Robert Higgins and Ann Owen

Robert Higgins

Robert Higgins, a native of Nottinghamshire, England, had a height of 163cm, a dark complexion, black hair, and hazel coloured eyes as stated in his official records of the “Ticket Of Freedom.”

As noted by Lyn Elgood on RootsWeb

He was a soldier in the 95th Regiment of Foot, 2nd Battalion. He travelled to far flung places of the world in his short lifetime.

He visited Ireland, then shipped to Colonia in Uruguay where the British had an offensive on the River Plate. Then later was involved in the war with Napoleon at Walcheren (part of Holland). According to research details :

“Forty thousand men landed at Walcheren intending to destroy Napoleon’s new fleet. But the British sailed with barely a day’s supply of quinine and no hospital ships. In a master stroke of ecological warfare, Napoleon breached the Dutch dykes creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Soon thousands of invaders fell sick and a hundred a week died. The force ignominiously withdrew”.;sz=1×1;ord=2006.

Robert was court martialled at Walcheren for stealing a watch from a dutch local and was transported.

In further correspondence, Lyn adds…

Robert Higgins was involved in the Battle of the River Plate in Uruguay. As Spain was a french ally and it was a combined Spanish-French fleet that Nelson attacked off Cape Trafalgar in 1805, Great Britain apparently decided that one way of hitting back was to attack the Spanish colonies in South America. The main aim was to gain control of River Plate by conquering the dominant city, Buenos Aires. I think the British occupation lasted six months.

Forty thousand men landed at Walcheren intending to destroy Napoleon’s new fleet. But the British sailed with barely a day’s supply of quinine and no hospital ships. In a master stroke of ecological warfare, Napoleon breached the Dutch dykes creating breeding ground for mosquitoes. The British lost one hundred soldiers a week to malaria.

The is also an account referred to as the Recollections of Rifleman Harris (1848) regarding the Walcheren Expedition which is available on the net.

The court martial of Robert Higgins is contained in the Court Martial Registers (WO92/1) and the Court Martial Reports in WO91.

Transportation to Australia

Higgins was court martialled on September 6, 1809.

He came to Australia on the Admiral Gambier II in 1811.

The diary of Lachlan Macquarie, dated Sunday, September 29, 1811 records….

“The Ship Admiral Gambier Convict Transport commanded by Capt. Sindrie, with Ensigns Holmes & Wentworth & a Detachment of 30 Soldiers of the 73d. Regt. as a Guard, having on board 197 Male Convicts from England, anchored this afternoon between 4 and 5 OClock in Sydney Cove, having sailed from England finally on the 12th. of May – touching at Rio, which she left on the 29th. of July. —”

Robert Higgins began his career working for Rowland Hassall, a prominent Presbyterian preacher and landowner who held extensive land in the Camden and Nepean areas. In 1814, Higgins was appointed superintendent of government stock, giving him responsibility for managing the vast Cowpastures run.

On November 19, 1814, Higgins married Ann Owen, a convict who had arrived in Australia on the Wanstead. Ann was likely born in 1791 and had come to the colony with her illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth.

Robert Higgins prisoner age 36 of the parish of St John Parramatta by the Gambier and
Ann Owens prisoner age 29 by the Wansted were married in this church by me Benjamin Vale this 19th day of November 1814 Robert and Ann signed the register
in the presence of William Weatherell and John Eyre who both signed the register

Ann Owen

Based on the trial record from The Old Bailey, it is evident that Ann had been living in poverty before her arrival in Australia, which may have driven her to commit the crime for which she was convicted.

On September 16, 1812, Ann was found guilty of shoplifting at The Old Bailey and was sentenced to death. According to court records, she had stolen a gown worth seven shillings from a pawnbroker’s shop owned by John Hulme at 181 High Street, Shadwell. This inner-city district of London was located on the north bank of the Thames, between Wapping to the west and Limehouse to the east. The fact that she was willing to risk her life to steal a relatively inexpensive item suggests that she was likely in dire financial circumstances at the time.

Q. Were you present when Ann Owen came into your shop – A. Yes. On the 4th of September, in the afternoon, when she came to the shop, she said, that she had lost the ticket of a gown, pledged for four shillings, in the name of Ann Owen . I desired my lad to look for it; there was no gown of that description. I immediately called the eldest lad, thinking the young lad might omit looking for it. He could not find any thing to answer the description; and then he went round the shop door; and said, Sir, there is a gown gone from the door. I had never left the shop at all.

Q. How soon was that after the prisoner had left the shop – A. About seven or eight minutes; I immediately sent him in search at a neighbouring pawnbroker’s. He found it at Mr. Bradley’s. I am sure it was within the door,

MR. BRADLEY. I live about twenty doors from Mr. Hulme. About two o’clock in the afternoon, on the 4th instant, the prisoner pledged this gown for five shillings. I am positive to the prisoner’s person. I produce the gown.

Mr. Hulme. It is my gown; it has my mark on it now.

Prisoner’s Defence. I was very much in distress. I applied to the parish to take my child; they refused. I have a bad state of health, and am very poor. I am not able to go to service.

Q. to Prosecutor. What is the prime cost of the gown – A. It stood me in nine shillings. I value it at seven shillings. It pledged at the next shop for five shillings.

GUILTY , DEATH , aged 25.

The prisoner was recommended to mercy by the jury, on account of her being distressed.

Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Justice Heath.

On August 24 or 28, 1813, Ann sailed from Spithead, England with 120 female prisoners and arrived in Sydney 138 days later on January 9, 1814, with 117 of them. Two of the female convicts died during the journey, and one was re-landed. Given her trial record and illegitimate daughter, it is likely that Ann was living in desperate poverty before her arrival in Australia.

Due to his good behavior, a petition was made on behalf of Robert Higgins in 1817 to support his land grant and appointment as a constable at Cow Pastures.

To His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie Esquire, Captain General, Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over H.M Territory of NSW and its Dependencies.

The Humble Petition of Robert Higgins herewith

That your Excellency’s Petitioner came to this Colony per ship Gambier 2nd in the year 1811 through his good conduct and SOMETHING recommendation of the same, Your Excellent was SOMETHING pleasure to grant him an Emancipation in the the year 1817 and at the same time made him Constable at the Cow Pastures which both he SOMETHING at this date.

Your Petition SOMETHING in that great SOMETHING arrangement to deserving persons which marks the general character of Your Excellency, jumbly solicits the grant of a portion of land.

May it please Your Excellency to grant your Petitioner such indulgence he will to the extent of his ability endeavour to show that such benevolance was not bestowed on an unworthy character and Your Petitioner as by duty bound will ever Pray.

I beg leave to SOMETHING to Your Excellency that his Petitioner is a sober, honest and industries Man, having known him from his first arrival in the Cllony and therefore beg leave to command him to the petition of your excellency


You can download the memorial, located by fellow Higgins descendant, Greg Tevelen as a pdf (about 3 megs in size)

His conditional pardon in 1817, gives some description of his physical appearance.

AO Reel 774; p 103; Ticket No 796
Date of Pardon: 30-1-1817; Name : Higgins Robert; Ship & Year : Ad. Gambier 2; Native Place: Nottinghamshire; Trade or Calling : Formerly a soldier; Place & Date of Trial : Walcheren by Court Martial 6 Sept.1809; Sentence :Life; Height: 5′ 4 ½ ;
Complexion : Dark ; Hair: Black; Eyes: Hazel

Of Robert Higgins, the Colonial Secretary’s Paper’s record the following…

HIGGINS, Robert. Per “Admiral Gambier”, 1811

1817 Feb 1
Appointed constable at Cow Pastures (Reel 6038; SZ759

1818 Jun
Constable at Cowpastures. Memorial (Fiche 3021;
4/1824A No.347 p.313)

1821 Jan 24
Store receipts of for wheat (Reel 6051; 4/1748 p.147)

1822 Feb 21
Dismissed for neglect (Reel 6039; 4/424 p.38)

1823 Mar 5
Re victualling of (Reel 6010; 4/3507 p.402)

According to one researcher, Lyn on Roots Web

It is believed that he assisted the early Surveyor Robert Dixson as a creek was named Bob Higgins creek after him in 1827. This creek ran into the Wollondilly. This creek is now apparently completely submerged within the dam and the name is retained within the dam as Higgin’s Bay.

In 1828 Robert and Ann separated. The record of Robert’s death indicated Ann had an extra marital affair. Incidentally, the 1828 census records Ann (aged 37) “as living and working at Camden as a housemaid for William Scott.”

Death of Robert Higgins

A few months later, at Burragorang, NSW Robert (Senior) died from asthma on June 11, 1828

A few days later it was reported in “The Monitor” on Friday 16 June 1826…

John Malony, Chief Constable, Appin, James Jackson, ex-publican, of Campbell Town, Whaley, Constable of Myrtle Creek and Robert Higgins of Bargo, have all severally been fined in the full penalty of 25 pounds sterling, for selling spirituous liquors without a licence

CORONERS INQUEST : Reel 2233 A.O. p5-14
Robert Higgins on Wed. morning the 11th day of June 1828 at Burragorang in the colony died suddenly of suppression of breath from an old disease he had been afflicted some time viz Asthma that he had no marks of violence appearing on his body & died by the vindication of God in a natural way & not otherwise.

1st witness
Wm. Pearse free – Overseer to Master Cox stationed at Burragorang being duly sworn states
That the deceased Robert Higgins having some little time ago separated from his wife, I suppose a month, came & asked if I would allow him to stop at my hut, as he had detected his wife with another man. I considered, & he remained at my hut until his death which took place on the 11th instant. On the 10th deceased went over to a neighbours to grind a knife & when he returned, he said, there is your knife, I have ground it, but my breath is so short I did not think I should have been able to have got to the hut though. He said this was about dusk, he ate a heavy supper & seemed very cheerful & went to bed between 9 & 10 o’clock at night – he went to sleep. I slept with him, & I thought I smelt his breath offensive. I turned away from him & went to sleep. I felt him turn himself, about 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, & then he got up & went out of doors, he awoke me by asking if I was awake – he came in doors again smoked a pipe – I got up & went out of doors & when I returned was looking about he asked what I was looking for & said I’ve got the pipe which he then gave me – at that time he said “Bless me my winds so bad. I shall never be able to get up the mountain – I must go to bed again, the wind comes so cold to my back – he then went to bed – after which he said I’m so bad I must get up again – I went into the room to go to bed, & he was putting on his clothes again – he said he was very bad – & came out of the room & asked a man in the hut, Gainon, by name, to put a long pair of boots on him, the deceased, which he did – deceased then went out of doors – in a minute or less he returned into the hut & said “For God’s Sake William get up & write my will for I am going to die, & devised I would see that his children had everything belonging to him, do take my little boy & keep him to yourself for God Sake – he then prayed a short time & then said to the men in the hut, “I am sorry I can’t speak more to you ” he afterward tried to speak to me but was unable & finding him fainting, led him to the bed & supported him on his knees & he then said “Lay me down there “- I laid him down & he died in half a minute.
William Pearse

2nd witness
Thomas Smith Government man to Master Cox stationed at Burragorang
That on Tuesday evening on my return to my hut the deceased came in & complained of being short of breath & said he could hardly get up the sand bank of the river, he went some time by the fire talking of soldiering & seemed cheerful – about 10 o’clock he went to sleep – early in the morning I was awoke by Pearse to get up – & then I heard deceased coughing very hard outside the door & say the Lord receive my soul, & then said Bill get up (to Pearce) & write his will for he was going to die – I got up & saw deceased coming into the hut stopping – I led him a short distance when he threw up some white phlegm & said for the Lords Sake pray for me men & said Bill take care of my boy – deceased was then led to the bed & desired to be laid down – he was laid down & never moved afterwards.
Thomas Smith

3rd witness
Thomas Gainon government man to Davson Douglas stationed at Burragorang.
After sun down on the 10th June/Tuesday I returned with my sheep for the hearth & sat down by the fire with the deceased who was telling some stories about soldiering – the deceased bid me good night & went to bed about 10 o’clock -as I lay on the floor I could not go to bed till the room was clear, & then I did go, & went to sleep – about 3 or 4 o’clock on Wednesday morning I was awoke by deceased coming into my room – he went out & smoked a pipe, & then he had a violent lot of coughing outside the hut, he then came in & went to bed, afterwards in a minute or five he got up again & went out saying his breath was very short, that he was going to die & called Pearse to write his will, he came to the door & seemed fainting, Smith & another man led him to a bed, he was laid down, deceased said Lord have mercy on my soul & desired Pearse to take care of his little boy & died immediately.
Thomas Gainon

Children Placed In Orphan School

On April 16, 1829, Ann asked for the children, Robert Martin (aged 5) and Sarah (aged 7) to be placed in the Orphan Schools. at Cabramatta.

The Male Orphan School was authorised to admit destitute boys aged between seven and ten. The boys received a basic education (reading , writing ‘arithmetic) and industrial training . On Sunday they were to attend service at an Anglican Church. The boys became the legal responsibility of the School and remained in the care of the Master until they turned 15 when they were apprenticed out to tradesmen, or as farm labourers for 5, 6 or 7 years. The School was intended to house only 50 boys, (4) ( but at its most populous in 1834 there were 160 boys in residence.

Name: Robert Martin Higgins
Age: 5
When admitted: 28 Dec 1829
Time of quitting the school: 25 Jan 1837
Parents’ names: Robert & Ann Higgins
Remarks: Mr John Griffiths Sydney

The records indicate Robert Martin and Sarah remained in the orphan schools until January 25, 1837.

Death of Ann Owen

Ann died on July 23, 1832, and is buried beside her daughter Elizabeth Scott at Sutton Forest

Sacred to the memory of Ann Higgins who departed this life the 23 July 1832 aged 41 years. …..


* Elizabeth Owen/Higgins was born in about 1806 and came to Australia with her mother, Ann, on the Wanstead. She married William Scott in 1834 (V18341354 18/1834) and died soon afterwards (aged 28) on November 18, 1834 (V18342245 18/1834). She and her mother are buried together at Sutton Forrest.

With thanks to researcher, Garry Buchanan, I have the follow biographical information about the Scott/Higgins marriages…

Little is known of Scott except he too came to the colony as a convict and as fate dictated was, like William White, among the 197 convicts who arrived on the same ship, the ‘Admiral Gambier’.

Interestingly no reference has been located concerning William Scott in the musters up until these details found in the 1828 census. Scott served his time, and was granted his freedom, thought to be while he was still employed by Elizabeth Macarthur. Along with his freedom he was given a grant of land at Bargo, which by the time of the 1828 muster had grown in size to 5000 acres thereby assuring his position as a businessman in the local community. The livestock on the property consisted of 2 horses, 48 cattle and 1010 sheep.

By 1830 William Scott former convict, tanner and landholder at Bargo became one of the new breed of far-sighted adventurers and squattered on land known locally as Greenlands near Nimmitabel to raise cattle. His run was apparently called “Tom Groggin”, this lay probably to the north of the present Nimmitabel town reserve. Scott appointed his employee William White, ex-convict, as overseer or as was sometimes-called superintendent, to manage the property and supervise the reported few hundred head of cattle on it.

* Ann Eliza Higgins. married her previously mentioned brother-in-law William Scott on February 23, 1835 (V18351325 19/1835).

William Scott died at Bungendore on November 19, 1868 aged 85.

The Scott Nature Reserve was named in recognition of its highest point, Scott Trig, itself named after the family of William Scott who settled the adjoining land along Mulloon Creek in the 1830s.

* Sarah Higgins. With her younger brother, Robert’s permission, she married the convict William White (who came to Australia on the same ship as her father) in 1840.

According to researcher, John McInerney they moved to the Mulloon Creek area near Bungendore in about 1836.

He was superintendent of Scott’s ‘Tom Groggin’ lease in the Snowy Mountains from 1830 to 1841. He left Scott in 1854 to work for Dr. Throsby at ‘Kybean’ at £100 per year with double rations for a period of 2 years. Sometime after this William moved to the Long Swamp area near Bungendore.

With thanks to researcher, Garry Buchanan, a more extensive biography now exists for Sarah and William….

The registration of this marriage states it occurred at Goulburn and the witnesses to the marriage were Alexander and Mary Myers of Goulburn. The marriage registration details also indicate both William and Sarah were residents of the Maneroo Parish, he was aged about 47 and she had just celebrated her 19th birthday the previous month.

The first ten years of their married life can be traced by the birth, in this isolated area, of six of their seven children four which have been confirmed as occurring at Greenland, one at Gunningrah, and the other recorded simply occurring at Nimmitabel.

It seems that William White ceased working for William Scott on his property at Greenland about 1850 when he changed employer, and possibly commenced worked on the Gunningrah property located south of Nimmitabel towards Bombala, as this was the registered birthplace of his daughter Emma White on 12 June 1852. Two years later William and family moved camp again and accepted a two-year contract to work for Mrs. Throsby on her property at Kybean, about ten miles from Nimmitabel.

The NSW registry of births, deaths and marriages shows it was at Long Swamp that William and Sarah’s seventh child, Sarah Ann White was born on 9 February 1860. William’s occupation is shown as stockman.

Four years later their eldest son William married Elizabeth Brown at the Bungendore Church of England school house on December 29, 1864 and their marriage registration indicated William’s father William White senior, was deceased, but the place and date of his demise has not been determined. Similarly the place and date of Sarah White’s death has still to be discovered.

A more complete history of William and Sarah has been written by Gary, which you can read here. (File Size: 5.8megs, Word Document)

Thanks to fellow Higgins researcher, Greg Tevelen. for this baptism notice for Robert Martin Higgins.
Thanks to fellow Higgins researcher, Greg Tevelen. for this baptism notice for Robert Martin Higgins.

* Robert Martin Higgins was born at Bargo NSW in 1824 (V18246805 1B/1824). On March 26, 1829, his parents asked for he (aged 5) and his sister Sarah (aged 7) to be placed in the Orphan Schools. at Cabramatta, which occured on April 16, 1829. I haven’t established yet, how long they were there for. Although aged only 16 himself, he gave consent to the marriage of his elder sister, Sarah to William Scott in Goulburn in 1840. Robert married Ellen Triggell at Greenland near Cooma NSW on on June 11 1848 in (V1848364 33B/1848). Ellen had come to Australia with her parents on board “The James” arriving as an infant. She spent her early years in the Cooma district, before settling with her husband at Towamba. Not long after their arrival in Towamba, two of their children died in infancy. Robert was a signatory to the application to establish a school at Towamba. Aged 42, Robert died 29 July 1866 (4110/1866) and is buried at the Towamba Cemetery, NSW. Aged about 44, Ellen died 3 February 1874 at Towamba NSW (7025/1874). The NSW BDM record lists her as Helen, as does the Towamba cemetery record. But Thomas is listed as the father, so it’s very likely it was her despite a perhaps misheard version of Ellen. When Ellen died, their property passed on to their son Robert.

Thanks to Kerrie Beers for the information about the death of Robert and Ann.

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”.

49 Replies to “Robert Higgins and Ann Owen”

  1. Hello James

    I am a decendant from Robert Higgins and would love to hear from you.

    Regards Greg

  2. Hi Greg,
    Nice to hear from you. I have only recently been doing some work on Robert, so it’s great to hear from you. I hope we can exchange information.

  3. James,

    thanks for this great work. I am a direct descendant of Robert & Anne (traced through the Bega Valley Pioneer Register). I cannot find any details of Robert’s Court Martial during the Walcheren Expedition. I notice that you have a date for this – have you any other details – and is there any information I am likely to have which would be of use to you


  4. Hi Tim, great to hear from you. Unfortunately I’ve yet to find anything furhter about the Walcheren Expedition either. I’ve tried to make it a practice of uploading everything I have, so it’s all out there. What’s your line of descendary through Robert and Ann?

  5. I’ve also received the following email from
    Garry Buchanan which he’s confirmed is okay to share, as he is search for information about Sarah Higgins and William White. Will happily pass on any info from anyone who can help…

    As you know Robert Higgins and Ann Owen had four children, the third child Sarah is the focus of my research.

    I have managed to find considerable information concerning Sarah and her husband William White and their family. My wife is a descendant of this family.

    I can’t finish the story until I find the date and place of death for both Sarah and William. I’m hoping one of your correspondents may be able to help.

    Glad to swap my info.


    Garry Buchanan.

    1. I have a lot of info which can help. I wrote the William scitt/Elizabeth Iwens/Anne Higgins family history. Would like to share that and ask about Buchan an history. Glenda

      1. Hi Glenda, I am a descendant of robert Higgins and Ann Owens. I am trying to find information About Annie Higgins who is mentioned on birth certificates (1885-1889) of children of Tommy ah Check in Queanbeyan. I would appreciate any information you have about Annie Higgins. Thank you in advance, regards Deborah

        1. Deborah, unfortunately you are wanting specifics about a following generation. How have you established the Higgins-Owen connection. The only sure way is to have information on one or more certificates of birth, marriage, death. I have that established connection through William Scott and Elizabeth Owen [1824-1834] and subsequently Scott and Anne Higgins [1835]. Are you familiar with online sources in both NSW and National Library [Trove, newspapers]? Happy to help further if you need it.

            1. Deborah, you are not a bother. I love all the info relating to our family history. I hope you will keep me posted on how you go and please get back if you think I can help

    2. Harry, I thought that Anne was their only child. She was only 10 when he died 1828.sarah and William bought land near Bungendore after they returned from Snowy Mtns.

    3. I have also found that l am a descendant of the Robert and Ann line too. Researching my family back through my DNA as l was adopted. Fascinating read. What a wonderful amount of work.

  6. James,

    My Grandfather, Charles, was the son of Robert and Ellen – my father Alexander Thomas was the youngest of Charles’ nine children.

    My father fought in WWI – was wounded on the Western Front and had been Court Martialled for striking his superior officer.

    My mother was a descendant of James Kirkland who was born in County Donegall, Ireland. He arrived in Australia in 1838 and was a Blacksmith and farmer in Bega


  7. Just discovered this site. I am a descendant of William Scott and Elizabet Owen. I have extensive records on the Scotts and their considerable success as landowners in Braidwood district and breeders of bloodstock – horses in particular. I dont have a website but am happy to share information. I am writing up my research but it’s a spare time activity so it taking a long time.
    For the Walcheren expedition an out of print text online which has a detailed record of the disastrous expedition and Walcheren landing: McGuffie, T.H., the Walcheren Expedition and the Walcheren Fever, OUP, 1947. Google it.

    1. Hi Glenda, thanks for the suggested reading about the Walcheren expedition. I’ve already googled it, though unfortunately it’s not available in complete form on Google Books, I’m sure it’s probably available through the State Library. Thanks also for the offer of some information about the Scotts. I’m sure everyone would welcome any information you have/are willing to share. Cheers, James

  8. Hi James. Finding this site has been an amazing breakthrough for me, even though I have only just started this genealogy journey. My great grandmother, Elizabeth (Eliza) Ann Scott (1849-1941), was the youngest child of William Scott and Ann Eliza Higgins. I had become bogged down with Robert Higgins as some trees have claimed him as the son of another Robert Higgins of the NSW Corps and convict Lydia Blair /Farrell. I didn’t feel that this was right and you have clarified a great deal for me, so thank you. When my mother used to speak of ‘Granny Scott’ many years ago, I could not have guessed that today I would be so fascinated with my heritage. And the word ‘convict’ was _never_ mentioned. Now I find there is more than one so this is becoming very addictive! I am in WA, so primary sources can’t be viewed if they haven’t been digitised although I have sent away for official documents when possible. Thank you again. regards, Judi

    1. Hi Judi, the Higgins/Farrell thing continues to confuse me. Every time I come across this link, I get confused. We have this right? James

    2. Judi
      Just saw your enquiry. Please get in touch with me as another descendant of William Scott and Ann Higgins is here in Sydney. She discovered some wonderful memorabilia passed down from Elizabeth [Eliza] Ann Scott. By the time Elizabeth was born the family was well off and she lived a very middle class, genteel life. Look forward to hearing from you soon. I am working on the record of William and his 3 wives, 8 children and purchase of over 5,500 acres.

    3. Judi
      I dont know whether I have been in touch with you but I am very keen to know more about the life of Elizabeth [Eliza] Ann Scott [1849-1941]. I have done a documented record of the Scott family from William’s arrival in 1811 to his death in 1868. I have now added to this with a panel for the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry [see their Facebook page for more information]. So we have a former convict now to be celebrated on a national platform along with other previously more notable Scots including Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie, Dunmore Lang and others. I have a bound copy of my research if you are interested.
      I would particularly like to know more about Eliza Ann’s life as I lost track after her first husband, Mark Beresford was killed in Qld a few years into their marriage. Can you fill me in on her subsequent family life please.
      Also, I would be pleased to make contact with you if you are ever in Sydney.
      Glenda Gartrell

      1. I am a direct descendant of Robert Higgins and Ann Owen. I live in Oakdale, NSW and would love to meet you and exchange info
        If anyone else would like to meet or exchange info please contact me.

      2. Hi Glenda, we are looking at Marcus Beresford and did not know he had been married. I was wondering if you could inform us about it and if any images of him had survived. Email

        1. I have referred your enquiry to another family member who followed this line more closely. I have asked her to reply. Get back to me if you dont hear anything

          1. Thanks, Glenda, up until now no one knew Marcus had a wife but we have found official records of a wife (unnamed). So is a good piece of family history.

    4. I have a copy oh the scrapbook which Eliz Ann kept and it contains names and cards of some very interesting visitors from several different counties. All at Mulloon tea parties. They were indeed landed gentry

  9. Another thing, James. I have read in several places as well as here that Ann Owen arrived on the Wanstead with her illegitimate daughter Elizabeth. However I also have an Ann Owen, who was convicted on 16 September 1812, arriving on the ‘Fortune’ which departed in November 1812. There was an Elizabeth Phipps with her. This seems to be an error in the transcription of the Convict Registry that was accessed via the site. I can find her and Elizabeth on the Wanstead in 1814 on the Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records 1790-1849 in the same hand with the same list of names, so the first misled me for a while.

    1. Elizabeth Owens married William Scott in 1834 only a few months after the birth of their 6th child

  10. I am a descendant of William Scott and have recently completed my research of his Glasgow origins and his very successful life in Colonial NSW. I am very happy for anyone to contact me as I have some information about many early families in the Braidwood-Bungendore area. I will send a copy of my research to Braidwood Historical Society and info about Bassingthwaightes from Larbet – two Scotts married two Bassingthwaightes.

  11. Hi very interested reading this site.I am a descendant of Robert and Ann.Charles Higgins and Lavina Newlyn(his cousin)are my great grandparents.My grandmother was born illigitimately named Sylvia Newlyn but later when they married they changed her surname to Higgins.I know very little about this side of my family as my grandmother died when I was very young.Thank you for the info.

  12. Gwen, there are two Robert Higgins in the colony at the same time, pre 1820. Both worked for the Macarthur family at Camden. You need to do a lot of filling in from where you are now to back then using birth, marriage, death certificates to be sure which one is yours. One arrived as a convict, the other in the NSW Corp

  13. Hi Glenda,

    William Scott was my great-great-grandfather, born (I thought) in Galashiels in 1785 or 1788, transported for stealing three sheep, with Higgins and White in 1811. Perhaps as a noted sheep-thief, he was almost immediately employed by Mrs Macarthur ], I like to think to develop the Merino flocks. I thought he had only two children, Charles born 1835, died 1900 when a horse rolled on him, and Elizabeth (Eliza). Eliza’s husband was Inspector of Native Police, Marcus Beresford de la Poer Beresford, born 1848, son of General Beresford, grandson of the head of the Anglican Church in Ireland (so I suppose they were Protestants), killed at Cloncurry in 1883 while dallying with a couple of Aboriginal girls. I don’t know if Eliza and Marcus had any children, but I’ve always suspected that my grandfather, Marcus Beresford Scott, was perhaps their child born out of wedlock, and cut off from the family fortune. Charles married Miriam Brown, born Denbighshire, Wales, about 1840; they married in 1859 and had ten kids. A lot of this is on Google. I hope this is useful.

    1. Hi Joe Marcus was the son of George Beresford, rev of the Irish Church (son of the Bishop(“?) of said church). Marcus was the general’s brother who paid for his tombstone in 1903. A picture of the monument can be found on the Qld Police Museum site.

      1. Higgins was tried in the same court at William Scott and they were both held on a hulk on the Thames for almost a year before transferred to Portsmouth and on to the NSW Colony, arriving in 1811. The families intermarried over following generations. I can email you more details shortly if you like to contact me directly:

      2. There were two Robert Higgins. One a soldier who was part of the Walcherin expedition. The other Robert Higgins, transported with William Scott a farm labourer from Watford. There is no research about his origins in England that I could uncover.

  14. You have a lot of the story ( not all if it correct) but there is so much more. I have published my research on William Scott and it’s a remarkable one. You might be pleased to know I have embroidered a panel about William for the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry which will be in Sydney 23 Mar- 3 Aor, Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Pidcock St Camperdown. Hope to see some of you there.

  15. I was wondering if anyone has any certificates they would like to share, particularly Robert HIGGINS death 1828 (as I cannot locate his). I would very much appreciate it as I have just started this line.
    With thanks and appreciation

    1. Might be hard to trace much. He and his wife Ann Owens had small holding near Narellan. When he died she went to live with her daughter Elizabeth and William Scott and their growing family. Elizabeth and Ann are buried side by side at Sutton Forest and have shared headstone. Higgins and Ann’s only child, Anne was sent to work as a house maid for William Klensendorllfe when Higgins died. Anne later married William Scott when her step sister, Elizabeth died in 1834

  16. Hi James

    What a wonderful website and treasure trove on information about the Scotts, Whites and Higgins. You are very generous in your sharing of sources and information.

    My great great grandmother was the Elizabeth Ann White who married Alfred Tivey. Our family history had William White running the Greenland run just east of Nimmitalbel from about 1930. You will still find a Greenland Road on Google maps and there is a Scotts creek that runs from there and joins up with the Numeralla River. There is a Licence to Depasture 39/29 dated 1 July 1839 Where William Scott, Residence Long Swamp, Situation Nimety Bell, District Maneroo. I guess our family had assumed that Long Swamp was the Greenland area.

    I am aware there is a Long Swamp which lies to the west of the Lake Bathurst to Bungendore Road and which is probably that low lying ground on the east side of Lake George.

    My query is there any documentation to confirm that William Scotts Long Swamp property is that beside Lake George? To my mind it is probably confirmed by the fact that William was buried at Bungendore and there was only two days between his death and burial. Also William Whites move to Long Swamp was a couple of years early for the Greenland Squat.

    Once again congratulations and thank you


    1. I have done a detailed history of William Scott and his three marriages and have included references to others who came on the same boat including W White. Yes, White was his manager of the leasehold on Monaro and White eventually came to live and work near Bungendore. I have the White history somewhere. Get in touch with me:

    2. Graeme, William and Anne Scott lived on Mulloon, just outside Bungendore from 1836 onwards. Scott died 1868 and many descendants buried in family cemetery on Mulloon. The Long Swamp is being returned to a swamp thanks to the innovative farming of Tony Coote who bought Mulloon and gradually bought back most of the original holding the Scott’s put together from 1839s to 1850s

  17. Hello, I am a descendant of an Eliza Scott, father William Scott, mother Elizabeth Unknown(According to Eliza’s death certificate). My Eliza Scott married Edward Bassingthwaighte and they eventually moved to Qld, to Jinghi Jinghi near Jandowae. I have found sorting it all out quite confusing and had decided that I could get no further with Eliza’s ancestors as there was just too much conflicting information as well as huge gaps. Is anyone able to enlighten me…is my Eliza the daughter of William Scott and Elizabeth Owen? If William and Elizabeth didn’t marry until 1834, then George, Sarah, Eliza, Mary Ann, William and possibly a Robert, were all born out of wedlock.

    1. Meg I have only now picked this up. Eliza and Edward married when she was 18 [1849] before they set out for Qld where they became a noted grazing family with many descendants still in the area. Also Gerald Bassingthwaighte published a detailed family lineage record. I have a copy and have lodged a digital copy with Aust Genearlogical Society in Sydney. I include information about them in my history of William and Elizabeth and also William and Ann [Elizabeth’s step sister], in my research work “The Scotts and the families who settled the Long Swamp, near Bungendore in colonial times” in 2011. There is a copy in the NSW State Library, the National Library and the Braidwood Historical Museum library. You can always contact me directly

    2. I think that may have been because William had an earlier marriage to Elizabeth Davies. She never lived at Bargo but he got 10 extra acreas (as a married man), and she got release from the Parramatta Female Factory. Scott advertised he was no longer responsible for debts incurred by Davies (kind of poor persons divorce) in 1821. So presume Davies had died by 1834. Scott married Eliz only months before she died following birth of their 6th child

  18. Hi James, This information has been so valuable my grandmother was Lily White, one of Edward Robert White and Lily Remfrey’s children. I had always thought my grandmother lived at “White’s Corner”, Strathfield until I started researching my father’s side of the family. Your information is really interesting and has made my research so much easier. Thank you so much for a giving me a part of my history. Regards Robyn

    1. Hi Robyn, Saw your message on James O’Brien’s page re White’s Corner. My wife’s grandmother was Gerda White, Edward White’s sister. Could possibly help with some info. garry.

    2. Hi Robyn, We have some information about Gerda White, sister of your Edward Robert White, might help with your search. Garry Buchanan

  19. Could Robyn Sutton please contact Garry Buchanan regarding her White family history.

  20. Just wondering if anyone has information on where Robert Higgins was held after his sentence as it was over 18months before he sailed for Australia. Was wondering if he was held in a prison hulk as some of the prisoners with him on the Admiral Gambier were.
    Just curious as my granddaughter is learning about this part of our history at the moment. Thanks for all the information James and all on this site it really has made tracing this part of my family tree so easy and so interesting.

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