In 1678, Charles Erskine, Earl of Mar, raised the regiment to help put down unrest within the Presbyterian (Covenanter) Scots churchmen. In 1688, as a fusilier regiment, it moved from the Scottish to the English establishment and was named for its various Colonel’s names. In 1707 the regiment was named the North British Fuzileers, not popular within the Regiment since it was bestowed in honour of the Union of England and Scotland.
The regiment maintained its ‘North British’ name in various forms throughout the 18th and early 19th century, fighting against the Jacobite rebellion including Culloden; engaging in the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars.
The 21st (Royal North British Fuzileers) Regiment first arrived in Australia in 1832 to 1833 as guards on board convict ships to New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. The regiment’s HQ was established in Hobart but soon a detachment was sent to the Swan River Colony to relieve the 63rd Regiment’s detachment which had arrived with Captain James Stirling some four years earlier. Most of the troops arrived on Jane in September 1833, but others arrived on Caroline (February 1835) and Sir John Rae Reid (July 1835). Most left the Colony on Runnymede in July 1840 to serve in India.
The troops of the 21st Regiment detachment bore the brunt of the clash of cultures between the settlers and the aborigines. Two corporals and eight privates were thought to have been present at the Battle of Pinjarra; three troops were killed by natives in other incidents in Beverley, Murray River and Upper Swan.
A total of 152 officers and men served in Western Australia between 1833 and 1840 and 21 of them took their discharge and settled there. One of them was this man featured on the right. Nineteen troops died while serving in the Colony.
It was not until 1877 that the regiment received a title befitting its origins when it became the 21st (Royal Scots Fusliers) Regiment of Foot.
|NAME: David Fothergill EARNSHAW||Name variations: Hernshaw|
|Birth Date and Place||6 Nov 1813 Ossett, Wakefield, Yorkshire [TNA RG3076].|
|Baptism Date and Place||27 Dec 1813 Ossett Green Independent Congregational Church, Ossett, Yorkshire [TNA RG3076].|
|Marriage Date and Place||24 Jul 1842 Picton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #36].|
|Children||Selina Emma b.1843 Bunbury, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #227].|
Susan Mary b.1845 Billolup, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #573].
Marion Ellen b.1846 Ferguson River, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #816].
Anne b.1848 (d.1848) Bunbury, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #1067, 315].
Alfred James b.1850 (d.1850) Busselton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #1485, 422].
Frederick b.1851 (d.1851) Busselton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #1693].
Augusta Maude b.1852 Busselton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #1938].
Clara Annetta b.1855 Vasse, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #2991].
Mary b.1858 (d.1858) Busselton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #4038].
Blanche Edna b.1860 Busselton, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #5331A].
|Occupations in WA||Police Constable from June 1849 [Govt Gazette 2 Jun 1849].|
Gaoler 1852 to 1853 [BARK p.64].
Hotelier 1854 to Dec 1861 [TROVE].
Farmer from 1866 [FSLDS #1844645].
|Land Acquisition in WA||23 Nov 1841 Bunbury Town Lot No. 97 in partnership with Simpson [Inquirer 2 Feb 1842].|
11 Dec 1843 Grant No. 50, Bunbury (one acre) [FSLDS #1542338 folio 9].
05 May 1866 Wellington Pastoral Lease No. 725 [FSLDS #1844645].
|Death Date and Place||25 May 1871, Vasse, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #4996].|
|Burial Date and Place||May 1871 Busselton Pioneer Cemetery, Western Australia [Oz Burials].|
|Death, Funeral, Obituary Notices||None.|
|Will and Probate||Letters of Administration August 1871. Probate: 9 Sep 1871 Supreme Court of Western Australia|
|Regiment||21st (Royal North British Fuzileers) Regiment.|
|Soldier No. and Rank||#848 Private [WO12-3802-207].|
|Enlistment Date and Place||9 Jul 1831 Leeds, Yorkshire, England [WO12-9622-209].|
|Physical Description||Height: 5 ft. 7 ins. [BLKB p.284].|
|Medals, Clasps and Badges||None.|
|Arrival Australia: Ship and Date||Circassian. Embarked Deptford, London 14 Aug 1832 [WO25-3503].|
Dep. Plymouth 14 Oct 1832; arr. Hobart VDL 16 Feb 1833 [TROVE].
|Arrival Western Australia: Ship and Date||Jane 9 Sep 1833 from Hobart [WO12-3802-106; TROVE].|
Military Postings within Western Australia
|Note: Where ‘On detachment’ is noted below, no location is recorded in the 21st Musters and Pay Lists|
Port Augusta Sep to 31 Dec 1833. On detachment 1 Jan 1834 to 31 Mar 1836.
Perth HQ 1 Apr 1836 to 30 Jun 1837 inc. 20 days in hospital (Apr 1836).
On detachment 1 July to 30 Sep 1837. York District 1 Oct to 31 Dec 1837.
Perth HQ 1 Jan 1838 to 30 Sep 1839 inc. 20 days in hospital (Jan 1838).
Pinjarrah 1 Oct 1839 to 31 Mar 1840.
Perth HQ 1 Apr to 31 Jul 1840 when discharged.
All sourced from WO12-3802 TO 3809.
|Courts Martial in Western Australia||None.|
|Discharge Date and Place||31 Jul 1840 Perth, Western Australia [WO12-3809-64].|
Jan-Mar Qtr. 1849 £4.0s.0d. Purchase of discharge completed [WO12-9622-209].
|Age at Discharge||27 years.|
|Length of Service||9 years 22 days [WO12-9622-209].|
Conquest and Settlement: The 21st Regiment (Royal North British Fusiliers) in Western Australia 1833-1840 by Geoff Blackburn, Hesperian Press 1999 pp.141-145 has a lengthy narrative and ‘family tree’ for David Earnshaw. While drawing on this data for some of the above profile, we have tried, in addition, to source original records.
Newspaper sources have been used and can be found on the National Library’s online website TROVE. These examples will mark some milestones in David Earnshaw’s life in Western Australia:
Inquirer 2 Feb 1842 – Land Purchase.
Perth Gazette 8 Jun 1849 – appointment as Constable at Vasse.
Perth Gazette 17 Apr 1857 – advertising Commercial Hotel proprietor for three years.
Perth Gazette 20 Sep 1861 – Commercial Hotel to Let owing to retirement.
Above: David Fothergill Earnshaw [courtesy of Busselton Historical Society].
Click on image to enlarge.