The Wright and Unwin Families

Pictured above : The four Unwin siblings who came to Australia aboard the “Maitland”, arriving in January of 1849 at Port Phillip.

Left to right: Mary Ann Wright (Unwin), James Unwin, Jemima Lyon (Unwin) and Nathan Unwin junior.

When the photo was taken is not known, but possibly taken following the death of their mother in 1895.

The  family of Unwin’s landed in Melbourne I January of 1849.  On board the sailing ship “Maitland” there were Nathan Unwin, wife Sarah Jane, children, Jemima, age 17 years, James, aged 13 years and my great grandfather, Nathan, aged 7 years. Also on board were Nathan & Sarah Jane’s eldest daughter, Mary Ann, aged 21 years and her husband, Thomas Wright, age 33 years. Thomas had two daughters from his first marriage and on the voyage out they lost their first child but Mary Ann gave birth to their second child, 21 days out of Port Phillip.

On embarking from their ship they went to a property at Coburg owned by Arundel Wright which was called “La Rose” and was later changed to “Wentworth House”.

Following a short period there they moved to the Greenvale and Mickleham areas, Nathan senior to Greenvale and it was possibly then that Mary Ann and Thomas went to Mickleham and later James Unwin.  My great grandfather Nathan (James’s brother) was also there for a time.

Mary  Ann & Thomas later selected land near Shepparton.

Nathan Unwin senior owned a small block of land of around 30 acres and I believe it may have been a part of “Glen Arthur” or the Shankland property which were destroyed to make way for the Greenvale Reservoir.

Jemima Unwin married John Lyon and they settled at Essendon.

James Unwin married Catherine Colbon in 1856. Later he settled land at Tongola.

Nathan Unwin married Jane Stanlake in 1868 on the property of “Glen Arthur” which is where the present day Greenvale reservoir is. This property was owned by Joseph Trotman.  Joseph’s wife Celia was Jane Stanlake’s sister.  

Nathan and Jane had twin daughters who both died at Mickleham and are buried in the Church cemetery on Mt. Ridley Road. (The Mickleham Methodist Church Cemetery).   In 1879  Myra Unwin died aged 2 months and a year later in 1880 Lena Violet Unwin died aged 10 months.

Mary Ann (Unwin) Wright the wife of Thomas Wright was involved with the early church at Mickleham.


James Unwin

James Unwin was the elder son of Nathan & Sarah Jane (Goodwin) Unwin, who at the age of 13 years migrated to Australia with his siblings aboard the “Maitland”, arriving in January, 1849 at Port Phillip. The Unwin’s were from Essex in England.

James parents settled in the Yuroke district, later James settled at Mickleham. It was at Mickleham that James met his wife, Catherine Colbon whose parents also farmed there. Catherine was born at Eye, Northamptonshire, England.

James Unwin and Catherine Colbon were married on 20th August, 1856 at his residence.  I believe that this would have been before the building of the Church at Mickleham.

Seven of their children were born at Mickleham, two at Essendon, two at Nagambie, one at Toolamba and one at Kyabram. There were two of their children who died at Mickleham and are believed to have been buried in the Mickleham cemetery.

In 1878 they selected land at Kyabram East.

Catherine died on the 29th March, 1890 at Kyabram. On 29th November, 1894, James remarried widow Edith Robinson at Moama, NSW. Edith died in 1917.

James Unwin survived many more years and passed away on the 2nd January, 1924 and is buried in the Tongala cemetery.


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