Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Taphophile Tragics - Staying together


With three of their four offspring interred here in the Old Anglican section of Rookwood Necropolis, I wondered where Frederick and Margaret are spending their eternal sleep. And sure enough, they, too, are in Rookwood, but in Section 5, Plot 6117, a most decent walk away.Now why would that happen? Margaret toddled off first, in March 1919, so why would Frederick not have interred her with her departed children? Yet he was interred with his wife, when his time came in December 1928. Economically, why invest in another plot when you already have 'in perpetuity' rights to an existing plot? There was a fourth child, Amy Francis, who did not meet her maker until 1973, who was aged 20 when her sister, Elsie, died in 1911. It's not as though they would have been awash with money.

Frederick Cover Walford married Margaret Horne in 1876 in Waterloo, and inner city suburb, a solid working-class family. Young Elsie, who perished aged 17, was born in Leichhardt and died in Newtown. More proof of their roots. Let's take them back a couple of generations and see what we can unearth. And sure enough: convict origins.

Frederick's great-grandfather, "Barnie" Walford, was sentenced at the London Quarter sessions to 7 years transportation for "Grand Larceny", to wit, swiping a few items of clothing valued at less than one pound. I need to read up on crimes in the 18th century! Barnie, who was an engraver, was born in 1768 and died in 1828, being transported to the Colony of New South Wales aboard the 'Active' in the Third Fleet in January 1791. His son, now being called Barnard, was born on Norfolk Island in 1801. This Norfolk Island clue was a dead give-a-way. It also means that our Frederick's great-grandmother was also a convict, or she would not have been on Norfolk Island to begin with. Her name was Jane Mulloy, sentenced for swiping a 16 yard bolt of printed cotton, and on-shipped to Norfolk Island in August 1790, aged 17, due to the threat of starvation in Sydney Town. "Barnie" did not arrive on the island until 1796, by which time one source indicates that Jane already had two children. She and Barnie and six children left Norfolk Island in 1807, bound for Hobart. A bit rich really: Jane was sentenced to 7 years, yet spent 17 years on Norfolk Island. Justice!

So, they are scattered to the four winds, this family. I have Section 5, Plot 6117, on my list to photograph on my next meander through the cold, hard granite of Rookwood. Vale Barnie and Jane, and all your descendents.



This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

13 comments:

Gemma Wiseman said...

An interesting series on your voyage of discovery! More and more I am respecting the amazing struggle to survive and to carve some identity in this land of ours.

Kay L. Davies said...

17 years instead of 7 — the opposite of time off for good behaviour, I guess, Julie.
I am starting to realize why Australians are so proud of their convict ancestors, because they were indomitable people who endured much, but left offspring to populate the continent down under. Amazing, really.
K

Dina said...

Such history, so different from ours.

Jim said...

These posts are always so interesting.

Nicola Carpenter said...

Wonderful post. I often wonder why families are dotted about the cememteries I visit. Maybe it has something to do with some rule somewhere as to the amount of people you can cram in a grave.

Beneath Thy Feet

biebkriebels said...

Nice post with another interesting story.

Joe said...

Justice seems to be ignorant of fairness in so much of history. I do like the carving of the cord on the monument. Very realistic.

Mark said...

Interesting story. If you want to ever see what real cramming them in is like visit Haworth Churchyard (Brontes) in Yorkshire.

diane b said...

It is a mystery why they weren't together. Today it isn't though because if you don't buy a big enough plot you have to find somewhere else. Another interesting snippet of history. The whole thing of transportation was unjust especially for the piffling crimes.

hamilton said...

I imagine it must have been difficult to get off Norfolk Island once you were there, even after your sentence. Especially with so many children.

VioletSky said...

I have never put much thought (or research) into burial plots and hadn't realized about the 'in perpetuity' rights. though that makes sense and explains why suddenly there will be a recent name or two added to a monument that seemed to have ended the line at the early 20th C.

CaT said...

but it must have been so expensive to send them to another continent. just for stealing something worth 1 pound. surely the journey cost more?
how silly....

Julie said...

However, before they sent them out here, they were keeping them in hulks (old stationarey ships) moored in the sludge of the Thames. There became way too many hulks because the pooer class was desperate for anything and the propertied classes were very possessive.

Not only did they send them out here, they also established a totally new country. So there were advantages to England to send the convicts out. For about 50 years, and then it became an economic burden for England.