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Tulle Archive - The Nineties

Amazing Engineering and Workmanship of Machine Lace.

(Tulle 34, November 1991)

By the end of the 1800's in Calais, gauges in lace were as high as 18, ie 18 carriages to the HALF inch. The higher the number, the closer together the thread movements to each other, and the vastly greater the hazard that, swaying and crossing over distances a mere thirty-sixth of an inch apart, more than a hundred times a minute, they would collide. These machines were extremely delicate and very costly to run. The slightest expansion of the steel would throw everything out of position and the carriages would crash through, cutting all the threads and ruining the product.

In spite of all these difficulties, an example of a "Chantilly" lace worked on an 18-gauge Lever's machine survives in a museum in Calais. It was made by Robert West for the Chicago Exhibition of 1893 and shows the caravel of Christopher Columbus, with billowing sails.

(From L'Industrie des Tulle et Dentelles Mechaniques dans le Pas de Calais 1815 - 1900, by Henri Henon.
Jean Campbell.


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Among the Passengers of the Fairlie...
or All is Not as it Seems.

(Tulle 34, November 1991)

The Fairlie was the first ship to leave England with Lacemakers aboard. Using her to transport our travellers was an emergency measure as many of the families were in desperate straits in Calais, and at Consul Bonham's request, the English Government found room for some 56 souls. The voyage was not without difficulty, and while the Lacemakers seem to have run true to Merewether's description of them as being "superior to any inspected", some of the other passengers caused ulcers on board, and interesting reading 140 years later.

Frederick Wilkinson, of the Fairlie imparted this message to Merewether:

In accordance with your desire, this day intimated to me, I beg leave to inform you that the young woman, Hannah Lawrence, lately under my charge in the "Fairlie" was, I am sorry to say, one of the worst conducted persons in the young women's cabin.

Very early in our voyage from England, I had to find fault with her behaviour, her gross and low language, which compelled me to order her on the poop for a number of hours as a disgrace; In fact, She was one of a bad and very troublesome party that associated and planned together, setting my authority completely at defiance in every way. She is indolent, lazy, and consequently dirty, notwithstanding that She could make a great display at times; and when I had occasion, which was frequent, to reprimand her, she was insolent and very impertinent in her language. She always gave me to understand that her intention was to go into service, as she said she had been before( though I doubted that fact),and she also told me so the day before she left the ship. She never, I think, did a bit of needlework the whole voyage, never washed one of her own clothes, but actually threw her chemises overboard, when too filthy to wear, as the lazy few she associated with.

With respect to the other ones I have alluded to, they are, Mary Sutton, a married woman, a dreadful creature, the most abusive, insolent and illtempered creature onboard the ship; Emma Tapner, Mary Stout and Rachel Brandson. The latter four women, who were recommended to HM's Commissioners, I understand, by a lady of distinction, Miss Thornton of Clapham, as becoming and respectable agents; but I am quite persuaded she was grossly deceived respecting their true character.

They were a constant source of trouble and annoyance to me from their gross misbehaviour, associating chiefly and constantly alone with the Ship's crew in direct defiance to my orders and wishes, particularly at night, which led in some instances to serious disturbances and fights. With this furious quartette, Hannah Lawrence always rejoiced; and, when I happened to order them below rather sooner than usual, they set up an uproar and indulged in indecent and filthy songs, until I compelled them so to desist by threats of severe punishment.

It was very distressing and vexacious to me to hear these abandoned creatures conducting themselves before really decent and virtuous girls, and particularly the young innocent little girls. However a these persons upon my severe reprimands conducted themselves better towards the latter part of the passage, I did not wish to interfere to prevent their success in left by an honest and industrious course here.

I have & etc,
Fred Wilkinson


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Gold! Gold! Gold!

(Tulle 35, March 1992)

The history of many of our people is certainly connected with Bathurst - Hill End and the Turon and Macquarie goldfields. However, because of the lack of written information on their lives during this tumultuous period, we can only presume their lives were like those of many other people of the gold rush era. All I can say is that gold was very kind to both my families, first to both my grandfathers. Gold opened a financial door for them that may have been a long time coming under ordinary Circumstances. Gold allowed the Lacemaker Grandfather to become a grazier, and my paternal grandfather to venture into his own business.

When the Colonial Secretary, Deas Thompson, visited Sofala in 1851, he took the trouble to write down the day's profit of each party he visited. The day was August 20th. In all he contacted 281 men and the average earnings per man was two pounds five shillings, or $4.50. When reflecting on these earnings for a day's labour, recall that the average wage for a labourer in 1851 was 21 pound ($42) per annum. So even if the digger did not find Eldorado, the majority of those early diggers did very well.

But above all, both sides of my family, in entirely different ways, had very happy home lives. They and their children after them lived in what was a rugged and isolated, but beautiful part of the world and our early years were filled with much joy.

However, we should start our story at Bathurst on the 20th October, 1848.

After a very wet trip by horse and dray, taking some eight days and nights, during which time there was almost continuous rain, our Ancestors arrived in Bathurst. Because of the shortage of accommodation in the immigrant barracks they were accommodated in Mr Austin's store which was situated on the corner of William and Durham Streets where the present day Esso service Station stands.

The next morning they were able to look out at a town of about 2000 people with probably another 1500 to 2000 living in the district This was still very much a frontier town. After all, it was only 35 years since George William Evans had looked down from the summit of Mt Tarana and wrote in his diary on 9th December, l813,

"I have called the main stream Macquarie River. The hills around are fine indeed; it requires a clever person to describe this country properly. I never saw anything to equal it, the soil is good..."
We do not know how long our people rested, recovering not only from the eight day trip, but also the voyage from England in the Agincourt. We do know that some of our ancestors went to work for George Ranken. Ranken was a very progressive man who had been given a grant of two thousand acres of choice land with a two mile frontage to the Macquarie River. He arrived in Bathurst in 1823 with his wife who was only the third "gentlewoman" to cross the mountains.

In addition to his sheep and cattle property, Ranken also established a flour mill, cheese factory, vineyard and brewery. The flour mill was driven by water power from a mill race cut into the side of the Macquarie River. It was later converted to steam power. At his own expense Ranken built a bridge over the Macquarie River opposite his property and this bridge is still in use.

It seems to me that all this engineering activity would have attracted some of our people to work for Ranken. I know that Carol Bailey's Brown, and my Kemshall family worked for him. Constance Kemshall married Frederick Dinger who was a descendant of one of the German families that Ranken had brought out to establish his winery.

However, there was not much time for my Grandfather Alfred Kemshall to establish himself at George Ranken's Keloshiel, because as Charlotte Suttor wrote in her diary on 26th May 1851,

"Gold! Gold! The God of Mamon surely unfurled his banner here and hundreds are flocking to the standard. The produce of John's party for less than a week's work (on the goldfields) was 298 pounds. Nothing else seems to occupy people's minds!"
It was only eighteen months after the arrival of the Lacemaker families in Bathurst that Gold was discovered, or should we say officially discovered. There had been a number of gold discoveries reported, some dating back to 1823, but all those had been suppressed by the authorities mainly because it was thought that a gold rush would inflame the convicts' passions! Furthermore, at the time of these earlier reports. gold was not especially wanted by officialdom. By 1851, however, things had changed, Convicts were no longer a factor, and the authorities now desired a gold discovery, partly to offset the attraction of the California goldrush of 1849, and partly because the 1850s were a period of expansion for Britain and new capital sources would be welcome.

Hargraves arrived in Bathurst on 6th May, 1851 and on the following day he announced the find to a meeting of prominent citizens. In its next issue, the Free Press stated that the whole district was drunk with excitement", and that "hundreds had started for the mines". Conventional business came to a standstill. Shepherds deserted their flocks. Just as the first wild outburst was dying down, the fever was revived by the arrival in town of a man named Neal with an eleven ounce nugget.

In June gold had been found at the Turon River where the town of Sofala was later established. In July Bathurst went crazy again when W H Suttor brought a nugget weighing 102 pounds, or 1224 oz Troy weight, to the Union Bank. This nugget had been found near what was later the town of Hargraves. The nugget had been found by an aborigine in the employ of Dr Kerr, a relative of the Suttors.

By this time my Grandfather Alfred Kemshall , now 19 years of age, was at the goldfields and I am sure there would have been many other Lacemakers with him. Who could have resisted the excitement of those early months of the gold discovery, especially if you were on the spot, in Bathurst?

Of those ASLC members who made the trip to Bathurst in October, many said to me that they felt a strong bond of almost family feeling towards each other. Perhaps our forebears were looking down on us and smiling with satisfaction that at least some descendants of those who came on the Agincourt were once again together at Bathurst and feeling that strong bond that must have existed between the Agincourt passengers....

When in Bathurst, I tried to take my mind back to those exciting months in 1851 - here were our Lacemakers just arrived from what must have been a very depressed economic situation in England and France and to suddenly find men arriving in their new town with nuggets of gold weighing 1224 ounces Troy, with a cash value at that time of over three thousand pounds sterling (present value over half a million dollars).

My grandfather Kemshall, by 1853, was mining at Klondyke Point on the Turon about 2 kilometres downstream from the town of Lower Turon and only about a kilometre from where the Turon joins the Macquarie.

My Lacemaker grandfather Alfred Kemshall actually met my paternal Grandfather, Enoch Goodwin, at the goldrush town of Lower Turon but it was 40 years later that the families were joined together by the marriage of my father and mother.

The river gravels at this stretch of the Turon were extremely rich because for aeons they had been fed with gold from the rich veins on the plateau above, later to be mined on Hawkins Hill and other parts of the Hill End goldfield. My Grandmother told me that she knew of one claim that was producing a quart billy full of gold each day. This claim was on the Turon near where the present road crosses the river. This report was confirmed by an item in The Bathurst Free Press.

Grandfather Kemshall was reasonably successful at goldfish and eventually set himself up with sheep and a grazing property called Oak Grove", situated about three miles from Hargraves.

But the Goodwin family remained with the gold. Dad spent most of his life at Hill End with short forays to investigate other gold Mines in Australia, New Britain and the Solomon Islands. At times he was engaged by the Sydney Stock Exchange to investigate mining ventures and evaluate their worth.

I spent my working years before the war working in family operated alluvial and reef mines. I spent a few very happy years hydraulic sluicing on the Macquarie River and like my father, developed a great love for the River. My father was a great story teller and although he was not born until 1871 he had some wondrous tales to tell of the floodwaters of history that had roared down the great gorges of the Macquarie River, eventually washing away most of the gold diggers' puny efforts to change the course of this magnificent river.

When travelling along the River with Dad, he always regaled me with tales of people who had lived on this or that part. Now the only signs of past habitation were a few pieces of broken china, remnants of a stone chimney and in some cases, a few Canna Lilies. The homes had invariably been built of materials close at hand: mud and wattles fastened between saplings of oak, stringy bark roof and the chimney constructed with river stones bound together with mud.

When the gold ran out, the diggers moved along the river to a fresh claim. The action of wind and rain on these primitive buildings soon reduced them to a heap of stones where the chimney once stood, and a faint outline of the mud and wattle walls is all that is left to provide a poignant reminder of a people long gone.

Apart from mining the riverside, I roamed them with my brothers and friends, fishing, swimming, or just enjoying the complete isolation of various stretches of the Macquarie. I knew all the water holes and still remember their names: The Junction, Nelsons, Rocky, Dead Bullock, Split Rock, The Bullen. John Oxley carved his initials and the year 1818 on a tree here. A flood carried it away in the 1930s. Then there was Reedy, the Dairy and Tambaroora water holes, the Piesley's, the Pump, The Almond Tree at Ophir Creek Junction, the Native Dog, Dead Woman, Carter's Grave, Dixson's, Cobb's Hut and so they go on, each named after a person, an event or feature. We worked on some of them and fished or swam in most of them.


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A Teacher's Tale

(Tulle 35, March 1992)

The Northern end of the Limestone Plains, upon which Canberra was built, is now the Site of the suburbs of O'Connor and Lyneham. In years gone by this was prime grazing land and the names of Crace and Davis and Shumack well known.

Not so well known were Humphrey and Lucy Wainwright, a childless couple, who lived in the Stone Hut and cropped and grazed a little. Humphrey and Lucy were Agincourt travellers, but Humphrey then used the name John, apparently to distinguish himself from the many Humphrey Wainwrights that graced his family in Nottingham. There is no evidence that he and Lucy had children either in Nottingham or Calais, but Lucy supposedly had a brother John Percival in Australia.

The Percival families in the district were ardent Wesleyans. Lucy was Wesleyan, and the first service for that faith was held at the home of Lucy and John.

By the 1870s education for the children had gained acceptance and some importance, and in 1873 a Primary school was opened at the Stone Hut, with Mr & Mrs Wainwright as teachers. The Queanbeyan Age of 29 May 1873 reports them to be "just the persons for such a school".

The education was Provisional, under the control of the Council of Education. Mrs Wainwright taught needlework and sewing (sic), while Humphrey John attended the basics. The school continued successfully under their care.. until 1879 when the Department of Education decided Humphrey had to retire. Mr Crace, who owned the Stone Hut School building, appealed against this retirement, but the Department replied:

The Minister has approved of payment to you of the sum of £65/18/9, being the amount of the retiring allowance in your case.

It is to be distinctly understood that your connection with this Department will be regarded as having ceased at the end of the current month, up to which time you may charge salary.

As your successor has been appointed it is requested that you will be so good as to give up possession of the school premises with the least possible delay.

Wainwright and his wife moved into the village of Queanbeyan where he continued to be involved with the community until his death in 1886. The Department was a little premature in its announcement of Humphrey's replacement Such difficulty was found in actually finding someone to take over the Stone Hut School that Wainwright was asked to return. He declined!

Humphrey's obituary says he left a wife without children. However a note in the Queanbeyan cemetery records suggested they fostered children at some time.

Lucy Wainwright briefly ran a Dame school in the village. In 1891 a flood inundated her home near the river, and she moved, renting a sitting room and bedroom in the Union Club Hotel, a Temperance affair.

She frequently visited Henry and Elizabeth Phillips, (nee Dove), who were the Postal officers at Uriarra Crossing on the Murrumbidgee. The Phillips were Nottingham people, but had been hoteliers in Calais.

Lucy died of Parkinsons disease in 1894. She is buried in the Queanbeyan Riverside cemetery, with her husband, leaving no descendants to tell her tale, and no trace of the elusive brother John.

Queanbeyan Age,1874, 1891.
Schumack, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers, ANU Press, 1967.
Archives of NSW, School File, Stone Hut School.


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(Tulle 36, July 1992)

The name of Calais appears for the first time in a charter drawn up around 1118. Calais became the first point of entry into Europe for travellers coming from England from the end of the twelfth century and Richard the Lionheart disembarked there on his way to the Crusades in 1189. At that time the town was part of the country of Boulogne but afterwards it came under the rule of the Counts of Artois. At the beginning of the fourteenth century Calais was a prosperous town thanks to the fishing industry and sea trade with England, Flanders and the countries in the south of France.

Unfortunately this prosperity did not last, as a war which was to last for 100 years broke out with England. After the Battle of Crecy in 1346, Edward III laid siege to Calais "that nest of pirates" - which had caused him and his people so much harm. The Calaisien pirates, among whose number was the famous Pedrogue, terror of the English, proved themselves a little too exuberant in their attacks against British merchant ships, often upsetting the commercial relations between Albion and Flanders. After 11 months of heroic resistance, the besieged Calaisiens, starving and abandoned by their King, could not hold out much longer. Therefore, Jean de Vienne, the Governor, sent a message to Edward III telling him of his decision to surrender the town if everyone was granted a pardon.

The king of England agreed to accept the surrender of the Calaisienes, on the condition that six of the most respected burghers, bare-footed and with a noose round their necks bring the keys of the town and the castle to him and beg for his mercy.

The inhabitants were told of the King's conditions. Eustache de Saint-Pierre, one of the richest businessmen, came forward and stated that due to his faith in Divine mercy should he die for the common good, he was ready to give himself up to the English. Another 5 burghers, Jean d'Aire, Jacques and Pierre Wissant, Jean de Fiennes and Andrieus d'Andres immediately followed his example.

When the 6 hostages gave themselves up under the humiliating conditions demanded by the victors, Queen Philippine, Edward's wife, was so moved by pity that she intervened and obtained a pardon for the victims. Throwing herself at her husband's feet, she asked,

"Dear Sire, since I have crossed the sea, in great danger, as you know, I have asked thee nothing: thus I beg and request with clasped hands for the love of the son of Our lady that thou might have pity on them".

The sovereign allowed himself to be won over and surrendered himself to the Queen's request, who was about to bear him a new child. The population of Calais was saved thanks to the self denial of six of its citizens.

(Auguste Rodin immortalised these glorious burghers with his famous bronze group statue .. they vibrate with life and emotion. A copy of this group can be seen in the Sculpture Garden of the Australian National Gallery, Canberra. Ed.)

Calais, in British hands for the next 210 years, assumed considerable importance and became a military and commercial bridgehead for the English. Then in 1558, in a bold but well planned move, Duke Francois de Guise won back Calais and its surrounding area which was then formed into the "Reconquered Country" and directly attached to the French crown where it stayed until the Revolution of 1789.

Under the Ancient Regime, the nearness of Spain and England forced the French Kings to make Calais an important stronghold, but at the eve of the Revolution, it was of no particular economic importance and for the next while, Napoleon's Empire wars prevented the development of the city's economy. Only the famed pirates ventured out of port, and captured valuable prizes. Therefore, when Louis XVIII returned to France from England to occupy the French throne, he landed at Calais, and his return signalled the resurgence of activity in passenger traffic between Calais and Dover. The line was the first on the continent to be served by steam boat, the "Rob Roy", which entered service in 1821.

On the other hand, the English products which France had been deprived of for so long - especially lace - were at the height of fashion. As far as the English were concerned, they protected their industries by inflicting the death penalty on anyone exporting the means of production.

However, towards the end of 1816 , three Nottingham men, Clark, Webster and Bonnington, motivated by profit, smuggled out several lacemaking looms and installed them in St Pierre. The English looms were continually improved upon, but it was in 1838 that the mechanic, Samuel Fergusson perfected the most important and beneficial invention for machine made lace, the adaptation to the lace making machinery of the system created by Jacquard from Lyon.

From that time on it has been possible to bring about a perfect reproduction of the lace on spindles and to diversify (almost infinitely) production. Thus began the true production of lace in Calais which was to confirm in later years, its supremacy in France and in the whole world.

Calais was spared from invasion during the first World War, but its strategic position and intense movement of troops and equipment coming from England made it a prime target of many bombing attacks.

The 1939 - 45 war was more deadly and brought about total destruction of the historical part of the town. Many vestiges of the ancient city disappeared through the heavy and destructive bombing.

Today Calais has been rebuilt and is a tourist, industrial and commercial town that more than ever merits its tide of "Gateway to Europe".

Reprinted from Calais, Porte de I'Europe Continentale, in an article written by the Historical Society, THE FRIENDS OF OLD CALAIS


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Those Two Maitlands

(Tulle 36, July 1992)

Following the last issue of Tulle, I am indebted to Lindsay Watts for the following article, and also for the information from Vaughan Evans.

Two paddle steamers trading last century between Sydney and Morpeth were named Maitland. The first was built in 1837 and the second in 1870. Both Maitlands were wrecked after 28 years of service. The earlier vessel, built by John Russell of Darling Harbour, Sydney, was launched on September 20, 1837, watched at a distance by Governor Richard Bourke. The Governor had in mind the use of a steamship for moving soldiers, officials and convicts around the various settlements along the NSW coast.

A wooden vessel of 140 tons, with dimensions about 103 feet long, by 16 wide by 8 deep, the first Maitland was about the same length as the commercial tugs at present operating around Sydney Harbour. She was the third ocean-going steamer built in Australia and was owned by Edward Manning who intended her for the Sydney-Morpeth trade. The locally made engines gave her good speed, and she beat the Kangaroo during trials held on Sydney Harbour.

In February 1838 the Maitland made her maiden voyage from Sydney to Morpeth in command of the well known Captain Taggart. She was fitted to carry 16 passengers in the main cabin and 8 in the ladies cabin. During her 13 years in NSW she traded to the Hunter, Wollongong and Port Macquarie, the Hawkesbury, the Clarence and Manning Rivers and also Moreton Bay. She was sold in 1850 to Captain G Cole for harbour duties in Port Phillip. Five years later she caught fire in the Yarra River and sank. Her remains were raised and rebuilt. She emerged with a new name, Samson. Soon afterwards she was sold to New Zealand interests, sailed across the Tasman and was used over there mainly as a tugboat.

In 1865 , when towing the schooner John Bullock over the bar into the Hokitika River, on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, she grounded and became a total loss.

The second steamer Maitland did not appear on the Hunter until 1871, so it is to the first we must refer. The assumption that our Lacemakers travelled on the Maitland came, I believe , from Bert Archer's excellent historical fictional notes, based on all he could glean. However, in this instance, I think he may err.

We know the Lacemakers left Sydney almost immediately upon their arrival. Vaughan Evans, who in 1987 was Editor of the journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History, went to the trouble of searching the Shipping Intelligence for October 1848, and says:

"It would seem most likely they travelled on the steamer Rose, Captain Pattison, 172 tons, which made continual trips up and down to Morpeth and took only a day for the trip."


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The Long Arm of the Law

(Tulle 36, July 1992)

In the 1850s at Bathurst there were some very strange Court decisions. Also the offences were unusual, such as driving or riding furiously whilst drunk! This offence was indulged in by drunken horsemen who wanted to show the town what their nags were capable of, and so galloped them down the main street, to the alarm of the pedestrians.

There were some anomolies in sentences. On one occasion a man was fined ten pounds with costs for furious riding, and in the same Session another man was fined five pounds with costs for stabbing a policeman. As a policeman was only paid 15/4 per week, perhaps the judge thought the fine adequate!

On another occasion an accused was sentenced to six months jail for killing a man in a drunken brawl, while a respectable farmer was awarded two years jail for shooting a neighbour's bull that had been making a nuisance of itself by breaking down fences.

Police constables were frequently drunk. There was, in fact, one notable occasion when two Bathurst policemen arrested each other for being under the influence while on duty.

~Bruce Goodwin.


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A Voyage of the Harpley

(Tulle 38, February 1993)

On September 6, 1848, the Harpley berthed at the Port of Adelaide, bearing the second group of Lacemakers. She was under the care of Captain T Buckland, and unfortunately for the Lacemakers there has been no trace of documentation of that voyage ... not even a shipping list!

Twelve months later, the same Harpley, under the same Captain, made another voyage to Adelaide, and this time a passenger, albeit a paying passenger, did keep a diary.

His reflections would seem to be an indication to us of what the Lacemaker's voyage was like.

Voyage from Pymouth to Adelaide in the Ship "Harpley" Capt. Buckland 547 tons

18th September,
Went on board the Harpley in Plymouth Sound expecting to sail the same evening but detained from some cause or other. Major part of the crew and intermediates got drunk. Got my cabin, well to eights and went to bed, or rather as I thought it at first to coffin. About 5 next morning the blessed baby next door began to cry, which awoke the deck overhead and the row was then awful. Great deal of botheration about getting woken.
19th*** tries ones *** waiting all day in expectation of going to sea. At length Captain came on board. Got under weigh, but the wind being light and flood tide obliged to anchor again after nearly ramming into the Harry Lorrequer
20thSailed at half past five in the morning. Pilot left us off Ruino Head with lots of letters and directly he was off *** *** crowded on her and *** my last look at Plymouth for a long while. *** we *** away down channel *** and in the evening saw the Lizard Light, the last we saw of England.
21stVery ill. All day light wind and the long roll of the Atlantic tossing us about without any mercy for my insides. Felt most miserable but managed to keep on deck all day and had to change cabins in the evening. Ship tossing in every way.
25thStrong breeze from the NW sent us along beautifully; 12 knots at times under a *** of sail. Carried away one or two thin sail booms. Ship lurching and rol1ing very much with a high following sea. Laughable scenes going on at times. Steward capsized into the scupper with a great *** of flour. Passengers sliding about in all directions. I had one slide from one end of the deck to the other besides numerous capsizes. Difficult matter to get soup into the mouth. Lots of petrels following us all day and over the ship as though they couldn't be tired.
October 4th
Still bowling along delightfully over a smooth beautiful sea. As comfortable as possible. Every day getting more interesting as we get into the warmer latitudes.

Saw three large sperm whales playing about; lashing the water with their tails and blowing up great columns of spray. There are generally dozens of porpoises and black fish playing about us all day.

10thNo change. The trades carrying us on well. We are now close to the Cape de Verde (islands) but the weather is so hazy that we can't make them out. Shoals of flying fish darting about with those thin gauze-like wings, are the only interesting objects. Nothing but sea, sea, sea. A flying fish was washed on deck last night. They are very pretty things. Something like a *** pilchard but more slender and handsome, with their flying fins as long as their bodies. The length of this one was about 8 inches but sometimes they are seen much larger. I have had my line out several times but have not even had a nibble.
14thGoing on slowly but surely towards the line. Being now about 8 north we have been very fortunate in escaping calming, tho' I expect we shall have some very soon. The weather is very hot. I have been sleeping on the deck for the last two nights and last night there were four of us on the skylight wrapped in a blanket each with a pillow under our head and remarkably comfortable it was. Went to sleep sound as a top about 12. At 1 rain came down in torrents without any warning. Case of the regular tropical storms of course. Wetted us to the skin in 1 minute, sending me scrambling down and getting my clothes.

Lay down on the floor, it being too warm to turn in. The morning is the only bearable part of the day. At 5 I go to the foc'sle pump and have a shave and bathe, then walk about in shirt and trousers rolled up to the knee while decks are being washed which is remarkably cool if not elegant. Seeing several ships every day, but not near enough to speak. No sharks yet and no birds except a stray *** or two, the everlasting petrel and one wandering swallow which fell onto the deck exhausted and died soon after. Water duly appreciated. The thermometer in the coolest part of the cuddy at 85 however we have a splendid awning and as long as there is anything like a breeze the heat is bearable.

18thIn the morning a small shark caught. About 4ft. Was immediately cooked and proved very good. Tasted much like hake and enjoyed it very much. Dead calm all day. In the afternoon I was lying on the taffrail looking down at the water. Saw something of a dark colour a great distance down. It gradually rose until I could distinguish a fine shark floating about majestically with 3 or 4 pilot fish moving about him. The pilot fish are the most elegant little fish imaginable. Stripes like zebras. Well this little chap was evidently very peckish as the first thing he did was to make a grab at a sheet that was hanging out of one of the storm ports. He got a good mouthful of it but it did not suit him as he did not try again. Presently, two preserved meal tin pots were thrown over. He snatched at one. Got it in his mouth but did not swallow it. However we thought he had had his way long enough so we got this great shark hook and put about 4 pounds of pork on it. Dropped it over the stern just letting it touch the water. Up came the pilot fish smelt it and then went back to the shark and then he came up and caught hold of it but wasn't hooked so he got off. But immediately lunged at it again and was soon hooked. After a deal of trouble he was got onto the main deck where he was secured with three cheers and in 5 minutes was cut in pieces. He was about ten feet long. Many tried to eat him but he was, I believe, very rank. . Saw another immediately after. This must have been at least as long again but he would not take the bait.
25thCrossed the line at 4pm. Long 29 W. Strong breeze from the SSE. There was no ducking or shaving but Neptune came on board to return thanks for our allowance of grog. Tar barrels were set afloat and it was well kept up through the ship. We had a fine dinner on the poop.
28thSuch a beautiful evening that I brought up a blanket and lay on the deck all night. The moon was vertical and exceedingly bright. I didn't sleep a wink but was completely repaid by the beauty of the sky, so studded with stars among them was the celebrated constellation the Southern Cross. I managed to amuse myself *** *** in listening to the yarns of the sailors.
4th to 7th
Splendid breeze in our favour with rain in the evening of November the 7th when the wind changed most suddenly from a furious squall to a dead calm and left us rocking helplessly on a high swell. Saw the first of the Cape pigeons. A beautiful bird white marked with black.
11thHave been much bothered by rats but last night they gave me extra benefit. I kicked two off my bed in the course of the night. They have eaten nearly all a counterpane, two holes through a blanket, the toe of one of my boots besides gnawing almost everything they can lay hold of. I wish I had dear little Tinkey here. Traps are of no use. Stopping their holes is of no use and there is only one cat on the ship. Fortunately they are the only vermin that molest us much. I have not seen a cockroach and although there are a few *** and jumpers, I don't mind them much.
17thVery chilly. Walking a great deal required to keep one warm. An albatross caught. One of several fine ones that have been flying above the ship. He measured 10ft 6 in from tip to tip. The wings are magnificent. Beautiful white plumage as tho' sculptured from the purest marble.
26th Still a splendid breeze. Ship running with a press of sail and lurching furiously. Sea magnificent. Thousands of birds following in our wake. Albatrosses, Cape hens, Cape pigeons, mallards, hawks, petrels, whale birds etc. Terribly bothered with rats again last night. Could not keep them off me but should soon get accustomed to their visits.
27thRunning with a strong breeze. NNW squally with a heavy sea on. The rolling was awful. General capsize at dinner. A large joint of roast pork into a ladies lap. Great difficulty to keep our seats.
29thWind died away in great measure and the sea going down. There have been two births on board during the week. One little thing died and was thrown over without any ceremony in a raisin box with a 56 tied to it.
1st & 2nd
Very fine weather but calm. But we cannot complain, having done 1400 miles during the week. Hard work drying bedding as the ship leaks in her joints after this straining in the commencement of the week. Have been obliged to sleep with a mackintosh over me and even then got wet through. However the rain has ceased so I suppose we shall get a little respite. On Monday night I incautiously slept with my scuttle open when a sea came in and set everything a float and nearly washed me out of my bunk
4thBlowing in right ernest. A strong gale from NNW with occasional squalls of wind and rain. Ship scudding with double reefed (fore and main) topsails and reefed foresail, as much as she could struggle with tho' as she is immensely strong. Sea awful. I never could have believed such monstrous waves were possible. When we are in the trough of the sea to see the next sea following us is terrific, One would think she would never rise to it. Then to see her stern heave up majestically with the sea breaking on each side of her with a war-like thunder was grand. At 11 I was on the poop when a sea struck her on the quarter, filled the life-boat and completely flooded the poop. Immediately after a great sea came over the waist and covered the main deck. The poor ship trembles all over at the shock and stood for a moment like a dead thing until the water runs off her, when on she went again in great style. The night was wretched. The cabin all afloat. Couldn't sleep a wink for the sea striking her continuously. She got one awful bump from under the counter which nearly fished me out of bed. In the morning had to make a platform to keep me out of the water before I could dress. I do not wish to see another gale yet awhile. The last two days have been quite difficult for me, what with the swell and the noise of the bulkheads and the masts craking, the howling of the wind, the roar of the sea and other noises. Immeasurable nothing to eat or drink scarcely (the galley being knocked down). It is wretched(ly) comfort that we are going ahead finely having made 247 and 240 miles in the last two days and I think there is every prospect of making a quick run.
15thHad a pleasant battle and killed 2 enormous rats by stopping the hole when I knew they were in my cabin and then smashing them. Light breeze but favourable. We are now speculating when we should get to Adelaide. There is a lottery afoot with tickets from 18th Dec to 15th Jan at 1/6 each. and he who holds the ticket bearing the day on which Adelaide light ship is first seen gets the prize. I have three bad ones. 7th, 11th & 14th Jan'y.
21stVery light breeze, approaching to calm. Very tedious when so near our destination. 3 albatrosses caught. Better breeze at noon and freshened to a fine breeze in the eve. Carried away fore topmast slim boom and one of the sailors went aloft to secure the gear and it is supposed (he) fell overboard as he has not been seen since, poor fellow. It was a miserable end. He was a fine fellow and a *** seaman and the event has sent gloom over us all.
23rdBreeze died away in the morning and then shifted. Very tiresome now we're so near. Land near called Neptunes. It is very sandy and barren with a tremendous surf running on them. The mainland of Australia is also visible in the distance somewhere about Port Lincoln.
27th8 of us went in a small whaleboat and started for the Port a distance of 14 miles with a burning sun. As we approached the land it looked very uninviting. A low sandy shore with a few mangrove trees and stunted bushes growing on it with a number of pelicans and other birds walking on the mud. We passed two bars at the entrance to the river with a very narrow channel for vessels and then only at high water. Altogether it is a wretched place for ships to go up and down. On we went and seeing a wretched hut on the bank of the creek went up to get some milk when strange to say it proved to be inhabited by Devonshire people and we got both milk and cream. A great treat after a long voyage. After 4 hours pulling we landed at the port, a very bustling place full of shipping and looking very busy, tho' the crowds of bullock drays loaded with copper and wool, and the odd looking view and buildings and country make everything look very strange. And so ends my voyage to Australia. On the whole a most pleasant one to me tho' it certainly has its petty inconveniences and annoyances, which however are not to be placed on the scale with the enjoyment. l was certainly fortunate in both ship and Captain. The latter was a very nice fellow and did all in his power to make everything agreeable to his passengers and I.

The foregoing is an excerpt from the diary of that voyage. The diarist travelled in a cabin, and his descriptions of his sea life are fascinating. This excerpt includes many of the entries that seem relevant to the general voyager, and therefore to the events that the Lacemakers would have enjoyed and endured The diary was discovered by Richard Lander, whose continual finds are a joy and of great significance to us all.

His main source of discovery is a book that will be of great benefit to the genealogist and historian:

Log of Logs Ian Nicholson, Sunstrip Printers, Price Street, Nambour, Queensland.

Richard reports this book is a catalogue of logs, journals, shipboard diaries, letters and all forms of voyage narratives and covers ship travel from 1788 until 1988. It would appear from the research he has done, and his belief that this book is well researched and comprehensive, that we are unlikely to find material in public collections relating to our exact voyages of interest, with the possible exception of the Fairlie.

The entries of interest to Lacemakers are:


barque 547 of L'ton, T Buckland (capt), London ( 21.9.1849) -Plymouth - Adelaide (26.12.1849) , Melbourne, with immigrants + passenger's journal
*Mitchell Library, Sydney, Manuscript Number 1741.

Forty Years in the Wilderness, John Chandler, ( with particular reference to the Harpley)


Davis, London ( 22.4.1848) - Plymouth - Sydney ( 7.8.1848) with immigrants Report published in the Sydney Morning Herald 8.8.48


1850 to Adelaide. Diary extract published in the Reporter, Adelaide 1.2.1923 Buxton Forbes Laurie of Southcote, Nick Vine Hall, (1976)


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(Tulle 38, February 1993)

While from the 20th century we acknowledge that one's expected lifespan has increased, and that a hundred years ago many families seemed to have losses that were unbearable, the sufferings of Maria Shirtley nee Potter seem overwhelming.

Maria Potter came to Australia on the Agincourt as a five year old. She was born in Calais, the daughter of Charles Potter and Anne Jacklin, and had a Calais-born younger brother Thomas. Her parents were part of the Bathurst contingent, and four more children were born at Kelso: Eliza Ann, William Charles, Sarah Ann and Benjamin George. William Charles died as a child in 1858 and her sister Eliza in 1875.

Maria married a chap named Peter Shirtley from Germany, and lost a son, Herbert Charles in 1871, then a daughter Hanna Eliza in 1879. She later lost two of her three remaining three children. Her husband Peter died in 1888 and her stepson Peter was killed in a horse fall in 1893.

Her only living child, William married in 1891, only to lose his first child in 1909. William himself died in 1916, leaving a son William Frederick. This grandchild of Maria and German born Peter Shirtley went to France where Maria was born, and was killed fighting his own kinfolk at Bullecourt in 1917.

Oral history from the family tells that Maria was a stern, lonely old lady who never seemed to have any visitors. She very readily told one small child she ate too much cake! Despite this seemed fierceness, four of the five children in the photograph are from a family called Blackburn who had lost both their parents. Maria had taken them in and looked after them, perhaps even remembering the two sons and two daughters she herself had lost. Maria has a niece in her 90s who still remembers her, and who like so many of us often says "if only Granny Maria had told me about her family", but Maria, like so many of our Lacemakers, didn't talk about her childhood.

from the notes of Jack Clifford,
descendant of Charles Potter.


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A Touch of Lace in Dacosta Avenue

(Tulle 39, May 1993)

In a quiet suburban street, not far from the heart of Adelaide, there exists another tangible reminder of our history, albeit a relatively recent one. Visitors to Adelaide may have noticed that electric power lines in that beautiful city are supported by poles made from steel and concrete because the more traditional wooden poles would not stand the ravages of the local white-ants. These poles are called Stobie poles after the man who developed them, J C Stobie of the Adelaide Electric Supply Company.

Some of the Stobie poles have been painted by competent artists to with designs or scenes that commemorate local events or residents. One particular Stobie pole in Dacosta Avenues, Prospect has been painted on one side with a likeness of the black Nottingham lace modesty piece once worn by Mar Ann Lander, wife of Edward Lander, Chairman of the emigrants' committee. The cat shown in the photo has also been painted on the pole.

The other side of the pole has been painted with a representation of some handiwork by one of Mary Ann's great grand nieces, Mrs Emma Head who lives in Dacosta Avenue. Her design includes a representation of the Harpley and shows both it's departure from London, (May 12, 1848) and its arrival in Adelaide (September 2, 1848). It includes symbols for England, (the rose), France (fleur-de-lis) and Australia, (waratah) as well as references to the Nottingham Lacemakers and the Lander family.

Richard Lander
March, 1993


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A Voyage of the Harpley

(Tulle 39, May 1993)

Tulle, Issue Number 38 included excerpts from a diary written by an unknown passenger on the Harpley's voyage to Australia in 1849, just twelve months after the Lacemaker's journey, but under the care of the same master, Captain T Buckland. The diarist was able to give us a clear picture of the sea voyage, written as it happened, but his experiences as a paying passenger were different to those of the Assisted Immigrants. The following excerpt is from the experiences of John Chandler, who was a child aboard the Harpley on the same voyage as the previous diarist.

John Chandler's family were Chartists and Nonconformists. His family's decision to emigrate was a group one:

"Provisions got very dear at this time, and many people were talking of emigrating. Many were leaving for America. There was gold discovered in California ......This was 1848. Some members of the Ebenezer Church met together, and after much talk and many prayers, they resolved to emigrate. They were therefore formed into a church They proposed taking up a large tract of country and equally dividing it into farms, and to keep themselves a separate community. It was not confined to the members of the Church, but to those who approved of our doctrines."

After writing to the Government, and being given approval for their plans and for a land grant at Lake Colac, now in Victoria, the new church community sold up their possessions and went to London where they awaited the sailing of the Harpley. John continues:

"I must here record the watchful care of the Lord over those He has determined to save while in their unregenerate state. I was playing with some boys and climbing over the side of the ship when I was accidentally hurled overboard. Twice I sank, but a Spaniard on another ship saw me in the water, and he jumped into a boat from his own ship just as I was sinking a third time, and caught me by the hair of my head and lifted me into the boat by it.

..and next morning I was as well as ever. And all the effect it had on me was that I thought I was very lucky that I was not drowned.

The HarpIey having got all her cargo aboard and most of her passengers, we started from St Katherine's dock on the 9th of September, 1849, and were towed down to Gravesend. The sails were set, and we were soon fairly out to sea. The ship began to roll and many faces were very pale, first from fear and then from seasickness, and there was a scene which those only know who have come out in a sailing ship with 200 passengers. Our ship was not a very large one, being only 800 tons burden. We had a very rough passage down the English Channel. Three days and nights we were beating about Beachy Head. Some of the passengers wished they were ashore. Everything was new to me, and as soon as I got over my seasickness I enjoyed it. To see the waves come tumbling aboard was my delight. I was too young to see any danger.

Two men died of Cholera. This frightened many onboard, for it would have been a fearful thing to have been shut in a little ship with this dreadful disease. Their bodies were sent ashore at Deal, and their families and luggage were landed. We had a head wind nearly all down the Channel, and the sea was very rough. It was constantly 'bout ship night and day. We were all on deck looking at the great waves rolling; the sailors were putting the ship about; the wind was blowing very strong. As the sails went over a rope caught my mother in the waist and carried her right to the top of the bulwarks. My father rushed and caught her by the dress. In one second she would have been in the raging sea. No small boat could have lived in it for three minutes. 0 the mercy and goodness that spared us five small children our mother.

We arrived at Plymouth after eleven days beating down the Channel. Some of the passengers lost passage rather than go any further with us; for to tell the truth, the ship had to be pumped a good deal during the rough weather.

Members of John's group suffered illness, and they feared for their lives, including that of his mother. Perhaps one of the reasons was because:

"Our ship was badly provisioned. First, potatoes were all done and then other things ran short. The biscuits were very bad, and nothing but downright starvation made us eat them. Our water ran short, and they had to boil our plum duff in salt water, which spoilt it. 0 how hungry we poor children used to go. All day the doctor (Dr James D Smith) used to drink, and drank all the medical comforts himself. They would not allow a ship to leave port now so badly provided as the Harpley."

Crossing the line was very hot, so that the pitch melted out of the seams or the deck. We were becalmed for four days. The captain would not allow the shaving, so the sailors had an extra tot of rum, and they had music and dancing. In the evening they sent off a tar barrel on fire, which we could see for hours. During the day, many of the passengers and sailors swam around the ship. One passenger who could not swim put a lifebelt on and went into the water. They all went over the bows, most of them diving from the bowsprit. As the ship was drifting astern, it was fast leaving him, and he began to get alarmed. A young man belonging to our company, named Thomas Harvey, jumped overboard and swam round him and pushed him to the side of the ship, where he was taken on board about twenty minutes after this incident. I saw several large sharks swim round the vessel. It was so hot that the passengers were lying about the decks everywhere. All night I lay on the table with a strap around me, fastened to one of the uprights to keep me from rolling off.

After near a week's baking, we were very glad to find the wind freshen, and it soon became quite a storm. Our second mate who was in charge of the ship that night, laid her over on her beam's end, but she righted again. The passengers were very much alarmed. One poor fellow we called Jim the sail maker lost his life in this storm. He was blown off the yard-arm in the night when they were reefing in the topsails.

The wind still kept increasing till it blew a hurricane. We were off the Cape of Good Hope. We had seen no land since we saw the Isles of Trinidad. We had been over two months on the voyage. The waves were higher than the top of the mast; they looked like two great mountains, one in front and one behind. All hatches were battened down, and we had to run before the gale under bare poles. Nobody could believe it unless they saw the mountains of water; it seemed as if we must be swallowed up.

Truly, "They that go down to the sea in ships see the wonders of the Lord". Our pumps had to be kept going. The men had to be lashed to them, and the wheel had to have two men lashed to it. This was the most fearful storm that could possible be for a little ship like ours to live in: it was appalling."

John gave some attention to how time was spent onboard:

The time was mostly spent by the passengers in singing songs and dancing; sometimes varied by catching sharks, albatrosses, shooting porpoises etc. There were two distinct parties on board - those who feared the Lord, and the others who cared for none of those things; excepting when there was any danger. The Church onboard always met regularly for worship. As our party had all the afterpart of the ship, we were not much disturbed by the others. The other party used to hold service, a mixture, Wesleyan and Church of England.

There were some good singers among our people....The Captain often used them to come on the poop and sing. I used to love to sit and hear them. I was always passionately fond of music and I would leave anything to go and hear them sing. This was the first Particular Baptist Church in Victoria, or Port Phillip as it was then called."

So John Chandler goes on to describe his life in Australia in his book, Forty Years in the Wilderness. This has been reprinted, and is available in paperback form.

Richard Lander


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From the Nottingham Notebook, 1848

(Tulle 42, February 1994)

February 17Death of Samuel Haywood, of Appleby, in the County of Leicester, aged 69 years. He had been the "Jack Ketch" of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester more than thirty years, and had hung no less than forty-two persons.
March 25Death of John Smith Wright Esq, of Rempston Hall, aged 74 years. He was the President of the Nottingham Mechanics' Institute, and a gentleman of high character and extensive benevolence.

March 30.Premises occupied by Mr James Tomlinson, jun., as an oil manufactory, in Park-wharf, were entirely destroyed by fire. Several thousand gallons of oil and numerous barrels of tar, pitch, and resin, formed the chief material of the conflagration
MarchThe Revolution in France produced great distress amongst the lace hands of Nottingham extraction at Calais and Basse Ville. H. Smith Esq., I. C. Wright, Esq., the Mayor, and other gentlemen, sympathising with them, commenced a public subscription, which amounted in the total to about six hundred pounds. With the assistance of the Government, a considerable number of men and their families were conveyed to Australia.
AprilThe early part of this month was a season of great alarm. Wednesday, the 12th, was to have been "the great day", which some Chartists were wild enough to imagine would usher in "the English republic". The precautions on behalf of the authorities were energetic and powerful; but nothing took place to require the use of any of them.
May 19.Re-opening of St Marys Church for Divine Service by the Bishop of Lincoln.
May 22Opening of the new Railway Station. It occupies an area 600 feet in length, and 94 feet in width.
July 3,4 & 5Cricket match at Sheffield, between eleven of Nottingham and eleven of Sheffield. Our opponents won with six wickets to go down.
August 17 & 18.The return match was played at Nottingham, when Sheffield again won with 85 runs to spare.
November 1The Municipal Elections. St Anne's Ward. J Galloway and W Sylvester; Byron, W Eyre and H Cartwright; Castle, W Page and W Parsons; Exchange, W Burgess and J Roe; St Marys, T Adams and S Turner; Park, L Hardy and A Lacey; Sherwood, B Hawkridge and J Webster.
November 9.Mr Thomas Carver appointed Mayor; Mr Edward Steegman Sheriff.
November 11.Suicide of the Rev. Wm. Brown. It appeared that Mr Brown, having formed the acquaintance of the daughter of the Rev. John Bull, of St James Church, solicited her hand. Mr Bull wrote a kind letter, declining to accede the proposal, on the ground of the extreme youth of his daughter, she being 17 years of age. On receiving this letter the young clergy became greatly agitated and excited and ran out of the house. Calling at Mr Jackson's, gunsmith, Church-gate, he purchased a pistol, and loaded it with shot. About four o'clock he was admitted into the Castle grounds. As night was coming on, and he had not been seen to leave, a search was made for him, and his lifeless body was discovered. He had applied the pistol to his forehead, and blown out his brains. The jury at the inquest returned a verdict of "temporary insanity".


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The Luddites

(Tulle 42, February 1994)

In English history, the term Luddite refers to any textile workers who were opposed to mechanisation and who organised machine-breaking between 1811 and 1816, especially in the midlands and north of England. In reality the Luddites were more than machine-breakers. Their acts were the visible manifestation of their frustration with appalling work conditions, low wages and the accompanying starvation that an over-supply of goods created in these early days of industrialisation.

Felkin1 says that "frame-breaking, as a mode of intimidating employers into compliance with the views and wishes of their work people, did not originate in the midland counties and in the present century (i.e. C19), as is generally supposed, but was practised in London at least 150 years ago ... about the year 1710." The Riot Act (which most of us have read to our children from time to time) was a statute of 1715 by which persons committing a riot had to disperse within an hour of the reading of the Act by a magistrate.

In 1727 the House of Commons passed an Act punishing by death those who destroyed the machinery used in making cloth or hosiery of woollen materials and acts of violence against both the machine owners and their machines practically disappeared for the next 40 years. Some frame-breaking occurred in 1770 and certain of those responsible were caught, convicted and then hanged in front of the doors of the houses where the offences had been committed.

However, neither the Riot Act, nor punishment by death really laid the riotous spirit to rest. It just caused it to migrate from London to the midlands district of England. By 1811, demand for lace and hosiery from the North American market was almost non-existent, everyone faced a heavy burden of taxation because of the war against Napoleon, credit was almost unattainable by the remaining manufacturers, the warehouses were full of goods, half the families (about 4248 families or 15,350 people) of the three parishes in Nottingham were unemployed, and those still in work were receiving an average of only 7 shillings per week. In early March, 1811, sixty-three frames were destroyed at Arnold. Two hundred more were destroyed in the next three weeks, mostly by gangs of highly mobile, heavily armed, motivated and disciplined young men under the leadership of either Samuel Slater, a frame-smith, or Ned Ludd. Ludd, from whom the Luddites obtained their name, is believed to have been a simple and lazy Leicester village boy who, after being asked by his father "to square his needles", took his hammer and beat them to pieces.

When the government brought in the Bill which made breaking frames punishable by death, Lord Byron used his maiden speech in the House of Lords on February 27, 1812, to strongly oppose it.

In 1817, eight men, including a Crowder and a Clarke (there were immigrants on the Harpley by these names, although no connection is implied) were arraigned for the attempt on the life of a man called Asher at Heathcoat's factory. Being found guilty, six were hanged and two were transported for life. Felkin states2: "fifteen thousand people witnessed the execution. After this scene Luddism seems to have become extinct; no frames being broken in these parts for several years. About one thousand stocking-frames and eighty lace machines were destroyed during this outburst of popular frenzy".

Liversedge3 gives a good idea why man resorted to this form of violence. He says that in early nineteenth century England, agriculture still dominated. More than half the nation lived a rural life and over one third was actively engaged in farming. Towns were small, and even of the densely populated towns and cities of today, few had populations in excess of 20,000 then. The machine or factory system was still limited. Water power dominated. Steam driven factories were few, even in the cotton industry which was at the vanguard of the industrial revolution. The locomotive was in its infancy, roads were poor and canals still carried bulk cargo. Despite the economic strain of the war with France, imports and exports had grown. Britain had to import many of her raw materials (especially cotton and wool for her manufactured products as well as food for her rapidly expanding population) and in return had to export about one-third of her production to pay for it all. The mediaeval system of open-field farming was giving way to the enclosure-system. The old lease-holders had to face a future as farm labourers or had to try and find employment in industry. But even this was changing. Textile manufacturers were installing machines which replaced the traditional country craftsmen, who when not working their land had always devoted time to knitting lace or spinning wool.

The unemployment, low wages, long hours of work, poverty, hunger, war, economic blockades, high cost of living, stagnation of trade combined with years of poor agricultural harvests all combined to produce the period of lawlessness during which the Luddites turned to breaking the machines which they viewed as threatening their very existence.

Although Felkin believed Luddism ended in 1817, there is plenty of evidence of modern day Luddites. In effect the original Luddites were those who destroyed technology to eschew change; but the relatively small number of "destroyers" were often given implicit support by a much larger percentage of those effected by the new technology. A modern analogy might be the creator of computer viruses. He is the Luddite of today seeking to destroy the very thing that he or she is perhaps most skilled with. The modem Luddite, however, is aided and abetted by others who just refuse to learn how to use the many technological advancements that almost envelope our day to day lives. Do you know how to use your VCR? Do you regularly operate an ATM? Do you use EFTPOS? Do you know what is meant by all those acronyms? Do you know all the functions of your digital watch and your washing machine and your microwave oven? If the answer is NO to any or all of these questions you are emasculating, in part at least, the marvellous benefits that these modem appliances offer us all. Perhaps you are a modern day Luddite!

Richard Lander

  1. FELKIN, W, A History of the Machine-Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufacturers, New York Burt Franklin 1967, p227
  2. Ibid, p.239
  3. LIVERSEDGE, D, The Luddites London. FrankIin Watts, 1973 p.17.


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Perilous Seas Claim 21

(Tulle 42, February 1994)

SUNDAY MAY 8,1898. The paddlesteamer, Maitland, which left Sydney at midnight with 63 people on board, was caught in a wild southerly gale just outside the Heads. With the ship taking water, and heavy machinery adrift on the cargo deck, the captain abandoned the trip to Newcastle and turned back to Sydney.

Furious bailing by the crew could not save the engine room from filling with water. Just before dawn on Friday, the Maitland was thrown up on rocks at Barrenjoey Lighthouse, near Broken Bay. Giant seas snapped the steamer in two and 21 people, including the first officer, were swept off the deck and drowned.

Extract from
Australia Through Time. 126 years of Australian History, Random House Australia Pty Ltd, 1994


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Suffragettes and South Australia

(Tulle 44, August 1994)

In the early days of the Lacemaker's settlement in South Australia all South Australian adult males were given the right to vote for their House of Assembly representatives. The Constitution Act of 1855-56, however, gave women few individual rights, let alone voting ones. As in all western societies, women were subordinate to men. A married woman's inherited property, income, and even her children were all part of her husband's legal possessions.

South Australian women, however, were made of stronger metal...perhaps the years of non conformism of the majority had prepared them to believe solidly in their rights as individuals.. .for in 1861 they became the first women in Australia to vote in local government elections. Perhaps even their husbands recognised that the size of the female vote could swing an election, and perhaps there were active Lacemaker wives amongst those who stayed in South Australia, because Sansom and Cope became involved in local government

Women frequently used the right to petition Parliament in support of, or in opposition to proposed legislation. The Advanced School for Girls, founded by state provision in Adelaide in 1879, gave girls access to an academic High School. The new University of Adelaide was founded in 1876, with the intention of admitting women not just to classes, but to degrees, though this meant pressuring a reluctant British government for several years. It finally assented in 1880. Both these measures were unusual for the time. In 1883-84 the South Australian Married Women's Property Act, which followed the British and Victorian examples, gave married women legal ownership of property and income. In 1885 the first science graduate of the University of Adelaide was a woman.

In the same year, the South Australian House of Assembly passed a resolution in favour of female suffrage for single and widowed women. Since it was a resolution and not a bill, it had no legislative force, but was thought to be a litmus test of the response of male politicians to the idea of votes for women. And though the politicians voted in favour of the resolution, it took seven attempts and another nine years, to get the legislation for universal suffrage through Parliament.

Men as well as women worked for female suffrage in South Australia. All legislation through Parliament was necessarily initiated by men convinced of the justice of the cause. The most prominent of these was Charles Kingston. The political pressure group, the Social Purity Society, which advocated legal rights for women in the early 1880s, was proposed by the Rev. Joseph Kirby. There were men, too, with the eighty women who were at the first meeting of the Women's Suffrage League of South Australia.

The Women's Suffrage League of South Australia was formed at a meeting held in Adelaide on July 20, 1888, and was the initiative of Mary Lee. Its aims were quite simple: voting rights on the same basis as men, but with no claim to Parliamentary candidature. This straightforward goal was adopted by other women's organisations who saw it as a means of furthering their own purposes.

The Christian Women's Temperance Union saw in females a powerful lever for their own goals of restricting liquor trade, and the Working Women's trade Unions hoped to gain a stronger voice in asserting the industrial claims of working women.

The campaign moved forward on several fronts. Public meetings and lectures, deputations to Parliament, letters to the press and the gathering of signatures for petitions taught women how to influence public opinion for their purpose. In 1894 the Women's Suffrage League organised the circulation of a petition throughout the colony. 11,600 people signed the petition which ran to several thousand sheets of paper, and was presented in August in a tide of publicity.

The Constitution Act Amendment Act which was passed on December 18, 1894 gave South Australian women the right to vote on the same terms as men. South Australia was the first of the Australian colonies to give women the franchise, and the first democracy in the world to allow women to stand for parliament. The Premier, Charles Kingston, hailed the provisions of the Act as being "greatest constitutional reform". Women in South Australia voted for the first time in the general election of 1896.

This led directly to all Australian women getting the federal vote. The Australian Commonwealth Constitution of 1900 gave the federal franchise to all persons allowed to vote for the lower house in each State. South Australian women (and Western Australian women) therefore acquired the federal vote and also qualified for membership of Federal Parliament. And, since Federal Parliament could not disenfranchise the South Australian women, it had no options but to extend the vote to all women in Australia. It did so in the Electoral Act of 1902.

In most other Australian States there was a delay between women gaining the right to vote for Federal Parliament and for their own Lower House. There was a further delay between their right to vote, and their right to stand for Parliament.

Christine Finnimore
State History Centre
Old Parliament House,


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Living in the 50s

(Tulle Volume 13 Number 4, November 1994)

Between the years 1848 and 1861 W. S. Campbell lived, with his family at the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum (later to become the Gladesville Hospital) where his father, D. F. Campbell was appointed as Administrator. Campbell seemingly was about six years old in 1848 and his memories of life in those years was recorded with wonderful clarity in a paper he presented to the Royal Australian Historical Society in May 1919.

His paper, titled Parramatta River and Its Vicinity, 1848-1861, deals with living on the River, its people and events of the times. After some discussion on swimming and costumes, he continues:

"Speaking about costumes I will refer to one or two which would appear very odd at the present time if seen in Sydney streets. The old English countryman's smock frock was not infrequently seen amongst some of the farmers. At one time men were keen on wearing boots of peculiar shape. These were Wellington boots made of kangaroo skin with thin, duck-bill shaped toes. These became quite fashionable. It was easy to pick up a cricket ball off the ground with one of such boots. Before these were worn leather straps were buttoned, to the trousers, under the boots to keep the trousers tight and straight. They gave a curious stilted appearance to a man when he walked and they were very disagreeable to wear. Collars were worn stiff and straight, and elderly gentlemen were accustomed to wrap their necks around with scarfs, generally black. It was a great ambition amongst boys to become old enough to wear stand-up collars.

As sealing wax for letters was in general use, short chains with seals were used. These seals used to hang out of fob pockets. Sealing wax on letters was often pressed down by thimble tops, and sometimes the bare fingers were used, giving good finger prints.

There was very fair sport in the districts about the northern side of the river at times, especially when the season for gill birds, or "wattle birds", as they were sometimes called, came out. Then they appeared in their hundreds, and perhaps, thousands. There were always numbers visiting the bottlebrush or honeysuckle trees for the honey in the flowers. Bronzewing pigeons were common. They used to build in the "Teatree" making rough stick nests. Ducks and wallabies were obtainable about the head of Lane Cove, and sometimes duck and teal could be obtained in numbers about the mangrove flats near Newington, on the southern bank of the river. Parrots sometimes visited the district in numbers and when the blackbutt gums (Eucalyptus pilularis) were in flower, they came in their thousands. Residents used to erect tall poles covered with horsehair snares, about their houses and often caught on these numbers of parrots. Native bears were found occasionally but were not molested. Opussums abounded, and frequently on moonlight nights shooting parties obtained numbers. The guns used during the period I am speaking about were muzzle-loaders; powder and shot had to be measured each time they were loaded from a powder horn, and shotbelt or pouch and wads or paper had to be rammed by ramrod over powder and over the shot. Percussion caps had to be fitted on the gun nipples. All this occupied a good deal of time.

We used to make all our own lead bullets, on winter evenings, melting the lead in crucibles and pouring it into bullet-moulds, trimming off surplus lead when the bullets were cool. Wads were punched by sharp iron punches made for the purpose, from cardboard or some thick material. The work of making these requirements, the cleaning of guns and rifles, and sometimes the manufacture of ramrods, was all delightful work, and the anticipation of the results and the chatting over sporting matters was splendid for all youngsters.

In those days the fire-grates in living rooms were very large and were fitted with circular movable hobs, which could be swung over the fire. In winter-time at night a copper kettle was generally kept singing pleasantly, and hot water was always available.

Fishing was excellent there, there being nearly always an abundance of fish in the river. Snapper weighing from 16 to 18 pounds were common, indeed, nothing then was considered to be snapper under 15 or 16 pounds weight. Smaller fish were called squire. Red and black bream abounded, and the latter, considered now to be very shy fish, could be caught easily, even occasionally with a bent pin with bread for bait, the line being nothing but seaming twine. Flathead were numerous in places and some were very large. They were obtained where the river bottom was sandy. The small ones weighing one to two pounds were preferred for food.. Black fish were plentiful and considered to be well worth obtaining; but mullet, which at times came up the river in shoals, were never appreciated. Garfish were sometimes caught by line, but to obtain them in quantity a net was necessary. Many persons could make nets, and sometimes small ones were produced. Most of us boys could make nets well, and we made our own netting needles also, but our work was chiefly for vegetable bags, fruit bags etc.

Riding and driving were acquired, by almost everyone as a matter of course. Riding parties were frequent and outings were much enjoyed. For driving the most handy vehicle in use was the old fashioned English gig, but dog carts, sociables, barouches and carts of some sort were much in evidence. The American buggy, as far as I am aware, had not been introduced for some years after 1848.

I think I am safe in saying that everyone occupying a house was interested more or less in gardening, and in most of the home gardens, besides flowers in abundance, produced fruit and vegetables generally in sufficient quantities for requirements. The Incumbent of St Anne's Church, Ryde, the Reverend George Turner, was a botanist as welt as a skilled gardener. His garden was singularly interesting and instructive. He was invariably desirous to afford information respecting plants and their cultivation to anyone who was interested, and on Sunday afternoons the garden was thrown open to the public. It was generally supposed that the name "Ryde" was given to the small cluster of houses around the church as a compliment to Mrs Turner, who I believe was born at Ryde, Isle of Wight.

in the residents' gardens, or in many of them, bees were kept in gin cases, large boxes of any kind and sometimes in old fashioned English straw hives. The honey was generally taken when the locquat trees began to blossom, when bees, deprived of their stores could most easily collect honey and pollen again. The method of taking honey was rough in the extreme and thousands of bees were killed, being smothered in honey. A good deal of honey was obtained in the bush where, at that time there were many gigantic Eucalyptus with hollow limbs, well suited to bees. In the hollow branches, opossums, flying squirrels, laughing jackasses, iguanas ("goannas") with the bees formed a peculiar but happy family. The stingless native bee was common, but no one seemed to appreciate its sourish flavoured honey.

Notwithstanding the fact that fruit was generally available in abundance, children and even adults were fond of some of the poor quality native fruits, the five-corner (Styphelia viridis), the groundberry (Astroloma humifusum) and sometimes the jibbong, Personia of species. This is invariably pronounced now "Geebung" which is incorrect.

I should have mentioned that the orange which attain great perfection, there being a great many huge trees in various orchards, was, I think, the mainstay of the orchardists, or many of them, until, unfortunately the terrible disease known as "footrot" broke out, spread about almost everywhere, destroyed many orchards, and caused much loss.

Many or most of the residents about the river and outlying localities, used to make every season, when the bitter or Seville oranges were plentiful, a great deal of marmalade; and when the summer fruits were ripe all sorts of jam as well. Lemonade was made by boiling down lemons of the "rough skin" or "common lemon", sometimes improperly called "sweet lime", which were grown in almost every garden. In places where the remains of old residences even of the humblest kind were often to be seen in the bush, an old lemon tree or two were generally to be seen to be struggling along. Here also some rose bushes of the old China or monthly variety, were almost sure to be in evidence. This rose must have been one of the first, if not the first, introduced into Australia. At one time it was used for hedges alongside fences, and was grown in almost every garden

Some of the people made a good deal of hop, and of spruce, beer, mildly refreshing drinks much used at one time. The "native currant" (Leptomeria acid) abounded in may places, chiefly about the sandstone rocks and sandy parts. The fruit was gathered during the season in quantities for preserve, which was greatly in favour. Native currant jelly was considered to be equal to any jelly made or obtainable. It was used a good deal with mutton. This fruit, the five-corner, and a wiry climbing plant known as "sweet tea" (Smilax glycaphylla), were marketable commodities, and were often to be seen for sale at the George-street markets. The leaves of the "sweet-tea", which was also known as the native "sasparilla", were supposed to be invaluable as a cure for certain complaints. The sweet tea plant is often confused with Geitonoplesum cymosum, which it resembles to some extent.

It was customary for residents to make their own tallow candles, or most of them from tallow and mutton-fat. Tin moulds could be purchased to mould six or a dozen candles at a time; and suitable cotton wick was available at grocers' shops. The chief difficulty in the manufacture was to keep the wicks exactly in the centre of the moulds before the melted tallow was poured in. When sufficiently hard the candles were drawn and stored in round-shaped tins known as "candle boxes". These had hinged lids and straps at the back to fix them to a wall or any place convenient.

The worst feature of the tallow candle was the necessity to snuff it frequently. For that purpose snuffers, objects of curiosity today, were in general use, and, of course, when wanted had often been mislaid, so that the art of snuffing with finger and thumb had to be acquired by many. It was often a test of skill amongst youngsters to snuff a candle wick as short as possible. A finger-snuffer could be easily detected by marks of burnt candle wick on his clothes. Wax candles were sometimes used in those days, but chiefly for State occasions. Sperm candles, I think, were scarcely known, or else were too expensive for ordinary purposes.

For family rooms, in churches, and assembly rooms, where gas was not available, Colza oil lamps were made use of. There was no gas, until comparatively recently, anywhere about the river, or beyond Sydney, where in the evenings in the city, lamp lighters could be seen running around with long ladders to light the gas lamps in the streets. Kerosene did not appear until the latter part of the period I am talking about. When first introduced it was sold in Pitt Street, somewhere about Washington Soul's shop, nearly opposite the old Victoria Theatre.

In the shop windows was a brilliant display of ornamental lamps alight. The display attracted a great deal of attention. The aroma of the oil was then considered peculiar and disagreeable. The agent for the oil was a Mr Stannard, who resided on the Parramatta River for a time.

In 1848, and for a few years later light was obtained by means of flint and steel and by sulphur matches. The former was chiefly used by smokers, the flint, steel and tinder being carried about in tin boxes made for the purpose. Tinder was made by rolling up some rag into a rather compact bundle, which was put into a tin cylinder about an inch in diameter, and then one end of the rag was burnt, and this would easily catch alight by sparks made from steel struck on flint. I often used my pocket knife on a piece of quartz. Sometimes pieces of a large fungus were used instead of burnt rag. This was known as "punk". The wooden sulphur matches, the only ones in use, were difficult to light, and burnt very slowly when first struck, so that a good deal of care was required to keep them alight. These matches were sold in circular wooden boxes. The last of such boxes I remember to have seen were empty ones made use of by fossickers on goldfields for the preservation of the few specks of gold panned out of the wash dirt.

Meat cost from a penny-halfpenny to twopence a pound. Home-made bread was common. A good deal of flour was at times imported from South America in wooden casks, which were somewhat smaller than the cement casks of today. These casks were made of some kind of pine, I think, which imparted a strong flavour to the flour and bread which was disagreeable.

The practice of spreading sand, or broken-up sandstone over floors after they had been scrubbed was a common one. The sand dried up all the moisture that was left after the usual drying."

The Parramatta River and Its Vicinity, 1848-1861 by
W. S. Campbell

Read before The Society, May27, 1919. and published in
JOURNAL AND PROCEEDINGS of The Royal Historical Society, Vol V, Part VI, 1919.


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Some Early Lacemaker Arrivals

(Tulle Volume 14 number 3, August 1995)

Other First Fleet textile workers were Simon Burn, a stocking weaver from Exeter, Cooper Henley, a weaver from Yorkshire, William Jones, a stocking weaver from Shropshire, James Mackey, a weaver from London, Thomas Martin, a weaver from London, Edward Risby, a weaver from Gloucester, John Ryan, a silk weaver from London, Henry Taylor, a stocking weaver from Derby and Peter Wilson, a silk weaver from Manchester.

Risby's crime was the theft of several pieces of cloth, but the crimes of the others don't seem to differ from those of the generality of First Fleeters Poverty, unemployment and social dislocation associated with the Enclosure acts and developing industrial practices were probably fundamental causes of Eighteenth century crime amongst workers and textile workers may have suffered from the effects of industrialisation sooner than artisans in other trades.

However, conditions in the textile industry were specifically responsible for some early Nineteenth century transportations as Beth Williams has shown in her article in Tulle no 37. John Slater was sentenced to transportation for life for framebreaking in 1837 and arrived in Sydney on the Larkins later that year. A long letter to his wife, which she published to make money to fund her emigration to join him, gives a valuable picture of a convict transport and of life in the colony. With Slater three other framework knitters were also transported: Francis Jackson, John Smith and John Thompson.

The colonial records do not indicate that any of the above followed a weaving trade in Australia. However, Slater's letter contains this interesting statement

"...we have in this colony a stocking frame, brought here by a man named Bates, but who has since sold it to a Jew. This Jew hires it out to man of the name of Hitchcock, a Nottingham: man who pays rent for it, and makes out a comfortable living for himself and family beside. Now, my dear Wife, it seems to strike me very forcibly, that my friends will readily endeavour to assist me, which can easily enough be done by ALL lending their aid, as a number may assist one, when one may not have the power to help many. If they would collect a trifle, it would ALL help, and then you or my brother Sam or Joe might purchase me a small frame, it would be a fortune for you to bring out to me. One about 24 or 26 guage (sic), and about 18 or 20 inches wide, so that I could make either hose or pieces. I could get plenty of work, and support my family in credit. If you can raise this, bring with you also an engine to make needles, and also a few needles and sinkers to begin with, likewise some cotton to make a start ... When you get the frame, I think you had better make an interest among some of the gentlemen at home to get permission to come out, and then you will be safe...."

It is possible that Catherine was able to bring a frame and that they were able to supplement their income with it though there is no mention of it in colonial records.

The 1814 muster shows Benjamin Hitchcock, a convict who arrived per Fortune 2, off stores, with a ticket of leave, and Sarah Hitchcock, free, arrived per Kangaroo, off stores with two children and wife to Mr Hitchcock.

The Convict Indent for Fortune 2 lists Benjamin Hitchcock, sentenced to Life on February 9, 1812. His native place was Leicester, he was aged 33, was 5ft 10 with a dark complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes; his occupation was Brit (?) Lacemaker

The list of Arrivals on Kangaroo in Jan 1814 includes Sarah Hitchcock, Convict's wife, and daughters Eliza and Maria. The 1822 Muster confirms this information adding Ben's occupation as Baker and the children as Maria aged 18 and Mary 6, born in the colony.

In the 1828 census, Ben does not appear but Sarah aged 45 is a Dressmaker living in Pitt St with daughters Maria, 22 also a Dressmaker and 12 year old Emma. The eldest daughter, Eliza had married Richard Read, an artist and was also living in Pitt St. The 1837 General Return of Convicts shows Ben Hitchcock, aged 36, per Fortune in 1813, employed by Sarah Hitchcock of Sydney who also employed William Webeck. (Ben's age would seem to be a mistake -?56). Sarah died in 1848 aged 70 and Ben the following year, also aged 70.

It is dangerous to read much into scanty records but if I have identified Slater's Hitchcock correctly it would seem that Benjamin Hitchcock arrived in Sydney in 1813 and that his wife and two children followed six months later, that Sarah was able to employ her husband almost immediately and that the family was able to stay together during the period the records cover. It is possible they were able to supplement their income by weaving, though apart from Slater's letter there is no evidence of that.

Weaving had been encouraged from the earliest days of settlement -it had been hoped that the native flax might be suitable for sailcloth but experiments here were disappointing. However, handlooms were imported in 1798 and a coarse woollen cloth from local wool and some linen and canvas from native and non-indigenous flax were soon produced and a government wool factory was established at Parramatta. By 1804 five looms were producing a hundred yards of cloth per week. However, evidence was given to Commissioner Bigge in 1820 that there was still insufficient locally produced cloth for convict needs. Settlers were encouraged to spin and weave in their own homes but these enterprises, which usually produced coarse cloth for assigned servants were generally shorted-lived. By 1850 many small factories had been replaced by a few large factories like Simeon Lord's at Botany, powered by steam and employing about 60 persons, mainly Aboriginal and convict boys.

It would seem that when "our" migrants arrived in 1848, not only were they expected to follow rural occupations, but even if they had been inclined to continue their old occupations, there were few, if any, opportunities in any branch of the textile industry. They had been forced to change not only the stars but their whole way of life when they crossed the seas.


Gillen, Mollie: Founders of Australia
Slater, John: A Description of Sydney...&c
Walsh, G. P: Manufacturing in Sydney 1788.1850 (ANU MA Thesis)

William and James Byrnes erected a steam mill in Parramatta,
near the wharf around 1841. It became a huge flour mill,
but by 1845 had been extended to weave wool.
The famed Parramatta tweed was originally woven here.
By 1847 it was entirely a woollen mill.


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The Emigrant's Friend
Authentic Guide To South Australia

(Tulle Volume 14 number 3, August 1995)

In 1848 a small booklet was published in London as a guide to prospective emigrants. It could not have had a bearing on the lacemakers, but gives a picture of what the authors considered the colonies to be like. The whole of the text was later reprinted, with small variations, by the Readers Digest.

All our Australian Colonies are deserving of the serious attention of the Emmigrant. To show the general peculiarities of this Continent, as to its natural productions, particularly those of the vegetable and animal kind, we may state that its quadrupeds, its birds, its insects are all new, and what is very remarkable, none of them of great utility. Its trees produce no excellent fruits. Its birds are some of them beautiful, but they have no song - grey, black and green Parrots and Cockatoos are abundant in some parts. There are no large quadrupeds of any kind - the Kangaroo, the largest of them, is very rarely seen - so also there are few large birds. The native shrubs are generally harsh, ugly and dark coloured the flowers are many of them very pretty. The trees, used by the Colonists for domestic purposes, are the iron bark tree for building and fencing - the blue gum for ship building and carts -the box tree for ploughs and wheels - different kinds of soft oak and cedar for cabinet work and fittings - the turpentine tree for boats - the sassafras for flooring. They also have different kinds of willow -the mountain ash - the pear - the apple - and different pine trees, particularly that splendid species, the Norfolk Island pine.

Everything is peculiar, as Mr Barron Field says - this is the place where the humblest house is fitted-up with cedar - where the fences are mahogany, and myrtle trees are burnt for fuel - where the swans are black and the eagles are white - where the kangaroo, an animal between the squirrel and the deer, has five claws on its fore paws, and three talons on its hind legs like a bird, and yet hops on its tail - where the mole lays eggs, suckles its young and has a duck's bill -where there is a bird with a broom in its mouth instead of a tongue -where there is no quadruped with hooves - where animals mostly jump instead of run - where the pears are of wood, with the stalk at the broader end - and where the cherry grows with the stone on the outside.

The Sea Coast of South Australia runs obliquely north-west. The whole width from east to west is about 700 miles, and from north to south about double this; so that the whole extent of the Country called South Australia is about three times as large as Great Britain and Ireland. Yet it is to be remarked that a very large portion of this country is barren, particularly towards the interior which is also supposed to want water communication. The following remarks apply to the Sea-coast only, or at any rate to that part at present inhabited, and this consists of about one third well watered barren land, a large portion rocky and mountainous - and the rest fertile country - beautiful in aspect - highly productive, and healthy in the extreme. Here there are no fevers - no periodical dysentery - no consumptions - no asthmas - no coughs - no agues. Good health is in every countenance. The heat of summer is not greater in general than in the South of France, or Italy and indeed the climate much resembles these places. The cold of winter is very rarely a frost - snow is wholly unknown - the sea breezes prevail all day, and temper the air to a delightful degree of coolness - a hot wind from the north blows five or six times during the Summer for ten or twelve hours at a time, which scorches vegetation, and distresses the inhabitants: but this trifling inconvenience is all the Colonist has to suffer from the climate

The soil is not so much varied as in many other places, neither can the fertility of the place compare with that of England. In some parts indeed, farming can be carried on to advantage, that is where there is sufficient population to consume the product.

The aspect of the country is anything but promising. In fact no place upon the earth's surface casts a damp upon the mind more desolating than the view of his new country to the emigrant, where he will first see it at the mouth of the Gulf of St Vincent - but let him not despair, rather hope for better things further on. When he comes to Adelaide, the chief town, the progress of civilisation here, in a short time, will surprise him; nor indeed, is the country hereabouts uninteresting.

...It is in some respects, rather unfortunately situated as the capital of the country, chiefly from the shallowness of the Gulf, which will not allow large vessels to approach, and still more from the nature of the river Torrens, which is described as a torrent in winter, but which in summer is but a chain of dry ponds; its mouth between Adelaide and the Gulf is a marshy flat, called Reed Beds. These are great drawbacks to commercial prosperity; there is another circumstance equally as important to health and internal comfort as to which Adelaide is singularly deficient - that is the want of good water - the river is, of course, salt, and all the water available for drinking, and for domestic purposes, is obtained either by catching rain water, or from deep wells, with which the city is furnished, and the making of which entails much expense.

The city itself is built upon both shore of the Torrens, upon two limestone hills; it may therefore be said to consist of two towns, called North and South Adelaide; the first containing in 1846, 5570 inhabitants, and the last 1843 - and with about an equal proportion of males and females in each place. The towns are connected by a bridge and are laid out in terraces one above the other, from the banks of the river upwards. The country around is extremely beautiful, green and slightly wooded, shelving down from some lofty hills six or seven miles off to the sea, where it is low and swampy.

The Government Offices are handsome - these are the chief places of business, and are situated in the Southern Town. There are numerous places of worship - Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterians, Baptists, Wesleyan, &C., with numerous clergy of these and other sects.

The houses are of very varied character and description, about half of them are mud and timber huts, the rest are some of brick and others of stone, of every size and shape, but essentially the same, as far as circumstances will allow, to those in England. They are laid out in regular streets and terraces.

The cost of erecting a house or cottage, suitable for a agricultural labourer is about £30, and the rent of a town lodging, fit for a mechanic, costs from six to eight shillings a week. Persons unable to work from infirmity or ill health, and who have no friends in the Colony able to support them, receive relief from the Government, by an issue of rations or medicines; they have also, when necessary, admission to the hospital, with the attendance of the Colonial surgeon.

The small booklet, after its descriptions of Sydney, Adelaide, Port Phillip and New Zealand offers the final word:

Each of the Australian Colonies has many things in common - British Rule and British laws - the English language and habits - England, as the common parent, the common protector of, and the general market for them all - all are of similar climate and in the same locality - yet South Australia is a mining country - Sydney and Port Phillip pastoral, New Zealand agricultural. The latter is well watered, New Holland subject to droughts. One is an old Colony, another a new one - one is overrun with convicts, the others are all of free emigrants. Natives of a noble and intelligent race here - the most degraded savages there; it is for each person for himself to decide for himself, according to his pursuits, his wishes and his means.


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Marriage Licence Bonds in Nottingham

(Tulle volume 14 number 3, August 1995)

The Thoroton Society of Nottingham has, over the years published records of old Nottingham that it believes to be worthy of public access. In 1946 and 1947 it published the marriage licence bonds of Nottingham. These records are from the 1700s and include a great many names of families that became involved in thenonconformist religions Their family events often disappeared from the available records until 1837 when the recording of births, deaths and marriages became a matter for State as well as church. Following are extracts that pertain to the names of the Lacemakers. Perhaps they will offer a clue to missing souls!

2.2.60Archer,WmCotgraveNotts farmer23 bStanlet, Mariner Plumtree20 s
7.4.63Baguley, JosephIlkestonDerbyfwk29 wDaykin, CathWollaton27 w
30.6.65Ball, WilliamCliftonNotts blacksmith30blngham, AnnClifton22 sp
14.9.67Barnett, WilliamSutt. BonnNott maltster30bClark, MarySutt Bonn22 sThomas Clark, fwk, Nottingham, bond
15 3.66Bonington, RichdSt MaryNott hopplanter30wTruman, MarySt Mary28 wSamuel Turner. gentleman,bond
2.10.55Bradbury, SamSt NichNotts joiner25 bWest, ElizbSt Nichs30w
5.7.60Brownlow, RichdSuttonNotts yeoman21 bJohnson, AnnSutton21 s
13.1.64Clarke, ThomasSt MaryNotts stck trimmer30wJackson, Martha St Peters25s
13.3.60Daft, JohnSt PetersNotts servant30bDarker, SarahMansfield30s
7.1.59Dean, WilliamWalesbyNotts farmer24 bFlower, FaithBilsthorpe21s
8.3.60Dewey,WmSneinton,Notts labourer21 bFarnsworth,Ruth St Marys21 sDau of John fwk
23.4.60Elliott, ThomasBrewhouse Yd Notts trimmer23 bBurton, AnnSt Nichs21 sRichard Burton fwk bond
13.12.67Elliott,ThomasSt MaryNott watchmaker25 bRobinson, Elbth St Mary22 s
24.10.58Elnor, JohnSt NichsNotts fwk29 bDeverill, AnnSt Nichs28 sJoseph Deverill, St Marys. barber is bond
16.7.59Elnor, GervaseRadfordNotts miller23 bClarke, MaryRadford23 s
29.10.68Flower, RichardBoughton,Notts farmer26 bTurner, AnnOllerton40wBenjamin Turner, butcher, bond
20.5.57Harrison, GeoSt NichsNotts butcher24 bCanner, AnnSt Marys22 s
14.10.57Harrison, RichdSt PetersNotts butcher40wNeedham, Mary St Peters30
28.7.61Harrison, ThosBunnyNotts tailor29 bHedling, MaryBunny25sThos' father: Thomas
2.5.64Harrison, EdwSt NichNottfwk26 bStocks, MarySt Nichs19sMother Elizabeth Stocks
27.3.58Hazledine, JasEastwoodNotts farmer28 bWalker, ElizbGreasley19sElizabeth was dau of George & Elizabeth
29.10.59Hemsley, JohnStn BnntonNotts cordawiner23 bButt, ElzbthSB30sPeter Hemsley of Basford was bond
16.3.64Hemsley, WmSt PetersNotts Tailor23 bGodley, LydiaSt Peters22s
26.2.58Hiskey, WmEyamDerby miner21 bSlack, AnnBlythe21s
12.1.61Holmes, JosephAverhamNotts miner20bDavidson, Ann Newark23sJoseph's mother, Elizabeth
1.3.57Hutchens, EdwSt NichsNotts soldier23 bPetty, SarahSt Peters27s
6.6.67Hutchinson, ChWorksopNott21bChapman, Drthy Worksop20s
25.5.63James, JohnSt MaryNotts brickmaker23 bRidgway, MarySt MaryssJohn Ridgway victualer, father bond
18.2.62Needham, WmSt MarysNotts fwk25 bMorris, Elizbth St Marys24s
9.5.68Needham, DanielCostockNotts weaver60wTaylour, MaryRempston30s
11.4.66Needham, ThosSt martinWarw. cabinetmaker21 bBlatherwickMansfield21s
10.7.68Oldham, GeorgeSt MichaelsDerby currier28 bTopliss, AnnGreasely21sRobert Topliss, tanner of greasely. bond
12.1.61Pass, ThomasBunneyNotts servant25 bHarrison, AnnBunney19sAnn's father, Thomas of Bunney
6.12.56Peat, IsaacSt MarysNott cordwainer26 bKirk, SarahSt Nichs17sJohn Kirk, Gresley, fwk, gave permission
23.12.59Peat, JohnSt MarysNottsbreeches ma26 bCaler, FrancesArnold25 s
7.11.67Peet, JosephGedlingNott18 bMullens, ElzbthHolme PP18s
7.4.59Peet, ThomasBunnyNotts farmer22bNixon, ElizbBunny20sDau of Joseph Nixon
8.11.59Place, RichardSt NichNotts victualler30bWright, SarahNewark25 s
13.2.56Preston, JohnBlytheNotts fwk25 bCrofts, ElzbthSt Peters24 s
23.7.63Read, JohnLiverpoolLanc fwk21Roe, HannahSt Mary20sp James Roe, of Burton Joyce, Iabourer, father & bond.
20.12.56Roe, JohnSt PetersNotts farmer24 bHand, MaryOrston25 s
8.4.60Roe, JosephSt MaryNotts Brazier24 bHolland, MariaBuIwell22 s
6.2.61Roe, JosephMansfieldNotts tailor26 bInnocent, AnnMansfied27sMansfield
20.7.54Rose, JosephSt MarysNott fwk50bAnderson, AnnSt Marys19sp Ann's father Stephen of Blackwel, Derby
14.4.60Roughton, JohnLentonNotts farmer24 bHopkins,MaryLenton20s Mother Sarah, father dead. Thonus Roughton bond
22.3.60Rushton, Jos.E.RetfordNotts weaver25 bWalker, MaryW Retford24 s
13.2.68Sansom, JohnShelfordNotts fwk21 bClark, MaryE Bridgford17s Thomas Clark Of E Bridgord, father
16.6.54SargeantMkt BosworthLeics shoemaker29 bBradley, AnnSt Peters24 s
12.10.55Savage, WmBurton Joyce,Notts servant22 bPeet, SarahBurton Joy20 s Sarah's father was Richard, carpenter
27.3.55Saxton, WmBasfordNotts servant31 bOldershaw, Elizb. Stapleford26 s
30.3.58Saywell, WmSwinderleyLincs blacksmith22 bLee, MarySearle21 s
16.6.55Sergeant, WmMarket Boswor Leics shoemaker29 bBradley, AnnSt Peters24 s
31.8.S6Shaw, SamuelSt NichsNotts coach maker28 wPeet, SarahSt Marys28 w
16.9.68Shaw, ThomasMansfieldNotts fwk19 bGee, ElizabethMansfield21s Edward Shaw, father of Thomas gives permission
20.1.63Simpson, BenjSt MarysNatt nailman25 bOrringe, ElizbthSt Mary23s
22.5.61Simpson, Chad.WorksopNotts miller21 wKeeton, MaryWorksop21 w
15.1.64Simpson, JohnEdwinstoneNotts gentleman30bLockwood, ElzbSt Mary21s
13.9.55Slack, JohnTrowellNott fwk27 bHopewell, AnnBeeston23 S
9.5.56Smedley, JohnMorleyDerby labourer22 bFalton, MaryTrowel22s
17.5.62Stevens, RchdSt MaryNotts fwk23 bHolmes, SarahPapplewick26sLived Newstead Abbey
21.1.64Straw, ThomasGamstonNott farmer24 bIbberson, MaryGamston28sp John Ibberson, farmer,bond
11.8.69Street, JosephSt MaryNott farmer40bHolmes, MarySt Mary23 s
4.1.65Stubbs, JohnBradmoreNotts horse millnr24 bLong, MaryThrumpton19s Horse milliner!? as occupation!
30.8.55Sumner, WmElston, StokeNotts servant36 bWorth, MaryStaythorp26s
1 6.59Vickers, WmSt MarysNotts soldier22 wLee, EleanorSt Marys25 w
19.2.62Wainwright, Fran.EvertonNotts farmer22 wPadley, ElzbthEverton22 w
22.1.57Wells, EdwardWidmerpoolNotts farmer46bSteel, ElzbthWilloughby32 w
16.6.57Wells, JosephGirtonNotts farmer28 wAdmigal, SarahGirton20sSarah's father: William of Langford
1 5.2.65Wells, WilliamSt MaryNott brazier20 bPage, ElzbSt PetersS
5.9.69Wells,ThosLacebyLincs servant31 bGascoyne, Elizbth Coddington30s
8.6.57Wells,WmMarnhamNotts servant27 bClay, Eleanor28s
9.5.56Widdison, JasSpink HillDerby gardener20 bAndrew, SarahBlythe21s


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Rescue of a Shipwrecked Crew

(Tulle volume 14 number 4, November 1995)

The barque Fairlie, bound to Negapatam, after encountering the most violent weather, foundered in the Bay of Bengal in November, 1865.

It was not until February 9, 1866 that a letter was received at Liverpool from Captain John Gibson, of the ship Innisfallen and of that port, announcing the foundering of the London ship Fairlie, Captain Stephens, and the fortunate rescue of the crew by the Innisfallen.

As the life boats were either all smashed to pieces or dragged down with the ship, the only resource of the crew was to construct a raft of loose spars which could be hurriedly collected and lashed together. This was done, and 20 men were crowded upon this frail structure, the sea meantime threatening to engulf them at any moment. For 13 hours they remained in this dreadful plight. The mate and several sailors were so exhausted they were at the point of dying. The poor fellows were up to their armpits in water, and had given themselves up as lost, when they were fortunately seen by Captain J Gibson, of the ship Innisfallen, who, though there was a furious sea, promptly and bravely put a boat off to the rescue.

The men were all picked up, brought safely onboard the Innisfallen, and in December landed on Mauritius. The mate and the others who were so exhausted and ill, under the kind and constant care of Captain Gibson, were quite recovered. The circumstances having been reported to the Board of Trade, Captain Gibson, was presented at the office of the local marine board, Liverpool, with a handsome silver-mounted telescope, the gift of the Board of Trade. The telescope was inscribed with a record of his humanity and bravery


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Over the Hills and a Long Way Off

(Tulle volume 14 number 4, November 1995)

The piecing together of the story of those Agincourt travellers who went to Bathurst promises to unfold all manner of interesting small stories. While there will be great debate about whether they travelled up river to Parramatta by steamer, or along the banks by horse drawn vehicle, there are no questions as to the route taken over the Mountains. There was very little choice.

By 1848 Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's route up Lapstone Hill was well in use - it was a little to the south of the earliest road and not nearly as steep. Half way up the pass was a deep gorge cut by a creek and Mitchell was not keen to bridge it with a fragile wooden structure - fire and flood were both hazards in the area and he perceived this road as a major highway opening up the interior. The answer was David Lennox's first sandstone bridge - New South Wales' oldest1. The Agincourt drays crossed that bridge, and an undated 1940 paper cutting found in an old collection places a human face on the stone edifice.

Day Of Destiny

David Lennox, the Bridge Builder.

by O. Z.

It was spring of 1832 Major (afterwards Sir) Thomas Livingstone Mitchell walked into Macquarie Street, Sydney. Stone masons were working on the coping-stone of the low wall in front of the Legislative Council Chambers.

The tap, tap Of the chisel the stone came to the Major's ears, but his thoughts were in the Blue Mountains. He had just accomplished an important deviation there but a vast gully worried him. A bridge was needed and bridge builders were scarce in Australia in 1832.

Tap! Tap! Major Mitchell's glance was arrested by a short wiry man. Blue eyed, fair haired, young, the man was evidently enjoying his work. The Major asked his name and how long he had been in Australia.

"David Lennox, sir," was the reply. "I was born in Ayr in Scotland and came to Australia on the Florentia on August 11 this year."

Then he told, how, in the old country he had worked as a mason under master bridge builders, taking part in the building of the Gloucester bridge and also one over the Severn.

At once the Major took the man to his office, and to David Lennox that spring day was a day of destiny, for during the next forty years he was David Lennox - Bridge Builder.

His first commission was Lennox Bridge on Lapstone Hill, and by July 1833 the arched stone bridge spanning the gully was complete, it stands today in its picturesque setting strong and beautiful, after one hundred and seven years - an historic landmark.

David Lennox proved himself to be not only efficient, but a born leader of the men who formed his band of masons. Many of them were prisoners, who, through splendid service, won well-earned freedom. David Lennox said: "I never began any work which I did not finish to the satisfaction of all parties," and Lennox Bridge is his testimony in stone. On the keystone on the upstream side of the bridge is cut the name of the builder "David Lennox" and on the other side A.D. 1833. In a cottage which he built for himself at 4 Campbell, David Lennox died on November 12, 1873.

After the rigours of the journey up the mountain, along the plateaux, and finally down Victoria Pass, the travellers came to Hartley near the River Lett. Such a pretentious name for a very small creek! In an unpublished article written in the late 1940s an explanation is given.

The Reason Why.

There must be few people indeed in Sydney who have not at some time or other travelled along the Main Western Highway. It runs from the outskirts of Sydney across the Blue Mountains, through Medlow Bath, Blackheath and down into Hartley Vale with its historic Court House, old inns and churches set amid apple orchards. A few miles beyond Hartley the Highway crosses a small stream which bears the name "River Lett". Here the road forks; to the left is the way to the Jenolan Caves, to the right it continues further west, remaining the Main Western Highway.

Throughout Australia the rivers and creeks which are crossed by any of the main highways each bear their own particular name. Many explorers and surveyors are remembered and many historic figures of all countries are honoured in this way. Besides these, there are many creeks which bear a characteristic name which describes it: Sweetwater Creek, Stringybark Creek, Reedy Creek are but a few, yet for years the River Lett has puzzled many. There seemed no explanation of the name; it is not known who named it or after whom it was named

After many years the reason was discovered quite by accident. The first trail across the Blue Mountains was blazed, as is well known, by the three famous explorers, Lawson, Wentworth and Blaxland. They found it was possible to reach the rich plains that lay beyond the seemingly impassable barrier of the Great Divide, but there still remained the problem of finding the best track for a stock route. Major Cox and his officers hacked a well defined route through the virgin bush. A highway was the next step, and this task was given to the Government Surveyor, Thomas Livingstone Mitchell. He chose to go down through Hartley Vale, making the route almost as it is today, and deviating somewhat from the original track. In his footsteps came the unhappy convicts whose blood and sweat are so closely linked with each stone of that long trail.

By this time all the large rivers and other outstanding landmarks had already been named; the smaller creeks were merely for identification purposes on survey and field maps. Mitchell drew up his new map of the highway for official copying and filing in the London Office. In those days, of course, the trip to England took a long time and the use of photography for such purposes was unknown. The map was folded and remain so for weeks aboard ship and probably was put aside in London for more important matters than a new road in far away Australia. Finally the official copy of the map landed back and was greeted with some small degree of wonder. No one could understand how such a small creek had acquired such a seemingly important title.

Inquiries were made in various quarters, and a great deal of speculation ensued. Many years later the enigma was solved by someone, who, for some reason or other examined in London the original map of the Main Western Highway. It appears the map was folded for so long that the creases became black lines, and one of these lines ran straight through the name of the small creek which had actually been marked only as "Rivulett". Hence when the map was opened, all that was left of the word was Riv.lett, which the official cartographer in London transcribed as River Lett.

C. M. Norrie 1926-1990

1 There is an older one built at Richmond, Tasmania


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Convict Lines

(Tulle volume 15 number 3, August 1996)

William Brownlow was sentenced to life at the Nottingham Assizes on 29 July 1819. He was 5'7 and 1/2" tall, with a sallow complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. He was born c.1799 and arrived per "Mangles" in August 1820. He married Selina Hacott at Narellan in 1834 and they had three children who between them produced 24 grandchildren, all of whom were born at Binda. William died at Binda c.1853.

Conditions of penal servitude in NSW could be extremely harsh, especially at places of secondary punishment like Moreton Bay and Norfolk Island. But so too were conditions in English factories and mines, in the ranks of the Army and Navy, in the new industrial slums and especially in the workhouses. "Our" lacemakers sought relief from the dislocation and adversities of fluctuating employment in an industrialising society by moving to a foreign land: to France, the traditional enemy with which Britain had been at war almost continuously for the 25 years preceding Waterloo. It was a desperate and risky solution to their problems as the 1848 Revolution proved.

For others at home, perhaps less enterprising, the occasional report in a newspaper or letter about a convict who had made good at Botany Bay. must have lessened the deterrent effectiveness of transportation and some may have even come to regard it as an acceptable, if desperate, solution to a desperate situation.

Barry Holland, who has generously provided so much valuable information from the 1848 issues of The Nottingham Review (including the Freestone letters) expects to have his Index to people sentenced to transportation in Notts published by the NFHS shortly. No doubt, other Lacemaker names will appear in it.



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The Inhabitants of Saint-Pierre
from the 1831 Census (concl)

(Tulle volume 15 number 3, August 1996)

These entries are extracted from the Protestant residents in Calais in 1831. We are indebted to Joel Brismanil for his patience and work. The numbers refer to household numbers. Space precludes printing all entries.

In future issues there will be extracts from the 1841 census, and this brings to light interesting family connections.

823GOLDFINCH, Thomas, Lacemaker, 63
DARBY, Lucy, Mother, 40
GOLDFINCH, Suzanna, daughter, 20
GOLDFINCH, Thomas, son, 18
GOLDFINCH, John, son, 11
GOLDFINCH, Lynch, son, 9
915 SHORE, William, laceworker, 44
ROBERTSON, Sarah, mother, 36
SHORE, Thomas, son, 15
SHORE, James, son, 13
SHORE, Mary, daughter, 11
SHORE, Suzanne, daughter, 8
SHORE, Sarah, daughter, 7
928 BASHFORD, Ann, laceworker, mother, 32, widow of Basford
BASFORD, John, son,14
BASFORD, Enoch, son, 12
BASFORD, Elisa, daughter, 10
BASFORD, Sophie, daughter, 6
BASFORD, William, son, 4
BASFORD, Ann, daughter, 8 mois
975 WALKER, John, boarder with Francois Ducrocq, 42
978 MARTIN, Elisabeth, rentiere mere, 47, widow BAYLEY
BAYLEY, Elisabeth daughte,r 19
BAYLEY, Jane, daughter, 16
BAYLEY, Georges son, 13
996 AUSTIN, Jane, laceworker sister 23
AUSTIN, Frederick, brother, 18
AUSTIN, Mary, sister, 13
999 ROSE, Joseph, baker, father, 43
JAMES, Jane, mother, 33
ROSE, Emma, daughter, 14
ROSE, Joseph, son, 4
1170 BROWN, William, laceworker, Father, 46
WAFERS, Ann, mother, 49
BROWN, Thomas, son, 24
BROWN, John, son, 22
BROWN, Charles, son, 19
BROWN, Mary Ann, daughter, 17
BROWN, Sarah, daughter, 14
BROWN, James, son, 10
RICHARDSON, Josue, boarder, 20
1181 SHAW, Isaac, laceworker 48
HART, Sarah, mother, 44
SHAW, Jobe, son, 16
SHAW, John, son, 14
SHAW, Elisa, daughter, 3 months
1210 TOWLSON, Edouard, laceworker, father, 32
SNAIL, Sarah, mother, 26
TOWLSON, Edwin, son, 9
TOWLSON, John, son, 7
1246 TAYLOR, John, laceworker, father, 22
WRIGHT, Elizabeth, mother, 22
TAYLOR, Elizabeth, daughter, 8 months
1247 PEET, Thomas, private means, father, 62
HATTEY (sic) Flora, wife, 65
1252 HARISSON Thomas, laceworker, father, 31
STUBBS, Mary, mother, 30
HARISSON, Robert John, son, 6
HARISSON, Alfred, son, 4
HARISSON, Mary Anne, daughter, 3
HARISSON, Emma, daughter, 2
1255 SANSOM, John, laceworker, father, 32
STUBBS, Mary, mother, 27
SANSOM, William Henry, son, 2
1257 STUBBS, Francis, lacemaker, father, 29
PEET, Flora, mother, 29
STUBBS, Thomas, son, 7
STUBBS, Francis, son, 5
STUBBS, Mary Eliza, daughter, 3
STUBBS, Robert Henry, son, 1
STUBBS, Matilde, sister, 18
BLACK, Henry, boarder, 17
BOUGHT, William, boarder, 22
1280 WEST, Robert, lacemaker, father, 44
FRIEND, Francis, mother, 38
WEST, Robert, son, 16
WEST, Richard, son, 14
WEST, Valentin, son, 9
WEST, William, son, 8
WEST, Fanny, daughter, 7
1310 DORMER, George, laceworker, father, 32
GRAY, July, mother, 30
DORMER, Mary, daughter, 6
DORMER, Helene, daughter, 4
DORMER, John, son, 2
1357 SMITH, James, lacemaker, 40
TAYLOR, Ann, Mother, 31
SMITH, William, son, 18
SMITH, John, son, 7
SMITH, Thomas, son, 5
SMITH, Mary Ann, daughter, 3
SMITH, Maria, daughter, 4 months
1479 DIXON, John, lacemaker, father, 37*
PETTY, Mary Ann, mother, no age given
DIXON, Mary Ann, daughter, 13
DIXON, Elizabeth, daughter, 11
DIXON, Henriette, daughter, 9
DIXON, Caroline, daughter, 6
DIXON, Sarah, daughter, 4
DIXON, Richard, son, 2
BROWN, William, laceworker, boarder, 16
DOSSINS, Maria, maid, 16

*This must be Richard Dixon. Daughter Caroline, gave her father's name as Michael when she married Whewell, in Dover, but stated Richard was her father on the shipping indent. He travelled on the Harpley as Richard Bell Dixon. Who was he - Richard Bell Dixon, Michael Dixon or John Dixon - and why such trouble with his name?


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More Letters from Adelaide

(Tulle volume 16 number 1, February 1997)

Now, Father, I think this Australia is the Promised Land. But there are faults in it. The water is bad. Most of it tastes of salt. Adelaide is a very drunken place. Trade is good here; they get 7 shillings a day for plastering.

The natives are black. Some are almost naked. They get a very good living with begging about Adelaide. We have a beautiful cottage in a gentleman's garden. Wood and water, vegetables and a cottage to live in, and I have 20 shillings a week. I am Under Gardener.

We call it Paradise, for we have all the richest fruits and vegetables that's grown. We have melons and every sort of pumpkins, we have the tree of knowledge, peaches, oranges, lemons, grape vines, tobacco plant.

Provisions are very cheap, flour 2d a pound, mutton 2d per pound, legs 3d per pound, beef 3d per pound, sugar 3d per pound, and the best tea 2/6 per pound. Furniture, pots, iron pans, using things, are very dear.

They think nothing of money here. The colony is in a very prosperous state.

I think often of my poor Father and Mother and brothers and sisters dragged very near to death for half a bellyful of meat while we have plenty of everything and to spare. We oft times talk about the poor white slaves of England, the woolcombers, that said they would not transport themselves to the land of full and plenty. I hope you will let the gentlemen read this letter who gave the money to me to help me to the Promised Land.

from a letter in the Bradford Observer
England, 7 December, 1848


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Nous souhaitons la bienvenue
Dr Christian Borde

(Tulle volume 16 number 2, May 1997)

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr Borde to the pages of Tulle. Dr Borde is a lecturer in history at University du Littoral at Boulogne and an avid historian. His research has led to another link of the lace industry with Australia. He also, like all good historians, poses a question: Who did take the first machines to Calais? As he suggests, common usage has credited Webster, Clarke and Bonnington with this honour.

George Armytage

First lacemaker in Calais in 1802-1804 - died in Australia in 1857.

It is necessary to constantly rewrite history and concerning the first lacemaker to set up in business in Calais, one must look back to 1802-1804 to discover an episode which was a prelude to the installation of Webster's looms in 1817. And one is surprised to learn, while researching this episode, that this so far unknown pioneer died in Australia in 1857!

This small historical point is doubly interesting for the historian: on the one hand it makes it possible to show how the Empire and the French wars put an end to any possible development of the lace industry in Calais as early as 1804 and on the other hand it sheds a light on the circumstances - very obscure for that matter - surrounding the first introduction of looms in Calais which can explain Webster's setting up in business thirteen years later.

The introduction of the lace looms in Calais-Saint-Pierre is indeed a very strange chapter in the history of the French Customs. It is necessary to place it in its proper setting, that of the protectionist system which was in force at that time. Smuggling concerned raw material, spun cotton, machinery and finished goods: tulle, lace and hosiery.

The chronology regarding the arrival of the looms and the profile of those responsible for it remains vague owing to an apparent lack of archives and even more so to the fact that local historians maddeningly tend to copy and repeat what their predecessors wrote. During the 1880s this topic was the subject of a controversy between the inhabitants of Calais and those of Saint Pierre, both parishes claiming that the installation of looms in each parish predated that in the other. That, at the time when the French government was forcing both parishes to merge and become a "Greater Calais"!

A biased historiography

From 1851, a belief becomes widespread. It originates from the manufacturers and is taken up by the first local historians at the very time when Calais is witnessing the disappearance of its last looms and when Saint-Pierre is about to become the undisputed capital of machine-made lace manufacture in France.

In 1878, Celestin Landrin, born in Saint-Pierre, endeavours to prove that the first lacemakers set themselves up in Saint-Pierre, "la basse ville de Calais". His first history of Saint-Pierre which was written as an entry for a competition organised by the "Societe des Sciences industrielles of Saint Pierre" was published at the height of the controversy dividing the two parishes which the government had decided to unite.

Landrin claims that

"It is not Saint-Pierre which is an extension of Calais, but truly Calais which is an extension of Saint Pierre...Calais which in the XIIth century was only a mere hamlet outside Saint Pierre but which strong fortifications would later surround with a prestige which has still not disappeared finds Itself yet again second to Saint-Pierre whose commercial and Industrial growth has become so important since tools replaced the sword for the greater happiness of mankind".

In another work, published in 1885, the very year the two towns became one, the archivist of Calais, Samuel Reboul, tried to establish, thanks to a few documents, a number of indisputable facts: this will become the accepted data governing the historiography of Calais down to the latest History of Calais. He makes 1816 the official date marking the beginnings of the lace industry and Robert Webster the first lacemaker. It is then acknowledged that the first looms were installed in a house on the quai du Commerce in Saint-Pierre.

Before him, Fergusson, the first historian of the lace industry had in 1864 mentioned a certain Clark and the setting up of the industry in Calais, not in Saint Pierre. Much later than Fergusson, Reboul and Landrin, the local historian Edouard Vasseur had doubts and chose to agree with Fergusson, giving back to Clark his status of pioneer and to Calais the claim to having been the parish where the looms were first installed.

Belief in the theory giving Webster precedence was shaken for a short period of time by the writings of both these authors. But the two certain facts that this vulgate really establishes are the stealthy nature of the partnerships between these mechanics and the extreme mobility of their establishments. As we shall see, the earlier episode concerning Moore and Armytage provides confirmation of these facts and strengthens the part played by Calais on the route of technology transfers between France and Britain.

A staging post between Paris and Britain

The port of Calais had already played the part of a staging post. At the beginning of the XVIIIth century, Savary Des Bruslons notes that:
"woollen cloth from French mills, gold braid, lace and various other pieces of needlework from the mills of Lyon" are smuggled into England via Calais and that the smugglers bring back "English wool and other goods which are reputed to be contraband goods...looms to make stockings or parts thereof".

During the Empire, in order to impose their tulle or lace fabrics on the French market, the British had to play by the rules of French patents and so have licences if they wished to exercise a trade in France. In 1802, an industrialist from Lyon named Bonnard stole the secret from the British but between 1791 and 1817, that is to say during the period when, according to the vulgate the country was cut off from the rest of the world, twenty five patents were taken out for the manufacture of tulle, lace and machine made stockings.

Out of these twenty five patents1 only two where taken out in France by British people in 1804. Among these, were Moore and Armytage who applied for a patent for the "perfecting of looms to make lace and stockings".

These were the two self same men who settled in Calais, probably taking advantage of the Amiens truce (March 1802-May 1803). At the Paris police headquarters on 9th May 1804 John Moor (sic) stated:

"My name is John Moor (sic), I am thirty-three years of age, I was born in Londonderry in Ireland and am a lace manufacturer (fabricant de tulle) residing rue de Charenton, couvent des Dames Anglaises (in Paris)."

Why did you leave England?

"I came to France intending to set up my own business. Besides long before my arrival in France, all my money had been Invested in French Treasury Bills, I had an annuity of £ 5,000 from the government."

In which French port did you disembark?

"In Calais, where I stayed for about two or three days. It was not during those three days that I made Armytage's acquaintance but at least a month later during a second stay in Calais."

How did you make Armytage's acquaintance in Calais?

"I was staying at the Hotel de Bretagne and there I met a merchant who often came to this Inn and who had business premises in this town. His name was Daniel Sergent. I spoke to him about my Intention to set up a mill in France and to buy land there. I sought his advice on how best to set about it under the circumstances. He told me he knew in Calais an extremely skilled man who manufactured "tulle façon d'Angleterre" but he said that his business was stagnating and that he lived in the greatest poverty and if I wanted him to, he would introduce me to him and then could decide whether it would be in my best interest to give him work to execute and invest my money in this mill. I agreed and the merchant took me to see this man, Mr Armytage. The latter told me that there existed between him and Messrs Spire and Priest who are also English but I believe naturalised French men and residing in Calais, a partnership to manufacture tulle, that five looms necessary for the said manufacture had been installed on the company's premises and that later Priest, to whom the loom belonged had lent him one to work and earn a living with but that it wasn't enough to make a living. The truth of this statement I readily believed when I Inspected Armytage's room in which I saw a single loom assembled and the remains of half another lying on the floor".

Armytage, the mechanic, and John Moore must have taken advantage of the truce in 1802-1803 to come to France and it is natural that they should first have settled in Calais. When the war broke out again, they did not attempt to leave our port as the Continental system eliminated British competition in various outlets on the continent. If what Moore and Armytage sought to obtain was the monopoly of the manufacture of "tulle a l'anglaise", it was necessary for them in order to achieve that aim to have the support of a French merchant who had dealings with the smugglers

The historian Fergusson who knew Armytage tells us that in 1801 the latter

"went with a point net loom to Anvers (nowadays in Belgium, but occupied by the French from 1793 to 1814) where he built a great number of such looms. George Armytage then left Anvers for Paris where thanks to the embargo put on English lace, be hoped to be very successful".

He probably never told Fergusson about settling in Calais. In any case the latter doesn't mention it in his book devoted to the history of lace. During the "Paix d'Amiens", Armytage, the mechanic, was in partnership in Calais with two other Englishmen, the two merchants, Spire arid Priest, to manufacture lace on five looms as revealed by the testimony of his future partner, John Moore. The latter, the truth of whose statement is questionable, told the police in 1804 that:

"if this undertaking had not succeeded, the fault lay entirely with Armytage as he spent all his days getting drunk and playing billiards".

As we have seen, Armytage's setting up in business seems to have been done openly since Moore was introduced to Armytage by a third party, Daniel Sergent, who was a "Calais merchant" and since he called upon :

"the testimony of almost all the inhabitants of Calais who knew of this business transaction I have just spoken of."

He mentions the Spire-Priest-Armytage company, the exact date of the setting up of which we do not as yet know, providing of course that there was a written agreement and not merely a verbal one. A new agreement making Moore a partner was signed in Ventose of the year XII (Revolutionary style), i.e. between 21 February and 21 March 1804 but an argument between the associates led to the removal to Paris - which might have been planned long before - of the looms and of Moore and Armytage. They settled in the Couvent des Anglaises, rue de Charenton, under the protection of a French manufacturer and very near the largest market for lace "façon Anglaise".

The Englishman and the Irishman seem to have had the support and the complicity of a few Calais merchants if not of all. In any case there were not troubled by the town authorities nor by the Calais police. It is possible that between 1814 and 1816 the same thing happened but no document enables us to state that it did. The general background of contraband was no doubt favourable to the success of British enterprise. In July 1803 the Prefect of the Pas de Calais region was ordered by the minister to inform

"the Calais merchants named Reisenthel and Pigault Maubaillarcq how indignant the government was at the criminal correspondence they had entered into with the English with a view to introducing in France goods manufactured by those insolent enemies of trade and of peace".

To lacemakers, Calais had three advantages to offer: It was as near to Paris as it was to Nottingham; they could receive spun cotton and the insides of looms thanks to the smugglers and they could integrate into the French system through applying for patents and associating with well established merchants.

It is probable that when the war broke out again, all those advantages disappeared but after 1815 Webster was to follow in Spire's, Priest's, Armytage's and Moore's footsteps. All were driven by the great economic depression affecting the English cotton industry, in particular in the Nottingham area as is shown by John Austin's testimony in 1830: English workers had to leave their homeland
"..driven by the oppressive weight of our grinding taxation to seek an asylum on your shores ".

We cannot be too definite about the circumstances surrounding the Spire Priest-Moore-Armytage episode but it sheds a new light on the even more obscure arrival in Calais of Webster and Clarke and one must give those four men whom history has forgotten credit for having been the first lace manufacturers in Calais around 1802-1804.

It is up to you now, friends from down under, to pick up the trail of George Armytage on your native soil and if you manage to find his death certificate, you may be able to go and meditate at the grave of the man who was Calais's first lacemaker.

Dr Christian Borde,
Universite du Littoral
27, rue du Temple,
62.100 Calais France


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The Ship Harpley and Courtenay Fowell

(Tulle volume 16 number 3, August 1997)

Shipwreck was not an uncommon occurrence. Often it was years before the fate of a vessel was known, and just as long before families became aware of the loss of loved ones. For that reason ships kept very careful note of those they encountered on the high seas. In this way they could report to the nearest harbour that such and such a ship was last sighted on...

There is a little known tale of the Harpley in 1850. The drama is best unfolded as it appeared in the London Times in the first five days of October 1850.

1 October, 1850

Sir, I beg to enclose the accompanying paper, extracted from a bottle picked up this day by one of my crew. A copy of the paper in which it is first inserted as an acknowledgment of its receipt will oblige..

Your obedient servant,
W. T. Smith, CO
Coast-Guard Station, Hope Cove, near Kingsbridge, Devon.

We the passengers and crew of the ship Harpley, bound for Australia, enclose this paper to inform our friends that we are half starved on a raft, having drunk the contents of this bottle, the only thing we have drunk for 24 hours.

The vessel sprang a leak, and foundered on September 24, 1850.


TIMES 2 October, 1850.

We are happy to find that the distressing intelligence conveyed in a letter which appeared in yesterday's Times, signed "Courtenay Fowell" respecting the loss of the above ship, is universally disbelieved by those best qualified to pass an opinion on its truth or falsehood.

There can be no doubt, however, that the letter in question was picked up by the Coast Guard off Kingsbridge, Devon: so that it would seem that this cruel hoax was concocted on board the Harpley by some heartless fool among her passengers or crew. Should the vessel prove to be safe, and should this piece of deception be traced to such a person as Courtenay Fowell among her passengers, we can only express a hope that he will meet with the punishment which he deserves.

The following letters from those most interested in the safety of the ship will have the effect of allaying the fears of all who may have friends or relations On board the Harpley:-


Sir, We notice in The Times paper of this day's date a communication from "W. T. Smith, C.0." enclosing an extract from a bottle picked up by one of the boat's crew connected with the coast guard station, and as the report in question is calculated to engender considerable alarm amongst the friends of the 1230 passengers on board the Harpley, we have to request the favour of your inserting our reasons for believing such a report to be wholly false.

The Harpley did not leave Plymouth until the 28d ult., on which day at noon, one of the charterers, Mr Mallett, saw her under canvas with light south easterly winds. She could not, therefore, have been so far out to sea as to have foundered without some signs of the wreck or boats reaching the shore, none of which have come to hand, though upwards of seven days have elapsed. It Is not probable that a "raft" could have been constructed in so short a time as that given from the ship first springing a leak, and the passengers having been on board such "raft" for twenty four hours; nor is it very probable that in the hurry, confusion, and distress attendant upon such a catastrophe paper and materials for writing could have been at hand. The document itself, although in the name of "we", the passengers and crew of the ship Harpley, is not certified either by captain or officers of the ship, but is signed "Courtenay Fowell", a passenger, who, under the influence of excitement, may have penned this document, which by extraordinary means has found its way to shore thus early.

The Harpley is a nearly new ship, had just come out of dock, and undergone a strict scrutiny by the surveyors, and in all respects a sound. seaworthy vessel. We may add that, with ourselves, the secretary at Lloyd's believes the whole matter to be a base fabrication, but we deem it our duty to the various friends of passengers to give thus early our opinion as to the truth of the report in question.

We are, Sir, your obedient servants,
For co-charterers
3, East India chambers, Leadenhall street, Oct. 1

TIMES 4 October 1850


Sir, - We beg to annex a copy of a letter received this morning from Mr Mallet, who proceeded to Plymouth on the 1st inst. in order to glean, if possible, any further intelligence of the fate of the above vessel.

We are, Sir, your obedient servants

Plymouth. Oct, 2

My dear Sirs,- I find no one here believes the report of the Harpley's loss, and they are better able to judge, as they know what weather she had for the first three or four days. On making enquiries at one of the houses this man Fowell used to frequent, I find he threatened to frighten his friends and make them believe he was drowned. As you have written to the Officer of the Coast Guard for the original letter, it is no use my going to the Hope Cove so I could gain no further news; but, as I am down here, I shall proceed by the Francis Drake to Falmouth this afternoon, and see if any of the pilot boats spoke to the Harpley; if they did, it would most likely be on the 24th and this would contradict the letter at once.

Yours truly

T. B. Mallet.

TIMES 5 October, 1850


SIR,- The family of Fowell (one of whom has just called upon us) are desirous that it should be known that they believe that there is no such person as "Courtney Fowell", and that the young man in question has, for reasons best known to himself, dropped his real surname, which on further investigation, proves to be the case, and further indicates that the reported loss of the ship is nothing more than a cruel hoax.

We are, Sir, your obedient servants


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