Ada Louisa Avard, daughter of Kentish English immigrants, David Avard and Sarah Harmer, married Thomas Callcott Junior, son of an English convict Thomas Callcott and Mary Freeman. Ada and Thomas were my great great grandparents. I am so grateful to an Avard Callcott cousin, Donna Hamilton, who shared this photograph of Ada and Thomas with their children – my maternal great grandfather Alfred Freeman “Alf” Callcott is at the far left of the photograph shown below.
I’ve done DNA testing on Ancestry.com in 2017 and I am delighted to say that I have found matches with other Avard and Avard-Callcott descendants in Australia. It has renewed my interest in my Avard heritage.
David and Sarah departed from Gravesend on the “Westminster” in March 1838, and arrived in Sydney on June 26, 1838 as assisted immigrants, along with David’s brother Thomas and his wife Elizabeth. There were about seven children across both families who accompanied their parents to Australia: David’s Elizabeth, Sarah & Mary Jane, and Thomas’ Jesse, Maria, Harriet & Hannah. David’s son William and Thomas’ daughter Ann were among the ten people who perished during the voyage. An excerpt from the journal of Ship’s Surgeon James Lawrence is available on Matt’s blog. A list of those aboard the Westminster is available from the Kent Online Parish Clerks website. Also in the list were Chandler’s and Chittenden’s – and perhaps they were family connections of our Avard’s ? (NB And there on the Westminster were Benjamin and Sophia Barden – a cousin of my paternal great great great grandfather Charles William Barden, who also emigrated to Australia.)
The Avard’s were amongst those who emigrated from Kent and Sussex England, under the 1834 Poor Laws. There were about 1213 such assisted emigrants who left Kent between 1836 – 1847. Sussex sent even more : 3914 during the same period – source “The English in Australia“. On the Westminster there had been about 280 people emigrating to the NSW Colony – most of the men were Agricultural workers from Kent.
The Poor Law was a consequence of the “real suspicion amongst the middle and upper classes that they were paying the poor to be lazy and avoid work.” : Source : UK National Archives
Our Avard ancestors were living at Sandhurst prior to their emigration and so would have presumably been under the Cranbrook Poor Law Union which had been formed in late 1835. This had followed the “Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 (PLAA), known widely as the New Poor Law, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whiggovernment of Earl Grey. It completely replaced earlier legislation based on the Poor Law of 1601 and attempted to fundamentally change the poverty relief system in England and Wales …. The Act was intended to curb the cost of poor relief, and address abuses of the old system, prevalent in southern agricultural counties, by enabling a new system to be brought in under which relief would only be given in workhouses, and conditions in workhouses would be such as to deter any but the truly destitute from applying for relief. The Act was passed by large majorities in Parliament, with only a few Radicals (such as William Cobbett) voting against. ….
It had all come about as the English government … “Alarmed at the cost of poor relief in the southern agricultural districts of England (where in many areas it had become a semi-permanent top-up of labourers’ wages – the Allowance System, Roundsman System, or Speenhamland System), Parliament had set up a Royal Commission into the operation of the Poor Laws. The Commission’s findings, which had probably been predetermined, were that the old system was badly and expensively run. The Commission’s recommendations were based on two principles. The first was less eligibility: conditions within workhouses should be made worse than the worst conditions outside of them so that workhouses served as a deterrent, and only the most needy would consider entering them.” – Source Wikipedia Article.
There were concerns about conditions in the Workhouses under the 1834 Poor Law and as the NSW Colony need workers, it seemed an ideal opportunity to “export” the poor to the Antipodes. Bruce Fairhall has written a really interesting article on his own Fairhall family emigrating to Australia in 1838 on the “Maitland“.
In the colony, both David and Thomas Avard seem to have been at John Eales‘ Berry Park for a time. Eales had as many as 141 convicts assigned to him. Later John Eales built a mansion on the Duckenfield Estate known as Duckenfield Park. Some of David Avard’s family seem to have also been around Duckenfield, whilst Thomas had moved onto Murrurrundi. Duckenfield Park mansion has long since disappeared, with the final remnants, the Servant’s Quarters demolished around 1977 – however Berry Park House remains.
In late 2016, the Newcastle Herald had an interesting article on John Eales and Duckenfield – from where the photo below was sourced..
An on-line Avard family tree for David Avard and Sarah Harmer can be found here – and for a more complete Avard tree email firstname.lastname@example.org . I would really like to acknowledge the amazing research done by my Avard Callcott cousins Donna Hamilton, Janice Morgan Payne and jycallcott44, plus my husband David Christian and my mother Joan Lois Adams nee Callcott.
It seems that the Avard’s were in Horsmonden, Kent England before they ended up at Sandhurst, Kent England by 1763 – and then there’s the question of Hugenot connections dating back to the 1500’s :
Timeline : 1500’s – 1800’s – Horsmonden to the Hunter Valley NSW
Horsmonden Kent England Years : 1500’s – 1737 – nb the parish records for St Margaret’s Horsmonden date from 1558 – though the 16th Century records are far from complete.
- c.1540 – birth of Richard(e) Avard(e) – said to have been born in England, but no records sighted as yet
- 1562, 1586 & 1593 Horsmonden – marriages of Richard(e) Avard(e)
- c.1570 Horsmonden- birth of Richard(e)’s son Robert Avard(e)
- 1592 Horsmonden – marriage of Richard(e)’s son Robert Avard(e) to Joan Hammond/Hamond
- 1597 Horsmonden- death of Richard(e) Avard(e) – his Will gives his occupation as Weaver
- 1613 Horsmonden – birth of Robert’s son William Avard (1613 – 1661)
- 1640 Horsmonden – death of Robert Avard(e) – his Will gives his occupation as Yeoman
- 1657 Horsmondwen – birth of William Avard(1657 – 1716) – son of William Avard (1613 – 1661)
- 1661 Horsmonden – death of William Avard (1613 – 1661)
- 1680 Hormsonden / Brenchley, Kent -a legal case involving Francis Austen, an indirect ancestor of the author Jane Austen, and William Avard regarding property in Horsmonden and Brenchley in Kent – possibly this was William Avard(1657 – 1716) as his father and grandfather, both named William Avard, had already passed away ?
Reference: C 6/80/6 Description:
Short title: Austen v Goodhew.
Plaintiffs: Francis Austen.
Defendants: Richard Goodhugh and William Avard.
Subject: property in Horsmonden, and Brenchley, Kent.
Document type: bill, answer.
- 1681 Horsmonden – marriage of William Avard (1657 – 1716) to Mary Dann (1665 – ?)
- 1696 Horsmonden – birth of William Avard (1696 -1763) – son of William Avard (1657 – 1716)
- 1716 Horsmonden – death of William Avard (1657 – 1716)
- 1719 Horsmonden – marriage of William Avard (1696 – 1763) to Elizabeth Pett (1695 – 1730)
- 1725 Horsmonden – birth of Abraham Avard (1725 – 1779) – son of William Avard (1696 – 1763)
- 1730 Horsmonden – death of Elizabeth Avard nee Pett (1695 – 1730)
- 1735 Horsmonden – possible second marriage of William Avard (1696 – 1763) to Elizabeth Ann Jones (c. 1700 – )
- 1737 Horsmonden – birth of Sarah Avard (1737 – c. 1765?) – youngest daughter (?) of William Avard (1696 – 1763)
Departure from Sandhurst : 1737 – 1763 ??
- 1757 – Wittersham Kent England – marriage of Abraham Avard to Elizabeth Saxby (1727 – 1807)
Sandhurst Years (nb. very hard to find any mentions of Avard’s in Sandhurst, Kent England prior to 1763)
- 1763 Sandhurst – death of William Avard (1696 – 1763)
- c. 1765 Sandhurst – death of Sarah Avard (1737 – c. 1765)
- c. 1771 Sandhurst – birth of Jesse Avard (c. 1771 – 1834) son of Abraham Avard (1725 – 1779)
- 1779 Sandhurst – death of Abraham Avard (1725 – 1779)
- 1797 Sandhurst – marriage of Jesse Avard (1771 – 1834) to Mary Ann Burt
- 1799 Sandhurst – birth of Samuel Avard (1799 – 1874 Maidstone Kent) son of son of Jesse Avard (1771 – 1834)
- 1801 Sandhurst – birth of David Avard (1801 – 1858) son of Jesse Avard (1771 – 1834)
- 1806 – birth of Thomas Avard (1806 – 1863 Murrurrundi NSW Australia) son of Jesse Avard (1771 – 1834)
- 1825 Aylesford Kent England – marriage of Thomas Avard (1806 – 1863) to Elizabeth Chandler (c.1808 – c. 1885)
- 1826 Sandhurst – marriage of Samuel Avard (1799 – 1874) to Elizabeth Paine
- 1827 Sandhurst – marriage of David Avard (1801 – 1858) to Sarah Harmer (1809 – 1876)
- 1834 Sandhurst – death of Jesse Avard (1771 – 1834)
- 1838 Sandhurst – departure of Jesse’s sons David Avard (1801 – 1858) and Thomas Avard (1806 – 1863) with their families on the “Westminster” for the NSW Colony
- 1838 NSW Colony – arrival of Jesse’s sons David Avard (1801 – 1858) and Thomas Avard (1806 – 1863) with their families on the “Westminster“
- 1839 Morpeth – birth of Elizabeth Avard (1839 – 1923) – daughter of Thomas Avard (1806 – 1863)
- 1841 Patricks Plains – Thomas Avard (1806 – 1863) is recorded in 1841 NSW Census – however there does not appear to be an entry for David Avard (1801 – 1858) ?
- 1842 Alnwick, near Maitland – David Avard (1801 – 1858) is recorded as being a Labourer (Hunter Valley Directory 1841 – Elizabeth Guilford 1987 p.30
- 1844 Duckenfield Park Raymond Terrace, Hunter Valley NSW – birth of Harriet Avard (1844 – 1860) – daughter of David Avard (1801 – 1858)