It was a great pleasure that three members of Family 4 came to the Swinfield Gathering. They are descended from John Swinfield (1806-1874) another son of Thomas Swinfield, the labourer, of Wolvey in Warwickshire and his wife, Elizabeth Hackett. John married Mary Ann Bates at Mancetter in the same county in 1833. They had 6 children in that parish from 1834 to 1850. In late 1852, presumably at the suggestion of his brother, William, who had already settled in Sydney, he and his wife embarked on the arduous three month journey onboard the ill-fated “Beejapore”. Of the nearly thousand passengers who set out, 55 or 56 died on the voyage, all but one of them being children. On arrival, the ship was put into quarantine at the station on North Head, close to what is now Manly. There a further 62 perished from typhus and measles during the time that they were accommodated in just 90 tents in the height of summer. These included John's wife and his youngest son, William, who was only 3. The ship was released to complete its journey into Sydney Harbour on 9th February 1853.
|Ruth & Geoff study the |
pedigree of Family 4
Our three attendees at the Gathering all descend from John's daughter, Mary, who was born at Mancetter in 1838 and who was 15 when she disembarked. The four surviving children did not stay in NSW for long. They all married in Tasmania from 1857 to 1868. Mary married Henry Chesterman at St David's Church, Hobart, Tasmania on 13th October 1857 and they had 12 children and many modern descendants.
I had already met Ruth Cuff on her visit to London in April 2012. She then brought with her copies of two letters which were sent to his brother and sister by Edward Swinfield (1834-1881) who did not make the voyage to Australia. Rather he went to be a planter in St Kitts in the West Indies where he died. He has no descendants. Neither, as far as we know, do either of the other two surviving sons of John Swinfield by his two wives.
|Col, Jordan & Ruth|
|Col & Jordan Barling|
The other two people to come to the Gathering were Col Barling and his daughter, Jordan. It was great for them to meet there and we exchanged photographs and documents. I have also recently been in contact with their cousin, Bob Chesterman, who has as his ancestor not only Mary Swinfield (1838-1918) but also her sister, Mary Ann (1846-1930), who married Moses John Clark!
|Map of North Head and the |
|Geoff at Q Station|
Today Q Station is a hotel. However it provides a very informative visitors' centre which Di and I visited to see its very good exhibition. That documents its time as a place of quarantine for the emigrants into Sydney until as late as the 1980s!
|Quarantine Beach where the emigrants landed.|
Just above the beach would have been the final resting place
of John's wife and young son who died in 1853.