SMITH William

A Private and Lieutenant of 51st Regiment in Uniform
George and William Smith A1 Recruitments recorded at Chatham 1837
Embarkation on Palmira to NSW

An incident on the high seas [SMH 23 Jan 1841]
William Smith’s arrival in the Swan River Colony from Hobart [Inquirer 4 Dec 1844]

Marriage William Smith & Mary Ann Barron 1845
Report of William Smith’s Death [Perth Gazette 15 Apr 1864]
William Smith – Visitation of God (natural causes)
William Smith’s Monument East Perth Cemetery
Letters of Administration signed by Mary Ann Smith [WASRO Cons 3458 131-1864]

Civil Registration Certificates
courtesy of Clinton Smith

NAME William SMITHName variations: None encountered.
Birth Date and Place13 Dec 1821 England – not verified [Smith Family Bible].
Baptism Date and PlaceSutton, Kent, England – not verified [WO12-6203]. See Additional Details below.
Marriage Date and Place22 Aug 1845 Registrar’s Office, Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#148].
SpouseMary Ann BARRON [WABDM Reg,#148].
ChildrenWilliam George b.1846 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#792].
Edward b.1849 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#1280].
Jane b.1851 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#1695].
Ellen b.1853 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#2218].
John b.1856 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#3369].
James b.1859 Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#4547].
Elizabeth b.1862 Williams Bridge, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#6222].
OccupationsLabourer, England [WO12-6203].
Labourer and Shepherd c. 1847-1853 [GRO Certificates].
Policeman c.1854-1860 (locations include Kojonup and Beaufort [PASH & BENT pp.54,56,151].
Yeoman & Farmer, Wedgecarrup, West of Wagin [GRO Certificates].
Land Acquisition in WADetails on leases acquired are available in the State Records Office (see SDUR files].
Death Date and Place11 Apr 1864 George Haysom’s Yard, Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg.#2436].
Cause of Death: Apoplexy – verdict of inquest [TROVE] and/or Visitation of God [GRO Certificate].
Burial Date and Place13 Apr 1864 East Perth Cemetery, Western Australia.
Church of England Section, Monument 500 [EPCEM].
Death, Funeral, Obituary NoticesPerth Gazette 15 Apr 1864 p.2.
Inquirer 13 Apr 1864.
Will and ProbateLetters of Administration 16 Jan 1867 by Mary Ann Smith, Supreme Court Ecclesiastical, Western Australia.
[Cons 3458 131-1867].
Regiment51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding, The Kings Own Light Infantry) Regiment.
Soldier No. and Rank#1431 Private [WO12-6202-223].
Enlistment Date and Place15 Oct 1839 – recorded at Chatham [WO12-6201-235].
Medals, Clasps and BadgesGood Conduct Badge and pay 1d. per diem from 01 Jan 1846 [WO12-6208-191, 210].
Arrival Australia State: Ship and DatePalmira.
Departed Chatham 1 Aug 1840 for NSW [WO12-6202-292].
Arrived NSW c.19 Jan 1841, Re-joined 51st Regiment in Hobart  Feb 1841 [WO12-6202-223].
Military Postings within Van Diemen’s Land.Hobart HQ Feb 1841 to Nov 1844 including Garrison Duty and Escort Duty [WO12-6202-6206].
Victoria Valley 1 Apr to 31 Dec 1842 [WO12-6204-20/107].
Hobart In Hospital Jun (14 days) and Sep (6 days) 1844 [WO12-6206-33&92].
Arrival Western Australia: Ship and DateChampion.
Departed Hobart Nov 1844, arriving Fremantle 27 Nov 1844 [WO12-6206-154].
Military Postings within Western AustraliaPerth HQ 27 Nov 1844 to 31 Mar 1847 [WO12-6206 to 6208].
Courts Martial in Western AustraliaNone.
Discharge Date and Place31 Mar 1847 – without pension [WO12-6208-191&199].
Age at Discharge26 years [deduced].
Length of Service8 years [deduced].


Birthright or Right Birth?
It is not easy to research a name like William Smith. For example in the Army Musters for the 51st Regiment in Australia, four men of that name were only distinguishable if their regimental number was present: #179, a shoemaker from Stafford; #492 a hatter from Rochdale; #1418 a servant from St Neots; #1431, a labourer from Sutton, Kent. Our William Smith’s date and place of birth are problematic. A page from a family bible forwarded to me by Clinton Smith, a Western Australian descendant of William, records William’s birthdate as 13th December 1821 (no place is recorded). In genealogical research terms, a family bible cannot be termed a primary source. Prior to 1837, a primary source would be a Church of England or Non-Conformist (including R.C.) baptismal register. With no place nor parents named, this opens up the potential for over 10,000 baptisms in the United Kingdom between 1819 and 1822 for the name William Smith. Another dubious source of birth/baptismal records are the public family trees. There are at least 150 family trees citing this birthdate for William’s pedigree, most of which give Melbourn, Cambridgeshire as the birthplace. There is a William Smith aged 20 recorded in the 1841 Census of England & Wales [HO107-63-14], which might be a fitting source if William had been in Melbourne,Cambridgeshire in 1841 … but as we can see from his Army posting, he was in Hobart, Tasmania. A baptism (1822) in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire shows William Smith, son of Edward and Susannah … feasible, perhaps were it not for the fact that this William Smith and his parents are also recorded in the Melbourn, Cambridgeshire 1841 Census [HO107-63-17], when our William Smith was in Australia. The War Office Army Musters & Pay Lists (primary sources) consistently list William as ‘Labourer, Sutton, Kent’. But what does this mean? … born in Sutton, Kent or working there prior to his enlistment? And there is another problem: Sutton, Kent was not a Parish until 1830 and there are other possibilities: East Sutton, Chart Sutton, Sutton Valence and Sutton at Hone, all in the County of Kent. Unless someone in William Smith’s family has a primary source to share, his birth and/or baptism date and place will remain unverified.
Brother George?
Two men named Smith were described as A1 recruits on 15th October 1839: George and William [WO12-6201-235]. Later when their regimental numbers were recorded in the Musters, both were described as ‘Labourer, Sutton, Kent’ – George #1408 and William #1431. These men joined the regiment on the same day, left for Australia with a detachment of the regiment on different ships but both in 1840; George on the convict ship Asia (April), William on Palmira (August). They both rejoined the 51st detachment in Hobart and were together throughout their time in Van Diemen’s Land. When William left Hobart for the Swan River Colony on Champion in 1844, George was with him. Except for a stint of six months from April to September 1845, when George was posted to Pinjarrah, they remained together in the Colony at HQ. They parted ways when George left for India with the Regiment in March 1847 on Java, but William remained in WA, taking his discharge and becoming a settler. Were they brothers? William and Mary Ann nee Barron named their first-born William George. But that tricky business of identifying birth/baptism date and place will be the only way to answer the question of Brother George.
Palmira or Palmyra?
Here we have yet more confusion! William Smith was one of 51 NCOs and Other Ranks troops who embarked upon the ship Palmira on 31st August 1840 for NSW [WO12-6202-292]. More about this ship was difficult to discover because of the spelling of her name. But this much I have gleaned …
Lady Palmira was a 602-ton timber-hull Barque built in Calcutta in 1820 and registered in London. By the time of William’s voyage to Australia, she was known as simply Palmira owned by Joseph Somes and captained by ? Daniel/Daniell. There were no convicts on board for William’s voyage – she was carrying cargo. William was one of 50 troops from the 51st detachment on board, and there may have been some deaths on the voyage, depending on how one interprets this newspaper report from the Sydney Morning Herald dated 19th January 1841.After her arrival in NSW in January 1841, she remained in the harbour for a refit [Sydney Morning Herald]. Five years later she left England as a convict ship (her only journey as such) with Captain Daniel W Stephens, and at this time owned by John Henry Luscombe [Lloyds Register & Qld State Library].The Palmira was often spelt Palmyra (including on the Lloyds Register). She was therefore very often confused with the 394-ton ship Palmyra built in 1839 at Greenock. Palmyra made her maiden voyage that same year to Australia bringing migrants to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney [Lloyd’s Register].

Diane Oldman 2020