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Gordon Family History
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Gordon History :: The Naming of Gordonville

The naming of Gordonville situated on the upper Bellinger River inland from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, where children of Ann Gordon's son Henry established themselves as the first settlers in the 1860s, likely had its origin in the history of one of colony’s most important early institutions - the Parramatta Female Factory. Ann Gordon was its longest serving Matron and during her nine year tenure of office the institution became colloquially known as Gordon Ville [1]. Its function has been described thus :The Parramatta Female factory was .... an attempt to provide, in the one institution, the solution to all the problems posed to the colonial administration by the women of colonial society ... the Female Factory was not only a goal, but a house of asylum and probation, a home for the incapacitated (infirm, aged, blind, nursing mothers), a labour exchange, a marriage bureau, a hospital and a manufactory. [1]

      The factory buildings shown above were designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway. Surrounded by a 16 ft. high wall and a moat it was the destination upon arrival for convicted women transported to the colony [20]. For the variety of reasons mentioned many other colonial women and their children spent time at the institution. Figures for the year 1835, said to be within the indicated average for that decade, show there was a monthly average of 509 women (449-569 variable) and 137 children (114-166 variable) [6] [11].

The first Matron to be entrusted with the arduous task of efficiently managing the diverse functions of the Parramatta Female Factory was Elizabeth Fulloon. She was appointed in April 1924 and held office for three and a half years. Replacing her in October 1827 was Ann Gordon for what was to become a nine year term and the longest served by any holder of the office in the twenty-seven year history of the institution [2]. On the day prior to Ann Gordon taking up her appointment the inmates rioted and the following day broke out of the factory. Four days later nineteen inmates were reported still at large of whom only three remained so two months later. There is no record of any other riots or major disturbances having occurred during her tenure of office although another such event did occur under under the new administration shortly after she left office in 1836 when a harsher regime was introduced [5]. Paid a salary of £150 per annum and provided with a residence, and no doubt having available to her all the basic foodstuffs required for her family, she was apparently the highest paid Matron in the history of the institution. In an era when a woman holding a top management position was virtually unheard of she would have been Australia's highest paid 19th century female public servant. [3] [7]

Her tenure as Matron lasted until Governor Darling’s recall to England, after which the Factory Board of Management lodged complaints with his replacement Governor Bourke concerning the misconduct of her family members. Published sources suggest misbehavior of her husband with female inmates was indicted. Unverified family sources have it that the Management Committee minutes also contain allegations that two daughters had illegitimate children. Ann's husband Robert Gordon was listed as a storekeeper for the commissariat in the 1828 census, and as evidenced by a reported NSW Supreme Court case he was the commissariat storekeeper at the Female Factory until at least July 1835.
However there appears to be no evidence Governor Bourke accepted the Committee's misconduct allegations as being factually correct or if taken alone serious enough to warrant acting to discharge Ann. A letter from Governor Bourke to Lord Glenelg indicates prior to the committee allegations he had been desirous of changing the administration practices and management structure at the factory put in place by his predecessors Governors Brisbane and Darling. Pressure for changes in prison practices directed at improving "the moral condition of the Female Convicts in NSW", had been evident from at least 1834 both in England and in NSW, with representations made to both Governor Bourke and the Colonial Department in England from a group styling itself "Ladies of the British Society". Clearly there was a letter writing campaign in 1836 by this ladies group and/or by individuals as evidenced by Lord Glenelg having written in December 1836 he had received reports unfavorable to the discipline and moral superintenence of the factory "from various quarters". Aside from complaints disseminated regarding the morality of Ann's family members the specifics of the general complaints critical of her factory management, put about by master and mistress employers of female convict servants, can be found in editorial content foreshadowing her imminent replacement which appeared in The Sydney Herald of 22 August 1836 ten days before her actual replacement took effect. The Governor Bourke's writings merely indicate the management committee allegations were the catalyst for him to act to instigate changes he had been contemplating for some time.Ten days after replacing Ann Gordon he advised Lord Glenelg, the Secretary of State for the Colonies in England, that no personal blame attached to her and she had been discharged in order to enable him to appoint a married couple as Keeper and Matron. The upshot was that as at midnight on 31st August 1836 she found herself out of a job and residence. On account of her long service she was given a full years salary as compensation, such seemingly evidencing she had been held in high personal regard by successive Governors of the Colony and the senior administrators.  [2] [4] [9]

Six weeks after her discharge the laxity of her administration was attacked in similar vein by the other Sydney newspaper of the day - the Sydney Gazette. The Factory was referred to as ‘Gordon Ville’ and the activities of the inmates during Matron Gordon’s time belittled as having been merely the making of slop clothing, smoking and drinking Jamaica rum. This attack by the third estate and approbation for the harsher regime introduced by her successors, gave similar reasons to the earlier Herald article as to why dissatisfaction with Ann Gordon's prison management, as having been too benign, had built up over the years among the colony's female convict employers [10].

Family History

According to her 1868 death record Ann Gordon was a daughter of James King and Ann Ovey born about 1795 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. However as ages in 19th century records are often a guess or an approximation it is possible she was the Ann King baptised in Portsmouth in 1792 whose parents were a George and Ann King [39] . The surname spelling of Ann's mother as "Ovey" is in doubt as there are other phonetic possibles. She died circa 1844 and is likely buried in the Portsmouth area. Ann sister Martha Lambert had at least one son named Francis who seemingly attended to settlement of Ann's mother's estate after her death [34]. It is possible Ann and Martha had a brother John and perhaps another named Andrew. Ann died in Maitland, NSW on 6 June 1868. On 2 May 1812 she married in St. Mary's Church of England in Portsea located on the east side of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, Robert Gordon who was likely born in St. John's Parish, Limerick, Ireland about 1782 [12].

According to his 1863 death record, for which daughter Maria Fulford was the informant, Robert Gordon was born in Bermuda and was a son of John Gordon and Mary Molloy [12]. However the preferred place for his birth is St. John's, County Limerick, Ireland, which appeared as his birth place in the 1816 record of his enlistment in the 48th Northhamptonshire Regiment of Foot at Nass in Ireland. It is presumed St. John's was intended to mean St. John's Church of Ireland Parish in the county's main town of Limerick. Writers on the subject of the occurrence of surnames in Ireland have noted from early times Limerick was the County in Ireland in which the Gordon surname occurred, although surprisingly whilst the 1796 Flax Growers List recorded a total of 174 farmers of the surname grew a crop of flax in Ireland that year there were none listed in Limerick. This suggests the Gordons' in County Limerick were by then town dwellers rather than farmers. It is likely Robert Gordon had several siblings. However the only ones known of are an about nine years younger Mary who married in Limerick and also came to Australia in 1817, and a brother named John who was referred to in a 1887 letter as having corresponded with Robert, and in respect of whom a 1889 letter mentioned - quote: "I heard that John Gordon's sons are living in Limerick and are in very good circumstances" [35] [36]. Clearly his sons must not have emigrated so there may be descendants of John still in Limerick today whose ancestors marriages would be in the official records from 1845 and prior to then in the church parish records.

Certainly astray is a contention disseminated among the New Zealand families for much of last century that Robert Gordon was related to the family of Major-General Charles George Gordon who died in 1885 at the seige of Khartoum and became the chosen hero-figure of the British Empire. The established family history and genealogy of Charles "Chinese" Gordon, who was born in Kent in England in 1833 and whose father was Major-General William Henry Gordon, goes back to David Gordon who died in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752. Likely similarly astray is a belief sourced to this compiler's Henry line Gordon grandfather that the family was related to that of the Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870). Lindsay Gordon's earliest known ancestor, traced through legal documents, was his great great grandfather Robert Gordon who went to France in the early 1700s where he was a successful wine and spirit merchant in Bordeaux, later purchasing two estates in Scotland which he entailed to his eldest son George Gordon [38]. Whilst Adam Lindsay and General Charles Gordon were from the same Scottish clan, shared the same birth year of 1833, and attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich together, neither appears to have had any family branch in Limerick, Ireland in the 1700s! The clan Gordon was not only ancient but widespread. The Limerick family could have been established by an arrival there from Scotland in the 17th or 18th century. A suggestion once there may have been grander days is found in a 1885 letter written by Robert Gordon's grandaughter Ada Gordon to his step daughter Letitia Garmonsway - quote "I once heard that your father's family (Gordon) were a good family, but that his father or grandfather had married beneath him and was not recognized by his relations in consequence. Also that there was some property in the West Indies belonging to them in Chancery." [39]. It is possible the original source of the claim of a family relationship to Adam Lindsay Gordon was the same Ada Gordon who as evidenced by her surviving letters was a person given to unfounded genealogical speculations. A sister of Lindsay's named Ada, who died when aged fifteen years of age, is mentioned in Lindsay's poems. The father of Lindsay's mother Robert Gordon had been Governor of Berbice and Demerara located south of the West Indies on the South American mainland. Lindsay's father Adam Durnford likely met Lindsay's mother in Barbados in the West Indies where he had been sent in 1814 as an Ensign in the West India Regiment [39]. So at least in this latter case there is a weak geographical same name co-incidence.
The accuracy of Ann's death record in respect of her father having been named James King is very much in question. It appears unlikely any of the children including informant daughter Maria Matilda actually knew their King grandfather's name, and that a James Henry King who died at the Battle of Waterloo was actually Ann's uncle and not her father! Certainly such was the understanding of son Henry who presumably received his Henry from uncle "Waterloo" James Henry, as likely did descendants in other lines who carried the Henry name in later generations. Whilst knowing of this uncle James Henry, he clearly did not know his grandfather's name in 1889 when he still had over 10 years ahead of him serving on the bench as a magistrate no doubt in full possession of his memory! [28] Likewise applied to his sister Sarah Ann Moir who only remembered her mother telling her when she was a child of the uncle who had died at Waterloo [33]. Henry Fulford the son of Robert's death record informant Maria, who held Gordon family papers which had likely been passed on to him from his late mother which included correspondence from Robert Gordon's brother, also in 1889 seemingly did not know the name of Ann's father as he wrote to Ann's first born daughter Letitia Garmonsway in N.Z., in respect of queries he had received from his cousin Ada Gordon, asking quote: "She also wants to know where grandfathers sword and medal has got to. I do not know if you know or not and also she wants the Christening name of grandma’s father". [29]. Just six weeks later Ada Gordon was to write to Letitia re her inquiry to which Henry Fulford had referred - quote: "He tells me that your grandfathers sword and medal OR your uncles sword and medal are in South Brisbane" [30]. So it seems in the six weeks interval between these two letters Letitia would have responded to Henry Fulford's inquiry, and advised him of the whereabouts of the sword, but had not been able to confirm or deny if the original owner of the sword James Henry King had been her King grandfather OR his brother!]

Clearly Letitia was unsure of her King grandfather's name, which is not surprising as he may have been deceased before she was born and she would have seemingly lived in Ireland from about five years of age or even less until her marriage in 1831, and thereafter with her husband from time to time followed the drum to 'foreign' places. Those places at least for a short time did include Portsmouth in England where Letitia had been born, and where she may have stayed with her King grandmother whilst still alive, as suggested by Letitia's seventh born child Caroline having been born at Portsmouth on 10th Nov 1845 which was likely a little less than two years after her grandmother's death [37]. Letitia's grandmother likely died in late 1843 or the first half of 1844 as indicated by a letter from Letitia to her mother Ann Gordon dated 29 July 1844 informing her that her mother Ann King (née Ovey or Avery) was deceased. It seems quite possible Ann Gordon's father of uncertain given name was dead even before Ann's daughter Letitia was born in 1809. There is an indication in a 1889 Ada Gordon letter he may have been in charge of an insituation named the "Royal ......." of which his wife had also been the Matron. However given a possible garbling through the years, such persons involved with the management of the insitution may have actually been Ann Gordon's maternal grandparents rather than her parents.

A holder of copies of the surviving 19th century family letters has contended 1887 letters from niece Ada Gordon in Australia to her aunt Letitia Garmonsway in NZ naming the knighted in 1833 full Admiral Sir Edward Durnford King, who was born in London in 1771 and died in 1862 and whose parents were the 1759 London married William King and Hannah Issacson, establish that Admiral King had been an elder brother of Ann Gordon's father. Also contended is that likewise to Admiral King by implication Ann's father, who was not specifically named by a given name in the letters, had also been in the Royal Navy. Such it was said was implied by one letter having stated a biography previously sent to Letitia Garmonsway had come from a publication named the "Naval Gag" which had this unnamed King grandfather of Letitia's as having died in 1835 [15].

It is not known to what extent these contentions have been disseminated. However the view of this compiler is that such a construction of the letters is certainly astray and has seemingly arisen from a misinterpretation of the context in which the mentions of Admiral King and his 1862 death year etc. appeared in them. It seems apparent the reference in a letter to the 1835 death date, said to have been applicable to Ann's father, was in fact referring to a death date which must have appeared in an article in a book or in a published biography of a royal navy Captain named Andrew King, who was born in 1776, married a Mary Lewin on Mar 5, 1821 and was the Fourth Lieutenant on Nelson's flagship the Victory at the historic Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805, and that Ada's letter was no more than speculating this Capt. Andrew King may have been Ann Gordon's father and accordingly his older brother Admiral King her uncle. Maybe this speculation on the part of Ada Gordon arose by way of her aunt Letitia Garmonsway, who whilst clearly not having known her King grandfather by his given name had previously in response to Ada's persistent genealogical inquiries given Ada the impression her King grandfather may have been in the navy and at the Battle of Trafalgar, and it was such a suggestion which had caused Ada Gordon to go on a Sydney library search for published biographies of any naval Kings' who had been at this famous battle, duly found in the form of those for Captain Andrew King and for his brother Admiral Sir Edward Durnford King. Biographies of these two naval gentlemen were published in Lieutenant John Marshall's volumes of Royal Naval Biography and William O'Byrne's A Naval Biographical Dictionary, of which the first has a biography of both and the second one of Sir Edward whose obituary also appeared the The Times newspaper [24] [25]. There were four Kings' on Nelson's flagship the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and many more with the King surname among the 17,000 plus who fought that day, of whom some are recorded as having been awarded medals. Captain Andrew King was not the only person named King suggested by Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway as a possible candidate to have been her King grandfather. In a letter written over a year later in about May 1889 it is apparent Ada had switched from the navy to the army as the service in which Letitia's grandfather may have served. Ada wrote: "I saw the death notice of a Capt. Henry King who died in India in 1811. Was that your grandfather?" So one can safely assume if Letitia ever told Ada anything about her grandather's identity it likely would have been no more than that she thought he had been an officer (perhaps a Captain) in one of England's armed forces. No doubt in arriving at this genealogically significant misinterpretation of the letters insufficient regard was given to the full context in which the name mentions appeared, which was that names were merely being submitted by Ada to Letitia Garmonsway in the hope she would identify one as having been her grandfather, and to the delightful description of Ada, in a letter written by her cousin Henry Fulford, that she was "a melodrama". [31]

Ada was also a very naive person, having fallen for the old "heirs wanted" scam by paying a London advertiser a £10 heir registration fee re a potential advertised Battley family inheritance in England, and even suggesting to her aunt Letitia that she may care to do likewise in respect of a similar advertisments for the heirs of Letitia's mother's King family, which in respect of any pot of gold sitting there in England just awaiting collection her own father Henry had shrewdly dismissed as "too good to be true" [32]. A letter states Ann had a brother John who had been a milkman on a vessel, by which it is assumed he must have milked the goats to provide milk and cheese for the captain's table. Perhaps he died without a living wife and living issue leaving an estate of a few pounds and such gave rise to the original advertisments in an English newspaper seeking heirs and naming Ann King wife of Robert Gordon, her sister Martha wife of George (or James) Lambert, and an Andrew King who could have been their brother or a cousin. Alternatively the small estate could have been that of their mother Ann née Ovey.

At a commonsense level one may safely assume if in fact Ann Gordon had in addition to the James Henry King who died at Waterloo, a father in the person of the 4th Lieutenant on history's most famous warship at history's most famous naval battle, and an uncle who had been full Admiral, knight of the realm, and for several years Commander at the Nore which covered the strategically all important English Channel, then Ann's son Henry Meldrum Gordon during the three years spent as a pupil at the colony's establishment school The Kings School, with it's curriculum weighted towards the study of Latin and British history, might conceivably have been told by his mother of his distinquished grandfather and grand uncle so that it would not have been necessary in 1889 for him to ask his N.Z. resident son William to make inquiry of his sister Sarah Ann Moir in Mangawhai as to if she knew his King grandfather's name so that he might know to which King family he belonged. In regard to this particular inquiry Sarah Ann wrote - that whilst she wished for her mother's sake she could give her brother Henry the name of his grandfather, she could not as all she could recollect was her mother having told her when she was a child she had an uncle who had been killed at Waterloo!
It seems to this compliler that because of doubts as to the validity of the "James" King recorded on Ann's death record having been her father, his name will only be established for certain from other records such as Ann's 1828 Female Factory employment application (which may be on microfilm at NSW State Records), or in Ann's sister Martha Lambert's civil death record (likely post 1844), or Ann's ca.1795 church parish baptism record. Another source may be in the history of an insitution which the 1889 Ada Gordon letter indicated he may have been in charge. However until such time as a scan of the original letter becomes available, to enable the handwriting to be deciphered and the full name of the insitution determined, which a transcription has it as beginning with the word "Royal ...", research into that aspect will not be possible. [33].

Australia and New Zealand

Robert and Ann Gordon arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, from Ireland on August 3, 1817 on board the Matilda together with their three year old daughter Caroline Ann and a born on the voyage daughter Maria Matilda. They came with Robert Gordon’s regiment the 48th Northamptonshire Regiment of Foot which he had joined in June 1816 at Nass near Dublin having been previously for nineteen years in the 26th Limerick (Ireland) Militia which he would have joined when about fifteen years of age. During his seven years of army service in Australia he was mostly on detachment in the Newcastle area in Capt. J. T. Morrisets company, until early 1824 when his company returned to garrison duty in Sydney. When an inquiry commissioner visited Newcastle in January 1820 it was then still only reachable from Sydney by sea. He recorded that the 48th of foot detachment there numbered 88 men, 10 women and 12 children, with the soldiers providing protection to 26 settlers and their families and 3 civil officials and supervising and guarding 671 convicts engaged in cedar cutting and coal mining. Early in 1825 with the departure for India of the last members of his regiment imminent after nine years service in the 48th, Robert Gordon who was earning take home pay of only 7 pence a day as a Private, bought himself out of the army by the payment of the prescribed sum of £20 and was discharged on 19 Jan 1825 [16].

In the 1828 Census of NSW Robert Gordon appeared as a storekeeper for the Commissariat [18]. The Commissariat's major function was to provide and organise the supply of stores and provisions to the penal Colony. It operated both military and civil stores and from 1814 existed as a colonial branch of the British Commissariat. Accordingly its records were sent to England and hardly any returned to Australia. It is indicated that after Robert left the army in early 1825 he found employment with the Commissariat at its Sydney store. However it is not known whether he was appointed to the position of commissariat storekeeper at the Parramatta Female Factory before his wife Ann was appointed matron on 28 October 1827. The 1828 Census indicates by then he held that position, which in 1836 and likely from when first established, carried salary of £109 7s. 0d. per annum [21]. A reported court case in which he was the defendant establishes he was the Storekeeper at the Factory from at least 1829 until mid 1835. He became the publican of "The Jolly Jailor" in George Street in Parramatta where at that time there were about 20 hotels. Through ill health he let the licence lapse and in 1838 Ann applied for the licence in her own right but it was not granted [23]. Robert Gordon died on January 9, 1863 at Maitland, NSW, and is buried with wife Ann in St. Peter’s Old Burial Ground at East Maitland. [12]

Robert Gordon's younger sister Mary (1792-1835) married Lewis Henry Campbell (1790-1854) at St. Murchin, Limerick. They also came to Australia with the 48th Northamptonshire regiment arriving just after him in Sydney on the Dick in Sept. 1817. Her husband was the regimental school master responsible for educating illiterate soldiers and the children of the regiment and when discharged held the rank of Sergeant. He was born in Galway in Ireland and enlisted on 3 Jul 1805 at Gosport in Hampshire, England in the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusilers. At the age of 24 years on the 20 Nov 1814 when the second battalion of the 23rd was disbanded he transfered to the 48th Northamptonshire. Lewis took his discharge in Sydney on 3 Jan 1823. He initially went to work for Robert Crawford before on 25 Apr 1825 obtaining employment as a Police Constable at Parramatta, a position from which he was dismissed on 20 Oct 1827. He died on 7 Apr 1854 and was buried at St. Batholomew's C of E at Prospect. The couple had six children. Whilst employed by Crawford who was with the Colonial Secretary's office Mary entered into a relationship with him and left her husband. From the defacto relationship with Robert Crawford she had four more children [23].

The Children

Ann Gordon had six children - Letitia Ann, Caroline, Maria Matilda, Henry Meldrum, Sarah Ann and a son listed as deceased on his father's 1863 death registration record who likely died as an infant.
Letitia Ann (1809-1892) was born 2½ years before Robert Gordon married her mother Ann King. It is not likely she was Robert Gordon's daughter, as whilst the names of his other children were listed on his 1863 death certificate, her name was omitted. Up until the death in 1853 of her half-sister Caroline when their mother Ann disclosed the truth, the other children were unaware she was their sister having believed her to be their mother's sister [40]. Also indicating she was not Robert Gordon's daughter is Letitia's 1810 Portsmouth baptism record which gave only her then unmarried mother's name. Letitia did not accompany the family to Australia on the Matilda in 1817. After her parent's departure from Ireland where her step-father's 48th Norhamptonshire Regiment of Foot had been stationed from 1814, Letitia may have been raised by her mother's sister Martha Lambert, or by her step-father's family such as his brother John Gordon whose sons were still living in Limerick in the late 1880s, or perhaps if still alive by her Limerick resident Gordon grandmother, as on the 10 Jan 1831 in St. John's Parish Church in Limerick she married twenty-one year old English soldier Edward Watts Garmonsway.

Twenty-one years later on the 27 May 1852 the couple with their surviving children arrived from London on the Inchinnan in Auckland, New Zealand. Edward came to New Zealand as a soldier settler. The Inchinnan carried 78 ex-army pensioners such as Edward, who all came as armed fencible settlers, plus 68 women and 113 children. The family was settled at seaside Howick now an Auckland suburb. In all Letitia had eleven children of whom only Letitia Ann was born after the arrival. First to marry was eldest son John Henry in 1859. He appeared in the 1865/66 electoral roll in the City of Auckland West electorate living in Princes Lane. Of the six children who lived to adulthood the three daughters and two of the three sons married. By the turn of the century the N.Z. birth indexes had recorded the registrations of 23 children bearing the Garmonsway name. Together with the children from the marriages of the daughters by then had been founded a large New Zealand family of descendants. In the year 2000 forty-two named Garmonsway were listed in the New Zealand telephone directory. All are understood to be of this family. Elsewhere in the world the name is very rare. In year 2000 it was absent from all major USA and Canada online telephone directories and appeared only twice in the Australian online white pages directory.

Caroline (1814-1853) lived in Maitland where her parents moved after they left Parramatta and is buried in St. Peter's old burial gound at East Maitland with her parents and grandson Oscar Henry [12]. She had two children from defacto relationships, of whom first born Jessie Maria is NSW BDM indexed as Jessie M. Gordon, daughter of Caroline Gordon. However her daughter Jessie Maria gave her maiden surname as PARKER at the time of the registration of the 1867 death of her only known child, which suggests Jessie may have believed her father to have been of that surname, although her christening record states his name was Alured Fonce. Caroline's other child was 1835 born Frederick James who was at Charters Towers in Queensland. When he married also used the Parker surname [15].

It is possible Jessie Maria never married, as in July 1870 when she wrote to her aunt Letitia Garmonsway, advising her of the two years earlier death of Letitia's mother Ann Gordon, she signed the letter Mrs. Jessie Gordon. However contradictory to her having never married is a January 1887 Ada Gordon letter which mentioned Jessie had quote: "married first a Mr. Smith and secondly a Mr. Cameron". Such would indicate Jessie Maria either married or had been in a defacto relationship at some time with a Mr. Smith, and was likely similarly so with a Mr. Cameron at the time of her death. Jessie's brother James Frederick Parker married Margaret O’Loughlin in 1874 and they had at least least seven children [15] Maria Matlida (1817-1882) was born during her parents voyage to Australia on the Matilda in 1817 and died in 1882 of cancer having lost her husband James Fullford two years earlier [12]. Prior to her marriage to James Fullford in 1849 she had either married or had a defacto relationship with Frank Adams, who according to an 1887 Ada Gordon letter had red hair. No record of a marriage to Frank Adams has been identified. From 1838 she had three Adams children named Frank (1838), Clara (1840) and Arthur (1842) [12]. Frank Adams was born in 1809 at Ansty in England, and subsequent to his marriage or defacto realtionship with Maria had other marriages. He died on 19 Sept 1869 whilst on a voyage home to England [12].

In 1849 Maria Matilda married widower James Fullford, who from a previous marriage to Grace S. Hartley had five children named: James (1841) who was at one time the Mayor of Maitland and Member of Parliament, George, William Ralph (1847), Amelia (1846 - Mrs. Guest of Narrabri, NSW) and Sidney Albert - a Maitland and then Sydney solicitor whose birth is not BDM indexed, and whose Sydney residence was described in a 1887 Ada Gordon letter thus: "Sid Fulford has built a splendid house at Hurstsville. The view from the verandah is unsurpassed for beauty. He inherited his father's love of neatness and order. No gentleman's residence could be better arranged on 7 acres." [41] [42]. James Fullford was born in 1816. He was a ticket of leave convict whose ticket was issued on 12 Dec 1839. He was sentenced in England at Surry Court on 27 May 1833 to 14 years transportation and arrived in Australia on the Aurora later the same year. He and Maria Matilda had four children named Frederick Gordon (1853), Henry Charles (1855), Robert J. (1857) and John James (1960). The last born John James died when only two days old. Step-sisters Clara Adams and Amelia Fulford, respectively children from Maria and James's first marriages, married identically dressed on the same day in a joint ceremony.

Sarah Ann (1822-1889) was the last born of the six children and may have had two marriages. First it is said she married a Richard Vickers in 1843. However no indexed record of this alleged Richard Vickers marriage has been located in Australia or New Zealand and no information has been made available as to the basis on which the contention has been founded. In 1847 in Auckland she married Scottish born William Moir, a career soldier in the 58th Regiment who later farmed at Te Arai and had a hotel at Mangawhai on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. William Moir acquired a land grant at Mangawhai in 1859 which it is said he named Kelvin Grove after the place he had last lived in Scotland. He was listed in the N.Z. electoral rolls from 1866 to 1875 with a farm holding of 586 acres on the Mangawhai River but was not listed there in the next available roll for 1881. He moved to Canada about 1878 and died on 1 Dec. 1881 in Toronto, Ontario Province. It has been said he deserted Sarah Ann. Such appears to be confirmed by him having having spent the last four years of his life apart from his wife and family. A Moir family researcher has advised it had been the family understanding he was in Canada visiting a brother when he died. Sarah Ann and William Moir had six sons named William, Robert, James, David, John & Leslie and a daughter who died in her birth year [15].

Henry Meldrum (1820-1910) was born on 6 March 1820 at Parramatta. As a day-boy from 1832-1836 he attended The Kings School at Parramatta, the oldest independant school in Australia, which commenced on 13 Feb. 1832 with an attendance of three small boys, and grew to an enrolement of sixty-six by year's end. In the school's published history, in respect of the foundation year student intake it is written: "Taking a few random examples of the boys educated from the 1832 intake ........ Antill became a Police Magistrate (for over 29 years), as did Gordon and Andrew McDougall. McDougall's brother John became President of the Queensland Legislative Council, whilst Forbes became Speaker of the Lower House in Queensland. Campbell became a M.L.C. and Hugh Taylor the M.L.A. for Parramatta and also its Mayor. Hassell and Macarthur became clergymen, as did Thomas Cox ........ John Watsford, became the first Australian Methodist Missionery" [22].

Henry was the Bailiff of Court of Requests at Maitland from 1843 to 1846, and by 1857 the Chief Constable at Dungog, and in 1859 the Clerk of Petty Sessions and agent for the sale of crown lands. On September 9, 1863, at the age of 43 he was appointed to Maitland as Magistrate, and on September 3, 1875 was appointed Police Magistrate and Clerk of Petty Sessions at Wollombi at an annual salary of £300 and the Secretary for Lands there with an annual salary of £50. He was appointed to Gundagai and Jugiong on April 25, 1885, and to Albury in March 1887 as Commissioner of the Supreme Court and Stipendary Magistrate. By 1901 Henry was the Magistrate at Dulwich Hill in Sydney living at Huntley in Fairfowl Street [12].

On January 30, 1843 in the Presbyterian Church at Morpeth he married Maria Battley, a daughter of Robert Battley who had been born in Gateshead in England. They had eight children between 1844 and 1863. Two years after the death of his wife Henry remarried on October 10, 1903 at Petersham Post Office a 38 year old spinster Frances Eliza Atikinson , and when he was 85 years of age they had a son Cedric who was born at 123 New Canterbury Road, Petersham. Henry Meldrum Gordon died on August 16 or 17th, 1910 in his 91st year at Nerang Street, East Maitland  [12].

The first born of the eight children from Henry's first marriage to Maria Battley was Meldrum Henry who was known as "Henry". On August 25, 1871 Meldrum Henry married Annie Berry a daughter of Robert Berry and Mary Hutchison. He died at Edwardstown S.A. on July 4, 1911 aged 67 years survived by his wife and seven of their nine children [12]. It is not known when he first arrived at Bellinger River on the mid-north coast of NSW. His father had wanted him to study law but preferring the outdoor life he had opted for station work. His name and that of a younger brother Lovell appear as signatories to a petition dated 24 June 1870 seeking the establishment of a Post Office at Boat Harbour (the original name of Bellingen) [13]. Henry’s property Camena was taken up as a conditional purchase in the name of younger sister Ada Gordon, who never married and is pictured below beside brother William who lived at New Plymouth in New Zealand, and another brother Lovell & his wife.

Meldrum Henry and his brother Lovell were responsible for the naming as Gordonville of the locality where their farms were located on the upper Bellinger. It likely was more than co-incidence that this was the same name by which the Parramatta Female Factory had been colloquially known during their grandmother's long tenure as its Matron. Thus the locality of Gordonville on the Upper Bellinger River can be said to have been named after the Colony of New South Wales's prison for women.


[1] Annette Salt, These Outcast Women : The Parramatta Female Factory 1821-1848, (Hale & Ironmonger, Sydney, 1984). p.117-8

[2] Ibid pp.58-9, " ... Mrs Fulloon (now Mrs Raine - Fulloon had died on the voyage out) tendered her resignation in February 1827, and was replaced by Ann Gordon on 27 October 1827". (also see: Sydney Gazette, 31 October 1927, p.2, col.5)

[3] Ibid "When Ann Gordon became matron at the annual salary of £150....."

[4] Ibid "The Management Committee .... consisted of respectable men. Such men as Samuel Marsden, Captain Dumaresq, John Harris, George Palmer, John Palmer, Thomas de la Condamine and M. Andersdon gave time and service. The short-lived Ladies Committee was guaranteed respectability under the formidable guidance of Mrs. Darling." (Ed. wife of the Governor)

[5] Ibid pp.96-7 "the women rioted .... occasion coincided with Matron Raine’s retirement on Friday, 26 October 1827. Next morning, the new matron, Mrs Gordon ... (also see: Sydney Gazette31 October 1827 p.2, col 5.)

[6] Ibid p.52-3

[7] Ibid p.59-61, "Sarah Bell, who replaced Ann Gordon in Oct 1836, was paid £100 a year. In 1838 Mrs Leech (salary £130) replaced Sarah Bell as Matron.

[8] Ibid p.121, "By April 1848 the Factory, as it had been from 1821, was no more and was being referred to by Governor Fitzroy as - the ‘late Female Factory’"

[9] Governor Bourke to Lord Glenelg, 10 September 1936, HRA I, 18, p.533-4, and Glenelg to Bourke, 10 December 1936, HRA I, 18 pp. 611-14.

[10] Sydney Gazette, 11 October 1836, p.2, col.4.

[11] Returns of the Female Factory 1829-47, figures for 1835, SOA Ref. 4/7327, Reel 702.

[12] Extracted from printout of Gordon family names and vitals dated 10 Feb 1997, and an undated paper on Gordon family history & genealogy, both compiled by Russell Gordon of Sydney. Source references were in the main not cited excepting a 1824 letter of Robert Gordon to Governor Brisbane giving his then age of 42 years indicating a 1782 birth year. His death record - informant daughter Maria - gave place of birth as Bermuda and parents names as John Gordon and Mary Molloy. The earlier record of his 1816 enlistment in the 48th Northamptonshir Regiment of Foot at Naas is preferred as likely to be the more accurate. It gave his place of birth as St. John's, Limerick.

[13] N. Braithwaite & H. Beard, Pioneering in the Bellinger Valley, (BVHS) p.79

[14] J.C. Byrne , Twelve Years' Wanderings in the British Colonies from 1835 to 1847, (2 vols, Richard Bentley, London 1848. pp 230-1) - extract URL

[15] August 2000 & April 2001 emails from Kathy Edwards, QLD providing family history & the genealogical data in the preceeding this citation.

[16]   Thomas C. Sargent, The Colonial Garrison 1817-1824: The 48th foot, the Northamptonshire Regiment in the Colony of New South Wales, (TCS Publications, Canberra, 1996, 200 pp.) Robert & Ann Gordon are mentioned on page 145 , for which the cited souces are: (1) WO 12/5974 - reel 3799 covering 1824 -25 Muster and Pay Records of the 48th which listed Robert Gordon as a private in Capt. J.T. Morisset's Company stationed in Sydney from Feb. 1824. (2) HRA Series I, Vol. 18, pp 611-615 - 10 Dec 1836 Glenelg to Bourke.

[17] Augustus Earle 16 X 28.5 cm watercolour of the Parramatta Female Factory - Rex Nan Kivell collection National Library of Australia.

[18]   Sainty, Malcolm R. & Johnson Keith H. (eds). Census of New South Wales 1828, Sydney, 1985.

[19] Photographs of Ann Gordon, Henry M. Gordon, Maria Battley, Ada F. Gordon, William F.R. Gordon, Lovell Gordon & Charlotte M. Neckles - courtesy Russell Gordon of Sydney.

[20] The Australian(prob. late 1978 to early '80s), "This was Australia" article by George Bliakie on female factory history - particularly re the riot on the day Ann Gordon commenced as Matron.

[21] Transcripts of five letters written 1828-1837 between the Secretary of State for the Colonies in England and NSW Governors Darling & Bourke, pertaining to operations and admin. of the Parramatta Female Factory.

[22] Lloyd Waddy, The Kings School 1831-1981, (1981, The School Council) p.p. 41-2, & The Kings School Registers 1831-1990, P. Yeend compiler & editor (1990, The School Council). School history. Kings School Magazine, Sept. 1910, - gave Henry's death date as 17 Aug. 1910 which conflicts with 23 Aug. 1910 Sydney Morning Herald death notice date of 16 Aug.

[23]  Email 14 Oct. 2000 from long-time Gordon family researcher - Beverely Dwyer of QLD - a decendant of Mary Gordon For Mary Gordon's history & her marriage at St. Murchin, Limerick, see her article in the Nov.1990 isue of the U.K. published Family Tree magazine titled "19th Century Soap Opera" & see Sargent cited above at [16] for her husband Sgt. Lewis Campbell's military & later history.

[24] John Marshall, Royal Naval Biography, (London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, (1823-1835), Vol. 9, p.257 "Capt. Andew King" & Vol. 3, p. 325 "Capt. Edward Durnford King".

[25] William R. O'Byrne, A Naval Biographical Dictionary, (London : Murray, 1849) - details of every living officer above rank of Commander - bio. of Admiral Sir Edward names a brother Andew as also having been in the Royal Navy, but makes no mention of any navy brother named James King!

[26] For a chronology of events re the life of Sir George Grey (1812-1898) see: Chronology

[28] Letter dated 28 May 1889 from William Henry Gordon to his aunt Sarah Ann Moir - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden. He asked if she could "remember your mother say what became of the medal and sword which belonged to your Uncle James Henry King, who was killed at Waterloo".

[29] Ibid 6 June 1889 - Henry Fulford to Letitia Garmonsway - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden

[30] Ibid 17 July 1889 - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden

[31] Ibid 13 Oct 1884 - Henry Fulford to Letitia Garmonsway - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden

[32] Ibid 27 Mar 1889 - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden

[33] Ibid 27 Jun 1889 - Sarah Ann Moir to Letitia Garmonsway - letter held by Mangawhai Museum - copy courtesy Anne Picketts of New Zealand.

[34]  Ibid 5h Jan 1845 - Ann Gordon to Leitia Garmonsway - transcriber unknown.

[35] Ibid 6 Jun 1889 - Henry Fulford to Letitia Gramonsway - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden

[36] Ibid May 1889 - estimated date - Ada Gordon to Leitia Garmonsway - transcriber unknown.

[37] Garmonsway Family History/Gnealogy, compiled by Peter Wood & Julie Fox (privately published in New Zealand in 1983 at time of a family reunion held to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the N.Z. arrival.

[38] Geoffrey Hutton, Adam Lindsay Gordon : The Man and the Myth, (Melb. Uni. Press, 1996), p.21 

[39]  Email dated 31 Mar 2001 from Kathy Edwards, QLD.

[40] 6 Apr 1889 letter - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway.

[41] 16 Jan 1887 letter - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway (Ed. residence was in Forest Rd., Hurstville)

[42] Two Ada Gordon letters refer to him as a son of Maria, however his 1934 Burwood death registration gave the given names of his mother as "Grace S.", which were those of James Fullford's first wife. No death or funeral notice appeared in the SMH in Aug. or Sept. 1934 idicated by the registration number as the likely the period he died. Whilst he should appear on James Fullford Srs. 1880 death record as a surviving child, he should not appear on Maria's 1882 record. Neither record has been consulted.

Compiled by J. Raymond 2000- reproduced by consent

Email John Raymond for further details re Gordon & associated families.

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