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
He’d already cheated death by violent means down south in the Kangaroo Valley
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
Farming, Soldiers, Government, Educating, Sport, Arts, Entertainment, Trade Unions, Mining, Factories, Building, Engineering, Church, Railways, Waterfront, Science, Volunteering
This is our Story
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dianna Stocker and Ann 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 at last found a descendant of Alice McEwen, 8th child of James & Margaret Hicks, so in time we may learn more of their stories.
No luck with direct descendants of Mary Jane Collings, 9th child of James and Margaret Hicks, but we have founds some connections on the Collings side. So perhaps one day we may find some of Mary Jane’s direct descendants.
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. Later we heard from Nancy Cosgrove another of Hamilton’s descendants, and are still learning more about that branch of the family.
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.
So that leaves only descendants of 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 :
- The Hicks Family – this site
- The McKenzie Family of Ellengowan – Illawarra
- The Joy Family
- The Callcott Family
- The Small and Bradley Families – originating from the UK’s First Fleet in 1788 – descendents include the Illawarra Callcott’s
- Our Adams Family’s Macintyre Origins and Our Adams Family in Thirroul
- 2013 Family Reunion of the Joy Callcott branch of the Hicks Family