QUILCH William

In 1755 the 51st Regiment of Foot was renumbered (from the 53rd). It received a county designation in 1782, as the 51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding) Regiment of Foot. In 1821 the regiment received royal status, becoming the 51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding, The King’s Own Light Infantry) Regiment. During the early 19th century the regiment served in the Napoleonic and Peninsular campaigns and served at Waterloo in 1815.

Between August and December 1837, six convict ships left Britain with 51st Regiment guards on board bound for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. The regiment continued to arrive in Australia as convict guards, and in larger numbers on troopships, during the decade that followed. Some of these ships are profiled on the Ships page. Arguably the most famous of the journeys made by 30 officers and men was on the ship Buffalo. That story can be read on the Anecdotes page.

In June 1840, a detachment of 145 officers and men arrived in Western Australia on Runnymede from Hobart; a further 46 men arrived on Eudora and Champion between 1841 and 1844. Thirty three 51st men took their discharge and settled in Western Australia; one of them was this man featured on the right.

The 51st in Australia left Hobart for India on Java in 1847. Its last port of call was on 15th March 1847 when the balance of the detachment in WA boarded Java on her way to Calcutta.

51st Regiment at Waterloo
NAME William QUILCHName variations: Quelch.
Birth Date and Placec. 1814 – not verified [WABDM Reg.#9101].
Baptism Date and Place
Marriage Date and Place
Land Acquisition in WANone.
Death Date and Place29 Nov 1876 (age 62), Perth, Western Australia – not verified [WABDM Reg.#9101].
Cause of Death: Debility.
Burial Date and Place30 Nov 1876 East Perth Cemetery, Western Australia – not verified [EPCEM].
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesNone.
Will and ProbateNone.
Regiment51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding, The Kings Own Light Infantry) Regiment.
Soldier No. and Rank#920 Private [WO12-6205-217].
Enlistment Date and PlaceRecords not extant in Australia.
Medals, Clasps and BadgesGood Conduct Badge 1d. per diem prior to arrival in WA.
Forfeited GC Badge and payment 8 Oct 1843 for entry in Defaulters Book [WO12-6205-245].
Good Conduct Badge 1d. per diem 14 Jan 1847 [WO12-6208-190].
Arrival Australia: Ship and DateEmma Eugenia.  Embarked 17 Oct 1837, Deptford, London [WO25-3503; WO12-6200-150].
Arr. 9 Feb 1838  Port Jackson, NSW. Dep. Portsmouth, England 8 Nov 1837 [DPS].
Marion Watson.
Arr. 21 Feb 1838 Hobart, VDL. Dep. 15 Feb 1838 Sydney, NSW [Hobart Courier].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateChampion 5 Jul 1843 from Hobart [TROVE].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaKing George’s Sound 7 Jul to 30 Sep 1843.
Perth HQ 1 Oct to 31 Oct 1843.
Pinjarrah 1 Nov 1843 to 30 Sep 1844.
Perth HQ 1 Oct 1844 to 31 Mar 1845 inc. Garrison Duty (March).
York 1 Apr 1845 to 31 Oct 1846.
Perth HQ 1 Nov  to 31 Dec 1845 Garrison Duty.
On Command 1 Jan to 28 Feb 1847 followed by Perth HQ and discharge.
[All sourcing from WO12-6205 TO 6208].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and Place31 Mar 1847 Perth, Western Australia [WO12-6208-190].
Age at Discharge33 years [deduced].
Length of ServiceUnknown.


This soldier’s surname is consistently spelt QUILCH in the Army Musters and Pay Lists in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.  However, after his Army discharge his name does not appear anywhere in Australian records I have searched, including newsprint.  He may be the William QUELCH who died and was buried in East Perth Cemetery, but this cannot be verified.

The Adelaide Observer printed a notice of marriage between a William QUILCH and Janet Thomson of Morphett Vale, South Australia (June 1863).  However, the marriage register records the  name as QUELCH which is its form on subsequent records of a second marriage, and death/burial (1886 – coincidentally the same year as the Western Australian death).

Diane Oldman 2021