Thomas Honeysett (1811 - 1880) miller of Burwash and Australia

Thomas, the eldest son of Thomas and his second wife Elizabeth, was born on 22 September 1811 and baptised in Burwash on 30 November. He became a miller and probably worked for his half-brother John at Dudwell Mill. He was married in Burwash on 1 February 1835 to Eliza Ann Russell (born 24 January 1813, daughter of Thomas Russell and his wife Mary, née Dann), a dressmaker, also of Burwash. They then had two sons baptised in Burwash before emigrating to Australia in 1839. However the shipping records show that they took four children with them, for which they were charged £20. The two girls were clearly born before the marriage, but are assumed to have been Thomas's. In particular Mary was baptised Mary Honeysett Russell. Their children's births were:

Eliza Russell

20 Feb 1832

bapt 1 April, Burwash

Mary H Russell

2 Feb 1834

bapt 30 March, Burwash


18 Feb 1836

bapt 20 March, Burwash

John William

30 Dec 1837

bapt 4 July 1838, Burwash


10 Oct 1840

Maitland, NSW, died 1842


6 Nov 1842

Maitland West, NSW


6 Sep 1845

Maitland, NSW, died 1853


26 May 1847

Maitland, NSW, died 1859

James William

5 May 1849

bapt 5 September, Lochinvar, NSW

Jane Frances

12 Feb 1851

Maitland, NSW


16 May 1853

Mudgee, NSW


28 Dec 1855

Mudgee, NSW

Thomas, Elizabeth and their 4 children sailed to Australia as assisted immigrants on the ship 'Lady Raffles' arriving on the 12 September 1839. The shipping records appear to show that both Thomas and Eliza could read and write. They first settled in Maitland NSW (about 80 miles north of Sydney and just inland from Newcastle) where from 1843 Thomas ran a flour mill in Elgin Street. On 21 June 1848 he was granted a publican's licence for the "Gordon Arms Hotel" at nearby Lochinvar. He then became the first licencee of the "Cricketer's Arms" on the river side of High Street, Maitland, in 1851. He is known as "the father of Cricket in the Maitland district" and was clearly an important figure, being mentioned in many articles in the Maitland Mercury and other books and publications.

In 1852 he moved to Mudgee (about 110 miles west of Maitland) where he was a miller and had several hotels. In 1853 he paid £50 for the licence of the "Rose Inn" and between 1863 and 1871 he ran the "Cricketer's Arms" and the "Courthouse Hotel". He also owned "Honeysett's Hotel" later the "Railway Hotel". In 1856 he was listed as living at Honeysett's House, c/o Wilton's Mill, Mudgee and in the same year he purchased a large farm called "Broombee" a few kilometers south of Mudgee near Apple Tree Flat. In partnership with his son John he also owned a goldmine at Gulgong and a flour purchasing business to complement his flourmills in Mudgee. In 1861 he had several winning racehorses from his stables at "Broombee". From 1860 to 1877 there were numerous articles in the Mudgee Guardian about his prowess at foot racing and cricket, both of which he continued to pursue as an elderly gentleman.

Thomas died in Mudgee on 17 July 1880 aged 69 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the original C of E cemetery, now a leafy park in the middle of Mudgee. Eliza died on 20 January 1896 and was buried in "John Honeysett's Presbyterian Cemetery" on her son John's farm.

Of their children:

  • Eliza married Thomas Knight Osborne, a storekeeper, in Maitland on 30 August 1851. She had 3 sons and then died giving birth to a daughter on 17 July 1860.
  • Mary married George Horder, a shoemaker, in Maitland on 19 February 1849.
  • Thomas married Louisa Meers in Mudgee in 1861 and they had 5 sons. He also had a son by his second wife, Harriet Nurdon, and 3 sons and a daughter by his third wife, Susan McGowan (nee Campbell). Thomas died in 1919.
  • John married Georgiana Vile in Mudgee in 1864 and they had 10 children. He farmed near Gulgong and died in 1913 when a horse bolted and a cartwheel pinned him against a tree.
  • Anne died at Maitland on 24 April 1842 when she was still only 18 months old.
  • Elizabeth married Samuel Henry Wilton in 1860, had 16 children and died at Mudgee in 1913.
  • George died at Mudgee on 15 October 1853, aged 8.
  • Charles died at Mudgee in 1859 aged about 12.
  • James married Matilda Rope in 1873, had 12 children and lived in Mudgee and Rylstone. He was a saddler and died in 1934. Matilda died in 1938. Matilda was a great-granddaughter of Anthony Rope and Elizabeth Pulley, First Fleet Convicts who were reputedly the first couple to have a European child conceived and born in Australia. See Tom Wynn's website for further details of James' line.
  • Jane married James Wilton (brother of her sister Elizabeth's husband) in 1871. She had 9 children before James died (aged 45) in 1892. Jane died aged 75 in Kandos in 1925.
  • Lucy married John Cummings in Mudgee in 1871 and they had 5 children including Eliza Ann, who married her cousin Frederick William Honeysett, Thomas's son.
  • Caroline had a 2 illegitimate sons, William (who died) in 1877 and Charles in 1879. James' brother-in-law, William Rope was the father of the first and possibly the second. She married William Whelan in 1892, by whom she had a daughter, and Thomas Riley in 1897. Caroline died in 1917.

I am greatly indebted to a number of Australian researchers who have provided me with information about the descendants of this branch, especially the late Betty Honeysett of Dapto who had researched diligently for many years (Thomas' son James was her husband's great-grandfather). Also to Tom Wynn of Newcastle, NSW (also descended from James), who is co-ordinating much of the current research into the Australian descendants and has a website which covers Honeysett and many related families.