||John Skerman |
||17 Jul 1833
||England and Australia
|Skerman Family Story|
William Skerman was born in Hertford , England, the seventh child of John Skerman (1807-1875) and Maria Chesher (1809-1868). John Skerman's father (James) and brother (William) were well known as James Skerman & Son, clockmakers and bellfounders. They were associated with John Briant, the famous clockmaker of Hertford. Bells cast in Hertfordshire can be found throughout the east and the south of England. Skermans also manufactured gun parts in the Enfield Small Arms Factory and made agricultural implements. Business thrived until the economic recession that followed the end of the Crimean War (1853-1856) hit and the family decided to emigrate to Australia and start up a foundry in Brisbane with the assistance of the colonial government.
On 31st March, 1866, John Skerman and family (including his sons Frederick, William and Walter) sailed from the East India dock for Australia aboard the Black Ball liner, the 'Netherby'. On 14th July 1866, however, the ship ran aground off King Island in Bass Strait. Apparently the voyage to Brisbane was routed to the south of Tasmania but to save time the captain decided to take a short cut via the Bass Strait. While the 'Netherby' was wrecked without loss of life, the Skermans lost their valuable foundry equipment and tools. All passengers were rescued and transported to Melbourne and the Skermans (except William, his sister Caroline and her husband, William) resumed their voyage to Brisbane on the 'City of Melbourne' which arrived in Brisbane on 6th August 1866. Initially times were tough and John and Frederick were employed on building the road to the Toowong cemetery. In 1868 they acquired land in Harrisons Pocket, Samsonvale, north of Brisbane, and in 1901 Frederi ck and his son Jack established a blacksmiths and coach building business. Jack remained there until 1903 when he and his two brothers, Alf and Ernie, moved to Maleny to farm and establish sawmills. In 1904, Jack became the inaugural manager of the Maleny Dairy Cooperative factory.
After the wreck of the 'Netherby' William Skerman decided to stay in Melbourne, as did his sister Caroline and her husband, William. In 1867, renowned as an accomplished cornet player, William joined the band of HMS 'Galatea', which was the yacht commanded by Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria, who was visiting Australia as part of a world cruise. On the return of the 'Galatea' to Melbourne in 1869, William jumped ship (refer, NSW Police Gazette, 24 March 1869). Before he escaped to the Victorian bush and goldfields, William was hidden from the ship?s officers by his sister Caroline. By 1871 she and her husband were residing in Charlotte-terrace on King Street, West Melbourne. Living in the same terrace was a Miss Thompson, a school teacher. In a letter to his brother Joseph in England (dated Sept 3, 1899) William mentions how he met his future wife while visiting his sister in Melbourne after his return from spending two and half years in the bush learning how to be a farmer.
Miss Thompson was Hannah Grace Thompson (1846-1899). She was born in Dalston, London, and was a member of a well-off family of merchants. Her father was Thomas Thompson and her mother, Hannah Porter. There is some doubt as to when she left England. It may have been on the 'Caduceus' in 1870, but more likely she emigrated with her family on the 'Princess Royal' in 1848, landing in Adelaide.
In 1871, at the request of his father to rejoin his family in Queensland, William left Melbourne for Brisbane. Hannah followed and they were married on 22nd August 1872 in North Pine. Unlike his brothers, William had more of an academic bent and became a school teacher. He was the first teacher of the Samson Creek Provisional School which opened in 1874. He later transferred to the Kobble Creek State School near Samsonvale and taught there until 1898. By 1890 Crown Land Sales records show that William had acquired 161 acres and by 1894 another 99 acres, all in Samsonvale. He registered a cattle brand in 1887. In other words William was not only a teacher but a grazier. He was also an active member of the Presbyterian Church.
The family of William and Hannah Skerman grew steadily over time. In 1873 Edith was born followed by Herbert in 1876, Ethel in 1878, Annie in 1879, Violet in 1882, Ruth in 1883, Maria in 1884, Eva in 1885, William in 1887 and Frederick in 1889. By 1889, however, Hannah was in poor health and the family moved to Springhill in Brisbane where she died in 1899. William resided in 58 Union Street until moving to Maleny where he pioneered banana growing at Bald Knob, Maleny. He died there at his residence the 'The Ledge' in February 1918, leaving behind eight married daughters and one son. He was buried in Toowong cemetery alongside his wife Hannah.
Courtesy of George Whitlam, descendant of William Skerman of Maleny Qld
| ||1. Caroline Maria Skerman, b. circa 1835, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England , d. 7 Dec 1879, Queensland, Australia (Age ~ 44 years)|
| ||2. Lucy Chesher Skerman, b. circa 1837, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England |
| ||3. Joseph James Skerman, b. circa 1839, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England |
|+||4. Frederick John Skerman, b. 19 Jan 1842, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England , d. 7 Aug 1890, Rockangle Qld (Age 48 years)|
| ||5. Sarah Ann Skerman, b. circa 1844, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England |
| ||6. Maria Skerman, b. circa 1847, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England |
|+||7. William Skerman, b. 1848, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England , d. 21 Feb 1918, 'The Ledge', Bald Knob via Landsborough, Qld (Age 70 years)|
| ||8. Ann Elizabeth Skerman, b. 1851, Hertford, Hertfordshire,England , d. 23 Apr 1930, Queensland, Australia (Age 79 years)|
| ||9. Walter Skerman, b. circa 1853, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England |
||4 Jun 2016 |