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Sunday, January 31, 2010


The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 13 August 1859
Family Notices. Deaths. MAWBEY. July 21st, at Parramatta River, JOHN EVAN MAWBEY, compositor, formerly of the Times office, London, aged 42 years.

Sarah Barckley Mawbey, died in 184(6) aged 8 months (b.1843) and buried in the old Devonshire Street Cemetery which was resumed for Central Railway Station, Sydney.
Edmund Mawbey, seaman, convicted of an unknown crime and incacerated in Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Garnet Lindsay Mawbey
7th Light Horse Regiment
World War I

The ancestral MAWBEY family in the United Kingdom has a distinguished record of military service.
According to British MAWBEY family genealogist, Henry MAWBEY (1834-1921), a ROBERT MAUTEBY was a Crusader in about 1250 and his effigy as a Knight Templar is on the lid of a stone coffin in the church of MAWTBY in NORFOLK, England.

John Thomas II (Jack) Mawbey was in Sydney trying to enlist with the Australian forces for this campaign at the time when his mother and three siblings were brutally murdered at Breelong.
His regiment was disbanded so he did not go and was staying with his aunt and uncle at their home in Anne Street, Surry Hills when he was told the tragic news.

WORLD WAR I (1914-18)
Four members of the MAWBEY family enlisted in the army during World War I. Brothers Garnett and Albert, the youngest sons of John Thomas and Sarah MAWBEY of NSW and William Nathan and Nathan, sons of Nathaniel (Nathan) MAWBEY of Tasmania. All four were privates.

Garnet MAWBEY was the second youngest son of John Thomas and Sarah Mawbey, and was aged 4 when his mother and three siblings were murdered.
In February 1916, at age 19, he enlisted in the Australian Infantry Force (AIF) at Casula, south-west of Sydney near Liverpool.
He stated he was single, a farmer, and that his religious denomination was Church of England
Assigned to the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 21st Reinforcement, h
e returned to Australia in June 1919.
Garnet Mawbey is one of the soldiers in a photo of the 7th Light Horse regiment resting in the sand near Asluj (then southern Palestine now Israel) before the Battle of Beersheba on the AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL WEBSITE.
The highlight of this battle was the charge of the 4th Light Horse regiment across the desert which resulted in them securing the wells and victory.
On Wednesday 24 March 2010, Garnet's daughter Shirley identified her father in this photo as the one on the far right at the back, lying down on his right side with his legs cut off by the camera.
* SEE GARNET MAWBEY WAR PHOTO Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Albert was the brave little boy who after witnessing the brutal attacks on his mother, brother and two sisters by Aboriginal men, ran across paddocks for three-quarters of a mile to alert his father.
Albert enlisted at Dubbo stating that he was a farmer, single and Church of England.
He joined the 2nd Battalion, 19th Reinforcement and served on the Western Front and was mentioned in despatches.
He was recommended and awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
* SEE ALBERT MAWBEY WAR RECORD Australian War Memorial, Canberra

He was 18 when he enlisted on 19 February 1917.
He was single, Congregational and a dairyman.
He joined the Army Medical Corps, October 1917 Reinforcement.
* SEE NATHAN MAWBEY WAR RECORD Australian War Memorial, Canberra

He was 20 when he enlisted on 15 March 1915.
He was single, Church of England, and a butcher.
He joined the Infantry Brigade 7, Field Ambulance 7, Section C.
* SEE WILLIAM NATHAN MAWBEY WAR RECORD Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Friday, January 29, 2010

ON 24 JULY 1838


I've passed it many times on my way to and from this St Patrick's church where I sometimes attend Mass and other religious observances without realising its significance to me and my family history.
I am not sure if what the inscription says is strictly correct. The first Church of England erected in Sydney, built of wattle and daub, burnt down on 1 October 1798. It was replaced by a new stone church, called St Philip's (one 'l' not two) and named after Captain Arthur Phillip who had led the First Fleet from England and founded a convict settlement in Sydney Cove.
The original St Philip's did not open until 1810. When it was found to be structurally unsound, the foundation stone for its replacement was laid in 1848. This church was not consecrated until 1856.

In this monochrome painting by Fleury, what looked like what I think was an observatory on the right hand side of St Philip's Church of England, has gone.
Astronomy has played a big part in Australia's history. Captain James Cook was in the Southern hemisphere to observe the transit of Venus when he decided to claim the east coast of New Holland on behalf of Britain.
There was an official astronomer, Leiutenant William Dawes, who came on the Sirius with the First Fleet and established the first observatory at Dawes Point west of Sydney Cove. The present Sydney Observatory located on Observatory Hill near the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in 1858.
St Patrick's Catholic church on Church Hill was dedicated in 1844.


George Mawbey (III) was living with his aunt and uncle, Sarah and John Thomas Mawbey, and their children at Breelong when the murders occurred.
He had moved there from his parents' home in inner Sydney for health reasons.
Meantime, Sarah and John's eldest boy, John Thomas II (Jack) was staying with George (III)'s parents at their home at Anne Street, Surry Hills.
Jack had gone to the city to try and enlist to go to the Boer War.
He had succeeded, but his regiment was subseqently disbanded and he never went to South Africa.

George (III)'s father, George (II), had married Nellie SMITH at Petersham, Sydney in 1885.
They had four children as far as I have been able to ascertain, two girls and a boy.
The only son, George (III) was born in 1887, and was 13 when he escaped being murdered at Breelong by hiding under a bed.

George (II), like his father, George (I), was also involved in a court case.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald of 23 August 1894, a George Mawbey of Anne Street, Surry Hills, was fined for cruelty for his horse which he was forcing to work when it was lame.
He was successfully prosecuted by an inspector for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and fined.
George (II) would have been aged 36 at the time.

George (II)'s only son, George (III), appears to have remained a bachelor with no issue, but I need to do more research on him.

It now appear that George (II) took his wife and family to live near Little Hartley on the way to Lithgow.
They lived at the Rose Inn which was later run as a guest house by one of his daughters, Violet, and his son George (III) who went by the name of 'Jack'.
It was common practice in those days for the eldest son to be named after his father.
So to avoid confusion, the son was called 'Jack'.


Friday, 10 July 1900, between 11pm and midnight, mid-winter
When Mr John Mawbey, 51, arrived at the scene, he found his eldest daughter, Grace, 16, dying.
He then found the school teacher, Ellen Kerz, 20, dead.
Already shocked and heartbroken, he then went looking for the youngest of his two girls, Hilda, 11.
He found her dead in the creek.
All three young women had their heads smashed in.
The weapons used to kill them had been a stick called a 'boondee' weighing around 3 lb and a club called a 'nulla nulla'.
Inside the house, John Mawbey, found his son Percy, 14, dead, his head smashed in and his spine almost severed.
His wife, Sarah Mawbey, 44, was still alive but with her brain protruding from her shattered skull.
So too was Elsie Clarke, 15, Sarah's younger sister whom she had adopted after their mother died.
She had been hit on the side of the head.
The weapon used on these three victims was a tomahawk.
John Mawbey's two youngest boys, who had been asleep in the kitchen, a separate building at the back of the house, Cecil, 7 and Garnet, 4, were unharmed.
So too was George Mawbey, 13, their cousin, who had hidden under a bed.
Two of John Mawbey's other three sons, Reginald, 18, and Sydney, 13, had been with with him at the old inn where the family had lived until moving into their new house in January 1900.
John Thomas Jnr, 20, had been in Sydney staying with his father's younger brother, George Mawbey, father of the boy George who hid under the bed.
The house was in Ann Street, Surry Hills, not far away from Darlinghurst Gaol where Jimmy Governor ended up.
Grace died on the Sunday night and her mother, Sarah, on the Wednesday night.
Elsie survived but was permanently deaf as a result of her head injuries.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 23 July 1900
Victims Horribly Mutilated. Terrible wounds were inflicted on the victims.
Hilda Mawbey, who was killed, has a bruise on the corner of the left eye, a bruise on the forehead and over the left eye, and her skull is broken in behind the left ear.

Percy Mawbey, also killed, had a cut through the right ear and a cut 3 inches wide across the right side of the neck, penetrating the vertebrae column to the neck.
His skull was also fractured to the right ear; he has a wound on the back part of his head, a fracture on the crown of the skull, a cut across the back part of his head and a bruise on the forehead.
Miss Kerz, also found dead, had two bruises extending from the left ear to within an inch of the mouth, and both jawbones were broken.
There was a bruise across the right eye extending back to the ear, a wound on the left temple, and the skull was broken in about 5 inches over the left ear.
The other victims who are still alive are Mrs Mawbey who had the back of the skull fractured and head and arms hacked about with a tomahawk, a large gash across the back of the neck and several other wounds.
Grace Mawbey is unconscious, and has her forehead broken in over the eye, and other wounds.
Elsie Clarke has several wounds about the head, and is also unconscious.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 23 July 1900
Tragedy Near Gilgandra.
Family Attacked by Aboriginals.
Four persons brutally murdered.
Horrible injuries to others.
Recovery regarded as hopeless.
Lucky escape of a child.
Scene of the murder.
Fiendish cruelty.
Gilgandra Saturday ... Later.
The scene of the murder baffles description.
Percy Mawbey's head is nearly severed from his body by a blow on the neck, apparently from a tomahawk.
Miss Kerz was wearing a flanelette nightdress, and the stick that she was killed with, which is an aboriginal weapon not unlike a nulla-nulla, is covered with blood and the fluff from the night dress.
The door of the room where the females slept was smashed in with a tomahawk.
As soon as the inmates woke and saw the blacks, Miss Kerz and Grace Mawbey rushed outside towards where the men were sleeping, about three-quarters of a mile away.
The two girls were probably running hand in hand when they were overtaken and knocked down with sticks and a tomahawk.
The little boy, aged about 8, who was concealed under the bed, heard some of the blacks say, "There is one more boy yet: we must get him."
A black who was posted outside the door then sang out with an oath,"Sail into them, Jack: don't give any of them a chance: bash all their brains out."

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, 23 July 1900
Telegram to the Premier.
Action of the Police.
The Premier [Sir William John Lyne, KCMG] received a telegram on Saturday morning informing him that a brutal murder had been committed at Gilgandra, about 30 miles from Dubbo.
The crime was committed by two aboriginals known as "Tommy" and "Jimmy", accompanied by two others.
It was stated that the premises of Mr Mawbey at Gilgandra were entered by the men late on Friday night.
Miss Kerz, a school teacher, was killed as were also a boy named Percival Mawbey, and a girl, Hilda Mawbey, and three were likewise dangerously wounded, Mrs Mawbey, Grace Mawbey and Elsie Clarke.
It is said the police were on the scene at 3 o'clock in the morning.
The men "Tommy" and "Jimmy" are well known in the district as being violent characters, and have been watched by the police for some time past.
The Premier states that he has suggested to Mr See (Colonial Secretary) that the police should search along the western side of the railway, and that special attention should be given to the mountains in the neighbourhood.


In AUGUST 1891, the Department of Public Instruction agreed to the establishment of a Provisional or Home School at Breelong West for the education of the MAWBEY children and the children of neighbouring families, LEWIS, McDONALD and McKEOWN.

Public School, Gilgandra, 29th August 1891.
Your Memorandum of 20th instant referring to Establishment of Provisional or Home School at Breelong West.
Sir, I have the honour to report that in accordance with your request I have visited the above neighbourhood and consider that a Provisional School would be maintained there.
There are at present four families who would at once send children, and there are two more families who will reside close at hand immediately on their selections being conferred.
Moubey's (sic) family live in the first house passed in going from Gilgandra to Mundooran, being eleven miles distant from here.
Names of children herewith:McKeown James 13 yrs, Jane 10 yrs, Bella 8 yrs;
Mowbey (sic) John T 11 yrs,
Reginald 9 yrs, Grace 7 yrs, Percival 6 yrs, Sydney 4 yrs; Clarke John 15 yrs, Elsie 10 yrs; [Mowbeys (sic) and Clarkes are related and live together]
Lewis James W 10 yrs, Thomas H 8 yrs, Ernest C 4 yrs, Allan G 3 yrs;
McDonald Albert 16 yrs, Percy 12 yrs.
Making a total of 16 pupils at hand at once and each family have still younger children.
The most suitable place for the school is on Mr and Mrs McKeown's land and he will be happy to give a piece for that purpose.
Should you decide not to establish a provisional but a House School here every accommodation both for School and Teacher can be easily obtained at Mr Moubeys (sic) who have an abundance of room for the purpose, but you will gather that a Provisional School would be much preferrable in every respect.
The parents would prefer a MALE Teacher as there would be many boy pupils.
Breelong West is the East Side of the Castlereagh River if you have passed Moubeys (sic) house.
I have the honor to apologize for using this paper but there is no other foolscap paper in Gilgandra.
I have the honor to be Sir Your obedient Servant, A J Ingle. J K Smith Esq, Dubbo.  

Proposed site for Breelong West Provisional School
Breelong West, 9th Nov. 1891.
The Hon. The Minister Public Instruction Sydney.
Sir, In acknowledging the receipt of your communication dated 30th Oct, I beg on behalf of the residents of this district to notify you of our acceptance of the conditions which you have submitted to us under which we may be provided with a teacher.
We feel however that the number of children in the neighbourhood will fully warrant the establishment of a provisional school in the near future and are therefore quite willing that the ? should be ? as suggested by you.
We have ? ourselves and the necessary preparations have already been made so we trust that a teacher may be appointed without delay.
A school-room and suitable furniture are ready; and the teacher's salary will be supplemented in the manner required as stated in your communication to B/91.12.193; in guarantee whereof the parents of the intending pupils have hereunder affixed their names. ? Yours ? John McKeown.
Signatures of guarantors. John McKeown, Peter McDonald, John Mawbey, James Lewis. Date stamped Dept of Public Instruction 17 Nov 91 * 59342.

Grace Mawbey, 16 - murdered
Hilda Mawbey, 11 - murdered
PERCY MAWBEY, 14 (murdered)

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday, 24 July 1900

Albert Mawbey, 9, stated:
"I am 9 years old. I can read and write a little. I am the son of John Mawbey, and resided at Breelong. Last Friday night I went to bed at abour half-past 8 in the back bedroom. Jack Mawbey, whose proper name is George Mawbey, went to bed with me. I think I was asleep, when I was awoke by the voice of a blackfellow singing out, "I will blow your brains out," and stamping his foot.
I jumped out of bed and came out of the door, and saw a blackfellow standing in the middle of the sitting room.
He was big and tall.
 I saw no head.
He had trousers and a shirt on.
I don't know his name, and never saw him before.
He was 'belting' into Percy, hitting him with a rifle or stick.
I don't know rightly what it was.
It was dark, but there was a little light from the fire; there was no candle burning.
Percy was on the floor lying down.
He hit Percy 10 or 12 times.
I was frightened, and ran out over the creek and hid in some bushes for about 10 or 12 minutes.
I then heard screams coming from the house.
I saw no other blackfellows except the one belting Percy.
I then ran on to our old house, to my father and Fred Clarke and Reggie Mawbey, my brother.
I said: "A blackfellow is killing Percy".
Father jumped up out of bed, and ran up this house, where Percy was being killed.
Reg, and Fred ran after him. Reg took his rifle.
I saw no more.
I know Jim Governor, who lives at the camp, about three miles away.
The blackfellow I saw was not like Jimmy Governor.
I did not see my mother when the blackfellow was hitting Percy.
I heard her screaming in her bedroom.
Miss Clarke, was also sleeping in here.
I did not see her.
My sisters, Hilda and Grace Mawbey, were also sleeping in the room with my mother.
Miss Kerz also slept in the room.
Cecil and Garnet, aged 7 and 4, slept in the kitchen.
Percy usually slept in my bedroom in the same bed.
George (Jack) Mawbey, called also Jack said: I am 13 years of age.
I am the son of George Mawbey and live at the house at Breelong with my uncle, John Mawbey.
I remember Friday night.
I went to bed about 7 or 8 with Bert and Percy.
We had undressed and all got into bed.
We were lying in bed talking.
I am sure I did not go to sleep.
Mrs Mawbey always slept in the kitchen with uncle; also Garnet and Cecil sleep there.
I heard Mrs Mawbey say, "Oh, there's a blackfellow. He has hit me on the head with a brick."
She was screaming this out.
Percy ran out of the room.
I lay in bed for a minute and then heard Mrs Mawbey and the girls screaming.
I ran out and saw a blackfellow standing near the back bedroom door.
He was stooping down watching Percy.
I heard another blackfellow's voice outside the house.
It was Jimmy Governor's voice.
I am quite sure. I know it well. I have met Jimmy Governor a dozen times, perhaps more, and have had a good long talk with him.
Jimmy Governor said, "Go on, Jacky. Don't take no notice of them. Dash out their --brains. I have had enough of them."
I was frightened, and ran past Percy into the front bedroom, but the door was fastened.
Afterwards they let me in and Percy was standing looking towards the back of the house with something in his hand, and saying to the blackfellow whom I saw first, and whom I think to be Jackey, "What is it you want?"
Percy said this several times, and then his voice stopped.
After that he screamed.
I got into the front bedroom, and got under the bed. I heard the sound of blows coming from the sitting room. I heard a blackfellow, but which one I don't know, say, "There's another one about somewhere." I then heard a body fall on the floor. I think it was Elsie Clarke.
There was a barefooted blackfellow in the bedroom.
I heard a sound as if he was picking up axes or tomahawks.
Then very shortly I heard Reggie coming in with his rifle.
I then heard Jimmy Governor sing out, before Reggie came, "Come on, Jack, come on."
I came from under the bed, and saw Reggie standing with a lighted match crying, and holding his rifle. Reggie said, "Oh, here's poor little Jack," meaning me.
I left the house after uncle came in and Reggie went from the front of the house towards the creek and found Miss Kerz this side of the creek, lying dead. Uncle and Reggie carried her up to the house. Some time I saw uncle bring Hilda's body in.
About two weeks ago I went to the blacks' camp about three miles from here.
I saw there Jimmy Governor and two other blackfellows.
The blackfellow in custody was not there.
I also saw a white woman, Jimmy's wife.
I have seen the blackfellow Jack Porter outside the court.
I don't think he was one of the two blacks I saw with Jimmy Governor at the camp.
I was under the bed when the bedroom door was smashed in.
When I came out from under the bed the window was open. After I got into the bedroom I heard somebody smashing in the door.


Sarah Ann Maria Clark(e)
Sarah Ann Maria CLARK(E) was born in 1856 in the rich farming land district of CASTLEREAGH on the Hawkesbury/Nepean River system at the base of the Blue Mountains.
It is still a beautiful part of the world today.
I know because I once lived in the Hawkesbury district and used to love driving along the picturesque Castlereagh Road between the townships of Richmond and Penrith, passing through the tiny township of Castlereagh on the way.
To the west are the foothills of the Blue Mountains and at their base, the Nepean River.
The small township of Castlereagh along with Richmond,Windsor, Wilberforce and Pitt Town are known collectively as 'the Macquarie towns' because they were planned by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in the early 1800s.
All were prone to flooding, resulting in loss of life, and the governor wanted to ameliorate this.
The floods also dumped rich alluvial soil making the area a very suitable for farming.
It became the food bowl for Old Sydney Town after farming there and at Parramatta was not very productive because of poor soils.

Sarah's parents were ROBERT CLARK(E) and ELIZABETH SMITH.
They arrived in the colony of New South Wales from Norfolk on a ship called the Asiatic on 23 May 1855, travelling with their three daughters and son James.


I do not have any information about the origins of Sarah's father at this stage.
However I do know that his death was by drowning in a creek on the property called Breelong (near Gilgandra, NSW) where Sarah lived with her husband and family.
I gleaned this snippet of information from a newspaper story written at the time Sarah and three of her children were brutally murdered by two Aboriginal men in July 1900.
Her mother's father, Arthur Samuel SMITH, died at Castlereagh.

Sarah's mother, Elizabeth SMITH, was born at Wickhampton, Norfolk in 1837 and died in 1882 at Mudgee.
Sarah and her husband John MAWBEY moved to Breelong the following year.
Perhaps her widowed father was living with her when he died.

Thanks to a distant relative, Gordon, who lives in Rosebud, Victoria and who contacted me last year when he was doing his own family history, I do have information about Sarah's mother's parents.
They were Arthur Samuel SMITH and Charlotte NEWSON.
Arthur was born 1807 at Cantly, Norfolk, England, married Charlotte in 1834 at Wickhampton, Norfolk, and died at Castlereagh on 28 January 1891.

Charlotte was born in 1814 at Wickhampton to James and Elizabeth NEWSON.
She was 20 when she married Arthur who was 27.
On Sarah's birth certificate, her family name is spelt without the 'e', but it is spelt with it on her marriage certificate.
Some of Sarah's younger family members lived with her at Breelong after their mother died.
One of them, Elsie Clark, whom Sarah had adopted, was there when the brutal murders took place.
She was bashed on the head with a tomahawk and survived, but was deaf for the rest of her life as a result.
Sarah was attacked on Friday night and managed, despite horrific injuries, to survive until the following Wednesday night when she finally succumbed.

The Sydney Morning Herald Monday 23 July 1900
Death of another victim.
Grace Mawbey has just died. Dr Tressider, health officer, from Dubbo, has just arrived and is now busy sewing up the wounds of Mrs Mawbey and Miss Elsie Clark, who is about 15 years of age. His opinion is that Mrs Mawbey and Miss Clark will recover. Miss Clark has not yet regained consciousness, but is continually moaning and calling out "Mamma", the name she always called Mrs Mawbey, because she had adopted her.
The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 26 July 1900
Murders by Blacks. The Gilgandra Tragedy. Death of Mrs Mawbey.
Mrs Mawbey, one of the victims of the Gilgandra tragedy died last night.


In July 1900, my paternal great grandparents, John Thomas and Sarah MAWBEY, were prosperous landholders in a rich farming area on the Castlereagh River in the central west of the state of New South Wales.
John had recently added three additional properties to his original holding, Breelong, and had built a new house for his family.
A school teacher, ELLEN KERZ, had been supplied by the government to teach the Mawbey children and others living nearby and she was living with the Mawbeys in their new house.

School Teacher, Breelong West Provisional School

Letter from Miss Kerz to the Department of Public Instruction, written on 19 February 1900 at the Provisional School, Breelong West, via Gilgandra:
Sir, I have the honour to inform you that I was travelling from Monday 29th January to Wednesday 31st January, and my luggage consisted of two large tin trunks, one tin hat trunk, and one bicycle. Attached are the receipts for carriage of luggage. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant. Ellen Kerz.
[Payment of 3 pounds 17 shillings and 9 pence recommended. Wells Fargo* coach ticket attached.] [*Not Cobb & Co]
[Source: NSW State Records]
Two months later, in April [other sources say in January], an Aboriginal man, Jimmy GOVERNOR, started working for John MAWBEY, one of her employers at whose home she boarded, on a fencing contract.
He brought with him a white wife, Ethel, and an infant son, Sidney, and they all lived together at a camp beside the creek.
A couple of months later they were joined by four Aboriginal males: full-blood adult Jacky Underwood, Joe Governor (Jimmy's younger brother), male elder, Joe Porter, and Peter Governor (Jimmy's young cousin).
Jimmy had been born east of Breelong, on the Talbragar River, and had worked on many surrounding properties.
His maternal grandfather was an Irishman with red hair called Jack FITZGERALD.

As there have already been half a dozen books and many other articles written about what I am about to relate, so I will only give a brief outline here.
I will discuss it in more detail further down the track.
On the night of 20 July 1900, Jimmy and at least one of his Aboriginal kinsfolk, brutally murdered Mrs Sarah MAWBEY and three of her children as well as the female schoolteacher who was boarding with the family.
Issued from New South Wales Post and Telegraph, Colonial and Intercolonial Lines. Miss Kerz and two or three members of Mr Mabeys (sic) family murdered Breelong last night by blacks. T J Johnston, Teacher
Memorandum to Chief Inspector from Breelong West from Dubbo, 26 July 1900. Teacher murdered. From the appended Telegram and Extraordinary it would appear that Miss Kerz Teacher of the above school was murdered last night.  The enrolment in connection with the School, for last quarter was 20, and average attendance was 13.8. As I believe it will be, now, necessary to work the School as a Half Time in conjunction with the now Provisional School at Greenwoods Vale, I would recommend that no appointment of Teacher be made till I can further advise the Department on this Subject." Ger. A.W.
Extraordinary to the Dubbo Liberal. Saturday morning. Terrible Tragedy at Breelong. Three Persons Murdered.
A terrible outrage by blacks is reported from Breelong (on the Gilgandra-Mundooran road). Some time before midnight on Friday the residents of Mr Mowbray was attacked by four blacks - one of whom(Joe Governor) is well known in this district.
From the meagre particulars to hand it is gathered that a terrible assault was made on the family, most of the men of which were absent. Miss Kerz, the school-teacher, and Percival and Hilda Mowbray are reported dead; and Mrs Mowbray (sic), her daughter Grace, and Miss Clark are lying dangerously wounded.
A strong party of police and civilians was organised in the district before daylight and started in pursuit. The police throughout all the district between Warren and Coonabarabran have been advised and desired to keep a lookout. Sub-Inspector Cameron, several local police, and the district tracker left this (Saturday) morning; with equipment for several days.[Source: NSW State Records]

Jimmy GOVERNOR and his younger brother, Joe, then went on a killing spree in the surrounding area, brutally murdering a pregnant mother about to give birth and her infant son, plus two old men, and raping a 15 year old girl.
The pair, officially declared outlaws with a price of 200 pounds on each of their heads, managed to evade hordes of police and civilian search parties for 14 weeks, treating them with scorn.
Jimmy was finally caught at Wingham near Taree and brought to trial.
Joe was shot and killed near Singleton and his body laid out on a billiard table in a pub.
Jimmy was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney (subsequently a technical college and now an art school) in January 1901.
Amongst those in attendance were George MAWBEY (II), aged about 42, the only surviving younger brother of John Thomas Mawbey.
His son George (III) had been staying at the Mawbey house at Breelong the time of the murders, surviving by hiding under a bed.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 23 July 1900
The Murdered Pupil Teacher.

Mr Alexander Kerz and Miss Kerz arrived at the scene about 3pm today.
Ms Kerz was unable to speak to anyone her grief being so xxx.
Mr A Kerz on being interviewed said that the murdered girl was the youngest girl and was considered the idol of the family.
This was her first appointment away from Girilambone, although she was pupil teaching there for three years.
Both her father and mother reside in Girilambone, and she would have been 21 years old next birthday.
Miss Kerz is a native of the Macquarie River near Warren.

To the Honourable, The Minister for Education.
The Humble Petition of Martin Kerz of Girilambone Mine, Herewith
That Ellen Kerz late Teacher at Breelong West and one of the victims of the dreadful massacre by blacks at that place was my daughter;
* that during her connection with the Department she gave the greatest satisfaction as the reports on her work by Inspectors and Teacher testify;
* that her death even from natural causes at such an early age and just as she had completed the very trying period of her Public teachership in an extreme climate, at a small salary and when in a position to maintain herself decently without any assistance from me, her death even then would be a great shock to us in our old
age, but her premature death under such shocking circumstances is an affliction which could we hope to endure cannot be forgotten during our necessarily few remaining days;
* that the thought of consigning the mutilated
body of our dear departed child to the grave near the scene of that awful outrage seemed to add to our anguish and the only consolation we had in our sad bereavement was the removal of the remains from Breelong for internment here; * that this course entailed very great expense and as we are old and poor will always be a severe strain on us;
* that my poor poor broken-hearted wife and I are very old and feeble and in very poor circumstances;
* that our dearly beloved daughter has been a faithful little soldier in her humble sphere;
* that although she wrote early in 1899 expressing her wish to withdraw from paying to the Superannuation Fund, yet I am not eligible for the refund of her contributions;

* that though I have no legal claim I throw myself entirely on your tender mercy, feeling that under all these sad circumstances you will pity us in our old age and that you will endeavour to lighten my burden by authorising the payment to me of the sum of 50 pounds - Fifty Pounds - expenses incurred by me in connection with the removal and burial of the remains, or that you will cause this amount to be placed on the estimates which are about to be submitted to Parliament in a month or two and your petitioner will ever pray.
Martin Kerz, 1st September 1900

Presented by W G Spence MP for favourable consideration - Breelong West. Applying for sum of 50 pounds to meet expenses incurred by him in removal and burial of his daughter one of the victims of the Breelong black massacre.

Under Secretary. In view of the distressing circumstances of this case, and of the fact that Mr Kerz is in poor circumstances, I think his request might be complied with and an amount of 50 pounds placed on the Estimates for the consideration of Parliament. F B 12 September 1900.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Of the five sons of GEORGE MAWBEY (I), the only two to reproduce males to extended the family name were JOHN THOMAS and his younger brother, GEORGE (II).
The other boys, DAVID, ALFRED and JAMES, died before reaching adulthood.
JOHN THOMAS grew up in Mudgee where his father is said to have gone after gold was discovered there to set up a store to sell goods to the miners.
It was there that JOHN THOMAS MAWBEY married SARAH ANN MARIA CLARK in 1875.
They were my great-grandparents.
JOHN was born in 1849 in the farming district of Dural near Castle Hill, 31 km north-west of Sydney.
SARAH was born in Castlereagh, a rich farming area in the Hawkesbury district, about 55 km north-west of Sydney near the town of Penrith.
They were a handsome young couple as a photo of them in a later post shows.
Fortunately they could not know what tragic fate lay in store for them in their middle age ...

NSW Central West

JOHN THOMAS obtained farming land further west, at a place called Breelong, near present day Gilgandra.
There as well as growing wheat, he was the local publican and postmaster.
The inn where he and his wife and growing family originally lived was used as a staging post for Cobb and Co coaches.
JOHN THOMAS (known as JOHN) and SARAH had nine children - seven boys and two girls:
1880 John Thomas II (Jack) b. 27 July, Mudgee
1882 Reginald George b. 31 March, Mudgee
1884 Grace b. 24 May, Mudgee

1885 Percival b. 29 November, Breelong
1887 Sydney b. 28 June, Breelong
1889 Hilda May b. 21 March, Breelong

1890 Albert b. 9 November, Breelong
1893 Cecil James (Jim) b. 10 January, Breelong
1896 Garnet Lindsay b. 12 April, Breelong

[Source: Mawbey family records]
They enjoyed a healthy outdoor lifestyle in the country growing up with prosperous parents who could afford to pay for schoolteachers to educate them and other children of local farmers.
But all this was to change on that fateful winter's night of Friday 20 July 1900 when tragic events made my family a permanent fixture in the Australian historical landscape when their blood was spilt on the land ..


I am a 5th generation Australia, a descendent of British-born GEORGE MAWBEY who is thought to have arrived in Sydney in 1832.
I haven't been able to find out exactly how and when he got here, despite having checked all the shipping lists as well as the convict records.
Maybe he arrived in Melbourne and then came to Sydney overland.
Maybe he wanted to check out the Victorian goldfields. [Incorrect. They had not yet been discovered.]
I'll find out eventually.
That's the beauty of living on an island continent before air travel.
There was only one was to get here and that was by ship.

GEORGE MAWBEY is said to have come to Australia with his father, JOSEPH, who was a dealer in Surrey [Update 31-12-11 no information about Joseph has so far come to light].
I don't know the source of this information, but it's all I've got to go on.
The first factual record about George [Update 31-12-11 A 'G. Mawbey' who is possibly him made his first appearance in public as an actor in a play at the Theatre Royal, the first professional theatre in Sydney in April 1833; he is a witness in a court case against a former employer in 1837] is his marriage certificate from St Philips Church of England, Sydney, when he married 19-year-old ANN WILLIAMS in 1838.
She had arrived in Sydney the same year as he did, having travelled with her parents from Lancashire, England.
If I can find what ship she came out here on, maybe I'll find him there too.
I guess GEORGE was named after one of the English kings of the same name.
The use of kings' names for the boys has been a tradition in our branch of the MAWBEY family.
Both my father and brother were Edwards and there were a couple of Alberts too.
Back to my original male forebear who I will call 'George (I)', not because he was royalty, but because he had a son and grandson named after him and it can become confusing trying to work out who is who.

GEORGE and ANN MAWBEY(nee WILLIAMS) had 10 children:
1842 David (bap. St James, Sydney; d.1848 St James, Sydney aged 6)
1843 Alfred (bap. St Phillips. Sydney; d.1848 St Phillips, Sydney aged 5)
1845 Alice (b. Cooks River, Petersham, Sydney; d.1917 Perth, WA aged 72)

1847 Ann Jane (bap. St Lawrence, Sydney; d. 1923 Byron Bay, aged 76)
1849 John Thomas (bap. Dural; d.1912 Mendoran, Dubbo aged 63)
1851 James (bap. Dural; d.1871 Newtown aged 19; buried Balmain Cemetery)

1853 Grace (b. Camperdown, Newtown, Sydney; d.1880 Newtown aged 27; buried Balmain Cemetery)
1855 Elizabeth (bap. Dural)
1858 George II (bap. Dural); d.1924 Little Hartley, NSW aged 66)

1862 Mary Emma (b. Newtown; d. 1944 Camden aged 82)
GEORGE (I) died in 1862 at Newtown at the age of 53.
His wife ANN was only 43 at the time.
He died the same year as his youngest child, MARY, was born.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 6 January 1880
The FRIENDS of Mrs Ann MAWBEY are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of her late beloved DAUGHTER, Grace, to move from her residence, Albermarle street, Kingston. THIS (Tuesday) AFTERNOON at 3 o'clock, for Balmain cemetery. CHARLES BOOTS, Undertaker, Hordern street, Newtown.
Grace's oldest surviving brother, John Thomas, named his eldest daughter, born on 24 May 1884, after her.
At age 16, young Grace and her younger sister, Hilda, were murdered by Aboriginals on their farm in the central west of New South Wales in July 1900.
But more about that later ...
Thanks to the internet, and the wonderful Australian Newspapers beta site of the National Library of Australia, I have managed to find out a bit more about George I.
He appears to have been involved in a court case as a witness against his employer in 1837, the year before he married.
I'll report on that in a future post.
GEORGE I was a witness at a wedding of 23-year-old MARY WILLIAMS and Irish-born Henry George BLACK at St Jude's Church of England at Dural on 19 February 1856.
The marriage certificate was signed by him as 'Geo Mawbey' together with the groom's brother, GEORGE BLACK and brother-in-law, GEORGE HUNT.
Mary's father was THOMAS WILLIAMS.
Mary had an older sister, also called 'Ann', born at Castle Hill in 1828.
Ann Williams and her parents and siblings did not arrive in the colony until 1833.
UPDATE 22-12-11
According to present day descendents of Mary Williams, her family was not related to George Mawbey through his wife, Ann Williams.


Growing up in Sydney, I never came across anyone with the surname MAWBEY, other than members of my father's family, so I felt a bit like a foreigner surrounded by people with more common family names.
Then in my mid-20s when I was a school teacher at Broken Hill, there was a girl with my family name in one of my classes!
It was spelt differently, without the 'e', but I had a sense of belonging at last.
Forty years down the track I'm doing my family tree and discovering there were lots of other MAWBEYs about - I just didn't know about them.
They've not only inhabited the state of New South Wales, but also Victoria and Western Australia.
On this blog I'm going to record the existence of as many MAWBEYs as I can find in this wide brown land, both for the benefit of future generations of Aussie MAWBEYs as well as members of the family now.
Hope you find this site interesting. I will try and make it so ...

Pamela Mawbey