Tuesday, 28 January 2014

John Pike/Pyke - my first Aussie arrival

John Pike/Pyke was my 3rd great grandfather.
He was the son of Joseph Pike and Elizabeth nee Cartwright of Rathangan, Kildare, Ireland.  John was a Bounty Immigrant on the ship Coromandel arriving in Australia on the 10th of July 1840,  occupation listed as farmyard clerk.

His sisters Eliza, Rebecca and Sarah had already arrived here in February of that year in the company of their other sister Marian, a school teacher, and her husband John Armstrong.

John Armstrong was a schoolmaster and he kept a diary with regular daily entries.  This diary held the only mention or record of John Pike's death in 1847 as for some unknown reason no death registration or certificate has been found.

John Pike had become an Overseer at two Aboriginal Protectorates in Victoria.

In 1840 the Aboriginal Protectorate at Mitchellstown was re-located to the future site of Murchison township, with William Le Souef in charge.  Murchison or Goulburn was one of four Aboriginal Protectorates.

On the 7th of September, 1842 John married Isabella Beaton at St. James Cathedral Melbourne.

They went on to have 3 daughters.
Jane born 9 Aug 1843 at Goulburn River, Murchison.
Eliza born 17 Nov 1844 at River Loddon
Mary Ann (my great great grandmother) born 10 May 1847 at River Loddon

Eliza and Mary Ann weren't baptised until January 1848.

In 1843 Isabella was appointed school mistress or matron of the Aboriginal establishment , for this situation it was said she was well qualified with her clean habits and general good conduct.

The protectorate system was abolished in 1851, and the remains of the Murchison site have not been established.

John Pike left the Goulburn Aboriginal Station on the 6th of May 1844 for the River Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate.  The Assistant Protector of Aborigines there was Edward Stone Parker.

Loddon River Protectorate photo from Wikimedia commons

An entry in John Armstrong's diary for January 1848 reads as follows:
"Had a letter from a Mr. Bicknell, Aboriginal Station, River Loddon, Port Phillip district, containing intelligence of the death of John Pike on the 10 Nov.  He has left a wife and 3 daughters under 4 years.  His disorder was Tympanitis and was preceded by influenza which he got while on a visit to Melbourne.  He had returned from there in the beginning of Nov.  Mrs P was living at Mr Parker's - Head of the station"

John Pike's widow remarried in November 1848 to George Harrison ............ and there lies a whole other story.


  1. Fascinating Kerryn... I'm wondering where in Australia your John Pike landed, on the Coramandel? I say this simply because it brought many to South Australia and our "Coramandel Valley" is named after the ship... although immigrant ships did land in many different ports, of course... ;-)
    Due to extreme curiosity I looked up "Tympanitis", in a list of old names for illnesses, and it describes Tympany as "a swelling or tumour". I'm guessing John was buried at the Rover Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate? ... Thanks, great post!!!

    1. Thanks Catherine, no one has found where John was buried although Denise McCracken did write to Daylesford history society to see if he was buried at Franklinford but there was no record. They say he may possibly have been buried near the Parker family plot where there are a lot of unmarked graves. Fire apparently destroyed early records.
      The Coromandel arrived at Port Phillip before going on the New Zealand I think.

  2. I was thinking similarly to Catherine about the ship Coromandel. My question though is do you know what a farmyard clerk did? I'm trying to think what a clerk would be needed for on a farm. Great post Kerryn!!

    1. Hi Kylie, thank you. Perhaps a farmyard clerk was in charge of the farm accounts or keeping of animal husbandry records ... if they did that back then. I didn't find anything in google search.