Biography of Edward Kimberley

by Greg Wighton (E-mail: Greg Wighton)


Edward (1762--1829) was the youngest of seven children to John Kimberley and Hannah (nee Bate) of Warwickshire, England. On 20 March 1783 Edward was tried in the Court of Assizes at Coventry, Warwickshire for feloniously stealing several parcels of muslin from the shop of Mrs. Lewis. He was sentenced to seven years transportation, and in 1788 he arrived in the colony of New South Wales aboard the ship Scarborough - the second largest vessel in the First Fleet, and an all-male prison ship.

After gaining his freedom, Edward married Mary Cavenor on 20 Oct 1791 at St. Phillips, Sydney. Mary had been indicted at the Old Bailey on 2 Apr 1788 for stealing 5 yards of printed cotton. She was duly found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation, arriving on the Lady Juliana in the second fleet in 1790.

Edward and Mary's first child Maria was born on 6 Oct 1791, and shortly after this the family sailed for Norfolk Island on 26 Nov 1791 on board the Atlantic. When their next child Hannah was born in 1794, Edward's occupation was recorded as a farmer.

Within a year of his arrival on Norfolk Island, Edward was selling grain to stores, and by October 1793 he had cultivated seven of his ten ploughable acres, and had hired a labourer for three months in May 1794.

Edward was one of the first ex-convict settlers to be granted land on Norfolk Island. He received his initial grant on 13 Dec 1796 (lot No 60), comprising 12 acres located on the eastern side of the North-East branch of Arthur's Vale, adjoining Thomas Eddington's grant. Also in 1796 Edward is recorded as leasing an adjoining sixty-acre block. Edward and Mary's first son William was born in this year, and their fourth child Mary was born in 1798.

At some point Edward was also appointed Chief Constable. Robert "Buckey" Jones' memoirs vividly describe some of the brutality he inflicted, which is surprising considering that Edward was once a convict himself!

When the decision was made to abandon Norfolk Island, Edward left behind 35 acres of cleared land and 29 acres of uncleared land. For three shingled and boarded two-story houses, a large barn shingled, boarded and floored, and nine log outhouses he was paid 90, and held a stock entitlement of 87. This had been their home for 17 years, almost to the day.

Edward, Mary and their 3 youngest children; William, Hannah and Mary; sailed from Norfolk Island on 9 Sep 1808 on the City of Edinburgh, arriving in the Derwent River on 2 Oct 1808. Maria had married young Daniel Stanfield (in what was known as a "Norfolk Island marriage") before leaving Norfolk Island, and thus they sailed as Daniel Stanfield Jnr and wife, also on the City of Edinburgh. Their marriage was solemnized by Rev. Robert Knopwood on 17 Oct 1808, shortly after their arrival.

The influx of the 554 Norfolk Island settlers swelled the population of the Derwent River settlement to over 1000. The Norfolk Island settlers were then divided into three classes according to their origin or wealth and were located at Hobart Town, Pittwater, Norfolk Plains and Clarence Plains.

Edward Kimberley was granted 140 acres on the Clarence Plains adjoining his son-in-law Daniel Stanfield Jnr. and which is now the site of the Rokeby Police Academy. He was once again by the waterside, farming twice as many acres as he previously had on Norfolk, and was still among his long-time friends. Daniel Stanfield's first windmill for gristing grain, located on his own land, failed as there was barely enough wind to operate it successfully, so it was relocated to Edward's land, and this became known as "Windmill Point". Apparently several Gardinelle pear trees dating from the time of the mill are still standing and bearing at the second mill site. They were known as "Regatta" pears as their fruit came to maturity at the time of the local regatta.

On 29 Aug 1814 Hannah Kimberley married William Melner Nichols
On 10 June 1816 William Kimberley married Sarah Stanfield
On 2 Sep 1816 Mary Kimberley married Michael Lackey

It is recorded (HTG) that Edward and his son had large commissariat meat and wheat contracts 1816-1818, but the fifty pounds reward notice posted in the HTG from March-June 1819 demonstrates that sheep and cattle thieves, and bushrangers, were a constant problem.

In 1817 Edward also owned 50 acres at York Plains. From 1814 to 1820 he was also a District Constable. His house at Clarence Plains was also the muster point for the general musters held on 14 Nov 1816 and 5 Sep 1817.

On 11 Aug 1821 Lt. Gov. Sorell wrote to Gov. Macquarie asking if an exchange of land at Clarence Plains could be affected. The land in question belonged to Edward Kimberley. He has agreed to forgo his 40-acre grant so that the government could erect a church and a school on the property, but Sorell's efforts failed to produce results and interest in the project waned.

Rev. Knopwood records in his diary that on 19 July 1829, Edward was in such a poor state of health that the Reverend called on him and read prayers. He called again the next day. On 27 Nov 1829 Rev. Knopwood records the following in his diary:

"At nine o'clock I went across the water to bury old Mr. Kimberley. They detained me till past four o'clock before they came. A great many people attended the funeral"

At St. Matthew's Church, Rokeby, a headstone to Edward is built into a 'wall walk' bearing the inscription:

"Sacred to the memory of Edward Kimberley
who departed this life at Clarence Plains
on 24 November 1829 aged 67 years"

(Special thanks to Mrs. Stephanie Burbury, Bowsden, Jericho, for permitting me to extract this from her research.)

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Updated 29-Jan-2002