DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 2010-05 > 1272989738
From: Jason Austin <>
Subject: Re: [DEV] Balson/Balsom/Balsam - Caroline & Mary
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 09:15:39 -0700
It's important to remember not to look back in time through the glasses
of today. Our terminology; our society; our community standards; the
degree to which we are governed are all vastly different today from what
there were 173 years ago in 1837 Australia.
It was not deceitful to change ones name - one just did it. There was
nothing to register, no one to inform. Many going to a new country
took the opportunity to change their name at the same time - my own
grandfather did this when going to Australia a 100 years later in 1925.
And when practicality ran afoul of the law, practicality usually won:
Divorce among the less wealthy was virtually impossible because it
required an act of parliament, so couples would part, the woman would
later marry again terming herself a widow. Likewise it was against
the law until the 1900's for a man to marry the sister of his deceased
wife, so ruses would be set up to get around that.
I will post below a message on the Cornish list from March 8th about
conditions in Australia in 1851. None of this answers Julie's question
directly, but it shows how almost incomprehensibly different the
conditions are then to what we have now and how we need to be careful
about judging the behaviour of our ancestors. They lived in different
times, under different rules, and different conventions.
WEST BRITON AND CORNWALL ADVERTISER - transcribed by Julia Mosman
3 JANUARY 1851
EDITORIAL - EMIGRATION TO AUSTRALIA
We have received a communication from MR. RICHARD MOYLE, auctioneer and
now residing at Adelaide, South Australia, and who formerly carried on
business at Falmouth, Penryn, and Redruth. He requests publication in the
West Briton of particulars which he states are in every respect authentic,
in regard to the eligibility of South Australia as a field for emigration;
and he adds, that on giving this information, his only object is the good of
his fellow countrymen, who, in South Australia, may get a plentiful supply
of work at remunerative wages. He says that that colony possesses all the
elements of prosperity, and that it is preferable to Sydney, Port Phillip,
and the Cape of Good Hope. The climate is excellent, the reports of the
summer heat and the hot winds having been greatly exaggerated. His letter is
dated July 4, 1850, about the middle of winter in that country, and he says
the weather was then most agreeably mild, and the gardens full of prolific
vegetation. Of the mines he writes as follows:
"Here is a vast field of wealth to be developed. The whole country abounds
with minerals, and its
prospects are such as to justify the most sanguine anticipations. What a
pity that the English capitalists do not direct their serious attention to
this colony; they would not much longer throw away their money in Mexico,
Chili, and Cuba; and if two thousand miners were to come here annually for
the next ten years, I do not think its effect would be perceptible in the
value of labour, as many more mines would be opened, which cannot be done
now from the want of workmen. Miners realize on tribute from GBP 16 to GBP
30 per month, and tut-work about GBP 8 per month; and most of the
miners have their cow and horse. The Burra Burra mine is divided into two
thousand shares, and cost originally only GBP 5 per share, but were selling
four months since at GBP 140 per share, and are now selling at GBP 210.
There is a township marked out near the mine, called Redruth, and many of
the miners are building houses; the population there is about five thousand.
MR. HENRY AYERS, the manager of the Burra Burra mines, is very much
respected. A great many of the miners, who are
young men, keep their horses for their amusement."
With regard to agriculture and wages, he states:
"Here are millions of acres of the most fertile land, and if ten thousand
labourers were to arrive
annually it would be a great benefit to the colony and a blessing to
themselves. They get from 12s. to 20s. per week, with their rations, but by
industry and care they soon make head and become their own masters. I could
name some whom I knew at home almost pennyless, and who have been here
only about eighteen months or two years, and have now their dray with six or
eight oxen, and their
cow or two, and about twenty acres of land all their own. Industrious
couples who come here need
not fear; the greater their poverty at home the greater their success
frequently here; therefore I
entreat them to come all who can, and the larger their families the better.
There are exceedingly fine cattle here; milch cows fetch from 12s to 25s.
each; oxen from 30s to 50s. each; good meat, mutton or beef, 2d. per pound;
choice cuts, 3d. per ditto.
The horses are exceedingly fine; a good saddle or draught horse may be had
for from GBP 10 to GBP 20, and many young horses imported from Sydney and
Van Dieman's Land, are sold at from 50s. to 70s.; they are fit for immediate
work, and most of them become excellent horses. Of fruits, we have the
finest apples, pears, apricots, peaches, grapes, &c., and this will no doubt
become one of the first wine-producing countries.
The land will produce with but little labour, wheat, barley, oats, potatoes,
cotton, flax, or almost anything. Of timber, we have the finest for
ship-building. Brick makers, or brick layers, as many as may come, are sure
of employ, at GBP 2.2s. per week; masons get from 35s. to 42s. per week;
carpenters and wheelwrights, if good workmen, may be certain of obtaining
42s. per week; shoe making is a first rate business here, and instant
employment may be had at from 42s. to 50s. per week; journeymen tailors get
for making a dress coat 21s., trousers 6s., vest 5s.; tin-plate workers have
GBP 2.2s. per week.
He states that hat and cloth and gas manufacturing, would be found
profitable businesses, if there
were capitalists to commence them.
Clerks, shopmen, &c. who come over without capital are the most unfortunate
class in the colony; he knows many clergymen's and merchants' sons, clerks,
and respectable but unfortunate tradesmen at home, who are in the greatest
distress in Australia, and obliged to engage in driving bullocks, sheep
herding, and employments of that kind. No one should go out unless he is
able and willing to work hard, or has capital to assist himself. Mr Moyle
next speaks of the value of capital as applied to house building, and of the
rapid increase of houses at Adelaide and in the surrounding country. He does
not think the people are anxious for separation from England, but they will
not long submit to taxation without representation. The revenue of the
colony is fast increasing, and there is good travelling accommodation, -
first-rate inns, and coaches with four horses similar to the English mails.
Mr. Moyle states that good female servants would be immediately engaged on
their arrival in the colony, but he cautions them against the misconduct of
the master, doctors, and mates of the
passenger ships. If female emigrants misconduct themselves on their passage,
it is soon known
throughout Adelaide after their arrival, and of course it is greatly to
their disadvantage. He advises them to report any misbehavior towards
themselves, on their arrival, and the whole of the Adelaide press would
instantly unite in their favour.
He complains that persons who have made selections of females to send out to
the colony, have not been sufficiently careful with regard to their
characters. Thus those that Miss Burdett Coutts sent out from ill-judged
philanthropy from the Magdalen Institution, termed "reformed characters,"
and some "Irish orphans" sent out in another ship, had most of them become
pests in the colony.
He also gives advice to emigrants to bring their own wine and spirits, or
porter on board with them (the two former from the bonded stores) and not to
trust to the promised liberality of the captains or agents, who charge
extortionate prices for watered liquor.
Persons cannot do better than to bring four or five hundred red herrings, a
cheese, some pickles, and good tea, from which they will find relief after
eating the "mahogany," as they call the junks of salt beef on shipboard. He
states that the provisions in the ship he sailed in were disgraceful, and
that half of the passengers were reduced to skeletons on their arrival; and
in conclusion he gives particulars showing the improvements that are about
to be made at Adelaide by the construction of water-works, the making of
roads, and the anticipated formation of a railway.
Julia Mosman, OPC for St.Austell,Charlestown, and Treverbyn
Website at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~staustell
W. Briton newspaper transcripts at
Please visit the OPC website at http://cornwall-opc.org
Nancy Frey wrote:
>..... I suspect that since most of the original colonists were uneducated criminals, they
>weren't the best and this or similar fraudulent documents may have been quite common.
>..... probably the Agent who obtained the paperwork for them, and he may have had much to do with the
>>Thanks for responses earlier re the above women which have been very
>>I'm beginning to suspect that Robert Taylor (b. 1806 Stow on the Wold
>>parents William & Sarah) who married Mary Balson in Stoke Damerel February
>>1837 has assumed his brother's identity (Charles Taylor b. 1808 Stow on
>>the Wold parents William & Sarah) to travel to Australia with his new wife
>>and her sister (Caroline Balson) as "bounty migrants" on the City of
>>Edinburgh in May 1837.
>>It is the only way to explain the fact Mary Balson marries Robert Taylor,
>>travels to NSW with her sister Caroline and her "husband" Charles Taylor
>>and then has further children in Australia with Robert Taylor as father/
>>husband on various BDM certificates.
>>Through BDM records, death & funeral notices here in New South Wales it is
>>proven that Caroline and Mary are the Balson sisters who travel on the
>>City of Edinburgh. But all documents to do with travelling to Australia
>>have "Charles" as the husband and he is verified by local church wardens
>>etc as being of good character. There are no travel documents for Mary -
>>no character reference and no marriage certificate produced.
>>Would it be possible for an "identity swap" of this nature to take place
>>and does anyone have any ideas on how it could be achieved?
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