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James Boyce & Mary Jane McCauley both came to Australia in 1841 as assisted immigrants on the "Adam Lodge" James Boyce was from Mounthoward, Co. Wexford, Ireland & Mary Jane was from Saintfield, Co. Down, Ireland. Mary's parents, sister & brothers were all on board the "Adam Lodge". Amazingly, Mary's parents were both in their 50's at the time.

Mary's parents were William & Sarah McCauley. Her sister was Eliza & brothers: Andrew, James, John, Wilson & Hugh. Most of Mary's family settled in the Sidmouth Valley near Bathurst.

A bit of shipboard romance must have been evident as James & Mary married 3 days after their arrival in Sydney. During their first 10 years of marriage, James & Mary had 5 children. James noted various abodes around Mulberry Creek (Mulbring) & the Mount Vincent areas of the Hunter Valley of NSW. James status improved from labourer to settler. Their youngest child was actually born while visiting Mary's family.

James & Mary's children included:
* Eliza m. William Thomas White 1860 East Maitland
* James b. 1844 m. Anne Blake 1873 Walcha
* Sarah b. 1846 m. William Ross McLeay 1869 West Maitland
* Mary b. 1849 m. Robert McLeay 1871 Grafton
* Alice b. 1851 m. Duncan Cameron 1871 Grafton
* Martha Matilda b. 1854 Arthur Byrnes 1875 Grafton.

It is believed that James & Mary Boyce wondered north from the Hunter Valley in about 1870; at a similar time to the White, Cameron & McLeay families. The Boyces & Whites travelled together.

Family legend has it that James had two large dairy farms. Mary Jane noted on her shipping papers that she was a dairy maid, so was experienced in this line of farming. The Boyces had many hands to help with the chores --- son James & three single daughters.

Why then, is father James so distressed as he writes to his only son in Walcha?

Alumny Creek December 30 1871

My Dear Son,

I hope these few lines will find you in good health & I hope you will come down as quick as ever you can as I am in a bad fix with those farms & my old complaint & my mind is very much disturbed so that I am not able to transact the business. But your mother & each member of the family are all in good health & I hope you have spent a much happier Christmas than I have. Do come down as quick as possible as I have many things to tell you which I cannot write at present.

No more at present from your
Affectionate father
James Boyce.

Son, James, had left home for Walcha & the Boyce family at Alumny Creek, Greater Marlow, Grafton, were left short handed. Only their youngest daughter, Martha Matilda was with her parents. Only three left to do the work previously done by six. Who could have forseen the problems these circumstances would bring?

We would like to think that son James responded to his father's plea & returned to help at Alumny Creek. If so, it wasn't permanant as in 1873 James married Ann Blake in Walcha. They had two sons: James & Richard. James had a block of land out of Walcha & went weekly alone to clear, fence & prepare for the family to live there. Sadly, he died of inflammation of the lungs in 1875.

Arthur Byrnes & Martha Matilda Boyce lived at South Ballina for some time. Burns Point (as in Burns Point Ferry) was named after them. Their children included:
* Laura May b. 1876
* Arthur Frederick b. 1878 m. Mary Reed 1911
* Henry Edgar b. 1880
* Alice J. b. 1883
* Hubert Ross b. 1884
* Herbert R. b. 1885
* Ernest A. b. 1886 m. Ellen H. Latter 1913
* Bernard R. b. 1889
Martha died at South Ballina in 1895, at the age of 42.

Arthur was living at Murwillumbah by the time he married Mary Leeson, his widowed step-sister-in-law, in 1906. Arthur died at Mullumbimby in 1935.

James Boyce snr lived to see 57 grandchildren brought into the world & left a letter telling a little of life when it seemed the family was indeed "up the creek"!

Copy of page originally transcribed by Mandy O'Neill (content remains unedited)
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