~ John Williams & Mary Anne Ostler ~

John Williams and Mary Anne Ostler were an early pioneering family and farmed on a small scale at 'Govilley Forest' at Mickleham. 

John Williams was born on the 15th of July 1798 in Kenwyn, Cornwall son of Charles and Jane Williams.  He married Mary Anne Ostler on the 8th of June 1825 at Kenwyn, Cornwall England.  Their first son William Henry was born in 1831, aged 19 and Francis born 1832 aged 17 when they arrived in Australia.

They were Cornish farmers and farmed at Penstrace in Cornwall.  Farming played an important part and was particularly demanding occupation with the soil and climate to contend with in Cornwall. The Cornish farmers had a reputation as being some of the toughest and plenty of grit and determination. John Williams would have farmed cattle and sheep for profit in meat and milk and bones and hides, possibly grew crops like potatoes and turnips and fodder for his cattle and horses.

We find the couple on the 1841 census for the parish of Kenwyn, Cornwall and are noted as living at Penstrace and are farmers.  At this time they have 6 children, Mary Anne Ostler aged 13, William H A aged 10, Francis Henry aged 8, James aged 6, John Charles aged 4 and Jane aged 1, Martha was not born till 1842.

Possibly the lure of a better life saw John and Mary Ann and six of their children sailing to Australia on the "General Palmer" in the December of 1848.

On emigration lists published in the The London Times Sat Dec 30, 1848 it is noted the ship "General Palmer", which arrived on the 20th from London, left for Port Phillip on the 22nd of December 1848 and arrived at Port Phillip in the April of 1849.

Their third eldest son James was not on the passenger list and died at an earlier time as he would have only been 14 when the family emigrated to Australia.  When John Williams died in 1860 James is given as 'deceased' on his death certificate.

Three days after the family landed they rented a farm at Broadmeadows and had purchased a bullock team and within one week had ploughed 7 acres of ground.  In the first year 130 acres of crops had been sown. Having sown the crops the two eldest boys carted provisions making much profit out of wool and gold and it is possible this is what paid for the purchase of the farm of 1,366 acres sections 24, 25 and 26 at Mickleham in 1852.

By 1858 the family are now settled and in full swing farming at Mickleham and sadly their youngest daughter Martha dies of Typhus fever and is buried at the Mickleham Cemetery, on her death certificate it is noted the family has been in Australia now 9 years.

John named the farm after a hamlets in Cornwall where he grew up and lived, Goviley Major and Goviley Dean.  In an early directory of Mickleham the area was described at 'generally flat and thickly timbered' perhaps a reminder of his homeland so far away and perhaps why he called the farm 'forest' with the property being so thickly covered in Redgum timber at the time.

Just two years later in 1860 John Williams dies and on his death certificate the cause of death it is noted 'of debility' for 12 months, he was buried with his daughter Martha at the Mickleham Cemetery.

John seems to have made ample provision for his children in his will made in 1858 and leaves each particular Crown Selection to each son, section 26 to William, section 25 to Francis and section 24 to John.

At the time of John's death his living children were given as:

Mary Anne, William Henry,  Francis, John Charles and Jane Williams.

Deceased children were:

James and Martha Williams.

Their first born son William Henry Williams married Mary Jex in 1857 and successfully farmed at Mickleham until his death in 1911.

John and Mary Anne's son Francis Williams married Martha Hill 23 Feb 1859
St John's Church of England, Melbourne, Vic.  Martha was the daughter of John Butler Hill and Martha Stringer owners of the Somerton Hotel on Sydney Rd at Somerton, Victoria.

In 1860 the third son John married Martha Pritches.

More information can be found on the page in this site at: http://www.chig.asn.au/new_somerton_hotel_page.htm

Or on Kaye Patterson's pages on the Hill Family at: http://users.bigpond.net.au/Patterson/geneal/Hill/hil1-6a.htm

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