Tuesday, July 31, 2018

M3. Meet the Rellies Modern Day Research of the Jillett/Bradshaw Family

Perhaps it is time for a little background information as to why there was a need for a Jillett website, www.jillettfamily.com which then transcended into a Facebook Group, Jillettfamily, which then became the reason we are having a reunion, and introduce your hosts.   

Ann Williams-Fitzgerald will be easily identified at the reunion, she will be wearing on her badge a "Green" dot.  Me, Kris Herron, I will have a "star", not a gold one.  The reasons we will let you work that one out.

Ann and I have never met, and that can be said for most of the Jillett cousins from extended families, except for a few.  While Ann lived in Tasmania, and enjoys regular trips back to her home state, I was born and bred in Queensland, but yes, we do travel across the borders.

The power of modern technology has resulted in people who are no different to ourselves.  We regularly communicate and discuss matters, offer viewpoints, and share experiences and information, all at the click of a button.

Holding a reunion came about from an idea of bringing all the family together, and to share with them the stories that had been discovered and unearthed of all the various cousins, and to provide an experience of "Walking in our Ancestors Footsteps".

We did that in 2014, and spent 3 months in England, visiting all the places that our family had lived in, worked in, been killed in, and were buried in.  Well not all, but a lot.

Suffice to say that it was very tiring.  My head swam in information overload, and it has taken me years to get all that information, expand on it, and to use it in a different manner.

In order to provide such an experience for the Jillett/Bradshaw cousins, the "Sphere of Influence" became the ideal starting point in organising our itinerary.

Family reunions can become boring, especially over three days, and being very mindful of that, we have tried to ensure that your experience will be memorable.  Each day will bring a different aspect of the lives of Robert and Elizabeth and the children.

While we cannot offer you the opportunity to "sleep" in their home, although that is still possible if you are related to the Shones, where Thomas Shone's home is now a B&B.  That was I can assure you quite a memorable event, to be sleeping in the bedroom of the 5th great grandparents!

Each day you will be able to get a "feel" for how they lived, and we felt that by having a cruise on the Lady Nelson, without the sheep, goats and everything else, that it would be the perfect way to begin.
Not all will be revealed before we meet, but as over the next few weeks, you will meet some of those unknown cousins who have all contributed so much in very different ways.

Robert and Elizabeth could not help but be proud of their extensive "brood".  Time to meet another!
Kris Herron and Ann Williams-Fitzgerald.


The Original Researchers

Could you ever imagine how difficult life was without a computer?   Perhaps liken it to the old days before a microwave, mobile phone and colour television were invented, we made do. In the words of my mother in law, "we simply made do."

In 1963, my first job was in an Electronic Data Processing department of the Brisbane City Council.  Groundbreaking we were, pioneers of a new industry.  Punching holes in cards, to feed them into a huge machine, and in the end producing an electricity account.  Those computer now are so obsolete, and technology has changed our world forever.  The computing power now fits into our hand!

In 1965, after the death of his father, this cousin began researching his family.  His father had recently died, and his mother told him after the funeral, that his father was part Maori!  No doubt that was a bit of a surprise, so began a long history of researching his family.  We are the beneficiaries of that research.

In order to do that, he lived in Hobart for 6 months, and spent countless hours scouring the thousands of microfiche records and reading each and every page, then having to transcribe the work, then he had to type the result.  A very dedicated researcher he was indeed.

The Archives in Tasmania are in the Library in Murray Street Hobart.   Daunting is not the word.
Who was this man?  Just another in the Jillett family tree who was a little hesitant about taking the credit or due recognition which he deserved. 

His name is John Jillett, and he lives in Dunedin in New Zealand.

But the Tasmanian records were only part of the story.  John and his wife Barbara, also lived in England for quite some time, and he researched the records there as well.

In 1990, John created the Jillett Family Tree, compiled with researched information, as well as information provided by different members of the different branches of each of the descendants.
Some of those researchers were Pam Alderson, Mike Hurburgh, Ann Jillett, Joan Jillett, Joan Cantwell, and others.

John is a descendant of Robert Jillett, the son of Robert and Elizabeth who had gone to New Zealand and became a shore whaler at the Kaputi Whaling Station.

John's parents were Douglas McIlvride Jillett and his wife Phyllis Blackburn/John Robert Jillett and Dinah Maud McIlvride/John Jillett and Ellen Jane Cook/Robert Jillett and Etera Te Morere/Robert Jillett and Elizabeth Bradshaw.
We visited John and  Barbara in Dunedin, and enjoyed their company.  Strangers and cousins, who previously would have remained unknown to each other.

Since meeting John and getting the "honour" of continuing his exceptional work, I have been very mindful of ensuring that new research builds on the platform that he began.

But there comes a time in our lives when that need to know more about our roots becomes very important.

For some of us, who have so many missing "gaps" in our past, it become extremely important.
His decision to investigate the lives of his great grandparents  53 years ago, is his legacy.

On behalf of all of the descendants, thank  you Dr John Jillett.

Dr. John Blackburn Jillett

John Jillett was appointed as Director of the Portobello Marine Laboratory at the Otago University, in 1974.  John wrote many papers and biographies, including the History of Marine Science at the University of Otago.   He was a leader in the field of  Marine Science, and his home had the most remarkable view of the Dunedin Harbour.  Even in retirement he was busy overseeing the albatross who regularly flew overhead.

Congratulations to Dr John Jillett on being awarded Life Membership of Otago Peninsula Trust!
John was a Trustee of the Otago Peninsula Trust from 1999 – 2018 and Chair 2007-2008.

John is a valuable member of the Education Advisory Board, which he was instrumental in setting up in 2000. The Otago Peninsula Trust Education Programme gained Ministry of Education funding in 2001 and has educated and inspired thousands of students since then. The Otago Peninsula Trust has a strong working partnership with the NZ Marine Studies Centre to create and deliver excellent educational programmes.

John has always had a focus on forming partnerships and during his time as Chair put particular emphasis on improving relationships between the Trust and the runanga, he was very supportive of the development of the partnership with the Korako Karetai Trust that resulted in the formation of the Pukekura Trust, the very successful Blue Penguins Pukekura tourism venture.

John is the Otago representative on the New Zealand Fish and Game Council.

Dr John Jillett - Nominee of the New Zealand Fish & Game Council

Dr John Jillett is a marine ecologist who recently retired as Associate Professor at the University of Otago. John was Director of the Universities Portobello Marine Laboratory from 1974 to 1994. In 1997 he was made an Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit (O.M.Z.M). John is a long standing Otago Fish & Game Councillor and is a past Chairman of that council. John was nominated to the Trust in 2004.

John is an avid angler and outdoor enthusiast

  Dr John Blackburn JILLETT, of Dunedin. For services to marine biology.

His wife Barbara died on Wednesday February 7, 2018, at Leslie Groves Home and Hospital; aged 79 years.

There was something common in all who created the original family information, in that they all had that same yearning, to find out information about their great grandparents. They amassed pages and pages of historical information.  But in 1990, there was no opportunity to "share" that information, nor to make it available for others in the future.

Age creeps up on all of us, and that had been the case with some.  Joan Jillett had passed her information onto her niece, and she in turn passed that onto me. 

As a family, all the descendants owe a huge debt of gratitude to John Jillett.  Sadly John's wife died of Alzheimer's, and he had nursed her for years, before she was in care.

When charged with the responsibility of all the works done by others, there was only one thing to do with it all, and that was to preserve it for future generations.

How to do that?  A website seemed the most logical way.

In 2010, the first website was developed, and huge learning curve and experience.  If you haven't visited it is www.jillettfamily.com.


John Jillett inside the Jillett Hut

Convicts in the Cupboard!

Prior to April 2010, we knew that there were convicts in the cupboard.  My father-in-law Dale Herron was quite proud of his mother's relatives.  She was a direct descendant of Robert Jillett and Elizabeth Bradshaw.  But apart from that, nothing much more was known.

In fact even though Dale and Ethel travelled quite extensively, they never had the opportunity of visiting Tasmania.  If they had, this story may never have eventuated!

So armed with our Google maps, we outlined a route around Tasmania.  Up the north, down the west coast, doing all the touristy things the travel agents suggest.

We were flying out of Launceston, on the Thursday, and on the Wednesday we arrived in this little town called Oatlands, which we knew contained the grave of Thomas Jillett and his wife Mary Ann Shone.   Just after lunch we drove into St Peter's Churchyard, and began the arduous task of looking at all the headstones.    This grave was just nowhere to be seen.  Lots of headstones called Jillett, none for Thomas. 

Then I decided that perhaps I would check out the mound of rubble surrounded by safety tape.  Almost entirely wrapped in orange fencing.  We couldn't believe our eyes when we were able to read the names on the crypt.  Here was our grave.


What a disaster it was.  Quick thinking, and a decision to get someone to put some gravel under the base, as we could see the coffins underneath.  Door knocking began, firstly to the houses closest to the cemetery, then up to the hospital to find a particular person, then down somewhere else, and finally we found the man who mowed the grass.  He had a bobcat.  "Could you put some gravel in the base?"  "Yes", so we quickly got that sorted, and arranged to me him on site.  Until some bright spark told us "I think the cemetery is Heritage Listed".

Well that put the kybosh on everything.  We left things as they were, took contact details, and made our way up to a delightful church we were staying at in Evandale.  Time for the seven o'clock news, and low and behold there is a story about the restoration of the Callington Mill.  We never even realised it was going to be restored. The tireless efforts of some of the community of Oatlands had resulted in sufficient funding in grants to allow that to happen. 

Back home, and preparations began to see how we could get this grave fixed, and how much it would be, because I knew it was the responsibility of the family.  Initially we thought $2K for my simple fix, some gravel underneath and a concrete base.

From that moment, the help and assistance given by the people in Oatlands, particularly Brad Williams the Heritage Officer was invaluable.  By now, my quotes were getting quite high.  Bring in Heritage listed, and the price of any restoration keeps going up and up.  But never give in was not in the picture, as this was a necessity.  I sent emails across the country, to Parliament, to anywhere and to anyone who would listen. 

By the time the estimate had gone from $2K to $5K to $10K then $15K, it was getting rather a worry.  How to pay for this, do we bite the bullet and pay for it ourselves?  My decision was that if we had to we would.   The final quote $25K for materials and stonemasons.  Something would happen

And it did.  Our mail delivery is not very regular, and one Friday 30th April, there was a letter from the Department of Environment in Canberra.  Peter Garrett's office.  There was a suggestion that we might be successful with a grant in their Historic Sites Programme.

Fantastic, but then the bottom line was, the submission had to be in their Canberra office by 2.00pm on Monday.  I rang and suggested that I could do a submission, but given that it was Friday, there was just no way that our mail would get to Canberra by Monday.  So they allowed me to have it emailed by 2.00pm, and postmarked by 3pm Monday.

Putting a submission together takes a lot of work, and time and then trying to get support from people on a weekend is not that easy.  That was until you work with a wonderful community such as in Oatlands.   Not only were technical details required, but there were questions to be answered by Heritage people.  The very last email that I received was at 1.00pm on Monday.

The submission was emailed, and then  posted, and like a long pregnancy, nothing happened.
Nine months later, I received an email.  We were successful!

That was a defining moment.  It just seemed impossible to think that the submission was successful.
The Historic Sites grant was for $12,500.  50% of the cost of the restoration.  The family had to find the balance. 
Another gamble, but one that in my mind, would be achieved, because as family, there is respect for our ancestors, and a responsibility to ensure that their graves are safe. 

But during that nine months,  my focus was on locating the family, building links and trying to research any more stories about the extended family, than had been found.

This was the time when John Jillett, Anne Jillett, Tony Jillett, and another, were so helpful in providing me with their research.  To say I inherited the mantle, would be correct.  But along the way I was able to find people in the Thomas Jillett family who were completely unknown to each other.
We had cousins in North Queensland, in Brisbane, Melbourne and Tasmania, that no one ever knew existed.  That in a way was rather sad.  Old wounds from the 1890's made a huge divide.

A website was then tackled.  A rather daunting experience it was, even for someone who began in the computer industry in 1963.  But while I put the information that I had been given into the web, and added "social history" to make the stories a bit more interesting, it meant a great deal of researching.
Along the way I met Sue Collins.  Totally unknown now, how, it happened, but what an invaluable assistant or sometimes leader she turned out to be.  We all know how easy it is to "loose" information, and that is precisely what happened.  There was a story about someone's grandfather from the Netherlands, who was cannibalised in New Zealand.  Gosh that was a bit gruesome, so I thought I would go back to that some day.

In the meantime though, it needed to be researched.  We were missing Charles Dowdell.  He left Hobart in a whaling boat in 1832, and was never heard of again.  I made contact with a Professor Paul Moon in New Zealand, an expert on the subject, who told me that would not have happened, when I raised the question of cannibalisation with him.

 If so, he said, it would be in the Sydney papers.

Two heads are better than one, and it took Sue and I months to find one snippet of information about it.  If you ever wonder how many times that the name Jillett appears in the newspaper archives, this was almost a needle in a haystack.

Sue found it.  Not in 1832 but later..  Then we worried about how this might affect the New Zealand branch of the family.  Should we forget what we found?  But history is history, and we cannot change it.  Needless to say Paul Moon was a bit shocked to learn that all his research, and books were incorrect!

Another trip to Tasmania beckoned, and we planned it in October to coincide with the opening of the newly restored Callington Mill.   After all, Thomas Jillett owned it.

Meanwhile, floods in Tasmania had made an impact on Port Arthur, and all available tradesperson and stonemasons were busy there.  I had to request an extension of time for the repairs for the crypt.
Then the mill opening was delayed, but we were very fortunate to be the first official guests to view the finished work.  What a great job they had done, it was simply fantastic, Thomas Jillett was being brought into  the 21st Century. 

 First the mill, then work began on the crypt. Firstly the whole chest had to be removed, under instructions from Heritage Tasmania, and stored safely to preserve the sandstone.  Then there was a question of covering the coffins.

We were supposed to put the whole thing back as it was when we found it.  But that was rather silly idea, or in time the coffins would be visible again.  Heritage Tasmania saw my point of view, and we were allowed to pour a concrete base.

In February 2012, the crypt was finalised, except for fencing.  That was another story in itself.  Thomas brought the fencing from England.  There are 5 different finials, not one have a mould made here in Australia.  Each one had to be designed.  $15K was the estimate.  That was pie in the sky, so instead of fencing four sides, we removed the existing half fence.  The effect is that the crypt has a step up and looks exceptional.  Lucky Heritage Tasmania did not argue.

It was exactly 153 years since the 7 young children had died in a six week period between January and February 1859.  A rather fitting anniversary, but there needed to be a more formal acceptance of what we were doing.

In April 2012, we held a dedication for the restoration of the crypt.  There was a good crowd in the Church and the Federal Minister Dick Adams, provided refreshments.  My belief that the family would contribute to the $12500 was correct.  While we received varying amounts, the Joske and Herron families contribution allowed it to be done. 

But there was one important thing that all the research uncovered, and that was provided by a Doctor doing her thesis, on child deaths.  Rebecca Kippen gladly shared that information with me.  6,900+ children died in Tasmania alone between 1850 and 1859, up to age 10 years, but a staggering 12000 + died overall.

That is a staggering number of deaths.  And nowhere were they remembered.

A decision was made to include and recognise that deaths on our restoration.  Unbeknown to me the crypt till now, it is now recognised as a Monument of Australia. It is amazing what you can discover in research. 

The crypt restoration will always be one of the highlights of my career, especially in retirement.

What this project did was to find and link cousins and members of Thomas Jillett's family together.  It also provided the impetus for further research, in all of our extended family.

That resulted in a 3 month trip to England in 2014, where we "Walked in our Ancestor's Footsteps".
This now has resulted in my new retirement career, as a Family History Researcher.

Another aspect of the restoration, was the opportunity to meet an  amazing number of people in Oatlands who helped and assisted me in providing letters of support to include in the submission, and not once has anyone ever been the least bit unhelpful.   It has never been revealed just how much "in kind" that Southern Midlands Council provided for the project, but I am aware it was not cheap. 
Perhaps it stems from a realisation that we are the ones who are required to preserve history, to tell it as it was, and to ensure that our descendants are aware of the people who have gone before them.
The future of family history will be the results generated from a swab on a cotton wool bud.
Just as they show on detective shows, take a swab, send it away and instantly you will find out who your long lost cousin is, or worse.  But it doesn't work like that.  History has to be written, resourced and then placed in a medium where comparisons are possible.

Located on the Jillett Family Crypt Monument to recognise the 6900 children who died between 1850 and 1860

There is something that makes this restoration even more worthwhile - it is the only Crypt to be restored in a Heritage Listed Cemetery in Tasmania.   It will probably always hold that title.

While researching the children's deaths, I was lucky enough to discuss the deaths, with Dr Rebecca Kippen.  She was doing a thesis for her doctorate and was happy to share her research.

I was completely unprepared for the huge number of child deaths.  More than those who died in War, and there were monuments to those all around the world as a mark of respect.

Nobody would imagine loosing so many children, our 7 in six weeks was a tragedy, but now with further research, the Belbin family lost 5 in the same corresponding period.

From Rebecca  -

Thank you for your email. I am working with a research database of births, deaths and marriages for Tasmania, 1838-99.

I have looked up the seven children you have mentioned. Their deaths are recorded in the Tasmanian death registers as:

18/1/1859 Frederick James 6 years
22/1/1859 Chester Providence 4 years
2/2/1859 Emily Henrietta 5 months
11/2/1859 Francis Powell 2 years 7 months
16/2/1859 Louisa Susanna 2 years 8 months 
23/2/1859 Amelia Mary 4 years 6 months
28/2/1859 Edwin Augustus 2 years 9 months

Emma Louisa, age 3 years 6 months, daughter of John Jillett, also died of scarlet fever five years earlier on 8/2/1854 in Oatlands.

I have done some quick analysis which I hope will be of use to you. In the 1850s in Tasmania, there were 14,799 deaths registered. Of these, 6,937 were of children under the age of ten years. That is, almost half of around 15,000 deaths were of young children.

It is quite possible that the Jillett children in 1859 died of diphtheria, rather than scarlet fever. Diphtheria appeared for the first time in Tasmania in late 1858 and there was an epidemic in Tasmania in 1859. Diphtheria and scarlet fever were often confused early on.


It should be noted also that not all child deaths were recorded.

In October 2010, we visited Oatlands for a second time, and were the first visitors at the restored Mill.

Pictured here is Graham Salmon, who was the driving force behind the funding for the restoration of the mill.  How to thank them?  I didn't know, but in the Oatlands Historical Museum, you may come across my attempts to scrapbook some significant highlights of the family, and given to Tony Bisdee, the Mayor.

Something to Ponder

This story was provided by Neil Jillett who was a writer for the Melbourne Age.   It was a pleasure to have a conversation with Neil some years ago, when tracing the ancestors became extremely important, due to the condition of the Family Crypt in Oatlands Cemetery.

At the time, Dr John Jillett from New Zealand getting ready to hand over the research, after spending 20 years working on the Jillett/Bradshaw lines, without the help of modern technology.  John took leave and lived in England, then Hobart for 6 months, religiously going through all the records he could find, in the Archives.  In Hobart, there are boxes and boxes of records, all available to be transcribed from microfiche.  Time consuming?  We tried it for a few hours, it is mind boggling.

Along with those records, circumstances meant that another Jillett descendant, from Ballina, and a relative of John and Phoebe Jillett wanted to also be free of the research to follow a different path, and so a trip to her home provided pages and pages and pages of records, all of which had to be scanned.
Not long after Anne Jillett from Queensland also had a change, and a trip to her house unearthed even more pages and pages of records.   Another trip to meet Tony Jillett.  All these cousins!  Then yet another to Dunedin.
How special that was.

Neil pulled no punches in his role as a critic!

"A Colourful Past"      as written by author (retired) Neil Jillett  and appeared in "The Age"

There were no massed bands and choirs, no prime ministerial speeches, no visiting royalty.  It was even a public holiday.  Yet, for those who knew about it, it was a bi-centenary just as important as the one that 11 years ago marked the 200th anniversary of Australia's conversion into a barbarous outpost of European civilisation.

On 26 July, 1799 when the transport Hillsborough arrived in Sydney, Governor John Hunter, successor to the New South Wales settlement s founding father, Arthur Phillip, complained to the Colonial Office in London that the ship's cargo consisted of the "most miserable and wretched convicts I ever beheld". 

 On the 280 day voyage from England, 95 of the 300 people on board had died, most of them from typhoid (jail fever brought aboard before the ship sailed).  Four more died soon after landing.

Among Hillsborough's survivors was 39 year old Robert Jillett, shoemaker and thief.  He had already survived one death sentence (imposed in London s Old Bailey), and - before he sired the son from whom I am descended- he was to dodge the hangman a second time.

Robert's colourful life is the sort of stuff that most people would love to find in the family tree; but for many years my branch of the Jilletts found it too colourful.  This was because we have what used to be called a touch of the tarbrush, and so the family's past was hidden by silence and evasions.

My father Leslie, a journalist, brought his wife and my sister and me from New Zealand to Melbourne in 1935, the city's centenary year.  Nearly 20 years later while studying history at Sydney University, I got my first glimpse of the family's history.  It was in "The Sydney Gazette" report of Robert Jillett's journey by cart to the gallows on 13 April 1803.  He had been sentenced to death for the theft of 77lbs (pounds) of salted pork from the government store.  The weeping Jillett was attended by the Reverend Samuel Marsden, who "emphatically performed the duties of his function."  Then after Robert "had been delivered over to the executioner", a reprieve was announced.

"Convulsed with unspeakable joy and gratitude, for so unexpected an extension of mercy, he fell motionless, and for some moments continued in a state of insensibility…."

Robert's partner in crime, James Hailey, a cooper, read the Bible to him during the cart ride; but this piety did him no good.  He was still punished, 200 lashes.

When I showed the Gazette article to my father, he did nothing to discourage my assumption that the New Zealand branch of the family was probably begun by a miner who had crossed the Tasman Sea to join the mid-19th century gold rush in the South Island.  The truth, which he must have known, at least in part, was more interesting.

It began to emerge in 1965, when my father's younger brother Douglas, who was in charge of Maori education for New Zealand, died in Auckland.  As part of the tribute to him by the Maori community, Kiri Te Kanawa, then 21 sang "I know that my Redeemer liveth" at his funeral.  Sixteen year later she was to have another ceremonial outburst of Handel "Let the bright seraphim" at the Charles-Diana wedding in St Paul s Cathedral, London.

Doug's son, John was surprised when his mother Phyllis told him just before the funeral that he was part-Maori.  This ancestry may explain Doug's interest in Maori education, but he does not seem to have revealed it to his departmental colleagues.  Phyllis confessed to John that because of the Jillett family's heritage she had nearly jilted Doug; she and her English parents imposed the strict condition that the marriage would go ahead only on condition that the Maori ancestry was never acknowledged.

As children, my cousin John and I met our paternal grandfather, John Robert Jillett (1878-1950) whose "career highlights" were running, coaching and saddle-and-harness businesses as a young man.

Although grandfather was dark, it never occurred to John and me that he was part (a quarter) Maori, but it was evident enough for Phyllis, John's mother to be horrified by it.

Although my father knew that Phyllis had broken her own undertaking by revealing the family's secret, he apparently never told our English mother.  Nor did he tell my sister and me.  We learnt of it from cousin John, but we never let our father and mother know that we knew."

Meanwhile, John, a marine biologist who lives in Dunedin, decided to trace the link between convict Robert and the Maori blood.  As a result of his research, much of it carried out in Hobart s archives, we now know that the convict Robert Jillett was born in England about 1760.  At least six different spellings of his surname are used in records, and he also had an alias, Thomas Elston.

At the Surrey Assizes in 1795, Robert, who had a wife and five children, was sentenced to seven years transportation for the theft of curtains and other bedroom furniture.  Part of his sentence was to be served on a hulk moored on the coast.  In 1797 he was charged with being "feloniously at large" (he had escaped before the end of his term), a capital crime.  His death sentence was commuted to transportation for life.

Wives, having sometimes made big cash payment were allowed to accompany their criminal husbands on the journey to NSW.  There were six or seven such women aboard "Hillsborough".  Jillett's first wife was not among them, but his futures second wife, the sturdy Elizabeth Bradshaw, was.  Her husband Thomas, whom she nursed through fever, survived the journey, but disappeared soon after the ship reached Sydney.

As a free person, Elizabeth could own property and be assigned convict servants.  Robert who was presumably one of them skippered a small boat owned by her that traded between Sydney and the Hawkesbury River.  His return to thieving temporarily interrupted Elizabeth's business career.  When his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, on Norfolk Island, she, again standing by her man, sold her property and accompanied him.

Robert, who described himself as a widower, and Elizabeth lived on the island as a man and wife, and in 1808 (in conformity with the slowly implemented policy of closing the first Norfolk Island settlement) were moved to Tasmania. 

There, funded by Elizabeth's property deals on Norfolk, they set up as farmers and stock-keepers.  Robert was conditionally pardoned in 1814 and died in 1832.  Elizabeth, who was 15 years his junior died in 1842.  The couple had six children before their marriage in 1812 and four after it.
Cousin John and I are descended from Robert (1812 -1860), their last child conceived out of wedlock and the first born in it.  Robert II established himself in New Zealand as a shore whaler about 1836.  His timing gave him a status in New Zealand, pre-Waitangi settler, similar to that accorded 1788 First Fleeters in Australia.

British whalers, sealers and timber-getters had been working in New Zealand since the 1790's but it was not until Samuel Marsden (the parson who had comforted the gallow-dodging Robert Jillett) began his missionary work among Maoris that the country's potential was appreciated.  Its attractions as another outpost of empire, coupled with a few bloody encounters between settlers and Maoris, led to the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between Queen Victoria and most Maori chiefs.  The treaty, usually described as the founding document of New Zealand nationhood, declared that the country was a British colony in which the native people were made British subjects, but retained rights over land and fisheries.

Robert the whaler entered a common law marriage with a Maori, Etara Ta Kaea (Sarah).  They had six children.

Cousin John and I feel that the Jilletts lack only one element to make them antipodeans in every respect.  It may be, John suspects, that the element is still to be uncovered.  His research suggests there is an unsolved ethnic mystery to do with Robert the whaler's early manhood in Central Tasmania.

Aboriginal blood in the family!  That could cause a ruckus in Tasmania where there is the biggest concentration of convict Robert's descendants.

Fifteen year ago, on his first research trip to Hobart, cousin John met a leading member of the Tasmanian Jillett clan.  "We were only two minutes into our conversation", John recalls, "when he made a point of reassuring me that there were no convicts lurking in our family tree".

Neil has asked that we make apologies for any errors in what he had written, but nothing much has changed even with all research!  Except nowadays it is quite fashionable to have "convicts" and "First Fleeters" in the closet!

It has always intrigued me why Robert Junior "disappeared" around 1835.  There is every likelihood that something strange may have occurred.

Neil Jillett began work as a journalist in 1952 and has been the Film and Dance Critic, Arts Editor and South-East Asia correspondent for the Age and Theatre Critic for the Melbourne Herald (1974-1978). He has written a radio play, 'Miss Bradford and the Little Monsters' (1991) and has contributed to numerous Australian and international newspapers and magazines.

Two thumbs down October 27, 2004

Norodom Sihanouk, who for the past 50 years has been a controversial player in global politics, has just abdicated as King of Cambodia. But in 1968 he banned Neil Jillett from his country for
criticising his movie.

"In 46 years of having paid opinions about dance, theatre, opera, films, television, books, politics and circuses, the strongest reaction I've provoked as a critic was when a king banned me from his country.

Norodom Sihanouk wasn't actually king at the time. He had abandoned the Cambodian throne to become the power in front of it, believing this would help keep his country out of the tussle between the world’s power blocs.

In November 1968, he issued a rare invitation to Western journalists to visit Cambodia so that he could lecture them on his neutralist philosophy and latest achievements.
These included the port and resort of Sihanoukville, which had been developed with aid from China, France and America, and a film festival that opened with the premiere of Shadow over Angkor, Sihanouk’s fourth feature.

This blend of fantasy and autobiography was about an Asian ruler who fell in love with a South American diplomat as he pursued idealistic international policies. As well as taking the lead role opposite Princess Monique, his beauty-queen second wife, Sihanouk wrote, directed and produced the film and received a credit for montages.

As The Age's South-East Asia correspondent, I wrote a slightly tactless report of the premiere and Sihanouk cancelled my visa. And I had thought the prince and I were becoming really good friends. After all, had we not held hands in the romantic twilight at Sihanoukville?
The morning of that memorably royal day began with a harangue by Sihanouk, who had taken diplomats and journalists to the port, which was situated on the Gulf of Thailand, a three-hour drive from the capital, Phnom Penh.

"Journalists who come to Cambodia aren't working for the truth," he complained. "If you do nothing but make people despise us, we cannot easily find a place in the sun."


The Jillett Family

Robert Jillett (alias Thomas Elston, Robert Gillett)  convict transported to Australia for stealing, arrived on the Hillsborough, 1799; wife and 5 children left in England. 

Relationship with Elizabeth Bradshaw (nee Creamer) married to Thomas Bradshaw.  Thomas was transported to Australia on the Hillsborough, for highway robbery; and was very ill on the voyage. Contemporary research has found that he was alive in January 1800.  But that was the last known record.    Elizabeth was granted permission to travel on the Hillsborough, and along with their daughter Mary Ann, she arrived as a free settler.

Elizabeth was granted lands in Sydney, and built a house.  It seems she was assigned Robert Jillett as her convict, and they developed a relationship.  Two sons and a daughter were born in Sydney.

In 1803 he stole 1/2 pig from the Commandant's store and was sentenced to death.  He was taken to the gallows, and granted a reprieve.  He was then sentenced to transportation to Norfolk Island.  Elizabeth sold her lands and travelled with him on the same boat, along with her three young children.

She purchased land on Norfolk Island, and may have been the first free woman settler on Norfolk Island.  In 1808 they were resettled to Van Diemen's Land.  She was granted land in exchange for those she left behind.  They married in 1812, and had more children.

Robert and Elizabeth settled in New Norfolk, at Back River.  Together they had 10 children.

Mary Ann Bradshaw  b 1797      married  Charles Horan in 1812.  They had one child Edward who was born in 1813.  In 1826 Charles advises that his wife had left him.  She later is jailed in Launceston for upsetting the court.  She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Bradshaw.

William Bradshaw  b  1800        married Mary Gunn.  They had 9 children.  He became a farmer, and a publican.  He was insolvent and died 1859.  They lived at Back River, New Norfolk.

James Bradshaw   b  1802        married Jemima Lydia Gunn.  They had 7 children.  James was a farmer and an inn keeper.  They lived at New Norfolk. 

Susannah Jillett     b 1805 (she was born and christened Bradshaw).  Married Charles Dowdell, who met with a gruesome death in 1832, then she married William Garth, and later Joseph Oakley.  She had 4 children

Rebecca Elizabeth Jillett  b  1806/7  (she was born and christened Bradshaw).  Married William Young, a successful businessman.  They had 11 children.

Eliza Jillett                  b 1807/08  baptised as Bradshaw.  Married John Bowden.  May have left him and took up with another person.  They had 4 children. 

Frederick Jillett          b  1811 and died perhaps in infancy

Robert Jillett                b  1812  Also known as Ropata Tireti.  Went to New Zealand around 1836/7, was a shore whaler at Kapiti Island.  Married Te Kaea (Sarah).  They  had at least 6 children

Charlotte Daisy Jillett     b  1815.  Married William Henry Smith and lived at Bruni Island.  He became bankrupt in 1846.   No children of that marriage have been sourced.

Thomas Jillett             b  1817    Married Mary Ann Shone.  He became a very successful sheep farmer and business man.  His business interests crossed the mainland, into Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.  He was a keen horseman, and very active within the Oatlands community.  He owned the Callington Mill.   They had 12 children, of those 3 died within 6 weeks of each other in January and February 1859, of scarlet fever.  He built a memorial to them in St Peter's Anglican Church at Oatlands, Tasmania.

John Jillett                  b  1819  Married Phoebe Triffett.  He was a farmer and butcher.  He built Eldergrove at York Plains.  They had 13 children, but 4 of those died within 6 weeks of each other in January and February 1859 of scarlet fever.  He also built a memorial to them in St Peter's Anglican Church in Oatlands, Tasmania.

Have you been counting?  There were at least  66 grandchildren.

Back in England, there are many grandparents as yet undiscovered, but for starters here is the Addington Cemetery and Church, in Kent, where Robert was first arrested for stealing.

A highlight of our 3 month trip was to actually "meet" another "convict" look alike.  Short and with grey eyes, he could probably have passed for any one of the thousands who arrived on our shores.

There are so many stories in the Jillett/Bradshaw Family Vault!    
More later.

Kristine Herron
July 2018

Meet the Hosts

It is amazing that in so many different ways, both Ann and myself have common aspects of our lives and careers.   Neither of us wanted to "blow our trumpet",  but we thought we better introduce ourselves.  Ann is still working, and counting down the days to retirement.  My retirement was not planned, but forced, as I left work in an ambulance in 2003, never to return.

Ann is one extremely talented and busy lady.  She is the brains behind the newsletters, and now we know why ours are of such an excellent quality.

She and Greg are looking forward to a change of pace in retirement, but, you cannot keep a busy person down, so no doubt there is a community at George Town who will benefit from her enthusiasm and commitment at achieving her goals.

Ann is a direct descendant:
·        Her great great grandparents were  William Bradshaw and Mary Jane Gunn.
·        Her great grandparents were Alfred Henry Edward Bradshaw and Margaret Hannah Spelman
·        Her grandparents were Cecil Alfred Bradshaw and Elsie Boulter
·        Her mother was Irene Grace Bradshaw.

Ann was one of four children, three daughters and one son of Irene Bradshaw.  The stories were not happy ones, but often those challenges make us a more resilient and stronger person.

Continuing with Ann's words:
As a practising visual artist, independent curator and published author, my interests are multi-faceted and I work across all media. My art is an attempt to allow the image to make itself clear with minimal influence of the mind, by a process of being still and receptive to what it is that wants to be captured.
I have always been passionate about making my art. I use the journey of artistic expression as a doorway inwards.

Uncovering ever deepening ways of ‘being’ into the experience of life, transmitting to the viewer the sublime metaphors through symbols, colour and rich backgrounds. I draw inspiration from my intuition and interpretation on life experience. My work crosses over into abstract expressionism and minimalism. My work focuses on exploring deep-buried emotions relating to family connections, body image and bloodlines. Issues such as heritage, roots, connectedness, sense of place and belonging.

My father, who was a Polish gypsy, spent over four years in a number of German POW camps during WWII, including 3 years in the dreaded Auschwitz Concentration Camp [Nazi Death Camp] before being moved to Neckargerach. On 4th April 1945 after a three-day-odyssey on a train to Dachau, the prisoners were liberated by the US-Army in Osterburken. After being liberated he left behind the turmoil of war-torn Europe and travelled to Australia as a displaced person [refugee] in 1951 and settled in the farthest corner of the world, in Tasmania.

For me, my multicultural work is an important step in recognizing, valuing and understanding our cultural diversity. The work aims to highlight that we all have a rich and diverse heritage; and we all have a cultural background that is worth acknowledging and sharing with each other. It is through the
language of art that we can express, enjoy and value each other's identity and recognise that we all have a role to play in ensuring the wellbeing, contribution and participation of people in our community.

As I reflect on my own sense of belonging, I realise that I have always felt a sense of disconnection from my Polish heritage, not quite knowing who I was or where I was from. A little like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Many of us derive our sense of belonging from our families, our workplaces and ancestral heritages. I can recall as a child, my own sense of never quite belonging anywhere. While I can be self-confident and flexible, my sense of belonging tends to be tenuous at times.

Ann's father was Leopold Antoni Kaizik.  Ann and her siblings spent a great deal of their life in trying to locate him.  Her words of "belonging" resonate. 

Often when researching, and discovering all the stories of deaths of a mother at an early age, or the loss of a father killed in battle, I wonder and pose a question?  "Who then raised the children?"
Within the Jillett family tree there are numerous occasions when this question is appropriate.

As I often think back on my family, I know that my 4th great grandmother's way of thinking and her determination has been handed down to her descendants.

The same could be said of Elizabeth Creamer, what a remarkable woman she was, her resilience and determination saw her care for her children and overcome what must have been insurmountable obstacles.  Her genes have certainly been handed down, as shown in Ann's achievements,  as have her father's. 

Anyone who has visited a concentration camp could not but realise what that ghastly experience would have done to the most strongest person.    To survive was a miracle.

Kris Herron
So for those of you wondering, who in the Jillett tree I am related, it is easy, I am an "out-law".

My 5th great grandfather was one of the red coats in Sydney after the Rum Rebellion, another cousin was with the 39th Foot in Sydney guarding the prisoners, 1829.
or our immediate family, my interest in their family history has been so very worthwhile, and has expanded its horizons, and allowed me to undertake projects that I never would have thought possible.

Call it my investigative skills that I have honed since running a real estate office, with 15 employees and managing 450 rental properties.  Make that two offices, and 25 years in the real estate industry.
Then in an instance my life changed forever.  I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, went up a black hole, and am only here today because of the skills of my neuro-surgeon Dr Terry Coyne.

Brain surgery has its downsides, cognitive deficits occur, memory functions are affected, and strokes go hand in hand with invasive surgery.  Those, for me, meant having to learn to walk, talk, read and write all over again.  But 15 years later, and knowing how to control my deficits, and by re-inventing myself, being able to solve some very difficult family history puzzles has become a very rewarding exercise.

Who would ever think that their American born brother in law is related?  Remember the swab, well he and I had done ours, so I decided to test his after helping him to load it onto one of the sites.

You could have knocked me down with a feather, when we were a match.  How on earth, could I, Scottish father, English through and through, back to the original French conqueror,  (which makes me more French than English), have any relatives in common with his American family, who came to America with La Fayette in the American Wars.

If that was not a personal challenge, nothing could surpass it.  Well it took a month of solid research, but we share the same set of 12th great grandparents.  Their grandson was rather a naughty boy in 1600, and his uncle, my 11th great grandfather, decided that the boy should be sent away never to return, to give their family such a bad name.  They were aristocrats. Mind you in 1620 there were not many options available, but they had managed to keep him out of sight in the London jails.  It took them until 1628 to find a ship to put him on.  That one was headed to America. 
At that time there was a severe shortage of available ladies to marry, but have large families they certainly did. His descendants intermarried Randy's family numerous times, thus strengthening the DNA thread.  Poor Randy, not only was he blood relation to his sister in law, but he had to satisfy himself that his family did not come with La Fayette.  It was just another of those old family stories handed down the generations.

As a Family History Researcher, I have re-invented myself.  My father in law always wanted to find his father.  His mother was Katie Jillett and she married Claude Annesley.

Well we thought she did.  But Claude was not Claude, but Harold Sedgwick.  He was born in China, the son of a Missionary, and his mother died either at or shortly after childbirth.  Her death records are still waiting to be digitised from the bowels of the records in the British Archives.

No doubt in modern days, Harold's actions would be considered the result of not knowing his mother.  And that may very well be the case.  His father returned from China, and was the Curate at St Martin-in-the Fields.  He purchased a commission for Harold, and at 19 he was off to South Africa to fight in the Boer War as a Lieutenant.

Harold must have thought there was great opportunities to be had, because he appropriated over £2K from the Army Pay Office.  He was arrested, court-martialled and sent back to England and cashiered out of the Army.  As was the traditions at the time, his records were destroyed and the King took back his medals.

Harold then hopped on a ship, and arrived in Australia as Claude Annesley, a name that was known for the rest of his days, both in Australia and New Zealand.  All his life Dale wanted to find his father.  Thank goodness I didn't know how to research while he was alive, or he would have insisted on repaying all the money to the British Government.

But Harold's actions forever removed a chance for his descendants to ever know anything about their ancestors.  Probably no worse than the decisions of the British Government in allowing the convicts to remarry, without records back to their children and wives left behind.  Common sense would say that you would get the person who was to be remarried to sign some sort of paperwork which effectively released him from that original marriage.  They very well may have been accused of a crime, but their ingrained religious beliefs must have worried them.  Bigamous marriages were not allowed.

Harold's ashes would turn to stone if he knew that this inquisitive granddaughter in law would have been able to find who he was.  What a challenge.  He didn't hide quite well enough.  He also married bigamously, in New Zealand.   Harold's father Rev James Sedgwick was not only a learned Cleric, but he was involved in archaeological finding in Egypt.  He transcribed books to Chinese in China, and he was posted there during the Boxer Revolution.

But that opened a door to the most amazing family possible.  Here was the answer as to why my husband was a "mathematical person".  His 5th great grandfather was Thomas Mudge, the inventor of chronological systems for clock mechanisms, his 5th great uncle was Sir Marc Brunel, the engineer, his 5th great grandfather also included religious leaders and authors of the time. 

Finding them was rewarding, researching them and writing each of their stories was fulfilling.  That then brought with it the ability to write a story, develop more online research and create websites and family blogs.

This year, both John and I turn 70, we are from that excellent vintage of 1948.  My father was a Scot.  Born in Scotland, to first cousins, his father was also first cousins of the same cousins.  Confused?

On my mother's side I am a Durnford.  I hate wars, yet my family have served the Royal Engineers for over 250 years.  My investigative skills are currently to be found in a manuscript with my editor in Leicester.  I just have to be patient. My findings will change some long held perceptions of a War in 1879, and a cousin.  Facts not fiction.   

My father who I never knew, left when I was 4.  I know full well the feeling of "not belonging", it took me 60 years to see a photo of him, and to learn that he was the person who gave me my defective gene.  He died of a ruptured aneurysm aged 55.  Mine ruptured at age 55. 

But during the War, my father was one of those who liberated prisoners from prisoner of war camps in Germany, where he served in the British Forces.

My relationship? I married John Herron, almost 45 years ago.  That makes me an Out-law!!!  At our reunion I will be accompanied by my blood Herrick relative!!!!  My brother in law.

John Herron/Dale Herron married Ethel Schossow/Katie Jillett married Harold Sedgwick aka Claude Annesley/Alfred Jillett married Catherine Phillips/Thomas Jillett married Mary Ann Shone/Robert and Elizabeth Jillett.

                                                On the right are the Jilletts,
                                                on the left are the Herricks!
 Who said retirement was boring????

No comments:

Post a Comment