I am always curious about the folk who lived in New Zealand and Australia in 'pioneer' days, and after my happy experience delving among the Ellises of Collingwood, I looked around this morning. And I found this little lady ...
Sarah Rachel, aged eleven, from Hobart Town.
I think mother's fashion sense was a bit off. It looks as if the peddler-man had been by, selling beads and bows. Hair ribbons might have been more useful. Well, I guess this was colonial Hobart, but mamma was a English-born colonial vicar's daughter.
Yes, I identified the lassie very quickly. A quick estimate of the age of the photo -- late 1870s? -- a quick look at the Hobart birth registers ... Her name was Sarah Rachel SHIELD and she was born in Hobart 29 April 1867. Father: Rippon Shield. Mother Elizabeth Hawley née Barnett.
Well, this is going to be a doddle, I thought. Even if mother seems to have been married under two different names. A father named 'Rippon'? Anyone who knows anything about Tasmanian history knows of Rippon Shield: he was a South Shields stonemason who emigrated to the colony in 1853, and to Hobart in 1856, and there became a prominent builder of public buildings.
Wrong. Wrong? But Rippon Shield, stonemason, from North England, born 1822ish ... you can't tell me there were two of them, who both emigrated to Hobart in the 'fifties, both worked as builders ... Oh, yes, you can.
The widower headed on to Hobart 'Rippon Shield junior, New Town, Hobart, builder'. Seems that both the Rippons benefitted from something called an 'immigrant bounty ticket'. Nowaday you have to pay heaps to buy property, as a foreigner, in Australia: in those days, they paid you!
|The Ransford wedding. Clara 2nd from the left.|