Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Patrick GRACE: my earliest confirmed arrival

In honour of Australia Day, I thought I'd share a bit of information about the ancestor of mine who was the first arrival into the newly-invaded New South Wales. There is evidence of an ancestor before this but I haven't been able to confirm that yet, so for now let me tell you about Patrick GRACE.

Patrick travelled to New South Wales as a convict via the Countess of Harcourt. According to the Convict Indents (1), he was 20 years old when he disembarked on 30 August 1822.

Excerpt from New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 for Patk Grace

Further information on this document indicates that he was committed in County Wicklow, his occupation is "labourer", he was 5ft 11in tall, of slender build, with brown eyes and fair hair, and that he is without any distinguishing marks.

I've not yet discovered what happened upon his arrival, but on 23 January 1823, Patrick was assigned to work for a Mr Aylard of Picton (2).

At the 1825 Muster of Convicts (3), Patrick GRACE is recorded as "G.S. to Mr Smithers, Sydney". [I believe the "G.S" abbreviation is for General Servant.] Patrick is still with Mr Smithers at the 1828 Muster.

All must have gone fairly well for him, because Patrick was granted his Certificate of Freedom on 7 April 1829 (4).

On 4 April 1834, he married Mary Ann DWYER (a widow).  Through a series of processes too complicated and lengthy to explain in a blog post, Patrick came to own property in the Bathurst/Orange area and took up sheep-farming.  From there, the family travelled overland to South Australia, taking up property at Shea-Oak Log.  Here Patrick lived a long and fulfilling life, dying 29 April 1872 as a well-respected and highly-valued member of the community.  The Bunyip (Gawler, SA; Page 2) newspaper published a lengthy obituary on 4 May 1872, stating that he "carried on farming on a rather extensive scale, and at times under prosperous circumstances".  

Like many convicts, Patrick GRACE found a level of wealth and comfort in this new world, that he could never have realised if he had remained in Ireland.  

Happy Australia Day :-)

(1) New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842
(2) New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825
(3) New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849
(4) Ancestry.com, New South Wales, Australia, Certificates of Freedom, 1827-1867, State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12210; Item: 4/4296; Roll: 984.

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