Looking down over Austinmer where James & Margaret Hicks lived with their family on their 300 acres from Moore St to near Headlands Hotel
From the Early Days …
Pumpkins washing up on a lonely south coast beach ….
Charcoal Will – some say he was an Aboriginal Leader, Duwerra, of Sandon Point and Stanwell Park … called the “King of Bulli”
Leading a European official down a steep and treacherous coastal cliff to pumpkins and cedar on the beach
Another shipwreck along a coast that would see many more and jetties smashed by its often dangerous seas
All lives aboard were lost from a cutter on one of its runs from the Five Islands up to Sydney in mid 1829
Only its cargo of pumpkins and cedar lying on the beach giving a clue to its fate
A young man now responsible for his widowed mother and at least four of his five siblings in Wollongong
He’s illiterate, un-educated, the eldest son of convicts, and not yet 19
It’s six months later – he’s found 50 acres under the escarpment
Just a few miles north of Wollongong where his mother had been living
He gets someone to write a letter to the NSW Governor begging for the land
Explaining the loss of the Foxhound off Coalcliff in 1829 and now his family to support
He uses the wrong words, father-in-law, instead of step father, for Thomas White, the Sawyer – Cedar Cutter who’d perished
Probably stretches the truth a little, but the letter’s essence is mainly true
James Hicks occupied, but wasn’t given that 50 acres land grant officially until 1839
He left the Illawarra for a while, marrying Margaret in 1834, a family begun in Windsor
By 1842 he’d returned, never living outside the Illawarra again
It’s said to have been a difficult journey back to the south …. three young sons
He’d never learn to read or write – would always make his mark on documents with X
Even on his will of 1891 …
James’ death would be reported in many newspapers in Australia in 1895
Before his death he’d bought and owned nearly all of Austinmer … a self-styled “Farmer – Gentleman”
He’d been one of those who lobbied for a road north, the railway, schools
And he’d seen all eight sons and five daughters grown to adulthood
One even an alderman on the Local Council and the most senior JP of the district … hearing criminal court cases
Seventy seven grandchildren – and perhaps even more after his death
One would be a Mayor, also Illawarra Miners Federation President who’d speak in Mt Kembla’s Mining Disaster Inquiry & fight for the 8 Hour Day
James’ family spread from Melbourne to Cairns even up to Thursday Island to Perth to New Zealand to London
Farming, Soldiers, Government, Educating, Sport, Arts, Entertainment, Trade Unions, Mining, Factories, Building, Engineering, Church, Railways, Waterfront, Science, Volunteering
This is our Story
Stories and photographs of the Hicks, Howe, White, McKenzie, Joy, Callcott, Small, Bradley and Adams families were collected and held by James Hicks’ great great granddaughter, the late Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott), since the late 1950′s. Joan collaborated with her son in law David Christian, as well as Hicks and McKenzie cousins Marilyn McDonald and the late Ted Finn – not to mention the late Peter Doyle of the Illawarra Family History Group. Joan’s son in law, David Christian, has maintained an extensive and ever-growing family history database for many years. The stories collected were passed down to Joan’s daughter, Kerrie Anne Christian (Adams), and her siblings Julie Maree Lock Lee (Adams) and Daryl James Adams.
Our family’s stories are starting to be shared on-line by Kerrie, with help from other family members, as they in turn share their own memories.It’s always going to be a big story when you have a family with literally 1000′s of members across 200 years of history. You can use the Index link to find your way around this web site – or the links down the left and right hand sides of each page.
Looking up Hicks St Russell Vale towards the Illawarra Escarpment – in the area of James Hicks’ first 50 acres land grant – later sold to Francis Patrick McCabe in 1858. James purchased another 48 acres nearby before moving to Austinmer.
A lot of information is also contained in a book (and its extensive bibliography) “Beyond Bulli Northern Illawarra Pre Railway Pioneers 1820-1888” written by Michael Adams, who is also associated with the Lawrence Hargrave Centre.
Headstone on Grave of James and Margaret Hicks St Augustines Bulli – death notice for James Hicks in 1895
There are very few photographs of James Hicks’ eldest child, Henry Thomas Hicks and his wife Mary Ann (McKenzie). And so far none have been found showing them photographed together.
Mary Ann Hicks (nee McKenzie) and Henry Thomas Hicks – photocopy of photographs – these appear to be Cabinet Cards which were popular in the second half of the 19th Century – more from Wikipedia
Below – Mary Ann Hicks , widow of Henry Thomas Hicks shown around 1917-19 with two daughters, Mary Alice Cook and Edith Florence Joy, and seven of her many grandchildren.
Mary Ann Hicks with Children & Grandchildren 1917-19 at Everest Seaview Terrace Thiroul
Back Row – Mary Constance Joy, Mary Alice Cook, Edith Florence Joy, Kenneth Charles Joy
Front Row – John Henry Hicks, Daphne Josephine Hicks, Mary Ann Hicks, Gwynneth Mary Webb, Marjorie Hicks, Enid Rhys Webb
The family history of the William Hicks branch, 2nd child of James and Margaret Hicks has been compiled over many years by his great granddaughter, Marilyn McDonald (nee Hicks).
Wayne Leslie, descendant of Richard Hicks, the 3rd child of James and Margaret Hicks, has enthusiastically shared photos and information on his branch. And we hope to hear more from another descendant, appropriately named Richard Hicks – but of course!
Recently contact has been made with a descendant of the 4th child, Annie Broadhead nee Hicks and we hope to learn more of that branch.
Family history information and photographs of George Hicks, 5th child of James and Margaret Hicks, and his descendants, have also been collected. It is currently held mainly by Charles Joseph Hicks (Jnr), George‘s great grandson.
George Hicks b.1846 – source Charles Hicks
Dianna Stocker and Margaret Gray are providing insights into their ancestor Deborah Woodford nee Hicks, 6th child of James and Margaret Hicks.
We know we won’t hear from any descendants of several other of James and Margaret Hicks children, viz James Hicks (7th child) and Thomas Hicks (11th child) – as neither married.
We’ve had contact from Terry Hicks, a Grandson of Thomas Hicks, son of Hamilton Herbert Hicks, the 12th child of James and Margaret Hicks – and we hope to hear more of that branch of the family – as well as some photo’s in time.
The descendants of James Hicks youngest and 13th child, Minnie Margaret Blundell’s step-children, Margaret Love and Stan Blundell, are now beginning to research their branch of the family as well and it has been wonderful to make contact with them.
Stained Glass Memorial Window to Minnie Margaret Blundell (nee Hicks)
So that leaves only descendants of Alice McEwen (8th child), Mary Jane Collings (9th child) and Charles Hicks (10th child) to be located of the 13 children !
More details of each of the Hicks family, and of other connected families can be found at the following :
Grave of Henry Thomas Hicks, former North Illawarra Council Alderman, and of his wife Mary Ann Hicks