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The Fishburn Family: from Whitby, UK to Galston, NSW
The Fishburn Family: from Whitby, UK to Galston, NSW.
Andrew Fishburn was born in Whitby, Yorkshire in 1760.
NOTE: The Fishburns were an important part of that seafaring community.
The family of Fishburn was mentioned in Captain James Cook’s story written by Richard Hough. Cook had sailed a ship built by the Fishburns around the world –Endeavour (formerly Earl of Pembroke). Because Cook was impressed by the quality of Endeavour, when he needed boats for a second voyage, he requested the Fishburns design and build two more ships for the journey.
The Fishburns also built the storeship Fishburn which was part of the First Fleet. Apart from his name there is yet no proved familial link between Andrew and the Fishburn shipbuilders of Whitby.
Andrew Fishburn was a private marine of the 25th (Portsmouth) Company who came to Sydney with the First Fleet aboard the ship ‘Alexander’ in 1788.
Fishburn with other marines later sailed as a convict guard on the ill-fated voyage of the ‘Sirius’ to Norfolk Island in March 1790. The ‘Sirius’ hit a reef just north of Norfolk Island and sank. However, all personnel and livestock were landed safely.
In 1791 Fishburn embarked for Port Jackson by ‘Supply’. While onboard he did duty as a carpenter.
He joined the NSW Corps in 1792 and in 1794 received a 25-acre grant at Petersham Hill, later named Liberty Plains and later still, Croydon. He married Sarah Donnelly in 1795 and that same year they had a son who they named William Henry Fishburn. Andrew Fishburn died on July 23, 1796, aged 36 years, just before William turned one, and he was buried at St Johns, Parramatta.
William Henry Fishburn grew up around Parramatta and Windsor with his widowed mother. During his teen years, William became apprentice to landowner G. J. Palmer at Windsor. In 1816, William married Catherine Ash at St John’s Parramatta by Rev Samuel Marsden. They spent the early years of their marriage at Windsor. In 1818 William was granted 60 acres of land (Portion 129) at Castle Hill by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The area today is bounded approximately by Old Northern Road, Parsonage Road, Fishburn Crescent and Sherwin Avenue. It appears that they did not reside at the farm until after their third child was born in 1820.
In 1821, William Fishburn, a free man and landholder at Castle Hill was appointed as Constable for the District of Castle Hill and Pennant Hills in lieu of John Rogan who was dismissed for drunken conduct and neglect of duty. William resigned as a constable in 1825 and became a publican at Baulkham Hills and later a farmer. Between 1817 and 1839 William and Catherine had 13 children. Catherine died in 1839 and William died from a heart attack in 1872 aged 77 years.
The 9th child of William and Catherine Fishburn was James Fishburn. He was born in Baulkham Hills in 1829 and became an orchardist and farmer at Castle Hill. He married Elizabeth Moore in December 1857 and they had 9 children. Their 7th child, Ash James Fishburn was born in 1873 in Castle Hill.
Ash James Fishburn ((known as Jim) moved to Galston where he established himself as the town blacksmith. His blacksmith’s shop was located on Hudson’s Corner. The Harry Smith general store had closed down during the 1890s and Jim converted the building into suitable premises. He was later assisted by his son Reg, providing a reliable and efficient service. Jim married Ethel May Sonter, daughter of William Sonter and Sarah Bowerman, at All Saints Church in Parramatta in 1903. Jim and Ethel had three children; Spencer Reginald, (known either Reg or Dick) born 1905, Phillip Maxwell (Phil) born 1909 and Maisie Millie born 1915.
Fishburns Road, Galston was named after Jim Fishburn. Nominated as at the time of naming, his sons Dick and Phil were living in the family property along the road.
Jim Fishburn died in 1943 aged 70 years and Ethel Fishburn died in 1968 aged 89 years. They are buried together at St Jude’s Anglican cemetery, Dural.
Dick Fishburn became a lifelong resident and a deeply committed participant in many Galston activities. One of his greatest interests was the Galston Cricket Club of which he was the Secretary for many years. This involved considerable effort as the club fielded four teams in the Hornsby District competition. Other interests were the local P&C Association and the Oddfellows Lodge.
Dick, with a wealth of local knowledge, wrote a monthly column on the history of the area for a local newspaper, using the nom de plume ‘Patsy Boliver’.
Dick and Phil spent their entire lives living at 10 Fishburns Road. Dick passed away in 1979 and Phil in 1985. They are both buried with their parents at St Judes, Dural.
Bill and Esme Wood moved to 12 Fishburns Road Galston in the 1970s and knew the Fishburn family well. Bill and Esme were themselves well known locals. A small collection of photographs of the Fishburn brothers and their property has been kindly donated to the library by Bill and Esme’s daughter.