Thomas James Punch (b 1825)

parents Thomas Punch and Ann Brown

born 1825, Poole, Dorset, England[1]
baptised 30 September 1825, St James' Church of England, Poole, Dorset, England[1,4]
died 27 March 1887, Kerang, Victoria, Australia[14]
buried 28 March 1887, Kerang Cemetery, Victoria, Australia[14]

** Thomas' baptism entry states his name as James[1,4].  While living in London, in 1841 he is noted as James[2].   On his marriage certificate he is referred to as Thomas James[5].  On his immigration record he is referred to as Thomas[6].  His death certificate names him Thomas James[14].  In his Last Will he refers to himself as Thomas James[9].

from St James, Poole parish registers

Poole location (Google Maps)

London Docklands (Google Maps)

Thomas was born and baptised in Poole, Dorset, England and moved to London with his parents around 1826 just before his younger brother John Joseph was born in January 1827.  Thomas appears in the 1841 UK Census living with his parents in Poplar, an East London Docklands suburb[2].  As a young man, Thomas appears to have followed his father into the trade of the Shipwright[5,19].

This Indenture shows that Thomas entered into a Shipwright apprenticeship under his father for 7 years.  It is dated 8 October 1847.
Click here to see both sides of the Indenture document.

Catherine Lock
Catherine was born on 14 July 1824 and baptised on 22 July 1824 at St Mary's Church of England, Rotherhithe in the Docklands area of London[12].

from St Mary's, Rotherhithe parish registers

Catherine's parents were William Lock and Catherine Davison.  The family was living in Marigold Street, Bermondsay, London when Catherine was born.

William worked as a Shipwright.

In 1841, the family was living as next-door neighbours with Thomas and Ann Punch in Tower Hamlets.  Easy for Thomas James and Catherine to get acquainted!

Rotherhithe location (Google Maps)

1841 UK Census[2]

Marriage To Catherine Lock

Thomas and Catherine were married on 25 May 1846 at St Leonard's Parish Church, Shoreditch, London[4].  

Catherine is noted as working as a Dressmaker and they are both (conveniently) living at 13 George Street, Shoreditch.

Shoreditch is some distance from Poplar so why did they marry outside of their "home parish"?  Probably because Catherine was pregnant with their first child, Sarah Ann.

St Leonard's, Shoreditch, mid 1800s

Thomas and Catherines marriage entry in the Shoreditch church records[4]

Thomas and Catherine had 5 children while living in the Docklands area of London - Sarah Ann, Ann Maria, Louisa Charlotte, Thomas William and Henry.  They lived for a time at 7 Regent Street, Limehouse[17].

Emigration To Australia

Of their 5 children, only Louisa Charlotte and Henry made the trip to Sydney, New South Wales with their parents in 1857[6].  

The family arrived in Sydney, Australia on 4 October 1857 onboard the clipper ship "Light of the Age" which sailed from London Docklands[6].  They travelled from England with Thomas' younger sisters, Sarah Ann and her family and Louisa Charlotte and her husband Charles Young.  

from the Light of the Age manifest

The Empire (Sydney), 5 October 1857

The "Light of the Age" was a clipper ship of 1297 tons.  Its Master was S McBeath[29].  It left London on 29 June 1857.

The ship had a poor record with its trip the previous year marred by a collision with the clipper "Dallam Tower" in the Great Australian Bight and was subsequently wrecked in 1868 at Point Lonsdale, Victoria on a voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne.

The 3 families stayed for a time in the Sydney area.  On 14 January 1858, Thomas James placed the following advertisment in the Melbourne newspaper, The Argus.  He asks his brothers, John Joseph or Charles Alexander, who he believes are at Jones Creek Diggings in the Victorian Goldfields, to contact him at Mr Longue's City Arms Hotel in Wolloomooloo, an inner, harbourside suburb of Sydney. 

The Argus, 14 January 1858

We don't know how long he (and his brother and two sisters) waited but his first Bendigo born child was born in 1858[3].  The three families made their way south to Bendigo where their brothers, Charles Alexander and  John Joseph were already established.

While living in Bendigo, Thomas and Catherine had another 5 children - George James, Alfred, William Thomas, James Joseph and Frederick[7].  In 1861, the family lived at Kangaroo Flat and Thomas worked as a Miner[16].

In 1864, Thomas operated a Refreshment Store at Neilborough, just north of Bendigo[10].

It is not known if they made their fortune or not in Bendigo, but sometime in the late-1870s, the family moved further north to Kerang, Victoria and purchased farming land.  Apparently, they were dreadful farmers!

When his son, Alfred, was married in 1882, Thomas worked as a Carpenter[15].

Thomas was a Dairy Farmer in Kerang[9].  On his death certificate his occupation was noted as Carpenter[14].

Kerang and Bendigo (Google Maps)

Catherine Died Accidentally

Catherine died in Kerang, Victoria on 6 June 1877 aged only 53 years.

from Catherine Lock's death certificate

She died after a fall from a buggy[7,8,13,18].  An inquest was held and depositions received from her son, William Thomas (b1863) and husband, Thomas.  It seems that William was driving the horse-drawn buggy home after he and Catherine visited the Williams family at Wandilla.  As they crossed the bridge over the Loddon River, a bolt came loose from the swinger tree of the horse's harness and the swinger tree fell on the horse's leg causing it to panic.  William called to Catherine to jump from the buggy which she did but subsequently the buggy ran over her and crushed her head.  William, aged only 14 at the time, ran home to his father who came to the bridge to find Catherine dead.

Click her to see all of the Inquest papers[18].

Catherine was buried at the Kerang Cemetery on 8 June 1877.  The service was presided over by John Donnes, a Wesleyan Church Minister.

Catherine's grave at Kerang Cemetery
October 2014

Thomas' Marriage to Dorothy Wilkinson

On 14 August 1878, Thomas married Dorothy Wilkinson (nee Cottam)[7,20].  The marriage was witnessed by Thomas' daughter, Louisa Charlotte and Dorothy's son, Ellis Wignal Wilkinson.
Dorothy was living at Durham Ox, a small farming community south of Kerang.  They had no children.

Thomas James and Dorothy Wilkinson marriage certificate

Thomas bought some land in 1884.

Thomas Died
Thomas James died on 27 March 1887 in Kerang aged 62 years.  He died after suffering from Hepatitus for 4 weeks.  He was buried at the Kerang Cemetery on 28 March.  The service was presided over by Edward Scott, an Anglican Church Minister[14].  There is no longer any grave marker.

from Thomas James' death certificate

Thomas left quite a substantial amount of real estate consisting of:-
In total, valued at 240[9].

From Thomas James' Last Will

In Thomas James' Last Will he divided his estate:-

Click here to see Thomas' Last Will and Probate documents.

After Thomas James' death, his dairy farming assets were put to public auction consisting of the half acre of land facing Scoresby Road with 10 miking cows, cart and harness as well as furniture and other household effects.  Later, E Wilkinson (probably Ellis Wignall Wilkinson, Thomas' son-in-law) advertised often that he could supply Thomas' previous customers with milk, eggs and butter.  Maybe he took over the dairy farm?

Kerang Times & Swan Hill Gazette,

3 February 1888

Kerang Times & Swan Hill Gazette,

4 December 1888

Dorothy Cottam / Wilkinson / Punch

Dorothy was born ca 1827 in Esprich, Lancashire, England.  Her parents were Joseph and Jennet Cott(h)am.  Joseph was a Farmer. In 1841, the family lived in Park Land, Winmarleigh, Lancashire.  Dorothy had an older brother, Thomas, born ca 1821[21].

Winmarleigh is a village and civil parish of the Borough of Wyre in Lancashire, England.  The village, which is north-west of Garstang, has an agricultural college, and most of the land in the area is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster.  This includes the local pub, the Patten Arms.  It is home to the great manor of Winmarleigh Hall.  Constructed to the order of the Duchy of Lancaster, it was given to the first Lord Winmarleigh.  Since then the House has been donated to NST Travel group, who have turned the grounds into an outdoor education programme for schools across the country[25].

Historically, Winmarleigh was part of the ecclesiastical parish of Garstang and Winmarleigh's villagers would have worshipped at the parish church of St Helen's, Churchtown until St Luke's Church was built in 1875–1876[25].

On 31 March 1850, Dorothy married William Wilkinson, born ca 1831 in Garstang, St Helen, Lancashire[26].

from parish records of St Helen, Lancashire[4]

In 1851, the family was living in Liverpool at 3 Court Cartwright Place[22].

1851 UK Census

In 1861, the family was living at Spouthouses in Cleveleys, Lancashire .  Ellis' father, William, was farming and the family now included 5 boys and 3 servants.  William's farm consisted of 55 acres and he employed 3 men[23].

1861 UK Census

It is not clear why, but less than 2 years later, the family has lost (or given up) the farm and emigrated to Australia.  William and Dorothy left Liverpool on 10 December 1862 and arrived in Melbourne on 26 March 1863 aboard the Great Tasmania and brought 4 sons and an infant[24].  Maybe to try their luck, the family made their way to the Bendigo area in Central Victoria.

The Argus, 27 March 1863

The Wilkinson family made their way to Kerang.  There appears to have been relatives of William already there.

On 13 & 18 February 1908, Dorothy made application for the old ge pension[28].  In 1909, Dorothy (as Punch) lived in Scoresby Street, Kerang and in 1909 she was living in Specimen Gully (near Castlemaine), central Victoria[3].

Dorothy died on 8 June 1913 in Kerang[7,27].  She was buried Kerang Cemetery in the Church of England Section, 12, Row 2[27].

It is not known when William Wilkinson died or where.  Presumably before 1878 but there is nothing in the Victorian registers[7].  One  tree has his death in Bendigo in 1874.

Punch-Wilkinson Connection

Children of Thomas James Punch and Catherine Lock
Click on the links (where available) to follow this family

1.  Sarah Ann Punch b1847.

2.  Ann Maria Punch b1849.

3.  Lousia Charlotte Punch was born on 14 July 1851 in Limehouse, London[4].  She came to Australia with her parents in 1857[6].

4.  Thomas William Punch b1854.

5.  Henry Punch b1856.

6.  George James Punch was born in Bendigo in 1858.

7.  Alfred Punch was born in 1861 in Bendigo.  He married Sarah Ann Johnson[7].

8.  William Thomas Punch was born in 1863 in Bendigo and married Bridget Ann Jordan[7].

9.  James Joseph Punch was born in 1866.

10.  Frederick Punch was born in 1869 in Bendigo.  Fred married Hannah Joyner[7].

  1. International Genealogy Index
  2. 1841 UK Census, HO/107/701
  3. Victorian Electoral Roll
  4. St Anne's Parish Records -
  5. Thomas James Punch b1825 & Catherine Lock marriage certificate
  6. NSW Assisted Immigration Passenger List 1828-1896
  7. Victorian births, marriages and death indexes
  8. Victorian Inquests 1840-1985
  9. Thomas James Punch b1825 Probate
  10. Eaglehawk & District Pioneer Register
  11. England and Wales FreeBMD Death Index
  12. St Mary's, Rotherhite parish registers -
  13. Catherine Lock b1824 death certificate
  14. Thomas James Punch b1825 death certificate
  15. Alfred Punch b1861 marriage certificate
  16. Alfred Punch b1861 birth certificate
  17. Thomas Punch b ca1796 death certificate
  18. Catherine Lock inquest papers, PROV VPRS 24/PO, Unit 367, File 1877/171
  19. Thomas James Punch b1825 Indenture
  20. Thomas James Punch b1825 & Dorothy Wilkinson marriage certificate
  21. 1841 Uk Census HO 107 / 495 / 15, page 5
  22. 1851 UK Census, HO 107 / 2185, page 149
  23. 1861 UK Census, RG 9 / 3153, page 27
  24. Victorian Public Records Office, Index to Unassisted Inwards Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923
  25. Wikipedia
  26. Dorothy Cottam & William Wilkinson marriage certificate
  27. Kerang Cemetery records
  28. Kerang Court of Petty Sessions 1888-1920
  29. The Empire (Sydney) 12 Dec 1857, provided by John Goold