Hume, a Family of Pioneers

Australian Town and Country Journal

29 October 1887

From a valued correspondent, who has adopted the pen name "Australian," we have received the following communication: Some time ago, in the Town And Country Journal, the death was recorded of Emma, wife of F. E. Hume, of Castlestead, Burrowa, one of the oldest of the native born colonists of New South Wales. This event recalls some interesting anecdotes concerning many of the oldest and most highly respected pioneers of this colony; and a brief sketch of these will prove interesting to many of the readers of the Journal.

The lady referred to was born in Fairfield in 1814. She was the daughter of Mrs. William Mitchell, a widow with a large family the eldest of whom, Thomas, then only 17 years of age, braved the difficulties and dangers of a new country, and settled in a place called Mungabareena, where the town of Albury is now built, and near where Mrs. Mitchell died a few years ago, at the advanced age of 82.

Concerning Mrs. F. E. Hume I have gleaned the following information: Her mother, Elizabeth Mitchell, nee Huon, was born near Parramatta. Her father and mother were both French. The father, Marie Gabrielle Louis Huon de Kerilleau (or Kerillean), was one of the Bourbonite refugees in England who had to flee from France in 1792, during Robespierre's reign of terror.

His property was confiscated. He afterward came to this country with Captain John M'Arthur, of Camden, as family tutor. Subsequently he obtained a grant of land from the Government, and settled in, what is now Fairfield, close to the station. I believe that, many of the best stone fruits in the colony were introduced by him.

A French captain gave the then little Elizabeth Huon (who was born in 1797 or thereabouts, near Parramatta) a small pine or fir tree in a pot which can now be seen (or could be about a year ago) in the Fairfield garden - a noble double stemmed tree. Before Mrs. Mitchell's death she was, a great great-grandmother.

Among Mrs. Mitchell's family are some, of the most successful residents of the Albury district Thomas, of Tambangalanga; Edward, a worthy man; John, of Hawkesview; and. James, of Tabletop.

Of the daughters, the late Mrs. F. R. Hume, Mrs. John Dight, Mrs. Steel, Mrs. Elliott Heriott, Mrs. David Bowen Jones, and Mrs. Ancrum Heriott are all old and well-known names in the Albury district; while children and grandchildren are scattered over the colonies.

The husband was a captain in the British army but sold his commission and came to Australia and embarked in sheep-farming at Brisbane Meadow near Bungonia, in the neighborhood of the Shoalhaven gullies. It was there he lost his life, in his too anxious care of his property.

Thence, too, Marie Gabrielle Louis Huon started on his last walk to Sydney-preferring walking to riding at most times. Being a devout old gentleman, he carried his books of devotion with him. He was seen by some of Mr. William Pitt Faithfull's men walking down a path leading to the gullies, reading.

When it was reported that he was missing, all the country side "turned out" to search for the good, genial old Frenchman, who was a general favorite But nothing was ever heard of him. His gold spectacles were found where he had apparently broken them; and a tree was met with on which, he had scratched the words, "Going east."

Amie Huon formed Gerogery, near Albury; and Paul and Charles Huon were his sons. . . These were pioneers of the Albury district; and Paul's sons are still living there. Charles was the first to take up Coonong and other stations in the Urana district. He was a genuine philanthropist.

The members of Elizabeth Mitchell's family comprising the generations living before her death are as follow:-

The youngest, Roy Kenyon, then about 2 years old; his mother being Mrs. J. F. Kenyon, lately of Yass, a daughter of Mrs. E. H. Kennedy, of Wonnaminta, who was the fifth child of Mrs. F. R. Hume, whose death is deeply regretted in the Burrowa district, where she lived for forty years. Having been born in the colony her husband, it may be easily guessed, must have fought bravely under many difficulties in the early days, and overcome them too.

His brother was Hamilton Hume, the explorer, to whom Victoria owes more than a passing thought. Their father was Andrew Hamilton Hume, who came out in the Lady Julian, as Government Commissariat Officer. He married, in Parramatta, Elizabeth Kennedy, who had come to Australia with her brother James, to take charge of his orphan family. She was the daughter of the Rev. John Kennedy, of Teston, in Kent, originally y of Scottish descent. Mrs. E. H. Kennedy is the wife of a grandson of James Kennedy.

I might mention that there is an old legend in this family that if ever a John Kennedy (a race of clergymen) should depart from the custom so long followed of christening the eldest son John that son would refuse to become a clergyman, and would emigrate.

The last Rev. John Kennedy refused to listen to the "old wives' fables'' and christened his son James. This James is the founder of the Kennedy family; so well known in New South Wales as the pioneers from Campbelltown, the first there; to north-west of the Darling. His sister was the mother of the Humes, who in the old days were explorers and pioneers of the then new country as far as Gunning, Yass, and afterward Burrowa.

Mrs. J. P. Kenyon; the next or fourth in descent, is the wife of J. F. Kenyon, of this colony. His grandfather had a beautiful estate at Woodlands, Fairfield, and planted an orangery and orchard, which still remain in the possession of the family.

Their little son, the fifth descendant of these old colonists, will, with his three brothers, some day, I hope, do honor to the names of Huon, Hume, Mitchell, Kennedy, and Kenyon, all of whom have so nobly wrestled with the difficulties and privations which settlers before, the year 1800 had to encounter - to say; nothing of those later on.

In conclusion, I may say that I feel sure that there are thousands who would like to see the history of the early pioneers of the colonies published.

I hope to read in the columns of the Town And Country Journal contributions respecting other early pioneers.