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by  Philip Scott

This story is copyright (c) to Philip Scott. If you wish to use any of Philip's story, please contact the editor of this site to get written permission from him. Click here:

(Left)Catherine Wilson and her daughter Amy aka Annie. Annie was born about 1881 . (Right) Robert Wilson, aged about 90.




I am the G Grandson of Robert Wilson, who was married to Catherine, born in1861, the daughter of William Robinson (died 1855) and Catherine (nee Kenny) of Ulan. William Robinson was one of the early land owners at Ulan in the 1870’s. He was a convict transported to Australia in 1827 for being an accessory to horse stealing. He worked for Charles Purcell, son of Lieut. John Purcell (I believe), at Penrith (Emu Plains) and later at Botobolar before receiving a conditional pardon in 1846.

According to his death certificate in Aug.1932 he was born in Tattykiel, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Ireland in late 1832 early 1833 (by calculation) and had lived in NSW for 66 years, making his arrival in Australia late 1857, early 1858.  His mother, on his death certificate was Margaret (possibly nee Carrick from records St John The Baptist Church Mudgee), and father James Wilson, Farmer - no record of his arrival or his parents has been found. Robert owned about 750 Acres at Ulan in the 1870’s known as Moolarben Station on the Lagoon Creek. He retired to the Waverley area in Sydney around 1887, prior to the death of his wife Catherine in 1896.


I am wondering if you can suggest any one or organisation  that can help me with information on the missing years between 1857/58 and 1861. I believe he may have been in the Weetaliba area during those years. I have been in contact with Roy Cameron at Coolah, Coonabarabran, and the Church at Mudgee to no avail.


I also have attached a photo of Catherine and her daughter Margaret born, 1862 in Mudgee (I think) which would have been taken about 1867-70, that you may be interested in (photo by courtesy of Mrs Dorothy Birchall of Mudgee). It is a reproduction from a photo album of Dorothy’s.  (Dorothy is the Great Granddaughter of the youngest brother of Catherine’s)


Hoping that can in some way assist me with part of my family’s history.


The Wilson family at Robert's 90th Birthday Party.



by  Philip Scott



It is very hard to find records of Robert Wilson’s life. From his Death Certificate he came from Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Ireland and was probably born late 1832 or early 1833. His Mother and Father are shown on his Death Certificate as Margaret and James Wilson (farmer), but no record of their arrival in Australia or Robert’s birth can be found. A search of St John’s Mudgee archives’ indicated that his mother’s maiden name may have been Carrick but no record can confirm this. This is possibly due to fire destroying a large number of records in 1922, stored in the Records Repository in Ireland. They may also have been victims of the Potato Famine of Ireland.


An article in the Sydney Morning Harold article of the 10 Aug. 1923 has him missing the “Dunbar” (wrecked off the South Head Sydney on the 20th August 1857), due to the illness of his brother and arrived on a later ship, but this cannot be confirmed by any passenger lists. (See SMH article 10th Aug 1923) This is also confirmed by a story of my Grandmother’s when my sister and I were living in town (Cootamundra) with her in our early school years, saying he avoided death by missing the Dunbar.


He married Catherine Robinson (Robison on their Marriage Cert. NSW BDM 2309/18611), age 18, in Mudgee on the 10th May 1861. Catharine was born at Botobolar, Mudgee, N.S.W, on 24th November 1842 1, daughter of William Robinson. Robert is shown as Occupation, Grazier, residence, Weetaliba, Coolah and is shown on his death certificate, as arriving in NSW, in 1857.


Robert and Catherine settled at Ulan 2   about 40km from Mudgee in the 1870’s, purchasing six blocks by Conditional Purchase from the Crown, and eight blocks as Additional Conditional Purchase, and selected the freehold block, Portion 9, Moolarben Station, in the Parish of Moolarben. He also purchased freehold Portion 3 from Thomas Jarman Hawkins and four CP and ACP blocks previously taken up by J Dodd, G Carr, and J Robinson, (son of William). By 1878 he owned 780 acres in the Parish of Moolarben, most of which was along the Lagoon Creek, and apparently sold his holdings in the 1880’s to John Swords. Each wanted more land and tried to buy the other out. To settle the impasse they tossed to see which one would buy out the other, with Robert losing out.

He was a horse breeder at Mudgee (or was it Ulan?), and may later have moved to Gulgong, where he apparently lost money in a gold mining venture (gold was discovered at Gulgong in 1870 and petered out by 1879). Apparently, the family were “held up” by bushrangers overnight and relieved of food and horses (?) before leaving. This must have been sometime after 1871 as my grandmother remembered this.


Robert and Catherine had 11 children who were born in the Mudgee/Gulgong/Ulan area (registered at Mudgee and listed below). Eliza (Horsfield), my grandmother, is shown on my mother’s birth cert. as being born at Gulgong, which fits with family history – the Ulan/Gulgong area was known as Reedy Creek in the early days.


1 NSW BDM reg. no V18422441 162B/1842, (Catherine, NSW BDM reg. no 2309/1861, NSW BDM reg. no. 4523/1896(Catherine), NSW BDM Death: 11173/1923 WILSON, ROBERT

2 Information from European Heritage Appendix 13 of the environmental assessment,

Appendix 10 Ulan Coal – Continued Operations European & Natural Heritage Assessment  



It would appear that Robert retired to the Centennial Park area in Sydney prior to 1887, as I have found a Robert Wilson, in the Sands Directory Sydney and NSW Australia 1858-1933 3 at Spring St., Waverley in 1887-1892, and at Birrill St.  Waverley in 1893 to 1903.


Catherine died of Scarlet Fever at Waverley in 1896 (NSW BDM reg. no. 4523/1896)




Margaret Wilson, born 1862 at Mudgee, Married?  Died? (No search records available) but I think prior to 1923 as she is not in his 90th birthday photo of 1923. Robert’s death Cert. shows only 9 living children with 2 deceased of which Sarah 1867-1870  would be one and  Margaret the other.

William Wilson, born 1863 at Mudgee, Married Eva Sanders 1892, Died 19/2/1947.

Mary Wilson, born 1865 at Mudgee, Died 19/9/1952.

Sarah J. Wilson, born 1867 at Mudgee, Died 1870.

James Wilson, born 1868 at Mudgee, Married Mary Elizabeth Dalby, 1898,

Died, 1942.

Eliza Wilson, (my grandmother) born 1871 at Gulgong, Married Daniel Horsfield,

5th October 1903 and died, 29/6/1957.

Catharine Wilson, born 1872 at Mudgee, Married Gavin Alston Steel 1894,

Died, 14/1/1943.

Matilda Wilson, born 1874 at Mudgee,   Married Thomas Nelson Robertson, 1899

Died, 8/5/1936.

Robert Wilson, born 1876 at Mudgee, Married Violet V Cleveland, 1914,

Died 23/1/1934.

Samuel Wilson, born 1878 at Mudgee, Married Mary Jane Judkins, 1902 Died, 1956

Amy Wilson (Annie), born 1881 at Mudgee, Married L V Puckle, 1905, Died, 1961

The Death notice in the Sydney Morning Harold on the 6th August 1923 was “WILSON -August 5, at the residence of his daughter Mrs L. V. Puckle, (Amy / Annie), 14 Kingston Street, Haberfield, Robert Wilson, formerly of Waverley, in his 91st year (NSW BDM reg. no.11173/1923).

He is shown on his death certificate as a retired “Master Carrier”, which could be true, as he carted his wool and farm produce to Sydney, returning with goods for family use and possibly others also.


3  The ‘Sands Directory Sydney and NSW Australia 1858-1933’ records the head of the household only so these records of Robert’s residences could also be for Robert jnr. as well



Dorothy Birchall, G. Granddaughter of William Robinson has told me that her Grandfather, John William Robinson, and youngest brother of Catherine Wilson, “was taken under Robert’s wing” (only 12 month’s old when William was killed) and became a father figure to him. He apparently worked for Robert Wilson when he was young and was married at “Moolarben Station” homestead.


Sydney Morning Herald 10 August 1923


“The death of Mr. Robert Wilson, which took place on the 6th instant, at the age of 91 years, at the residence of his daughter (Mrs. L. V. Luckie), of Kingston-street, Haberfield, removes one of Sydney's old residents. Mr. Wilson was compelled to cancel his passage by the lost vessel Dunbar owing to the illness of his brother, and he came to Australia by a later ship. He was an active Church-worker, being connected with the Haberfield Baptist Church since its commencement. Mr. Wilson left a family of five daughters and four sons. His wife predeceased him 27 years ago”.

The Haberfield Baptist Church was formed in 1910, services being held in a private home and the first church opened in 1913.

Charles Kenny,  Catherine Grandfather, was born in Ireland in 1797 was “Transported to the Colony of NSW” in 18211 , after being sentenced in Roscommon, Ireland, on the 10 July 1820, to 14 years for Sedition and Treason, his crime, “Opposing the English Occupation of Ireland” and arrived in Sydney on the 7th Nov. 1821. He was Allowed to remain in District of Windsor on recommendation of Windsor Bench …dated, 30th Sept., 1820”. His wife Ann May and daughters, Catharine 13 yrs. and Ellen 3 yrs. “Came Free", arriving in 1824 and had at least two more children after arriving in Australia, Thomas in 1826 and Michael (?) in 1828 as shown on the 1828 NSW Census copy (TNA) record for Charles Kenny.

He obtained a ticket of leave on 28th Dec. 1829 and was pardoned on 11th Oct. 1834. He died on 23/10/1841, age 44 yrs. in Richmond and buried at Windsor. Ann May Kenny (his wife), born 1787 in Ireland, died 16/7/1864, in Windsor NSW, and likewise is buried there.

William Robinson, Catherine’s father, was born 1805 in Skipton, Yorkshire, UK and like Charles was “Transported to the Colony of NSW”, arriving on 15th Nov. 1827. His Father (John) and Grandfather (John remained in England), were convicted of horse stealing and William, at the age of 19, as an accessory to horse Stealing at Skipton, on the 16/7/1825 and were sentenced to death, which was later commuted to Life. On his arrival in the Colony, William worked for Charles Purcell, son of Lieut. John Purcell, at Penrith (Emu Plains) and later at Botobolar. The earliest land taken up in the Ulan area was by John McDonald and William Robinson 2 (early records have Robison). In the early 1840’s, William acquired 640 acres of leasehold from which he selected 30ac.adjacent to the present village of Ulan and 50ac. at “The Lagoons” Moolarben. A further two 50ac. blocks were acquired, later known as Old Ulan where he made his home on one of these blocks, moving there with Catherine and two daughters Anne, b. 1841 and Catharine, b. 24 Nov 1842. He was killed whilst “cutting out cattle” when his horse fell crushing him. He died intestate on 25th Nov. 1855 and buried at Mudgee.

2 Information from European Heritage Appendix 13 of the environmental assessment,

Appendix 10 Ulan Coal – Continued Operations European & Natural Heritage Assessment  

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