Rowland Family




William Eliza Rowland

Frances Corney Budge

Richmond Easto Rowland

William A Rowland

William Richard Rowland  

Frances Corney Budge

Born:17/3/1807    in Antony, Cornwall, Britain.

Born:1813  in  Antony, Cornwall, Britain.

Died:26/3/1855   in Avoca, Victoria.

Died:3/1/1900   in Moores Flat, Victoria. 

Father: Richard Rowland

Father: George Budge

Mother: Rebecca Launder

Mother: Jane Haynes

This story of our family has been compiled as a result of stories handed down from

one generation to the next.  While the facts are essentially correct, some embellishments may have occurred.

In 1799, at the age of 20 Richard Rowland  married Rebecca  Launder  who was born in 1777.  Rebecca 's mother Elizabeth  was born at Antony  in 1747, however her father William  was born on February 17th 1743 at Botos Fleming  which was further inland from the coast, situated on one of the estuaries of the Tamar River .  Not far as the crow flies, but a longer trip, unless one travelled by boat, around the waterways.  After William Launder's marriage to Elizabeth, they must have settled in Antony, as it is there that Rebecca and her brothers and sister were born.  It looks as though Richard and Rebecca also settled in the Antony area.  Richard was still farming, possibly working for someone else as a tenant.  He would have needed to be quite well off to move from his father's farm in Poughill and purchase one of his own at Antony.

It was in Antony  that Richard and Rebecca 's six children were born.  From the

naming of the children it looks again as though traditional naming patterns were followed.  The first born was Richard (born December 29th 1800 ), followed by Rebecca  (born February 15th 1803 died March 6th 1803 Antony ), Mary Ann  (born January 28th 1805 died February 10th 1805 Antony), John  (born June 18th 1806 died January 1836 South Wilcove buried January 5th 1836 Antony), William  (born March 17th 1807) and  Elizabeth  (born November 14th 1811).  According to the 1851 Devon Census, Richard was at the time, married to Elizabeth (no maiden name) and living at 19 Prospect Row, Devonport with their four children, Elizabeth Ann (born abt. 1830), Richard (born abt. 1832), Thomazin (born abt. 1834) and Thomas William (born abt. 1838).   Richard’s occupation was given as a garden labourer. William most likely grew up in Antony, however as he reached an age where he would have had to earn a living for himself, he may have had to leave home.  While it was originally thought that his eldest brother Richard would have probably stayed to look after his father's farming interests, this now appears not to be that case, and the more likely son would have been John.   This of course is pure supposition at this stage as little is known of the family.  Whatever the circumstances, William married Frances Corney Budge  in Devon in 1834.  Frances` parents were farming people as well.  George  Budge , Frances` father was born at Yealmpton, Devon  on July 9th 1780, which is possibly where his daughter married.   Frances` mother Jayne Haynes  however had her origins in Cornwall being born at Pillaton  on November 22nd 1772.  When Jayne was very young her family moved to St. Mellion , a town nearby, where the rest of Jayne's sisters and one brother were born.  As to how Jayne's father Richard Haynes and her mother Elizabeth supported their family, nothing is known.  As for George Budge, his family appears to have been settled in Yealmpton, possibly farming.  It is known that George was an Innkeeper, for a time at Wilcove, before returning to farming.  George had a brother William Algar Budge who was christened on December 5th 1778 at Yealmpton, and the boys' father also George, married Susanna Algat or Algar at Yealmpton on May 2nd 1775.


With all this farming background, it would have been natural for William  and

Frances to turn to farming for their livelihood.  However, circumstances most likely conspired against them. During the 1830`s in England there was a large rural recession helped along by conditions brought about by the industrial revolution.  In 1837-38 the poor harvests made things worse.  Living conditions on the land were very poor and there was very little prospect for self-improvement.  By the time of the birth of William  and Frances` first son George  on July 25th 1835, it looks as though they had already left the land, as George was born in Devonport, which even in those days was a large town, known mainly for its shipping.  Two years later the family was back in Antony , possibly even back with William's family where William Anderton  was born on June 6th 1837 and another boy Richmond Easto  on September 22nd 1839.  The effects of the poor harvests were probably the last straw.  During these hard years’ sales of land in Australia in England, especially the opening up of land in South Australia  in 1835 would have attracted the interest of people finding themselves in declining circumstances.  Meetings and lectures were held at the principle towns proclaiming the virtues and prospects of the new colony, South Australia in particular, and the flow of emigrants started. When combined with the failure of the potato crop in 1840 and the resulting hardship this flow became a flood.  Also as the need arose for workers in the Australian colonies and the British government wanted to improve the image of Australian convict society in New South Wales, England encouraged emigration as well.


The British government financed an emigration scheme between 1837 and 1840 and

the government of New South Wales organised the Bounty Scheme from 1835 to 1841.  Both schemes offered incentives to emigrate.  The amounts offered were: -

               £36 for a man and wife under 40 years;

               £18 when the husband was over 40 years;

               £18 for each unmarried female 15-30 years of age;

               £10 for each child 7-14 years;

               £5 for each child 1-7 years;

Which added up to a large amount of money when the average labourers` wage was about 7s.6d. a week. Emigration to Australia must have been a topic of discussion between William  and Frances.  Life was becoming more difficult and one couldn't live off possible family charity or nothing at all with two small boys to feed and one on the way.  The decision to leave, not made lightly, was most likely made before Richmond's birth.  A journey like this was a one-way trip, as most families would not have had the means to return to England if they were not happy in the new land.  So with two small boys and a two-month-old baby, William and Frances left with all that they owned for South Australia , probably more appealing than Melbourne or Sydney due to its lack of convicts and the stigma that went with it.  On November 17th 1839, William  and Frances with their young family sailed from

Plymouth on the SS "Warrior " under the command of Captain Joseph Beckett.  The ship's first port of call was London where it picked up remaining passengers and cargo.  The "Warrior" left London on November 27th 1839 bound for Port Adelaide , South Australia .  The ship was carrying a general cargo and two hundred passengers including Surgeon Superintendent, Dr. Kent, his wife and two children and other important people.  One hundred of the passengers would have gone steerage , the most uncomfortable part of the ship.


For nearly a century, following the first settlement of Australia, every immigrant,

bond or free, had in common an experience none could forget – a passage under sail, lasting anything from 2 months to six, a passage from the old world to the new.  Though nearly all had set out as strangers to the sea, they had crossed the world’s most tempestuous oceans by a route not long before sailed by explorers.  They had lived, during the voyage in a state of limbo, out of touch with everyone but their ship mates, no longer belonging to the old world, nor yet to the new.  Day after day they lived under conditions they could scarcely have imagined before their departure.  When at last they had landed, they were by no means the same people who had boarded ship months before.  Of all who set out it is ironic that those condemned to transportation, as convicts had the best prospect of coming safely through.  Fearful though their treatment often was – especially in the earliest years – losses among them, through illness at sea, averaged less than four per voyage.  On an emigrant ship, a surgeon would not have considered it untoward had losses run to five times this number.  The transport system also lost remarkably few convict ships.  In a total of some 825 passages, only 5 were wrecked, and on one of these, there was no loss of life.  In all, shipwrecks cost less than 550 convict lives.  It is difficult to compare this record with that of emigration, since free people came on a wide variety of vessels, not only on those given solely to carriage of emigrants, but it is known that at least 26 ships carrying emigrants failed for one reason or another to arrive.  The loss of life involved in some of these is not known, but it is certain that over 2,500 people drowned in total.  A ship could be wrecked without people in Britain being aware of the loss for six months or more.  Those waiting in the colonies for her arrival would be expecting to see the ship in about three months, but no real anxiety would be felt until at least another month had passed.  Ships waiting in Australian ports, to make the return voyage, would carry back word of this to Britain, but it often proved unnecessary – the overdue ship might have suffered dismasting and be limping out under jury rig and would arrive weeks or months later.  But with some there could no longer be a reasonable doubt that the awaited vessel had been lost.  The homebound ships would carry back word of certain disaster, certain though its cause might not be known, indeed might never be known.  This was so in the case of the “Guiding Star ”.  Her first voyage to Australia was advertised as “about to make the quickest passage on record”.  The last ship to sight her read a signal from her master – “he was going as far south as possible to shorten his route and gain the most favorable winds”.


The “Guiding Star ” sailed from Liverpool on January 8th 1855 with 546 passengers

and crew on board.  She was last heard of on February 15th, in latitude 26 longitude 34 west, since which period no tidings have been received of her.  The cause of this deplorable catastrophe can only be conjectured, in all probability it has been owing to a collision with ice.  Many vessels reported vast quantities of ice in unusually low latitudes and some had suffered injury in passing among these floating masses.  Many ships bound for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and other east-coast ports, were without sight of land since leaving Britain.  Many a ship passed through without incident, though too close a sighting of one coast or the other dismayed many a mariner.  Most of those that failed were lost on the low coast of King Island , and a few others struck the Otway coast.  By far the worst of those that failed was the “Cataraqui ”, lost in 1845.  For 105 days the “Cataraqui” had laboured out from Liverpool, carrying 369 emigrants for Melbourne.  Captain C.W. Finlay being uncertain of his position in the darkness, decided to wait for daylight.  Unfortunately, he reversed his decision at 3 a.m. and sailed on.  He was much closer to King Island than he suspected and about 4: 30 a.m. the ship struck, taking the ground heavily and the sea breaking right over her.  A scene of utmost confusion ensued, as passengers attempted to rush the deck.  There was four feet of water in the hold when the ship was sounded.  The ladders leading to the deck were soon knocked away, leaving many passengers trapped below.  About 5 a.m. when the ship tipped over to her port side, boats, bulwarks, spars and part of the cuddy (a cabin in a ship where officers and passengers take their meals) were carried away.  The passengers who were unable to reach the deck were all drowned.  The ship was scarcely a hundred yards away from the King Island shore, but within that distance laid rows of serrated granite peaks with scarcely a break between them.  On to these, living and dead alike were pounded, so that, in the end 399 people perished.  Nine men were swept through the reef and survived.


The pangs of departure for the emigrants were almost inevitably overwhelmed by seasickness. Unused to

the sea, seasick, homesick, cold and wet, fearful and battened down, few aggravations of human wretchedness could be much greater than was to be found in the close darkness, between decks of an outward bound emigrant ship.  While the passengers were enduring this misery, the coast of England was likely to be in sight still, in fact, dependent as a ship was on the wind it might be becalmed or even moving backwards.  A week or more might be spent with the home shore tantalizingly close at hand – seen, but beyond trending upon.  When England at last fell from sight people began to realize, even more fully, the extent of the step they had taken.  Soon, for all emigrants, nothing remained on the heaving sea to remind them of home.  Between the bouts of seasickness, it dawned on them that these few square feet of space were to be their home for months of travel, a home that would seldom be still.  Products of their time, as they were, it probably didn’t surprise the emigrants that life on board ships mirrored the class structure of Britain.  The masses below deck represented the masses at home.  At the other extreme, the Captain’s Table was the sea-borne equivalent of a manor house, the captain its squire.  The aristocracy was rarely represented on the run to Australia; the upper classes infrequently.  But hierarchy had to be established; the passengers’ habits of life demanded it.  There must be some to look up to, others to look down upon.  While steerage  emigrants well knew the axiom “I have learned in whatever state I am, there-with to be content”.  Sometimes there were annoying incongruities to be sorted out.  The best accommodation – cabins, saloon, or first class was located under the raised poop deck in the stern of the ship.


At steerage  level most of Australia’s ancestors under sail made the long journey. 

They shared dormitory style accommodation, based on Government experience in transporting convicts.  They were classed not as to how many bodies, but to how many “statute adults”.  Children under the age of twelve counted as half adults in the numbers the law permitted a ship to carry.  To gain some idea of the dimensions of between deck quarters we can do no better than read a description of the Sailing Ship St. Vincent . The between decks are 12 feet in length, the breadth at the main hatchway twenty five feet, three inches; the height of the deck that is walked upon to the deck overhead – six feet four inches.  From the stern of the ship away to the stern on the larboard side and back again to the stern of the starboard side, the space is entirely occupied by a double tier (one above the other) of standing bed spaces, etc.  There are forty eight bed places, six feet by three feet each for married people above and for their children below, every bed place divided from the next adjacent by stout planks from the deck below.


If we analyze the dimensions of the St. Vincent  Steerage Quarters, typical of between

decks accommodation a cleared picture emerges of its packed nature.  To begin with, headroom of only six feet four inches was claustrophobic, though on many ships it was more than this.  Heavy beams cut into this headroom.  Within this vertical space fitted the two levels of bunks, the lower one with a space of six inches beneath it for the passenger’s heavier possessions.  This left five foot ten inches for two bunks or two feet eleven inches from lower bed board to upper bed boards, reduced to perhaps eighteen inches when occupants and bedclothes were in place.  The bunks themselves were three feet wide – shared by a couple or by two girls.  Children occupied lower bunks in the married couple’s section; this allowed little real privacy.  The law demanded nothing more than a dividing plank twenty-three inches high (earlier requirements had only been ten inches).  Thus, on most ships a couple had not only another couple below or above them, but also a second couple within arms reach to one side.  Within a six-foot square four people slept; four more lay directly below them.  Close packed though the steerage  was, there is evidence that as early as 1839 some of the Government emigration agents were doing the best they could for the passengers.


All the single women and girls above fourteen were placed in the after berths, on the

side of the ship next to the female hospital, two in each berth. The single men and boys above fourteen were berthed in the forepart of the ship, in a space partitioned off for the purpose of separating them from the rest of the people, two in each berth.  The water closets for women were provided in steerage , but those for men were on the upper deck.  Many males made little attempt at night, to use them.  Filthy though the consequences were, one must recognize that it was expecting a great deal to have men make the night journey onto an open deck when the ship was in heavy seas, or among ice-bergs.  What was to be done, anyway, on these occasions, night or day, perhaps several nights and days, when the decks were awash with seas and steerage passengers were battened below?


Having heard the essentials of steerage  accommodation we can visualize every peg with its

smocks, coats and headgear hanging from it, every shelf laden with such home made food stuffs as passengers were able to bring.  The wide table strewn with metal mugs, plates and cutlery; each bunk occupied by men, women and children – some sitting, some lying.  Then we can imagine the whole in motion, rolling from side to side, timbers creaking loudly as seas rise, children falling and crying and seeking comfort from parents, who only want to lie down or to vomit – and where is there to vomit?  As the seas rise higher, scuttles must be screwed down, plunging the whole steerage  into some darkness while utensils are dashed into the long passageways.  Give the prudishness of the time; it is easy to imagine the daily embarrassment in the simple business of dressing and undressing.  A man could pull on a pair of trousers while lying down, provided his spouse afforded him something more than his eighteen inches of bunk space.  But a woman’s voluminous clothing, there was no chance of concealment.  All were probably thankful for the dimness of the light!  By night, the teeming married quarters must have blessed the screen of background groans from the ship’s timbers, as they argued, wept, urinated, broke wind, copulated, snored, vomited, prayed or cried out in dreams of the land they would never see.  It was their only screen and even it was stripped away when the fetid doldrum days were on them.


In the tropics, many of the male passengers slept on the open deck, willing to risk the

sudden downpours of rain for the sake of fresh and reasonably cool air.  One passenger wrote, amusedly, to his brother of a scene when the men returned to their bunks at daylight and tried in the over-powering heat to resume their sleep.  “They lay without a single stitch of bed clothing on them and the majority of their shirts were very short or tucked up.  By their twisting and turning – it would do many good to see the number of “blue bottles” exposed to view”.  Improbable though it may seem, most steerage  passengers did adapt themselves to between deck conditions, nor were most days unbearably rough.  Although close confinement inevitably led to fighting, it also led to friendships and independence, and interdependence that led some groups to stick together in the new land.  Given the ships that were available and the masses of people that were to be carried, the passage under sail would have been a sore trail even if ship-owners had done everything possible to alleviate discomfort. Of course, few ship-owners did anything of the kind, had it not been for the Government’s watchfulness, they would have done little at all that would have reduced profits.


The era of sail was also the era of patent medicines.  A typical concoction was the

famous Holloway’s Pills.  Thomas Holloway, a young Cornishman purchased in1828 the recipe for a patent herbal medicine from an Italian.  The success of his venture turned his mind to other quack medicines – a laxative pill that contained castor oil and ginger.  This sold very profitably at the docks to people setting out on long sea voyages. Some of the home remedies mentioned by diarist’s sound as if they might have been no worse than bought potion.


For Seasickness     Take a few fresh figs, reduce them to a pulp and mix them with a little rum of champagne, wine diluted with 10 or 12 drops of lemon juice.  Let the “seasick” drink of it and they will speedily recover.


For a cold     Dissolve Narbonne honey with the juice of a lemon.  Take a spoonful night and morning.


Cholera      A single dose of 3 or 4 grains of sulphur will arrest the most malignant attack of cholera.


Scarlet Fever     Ten drops every night and morning (during exposure) of a solution of 4 grains of the extract of belladonna in half an ounce of distilled water for adults, 5 drops for a child 4 years old and upwards, and 3 drops for an infant.


Even among well-informed emigrants, standards of hygiene were primitive, as

witnessed by many cabin passengers to use the “patent water closets” in preference to chamber pots.  The device was admittedly no more than a flushable chute to the sea, with a leather strap to protect the posterior, but at least it kept odours from the living quarters.  Add to these odours those of the livestock carried on deck above, and the result boggles the imagination. The smells were, of course, among the most notable features of life on board.  The combination of animal, human excrement, foul water from the bottom of the ship, below pump walls, which never came out, the remains of old cargoes and the perpetually rotting structures of the vessel herself must, between them, have produced a dreadful stench, unrelieved by any kind of ventilation system in the ship.  People were accustomed to this ashore in towns and villages, which stank, it is said, like an Oriental slum.  Lousiness on board ship was scarcely to be avoided, even if one were a cabin passenger; lice were waiting in every crevice for the embarkation of fresh victims.  It was useless for angry viragoes, with arms akimbo, to shout taunts of lousiness to their next-door neighbours (bed mates).  Ah no!  For all shared the attention of parasites of the best-known brands.  As one passenger declared that when the sweeping of the between decks took place, he had looked into the line of dust and seen mobs of their little guests crawling about.  He advised the men to have their hair cut very close, but with the women the days of bobbed hair had not yet arrived and he feared that “Glory of womanhood”, long locks made fine converts for those little brothers of the poor and dirty!


While there were great differences throughout the era of emigration by sail, in the

quality of food served to cabin class and steerage  passengers, this did not always apply to the quality of water.  Water was always a problem.  Even on the strictly controlled convict transports; it was drawn from rivers not far upstream from the crowded English ports.  The water was often foul before Cape Town was reached.  It became very offensive in smell, as well in taste, and deposited dark peat-like sediment on the bottom of the cask.  Thames water was so unreliable that many masters and surgeons preferred to call at Tenerife (Canary Islands) to complete their water.  The surgeon-superintendent of an emigrant ship in 1839, on removing the bung of a water barrel was able to ignite the escaping gases.  They went off with a tremendous flash and report.  All water after being at sea for a length of time decomposes and forms gas, but if that were permitted to escape, and the free circulation of pure air act upon it, it becomes speedily purified.  Water was supposed to be filtered before being taken on board.  Filtering being carried out with a colander-like device which allowed droplets to fall a distance through the air.  Either the equipment was not always used or it was inadequate for the purpose, or perhaps the water was beyond this rather crude means of purification.  Numerous emigrant ships began distilling fresh water from the sea, but it failed to provide water in sufficient quantities, and complaints about the drinking water were made throughout the entire period of sail.  Emigrants regularly used limejuice and other additives to render it palatable.  Steerage passengers washed their dishes and clothes in salt water; consequently a downpour of rain brought them streaming onto the decks with tubs and dishes.  Although the water held a flavour of old canvas from the sails, it was much to be preferred to the ship’s water – even for drinking!


Deaths at sea , on the way to an unknown country, were, more than usually

desolating; the burial service in the open deck was stark.  Unless the bereaved family could afford to have the ship’s carpenter make a coffin, the body was wrapped in canvas and weighted at the feet; this the sail-maker stitched up.  It was placed on a grating at the bulwarks on the main deck and covered with a Union Jack.  Often the ship’s bell was tolled, but the ship itself raced on.  A clergyman or the captain read the service; the grating was tilted and the body launched into the sea.  If the deceased person’s next-of-kin had little money, it was usual for some of his belongings to be auctioned and passengers were often generous in what they bid.


For enjoyment there was fairly regular alleviation of segregation, when single men

and women were “released” for dancing on warm evenings.  A program that survives from an 1853 voyage lists the dances.  1. Country Dance.  2. Polka.  3. Quadrille.  4. Country Dance.  5. Waltz and Gallop.  6. Polka.  7.Quadrille.  8. Reel or Schottische.  The larger ships often carried a German band, but its services usually went to the cabin passengers.  Sometimes three distinct parties could be seen, each dancing their own measure to their own music – Quadrille on the poop, Polka in the waist and a rattling Irish jig before the mainmast.  The parties were distinct because they were divided into shipboard classes.  When passengers of cabin class held their own ball, rails, suspended so to prevent the vulgar gaze of the “common” passengers, partitioned off the poop.


When time for “lights out” approached, segregation was strictly enforced.  All males

and females (single) over the age of twelve were conducted to opposite ends of the ship.  One can easily find what results the abolition of segregation would have had by glancing at the case of German ships running to Australia.  In using her own ships, Germany was an exception among the nations of continental Europe.  It was usual for other European emigrants to make their way to British ports of departure.  But use of her own ships by Germany was warranted by the large numbers of emigrants leaving the country for Australia – leaving partly because of religious persecution, partly because efforts were made by Australian vintners to attract workers experienced in German vineyards.  Eventually the Germans were to become Australia’s largest population group of non-British origin.  Since the ships in which they came were not subject to British law, they were run according to German practices at sea – and segregation of the sexes was not one of them.  There arose such a spate of complaints by newly arrived immigrants about this and other aspects of the journey, that an inquiry into German immigration took place in Sydney in 1858.  The second mate was asked if lack of separation of males and females had been very injurious to the moral condition of the emigrants.  He answered, “It was shocking in that respect. There were about forty young girls on board, some of them not more than ten to twelve years old, and I am sure, and can lay oath upon it, that everyone left the ship a prostitute”.  These girls belonged to families, and some had their parents on board!  The crew consisted of about twenty-four and when the Watch went below, twelve sailors, twelve girls went with them and when they came up, the other twelve took down their twelve girls.  The second mate stated that four of these girls became common prostitutes in Adelaide.  One cannot suppose that the results would have been any different on an unsegragated British ship.  Incarcerate scores of men and women in a ship at sea for three or four months: subject them to fear of shipwreck, allow them no privacy and the outcome is easily predictable.


There were many humorous interludes on the voyage, but when three storms struck,

the situation passed beyond humour.   Then every effort of the crew could not prevent seas cascading among passengers already prostrated by seasickness and fear.  One lady passenger emigrating steerage  to Rockhampton, experienced successive days of storm, and wrote in her diary “about 4 o’clock yesterday morning we were aroused from sleep by a huge wave, coming down the main hatch, and completely flooding the inmates of the berths on the lee side of the vessel.  The screams of the women and children were terrible.  Next afternoon, “the storm increased all day and many tons of water came down among us.  The hatches were closed and our windows darkened in case the heavy seas should break the glass.  One of the lifeboats was smashed to pieces, and the hen house carried away.  Though we had no canvas up we made 268 miles, fairly flying before the wind.  The captain never was in bed for two nights and stood at the wheel himself.


Between decks, where the emigrants were all stowed away (sometimes a man, his

wife and two children in one bed) were in a most horrible condition.  The sea washed down the hatchways and the floor was a complete pond, many of the beds drenched through and through.  In addition to all these “delights”, with some four or five exceptions they were violently seasick, some had women fainting, and two going into convulsions.  The squall had come on so suddenly that their boxes were all adrift, flying about from one side to the other, with nearly 50 whining, sick, squalling children to complete their misery”.  On calm days despite the inevitable quarrels between decks, most of the time was spent reading, knitting and laying plans.  Undoubtedly the chief pastime was endless yarning.  Nostalgic recollections were shared, hopes and fears for what lay ahead.  Many people developed friendships that lasted for the rest of their lives in their adopted country, and led to reunions of passengers till old age ended them.  Finally, when journey’s end was near, there was a watch for land long before it was due to come into sight, and there was mounting impatience with adverse winds.  Well before land showed over the horizon, there came shouts even when the ship was still ninety miles out to sea, an aromatic odour as of spicy flowers blown from the land, apparently the scent of the yellow wattle, which was now in flower all over the valleys.


Even though blessed with scents and signs of land, ships bound for the eastern

colonies still had the final bogey of entry into Bass Strait.  The master’s great fear was King Island , which he hoped lay forty miles to starboard.  There is a reef, which runs out about 2 miles from the island on which the female convict ship “Neva” was lost, and nearly every soul perished.  The “Neva” was transporting female convicts and their children from Cork to Sydney in 1835, when it struck the Navarine Reef off Cape Wickham.  Of 241 passengers only fifteen survived.


It was possibly a little less dangerous for the migrant disembarking at Port Adelaide,

however after surviving the innumerable trials of the passage out from Britain – seasickness, measles, fever, becalmed in the Doldrums for days, then lashed by storms and gales to mention a few, he (or she) found much hardship and discomfort in landing in their adopted country.


In the late 1830’s Port Adelaide  was known with some justification, as “Port

Misery”.  The water close to shore, was too shallow for loaded boats, hence the predicament of these new arrivals!  There was no “red” carpet treatment for immigrants landing in Port Adelaide  in 1839.  A lady who landed there that year wrote that as far as the eye could see, a mangrove swamp extended.  She had to disembark from a small boat into the arms of a long shoreman , upon a damp mudbank, under the persecuting assault of mosquitoes.  On this mudbank lay heaps of good of all description, half covered in sand and saturated with sea water, broken chests of tea, barrels of flour, cases of hardware, furniture of all kinds, pianos, and empty plates, chests, plough and thrashing machines.  Further on, at the commencement of the muddy track, which leads to Adelaide, bullock drays  stood, ready for hire, for conveying the baggage.  The lowest charge a load was £10.  All along the side of the track were strewn baggage and broken conveyances, abandoned by their owners.  Not a very happy landing for our ancestors who had endured so much to reach their adopted land.


William  Richard Rowland  worked for Colonel Beaucaire, as a gardener, for a few

years before he and his family left South Australia  for Victoria and the gold diggings in October 1853.  The eldest son, George , was the first to leave for the gold diggings.  He arrived at Avoca  when only the prospectors Bell, Burns and Co . opened a small gully, so he claims to be next to the first prospectors in Avoca.  He finally went back to Adelaide with them – they being old neighbours in South Australia.  By this time there were 10 children in the family of William  and Frances.  The last seven children were all born at Mount Barker .  A month after George arrived back at Adelaide, he returned overland to Avoca, with his father, mother and their children.  Just imagine 10 children in a bullock dray.  Along the track they met many tribes of aborigines , who at that time were rather troublesome and treacherous, so the journey was not without incident.  Having settled down the family in Avoca, George then started with a bullock team headed for Geelong, for a load of goods.  The price then for carting was £90 per ton.  The trip would take from seven to eight weeks in winter.  The first bag of flour the family bought cost £18.


George  and other brothers worked for some time on the “Avoca ” Lead.  Then, having

heard that gold was found at “Simpson’s Ranges ” now called Maryborough , the whole family left Avoca  for that place, camping at Deep Creek, where the township of Carisbrook  is now situated.  George  and a mate camped in Maryborough near where the hospital now stands, working the “Blackman’s” Lead and other places.  In these times, they were paying one shilling for a bucket of water.  In the beginning of the year, 1854, George and his brothers opened up a lead that was known as the “Tucker Bag”, just where the rail line crosses the “Avoca” Lead.  Having worked out the “Tucker Bag” and knowing that prospectors at Avoca had found gold at the top end of “Homebush ” Lead, the whole family shifted to Homebush, before the rush set in.  They worked here until the year 1864.  Their father William  had died on March 26th, 1855 aged 47.  He was buried at Avoca.  In 1864, George Richard, knowing that his mother could then manage her large family, decided to marry.  He married Mary Ann  Smith, eldest daughter of John  and Sarah Smith of Bung Bong.  George and his brothers then selected land at Rathscar in 1865, where they carried on farming for many years.  They were some of the good old pioneers to whom the present generation owes so much.  In those days a farmer laboured under many difficulties, which seemed insurmountable, yet with grit, pluck and determination, they toiled and eventually won through.  George Richard carried on farming for almost 40 years, he then retired from hard work, and in his 70th year he transferred his land to his two sons, Albert and Cecil.  Making his home with his younger son Cecil at Rathscar, his wife having pre deceased him.  George Rowland was once the victim of a would-be assassin, who tried to shoot and rob him, whilst he was resting in his tent on the goldfields.  Fortunately, George was lying on his stretcher, with his right arm across his chest, and the bullet intended for his heart was deflected when, it penetrated two fingers on his right hand.  On that occasion when George returned to Adelaide he traveled with his arm in a sling.  When the bullet wound healed, two of the fingers on his right hand were “fused together”.


So much for the courage and endurance of our forefathers.




George Richard Rowland                                                            Born: 25/7/1835   Devonport, Devon, England

Spouse: Mary Ann Elizabeth Smith                                             Married: 1864

Born:   7/9/1846   Died: 24/7/1905                                               Died: 31/5/1928

William Anderton Rowland                                                           Born:6/6/1837   Antony, Cornwall, Britain.

Spouse: Elizabeth Shaw                                                              Married: 18/2/1867   Amherst, Victoria.

Born:   1851   Died: 23/9/1935                                                      Died: 17/2/1923

Richmond Easto Rowland                                                            Born: 22/9/1839   Antony, Cornwall, Britain.

Spouse: Elizabeth Sarah Squires                                                 Married: 7/12/1864   Maryborough, Victoria.

Born: 28/9/1841   Died: 5/5/1938                                                  Died: 22/3/1892   Homebush, Victoria.

Rebecca Emma Rowland                                                             Born: 6/11/1841   Mt. Barker, South Australia.

Spouse: George Burkinshaw                                                        Married: 19/3/1862

Born: 23/10/1835   Died: 11/2/1916                                              Died: 18/3/1892   Homebush, Victoria

Eliza Rowland                                                                               Born: 9/9/1843   Mt. Barker, South Australia.

Spouse: John Thomas Squires                                                     Married: 29/10/1863   Amherst, Victoria.

Born: 2/8/1837   Died: 29/9/1894                                                  Died: 30/10/1914   Homebush, Victoria.

Richard Rowland                                                                           Born: 26/5/1845   Mt. Barker, South Australia.

Spouse: Mary Hill                                                                           Married: 1874

Born: 1856   Died: 1950                                                                 Died: 22/7/1923

Thomas Rowland                                                                           Born: 1/5/1847  Mt. Barker, South Australia.

Spouse: Marie Louise Courboules                                                 Married: 26/9/1872   Dunolly, Victoria.

Born: 1854   Died: 3/2/1925                                                           Died: 18/8/1914   Fitzroy, Victoria.

James Charles Rowland                                                                Born: 26/6/1849   Near the Sturt River, South Australia.

Spouse: Selina Rowe                                                                     Married: 1/1/1874   Maryborough, Victoria.

Born: 7/5/1851   Died: 5/5/1935                                                     Died: 4/5/1928   Rathscar, Shire of Avoca.

John Rowland                                                                                Born: 2/8/1851   Sturt River, South Australia.

Spouse: Jane Lardner                                                                    Married:1878   Portland, Victoria.

Born: 28/2/1858   Died: 6/6/1938                                                   Died: Nov 1918   Homebush, Victoria.

Arthur Rowland                                                                           Born: 25/7/1853   On the Sturt River, Sth Australia.

Spouse: Mary Eady Gilsenan                                                      Married: 31/1/1879   Moore’s Flat, Victoria.

Born: 1855   Died: 1935                                                              Died: 31/3/1933   Maryborough, Victoria.

Submitted by: Neville Rowland