Family History
2013 Copyright Ruzsicska
Pioneers
MIDDLETON, George & Margaret (nee HAYES)
1837 to South Australia

George Middleton, of 23 Stone Street, Gravesend in Kent, England was a bricklayer. George, his wife Margaret and two daughters, Sarah Ann (b. 1834) and Mary (b. 1835) departed London on 5 September 1936 bound for South Australia on the COROMANDEL. They arrived in the Port of Adelaide on 17 January 1837 with another daughter, Emily, who was born during the voyage (in December) and given the middle name Coromandelis after the ship.

The Coromandel was captained by William Chesser, carried Dr T.Y. Cotter as the ship's surgeon and 156 passengers. The voyage was not without its dramas and the conduct of Captain Chesser was called into question for detaining the ship at the Cape of Good Hope to pick up additional provisions for the provisions. More than a year later, a letter was written by the passengers including Dr Cotter, supporting the Captain's actions, stating:

We assert that the detention at the Cape was not only absolutely indispensable for the health of the Emigrants generally, but that upwards of seventy of them were so ill with scurvy that it was necessary for the safety of their lives that the vessel should put into port.
The provisions were not only insufficient, but some of them of a most inferior character, and unfit for human food.
Thc detention of the vessel in the Colony was not in any way occasioned by undue attention to the passengers on the part of the Captain, but was in a great measure to be attributed to the neglect and improper conduct of the second officer and the seamen.
In recording this opinion of Captain Chesser's conduct we do so without any solicitation his part, and from a conviction that his conduct throughout the period of our aquaintance was uniformly that of a skilful seaman, a man of honor, and a gentleman In resisting the cupidity of the brokers of' the ship and in his unremitting attention to those entrusted to his care, Captain Chesser evinced a firmness of character and kindness of disposition well worthy the imitation of those who may be similarly circumstanced, and we feel that he is entitled not only to our thanks but to those of the Colonization Commissioners also.

As a small tribute to Captain Chesser, and as some compensation for the injury that has been done him, we tender him our most sincere sympathy, and beg his acceptance of a purse of Fifty Guineas.

And the letter was duly signed by the majority of the Emigrants who arrived in the vessel. (South Australian, 21 July 1838) [Incidentally, Captain Chesser died on 14 Jan 1840 on board the Mary Ridgway at Port Phillip.]

George and Margaret had another five children in Adelaide:
Margaret Coromandelis b. 1837, Jane b. 1838, John William b. 1839, William Henry b. 1841, and Frances (Fanny) b. 1843. Emily Coromandelis died before her 2nd birthday and Margaret Coromandelis is said to have died in 1872. Nothing is known of Jane and William Henry.

According to his death certificate, George lived for 15 years in Adelaide and 12 years in Victoria, occupation 'mason'. The family must have left South Australia in about 1852 for Victoria. No death record has been found for Margaret but George's certificate states that he was married for 20 years, giving an approximate year for Margaret's death as 1854. Daughter, Mary's obituary states that the family settled near Lake Victoria where she met her future husband. It is known for certain however, that George ended up in the Inglewood area where he died in Oct 1866. Daughter Fanny was married five months early in Inglewood and son, John was living at Wedderburn (30 kms away) at the time of his death. [Gold had been discovered in the area in 1859/1860].

Daughter, Sarah Ann married John George Coombs (a native of Wiltshire) in Adelaide in 1852 and had ten children before her death in 1873. See Pioneers Coombs.

Daughter, Mary married John Henry Nichols in 1853. For ten years, they wended their way from South Australia to the Riverina district in New South Wales, down to Victoria and up to Wentworth. They had 12 children, eight of whom had their births registered at Wentworth between 1864 and 1881. During this time, the family lived and worked on Moorna Station until John took up the Publican's licence for the "Bush Inn" (at Moorna) from 1883 until 1891 (Mary's brother-in-law, Coombs had had the licence between 1865 and 1874; also see In the Kitchen at the Moorna Bush Inn by Jeannette hope, Wilfred Shawcross and Sarah Watts.)

The family then moved to Mildura. John died here in 1914 and the notice in The Mildura Cultivator read:
DEATH. NICHOLS - .On 8th March, 1914; at his residence, Walnut Avenue, Mildura, John Nichols; aged 85 years. (14 March 1914). Mary also lived until she was 85, dying in 1920. (See Obituaries N) Both are buried in the Mildura cemetery.

Son, John married Catherine Mangan in 1868 in Wentworth. They had their first child the following year in Mt Korong, Victoria where sister Fanny lived with her family. Their 2nd child was born in Clare, S.A., another 6 were born in Wentworth. Their 9th child, was born in Wilcannia. John died in 1920 at the age of 80 - his death certificate states that he was a labourer and spent 30 years in South Australia, 20 years in NSW, 15 years in Queensland and 15 years in Victoria. Catherine died in 1925, also in Mildura.

Daughter, Fanny married Thomas Keefe, a miner and it is believed that the couple took up farming in the Glenalbyn area (between Wedderburn and Inglewood). They had twelve children between 1867 and 1885. Thomas died in 1894. Fanny subsequently moved to Bendigo where she died in 1917 aged 73. (See Obituaries K)