The Perrin’s arrive!

Perrin, Mark and Marianne (nee Jones)

Mark and Marianne Perrin were the first Perrin’s to settle in Deniliquin, arriving there in the early 1860’s after an 11-week trek from Melbourne during which time, they fell victim to a cruel highway robbery. One hundred and sixty years later we find there are literally thousands of Perrin related families and individuals, within Australian shores and across the ditch in New Zealand as well.

Mark Perrin, the son of Charles and Elizabeth (nee Smith, known as Emma), was born in Stroud, Gloucester U. K. on 13th Mar 1825 but was christened at St Thomas, Birmingham, Warwickshire, U.K.) on 30th Mar 1825. In the 1841 census Mark’s name appears aged 15, alongside that of siblings George (15) (not a twin), Dorcas (14), and Helen (12), with parents Charles (40) and Elizabeth (35), living in Gloucester.

In the 2nd census (30th Mar 1851) he was boarding with his Uncle, James Perrin, at St. Thomas, Birmingham, Warwickshire and working as a Plasterer, a job that would hold him in good stead.

Marianne Jones, at that census was working as a house servant, aged 19, in Thrupp Rd, Cheltenham, Stroud, Gloucester.

Marianne’s mother’s family “The Dadge’s” lived in several addresses in Birmingham (as did some Perrins) and perhaps this is where Mark and Marianne first met, or, they could have known each other in Stroud? Regardless, Mark married Marianne Jones, daughter of William and Mary (nee Dadge) on the 12th Jun 1851 in Stroud, Gloucester, U. K.

A young Marianne

Together they boarded the S. S. Thames in Liverpool as “unassisted” passengers on 3rd Nov 1852 with Marianne pregnant with their first child. They disembarked in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 11th Mar 1853 without this child “who had died at sea”, 22 days out from Liverpool on 25th Nov 1852. Although they had lost their child en-route to Australia, another child, a girl, survived the same trip and the death of her mother during childbirth. Mary Cronin, lost her life just 12 days out from Liverpool on 15th Nov. 1852.  The girl’s father John, could see no way of gaining employment, living hand to mouth, whilst caring for an infant and consequently relinquished the girl into Marianne and Mark’s care.

As previously arranged Mark was engaged to work for Thomas Smith of Melbourne and he took up this employment on the 15th Mar 1853 earning 20 shillings a week, without rations.

Mark’s brother Henry and family (wife Sarah, sons John b. 1852 and William b.1855) arrived in Melbourne four and a half years later on 20th Aug. 1857. They had travelled on the “Undaunted” and went to live with Mark in Collingwood. By this time Mark and Marianne had welcomed two sons of their own into the family. James Charles in 1854 and Mark William (Jr.) in 1856.

In 1858 both brothers added to their families. Mark and Marianne had George Henry and Henry and Sarah had Sarah.

Also, in the household from 1853-55 and perhaps beyond, were two or more abandoned children with the surnames of Wadsworth and Matthews. Their parents had also travelled on the S.S. Thames in 1853. Wadsworth had scampered to Sandhurst, Victoria and Matthews to Launceston, Tasmania. Neither were seen again. The call went out that anyone knowing of their whereabouts should contact Mark Perrin living near the Royal George Hotel, Collingwood Flat or the lnspector of Police, Melbourne.

Mark had two run-ins with the police during his time in Collingwood.

In February 1856: “Mark Perrin was charged by Frederick Serle with using abusive language to him on Sunday last., The plaintiff is a publican in Simpson’s Road, and the defendant is the proprietor of a piece of ground opposite, where a rival hotel is in the course of construction. Hence a certain amount of ill-feeling, which resulted in the offense complained of. Defendant was fined 20s., with 6s. costs.”

In July 1856: “A man named Mark Perrin was brought up at the City Court yesterday, on the charge of shouting “Police” in the streets of Collingwood on Saturday evening last, and creating a disturbance. The prisoner stated that he had been at a meeting of plasterers at the Belvedere Hotel, and when he was leaving some men set on him, on account of some opposition he had offered. He was running away from their power, and shouting “Police” for protection, when the constable, instead of taking on his persecutors, apprehended him. The constable, however, alleged that Perrin was drunk, and on this charge, he was dealt with by the imposition of the usual penalty.”

Mark and Marianne with “Hanna” Cronin, James, Mark, George and newborn John Orlando (born 20th July 1862) travelled to Deniliquin about this time (1862). Mark was still grieving the loss of his brother Henry who had died on the 21st Mar 1861 from a “rupture of the intestines”. Henry was a respected member of the Ancient Order of Foresters” and both families had lived together in Liverpool St, Collingwood. 

The family settled in at Deniliquin without much of a purse to support them, a consequence of the robbery, and Mark had to take jobs wherever they arose. On Tue 22 Dec 1863 after a few weeks away, Mark arrived back in Deniliquin for a family Christmas. He stopped off at the pub for a few beers but in doing, missed the last barge crossing, to the south of Deniliquin. Considering himself fairly fit for a 38-year-old, it seemed quite plausible that he could easily swim across the Edward River and he said this to William Taylor, a labourer at the Sportsman’s Arms hotel when they met outside Herriott’s door about 10.30-11 pm that night, “he seemed sober and correct of mind” was Taylor’s latter statement to police.

Jacob Forsell, a fisherman living at the bend in the river near the parsonage was checking his lines about 10.30-11pm Thursday night (Christmas Eve) when he discovered his line entangled around the boot of a dead man. He immediately summoned Constable Hugh Sheils and together they bought the body ashore.

The body was taken to the outhouse of the Royal Hotel and examined by Dr. A. W. F. Noyes who found no injuries nor any cause for a post mortem.

William Taylor knew the first name only of the man he identified as Mark, a man whom he’d met while both were working at Morago, and knew from conversation, that he lived on the south side of the river. This drew the police to suspect the identity of the man’s family, and accordingly Marianne was called on to further identify the body. She agreed it was indeed, the body of her husband, whom she had not seen for 3 weeks. She revealed he had been both disturbed and intemperate in recent times owing to the death of his brother and other misfortunes. She was penniless and without means to bury the body.

Marianne Perrin & Roberts (nee Jones)

“The appearance of the deceased’s wife – ‘roused up’ in the middle of the night to identify her husband’s body – and the four little fatherless ones, formed but such a sad picture for a Christmas morning, and furnished such a forcible illustration of the results of intemperance. The landlord of the Royal, while proceedings of the inquiry were in progress, started a subscription for the widow which was liberally responded to by those about the hotel and neighbourhood, and from the proceeds flour, tea, meat, etc., were at once sent to the distressed family”

How Marianne survived this period is unknown but it is believed the towns Anglican Order of Nuns were very kind and caring towards her and the children. The Anglican Mother Superior and the Order of Nuns were in turn sponsored and supported by the Deniliquin Falkiner family.

In 1865, Marianne found herself pregnant again but out of wedlock! If that wasn’t bad enough, she was carrying twins! How harrowing and soul destroying it must have been for her in those times.

The children, born on 29th Jan 1866 were named: Alfred Ernest Perrin (1st born) and Ellen May Perrin, father unknown. Marianne was now mothering six of her own under 12, plus one, without any extended family to hand.

The father, it seems, was agricultural labourer, Charles Henry Dawson (aka Black Charlie, so named because of his dark complexion) from Lincolnshire, England, a married man with 5 children to Bridget Hogan whom he had wed on 21st June 1853 in Melbourne. They made their home in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, but on the premise of looking for work, he left the family home in 1862, never to return.  In July 1866 he married a Balranald servant girl Ellen Mary Fitzgerald using the name Charles Henry Ellis (his mother’s maiden name). Things came unstuck, when a friend of his first wife spotted him. He subsequently served 2 years for bigamy.  He died from cancer, in Corowa N. S. W., in May 1899 aged 65. Co-incidentally the twins share his birth date (29th Jan).

Between July 1869 and March 1872, Marianne lived rent free (not the landlord’s choice, and subject to court proceedings, alas), and on 28th March 1872, she married John Roberts, a baker by trade who was 27 years her senior and then 66 years of age. They had a baby girl, Isabel Rose by years end, and another girl, Jessie Mary in 1876. (You can read more about Jessie Roberts (Emerson) on this site.) Alas Isabel died in 1877.

Marianne died when Jessie was just eight and a half years old on 27th Jan 1885 and her father, John Roberts, 4 years on. It is believed that Jessie was then taken in under the wing of a Perrin family member, who would have been her step brother or sister from her mother’s first marriage to Mark Perrin.

Marianne, her sons, Mark William and James Charles to Mark Perrin, and daughter Isabel to John Roberts are buried in the Deniliquin Cemetery. Their final resting place was a plot they shared with two maybe three nuns and was originally surrounded by a very large wrought iron fence. The fence disappeared over time and only one headstone identifies the area now. The grave site and headstone were renewed in 2011 by Joan Bradley, Betty Mathews and Lindsay and Jenny Wharton and it was included and celebrated in, a “Cemetery Walk” that year.

John Roberts outlived Marianne by four and a half years and is also buried in the Deniliquin Cemetery (Pres. Sect. B86). His first marriage was to Isabella Walker in Scotland in 1832 and they had 10 children there. His wife, Isabella died in Scotland in 1852. (Isabel Rose appears in the N. S. W. death register as “Isabella”). A tribute perhaps to his first wife? The fate of his 10 children is presently unknown, tho’ it is thought that he may have travelled to Australia with two sons.  

History is a wonderful adventure and if you look around Deniliquin, the Perrin’s made a wonderful start to the that history. If you look over your shoulder, you’re sure to find a relative there, that you “unknowingly” have a link to? This is perhaps because there were many “girls” born to the later generations, and as their surnames changed on marriage over several generations, their historical familial identity disappeared into the ether and was forgotten. Time to check out “your” ether! 

Written by: Pamela Bryant (nee Bryan), daughter of George Ena Perrin, (named by and after George Henry Perrin who had already lost two namesakes and wanted another go! Last child, last chance!), Granddaughter of George Henry Perrin, former Mayor, member of “The Federation League of NSW”, Proprietor of the ‘Chronicle’ newspaper (24 years), Undertaker (50 years), Justice of the Peace NSW & Vic., Builder, Alderman and Grand Master/Mason St John’s Lodge, member N. S. W. Press Assoc.


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