Nathan and Sarah Jane Unwin
Written by Ken Unwin
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 Sarah Jane Unwin in 1895.
The family of Unwin’s migrated from Essex, sailing from Gravesend in September 1848 and landed in Melbourne in the 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.
Many families came to Greenvale mid 1800’s, seemingly mostly to work to farm or work as labourers on neighboring properties. From a Primitive Methodist background, the Unwin’s were amongst the first to worship at “Providence Place” Primitive Methodist Church and played a prominent role within the church.
The family home was on 24 acres and from the rate book it would appear the property was on the eastern boundary of “Glen Arthur”, incorporated perhaps with the Shankland “Waltham” property which also was adjacent to “Glen Arthur” which were destroyed to make way for the Greenvale Reservoir.
In 1892, aged 87 years, Nathaniel Unwin died and three years later, Sarah too, was buried at the Bulla Cemetery. No record of the Unwin name appears in the rate book. It was thought that there could have been a connection with the Unwin’s in Sunbury, but this was not the case.
Children of Nathan and Sarah Jane Unwin:
Mary Ann Unwin married Thomas Wright and Mary Ann was involved with the early church at Mickleham and they then later selected land near Shepparton.
Jemima Unwin married John Lyon and they settled at Essendon.
James Unwin married Catherine Colbon in 1856 at Mickleham and 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.