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From CRHS Newsletter #24 - 28th March, 1995.

SAMUEL AVERY 4th Mayor of Grafton (1862-1867)

by Joan Allerton

Samuel Avery was born on the 10th June, 1816 at Liskeard, Cornwall, England, the son of Anthony and Debra (nee Lobb). He married Arabella Miller, the daughter of George Miller and Ann (nee Smith), born on the 28th December, 1803 at Tintagel, Cornwall. They were married on the 10th January, 1840 at St. Saviours Church, Guernsey Island.

Samuel and Arabella came to Australia on the ship “William Turner”, arriving Sydney on 5th October, 1841 . Their first child, a son, was born on 5th October, 1841 and died on 8th October 1841 and was buried in the Sydney Burial Ground located where the Sydney Town Hall now stands.

Shipping information show Samuel as being a labourer, Religion, Wesleyan, could read and write and was 24 years of age. Arabella was shown as a cook, aged 28 years. Her native place was shown a Tintagel, Cornwall and she could read.

They came to the Clarence River in 1841 and resided at Gordonbrook for about 5 years, where Samuel was a superintendent. The station was then owned by Mr. Crozier.

Their daughter Mary Ann was born at Gordonbrook on 11th November, 1842. She was the first baptism in the Clarence River Register, of the Church of England Church, being baptised by Rev. John McConnell, on 29th January, 1843. Samuel’s occupation at this time was shown as carpenter.

Their son George Miller was also born at Gordon brook on 22nd April, 1844. After the death of Captain Crozier in England about 1846, Samuel accompanied Mr. Alfred Sandeman in forming Ashby or Broadwater Station. He then went to Ramornie, under engagement to Mr. A. W. Manning, remaining there until after the station changed hands.

Samuel next became associated with Mr. James Hooke in pioneering and station forming upon the South River. Mr. Hooke and Mr. Avery remained firm friends until the latter’s death.

Samuel next took up the superintendency of Cangi for Mr. Briscoe Ray and when this station was sold and became merged with the Newbold holding, he removed to Grafton.

He was a member of the first Grafton Council and Mayor of Grafton in 1862 and 1867.

He bought a property on the outskirts of Grafton, opposite to where the Grafton Brewery now stands and he called it “Cornwall Park". This farm became a model farm and it is reported that Samuel was the first man on the Clarence to grow a crop for sale.

Samuel owned several blocks of land in Grafton and on 24th May, I858 he gave the allotment at the corner of Fitzroy and Mary Streets for the first Presbyterian Church on the Grafton side of the river.

He helped to found the Grafton School of Arts and in 1860 was one of a party which explored the new line of road to Tabulam via Coaldale. He was a Trustee of the old Savings Bank and was reported as being a very active and good citizen.

After living at “Cornwall Park” for some years he removed to Irene Street, Grafton. This spot later became part of the railway yard. “Cornwall Park” was bequeathed to his daughter Mary Ann.

Mary Ann was the only daughter of Samuel and Arabella. She married Harry Smith on 16th June, 1859 and they lived at “Cheviot Hills” near Drake, later moving to Grafton where their home was called “Rosewood”. Mary Ann and Harry were to have fourteen children, three dying in infancy. Mary Ann died on 25th March 1922 at Grafton and Harry died in 1890.

George Miller, the only surviving son of Samuel and Arabella, was a saddler in Grafton. He married Marion Jane Mitchell on 5th February, 1868.

George died on 19th December, 1875 and Marion remarried John Kibby, a Cootamundra Storekeeper, on 14th December, 1877 in the Scot’s Church, Sydney. George and Marion had a family of three sons.

Samuel Avery died at Grafton on 27th August, 1890 and Arabella died on 18th July, 1898 aged 94 years. They are buried in the old Wesleyan cemetery Grafton.

Samuel’s sister Mary Jane and his brother Robert also came to Australia about 1862, from Cornwall.

Mary Jane married on 3rd November, 1863 at Grafton to John Hunter. John had selected land at Winegrove and had called his property “Belgrave Park”.

Their brother Robert died at Mrs. Hunter’s residence “Belgrave Park” on 23rd December, 1877, aged 52 years.

Mary Jane Hunter died on 10th October, 1905, at Winegrove.


© Clarence River Historical Society Inc. PO Box 396, Grafton, NSW 2460

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