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Sunday, October 30, 2011


The second time GEORGE MAWBEY appears in the annals of Australian history is as a witness in the perjury trial of his former employer, SAMUEL ONIONS.
ONIONS was an ironmonger who ran what sounds like a very profitable business in King Street in the heart of old Sydney Town.
George Mawbey was his clerk, the equivalent of a bookkeeper today, keeping track of his boss's stock and accounts.
According to the colony's first newspaper, the New South Wales Government Gazette, SAMUEL ONIONS was assigned over a dozen male convicts to work for him between 1833-36. [Source: FindMyPast]
All were labourers or tradesman except for one in-door servant.
There is no mention of a clerk.
According to George Mawbey's death certificate, he arrived in the colony in 1832.
This means he may have been among the first substantial wave of free settlers who came to the other side of the world to make a new life.
Alternatively, he may have arrived as a transported convict and then changed his name.
See: More on Samuel Onions page


I've just added a new page about the ex-convict in whose employ GEORGE MAWBEY was when he first appears on the Australian scene in 1836.This employer was SAMUEL ONIONS about whom there is a lot of information available.
What I have found so far demonstrates what a tough place Sydney was at that time.
Mr Onions was about to flog a young 14-year-old apprentice for insubordination when the boy retaliated and punched him in the shoulder.
This incident took place in King Street, now in the heart of the Sydney CBD, where Mr Onions had his ironmongering and blacksmithing business.
Wanting to get away from convicts may have been what prompted the newly married George Mawbey to go to South Australia.
This newly formed province did not take convicts from overseas, and even shipped its own local offenders to New South Wales when it was a penal colony.
There is a police record on the Find My Past website ( about GEORGE MAWBEY (Jnr) of Ann Street, Sydney reporting a horse belonging to him being stolen from Botany.
The incident, reported on 18 April 1890, concerned a bay mare with the brand SSW near its shoulder.
George ran his own business as a carter, using a horse and cart to carry goods, so without his horse, he was without any source of income.
The National Library of Australia has just published this digitalised newspaper article on its Trove website:
The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, Monday 31 December 1900, p.1
The Mawbey property.
An exchange states that Mr John Mawbey, whose home was the scene of the first tragedy by the Wollar blacks, has sold his selection at Breelong for 2300 pounds.
Soon after the tragedy Mr Mawbey expressed his determination to leave the scene of horror as soon as he was able to dispose of the property. [Source: nla 72492322]
At the time of the murders, in July 1900, the extent of John Mawbey's land holdings was 1500 acres.

Monday, October 17, 2011


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I saw these wild spring daisies growing near St Jude's at Dural and they somehow reminded me of my family. 
There is the close, core family group clustered in the centre with individuals and smaller groups branching off on their own.
Until I saw this 'imagery', I had been unable to come up with an image to put with the title and description of this blog.
So far my attempts to place it in the header so that it looks appealing have been unsuccessful. 
It will happen when the time is right.


George Mawbey is recorded as residing at Dural (aka 'Dooral') from 1849-1856 (no record for 1854) according to the New South Wales, Australia Returns of the Colony 1822-1857.
But his son, George Jnr, was baptised there in late 1860, suggesting he was there until then.
He then took his family to Mudgee in the central west of the state, possibly travelling by horse and cart along the Old Northern Road to Wiseman's Ferry. [31-12-11 - This may not be correct as he appears to have returned to Sydney to live in Newtown.]
From there they would have taken the punt (ferry) across the Hawkesbury River, and then the Great North Road to the Hunter Valley.
To put this in a wider context, 1861 was the year the American civil war began.
I am trying to confirm that George Snr was indeed a teacher at the Church of England denominational school at Dural.
This is thought to have been the case, and may have been recorded on one of the childrens' birth certificates.
While probably not a trained teacher, his big advantage was that he could read and write.
Before he married in Sydney in 1838, he was working as a clerk for former convict, Samuel Onions.
His signature on his marriage register at St Philip's Anglican Church in Sydney indicates he was an intelligent and educated man.
So does the letter he had published in The Australian newspaper in regard to a court case involving his former employer, Samuel Onions.
I will ask Anglican Church archives if they have any information.

I have been advised by the Anglican Church archives that they are too busy dealing with requests for historical information from within the church to assist family historians.


There is something very moving about entering a church, passing over the same threshhold, as your great great grandparents did, bringing their infant son, your great grandfather, to be baptised.
Unexpected intense feelings were what I exprienced last Sunday, yesterday, when I went inside St Jude's Anglican Church at Dural.
I knew that my great great grandparents, George and Ann Mawbey, had had four of their children baptised there:
John Thomas 17-2-1850 James 25-1-1852 Elizabeth 7-11-1855 and George 28-10-1860.
So being there held special significance for me.
But apart from that, all sentiment aside, St Jude's is simply a special church, made more so by these two beautiful cushions that 'reside' there.

St Jude's Church of England, Dural (front)
Designer: Kate Blanch
Embroiderer: Anne Norris
Photo: (C) Pamela Mawbey 2012

St Jude's Church of England, Dural (rear)
Designer: Kate  Blanch
Embroiderer: Anne Norris
Photo: (C) Pamela Mawbey 2012

Architecturally, St Jude's Dural is described in the latest issue of the church bulletin as being a 'one-cell, Norman church with a curved romanesque apse at the eastern end, and is the only example of its kind in Australia. (Connect, Sept 2011) Built in 1846, it originally had a shingle roof. The diocesan school, built in 1843, stood where the parish hall is now. St Jude's is heritage-listed.
I do hope some members of the younger generation of the Mawbey family choose to get married there, to keep the connection going.
It would be hard to find a more perfect spot for a small wedding.
The church is on a hill overlooking a valley with the Blue Mountains in the distance.
There are lots of pine trees and the air is fresh and clean-smelling.
In Aboriginal Dhurag language, that of the original inhabitants of the area, the word 'Dural' meant 'valley'.

The view from a lookout near St Jude's at Dural
St Jude's is at 965 Old Northern Road, Dural, on the road to Wiseman's Ferry where the convict-built Great North Road marks the first overland route to the Hunter Valley.
Work commended on this road in 1825.
This beautiful part of the world, that I would describe as 'God's Own Country', is where John Thomas Mawbey spent the first 10 years of his life.
Fifty years after his baptism by water, he was to experience a baptism of fire when his wife, a son and only two daughters were murdered at Breelong, near Gilgandra, by Aboriginals working on his property in July 1900.
George's son, George Jnr, was there at the time, a witness to the murders, and George Snr attended the hanging of the ringleader, Jimmy Governor, at Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney.
But that is another story, discussed in great detail elsewhere in this blog and on another of my blogs, JIMMY GOVERNOR FORENSIC.

Friday, October 14, 2011


This Sunday I am going to Dural, a former rural area now virtually an 'outer suburb' north-west of Sydney, to see if I can find out more about my great great grandfather who once lived there.
On Sunday the historic home of one of the pioneering families of the disctrict, the ROUGHLY family, is open to the public.
I actually met old Mr Roughly, Clive, and bought some of his honey back in the year 2000.
I even have some of yellow labels that he gave me to help promote his product.
'Roughly House' was built in 1856 and was home to five generations of the Roughly family.
Its two male forebears came to the colony as convicts.
I will also try to visit the nearby Anglican church where I understand my great great grandfather was a teacher.
This is such an interesting journey, tracing my family history.
I sometimes think it would be great to have the resources available to me of  the Ancestry television series, Who Do You Think You Are, but then I am enjoying doing it my own way.