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George M Shield was born in 1891 in Molong, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1969 in Molong, New South Wales, Australia. He married Janet Cameron Dawson in 1921 in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia.

Janet Cameron Dawson [Parents] was born in 1897 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She died in 1970 in Canowindra, New South Wales, Australia. She married George M Shield in 1921 in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia.

They had the following children:

  F i Olive Jean Isabel Shield was born in 1919 in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia. She died in 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

George Dawson [Parents] was born in 1847 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. He died on 15 Apr 1932 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia. He married Margaret Cameron in 1880 in New South Wales, Australia.

Death Notice from Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, 19 April 1932.
DEATH OF MR GEORGE DAWSON
GLEN INNES Monday
The death has occurred in the Glen Innes District Hospital of Mr George Dawson at the age of 84 years. The deceased who was born in Kent (England), came to Australia at the age of four years with his parents the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dawson who established their home at Sandy Creek, Guyra. Later he selected land at Maybole, where he has lived on his property, Hedgeroy, for the past 31 years.

Margaret Cameron was born in 1856 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. She died on 29 Dec 1915 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia. She married George Dawson in 1880 in New South Wales, Australia.

The ancestry of Margaret Cameron, daughter of Hugh (aka Ewan) and Isabella Cameron, will be in a new database and website to be completed at a later date (hopefully in 2013). This particular database and set of pages was originally to be all ancestry of Margaret's daughter, Janet Cameron Dawson, but the ancestry of her great-grandfather, Thomas Dawson, grew so large, I decided to start new databases for Janet's mother (Margaret Cameron), paternal-grandmother (Mary Ann Garner) and great-grandmother (Elizabeth Hare).

I'm really looking forward to the doing the Cameron research. I already know that there are at least a couple of generations of Camerons marrying other Camerons and several common first names as well. I will have to take great care to get it right.

They had the following children:

  F i Mary Garner Ann Dawson was born in 1880 in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia. She died on 06 Sep 1963 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.

It would seem that Mary Garner Ann Dawson never married as she died in her 80s as a Dawson.
  M ii George Dawson was born in 1881 in Uralla, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1898 in Bingara, New South Wales, Australia.
  M iii Hugh Cameron Dawson was born in 1883 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1949 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.
  M iv Donald Dawson was born in 1884 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died on 17 Oct 1919 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.
  M v Thomas Dawson was born in 1886 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1961 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.

NSW BDM Death Registration 34680/1961
  M vi John Alexander Dawson was born in 1887. He died in 1969.
  M vii Allan Alexander Dawson was born in 1889 in New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1958 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.
  M viii Robert Dawson was born in 1891 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1950 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.
  M ix Benjamin Dawson was born in 1893 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1953 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.
  F x Isabella F Dawson was born in 1894.
  F xi Jessie Dawson was born in 1896. She died in 1949.
  F xii Janet Cameron Dawson was born in 1897. She died in 1970.
  F xiii Frances Marjorie Dawson was born in 1901. She died in 1944.

Thomas Dawson [Parents] was christened on 17 Apr 1825 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. He died on 25 Jan 1914 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He married Mary Ann Garner on 28 Oct 1844 in Saint Paul, Renhold, Bedfordshire, England.

Other marriages:
Palmer, Louise

Mary Ann Garner was born in 1826 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. She died on 10 Apr 1894 in Bingara, New South Wales, Australia. She was buried in Ollera Cemetery, Ollera, Nsw, Australia. She married Thomas Dawson on 28 Oct 1844 in Saint Paul, Renhold, Bedfordshire, England.

The ancestry of Mary Ann Garner (daughter of Thomas Garner and Hester Wilson) will be in a new database and website to be completed at a later date (hopefully in 2013). This particular database and set of pages was originally to be all ancestry of Janet Cameron Dawson, but the ancestry of her great-grandfather (Mary Ann Garner's father-in-law) Thomas Dawson grew so large, I decided to start new databases for Janet's mother (Margaret Cameron), paternal-grandmother (Mary Ann Garner) and great-grandmother (Elizabeth Hare).

They had the following children:

  M i Benjamin Garner Dawson was born on 27 Jan 1845. He died on 28 Apr 1918.
  M ii George Dawson was born in 1847. He died on 15 Apr 1932.
  M iii Joseph Benjamin Dawson was born on 21 Jul 1849. He died on 25 Jul 1914.
  F iv Elizabeth Hare Dawson was born in 1850. She died in 1910.
  F v Betsy Dawson was born on 02 Feb 1852 in Aberfoyle, New South Wales, Australia. She died on 12 Apr 1852.
  F vi Mary Ann Dawson was born on 24 Jul 1855. She died in 1936.
  F vii Letty Dawson was born on 10 Aug 1857.
  M viii Thomas Garner Dawson was born on 06 Dec 1860. He died on 13 Jun 1929.
  F ix Rachel Charlotte Dawson was born on 16 Apr 1863. She died on 11 Aug 1924.
  F x Jane Dawson was born on 11 Sep 1865 in Ollera, New South Wales, Australia.
  M xi Obed Dawson was born on 14 Aug 1867. He died on 05 Apr 1940.
  M xii Alfred Dawson was born on 08 May 1870. He died on 20 Apr 1922.

John Alexander Dawson [Parents] was born in 1887 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1969 in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. He married Agnes Matilda Chalker in 1911 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Agnes Matilda Chalker was born in 1881 in Murrumburrah, New South Wales, Australia. She married John Alexander Dawson in 1911 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


John Oliver Ormerod [Parents] was born about 1900. He died on 23 Jul 1973 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia. He married Jessie Dawson on 23 Jul 1927 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.

According to the an article describing his wedding in the Brisbane Courier 30 Sep 1927, John was the second son of the late Sedgwick Ormerod. However, his THREE older brothers were each enlisted in World War 1. Eric Sedgwick Ormerod (b. 1889), George Booth Ormerod (b. 1894), Egbert Quarterman Ormerod (b. 1895).

Aged 73 according to his headstone.

Jessie Dawson [Parents] was born in 1896 in Bingara, New South Wales, Australia. She died in 1949 in Burwood, New South Wales, Australia. She married John Oliver Ormerod on 23 Jul 1927 in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia.



Sedgewick Ormerod [Parents] was born in 1851 in Naracoorte,, South Australia, Australia. He died in 1902 in Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He married Charlotte Margaret Quartermain on 13 Dec 1884 in South Australia, Australia.

Charlotte Margaret Quartermain was christened on 01 Sep 1858 in Christ Church, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia. She married Sedgewick Ormerod on 13 Dec 1884 in South Australia, Australia.

They had the following children:

  M i John Oliver Ormerod was born about 1900. He died on 23 Jul 1973.
  M ii Eric Sedgwick Ormerod was born in 1889. He died in 1922 in Broadford, Victoria, Australia.

Thomas Dawson [Parents] was christened on 17 Apr 1825 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. He died on 25 Jan 1914 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He married Louise Palmer on 19 Mar 1896 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.

Other marriages:
Garner, Mary Ann

Louise Palmer [Parents] was born on 08 Oct 1835 in Yately, Hampshire, England. She was christened on 08 Nov 1835 in Yately, Hampshire, England. She died on 24 Jul 1927 in Burwood, New South Wales, Australia. She was buried in Woronora, Sutherland, NSW, Australia. She married Thomas Dawson on 19 Mar 1896 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.

Other marriages:
Rampling, Henry
Currie, Hugh

Residing in Ash, Surrey in 1841 with mother and two sisters.


Thomas Dawson [Parents] was christened on 03 May 1801 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. He died on 23 Aug 1863 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He married Elizabeth Hare on 04 Nov 1820 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England.

Notes from Aaron Watson (see http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/w/a/t/Aaron-J-Watson/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0077.html)
By 1835 labour was in such demand in N.S.W. that Governor Bourke introduced a bounty system whereby would-be-employers could select immigrants, pay their passage to Sydney and then have part of the fare refunded by the government. Immigrants were then contracted to work for their sponsor for a certain period, usually one year. The 1842 depression created unemployment and so assisted immigration was halted. By 1847 there was a labour shortage again and large-scale government subsidized immigration was resumed. Thomas and Elizabeth Dawson, with children and grandchildren were part of this mass migration, arriving in Sydney on 16th July, 1848 on board the "Equestrian".

Thomas Dawson was baptised in the parish of Renhold in Bedfordshire in 1801. His parents were Benjamin Dawson and Lettice Smith who had married in 1798. Benjamin was a farm labourer and so it is highly unlikely that his son Thomas ever received any formal education. At this time education was the preserve of those wealthy enough to afford high school fees. Farm labourers were considered lucky if they earned enough to feed and clothe themselves and their family. Despite this, Thomas must have picked up a smattering of reading and writing as he was listed on the shipping record as being able to do both. (1) His wife is recorded as being not able to read or write.

Elizabeth, or Betsy as she is shown on the shipping record, was baptised in 1800 in the parish of Old Warden, Bedfordshire. Her parents were Ellis Hare and Rebecca Ingram who were married in 1797. In the "Kings England", Arthur Mee says that Old Warden "was made a beauty spot in that Victorian Era which thought all too little of beauty." It was then that the last Lord Ongley set up his model cottages outside the gates of his park; one of the first incidences of country planning... The church has elaborately carved oak pews and much 16th and 17th century woodwork from France and Italy. (2)

In the same book, Renhold, the birthplace of the Dawsons is mentioned as having entrenchments thrown up, probably by the Danes in one of their battles with Alfred the Great. The church and its font date from Norman times. (3) These charming descriptions of old parish churches continue, but in reading them we should remember that in the 19th century (and previously) the clergy were appointed by the local Lord of the Manor and were usually little more than an arm of that establishment, assisting to maintain their privilege and power. The Church of England at this time was dominated by rituals and forms which had evolved at the time of the Reformation in the 16th Century. These rituals and forms had ceased to have much meaning to most of the clergy, let alone their congregations. There were worthy exceptions but the majority of the clergy were primarily interested in pandering to the wishes of their superiors in the church and local persons of influence, in their desire to climb up the ecclesiastical ladder as quickly as possible. Many poorer people wanted a more personal religion which spoke to them on their own level. These people in the 18th and 19th centuries were turning to other denominations such as the Methodist and Baptist denominations.

All the Dawson family were listed on the shipping record as Baptists and this fact may have influenced their decision to immigrate. Compared to other European countries at this time, England was relatively sympathetic towards religious dissenters however social disapproval was still strong especially in some rural communities such as those in which the Dawsons and Hares lived. This is shown clearly in a letter written by another of my ancestors, George Carter in 1866. Writing of his life back in Sussex in the 1840's he recalls that his son had died of whooping cough when nine months old. As he had not been baptised he could not be taken into the church for his funeral. The curate said he could not officiate and the undertaker said the child was too heavy for him to take. The parson said he would rather have the child buried privately at night so the child was interred without any ceremony.

Economic factors were probably the main reason why the Dawsons decided to migrate to the other side of the world. By the 1840's the population in Britain was growing faster than the economy and so unemployment increased. This gave employers the opportunity to force low wages even lower as there were no trade unions to protect workers rights. A group of men who had dared to try to form a local union of farm labourers near Tolpuddle in Dorset in 1833 were arrested and transported to N.S.W. in 1834.

Thomas Dawson and his three adult sons all gave their occupation as "farm labourer" and prospects for this type of work in Britain were bleak. By contrast, in N.S.W. the availability of land meant an ever increasing demand for farm labourers. The ending of transportation to N.S.W. in 1840 meant the drying up of cheap labour from that source and so the Dawsons could look forward to higher wages and hopefully to owning a little land themselves.

Thomas and Betsy were accompanied on their voyage by their 9 children and 5 grandchildren. They, with their ages in 1848 were: Thomas 47, Betsy 48, Benjamin 19, Rebecca 16, Ruth 14, Robert Hare 11, Ralph Ingram 9, Reuben 6, Ellis Hare Dawson 26, his wife Mary 26 and children Dinah 5, Zilpha 2 and Joseph Equestrian, born on the voyage (hence the name), Thomas Dawson junior 23, his wife Mary Anne 22 and children Benjamin Gardiner 3 and George 1. (4)

It is interesting to note that most of the children were named after parents, grandparents and even great grandparents thus a link from the old world was carried into the new.

Rebecca and Ruth had their occupations listed as "Straw plaiters". In Bedfordshire straw plaiting was a common occupation for young women who made hats, baskets etc. It was also used for ornamentations. This craft has recently undergone a revival with straw dollies now appearing in various craft shops in Australia.

The Voyage Out
I have already written of the perils and hardships endured by those who came out on the convict ships. The situation on the immigrant ships was not much better: disease and illness claimed many lives before the immigrants reached their new home.

A report by the Victorian health officer for 1852 says "the impulse given by the gold discovery and assisted immigration has been very great, no less than 42 ships conveying 15,477 souls having cast anchor in our waters in 1852. I regret to state that the number of deaths which occurred on the voyage amount to 849". That is, about 5% of those who had embarked.

The highest mortality rate was among children and babies. Typical was the case of the "Irene" bound from Liverpool to Sydney in 1852. An outbreak of measles occurred and despite the efforts of a competent surgeon, 4 adults and 30 children died. (5)

Most ships carrying assisted immigrants were grossly overcrowded and only the first class passengers had their own cabins. The rest were packed into large dormitory-style quarters. Married couples were given a bunk 6 feet x 3 feet while single adults had a bunk 6 feet x 2 feet. A long meal table ran down the centre of the dormitory with fixed seats on either side and plate racks underneath. (6)

After being couped up with no privacy for about 3 months, it is not surprising that tempers and nerves became frayed. William Johnson, a first class passenger on the "Arab" in 1847 wrote "Our greatest annoyance was in the Immigrants - a most awful set, about 20 respectable out of the whole number. Scenes are daily occuring, which though unnecessary to describe are yet most revolting and can scarcely be prevented. Fighting and swearing from morning till night - I would advise no one to come out in an immigrant ship."' They were chiefly agricultural labourers from Sorersetshire who had been earning an average of 7s 6d a week on which they supported their wives and families. (7)

Most descriptions of the voyage were primitive. With the lack of privacy most women sacrificed cleanliness rather than their Victorian modesty. Lice and bugs were inevitable. The Highland Scots and Irish had an aversion often commented on by other passengers to overall washing. It is, then, no surprise to find disease claiming many lives.

To make matters worse sometimes the surgeon himself was ill and so could not attend to his duties. Some Surgeons actually died on the voyage while others turned out to be alcoholics or just plain incompetent. One can only admire the fortitude of countless women like Mary Dawson, wife of Ellis, who gave birth at sea. They were not assisted by anesthetics and knew that it was quite possible that either they or their baby, or both, would not survive. (8)

The voyage in the 1840s usually took about 3 months. A few ships did it in 80 days, others took over 4 months. The fastest voyage by sail was achieved by the "Thermopylae" which reached Melbourne in 60 days in 1868.

As weeks crept into months the tedium of being shut up with the same people on a small Ship must have been dreadful. The better educated could read and many kept a diary. Playing cards and gambling was common although the latter was illegal. Classes were arranged for the children on some ships. Ball games, drilling, boxing, singing and dancing also took place. on Sundays divine service was held while the non-conformists held their own services. (9)

Undoubtedly the chief pastime was yarning. Nostalgic recollections were shared as well as hopes and fears for what lay ahead in an unknown land. Before they reached the new land there was one other danger - shipwreck.

Of the immigrant ships, 26 failed to arrive with a loss of over 2,500 lives. Newspaper reports of wrecks often included an artist's impression of the doomed ship spilling her human cargo into the raging sea. (10) These sketches struck terror into the hearts of intending immigrants. Well might those loved ones left behind, as well as the immigrants themselves, sing with fervour the words of the hymn by William Whiting written at this time "Oh hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea".

Shipwrecks sometimes occurred as the result of hitting an unchartered island or in southern latitude shifting an iceberg. The greatest hazard however occurred near the journey's end when approaching Bass Strait. Ships had to pass between Cape Otway on the coast of Victoria and King Island. Until 1848 the Cape was not lighted while there was no lighthouse on King Island until 1861. (11) If cloud obscured the sun at noon the captainwasunable to make a precise calculation of the ship-Is location. In these circumstances, approaching Bass Strait in darkness meant taking a calculated risk - a risk that could cost many lives.

The worst disaster occurred in 1845 when the "Cataragui" struck King Island at 4.30a.m. on 4th August. Some of the passengers weren't able to reach the deck and so were drowned as waves swept over the ship. They were only 100 metres from the shore but a row of serrated rocks lay in between and onto these the living and the dead were pounded. Of the 407 persons on board, 398 perished. Nine men were swept through the reef and survived. (12)

The trip to New England
Having arrived in Sydney, the Dawsons would have had to find temporary accommodation while organising the next stage of their long journey: the trip to New England.

The first section of the trip was the easiest; from Sydney to Morpeth, via Newcastle, by a coastal steamer. The family would then have hired a team of bullocks and a dray. The younger children and women would ride on the dray except when climbing steep hills. The others walked the 250 miles from Morpeth to Kangaroo Hills. All being well, the group would cover 10-12 miles a day over bad roads but lengthy delays were the rule rather than the exception. The unmade tracks with steep gullies often resulted in a broken axle which took days to replace. In wet times drays frequently became bogged and so the distance covered in a day could be reduced to 1 or 2 miles. Coming to a river in flood meant that one had to wait for it to subside. This wait could be a few days if you were lucky and weeks if you were not.

Many people lost their lives and/or their belongings attempting to cross flooded creeks and rivers. A.J. Greenhalgh relates one such incident. (13) In 1873 William Schmierer, a small selector in the Hunter, took a load of wheat to Singleton and then made some purchases before beginning the trip home. He noticed a fresh in the Hunter but started to cross. The river continued to rise and was soon buffeting the dray and bullocks. Schmierer's son, only a small boy, began to scream so that some of the townsfolk ran to the river bank. They saw Schmierer seize the child and swim to safety. Then all anyone could do was watch hopelessly as the bullocks drowned.

The full tragedy of this incident is only realised when it is known that, at this time, a trained bullock team was a farmer's most valuable material possession after his land. As well as providing transport, they drew the plough and were used to haul logs when clearing land.

The Dawsons, having arrived at Kangaroo Hills, now began to learn how to survive in what was a vastly different enviroment to that back home. Their home would have been similar to that described by Steele Rudd in "On Our Selection".

"It was a slabbed house, with bark roof and space enough for two rooms. The floor was earth but Dad had a mixture of sand and fresh cow-dung with which he used to keep it level. About once every month he would put it on and everyone had to stay outside until it was dry. There were no locks,and pegs were put in to keep the doors closed at night. The slabs were not very close together for we could see anybody coming on horseback by looking through the cracks ... No mistake, it was a real wilderness - nothing but trees, goannas and bears. The nearest house was three miles away." (14)

Very little is known about Thomas and Betsy Dawson after their arrival at Kangaroo Hills. Sometime between 1849 and 1854 Betsy died but no record of her death survives. Thomas was able to save enough money to buy a small farm at Saumarez Ponds where he died in 1863. He was buried in the Armidale cemetery but no headstone remains today.

"Kangaroo Hills" was the name of one of William Dangar's properties. When the Dawsons arrived to work there it had 35,840 acres and was running approximately 10,000 sheep. (15) In 1885 the property was purchased by Albert and May Wright who renamed it "Wongwibinda" and it is still owned by their descendants in 1985.

In 1848 the property had various holding yards for the sheep but no fences. Most of Dangar's employees therefore spent their time shepherding.

In 1984 The Armidale Express printed a Memorandum of Agreement between Thomas Frazier, who was to be employed as a shepherd on the property, and William Dangar. Dated 23rd November 1846, it would have been very similar if not identical to the contract for Thomas Dawson and also Charles Roan who became a shepherd there in or about 1849. It reads: (16) "the said Thomas Fraser promises and engages for himself and his son (John), to hire and serve the said William Dangar for the space of twelve calendar months from the date of their arrival at the Station, Kangaroo Hills, New England, as shepherds - to take charge of two full flocks of sheep and to use their best exertions in the care and attention to be paid to the sheep in their charge - the said Thomas Fraser also consents and agrees for himself and son to make himself responsible for all losses either by himself or through his son John through inattention or negligence on the part of either - the said Thomas Fraser also agrees to take charge of and drive from Murengo to Kangaroo Hills seventeen rams and deliver them safe at the said station, Kangaroo Hills. In consideration of which services the said William Dangar doth hereby agree to pay to the said Thomas Fraser the sum of forty pounds sterling for the services of himself and son rendered and duly performed and the following weekly rations: 20 lbs. flour, 20 lbs. beef or mutton, 4 lbs. sugar, Olb. tea."

With the discovery of gold in 1851 many men left their employment to seek their fortunes on the goldfields. This resulted in a shortage of labour and so wages rose. The following advertisement in the Armidale Express 3/5/1856 gives a good indication of wage rates in New England.
Shepherds £25 - £35 p.a. Watchmen £20 - £25 p.a. Bullock or horse driver £1 per week. Stockmen £1 per week. Labourers 18 - 20 shillings per week. Girls for nurses or domestic servants £20 p.a. All with the usual rations. Apply J. Scholes, Crown Inn.

Due to a combination of inflation and a real increase in wages we find that by 10/9/1880 the Armidale Express had an advertisement for a "Good Shepherd at £40 per week: Married man preferred". (17)

The Dawsons and Charles Roan worked for many years as shepherds. Its therefore appropriate to give a description of this lonely and dangerous work. For this I am largely indebted to the late Mr. A.V. Cane who did his M.A. thesis on "Ollera 1838-1900 : A Story of a Sheep Station". This property was taken up by the Everett brothers in 1838 and is situated about 12 miles west of Guyra. (18)

There were no fences in those days except a home paddock or two with yards for shearing and lambing. The labour involved with wooden fences was so immense that it was usually uneconomic. In any case, the first time there was a fire very little of the fence would be left. Fencing only came into general use in New England in the 1880's with the advent of wire fences and the last shepherd at Ollera was not paid off until 1895. (19) Often shepherding was a family affair as in the case of the Dawsons and later the Roans. A.V. Cane quotes from "Australia in 1866" by A. Clergyman, "When a family is engaged for an outstation the wife takes care of the hut ... and it often assumes the appearance of a comfortable home... his sons often become the shepherds and the whole outstation is a family affair. Money can be made as living is cheap. These men often rise to responsible positions particularly if they take an interest in the sheep and learn all about their care and management. Families of boys are a great advantage. From these shepherds have come storekeepers, businessmen and in many cases leads to selection and the opening of a new run". (20)

The shepherd, with his dogs, was expected to take charge of his flock one hour before dawn and to drive them slowly before him, cropping the grass as they went. Each flock had its own grazing area allocated to it. If a flock was allowed to stray into another area it could get "boxed" with another flock. This could cause plenty of trouble even if the flocks belonged to the same squatter because different types of sheep were kept in different flocks. Over the years special ear-cuts (earmarks) evolved to help distinguish the sheep of one owner from that of another. (21)

At midday the shepherd took a rest about 4 or 5 miles from his starting point. He had his meal and maybe played a tune on his mouth organ or harp which was a fairly common accomplishment. Maybe he had a nap hoping not to be caught by the overseer. The sheep were then turned homeward, reaching the yards by dusk where they were counted. He would then have a meal and a smoke in his hut and then to bed. This monotonous and lonely life went on day in and day out for the single men. It is little wonder that many became silent and taciturn with little ability to communicate. (22)

The shepherd had to report all loses to headquarters. Losses could be incurred from straying, dingoes, bushfires, drowning, aboriginals and disease. When sheep were lost, if the shepherd was culpable, a penalty could be metered out such as a fine, stopping his tobacco or delaying his annual holiday which was the highlight of his year.

At lambing time each shepherd had charge of his own flock and had the assistance of other folk, often some of the women or children on the place. A bonus was usually paid to shepherds who were able to get a high survival rate among their lambs. Each week the ration driver called at the huts and left rations, which generally were: 10 lb. meat, 10 lb. flour, 2 lb. sugar, o lb. tea and o lb. tobacco per man. This monotonous and unhealthy diet could sometimes be supplemented by vegetables grown by his wife.

The size of the flock varied depending mainly on the type of country. In open country, flocks numbered about 1,000 but in heavily wooded and rough country, such as that at Kangaroo Hills, flocks would have been much smaller.

At night two flocks were folded close to each other with a moveable sentry-box between them. Here the watchman took his post, ready with his dogs, to protect the sheep from dingoes and sometimes aborigines.

As the sheep were yarded every night the yards soon became denuded of grass and so were dusty in dry weather and boggy in wet weather as well as being covered with manure. Consequently there was a prevalence of footrot and the wool was always filthy. This partly explains the practice of washing the wool before the sheep were shorn as a better price was obtained for cleaner wool. The other reason was that the dirt and grease in the wool added considerably to its weight. This was significant when wool had to be hauled hundreds of miles over bad roads by a bullock team.

Various methods were used to wash sheep. The Irby brothers near Inverell in 1842 said "We are now very busy with washing and shearing. We have two men throwing in as fast as they can till the soaking pen is full. When soaked for long enough each sheep is passed from one man to another along a line of 11 or 12 men and by the time it gets to the last, is pretty well clean". (23)

If a cold spell hit before the sheep had time to dry losses could be but it was considered worth the risk and expense for many years. Shearers also preferred the sheep to be washed and there were some labour troubles when the practice ceased. At Ollera it ceased in 1883 and most places in New England stopped washing about this time. As fencing became more common the sheep didn't have to be yarded at night and so the fleece stayed much cleaner. This, combined with the coming of the railway radically changed the situation for wool growers. While rail charges were higher in real terms than they are today, they were a lot cheaper than by bullock dray. This took about a month where a train could do it in a day.

From figures in the 1870's it can be seen that washing reduced the weight of wool by about 40%. The average fleece unwashed weighed 4 lb. 12 oz. and washed 2 lb. 13 oz. (24)

These figures also indicate the vast improvements made in sheep breeding and management over the last century, as average weights have now more than doubled.

When the lambs were a few mnths old they were earmarked and tailed (i.e. their tails were cut off). Anyone who has worked with sheep and lambs can identify with the difficulties related by the Irby brothers who in a letter written 130 years ago said "When driving a flock of ewes and lambs into the hurdles the lambs get together and scamper round the flock as though they were mad. The object is to get the lambs to run into the hurdles, then the ewes follow and are penned. But it often happens the lambs all bolt round one corner. We may then get one half the ewes in but directly they see lambs are outside they all turn back and it is impossible to stop them, we then have to scamper about as madly as the lambs and I assure you it is no joke though it may appear so to the onlooker. (25)

The Aborigines
The job of shepherd and watchman was not only hard and monotonous, it was, in the early years, dangerous as well.

The aboriginal tribes of N.S.W. were generally peaceable but as the white man and his flocks encroached on his traditional land conflict was inevitable. It is known that the Australian aborigines have inhabited this land for at least 40,000 years. Some anthropologists now estimate that they have been here for close on 100,000 years. The land embodied their whole way of life as it was not only their source of food but of their culture and religion as well. They were not about to give this up without a fight and the records of New England in the 1830's and 1840's often refer to shepherds being attacked and sometimes killed. In 1844 the Sydney Herald reported "A poor fellow at Marsh's station (Salisbury) narrowly escaped with his life a short time ago whilst tending a flock of sheep. The blacks surrounded him and threw spears at him, one of which penetrated his body some inches. He shot the nearest and the others drew off a short distance which enabled the poor fellow to get behind a tree and break the end of the spear off... By the help of his dogs he was able to head his sheep up to the station, a distance of six miles, where the point of the spear was extracted." (26)

Despite the man's wounds and danger, he makes sure his master's sheep are safe (one wonders if he was given the rest of the day off). The other point to this story which the newspaper conveniently neglects to mention is the aftermath of this and similar incidents. A party of mounted men would be gathered and they would attempt to find the offending abcrigines. As the whites had little means of identifying those responsible, the first group of aborigines found would be attacked and as many killed as possible. Spears and boomerangs were little match against men with guns on horseback. Those that survived were soon exposed to diseases such as measles, influenza, veneral disease etc. for which whites had built up some immunity but to which the aborigines had none. Most of them died and the remainder were left as outcasts in their own land. Only in recent years has any real attempt been made to rectify this situation.

Fiona Anderson, an aboriginal girl, recently wrote a poem referring to those years of early white settlement.

"You white fellas of Australia
You think you own this land
But it was ours
Long before you came

My people roamed this countryside
From shore to rugged shore
Then the gubbahs came and took
more and more."

References
1. Shipping Records, NSW Archives Office
2. Mee, pg. 129
3. Mee, pg. 134
4. Shipping Records, NSW Archives Office
5. Charlwood, D., The Long Farewell. Penguin, 1983, pg. 184
6. Charlwood, pg. 112-3
7. Charlwood, pg. 105-6
8. Charlwood, pg. 38-9
9. Charlwood, pg. 1-3
10. Charlwood, pg. 7
11. Charlwood, pg. 7
12. Charlwood, pg. 11
13. Greenlaugh, A.J., Times Subjects, pg. 121
14. Driscoll and Elphick, 1981, pg. 205
15. Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1923, pg. 15
16. Armidale Express, 1984
17. An Armidale Album, pg. 37
18. Cane, A.J., Old New England, Sydney University Press, 1966, pg. 4
19. Cane, pg. 61-2
20. Cane, pg. 64-5
21. Cane, pg. 62
22. Cane, pg. 62
23. Cane, pg. 65
24. Cane, pg. 67
25. Cane, pg. 71
26. Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1923, pg. 10

From "For Our Country's Good" by R.W. Edmonds

Elizabeth Hare was born on 26 Oct 1800 in Old Warden, Bedfordshire, England. She was christened on 26 Oct 1800 in Old Warden, Bedfordshire, England. She married Thomas Dawson on 04 Nov 1820 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England.

The ancestry of Elizabeth Hare (daughter of Ellis Hare and Rebecca Ingram) will be in a new database and website to be completed at a later date (hopefully in 2013). This particular database and set of pages was originally to be all ancestry of Janet Cameron Dawson, but the ancestry of her great-grandfather (Elizabeth Hare's husband) Thomas Dawson grew so large, I decided to start new databases for Janet's mother (Margaret Cameron), paternal-grandmother (Mary Ann Garner) and great-grandmother (Elizabeth Hare).

They had the following children:

  M i Ellis Hare Dawson was christened on 26 May 1822. He died on 01 Oct 1883.
  M ii Benjamin Thomas Dawson was christened on 14 Sep 1823 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England.
  M iii Thomas Dawson was christened on 17 Apr 1825. He died on 25 Jan 1914.
  M iv Joseph Benjamin Dawson was born on 21 Jan 1827. He died on 31 Oct 1910.
  F v Rebecca Hare Dawson was christened on 10 Feb 1829. She died in 1916.
  F vi Ruth Dawson was born on 06 Oct 1833. She died on 15 Jan 1896.
  F vii Rachael Dawson was born in 1835. She died on 07 Aug 1907.
  M viii Robert Hare Dawson was born in 1837. He died on 25 Sep 1919.
  M ix Ralph Ingram Dawson was born in 1839. He died on 06 Jun 1918.
  M x Reuben Dawson was born on 12 Aug 1841. He died on 07 Mar 1913.

Benjamin Garner Dawson [Parents] was born on 27 Jan 1845 in Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. He was christened on 06 Apr 1845 in Holy Trinity, Renhold, Bedfordshire, England. He died on 28 Apr 1918 in Tingha, New South Wales, Australia. He was buried in Ollera Cemetery, Ollera, Nsw, Australia. He married Sophia Priscilla Beasley in 1864 in New South Wales, Australia.

Sophia Priscilla Beasley [Parents] was born on 29 Aug 1845. She was christened on 21 Sep 1845 in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. She died on 25 Feb 1920. She was buried in Ollera Cemetery, Ollera, Nsw, Australia. She married Benjamin Garner Dawson in 1864 in New South Wales, Australia.

They had the following children:

  F i Emma P Dawson was born in 1865.
  F ii Mary A A Dawson was born in 1867. She died in 1951.
  F iii Elizabeth Louisa Dawson was born in 1874. She died in 1975.
  F iv Charlotte Esther Dawson was born in 1875. She died in 1925.
  M v Alfred George Dawson was born in 1877 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He died in 1877 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.
  M vi Benjamin Arthur Dawson was born in 1878. He died in 1955.
  M vii Thomas Charles Dawson was born in 1880. He died in 1971.
  M viii Joseph Henry Dawson was born in 1882. He died on 05 Nov 1965.
  M ix Herbert William Dawson was born in 1884. He died on 26 Aug 1968.
  F x Ellen Rebecca Dawson was born in 1888.
  F xi Hilda Beatrice Dawson was born in 1890. She died in 1961.

Thomas Beasley was born about 1827 in New South Wales, Australia. He married Mary Ann about 1844 in New South Wales, Australia.

Mary Ann was born about 1827 in New South Wales, Australia. She married Thomas Beasley about 1844 in New South Wales, Australia.

They had the following children:

  F i Sophia Priscilla Beasley was born on 29 Aug 1845. She died on 25 Feb 1920.
  F ii Ellen Beasley was born about 1851. She died in 1925.

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