Author: lauriewilson

Voyage Home – 1836-1839, Britomart to England & Return – The Question is, Why

No image of Captain William McDonald’s ship Britomart has yet been located – it had previously been a Royal Navy Brig-Sloop warship of similar lines to HMS Suffisante shown above – Britomart saw Royal Navy service between 1808 and 1819.   Suffisante was formerly of the French Navy 14 guns (so overall smaller than Britomart) – it had been captured by the British. The Pelorus shown here was another Royal Navy Brig Sloop 18 gun warship of the same class as Britomart and it was also launched in 1808. For a period it was stationed at Port Jackson. Captain McDonald sailed Britomart home to England in 1836 with his spouse Agnes Smith, and his daughter Agnes Eliza on board. They had been in Tasmania since arrival there on Britomart in 1834. Between then and 1836 William had been busily sailing the ship on local voyages between Hobart and the mainland, to Sydney but mainly to Two Fold Bay (Eden) carrying passengers, livestock and general merchandise. What was it that prompted a return to England so soon after having already suffered the risks and privations of a five month confinement in a small vessel on the high seas, and with his family once again aboard with him. It is unlikely, that as we might do today so easily, to have been motivated by a desire to take a vacation and perhaps...

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Scottish Origins – Margaret Bowman of Dunnichen

Dunnichen, in the old Gaelic ‘Dun Nectan’ meaning ‘Hill Fort’ or ‘Stronghold of Nectan’. Nectan was a Pictish King, whilst Dunnichen became famed in that period of history classed as ‘the dark ages’ as the place of a great battle between Pictish and Angle forces, the local Picts inflicting a massive defeat and slaughter of the Angle force led by Angle King Ecgfrith, in the Battle of Dunnichen in 685. A scenic panorama of the attractive and gently undulating countryside adjoining Dunnichen village is seen in the header above. It was at Dunnichen Church seen here that the Banns...

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Scottish Origins – Newbigging Village

Newbigging (an Anglo-Saxon word literally meaning ‘new house/building’) village nestles in the beautiful Scottish lowlands some 30 km north of Dundee, and 10 km west of Monifieth township on the coast. It locates within Monikie Parish just outside of Monifieth Parish boundary. In the feature image above we see the village surrounded by post harvest summer fields, the Drumsturdiemuir  strip settlement spanning the mid-distance right to left, Laws (Hill) and farm beyond, and just visible in the far distance the Tay Estuary and County Fife. Our Wilsons from at least mid 18th century lived and worked, and had their...

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Scottish Origins: of Monifieth, Monikie, Barry; and older times past

Baptism, marriage and death records show that during the period 1770 to 1800 our Wilson family were identified as living at Laws or Drumsturdy. Sometime after 1782 they moved just a couple of hundred metres along the Drumsturdy Road to a location and home known as Templehall, across the road from the Newbigging Toll. It was at Templehall where Margaret and shortly after, their daughter Matilda died in 1784. John and his family remained here apparently for many years; in 1788 John remarried to Margaret Ferrier and they continued living here with the children of the first marriage. These locations are all highlighted on the 1788 Survey map segment below. Prepared at Government initiative by surveyor John Ainslie in 1788 it was the equivalent of today’s Ordnance Survey Maps, recording every geographic and topographical detail. The little black boxes are homes and farm buildings – our Wilsons lived in one or more of these at that time, along the Drumsturdiemuir (Drumsturdy Moor) strip of households on either side of the road (the Arbroath Pike of that time), those on the south side known as Laws Cottages, all of these homes we are advised were tenanted by farm workers, both at the very large Laws Farm as well as farms on the north side of the roadway. John and Margaret Ferrier had two children, James b.1788, and Isobel b.1790 but...

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Bonnie William from Dundee

Regrettably to this point no image of William Hartley Wilson, the first of our Australian pioneer Wilson forebears, has been found; we are more fortunate with William’s spouse Margaret, having two images, which tend to support her reputation for sobriety and strength of will – in one she is about 50, in the other about 70. These can be viewed in the ‘Galleries’ section. But we do have an image of William’s grandson Albert Williamson Wilson who according to the story passed down in the Tasmanian arm of the family, bore a striking resemblance to William. His image is shown here. Margaret died in 1875, William who was 14 years her senior having passed on in 1856 – perhaps just too early to have been captured on film. Margaret was reportedly a sterner figure who in later life after William’s passing, “ruled the family with tight reign (or perhaps more validly, rein!)”. William’s story and that of his family such as we know it today, was first introduced mid 1980s in the ‘Synopsis’ document “Bonnie William from Dundee” (created by our researcher colleague Michael Wilson) and has been progressively updated with amendments and expansions on this website. In early 2000s our research group produced an audio-visual DVD version of the story, and copies may be obtained via the website administrator. Additionally at that time Michael and his son Tristan...

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