Thomas Bellinger was born about 1808 if we calculate his birth year from his age stated at death (89 in 1897). His early background is known to some of his descendants, in particular Val and Gerald Bellinger in a Millicent Friends of the Library publication state that:
Thomas, was the eldest son in the family of nine children: Elizabeth, Maria, Jane, Thomas, Sarah, Henrietta, Peter, Richard and James. [Thomas' sister] ...Maria [consistantly referred elsewhere as Mary Ann Maria Bellinger] married Henry Ramus, [and] they migrated to Van Diemen’s Land in 1827 and her 13 year old sister, Henrietta came with them to live on the land grant Henry had secured near Hamilton, thirty miles north of Hobart. About three years later, Thomas followed, and afterwards Jane and James.1
Unfortunately they don't add Thomas' parents names, but they were concerned with documenting the life of Thomas' son Arthur, and not his parents. We will ultimately add here anything we find of Thomas' family in England, and include the fate of his brothers and sisters who also migrated to the colony. We next catch up with Thomas with his marriage to Susannah Middleton on 26 July 1836 in the parish of St. John’s at New Town, Van Diemen’s Land. John Michael Hildyard and Ann Barber were witnesses to the ceremony which was conducted by T. Beagly Naylor. Both parties were recorded as inhabitants of the district of Hamilton.2 Susannah Middleton probably arrived free to the colony as there was no permission to marry record, nor is there a convict who arrived by that name.
Thomas and Susannah's first child arrived around 1838 but Charles James Bellinger's birth was not registered.3 Nor was their next child's birth, Mary Ann Maria Bellinger, born about 1839.4 Their third child's birth was registered however, and Susannah Rose Bellinger was born on 19 October 1841 in the Hamilton district.5 Unfortunatly the family's oldest boy Charles James Bellinger died six months later on 20 March 1842 in Hamilton.6
In early 1842 Thomas Bellinger was assigned a convict servant by the name of Thomas Artherstone.
"The Irish Railway worker ... was convicted of 'Assault with Intent to Ravish' and was transported on the Cornwall, arriving in VDL on November 11, 1851. He was sent to the property of ... Bellinger in Hamilton where he received his Certificate of Freedom two years later and then disappears from the historical record, presumably ... because of good behaviour."7
By 1843 the family comprised Thomas and Susannah, and thier children Mary Ann Maria (4) and Susannah Rose (2), soon to be joined by Thomas Francis Bellinger born on 9 May 1843 in Hamilton, although the event was registered without him being named.8 Thomas was followed by Arthur Hermon Bellinger on 17 August 1844, also in Hamilton.9 The boys middle name is quite unusual and may represent the surname of an earlier ancestor.
In May 1845 Thomas Bellinger's name appeared in the Courier when Samuel Prewett placed the following advertisment:
Notice to the Public.
A FALSE and calumnious report has been put in circulation that the undersigned was apprehended and fully committed for having in his possession two bales of wool belonging to Mr. Bellinger, of the River Ouse. A Reward of £2 is hereby offered to any person who will give information as to the author, the whole being a fabrication and a base falsehood, hatched up to injure his character and trade.
(Licensed Hawker, No. 1516,)
With two boys and two girls the family ranks continued to grow with the arrival of Ellen Henrietta Bellinger on 9 November 184511, and with George Chandler Bellinger on 4 April 184712, both events again occurring in the Hamilton district. Susannah it seems was perpetually pregnant although with no form of contraception this was to be expected.
In June 1848 Thomas was assigned Daniel Blackwell as a servant for 3 months. Daniel -
...was tried on 30th March 1844, at Warwick Assizes for having been involved (with at least two other men) in the breaking and entering of a house belonging to two "old people", Thomas Higgs and his wife, and stealing money, clothing and other articles. [He was] ... sentenced to transportation for 15 years.13
Meanwhile Thomas and Susannah Bellinger continued having children, with Lenora Jane Bellinger born on 10 August 184814, Sarah Ann Bellinger born on 26 October 184915, and Richard Bellinger born on 30 December 185016, all in the Hamilton district. The large family would have been kept secure however as Thomas seems to have been an 'fine and upstanding citizen', with the following appointment being made in September 1852:
Marlborough.-Mr. Thomas Bellinger has been appointed Chief District Constable at Marlborough, and also poundkeeper and Inspector of Stock, in the room of Mr. Lascelles, resigned.17
Nor was the family complete however, with the addition of their final child Ada Marian who was born on 12 October 1852 in Hamilton.18 At the beginning of 1853 then the family now comprised Thomas and Susannah, and their children Mary Ann Maria (14), Susannah Rose (12), Thomas Francis (10), Arthur Hermon (9), Ellen Henrietta (7), George Chandler (5), Lenora Jane(4), Sarah Ann(3), and Richard (2) and Ada Marian (an infant).
In April 1854 Thomas Bellinger submitted the following correspondence to the Courier
SHOCK OF EARTHQUAKE AT MARLBOROUGH.
The following extract has been officially forwarded to Hobart Town:-
Marlborough, 21st April, 1854.
"I beg to inform you of a very strange occurrence on the evening of the 24th of March last. A shock like that of an earthquake was felt in almost very part of the Marlborough District. Two sheperds were gathering sheep the other day and discovered the cause of it. I went to the place yesterday; there has been some fearful volcanic eruption, rocks of enormous size have been driven about, and the face of the earth appears to have been hoisted in the air and pitched surface downwards. I cannot describe to you the appearance, but if you will come up I am sure you will be highly gratified - the distance is about ten miles from this.
"(Signed) "THOMAS BELLINGER."19
On 1 January 1857 Thomas Bellinger was still in the position of Chief District Constable for the Marlborough area in the district of Hamilton.20 Later the same year Thomas was also appointed "Inspector of Stock for the same district":
Government Appointments.-The Gazette of yesterday contains the following appointments: Mr. John Madden to be Inspector of Weight* and I Measures for the District of Hamilton ; Mr. John Madden and Mr. Thos. Bellinger to be Inspectors of Stock for the same District ; Mr. W. Bramhall to be Summoning Officer of the Court of Requests for the District of Longford ; and Mr. W. Payne to be Summoning Officer of the Court of Requests for the District of Morven.21
George Chandler Bellinger later recorded his memories of his early life in Tasmania and the information is retained by the Archives Office of Tasmania:
Born at the Rocky Marsh, Ouse River, Tasmania, April 1847. In the late 1850’s I remember my father was in charge of the police in the snowy district of Marlborough, seeing the men bring along two of the most blood-thirsty of the old Tasmanian bushrangers – Wingy and Sydney Jim. In fancies eye I can see them now as with Mother and my numerous brothers and sisters ... out where they were resting on the woodheap lying on some kind of stretchers. They must have been badly wounded as they had no handcuffs on. Wingy was lying stretched out on his palette but the big fellow Jim with his long carrotty head and big red face was sitting up and my word weren't we scared of them and I don't think any of us kiddies were far from Mother's skirts while the ... lasted.22
George's recollections seem to contradict the newpapers of the day but it may be that the young child merely confused the two men as the man on the ground was actually the deceased "Sydney Jim":
CAPTURE OP "WINGY" AND DEATH OF HIS MATE.
THE notorious bushranger, Daniel Stewart, alias " Wingy," and his mate, William Thornton, alias " Sydney Jim," have at length been stopped in their career. They were fallen in with at 12 o'clock on the night of the 29th ultimo (Wednesday last), by Sergeant McIvor and a party of the general Police sent out by Mr. Forster, Inspector of Police, at a hut belonging to Mr. Bisdee, on the Pine Tier, in the Marlborough District.
Thornton was shot dead, but the circumstances attendant upon his death have not reached town. " Wingy" was wounded, but in what part of the body has not yet been ascertained here. The apprehending constables, who belong to the Inspector's Reserve Force, have received no injury.23
Thomas Bellinger resigned as district constable the following year in March 1859:
Police Department. - Mr. John Madden has been appointed Chief District Constable at Hamilton, vice Mr. Thomas Bellinger, resigned. Mr. William Payne to be District Constable at Marlborough, vica Madden, promoted. Mr. Henry Georgo Quodling, Chief District Constable, Franklin, is transferred to Bothwell, vice Mr. John McGinnis, transferred to Franklin.24
Perhaps his brush with the bushrangers made Thomas realise just how dangerous his occupation was with such a large family to support. The family was further challenged when Lenora Jane Bellinger died on 25 September 1860 in Hamilton at the age of 12 (registered under the name Leonora Jane Bellenger).25 Cause of death?
Life however moved on for the family as the children started making thier own way in the world. Just under two months after Lenore's death Mary Ann Maria Bellinger married John Ward on 19 November 1863 in Hobart Town.26 Mary Ann's sister Susannah Rose Bellinger married next, to John Lade on 19 September 1865 in Hobart, Tasmania.27 John was born about 1833 in Kent, England, and the couple would go on to have 12 children over the next 20 years (some with the most unusual names).28
Once again however the family had to contend with the ups and downs of life when Thomas Francis Bellinger died in 1866 in Tasmania at the relatively early age of 22.29 Not registered? Cause of death?
The string of marriages resumed when Ellen Henrietta Bellinger married John Abraham Lockwood on 2 May 1871, this time however in Victoria. It is not known when Ellen made the journey from Tasmania. John was born about 1840 in London, England, the son of John Hawksley Lockwood and Sarah Toomes. Ellen and John would go on to have seven children that have been traced.30
Richard Bellinger married next on 24 November 1873 to Isabella Fergusson in Hobart, Tasmania.31 They would go on to have four children but it is presumed that Isabella died or the relationship dissolved as one researcher has Richard in another relationship with Harriett Fergusson, Isabella's sister.32
The fate of Thomas and Susannah's youngest child is just as confusing as Ada Marian Bellinger is credited via differant sources as marrying two different spouses. Dorothy Walker found a marriage for Ada Marion Bellenger to John Kemp Roberts on 23 November 1876 in the district of Grey in South Australia33 while Kate Soulsby on the Rootsweb WorldConnect site has Ada married to David C. Robertson in 1884 in New South Wales.34 Either they were two different women with the same name or Ada married twice in the two disparate places.
Dorothy Walker also found a marriage for Sarah Ann Bellinger, in New Zealand, to J. M. Jamieson on 14 April 1881.35 The next marriage for one of Thomas and Susannah's children occurred 6 years later when George Chandler Bellinger married a Miss. Waters on 31 August 1887 at Moane.36 Of their remaining children, the fate of Arthur Hermon Bellinger remains a mystery.
Susannah Rose Lade, nee Bellinger, died on 20 July 1887 in the Fingal region of Tasmania.37 It is believed her widow John Lade went on to marry a second time, not surprising as he had a particularly young and large family to support. The following year Susannah Bellinger (nee Middleton) died in Mole Street, Hobart, Tasmania (sic) on 24 August 1888, she was 68. Susannah was recorded as a Gentleman's wife, had been born in England, with the cause of death noted as Old Age. The undertaker registered the event on 28 August 1888.38 The year after his wife died Thomas Bellinger drafted his will:
This is the last will of me Thomas Bellinger formerly of Hobart in Tasmania but at present of Launceston in Tasmania, Gentleman. I revoke all former wills by me made. I appoint Henry Dobson of Hobart, Solicitor and Richard David Russell of Hobart, Grocer, Executors and Trustees of this my will, but if the said Henry Dobson who is now in parts beyond the seas shall not have returned to this Colony of Tasmania and be resident in such Colony at the time of my death then I appoint and substitute John Mitchell of Hobart, Solicitor to be an Executor and Trustee with the said Richard David Russell of this my will in the place and stead of the said Henry Dobson. I give devise and bequeath all my estate and effects both real and personal unto and to the use of my Trustees Upon Trust to sell call in and convert into money the same. And to stand possessed of the moneys to arise from such said calling in and conversion.Upon Trust after payment thereout of my debts funeral and testimonary expenses and the costs charges and expenses of and incidental to the trusts hereof so divided and pay the net proceeds between and unto my six children now living in equal shares and if any of my said children shall die in my lifetime leaving issue any of whom shall be living at my death such issue living at my death shall share equally amongst them if more than one the share and interest which their respective parents would have taken if living at my death...
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of July in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty nine.
This is a Codicil to the before written Will of me Thomas Bellinger which Will bears [the] date the seventeenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and eighty nine. Whereas by my said Will I have directed my Trustees to divide the net proceeds arising from the sale and conversion of my real and personal estate amongst my six children in equal shares. And whereas I am desirous that my son Arthur Herman Bellinger shall take no share in the said net proceeds but that the share to which my said son Arthur Herman Bellinger would have been entitled to under my said Will shall be given to my eldest daughter Mary Ann Maud Ward the wife of J. R. Ward. Now therefore I direct my said trustees to pay the share to which my said son Arthur Herman Bellinger or his issue would have been entitled to under my said Will to my said daughter Mary Ann Maud Ward or her issue in addition to her share thereunder and in all other respects I confirm my said Will. In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand this XXX day of XXX in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety three. Thomas Bellinger.39
The codicil is a disturbing reflection of relations between Thomas and his son Arthur, the cause of which will probably never be known to us. Thomas Bellinger died in Launceston, Tasmania on 3 May 1897 at the advanced age of 88 years, outliving his wife Susannah by another 8 years. Thomas was described as a farmer although his address was recorded as 260 Charles Street, Launceston. He is noted as being born in England. While the primary cause of death is recorded as senility, it appears his remaining hours were difficult as it also noted that he suffered exhaustion due to vomiting. Dr. W. G. Maddox certified the registration.40 Thomas' will was exibited in court the month after he died:
Be it known by all men by these present that on the first day of June in the Year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Ninety Seven the Last Will and Testament with one Codicil thereto of Thomas Bellinger formerly of Hobart Town in Tasmania but lately of Launceston in Tasmania, Gentleman deceased, who died at Launceston aforesaid on or about the third day of May One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety Seven (a true copy of which will and codicil is hereunto annexed) was exhibited and proved before this Honorable Court and that administration of all and singular the goods, chattels, rights, credits and effects of the said deceased within the island of Tasmania and her dependencies was and is hereby committed to Henry Dobson of Hobart, Solicitor one the executors of the said will…and further that he believes the goods chattels rights credits and effects of the said deceased at the time of his death did not exceed in value the sum of Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Pounds…this twenty first day of June in the year of our lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety Seven.41
The only other children of Thomas and Susannah whose fates are known are Mary Ann Maria Ward, nee Bellinger, who died in 1919 in Malvern, Victoria,42 and Ellen Henrietta Lockwood, nee Bellinger, who died in 1929 in St. Kilda, Victoria.43
- 1. Millicent Friends of the Library (Bellinger, Val and Gerald): Millicent and District - Men of the Past
- 2. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1836/3342
- 3. Birth date derived from age stated on AOT Death Registration RGD 1842/17
- 4. Birth date derived from age stated on AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1863/377
- 5. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1841/120
- 6. AOT Death Registration RGD 1842/17
- 7. Dunning, Tom. 'Narrow nowhere universes, child rape and convict transportation in Scotland and Van Diemen’s Land, 1839-1853'. Scottish Historical Review, 86:1:221 (2007), 113-125. Publisher: Edinburgh University Press. ISSN 00369241.
- 8. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1843/168
- 9. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1844/201
- 10. The Courier: http://ndpbeta.nla.gov.au [Tuesday 13 May 1845]
- 11. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1845/230
- 12. Bellinger Correspondence Folder: Archives Office of Tasmania; Hobart, Tasmania (Biographical material of George Chandler Bellinger submitted by Allen Jennings)
- 13. Moon, Keith: Grandfather’s Grandfather - The story of Daniel Blackwell and his Descendants, last viewed 10 May 2009 at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~tasmoons/danielb/danielb.htm
- 14. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1848/289
- 15. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1849/318
- 16. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1851/202
- 17. The Courier Wednesday 1 Sep 1852
- 18. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1852/231
- 19. The Courier Tuesday 25 Apr 1854
- 20. Legislative Council records of Tasmania, and reproduced at http://www.rootsweb.com/~austas/hampol.htm
- 21. The Courier Wednesday 28 Oct 1857
- 22. AOT Bellinger Correspondence Folder [Biographical material of George Chandler Bellinger submitted by Allen Jennings]
- 23. The Courier Friday 1 Oct 1858
- 24. The Courier Tuesday 8 Mar 1859
- 25. AOT Death Registration RGD 1860/653
- 26. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1863/377
- 27. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1865/188
- 28. AOT Colonial Tasmanian Family Links: http://portal.archives.tas.gov.au/menu.aspx?detail=1&type=P&id=221150
- 29. Rootsweb WorldConnect Project: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ (Kaye Soulsby)
- 30. Rootsweb WorldConnect Project: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ (Kaye Soulsby) and VIC BDM Marriage Registration Ref. No. 1871/1429
- 31. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1873/336
- 32. Rootsweb WorldConnect Project: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ (Kaye Soulsby)
- 33. SA BDM Marriage Registration Reg. No. 1876/109/620
- 34. Rootsweb WorldConnect Project: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ [Kaye Soulsby] and NSW BDM Marriage Registration Reg. No. 1468/1884
- 35. Research from Dorothy Walker, Marriage Registration Certificate: New Zealand
- 36. AOT Bellinger Correspondence Folder (Biographical material of George Chandler Bellinger submitted by Allen Jennings, could this be Moana in South Australia?)
- 37. Rootsweb WorldConnect Project: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ (Kaye Soulsby) and AOT Death Registration RGD 1887/715
- 38. AOT Death Registration RGD 1888/61
- 39. AOT Last Will and Testament AD960/1/22 Page No. 128 Will No. 5720 (For some reason this will is not on the correct microfilm and had to be ordered from the Archives Office of Tasmania repository at Berriedale, Tasmania)
- 40. AOT Death Registration RGD 1897/124
- 41. AOT Last Will and Testament AD960/1/22 Page No. 128 Will No. 5720
- 42. VIC BDM Death Registration Ref. No. 1919/7809
- 43. VIC BDM Death Registration Ref. No. 1929/12223