1st Fleet Convicts’ grandchild – Charlotte Midson nee Small – Mother of Illawarra Callcott Matriarch Lucy (Midson) Callcottsource “The Small Family in Australia 1788-1988”

Stories and photographs of the Hicks,McKenzie, Joy, Callcott, Small, Bradley and Adams families were collected and held by Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott), since the late 1950′s. They were passed down to Joan’s daughter, Kerrie Anne Christian (Adams), and her siblings Julie Maree Lock Lee (Adams) and Daryl James AdamsKerrie’s husband, David John Christian, also collaborated with Joan on family history, and has maintained an extensive and ever-growing family history database for many years.  Our family’s  stories are starting to be shared on-line by Kerrie, with help from other family members, as they in turn share their own memories. Please note –  the sites will be under virtual perpetual evolution for some years,  given the sheer volume of material collected by Joan and David, as well as that now on the internet !

Our branch of the Callcott family has Midsons as well as Avards – mostly the Callcotts and Avards  seem to have come from further north, especially Tamworth and Morpeth/ East Maitland in the Hunter Valley. The Midsons came from around the Ryde area of Sydney. While this site is mainly centred around the Illawarra Callcotts, their relatives and ancestors from outside the Illawarra are covered as well.

Starting with Lucy Callcott – although not born a Callcott, nevertheless she was definitely the family matriarch in Thirroul. 

She was born Lucy Midson, in 1875,  the eldest daughter of William Midson and his wife Charlotte (nee Small) – they had about 10 children in total.  William Midson was an Orchardist, a Wesleyan preacher in the Ryde Circuit, and also an Alderman on Dundas Borough Council for the Carlingford area from the late 1890’s. He was also active in setting up the Carlingford Progress Association in that era.  Perhaps it was not surprising that Lucy’s brother, Harold Midson became an alderman on Windsor Council too. Curious trivia – in 1899 William Midson (1849–1924) suggested the name for Epping – apparently named  after a town near Epping Forest in Essex, where his father was born. A cousin of his father was Charles William Midson, and was he a Council Alderman in the Brisbane area. There was also another Alderman on Dundas Council called James Sonter, and he was married to William Midson’s sister Sarah.

On her mother’s side, Lucy‘s motherCharlotte was the granddaughter of three UK 1st Fleet convicts, John Small, Mary Parker and James BradleyCharlotte’s  father was Samuel Small, who was born in 1804, the youngest of John Small and Mary Parker‘s seven children. He had married Rachel Rebecca Bradley, daughter of another First Fleeter James Bradley, and his wife Sarah Barnes. Sarah had also been a convict, but on the Third Fleet from the UK. More from the Fellowship of the First Fleeters.

Lucy‘s father, William Midson had died in 1924, and when her mother Charlotte passed away ? Back in the 1940’s it was still not socially acceptable to acknowledge that one had “Convict Blood“, let alone that all of your grandparents came out as convicts, especially if you were married to a member of the Church clergy ?  Hence, in Charlotte‘s death notice in 1940, no mention of the convict stain! Instead, Charlotte  was claimed to be the granddaughter of John Small, a Military Officer on the HMS Sirius, with the First Fleet. Note from Kerrie Christian – “it seemed to only become widely known that we were descended from 1st Fleet Convicts in the mid 1980’s, but soon enough to appreciate it the 1988 Bicentenary”.

Coincidentally, Charlotte‘s other grandfather, James Bradley, was also a Wesleyan preacher. A significant change from being an ex-convict transported on the 1st Fleet from the UK?  Apparently James Bradley, may have even upset the Reverend Samuel Marsden (Church of England) in the early days of the Colony  – something to do with rivalry for attracting children of the colony to their respective churches ?

Enter the Callcotts

Lucy Midson married Alfred (Alf) Freeman Callcott, a railway man, in 1894. Alf‘s family also had the Convict stain ! Alf‘s grandfather was Thomas Callcot – yes one “T” not “TT“, who was born on 08-11-1818 in London.  Thomas was sentenced to transportation for life in the London Central Criminal Courts for Burglary with force and arms, comparable with Lucy’s John Small ancestor who had been a Highwayman.

It is possible that Thomas married Mary Freeman around 1846. She was also from London, born 14-09-1811, however Mary was not a Convict, and had come out to Australia under the protection of Robert Lanphier & his wife.

Thomas worked as a Turner – he and Mary would have 4 children:  Thomas Jnr (1843 in North Sydney), Sarah (1847 in Singleton), Mary Ann (1849 in Singleton) and Elizabeth (1852 in the Hunter). Thomas Snr was believed to have died on 13-05-1869 in Morpeth, and was buried on 16-05-1869 in Church of England Cemetery in Morpeth. Mary died nearly 15 years later, and is  buried with Thomas at Morpeth.

Alf Callcott was the 4th of the 13 children of Thomas Calcott Jnr and wife Ada (nee Avard)  – all but one would live to adulthood. Thomas Jnr died in 1919, following Ada‘s earlier death in 1908 – both are buried in Tamworth – nnd yes Calcott is now spelled with 1 “L” not “LL” and it has “TT” not 1 “T” – confusing ? yes ?

The branch of Alf‘s older brother, William Thomas (W.T.) Callcott, would figure prominently in the commercial and local government life of Tamworth. Recently, contact has been made with the Percy Augustus Callcott branchPercy was the second son of Alf’s older brother W.T. Callcott.

Alf was the only Callcott member to come to the Illawarra – many remaining in Tamworth and the Hunter. During his time on the railway, Alf Callcott and wife Lucy seemed to have moved around NSW – Hornsby, Hermidale, Lyndhurst-Lochinvar, and finishing at Forbes. They only moved to Thirroul, after Alf retired from the railway.

Lucy Callcott nee Midson and Alf Callcott – source “The Small Family in the Illawarra 1788-1988”

Lucy and Alf had two daughters,  Marjorie Lou and Clarice, in addition to their son, Louis Russell Freeman Callcott.

Marjorie Lou married into the Tiernan Family – more information on Tiernan‘s.

Clarice married Wilfred Victor Farraher, of the Farrahers – one of the earliest Northern Illawarra families, who were also connected to the Kirtons, including John Stephen Kirton, of Excelsior Mine.

Russell, also became a railway man, and became part of the extended Hicks – Joy families, on his marriage to Mary Constance (Molly) Joy in 1929 – see more on Lucy’s Family Tree (note incorrect spelling).

According to “The Small Family in Australia 1788-1988″ p625, Alf and Lucy built a large home in Harbord Street Thirroul, (No.5 ?) and ran it as a guest house. Alf and Lucy were also estate and insurance agents in the town – (more information). Amongst their most famous clients, were the sometimes controversial English author, DH Lawrence and his wife, Baroness Frida Von Richtofen. Frida was also a cousin of The Bloody Red Baron of WW1 Germany. (more information). 

Thirroul had become quite a popular tourist destination – below is an ABC video of some old postcards from Thirroul collected by Dr Joseph (Joe) Davis of Thirroul – hint click on the blue bars first – then the white arrow to get the video going.

In 1922 DH and Frida Lawrence stayed at the Californian bungalow, Wyewurk, which overlooks McCauley’s Beach, and was then owned by Lucy’s sister, Beatrice Southwell nee Midson.

William and Beatrice Southwell – source “The Small Family in Australia 1788-1988”

It was this short stay, at Wyewurk, that provided some of the inspiration for “Kangaroo“, according to Thirroul historian Dr Joseph (Joe) Davis. Coincidentally, Joe also taught Lucy and Alf’s  great grandson, Mark Callcott, at high school – at the time that he was writing his book “DH Lawrence in Thirroul“. Additionally, Joe is also a distant cousin of Katrina Christian – great great granddaughter of Alf and Lucy Callcott. It seems that Thirroul has always been that kind of place, with a strong sense of “connectedness”.

Alf & Lucy’s son, Russ Callcott and wife Molly also seemed to have moved around with his railway employment – Hornsby, LambtonHowever ultimately they  returned to Thirroul in 1937, to live at (14?) Harbord Street Thirroul, across the road from his mother, Lucy, who was in Harbord Street (No.5 ?). Along the Russ and Molly were to have five children, Ian McKenzie, Joan Lois (Adams)Enid Josephine (Gorton)John Alfred and Joy.

Wedding of Russell Callcott and Mary Constance Joy 1929 at St Augustine’s Bulli

Sadly, Russ and Molly’s marriage was fairly short-lived and Russ moved over to his mother’s home, across the road in Harbord Street Thirroul. This created hardship for Molly and her five children during the 1930’s-1950’s – More on Molly’s Story.

Joan’s 60th – October 1992 at Thirroul
Rear – John (Joe) and Pat Callcott, Vic Parks (husband of Joy)
Middle -Joy Parks (nee Callcott) and Ian Callcott
Front – Joan Adams (nee Callcott) and Lola Callcott (nee Martin) – wife of Ian
Note – Joan’s husband Ross Adams had passed away in 1990 and Enid Gorton (nee Callcott) was not present

Callcott sisters – Joy Parks Enid Gorton Joan Adams – Callcott sisters – at St Augustine’s Bulli Centenary in 1980’s

Most of Russ and Molly Callcott’s  children moved away from Thirroul, to other suburbs further south in the Illawarra, with the exception of Joan Adams (nee Callcott) who lived there until her death in late 2012. However Enid Gorton (nee Callcott) also returned to the town for a time, years after her marriage and subsequent divorce.

Postscript –  a 2013 Family Reunion of the Joy Callcott branch of the Hicks Family was held on February 9 2013, following the interment of the remains of Joan Lois Adams (Callcott) at St Augustine’s Bulli. A long family lunch was held at the Woonona Bulli RSL Club, following the service at St Augustine’s Bulli, which was conducted by the Reverend Leigh Roberts.



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