The earliest person in the family to arrive in Australia was Matthias Hanney. Matthias arrived in Tasmania on the York in 1829. Matthias lived with his family in Somerset, England come to Australia as a convict. He was sent to the North of the State and lived in the Morven district. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Morven (now known as Evandale). Matthias is Lex's 4th Great Grandfather on his father’s side.
Ancestors from both the Grant and Sinclair families arrived in the Port Phillip District in early days of European settlement in Australia.
Port Phillip District was a district of the Colony of New South Wales from 1836 until 1851. The Port Phillip District achieved independence from New South Wales in 1851 and became the Colony of Victoria.
On the Grant/Nicholson side of the family tree the follow families had settled in the district prior to the establishment of the Colony of Victoria: John and Margaret O'Brien arrived from Ireland. Their daughter Julia was also born in the Port Phillip District in 1842.
Thomas and Bridget Whelen and their children arrived on the Aurora in 1850. Their son John married Mary Looney who arrived on the Eliza Caroline on 31 March 1850 from Ireland. Johann and Hannah Tauschke arrived in 1849 with their children from Germany. John and Elizabeth Dobson arrived about 1844 from England. The Dobson’s daughter Matilda was born in Melbourne in 1844. Matilda married Joseph Nicholson who was also born in Melbourne in 1844. Joseph's parents Roger and Sarah Nicholson nee Charles had arrived prior to 1844.
On the Sinclair/Laird side of the family George Thomas Alston was in the district arriving in 1847. Family continued to arrive predominately the United Kingdom with the next being James Bars who arrived in 12 Oct 1852.
Matthias Hanney – arrived 1829 from England
George Alston – arrived 1847 from England
John James Westerdale – arrived 1853 from England
Driving the Cobb & Co:
Alex Grant was born in about 1831. He arrived in the Port of Melbourne, Australia from Canada on the Ocean Eagle in December 1852 at the age of 21. His nationality was listed as Canadian.
Alexander Alan Grant (also known as Archie) was a coach driver who was imported, like many of the coach drives at that time from Canada to drive the Cobb & Co coaches. He drove to most of the gold rush towns in Victoria. Alex drove a team of 18 horses attached to a coach through Melbourne at the celebration of the Duke of Edinburgh's visit in 1868.
Alex’s oldest son David, who was also a driver, was killed on one of Cobb and Co coaches with a unicorn team. The team bolted with him at the bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at Hay, New South Wales in 1899.
The Eureka Stockade:
The Tauschke family would have been some of the first people on the Ballarat gold fields. The Tauschkes’ landed in Melbourne in the year 1849, and followed all the gold rushes, including Bendigo and Ballarat. Members of the Tauschke family are on the record as being eyewitnesses to the riot at the Eureka Stockade. When Caroline Tauschke nee Hodges died in 1934 aged 87, her obituary stated that she was one of the few remaining eyewitness to the battle between the miners and the soldiers at Eureka.
The Bernstein family originated from Prussia. Aaron Solemn was born in Schneidemuhl, Pomerania, Germany and later moved to London. His son Samuel Alfred migrated to Australia in the mid 1860’s and married Jane Rhodes in 1867. It would appear around this time Samuel changed his name from Bernstein to Benson. There is no evidence that they continued with their Jewish beliefs.
Their daughter Jane is Reginald Laird’s mother.
Aaron Solomon’s brother Jacob Costa Bernstein arrived in Ballarat from East Prussia (now Poland) in 1853, and married Julia Solomon in the Ballarat synagogue in 1863. Jacob was one of the drivers behind the construction of the synagogues which is the first synagogue built in Australia.
Jacob and Julia’s son Isaac Amber was born in Ballarat and later became the associated minister of the Hebrew congregation and the headmaster of the school attached to the synagogue. He also became the minister at Bendigo and later Christchurch New Zealand.