Teralbah Family History in Australia

From a First Fleeter in 1788 to latest immigrant in 1922, my ancestors came to Australia either by force or necessity, lived and have had families which are now scattered all over the country and the world too. I am also including my partner’s family here too, for our children to know who their ancestors were and where they came from.

This is another attempt to put all what I’ve gathered in my 30 years of family history research, sharing with all who are interested. I am hoping to share as many photos, certificates, clips and such, as I can in this blog, and I do welcome your contributions, which I will add to this blog wherever I can.

The families covered are:

  • AVERY – circa. 1700s in Devon UK to 1820s in Sydney Australia
  • HUMPHRIES (also ‘HUMPHREYS‘) – 1780s in London UK to 1788 in Sydney Australia
  • JACOBSON – 1930s in Germany to 1940s in Sydney Australia
  • PALLIER (also ‘de PALLIER‘) – 1795s in Caen region France to 1940s in Picton Australia
  • THORNTON – circa. 1790s in London UK to 1814 in Sydney Australia
  • STATHIS – 1897 in Crete Greece (Kytheria Island) to 1920s in Queanbeyan Australia
  • STEIN (also ‘FINKELSTEIN‘) circa. 1850s in Prussia to 1930s in Sydney Australia

Comments, corrections and additions are very welcomed.


52 Ancestors/52 Weeks – Map It Up (Week 39)

Mapping where your ancestors and families came from can be quite fascinating if you have enough details to set up locations and create the paths between houses, towns, cities, and countries over the years.

This one I did as part of my uni studies (University of Tasmania’s Diploma of Family History) a few years back and wanted to share it here now as part of the challenge.

In this map, I put in details such as surnames, occupations, type of lives, former countries the family line came from, and images. I wanted to showcase the locations of New South Wales (of Australia) that my lines lived around, and I like to think I’ve pulled it off well.

Assessment task2 Annotated Map DT

As part of assessment for the Diploma of Family History (Uni of Tasmania – online in 2016) (in the collection of Darlene Thornton)

Woods and Thornton are my paternal lines, while both Avery and Stathis my maternal line.

Am planning to do more for each line as I know it will show a better picture of how families lived and moved around the state, country, and world.

Could you do yours similar?



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52 Ancestors/52 Weeks: Brick Wall (Week 14)

Over the years, I was able to break down many brick walls – due to better access to records, online searches, and better research skills.

However, there is one brick wall that I am having trouble breaking down. This brick wall is called “Robert Clarke”, I cannot find anything on him apart from only 3 main sources. This means I have no idea where he came from, when he was born and died, and who he was.

Robert Clarke is my ancestor – he’s the father of Annie Clarke who married Edward Thornton in 1880. 

Here I will show the three sources I have, and the brief backgrounds of people around Robert Clarke. Let’s hope someone would be able to find something that I have missed and help me push down this decade-old brick wall!

Source 1 – Marriage Certificate

Robert CLARKE and Susannah BADCOCK Marriage Certificate

The transcript of a marriage record of Robert Clarke to Susannah Badcock, a widow on 11th September 1849 in Perth, Western Australia. (In the collection of Darlene Thornton, 2019)


Ok, so Robert Clarke’s father was also Robert, but a farmer. But it doesn’t say where, so I could not find any possible birth record of a Robert Clarke – around 1820s.

Source 2 – Birth Certificate

It’s quite small here, however it is the birth certificate of Robert’s daughter with Susannah. Details revealed some interesting clues, yet nothing so definite. Robert was the informant and he declared that he is a soldier, but of what regiment is not that clear. On the certificate, you could see the first regiment “51st” crossed off, and the 99th regiment added on. But from my research, I cannot find him in either regiment!

Source 3 – Death Certificate

Annie’s death certificate has Robert listed as a bushman! A death notice on the Sydney Morning Herald added one more clue: 

THORNTON. – January 6., at the residence of her sister, 22, Railway-place, Mrs. Edward Thornton, eldest daughter of Robert Clarke, of Millie, New South Wales, after a long and painful illness, in her 30th year.

So that put him as a bushman living in Millie, NSW. Great – not so as Millie’s a small town and there’s nothing I could use to find him. I also have no idea whether Annie’s mother was still alive or not by 1888!

When Annie and Edward married only 9 days after Annie delivered her first baby Samuel, their marriage certificate had the address of the wedding as “the residence of Mr James Clarke of Perth House, Smith St, Sydney” (in the current Surry Hills), and one of the witnesses to the ceremony was a Mr. George Hummerston. I’ve done a quick research on him here. So far, I am unable to identify who this Mr. James Clarke would be, and the clue ‘Perth House’ is too good to pass.

So to sum it up…

Robert Clarke was alive between 1820s and after 1888, lived around Perth and Sydney. He married Susannah and had two daughters, Annie (1849-1888) and Margaret (?-1890) so far. He was supposed to be a soldier, but of which regiment and from which post? There is a possibility that he has a brother (or even a son) named James Clarke who lived in Sydney around 1880.

Edited to add details of James Clarke

From the Electoral Roll 1787-1879 for East Sydney shows this:


1878 Clarke James Electoral roll Sydney East

And from Sands Alphabetical Directory (City and Suburban) 1877:

1877 Clarke James Sands Directory NSW

James Clarke was already living in Sydney from 1877 on 37 Smith Street (Surry Hills) with the residence as a freehold (meaning he owned the land and the property outright) thus he was well off. How does Robert Clarke fit in with James and why did Annie stayed at James’ residence, had baby there and married there? A mystery that needs to be solved!

DNA question

In case someone was wondering, the DNA shows I am related to some of the Thornton cousins, the children of Edward’s siblings. So I am quite confident that the baby Samuel who was born before the martial ceremony was conducted is the son of Edward Thornton and Annie Clarke.

What’s next…

So where should I go next?



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52 Ancestors/52 Weeks – At The Cemetery (Week 22)

This topic is usually quite a challenge for me to do based on several reasons:

  1. I consider cemeteries a waste of space – a bit rich coming from a family historian, but I am also a land custodian. I hardly go to a cemetery, and I find it hard to appreciate the idea of “final resting place” to be essential to hold on. I have told my husband to just have me reduced to ashes when my time has come, and to feed my ashes to fruit trees, as I believe the records and paper trail to be sufficient.
  2. It is also a money draining event for anyone, especially when it comes to the most trying time of the grieving process on losing someone.
  3. There are examples where no one could find the plots where their ancestors should have been buried and remained in those plots ‘for eternity’. And for others, the plots were so badly maintained, the grave head being broken or crumbled into oblivion. So it could be quite upsetting for others who try to find those plots.

Having said that, I think my favourite or memorable cemetery would be the Windellama’s St Bartholomew Anglican church and its grounds. It stood on a grassy plain, exposed to harsh elements with only a handful of trees for protection. Many of my maternal ancestors and members are buried there.

I remembered asking my mother when I was young about visiting her father’s grave. She was somewhat distressed when she tried to explain that the body of her father is missing and was never found.

Uh, how?

Her father, Nicholas John Stathis, was buried at Queanbeyan Riverside Cemetery, along with some of the family members, including his parents in law who were buried not long after him.

His grave plot vanished ‘overnight’ when the torrent rains washed away the banks of Queanbeyan River that ran through next to the town at the end of August 1974, along with other 200 bodies.

It was believed many bodies were never recovered and there is a Stone Cairn placed in the cemetery as a memorial of those graves that were washed away from the 1974 Flood.

Read about it on a newspaper report – Trove in 1974

And one in 2017.

Typing this, I realised I have never visited Queanbeyan Riverside Cemetery despite visiting the town many times over. I even drove past the cemetery…

What about you?

EDITED: To add an interesting detail – The photo above should have been identified as a graveyard, rather than a cemetery of St. Bartholomew. Apparently, a graveyard is an area of land, sometimes near a church, where dead people are buried. And cemetery is a place where dead people’s bodies or their ashes are buried. (Source: Collins English Dictionary online)


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52 Ancestors/52 Weeks – Nature (Week 20)

I am loving my life on an acreage (3.7 acres, to be precise) growing edible and ornamental plants everywhere, and animals as well (chooks and sheep at the moment). I still have more projects and ideas to work with on this property for the next 20 years.

It was my grandfather, Keith Thornton, who started me onto this kind of ‘weird’ life plan when I was 8 years old girl.

Grandfather had an interesting and typical 1970s-80s garden plot around the Housing Commission fibro-clad house at Casula, southwest of Liverpool. He had a dunny at the back, with a small shed/greenhouse attached to it at the back. There was also an incinerator – I still can smell the smoke coming out of it…

At the front, there were only a handful of small trees and lawn with the white covered wooden low fence running around and a small metal gate above the path from the verge to the front steps. However, the backyard is a different story.

Along the bottom of the house around the foundations, grandfather had numerous vegies growing, lemon tree on one corner of the yard, and there were several plants (but right now I can’t recall what they were). He also had a working compost that he tended regularly, while he takes a smoko.

The moment I get the fuss of growing was when Grandfather took me along the rows of his vegies and asked me what they were. I could tell him easily, but there was one that I don’t recognise and could not figure out what it possibly could be.

He proudly declared that it was eggplant.

Eggplant – fruit and flower. Image by Garreth and Kitty Wilkin ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareandkitty/1261917682/)

Being a 8-years-old girl, I just cracked up…

Told him not to be silly, while I giggled non-stop.

I informed him that eggs don’t grow on plants but came from chooks.

Grandfather got a gleam in his eyes and told me to wait and see!

I stood there for a while, and stared at the plant trying to image how eggs would pop out of it.

I cannot remember if I did eat a bit of that eggplant back then, but it was not for another 20 years before I actually loved them and would grow them as much as I could.

Grandfather died when I was a young teen, leaving a hole in my young life as we were so alike – a similar sense of humour, compassion, curiosity, and enthusiasm for gardening. I remembered asking my parents for assistance on starting a vegie patch in our backyard only a couple of years after Grandfather died. It was not a success – I haven’t learnt the fine art of growing healthy crops from Grandfather.

Keith Thornton

[insert photo here of Keith]
He was the only son of Samuel Thornton and Matilda Jane Bray. He has a sister, named Noelene, who was only 2 years older than him.

His childhood was not easy, nor was it safe or memorable.

I believed that being a boarder at the deaf school in Sydney was probably his saving grace – he got to have many great friends and mentors that he looked up to over the years. Keith was not an easy man, nor was he really a family man. However, he was a doting grandfather – at least to my memories as we had a lot of fun during school breaks.

His story will be told soon.

Every time I look at an eggplant plant, I remember my Grandfather and his love for plants.



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52 Ancestors/52 Weeks – In the Paper (Week 13)

Out of many ancestors and relatives, there are few that did not get on the papers! Yep, in the papers such as the newspapers, official documents, banns, advertisers, announcements, etc…

The one that left a huge paper trail would be my great x3 uncle named…

Hon. George Augustus Thornton, M.L.C. 



Don’t ya love his sideburns!


He was the second child of Samuel Thornton, Esq. and Sarah Madden/Thorn, a life-sentenced convict to be born in Sydney Town. Samuel and Sarah Thornton have had 6 or 7 children, with first two born in England and one on the sea journey to New South Wales. The family was living on Macquarie Street, Sydney – on the same location as the present St Stephen’s church – opposite the NSW Legislative building. 

George was baptised on 28 May 1820 at St. Philip’s, the church this family used mainly. On the same year, an interesting road rule was set down:

On 15th August 1820, Governor Lachlan Macquarie issued an order that all vehicles to be driven on the left side of the road – in the observation of the similar regulation in England, to prevent danger to personal injury and confusion of drivers and riders. With the order, a warning was given that not following this new order by persons will be fined with ten shillings per offence (and that half of the fine will go into Police Funds coffer!).

According to several obituaries, George was educated St Philip’s Primary school, W.T. Cape’s Academy, and Reverend J. D. Lang’s Australian College. He spent most of his childhood at Parramatta where his grandparents lived and also where he was born (23rd October 1819). By the time George was a young boy, they were living on the south corner of George and Essex Streets, Sydney running a pub “Union Inn”.

Sarah Thornton, George’s mother died on 23rd November 1827, aged only 37 years, leaving behind 6 children aged between 15 years and 3 years (this one being my ancestor Edward Thornton).


To show how well regarded George was in the society of Sydney and London by 1880s, this quote reflected this:

“Why you know that you were gutting mackerel on Manly Beach when Captain Phillip arrived.” These words were addressed to the Hon. George Thornton in the 1880’s in the Legislative Council. Uttered in retaliation by Sir John Robertson, Premier of New South Wales…

He was bankrupted several times, married Mary Ann Solomon, a colony-born daughter of John Solomon and Mary H Duncan – both convicts, had three children (with a daughter dying as a young girl) and 3 grandchildren, travelled to UK several times, shipwrecked off Las Rocas (Pernambuco, South America) on Duncan Dunbar, witnessed several English monarchs taking reign, saw the country shifting from a colony of Sydney Town to the Federation of Australia at the expense of Australian Aboriginals, became a foster parent to young children, saved numerous lives around the waters in Sydney and Parramatta, competed in many sailing races, mixed with the local Aboriginal mobs and learnt their languages and ways of life, and watched his favourite town morphed into a glorious city before his death in 1901.

His occupations and involvements listed as:

  • Runner (for his father’s pub business, several other businesses nearby, and the early S.M.H. printers)
  • Shipping merchant
  • Storekeeper and clerk at Queens Bonded Stores (customs department)
  • Customs House agent and shipbroker
  • Ship builder, sailor, avid yachtsman, and ship owner
  • House and property owner (Sydney, Parramatta, Manly, Bankstown)
  • Alderman and Mayor for Sydney City Council and Woollahra Council
  • First Lord Mayor for Sydney City Council (1857)
  • Town builder (first public baths in Woolloomooloo and first wooden Pyrmont Bridge)
  • Councillor and Chairman for Woollahra Council
  • Minister of Crown
  • Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly
  • Member and chairman to banking societies and commercial institutions
  • Committee member to numerous charities, churches, and sport clubs
  • Magistrate and Justice of Peace
  • Founding councillor and Protector of NSW Aborigines Protection Association
  • Researcher and writer
  • Commissioner for the NSW International Exhibition (1879)
  • Sitting commissioner for Royal Commission into the Fisheries
  • Partner to several businesses in Sydney
  • Vice Commodore of Sydney Yacht Club
  • President and committee of Sydney Rowing Association
  • Songwriter (he wrote a music sheet “The Cornstalk Polka” in 1860s)
  • Irish Provincial Grand Master (Freemasonry – 1857-67 Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia No. 266)


His private life story is altogether a different story, leaving almost no paper trail! 

While George was a philanthropist for the unfortunates of Sydney Colony, he was also a philanthropist in another sense – he fathered several children to several women in both Sydney and Parramatta. Those children were not officially recognised as his, however the family lores from those indicated he was the father. DNA test will reveal more over the time though.

His will left some interesting tidbits, which presumed to anger his wife and daughter. He doesn’t get along well enough with his oldest sister – their quarrel over the location of their grandparents’ property in Parramatta ended up in court. 

George has generated enough wealth, but mismanaged it for the future generations. His great niece managed to hold on several of his mementos, however they are now missing after her death. It is not known if any of his direct descendants have had any either.


Nowadays, you can spot some of his marks in Sydney and surroundings.

  • Town Hall, Sydney (his portrait and name etched on the boards)
  • Carysfield Hall, a property at Bankstown (in 2008, it was still standing with a couple of small headbusts of his on the top of doorframes)
  • Several streets and a town with the name “Thornton”
  • “Thornton’s Scent Bottle” – an obelisk on east end of Bathurst Street, Sydney

See that obelisk at the central of background. Source unknown (SLNSW?)

Are you related to George A Thornton? Have any further information about this guy? 

Let me know!



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52 Ancestors/52 Weeks – DNA (Week 15)

With the DNA on the genealogical scene, many of us are required to work with two genealogies – documental and biological (DNA). This have thrown up lots of challenges for us – trying to prove that our lineages are documented correctly along with biological proof.

Of course, being an avid genealogist and family historian – I wanted to try DNA as soon as it became available. However the costs stayed any further actions until a couple of years ago.

I got myself and my mother’s DNA done, via Ancestry.com, and the results were not what we were expecting!

My mother, being half Greek, was disappointed that her DNA shows up much less Greek than she should be. According to Ancestry.com, she has only 18% of her DNA that is attributed to Greece and the Balkans, with 28% to Italy. Would this means that her father’s Greek ancestry is not all Greek? Naturally, my mum’s excited that she is 2% Norwegian for no reasons apparently. However, her mother’s English heritage shown up in my mum’s as the main proportion being at 38%.

And mine were more focused in the England (47%), with Ireland and Scotland at 32%. I had to snigger at the percentage of Southern European DNA I inherited – 9% Italian! I’ve got 7% French, and 3% Sweden – nothing from Norway, though. The most interesting part for me was the 2% DNA linked to Africa – 1% in Cameroon/Congo, and 1% in Benin/Togo. This proven that my ancestor (John Turner) was an African slave who got ended up as a convict to Australia.

DNA has opened doors on my mum’s Greek DNA – we were not able to find his actual birth details (hence none of his children/grandchildren have a Greek/EU passports so far). There’s a huge collection of greek cousins – however we have yet find the right lines.

And DNA also opened up more mysteries – several unlinked close cousins (2nd/3rd) that we are still working on linking to correct lines. There were some lines that remained unclaimed – which brings up more questions than answers to familial identities.

I believe DNA will improve over time, but for better or for worse that remains to been seen.

What about you?



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52 Ancestors/52 Weeks – Twelve (Week 12)

Yep – the topic of this week challenge is ~ 12 ~ 

So I’ve decided to put the spotlight on my 12 most ethically challenged ancestors and how they remediated that. Read on… 

#1   EDWARD HUMPHRIES     (1765-1804)

Edward had the most glorified job as a household waste collector in good Old London. One day, this impressionable 19-years old fella got to try on a fancy long coat and a pair of flashy boots (around $450 in today’s money) and walked away happily. He was spotted in the street by a fashion scout as he looked so good in the gear, that he was given an appointment at the Old Bailey to collect his prize.

Eddy scored a 7-years-long overseas trip away and ended up enjoying the world famous 8-months long trip, on a 5-star cruise ship ‘Scarborough’. He ended up at the “brand-new” resort called “Colony of Sydney”, arriving on 27th January 1788. He found the new surroundings, along with the other 700+ esteemed colleagues more to his taste that he never went back home to his family and friends.

Eddy hooked up with a lovely Welsh lass named Mary (#2) a few years later, and they managed to breed out 6 children, with one not going past the 2-years-old mark. He decided on a career change, having a go at farming and policing, kicking around at The Rocks, Parramatta, and Windsor. However, Eddy had to kick that particular bucket and left behind a cranky wife with 5 agitated kids picking up the mess.

#2    MARY WILLIAMS     (1767-1805)

Mary was nearly got onto the stage in front of the crowd, however, this 21 years old Welsh lass had her act together in time for a venture that would float better. Then, she figured out that, after dealing with the Death Fleet of 1790, it’s time for another change – something less briny and away from that horrible sea god, Neptune.

Mary felt that both the old Wales and the New South Wales are no different, just tad hotter and drier. But what’s worst – there were no readily available clothes for her to try on! Fortunately for her, a nice fella named Eddy (#1) saw through her terrible choices of clothes and begged her to share his wardrobe. 

Alas, this was but a short and sweet scene for Mary for as soon after her last baby popped out, Eddy decided to take a dirt nap. This meant Mary had to clear out his end of the shared wardrobe, however, the task was too arduous for her that she took the same dirt nap a year later. Their kids were forced to couch surfing elsewhere in the area of Sydney and Parramatta. 

#3    DAVID KNOWLAND     (1762-1835)

David was found working on someone’s room in Shadwell at the East End, but the owner was not too pleased with his work. So he was pushed into signing up on a special 7-years service, with travelling as a perk. However, he regretted his decision to develop his sea legs 159 days later, as he had to endure the horrendous trip on the floating Death ship ‘Neptune’.

During his time at Colony of Sydney, David elected to work for the NSW Corps, guarding the town’s garrison against any reprobate leaks. A decade later, he discovered his true calling – as a food producer!

He produced, with the help of Mary, his special partner, a team of 5 hardy daughters. David also took in several homeless lads (one of them being Catharine’s boy – #4) to be part of the team, oversee his little empire of over 50 acres in a remote post called Airds.

#4    CATHARINE MALONE     (1769-1841)

This Irish lass did not realise what she had done to herself when Catharine and her friend thought it would be fun to make $10K disappear in front of a guy. It took a sweet 157-days trip down to 5-years old ‘city’ via ‘Sugar Cane’ from Cork to contemplate on this disastrous move. 

In the Colony of Sydney from 1793, Catharine had trouble keeping tracks of the 3 M – men, money, male offsprings of hers. It seems third time luck with Edward Bennett turned out better for her than previous 2 relationships. The first two men gave her 1 daughter (who did not lived past 2 years), and 4 sons – who didn’t grew up much with her. After trying out several stints, one of them being a washwoman, she elected to be a housewife, in a house that was child-free. 

#5    Mary Smith     (1774-1831)


#6    Sarah Madden     (1788-1827)

For some bizarre reason, Sarah thought she could score a special trip to the Down Under to see her mother there by trying a choice cut of white meat without permission. 

#7    John Turner     (1792-1867)


#8    John Hockey     (1803-1878)


#9    John Pallier     (1799-1870)


#10    John H Duffy     (1809-1868)


#11    James W Woods     (1815-1902)


#12    Elizabeth Riley/Kelly     (1809-1866)


By now, you would have worked this out – those are my 12 direct ancestors, who were convicted and transported to Australia between 1788 and 1832 – it is also known as ‘forced immigration’ because it usually means they never got to ‘return home’ at all. All 12 are listed in order of arrival to Australia as convicts.

Were yours like those? Share please.


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