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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Lucas Family History

Generations that follow James Long (1830-1916) can claim a connection with Australia’s First Fleet (1788). James Long married Olivia Lucas, who was the grand-daughter of First Fleeters Nathaniel Lucas and Olivia Cascoigne. (Note that our family’s direct generational line comes from James Long and his second wife, Mary Jane Wilcock.)

Nathaniel Lucas was born in 1764 at Thames Ditton, Surrey, England. He was the son of John William Lucas and Mary Bradford. At about age 20, on July 7, 1784, he was tried at Justice Hall, Old Bailey, London, for stealing clothing with a value of 40 shillings. He appeared before a Mr Rose.

He was accused of stealing one cotton apron, value 4 shillings; one towel, value two-pence; six muslin aprons, 12s; nine muslin handkerchiefs, 18s; three muslin caps, 3s; a muslin shawl, 5s; the property of Mary Davis, spinster.

On May 23, 1785, Nathaniel was sent to the prison hulk Ceres, located on the Thames River with all the other prison hulks. He was transferred to another prison hulk, the Censor, on January 3, 1787; he was dispatched the next month to Portsmouth for the arduous journey to Australia. He was sentenced to transportation for seven years, and left England on the Scarborough in May 1787, arriving in Australia in January 1788. His occupation was listed as carpenter.

The ships of the First Fleet numbered 11. The names of the ships were The Alexander, The Borrowdale, The Charlotte, The Fishburn, The Friendship, The Golden Grove, The Lady Penrhyn, The Princes of Wales, The Scarborough, HMS Sirius and HMS Supply.

The journey of the First Fleet began from Portsmouth on Sunday, May 13, 1787. It is estimated that there were more than 700 convicts and just over 200 crew on board the First Fleet. The journey took approximately seven months. The First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay between January 18-20, 1788.There was a lack of fresh water, poor soil, so the decision was made to move to Port Jackson, which occurred on January 26, 1788.

From there he was transferred to Norfolk Island on the HMS Supply in March 1788 as part of the pioneering party which opened up the settlement there. In the early 1790s he married Olivia Gascoigne who was also a First Fleet convict, and they went on to have 13 children. She was an entirely more serious offender having originally been sentenced to death for robbery at gunpoint.

Norfolk Island had been first discovered by Captain James Cook on October 19, 1774. It had been chosen as a place of settlement by Governor Phillip on April 25, 1787. Phillip Gidley King was chosen to be Superintendent and Commander of the Island. Lucas and Gascoigne were part of the Founding Party on March 6, 1788.

Olivia Gascoigne, previously a servant in England, was a female convict who was also one of the Founding Party on Norfolk Island. She had been tried and convicted at Worcester, England, in 1785 for stealing coins and was originally sentenced to hang. He sentence was commuted to seven years transportation, and arrived at Port Jackson aboard the convict ship, the Lady Penryn.

Olivia and Nathaniel and the other members of the small group had been chosen to go to Norfolk Island for their good characters. Soon after their arrival on Norfolk, a minister arrived on the island, and performed several marriages over a three-day period. It was during this time that Nathaniel and Olivia were married, and started what was to become one of the largest family of descendants in Australia. In total they had 13 children, 11 of whom were born on Norfolk Island.

Life on Norfolk Island was difficult and harsh. While on Norfolk Island, Nathaniel Lucas worked as a carpenter and eventually was appointed Master Carpenter of the Island, receiving a yearly salary of £50 per annum. He was also granted areas of land amounting to a total of 75 acres. In a letter to his father in England, Nathaniel remarked on the fertility of the soil on the island and that crops of vegetables and fruits did well, and that fish was in plentiful supply.

In 1805 the decision was made to abandon Norfolk Island, becase of its remoteb location. Nathaniel and Olivia Lucas returned with their children to Sydney on the Investigator.

Nathaniel Lucas Snr and the rest of his family settled in Sydney where he had made a prosperous living as a builder. He had been appointed Superintendent of Government Carpenters in 1808, and had been involved in the building of many famous constructions such as the Rum Hospital, the parsonage of Liverpool, and St Luke’s Church.

Nathaniel Lucas Snr argued with Francis Greenway, designer of St Luke’s. It was a desperately unhappy time for Nathaniel, so much so that his body was found on the beach near Moore Bridge in Liverpool. He had become increasingly addicted to alcohol.

The 13th children of Nathaniel and Olivia Lucas was Thomas Lucas, born November 17, 1807. He moved from his birthplace in Sydney with his mother, brothers and sisters to Port Dalrymple in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), some months after Nathaniel’s death. In 1830 he married Margaret Sydes, at St John’s Church of England, Launceston. Margaret’s father, Richard, had been transported on the Ganges, arriving in Sydney in 1797. Margaret’s mother, Ann White, had been transported to Sydney for theft of a bolt of cotton, arriving in 1791 on the Neptune.

Ann White is thought to have given birth to a child (who died in infancy) to a sailor named Scott. Sent to Norfolk Island in 1799, Ann gave birth to the children of Kennedy Murray. By 1804 she was living with Richard Sydes, and bore more children.

Richard Sydes moved to Port Dalrymple in 1813, and he took the Government post of Superintendent of Blacksmiths at £50 per year. The couple were legally married in 1814, and Margaret Sydes was born in 1015. Her mother Ann died in 1820.

Thomas and Margaret Lucas had lived an unsettled life, moving from area to area: Perth, Evandale, Norfolk Plains (Longford). The promise of a better life took them across to the newly-founded Melbourne between 1839 and 1841. Their children were: Margaret, Richard, Elizabeth, William, Olivia, Thomas Abraham, George, Henry, Nathaniel, Amelia, John Wether, Mary Ann, Charles Edward and Alice Ada. Olivia had been baptised in Van Diemen’s Land.

In approximately 1843 the family moved and settled in Candover St, Ashby (Geelong West). The population of Geelong was 800 when they moved there, and within eight years had grown tenfold.

Olivia Lucas and James Long were married at the United Methodist Free Church, Geelong, in 1856. James was managing a bakery business, with addresses in a local directory given as O’Connell St and Belair St.

• With thanks to the writings of historian James Donohoe.

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