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Henry Bayley Webster [we.3.6]

We are grateful to Geoff Nicolai, a descendant of Henry Bayley Webster, for information on Henry Bayley’s life in Australia

Henry Bayley Webster was the sixth child of Henry Webster & Ann Franklin christened February 15th,1837 at Brackley, Northants.

Henry (4) & his sister Laura (6) were visiting Sarah & John Alexander at Mill St, Leamington Priors, Warwick at the time of the 1841 census. His parents & brothers John & Charles were also living at Leamington Priors at this time.

In 1851 Henry was at home with his parents & family at 131 Warwick St, Leamington Priors.

Henry, his parents & 2 brothers & sister Laura emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1852.

Henry decided to try & make his fortune in the gold mining boom which was occurring in Australia at that time.  He travelled west of Sydney to the area of Mudgee where settlements were growing rapidly.

Henry married Alice Cain on November 5th, 1861 at Goldhust, Meroo & witnesses at their wedding were Frederick Doran & Eliza Gourley.  Alice was unable to write & signed with a cross. 

Alice was born October 29th, 1839 at Cherry Tree Hill, Ilford, NSW, Australia, the daughter of  Catherine Hennessy/Fogarty & John Cain, both Irish convicts.  The Clonmel, Tipperary  Spring Assizes of 1829 show that ‘Catherine & her sister Mary were both found guilty of stealing a coat of Patrick Londrigan & a cloak of Mary Londrigan.  Mary Hennessy was an old offender & twice before in goal. They were both sentenced to 7 years transportation.’   They arrived in NSW on the ship Asia in 1830.   Catherine was just 15 years of age.  Their father Richard Hennessy had already been transported to NSW in 1822 & indeed when Mary was sentenced she exclaimed ‘Long Life to you my Lord, that’s all I want’.   John Cain also received a sentence of 7 years & was transported to NSW in 1823. 

Henry & Alice lived initially at Windeyer, near Mudgee, which at its peak had 29 hotels & 10 schools in the 1860s, but is today virtually a ghost town with less than 50 people.   Henry’s brother Charles who was living in Queensland recorded in his diary that he visited brother Henry at Mudgee in 1865.

In 1872 the Greville Postal Directory recorded Henry as a miner of Long Creek, a small mining area in the vicinity of Meroo & Windeyer.  It is known that Henry lived at Windeyer until at least 1879 when he had a horse brand recorded in a Government Gazette list of horse & cattle brands.  It appears that Henry had not made his fortune in the goldfields & had now turned to farming.

In 1881/2 Henry & family moved north to Mackay, Queensland, the home of his brother Charles.  This decision was perhaps influenced by a visit made by Charles in the late 1870s to his brother Henry suggesting he & his family move north.  Henry took up a small farm at Mount Vince where he grew sugar as well as other produce.  However Henry was once more enticed to the gold fields at Eungella, west of Mackay,  after the discovery of gold there in 1888.

By 1882 Henry & Alice had 8 children.  Their first daughter Annie Alice gave birth to a son Leslie Raymond in 1887, prior to her marriage to Arthur Henry Kelly in 1888.  Henry & Alice brought up Leslie as their own child & even until the time that Leslie enlisted in WW1 he gave as his next of kin his mother’s name Alice. 

Henry Bayley Webster

Photos courtesy of Geoff Nicolai

In 1891 the Queenslander newspaper announced that Henry had been appointed a Justice of the Peace.  During the 1890s 4 of their daughters married & began their own families.  Sadly the youngest child, Herbert Franklin died on May 5th, 1902 at the age of 19 when he was thrown from a horse & broke his neck. 

Henry died from heart failure on June 16th, 1918, aged 82.  He was buried at the Walkerston Cemetery, Mackay, by Presbyterian rites.

Seated: Alice Webster; standing left-right: son Henry (Harry) Webster, daughter Maud Sargent, granddaughter Merle Luscombe & her mother Lydia Ruth (Lilly) Luscombe. c1923

Alice lived to be 100 years old, outliving 5 of her children.  The Townsville Daily Bulletin made mention of Alice Webster on the 17th March, 1938.  She celebrated her 98th birthday on the 15th March.  It recorded that she was the recipient of wide spread congratulations.  “The old lady is still hale and hearty and is quite able to give active assistance in household duties.   Friends who called to offer felicitations, found Mrs Webster busily engaged peeling potatoes.  One remarked to her “How old are you Granny – 50 years?”  She replied that she was nearly double that.  Her interest in current happenings appears to be unabated and her general health is evidently good.   Mrs Webster lived for many years at Mt Vince near Eton and is at present residing with her second son Mr Harry Webster, a well known farmer of Owens Creek.”

Alice died October 8th, 1940 in the Mater Hospital, Mackay.   


The children of Henry Bayley Webster & Alice Cain were:

we.3.6.1  Charles John Webster born September 19th, 1862 at Windeyer, Australia
we.3.6.2  Annie Alice Webster born March 5th, 1865 at Windeyer, Australia; died July 8th, 1926 in Townsville, Australia
we.3.6.3  Laura Bayley Webster born June 22nd, 1867 at Windeyer, Australia; died August 23rd, 1911
we.3.6.4  Alice (Maud) Webster born March 24th, 1870 at Windeyer, Australia; died November 15th, 1953
we.3.6.5  Henry (Harry) Meroo Webster born November 10th, 1873 at Windeyer, Australia; died September 23rd, 1957   
we.3.6.6  Clara Julia Webster born April 29th, 1876 at Windeyer, Australia; died December 29th, 1956
we.3.6.7  Lydia Ruth Webster born August 10th, 1879 at Windeyer, Australia; died June 7th, 1937
we.3.6.8  Herbert Franklin Webster born December 7th, 1882 at Mackay, Australia; died May 5th, 1902


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