GEORGE FAULKNER (1833 - 1887)
MARGARET ANNIE SLAUGHTER (1834 - 1921)
CATHERINE ELIZABETH HARRISON (late 1840s - 1900)
George Faulkner, christened at Lutterworth, Leicester in the East Midlands of England, was the son of John and Fanny Faulkner (nee Rainbow). When eighteen years old he migrated to Australia, departing from Plymonth on January 28th 1851 on the "Navarina" a three masted barque which was built in 1808 and rebuilt in 1835. This ship had made three prior voyages in 1837, 48 & 49 to South Australia which under the command of Captain R. Page was again it's destination in 1851. (It had also been used as a convict transport in 1841 & 1842.)
George first set foot on Australian soil when the ship docked at Adelaide on September 26th 1851. We presume he remained in or near Adelaide for his first five years in the colony. We do not know how he earned his living. Although listed on the ship's record as a farm labourer it is proven that for most of his life he was a baker as were both his legitimate son George Edward, and William Henry McLeod - the husband of his illegitimate daughter Ada.
On March 10th 1853 at the church of St. Matthew in Kensington, Adelaide he married Margaret Ann Slaughter. Although her given name was Margaret she was always known as Annie. The groom was nineteen years old and the bride, eighteen. As her husband, Annie was also of English birth (at Sandwich in Kent 6th November 1834). She was the eldest child of Matthew Thomas and Elizabeth Ann Slaughter who had brought her to Australia at the age of fourteen.
Their first three children were born in Adelaide:- Ida Elizabeth on December 1st 1853, Frank on January 17th 1855 and another Ida on March eighteenth 1856 at Edwardstown, Adelaide. It appears the first two died in Adelaide. When Ida was only six weeks old, Annie and George with Ida undertook the difficult journey by bullock wagon to Beechworth in north-eastern Victoria. The story of this epic move has been passed by word of mouth down through the generations. In her later years Ida apparently found great prestige in this achievement to which she often referred. It was not to seek gold that George elected to settle in Beechworth because records prove whilst there he was a baker. He purchased land in Newtown (Beechworth) in November 1858 and also in November 1867. We know he lived in Melbourne Road, Newtown for many years.
Five more children were born in Beechworth. They were as follows:- Fredrick William 1859, Frances Elizabeth 1862, George Edward 1864, Alice Rainbow 1866 (this child died at the age of one) and Eleanor Annie 1868. Ida was the only one of the children who did not inherit their father's red hair.
Very soon after the birth of Eleanor life became extremely difficult for Annie. Leaving Annie and their family George ran off with Catherine Elizabeth Harrison - whom we are told attended his wife when she gave birth to Eleanor Annie. (There appears to be very little information of Catherine's background but we do know she was born at Limehouse, a very squalid area in East London.) From that time Annie was left to cope with all their family whilst George lived in "defacto" relationship with Catherine Harrison in Nagambie. In many of the family photographs of Annie, George and their children, George's face has been cut out! We do not know how Annie managed financially to rear the children but she was an excellent seamstress which perhaps was a means of livelihood.
Annie Faulkner died in December 1921 at Koonwarra near Leongatha, Gippsland, Victoria where her son Fredrick William resided.
George however appears to have "done quite well for himself". He
entered into a partnership with Catherine Harrison in a baker's shop in High
Street, Nagambie which was to be their private address. They were never married
but she took his name as is shown in the following notice which appeared in
The Nagambie Times on November 1st & 19th 1886 and then every following
week until September 16th 1887 (two days after George's demise).
Having obtained the services of a first-class Baker from Melbourne, has re-opened the Bakery Business and trusts by strict attention to business to obtain a fair share of public patronage in Nagambie and surrounding district. All orders punctually attended to.
During the years George co-habited with Catherine, she bore seven children all of whom were registered with the surname of Harrison and "father unknown". However it was George who registered the birth of the first child Catherine Alice born in 1869 at Spring Creek and died 1870 at Graytown near Nagambie. These same names were used for their second child born that year. Arthur George was born 1872 at Spring Creek - he died at the age of three. Born at Nagambie were; Arthur James Harrison in 1873 (also dying when only three years old), Harry 1877: who is mentioned in his mother's will of 1898, Rosa Rainbow 1880: who only survived the one year. (Rainbow was the maiden name of George's mother.) Ada who was born in 1878 was also a beneficiary in her mother's will. Documents show that three of the children George possibly fathered died within three years of birth.
When marrying, both Ada and Catherine Alice used their father's surname - Faulkner -, it seems the name Harrison was only used on their birth certificates. Their son Harry, must have left home before turning twenty-one as his mother stated in her will of 1898 "If my son Harry be not found within twelve months of my death ...". Some one hundred years later he is still avoiding detection as his name has yet to be found on any record other than his birth certificate.
George died on September 14th 1887. The Nagambie Times "News of the Week" of 16th September 1887 states "Since our last issue another old and respected townsman, Mr. G. Faulkner has passed away from our midst, who died at his residence, High-Street, Nagambie on Wednesday afternoon. The deceased gentleman was one of the oldest storekeepers in the town, and much respected by all he came in contact with." He was buried in the Avenel cemetery in the plot he had purchased many years before.
Catherine continued to live in Nagambie, managing the Bakery, and became well-known in the Goulburn Valley for her catering at Show luncheons. It would appear Catherine was a respected and active business woman in the town - an example of her involvement in local commerce is given by the petition of July 29th 1885 signed by seven store-keepers, including herself, asking for a holiday to be granted on Wednesday afternoon of each week from 1p.m. This was probably due to the competition created by the General Store owner opening all day Saturday until 10p.m. and weekdays to 7.30p.m. for the previous year.
She died at the same age as George (53) on April 10th 1900. Her obituary, to be found in The Nagambie Times, of Friday, April 13th, 1900, states that she "had not enjoyed health for some time past," and that she died of an apopletic fit.
Catherine's will, a very wordy document of some 700 or more words, suggests that she was financially very secure. She allocated seven-hundred and fifty pounds to her surviving relatives and forty pounds for the headstone and railing to be erected at her grave site.
This document also tells us that her residence was attached to or beside the Bakery. She refers to "my real property consisting of the land upon which I now reside and carry-on my business together with all building thereon and all fittings, bakery, horses and carts and everything used in connection with the bakery business - also my furniture." All this was to be offered to her son-in-law William Edgar Lewis for six hundred pounds. He was also to be given the option of purchasing the stock of the shop "on easy terms". The reason for this is as follows:- William in 1899 married her eldest surviving daughter Catherine Alice who had borne him five children before her death at the early age of 26 in 1897. When making her will the following year, her mother set up a trust to care and educate these grandchildren and also made the provision for the purchase of the family business.
On this document she is again cited as Catherine Elizabeth Faulkner but in George's will he refers to her as Catherine Elizabeth Harrison - "my present partner in business". The will states the date of the deed of their partnership to be the twenty-sixth of August 1881. To her he bequeathed two thirds of his real and personal estate and declared her as the sole executrix. He bequeathed "the residue, if any" to his wife Margaret Ann Faulkner of Beechworth, thus not totally omitting her from his will. George was to leave personal items such as his silver lever hunting watch, pictures and a piano to Catherine's three children.
Catherine is buried with George at Avenel cemetery. Their headstone reads "In loving memory of my dear father George Faulkner who died August 15th 1887 aged 53 years, also my beloved mother Catherine Faulker who died April 10th 1900 Aged 53 years - Thy will be done". It would appear the error in the stated date of George's death could be due to the headstone and railing being erected thirteen years later following an instruction in Catherine's will.
Bibliography: Bridging the Gap - Shire of Goulburn 1871-1971
Adelaide, Sth. Australia, 1
Avenel Cemetery, 2, 3
Beechworth, Victoria, 1, 3
Edwardstown, Sth. Australia,1
FAULKNER, Ada, 1, 2
FAULKNER, Alice, 1, 2, 3
FAULKNER, Eleanor Annie, 1
FAULKNER, Fanny, 1
FAULKNER, Frances Elizabeth,1
FAULKNER, Frank, 1
FAULKNER, Fredrick William, 1, 2
FAULKNER, George, 1, 2, 3
FAULKNER, George, Edward, 1
FAULKNER, Ida Elizabeth, 1
FAULKNER, Ida, 1
FAULKNER, John, 1
FAULKNER, Margaret, Ann(Annie), 1, 2, 3
Gippsland, Victoria, 2
Graytown, Victoria, 2
HARRISON, Ada, 1, 2
HARRISON, Arthur George, 2
HARRISON, Arthur James, 2
HARRISON, Catherine Alice, 2
HARRISON, Catherine, 1, 2, 3
HARRISON, Harry, 2
HARRISON, Rosa, 2
Kensington, Sth. Australia, 1
Koonwarra, Victoria, 2
LEWIS, William Edgar, 3
Leongatha, Victoria, 2
Limehouse, London, 1
Lutterworth, Leicester, 1
McLEOD, William Henry, 1
Melbourne, Victoria 1, 2
Nagambie, Victoria, 1, 2, 3
Newtown, Beechworth, 1
RAINBOW, Fanny, 1
SLAUGHTER, Margaret Ann(Annie), 1, 2, 3
SLAUGHTER, Matthew Thomas, 1
Sandwich, Kent, 1