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The Woolnough family arrived in Launceston on "Whirlwind" on 10th January, 1855. The ship was a 978 ton clipper. "Whirlwind" was the largest ship to visit Launceston, and so was given considerable cover in the press. The ship, which although meeting with some bad luck and harsh conditions, and the loss of 44 lives, managed to arrive with a large number of passengers recruited by the Launceston Immigration Aid Society. The Rev. B. Drake had personally selected the immigrants from the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and he travelled with them. The Woolnoughs were among these immigrants. After setting out from London, the ship needed to put in to Plymouth for repairs to the rudder. Then followed an outbreak of scarlet fever, which necessitated removing the sick passengers to a hospital hulk. Those who had not recovered sufficiently to travel were left behind.

The ship finally left Plymouth on 4th January, and after a voyage of 86 days arrived in Launceston. In the Launceston Examiner, a list of the immigrants and their trades was given, for the benefit of those who might be seeking to employ them.


Thomas Woolnough was a shoemaker, born in Wilton, Norfolk. He married Susan HOWE, born in Icklingham, Norfolk, in 1827. After the birth of their first 2 children, the family moved to Eriswell, where the following 8 children were born. From here the family emigrated to Australia after their second eldest child, John, had already travelled to Australia, arriving in Victoria on "Sea" in May 1853, age 22. The entire Woolnough family decided to emigrate, including William, who was 26 and married to Sophia Fincham, with one child, and George, age 20, who was married to Emily Putterford. Unfortunately, Emily died the year after their arrival. There were 6 children travelling with Thomas and Susan, one child having died in Eriswell.

In 1867 Susan Howe died in Launceston of "decay of nature", age 60. She is described as "wife of Thomas, leather cutter.

Thomas married Eliza Emmerson later that year. He was 68, and she was 37.


This picture shows (l to r) Mary Ann Cowlishaw, Beryl Allard, George Woolnough, Maria Woolnough nee Cowlishaw, Muriel Allard, George Cowlishaw Hilda Cowlishaw. Seated in front, Doris Allard and George G W Allard

At the home of George Cowlishaw, Sandgate, Brisbane


William, born 1828, was described in the shipping list as a "schoolmaster". He arrived with his wife, Sophia FINCHAM, who was  school mistress ,age 30. Their first child, Hannah Sophia, was born about 1854, and came with them. They then had 7 children born in Tasmania. They later moved to Victoria.

John, born 1830, had arrived in Victoria in 1853, on "Sea". He married Phoebe SMITH, and they had 7 children. In 1855 they moved to Tasmania.

Hannah, born 1832, married Edward AYTON, who had been transported for 7 years on "Blenheim", arriving on 16 July 1837. He had previously been married to Mary Ann Moss, who died in child birth the year after their marriage. He was a Colonial Constable and also Publican at Nile Bridge in 1855. He was 42 when he married Hannah, who was 24. Hannah had 3 more husbands before her death in 1899.

George, born 1834, married Emily Putterfield in 1854 in Suffolk. Emily died a year after their arrival in Tasmania. In 1861, George married Maria COWLISHAW in Sydney, NSW. They had 2 children. For more about George, click on his name.

Eliza, born 1837, married Ebenezer HAMILTON in Launceston in 1858. Ebenezer had 3 children by his previous wife. They had 5 children. Ebenezer and Eliza lived for a time in New Zealand, and Fiji, where Ebenezer died, and Eliza returned with her remaining family to Australia.

Mary Ann, born 1839, died in 1843 in Eriswell, and is buried in the churchyard at Eriswell All Saints.

Thomas born in 1841, married Ellen MARSHALL in 1862 at Forden, Evandale, Tasmania. They had 12 children. At his marriage in the house of Edward Ayton, Thomas was described as a store keeper, Ellen as a servant.

Stephen, born 1844, a boot maker, married Lydia DOCKING in Launceston at the house of Thomas Woolnough. Lydia died in 1869. Stephen then married Louisa Jane BERINGER in Victoria.

James, born 1847, married Phoebe Esther HAWKE in 1875 in Bathurst. James was a Wesleyan minister posted to the Bathurst circuit. They had 3 children. Click on James' name to see more.

Elizabeth, born 1850, married Ernest Alfred JOHNSTON. He was a clerk, she a "shoemaker's daughter". They had 4 children.

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