A Brief Resume of Two Port Phillip Pioneers

I have been granted two membership certificates, one for Samuel Sherlock, my great-great-grandfather, and one for William Higgins, my great-grandfather. However, four names are linked in my story - Higgins, Sherlock, Price and Croft - and all are pioneers I feel, setting out from England with eagerness and enthusiasm for a new life, no matter how harsh and difficult it proved to be.

Samuel Sherlock - the earliest information on this ancestor is his arrival in Sydney on the "Fortune" as part of the fleet of ships accompanying Governor Bligh in 1808. He is described as a Man of Wars man, so may have fought at Trafalgar. As a sailor he returned to the United Kingdom a few times, then worked for Mary Reibey at her Sydney stores also. After some time he settled in Van Diemen's Land where he had a farm at Port Dalrymple. Here he met Mary Ann French, the niece of the adjoining farmer, and they married in 1825. Later they moved to Georgetown where they variously farmed, ran a hotel, and then he was Superintendent of the House of Correction, as the women's prison was called.*

The Sherlocks had six children, four daughters and two sons. Mary Ann died in 1840, and in 1841 Samuel sailed for Port Phillip on the "Henry" with his children Frances, Mary Ann, Henry, Juliann (my great-grandmother) and Samuel. They settled and farmed at Yarraville until 1845 when Samuel died, aged 65 years. The younger children, Sarah (born 1832) aged 13 years and Samuel aged 6 years, were sent back to Van Diemen's Land to be cared for by their step-brother Henry Sherlock who had remained behind.

Rev. Charles Price and wife Catherine Brogden - during this period the Rev. Charles Price also arrived with his wife Catherine. He had been appointed chaplain on the "Princess Royal" which landed in Hobart in 1832. A tremendous storm drove the ship ashore at Frederick Henry Bay, and the women had to be carried ashore by the sailors. The ship carried all free women passengers, as the Governor was eager to establish family life in the Colony. Rev. Charles Price was anxious that these young women should get a good start in life. After various activities (as recorded in James Fenton's book 'The Life and Work of Charles Price'**) he established a Congregational Church in Tamar Street, Launceston as well as commencing a Grammar School for day pupils and boarders. He had four children, one son Charles S. Y. Price, and three daughters, one of whom died. C.S.Y. Price followed his father's footsteps and was ordained in the Church. Shortly before, in 1856, he had married Miss Sarah Sherlock (my great-grandmother) and together they embarked upon a series of ministries in Victoria and New South Wales, including Newcastle, Wahgunyah, Emerald Hill, Melbourne, Geelong and Canterbury. Here he resided for most of his later life with his large family of thirteen children, including his second daughter, Kat Sarah Price (my grandmother) born in 1862. She married William Higgins (junior) in 1883. Charles S. Y. Price died in 1914.

Rev. William Higgins and wife Frances Hart - the saga of the Higgins family in Australia commences with the voyage of the "Larpent"*** in 1849 of the Rev. William Higgins, his wife Frances, and sons Jabez, William (my great-grandfather) and Theo and daughters Martha, Sarah, Rebecca, and Isabella, all accompanying him to this unknown land. Three months later they arrived at Point Henry and because of the sandbar, they were eventually brough to Geelong by bullock waggon and drays. Sadly ten of the ship's passengers died on the voyage. Rev. William Higgins (my great-great-grandfather) was very popular as a preacher, and carried on his ministry wherever it was required, although the Gheringhap Street Congregational Church was not completed until 1854. The two elder sons, aged nineteen and sixteen at the time of arrival, became lawyers and established the firm of W. and W. Higgins which continued for over one hundred years in Yarra Street, Geelong. William Higgins married Sarah Ann Davey of Ballarat (previously from Purley, Barnes, Essex) in 1856 and they later bought a property just out of Geelong at Highton, and called it "Shoubra". Here they brought up their family of eleven children, the eldest of whom was another William Higgins, my grandfather. During this time the Rev. Charles S. Y. Price was also living and preaching in the Geelong Church, and his second daughter, Kate Sarah Price (my grandmother) became engaged to and married William Higgins (junior) in 1883. They also lived in Highton at "Corowa" and their first child was Charles William Higgins, my father. In 1917 my father married Miss Mabel Jessie Croft, whose parents William Henry and Louisa May Moor-Croft had arrived from England in 1879-1880. The wedding took place in St. George's Cathedral, Hobart, just before he [i.e. Charles William] embarked for the First World War in France. There were three children born to them - William Arthur, Joyce May and Elsis Evelyn (writer).

* Researched by Mrs. Mary Lowe.

** Charles S. Y. Price also wrote a book about his father, and the writer James Fenton was author of "The History of Tasmania".

*** There have been reunions of descendants of the "Larpent" passengers in 1899, 1949 and 1999 and medallions have been issued.

Contributed by Elsie Evelyn Stephens ( PPPG Member No. 1278 )

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