The Second Fleet Ternen Family

Copyright Carol Baxter 2012
Prepared for Ternen descendant Jeanette Bradley

Family of William and Elizabeth Ternen

1. William Ternen (see below)

- Born 10 June 1782; baptised 24 June 1782, East Stonehouse parish, Plymouth, Devon, England.
- Married 1 February 1807, Sydney to Margaret Hughes.
- Died 3 January 1845 at Mount Holloway.
- Buried 5 January 1845 at Elizabeth Street Burial Ground, Sydney.

William Ternen (1782-1845) and his wife Margaret Hughes (c1790-1866)

William Ternen was born on 10 June 1782 in the Plymouth district of Devonshire, England, and was baptized on 24 June in East Stonehouse parish, Plymouth. He sailed to New South Wales on the convict transport Scarborough in 1790, with his parents William and Elizabeth Ternen, his father serving as a private in the New South Wales Corps guarding the convicts.[1]

On 21 June 1793 when only eleven years of age, William enlisted in the Corps, initially as a drummer although promoted in 1800 to private. When the Corps was withdrawn to England in the aftermath of the Rum Rebellion, he remained in the colony, having transferred to the incoming 73rd Regiment. He was described in 1808 as being five feet three inches tall with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion, Transfers continued in later years – to the 46th, 48th and 3rd Regiments – until he retired to a pension in December 1824.[2]

Meanwhile William had married Margaret Hughes on 1 February 1807. Born in Dublin around the year 1790, she arrived in New South Wales on board the Royal Admiral in 1800 with her parents, Thomas and Frances Hughes. Her father was also a soldier in the New South Wales Corps. The Ternens had the following known children: Frances (1807), Elizabeth (1810), Margaret (1812), Ann (1814), unknown - perhaps stillbirth (1817), William (1818), Mary Ann (c1824), Thomas George Robert (1828), and James Alexander (1830). A newspaper report in 1830 mentioned that the couple had just given birth to twins, presumably James and Alexander rather than James Alexander as noted in the baptism register, and that this was the family's twelth Australian birth. No references have been found to any other births or burials.[3]

Burglars robbed the Ternens in July 1821, forcing William and his wife to stay in their bed, having tied the bed-curtains and locked the children’s room door. They escaped with tea, sugar, salt, potatoes, clothing and £7.10s in dollars and Ternen offered a £10 reward for their capture.

While serving with the army, he appears to have managed his own business involving boat and trade hire, based in a house in Kent Street near Darling Harbour. In October 1824 he complained about the misuse of his boat:[4]

Having observed in your Number of 17th September, a letter from Mr J. Griffiths, commander of the brig " Glory," in which it is stated, that Mr. Laurie, who lately departed from this Colony, has grounded an action against him for £2000, the following simple statement of facts will shew you and the Public on what grounds this action may be supposed sustainable:

On the 2nd of June last, a boat, my property, being hired for one day, by a man named Oldfield, and the hire being paid, went from the shore at Cockle Bay, with Mr. Laurie's child, Oldfield, and another whose name I did not know, on board; observing that they were pretty well dressed on that occasion. I suggested the propriety of taking a man to pull, to which they objected, adding, that they would return about 7 o'clock that evening. Finding that they did not return for two days, and it being generally rumoured that they had made a final exit from this Colony, I began to be apprehensive about my property, and used every means in my power to recover the boat, supposing it might have been beached or sent adrift, but without effect; some days afterwards, being accidently in company with Mr. Griffiths, the conversation turned to this subject, and Mr. Griffiths, having signified his design of proceeding, with the vessel he commanded, to the southward, I then and there solicited him, if he should fall in with my boat, to seize it, wherever or with whomever he might find it, giving him full authority to do so. This he kindly promised to perform, and I think, happily for the Public, succeeded in discovering and capturing the parties concerned in this attempt.

Mr. Laurie, Sir, it appears, had cleared out the boat "Fame" for Newcastle. Why did he not proceed there? They had a fair wind for that port for two days, during which time, I understand, they lay inactive at a place named the Bottle and Glass, but the wind was not fair for the place of their destination. Now, Sir, the intention of this letter is to shew that I consider my boat to have been surreptitiously taken away ; and as it appears, by Mr. Griffith's statement to you that my name and the number of my boat were defaced ; that Mr. Laurie had it in possession at the time it was discovered ; that he did not, like an honest man, say where it was, when questioned on that subject; I think it my duty to file a criminal information against him and others, and to give up to all the rigour of the Law persons who would thus contribute to injure a large and industrious family.

It is well known, Sir, that Mr. Griffiths is a respectable man, and it will easily be believed, that he acted, in this affair, from the most honest, humane, and manly principles ; and if he will accept my boat, which he captured, I most freely offer it to him, in testimony of my gratitude, and shall always consider myself indebted to him for his kind intentions. Neither is it unknown, that the creditors of Mr. Laurie had obtained the sanction of the Executive Government to pursue and take those " sea rangers," and would have done so, had they consented to indemnify satisfactorily the proprietor of the only vessel in immediate readiness for any casualty that might happen in the pursuit.

By giving publicity to these facts, you will greatly oblige, Sir, your most obedient servant,
WILLIAM TERNEN. 48th Regiment.

John Laurie was eventually indicated for theft and the transcript of the court case is provided below.[5]

In October 1824 Ternan petitioned the governor for a grant of land at the North east Arm near Broken Bay on which to graze his seventeen head of cattle, claiming that the site would have particular advantages for him.[6]

On 15 November 1825, Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane promised Ternan a land grant of one hundred acres, which was eventually registered in 1832. Situated in the County of Hunter (parish unnamed), it was bounded on the east by a branch of the Wollombi Brook known as Sugar Loaf Creek and on the north by part of P. Gardener’s farm.[7]

In 1828 William was recorded as a householder living with his wife and five children in Kent Street, Sydney.[8]

On Thursday 30 September 1830, the Sydney Gazette announced the birth of twins to the wife of William Ternan, Office-keeper of the Commissariat, ‘the twelfth Australian birth in that family,’ and that both children were doing well.[9]

In May 1833 a passerby attempted to steal from him. The Sydney Gazette reported:

A fellow going along Kent Street took a fancy to a beautiful parrot, the property of Mr Ternen, which was suspended in its cage outside the door. He deliberately walked under the verandah, took it down, and marched off with it. He had not proceeded many yards, however, before it was missed and the thief pursued. He continued to walk along very leisurely until he was observed that he was followed, when he threw down the cage, took to his heels and got clear away.[10]

In June 1833, Ternen advertised that he had taken over the St Andrew Tavern at No. 15 Kent Street, adding a little biographical colour to his announcement.[11]

I arrived in the colony this day 43 years ago, 33 years of which I have been a soldier and was discharged with honour by Captain Wall. When I landed, the now crowded streets of Sydney were unreclaimed from nature and the kangaroo and emu bounded along the Rocks, before man every thought of building Rookeries there. I have been honoured with the special attention of every grand functionary down from Governor Phillip, whom I saw speared by the Blacks at Rose Bay.

He then added, tongue in cheek: ‘Like all other early comers, I have been unfortunate enough to have sired a large family, for whose advantage I retire from all official duties to preside over the rum puncheon at the St Andrew.’ He added that was ‘happy to do the honours of a humble Walter but, begs it to be understood that he denies all acquaintance with any customer of the name of “Credit”, vulgarily called “Tick”.

For credentials, William directed his customers to the Gentlemen of the Commissariat, adding with dry wit,‘that he humbly thanks them for their uniform kindness during the six years he has held the Keys of Office as the Saint Peter of their Scriptum Scriptorium in Sydney. He has ever devoted his best attention to their service and never received a letter or a message but it was instantaneously conveyed. And if his successor has any trouble in making Ink (an important duty), W. T. will gladly initiate him into its mysteries, or in any other necessary knowledge.’

Some name dropping and expressions of appreciation followed: ‘To Mr Laidley and family, W.T. is ever in humble duty bound, and would serve him by day and night; and although he cannot personally thank the officers and others in the interior, he hopes to reach them all with expressions of deep gratitude by measure of the “Printer’s Devil”.’ Finally, Ternen reported that he had a large stock of wines and liquors of the first quality.[12]

In December 1833, the Sydney Gazette reported that a grant of land in his name (Grant number 63 in the Sutherland district) had been claimed by Robert Crawford and that the papers had been transferred to the Commissioners of the Court of Claims.[13]

In 1836-7 he purchased land at Balmain on a site now traversed by Ternen Street which is named after him. The land was bounded on three sides by Darling Street, Datchett Street and the water. He built several houses and cottages there, including 100 Darling Street (which was still standing in 1990). He named the property Mount Holloway and established the St Patrick’s Inn with his son William as licensee (on the site of 102-114 Darling Street which was demolished in the 1920s).[14]

In the late 1830s he established what became known as Ternen’s wharf which became a regular point of call for ferries (on the site of the modern MSB Depot).[15]

Ternen was literate and signed a will on 15 November 1844, with his wife as the chief beneficiary. He died at Mount Holloway on 3 January 1845, aged 62, and was buried two days later in the Elizabeth Street Burial ground, now the site of modern Central Station, Sydney. A headstone once marked his grave and mentioned his arrival in the colony in 1790.[16]

Margaret lived for a further 20 years, dying on 19 March 1866 at Sydney. She was buried at Camperdown Cemetery, adjoining St Stephen’s Church, Newtown. [17]