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Orphan Number: 3470
Orphan: Elizabeth MATTHEWS
Mother:MATTHEWS, Hannah
Father:MATTHEWS, Robert
Mother's ship:
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:
Date admitted:21 Feb 1835
Date discharged:28 Dec 1838
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: sisters Mrs Smith, McArthur & Matthews
Remarks: father died at Swansea, mother married Thomas Denholm at Pittwater
References: SWD24, 28, CSO5/93/2074, CSO5/86/2074

This orphan has been claimed by: David Dwyer

The story of Elizabeth Eliza Matthews of Hobart begins with her parents coming to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) from the Great Britain.

Her grandfather Fane Edge was born in 1746 in Raphoe, Donegal, Ireland, the son of Peter and Anne (nee Truelove). He married Sarah Rushton on 21 July 1788 at Weeford, Staffordshire, England. Their first born, a daughter Sarah was born in England.

Fane Edge enlisted in the New South Wales Corps (Rum Corps) - 102nd Regiment on 6 March 1790 and joined in the April. He later sailed with the unit to Sydney Australia on the 'Mary Ann'. In the book 'The Convict Ships' it is stated that the 'Mary Ann' sailed from England on 16 February 1791 with 150 female convicts on board, with nine of the convicts dying on the voyage. The ship arrived in Sydney on 9 July 1791. The vessel 'Mary Ann' was a ship of 298 tons and had been built in 1772 in France. Her voyage under Master Mark Munro, of just 143 days was the fastest passage made by a convict ship sailing to the Australian colonies.

Fane was appointed town adjutant by Governor Arthur Phillip in February 1792, to draw him 'out of the line of sergeants'. He received no allowance for this position. When appointed by Phillip as provost-marshal of Norfolk Island in March 1792, he took charge of a group of convicts in the 'Pitt'. His wife Sarah accompanied him with daughter Sarah, and they arrived at Norfolk Island on 23 April 1792. Edge's appointment was not confirmed in London before 1798, and although he drew bills on the expectation of a salary he does not appear to have received one until that year.

More children were born to Fane and Sarah (nee Rushton) on Norfolk Island; Sarah's siblings were Fane, Mary Ann, and Hannah.

When Rev. James Bain left Norfolk Island in March 1794, Edge, at the request of Lieutenant-Governor Philip Gidley King, accepted such of the chaplain's duties as he felt authorized to undertake, even attending to the sick during the epidemic of dysentery. He applied to Governor John Hunter for an allowance for these clerical duties, and Hunter applied to the secretary of state, but no allowance was recorded. In January 1794 King raised a militia out of the marine settlers and sailors of the wrecked Sirius, and placed Charles Grimes and Edge in command until proper regulations could be arranged in accordance with those of the English militia.

Edge had been given a plot of land to cultivate when he arrived on Norfolk Island, and in 1795 he received a grant of the ground called the Hermitage. Early in 1801 he applied for leave to return to England on private business, asking for a free passage for himself and his family and to be extricated from debt. Governor King refused a free passage, although he was quite agreeable that Edge should resign his post. Apparently he did not depart, for in March 1802 he was suspended by Lieutenant-Governor Joseph Foveaux for repeated disgraceful transactions which rendered him unfit for public office. He died as a Sergeant in Service soon afterwards, and was buried on Norfolk Island on 22 January 1803.

Documents record the younger Edge children as orphans in 1805 suggesting that their mother Sarah had died in the decade 1795 to 1805.

Fane's eldest daughter Sarah married Francis Cox an ex-convict from Norfolk Island on 24 July 1809 in Hobart after moving there aboard City of Edinburgh in 1808 with their two children.

Son Fane, the Coxswain of the Government Boat absconded from Norfolk Island aboard City of Edinburgh on and was aboard the vessel when it arrived in Hobart Town. Fane later travelled to Tasmania (VDL) from Norfolk Island leaving 2 February 1813 on the 'Minstrel' arriving at Port Dalrymple 4 March. His death was reported in Sydney later that year aged 21 years. He was buried in Sydney.

His second sister Mary Ann married John Holford and lived in the Camden area NSW. Her children's births were registered in Sydney in 1805.

Fane Edge's youngest daughter Hannah married Robert Matthews a Norfolk Island convict in 1811 before they moved to Van Dieman's Land in 1813 also aboard the Minstrel. She was to become Elizabeth's mother.

Elizabeth's father Robert Matthews was a mariner, native of East Lothian in Scotland and when 29 years old, was convicted in London's Old Bailey of horse stealing and some other associated charges (not able to decipher from Court documents). His trial took place on 16 February 1803, and he was sentenced to Death. On appeal on 28 April he was pardoned of the Death sentence to be 'Transported for Life'. He was described as being 5 feet 9 inches in height, with light brown hair and hazel eyes.

He arrived in Sydney aboard the 'Coromandel' on 7 May 1804, having sailed from London leaving on 4 December 1803. The teak sailing ship of 522 tons was built in Chittagong, India (now Bangladesh) in 1793 and was skippered by John Robinson. The cargo was 200 male convicts, and 32 Officers and men of the New South Wales Corps, who provided the guards. Robinson died while the ship was off St. Salvador, and George Blakely took over command. No convict died during the voyage.

Robert's records show that he received a Colonial sentence of Death on 14 August 1804 for a further misdemeanour which was overturned and commuted to return to his judicial sentence of Life in the Colony. Robert Matthews (Convict) was transferred to Norfolk Island for this sentence and so met his life partner to be - Hannah Edge.

Robert was granted a Conditional Pardon No. 299 on 10 June 1813 with his Certificate of Freedom No 275 registered in London 31 January 1814.

In 1808 when Fane Edge (Junior) was the Coxswain of the Government Boat and absconded from Norfolk Island aboard 'City of Edinburgh', Robert Matthews was recorded as a Boatman on that Government Boat. In 1814 convict Robert Matthews was one of 10 convicts retained in the "Clean up Party" to complete the final closure and destruction of Norfolk Island Settlement.

In 1811, Robert had married Hannah Edge. They had a family births and christenings in various localities in Tasmania - Launceston, Longford, Norfolk Plains and Hobart. The 5 daughters were:- Margaret Catherine, Jane Langridge, Sarah Elizabeth, Hannah, Elizabeth Eliza, and Charlotte Eleanor. A significant number of Norfolk Island residents were granted land along the South Esk area - so-called Norfolk Plains.

At the christening of Hannah and Elizabeth on 24 August 1828, Robert was described as a mariner. Later, when Charlotte was also christened at Trinity Parish, Buckingham, the father Robert was recorded as a Master Mariner.

Robert died at sea near Swansea in May 1828. As a widow Hannah found the children a burden with no financial resources, and admitted Jane and Sarah to the Queens Orphan School on 12 June 1828.

Elizabeth Eliza Matthews was born in Hobart 2 January 1828 and christened at Trinity Parish on 24 August 1828. Later, on 21 February 1835 when she was 6 years old Elizabeth and along with her sister Hannah were also admitted  to Queens Orphan School, before they were discharged to the care of the elder sisters Margaret (Mrs Smith) and Jane (Mrs McArthur) and Sarah (Ms Matthews) on 28 December 1838.

Elizabeth's mother Hannah Matthews re-married to Thomas Denham, a labourer, on 23 November 1836, and worked for Captain Glover at Pittwater. Hannah died on 14 July 1861 aged 66 years (address given as George Street).

The former Orphan Elizabeth when aged 20 years married a widower James McClymont on 2 February 1848 at Trinity Church, Hobart, and settled in Hobart in the Battery Point docks area. The witnesses at the wedding were James Inglis, Ellen Bryan and Josias Heyward. Elizabeth gave her age as 18 when she married.

James William McClymont was remembered as being from Ayr Scotland and as a Captain (Master Mariner) in the British Merchant Marine. After trading between Scotland and Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) for 30 years, he established Tasmania as his base during the mid 1830's.

In Hobart, James was chief mate on the barque 'Offley' of 374 tons. The 'Offley' originally from London was purchased by Crowther in 1849 and used as a whaler under Captain Robinson.

James married 17 year old Louisa Hopwood, daughter of George and Ann Hopwood 3 December 1838 but she died young in 1844 with no children to the marriage.

The widower James remarried, to Elizabeth Eliza Matthews, 18, on February 2nd 1848 at Trinity, Hobart, and they settled in Hobart. Their children were christened at Trinity while the family residences were given as Argyle, Brisbane, and George Streets.

The McClymont children were:- James William, Charlotte Ellen, John Robert Matthew, Fane Thomas Hedge,  and Arthur David.

While husband James was at sea in 1862, he developed a stomach swelling. He died in hospital (William Street) a few days after his return. He was buried from his George Street home after his death of Brights Disease on September 16th 1862 aged 50 years. (His death certificate indicated he was born in Scotland).

Elizabeth lived to be aged 70 years when she died on March 19th 1898 at her home 18 South Street, Battery Point and she was buried at Sandy Bay. She had lived to see many McClymont grandchildren in Tasmania. My grandmother Iris Dwyer (nee McClymont) was a grand-daughter of the Orphan Elizabeth Matthews.

Our Orphan Elizabeth Matthews (come McClymont) retained and passed on a strong family connection with her heritage - the name of her maternal grandfather Fane Edge. She named a son Fane Edge, and a grandson and 3 great-grandsons carried the name Fane.

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This orphan has been claimed by: Tracey Mackay

Elizabeth is my 4 X Great Aunt, her parents Robert Matthews & wife Hannah Edge are my 4 x Great Grandparents. I am a direct descendent and come down as follows.

Robert Matthews & Hannah Edge

Margaret Catherine Mathews (1816 - 1886)
daughter of Robert Matthews
Amelia Smith (1849 - 1922)
daughter of Margaret Catherine Mathews
Joyce Norma Amelia Goddard (1913 - 1999)
daughter of Blanche Margaret Howard
Judith Margaret Joy Matthews (1933 - )
daughter of Joyce Norma Amelia Goddard

You can use this contact form to send an email message to Tracey Mackay

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 Site last updated February 2020