Saturday, December 31, 2011


On 15 November 1839, George Mawbey made a public announcement in a newspaper that he had sub-let the premises of his Refreshment Rooms in Rundle Street, Adelaide.
A new business was opening there, the Grieve & Campbell General Store.
On Wednesday 27 November 1839, the new proprietors ran a newspaper advertisement for an opening special - cheap bread.
On Saturday 30 November 1839, the local newspaper published a long list of people invited to a public entertainment on Christmas Eve held as a tribute to the new Governor, Sir William Gawler.
On it were Rundle Street retailers, John Stuckey and Grieve Campbell, but not George Mawbey.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 1 June 1839
The brig Nereus sails for South Australia to-morrow morning under the command of Capt. Tavenor, late chief officer of the Bardaster.
Her passengers are (cabin) - Messrs. Elliott and Roberts, Mrs. Harvey and child, Mrs. Mawbey, and Mrs. Denham.
Steerage-Patrick Lahiff, Donald Sutherland, Charles Macarthur, Richard Hamilton, David Anderson, John O'Brien, William Roberts, Mrs. Weatherhead and 3 children.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Just found a very good website of the State Library of South Australia that lists all the ships and passengers arriving at Port Adelaide from 1839-45.
As a result of stumbling across this, I think I've finally found out how and when my great great grandfather, George Mawbey, arrived in the new province.
A name that sounds like his is on the manifest of the Nereus that sailed from Sydney and arrived in Adelaide on 27 January 1839.
The name given is 'Mr G Morley', but it is possible that it was written phonetically, not the correct spelling.
When Geo. Mawbey's wife, Ann, was planning to sail from Sydney to join him, she too was booked to travel on the Nereus.
But bad weather forced the vessel to turn back, and she subsequently sailed on the Abercrombie.
I'll see if a 'Morley' appears in any South Australian newspaper articles or directories at that time.
The link to this Pioneers and Settlers of South Australia website is StateLibSA-ShippingRecords.


Throughout July 1841, the General Post Office, Adelaide placed advertisements in the Southern Australian newspaper for its list of unclaimed letters. George Mawbey's name was on this list.
In January 1843, another Adelaide Post Office list of unclaimed letters was published in the South Australian Gazette.
A Duncan Mawbey was on this list.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Last night during a clean-up at home I found my old social studies textbook from when I was in 6th class at primary school.
Yep! That's right. I've been hanging on to it since 1959!
It's title is Social Studies for Sixth Grade by G T Spaull, MA, William Brooks & Co Limited, The Educational Publishers of Australia, Waterloo [Sydney] and Brisbane.
Oddly enough, it bears no date of publication, but the preface says it had been written in conjunction with the 1952 curriculum of the Education Department of New South Wales.
Why I am mentioning it here is that it has a piece on George Fife Angas, claiming him to be the 'Founder of South Australia'.
I don't recall ever hearing of him before, but according to my old school textbook, he was a Scottish merchant and philanthropist, based in London, who wanted to establish a colony in Australia for the British poor and unemployed.
He wanted to do this in South Australia, but in 1834, the British Government beat him to it.
The colony it set up was run by a Governor assisted by a group of Commissioners who were expected to find the money to make the venture a success.
According to my textbook, they failed to do this, and that through bad government, the colony became bankrupt.
In 1836, Fife Angas formed his South Australian Company which became the real founder of the new colony.
In 1839, he sent out his agent, Flaxman, to buy property on his behalf, but as a result, he found himself in debt.
He eventually sold all his properties in England and Scotland and in 1851 moved to South Australia where he lived until his death at 90.
In the three years of its [South Australia's] colonial existence, only 16 individuals have incurred the sentence of transportation.
                                                                                        Royal South Australian Almanac 1840

Four of them, a quarter of the total, were on the ship George and Ann Mawbey sailed back to Sydney in August that year..
On 1 December 1839, the population of the province [of South Australia] was 10,200.
                                                                                  Royal South Australian Almanack 1840


Adelaide is known as 'the city of churches' today.
According to the Royal South Australian Almanack 1840, many Christian denominations were already well established with large congregations.
By far the biggest was the Episcopalians with 600 worshippers.
Their Trinity Church had cost 1,000 pounds to build and a further 1,300 pounds spent to enlarge it.
In 1840 they were erecting another church, St John's, in Gilles Street.
Next in number were the Wesleyan Methodists, 550, and the Catholics, 300.
Neither the Catholics, the Baptists nor the Scotch Presbyterians had their own churches.
The former met in a private home, and the latter on the Park Land, opposite the Trinity Church.
However, the Presbyterians, with their minister from the Secession Church in Scotland, were erecting a church in Victoria Square.
The Congregational Independents formed 'a large and respectable body' worshipping at North Terrace and erecting a new chaple at Gawler Place.
They had raised 600 pounds by subscription for the new chapel which was estimated to cost 2,600 pounds.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) still had no place of worship.


Geo. Mawbey would have already known he was planning to leave Adelaide at the time information was being gathered for the 1840 Royal South Australian Almanack. This is probably why his Refreshment Rooms are not listed in the 'General Directory' at the back.
New entries for Rundle Street:
Cornwall Hotel
W. Pearce - Tailor, Draper, Habit, Robe, and Cap Maker, Adelaide Clothing Establishment, corner King William and Rundle Streets
Adelaide Market - meat, poultry, new cheese, fresh butter, eggs, vegetables and fruits of all kinds ... exhibited for sale daily.
C. Robinson - Oil, Color (sic) and Glass Store, plumber, painter and glazier, Rundle-street, near the Market.
There was a large advertisement in the General Directory for The Brewery which supplied families with genuine XX Ale for 2s.6d. per gallon.
Also a smaller one placed by the organist from the Trinity Church about his pianoforte and singing lessons.
George Mawbey appears to have been involved in the theatre in Sydney, so he might have visited the Victoria Theatre on North Terrace that was open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights.
The proprietor was C. Cameron.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Royal South Australian Almanack 1839 does not list George Mawbey in its business directory, but does the following:
John Stuckey, baker
J Pitman, joiner and pianoforte tuner
John Reynell, landholder, 'Surreyville', 81, Rundle Street
Archibald Macdougal, printer
George Alston, accountant, 41, Rundle Street
Dingham and Harvey, merchants
Flaxman and Rowlands, merchants
John Forrester, victualer
Miss Nihill, ladies school
___ Williams, builder
E Baker, Adelaide Bazaar
John Crawford, builder
Clement Crispe, butcher
At the beginning of 1839 when this alamanack was compiled, it was not two years since the founding of the new colony, and there were already 620 houses and 5,000 inhabitants.
[Source: Royal South Australian Almanack 1839]

UPDATE 19-12-11
According the Royal South Australian Almanack 1840, John Reynell, was a director of the Joint Stock Cattle Company. It was established to 'supply colonists with the purest and most approved breeds of cattle, as well as butter and cheese at a moderate price'.
Mr John Stuckey, baker in Rundell Street, had been appointed one of their agents for butter.
Archibald Macdougall published the Southern Australian every Wednesday morning, price 1s.

No person or persons convicted in any court of justice in Great Britain or Ireland, or elsewhere, shall at any time, or under any circumstances, be transported as a convict to any place within these limits.
                                                    Constitution and Government of the Colony [of South Australia].
From its conception, the province (now state) of South Australia was an exclusive, convict-free zone.
All of the other colonies of Australia - Western Australia begrudgingly - imported convicts as a form of cheap labour.
The SA Colonisation Commission thought it could still supply free labour to land owners by attaching a levy to the price of land which would be used to 'carry' (transport) poor families from Britain.
Those eligible under the 'emigration fund' had to be 'real' labourers between the ages of 15 and 30 and married.
Single women could come if they were attached to a family, like an aunt.
On the arrival of these labourers in SA, they were not to be 'indentured' like the convicts (attached to a particular employer), but rather allowed to negotiate their conditions of employment with an employer of their choosing.
Free labour and no convicts means the colonists are protected from the enormous evils which result from the immorality and profligacy unavoidable in a penal settlement.
This was the situation in SA when George Mawbey was running his own business in Adelaide in 1839-40.
[Source: Royal South Australian Almanack 1839]


SLSA: B 60076
"Beehive Corner"
Rundell & King William Streets,
State Library of South Australia

JOHN RUNDLE, after whom Rundell Street was named, was an English MP, member of the House of Commons, and one of the founding Board of Directors of the South Australian Company that was formed on 9 October 1835 to establish the new colony.
Rundle Street is in the 'East End' of Adelaide and is today known for its eateries and coffee shops.
Its western section which ran to King William Street, and where George Mawbey's Refreshment Rooms were located, was closed in 1972 to form Rundle Mall, a pedestrian shopping precinct.
Rundle arrived in South Australia on 6 February 1840, while George Mawbey was still in Adelaide.
In 1849 the former English politician owned a two-storey building on the corner of Rundle and King William Streets called 'Beehive Corner'.
There is a painting of it in the State Library of South Australia.
I am seeking permission to publish that on this blog.
Update 10-2-2012
Permission was kindly granted.

SLSA: B 56370
"Beehive Corner"
ACRE 46: A view of Rundle Street
showing the Beehive Corner
State Library of South Australia


In the June 1939 newspaper advertisement in which George Mawbey announced his new Refreshment Rooms in Rundle Street, Adelaide, he mentioned another business operator across the road, Mr J [John] Stuckey as a locational point of reference.
Several other advertisers of businesses in the street area did the same.
Mr J Stuckey was a bread and 'Fancy Baker' operating from a building on the corner of Rundell and King William Streets.
He was also an importer of goods like manchester and clothing from England which he sold from his residence in King William Street, and a wealthy landowner and member of the local 'establishment'.
In May 1839, the business next door to him in Rundle Street was that of Mr Weston, Surgeon, Adelaide General Dispensary.
And opposite, near George Mawbey's Refreshment Rooms, W Mincham, plumber, painter and glazier who provided specialised services like 'Writing, Graining, Sign and Ornamental Painting', had just let his business premises and was working from his home in Currie Street.
[Source: All of this information comes from digitalised newspapers on the National Library of Australia website.]
See Google Maps Rundle & King William Streets, Adelaide.


I have learned so much about my country since embarking on this family history in 2010, particularly about the state of South Australia.
This occurred recently while I was sifting through reams of digitalised newspapers on the National Library of Australia (NLA) website, trying and find out more about my ancestor, George Mawbey, and his short-lived stay in Adelaide from 1839-40.
He appears to have gone there prior to June 1839 to set up his own business - Refreshment Rooms - in a building he was leasing near the corner of Rundle and King William Streets.
That month he placed an advertisement in the privately owned newspaper, the Southern Australian, telling his friends and the public that the new eating establishment was now open.
Around the same time, his wife, Ann, whom he had married in Sydney in July 1838, was booked on a ship to go to SA to be with him, but the voyage was cancelled because of bad weather.
She subsequently sailed there on the Abercrombie.
Just five months later, in November 1839, George was attempting to dispose of the lease of the eatery.
In August 1840 he and his wife returned to Sydney on the brig, Christina.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I have contributed a summary of this latest information about George Mawbey to the SA Memory project being conducted by the State Library of South Australia.
It can be seen at
The library of Genealogy SA has two books that might tell me more about my great great great grandfather.
Congregationalism in Australia by G Lockley, and Centenary Calendar 1837-1937 Stow Memorial Congregational Church.
I would like to find out where George Mawbey's Refreshments were located, by doing a land titles search.
And it would be great to find a photo ...


The first Congregational Church in SA was formed in December 1837 by the English Rev. THOMAS QUINTON STOW and 10 others.
They originally congregated at a temporary place of worship on North Terrace.
Rev. Stow was a highly regarded preacher and educator.
On 12 October 1836, he had been accepted for service by the newly formed Colonial Missionary Society and arrived in SA in October 1837.
George Mawbey may have been a member of his congregation.


South Australian, Wednesday 7 August 1939
Subscriptions towards the erection of a place of Worship for the use of the CONGREGATIONALISTS under the ministry of the Rev. T.Q. STOW... His Excellency the Governor 10 pounds 10 shillings (10 guineas) ... Mr G. MAWBEY one pound one shilling (one guinea) ... [total raised] 607 pounds 13 shillings and 6 pence.
[Source: xxxx)
Until I read this newspaper article, I did not know that George Mawbey was a religious 'non-confirmist', 'dissenter', i.e. not an adherent of the 'establishment' Church of England.
He had married in the English church in Sydney the year before he went to South Australia.
But this may have been because there was no other option.

Lachlan Macquarie, the Scottish Governor who ran the colony of New South Wales from 1810-1821, had degreed that the only religious denomination allowed there was the Church of England.
This naturally upset the Irish who were predominantly Catholic.
The story goes that after Macquarie oversaw the building of St Matthews Church of England at Windsor, the Irish built their own Catholic church also called 'St Matthews'.
That way they could still obey the official edict that they attend the church of that name.
But that's another story ...


I knew George Mawbey was operating some type of business in Rundle Street, Adelaide, and now I've discovered it was a 19th century version of a 24/7 fast food restaurant and home catering service!
The advertisements he placed in the newspaper indicate he was intelligent, personable and entrepreneurial.
These qualities still run in the Mawbey family!
Southern Australian, Saturday 22 June & Wednesday 26 June 1839
Refreshment Rooms.
GEORGE MAWBEY begs most respectfully to inform his friends and the public that he has opened those premises opposite Mr Stuckey's, Rundle Street, where Soups, Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Chops, &c, can be had at any hour of the day. Dinners dressed out or at home. G.M. will also be happy to supply gentlemen at their own residences with Soups, Luncheons, &c. Orders punctually attended to. Adelaide, 26th June 1839. [Source:]
Southern Australian, Wednesdays 16 & 23 October 1839
WANTED-A Cook.-None need apply unless they can produce testimonials of character and ability. Two good rooms to let. Apply to GEO. MAWBEY Rundle-street. [Source:]
South Australian Register, Saturday 16 November 1939
The undersigned begs most respectfully to inform his friends and the public generally, that he has let the premises lately occupied by himself to Messrs Grieve and Campbell, as a General Store, and he hopes they will receive a share of that patronage which was so liberally bestowed on himself. GEO. MAWBEY.
The lease of the above premises to be disposed of.
Apply to George Mawbey on the premises. Rundle-street, November 9, 1839.
When go back to an original source again, I sometimes discover more information that I missed the first time.
This was the case in regard to GEORGE MAWBEY travelling back to Sydney from Adelaide on the brig Christina.
It was actually a 'convict' ship, used to transport convicts.
South Australia was never a penal colony, a destination for convicts from overseas, as was NSW, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and WA.
But it did transport its own convicts, and possibly those who had escaped from other places and gone there, to New South Wales.
According to the website Ozships by Peter Larson, four prisoners and two constables were travelling on the Christina on that trip.
The journey took nine days, from 21-29 August 1840.
It is recorded that Mrs Mawbey was travelling with Mr Mawbey.
There were four other male passengers on deck with them and eight passengers in steerage below deck, plus the captain and crew.
It would be interesting to know what the weather was like.
Being winter, it would have been cold, with wind blowing from the Antarctic.
A couple of verses from the old sea shanty, "[Bound for] South Australia", provide a glimpse of what it must have been like when George and Ann Mawbey were there in 1839-40.

In South Australia I was born,
Heave away.
Haul away!
South Australia round Cape Horn
And we're bound for South Australia.
I wish I was on Australia's strand [beach]
Heave away! Heave away!
With a bottle of whiskey in my hand
And we're bound for South Australia.

In South Australia, my native land
Heave away! Heave away!
Full of rocks, and fleas, and thieves, and sand
And we're bound for South Australia.

The song was recorded by the well-known Australian folk group, The Seekers, on their 1964 UK album.
Their version, plus that of many other groups from around the world, can be heard by clicking on Renditions of 'Bound for South Australia'.
This collection of songs is from the City of Adelaide website


Now that I have discovered that my great great grandparents lived in South Australia during the early days of white settlement there, I have started scouring local sources.The SA websites I have looked at are:
1. Family History South Australia
(See: Early SA History Timeline)
2. HISTORY South Australia
3. State Library of South Australia
(See: Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885 [only available on CD-
ROM at library]; Timeline - Events in South Australian History 1848-51 (view on
4. State Records of South Australia
5. Family history resources compiled by Graham Jaunay

Unfortunately there is no mention of the name MAWBEY on any of them.

Civil registration of births deaths and marriages in SA began on 1 June 1842, six years after European settlement of the area.
The first census was not conducted until 1841.
My great great grandparents left Adelaide in 1840.
Looks like I have to take a trip to South Australia ...
Or as the old sea shanty or song called, [Bound for] "South Australia", says, I'm bound for South Australia!
1839 - In June, Mrs ANN MAWBEY is booked to sail from Sydney to ADELAIDE, in a cabin (on deck), on the brig Nereus.
But bad weather prevents the ship from sailing, and Mrs Mawbey is not on the passenger list of the next sailing.
In November, George Mawbey ceases to run a general store (?) in Rundle Street, Adelaide, South Australia that he has been leasing.

1840 - In August, Mr and Mrs Mawbey (?) left Adelaide bound for Sydney on board the brig Christina. [Was it just Mr Mawbey?]

Update 16-12-11
George Mawbey was in fact operating Refreshment Rooms from premises he was leasing in the commercial heart of Adelaide.
His wife Ann did eventually sail to Adelaide, on the Abercrombie, cabin class, and the couple returned cabin class to Sydney.
The reason George's name does not appear on shipping lists when he travelled alone suggests he was in steerage, below deck, which cost less.
Or maybe I just haven't found him yet ...

Update 19-12-11
The Nereus was used by Captain Lees for an expedition which sailed from Holdfast Bay on Tuesday 5th March, 1839.


When I first posted this information, on 14 February 2010, I was not aware that my great great grandfather, George Mawbey, and his wife Ann (nee Williams) had lived in South Australia.
They went there in 1839, the year after they married and when the new colony was barely two years old, and left in 1840.
While in SA, George leased a premises in Rundle Street in the City of Adelaide where he ran Refreshment Rooms.
But more about this in future posts ...

Here are my first snippets of information about the Mawbeys in South Australia that I discovered in online digitalised newspapers on the National Library of Australia (NLA) website:

The Advertiser, Monday 5 May 1913
Sporting News. The Turf. H. Harrison, the trainer of Mountain Princess, returned to Melbourne by the express on Saturday. The owner of the mare, Mr MAWBEY, is, however, in Adelaide and he will work her on Tuesday, and Harrison will be back on Wednesday.

The Advertiser, Wednesday 13 June 1917
Lyric Club concert. There was a good attendance ... those who contributed were the Misses Myrtle Whitfield (songs), E MAWBEY (recitations) ...