Friday, February 1, 2013

February Photo Collage - Day 1 - Peter Fullerton

Happy February 1st! Today is a special day as it is double birthday in my family, as well as the feast of St Brigid of Ireland, one of Ireland's patron saints. Brigid lived in the Kildare region of Ireland, like my Fullerton ancestors (just ~1300 years earlier!) 

As today is the first day of February, I am embarking on my two challenges - the Family History Writing Challenge and the February Photo Collage

The first photograph I have chosen from my February Photo Collage is a photograph of my Great Great Grandfather, Peter Fullerton (1840-1924). For a copy of this photograph I am grateful to my cousin, Kath.

Type of Photograph: Carte de visite
Photographic Studio: Chevalier Photo., Sandhurst (Bendigo).
Location of Original: The original is now held by a cousin, Kath. I have a digitised copy of this photograph. I didn't get to look at the back of the original photograph.
Date: This photograph probably dates from the late 1860s or early 1870s. Thomas Chevalier had a photographic studio in Bendigo during that time. A search of Trove reveals other portraits taken by Chevalier. A date in the late 1860s/early 1870s would make Peter aged in his late 20s or early 30s, which appears to be plausible. Also notice those 'mutton chops' sideburns, which were popular during that era.

A short narrative using the Peter Fullerton photo as a prompt:
On 30 September 1840, the newly built 403 tonne barque Himalaya arrived in Melbourne, Port Phillip. The Himalaya was carrying approximately 212 passengers, including 12 cabin passengers, 30 intermediate passengers, 169 bounty immigrants and one child born on the voyage. The Himalaya, with passengers and crew, including the captain Mr H. Burn and Surgeon Superintendant Mr Monk, had left Plymouth, England on 29 June 1840. The 169 bounty assisted passengers were introduced into Port Phillip on Government Bounty by Mr John Marshall of London. Among the bounty immigrant were a Catholic couple from County Kildare, Ireland; a 25-year-old agriculturist William Fullerton and his wife Mary, a 27-year-old dairy maid. William could read, but Mary could neither read nor write. 
{note: I can expand this immigration section of my story quite a bit but this will do for a start}

The three month voyage from Plymouth must have been extra hard for Mary as she was pregnant with her first child. Just 22 days after William and Mary arrived in the Port Phillip District, a son, Peter Fullerton was born in Melbourne on Thursday 22 October 1840. It was not until after 1 July 1851 that the Port Phillip District of New South Wales became known as the colony of Victoria.  
The second Sunday after his birth, when their child was just 10 days old and the Fullerton family were still residing in Melbourne, Peter Fullerton was baptised at St Francis' Catholic Church by Father Richard Walsh. Father Walsh had arrived in Melbourne in August 1839 to act as an assistant to Father Patrick Geoghegan. On that Sunday in November 1840, St Francis' Church did not look as it does now. The current St Francis Church was built between 1841 and 1845. When Peter was baptised the Church was made of wood, as depicted in Wilbraham F. E. Liardet's water colours of early Melbourne composed in the 1870s
Peter's baptism sponsors (Godparents) were fellow Himalaya passengers James Campbell and Margaret Hanlon.  According to the nominal passenger list of the Himalaya, James Campbell was a 25-year-old farm servant, also from County Kildare, Ireland, while Margaret Hanlon was a 28-year-old house servant from County Carlow, Ireland. Had William and Mary become friends with James and Margaret during the voyage from Plymouth? Or had they perhaps known one or both of these people before they left Ireland? Perhaps they travelled together from Ireland to England to board the ship at Plymouth? 
The 'disposal' passenger list of the Himalaya showed that, after his arrival in Melbourne, William Fullerton was employed as a general servant by John W. Shaw of Melbourne for a term of 12 months for £40 per annum (with rations). Mary was also employed as a general servant by John W. Shaw, but for a term of 6 months for £20 per annum (with rations). How would Mary have worked as a servant while also caring for young Peter? Mr Shaw must have known when he employed Mary that she was expecting a child soon and thus must have understood that her capacity to work as a general servant would be inhibited somewhat due to the need to care for her child.
{note: lots of scope here for more research, particularly regarding the tasks of general servants in early Melbourne, or how young parents coped with working in those days}

That's over 500 words now, not really relevant to Peter's later story, but at least this is a start :) It has also shown me where I need to fill in some gaps in my knowledge or the family and in general historical knowledge of immigration and the Port Phillip District during that era.

  1. Nominal and Disposal lists of the Himalaya, arrived Port Phillip 30 September 1840, PROV, VPRS 7310 Register of Assisted Immigrants from UK (1839-71), Book 2, pp. 203-226.
  2. Baptism registry entry for Peter Fullerton, baptised 1 November 1840, New South Wales Roman Catholic Baptisms solemnised in the Parish of [St Francis] in the County of [Bourke] in the year 18[40], copy obtained from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria, 35930/1840. 
  3. Port Phillip Pioneers Group - Fr. Patrick Bonaventure Geoghegan,, accessed 1 February 2013.
  4. St Francis' Church - Victoria's First Catholic Church - History,, accessed 1 February 2013.
  5. Wilbraham F. E. Liardet's water colours of early Melbourne composed in the 1870s
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  1. Congratulations on getting started on the Fullerton story Aillin. One of the great advantages of writing a narrative is highlighting data gaps or just where you want to find out some more general info. I wonder if James Campbell came from the same place in Kildare and if this couple continued to witness other events. Thanks for the image of St Francis, Melbourne -it's where Mr Cassmob's ancestors were married. Poor Mary, 8 months pregnant on a sailing ship!! Are you enjoying Farewell my children?

    1. Thanks Pauleen. I am definitely finding the gaps in my knowledge, which is a good thing :) I have researched the other Himalaya passengers from County Kildare and was in contact with another researcher who was researching James' family. He actually had a sister, Judy Campbell, who also immigrated on the Himalaya. I couldn't find any evidence that James and Judy came from Clane, Kildare (going back over the information I have for him, I don't have a birthplace other than 'Kildare') so I am working on the theory that they just knew each other from the ship.
      I am only a few pages through Farewell my Children so far (I keep getting distracted by other tasks) but it looks very interesting.

  2. Well written, I like the way you've laid out everything out, and link up with other relevant site.
    My heart almost stopped when I read that they came out on the Himalaya, for a moment there I almost thought that they may have been on the same voyage as my Wheeler family. However, my ancestors came out on the same ship but in 1842. there is only a nominal list for this voyage, no disposal list survives. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Sandra. Great to find another researcher with links to the Himalaya. I will try to post some more of the information I have found about the ship. How disappointing to not have the disposal list for the 1842 voyage. I often wish the Entitlement Certificates had survived for the Bounty assisted passengers coming into Victoria - How I'd like to find out William's and Mary's parents names! Thanks again.

  3. Allin a great start with your Fullerton narrative. I agree with Pauline, it is an opportunity to see where there are gaps or further thoughts for research.

    1. Thanks Julie. I am definitely finding those gaps and seeing lots of opportunities for further research!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Fullerton story, Aillin... as always, you leave us thinking, not just about the folk you bring to life so well, but pondering on the circumstances of our own ancestors. I have an ancestor also born on arrival in Australia and have often pondered on what conditions were like for his mother, caring for other siblings while heavily pregnant on a sea voyage. He was named after the ship, "James Pattisson" Swadling... as good a reason to name anyone I guess.

    I love that photo of Peter Fullerton, what a great item to have, digital or not. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Aileen, People probably tell you this all the time but you really are a credit to the regiment. I love the way you manage the records of the photo e.g. type, studio, location of original and date. This is really valuable information and I am now going to follow your lead and try to do the same with mine. And then there are of course your references. I can't believe how long it takes me to do a post and even then I can't reference properly....honestly...I need to lift my game!!


Your comments are appreciated. Thanks.

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