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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


A very interesting story has developed as a result of now being able to link two Mawbeys who have been dealt with separately on this blog.
They are John Evan Mawbey and Ann Clifford (nee Mawbey) who came to Australia as a couple in 1857.
According to a small piece in The Sydney Morning Herald of 13 August 1859, the former (known as 'Evan') had died at Parramatta River the previous month.
He had been a compositor, formerly of the Times office, London, aged 42.

Meantime, some four years later, in September 1862 (two months before my GG grandfather, George Mawbey died in Sydney), a widow, Ann Mawbey, remarried at Camden, south of Sydney.
At the time she was the housekeeper at the country estate of Charles Cowper, a son of Rev William Cowper, and several times premier of New South Wales.
The name of the estate was Wivenhoe and the job held by Ann Mawbey would have carried some prestige and a lot of responsibility.
Evan and Ann Mawbey arrived together in Sydney from London on the Alnwick Castle on 12 January 1857.
Initially, I could not find a death record for John Evan, nor a coroner's report, which seemed strange.
Then around midnight a couple of weeks ago, I did a BDM search, typing in just the word 'Evan' and his year of death.
Lo and behold his entry appeared, as 'Evan Mowbery' with his surname misspelt.

Meantime, I had joined forces with another member of the Mawbey family in Canberra, part of Evan's wider family, and she obtained his death certificate.
Lo and behold yet another surprise!
Evan had died at the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum at what is now Gladesville on the Parramatta River.
He appears to have been abandoned by his Ann which would explain the misspelling of his surname, the wrong age attributed to him and lack of knowledge of his parentage.
His death record says he was 30, and the newspaper report, 42, when he in fact was 35.

Evan Mawbey came from a family of males who worked in various capacities at The Times.
So far my GGG does not appear to have any direct connection with this branch of the family, but there is still a lot more work to be done on tracing everyone in that line.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Last night I attended a free two-hour workshop by family historian and author of popular histories, Carol Baxter, on how to write interesting family histories.
I was pleased to learn that I had already incorporated one of her techniques, placing my ancestors in their social, political and economic historical context.
The highlight for me was winning the door prize, a copy of her book, Writing Interesting Family Histories.

Friday, January 17, 2014


As the new  year begins, I can see my finished Mawbey family history book looming over the horizon.
When I thought I had finished it some six months ago, I was really just at the beginning of the next stage of the research process.
This second stage, linking my first paternal ancestor, George Mawbey, with other people and events, has proved a most fascinating and rewarding exercise.
After finding all the surface 'gold', nuggets of information, I'm finding much more buried beneath the surface.
It's taken almost 50 years for me to appreciate having studied Archaeology as an undergraduate, and the understanding this gave me of the importance of the need to dig deeper.
I still have more digging to do, but I know where to look now and just have to keep shovelling.
As Steve Jobs, founder of Apple computers, so rightly said: 'The journey is the reward.'

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Here are my 15 most popular posts on this blog, each with over 100 hits, and the number of times each has been viewed.
The Mawbey Family Australia blog began just after Australia Day in January 2010.
The Mawbey massacre 598
The Mawbey children 389
Mawbey court cases 360
Thomas Keneally & Jimmie Blacksmith aka Jimmy Governor 287
Australian Royalty Genealogy Website 260
Mrs Sarah Mawbey 187
Sarah and John Thomas Mawbey 162
Mawbey/Mawby convicts 138
George Mawbey III - Breelong survivor 130
My Mawbey great grandparents 127
Convict ancestry plot thickens 124
Painting of first St Philip's church 122
Mawbey military service 120
My first convict 116
Online passenger lists of free settlers 106

Tuesday, July 16, 2013



Received astounding news from New Zealand last Saturday.
My paternal grandmother's great grandmother was a Maori princess.
She died in Sydney around 1810 and her baby daughter was placed in the Orphan School at Parramatta.
When the child grew up she became a servant and married another one, a former convict.
One of their daughters was the mother of my grandmother.
It is truly amazing to be finding out such things at the age of 65.
I had been trying to trace my grandmother's ancestry earlier in this blog, but had lost the trail.
This was because I could not find the birth record of the baby girl.
Everything comes to those who wait - and those who have a blog so other people can find them!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I have almost completed the book I have been working on for the last six months about the extended NSW Mawbey family.
Its subject is the nine siblings of John Thomas Mawbey whose wife and three of his nine children were murdered at the instigation of Aboriginal man, Jimmy Governor, in July 1900.
The book looks at these siblings and the partners and families of those who married, and at the parents and siblings of the murdered woman, Sarah Mawbey.
It provides a clearer picture of who the NSW Mawbey family were, and a social history backdrop to the family tragedy that received international newspaper coverage.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Today Saturday 26 January Australia's national day,Australia Day, is celebrated.
Our history is summed up in a song called I am Australian and this version is on You Tube.
Click on the link to listen and enjoy!