Saturday, 24 July 2010

Sepia Saturday at Wiseman's Ferry Cemetery

for those who dont usually stop by here, i'm telling the story of a wee trip i took with the young 'uns last week, which included a little exploration in family history.

we spent an enjoyable hour or so wandering the cemetery at wiseman's ferry. the sun shone, the river glistened and birds sung.....

despite dad's best efforts to educate me, the early history of the jurd family in australia is a jumble of names in my mind so when we found the grave of william douglass i knew it meant something but what, exactly?

well, william douglass was the papa of elizabeth, who married the first jurd in australia, daniel.

"The Jurd Dynasty in Australia began with the marriage of Daniel Jurd and
Elizabeth Douglas at St Matthews Church of England, Windsor on 28 September
1812. Daniel was born in England around 1778, was a chimney sweep in London and
was convicted at the Old Bailey of stealing 20lbs of bacon. His accomplice was
Samuel French. They were transported for 7 years. Daniel arrived on 4 August
1802 aboard the Perseus. Elizabeth was the daughter of William Douglas and Mary
Groves, two First Fleet Convicts.
Daniel & Elizabeth settled in Pitt Town. They had 9 children, 6 boys and 3 girls. Daniel received a land grant in the Macdonald Valley and this was first worked by his eldest son, and first child John, who married Mary Ann Fleming. Daniel died in August 1833, just 7 months after the birth of his youngest child, Joseph."

Hawkesbury Family History Group

this week, as i have started to picture these people they have started to become shadowy figures rather than just names. william was transported at just 16, he outlived his son-in-law by many years, elizabeth raised a new baby as a widow.......

i wonder how they felt about their place in history?

did they see themselves as pioneers or just as convicts? as people fortunate to be out of the grime and poverty of their english lives or as outcasts in a wild land ?

sepia saturday participants are listed at the sepia saturday blog, pay them a visit!


  1. i just love genelogy>>.if you read my 500 posts you will see about a third are of my long lost and their adventures, the rest of course of me me me>>>but i love to know where peoplplples are from

  2. Kylie! For reals? Awesome!

  3. hi putzy!
    i dont get into genealogy too much but i can imagine growing into it :)

    yep! for real! i guess they loved bacon :)

  4. Wow, a different time and a different world. Imagine being transported at a young age for a petty crime, your life changed forever. What an amazing and colorful history.

  5. hi christine :)
    that is exactly what i have thinking!

  6. Great post!

    Whether they saw themselves as pioneers or not, they showed real courage and determination in carving out a new life for themselves on the other side of the world.

  7. I wonder how other Aussies reacted to all these convicts coming over from Britain. Were they hostile and aloof or did they encourage them to start a new and better life in Oz? Something I never really asked about when Jenny and I were looking round the Port Arthur jail site in Tasmania.

  8. The story of the Australian convicts is really fascinating. To have one in the family must be extraordinary! I really enjoyed this exploration into your "shadowy figures"' world.


  9. I cant help thinking (sat here in wet&cold England!)that-in this age of reconciliation tribunals & suchlike- you Aussies should return the favour & send your criminals to England as a punishment!

  10. Love Tony's comment! One thing you might do is see whether there are any memoirs of people transported as convicts. Or check historical archives for papers of that sort. It might give you a glimpse into your ancestors' lives and thoughts.

  11. Yes so very interesting to wander and wonder about our ancestors; how what may have been punishmnet at the time today is seen as the beginning of something new and certainly adventurous!

  12. Well, the gravestone and graveyard are beautiful. One thing I wonder is the cause for such young people to steal. It was probably to stay alive! There are photographs of young girls in Ireland who spent time in prison and in a workhouse for stealing at this website: Of course, the time period is different. Your ancestors obviously overcame whatever obstacles came their way. Great post. I would highly recommend genealogy but beware, it can suck you right in!

  13. What a fascinating family history you have! The more you get into it the more you'll want to know.
    I love bacon. I can easily imagine his crime.

  14. Wow, a very interesting story. I can imagine life on the convict ships was none too pleasant. Then to start off on a new life in a different land because of must have been intimidating.

    Had to laugh at Tony's comment!

  15. nick,
    at the early point in history that i' talking about every white person here was either convict or overseer of some sort so my guess would be they would have to take the attitude of being all in it together.

    as for port arthur, well, that was in operation for a long time and there might have been more room for tensions...

  16. well, quebec started with a bunch of adventurers who had no titles or inheritance to make a name for themselves, convicts and prostitutes,
    (les filles du roi...), so, i guess the world expanded thanks to those considered as undesirable... i guess destiny is not defined by one single action.

  17. This is such an interesting blog. It is all new info for me about your history. Great job.

  18. What an extraordinary life those first settlers must have led. In some ways, and within certain limitations, transportation must have been quite a positive form of punishment - compared with those available at the time - containing, as it did, the chance of rebuilding a new life.

  19. Maybe they saw themselves as victims of a cruel society in which they were despised for being destitute yet were given on opportunity to better their status.

  20. Unfortunately you have grabbed hold of the wrong "William Douglas". William Douglas, father of Elizabeth Jurd (nee Douglas), died 27 Nov 1838 aged 81 years and was buried in St Albans Old Cemetery, Settlers Road.


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