Australian immigrants have generally been enterprising but opportunities were always associated with risks which led to economic failure and all the attendant consequences. Some ancestors survived more than one insolvency but others were ruined for life. Insolvency in 1845 did not hinder Thomas Adam‘s building interests in Newcastle and while a subsequent bankruptcy in 1874 through investment in tin mining near Tingha was a setback, he started a profitable saw milling venture at Raymond Terrace. John Adams was far less fortunate. Being a pioneer of the Alstonville district meant that despite successful clearing of the Big Scrub on his property, sugar growing was in its infancy and processing was primitive and costly. Bankruptcy in 1876 cost him his conditional land purchase. The family fortunes never recovered and a second bankruptcy in 1899 was the last straw. Edward Scrivener, initially a successful draper in George Street Sydney succumbed to economic failure in 1865 and 1869. He never operated his own business again but unlike John Adams’ sons, Edward’s son Frederick Scrivener became a comparatively wealthy man after he moved north to the Richmond River as a storekeeper. Hugh Childs, as a railway construction contractor on the Southern Line, was so mortified that he could not pay his workers in 1863 that he encouraged his sons to become railway employees rather than entrepreneurs. It was advice that sustained the family through the bad times of the 1890s and 1930s Depression. William Whitfield, already a broken man through losing his Pilotage Certificate, escaped his creditors in 1894 by returning to England after the failure of his investment in a Parkes hotel. He died in Hull just six weeks later. His family was left to fend for themselves.
About The Canopy
The Canopy is my place for posting thematic bits and pieces about my family history and new discoveries as I continue to research. While family genealogy is not presented here, it is available in full in my current publications.
The 'Publications' section at the top shows my published books, which can also be found through the family names under 'Articles' above. They are available for sale in hard copy or on CD for prices ranging from $AUS10 to $AUS20.
Additional families covered in the books can be seen by clicking on the families listed above or type a name in 'Search'. If you would like to see all our ancestors go to 'Surnames I've Researched' and 'Family Origins' on the top bar. If the names look familiar, drop me a line. I’m particularly keen to get in touch with others who are researching these same families and can provide information.