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Our Roser Family

Our Roser ancestors came from the English county of Sussex, and they and associated families were centred around the areas of Framfield, Lewes, Waldron, Mayfield, Chiddingley and Heathfield.

Our earliest records of the Roser family show John William Roser, born 1786, who married Ann Evenden, six years his junior, on 21st February, 1810. Their son, also John William Roser, was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1813 and it was this John William Roser who was to undertake a perilous journey with his wife Mary Hannah Baker and two small children, across the ocean to Australia.

Mary Hannah Baker, the daughter of Thomas Baker and Mary Foster, was born about 1806 in Fairlight, Sussex and she and her husband John both died in Broke, NSW..Mary in 1882 and John sixteen years later, in 1898. They had married at Lewes in Sussex in 1838.

Their son...yet another John William Roser, was born at sea on 25th December, 1838. What a Christmas they must have had, and every woman who has ever borne a child, could wonder at the conditions under which Mary would have endured pregnancy and childbirth aboard the sailing ship the "Maitland", as the family and about 300 other passengers made their way to the new Colony.

We know something of the conditions aboard the "Maitland", thanks to Colin King, relative of the Bowden family, who researched and wrote a book called 'The Benenden Bowdens'. The Bowden family also sailed out from Gravesend at the same time as the Roser family,on 24th June, 1838. Colin has very kindly given permission to use parts of the information from his book, to indicate what conditions were like, for those who sailed on the "Maitland" in 1838. [Copies of his book are still available from COLIN to:]

The "Maitland" was a 648 ton ship built of Malibar teak, and was described as a Blackwall Frigate rigged as a barque. The total length was only 125 feet from stem to stern. On this particular voyage, there were 205 adults and 110 children taken on board under the charge of the ship's Master, Marshall Baker, and Surgeon John Smith.

After only two days at sea, with almost everyone sea-sick and in low spirits, cases of fever were discovered. Sixty-four children and one man, suffered from the visitation of Scarlet Fever, and by the time the "Maitland" arrived at Sydney Heads, the delivery of three babies, and 286 cases of fever had been entered in the medical log. Fever accounted for the deaths of 29 children and five adults.

The Sydney Gazette of 8th November, 1838 reported the arrival of the "Maitland" on Monday evening 5th November:-
This emigrant ship has been more unfortunate with regard to sickness than any emigrant ship before her. Shortly after the vessel left land, typhus and scarlet fever broke out, and spread rapidly. About 40 of the emigrants died on the voyage, and a great many are laid up. On arrival she came to anchor in Watson's Bay, where she remained until the next day. When visited by the Medical Board, and the result being unfavourable, she was immediately ordered into quarantine. All hands have been more or less afflicted with one or other of these dreadful diseases.


The following list of articles for a married couple contains as few things as they could well go with: of course, the more they can add the better, as it is not possible to wash on the voyage, unless it be a few small things, the supply of water being limited to three quarts per day.

For the wife Three cotton dresses, one pair stays, four petticoats, sixteen chemises, two flannel petticoats, twelve pairs cotton stockings, four pairs back worsted ditto, six night dresses and caps, six pocket handkerchiefs, four handkerchiefs for the neck, six caps, two bonnets, cloak and shawl, one pair boots, two pairs shoes and eight towels.

For the husband Two fustian jackets, waistcoats and trousers, three pairs canvas trousers, one overcoat, two felt hats, one Scotch cap, sixteen striped shirts, two Guernsey shirts, twelve pairs cotton half-hose, four pairs worsted hose, six handkerchiefs, eight towels, two pairs boots and one pair of shoes,strong but not heavy.

Children in like proportion. The family will also require a flock mattress and bolster, one pair blankets, one coverlet, six pairs cotton sheets, two or three tablecloths, six pounds yellow soap, three pounds marine soap, metal wash-handbasin, knives and forks, one quart tin hookpot, one coffee-pot, comb and brush, besides a supply of string, sewing materials, tape, buttons, etc.

Should a little extra means be at command, let it be expended in laying in small supplies of calicoes, brown holland, camlet, fine canvas, etc. It will always be desirable that the wife makes as many of her own clothes on board ship as possible, as the occupation serves to pass away many an otherwise idle heavy hour"

An extract from an Emigrant's Guide-1848

Another great site gives pages of detailed information about the "Maitland" and her journey: for more information, check out this MAITLAND site.

It is not known where John and Mary Roser first went when they arrived in Sydney on 5th November, 1838, however we do know that they made their home in the general area of Broke, near Singleton, where they resided for the remainder of their lives.

Children born to John William Roser and Mary Hannah Baker:
The Roser family was a prolific one, and this page cannot do justice to the wealth of descendants from our small family who so bravely sailed from Sussex.

Deviate here to view a photograph of ANN ROSER & CHARLES CLARK

Here is a list of Roser connections who are willing to be contacted.

Robyn Pearson

Julie Hendry

Colin Parker

Juliette's Genealogy Pages

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