Thursday, February 6, 2014

Remembrance Day for Paul Bushell, Second Fleeter

Today we remember a large crowd of mourners who gathered at the height of summer on Sunday 6 February 1853, swatting away the flies and dabbing at their tears as they farewelled Paul Bushell at Wilberforce Cemetery, NSW.

He'd died the previous day, Saturday 5 February, at home in Argyle Reach Road, Wilberforce. This was his view from his home, overlooking his beloved Bushells Lagoon.

According to his baptism details, he'd reached the grand age of eighty-six years. Proving his vigour and stamina, his youngest child by his much younger wife Isabella was not quite eight years old, but several of his older children had married and he was a grandfather many times over.
Paul obviously knew his end was near as his final will was made only four days before his death. It was read aloud to him and he was forced to make his mark, no longer being able to read the will or sign it, through blindness. In his will Paul named his dear wife Isabella, his eldest son George and his son-in-law Edward Becroft as Executrix and Executors. Since Paul had young children, the latter two men were also named as Trustees. In his will he left bequests totalling 503 acres of land, quite an achievement for a man who was never granted any land and had to purchase every acre of it.

Paul was buried in the combined Brown/Bushell family vault which his descendants (and others) are keen to restore. (For more details, see the other posts on this blog and our dedicated Facebook page.)

The service was conducted by Reverend Ewing, who was the driving force for the Committee working to raise funds for the building of St John’s Church of England, still under construction. This was the second church which Paul helped to establish at the Hawkesbury, the other being the delightful church and school at Ebenezer. Paul had also helped establish the first school at Wilberforce, around 1807. One can imagine that Ewing paid many glowing tributes to Paul Bushell.

Having arrived on the Second Fleet in 1790, Paul’s exemplary colonial life almost completely encompassed the six decades of Australian history prior to the gold rush. Paul was a significant personality to the old timers of the colony, and his death was of general interest beyond the Hawkesbury. His many visits to Sydney over the years would have left its legacy of friends and acquaintances in the wider community. Therefore, unlike many of his fellow Second Fleet transportees, his death warranted a notice in the Sydney Morning Herald, which stated that he died at Wilberforce ‘aged 84 [sic], after a residence in the colony of 63 years, leaving a widow and 11 children to deplore his loss’.

These were his ten children by his second wife Isabella Brown, and his step-son William, who was two years old when his mother married Paul. Despite his handsome endowment to her at the time of her marriage, Paul’s adopted daughter Isabella Forrester/Lovell/Daley, now in her late forties herself and living in Sydney, was not counted among those sorrowing children.

The full details of Paul Bushell’s life are told in Louise Wilson’s book 'Paul Bushell, Second Fleeter’, published in 2010. For details,  see ....

No comments:

Post a Comment