John's Father

John Brickhill was born to James Brickhill (1778-1871) and Elizabeth Scott on 11 February 1817. He had two sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, three brothers, James, William and Thomas as well as a step brother Joseph.

John’s father (James) was a Customs and Excise Officer working in his early years as a clerk in the East and West India Docks. He retired at the age of 68 after 43 years with the Service. James resided at 16 Wherstead Rd, Ipswich Suffolk, England and passed away at the grand age of 92. He is buried at the Ipswich Cemetery (UK) Section R Div 16 Grave No 16.

James had three wives Elizabeth Scott, Ann Chatterley and Jane Rands. Ann & Jane are also acknowlegd on his headstone.


John's Wife

Susannah Brickhill nee. Huttley 1818-1901

 On the 27 January 1839 John married Susannah Huttley at St George-in-the-East. He was living at 5 Marther St. at the time and his occupation was given as “Silk Printer.” Later that year in November a daughter (Rebecca) arrived and then in February of 1842 a son (John Jr.)


Circumstances were such that in 1842 John and his young family embarked on a journey to establish a new life on the other side of the world in Van Diemen’s Land. A dangerous voyage of 4 ½ months on the "Royal Saxon".

John Brickhill (1817-1900)

John Brickhill 1817-1900

  The "Royal Saxon" departed London on the 19 June 1842 and arrived at Port Dalyrmple situated at the mouth of the Tamar River on 22 November 1842. Sadly, twelve children did not survive the journey.  Two of those lost to dysentery were John Smeaton Wilson (just twenty months old) and young Sarah Lamprey (about one year old). In his later years John wrote a short description of this voyage titled An Old time Voyage  

The arrival of the "Royal Saxon" in Van Diemen’s Land at that time was greeted with much anticipation by local land owners as a supply of “free” labour which the authorities described as “people who are truly oil to the nation’s wheels.”

No doubt John worked as a farm hand on his arrival, however, 1844 saw the arrival of a second daughter Elizabeth born on 3 June and in1846 his second son James Brickhill was born on 20 September. On James’ birth certificate the occupation of John was given as gardener and his residence was nominated as Upper George St. Launceston. The birth of William in August 1848 was unfortunately followed by the death of Elizabeth at the tender age of 4 ½. of Croup.

In 1849 John Brickhill is included in a list of people employed in the Civil Establishment as a “Letter Carrier” for the Launceston Post Office. Initially John delivered letters twice each week between Launceston and York Town a distance of approximately 50 Km. (see John the Postman)

The Colony conducted a major Census 1St of March 1851 which revealed the complete Brickhill family as:

John aged 33 Years, his wife Susannah 32 Years and their five children Rebecca 12 Years, John Jr. 9 Years, James 4 Years and William 2 Years. A family consisting of two Born in the Colony and four having arrived “Free” residing at Victoria Street and their religion being nominated as “Other Protestant Dissenters Independent.”