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Saturday, December 31, 2011

JOHN MAWBEY'S FRUIT SHOP AT MUDGEE

John Thomas Mawbey, eldest surviving son of George I, rented a store in Mudgee from 1878-1880.
In February 2011, I was given this information by the Mudgee Historical Society, gleaned from the Cudgegong rate books 1860-1905.
There the store was described as a 'wood shop', in other words, made of wood.
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But yesterday in the Mitchell Library I saw in an amazing book, Wright's Australian and American commercial directory and gazeteer (New York, 1881), that J. Mawbey was listed as a 'fruiterer' in Mudgee.
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This lent further support to an idea that was simmering in my brain after obtaining more information about Dural from Roughley family history books in the library.
When the Mawbey family lived there, from around 1849-58, based on baptisms that took place at St Jude's, possibly until 1860, it was an orchard area.
This means there would have been plenty of work available picking fruit.
Several of these orchardists are listed in Wright's 1881 directory as 'fruit growers' - William Williams, James Roughley and W Hunt.
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William Ephriam Williams was the youngest child of Thomas Williams II and Charlotte (nee Kentwell), born at Dural on 16 June 1846.
John Thomas Mawbey was born three years later in 1849.
I am wondering if the two boys were childhood friends, and that in adulthood, John Thomas was selling William's fruit in his store at Mudgee.
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Another possible connection is that a W. Williams was at the hanging of Jimmy Governor at Darlinghurst Gaol in January 1901.
Perhaps John Thomas's childhood friend was there on his behalf because it was too painful for him to attend himself.
John Thomas's younger brother, George Mawbey II, was there too.
He was nine years younger than his brother, and 12 years younger than William Williams who died in 1919.
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John Thomas was 9 or 10 when his family left Dural, a couple of years before his father, George I, died at Newtown on 30 November 1862 aged 53.
George I had been a witness at the wedding of William Williams's older sister, Mary, to Henry Black at Dural on 19 February 1856.