William Rixon was born October 17, 1802 in Sydney, the eldest son of convicts James Rixon and Amelia Goodwin. His early years were spent in the Windsor district, where his father worked initially as a member of the NSW Corps making farm implements, and then as a farmer and labourer. His father died when William was only nine years old, though his mother later remarried.
In 1821, William Rixon was granted 60 acres of land at Campbelltown, but quickly exchanged it for 10 acres of land, nearby, which had already been cleared.
He married Ann Hoare on January 23, 1826 when Ann was only 14 years old. She was the daughter of John Hoare and Elizabeth Love.
A report in The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824-1848), Saturday 27 May 1826, page 3 notes that at Liverpool Court…
William Rixon, appeared to answer to a summons requiring ‘him to ‘ well and truly answer make” unto certain matters touching and concerning one Charles Walton. It appeared in evidence, that Walton was in defendant’s employment, and have occasion to leave, requested a settlement for the frormer, which being had, it was found that a balance yet remained owing, to Watson, of 3 months wages, and 5s, which the latter had lent to the former. All this was admitted by the defendant, who, notwithstanding, attempted to put in a set-off of 1s, 6d per week, plaintiff having been victualled at the table of the defendant; but this the bench refused to allow, and recommended defendant to pay up his legal balance, and by that means save the trouble and expense of it being covered in a civil way at the Court of Requests.
In their first few years of marriage they lived at the Field of Mars before moving to the Campbelltown Districts of Airds and Appin where they began to farm with the assistance of convict labour . By 1830, on their 10-acre property at Campbelltown they had 20 head of cattle and a team of bullocks. It was then that William applied for a further land grant of 50 acres adjoining his existing land. However, he was ruled ineligible, perhaps on the grounds of the earlier allocation.
Around the time of the birth of their daughter Sarah in November 1839, William and Ann moved to Spring Creek where they managed “The Stringy Bark Inn” a property owned by William’s brother, Benjamin.
William also had other hotel interests in the area, as the author Mick Roberts has observed…
The popularity of coach travel meant the need for a wayside inn along the road between Appin and Wollongong.
William Rixon licensed The Travellers Rest along the old coach road, between Mount Keira and Appin at the Wollongong court house during 1842. The location was known as ‘Stringy Bark’ or on some maps as ‘Lachlan Forest’. Licensing records state Rixon’s inn was located 18 miles (29 kilomtres) from Wollongong and 10 miles (17 kilomtres) from Appin. The license was described as a “wine and beer license” and not a “publican’s License” which indicates the inn was merely a refreshment stop for travellers and offered no accommodation.
Documents reveal the inn was under construction along the Appin to Mt Keira Road in May 1839. However, no records of the inn receiving a license can be found for another three years.
Lady Franklin reveals in her journal, while travelling from Appin to Wollongong and crossing the Cataract River, that she ascended the other side of Broughton’s Pass, and seen a hut and stable “where a man and horses for mail are”. She states the coach’s horses were changed there, while further along the track, the horses were stationed at a clearing where an inn was under construction. This building was no doubt The Travellers Rest and although Rixon moved onto another public house later that year, the inn probably continued in operation for several years as an unlicensed wayside stop for coaches and travellers until 1848 when Mt Keira was replaced by Rixon’s Pass at Woonona as the preferred mail route over the escarpment.
William Rixon became the licensee of the Union Revived Hotel at Appin later in 1842. The sandstone inn, still in existence as a private home, is located opposite Saint Bede’s Roman Catholic Church, on the main road through Appin village. Appin had two licensed inns at this time – the Union Revived Hotel and the Bourke Hotel – both had been in existence since 1826. Appin was the first large settlement reached after leaving Wollongong for Sydney.
According to the NSW State Records Office, the following records apply..
RIXON William Union Revived, The Appin, Campbelltown 1843 30 June 0503 [4/75]* Reel 5058
RIXON William Union Revived, The Appin, Campbelltown 1844 29 June 0482 [4/76]* Reel 5059
RIXON William Hope Inn Campbelltown 1847 29 June 0520 [4/81]* Reel 5061
RIXON Anne Hope Inn Campbelltown 1848 30 June 0617 [4/83]* Reel 5062
William Rixon died on May 28, 1847 (V1847827 32B/1847) at Campbelltown and is buried beside his mother, Amelia Burrows at St Peter’s Church of England.
After William’s death, Ann married twice more. On June 11, 1848, she married Owen Dunlaghan who died in January 1851. A year later, on January 24, 1852, Ann married William Henry Phibbs with whom she had one child, William Jordan Phibbs.
On page 8 of the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday 26 January 1863, there’s a listing by Phibbs which says…
I, the undersigned, herby caution the public not to give credit to my wife ANN PHIBBS, as I will not be answerable for any debts she may contract after this dote. W. H. PHIBBS, Castlereagh Street, Sydnoy. January 24th, 1863.
William Henry Phibbs died on November 24, 1863.
In 1882, Ann lived at 362 Castlereagh Street, Sydney on the east side between Goulburn and Campbell Street. Ann died at “Adderborough”, 19 Denison St Woollahra, Sydney on August 8, 1895 and is buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Waverly.
Her death was reported in a number of publications, including The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Tuesday 10 September 1895, page 1
“PHIBBS – September 8, at her residence, Adderborough, 19 Denison Street, Woollahra,Mrs. Ann Phibbs, aged 94 years”
And the Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Monday 18 September 1882, page 1
“RIXON.—September 13, at the residence of her sister, Ann Phibbs, 362, Castlereagh-street, Elizabeth, relict of the late James Rixon, Bega, aged 67 years. Bega papers please copy.”
Had she lived a little longer, she would have inherited one thousands pounds from her younger brother, as she was named in his will.
TO my sister Ann Phibbs widow of William Jordan Phibbs the sum of one thousand pounds but if my said sister shall predecease me I BEQUEATH the said sum of one thousand pounds to her son William Jordan Phibbs TO my nephew the said William Jordan Phibbs the sum of one thousand pounds.
* Elizabeth Rixon was born April 5, 1830 (V18309775 1C/1830) and (V1830418 14/1830) at Airds near Campbelltown, NSW. She died November 18, 1856 at Camden.
* Amelia Ann Rixon was born 1832 at Airds, near Campbeltown, NSW. With thanks to Terry Hore and Leonie Manson, I think we can pretty much confirm that she married George Augustus Sheffield (and in the words of Terry)…
Amelia married John Sweatman in 1859 at Paramatta, Sydney the year after George Augustus Sheffield died. The couple had 7 children:- James Jones born 1860 @ Campbelltown, NSW. Elizabeth Ann born 1862 @ Twofold Bay, Eden, NSW. George Jones in 1865@ Brisbane, Qld. Robert Henry in 1869 @ Brisbane, Qld. Sydney Jordan in 1871 @ Ballarat, Vic. Charles Herbert in 1873 @ Sandhurst, Bendigo, Vic. Arthur Ernest born in 1876 @ Sandhurst, Bendigo, Vic. Amelia Ann Sweatman died in 1917 aged 89yrs at Ascot Vale, Victoria.
* John William was born April 10, 1835 (V1835657 19/1835) at Airds, near Campbelltown, NSW. With thanks to researcher, Judy Roberts, the following brief biography is available….
John William married at St Matthews [Reg.No.1200], Albury on 17th September 1859 to Elizabeth Wyse Smith born June 1842 in NSW. (V1842 1507 26A) and died on the 12th April 1931, aged 88 years 10 months, buried at Albury. She was the daughter of Matthew Smith and Elizabeth Finlayson (nee Douglas) who was also mother of Jessie Finlayson who married Andrew Hore. William Rixon had married John Hore’s sister, Ann. Both families came from the south of Sydney around the Campbelltown area. Their son, John William Rixon, left Airds as a young man to go to Cumberoona to help his maternal uncle Andrew Hore, brother of John Hore (jnr), with the cattle run he had leased there. Here, John William Rixon met and married Elizabeth Wyse Smith who, at the time, was living nearby at Bowna. John and Elizabeth Rixon were still living at Cumberoona when their second child, Andrew, was born. He was probably named after Andrew Hore. Their fourth child Anna was also registered as being born on that property. All told John and Elizabeth had fifteen children, some of which are listed as being born in Albury, so possibly they were still living with their relatives at Cumberoona then also. After working for Andrew Hore, his maternal uncle, on his leased cattle run, John bought his own cattle run at a tiny place called Granya. As his family grew the older children moved on but the property remained with the family until after Elizabeth’s death in 1931. Anecdotal evidence claims that they lived on that property for some years before moving to a new endeavour about six miles west of Albury opposite ‘Delaware’ and known as ‘Griffiths’. Ossie Rixon, grandson of John and Elizabeth was of the opinion they had purchased the property. John suffered a heart attack while at ‘Griffiths’ and died 23rd November 1904, aged 69 years.
* Martha Rixon was born on August 31, 1837 (V1837940 21/1837) at Airds near Campbelltown, NSW. She died on December 1, 1839 at Spring Creek, near Wollongong, NSW.
* Sarah Rixon was born November 1, 1839 at Airds, near Campbelltown, NSW She died on August 9, 1924 at Eden, NSW (15883/1924)
* Mary Rixon was born and died on February 13, 1842 at Stringy Bark Mountain Road, Appin NSW.
* Thomas Rixon was born January 31, 1843 (V1843 1132 27A) in Stringy Bark Mountain Road, Appin, NSW (V18431132 27A/1843). in 1867 Thomas married the eldest child of James Laing and Isabella McLean, Jane Ann Laing, aged 21, at her parent’s place at Towamba. near Eden, NSW (BDM 1867/1990). Thomas Rixon died October 20, 1901 at Bondi, Wyndham (13419/1901)
* Robert Andrew Rixon was born August 18, 1847 at Stringy Bark Mountain Road, Appin NSW. He married Mary Josephine Kennedy on June 17, 1878 in St. Bridget’s Church, Albury NSW (2114/1878). He died in 1918 at Albury, NSW (6525/1918)
Notes & References:
* William Rixon was christened on December 19, 1802 in St Phillips Anglican Sydney, although this was not the church currently in existence. The parish was established in 1802, however the foundation stone for St Philip’s Church was laid in mid 1848 with the church being consecrated by Bishop Fredric Barker in 1856.
* There is conflicting evidence about whether or not William Rixon built a windmill on the Appin Road. According to the Morawa District Historical Society. which has a web-page entitled, “WIND – POWERED FLOUR AND GRAIN MILLS IN AUSTRALIA”, William Rixon built a windmill. However, researcher, Ron Madden (see comment below), says William Rixon did not build the windmill, he leased it. Ron also says his brother, Thomas Rixon also first leased another windmill (on Wild’s grant), and then ending up buying it. The mill that Thomas leased and then bought became known as Rixon’s Mill..
* Mick Roberts has a terrific website about local pubs, which I’ve quoted to help fill in some of the details about William’s involvement as a publican.
* Note that Denison Street where Ann died was the original name for Holdsworth Street, which currently intersects with Jersey Road.
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