James Wright Goward and Mary Ann Denny

James Wright Goward

James Wright Goward was born in Welbourn, England in 1830.

The Welbourn Parish Council website records

The abundant records of the 19th century show Welbourn at a peak of agricultural development: a community largely composed of farmers and agricultural labourers supporting a wide range of rural crafts and service trades. There was also a period of rapid population growth, between 1801 and 1861 the number of people living in the village increased from 360 to 664.

According to the International Genealogical Index, there is a James Goward, the son of William and Ann (which matches the shipping records) who born on March 10, 1829 at Welbourn, Norfolk. According to this record, he was baptised on May 31, 1829. In all likelihood, this is a correct record for the birth of James, though you can never be totally confident about this stuff.

According to the Shipping Records, James was born in Welbourn, Norfolk England, the son of William and Annie (who were dead); while Mary Ann was born in the nearby village of Wicklewood, the daughter of James and Elizabeth. The shipping records contradict themselves in one major respect: James records his father in law was already living in the colony, while Mary Ann records her parents were still living at Wicklewood.

On March 10, 1851, he married Mary Ann Denny.

Mary Ann Denny

Mary Ann Denny, who was baptised at Wicklewood, Norfolk England, was the daughter of James Dennis and Elizabeth Guymer.

According to this website

In 1845 Wicklewood parish had 775 inhabitants, a grand total which included 137 unfortunates in the workhouse. Among the village trades at the time were smiths, bricklayers, shoemakers, shopkeepers, straw hat makers, beer-sellers, and a number of farmers. The only pub listed in 1845 was the Wild Man, setback from the Lower High Street.

Mary’s family lived at Wicklewood throughout the period, though the name of her parent’s James and Elizabeth varied 1841 (Denny), 1851 (Denney) and 1861 (Dennis) on the census listings.

Travel to Australia

Along with their two young sons, James and Thomas they came to Australia as “Assisted Immigrants”. Travelling on the Anglo Saxon they arrived in Sydney on October 24, 1854. According to these records, they were Church of England, and neither James nor Mary Ann could read or write.

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893) Wed 25 Oct 1854, reported the following…

The Anglo Saxon is a new ship, now on her first voyage, and would no doubt have made a first rate passagebut for the light and contrary winds she has hadsince crossing the line. She made the passage from Southampton to the line in 42 days. The emigrants bythis vessel are classed as follows, 62 married couples,49 single women, 67 single men, and 96 children. Sevendeaths and five births (3 stillborn), have occurred duringthe passage. – Oct 23.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) Mon 23 Oct 1854 Page 4 reported the following.

October 21.-Anglo Saxon, ship, 765 tons, Captain J. G. Chap-man, from Southampton July 11. Passengers-Lieutenant Jones, Messrs. E. C. Sweeney, Minden, Dr. Grover, Surgeon Superinten-dent, and 331 Government emigrants. Constable, Bushell, and Co. agents.

They also came with several others from that area to Australia, arriving in Sydney in October 1854.

He, with his shipmates, Mr C. Turner and Mr Charles Meaker arrived at Merimbula in November 1854. James Goward was then engaged to Mr James Manning on the Kameruka Estate. In those days cereals were largely cultivated in the district, and in 1854 Mr Goward won the thirty Guinea cup for the best sample of English malt barley. Shortly after this Mr Goward selected near Wolumla and gradually acquired considerable property, where he built a substantial homestead

Life around Bega, NSW

Although the marriage record for his daughter Mary Ann, records the family living at Lithgow Flat in 1870, the Greville’s Directory of 1872 identifies James as a farmer living at Big Flat, Wolumla. Although unconfirmed, it seems likely this is the same place, but being known differently.

The Sydney Morning Herald of Saturday 26 November 1870, page 7 notes James was appointed to the board of the Wolumla South School Board.

Death of Mary Ann

Mary Ann Goward died August 18, 1891 (3431/1891). The death notice, incidentally, states her parents were James and Petsy.

Erected to the memory of
Mary Ann Goward
who departed this life 18th of August 1891. Aged 61 years
Dearest mother thou hast left life
Thou dost dwell with angels now
And a wreath of glory priceless
Sparkles on thy shiny brow

After the decease of his wife Mr Goward married the widow of the late Mr Hopkinson, of the Occidental Hotel, Bega. Latterly they ran the Club Hotel and conducted a good business.

Remarriage and death of James Wright Goward

James married Eliza Hopkinson in 1895 (4674/1895).

Together, they ran the Club Hotel, which is described thus:

The Club Hotel was a two storied wooden building on the corner of Carp and Church Streets built in the late 1800’s. It was often referred to as the Rose Hotel as it had a prolific rose climbing up the side of the building. The Club was first operated by the McNamara family changing hands a number of times afterwards. In 1887 a fire started in the hotel stables which was extinguished by a bucket brigade after Edward Brown raised the alarm by ringing the Bell of St. Johns (Anglican Church) at theother end of Church St. The Hotel closed on Friday 10th September 1909 and the building housed a drapery run by Rodd and Cheg until the Depression. It was subsequently remodeled and operated as the Neon Cafe for many years. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the building was further remodeled to the building that exists today.

James’ death (755/1900) was announced in “The Bega Standard” of Friday, January 19, 1900.

“Mr J. W. Goward, one of the oldest identities of the district passed away after much suffering at 6am on Thursday. The funeral procession will leave his late residence, Club Hotel, Bega for the wolumla Cemetery at 11 o’clock today”.

An obituary, published in “The Bega Standard” gives a further account of their lives in Australia…

“Mr J. W Goward, whose death was announced in the last issue, was one of the oldest pioneers of the district. Born in Welbourne, England in the year 1830 and educated in that town, he, with several others came to this district from the old land, arriving in Sydney in October 1854. He, with his shipmates, Mr C. Turner and Mr Charles Meaker arrived at Merimbula in November 1854. Mr Goward was then engaged to Mr James Manning on the Kameruka Estate. In those days cereals were largely cultivated in the district, and in 1854 Mr Goward won the thirty Guinea cup for the best sample of English malt barley. Shortly after this Mr Goward selected near Wolumla and gradually acquired considerable property, where he built a substantial homestead and resided until nearly four years ago. After the decease of his wife Mr Goward married the widow of the late Mr Hopkinson, of the Occidental Hotel, Bega. Latterly they ran the Club Hotel and conducted a good business. Mr Goward, than whom there was no one better known in the district was the true type of the honest straightforward Englishman. His mates of the oldest time admitted his pluck and perseverance and not one of them but mourn his loss, and in his death they cannot but feel that another true man is laid low. To his numerous family, and the widow left to mourn her loss, sympathy is extended. The funeral took place on Friday and as the numerous courtege neared Wolumla many joined the procession, which took place in the Wolumla Cemetery. Numerous wreaths were forwarded and placed on the coffin, while letters and telegrams of sympathy were received from all parts of the colony.

James was buried with Mary Ann in the Wolumla Cemetery…

Also her beloved husband
James Wright Goward
Died 18th of January 1900.
Aged 69 years
Pure and sinless was thy lifetime
Christ has died to set thee free
Wait a little dearest father
And we soon shall follow thee


* James Wright was born February 6 and baptised at Wicklewood on February 29, 1852. He married Lucy Willis in 1871 (1688/1871). He died at Eden in 1925 (14467/1925)

* Thomas was born July 14 and baptised at Wicklewood on August 7, 1853.

* Mary Ann was born in 1855/0 (V1855811 159). Aged 15, she fell pregnant to and married Peter O’Brien. At the time of their marriage, on October 2, 1870 (Reference: 1870/2194), Peter was a “Labourer” at Tantawangalo, while Mary Ann was a “Dairy Maid” at Lithgow Flat. After a three-year ilnness with Chronic Congestive Heart Disease (Mitral Insufficiency), Mary Ann died, aged 77, on September 22, 1932 at Orchard Farm, Candelo. She was buried the same day in the Church of England section at Wolumla Cemetery. Her death was reported in the “Bega District News” on September 29, 1932 (13543/1932).

* John was born in 1857 (V1857844 159). He married Mary Taylor at Bega in 1884 (4626/1884). He died at Candelo in 1895 (1017/1895).

* Robert was born in 1859 (1859/7180). He married Elizabeth Perry at Bega in 1886 (4934/1886). He died at Eden in 1922 (7014/1922)

* Ann Maria was born at Eden in 1860 (1860/6830). She married Henry Webb at Bega in 1880 (2700/1880).

* Sarah A was born in 1863 (1863/7521). She married John Johnson at Bega in 1880 (2693/1880).

* William was born in 1867 (1867/8963).

* Charles was born in 1868 (1868/9002). He married Charlotte E Barber at Candelo in 1895 (4804/1895). He died in 1926 (3079/1926).

* Elizabeth was born in (1870/9294).

* George Henry was born at Bega January 4 1872 (1872/6802) and (1872/9002). He married Eliza Went at Candelo in 1893 (2823/1893). He died September 22 1918 at Wolumla (13428/1918)

Sharing Around: Please feel free to copy any of the information on this page which may help you in your own research. My feeling is that family research is hard enough, without the need to constantly re-invent the wheel. It would be great, however, if you’d leave a comment below just to say “hi”.

39 Replies to “James Wright Goward and Mary Ann Denny”

  1. Dear June,

    Thank you very much for your lovely email. I am pleased you enjoyed reading the website. It has been wonderful to receive emails and comments from people who have been able to fill in more of the story. Although I now live in Sydney also, I am quite fascinated by the area.In particular, I love hearing about some of the stories, as, although my late dad (he was born in 1917) was born in Lismore, all of his brothers and sisters were born at Candelo or Bega. Anyway, I am pleased you enjoyed the information.


  2. Hi, I am connected to the Britten family represented on the Monaro Website and will check out what is on for Goward and will forward the added details if you don’t mind. You have done some great research and thank you for allowing me to copy. Barbara Adams

  3. Hi, Very interested in this information, as I am a Denny born in Norfolk England. So one day would love to do some research to see if I am related to Mary Ann. Too busy at the momement as a working wife and mum. I just have a little surf on the net now and then see what I find.

    Kind Regards

  4. Barbara – thanks for the comments. Glad the site was useful.

    Cheryl – good luck with your research. It can be a bit all consuming. Who knows, maybe we’re related distantly?

  5. Hi James, i enjoyed reading a bit of the history on James wright Goward. My grandfather was lionell, george henry was my GGG grandfather. we still live in the Bega area & i spent alot of time on Kameruka when i was little. My mother was a Britten. I would love to hear of any information you have on jacob & esther (nee alcock) Britten. Also thier son Arthur Athalstain tasman Britten who Married kathellen Heather Zelma Wilson. that would be fantastic. Who Knows I may even be able to help you with anything you want to know about the Gowards. Look forward to hearing from you. xx

    1. Hi,
      If you have any old photos, I would love to see as my Mother was a Britten
      Phyllis Britten and I have been trying to make sure that the Alcocks the Gowards and the Brittens are well represented on the Monaro website along with any accompanying photos I can dig up. Also any added family information.
      I would love to hear from you
      All my best
      Barbara Adams

  6. Dear James

    Your records are wonderful and I do appreciate your sharing them. My Great Grandmother was Elsie May Goward, daughter of John Goward and Mary Taylor.
    Elsie lived on a dairy farm in a small village called Kunghur (halfway between Nimbin and Murwillumbah) Many of Elsie’s family is still in Murwillumbah. I look forward to learning more about the Goward family. Thank you again, Eve

    1. Hi Eve,

      I can see that your message on this board was sometime ago but your Great Grandmother, Elsie May Goward, and my Great Grandfather, James Fredrick Goward, are brother and sister.

      If you are still about I’d love to email to see if you have any more information or pictures.


        1. Thanks James. This record you have put together of the Goward’s is fantastic and has given me alot of leads and new information! Hopefully I can connect with Eve.

    1. Dear Jeanette,
      If you check out the Monaropioneers.com.au website It is a great site run by historian Ian Harvey and this is the site that I would send the info and photos to.
      I think they are doing a great job of gathering together as many of the pioneer stories as can be obtained and each little piece of info helps
      All my best
      Barbara Adams

  7. Hello James,
    I found your website through a referral from Barbara Adams and greatly enjoyed reading it.
    I am a descendant of Mary Taylor who married John Goward in 1884. Mary’s maiden surname was Willis and she was the younger sister of Lucy Willis who married James Wright Goward.
    Mary and John Goward had four children – Alice, Ernest, James and Elsie. I notice that one of the respondents to this website is a descendent of Elsie. I’ve been attempting to trace the descendants of these siblings for more than 20 years – although I’m not actually a Goward myself. I’ve done quite a bit of research on the Willis line and am happy to share.
    Thanks very much,

      1. Hello James,
        I’m interested in the Gowards because I wanted to untangle the tangled life of my Mary Taylor. She was abandoned by her first husband, Alfred and went to live with her sister Lucy, (married to James Goward). It was there she met James’s brother John and married him. Their children were my father’s aunts and uncles – he was very fond of them and knew their father had been killed tragically by a lightning strike.
        My father, who died in 1996, did know something of the family history and spoke of an American connection with the Goward clan. He was unsure of what the connection was, but thought it may have even been Native American. Interesting, hey?

        1. Hi Annabelle,
          I have just reread your message with James O’Brien re James Wright Goward and wonder if you would be willing to share information with me, I am a direct descendant. I note that it was mentioned in one post that James b1852 Norfolk married Lucy Willis, however, they (James and Mary Ann nee Denny) had a James b1857 (found on BDMNSW), I feel it was this one who married Lucy and he died in 1925 buried at Wolumla.
          Have you found any links with American Goward’s as it is mooted that there is a connection?
          I am happy to share anything that I have with you.
          My phone number is 02 64944976 or 0418617832 nights are best, should you wish to phone.
          Thanks for your time.
          Janelle (Goward) Bega NSW

  8. Hi James, Just stumbled on your website after typing in James Wright Goward,thanks for this information you have given us on James Wright who was my Great Great Grandfather I think? James and Mary had a daughter Susanna going by my records which you had not included with the other children, Susanna Goward married Fred Morrow and my grandmother was Susan Emily Morrow who married Thomas Robertson


    1. Phil, thanks for your comment. I have checked the birth, deaths and marriages index and there’s a Susan born to James Wright (the son) and Lucy Ellis in 1882, but I can’t find a Susanna as a child to James Wright (the father) and Mary Ann. Do you have the details of this other birth? James

  9. James , yes there could be a discrepancy here, I obtained my information from the Bega Valley Pioneer register but how accurate this is I am not sure.
    It says that James Wright Goward had a 8th child called Susanna born 1862 at Wolumla and married Frederick Morrow in 1882, But after rechecking another listing under James, Susanna’s name did not appear. One listing says they had 13 children and another says they had 12 children? So I am not sure maybe I need to do some more research or someone could shed some light on this.

    1. Hello Phil Robertson and James O’Brien

      My husband is descended from James Wright Goward, his grandmother was Ann Maria Goward b 1860, who married Henry Webb in 1880. Yes they did have a daughter Susanna born 19th April 1862, but not registered and she married Frederick Morrow on 13 December 1882. We were in contact with a Morrow family in Candelo a few years ago and they confirmed these details.

      I would like to exchange any other details with you.
      Norma Webb

      1. Hi Norma, great to hear from you, and thanks for the confirmation about these details. James

  10. Hi James, just had a quick browse of this site, I have come across a few names that I have on my family tree.I do find it a little hard sometimes to find information. Financially it is a little difficult too, researching can prove to be a little expensive sometimes. Thanks to people like you it is a lot easier.
    I will check out the information I have found on yr site and let you know if I have a connection. Would love to contact others who may be connected to gain more info. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Kerrin, glad it is useful. And yes the costs can be quite high for certificates in particular, and sometimes they contain no useful information at all. Cheers, James

    2. Kerrin – if you read this, please contact Margaret again re your HARRISON family – email your phone number so I can contact you as your hotmail email is bouncing.

  11. i have read these comments and am a direct decendant of this line. There is a whole branch of the rare Gowards in Tasmania. My father has a great family tree which has been thouroughly researched and as he is in his 80’s now if you want to check it out time is of the essence. his name is Gordon Goward if you would like contact with him let me know.

  12. Hi James
    Just wanting any information on my ancestors Charles and son Joseph Snr Fairman they lived in Wolumla at Lithgow Flat ” was this a property or town” in mid 1800s also in Bega and Boggy creek Charles died 1889 at Tantawanglo and buried at Candelo .
    I haven’t any details of their early life there and would appreciate any information you or others may have
    My Grandfather Joseph Jnr went to World War 1 from Wolumla in 1916
    Best regards Bryan

      1. Hello James
        Recently went to Candelo /Wolumla / Bega / Tantawanglo , from Melbourne what beautiful scenery hope you have been to this area, our families were pioneers around here I am sure you would love the area also , well worth a visit to all towns
        Best Regards Bryan

        1. Hi Bryan, I sure have both for work and pleasure. You’re so right. In many ways, it’s like the NSW North Coast when I was growing up there years ago. Much less developed though now. James

  13. Hi James
    Thanks for your message
    Do you know if your family knew the Fairman’s at all .
    One girl married a Davidson [ From Twofold Bay] at that time a whaling station.
    Best regards Bryan

  14. Hi Bryan
    My name is Nicole Cameron and my g3 grandparents were Johanna and Joseph Fairman. Do you know where the Fairman property was at Tantawanglo and if and when it was sold. Would like to see if it is still there.

    1. Hi Nicole
      They are both my GGreat grandparents his father Charles worked and later died at Tantawanglo but buried at Candelo the family lived a lot and died in Candelo they had land / stock at Porters Gap Johanna had shops at Pambula / Wolumla she was well known in Pambula We recently went to Bega [a lot were born there and died there ] , from Melbourne to the cemetery where
      they and others [ Charles] are buried , Anna his wife lies buried under the now Bega High School .
      Where do you fit into the family?? and where are you living .
      Best Regards Bryan Fairman

  15. Hello James
    On your Genealogy site item 27/28/29 I left a message for a Nicole Cameron to contact me Re Candelo / Wolumla etc , she may not have read this , are you able to contact her for me , she is a family member of my GGrandfather
    Best Regards Bryan

  16. Hello James,
    I am a Benjamin Rixon descendant on my father’s side – we met at the unveiling of James Rixon’s headstone in Windsor last year. This question concerns my mother’s family: I have several photographs of my immediate family and “Uncle Peter and Auntie Ginny Williams” at Kameruka. So far, I have been unable to track Peter and Ginnie (Jeanie?) down as they do not appear to be direct family relations, and “uncle” and “aunt” might well be honorific titles. If any of your family, or those posting on this page with Kameruka connections, can help I would love to hear from them.
    Many thanks for your insights and those of others trying to reconnect with family and discover who they are. These days with families scattered all over the world it seems important that we know and appreciate our roots.

    Kind Regards
    Judith Falle

  17. Hi James, have just been discussing the Goward family with Janelle and she pointed out that you have James b1852 married to Lucy Willis. The BDMNSW show that a James was born 1857 to James and Mary Ann nee Denny. I can’t believe for a minute mthat two sons would carry the same christian name if both were living. I note that a James to the above parents died 1925 . I therefore presume tha6t the first James born in Norfolk was predeceased to James’ birth in 1857 and it is this James who married Lucy Willis. Your thoughts please? Thanks in advance. Colleen

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