rose. It appears that the Woodhouses increased their landholdings at the same time Thomas Rose was increasing his and one can only speculate as to any rivalry that may have existed between the two men.  

Sometime after 1823, the Woodhouses moved from Schuldum Farm to another of their properties located on the eastern side of the Appin Road. They built a home there and their last child was born at the new home in December 1826.    

It’s interesting to note that the Woodhouses had an association with the Hume family, to the extent that they named their fourth child, born in 1823, Edmund Hume Woodhouse.  This association takes on new meaning later in this story. 

George Marriot and Elizabeth separated in 1827.  As part of the settlement, Elizabeth retained all the properties and homes in the Appin area and George was left with the unfinalised land grants at Burryong.  History records that George moved to Burryong, where he built himself a hut and where he remained for the rest of his life.  Old notes from family records indicate that George Marriot Woodhouse died at Burryong in 1869, however there are no official records of his death. 

Although Thomas Rose had been a property owner in the Appin area for some years prior to 1827, he didn’t move permanently to Mount Gilead until after his wife Elizabeth died in 1826. 

A situation then existed where Thomas Rose, a 50 year old widower with six children aged between 19 and 6 was living some two miles from Elizabeth Woodhouse, a 31 year old “widow” ( as she described herself in the 1828 Census ) with five children aged between 11 and 2.  One can easily imagine that Thomas and Elizabeth had a lot in common.  Both were landowners, comparatively wealthy and single parents with large young families. 

Thomas Rose had a protracted affair with Elizabeth Woodhouse, resulting in the births of two children, Ellen, born on 25th December 1828 and Cyprian Walter, born on 17th December 1829.  In the meantime Thomas Rose married Sarah Pye on 21st September 1829. 

On 16th January 1829, a 14 year old Irish Convict boy, Maurice Drinan arrived in Sydney Cove on the “Governor Ready” and was immediately assigned to one Joseph Edwards of Menangle. 

Ellen and Cyprian would have been raised by Elizabeth in the Woodhouse home. They weren’t much younger than their half brothers and sisters. It’s also quite possible that Thomas Rose had little if any contact with either Elizabeth or his two children by her from September 1829 onwards. 

Cyprian was baptised in the rites of the Catholic Church on 16th September 1830, followed by Ellen on 15th March 1831, both by Father John Therry. 

Father J. J. Therry was a very interesting person himself.  Earlier in the history of the Colony, the few catholic priests in Australia had been expelled from the country for fear of them exciting the Irish convicts to seditious behavior.  Father Therry had been allowed to return some years later and was in fact the first catholic priest officially allowed to minister to the catholics in the Colony. 

Father Therry was unorthodox in his ways and had created some nervousness with both the colonial administration and his own church authorities.  How he came to baptise two illegitimate children from a union between two protestants will probably remain unanswered. 

We know that Ellen could neither read nor write and can only assume that she never went to school. Life was probably fairly normal for both children until their mother became ill and died in 1843, by which time both children were teenagers. 

To understand the next phase of Cyprian’s and Ellen’s life, we need to go back to George Marriot Woodhouse and his banishment to Burryong in 1827.   

In 1827, the Gunning and Yass areas of NSW had not yet been opened up and populated. The area was totally isolated and a long way from Appin.  To give an idea of the isolation, a trip from Sydney Cove to Appin took two days with an overnight stay at Liverpool and bullock team made 12 miles a day in good conditions. 

The years between 1830 and 1840 were years of drought and conditions in both Appin and Gunning were tough.  Apart from the harsh weather conditions, colonialists were constantly living in fear of both bushrangers and aboriginals. G. M. Woodhouse wasn’t the only landowner in the Gunning area. Hamilton Hume and his brother John Kennedy Hume had taken up grants in the area. John Kennedy Hume owned “Collingwood”  at Fish River. By 1940, John and Elizabeth Hume had established this property and had raised a large family. 

In 1841, the Whitton gang were running rampant in the Yass and Gunning areas.  They raided the Woodhouse farm and then moved into Gunning where they holed up at the Inn of Red John Cooper.  Although Cooper was a licensed publican, he was a man of questionable character and probably an associate of the Whitton gang.  Word got around the area of the situation and a number of people sought refuge at “Collingwood” despite the fear that the gang might follow them there. 

John Kennedy Hume, and his brother Francis Rawdon Hume, who was visiting “Collingewood”, together with others went to Coopers Inn to prepare to stave off an attack on “Collingwood” not realising the Whitton gang were inside. A gun battle ensued and John was shot dead in front of his brother. 

Elizabeth Hume didn’t remain at “Collingwood” for long after John’s death, preferring to move to Yarrawonga where she established a new property and home for her family.  The remaining Hume family were left look after “Collingwood” which probably remained abandoned until 1846. 

In the book of the Hume family history “Beyond the Borders” it’s noted that “Collingwood” was tenanted from 1846 until the 1870’s, however no details of the tenant are included.  

Maurice Drinan, the Irish convict boy, mentioned earlier, remained in the service of Joseph Edwards of Menangle for seventeen years from 1829 to 1846.  In 1846, three important events occurred in his life. He was given his Conditional Pardon, he married Ellen Rose and he moved to “Collingwood”. 

These events of 1846 tie together in an interesting way.   

In 1846, Maurice was 31 years old and had spent more time in Menangle than he had in Ireland.  Records show that he had worked at least since 1837 with another Irish Convict by the name of James McGrath who was 10 years older than him.  James was a witness to Maurice & Ellen’s wedding  at St. John’s Church in Campbelltown on 15th May 1846 and could have well been a father figure to Maurice, including keeping Maurice faithful to his catholic heritage.  

Maurice’s  petition for Pardon was No 45 of 1846 and it was supported by some fairly high profile people.  Firstly, there was Joseph Edwards, his Master for the past seventeen years. There was H. B. Morgan, the husband of Ellen’s half sister Mary Woodhouse. Another was Robert Jenkins JP whose wife Jemima was the owner of the property “Eaglevale”, also John Prendergast  (significance unknown) and finally, Francis Rawdon Hume. 

It’s possible that Maurice and Ellen’s marriage was an arranged one at least to some extent. Perhaps the Hume family had negotiated with Maurice to have him relocate to “Collingwood” as the Tenant and then everyone assisted Maurice to obtain a pardon and a wife to take with him. The 1873-1874 Electoral Roll lists Maurice as living at Fish River on a leasehold, which tends to confirm that he leased the Hume property. It’s also possible that Cyprian, who by now was 17 years old, went with them, together with other people needed to re-establish “Collingwood” 

Notwithstanding the speculation above, Maurice and Ellen Drinan lived at “Collingwood” from 1846 until at least 1871, evidenced by the addresses shown on all their childrens baptismal records. 

Maurice and Ellen had a total of twelve children from 1847 till 1871. Of those children, ten reached adulthood, nine married and eight had children. To date, I know very little about their lives at Fish River and there’s a lot of research still to be done on this part of their lives. 

Meanwhile, Cyprian, who appeared to have been known since childhood  as Seaphram (and sometimes Walter), married Elizabeth, the daughter of Red John Cooper, the Innkeeper mentioned earlier, at Gunning on 1st August 1853. 

Elizabeth was a widow. She had married Francis Lawliss in 1845 and they had a young family when Francis died in 1852, aged 35 years.  Seaphram and Elizabeth  had a further three children between 1854 and 1860.  On 14th April 1861, Seaphram died from exposure at Razorback, Picton, presumably while travelling from Gunning to Appin.  There is some evidence that he had his 5 month old daughter with him and that she also perished. 

All known records for Seaphram give him the surname Woodhouse, although Ellen used the maiden Rose at her wedding and in the baptismal information for her first three children.  At about the same time as Seaphram married Elizabeth Lawliss, Ellen started giving her maiden name as Woodhouse.  I presume that it became an embarrassment for Ellen to have the maiden name Rose when her brother was a Woodhouse and it saved explanations once she used the same name as her brother.  

During the period that Maurice and Ellen lived at Fish River, an interesting change took place to their surname Drinan.  It gradually became Drinnan and some of their younger children were baptised with the surname Drennan.  While it’s possible that the change in surname was an interpretation of the spoken word at all the baptisms, it’s more likely that the change was deliberate and part of their efforts to bury their past.  

By 1877, Maurice, Ellen and most of their family had moved from “Collingwood” to Coleren Creek where one of their elder sons had purchased land and by 1881, they had retired to Cootamundra and in 1892 Maurice died. 

Ellen lived for a further 19 years dying on 1st May 1911 at the age of 82. The cause of ther death was shown as senile decay.  Interestingly enough, on her death certificate her father’s name and occupation were shown as Woodhouse, Sea Captain and her mother’s name was unknown despite the fact that her third eldest son was the Informant. 

I am the great grandson of  their daughter Elvira and Debbie Cooper is the great granddaughter of their son James. 


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