Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Why Australia and Why Melbourne
As I research the Rerden family, I often wonder why James and Eleanor chose to emigrate and why they chose Australia to emigrate to. The colonies in Australia certainly were full of opportunity and the gold rushes in NSW and Victoria in the 1850s had created good economic and commercial situations. Were things that bad in the Channel Islands in the 1860s?
They seem to have come from a family of reasonable circumstances, James' father Philip Rerden was a carpenter according to the 1841 census, owned a quarter acre wheat property and paid rates(Boyd Rerden found this out)and was the Grand Master of the Caesarian Lodge of Oddfellows. The photo here shows a medalion the Lodge presented to Philip in 1839. It came to Australia and is still in the family.
The one thing we can be sure of is they were not supposed to end up in Melbourne, but rather Brisbane. That is where the Netherby was heading, direct to Brisbane, when it was shipwrecked on 14 July 1866 on King Island in Bass Strait. After being rescued the passengers and crew were moved to Melbourne and given a choice to continue on to Brisbane on another ship or stop in Melbourne. The Rerdens decided to stay in Melbourne. So, for most of their descendents who still call Victoria home, if it wasn't for the shipwreck you would all be living in Queensland, following Rugby League and supporting the Broncos!!