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FMDG General Meeting

The last meeting of the Frederick Meredith Descendants Group was held on Saturday 22 February 2014 at Hexham Bowling Club.



Notice Board

Ø      Garden Island Celebration of Eleanor’s 200th Birthday

Ø      Centenary of World War 1

Ø      Family History Societies Conference

Ø      Norfolk Island Reunion – Sinking of the Sirius

Ø      First Fleeters Reunion Picnic at Wallabadah





Ø  Eleanor's Birthday Celebration held at Garden Island

by Pamela Sadler


The clouds loomed, the rain fell. The 17th of November 2013. The plans had been laid. The 200th birthday celebration of Eleanor Meredith was to be held at her father's old stomping ground, Garden Island, Sydney. At Circular Quay crowds bustled along with umbrellas in hand, queuing for tickets to Garden Island. "More for Garden Island?" said the man selling the tickets. People stood on the wharf anxiously waiting for the ferry to depart, all the while looking around at the bystanders and wondering...'are they related to me?'



The ferry buzzed with excitement as it left the dock. People began smiling at each other and chatting and were pleasantly surprised to discover all but a few on the ferry were going to Garden Island for Eleanor's birthday. Cameras came out of bags and the sound of shutters filled the air. Everyone was happy, relaxed and felt a sense of belonging. We were all family, and all there for the same reason. The ride was a little bumpier than usual though no one was bothered as the excitement of going to the island had overridden the unpleasant weather. As the ferry docked, bags were gathered and umbrellas at the ready. We had arrived. We were about to step onto the very same piece of land that Frederick had 225 years before.


Committee members greeted guests with smiling faces and anticipation of the interesting day that lay ahead. Descendants lined up at the door, had their names checked off, received name tags and made their way into the Salthorse Cafe to mingle and purchase a much needed cup of coffee.


Formalities were kicked off by Nan Bosler, the current President of the FMDG. Nan introduced herself, welcomed guests and members also expressing her excitement at finally putting names to faces of those she had communicated with via Internet, telephone and mail.




   Don & Sue Newbury and Danielle

 Meredith prepare name tags.


An interesting talk was then given by the Commodore Tony Partridge.  

He spoke of the history of Garden Island and the establishment of the base on Garden Island. He was such an interesting speaker and captured the audience from his first sentence. He explained that 'The Rock' was very well known within Navy circles.





Commodore Tony Partridge talks with descendants


Unbeknown to many, all sailors are taken to view the rock as part of their induction when arriving at Garden Island.


Peter Meredith Allen reminded us all of the history of Frederick Meredith from his birth in Denham to his passing in Australia. There was mention of all his wives and children, his adventures on the high seas, his properties, land grants, business dealings, his lashing and his many descendants that live on. It was an informative talk and a great reminder of why we were all gathered there.


Eleanor’s 200th birthday cake

Eleanor’s Birthday cake cut by Coral Brodersen & candles blown out  by Ethan Graham  9th generation descendant of Eleanor/Caroline. 


 Don Newbury followed with a very interesting talk on the 'birthday girl' Eleanor, the youngest daughter of Frederick Meredith and Sarah Mason. A brief summary follows:


Born on the day of the Garden Island Gathering 200 years ago, Eleanor - a strong and

determined lady. Married off at 14 years of age to a 39 year old man, John Burrows.

Obviously by her abscondings Eleanor was not in a happy relationship. After bearing 8

children to John, Eleanor absconds with her 'Prince Charming'.


In his final newspaper notice John offers a reward and names the co-absconder as Charles Wilks alias Frederick White. Further research has eliminated Charles Wilks as his timeline does not correspond with what happens later. Frederick White however was a convict arriving on the ‘Mangles’ and his papers show him to replicate the description given by John. So Eleanor’s Prince Charming – Frederick White was prepared to take off with her for “places unknown”. They also took with them James Alfred Burrows, the 14 month old, youngest of the 8 children plus a large quantity of John’s goods and money. They were fugitives from not only John but the law as well.


Breeza, not far from Gunnedah in New South Wales was the ‘place unknown’ where Eleanor settled. Not only did they move a long way from possible detection but they covered their tracks by name changes. Eleanor became Caroline Ferrier and James Alfred Burrows became James Alfred Ferrier. And the one with whom they were living was Frederick Ferrier. Although there is no definite proof that Frederick White and Frederick Ferrier are one in the same, they have some similarities i.e. both the same age, both could read and write, were protestants, natives of Glasgow Scotland, involved in the jewellery trade and both storekeepers. There are other similarities but the above seem fairly convincing. The most important part of the move to Breeza was the change in life for Eleanor. She had a new lease of life. From this time on she appears to have achieved happiness. She is now content – no more running away. She seems to live the good life. Frederick Ferrier was first noted in Breeza in 1842 and established himself well in this country town. Firstly he opened a store then became the Postmaster, later he owned a hotel and generally lived well with eventually several properties in his name. Eleanor – now Caroline bore a further 8 children to Frederick.


All of her sixteen children, excluding the two Burrows children who had died in infancy, made good lives for themselves and their respective families. One branch of Eleanor’s descendants is extremely well documented and it contains well known and illustrious personalities. Eleanor has every reason to be proud of all her descendants.


Here is the story of Eleanor and Frederick’s eldest daughter, Caroline Frederica. She married Edward Augustus Bullmore who owned pastoral properties in Queensland and became an important personage in Ipswich. The Bullmores lived in ‘Rockton’ – a palatial home which was renowned for its regular soirees and balls. Can you imagine Eleanor/Caroline’s feelings to see her daughter the mistress of ‘Rockton’? The grandmother was a regular visitor to her daughter’s home and her pride in her grandchildren is evident from the available photos we have, taken in the gardens there.


The Bullmore family had tragedies with some sons but the daughters and one surviving son enjoyed a high social life and did well in later life. The son, Herbert Henry Bullmore studied 4 years of law in Sydney then graduated in medicine at a Scottish University. On returning to Australia he lived and established a medical practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Dr Bullmore was appointed as honorary to St Vincent’s and Prince of Wales’ hospitals. He was well respected and prosperous. One of his daughters, Joyce Gretel married Sir Frank Packer, father of Kerry and Clive, while her sister, Ursula Mary married Anthony Hordern – you know the “while I live I grow” motto. Two of the Hordern girls married well, one to a Munro a well known pastoralist and the other to a Baillieu, the Melbourne millionaires connected to the Myer emporia. All these people are connected back to Eleanor either by blood or marriage. The following are just a few names from the family tree of Joyce Gretel and Ursula Mary Bullmore, great grand-daughters of Eleanor/ Caroline. We have Sir Rupert Clark, Sir Roden Cutler, Sir William Angliss, Sir Rod Carnegie, Leslie Walford, Lord Snowdon’s father – Ronnie Armstrong Jones who married Carol Coombe – daughter of Sir Thomas Coombe. Malcolm Fraser’s son Mark who married Annie Baillieu etc.


Remember this is just one branch of Eleanor’s descendants, but it has so many prominent Australians who have significantly influenced the economy and progress of this great country. All connected back to our poor little 14 year old Eleanor Meredith, who had to make an ‘x’ on her wedding certificate.


What a story! What a woman! How far can one go? From nothing to really something. She now has members of parliament, high ranking army officers, financiers, a baron, a governor, a Prime Minister,


brother-in-law to Queen Elizabeth II. Not to mention Eleanor’s ggg grandson Jamie who seems to be running Sydney at the moment with his development at Barangaroo. There’s a book in this, perhaps a T. V. series. Eleanor is not here but let us be proud for her. Well done, congratulations and happy birthday Eleanor.


Don then made available to those present booklets he had prepared commemorating Eleanor's 200th birthday. Don had also brought along lots of interesting books from his personal collection documenting various branches of the family. These proved very popular on the day and were in great demand to be viewed by those present. At the conclusion of the formal speeches Nan thanked everyone for coming and made those aware of the representatives from each line of the family so they could meet each other and form new connections. The RAN Heritage Centre located behind the cafe was also open to the Meredith family free of charge for those wishing to take a leisurely stroll through history. Commodore Tony Partridge led the way to 'The Rock'. Up the winding path along the edge of Sydney Harbour, descendants followed to view and pay their respects to a young adventurous sailor and eventually settler, who has certainly left a huge mark on this country, not only by carving his initials on Garden Island but by the enormous numbers of descendants that continue to remember him, celebrate his life and shape this country.


 Refreshments included tea, coffee, cool drinks and a large selection of cakes, muffins, cookies and scones that were served in the Salthorse Cafe. A large birthday cake was on display at the front of the cafe. Two of the FMDG members who share their special day with Eleanor were invited to the front. Happy Birthday was sung, the cake was cut and distributed to all present.


Hours passed by very quickly. Names and addresses were exchanged and new friendships formed. Many photographs were taken to record the occasion. Hopefully word will spread and the next get together will draw even more relatives. Not a thought was given to the unpleasant weather outside until it was time to venture out again with the umbrellas and make our way to the ferry. As I looked around the ferry, the faces of the people on board glowed as their thoughts reflected on the events of the day.


A big thank you to all the FMDG committee members who made this day possible. A lot of organisation goes into these special days. Without their selfless attitude and hard work events like this would not be possible. Special thanks to Sue, Don, Nan, Marilyn and Peter for all your hard work and dedication.






                  Farewell to Garden Island


Sydney Morning Herald

Many of you probably already know, though for those who don't, reporters from the Sydney Morning Herald were at Garden Island on the day. The story can be viewed on the website below:




We have been at Garden Island before!

Lesley, Heather and James Rodger were there when a memorial tree was planted in 1988



Ø    Centenary of World War 1

Next year Australia will be celebrating the Centenary of World War 1. I would like to research the involvement of Meredith men and women during World War 1 with particular emphasis on those who fought at Gallipoli with an aim off preparing something for 2015. Have you stories or photos you could share with me?

Please contact me at nanboz@bigpond.net.au                      Thanks, Nan Bosler


Ø   Family History Societies Conference

The 30th annual NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Conference. It is hosted by the Illawarra Family History Group in Wollongong 12 – 14 September 2014. The theme is Illawarra Remembers 1914 - 2014. More details to come soon.

If you would prefer to receive your newsletter by email please send your email address to:  nanboz@bigpond.net.au

You may be interested in looking at presentations from a recent conference: I’m sure you will recognise the names of the speakers.

*My Pal Flip-Pal – Jill Ball

*Valuing Memories – Oral History in the Digital Age – Trish Levido

*Family History, is it the best of times: - Allan & Joy Murrin


Use the link below or google “ASCCA conferences” and scroll down to find the speakers I am suggesting. They are in alphabetical order.



For more information go to the website  www.conference2014.org.au  


Ø    Expressions of Interest for Norfolk Island ‘Sirius’ Reunion 2015 


Calling for expressions of interest from descendants of PETER HIBBS for a reunion & family get together of our forefather who sailed on the ‘Sirius’ and descendants of others who also sailed on her.

I am organising a trip to NORFOLK ISLAND for the 225th Anniversary 19th March 2015 of the sinking of HMS SIRIUS, the Flagship of the First Fleet.


Please email Robyn Stanford at possum.grove@bigpond.com if you would like to join the mailing list for updates of prices & information. Please include you ancestor.           

 ”Sailing of the Hibbs Line” compiled by Allen Maunder, 1995.  


Ø    First Fleeters Reunion Picnic at Wallabadah


In honour of the bicentenary of Captain Arthur Phillip’s passing the Liverpool Plains Shire Council is hosting a First Fleet Descendants Reunion Picnic at the First and Second Fleet Memorial Gardens in Wallabadah on Sunday, 31 August 2014.

The day is all about meeting and greeting, finding family members, exchanging information and stories, and reminisce about our ancestors. More information about catering, accommodation, time and entertainment will be in the next newsletter!

For further information call the Liverpool Plains Information Centre on 02 6747 1226.”

Please don’t hesitate to call me to discuss or if you want any more information. I am available Monday to Friday on 6747 1226 or on my mobile 0427 936 990.


Kind regards,

Nikki Robertson


Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre Manager

King George V Park

New England Highway

Willow Tree NSW 2339

Ph: (02) 6747 1226 Fax: (02) 6747 1395


Email: nikki.robertson@visitquirindi.com.au