Thomas & Mary Anne Wright

Many thanks to Ken Unwin and Sue Wright for the contribution of the following information and pictures on this page.

Thomas Wright (pictured left) was born in 1815 at Chrishall, Essex England son of James and Ann Wright.  Mary Anne Wright (nee Unwin) daughter of Nathan and Sarah Unwin born in 1826 at Clavering, Essex, England.  The couple married at Chrishall, Essex on the 8th of September 1846, Thomas being a widower and had two daughters from his first marriage.

Sailing from Gravesend in September 1848 and landing in Melbourne in the January of 1849 on board the sailing ship “Maitland”were 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 work on a property at Coburg owned by squatter Arundel Wrighte which was called “La Rose” and was later changed to “Wentworth House”.  In those days the area was called Pentridge then just a little cluster of houses hardly called a village. 

The name was later changed to Coburg in 1870 and it is believed there was a number of Wesleyan families who may have known each other from Pentridge and moved to the Mickleham and surrounding area at around the same time. 

Leaving the area of Coburg, Thomas and Mary Wright, moved to Euroke (the former name for an area on Mickleham Road in the Parish of Yuroke) in about 1850 where she established a regular service in her home, and was said to be instrumental in the erection of a church, which was constructed by the Rev. John Ryde and in use by the 27 February 1851, the birth date of her third child and 'saw many brought to Christ'.  

By March 1852 Thomas and Mary Anne (Mary Anne pictured right) had moved to Mickleham.  They lived at a property named Chrishall which was called after the place Thomas was born in Essex, England.  Mary Anne again held services in her home and by 1852 is seems the congregation of Methodist Wesleyan farmers in the area had grown to the size where it warranted a permanent place of worship instead of being held in the homes of various parishioners. Mary Anne assisted in the erection of the Mickleham Wesleyan Methodist Church situated on Mt. Ridley Rd and was and was described at being 'a stone chapel in the course of erection' which was built by 1855 and was said to ' have witnessed a gracious revival which extended over a long period'.

Thomas and Mary Anne next moved to the Ballarat area where she assisted in the erection of a third church and was said to have 'saved many souls'.  When land was opened up for selection in the Goulbourn Valley the Wright family settled at Pine Lodge in the Shepparton district.

Thomas Wright died on the 23rd of October 1902 at Pine Lodge, Shepparton aged 88 and was described as 'a worthy representative of English yeomanry' and 'a man who feared God and loved righteousness'.   Thomas and Mary Anne had 11 children and 117 grand and great grandchildren.

Mary Anne Wright lived to be over 90 years of age therefore being a 'nonagenarian' and lived under five reigns - George IV, William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V and was a member of the Primitive Methodist Church for 75 years and died on the 3rd of November 1919 at Reynard St, Coburg, Victoria aged 93.

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