Our Family Robinson

Under Construction – with details to be verified 

Our collective Robinson family research has so far indicated that Joseph Robinson (1811- 1855)  and his wife Elizabeth Sternes/Stearns (1811 – 1864) of Great Shelford Cambridge England appeared  to have married in 1833 and had the following children : Frederick, James, George, Mary/Marianne, Matilda and Daniel.

Images below have been sourced from the Lyons Family History Web Site.


The Ellenborough was one of about 6 shiploads bringing in immigrants to Newcastle to work on the Great Northern – Hunter River Railway – others included Blackfriar,  Lord George Bentinck,  Libertas and Anglia –  and it seems that not all was smooth sailing for the immigrants when they arrived in Newcastle… the Robinson’s on the Ellenborough seems to have been fortunate compared to others.

See more details at The Robinson’s of Great Shelford and building the Great Northern Hunter River Railway webpage.

And since the establishment of this web site it has been wonderful how descendants from various branches of the Robinson family have emerged. Other connections have surfaced via Ancestry.com, the Collarenebri Facebook Group and Tribal Pages. I would like to thank all of our Robinson family relatives, as indicated below, who have shared information and photographs. And of course my husband David Christian (with his trusty Brother’s Keeper database which has grown to over 20,000 names since 1997).

Although we have not yet located descendants of Frederick, Matilda and Daniel Robinson, nevertheless, so far we have connected up some descendants of James Robinson, George Robinson and Mary Waters nee Robinson as follows :

James Robinson & George Robinson

  • Heather Robinson (granddaughter of James Robinson)  and Neil Robinson (grandson of George Robinson) – 2nd cousins who married
    • Wendy R

Note – there had been some conjecture regarding which George Robinson had married which Jane Waters. However the 1868 death certificates for Jane and George Robinson clarified the situation  – ie that George was the son of Joseph Robinson and  Elizabeth Sterns, and that Jane was the daughter of Charles Waters and Jane MacDonald (refer Waters Family Death Certificates  – click on the link 7939637d).

Mary Waters nee Robinson – and her children

  • Jane Waters who married John Thomas Brasen
    • John W
  • Alice Waters who married Angus Amos
    • Sharon C
  • Charles Waters III who married Agnes Sweetman
    • Alicia G, Anne W, Narelle S, Ken W
  • Matilda Waters who married Arthur James Adams
    • Kerrie Anne Christian, Steve L, Michelle & Ronald VG, Lenore M, Penny T, Crystal C, Doug A
  • Emily Waters who married Stephen Swaysland
    • Steve S, Eve M, Annette K
  • Frederick Waters – I had located a descendant or two of Frederick Waters and his grandson Len Waters, the WW2 fighter pilot, also I had contacted Len’s daughter (who has since passed away sadly) & another relative Marcus W
  • Ethel Waters who married George Henry
    • Michelle M

As yet direct descendants have yet to be located of  several other of Mary Waters nee Robinson‘s  children –  Elizabeth Waters and John / Joseph Alfred Waters. It appears that possibly John/Joseph died in infancy. Eldest child Elizabeth was listed as 20 years old on her mother Mary’s 1888 death certificate, but not mentioned as a living child on her father Charles’ 1916 death certificate.

The Robinson Family in Great Shelford Cambridgeshire

There is some suggestion that our Joseph and Elizabeth Robinson had married in 1833, at Barnwell St Andrew in Cambridge, England (Pallots Marriage Index for England – 1780 – 1837). This being the case, it is surprising, that there were no children prior to Frederick‘s birth in 1837. That is, unless there were other children who had died.

UK Census 1841

English  Census 1841


Note –  the England Census for 1841 and 1851 details align with those on the emigration shipping list, so it is believed that all of Joseph and Elizabeth‘s living children emigrated to Australia with them. They are listed as having emigrated as assisted passengers to Australia in 1854, from Corn, Kilkenny Ireland on the Ellenborough for Newcastle NSW  – with their native place given as Great Shelford Cambridge.  On the Passenger List for the Ellenborough, Joseph and sons  Frederick, James and George are all listed as carpenters. Sadly Joseph died early in 1855 at Honeysuckle Point / Hexham, barely three months after their November 1854 arrival and landing in the Colony.

English Census of 1851

English Census of 1851

One suggestion, based on the English Censuses of 1841 & 1851 has them as having lived at High Green, Great Shelford Cambridgeshire according to the 1841 English Census.  Joseph was described as a carpenter with sons Frederick (3) and James (1). There were no older living children. Then in the 1851 English Census, they are still at High Green, with  son Frederick then a bricklayer’s apprentice, and James  a scholar. Other children in the 1851 census were scholars George, Mary, and Matilda, with Daniel being only 2 years old.

It is interesting to note, that also on the same 1851 census record, also at High Green,  were a Carpenter’s widow named Mary Robinson, aged 73,  together with a daughter (Sarah ?), aged 46 years, who was a Dress (?)-maker. Were this Mary and Joseph related? Was this Mary (Moore ?) married to William Robinson in Great Shelford in 1797, and that William had died there in 1839 ??

Is it possible that our Joseph Robinson had a number of siblings : Susan, Sarah, Hannah (Mayor??), Elizabeth, William, David,  Peter, James, Fredrick and Ebenezer Robinson ? 

And, that Joseph’s grandparents were David Robinson and Elizabeth Howleth ?

Stories of Great Shelford

Great Shelford was the location of an early political protest over the use of cheap Irish agricultural workers in 1839 – one of the protesters was a James Robinson, whilst the village constable was a David Robinson – in those days the role of Constable was a voluntary one and the “day” job of David Robinson was as a carpenter . For further reading on other aspects of the history of Great Shelford – click here – also a map & conservation area

Today Great Shelford is described in Information Britain as :

Some three miles south of Cambridge, Great Shelford though officially a village has the services you’d expect of a small town thanks to its population of around 4000: pubs, post office and a church of course, but this being a prosperous commuter village for the nearby city it also has a bakery, restaurant and deli, along with a health centre and school. And it is town-like too in having regular markets, largely for regional farm produce. This is an ancient place, or perhaps places plural as it seems to have evolved or rather coalesced from different Saxon settlements, at least one of which is thought to date further back to Roman times. Its antiquity is explained by the favourable location on a fording place of the River Cam (Shelford meaning shallow ford), and by local springs. Great Shelford like all the best English villages is a jumble of architectural eras, as indeed is its pretty church of St Mary with Norman, late medieval, Jacobean and Georgian elements. Even setting aside Little Shelford the village spreads over a wide area, along a network of lanes and side-roads some of which reveal lovely old structures like Rectory Farm, The Grange and Oak Cottage. Getting to the village is easy, not only the old London-Cambridge Road (A1301) passing through it, but the railway line linking those two centres having a station there.”

Sailing on the Ellenborough to Newcastle in the Colony : July – November 1854

Many of the Assisted Immigrants who arrived on the “Ellenborough in November 1854 were destined to be employed on the construction of the Great Northern Hunter River Railway in the Hunter Valley. Others were agricultural labourers. The “Lyons Family History Web Site has a good compilation of information on the Ellenborough. See more on Building the Great Northern Hunter River Railway.

“From the London Times of July 14, 1854: via Lynne Radford on Rootsweb ….

Australian Emigration.–Southampton, Thursday, July 13.–The splendid East India ship Ellenborough, Captain Thornbill, left the docks this afternoon, and will sail on Friday (this day) for Port Newcastle, New South Wales, taking out about 370 souls, equal to 330 statute adult emigrants, which have been shipped from the Government emigration depot in the Southampton Docks. The Ellenborough has also a full general cargo for the Australian markets, and a portion of her emigrant passengers comprises 50 labourers, who are to be engaged upon the construction of the Hunter River Railway. The Ellenborough is a noble-looking frigate-built ship of 1,200 tons, and has attracted considerable attention while lying alongside the wharf in the inner dock. The Anglo-Saxon, Captain J. Chapman, a fine clipper  ship of 763 tons register, belonging to Mr. Peter Tindall, jun., sailed on Tuesday, for Sydney, with 336, equal to 285 statute adults, Government emigrants, on board, under charge of Surgeon Grover. This ship has been fitted up on a new plan suggested by Mr. Smith, R.N., the emigration officer at this port, which for ingenuity and simplicity surpasses any kind of fittings for berthing emigrants that has yet been seen, and also affords much better ventilation and accommodation to the passengers. With the exception of a few from the Channel Islands, all the emigrants by the Anglo-Saxon are English. Mr. C.A. Wood, one of Her Majesty’s Emigration Commissioners, paid a visit to the Ellenborough, Anglo Saxon, and Emigrant, before their departure. All these three ships have been despatched by Messrs. Dawson and Arroid.

The  Emigration Commissioners have chartered the ship Agra to leave Southampton about the 18th of August, for Geelong.”

From Trove

NEWCASTLE.—Arrival. — October 31. Ellenborough, ship, 1084 tons, Captain Thornhill, from Southampton July 14. Passengers—Mr. James H. Atkinson, Dr.Stolworthy, Surgeon Superintendent, and 399 immi- grants. The Ellenborough has had rather a long pa sage of 107 days from Southampton, which has been occasioned by her being very deep, having encountered most dreadful weather, and losing a number of her spars on the passage. She brings 399 immigrants,principally English, and all in good health, 100 of whom are for the Railway Company, the remainder are chiefly agricultural labourers. There have been 7 deaths and 2 births on board during the voyage. We believe the immigrants speak in high terms of the kindness and attention shown them by Dr. Stolworthy. The cargo of the Ellenborough consists principally of iron for the Railway Company. The following vessels have been spoken during the voyage, viz. :—The Lord Raglan, and Alice Maud, off the Cape of Good Hope, from London, bound to Adelaide, and the Glenbervie, from London, bound to Hobart Town.

From Trove

Immigrants per Ship ” Ellenborough NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that there, are now on board the above vessel a number of IMMIGRANTS, under the Assisted Immigrants’ Act, open for engagement, and that they will be prepared to take service on Wednesday next and following days, between the hours of Ten a.m. and Four p m. Newcastle, Nov. 4th, 1854. 5246

From Trove

Address presented to David Stolworthy, Esq , F.R.C.S, London, Surgeon-Superintendent of the ship Ellenborough. Mr. David Stolworthy

SIR-We, the immigrants under your care,

return you our heartfelt thanks for the kind attention, the untired exertions, and unde- niable skill you possess, your system of regu- larity, your watchful eye for morality, kindness to all, no matter what country or creed-we candidly believe you have done your duty, honourably and skilfully, as Surgeon and Superintendent. We likewise feel satis- fied that no professional man could do more for our health, comfort, discipline, and morality. We have seen what you have gone through, lateand early, always kind, willing, and watchful of us, though far from our father land. No language can express the feelings we entertain towards you ; we are convinced were it not for your skill and attention half of us would not have survived to reach our destination ; for the poor infants that died yon did your utmost to recover, though we consider it was ou of your power, being in a delicate state of health pre- vious to our departure. The vessel being so heavily laden, and so deep, causing her to pitch and roll most fearfully, her ports and scut- tles constantly leaking, creating so much damps, and owing to their being fre- quently under water, from this cause you were scarcely ever enabled the whole voyage to open them to produce proper ventilation. That all your time was occupied for the relief and comfort of adults and children. Your kind- ness, generosity, and humanity has gained the esteem of those who address you, wishing you a long and happy life in this world and ever- lasting happiness hereafter.

We likewise return our sincere thanks to Captain Thornhill and officers of the ship Ellenborough for their attention and skill as seamen. The captain evidently a man of supe- rior talent, cool, calm, but determined, at his post at all times and at all hours, particularly in the hour of peril, and there until it ceased, he has braved the storm and gained the port successfully. His generosity to the passengers, his love for the little children, and his jocularity, made us forget the hardships we underwent, and cheered us up for the prospects that lay before us, which entitles him to our sincere good wishes for his future prospects and welfare. Thanks to the officers for their exertion and skill ; they never were backward in their duty ; they are truly deserving of every praise ; each in their different positions kind in their manner, gentle in their disposition, and inoffensive to all. Were it not for the over exertions of the captain, officers,and crew, owing to her dead cargo and the heavy sea she encountered, she could not have lived were it not that she was a vessel of the first-class, we believe as good as ever left the East India Docks.

Sir, we wish you would intimate to the com- missioners the state we have been in, so many lives at stake and a long voyage before us-it may be a preventative to the like occurrence again-at the same time thanking them for sending us in such a good vessel, with a first rate surgeon, first-class captain and officers. I remain, sir, respectfully on behalf of passen- gers on board the ship Ellenborough, your obedient servant,

JAMES MCDERMOTT. Newcastle, Oct. 31, 1854. 5200

From Trove

Hunter River Railway Company.-The labourers who arrived in the Ellenborough for this Company were all landed at Newcastle last week, and yesterday morning commenced work. The first turf was turned by the Chairman of the Company, but there was no ceremony beyond three cheers from those present. We understand that the engineers are confident that if the Company can procure sufficient funds, the line may be completed to East Maitland in two years.

From Trove

Immigration to New South Wales. Tuesday last was an auspicious day for New South Wales, and deserves to be chronicled amongst the eventful days of the year 1854, as having ushered to our shores a larger amount of emigrants than ever before reached us in one day. On Tuesday the ships Stamboul and Patrician entered the harbour of Port Jackson, and the Ellenborough arrived at Newcastle, having on board upwards of a thousand emigrants. These welcome additions to our population are of a respectable class, a large number of whom came out under the   Assisted Emigrant Act, and have already spread themselves over the colony seeking the homes of their friends. Others of them arrived as Government emigrants, the greatest portion of whom are already engaged in service in and around Sydney. A considerable number too, mostly females, we believe, intend proceeding up the Hunter, where no doubt they will be greeted with a hearty welcome. To all we wish every success in the new home of their adoption.—Empire, November 2.

From Trove

The arrival of the Ellenborough some few weeks back, with upwards of 100 navvies, and a large extent of the plant and rails for that great work, has: placed matters in connection with it in a very promising position. Already the line has been cleared nearly as far as Hexham, and there are several miles ready to RECEIVE THE RAILS.

From Trove

The next important work, to which we beg to draw the attention of our English readers is the Hunter River Railway, an enterprise which will greatly enhance the prosperity of the Northern districts. In this instance, Mr. Randie, the contractor, is assisted by Mr. Wright, who although he may not be so experienced in matters of this kind, is nevertheless a gentleman of acknowledged competency. The workwas commenced about seven weeks ago, immediately after the arrival of the first draft of navvies and machinery in the Ellenborough. The men went to work with great cheerfulness, evidently determined to carry out their contracts with fidelity, and the consequence- is that five miles of the line have been formed, and the remainder is in a very forward state. There are only two heavy cuttings on the line, and these are progressing rapidly ; in fact it is confidently believed that a railway from Newcastle to Hexham will be in operation within the next nine months. The whole line projected will, when completed extend from Newcastle to Maitland, a distance of about twenty miles. The present contract, however, is only for the completion of the line from Newcastle to Hexham, and, as we stated before, five miles have been already formed capable of at once receiving the rails: The Company by whom the enterprise is carried o receives a similar assistance from the Government to that enjoyed by the Sydney Railway Company.

See also – Final Report on the Select Committee on Immigration  – 25.11.1854 (Trove)

Building the Great Hunter – Hunter Rive Railway had started out as a private affair in 1853 – conceived by James Mitchell. But by 1855, it had been transferred to the NSW Government creating the first public railway in the Hunter Valley. And there was some construction taking place beyond the 1857 official opening – extensions eastward to Newcastle and westward to Maitland (from 1855)  were completed in 1858 – see Maitland to Morpeth section. Also there may have been some railway construction occurring in Jump Up Creek near Singleton – apparently the Maitland to Singleton railway route had been undertaken in 1856 – Railway navvies were at Lochinvar in 1859 – and this section was opened in 1860. It reached Singleton in 1863 – with The Singleton Railway Gallop song. Muswellbrook  was reached in 1869, and Scone in 1871 – Scone to West Tamworth in 1878, Armidale in 1883, and finally reached the Queensland border at Wallangarra in 1888. “It wasn’t long before public rail was used to transport coal, with the Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company being the first to use it in 1861” – Reference Coal and Community.The rail corridor from Maitland to Honeysuckle  “was, and still is, part of a vital transportation system for the coal industry. Today, the railway branch lines are essential for delivering coal to the shipping wharves.” – Reference Coal and Community.

The Family Tree of Joseph Robinson and Elizabeth Stearns

1. Joseph Robinson (1811- 1855 Newcastle buried at Christ Church Cathedral C of E Cemetery Newcastle)  and his wife Elizabeth Sternes/Stearns (1811 – 1864) –  buried at Christ Church Cathedral C of E Cemetery Newcastle plot 215cemetery burial plan –  list & transcript) and their children were as follows  :

2. Frederic Robinson (1837 – 1901 Newcastle)  married Ellen Gumley – Condon (1839 – 1878)

3. Walter Robert  Robinson (1874 – 1934) m. Eva Mae McKenzie (1883 – 1961)

4. ? (1903 – ?)

4. Percival Frederick Arthur Robinson (1904 – 1969)

4. Muriel Mary Robinson (1906 – 1981)

4. Sylvester Robert Robinson (1908 – 1995)

4. Vincent Joseph Robinson (1910 – 1945)

4. Vera Elizabeth Robinson (1912 – 2000)

Frederick Richard Robinson(1913 – 1973)

4. Arthur Francis Robinson (1915 – 1975)

4. John “Jack” Bernard Robinson (1918 – 1998)

4. Jean Irene Robinson (1920 – 2007) ?

4. Keith William Robinson (1922 – 2000)

3. Charlotte L Robinson(1875 – 1940)

3. Percival A Robinson (1878 – 1949) m Winifred O’Connor

4. Theresa D. Robinson (1899 – 1900)

4.  Charlotte Amelia Robinson (1900 – 1993)

4. Percival Austin Robinson (1902 – 2004)

4. Mary W Robinson (1903 – 1903)

4. Wilfred Robinson (1907 – 1997)

4. John Frederick Robinson (1911 – 1991)

4. William R Robinson (1913 – 1975)

2. James Robinson (1839 – 1903) married Louisa Elizabeth Blanch in Newcastle in 1861.  While some of his siblings moved north, James appears to have stayed around the Newcastle area becoming a Publican, though his family ended up at Anna Bay near Port Stephens and possibly he spent a little time there as well. Initially I had thought that James  took in his young nephew George Robinson, on the deaths of their parents Jane and George Robinson in 1868, see below. However it is more likely that some of his Blanch in-laws had taken in George Robinson Jnr.   James had been a Publican of the Union Inn at Honeysuckle Point Newcastle from about 1871  to 1873. It seems he acquired the Union Inn License after the 1869 death of previous Licensee  David Ross, father in law of Australian Prime Minister Edmund Barton. From there James became Publican at Tarragon Hotel in Sydney (1873 – ), and Publican at Tattersall’s Hotel Hillgove by 1897. He had also taken up a selection at Tyringham., then died at Tyringham / Blakes River in the Grafton area in 1903 of natural causes according to the inquest. He was buried at Port Stephens.

Note. Reviewing all the time frames it just doesn’t seem possible that James Robinson had taken in his nephew. It is possible that Blanche relatives of James’s wife Louise Blanche took in his young nephew George Robinson, on the deaths of his parents Jane and George Robinson in 1868 – scroll down to their section of the Robinson Family Tree.

3. Ernest Henry Walter Robinson (1862 – 1940) married Mary

4. George Robinson (1883 – 1959) married Mary Josephine Rolls

5. James Allan Robinson (1902 – 1971)

5. George Stanley Robinson (1904 – 1981)

5. Oscar Claude Robinson (1906 – 1981)

5. Ivy M Robinson (1912- )

5. Rayford H Robinson (1914 – )

5 Jack Ernest Robinson (1916 – )

4. Oscar Frederick Robinson ( 1885 – 1918) m. Edna Rose Engel

5. Private

5. Ernest George Robinson (1916 – 1984)

4. Harold Robinson (1888 – 1911)

4. Ernest H W Robinson (1891 – 1919) – (S/N 2419) Driver with Australian Army Service Corps – also 6th LightHorse – died of Illness in Egypt in 1919 – Panel 181 of  AWM Roll of Honour – buried Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery, Ismailia, Suez Canal, Egypt – ADFA listing 

4. Louisa Robinson (1893 – 1893)

4. Jack Robinson (1895 – 1917) – (S/N 6845) 8th Battalion killed in action in Belgium – Panel 54 of AWM Roll of Honour – commemorated Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium – ADFA listing 

4. Vera Robinson (1898 – 1985)

4. Heather Robinson (1901 – 1995) married 2nd cousin Neil Robinson

4. Louisa Robinson (1903 – 1977)

3. Herbert Alfred James Robinson ( 1865 – 1946) m. Ida Greenslade

4. James Herbert Robinson (1884 – 1973)

4. Arthur Victor Robinson ( 1888 – 1968)

4. Edward Charles Robinson / Charles Edward Robinson (1892 – 1960) – enlisted in WW1 in 1916 – (S/N 1291) – 35th Battalion – returned to Australia 1919 – ADFA listing

4. Ernest R Robinson (1895 – )

4. Irene Edna Robinson (1897 – )

4. Ruth Robinson (1903 – 1906)

4. Ida Louisa Robinson  (1907 – 1983)

3. Frederick Oscar Robinson ( 1869 – 1910) m. Minnie Montgomery

4. Clive Frederic Robinson (1894 – 1985)

4. Alan Monty / Montie Robinson ( 1896 – 1972) – enlisted in WW1 in 1914 – served in the 6th Light Horse – served in Egypt, Gallipoli and Western Front – ADFA Listing – Service Record – Wounded in action, 14 July 1915; transferred to 3rd London General Hospital, 28 August 1915. Discharged from the AIF, 10 November 1915. Joined Royal Field Artillery:appointed Lieutenant, 1 July 1917. Wounded in action, October 1916; September 1917; 30 November 1917. Awarded the Military Cross.

Medals: Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

2. George Robinson (1841 – 1868) married Jane Waters. It has been claimed that George and Jane Robinson died as a result of a sulky accident. Subsequently their two young children, George Jnr and Joseph were separated and raised apart, only meeting years later according to George Jnr’s  lengthy obituary. However further investigation revealed that they had died six months apart in 1868.

Note – that within the Robinson family there had been  some conjecture regarding which George Robinson had married which  Jane Waters.

Amongst the Robinson Family it had long been believed that …

George and Jane Robinson (Waters), …. We have his parents as Joseph Robinson (a butcher) and Jane Pearson, and their son George was born 10th Sept 1843, when they were living at 19 Gothic St, Cambridge. George was married to Jane Waters 8th June 1864. They had two sons George and Joseph, and Jane died when thrown out of a sulky, and George died later from injuries received when he came off a horse. The boys were split up after their mother died,and didn’t meet until they were adults….. (George and Jane were) married 8th June 1864 at Comelah, by Enoch Plice -minister- witnesses Pulsford and Rowling”

ie thus it was long believed in the Robinson family – that the father of Neil Robinson who married Heather Robinson, was a different George Robinson and son of a different Joseph Robinson and Jane Pearson – compared to what Kerrie Anne Christian had thought.

“Jane born 11-12-1839 at Annandale, her father was William Waters, came to Australia on convict ship ‘David Lyon” april 1830 – mother was Maria Gavan, her parents John and Dorothy were from Ireland. William and Maria’s children were Jane, Elizabeth, Anne, Daniel, James, Susan. Maria died 1850, aged 25, three months after Susan was born.

We were told Jane was killed in a sulky accident on the ‘great Cattle Drive’ and after contact with Joseph‘s descendants, they believed George lived several years after Jane‘s death, but that has now been brought down to months.”

However the 1868 death certificates (click on this link to view the certificates  7939637d) for Jane and George Robinson clarified the situation  – ie that George who died in 1868 was the son of Joseph Robinson and Elizabeth Sterns, and that Jane Robinson nee Waters who also died in 1868 was the daughter of Charles Waters and Jane MacDonald (refer Waters Family Death Certificates  – click on the link 7939637d).

  • George was the son of Joseph Robinson, a Carpenter and Elizabeth Sterns, and that he was born in Shelford Cambridgeshire
  • Jane was the daughter of Charles Waters and Jane MacDonald, and that she was born in Glendon in the Hunter Valley
  • they had 2 living sons, however their sons’ names were not recorded on the death certificates

Also both possibilities have a George Robinson marrying a Jane Waters in 1864 – one at Wee Waa and one at Comelah. However there is only one record in NSW Births Deaths and Marriages for a George Robinson marrying a Jane Waters in the period 1860 – 1865 – viz NSW BDM 3280/1864 – and it was recorded as being at WeeWaa.

Regarding birth of a son George Robinson in the 1860’s – NSW BDM have no birth entries for a George Robinson born in 1860 to 1868 – and considering an alternative spelling, ie Roberton, there is but one NSW BDM entry for a George Robertson born to  George and Jane in the period 1860-1868 viz in 1865 in Wee Waa (NSW BDM 16203/1865).

Regarding birth of a son Joseph Robinson in the 1860’s- NSW BDM has 11 entries for a Joseph Robinson born in 1860 – 1868  but only one entry for a Joseph Robinson son of George or  of George and Jane   in that period  of 1860 – 1868 : viz in 1867 in Wee Waa (NSW BDM 17295/1867). And further, considering the alternative name spelling of Robertson, according to NSW BDM, there is only one entry for a Joseph Robertson born in 1860-1868 – viz in Maitland in 1862 to a Joseph and Jannette Robinson

In summation – reviewing the NSW BDM records – there was only one possibility for a son George Robinson/Robertson being born to a George and Jane in NSW in 1860-1868 – AND there was also only one possibility for a son Joseph Robinson/Robertson being born to a George and Jane in NSW in 1860-1868.

Collaboration, comparison, sharing and debate are inherently part of the processes of investigating family history. A more detailed analysis of the two possible origins for George and Jane Robinson can be seen by clicking on this link – Robinson – Waters Excel 1997 – 2003. And in such discussions other parts of the family “jig saw puzzle” emerge which might otherwise have been known by only a few.

In this case, following a comparison of the information we have been able to conclude that it does appear that the George Robinson who died in 1868 was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Robinson of Great Shelford Cambridge and that his wife Jane Waters who also died in 1868, was the daughter of Charles Waters and Jane/Jean MacDonald. And in the discussion so many little stories of the Waters-Robinson family have emerged. 

Note – Refer to Waters main page for details of George Robinson’s family tree.

3. George Robinson Jnr b. 1865 Collarenebri – d. 1922  Anna Bay (Port Stephens) – m. Ann Cromarty ( – d.1922) of a prominent local Anna Bay pioneering family who had grown up at Bob’s Farm. Note – Ann’s grandfather Captain William Cromarty of the Orkney Isles, had been Master of the “Sovereign” and Newcastle Pilot. Ann’s brother Magnus Cromarty became MLA for Wickham, and another was Councillor D Cromarty of Port Stephens Shire Council.

George Jnr ended up Anna Bay. It is noteworthy that his uncle James Robinson had married Louise Blanch of Anna Bay, Port Stephens. Perhaps relatives of Louise took young George Jnr in, following his parents’ death ? Especially as later on when he was at Anna Bay, he was under the guardianship of local butcher, Charles Blanch, presumably a relative of his aunt Louise Robinson nee Blanch.

George worked around eastern and central Queensland as well as western NSW, tanksinking, contracting and droving, timber. Later George Robinson took over the butchery of Charles Blanch (1,), following his time in farming and dairy activities. Robinson’s Reserve in Anna Bay is named after George. Previously there was another web site of the Tomaree Family History Group Nelson Bay, that provided information about George’s story including his time as a butcher in Anna Bay – however this web page is no longer able to be found, as the Group now appears to have placed a lot of its information behind a firewall.

4. Joseph Robinson b. 1893 Raymond Terrace – (S/N 1725) enlisted in WW1 in 1916 and served on the Western Front with the 53rd Battalion, where he was wounded, promoted to Sergeant – returned to Australia 1919 – ADFA listing – had the Anna Bay Store – m. Grace Nellie Rush

4. Magnus Robinson b. 1894 Raymond Terrace – d. 1943 (obituary) Anna Bay – named after St Magnus, patron saint of the Orkney Isles, birthplace of his great grandfather Captain William Cromarty. Magnus was a  farmer who married Nellie May Banks( – d. 1952)  in 1917 in East Maitland.

4. George Archie Robinson b.1898 Raymond Terrace – d. 1961 farmer married in 1921  in Stockton to Mabel Amelia Laman (b. 1897 – d. 1972)

4. Neil Robinson b. 1901 Waratah – d. 1951 – farmer m. 1923 Raymond Terrace  to 2nd cousin Heather Robinson b.1901 Hillgrove – d. 1995 Nelsons Bay

3. Joseph Robinson b. 1867 Wee Waa / Bucklebone – d. 1953 Collarenebri – possibly married in 1909 to  a widow Annie Higgisson nee Lane.

It had been uncertain who raised Joseph following his parents’ deaths in 1868. However in 1887 a Joseph Robinson of Collarenebri is reported in a number of newspaper articles (accessed via Trove and listed below) as being in the company and employ of his uncle, a Charles Waters of Collarenebri.


Arguably then, with a  Joseph Robinson being the nephew of a Charles Waters, it is possible that

  • Charles Waters’ wife Mary Waters nee Robinson was either the sister of Joseph’s father ie George Robinson (?)   OR
  • Charles Waters was the brother of Joseph’s mother ie Jane Robinson nee Waters (?) OR
  • Both of the above apply  ie  Joseph Robinson was a nephew by blood to BOTH Charles and Mary Waters

So it seems plausible to presume that Joseph could have been raised amongst his maternal grandparents, Charles Waters I and Jane/Jean Waters nee MacDonald, and also his aunt & uncle, viz Mary Waters nee Robinson and her husband Charles Waters II. There is also a death certificate for a Joseph Robinson in 1953 in Collarenebri, however his parents may not be recorded on this certificate. Note – Transcripts of what are believed to be his birth certificate, marriage certificate and death certificate are currently being obtained. This page will be updated when the information is obtained.

4 Grace Robinson (1913- 2001 – buried at Collarenebri ) married Alfred Bruce Denyer (1914 – 1991 – buried at Collarenebri ) – note Ancestry.com shows 9 Denyer’s at Herbert St Collarenebri in 1980 Electoral Roll.

4 Essie Robinson (b 1915 – 1977) – in 1933 married in Walgett to Peel Nettle  Dorrington (b 1910 – d 1977) buried at Woronora Cemetery. They were divorced around 1951.

2. Mary Robinson b. 1842 or 1844 Cambridge, Eng d. 26-05-1888 Collarenebri  – m. 20-11-1866 Wellingrove ( Narrabri – or Wee Waa according to NSW BDM), NSW Charles Waters II b. c.1843 Singleton d 1916 Goondiwindi. (note after Mary’s death Charles Waters II then married Emily Read m. 25-08-1894 Presbyterian, Narrabri). Living at Bucklebone when married. However in 1913 only Charles Waters II is listed on the NSW Electoral Roll for Boggabilla, but not Emily, although his son Walter Waters is also listed as being at Boggabilla in 1913.

As noted above, ccording to our Mary Robinson‘s death certificate, George Robinson and his wife Elizabeth were listed as her parents. Is it possible that this was incorrect, and that in fact her parents were also Joseph Robinson and his wife Elizabeth Sternes/Stearnes ?

Note –  Refer to Waters main page for details of Mary Waters nee Robinson’s family tree. 

 3.Elizabeth J Waters b. ??-??-1867 Wee Waa – in 1888 she is listed as being 20 years of age on the death certificate of her mother, Mary Waters nee Robinson– but is not listed as a living child on her father’s 1916 death certificate which records there were two deceased daughters, both unnamed, presumably Elizabeth and her sister Emily Swaysland nee Waters ?

Note – Some have suggested that our Elizabeth may have married George Franks in 1891 in Parramatta. However the woman who married George Franks was a widow, Elizabeth Jane Waters, who was the daughter ofWilliam Rochester and Mary Jane Cunan (for  marriage certificate click on this link 7939637m).

3. Jane Waters b. 1869 Terri Hie Hie NSW (refer her Death Certificate details) d. 27.1.1929 in Gunnedah – buried in Gunnedah Cemetery. She married John Thomas Brasen (1867 Collarenebri –  13.6.1956 Inverell – buried at Inverell Cemetery) m. 16.12.1890 in Collarenebri (Walgett). No birth index found for Jane but other details confirming her birth details have been located in various NSW BDM’s. John Thomas Brasen’s father John Joachim Frederick Brasen was born in Luebeck Germany, and appeared to have arrived in Australia from Sweden via London in 1858.

4. Charles Frederick Brasen b. 1891 Collarenebri d. 1944 Inverell – his obituary said he never married and there were no descendants given either.  However other information suggests he may have married Minnie H Ragg 1920.

4. Elizabeth Mary  Brasen b. 1893 Collarenebri m. William Thom m. 12.9.1921 at Gunnedah

4. Alice May Brasen b. 30-03-1895 Collarenebri d. 16-01-1969 m. Albert George Maunder m. 1920 Gunnedah b. 24-06-1886 Paterson near Raymond Terrace d. 27-08-1963

1920 Wedding of Alice May Brasen and Albert George Maunder after WW1

1920 Wedding of Alice May Brasen and Albert George Maunder after WW1


4. John Henry J Brasen b. 1897 Collarenebri – his obituary indicated that he was a bachelor at this death in 1969 at Inverell

4. Albert Anthony Brasen b. 1899 Narrabri m. Renee Olive Harwoodm. 1925 Gunnedah d. 1936 Gunnedah / m. Nita Marjorie Harwood m. 1937 Narrabri

4. Nellie J Brasen b. 1902 Collarenebri m. Harry Matthews m. 1929 Gunnedah

4. Muriel G Brasen b. 1906 Collarenebri / m. George H Bennett m. 1926 Barraba

3. Alice Waters b. ??-??-1870 Walgett d. 1918 m. Angus Amos m. 1889 Narrabri

4. Alfred R Amos b. 1890 m. Elizabeth M Smith m. 1912 Gulgong

4. Angus C Amos b. 1892

4. Euphemia M Amos b. 1905 m. Ronald T Green m. 1927 Lismore

4.  Elsie M Amos b. 1908 m. Henry R Murray m. 1933 Casino

4. Alma M Amos b. 1911 m. Jeffery W Pascoe m. 1934 Maitland East

4. Unknown female Amos – alive in 1918 at time of her mother’sdeath ?

3. Charles Waters b. ??-??-1871 Walgett d. ??-??-1941 Walgett (buriedCollarenebri) m. 1896 in Collarenebri Agnes V Sweetman ( – d 1954  Collarenabri)

Matilda's brother Charles Waters and Agnes Sweetman - on their Wedding Day - beautiful !

Matilda’s brother Charles Waters and Agnes Sweetman – on their Wedding Day – beautiful !

4. May Waters b. 1896 m. Herbert C Brooks m. 1914 Collarenabri

4 Walter C Waters b. 1897 Married either Lila N M Molly 1921 at New Angledool and/or Doreen Laurie 1931 at Boomi.

4 Mary E Waters b. 1900 m. Albert K Anderson m. 1922 Coonabarabran

4 Albert J Waters b. 1902 d. 1909 May have married Elsie A Bellamy 1920 at Parramatta.

4 Joseph W Waters b. 1905 m. Isma I Williams m. 1937 Walgett

4 Teresa J Waters b. 1908 m. Leslie M Hughes m. 1928 Ryde

4 Harry Cecil Waters b. 1911 d 1987 buried Collarenebri –  m. Elsa May Brown m. 1939 Walgett

4 Neville Sydney  Waters b. 1913 – d 1984 – buried in Collarenebri

4 Eric B Waters b. 1916

3. Matilda Waters b. ??-??-1873 Eurie Eurie, Walgett died 1924 Goondiwindi m. Arthur James Adams m. 01-04-1893 Collarenerbri b. 1868 Grafton d. Goondiwindi Hospital  1924 Goondiwindi a week after breaking herback in accident where bolting horse caused her sulky to overturn, and she fell under the wheel  – daughter Letitia (Tess) was injured in the same accident & in hospital for many months – see Matilda’s Death Certificate. Matilda is buried in an unmarked grave at Boggabilla Cemetery, as is her husband Arthur James Adams  and son Frederick John aka Ted Adams as well as her sister Emily Swaysland nee Waters – grave markers have been lost.

The Adams Family c 1919 Matilda Adams nee Waters and husband Arthur James Adams are seated with 9 of their 10 children and 3 eldest grandchildren

The Adams Family c 1919 Matilda Adams nee Waters and husband Arthur James Adams are seated with 9 of their 10 children and 3 eldest grandchildren

Arthur and Matilda Adams are listed on the 1913 NSW Electoral Roll as being at Boggabilla – Gwydir.

4.  Mary Ethel May Adams b. 09-02-1894 Collarenerbri d. ??-??-1980 Brisbane after being burned in house fire – never married but sometime partner to Cyril Bernard Barden in Tweed Heads after WW1 years – recalled from Tweed Heads to Boggabilla by her father in 1924 following death of her mother Matilda to help raise her younger siblings & several of their children. Mary is buried in the Lawn Cemetery section of Boggabilla Cemetery in a marked grave.

4. Lillian “Lily” Florence Adams b. ??-??-1895 Collarenerbri d  1916 in Queensland childbirth ? m. Francis Samuel Kellett m. 1915 Boomi – note Francis Kellett remarried in 1922 to Ellen Darlington and possibly had at least another two sons, Collin Edward Kellett (1922 – 2000)  and Jack Wilfred Kellett (1936 – 2008) .

4. Leslie Charles Adams b. ??-??-1897 Collarenabri d. 16-07-1979 Goondiwindi m. Vera Matilda Bell m. ??-??-1928 Barraba b. 28-11-1908 Yetman

4. Ivy Elizabeth Adams (birth certificate has Elizabeth Ivy) b. 03-03-1901 Sandy Flat/Tenterfield d. 25-07-1996 Wollongong m. Edward H Richardson m. 1925? Casino

4. Arthur James “Dick” Adams b. ??-??-1904 Moree m. Venetta “Vene” M A Choice m. ??-??-1933 Boomi d

4. Letitia (Tess) Maud Adams b. ??-??-1906 Moree d m. George H Fleming m. ??-??-1935 Boomi

4. Dorothy Jean Adams b. ??-??-1908 Emmaville d 2002 m. James Green b 1909 d 1982 m. ??-??-1930 Glen Innes- James was the son of  Oliver Charles Green and his wife Georgina Wilson

4.  Mabel Isobel “Mid” Adams b. ??-??-1910 Moree d 1968 m. John Bertram “Bert” Tuckerman m. ??-??-1927 Casino

4. Frederick J aka “E  (Ted)” Adams b. ??-??-1913 Moree d. 1940’s

4.  William Charles “Gidgee” Adams b. 1914 d. m.Alice Joyce Suhr m. ??-??-1941 Moree d.

3 Emily Waters b. ??-??-1875 Walgett m. Stephen Edwin Swaysland m. 1892 Collarenabri

4 Ethel M Swaysland b. 1895 m. James M Cumming m. 1921 Murwillimbah
4 Stephen R Swaysland b. 1896
4 Edward Swaysland b. 1903 – note from Steve Sims :  “old ‘Ted was one of the original orchardists in Stanthorpe along with his father Stephen, Emily’s husband and former Mounted Trooper. “
4 Martha E “Kitty” Swaysland b. 1904 m. Arthur J Sims m. 1924 Murwillimbah – following Emily’s death Kitty was sent from Boggabilla to live with relatives in Wagga Wagga

c. 1934 Martha Kitty Sims nee Swaysland with her son Douglas Sims

c. 1934 Martha Kitty Sims nee Swaysland with her son Douglas Sims

4 Charles A Swaysland b. 1907

3 Frederick Waters b. ??-??-1878 Walgett d. ??-??-1945 Maitland West may have married or been partner to Florence Wightman-Dennison (1) – m. Agnes B Fuzzard m. 1905 Collarenabri d. 1940  Maitland (2)

4 Donald Waters (son of Florence)  – click for photo – father of  Leonard Waters – Australia’s 1st Indigenous Airforce Fighter Pilot – Cairns Post April 25 2014 – and by Len’s daughter Kim Orchard

4 Hilton Waters (son of Florence)

4 Freda Waters  (daughter of Agnes) b. 1906 m. Archibald E C Donnell m. 1924 Manilla, NSW

4 Dorothy M V Waters (daughter of Agnes) b. 1908
4 Ivy E Waters (daughter of Agnes) b. 1914

3. Ethel Waters b. ??-??-1881 Walgett m. George Henry (b. 1872 Warnambool – d. 19 34Toowoomba ) m. 1900 Narrabri – 0065 – Marriage Cert – Henry G and Waters E – 1-240 and 1-238.  Note – given as Hetty on mothers death cert.

4. Reginald Stanley “Jack” Henry b. 1897 Collarenebri – 1969 Casino m. 1922 at Tenterfield to Jessie Myra Everson b. 1899 Tooloom NSW

4. George A Henry b. 1900 Moree – d. 1992 Toowoomba married 1935 Kathleen Benson b. 1905 Brewarrina d. 1987 Toowoomba

4 Alexander Stevenson  Henry b. 1902 Warialda d. 1979 – m.Florence Hounslow 1930 in Queensland

4 Alice May  Henry b. 1905 Maclean d. 1916

4 Ethel Mary Henry b. 1907 Chinchilla Qld d. 1990 Toowoomba married 1936 at Lutwyche Qld Herbert Martin Pearson b. 1909 Tingha d. 2002 Toowoomba

4 Alfred Charles Henry b. 1909 Queensland – d. 1980 Queensland

4 Walter Tracy Henry b. 1912 Queensland – d. 1985 married in 1933 in Queensland to Lilian Kathleen Zeller b. 1912 – d. 1990 Toowoomba

4 Florence Henry b. 1914 Queensland married Robert Kennedy Browne Ashmore (b. 1912 – d. 1987)

4 William Arthur Henry (b. 1917 Chinchilla – d. 1992 Toowoomba married to Emily Parker b. 1917 Morven – d. 1990 Toowoomba

4. Marguerite Emily “Rita” Henry b. 1922 Qld – d. 2007 Toowoomba married Jack Fitzpatrick b 1919 Toowoomba – d. 2002 Toowoomba

4 Eric Noel Henry b. 1925 – d. 2003 married Elsie Volker 

3 John Alfred Waters b. ??-??-1883 Walgett d. 1884 May have marriedAda Minton 1914 at Coonabrabran. Or died as Joseph A Waters in 1884 at Walgett – listed as child of Charles and Mary 

3 Walter Waters b. 1885 Walgett – d. 1950 Moree

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2. Matilda Robinson (1846 – 1885) married William Dart (1840 – 1917), an undertaker

3. Mary Elizabeth Dart (1866 – 1867) – buried plot 215 Christ Church Cathedral Cemetery Newcastle 

3. Ada M Dart (1868 – )

3. Laura M Dart (1870 – 1922)

3. Annie Amelia Dart (1873 –

3. Mary Trace (1875 – 1875)  – buried plot 215 Christ Church Cathedral Cemetery Newcastle 

3. William Dart (1877 – 1877)  – buried plot 215 Christ Church Cathedral Cemetery Newcastle 

3. Lily W Dart (1879 – )

2. Daniel Robinson (1850 – 1929) m. in Newcastle in 1875 Charlotte Rebecca Fry (1851- 1876),  daughter of John Francis, Pawnbroker,  and Mary Ann Fry, living at Lower Church St Newcastle at the time of Charlotte’s death. A search of death NSW BDM records for Daniel Robinson or Daniel Robertson from 1875 – 1950 reveals only one likely entry – for a death of Daniel Robinson in Newcastle Hospital on 10.10.1929. Examining a transcription of the 1929 death certificate does not reveal not too many details, and not all details fully align, which is perhaps not surprising. It is highly possible that he never re-married. He would have been the last surviving of the children of Joseph and Elizabeth Robinson. Daniel was buried at Sandgate Cemetery on 12.10.1929.


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