The Whaite Family History

From Coddington to Sydney NSW via Manchester

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The First Australian Family

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Robert Whaite

The first of our Whaite family to arrive in Australia was John, born August 1822 in Manchester son of Samuel Whaite Cotton Spinner by his first wife Elizabeth Darbyshire.

He was recorded in English Census taken on 7 June 1841, where he was working with his father and 2 brothers in a mill in Hallsworth Street Manchester. His occupation was given as Piecer i.e. someone who leant over the spinning machines to repair broken threads.

The next Whaite to arrive in Australia was Samuel John known as Harry who was a grandson of Samuel Whaite by John's half brother George,. He was therefore John's half nephew and was born in England in 1855, the same year as John's eldest daughter Elizabeth Jane was born near Adelaide. Harry Whaite arrived in Melbourne at end of 1884.

John Whaite arrived in South Australia about 1848 and while newspaper reports of the day are still available, the name of Whaite is not mentioned. This date agrees with a later gaol record and the most likely entry is that for John Whaite,spelt as Weight, who came out on "William Watson" from London in April of 1849.

He seems to have settled near Port Adelaide very early in the piece and on 21 September 1850 at Holy Trinity Church, John married Elizabeth Jane Boyd, then only about 17 years old. So far, all attempts to find anything more about her date and place of birth have come to nothing.

Both the marriage witnesses, Jane Brooks nee Victor and John Walker also lived in the Port area and Elizabeth Boyd was also a witness for Jane when she was married William Brooks, so they must have been good friends.

Gold was discovered in Ballarat in 1851 and so John left shortly thereafter to try his hand at Gold prospecting and on 5 May 1852 he sent 6ozs of Gold on the Gold Escort to his wife Elizabeth. Perhaps he sent other parcels, but they have not been recorded.

It seems that quite a number of couples travelled from Adelaide to Victoria together eg their friends Jane Brooks and her husband William had 3 children in Victoria before returning to Adelaide.

John and Elizabeth had no children until 1853, so it would seem they were apart for most of that time. Perhaps Elizabeth did spend some time in Ballarat but that is purely speculative.

It is interesting that there are some photos taken in Ballarat in the Family photo album but it would have been more interesting to know who those people were.

In June of 1852 John came home on “Punch” from Melbourne.

John took up work as a Fisherman on his return to Adelaide in 1852 and seems to stayed with that occupation for most of his life.

In 1871 John was charged with" Discharging ballast out of a barge into the Harbour" along with two accomplices Thomas Sheridan 33 years of age and Henry Dowle/ Dowie 33 years and sentenced in Port Adelaide Court to 14 days in Adelaide Gaol. He served only 12 days so maybe 2 days off for good behaviour !! who knows. I have tried to find the court proceedings in the Newspapers but no luck .The paper gives John's age as 48 and arrival in the colony in 1848 from London.

Alberton Rate Return Books in 1877 show John was living on the corner of Wellington and Angas Streets Alberton. As there were two houses on the property, he lived in one and rented out the other. Sometime in 1878 he rented out both houses and went to live in High Street [now called Port Road] Queenstown.

After John's death, Elizabeth moved back into the Angas St property and later on she moved to Napier Street Exeter where she lived with her daughter Mary Ann and son in law John Lauder McKenzie until her death in 1907.

On the Queenstown property, there was a butcher shop with house of 5 rooms attached . I suspect John went there to get his two elder sons Robert and John started in business . I remember the butcher shop in Woodville had "Established 1878" on the front of the shop.

John's son Robert and Emily Josephs were married in the Queenstown premises in 1880.

Sometime later John moved to Princes Street Alberton.

Prior to his death on 17 March 1892, John had suffered from Brights disease but unfortunately he was never treated in Adelaide Hospital otherwise I would have the name of the ship he came out on.

He was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters as members of the local Court Australia's Pride branch were asked to attend the funeral.

There was a memoriam for John in The Adelaide Advertiser dated 17 March 1893. A little poem. " For 12 long years he suffered, great pains on earth he bore, and now he's gone to Heaven, to suffer pain no more" inserted by his loving grandsons F.W Whaite and J.H Whaite (Frederick Walter and John Herbert) Sounds like he was an all round good bloke. Two of his grandsons thought so anyway.

Thats about it. Does not seem much for 69 years of life but I am fortunate to at least have got this much.