James Belbin (Jun)'s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married late in
life on 17 October 1878, when at age 49 she became the second wife
of James Young, the father-in-law of her sister Eliza Jane. She
died in 1880 from burns after falling into an open fire at the Young
homestead at Droughty Point.
At some stage George Herbert moved to New Zealand at Riverton on
the far south coast of the South Island. By 1870 he was listed on
the Riverton electoral roll, with the status of settler, having
two blocks of land at Riverton and another at Jacob's River Hundred.
In 1870 he married a fellow Tasmanian, Emma Rachael Rawlings, the
daughter of James and Emma Rawlings of Buckland, Tas., at Riverton.
Unfortunately Emma died in 1873 at age 26 leaving George a widower
with two small children, Herbert James Belbin (2 years) and Henry
William Belbin (2 Months). George Herbert remarried in Riverton
in 1874 when he wed English-born Clarabell, but by the 1890's the
family had established itself at Strahan in Tasmania. It is thought
that the eldest son, Herbert James, originally went to Strahan,
stayed for a time, then returned across the Tasman to convince his
father and brother to leave Riverton and move to the West Coast
of Tasmania. The Tasmanian Post Office Directory for 1890-91 showed
George Herbert Belbin as a Strahan builder, but merely listed Herbert
Belbin in the Strahan area.
Herbert James and his eldest son, Cecil, worked the bush seeking
timber around the Strahan region for most of their lives; however
his wife, Rose, left for Sydney taking with her their two youngest
sons, Basil and Vero. Herbert James formed a butchery partnership
with Thomas Martin, and two Martin daughters, Agnes Lillian and
Flossy May respectively, married brother Henry William Belbin and
the latter's nephew, Cecil Belbin.
Henry William was a guard on the Zeehan-Strahan rail line until
1929 when he and his family moved to Moonah. The family consisted
of seven children and included a traditional set of Belbin twins.
Thomas, who did not marry, was the sole surviving male child; he
spent many of his younger years working in the bush with his uncle
and cousin at Strahan. He joined the RAAF during WW2 and received
instrumentation training before being sent to Borneo. Henry William's
grandchildren now live in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania
William James is assumed to have become the labourer of Collins
St. (February 1875 and May 1877) who married Irishwoman Nora (Honora)
Lynch, and died, 13 October 1895 at the recorded age of 54 (57 ?).
It has been suggested that there were at least eight children in
James Belbin, the grandson of James (sen), has not yet been identified
in the Tasmanian marriage or death records.
The Cambridge United Congregational Churchyard (opposite the old
airport) contains the graves of a number of James Belbin (Jun)'s
children. The most obvious are:
Fanny Maria Belbin who departed this life 3 October 1867 aged
This was the spinster daughter of James (Jun). Again,
Henry Frederick Belbin, died 30 September 1921 aged 71 years.
Frederick Henry died at his residence, Larose, York St., Bellerive,
but had previously lived at Riverdale, Cambridge. He was the youngest
son and at age 22 married Margaret Susan Joseph (18), 1 July 1871.
A common grave headstone at the Cambridge cemetery identifies five
of the nine children of Henry Frederick and Margaret.
At age 25, Caroline Joseph, a sister of Margaret Susan Joseph,
married Edward Belbin (28) on 27 June 1874. This wedding may have
been a little unusual in that four witnesses, instead of the more
usual two, found it necessary to sign the marriage document. They
were James E Joseph, Jane Joseph, Amelia Joseph, and Alfred Joseph.
One may be pardoned for thinking that the Joseph family wanted to
be quite certain that Caroline was in fact positively and irrevocably
After Caroline Belbin (nee Nichols) died in 1854, James Belbin
(Jun), (52) married, on the 27 February 1855, Eliza Williams (34)
at Trinity Church, Hobart. James outlived his second wife who died
26 June 1882 at the age of 61 years.
James Belbin (Jun) (d.July 1884) and his second wife are buried
in a common grave at the Congregational Churchyard at Rokeby. Alongside
are another two common graves, each holding one of James' daughters,
(Elizabeth; Eliza Jane), her husband (James Young; William Young),
and one of James Belbin's grand-children (Arthur Young; Jessie Young).
The two sons-in-law were of course, to themselves, father and son.
Although the marriages of James Belbin (Jun)'s four sisters Elizabeth
(Hanslow), Sarah (Williams), Catherine (Beacroft/ Brown/Collings),
Sussanah (Hansen), are not discussed in detail here, one cannot
ignore his half-brother William who was a product of Belbin (Sen)'s
The children from James Belbin's (Sen) marriage to Elizabeth Poulter
were all Tasmanian born, whereas their older half-siblings from
the Belbin-Meredith union were born on Norfolk Island. As in the
first marriage, there were also five surviving children from the
final marriage, with the youngest the only boy, William, about whom
most is known. Brief details of each of the children in the Poulter/Belbin
Maria was born at Hobart 24 November 1814, baptised 26 December
1814 at St. Davids, and married David Garside.
Frances was born at Hobart 1 February 1817, was baptised 4 March
1817, and married Richard Flemming.
Ann was born at Hobart 11 July 1819, was baptised 9 August 1819,
and married William Henry Smith.
Jane Mary was born at Hobart 3 April 1822, and married William
William was the youngest and the most outstanding of James Belbin's
(Sen) many children from his different associations. Click Here
for a picture. William was born at Hobart, 7 Feb 1825, and was 21
when he made his first marriage, on 13 August 1846, to Rebecca Dowdell
(22), the daughter of his future business partner. The ten children
from this marriage were:
Rositta Victoria married
a Morrisby and is buried at St. Matthew's, Rokeby. She had a number
of children and twin grandchildren. The surviving twin, a retired
N.S.W. Police Officer, lived in Ryde, NSW, in 1982.
William Charles died of Scarlet Fever at the age
of 4 years.
Elizabeth Emily (25) married Joseph Henry James Morris
(23), a clerk, 15 November 1877, in the Manse of the Chalmers Free
Church, Hobart. Witnesses were her sister Rositta and husband Tasman
Anne Rebecca does not seem to have married.
Frederick William married Margaret Jane Peacock in
the house of George Peacock on 28 April 1886. Frederick was classed
as a merchant of Hunter St., Hobart, when daughters Doris and Madge
were born, 21 April 1891 and 19 November 1892 respectively. A son,
Frederick Bertram, and another daughter, Irene Margaret, were born
earlier, about 1889 and 1890 respectively. It seems likely that Frederick
had his residence in the IXL jam factory, which was originally owned
by the Peacock family. On 21 November 1890, there was a disastrous
fire on the Old Wharf, which rendered ninety people homeless. In the
aftermath of the fire it was reported that for the victims, "Miss
Peacock and Mrs. Belbin, who lived at the jam factory, provided a
Ada Alice Belbin (21), married Edwin John Rogers
(26), a commission agent, at St. George's Church, Hobart on 9 April
Young Henry Percival Belbin died at the age of seven
months from "inflammation of the membrane of the brain".
After his wife Rebecca died in 1888, William Belbin
remarried. The new wife was a widow, Mary Angelina Finigan, with the
maiden name of McMahon, so providing William with a relationship to
"Mr McMahon of The Point, North Sydney".
Michael McMahon of McMahon's Point was an Irishman,
born in Limerick in 1831, who gained notoriety as a flamboyant alderman
and Mayor of the tiny Municipality of Victoria, which occupied the
Blues Point area of North Sydney in the 1880's. McMahon was Mayor
of Victoria for several years between 1884 and 1886 and still occupied
that position in 1890 when several municipalities amalgamated to form
the North Sydney Council. McMahon then became one of the alderman
of the first North Sydney Council. According to the 27 March 1886
North Shore Times and Manly Press, McMahon arrived in Australia aboard
Coromandel about 1849/50. He commenced a very a successful business
making brooms and brushes which were sold from his shop in the City
at 410 George St. He had a government contract for brushware and also
specialised in the manufacture of brushes made from exotic Australian
timbers, including Huon Pine. At the Intercolonial Exhibition in Melbourne
in 1867, he took the bronze medal with his brushware exhibits.
Sometime in the 1870's McMahon became bankrupt, with
the blame laid on the peculation of an employee and a fire that destroyed
his premises. By 1886, he had been a member of the NSW Parliament
and was then considered a speculator in property in the North Sydney
Michael McMahon was a fervent Catholic and on one
occasion in October 1889, he chartered a steamer, the Jenny Lind,
to entertain the clergy from the Marist Brothers School, the convent,
the sisters of St. Joseph and other institutions in the North Sydney
area. He took an active part in the intensive lobbying of the 1880's
to have the harbour bridged to North Sydney; his enterprise in obtaining
an amazing 11,500 signatures on a petition for a North Shore Bridge
may well have been stimulated by the general belief that, when built,
the bridge would come through McMahon's Point and cause property values
to skyrocket. Residents of the North Shore had to wait another 50
years before the bridge was eventually available at Milson's Point.
It seems that Michael McMahon and his wife Angelina
may have had two children called Mary Angelina. Presumably the girl
born in 1850 died, allowing the name to be reused for another born
in 1851. Mary would have been 38 when she married William Belbin in
Although William Belbin married in North Sydney about
1889 when he was roughly 64 years of age, he continued to live in
Hobart where a son, Francis Aubrey, was born 17 October 1889. In 1862,
William's address was Battery Point, and in 1889 it was given as 5
Battery Square. In April 1891 he moved to N.S.W. to retire in North
Sydney with his new family. At William's death in 1892, it was noted
that only 5 of his 11 children were alive. One son, the 2-year-old
Francis, was then living in Middle St., North Sydney, while the other,
34-year-old Frederick William, resided in Hunter St., Hobart. William
seems to have had a varied career, but certainly earned the title
of the most distinguished member of the Belbin family. Although classed
as a joiner in 1847, soon afterwards he became the licensee of the
City of London Arms, a pub in lower Campbell St., directly opposite
the City Hall or the old vegetable markets. The City of London Arms
had disappeared from view by about 1867. Sometime between 1847 and
1852, William Belbin swapped licences with Joseph Oakley and so became
the licensee of the Victoria pub, which is more readily remembered
by its 1870's name of the Terminus. The Terminus was in Lower Collins
St. directly opposite Sun St.
The January 1852 birth certificate for daughter Elizabeth
Emily notes that William is a Licensed Victualler of Collins Street.
His period as a publican may have lasted no more than five years,
for In 1852 Belbin became a Timber Dealer with his father-in-law,
Charles Dowdell, and was still classed as such when he was nominated
as an executor of the will of Thomas Hudson who died in 1868. The
new Dowdell/Belbin family partnership may have been a complicated
arrangement, as for a short time William Dowdell, the son of Charles
Dowdell, became the licensee of the Terminus pub. Later on, William
Belbin was considered an importer and ship owner, with at least one
ship called Mary Blair.
William Belbin appears to have lived for a time in
the Wapping area of central Hobart, as did several other Belbin families.
The family was living in Collins St. when William (Sen), still a joiner,
reported his father's (James Belbin (Sen)) death in 1847, and was
still there when the first son, young William, died of scarlet fever
in 1853. However, from 1862 onwards, birth certificates for the children
give William's address as Battery Point. The McPhails Directory shows
that in 1867, William's home was in Battery Square, only a short distance
from his New Wharf business at the timber yard. Walch's Tasmanian
Almanacs give further information, stating that in 1865 William was
an auditor for the Hobart Town Municipality. In 1882 and 1877, he
is shown as an Alderman due to retire in 1883, and is also listed
as the South Hobart member of the House of Assembly since 1872. Although
he was a City Alderman, a member of parliament for 19 years, and Mayor
of Hobart for 1880, 1883, and 1884, his NSW death certificate acknowledged
him as a "retired merchant" only.
William had the distinction of having several death
notices and obituaries in the papers of two colonies. Thus:
Sydney Morning Herald - Tues. 28 June 1892.
Belbin -June 26 at his residence, Maude Ville, North
Sydney, William Belbin (Late MHA for Hobart for 19 years), aged 68
years - "Rest in Peace".
Sydney Morning Herald - Wed 29 June 1892.
Mr William Belbin, a native of Hobart, Tasmania,
died on Sunday at North Sydney, after a Public career of 66 years.
For 19 years he was a member of the House of Assembly in Tasmania,
and for three years he held the position of Mayor of Hobart. Mr Belbin
was related to Mr McMahon of The Point, North Sydney. The remains
were forwarded yesterday by steamer for burial in the family vault,
Cornelian Bay, Hobart.
The Mercury - Tues 28 June 1892.
On Sunday at his late residence North Sydney, William
Belbin, formerly of Hobart aged 67.
News has been received that Mr William Belbin, late
of Hobart, died on Sunday last at Maudeville, North Sydney, and amongst
his many old friends and acquaintances, the news was received with
regret. The deceased has been identified for many years with this
port and his name as a timber merchant and shipowner was well known
throughout Tasmania and the Australian Colonies, including New Zealand.
He was born in 1825 and educated in the late Mr Cowle's school, entered
business with the late Mr Charles Dowdell in 1852, and dissolved partnership
in 1879. For many years he represented South Hobart in the House of
Assembly. He was first elected in September 1871, re-elected in August
1872; June 1877; May 1882; and July 1886, and only retired from active
legislative service at the last election on account of failing health.
He was a Territorial Magistrate, having been appointed in December
1882 and was an alderman of the city from 1867 to 1875, and again
from 1881 to 1886. He filled the Mayoral chair in 1883 and 1884. He
also held the position of member of the Central Board of Health, and
was a trustee of the Hobart Cemetery. As an active business man he
held his own for many years in Hobart, and only recently retired to
Sydney to enjoy a well-earned repose. He was twice married, and was
the father of 11 children, five of whom survive him. His son, Mr F
Belbin, is now in Sydney, and was probably present at his father's
demise. He will be buried on Friday next, at 2 O'clock, from the residence
of his son, Hunter Street, the body being brought to Hobart per S.S.
The Mercury - 1 July 1892
On Sunday June 26 at his late residence North Sydney
NSW, William Belbin formerly of Hobart aged 67. The funeral will leave
the residence of his son, Hunter St., this day Friday at 2.30 p.m.
Today the property Maudeville cannot be found in
Middle St., North Sydney, and was no doubt demolished many years ago
to make way for some of the flats overlooking Lavender Bay. Few residences
now appear to accept a Middle St. address, and prefer to be known
as "Back of No. ... Blues Point Rd.", or "Back of No
... East Circuit". Middle St. is less than 250 metres long, but
at its lower end it provides truly spectacular views of the harbour
from Gladesville to the Opera House. From the Sands Directory and
the Council Rate Book, it appears that Maudeville may have been on
the corner of Parker and Middle Streets.
James Belbin (Sen) would have been very proud of
his son William. The Belbin saga appears as a "Log Cabin to White
House" promotion, or more realistically, from convict to community
Leader in one generation. One wonders if William occasionally looked
out across the water from his North Sydney home, to the spot where
the Salamander, with father James Belbin aboard as a convict, would
have swung at anchor 100 years earlier.
The various Sands Directories reveal a little more
information about the McMahon and Belbin families. Michael McMahon,
J.P., was shown at his home, McMahon's Point, East Crescent Rd. in
the 1892, 1893 and 1894 editions, but ceased to be an alderman of
North Sydney Council in 1893, and had disappeared from the register
by 1895. The 1892 Directory showed William Belbin at Middle St., North
Sydney, however a Mrs Belbin was also listed in Blues Point Rd. between
East Crescent Rd. and Parker St. By 1893, the Middle St. home of William
Belbin was listed under the name of Mrs Belbin, but Mrs Belbin still
remained as an addressee in Blues Point Rd.
By 1894, William Belbin's widow had moved from McMahon's
Point and resided at Point Piper Rd., Woollahra. She was again listed
at Point Piper in 1895 before dropping from the records.
Some time after his father's death, Frederick William
Belbin moved from Hobart to Sydney. The 1900 Sands Directory shows
him residing at 52 Gordon Crescent, Petersham, while a Mrs L Belbin
lived at Park Avenue, Drummoyne. In 1905, Mrs Belbin was still at
her old address in Drummoyne, but Mr F.W.Belbin now lived at George
St., Manly, and filled the position of Manager for the Federal Val-de-Tavers
Asphalte Co. of 16 Jamison St. F W Belbin was still at George St.
in 1910, but by 1914 he had moved to 68 Raglan St. Manly where he
remained until sometime after 1916. Although he then disappeared from
the Sands directory, in 1928 a Mr F W Belbin was again noted, first
in Copeland Rd, Beecroft, and then from 1929 to 1933, in Lane Cove
Rd., Chatswood. In 1914, the address of the Asphalte Company had changed
to Hudson St. Redfern.
The first of the pre-1900 Belbin deaths noted by
the NSW Index was that of the ex-Tasmanian parliamentarian, William
Belbin, in 1892. In more recent times the following deaths occurred
Frederick Bertram Belbin d. 10 Jan 1926 at Beecroft.
Margaret Jane Belbin d. 25 Jan 1948 at Cremorne.
These two were Tasmanians, and mother and son. Frederick
Bertram was born in Hobart with parents Frederick William Belbin and
Margaret Peacock, and was the grandson of parliamentarian William
Belbin. He married Brenda Johnstone in Sydney about 1916, and in 1917
was living at 19 Raglan St., Manly, only a short distance from his
Brenda Johnstone was a direct descendent of Major
George Johnstone, the man who in 1808 led the party to arrest and
depose Governor Bligh, and who for a short time became the acting
Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. Thus a descendent of James
Belbin, who gained some notoriety as an ardent supporter of the exiled
Governor Bligh, married a descendent of the person who acted as `front
man' in the coup against Bligh.
Margaret Jane, the mother of Frederick Bertram Belbin,
was living at Redleaf, Leura, in the Blue Mountains in 1926, but she
was at residing in Cremorne prior to her death in January 1948. Margaret's
NSW death certificate gave an age of 83 years, while confirming her
Tasmanian origin and her Hobart marriage at "about 22 years".
In 1925/26, Frederick Bertram was living in Malton
Rd., Beecroft; when he died in Beecroft, at the early age of 37, he
left a family of:
Doris b. 1918
Noel b. 1921
Phillip b. 1925
According to the Northern Herald, 12 October 1989,
which is published for the northern part of Sydney, Phillip Belbin
had standing in Sydney as an artist, but was also internationally
acclaimed as an illustrator. Phillip was a railway enthusiast and,
with David Burke, was co-author of two books, Changing Trains and
Full Steam across the Mountains.
One of the most recent Belbin deaths noted in N.S.W.
was that of Francis Aubrey Belbin, the youngest son of William the
politician, who spent the first few years of his life in Hobart before
moving to McMahon's Pt., North Sydney. His death certificate reveals
that his mother was Angelina McMahon, and that he married Ethel May
Hannah at Ryde about 1923 when the bridegroom was 33 years of age.
There were no children.
At the age of 21, on 23 November 1915, Francis enlisted
in the A.I.F. He served the 2nd. Machine Gun Squad, but was discharged
on 21 November 1916. After his marriage, he was shown in the 1925
Sands Directory as living at North Sydney. When he died at the Repatriation
Hospital, Concord, N.S.W., at the age of 72 years, 31 January 1961,
Francis' home was at Bondi Beach. The following notice appeared in
the Sydney Morning Herald of 2 February 1961.
The relatives and friends of the late Francis Aubrey
Belbin of 19 Francis St., Bondi Beach, are invited to attend his funeral,
to leave St. Michael's Church, High St., Meadowbank, this day Thursday,
on conclusion of prayers commencing at 11.30 am. for the Field of
Mars Catholic Cemetery. Requiem Mass 6.45 am.
The Field of Mars Cemetery is in Ryde, across the
Parramatta River, barely 4 Kms. from Concord Hospital. Meadowbank
is the first suburb over the River on the way North to the Cemetery;
Bondi Beach is some 25 Kms. and a thirty five minute drive from Concord
to the Eastern Suburbs. One can not help comparing the funeral arrangements
for William Belbin's elaborate protestant burial, which required the
remains to be transported by sea from North Sydney to Tasmania, and
the seeming simple Catholic burial arrangements for his youngest son
Francis Aubrey Belbin.