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The Robertsons

Belinda's Ramsay and Robertson Family History

The ROBERTSON Family in Australia
- where they came from
Click on  blue link to go to more information on each family.
This page will give you a brief overview of the Robertson side of my family, mainly the first person from each family to arrive in Australia.  This includes the Playfair and Creers, and any families connected to them. More details will be found on the sites which I will link to this one.

Our family tree includes 2 seperate Robertson families

1. DUNCAN  ROBERTSON, born Alvie, Inverness, Scotland, emigrated to Tasmania (then called Van Diemans Land). He arrived with 8 of his children, one having remained in Scotland, and one having preceded them to Australia. His wife was Margaret Stewart, they were married in Alvie in 1826. They arrived on "Storm Cloud", in August 1855, and from there crossed to Portland in Victroia.The entire family were involved in grazing properties, moving to South Australia and NSW.
Their 6th child, Duncan ROBERTSON, married Alice Struan ROBERTSON, daughter of John ROBERTSON and Margaret Emma DAVIES.

JAMES ROBERTSON, a clock and watch maker, came to Australia on "Providence" in 1822. He brought with him his wife Anna Maria RIPLEY, and six children. Two more children were born in Sydney. Their 4th child, John, became Premier of NSW, in opposition to and sometimes in coalition with, Sir Henry PARKES. John ROBERTSON was Knighted in 1875.
John married Margaret Emma DAVIES.


Margaret STEWART was born in Gaich, Scotland in 1807, and married Duncan ROBERTSON in Alvie in 1826.

Anna Maria RIPLEY was born about 1876 in Essex, England. Her father was Thomas RIPLEY, a Mathematical Instrument maker.


John Joseph DAVIES came to Australia on "Lady Rowena" on 20th August 1830. He was accompanied by his wife Mary Ann and 3 children. One of these would have been his step daughter, Mary Ann SCHULDHAM, and the other two his daughters Louisa Jane and Margaret Emma. Margaret Emma was to marry John ROBERTSON.
John J DAVIES was a well educated man who set up a school in Sydney, and published a book of Mathematical tables.
After the death of his first wife, John Joseph DAVIES married Caroline Mary LEAPER.


Mary Ann BARKER was the first wife of John Joseph DAVIES and arived in Sydney with him aboard the "Lady Rowena" in 1830. They were married in London in 1826, and she was a widow. She died in 1839, after starting a Dame School for Girls in Sydney.
Mary Ann's 4 brothers had preceded her arrival in the colony.


John Thomas PLAYFAIR, known as Thomas PLAYFAIR, arrived in Melbourne on the navy ship "Pelorus", in September 1859. Leaving the Navy, he then travelled to Sydney abord "SS London" in October 1859. There he was to set up in the meat trade with a butchery in partnership with Edmund John BAILEY, "Bailey & Co.". Later they traded as Bailey and Playfair, but after Bailey's death, Thomas bought out his widow, and began to trade solely under the Playfair name.
Thomas PLAYFAIR was born at Earl's Colne in Essex, England, and was the son of Thomas Playfair and Mary Ann ARNOLD.
He married first Helen (Ellen) MATHESON, daughter of Thomas MATHESON and Mary STRAITH. After her death, he married Georgina MATHESON, daughter of Thomas MATHESON and Jane WILKINSON.
Thomas was Mayor of Sydney.


Thomas MATHESON arrived in Sydney on "Lady Kennaway" in 1838, with his wife Mary STRAITH, and their three children.
Thomas was the son of Margaret MATHESON, of Helmsdale, Scotland. They had one more child in Australia, before Mary died, and Thomas married Jane WILKINSON with whom he had 5 children. Jane was born in London, England, the daughter of George WILKINSON.
Thomas was a Tailor.


Mary STRAITH was born in Aberdeen in Scotland, the daughter of Alexander STRAITH and Christian BURNIE. She was born in 1813, and died in Sydney in 1841. She was a dress maker.

Joseph CREER emigrated to Australia with his two brothers Edward and Henry. Joseph arrived in South Australia about 1848. They were all seafaring men, and moved to the Northern Rivers of NSW where they were all involved in the Clarence and Richmond River Steam Ship Co. Joseph later moved to Sydney to become the Master of Pilots on Sydney Harbour.
Joseph married (2) Sarah Needham May FERRERS in 1861 in Adelaide. They raised 13 children, and also the son of Joseph's first wife Sarah Jane Cain. They lived at Watson's Bay near the Sydney Harbour Heads.
Joseph was the son of Edward CREER and Sarah DICKINSON, of the Isle of man. He was born on the Isle of Man in 1826, and died at Watson's Bay in 1909.


John Henry Needham FERRERS is my most elusive ancestor. He married in Tasmania in 1842, giving his occupation as 'carpenter'. This is the first date that is established for him. I have found no record of him in the UK, although family stories connect him with Laurence Shirley, Earl Ferrers, who was executed in 1760 for the murder of his steward.
He signed his marriage certificate "Henry Ferrers".
After the birth of his daughter Sarah Needham May FERRERS, the family moved to Adelaide in South Australia.
FERRERS was known as Henry, John Henry, and eventually John Henry Needham FERRERS in his various land dealings and dealings with the government.
He was married to Mary BENNETT, who was born in Cornwall. He was born about 1812, and died in 1858 in Adelaide.


Richard BENNETT came to Tasmania on board "Orleana" in 1842. With him were his wife Alice MARSHALL and 8 of his 10 children. His son Richard was not on the shipping list, but travelled a few years later to Adelaide. Richard Bennett's youngest child was born in Tasmania. Richard was born in Corwall in England in 1796, and died in 1870 in Adelaide. He was married in Lewannick, Cornwall. His parents were Richard BENNETT and Joan WHALE.

See the Surnames page for names connected with the Robertsons.