My Family & Other Animals

James Lucas Born 23rd October, 1798

James Lucas was the eighth child of Nathaniel Lucas and Olivia Gascoigne. he was born on Norfolk Island on the 23rd of October, 1798, and was baptized on the island on the 29th August, 1802, by Rev. Henry Fulton. As a small boy he grew up with his brothers and sisters on Norfolk Island, living on the farm with his parents. By the late 1700's, Nathaniel, his father, was a very successful farmer with a large family to support. They raised pigs, grew a wide variety of vegetables and possibly some grain crops. In the letter written to his father, dated 20th October, 1796, Nathaniel mentions that Norfolk Island produces two crops in the one year, "one of wheat and one of Indian Corn".

Until the age of six and a half young James lived a quiet and interesting life in the midst of a successful farming family. The climate of Norfolk Island is mild and sub-tropical. The daily minimum temperatures vary between 11 and 23 degrees Celsius, the maximum temperature rarely exceeding 26 degrees. although not large, measuring about 8 km by 5km, the island's population by 1804 had grown to 1,100 people. However, it was a long sea voyage of 1,676 km to Sydney away to the southwest and this isolation and the expense of upkeep of the settlement, led to it being abandoned in 1814.

Nathaniel, his wife Olivia and their family left well before this. Nathaniel had visited Sydney on private business in 1804 and in 1805 he had brought his entire family to Sydney. There he was appointed Superintendent of the Government Timber Mill and thus the young James with his brothers and sisters grew in the early years of Sydney town. Governor Bligh's map of Sydney in 1807 shows the Lucas house in Church Street, on a corner block adjoining the church land and looking out over Cockle Bay. It was half-way between Barrack Row and Fort Phillip, and was not far from the lumber yard which was in High Street.

James Lucas was nine years of age in 1807, and as he grew up, so Sydney town grew up with him. From details on the inquest of his death in Victoria in 1869, we learn that he was a very sociable person, always ready with a joke and very much at home in the company of others. It is quite probable that he had learned these qualities in the small-town atmosphere of Sydney between 1805-1818. His death certificate gives his occupation as carpenter and again it is quite probable that he learned this trade from his father. We have no accurate information on this but it seems most likely that as a teenager, James assisted his father in various building jobs he undertook around Sydney. Of course, living in the heart of Sydney, we can be sure that James, the bright young teenager, knew the dusty unpaved streets and the dockyard areas around the town very well.

Following the death of his father in 1818, the young James, together with his mother Olivia and other members of the family, left Sydney to settle along the River Tamar near Launceston, Tasmania, while at least some of the older children decided to stay in Sydney. In 1818 James Lucas was 20 years old. In 1819 at St. John's Church in Launceston, James married 17-year-old Elizabeth Murray, born on the 6th March, 1802, she was the second child of Kennedy Murray 1 and Ann White. Like her husband, Elizabeth was born on Norfolk Island.

Her father Kennedy Murray 1 was convicted in Lanarkshire, Glasgow, on the 21st September, 1786 and came out with the first group of Scottish convicts on the sailing ship "Pitt", arriving in Sydney on the 14th February, 1792. It is likely that the Murray family knew the Lucas family on Norfolk Island in the years before 1805, and renewed the acquaintanceship when the Lucas family, with their mother, arrived in Launceston in 1818. Elizabeth's mother, Ann White, had remarried Richard Sydes, an overseer of Blacksmiths, and by then 1819,Elizabeth had a four-year-old half-sister, Margaret Sydes, who in 1830 was also to marry into the Lucas family. Her husband-to-be was Thomas, the youngest of the Lucas family, who was 12 years of age by November 1819.

The young bride Elizabeth Murray brings an interesting heritage to the James Lucas branch of the family. Family historians of the Kennedy Murray 1 family say that Elizabeth was a descendant of John Murray, the first Duke of Atholl. In any case, the marriage of James Lucas and Elizabeth Murray was a very successful one. They had 50 years of married life together. The book, "Flotsam and Jetsam" by Henry Button, lists all the first settlers along the River Tamar, Launceston. Among them is the farm later to be called "Cormiston". This is most likely the property which James and Elizabeth farmed for many years and where some of their family grew up.

Their first son, James Junior, was born on the 2nd of July, 1820. It was a large family, fourteen of them surviving to adulthood. From the varying birthplaces of their children, it would appear that James and Elizabeth moved several times during their stay in V.D.L. From 1820 to 1825, they were in or near Launceston. From 1826 to 1838, they were in the Longford area. From 1839 to 1846, they were in the Evandale area and probably here, south of Launceston, until leaving for Victoria in 1854. The parents and grown children seem to have remained one large family unit until at least 1842, when the first of the girls began to marry. Between 1842 and 1847, four of the girls, Olivia, Mary Ann, Anne and Sarah, all married into families near Launceston, respectively being the Reed, Wise, Hammant, and Arch families.

On Monday, 23rd March, 1840, a 45-ton schooner "Perseverance" with Captain Cowell in command, arrived in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, having left Launceston, V.D.L., on the previous Thursday, the 19th March, 1840. An article in the Port Phillip Herald for Tuesday, 24th March, 1840, describes the ship's arrival and lists the passengers, amongst these is Mr. J. Lucas. This is almost certainly James Junior, who had followed his uncle, Thomas Lucas (1807-1888) and family, who had arrived in Melbourne the previous year, 1839. It is not known why the 19-year-old James had left Launceston. However, it is known that shortly after arrival, his uncle and family had moved to Geelong, and it is reasonably certain that James, joined them there.

At any rate, the young James was certainly in Geelong nine years later when on the 27th February, 1849, he married Hannah Tainton. Her bridesmaid was Margaret Lucas, and although James did have a younger sister Margaret, who was 15 years old in 1849, this bridesmaid was most probably his cousin Margaret who was 17 years old in February 1849 and the eldest child of his Uncle Thomas.

James and Hannah had nine children.

The gold rush to Ballarat began, and although we do not know their exact movements, it is reasonably certain that James, Hannah, and their young family moved to the Ballarat district in the early 1850's. Huge amounts of gold were being discovered around Ballarat in the first years of the gold rush, and the prospects were so good that James Senior, his wife Elizabeth, and the younger children of their family were enticed to leave V.D.L., and come to Victoria. Details from their death certificates would indicate that they came over in 1854. It is thought they first lived in Ballarat but after 1857, moved to Carngham, some 22 km's to the South-West on the Beaufort Road, good payable gold having been discovered in the Carngham-Snake Valley area in September, 1857. For both James Senior and Elizabeth Murray, Carngham was to be their last resting place.

Children of James Lucas and Elizabeth Murray.

A. JamesI. Thomas B. ElizabethJ. John C. OliviaK. Charles D. Mary AnnL. Martha E. AnneE. AnneM. Caroline F. SarahN. EmmaG. William O. NathanielH. MargaretP. George

Martha and Caroline were twins, Martha died age (approx. 3 months)


  1. Very good article. What is a little interesting is that the Murrays are my mother's family. Not far from Carngham is a village called Blakeville where my mother's mother's family, the Ashtons, had lived and worked from 1855 till about 1890. As far as i know, the two families didn't mix. I suppose Ballarat road was the divide in that area.

    1. Thanks Colin. I also have my family tree on if you are interested, where you can find more info on my ancestors. I started the blog as a way to share my information with family over seas and it has grown since then. Yours Sheryl :)

  2. email =

    Just an update for you on Kennedy Murray- my brother Rob is a direct male descendent of Kennedy Murray through his son James (NSW) and then his son Solomon. Rob had his YDNA tested at FTDNA a few months ago and it turns out that Kennedy Murray was actually a MacGregor. All of his Y matches are MacGregors with a match to the head of the current MacGregor Clan. We had my uncle, who is also a direct descendent, tested just to be sure and he also tests as a MacGregor. The MacGregor name was banned in Scotland for around 150 years (on and off) and Murray was a common alias.
    Apparently the history stems from the Battle of Glen Fruin.

    The Battle of Glen Fruin was fought on 7 February 1603 between the Clan Gregor and its allies on one side, and the Clan Colquhoun and its allies on the other. Glen Fruin is located in the Loch Lomond area, in the county of Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

    Preceding the Clan Colquhoun's defeat at Glen Fruin, James VI of Scotland issued an edict in April 1603 that proclaimed the name of MacGregor as "altogidder abolisheed". This meant that anyone who bore the name must renounce it or suffer death. In 1604, MacGregor and eleven of his chieftains were hanged at Mercat Cross, Edinburgh. As a result, the Clan Gregor was scattered, with many taking other names such as Murray or Grant. They were hunted like animals and flushed out of the heather by bloodhounds.

    Historical Background: The MacGregor bloodline traces its origin to a Gregor who lived in the 14th century though some genealogies go back further, to King Alpin. King Alpin’s descendants are said to have become the founders of not only Clan Gregor but, among others, the MacKinnons, MacQuarries, MacAulays and MacAlpines. The history of the MacGregors is a turbulent one and as a result the name was banned (proscribed) from 1603 to 1775, although in practice the worst years were from 1603-1642. From 1660-1693 the ban was in fact lifted, but it was re-imposed on the accession of King William of Orange as ‘punishment’ for the MacGregors taking the wrong side. This later ban had most effect in commercial terms since one could not use the MacGregor name on official documents. Many MacGregor families did not retake the clan name when it finally became legal to do so, and as a result, the Clan Gregor Society now recognises more septs and aliases than perhaps any other clan. Our hope is that over time it will be possible to understand more of the clan’s history from McGregor DNA project. Certainly there is no doubt that those who find that their DNA matches the bloodline will be able to claim a connection with the traditional genealogies, even if, for their particular family, the paper trail has dried up.

    In the 18th century there were disputes over the chieftainship but eventually John Murray (later MacGregor) of Lanrick was recognised. The MacGregors of Glengyle disputed this but eventually, following a petition signed by 800 MacGregors, the Lord Lyon recognised him as chief in 1775.

    Our paper trail has dried up and still looking. That is why we could never get past Kennedy's parents.

    More at

  3. Hi Sheryl, Have just read your very interesting article! I have just come back from Norfolk Island on a family research trip....what and experience!I am a direct descendant of Nathaniel and Olivia Lucas (4th Great Grandparents, James' parents). I am also a descendant of Ann White who was my 4th Great Grandmother (and Elizabeth Murrays mother), and her husband Richard Sydes. Nathaniel and Olivias last child, Thomas was my 3rd Great Grandfather, his daughter with Margaret Sydes, Amelia Lucas, was my Grandmothers Grandmother (my 2nd Great Grandmother)


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