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Debra Billin

Hi My name is Debra Billin and I am a descendant of Diana Mudgee. I am trying to track our family history through Diana to our original mob. Does that start at Mudgee (Town)?. I have been told our mob originates out of Queensland but I cannot remember where I got that information. nor remember the name.If you can shed any light on this I would appreciate it. Regards Debra Billin=


Can anyone help Debra with an answer to this question?



HI, my name is Suzanne and I am 4th generation to dianna mudgee. my grandmother was the daughter of sarah knight. Was any children stolen from Dianne?,,,does any land still exist in my family? my grandmother was harriette...I am very proud of this lady and what she accomplished in her 78yrs..hope u can help me...I have the 4 generation information here. i only found this out this yr as its been a family secret until now after I did my tree...I appreciate with any suggestions or if I can help in anyway please email me or call 0477431782..i live in NT and cant get to mudgee..but am curious as to what happened to all her land and the 10 children she had...I know she took sarah, the only child and left. thank you and have a good weekend Suzanne palmer (Cullen)  Suzanne, check out the other links on this page for more information.

Hello my mother was born in Mudgee and lived in Rylstone and Glen Davis I have some photos and also would like to NFC some info. My mother was a aboriginal granddaughter of Dianna Mudgee  and her maiden names are Schneider and Potts

Thank you for any support that you can help me with regards Donna





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Diana Mudgee Page

The story of Diana Mudgee is inspirational. Diana was an Aboriginal woman who was fostered by a pioneer white family. She raised ten children and owned her own 500 acre block of land, thanks to help from her benefactor, George Cox. Born in Mudgee in 1826, Diana would have lost her parents at a very young age, possibly because of the Wiradjuri Massacres.

Diana is referred to as Diana Mudgee, but she also went by other names, including Jennings, Knight, Philips/Phillips and Rayner/Raynor. She is commonly remembered however, as Diana Mudgee.

It is not known how she came to live with the Cox family, however, at a very young age, possibly 13 years old, she was living with Cox’s servant James Knight, who was the overseer of ‘Winbourne’ at Mulgoa, and had a baby to him, Sarah in 1839. Diana and James did not wish to marry, but another servant, William Phillips, wanted to marry her and on 8th January 1840, William Grant Broughton, Archbishop of Australia, answered a letter from George Cox asking that a young woman, presumed to be Diana, be allowed to be baptized so she could marry William Phillips. After a lengthy negotiation with the Australian Archbishop gave permission for Diana to marry William Phillips, a convict worker on Cox’s property, even though she was never baptized. They married on 8th September 1840.

George Cox, pioneer of Mudgee, was involved with Diana and her family for many years. We do not know why, except that he was known to have a number of Aboriginal people in his care and was known for his kindness and compassion to his employees, taking his quest to look after them and be responsible for them very seriously, even providing for them in his Will.

George Cox was the son of William Cox, the man who built the road over the Blue Mountains in 1814. He had a property at Mulgoa, Sydney, ‘Winbourne’ , and his son, George Henry Cox managed his Mudgee property, ‘Burrundulla’. There is documentary evidence that Diana lived both on ‘Winbourne’ and ‘Burrundulla’.

Diana and William Phillips were married at St John’s Anglican Church in Mulgoa in 1840. They had two children, Mary Anne and Emma. William Phillips mysteriously disappeared and Diana and Robert Rayner, also a convict who worked for George Cox, became partners and eventually had seven more children. William Phillips died in 1852 and her relationship with Robert Rayner continued until he died on 16th October, 1874 – run over by a dray on the Piambong Road near Mudgee. Robert had acquired 30 acres of land at Piambong in 1855 and another 30 acres in 1859, but because he and Diana were never married and therefore, the children illegitimate, the property was sold at public auction.

However, all was not lost, because Diana became the conditional owner of land in 1885, long after Robert’s death. It is known the Cox family continued their mentoring of Diana as there is documentation that George Henry Cox assisted Diana to make the improvements (fencing and ringbarking) required by law to her property in 1885 at her conditional purchase. The note is written by licensed surveyor William Abernathy.

      "At time of survey improvements had been effected by the helper of the run G. H. Cox, consisting of wire fence £15. ringbarking £1.5f Total £16.5 shillings".

Diana lived to be 78 years of age. She raised ten children and had three partners after having her first child at 13 years of age. She was also the owner of 500 acres of land in 1885, in an age where it was nigh impossible for an Aboriginal woman to do so. The descendants of Diana Mudgee have every right to be very proud of her.



Diana Mudgee  

Born Mudgee 26/12.1826

Died Piambong 1902.

Diana was under the protection of George Cox when she became pregnant to James Knight. It appeared that neither Diana nor James wanted to marry each other. James married Eliza Rayner and they had 3 children. James continued to work for the Cox family of Mulgoa and accidently shot himself getting through a fence at Mulgoa in 1847. Eliza then married John Neill and had 6 children. Diana married William Phillips.

Diana, partner to James Knight at Mulgoa.

              |Sarah Anne Knight/Phillips was born 23/12/1839 and died 25.10.1919 at Wellington. She married William Collins.

                             |William Edward Collins

                            | Caroline Collins (one of twins) married Henry Beamont Delauney. She died at 30 years old and had 3 boys.  

                            |Jane Collins (the other twin)

                            |Walter Collins

                            |Emma Collins

                            |James Collins

                            |Sarah Collins married Herbert Patrick Hyde, ?, ?, Kim

                            |Thomas Collins

                            |Shedrick Collins

                            |George Collins

                            |Ruth Collins

                           |Harriet Collins



Diana married William Phillips and had 2 children.

                | Maryanne

                |Emma, who married Basil Dickinson of Piambong.


Diana partnered Robert Raynor and had 3 children at Grattai.

They moved to Piambong and Robert acquired 30 acres of land at Piambong in 1855 and another 30 acres in 1859.

Diana and Robert eventually had seven children between them, bringing Diana's children to ten. He was accidentally killed by a dray passing over him on Piambong Road near Mudgee on 16th October, 1874. Because he and Diana never married, having no person of kin to him in the said ‘Colony’ the land and property were sold at public auction. This is probably around the time Elizabeth and John Blackhall moved to Spicers Creek.



                |William  born 1847 (Philips/Raynor) died 1922 at Cunnamulla.


                |Elizabeth 1848, at Grattai. Married John BlackHall. Had 15 children. Died 1922

                                |Thomas Rayner married Florence Langford.

                                |Elizabeth married Thomas Collins and had 5 children, one called Noeline.

                |Jane born 1851 married Frederick ‘George’ Vitnell in 1872 and had 6 children.

Diana and Robert moved to Piambong in 1855. She died 1902 and is buried at Piambong.

                |Shadrack born 1855 at Piambong married Sarah Ann Metcalf 1877

                                |Phoebe married Alexander James Collison*


                |Caroline Raynor born 1858 Piambong. Died 1860

                |Harriet Raynor born 1861 Piambong married Richard Smith 1878

                                |Thomas Richard 1880 died 1896

                                |Alice Eve born 1881 died 1882.

                |Thomas Raynor, born 1866 died 1871.

*Hello. I have been researching the Collison family and came across the following information on one of your Mudgee history sites

It states that Phoebe Rayner a granddaughter of Diana Mudgee married Alexander James Collison.

A Phoebe May Rayner certainly did marry Alexander James Collison but it was a different Phoebe Rayner to that stated in the above article.

The confusion probably comes from the fact that they are both born in Mudgee but only one is recorded as Phoebe Rayner the other as Phebe M Rayner.

Phoebe Rayner (BDM/NSW 26125/1885) is the daughter of Shadrach Rayner (or Shadrack Phillips as he was born to Diana Mudgee) and Sarah Metcalf.

Phebe M Rayner (BDM/NSW 22979/1890) is the daughter of George Rayner and Frances Makpace.

It is definitely this Phebe M Rayner (Phoebe May Rayner) who marries Alexander James Collison as can be seen from the following death article from the Mudgee Guardian and North West Representative newspaper on 6 September 1951.

It states her age as 61 which means she was born in 1890.

Also on her death certificate as Phoebe May Collison (BDM/NSW 23086/1951) it states her parents as George and Frances.


Hope this is of some help in clarifying the situation.

Kind regards

Brian Simons

Editor: Thank you Brian. It is a great help when our community help each other in this way.




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