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On this day… 10 January

January 10, 2011
Henry and Eliza (Bishop) Bacon

Henry Bacon and Eliza (Bishop) Bacon, possibly on their wedding day

On this day, 10 January, 1875, Henry Bacon and Eliza Bishop were married in Melrose, South Australia.

Henry (Jnr) born 9 August 1852 was my great-great grandmother’s brother,  a son of my great-great-great grandfather, also Henry Bacon(Snr), who was born in Walton, Somerset England on 6 May 1817 to Isaac  Bacon and Anna Wall; and my great-great-great grandmother, Ann Batten, who was born in Altarnum, Cornwall England on 1 July 1817 to William Batten and his wife, Joan.

Henry Bacon(Snr) came to South Australia aboard HMS Buffalo, arriving in Holdfast Bay, South Australia on 24 December 1936, in what was the foundation of the South Australian colony.  Ann Batten applied for free passage to South Australia on 13 June 1839 and arrived in South Australia aboard “Cleveland’ on 18 December 1839. But that is for another post.

Henry Bacon Senior

Henry Bacon Snr

Henry (Snr) and Ann Batten had a son called Henry who was born in April 1851 and died in June 1851.  Henry(Jnr) was born at Woolundunga Station, near Mt Brown, South Australia, on 9 August 1852, the sixth of seven children.  My great-great grandmother, Johannah Bacon was the fourth child – directly before the two Henrys.  Gwen Gartrell, also a descendent of Henry and Ann Bacon – and a direct descendent of Henry and Eliza Bacon – records in her book Buffalo Passenger No 55 – Henry Bacon (self published 1996) that there was a family story about an Aboriginal woman assisting Eliza at the birth of her son Henry in August 1852.  Ann is recorded as being the first non-Aboriginal woman in the Northern district.  Her life must have been difficult.  Henry is said to have been the first non-Aboriginal child born in the Port Augusta area.

Eliza Bishop was born 17 January 1857 at Gawler River, South Australia, the daughter of George Bishop and Edy Thorn of Melrose South Australia.  George Bishop was born at Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England on 22 June 1827 and Edy Thorn was born at Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire, on 18 August 1829.  They arrived in South Australia together, aboard ‘Taymouth Castle’ on 25 June 1855.

George and Edy had five other daughters, including Louisa, who married Henry and Johanna’s eldest brother William Isaac Bacon.  Louisa was born 9 December 1852 in Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire, England and died at Melrose South Australia on 16 October 1873, two years before her sister Eliza married William Isaac’s brother, Henry.  William Isaac also died before Henry and Eliza were married, and just before his wife, on 28 September 1873. All of the Bishops’ other daughters had died by the time Eliza married Henry.

Henry Bacon and Eliza Bishop's Family - Standing L-R: Harry Herbert, Frederick Charles, Edith Alice. Seated L-R: Louisa Rebecca, Eliza, Henry and Ada Mary.

Unlike his brothers and her sisters, Henry and Eliza had long lives and an extremely happy marriage, according to Gwen Gartrell.

Henry and Eliza had five children:  Frederick Charles Bacon (b. 16 October 1875 d. 10 March 1938); Ada Mary Bacon (b. 8 December 1878 d. 10 September 1966; Harry Herbert Bacon (b. 23 December 1879 d. 15 July 1943); Louisa Rebecca Bacon (b. 13 March 1882 d. 1 June 1952); and Edith Alice Bacon (b. 3 January 1887 d. 14 April 1956).

Henry and Eliza (Bishop) Bacon

Henry and Eliza (Bishop) Bacon

Gwen Gartrell records family stories that Henry Bacon used to help his sister, Johanna’s daughters Jane and Emma Kirwan to look after their younger brothers, when their mother was unwell.  She had moved back to Melrose for a time before she died, presumably because she was too ill to look after the children, and to be cared for by her family, leaving Jane and Emma to run the house, and take care of the boys, the youngest of whom was just a baby. Their father Richard ran the mail contract and was often away, and also drank, so was frequently ‘unavailable’ even when he was at home.  Jane and Emma relied on Uncle Henry’s help.

After George Bishop died in 1889, George’s son Syd Bishop and Henry Bacon farmed ‘Denham’ and ‘Rookwood’ in Melrose together.  The partnership dissolved in 1898 after years of drought.  Syd continued at ‘Denham’ and Henry continued at ‘Rookwood’ for a while, before he travelled with his sons Fred and Harry aboard SS Pilbarra to Fremantle, Western Australia, 3 March 1903, and then they travelled by horse and dray to Narrogin, Western Australia, a one week journey.

By October 1903, they had built a house and Eliza and her two married daughters, Louisa and Alice, and Fred’s wife Jessie with children Jean and Keith, followed, also on the SS Pilbarra.  They disembarked at Albany and travelled to Narrogin by train, arriving 3 November 1903.  The family then established a farm and a  house was built for Fred and Jessie, with their family eventually growing to six.  Harry married one of the first school teachers in the area, Miss Roberta Scott Purdie, in 1920.  Louisa Bacon returned to South Australia after her marriage to William Francis but Alice lived nearby after her marriage to Albert William Brooks.

Henry Bacon died 21 December 1930 and Eliza died on 11 November 1944.  They are buried together in the Narrogin Cemetery.

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