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Rainbird Family


Samuel Rainbird was born 1795 in Enfield, England and was christened on April 1, 1798 at Enfield, England to Joseph and Sarah Rainbird, he was their 1st born child with 4 other siblings. In 1823 at the age of 28 Samuel was found guilty of stealing two tame deer with an accomplice, William Drage, he was sentenced to seven years transportation. The ship Chapman (1) made its first voyage leaving Portsmouth England on 6 April 1824 with 180 male convicts on board, it took 112 days, the ship arrived in Hobart 22/27 July 1824. The Master was John Milbank & Surgeon; Jas Hamilton.
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He left a wife Sarah and two children at his native place, Enfield, England on 6 April 1824. After arriving in Hobart, Tasmania on board the convict ship Chapman on 27 July 1824, Samuel spent most of his sentence in road building at Deep Gully which is near Macquarie Plains in 1820's and was granted his ticket of leave in 1829 in the police district of New Norfolk. On 16 November 1835 he married Lavinia (Hannah) Ann Smith, not much is known about Lavinia or her family only that she is believed to have been born in England.

John spent the remainder of his life at Macquarie Plains; the major portion was spent farming the "Askrigg" property he and his sons had on lease from the Terry Family. The farm lease continued over three generations (about 100 yrs) Samuel from 1840 to Ephraim to George and Torquil in 1950. They never missed a payment on their lease. Samuel and Lavinia had seven children together, five males and two females. They both died at Gretna, Tasmania, Samuel on the 10 May 1886 and Lavinia on the 18 December 1898.

Samuelís 5th born child Ephraim John was baptised 10 May 1840, St Matthew's, New Norfolk. Ephraim married Christina Julia McDonald who was born in 1846 in Tobermorey, Argyll, Scotland.

Alexander had worked in Ulva on the Island of Mull as a crofter for a Francis William Clarke but this thriving community was shattered when the kelp market collapsed. Alexander was evicted from the Island, leaving him to gather shellfish for his family.

According to of the Virtual Vault. Christina's father Alexander was 50 years of age, his wife Flora 38, and 7 children aged between 18 & 1 years immigrated to Tasmania as assisted passengers by the Highland and Island Emigration Society, because the potato blight had struck and the family were too long on the destitution fund. The McDonalds departed Liverpool Port on 1 August 1853 on the ship Panama heading for Van Diemens Land.

Listed online at the Tasmanian Genweb internet site, Ephriam was a resident in New Norfolk in 1866 a farmer with his father Samuel Rainbird and brother Edward Rainbird. In the Post Office Directory in Buckingham Country, Tasmania for 1890-91 Edward and brothers EPHRAIM (45 years old), and Joseph, all worked for Rainbird & Sons and brother Thomas as a Fruit grower and William a Labourer in New Norfolk.

Ephraimís 1st born child John (Jack) Hansell was born 11 September 1863 in Macquarie Plains, New Norfolk, Tasmania. John 34 years of age, married Eleanor (Elizabeth) Braslin 21 years of age, in the Church of England, New Norfolk in 1897, their Minister was Mr J Oberlain Harris. John couldn't write so he signed his name on the wedding certificate and marked it with an X. Their witnesses where Mr H Limberich and Maggie Braslin.

Elizabeth was born on 30 November 1876 in Oberlin, New Norfolk her father Charles Braslin was born in Co Tyrone, Ireland in 1842. According to the "Index of Assisted Immigrants" Charles aged 15 years & sister Jane 19 years, arrived upon application from their elder sister Margaret (Bressland) Ridge, on the ship Great Tasmania in 1857 from Ireland, the ship arrived in Hobart on 27/01/1857 from Liverpool England with 522 Immigrants onboard. Margaret Ridge was transported to Van Diemans Land in 1852, upon the John William Dare; she was sentenced to 10 years for stealing fowls from Bell at Donegal in Ireland. Charles settled in Black Hills a small-fruits farming settlement outside New Norfolk. He married Ellen Baker in 1863 in New Norfolk and produced 11 or 12 children between 1863 and 1883. Elizabeth was their 7th child. Charles BREISLIN (note the number of different surname variations used) occupation was a farmer at Blue Gum Swamp. According to the Assessment Roll, (info taken from the Town Gazette Hobart), Charles was proprietor & occupier of house and land in New Norfolk 11 April 1871. Charles Snr died in November 1926 and is buried at New Norfolk Public Cemetery.

Macquarie Plains was known as the Black Hills of Tasmania. John and Elizabeth had 11 children, eight sons and three daughters. John died on 02 August 1915 at the General Hospital in Hobart; Elizabeth remarried a man entitled Herbert Andrew Birchall from Green Ponds, Tasmania they had one son George Herbert. Elizabeth died in a nursing home in Hobart in 1966.

My grandmother, Johnís 6th born child Ellen Christina Madden now deceased, told me many stories about her brothers and that they had unusual Christian names, such as Valentine, Royal, & Manvers. I began researching our family ancestors after her death in Victoria 1990.

I would like to mention that some of this information was given and shared by numerous family descendants. Special thanks to those members for their valuable contribution.

Ellen Swebbs - August 2005.
Amendments - September 2005.

Town Gazette Hobart - Assessment Roll,
Tasmanian Genweb internet site,
Post Office Directory in Buckingham Country, Tasmania,,,,

Submitted to this site by Ellen Swebbs
Article © Ellen Swebbs 2005. All rights reserved

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Submitted 23-Aug-2005
Amended 28-Sep-2005