Joseph Eyles

Another interesting character in my family tree is Joseph Eyles, a convict who came to have a very successful life in Australia.

Joseph was born on the 1st December 1773 in Marlborough, England. He was the son of Sir Joesph Eyles (1743-1840) and Mary Dudley (1744-1840). In October 1796, Joseph was committed to stand trial for the theft of 40lbs of lead. In January 1797 he was found guilty and was sent to the prison hulk The Fortune, where he spent two and a half long years before being transferred to the ship Canada for transportation to Australia. He finally arrived in Australia in 1801 . In 1805 he was assigned to the whaling ship King George and by 1807 he was free by servitude.

Joseph had married Elizabeth Dixon (1784-1811) in Parramatta on the 6th November 1804. Unfortunately Elizabeth died in 1811 at the age of 27.

On the 4th February 1815, Joseph married Elizabeth Smith (1785-1854). Elizabeth was also a convict, who was sentenced to transportation for stealing a gown and arrived in Sydney in October 1811 on the ship Friends. Interestingly, it appears that the name ‘Smith’ was an alias used by Elizabeth and her real surname was actually either Trebble or Trible. Elizabeth had a daughter, Anne (1802-1853), from a previous relationship.

Joseph and Elizabeth had six children together – Joseph (1812-1865), John (1814-1878), Mary Ann (1816-1890), William (1818-1859), James (1820-1907) and Elizabeth (1824-1898).

In 1810, Joseph was living with Elizabeth and her daughter Anne on land in Field of Mars – 6ha of land leased from John Macarthur. That land was on Marsden Rd almost opposite Mobbs Lane and on it, Joseph planted a peach orchard. In 1821, John Macarthur gave up all his properties in the Pennant Hills district in exchange for land in the Cowpastures (Camden). By this time, five of the Eyles children had been born.

In 1822, Joseph asked Governor Brisbane to grant him the land on which he was living in exchange for 20ha that he been granted by Governor Macquarie to the north of his peach orchard. The 1822 Muster lists Joseph’s farm as comprising of 6 acres of wheat, 6 acres of corn, 2.5 acres of oats, 1 acre of potatoes and a 1 acre orchard. He also had a horse and 16 hogs.

Joseph’s request for more land was not finally settled until 1832 although Joseph had built a much grander house and planted more peaches on his original orchard.

In the meantime, in January 1828, Joseph was made a Constable at Parramatta. That appointment provided him with an income (3/15/- per half-year) and government rations, also obtainable half-yearly.

Of Joseph’s sons, Joseph Jnr moved to the Richmond River in northern NSW where he supplied goods and services to the cedar cutters. John moved to Ballina, William remained in the Carlingford district, as did James who became a pillar of the Wesleyan Church (now Uniting Church) on Marsden Rd. That church was established in 1825. James built a fine house on Marsden Rd. That house, still standing, was named “Caskie Ben” after a parish near Aberdeen in Scotland.

Joseph died on the 26th June 1856 in Dundas and was buried at All Saints Cemetery in Parramatta along with his wife Elizabeth and her daughter Ann.

Eyles Family Grave



Filed under Australian history, Convicts, Pioneers

26 responses to “Joseph Eyles

  1. Michael

    Hello I am also related to Joseph Eyles he is my 4th Great Grandfather from his daughter Mary. I have a photograph of Joseph Eyles I am not sure that it’s authentic given that photography was not common at the time. Do you have one?

  2. Hi Michael,
    Nice to hear from you.
    My relationship to Joseph is certainly not as direct as yours. He was the father-in-law of my 3rd Great Uncle.
    I have never seen a photo of Joseph but it would certainly be interesting if the photo you have is authentic. The closest I have is the photo of his headstone that I have posted here – not nearly as interesting as a photo of the man himself.

  3. Lisa Hobourn

    Hi Michael, i am also related to Joseph Eyles through his daughter, Mary Ann Eyles and i also have a photo of Joseph Eyles and have spoken to the descendent that i think has the original. Mary Ann Eyles and Alexander McDonald is buried at Top Ryde.

    • Sandie van der Stolk

      Hello Lisa
      You will see from my post that I am also related to Joseph through his son, John, through John’s daughter Mary Elizabeth. I wonder if your photograph is the same as Michael’s. Is it possible for you to post it here?

  4. Hi Lisa,
    It’s great to hear that you also have a photo of Joseph. I wonder if it is the same photo that Michael has? I would love to see a copy if either you or Michael are willing to share it.
    Can you tell me any more about Mary Ann? I have only brief details of her life and nothing about her husband or children. What I do have is that she was born on 18 Jun 1816 in the Parramatta area and died on 6 Oct 1890 in Concord.
    Any further details would be appreciated.

    • Lisa Hobourn

      I’m sorry for not relying but I’ve only just come across your request. If you provide me with an email address I can forward to you what I have on my line.

      • Sandie van der Stolk

        Hi Lisa
        I am a direct descendant of Joseph through his son John, and would just love to see a photograph of him – so curious to see what our ancestor looked like! Would you be kind enough to email me a copy? I would be so grateful. My email is

  5. Jasmin

    Hello and wow, I stumbled upon this while ‘googling” family history for an upcoming visit to Sydney.

    I am related to Joseph Eyles through my paternal Grandmother (Gertrude Rose Eyles) her parents were cousins John George Eyles & Mary Ruby May Eyles….try explaining that to my daughter who simply goes ewww. Gertrude (or Rose as she was known) passed on a few years ago.

    Unfortunately I am estranged from my Paternal side of the family but it is nice to find some history about where my ancestors came from.


    • Hi Jasmin,
      Nice to hear from you. Glad that you stumbled across the blog and hope you found some interesting information.
      My connection to Joseph is very distant – through marriage into the Mobbs Family, who are my more direct descendants. However, Joseph was such as interesting man who seems to have a lot of descendants, so I thought it would be worthwhile researching his life.
      If you are visiting Sydney, you might want to make a trip to St Paul’s Church Cemetery at Carlingford. You will find quite a few Eyles graves there. I have written a post about the cemetery on this blog if you want to know more.

    • carol o'brien nee mallet

      hi i am a relo of yours gertrude rose was my aunty my mother was here sister elise

  6. Craig Willis

    I am related directly to Joseph Eyles through Alexander Eyles and Freda Eyles who was my Grandmother on my fathers side.
    Many Eyles graves are located in a disused cemetery behind the Swanes/Catts nursery in Carlingford. Hannah Catt was my great great grandmother.
    I have visited the graves as my mother lives in a retirement home near the place where they are buried.
    The graves are in poor condition though someone mows the grass etc.
    I can be contacted on the following email

    • Hi Craig,
      Nice to find another Eyles relative. I visited the old St Paul’s Church Cemetery at Carlingford a few times myself when I was living in Sydney. It’s very sad to see it so overgrown, although last time I visited it did seem that it had been given some attention. I have photographed a lot of the graves there and you can find the photos on my family tree on the Ancestry website if you are interested. It’s the Goddard / Timmins / Armstrong / Dorman Family Tree.

      • Craig Willis

        Thanks Rachel
        I have some old photos of Freda on her wedding day..she married James Willis who was a builder in the Eastwood area, and my father was born at Lauriston House which is now a reception place.
        Many of the Eyles family homes have been renovated as well.

  7. Craig Willis

    Hi Rachel
    I have found a photo of Joseph in a cabinet at “Lauriston” House formerly known as “Clifford”. Its a reception place and has been for over 50 years but they have a photo of Joseph as an old man…and many Eyles family letters in a cabinet. They have promised they will scan them and send to me. I took another trip to the Cemetery today and took some photos of Alexander and Hannah’s grave. It really is a shame to see the place in such a mess, however the lawn had been mown in the last few months, but some of the graves are in terrible condition.
    Craig Willis

    • Sandie van der Stolk

      Dear Craig
      What great news! I would be so grateful if you could send me a copy of the photograph and hopefully photocopies of any documents if the owners are kind enough to provide them. Also distressing with regard to the state of graves. Perhaps we can lobby the heritage council to do something about it.
      My email address is (
      Best to you

  8. Hi Craig,
    That’s wonderful about the photo. I would love a copy if you have a chance to email it to me (

    • Craig Willis

      I will Rachel via your email address….just stumbled upon it!!
      I will wait for the owners to send it to me

  9. Priscilla

    I am a descendant of Edward Mcdonald and Sarah Liddiard ‘s son Edward and his wife Jane Stack

    • Priscilla

      Any info for Edward Sarah Ann Alexander McDonald appreciated also Sarah Liddiard Happy to give you what I have

      • Hi Priscilla,
        I wonder if one of the blog’s readers can help you? I’ve just had a quick look through my tree and unfortunately I don’t have any information on any of the people you’ve mentioned.
        Best of luck with your research!

  10. I am a direct descendant of Joseph and have visited his grave site as well as others. I am writing my bio so that is why I am researching. Here is my link.. Joseph & Elizabeth then William Eyles and Matilda Mobbs then William James Eyles and Ann Drew Hitchcock then Wiliam Drew Eyles and Mary Hartas, my great grandparents then William Drew Eyles and Rita Burgess my grandparents then William Drew Eyles my father then there is me.. William Drew Eyles plus my son and grand son to carry on. You will find that Joseph was not descended from Mary Dudley and Sir Jo Eyles but another couple who spelled their name Isles.. The Joseph Eyles son of Mary Dudley died in England and ever came to Australia as far as my research goes.

  11. Hi there,
    After coming across this site by accident while looking for Elizabeth Eyles info, I thought I’d mention, as I am just starting back into my family history… my grandmother was Ethel Myra Midson, who’s mother was Elizabeth Eyles, who’s mother was Matilda Mobbs, & Maria Grono was Matilda’s mother. I know this is correct as I’ve been to the Grono family reunion, ( 2013).
    This is all so amazing to me as I had no information about my fathers family.

    • Hi Myra,
      Lovely to hear from you.
      Thank you for the information. My tree had followed that line of the family down to your Great Grandmother Elizabeth Eyles, but I hadn’t researched any further. I will now add some more information to my tree for your line.
      You can find my tree on the Ancestry website if you think there may be information in it that would be useful to you. It’s known as the Goddard/Timmins/Armstrong/Dorman Family Tree.
      I have also found the Grono Family Association website very useful –
      It must have been great to be able to go along to the reunion in 2013. I believe the next reunion will be in May 2015. Hopefully I can make that one.
      Best of luck with your research!

  12. Priscilla

    Still looking for information of Edward Mcdonald “Active” and Sarah Liddiard.
    If anyone can help

    • Hi Priscilla,
      I don’t appear to have information about either Edward or Sarah in my tree but I did find some information about them on the Ancestry RootsWeb community website.
      There’s a post from 2007 from one of Edward’s descendants that gives the following information…
      Edward was a member of the Grenadier Guards. He was arrested on 17 Mar 1790 for stealing and was sentenced to 7 years transportation. He arrived in Sydney aboard the ship “Active” on 26 Sep 1791.
      He became a policeman in the Field of Mars area and then a District Constable at Parramatta. He also held the licence for the Hope & Anchor Hotel on George St in Sydney in the 1830s. A notice for his wife Mary’s death in 1843 mentions that he was a publican.
      He had 3 partners. The first was Sarah Liddiard (formerly Tillery and Richardson) from 1797 to 1804. There is conflicting information about whether they had 3 or 4 children (I can’t find any births at all listed on NSW BDM Index). He also married Mary Burkit in 1807 (they had no children) and finally Elizabeth Nock in 1843.
      Edward also apparently owned a plot of land at Lot 4 Parramatta Rd.
      This information comes from here –
      Hopefully you might be able to contact Lina, who provided this information or possibly find some other relatives who could help you through the RootsWeb community.
      Good Luck!

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