The story of James and Jane

Posted By on February 24, 2009


James and Jane Davison and their two sons John and James lived in the town of Alnwick in the Northumberland Shire of England.

Alnwick is a historical market town and is central to one of the largest Districts in England and known as The Heart of Northumberland . The town is situated on the River Aln about five miles from the Heritage Coast.

This area is the home of the Duke of Northumberland who resides in the magnificent Alnwick Castle.

James was born in 1762  at Alnwick and Jane Johnston was born in 17?? at Berwick on the Tweed river.

Both the davison and Johnston families were farmers in the Northumberland Shire of England.

James and Jane were married at ______________ in England in 17??.James and Jane had 2 children, John was born in 1798 and James in 1799 in England, they were all Presbyterians.

James worked as a farm hand in Alnwick until machinery began doing the work, most farm hands had no other work skills and little, or no education which forced them to the big towns where the lucky ones found work in the factories.

England was now experiencing troubled times. People out of work, with no money, no food, or in need of clothing etc became quite desperate, many were forced to steal to survive.
Laws in England were harsh for crimes such as theft, therefore the prisons soon became overcrowded and the conditions in the jails became deplorable and in 1788 a penal colony was established in New South Wales and convicts transported there to releive the British prison system.
In 1800 a group of the London Presbyterian Congregation had resolved to try and migrate to New South Wales as free settlers. One of them ‘George Hall’ obtained a copy of an agreement between the Government and a previous group of free settlers, and they became resolute to apply these same conditions to their own case. This was not to be easy a the Government were not advertising free passage, and were not sure the wished to allow anymore free settlers into the Penal Colony, perhaps reports of shortages of food in the Colony influenced their decision.
George Hall had a good education and wrote until the Government finally agreed to their proposals. In 1801 the formal agreement was signed and stated:-

We whose names are undersigned acknowledge that, at our own request, we offered ourselves as settlers to go out to New South Wales with our families on the following terms;
To have our passage found and our families victualled by the government during the voyage. On our arrival in the colony we have a grant of 100 acres of land at Port Jackson or 50 acres of land at Norfolk Island. To be victualled and clothed from the public stores for a term of twelve months after being put in possession of our respective allotments, and to be allowed the labour of two prisoners maintained by the government for the same term. After which term, we and our families are to be no further expense to the Crown. Likewise we have the same proportion of stock, such grain and agricultural tools as have been furnished to other settlers, together with such other assistance as the Governor need judge proper to afford us. In witness hereof we set our hands the date above wrote.
Men’s clothing from stores.
1 jacket, 1 shirt, pair trousers, pair shoes, 1 hat.
Women’s clothing  from stores.
1 jacket, 1 petticoat, 1 shift, 1 cap, 1 pair shoes, 1 hanky.
Children as above from stores.
Agricultural tools from stores.
1 billhook, 2 tomahawks, 1 spade, 1 hand saw, 2 west indian hoes, 1 crosscut saw (between two men) quantity of nails, 1 iron pot, 1 old musket, quantity powder, 16 musket balls.

James, Jane and their sons were amoungst a group of convicts and free settlers to leave Alnwick and board the Coromandel for the voyage to Sydney Australia. They set about preparing for the long voyage, there followed the task of saying goodbye to their family and friends.

They boarded the Coromandel at Portsmouth on Saturday 9th January 1802.
List of settlers and their children onboard of the Coromandel:-

Male Female Children
George Hall Mary Hall Elizabeth (9)George(7) William (5) John (1.5)
Andrew Mein Susannah Mein
James Mein
John Howe Frances Howe Mary Howe (2)   Elizabeth Howe (2mths)
Andrew Johnston Mary Johnston Thomas (11)William (7) John (5) Alexander (3) Abraham (1)
William Stubbs Sarah Stubbs William (5) Sarah (4) Elizabeth (1)
John Turnbull Ann Turnbull James (10) Mary (5) Jessica Turnbull (2)
James Davison Jane Davison John (4) James (3)
John Johnston
Lewis Jones
John Suddis Isabella Suddis

Ralph Turner (10)
Andrew Mein died on the voyage on 29th April 1802 and buried at sea.

Alexander Johnston died of scarlet fever 21st March 1802 and buried at sea  aged 3.

Sydney to Toongabbie

On arriving in Sydney Cove the group of free settlers left the Coromandel and went in small boats to travel up the Parramatta River to Rose Hill on June 16th 1802.After spending a week in not so good conditions,the Government gave out 8 portions of land in the area of the hawkesbury Rd Toongabbie.

Toongabbie to Portland Head

There where 8 families who where given land one being  James and Jane Davison . They received 100 acres of land and enough seed to grow potatoes, and corn they also received 2 female sheep. In March 1803 after spending 9 months farming they left Toongabbie to take up their land grants at Portland Head.James and Jane Davison and their two sons James and Lohn settled on their 100 acre  land grant at Portland Head .

Portland Head

James set to work to build his home for his family. It must of been hard for them in such harsh conditions as it would of been coming into winter and it would of been much colder then than what is now as there where no houses or buildings around.Their main diet would consist of fish caught in the river as there would not of been much food around.

When they got settled into their property they where given 2 Convicts to help out with the farming.One of those convicts was William Ball.

According to the 1806 Muster James Davison had the following posessions: –
7 cattle, 10 sheep, 15 male goats, 15 female goats,
7male hogs, 10 female hogs, 17 bushells wheat, 100 acres of land,
1wife, 2 children, 2 convicts.

After spending about 6 years getting their farms organised the Coromandel settlers thought it was time to build a church fo them to have a servive in on sundays instead of going to each others homes. It would serve as school for the childrenin the daytime.

Jame’s two sons attended school each day where some of the others had to stay all week as it was far to travel.

When James built his home for his family he named it “Alnwick  Farm” after his home in Northumberland.