Turnbull Clan Association

New South Wales, Australia

In reference to Ebenezer Church Celebrates 200th Year, Bullseye, Volume 9, Issue 8, October, 2009


Of those eight free seebenezer250cttlers who arrived in Australia on the Coromandel in 1802, six were Scottish.  Only John Howe and William Stubbs were considered to be English. John Howe was from Redbourne in Lancashire & William Stubbs ancestry is not known, though he may have been from Northumberland of Scottish descent, as was the case with many many Northumbrians in the 17/18th centuries.

Of the fifteen families involved in the construction of the old church 1808/09, it's a fact that they all became related, by marriage and birth, one way or another. In those early days there were very few young people in the colony, so choosing a partner depended on one’s means of transport. It was either a boat up and down the river or by horse, if you could afford to own one.

I know from research regarding our family over many years that the Turnbulls are related to twelve of those fifteen families and that would apply to all of the fifteen families connected to the Hawkesbury river area. The only other people in the area that early would have been the emancipist's who by now had begun to spread, own land & marry. Of course the children of the free settlers became involved and married children of those freed convict families. There was no other way than this to populate and survive in those times.

I believe some of the families may have already been related long before they arrived in Australia in 1802, from England. All but Davison had been working in London for some years before they emigrated. James Davison's wife was Andrew Johnston's sister & James had been working in the Newcastle area before emigrating.

Ebenezer Church is not of Northumberland design - it was designed by Andrew Johnston whose family descended from generations of Johnston/Waugh connections in the Gordon area of Berwickshire. The renown Rev. Alexander Waugh (also born in Gordon) of Wells St. Scotch Church in London was Andrew Johnston’s cousin.

Only the Turnbulls appear to have had some of their children baptized in Wells St., but it seems all of those eight pioneer families worshipped regularly in another Scottish Church, the Crown Court Chapel in London because on the wall in that Scottish Church is a plaque dedicated to the memory of the eight families and their immigration to Australia.

It's recorded here that the Ebenezer Church is the simple barn style of building preferred by Scots Presbyterian worshippers who were supporters of the Free Church in Scotland. It had nothing to do with Northumberland -Ebenezer Church was Presbyterian until late in the 20th century when it was taken over by the Uniting system.

Each of those early families contributed greatly to the success of this new colony which to-day is still only 221 years old, very young by universal country standards.

Though land and farming was the reason for them coming to this country originally, by the mid 19th century many were becoming involved in early politics both judicial and legal, teaching and in medical systems while others became involved in religion. Today we have become possibly the largest family in the country.

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