9. The Mysterious Advent of Thomas Darchy

By Ann Pendergast and Nancy Vada Gibb.

(c) 2016 Nancy Vada Gibb. Please do not reproduce any part or all of this document without permission.  Photo above is of Thomas’ great-grandson Darchy Catt at the entrance to the original slab hut built by Thomas Darchy.

The Regency Period in England (1811-1820) “… was an age of war, hedonism, scandal and beauty, an age of magnificence opulence, dreadful poverty and political turmoil.  But above all it was an age of glittering individuals, Wellington, Byron, Napoleon, Jane Austen and Beau Brummell …and of course the Prince Regent (later William III) himself”. The Napoleonic Wars had finally concluded in 1815, and the following years were peaceful for most of Europe. The royal families and military leaders of the various European countries which had combined to defeat Napoleon were on friendly terms and likely to be acquainted with each other, often tied by blood as well as marital history.

Towards the end of this notable era, on 24 February 1820 in Augsburg, Bavaria a baby named Thomas Darchy was born “in matrimony”, as stated in a formal declaration accompanying his baptismal certificate. Nothing is known of his parents apart from their names which were recorded at the time of his baptism in the Protestant Church of St. Ulrich at Augsburg, on 7 March 1820.

TD's birth cert.

His father, also named Thomas, was described as an English property owner; and his mother’s name was given as Amey Maude nee Philipse. Thomas’ godfather and the only witness to the baptismal ceremony (the parents may not have been present), was Alexander Johann Wilhelm Bradford, described as “an English nobleman owning estates in and near London”.  In reality he was plain Dr. Alexander Broadfoot, born 1770, son of a merchant on the island of Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Scotland. His parents were George Broadfoot 1734-1804, merchant and Jean Carlyle 1750-1795, niece of the historian Thomas Carlyle.  At the time of Thomas’ birth Broadfoot was on half-pay, a former surgeon with the Sicilian Regiment in the Napoleonic Wars. The Sicilian Regiment, “.. a foreign regiment in British pay..” was stationed in Malta, not Sicily, from January 1808 to March 1816, when it was disbanded.  Prior to Malta the Regiment went to Egypt (then part of the Ottoman Empire) in 1807, the year Broadfoot joined the Regiment. Just seven months later Dr. Broadfoot was appointed a staff officer, and two years later he was appointed Inspector General of Health in the Ionian Islands, and later Director of Health at Gibraltar – an important position.

Why Thomas was born in Augsburg and what  happened to his parents following his birth is unknown. Indeed, were his parents’ real names given and was Darchy the correct spelling of the surname? Was the mother’s surname Philipse romanticised from the English Philips in the same way that Broadfoot was given an impressive string of Germanic Christian names? What was her nationality? Her christian names were very  English but not her surname. What was her relationship with Dr. Broadfoot?

A week before his birth, on 13 February 1820, Dr. Alexander Broadfoot entrusted the unborn child to the care of Dr. Frederick Sacc, Knight of the Iron Cross and Royal Councillor of the King of Prussia, Frederick William III. The latter title was granted on the same date Thomas Darchy was entrusted to his care.

Frederick Louis Ferdinand Sacc, son of Frederick Henri Sacc and Anne Dorothea Elizabeth Sachsen, was born in Potsdam, Prussia in 1784. He had been chief medical officer of the Garde (Prussian Regiment) and also aide de camp and adviser to His Majesty the King of Prussia. Sacc accompanied the King, who was also the Prince of Neuchatel, on an official visit to the Principality, and stayed there, eventually marrying a local lady and taking up citizenship.

map Swiss

Frederick William III of Prussia 1770-1840, was also born in Potsdam Prussia,and  “… as a child… was handed over to tutors, as was quite normal for the period.” As a Colonel in 1790 he took part in the campaigns against France of 1792-4 and again later against Napoleon. He married Princess Louise of Mecklenberg-Strelitz and succeeded to the throne on 16 Nov 1797.  He established the Iron Cross in 1813 for acts of heroism, bravery and leadership, regardless of rank.

On 12 March 1820 a copy of the baptismal record was prepared for Dr. Sacc.  The whereabouts of this original certificate is unknown, but a translation, prepared in Sydney about 1930 for Claire Nicholls, daughter of Francis and granddaughter of Thomas, reads:

In the year One Thousand eight Hundred and Twenty, the 24th February, in the morning at 2 o’clock, there was born in Augsburg, and baptised the 7th March, in the forenoon at 3 o’clock, according to protestant faith a boy born in matrimony:


(followed by details of his parents, as given earlier and naming Broadfoot as witness)

The complete legality of the above mentioned is witnessed by the Authorities.

Augsburg, 12 March 1820

The King’s Bavarian Protestant

Church of St. Ulrich

Dean: Krauss, priest.

To whom it may concern: the signed name is in the own handwriting with the attached seal of the Church of St. Ulrich of the Dean there, whose name is Her Ludwig Friedrich Krauss and was personally checked up.  Was put to it the Seal of the Court.

The King’s District and Town Court

Signature: von Silberhorn.

Shortly thereafter on 16 May, 1820 Dr. Sacc  obtained letters of naturalisation and permission to become a citizen of Neuchatel, Switzerland, at that time a Prussian principality. Neuchatel is not only the name of the Swiss Canton, but also the capital and the adjacent lake. Dr. Sacc lived in Cortaillod, not far from Neuchatel the city, on the shore of the lake.

It is not known when the infant Thomas was taken to the Neuchatel, but he remained there for the first nine years of his life. He was cared for by members of Dr. Sacc’s extended family, particularly two sisters, and much later Thomas named several of his children after members of this family, so it can be surmised he spent a happy early childhood. At least three of his children were later to visit Neuchâtel some time after his death.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the King of Prussia was defeated by Napoleon and was forced to give up Neuchâtel in order to keep Hanover. Napoleon’s marshal, Berthier, became Prince of Neuchâtel, building roads and restoring infrastructure, but never actually setting foot in his domain. After the fall of Napoleon, the King of Prussia reasserted his rights by proposing that Neuchâtel be linked with the other Swiss cantons (the better to exert influence over the lot of them). On September 12, 1814, Neuchâtel became the 21st canton, but also remained a Prussian principality. Nowadays the city is mainly French-speaking, although is sometimes referred to historically by the German name Neuenberg since Prussia ruled the area until 1848.

In 1828 the peace and orderly life of the Saccs in Neuchatel was shattered. A letter arrived from John Laurie Esq. of Bristol, dated 14 July.


The contents of the letter can be easily imagined because on hearing the news Dr. Sacc was much agitated and on 25 July 1828 wrote an impassioned letter in French to Laurie. (A draft of this letter and other papers of Dr. Sacc were found in the Neuchatel Archives.) Sacc’s native language was not French and the draft letter was full of archaic French and crossed-out words and other words added above and below the lines.  It said:

“I received your letter yesterday, written in Bristol on the 14th, and I sincerely congratulate you for having fulfilled your heart’s wishes. Be happy, content and always convinced that the only true happiness which we can enjoy in this world, is the close family and the gentle company of a woman close to our heart.

“I well understand that this polite (?) matter has taken much of your time and that you could not think of us. In fact, I would have liked you to have forgotten about us for longer, because I am dismayed at the news that you would like to come and take away our young man.

“To me, the future seems bleak, for both the child and these ladies and I have not yet been able to bring myself to tell them this overwhelming news which is all the more reason that I must ask you to please think again before finally and irrevocably deciding to remove the child, because he is still very young and he is being raised by expert hands.

“And what do you want to do with him? Send him to boarding school? Or in other words, abandon him, because you do not want to look after him and his mother will continue to watch him from a distance at her pleasure. On the other hand we must resign ourselves to seeing him leave us sooner or later, but is this the right time?  Isn’t he still too young? Can’t he stay here until he is 12-14 years old, to strengthen his moral character and to finish his primary schooling. Think again, dear man: the removal of this child will be a terrible blow to the family.

“Regarding the rest, I do not understand how Madam L. was able so easily to consent to this arrangement, which is precisely the opposite of what she told me two years ago in Geneva, when she seemed to fear his presence in England (deleted…. and assured me she wanted to leave him here for better hiding him). She said in her own words that he would never know his mother and that the mother’s family would forever ignore his existence. She told me her final wish for her son, and she gave me her express wish, to raise him entirely as Swiss.

“I would like to remind you that this child is here under the protection of the government and that I am his guarantor and that by law I cannot let you take him back, and because of this you will have to come yourself and the mother will have to give me written consent to allow you to take him back and to give you power of attorney.

“Personally, I am deeply worried abut the consequences that this change will have for my dear child, for who shall he count on in the future. On you? Alas! You live with 200-300 livres (a monetary unit) of him, you are married, a public servant. (deleted …and you have no interest to see him prosper and to make his way). Or his mother? Much less than on you, because she doesn’t want him and as she says, she cannot look after him. Thus, he will be abandoned and alone, continually in boarding schools and he will become what he can. So, finally, my dear man, I will not speak again until you respond to my concerns [which are] expressed because of the great interest that I take in your young man and in his carers. “

From this letter it appears that John Laurie was a close relation, perhaps a brother or uncle to Thomas’ mother, or less likely Thomas’ real father. The various relationships between Laurie, Madam L, Sacc and Broadfoot are still unknown. Some speculations will be discussed in a later article. It is known however that Broadfoot’s Regiment was in Malta during the Peninsular Wars at the same time as Du Meuron’s Regiment, which was raised in Neuchatel and contained some officers from that district. Laurie’s identity is less certain.

On 12 September 1828 Dr. Broadfoot wrote to Dr. Sacc saying:

 “In accordance with our original agreement, you, Mons. Frederick Sacc, herewith have just been requested and authorised to deliver the child Thomas Darchy with all the certificates, papers and related original documents concerning him, to the bearer of this letter Mr. Julius Charles Hare, an English gentleman, and, for such delivery, this will be your guarantee.”

This was the first appearance of Julius Charles Hare (1795–1855) in the records of Thomas Darchy’s early life. Hare was reputed to be one of the most erudite of English scholars, and his major work Guesses at Truth had great influence on philosophical, philological, and literary activity throughout the nineteenth century. He taught as a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge from 1822 to 1832.  Described as “ … a contemporary and friend of Connop Thirlwall at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Cambridge…. Hare and Thirlwall were as well acquainted as any Englishmen of their day with German literature, yet they retained a thoroughly English outlook.”   At the time of his recall from Neuchatel in 1828 the young Thomas Darchy’s first language would have been German, with possibly some French; so Hare would have been the ideal tutor/companion to prepare the young man for life as a wealthy young Englishman.

Hare’s relationship to Broadfoot and the other players in this mysterious drama is unknown. It is not clear if he actually knew Thomas’ mother. It is possible that he became involved through his elder brother Francis, who led an indolent life mostly on the Continent and provided Julius with many connections and acquaintances.

Another document was drawn up in London by a French clerc (notary) on the same date (12 September 1828) and signed by Dr. Broadfoot and Julius Hare, stating that Dr. Broadfoot, acting on behalf of Thomas Darchy’s mother (later named as Madam Clark Leslie), authorised the transfer of the child from the care of Dr. Frederick Sacc to Julius Charles Hare:

“We, the undersigned Julius Charles Hare Esq., (Associate) Fellow of Cambridge in England, and Alexander Broadfoot, Doctor of Medicine, Inspector of Health of Gibraltar and Deputy Inspector of His Britannic Majesty’s Military Hospitals, by this act declare that, conjointly and separately, we render up guarantees for the safety of the child Thomas Darchy, living in Colombier in the care of Mr. Frederick Sacc, advisor to His Majesty the King of Prussia, since the 13 February 1820, by arrangement with the aforesaid Mr. Broadfoot, acting for the mother of the child, and at present the aforesaid child being on the point of being delivered by Mr. Sacc to the aforesaid Mr. Julius Charles Hare; herewith, we have guaranteed, moreover, for the safety of the child, that he, Thomas Darchy, may never by whatever accident or mischance fall neither into the care of the Neuchatel government nor of the aforesaid Mr. Sacc, in view of the fact that the aforesaid child received by Mr. Julius Charles Hare, must be very shortly returned to his mother in England and cared for there, according to her means and her maternal affection.

In witness whereof, here is our seal and signature.

London, 12 September, 1828.

(signature) Alexander Broadfoot, Doctor of Medicine, Inspector of Health at Gibraltar, Deputy Inspector of His Britannic Majesty’s Military Hospitals (the writer of the text)

Julius Charles Hare, (Associate) Fellow of Trinity College at Cambridge Universit (Sealed                                                with red wax]. 


On 7 November 1828 Julius Charles Hare wrote from Trinity College, Cambridge to Dr. Sacc in  Cortaillod, Neuchatel, Suisse saying he would come to Neuchatel in the Spring to take Thomas away. The translation is:


I think our friend Mr. Broadfoot told you that he intended to pass through Neuchatel during the summer. Circumstances have delayed him and I have been obliged to put back my trip until the Spring. Then I definitely hope to have the pleasure of making your acquaintance and shaking you by the hand. The child Thomas Darchy is to be placed with his mother as he is her responsibility. I hope to see you then.

Your obedient servant

J.C. Hare.

With a curious postscript:  Madam Clark Leslie has directed her banker to remit 1010 Louis to his branch at Neuchatel which is to be paid to the women who are responsible for the education of the child.”

On 31 July 1829 A passport was granted to Julius Charles Hare, acting on behalf of Alexander Broadfoot. The passport, No. 1084, was issued by the Ambassador of His Majesty the King of the Low Countries,.  This is puzzling as Hare was a British subject and a respected member of the prestigious Trinity College.  It is mentioned in another legal document given below and was used as proof of Hare’s identity.

By 17 September that year Thomas Darchy appears to have been handed over to the care of Julius Charles Hare, acting for Dr. Broadfoot.  A sworn document says:

Concerning the discharge – given by Mr. Alex Broadfoot Doctor, Inspector of Public Health at Gibraltar and Deputy Inspector of the Military Hospitals of his Britannic Majesty in the same place – of a child of male sex named Thomas Darchy. In favour of M. Frederick Sacc, Knight of the Order of the Iron Cross and Royal Court Councillor of His Majesty the King of Prussia, citizen of Neuchatel, to whom the aforesaid child had been confided on 13 February 1820.

Costs (4.2.6) paid.     Dated Sept 7th 1829.

Taken before a Magistrate of the Noble Court of Justice of Colombier in the principality and Canton of Neuchatel & Valangin in Switzerland and the hereinafter named witnesses –

The parties concerned are

– Mr. Julius Charles Hare, member of Trinity College, Cambridge in England domiciled at Cambridge acting in the name of Mr. Alexander Broadfoot Doctor, Inspector of Public Health at Gibraltar and Deputy Inspector of the Military Hospitals of his Britannic Majesty in the same place, by virtue of two documents which he has produced duly signed and dated 12thSeptember 1828. Accompanied by his seal and remaining attached to the minute (document) of the applicant.

– Mr. Frederick Sacc of Berlin, M.D. & M.S. Knight of the Order of the Iron Cross, Royal Counciller of His Majesty the King of Prussia, citizen of Neuchatel, domiciled at Colombier.

The first named has said that in the name of and on behalf of his client he has been charged to withdraw from the hands of the aforesaid Dr. Sacc, the male child Thomas Darchy who was confided to his guardianship on the 13th Feb. 1820, and in support of his action he has produced the two documents aforementioned, of which one is a certificate of discharge (and) the other a discharge properly so called in favour of Doctor Sacc aforesaid, and of the said child. Moreover he has shown his passport granted at London on 31 July 1829, sent by the Ambassador of His Majesty the King of the Low Countries. No. 1084, containing the signature and the description of the Bearer which confirms his identity.

On his side the aforementioned Dr. Sacc having perused the documents produced by the Bearer (ie Hare) and compared it with his correspondence and with the document in the same hand and recognised the writing and the signature of Mr. Alexander Broadfoot as well as his seal although the said signature may not have been witnessed, and in no way doubting the reality of Mr. Charles Hare’s mission, as much by reason of certain signs of which he is the bearer as by the advice contained in the correspondence of Mr Broadfoot who has acquainted him of the commission confided to Mr. Hare. Which is why he sends back with him in all good faith the aforesaid Thomas Darchy to bear him to his destination according to the instructions he has received on this matter, and adds for him (ie Thomas Darchy) sincere good wishes for his happiness.

Then the bearer declares, Mr Charles Julius Hare, acknowledges this action in the name of his client and in his own name. He guarantees the said Dr. Sacc from all other charges in the matter of the said child by giving to him this paper in full and entire discharge for and against any future claim (he having) besides received with the said child his original Baptismal Certificate as well as a packet with an unbroken seal which was given to him by Mr. Broadfoot which bears the inscription “Not to be opened except upon the death of Mr. Broadfoot”.

In support of this action the parties have had the present document drawn up which is agreeable to all. They renounce everything which might affect its validity, or obligation on their property now or in the future.

In the presence of Cesar D’Yvernois Concillor of State, and Edouard Gaberel de Savagnier Mayor of this place and both domiciled in this place.

Joined as witnesses with the magistrate and the parties concerned (and) signed in the statutes at Colombier this 17th of September one thousand eight hundred and twenty nine 1829.

Then follows the elaborate signature of so and so … Clerc. pro. Notary.


Clerc also made a declaration on the copy of Thomas’ baptismal certificate which was obtained by Dr. Sacc.  This declaration was also dated 17 September.

(In French): I declare that the above mentioned copy is the same as the original and was made according to the wishes of Doctor Sacc.

At Colombier, the 17th September, 1829.

Clerc. (signature).

Regarding the mysterious packet with unbroken seal, it can be supposed that Hare returned it to Broadfoot, but it is not known what happened following Broadfoot’s death – had it been destroyed by then or were the contents made known to Thomas Darchy?

The journey from Neuchatel to England would have been long and  arduous, and most likely by coach but perhaps by early rail. Did they travel overland through France to the English Channel or did they perhaps go the long but scenic way through the Alps to an Italian or French port and then take ship through the Straits of Gibraltar?

The first German railway was a 79 mile stretch from Linz to Budweis built between 1827 and 1832, but it was a horse-drawn railway.  The first steam driven train in Germany was not opened until 1837. Frederick William III (to whom Dr. Sacc was appointed a Royal Councillor in 1820) asked why anyone should wish to get to Potsdam half an hour sooner, and complained that now the meanest of his subjects could travel as fast as he.

It is not known where Thomas spent the years from 1829 to 1839, and with whom, but the fact that he later gave his religion as Episcopal and that he most likely sailed from Greenock to the Australian colonies suggests that he may have spent time in Scotland. Unfortunately records were not kept for children at that time and the first Scottish Census was not until 1841.

Thomas apparently did not attend any of the well-known English or Scottish universities, (Charterhouse, Rugby, Aberdeen High School, Bristol HS, etc) although it is curious but probably coincidental that a Thomas Darcy, “from County Carlow” (Ireland) was a medical student at Edinburgh University during 1832-3.  No other records such as age or parents’ names were kept by the university at that time. Thomas Darchy would have been too young (12-13) to have been this student, surely; and his putative father would have been a little too old, in his 30’s at least. Yet Edinburgh was Broadfoot’s alma mater; and Carlow is just south of Wicklow where as shall be seen Thomas’ future bride’s family originated.

Most likely Thomas spent time on one or more landed estates in England or Scotland, with a private tutor, or less likely that he lived with the Broadfoots on Gibraltar (see later). Possibly he also lived with or visited Hare, who succeeded to the rich family living of Herstmonceaux in Sussex in 1832.  Hare did tutor several young men there. It is not known if Thomas went to the Continent again before 1839, or if he did live in England/Scotland. Hare did make a journey to Italy in 1832-3 but a published account makes no mention of Thomas, nor is there any mention of him in any of Hare’s papers held at Trinity College and elsewhere.

In December 1827 Broadfoot was appointed Inspector of Health at Gibraltar and the following year he married and almost immediately made a will leaving money to his new wife and his brothers. Coincidentally or not that was the same year he wrote to Dr. Sacc authorising the transfer of Thomas to England.  Dr. Broadfoot’s wife was Esther Sutherland, daughter of the wealthy Lord Duffus of Burray, actually of Burrogil Castle, Caithness, now the Castle of Mey in northern Scotland, home of the Late Queen Mother. Esther’s sister Helen had married Dr. Broadfoot’s older brother William several years earlier.

Dr. Broadfoot was still at Gibraltar at the end of 1834 as he appears aged 50 (his real age was probably 64 if the birth year of 1770 is correct) in the Census of December that year together with his wife Ester (sic) aged 35 and their daughter Ester aged 3, who was born at Gibraltar.  Broadfoot’s niece Margaret Broadfoot aged 26 was staying with them at the time.  He apparently returned to England or Scotland soon afterwards. He died in October 1837 and was buried at Chatham, Kent.  His will made no mention of Thomas Darchy.

Two years after Dr. Broadfoot’s death Thomas was listed among the passengers of the “India”, a barque of 493 tons, which sailed on her maiden voyage from Greenock in Scotland on 5 October 1839 by way of Cork and Porto Prio “with a cargo of sundries” and  at least 94 passengers, and arrived in Adelaide about 23 February 1840. He did not disembark at Adelaide but continued on to Port Philip (Melbourne), where the “India” arrived about 10 April  after “meeting with a good deal of severe weather” according to the Port Philip Herald, although it is unclear if that referred to the earlier part of the voyage. The “India” was cleared for Sydney on 4th May with Thomas still on board.  He appeared to have been unaccompanied.

%22India%22 1840

Photo from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/fh/passengerlists/1840India.htm which also lists details of the cargo.

There are two known accounts of the voyage, written by Irish immigrant Robert Bell travelling in the intermediate cabin, and the Reverend Andrew Love obviously travelling first class.  Bell kept a detailed diary.  His first entry reads:

5 October 1839: Set sail from Greenock …at 12 o’clock all passengers collected on the deck having their minds fully prepared to pass four months on the ocean, subject to all the dangers of the stormy billows and liable at any time to be cast away on some rude and inhospitable coast where savage natives live by plunder….

Bell did not mention Thomas Darchy, but he did mention Love:

27th Oct. At 12 o’clock Mr. Love gave us a sermon for the first time since coming on board which was finished in an hour and a half.

In contrast, Love’s account was rather more restrained. It should be noted however that it  was actually put together by two of his granddaughters, using notes made by one of his daughters:

My father, the Rev, Andrew Love, with his wife and five children sailed from Greenock in October 1839 in the sailing ship India, a small vessel of 495 tons built in Greenock in 1839, owners Orr & Co., then making her maiden voyage.

She carried some thirty adult cabin passengers besides second class and steerage and a number of children, the Captain was a Highlander, a Campbell, with a piper on board, and one of his favourite amusements, when we met a vessel, was to set the piper on the bowsprit to play “The Campbells Are coming”.

We met with heavy weather to the south east of Ireland and were obliged to put back to Cork for repairs.  Thence we sailed a month later, proceeding in the leisurely fashion of that time.  The Captain reefed sail every night and went comfortably to bed, turning out only at the change of watch to see that all was well and then retiring again.

Bell: (9-16 Nov): Passed the island of Madeira…. we have now entered the North East trade winds and may expect steady sailing for the next 3-4 weeks at least …. the thermometer was 73, as warm as the hottest summer day at home….  the thermometer is 80 degrees today … some of the cabin passengers are beginning to take baths by means of throwing buckets full of water over the body. … 3 or 4 Cabin passengers have slept on the deck these last 2 nights … flying fish were seen for the first time, they fly in flocks of about 100 but never more than 15 feet, generally from the top of one wave to another.

Love: We touched at the Cape Verde Islands where the Erebus and the Terror were lying and had a visit from Captain Ross, Rear-Admiral Sir James Clark Ross 1800-1862, and his officers.

Bell (19 Nov): We entered a small bay (in the Cape Verdes) with 3 vessels at anchor and the town of St. Jago stretched in fine appearance above it. We were not permitted to land immediately, the Governor wished to have the ship and crew inspected dreading some infectious disease….. boats came alongside bartering old clothes for fruit … later in the day I went ashore … we walked into town where the inhabitants were standing at the door of every house glaring at us with curiosity …. We then went to the hotel for dinner. Going through the hall into the dining room we looked into the kitchen and there saw the black cook with a massive chain round his middle and legs preparing our meal. We learned that he had run away and his master having caught him after a good deal of pursuit loaded him with irons to prevent him committing the like offence in future. The poor slave appeared not to feel his situation much working busily at his employment. No matter how it appeared I had left Britain, the land of liberty behind me and now for the first time in my existence I beheld a slave in his chains.

(21 Nov): We are now 10 degrees off the line and the weather is getting warmer every day …

(2 Dec): we crossed the line last night about 2 o’clock, none of the passengers were up. … running on average 120 miles/ day.

(14 Dec): Very soon now we will get into the latitude of the Cape. I feel the air getting cooler every day as we go further south so I am quit sleeping on deck.  We are about 600 miles from Tristandachuna (sic) and if we continue at our present rate of sailing may expect to reach Adelaide in 7 weeks.

(16 Dec): the wind is against us now making us steer to the south…. Mr. Robinson sitting on the main top threw down the remains of his cigar, it landed on Mr Mills’ quilt which had been spread on hay over the long boat to dry.  A good sized hole was burned in it before it was discovered.  It was very fortunate the hay did not take fire as if it did in all probability the ship would have been burned or at least some of the sails.

Love: At Tristan da Cunha “Governor” Glass came on board, bringing us fresh butter and eggs and begging in return a supply of needles, pins and cotton. My mother willingly turned out her work bag and the other ladies did the same giving all they could spare, my father baptised some of the “Governor’s” children and we again set sail.

Bell: The number of persons on the island was 63 of which 40 were children.

(17th Jan): The Captain informed us that the latitude is 39 and the longitude 39.  It is quite calm this morning, not a breath of wind. The Captain wishing to get a view of the “India” from the water lowered the boat and together 5 or 6 rowed about a quarter of a mile off. Some of them having gone out with the intention of bathing.  Those stripped and leaped in.  The Captain took a swim with the rest at which he is very adept.  (One wonders if the young Thomas Darchy was above joining in the fun).

(23rd Jan): the arms belonging to the ship were brought on deck to be cleaned. They consist of 6 muskets, with bayonets, 6 swords and 6 pistols.

(29th Jan): After tea the Piper was brought on the poop and dancing commenced. Half an hour of dancing tired most of them as the air was too sultry for exercise. (This is the only mention Bell makes of the Piper). 

(1st Feb): … a very heavy shower of rain .. afterwards turned to hail… thunder by this time had arrived overhead and peal after peal was heard .. we all grew rather frightened … At last one dreadful crash came it seemed as if all the elements had united and put forth all their strength to strike a decisive blow on the devoted ship. If all the artillery in the universe had been discharged at once I think the noise could scarcely have been greater. A flash of lightning accompanied it so powerful and near that all of us felt the shock. I suppose it could be called a thunderbolt as it flew along the deck like a ball of fire.

Love: We met many schools of whales and the sight of a whaler with a freshly harpooned whale in tow created great excitement amongst the passengers, the whale being longer than our little ship India.

Bell (6 Feb): During the night the ship had put about and we were steering direct south with the wind from the East. The most of us seem rather disappointed with the delay as we had expected to reach Adelaide tomorrow. The Captain is employed today painting the figurehead. It represents an Indian of Calcutta with turban on his head, a red mantle thrown over his shoulders and Morocco slippers turned up at the toes. (Contrary winds continued to prevent them making port for some days).

(17th Feb): This morning at 4 o’clock I was lying awake when suddenly the ship began to slope greatly … during this there was a great noise of wind on deck then a dreadful crash was heard and someone called out the masts were gone. Immediately I went up the hatchway and saw that the main top mast and fore top masts were over the side together with yard sails and rigging.  The squall had come on when the wind was veering and had not been observed till about a minute before it commenced. The boatswain had just come on deck to begin his watch, when seeing the approaching danger, went to the Captain’s room to tell him about it.  He received the order to let go of the top sail halyards and clew up the mainsail …. While performing the last order the gale had blown the ship nearly on her beam ends (ie sideways) so that water was running on the deck and before the sailmaker could let go the halyards the masts had gone. The men in a short time after the accident began to clear away the rigging and haul in the spars and yards. I together with most of the passengers assisted as well we could.

(18th Feb): By breakfast time there was a jury mast erected… in the evening the new fore top mast was hauled into place by means of the windlass at which we all assisted. The mate informed me that the storm we had was called a White Squall, always sudden and severe and without means of precaution being taken beforehand, the loss of masts is inevitable.

The “India” finally arrived in Port Adelaide on 23 Feb 1840.  Bell left the ship at that port. Thomas Darchy continued on to Melbourne and later Sydney.

Love: Our vessel suffered many mishaps.  But, after being twice dismasted and once set on fire by lightning in a terrific storm, we dropped anchor in Port Philip on the 9th of April 1840 – reported six months and nine days out from Greenock.

The passengers landed at Sandridge, now called Port Melbourne, then merely a stretch of beach covered with grass, backed by ti-tree scrub with a forest of gum trees behind it. There were no houses; just a few white tents alternating with fishermen’s mia-mias. …. Melbourne was only three miles distant, but the only road lay through dense forest and the only means of getting there was by a spring cart ….

Before the shipping records came to light it was thought that Thomas Darchy and a guardian had sailed from Gibraltar for the Australian colonies in 1840.  Frank Darchy of Toowoomba, greatgrandson of Thomas through his son Francis, was told that the child was educated in Switzerland and then taken to Gibraltar where he was cared for by a Major of Artillery. Tom Killen, another great grandson through Thomas’ son Michael, remembers seeing a travel document or passport issued at Gibraltar, and signed by the King of the Lowlands. Unfortunately this document appears to have been lost, and there are no records about it in Gibraltar.

Sister Margery Piggott, great granddaughter of Thomas through his daughter Clara Maria, thought that Thomas came out to the Colonies “under the protection of the Governor”.  George Gipps was Governor of New South Wales at the time and no evidence has been found of any connection between him and Thomas Darchy. It could be, however, that because of his Neuchatel connections, Thomas had letters of introduction to Charles Joseph La Trobe, governor of Victoria. It is thought the young La Trobe spent some of his holidays at a boarding school in Neuchatel, and later in 1832 he acted as tutor to the young Count Albert de Pourtales, of a grand Neuchatel family, on an extended tour of North America. He was appointed Superintendent of the Port Phillip District in the Colony of Victoria in 1839 – the year Thomas Darchy sailed for Australia.  However, two published collections of La Trobe’s letters do not make any mention of Darchy, nor do the descriptive lists of the large collection of papers held by the State Library of Victoria.

A year after his initial arrival in Australia at Port Phillip, on February 16, 1841, Thomas arrived at Port Jackson (Sydney) from Port Phillip on the barque “Ariadne”, 501 tons. He was one of the few Cabin passengers and again appeared to have been unaccompanied. He was just 8 days short of his 21st birthday. It is not known what he did in the intervening year.

An article containing some inaccuracies published in March 1892 in “Table Talk”, a 19thcentury Melbourne periodical, says Thomas Darchy came to the colonies accompanied by a tutor, Thomas Kissock. There was no Kissock on the passenger list of the “India” on her maiden voyage in 1839-40, but intriguingly when the “India” burned and foundered on a subsequent voyage, a Mr. Kissock, a passenger on the “Alemena” which was nearby, gave an account of the rescue of the passengers which was published on Monday 18 October 1841 in the Port Phillip Patriot.

Almost certainly this eye witness was Thomas Kissock, son of Samuel Kissock and Margaret Kerr, who was born in Scotland in about 1806 and married Elizabeth Pinkerton in St. James’ Church, Melbourne in 1847. They had at least 3 children, Margaret b. 1857 in Williamstown Vic, Samuel Mac born 1859 in Tarneit Melbourne and died 1860 in Werribee; and Elizabeth b. 1862 in Nawy (?).  Mother Elizabeth died aged 67 in 1888 in South Yarra and father Thomas Kissock died aged 94 in 1900 also in South Yarra, which fits in with his age (92) given in “Table Talk”.

It is possible this Thomas Kissock was indeed a tutor of the young Thomas Darchy in Scotland or England before his departure for Australia at age 20.  No record can be found for him as a tutor of the Darchy children, indeed it is unlikely as they were born between 1845 and 1863 in the Hay-Murrumbidgee area whereas Thomas Kissock’s children were born in or near Melbourne between 1857 and 1862.

Could Thomas Darchy have made an earlier voyage to Australia, possibly from Gibraltar?  Perhaps he spent time there after leaving Neuchatel.  At the time Dr. Broadfoot retired from his position there in 1833 or 1834 Thomas would have been aged 14, so still in need of a guardian and a tutor – who could have accompanied the wealthy young man on an educational tour to the Colonies some years before Thomas arrived on the “India”. Or did he perhaps return to the Sacc family for a time? The fact that he named some of his children after Sacc family members and encouraged his children to visit Neuchatel would indicate that he knew the Saccs at a more mature age than ten.


8. Thomas Eckerboon (Dick) d’Archy – Cloncurry & Camooweal

Note: As mentioned earlier, this blog is not so much a complete family history as the history of certain d’Archy family members associated with places which Dave and I visited during our caravan tour of outback Queensland in 2016. 

I never knew my grandfather Dick d’Archy and my mother and her sister Betty barely remembered him. Yet he is one of the two ancestors I identify with most, and his inheritance has continued in my daughter who, despite spending her early childhood on a boat and in towns, has embraced the country life.

Dick was born at “Cuthowarra” Wilcannia on 7 February 1882, the second child of Francis (Frank) d’Archy and Margaret (Prendergast) Stoddart. His elder brother Francis Percival was born in 1880 and two more siblings arrived later, Clara Cecille in 1883 and FritzEdward in 1885. There were also two half-siblings, Mary and John Stoddart, born 1869 and 1872 so aged 13 and 10 at the time.

In  the early 1880s Dick’s father Frank, together with his brother Fritz and Frederico Sacc, formed a company named Darchy Bros & Co. which leased “Cuthowarra”Station near Wilcannia, as has been mentioned in earlier blogs. Wilcannia was at that time a prosperous country town and port for riverboats on the Darling River.  But drought and a rabbit plague intervened, “Cuthowarra” went broke and was taken over by the AML&F in the late 1890s. Frank was declared bankrupt. The river is now silted up and a shadow of its former self. (Photos taken 2016 after some welcome rain).



The track from the Broken Hill-Cobar Highway heading for “Cuthowarra” must always have been very rough. (Photo taken  2016). We were tempted to explore this track but wisely desisted as not too many days later a spring  broke on our our aged caravan.


img_0736Dick’s father became a wool scourer (NSW Country Trades register for Wagga Wagga 1898), stockman (“White Hills” Camooweal 1905 ER), drover (out of Goondiwindi) and station manger (“Walgra” Boulia 1900 ER; “Tippendale” St. George 1919 ER); at one time he was also the mailman for the long lonely track from Camooweal Qld to Anthony’s Lagoon in the NT. The family did not travel with him so Dick would have seen very little of his father in his formative years.

Dick’s mother Margaret was the licensee of the Hibernian Hotel and boarding house in Hay from 1894 (when Dick was 12) to December 1897. Dick’s grandmother Mary Costello Prendergast lived with them. Life must have been quite  interesting living in a country hotel. At one time someone was accused of stealing after he’d had meal at Margaret’s hotel and she lent him a horse, so she had to go to court to give evidence. Another time she was the defendant.


The family were still in Hay in 1899  as witnessed by this newspaper clipping. Fourteen shillings would have been quite a stiff fine in those days:dog-fine

Dick’s middle name is unusual. Records of 1866 show there was an “Eckerboon” Station near “Cuthowarra”. The spelling varies on different maps and in documents so I have used the one on his marriage record. He was however baptised Thomas Joseph Kevin (!).



Dick must have had the same wanderlust as the other d’Archys as by 1905, aged 23, he was a stockman at “Calton Hills” in the Camooweal district, not so far from his father at “White Hills”.


Here are photos of the Cloncurry -Calton Hills district taken by Dave and me when we were there in July 2016. It would be much drier most of the year, and probably flooded during the Wet.





Burke and Wills passed through the area in 1861 on their ill-fated exploration of the Australian continent.


These noisy galahs would have been a very familiar feature of the landscape (photo taken at another location further east).


I don’t know if Dick ever saw the waterhole on the river near Camooweal but it was one of our favourite places of the whole six-month tour. A haven for wildlife and abundant waterlilies. Beautiful at any time of day. We were there in winter, soon after some rain; it is probably very different in the heat of summer before the Wet sets in.



The Camooweal post office, little changed over many years, where Dick collected his mail; and the partly-restored Hall.



Dick must have shown promise as he was managing “Headingly” Station near Camooweal at the time of his marriage in 1908, aged 26. A little later he was managing “Chatsworth”, which exists till this day. (Dave and I considered visiting Chatsworth but were advised that the station is under management and our visit would probably not be welcome; also like Headingly it was too far along dirt tracks for us to risk our aged caravan).

Here is an old photo of Chatsworth taken by Kirkham’s Studios. Mossman St Charters Towers, probably in early 1911. On the back was written the names of those present – I’ve added more information. They were all dressed up, the horse literally polished …



With love to Grannie (Margaret Morgan Hunt)

L to R:

  • Thomas Eccaboon (Dick) d’Archy  – Manager (1882- 1938)
  • Edith Lilian (Lily) d’Archy nee Hunt (1876-1946) holding baby Nancy Elizabeth (Betty) d’Archy, 1910-1998, born on 28 November 1910 in Toowoomba. Her sister Vada was born in 1914 in Friesland, Cloncurry.
  • Fanny Elizabeth Hunt, Lily’s sister. (1863-1941) (First woman Science graduate in Aust, Headmistress of Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School and co-founder of Girton College Toowoomba).
  • Behind women: Kitty or Kithy – housemaid.
  • Mr. Stewart – staff
  • Mr. Green – staff
  • Mr. Shire – storekeeper

chatsworth-homestead-copy-1My mother’s birth was registered in March 1913 at Friezland, a smallish mining town nearest to Chatsworth. During WW2 due to German sensibilities the name was changed to Kuridala. I located these photos in the library/research centre:  I doubt Dick had much to do with this mining town.


Just outside Cloncurry is this large rock formation, Dick and also his father must have known it well – a very welcome sign that a mustering journey was near its end.



Cloncurry is probably little changed from Dick’s day. Very wide streets, old buildings, sunburnt outback men in broad brimmed hats …. It must have been a considerable shock to his new bride who was born in Reading Berkshire, arrived in Australia by ‘fast’ steamer in 1879 and lived in Sydney and then Toowoomba, Qld where her sister ran a girls’ school.

Dick married Edith Lilian “Lily” Hunt on 29 December 1908 in Toowoomba. It is thought that Lily was staying with her sister Flo in Townsville when she met Dick. A fulsome newspaper description of the wedding was published in the Brisbane Courier on Friday 1 January 1909 p 7:


Dick’s best man, J G Leadbetter, was the Second master for over 30 years at the Toowoomba Grammar School. T C Hewitt was also a Master at the school. They must have been roped in …   The Rowlands were related through Lily’s sister Florence. Miss Vada Jefferies was my mother’s godmother, and the source of my middle name.

Dick might have enjoyed the 2016 Stockman’s Challenge which took place at Cloncurry Equestrian centre while we were there. It was unseasonably cold and very wet but the standard of horsemanship was outstanding. What would Dick have made of the huge modern horse floats and also these brightly-dressed children though…? – not to mention all the rhinestone-studded Western finery – fancy belts and jeans – worn by many of the women.


img_0273When the First World War broke out, like so many countrymen Dick was keen to enlist, which he did on 18 March 1915 in Charleville. Here is one of the few photos I have of him with his family at the time. My mother Vada is the little blonde girl.


Dick ( Reg No. 2231) was originally assigned to the 15th Reinforcements of the 2nd Light Horse. He served as a Corporal for a year with the RM Police before being shipped Suez, disembarking from the  “Commonwealth” in May 1916. He was transferred to the 13th LH the following month, and to the 1st Anzac A Corps Mounted Regiment some time later.

Dick was promoted to SQMS (Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant) in the 13th Light Horse Regiment  in June 1916.  In July 1916 he embarked on the “Tunisian” to join the BEF in France, but suffered a knee injury when wrestling during deck sports, and was admitted to the No. 8 field hospital direct from the “Tunisian”. A few weeks later he was sent to England on the “Asturias”. In England, he spent time in Portsmouth hospital, then was ‘marched in’ to Weymouth where he stated he was a Sergeant in the Anzac Mounted Regiment. During the next few months he apparently also worked in Admin HQ London. In November 1916 he was discharged medically unfit and sent back to Australia on the “Wiltshire”.

According to Frank d’Archy (not Dick’s father but a cousin)  who told the story to Tom Killen, Dick was a Provost Marshall in Cairo and was promoted to Brigadier for a day, in order to arrest a Colonel who had organised a Light Horse regiment on paper (only) and was collecting the pay. No proof could be found, but rumours persisted. (I have not been able to find anything to corroborate this story).

How very disappointing for Dick, to have spent so long training in Australia and then Egypt, and have been on the way to the “real war” in France. To add insult to injury, his brother FitzEdward and cousins Tom Darchy, Max Wreford Darchy and Jack Wreford Darchy all served throughout the war, including on the infamous Somme – and all returned home relatively unscathed apart from minor injuries.  FritzEdward was probably the worst affected, having been badly gassed.

Dick was very unsettled on his return from the War and did not live with his family again, who by then had moved from Toowoomba to Rose Bay, Sydney. He does not appear to have spent much time with his daughters although a letter from his cousin Blanche Cecille daughter of Louis D’Archy to Tom Killen, mentions that “Dick Darchy and Betty visited us…”.  My mother Vada did not remember him at all.

He had a droving plant and in 1933 was in Sydney to buy pack saddles for a very rough cattle drive from the Northern Territory for Kidman; he also drove for the Whites of Musswellbrook.  When not droving he lived in Camooweal and had a passion for 1924 Dodges! (Tom Killen).

Here are photos taken at the ‘Drovers Camp’ outside Camooweal where old-time drovers talk about their experiences and lovingly explain all the old drovers’ paraphernalia. This would have been a little later than Dick’s time but not so very different. As explained to us, all the pack saddles were lined up in order each evening according to their purpose and/or specific stockman so that in the morning there was no confusion.


Dick also worked (managed?) Victoria River station; and was the Manager of Macarthur River Station in the NT at time of his death in 1937.

Dick and several other men at Macarthur River Station became ill with a strange illness and were flown by Flying Doctor to Katherine, where Dick soon died. He is buried in an unmarked grave at Katherine; his death is recorded  in the Katherine Mortuary Records as “Darchie T Ekibin”. His death sparked a number of newspaper stories – bad news travelled relatively fast!





Dick would have been transported in one of these planes – seen at the Cloncurry RFDS Museum.


I was disappointed not to be able to visit Headingly and Chatsworth. A year or so earlier I had discovered that the mail run which included Headingly occasionally took paying passengers, but by the time we got to Mt. Isa the mail run contract had been awarded to another company which did not take passengers and was apparently very difficult to contact at all. Hopefully the contract will go back to the earlier company. (But then we’ll have to go to Mt. Isa again…).

7. Blanche Cecelia Darchy

George Thomas “Tim” Darchy (1863-1949) married Anna Maria “Annie” Hynes (1874-1959) on 25 March 1899 in Longreach.  He was a bachelor, birthplace given as Melbourne, and he gave his occupation as station manager aged 36 living in Longreach.  He gave his parents as Thomas Darchy, Squatter, and Susan Byrne.  Anne was a spinster born in Atquvatt, Co. Kildare aged 25, also residing in Longreach; the daughter of Thomas Hynes, steward, and Anne Boneger. They were married in the residence of James Magoffin (almost certainly Baratria station near Longreach) in the presence of James and Annie Magoffin. As with Francis’ wife Margaret, the family did not much approve of Annie, said to have been a hotel maid.

They had a daughter Blanche Cecilia Darchy born on 11 October 1899. There were no other children. It is not known whether Blanche and her mother ever accompanied her father droving. Was she a good horsewoman?  What is known is that she had a good singing voice, who won prizes even after her marriage when most women “retired” to the kitchen.


Blanche Cecilia Darchy married John Aitchison in 1925 when she was 26 and accompanied him to the Fitzroy District in Queensland. They had quite a grand wedding, as reported in the Longreach Leader:


John, one of twin boys born on 12 November 1896 to James Aitchison and Euphemia Maxwell Christison, served in the First World War together with his brother James. John, a clerk, enlisted in the 5th Light Horse, 26th Reinforcements in January 1917 and travelled to Egypt on the “Boorara” but seems to have spent most of the time at Moascar undergoing signals training; at one time he was assisting the 67th Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps. He was sick with malaria at intervals. He returned home uninjured apart from the malaria.

His twin brother James enlisted in June 1917 in the 13th Field Coy Engineer Reinforcements. At that time he was a cadet engineer with the Queensland railways and was previously with the 23rd Signal Co. of Australian Engineers. Sadly he died in April 1919 of a fractured spine “accidentally received” while working at the 7th Casualty Clearing Station, adn wasa buried in the Luisans Communal Cemetery near Arras with ” …..  an impressive military funeral presided over by three clergymen. The full band of the Royal Munster Fusiliers played from the CC Station to the cemetery and their eight buglers played the Last Post while the Munster Firing party gave the  salute. Besides a number of marchers of the AIF there were about 200 English troops present.  (Signed by the Officer I/C base records, AIF London.)

At the time of the marriage to Blanche he was again a clerk. In 1930 they moved to Rockhampton where they appeared to live in rented accommodation as their address changed every year.  1932 saw them move to Clermont Street, Emerald where John was promoted to business manager. They remained there till 1936-7 then moved back to Rockhampton where John was a stock salesman from 1937 to 1956. Curiously they still maintained a house in Longreach, as evidenced by this advertisement in the Longreach leader on Saturday 15 January 1938. 


Their main residence in Rockhampton at No.73 Glencoe Street must have been quite substantial, judging from the current houses on either side (2016). Their house seemed to have been given a whole new modern front; the roofline could just be seen (the owners were in the yard so I didn’t linger).


Blanche and John did not have any children.

Blanche must have visited her parents often. Her visits made the social pages of the local newspaper – for example:


Also the Longreach Leader Saturday 13 December 1941 page 11:blanche-2

Blanche died in 1951, aged 52. Her funeral notice appeared in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin on Monday 24 December 1951, page 4. What a dismal Christmas John and his mother in law must have had.


Blanche is buried in North Rockhampton Cemetery, RC Sect C Row F Plot No. 22. There is another Aitchison there who could have been John’s younger sister. Blanche’s mother Annie Maria Darchy died on 26 April 1959 aged 85 and is also buried in the North Rockhampton Cemetery, RC, Section C Row F Plot 21, next to Blanche.


Blanche seems to have kept in contact with her Darchy relatives. Her address was in Tom Darchy’s war diary. On 20 December 1934 Blanche wrote to her cousin once removed Tom Killen, grandson of her father’s brother Michael Darchy.  The letter is still in the possession of Tom Killen’s descendants.

Dear Tom,

My husband and I were sorry to read in “Country Life” of Uncle Mich’s death and we send you our sincerest sympathy.  I was just about to ring Longreach (ie her parents George Thomas and Anna Maria) and tell them about it, when they wrote and said that you had written.

Eight years ago Jack and I went through Sydney to Tasmania on our honeymoon.  On that occasion we were only in Sydney for a day … and the only person we could get in touch with was Beck MacFarlane (Rebecca Jane McFarland – Blanche misspelled the surname – daughter of Michael and Louis’ eldest sister Clara Maria Darchy.) Two years (ago) next February we went to Sydney for the first time and I went along to Beck and got their address for Len (?) and got in touch with them that way.  Apparently the only first cousins I did not meet was yourself and Mrs. Killen.  My father seems to have isolated himself very successfully and anyway, I don’t suppose, after all these years, he knows one from the other.

When we went to Sydney last we went to see Amy…..(probably Amey Maude Darchy Murray, daughter of Michael and aunt to Tom Killen, married to Patrick Murray).

Dick Darchy and Betty came over to Clare Nicholls one night to meet us.  What about these McFarlanes?  (ie McFarlands). Aren’t they second cousins?

It is probable that Blanche knew Dick d’Archy the father of Betty and Vada from the time when Dick was managing Headingly Station near present-day Cloncurry circa 1908, and later Chatsworth Station circa 1914.   Betty was born in 1910 in Toowoomba, where Lily’s mother was living, and Betty’s sister Vada was born in 1914 in Cloncurry.  Clare Nicholls was Dick’s sister who lived in Sydney, at Pymble. Amey Maude Murray also lived in Sydney, at Balmoral Beach. Betty and Vada were living in Sydney at Rose Bay; Dick must have been on one of his very rare visits to the city from far north Queensland.

John Aitchison possibly continued to live in the house in Glencoe Street  with his mother in law for some years. She died in 1959.  John Aitchison moved to Clayfield Brisbane in 1957 (where his parents lived or were living at the time he married Blanche), where he worked as a salesman. He lived with his mother Euphemia Maxwell Aitchison at Denham St. Clayfield and then at 16 Denham St Hendra (probably the same address) until 1961. His mother died in 1964 and John in 1966.

(Updated February 2018 with thanks to Helen Leary for some additional information). 


6. George Thomas and Longreach

It has been far too long since I posted something in these Chronicles, if they can be called that. We have come a long way since Charleville! 


We reached Longreach in mid-July via some fairly undistinguished countryside to find the famous outback town still full of interesting old buildings…..


….. although I was disappointed to find they have repainted the iconic railway station a scrubby white; in 1971 it was a lovely light blue and white with red gravel in front, now it is all tarmac-ed and touristified.


George Thomas Darchy, born in Melbourne in 1863, was 14 when his father died in 1877,  and a boarder at Scotch in Melbourne. He probably helped his brothers on the family properties for a time, then possibly joined Louis in Queensland before striking out on his own. There is a record of him taking a steamer from Melbourne to Sydney in 1890. He “successfully isolated himself from his family” according to a letter from his daughter Blanche many years later.

Longreach was the home of George Thomas Darchy from about 1901 onwards, as evidenced from the electoral rolls, with the exception of 1903 when he was listed as a stockman at Darr River Downs and/or Talleyrand Station, about 50 km NW of Longreach, where his wife was a domestic. He had married Anna Maria Hynes on 30 March 1899 at “Baratria” the home of James Magoffin near Longreach when he was 36, saying he was a station manager (?) and living in Longreach so he probably arrived in the district even earlier.  Their daughter Blanche Cecilia was born the same year. The Darchy family disproved of Anna Maria, of course – an Irish Catholic and said to have been a hotel maid.

George was declared insolvent in Rockhampton in 1900 so possibly they needed to move around following work for a while before settling down. Apparently he was always known as Tim and he was a Drover all his life. He must have seen many dancing brolgas like these two which entertained us in the camp.


As an example of just some of Tim’s droving, here are excerpts from various old newspapers predominantly in Longreach, where the local hero ‘Tim Darchy’ was always the first name mentioned in stock movements. To truck or trucking refers to stock being loaded onto railroad trucks, mostly at Longreach. So, Tim would have been a very familiar figure at the railway yards. 

Dec 1913; Drover Tim Darchy has gone to Belmore to lift 150 mixed cattle, trucking here for Rockhampton.

Jan 1914:  Tim Darchy has passed Arrilalah with 180 mixed cattle from Belmore, trucking here for Rockhampton.

March 1914: Drover Tim Darchy has arrived with 550 mixed cattle from Muttaburrja, which were sold here.

April 1914; Drover Tim Darchy delivered 2600 wethers from Glenbuck to Strathdarr.

June 1914: Drover  Tim Darchy has left here for Westland for 1700 wethers, trucking here for Brisbane.

July 1914: in regard to the removal of 7000 head of cattle from Brighton Downs, it transpires that 1500 fats have been purchased by the American Meat Company and these truck here later on for Brisbane. … Tim Darchy left this morning to lift the first 1000, and probably J.Nolan will lift the second lot.

Aug 1914: Tim Darchy has left Cleave (?) with 2200 wearers for Meroondah Downs.

Sept 1914: Drover Tim Darchy has trucked 1000 wethers from Mahrigong to Gladstone meat works.

Mar 1915: Tim Darchy trucked 3500 sheep from Baratria to Gladstone.

in 1916 George was charged n the Longreach district court with indecent exposure and fined 10s or 24 hrs.  The same year the newspaper reported that (as a drover) he “came here with 200 cattle from Crossmore, which were to truck for Emerald.” He was referred to as Tim Darchy.

This is the main road, Eagle Street, in the 1920s.


Jan 1923: Crossing Longreach Reserve; 100 rams from Longreach to Luthrie, Hill owner, Tim Darchy in charge

in 1932 George was reported as the drover in charge of droving 2,000 wethers from Langdale to Evanston.

In 1938 the Longreach Leader of Sat. 9 July reported that 2400 ewes were moved from Campsie to Glenreigh (Tangorin), T P Delahunty owner, G T Darchy in charge.

I visited the Longreach local historian in the hope that there might be some local records which were not on-line – possibly even a photograph. No luck, but she gave me some wonderful maps of local stations and in particular helped me find some of the stations mentioned in the many newspaper reports of ‘Drover Tim Darchy’.

Longreach (centre of map) to Barcaldine (far right) is 80 km. It looks as if Tim rarely drove more than 150 km. It would still have taken many days for most trips. img_2753

We also visited his grave in the Cemetery.  His wife died ten years after him in Rockhampton where their daughter Blanche was living with her husband John Aitchison. Blanche is also buried there; we hope to visit their graves later in our caravanning. I will write more about Blanche then.

The Stockman’s Halll of Fame in Longreach has quite a good exhibit of a drover’s camp…..





…. and I also noticed this painting called “The Drover’s Wagon” by Philip Silcox. I had not  thought before on just how much equipment is involved, not to mention at least 10 horses, most likely more.  Plus outriders, cook, etc. I wonder if Anna and Blanche went along sometimes. 



We visited Crane Street  (all the main roads in Longreach are named after native birds) where George/Tim lived with his wife and daughter when not droving; one end of it is now part of the CBD but I would imagine the street was once out of town a little as he would have needed to keep quite a number of horses; a typical drover had at least ten. House numbers were not assigned until the 1950s but it may be possible to find out more from the Lands office at a later date.

Here’s an old house in the vicinity. It’s possible Tim’s was much more substantial. He would have needed space to keep all the drovers’ materials, cart(s) etc plus horses. Incidentally the historian said it was possible the horses were kept on the town common. It would depend how large Tim’s land was.


George died on 16 July 1949 and is buried in Longreach General Cemetery. Anna Maria died ten years later in Rockhampton in 1959 and was buried in North Rockhampton cemetery on 28 April 1959. George died intestate.


His obituary appeared in the Longreach Leader on 22 July 1949. Presumably since he was always known as Tim, they thought George was his second name.

Mr Thomas George Darchy, an old resident of Longreach, passed away at the Base Hospital, Longreach, on 16 July, at the age of 87 years. He was the last surviving member of one of the early pioneering families of the Lachlan and Murray River districts. He was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne, and he came to Queensland in his early twenties as a jackaroo on Maneroo and later Corona and rose to the ??? (unreadable) of the district. In his later years he followed droving pursuits until seven years ago. In 1897 he married Miss Anna Maria Hynes by whom he is survived, and there is one daughter Mrs. J. Aitchison, Rockhampton. The funeral left the Church of England, Rev Torlach officiating at the Church and the graveside.

And finally – quite a find. Here is a long article in the Longreach Leader dated 4 December 1931. I have split the columns for ease of reading and inserted a line which was inadvertently cut out.

tim-1        he pokes out his chin in an aggres-                          outside the same pub (Granddadtim-2

tim-3 tim-4tim-5

Next blog: Dick Darchy in the Cloncurry area.

5. Louis and Cunnamulla

First the history:

Louis George Darchy was born at “Gelam” in 1859 or 60 and must have had a happy carefree childhood under the shelter of his older brothers and sister, and with a younger brother George to play with. He entered Scotch College on 3 March 1871 when he was about eleven.  He left after a few years after winning a prize ….  but re-entered with his youngest brother George Thomas on 5 April 1875.  He was a member of the First XI in 1877, the year his father died – yet another of the Darchy boys to show great prowess at cricket.

Early photos show a sensitive young man, full of hope and eager to experience life to the full. Initially he would have been very much a young gentleman of leisure, with “Oxley” and other family leaseholds running well under his elder brothers and brother in law Thomas McFarland.


The second photo is believed to show Louis (standing) and most likely George (seated) and would have been taken about 1880.


Louis married Helen Murray Brown at “Tuppal” near Deniliquin on 3 July 1883.  Two years later they had a little son Thomas Rutherford Darchy in June 1885, but sadly Helen died of ‘phthisis’ (TB) on 10 September that year and the baby eight days later on 18 September, both at “Tuppal”.

Perhaps in an effort to drown his sorrows Louis went overseas and joined his sisters Susan and Rose Ann, most likely with their mother Susan. According to a Court Circular published in The Times he was presented to the Queen at Aix-les-Bains  on 18 April 1885 together with his sister Susan.

Louis returned home alone on the ‘Carthage’ in December 1885; the ladies on the ‘Massilia’ in Feb 1887.

Louis married his second wife Anna Nina (“Nina”) Doherty in March 1895 at Wentworth NSW, near “Tarcoola.”  It was the time of the bank foreclosures and it is not certain whether “Tarcoola” was still in Darchy hands. It is doubtful Louis was leading an affluent life at that time. Nina had been governess to Louis’ brother Michael’s children Amey Maude (later Murray) and Frances “Jig” (later Killen), and their brother Tom, when the family were living in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

Louis and Nina’s daughter Nina Lillian was born 1897 in Mildura.  Another daughter Nancie died as a baby in 1900.

The marriage was not a particularly happy one and after the children were born the couple mostly lived apart although Nina did join Louis for the last four years of his life.

Louis wrote to his daughter:

Yanna Station 20 June 1909.  ((In Paroo Shire, Qld – off the Mitchell Highway near Wyandra.)

My darling little daughter,

Your letter of June 13th came to hand on Saturday telling me of the nuns having received a letter from Mt. T Darchy of Headingly Station (Dick Darchy, father of Vada and Betty). Well my pet he is your cousin, my nephew. I have often spoken to you of my brother Frank, well this Tom Darchy is his son and it was to him that the Cloncurry post office people sent my missing letters and he knowing I was here kindly sent them on so all have arrived as I wrote to the good nuns when I received them for I did not like for them to have any doubt on the subject. Well by the time you get this note (for note it is only) you will have said goodbye to dear Mum for a while for she will leave two days before you get this unless they have an evening post delivery on Saturdays now. I hope she will have a good trip and she will arrive quite good after her long journey. …. I suppose you heard Aunt Rose is married…. (Lil was later to live with Rose for a time). 

Goodbye my pet try your hardest to learn quickly. From your loving Dad xxxxxxxxxx.

Louis was joined at “Yanna” by Nina soon after he wrote that letter. Most likely she travelled by coastal steamer from Sydney to Brisbane or Townsville, then by train or Cobb & Co. coach to Charleville.

Louis Darchy died in Charleville, Queensland on 2 January 1910. He and Nina had been working as a married couple at Yanna Station for about 6 months before arriving at Hackett’s Hotel in Charleville (which incidentally burnt down a year later). He died by strychnine poisoning, self-administered.

Back to the present (July 2016):

I have long wanted to revisit Charleville. In 1971 my first husband Geoff and I drove straight through, as i did not know the family history then. Here is a page from a booklet I published about that trip:

Dave and I visited the cemetery but it was impossible to find Louis’ grave site. Since Darch and Jan took the photo above, the cemetery has been badly flooded, probably more than once, and many grave markers displaced. It was obvious that despite careful efforts by cemetery volunteers many grave locations can probably never be determined with certainty. Louis’ remains may or may not still be there; they could have been washed away by the river. Perhaps that is where he would prefer to be.




We visited Charleville’s Historic house Museum built in 1889. Louis would probably have visited it when it was a bank. A couple of old photographs caught my eye – these would be from Louis’ time in the area.



A charming museum worker helped search all their photographs, and turned up the following – first, Hackett’s Hotel ….


… and then – two photos of “Yanna” Station! Nina most likely worked as a cook so it is spine-tingling to think she just might be in the second photo.


Here’s another old hotel, note the wide street, and the courthouse where the inquest on Louis would have been held.




In 1910 Louis was listed in the electoral roll as being an overseer at “Clonagh” station north of Cloncurry. Here is a photo of the country near Cloncurry which I took some days after our visit to Longreach. There had been some good rain in the previous month. I imagine the country around “Clonagh” would be similar.




4. “Cuthowarra” Wilcannia

Background: During the 1880-1890s  “Darchy Bros. & Co.” – Francis (Frank) Darchy (1854-1925) and FitzEdward Darchy (1852-1908) together with Federico Sacc, a relative of Dr. Sacc whose family looked after Thomas Darchy in Neuchatel, were partners in  “Cuthowarra” station near Wilcannia. Frank was the Manager for most of that time. Three of Frank’s four children were born at “Cuthowarra”, including my grandfather Thomas Eckerboon Darchy (1882-1938). So I have always been very keen to visit Wilcannia.

Frank I?_2FritzEdward, copy

(Left) Frank as a young man and (right) FitzEdward.

When researching the family in the 1980s, Dr. Ann Prendergast wrote:

Frank and Margaret (Prendergast Stoddart) moved to “Cuthowarra” Station near Wilcannia in the early 1880’s. “Cuthowara” had been established some time earlier – it is listed in the 1866 Albert District records. The mid Seventies and eighties were the golden days of Wilcannia. According to the history of the town, merchants grew prosperous, labour was plentiful, high wages were paid and many fine buildings were erected. Great hopes were entertained for the future of Wilcannia when the holdings west of the Darling River were rapidly taken up, and the owners spent vast sums of money improving their properties …”  (Back to Wilcannia souvenir booklet, 1939.)  Wilcannia was a port for riverboats on the Darling River. In 1887 alone over 200 paddle steamers stopped there. Known as ‘Queen City of the West’ there was a time when most of the wool from northwestern NSW passed through the port. Nowadays the Darling River is dry, and the surrounding area is very sparsely settled by pastoralists who mostly run sheep on 99 year leaseholds.

However, drought intervened. As noted earlier, the Darchy Bros & Co., “Cuthowarra” (Fritz and Frank Darchy and Frederico Sacc) “…. spent their capital twice over wasting a considerable amount in an unsuccessful search for water – the consequence is that at the present time the property is not worth the debt owing to us.” (Us being the AML&F company). 

E M Young, the AML & F Inspector continued:

The resident partner is Mr. Frank Darchy and he must be removed from the management. His brother-in-law Mr. Tom McFarland proposes to place Mr. Fritz Darchy in charge so as to redeem the past by an energetic management with McFarland undertaking to supervise operations.

Mr Frank Darchy has made an unsuitable marriage putting an end to the intimacy which should exist with the other members of the family ….  I have very little confidence in any member of the Darchy family, but the proposal of Mr. Thos McFarland might be worth a trial.

In the book about AML&F history by JD Bailey, on p.107 it says:

On occasions, too, the hardships of lonely life on the dry plains was too much for a client, who sought consolation in heavy drinking. The resident manager of Cuthowarra, for example, could not face the terrible plight of his run during the drought, which seemed to mock his earnest attempts to shape an unimproved block into a station.  …. etc.  There was also a plague of rabbits at the time.

Frank and his brother in law Thomas McFarland were by no means the only people to lose their pastoral leaseholds. The list of Western Land Leases for 1903-5 shows that for the Western Area of NSW alone, the AML&F held 34, The Australian Joint Stock Bank Ltd almost 70, The Bank of Australasia about 65, The Commercial Banking Co of Sydney about 65, Dalgetty and Co about 30, Goldsbrough, Mort & Co about 35, The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency 18, and many other lesser banks held between 10 and 20 leases.  In contrast, by 1909 AML&F only held one, which included part of “Cuthowarra”.

The Barrier Highway from Cobar to Broken Hill stretches across 463 km of mostly flat land, with occasional greenish-purple hills in the far distance. The scenery is varied, from bushland to arid saltbush plain. I was not prepared for the green grass everywhere, in stark contrast to the red earth and whitish rocks which often littered the landscape. There’d been some very welcome rain in the past few weeks (early June) and mobs of feral goats were obviously making the most of it. We also saw a couple of emus but very few kangaroos. Probably thankfully as various caracasses along the roadside testified to nighttime encounters.


But where exactly was “Cuthowarra”? One thing for certain, it was located on the other side of Wilcannia from Cobar, but within the Wilcannia general area rather than that of Broken Hill. It was not until I saw an old map in a Broken Hill museum that I was able to work out the exact location. (More on this later).

There is a roadside cafe at Emmdale on the Cobar side, where we stopped for a cuppa, then it was on again until we reached Wilcannia. Suddenly we were crossing over the Darling River which I have waited for so long to see, with an older bridge alongside.


Wilcannia etc15

Thanks to recent rains the river was actually flowing, although obviously not at anywhere near full capacity. The flood height, as shown on the markers, is over 11 metres.



The Darling River system itself is one of the largest in Australia – or was. it covers over one million square kilometres (14% of Australia) from its source in Queensland to its mouth south east of Adelaide. It is 3,370 km long, and was once an integral part of the lives of many Aboriginal people and continues to hold great significance to them.


In recent years the river has become a shadow of its former self, due in part to multiple damming and water extraction by greedy cotton farmers in the north. Not to get into politics here, but the Government certainly has much to answer for. The beautiful Menindee Lakes south of Wilcannia are now mostly dry.


This old gum tree was possibly a sapling at the time Frank Darchy consigned wool to market via barge down the Darling.




The first building to be seen when entering the town from the east is also impressive. The Post Office was built in 1880  and would have seen several Darchys before me entering its doors. (Was I the first one in over 100 years? Arthur, James, Darch, Killens – ever been there?)


IMG_8938IMG_8926Wilcannia etc10

Generally, Wilcannia is now a shadow of its former self, but it does have a number of beautiful old buildings and there are encouraging signs of rejuvenation here and there, aided by Heritage funding. There are also several new pre-fab buildings, one housing a brand new TAFE.



The ‘Wilcannia Times’ regularly reported on the Darchy stock movements and other items of interest. To start with the situation sounded promising.

Feb 15 1883, Wilcannia Times: the only stock movement this week is that of a flock of 2,600 ewes from Tarcoola to Cuthowarra (Darchy Brothers).

24 Feb 1883, The Argus – Stock Movements. 4,000 ewes in lamb, purchased by Mesrs Darchy Bros., of Cuthowarra, have left Messrs Barrett and Wreford’s Moorarara Station.  … the weather is very dry, and feed is scarce on the Lower Darling, making it a matter of risk to travel stock. Rain would be a boon.

28 May 1884, Wilcannia Times, – We have just been informed of one of the beneficent effects of the late rain on Messrs Darchy Brothers’ Cuthowarra station.  A depression there called The Lake, which is over a mile in circumference, has been filled to the depth of seven feet, though previously dry for several years. The rain must have fallen pretty heavily in that particular spot. the feed now shows a fair spring all over the district …  (this item was repeated in several other newspapers e.g. the Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser).

29 June 1885, Wilcannia Times. Frank Darchy of Cuthowarra Station was driving home from Wilcannia when his cart tipped over five miles beyond Cawkers Well 35 miles from Wilcannia. He was bruised.

30 May 1887, SMH. Stock Report: 285 head of fat cattle from Calwarro bound for Cuthowarra Messrs Darchy Brothers owners, Mr. Kearney in charge.

There were also various reports in the NSW Government Gazettes, e.g.

March 1885.  Frank Darchy Esq of Cuthowarra was appointed one of three Sheep Directors for the Menindie Sheep District.

Some years ago Dr. Ann Prendergast researched the land records at some length, including the records of the Australian Mutual Land and Finance Co. (AML&F). Here is what she wrote:

“Cuthowarra” was acquired by D’Archy Brothers & Co. with a small capital outlay and strong financial backing from the A.M.L.& F. whose policy after the 1884 legislation, was to invest heavily in Western Division leaseholds with their fifteen year tenure. The D’Archy company comprised the brothers Fritz and Frank and Frederic Sacc and the property was formed from unimproved land on the western side of the Darling out from Wilcannia and near the future site of Broken Hill. “Heavy outlay was incurred on this run in an unsuccessful search for water, and the debt rose from £25,000 in 1884 to £41,000 in 1889”.

About the same time (1883) Thomas MacFarland (1842-1905), the husband of Frank and FitzEdward’s elder sister Clara Maria (1845-1916), was expanding “Langawirra” and “North Yathong”; concerns were being expressed by the AML&F as the debt on these properties was just over 62 thousand pounds and the securities “did not show a large margin”.

The London Committee (of AML&F) felt that operations during the previous year had been unsatisfactory and felt that great care must be taken “to control the account and keep it within the limits of safety”. They went on to comment on McFarland:

Our client is neither economical in his management of the Station nor in his private expenditure, yet he is reasonable and open to influence and I trust a wise discretion will be used in keeping him within safety, as it must be borne in mind that the “Langawirra” property, although is very productive in fat stock in a good season, is situated in the driest district of N.S.W. and that neither our Client nor ourselves have had much experience of the disasters which follow squatting in that district.”

The A.M.L. & F. record the first appearance of the “Cuthowarra” Account in 1885 when two amounts are given, £24,635. 9. 5. and £1t,227. 16. 1. It was noted that the account had increased considerably during the year, but the Company was not unduly concerned because this appeared to be mainly due to purchase of stock.

The situation did not improve. Thomas McFarland sold his Toorak, Melbourne house and took up residence at “North Yathong”. At “Cuthowarra”, Frank Darchy could not face the terrible plight of his run during the drought. Events seemed to block his attempt to shape his unimproved block into a station. Heavy capital expenditure in search of water yielded no results.

“Cuthowarra” was taken over by the AML & F in December 1889, the first of the Darchy properties to be so taken over.

Nancy:  The 1891 August NSW government Gazette recorded, under the heading ‘Re 1866 Registration of Brands Act’:  Notice is given that the Brand listed has been transferred from Darchy Bros. & Co. to Australian Mortgage Land & Finance Co. Ltd.  Address “Cuthowarra”, Wilcannia. (“Cuthowarra” was not by any means the only property listed).

Brands Act 1891

By 1898 the Government Gazette listed G & J Piddock as lessees. They were being ordered to put two gates on the main track from “Cuthowarra” to Wilcannia via Coolamon Well, and another on a track on the NW boundary.

We did not linger long in Wilcannia that first visit, we wanted to be in Broken Hill well before nightfall.  Also I was keen to visit the Broken Hill Family History Society.

As mentioned earlier, I discovered an old map in a Broken Hill museum:


Next day the Family History Society provided me with a more recent map, which enabled us to work out just where the road was to “Cuthowarra”. Other stations on that road were “Grasmere” and  “Boorungie”, and the road apparently extends all the way to “Langawirra”.  “Cuthowarra” is no longer a separate property, but “Langawirra” still exists. With time pressing we decided not to attempt to visit the station but I do hope to make contact with the owners later and see if they can tell me any more about “Cuthowarra” and particularly if there are remains of a homestead or other buildings.


Also I was delighted to note “Eckerboon” Station on this map; it was there in 1866. The spelling of my grandfather Dick’s middle name has been the subject of most contention. Even his daughter Betty was unsure of the spelling. Up to now I have used Eccaboon, but it seems I will have to alter my records. To further confound the issue, he was baptised Thomas Joseph Kevin in St. Virgilius RC church in Hay. (It was the custom to baptise children with saints’ names; FritzEdward is referred to in some documents as Franciscus).

The current Australian Road Atlas does not show “Cuthowarra” but it does show “Grasmere” and further along the same track, “Wilandra” and “Daubeny”.

On leaving Broken Hill, we kept a close eye on the current map. We passed the Topar Hotel and started to count the kilometres. Finally a small signpost pointing down a dirt track appeared …. ground zero! (well sort of, “Cuthowarra” was at least a further 25 km or so north).


With a heavy caravan in tow and knowing there would almost certainly be no physical indication of boundaries if we were to continue along the track, we felt we had been as far as we could. Here are photos looking north, west and east of the track. I do not expect the landscape at “Cuthowarra” to be much different.



I wish I knew what sort of buildings were on the station and whether they employed a cook. Certainly there would have been a jackaroo or two and station hands.

It must have been a hard life for Margaret Prendergast Darchy who married Frank in 1879. She had a Melbourne-born baby (Francis Percival,1880-1943) when they first arrived, then bore three more (Thomas Eckerboon 1882-1938, Clara Ceclile 1883-1953 and FritzEdward 1885-1947); most likely on the station itself as it would take at least a day by horse-drawn cart to Wilcannia Hospital, established in 1879 and is still in use to this day.



A hard life too for Frank, initially a wealthy grazier’s son who attended  Scotch College in Melbourne. Frank became a woolscourer (NSW Country Trades Register 1898), drover out of Goondiwindi), station manager (“Tippendale” St. George), and for a time mailman from Camooweal (NW of Mt. Isa) to Anthony’s Lagoon (NT) and later another run based in Dirranbandi, Northern Qld. Margaret ran there Hibernian Hotel in Hay for some years (1895-7)  then moved to Sydney where she lived with various relatives. Here is a wonderful photo of her as the matriarch of the d’Archy family. (By then the spelling had changed to d’Archy).

Margaret, from James copy                Frank, rotated

Gran mgt and Family_2

FritzEdward, Frank’s brother, married Ada Jane Wreford in Melbourne in 1888, a year before “Cuthowarra’ was taken over by the AML&F.  Fritz and Ada lived in Wagga Wagga when their four children were small.  He was listed as lessee of “Cuthowarra” and Frank as a ‘resident’ in the 1891 a late 1880s electoral roll, but does not appear to have lived on the station.

F(r)ederico Sacc is believed to have returned to Switzerland. No further records of him can be found.


A NOTE TO ALL DARCHY DESCENDANTS: Please feel free to comment and/or correct any of the above.

AND TO ALL OTHER READERS: Please respect copyright, do not reproduce any or all of the above without my permission.

3. More on Yass & Five Mile Creek

This was meant to be included in the previous blog. It was almost entirely written by Ann Prendergast some years ago. Ann also discovered the Black Range map. 

Within three years of his arrival in the Colony of New South Wales Thomas Darchy had settled at Yass in the south-western corner of the colony. Hamilton Hume had been one of the earliest settlers on the Yass River and it is said (Tom Killen, grandson of Thomas) that Thomas spent time with Hume at one of his properties named “Wi(d)gengullen”, which today is on the Melbourne side of Jugiong. It is not however on the list of known Hume properties. In the 1840’s Jugiong was known as Five Mile Creek, where the mother of Thomas’ future wife had property and a hotel, and where she died on 26 April 1864.

(The above is not quite correct, Jugiong is quite distinct from Five Mile Creek).

Susan’s father William Byrne was a dealer in land and stock, who had inherited a considerable estate from his father. William died age 28 in 1838, when Susan was aged 12. Her mother remarried about a year later and her second husband Joseph Byrne (from yet another unrelated Byrne family) died in Campbelltown 1851. Ann then married a third time in 1855, to Patrick McKeogh of Yass.

Susan Byrne Darchy must have spent at least some of her childhood in the Yass district with her various cousins and would have known many of the people who moved down the Great Western Road on their way to take up runs along the western rivers. Perhaps that is how she met the young Thomas Darchy.

Thomas and Susan initially settled in heavily timbered country near the junction of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee rivers. The following appeared in several newspapers in the late 1890s together with some other reminiscences:

eve's dark daughter.

Black Range is near the junction of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee. Edgar Beckham, the Land Commissioner, on 24 February 1845 described “Black Range” near Binalong, at the edge of the Nineteen Counties:

Thomas Darchy, Licensee and Superintendent

(which meant he was living on the property)

Five persons resident

Slab huts

30 acres of wheat     20 acres of corn

500 cattle                  5 horses

Area: 3 x 5 miles

Description; Open forests, lofty ranges, creeks, stringy bark and box timber.



The Murray and Murrumbidgee were wide, deep, sluggish and usually discoloured with mid. Scrub was everywhere, but also palatable grasses. The ridges were topped with rocky outcrops, the home of poisonous snakes. Drovers always carried a few stones in their pockets to throw in front of them to scare away snakes.   (Margaret Wigley in her book about“Ready Money” Robinson).

Although at first Susan and Thomas appear to have been very isolated, by 1846 there were a number of settlers within half a day’s travelling. One resident was George Hobler and much of what is known about early days of the district comes from his diary. For example, he recorded that in August 1845 Mrs. Darchy and her baby were his guests when Darchy took stock to Melbourne. He was away for two months, and Hobler considered that for Mrs. Darchy to live with the stockmen only “was neither a safe or pleasant state of things.” Two years later Hobler recorded that Darchy had returned from Adelaide accompanied by a Dr. Grayling. Whether Grayling intended to work in the district or whether he came to attend to The Darchy family is unknown.



2. Yass and Five Mile Creek

Dave and I are now in Canberra. After our abortive hunt for a motorhome or bus, terminating in Echuca, we returned to Melbourne and in the space of five days acquired both a horse and a cart, or rather a Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and a 24 ft Jayco Westport (an earlier model of our NZ caravan). It was serendipity, we actually went to a caravan dealer to inspect a total different van, but then I spied the Westport. Neither are new but hopefully will be trouble-free apart from a few teething problems. The caravan had a leak which Dave has now fixed, but the Jeep will need new wheel bearings in the near future. The Canberra Jeep people cannot do it for 2 weeks so rather than hang around for that time we are continuing north-west and will get the Jeep fixed elsewhere.

We’ve had a good time since leaving Melbourne, investigating Ned Kelly country and then the south coast of NSW before heading for Canberra. (You can read about it all in my other blog at http://www.nancyvada.me).

Nearby Yass has long been on my list of places to visit, as it features in the Darchy family history several times.

The known facts:

Thomas Darchy married Susan Byrne, the daughter of Ann “Nanno” Byrne and William Byrne, in Campbelltown in 1844.  He had then been about four years in the Colony.

Darchy marriage cert..

Hugh Vesty Byrne the father of Ann “Nanno” Byrne (1806-1864) was an Irishman of some fame, from County Wicklow. He was one of the ‘Wicklow Martyrs’ transported to Australia as a convict on the Tellicherry in 1806. One version of the story is:

“In 1805, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland summoned from Kilmainham Gaol, Michael Dwyer, John Mernagh, Hugh Vesty Byrne, Arthur Devlin and Martin Burke, all former Wicklow rebels. He exiled them to Botany Bay as Irish State Prisoners but free men in the Colony of NSW. His directive was that they were NEVER to be allowed back to their beloved Ireland.” (Peter Mayberry).

Ann was the fourth of 16 children and was born at sea on the Tellicherry as it approached Australia. She bore six children to her first husband William, who died in 1838, then three more children to her second husband Joseph Byrne (no relation to either Ann or her first husband). Joseph died in 1851. Her third husband was Joseph McKeogh/McKeough  who she married in 1853 in Yass.

Ann “Nanno” Byrne is known to have been the licensee of the Coach and Horse Inn on Old South Road at Five Mile Creek in 1855. She was probably the licensee even earlier, and retained the Byrne surname after her third marriage.  She died in 1864 at Five Mile Creek, of “Atrophy and debility, the effect of accidentally breaking her legs” 2 months previously and was buried in Yass under the surname McKeogh.

DC Nanno Byrne 1864


Thomas Darchy was said to have worked for Hamilton Hume around Yass, which would have been about 1843, so most likely that is where he met Susan.

After their marriage Thomas and Susan Darchy lived at Five Mile Creek where Thomas was a “settler”, then they leased land at Black Mountain, then moved further west to more open country at “Gelam” in the Lower Murrumbidgee, and later still they moved to “Oxley” near Hay, formerly known as “Thelangerin West”.

Their first child Clara Maria Darchy was born on 27 Aug 1845 and baptised at Yass. Her parents were then living at Five Mile Creek. Their second and 5 of 6 subsequent children were born at “Gelam”, and two more followed later.

Where was Five Mile Creek? It is described variously as:

1. Near Bogalong, Yass. District of Burrowa.

2. South of Bogalong, near Beremangra.

3. Between Yass and Jugiong, near Bookham.

Maps show most of these place names, but not Five Mile Creek. So one fine morning we set off on a voyage of discovery (!).

First – Yass. Just before the town I spotted Hamilton Hume’s cottage, now owned by the National Trust. Did Thomas Darchy visit Hume there? Probably! But even without that inducement it was an interesting old building.

cottage  from ainr.IMG_8425




The front of the house originally faced north; this would have been the main entrance.


Thomas may well have seen this very old tree when it was a young sapling.


The wallpaper inside has been reproduced …


Did Thomas Darchy dine at this table?


On to Yass itself, a charming town full of old buildings. We decided to leave the cemetery for the time being, as Nanno’s name is not on the list of gravestones so there is no way to know where she was buried. (I intend to follow this up later). We visited the Museum which had an interesting display of old hotels in the town, but alas Nanno’s was not mentioned.


Keeping an Inn must have been interesting in those days, quite apart from the danger from bushrangers. Family legend has it that Nanno was held up at least once.


I did discover a small display about the Rev. Brigstocke who baptised some of Thomas and Susan Darchy’s children. In those horse-and-buggy days the distances were so vast that whichever travelling priest/minister arrived first was given the honour. The religion didn’t matter that much!



After lunch in an old building converted to a modern cafe with excellent food, it was time for the Great Five Mile Creek Hunt. We drove as far as Bookham then turned off the highway. Bookham is just a couple of homes, a huge junkyard for old farm machinery, a church and little else. We explored a couple of narrow roads but the feeling was that Five Mile was further along the highway.


It was! We almost missed it. The old Hume Highway, which mostly followed the Old South Road, was just the other side of a narrow reedy creek. On the banks of this creek were several non-native  bushes ….. was that the site of the Inn? Boolara Road led off from the highway and we followed it for some way but decided the Inn was most likely close to the highway.





We could not drive down the old highway as the way was blocked by a gate and a notice – with a phone number for a local farm. My friend Julie phoned the farm for me next day and made contact with people who “know the history of the place” . A I write this I’m waiting to hear back from them via email. They may know the exact location of the Inn.


IMG_8497 IMG_8505

We continued along to Jugiong, just to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. At Jugiong there is a large camping ground for caravans, some houses, a very old hotel being restored, and not much else apart from an interesting sculpture and series of notices describing the death of the local policeman Sergeant Edmund Parry “killed in the courageous execution of his duty” in 1864 at the hands of bushrangers.





1. Echuca and the Murray River.

Abandoned steamboats and barges, tall redgum wharf, small towns that show evidence of once having been much larger, old station homesteads that face the Murray, all these are constant reminders to the river traveller of the days when hundreds of steamers raced along the Murray River, opening up large areas of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. For many settlers, they were the only source of supply and contact with the outside world. ……..By 1860 there were 17 steamers trading and operating on the river and by 1863 the new town of Echuca had a population of 300. Less than 10 years later it was 1,600 and Echuca was Victoria’s second largest port with 240 boats annually trading in all types of goods, particularly wool…….But just before the turn of the century, railway lines were linking many river towns with the larger cities and the steamboat era was already passing. (http://www.echucamoama.com/echuca-moama-paddlesteamers)

The arrival of steamboat transport was welcomed by pastoralists who had been suffering from a shortage of transport due to the demands of the gold fields. By 1860 a dozen steamers were operating in the high water season along the Murray and its tributaries. Once the railway reached Echuca in 1864, the bulk of the woolclip from the Riverina was transported via river to Echuca and then south to Melbourne.   (Wikipedia).

Obviously the Murray and associated rivers were very important to the early Darchys.

Here are the photos Dave and I took on 23-24 April 2016.

We went for an afternoon cruise on the “Pevensey” which once carried up to 2,000 bales of wool. She was built in 1911 and has been rebuilt several times since. She’s one of the oldest paddle wheelers still operating on the Echuca stretch of the river, with her original steam engine.  She was used in filming “All The Rivers Run” in 1982-3. “Emmylou” is another authentic old paddle steamer.





The old red gum wharf looked splendid at night.

Dinner cruise10Dinner cruise09Dinner cruise08

The river level is quite low with erosion of the banks in places. Apparently some of the ‘snags’ are being replaced to encourage fish to breed again.

IMG_7373Dinner cruise04




(Comments and corrections are very welcome).

After their first child was born at Five Mile Creek near Yass,Thomas Darchy (as he signed his surname, a later generation liked the more stylised French form d’Archy) and Susan settled somewhere near the Lachlan-Murrumbidgee junction but then moved to less heavily timbered “Gelam” (originally “Craigengullen”) in the Murrumbidgee area of what is now the NSW Riverina.

About 1855 following the birth of their sixth child (there were ten in all) they settled at “Oxley” (formerly “Thelangerin West”) outside Hay.

They and their children, many of whom became landowners in the Riverina, must have used the river systems extensively for transporting wool and other produce to market and probably for travelling too – it was all horse and buggy or on horseback across sometimes very muddy land heavily infested with polygonium (knotweed).

From the diary of Joseph Bird Burgess, a travelling piano tuner:

24 Feb 1872: A hot wind was blowing across the plains. We got to Maude – 14 miles – in 2 hours and 8 minutes. The last few miles of road awfully rough. The horses travelled well. We came over a deal of polygonum country which must be fearfully heavy travelling in winter.  We then drove to Gelam 7 miles further down ….. we then drove one and a half miles to the bank of the river opposite Nimmie – we swam Terry and Polly over all right.

28 Feb 1872: Weather fine – rather warm. We got horses, traps etc over the river safely.  The buggy was left at the other side.  We got to Oxley in capital time – before lunch.

(He was probably referring to the Oxley River).

I am not familiar with all the ramifications of early land ownership but I do know that many of the Darchy holdings were leasehold dependent on the AML&F. Some of these are mentioned below.

Clara Maria the first-born child of Thomas and Susan Darchy married Thomas Macfarland in 1869. He partnered his uncle in “Nap Nap” near Hay to 1878 then bought it outright; he also owned “Langawirra” and “North Yathong”. He was involved in the frozen meat trade.  “Langawirra” was between Wilcannia and Broken Hill.

Two of Thomas Darchy’s sons Michael and William set up “Tarcoola” near Mildura. Another son Frank (my great grandfather) set up “Cuthowarra’”at Wilcannia with one or more of his brothers and also his brother in law Andrew Macfarland who had married his eldest sister Clara Maria.

Michael ran “Coonorgie” (or “Conargie”) Pooncarrie near Wentworth with brothers William and Louis in 1895. They were mainly wheat growers. George probably helped them initially before taking off for Longreach. Later William spent many years in Nichol’s Point Mildura growing fruit.

Michael also ran “Cuthowarra” (near Wilcannia) and Tarcoola (near Pooncarrie), both of which went broke. The Cuthowarra homestead is now “under the Menindee lakes” (which at last report early 2016 are dry).   NB another “Tarcoola” was at Leeton, owned by Wallace Killen a grandson of Michael.

“Tarcoola”, where Thomas Darchy died in 1877, was cut up by the AMLF together with “Arrumpo” which was being managed by Frank Piggot, Michael’s niece’s husband.

AMENDMENT added 16 July 2016. A message from Susan Pigott:

Arrumpo Station is spelt Arumpo.
My father was Frank Pigott, manager of Arumpo and grandson of Clara and Thomas McFarland. Frank married Margaret Pike (from Armidale and Sydney).
After the War 1945 we (Frank, Margaret and me…baby) lived at Arumpo. Many horses, long-horned cattle, Dad’s Harley Davidson motor bike, tennis parties, droving cattle to Mildura for sale…many memories.

FitzEdward, the fourth brother (the third died of fever aged 12) was a grazier in the Balranald district, i.e. near Hay. Later he and his wife lived near Wagga.

Louis married Helen Murray Brown of “Tuppal” Deniliquin. Unfortunately Helen and her newborn son died a year later.

Rose Ann married wealthy grazier Richard William Holmes of West Wyalong.  He owned “Arawatta” Deniliquin, managed by Michael’s son Tom.Murray with Runs