Monday 29 November 2021


They lived in Campbelltown...

Over the years we have had many inquiries about families that have lived in Campbelltown, New South Wales: some have stayed and made their homes and lived their lives here, while others have moved on to other locations within the state or across Australia.

Our family history society has many local families recorded within our two Pioneer Registers (Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900 and Campbelltown Federation 1900-1920) however there are many more early residents not listed.

These 'movable families' sometimes miss their connection with Campbelltown and the surrounding areas, so we would like to include them on this site ... They lived in Campbelltown ... thus recording their links with Campbelltown and its history.

We plan to use this Blog to showcase them and use it as a ‘medium’ for further information collection, as a two-fold process:  to assist our research enquirer and to supplement the Society’s records of these early residents.

Should you know more of these families or share an interest in the inquiry, please contact the Research Team and we will contact the inquirer for permission to pass on their contact details. Only with the permission of the research inquirer would this occur: family history research is all about helping each other and this would be an example.

NB: as a society we do charge a modest research fee (currently $30) this in no way covers the resources or time devoted to each research inquiry: as ‘volunteers’ we give our time freely using our genealogy and local knowledge, our access to free and paid research sites all with the desire to help fellow family history researchers.

Following information was provided by inquirers:

Research from England ... arrived during our COVID lockdown, so our response was very much from resources held by our research team and access to various internet resources.

The family concerned is Francis HENESS who arrived as a convict aboard the Shipley in 1820.  Married (1) Mary Ann ROCK (born colony) and had 4 children with Mary before she died in 1840. (2) Martha POLLOCK (arrived free) there were a further 10 children born with Francis. This information is recorded in our Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900 and also in the Camden Pioneer Register 1800-1920. 'Pioneer Registers' are a great starting point when researching, while not verified information, it is the result of the contributor's many years of research. Registers offer possible descendants and the point of contact with a fellow researcher of the same family lines. Much of the information covering this request was listed in both registers which only came from the relevant Society’s archives, however there can often be a second, third or fourth contributor, with their contact details recorded usually in the back pages of the registers.

The movement of Francis and his family throughout the early ‘county areas’ of NSW was their main enquiry. Cumberland, Camden and Argyle are just three of these early counties and often cause some confusion due to their name and location. The 'County of Camden' reaches north of Liverpool, south to the Shoalhaven area and west towards Picton. This is where local knowledge can be invaluable (do consider contacting local societies for areas of your own research).

Our England researcher (an Aussie now living in London) already had a significant amount of information and we were able add some more and give other possible venues of research.

Resources we used: Local cemeteries, Colonial Secretary’s papers, NSW State Archive & Records, Pioneer Registers, Ryerson index, BDM's for NSW and Biographical Database of Australia (BDA).

The BDA was able to provide extra layers of information and this was greatly appreciated by our inquirer.

I mention the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA) because I have found it invaluable for early colonial records that can be found in ‘one location’ and searchable by name. This organistaion is a spin off from the early GRD (Genealogical Research Directory) our bible in the early days before the internet.  The original authors of the GRD were Johnson and Sainty; their involvement would later morph into the BDA (a not-for-profit organisation). There are a team of volunteers, under their direction and others like SAG, helping to transcribe and check our early information. The cost to become a member is $30 annually.


Research from Canada ... arrived also during COVID and where we followed a similar line of online researching. The surname GEOGHEGAN (known name) / GEOGAN (shipping records) we went on to find many other possible spellings: Geoghagan / Gehegan / Gergan / Gegan / Geoghan / Groghan. This can be a challenge as you need to think laterally about all possible spellings, not just the one you know (this is due to the various and strong accents of the day heard by the recorder and given by the speaker, where most were illiterate and could not verify their details).

Our Canadian researcher (an Aussie now living in Canada) was looking for details of the eleven or twelve possible children born to William Geogan and Biddy (Bridget) nee LENEHAN/LENNON and to see photographs of their ‘tombstones’. They were believed to have spent twenty years in the Campbelltown area. NSW BDM records show 7 born in Campbelltown and 1 born in Camden. The family would eventually settle out west in the Yass general area. William died at Gladesville Asylum (1882) and Bridget in Yass (1878).

This family is NOT mentioned in any of our local Pioneer Registers, there is a brief mention in the 4th edition of ‘They worked at Camden Park’ and in the BDA their basic details on arrival in 1841 as Bounty Immigrants, sent to NSW by Nicholas James & Co.

Our research team were unable to answer the inquirer’s questions. We suggested this information could be found with the purchase of certificates (also mentioned using transcription agents) however as most were pre1856 the checking of microfilm reels was a possibility; these would sadly provide little further information (as little was recorded at the time). With the various spelling, many hours would be required in searching the BDMs or the pre1856 microfilm reels, if indeed all births were registered.


Research from a society member ... we are happy to assist our members (no-charge) as sometimes a fresh pair of eyes or research methods, can reveal a bonus or two.

Our inquirer is trying to discover the exact birth details and death information of an ancestor: William Henry DAVIS they believe he was born in Campbelltown circ1849-50, as he states Campbelltown as his birth place and his parents as Thomas John Davis and Jane (nee DEMPSEY) this is recorded on his Tumut marriage certificate. William had married Mary QUINN in 1874 in Tumut, NSW. Not everyone tells the truth on these occasions (for whatever reason) and disappearing or reappearing was very easy to do in those days, without the checks and balances in place today.

William had died sometime after the birth of his fifth child (1883) and Mary remarried in 1891.

Looking in the usual places and starting with the Pioneer Registers we found this particular Davis family was not listed. NSW BDM’s revealed little joy even with extensive searching. Our inquirer had purchased several certificates already and had completed many hours of research – this is their preverbal ‘brick-wall’.

Sometimes it is necessary to obtain every certificate of every child (birth or death) to obtain an overall picture to find the facts and glean something from each certificate. Trove is also a wonderful resource tool, as good news or bad news was newsworthy and would be recorded (hopefully)! 

Our inquirer has contacted the local societies in their quest.

So, it’s over to you our readers or late-night Googler’s to see if you know something of this family or the others mentioned.

 Contact the Society Research Team at:

Wednesday 1 June 2016

William and Martha Bridle – early pioneers in the Campbelltown area

As family historians, we often dream of that ‘great find’ ... a family bible. Religion held a stronger influence in earlier times and a bible was often a gift, given with important significance. So imagine finding a 'family bible' that is not only of religious significance but of enduring family significance.

William BRIDLE was born on 4th May 1797 at Crewkerne, Somerset, England. At the age of twenty he was convicted and transported, arriving in Sydney in 1817 aboard the Larkins 1. As a convict he was sentenced to seven years for the act of larceny for stealing a ‘flat of butter’. 

William was 'assigned' to James Meehan, Colonial Surveyor, at Macquarie Fields. He would have required Meehan's permission to marry free-born Martha MILES on 30th June 1823 at Campbelltown. Martha was the daughter of the First Fleeter convict, Edward MILES / MOYLE.

Initial recordings in the family bible were probably by William (as Martha had marked her marriage certificate was a 'X') and this was the start of their family story. First listings on the inside front pages are of William and Martha’s names and their dates of birth. Followed by when and where they were married and by whom, the Reverend Thomas Reddall at St Peter’s Church, Campbelltown. 

Then follows with, what no doubt would have been, the loving entries of their children:

Elizabeth Bridle was born August 22nd 1824, 10 o’clock in the morning at Macquarie Fields. Sadly above her entry and to the side in smaller script records: Died June 11th 1830 is buried at St Peters, Campbelltown.
William Bridle was born January 18th 1827 Day break (at Macquarie Fields).
John Edward Bridle was born July 17th 1829 at 11 o’clock in morning (at Macquarie Fields).
Sarah Bridle born November 21st 1831 (at Macquarie Fields).
Susannah was born November 12th 1833 at half past eight in the morning (at Macquarie Fields) [written on top edge of following page].

How wonderful would it be to have the exact time of your ancestor’s birth? 

Continued of the back inside pages due to space constraints after Susannah's birth are the names of the above four omitting Elizabeth, possibly completed after her death? Could these be in Martha's hand as she had learnt to write.

            Mary born March 13th 1836 (at Macquarie Fields).
 Thomas born June 6th 1840 (at Windsor, NSW).
 Martha born December 14th 1843 (at Island Lake, NSW)
 George born March 31st 1846 (at Island Lake, NSW)
 Emma born July 13th 1848 (at Island Lake, NSW)

 Richard/Robert stillborn – his details were recorded years later by his 

This family bible was placed in the Mitchell Library in 1983 by the Buddong Society (authors  of the family history volumes). It is a precious family document and a precious Australian  archive.

 William died at Tumut, NSW on 26th July 1873.        
 Martha died 30th November 1886 also at Tumut. 
 Both are buried side-by-side in the Pioneer 
 Cemetery, Tumut, New South Wales

More can be learnt of this family and their many descendants from the wonderful volumes held in the 
HJ Daley Library in the Family History room at Campbelltown City Library. 

The Buddong flows on
Volume 1 – The old hands
Volume 2 – Genuine people
Volume 3 – Those precious ones yet to be published.

Three exceptionally well written and comprehensive volumes, written by dedicated descendants.

Resources: The Buddong flows on, Volume 1; Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900; Campbelltown City Library.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Captain Francis ALLMAN (1780-1860)

Early Campbelltown history had a military start and what better way to commence our blog, than with a military man:
                      Photograph courtesy: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, ca 1821-1852.

Early days: Francis Allman was born in 1780 at County Clare, Ireland to English parents. At age 14 he joined the Queen’s Royal regiment as an ensign and over the next twenty years he served in conflicts in the Netherlands, Egypt and Alexandria. 

Military service: During this time he rose to the rank of captain. In the Peninsular Wars and as a captain in the 48th Regiment, Allman was severely injured in a sabre attack to his head and would have been killed if not for a fellow Masonic brother, a French officer coming to his aid. Sadly the French officer was later killed and Allman taken prisoner until the end of the war.  He was granted a life pension of £100 p.a. because of his injuries.

Family: Allman married Sarah, the daughter of the 48th Regiment’s paymaster in Gibraltar in 1807. This union produced eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls, the three eldest being born in the UK and the remaining five were born in Australia.

He and his family later immigrated to Australia, he in charge of the 48th Regiment and his wife and children as free persons aboard the ‘Minerva’ arriving in Sydney in April 1818.

Under orders from Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Allman was sent along with 44 soldiers and 60 convicts to establish a second penal settlement in NSW at Port Macquarie in 1821. Under his command Allman was appointed both Commandant and Magistrate. On a later visit to the new settlement Governor Macquarie, expressed his pleasure at the ‘clean and commodious’ establishment.

Allman was later appointed and served as Police Magistrate in several areas Newcastle, Maitland, Illawarra and Goulburn before coming to Campbelltown in July 1836.

Campbelltown: Apart for his Police Magistrate duties and during his tenure in Campbelltown he was responsible for overseeing the construction of the water reservoir and cattle tank, in 1838-39 by iron-gang convict labour. Water was a desperate necessity as there was no natural fresh water supply in the township of Campbelltown until the reservoir was built. The reservoir was first filled in 1840 and decommissioned in 1888. (Remains of this early water supply are still evident: In Hurley Park, bounded by Allman, George and Lithgow Streets).
Photograph courtesy: Campbelltown City Library. Local Studies Collection, Reservoir in 1886

Sadly their eldest daughter Sarah, died at Denham Court, July 1836 in her twentieth year and was buried, with headstone and surround, in St Peters Anglican cemetery, Campbelltown.

Lady Jane Franklin (second wife of Sir John Franklin, Governor of Van Dieman’s Land [Tasmania]) visited the Illawarra and Campbelltown in May 1839. The legacy of her extensive diaries gives a wonderful insight to our early area, sadly her comments on Captain Allman and his family were somewhat unkind.

Francis with his family moved to Berrima in February 1843 as Police Magistrate before retiring to Yass in June 1844 and dying there in his eightieth year in 1860, his wife Sarah passing way four years later. He was buried with full military honours.

‘Allman Street’ Campbelltown is named in his honour.

Further information: can be found in Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900 or by contacting Campbelltown District Family History Society Inc:

A more detailed article will be available in a future copy of the Ghostbuster Magazine.

Resources: Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900; Australian Dictionary of Biography; Trove (NLA); State Library of NSW; Ryerson Index; Diary of Lady Jane Franklin; Allman family website and Campbelltown City Library Service.

Monday 8 February 2016


Welcome. This is the launch of the new blog site for CDFHS Inc.
Keep watching for interesting local family history postings.

David Beddie