Edward and Mary (née Trott) Allen were married in
Kingsbury Episcopi on 13 October 1806. Their son
Edward Allen Jr
was christened there on 22 January 1815; and in the same
South Somerset village he married
on 7 May 1839. The two witnesses at the wedding were
Christopher Allen and Caroline Satherley who were
probably relatives of the husband and wife respectively.
As Edward and Elizabeth named their eldest son Job, it
is interesting to note that there was a Job Satherley
and a Job Monkton among the parishioners. There was also
a Job Allen (an uncle perhaps of the groom) who married
Elizabeth Gentle on 25 August 1813.
According to the 1851 census Edward Allen Jr (35,
agricultural labourer), Elizabeth (33, glover) and their
two children Job (7) and Mary Jane (1) were then
residents of Thorney Street, Kingsbury.
This Allen family travelled to Australia on the
three-masted 1037-ton ship James Fernie (Captain
Benjamin Daley). Shipping records indicate that Edward
was a labourer, that they hailed from Middlesex, and
that they were adherents of the Church of England. Job
alone could read. After a voyage of 91 days from
Plymouth, the vessel, with upwards of 400 immigrants on
board, reached Moreton Bay on 24 January 1856. The
captain was unable to locate a pilot and was forced to
rely on the navigational skills of two or three
aborigines who appeared on the scene in safely
completing the journey from the Bay to Brisbane.
In addition to Job (bap. 12 November 1843) and Mary Jane
(bap. 13 January 1850), Edward and Elizabeth raised two
other children: Ellen (b. 2 August 1857; d. 2 October
1943), and Caroline (b. 8 August 1859).
Despite the best ministrations of Dr Albert Emmelhainz,
Elizabeth Allen, the wife of Edward, died at ‘Oxley
Creek, near Brisbane’ at the age of 53 on 12 April 1869.
There was no minister present at her burial on the
following day in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery. William
Gray officiated and Henry Lucock (the local registrar)
and Richard David were present as official witnesses.
On her headstone is this tribute:
Underneath this silent earth doth lie.
As much female softness as could die.
A virtuous wife and mother tender kind.
In sickness patient and in death resigned.
After the death of his first wife, Edward Allen married
(or, as below, Biggerstaff)—the daughter of Thomas and
Elizabeth (née Burrowes or Burrough) Francombe
(variously spelt). Elizabeth was born about 1822 in
Downend (in the parish of Mangotsfield), now a suburb of
Downend, we may note in passing, was also the birthplace
of the cricketer WG Grace.
Elizabeth travelled to Australia on the 916-ton
Talavera (Captain Scott)—‘the finest ship that has
yet embarked emigrants from this port [Southampton]’,
according to The Times. The ship set sail on 31
May 1853 and received pratique in Sydney on 5 September
1853. Apart from identifying her parents in Downend and
her sister (Caroline Hutchins) then living in Sydney,
shipping records give these facts about Elizabeth: age
28, occupation cook, religion Church of England, paid £1
towards the cost of her passage, able to read and write.
Not long after her arrival Elizabeth Francombe met
James Biggerstaff who was born in Hertfordshire,
England about 1794. According to his death certificate
they were married in Sydney in 1854. However, it should
be noted that there is no record of this marriage in the
New South Wales BDM records. James and Elizabeth became
the parents of three children: Albert (b. 28 August
1855), Alice (b. 6 October 1857), and William (b. 16
July 1863; d. 20 December 1864).
James Biggerstaff was the son of William (a labourer)
and Elizabeth (née Seabrook). He was a married man with
four sons and three daughters when he appeared at the
Hertford Assizes on 2 March 1836 on a charge of stealing
hurdles. Sentenced to serve a 7-year term, he and eight
others who were in court on that day were among the 269
convicts on board the Bengal Merchant (Captain
William Campbell) when it left for Australia on 8 August
1836. Records indicate that James was a Protestant farm
servant with a previous conviction (jailed for one
month), that he
was a 43-year-old brown-eyed man of dark complexion with
brown hair mixed with grey and that he was 5 ft 3 in
tall. This record also notes that his nose inclined to
the right side, that he had lost some front upper teeth
and that he had a scar on the back of each little
finger. After arriving in Sydney on 9 December 1836,
James worked for a time in the Braidwood district. He
was granted a ticket-of-leave on 11 February 1841.
James Biggerstaff (a labourer) died in Brisbane on 15
March 1867 at the age of 73. His death certificate
indicates that his residence was then in Yeerongpilly,
that he had spent 31 years ‘in the colonies’ and that,
in addition to the three children mentioned above, he
was the father of a deceased child. His remains were
interred in the Church of England Cemetery (Paddington)
on the day after his death in a service conducted by the
Reverend John Bliss of that church. There was no
undertaker present at the burial which was witnessed by
Robert Clayton (the friend who notified his death) and
The wedding of Edward Allen Jr and Elizabeth (née
Francombe) Bickerstaff took place on 2 February 1870 in
St John’s Church, William Street, North Brisbane,
according to the rites of the Church of England. The
Reverend John Sutton presided and the witnesses were
William and Frances Brown.
Edward Allen Jr, who like his father had been a farmer
all his life, died on 10 January 1874 and was laid to
rest in the ‘Cooper’s Plains Burial Ground’ on the
following day. A lay reader, Thomas Berry, conducted the
service at the graveside; and the burial was witnessed
by Charles Mullen (a farmer at Oxley Creek and the
husband of Sarah Louise Mullen who is buried in God’s
Acre) and Nathan Knight.
Edward’s death certificate states that a male child
predeceased him. The reference is most probably to a
George Allen who was christened in Kingsbury Episcopi on
12 September 1841 and whose parents were named Edward
Edward’s second wife, Elizabeth (née Francombe),
outlived him by many years and passed away on 25 January
1908 aged 86. She was laid to rest in the South Brisbane
Cemetery on the following day in a grave (4 138) that
would later receive the remains of her grandson Arthur
Bickerstaff (b. 19 November 1889; d. 22 December 1916),
the son of Albert and Elizabeth (née Snook) Bickerstaff,
‘late of Moorooka’.
Elizabeth was not the only member of her family who
emigrated to Australia. Those who did so are highlighted
in the following list of her siblings: Ann, John,
(d. 26 May 1891),
(d. 4 August 1898),
(d. 24 November 1892),
(d. 19 September 1893), George and
(d. 5 September 1907). With the exception of Elizabeth,
all of these brothers and sisters settled in Victoria.
Caroline Francombe, who married Daniel Shirley Hutchins
on 10 December 1849, spent some time in Brisbane.