The North family were merchants from Taunton, Somerset, while the Hack family were huguenot refugees who settled in London.

Clarissa Mary Hack was born on 03 Jun 1832 in the home of her uncle James Hack and christened in St Botolph's Church, Aldgate, London, England. Her parents were Paul Hack and Susannah Mander. Click here for an image of her birth record taken from the England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970; RG5: Birth Certificates, Protestant Dissenters´ Birth Registry, 1824-1837; Piece 0150: Certificate nos: 13001-13500, Vol 26 (1837 July 15-25). An overview of three older generations is as follows:

Hack_North ancestors

More information is available on Susanne Bachellier's family:

Generation 4
Generation 3
Generation 2
Generation 1

Bachellier_Hack ancestores

There are some differences among dates in family trees, possibly due to when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar. This occurred in 1582 in catholic and orthodox countries but not until 1752 in England, Wales and Ireland (see Old Style and New Style dates). An example is given below for a family tree published in England in 1822 by Paul and Francis Hack; they use au(x) vieux Stile for old style and au Sile nauvau for new style. The tree also has examples of double dates (where two consecutive years are used either because of differences in the starting date of the year or because both Julian and Gregorian dates are shown: the first year was the year in the Julian calendar in use in that locality, and the second was the year that it would have been if they had changed the year number on January 1 - see Converting between Julian and Gregorian Calendar in One Step).

Generation 1 (top): Nicholas Bachellier & Marie Rossignol

Nicholas Bachllier was born sometime around 1645 in Villeparisis, Seine-et-Marne, France, about 40km north-east of Paris; Marie Rossignol was born there about 5 years later. They married in Villeparisis in about 1673 and had 6 children in the Paris, Villeparisis, Île-de-France, Seine-et-Marne and Meaux region of France:

01. Daniel (b. 01 Nov 1672 in Nanteuil-lès-Meaux, some 24km east of Villeparisis)

02. Jean (b. 10 Jul 1674 in Villeparisis, Seine-et-Marne)

03. Nicholas (b. 10 Jul 1674 in Île-de-France, d. 1739) married Magdelaine Deshayes (b. Abt. 1860, d. 7 apr 1743) in London on 14 Jan 1697. They had 4 children in Spitalfields: Suzanne (b. 1698), Nicolas (b. 1701, d. 18 jun 1703), Nicolas (b. 10 jun 1703), Mary (b. Abt. 1704).

04. Marie Magdalene (b. 1679 in Villeparisis, Seine-et-Marne) married Abraham Pautier on August 31, 1701, in Spitalfields, London.

05. Judith (b. 1683 in Meaux , about 20km east of Villeparisis, d. 1762 in England) married Antoine Deverdun/Deverdain (1684-1762) on 01 Oct 1704 in Middlesex, England; they had 8 children.

06. Paul (b. 1680, d. 1752). Paul Bachellier married Esther Saumon (see below).

From 1681 protestants in France were forced to convert to catholicism and this forced many to find safe refuge in London, mainly between Spitalfields in the east and Soho in the west. It is probable that Nicholas and Marie settled in London prior to 1694; the name Nicholas Batcheler appears in the London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925 when, on 07 Oct 1694 when one Joseph Blackwell signed on as an apprentice to him to learn the art of a cooper. Of course this could be a compeletely different person as a Nicholas Batcheler appears several times in English records of the time.


A Nicholas Bachellier was burried on 01 Apr 1738 in Christ Church, Spitalfields, Middlesex, England, but whether father or son is uncertain.

Generation 1 (middle): Antoine Saumon & Marie Godran

Aintoine Saumon was born in Canterbury, Kent in about 1645. From the England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970, Piece 4598: Walloon Church, Canterbury (Walloon and French Protestant), 1644-1704 we have Aintoine Saumon marrying Marie Godron on 14 Oct 1666. Antoine's father is stated to be Adrien Saumon (1620-1681), Marie's father being Jean Godron.

Saumon-Godron marriage

The couple had 5 children, all born in Canterbury, Kent: Marie (b. 1668), Abraham (b. 1670), Isaac (b.27 Jul 1672), Jean (b. 1677) and Esther (b. 08 Apr 1682, d. 1752 in London). Esther Saumon married Paul Bachellier (see below).

Generation 1 (bottom): Jean Finet & Jeanne Fejat (or Sejat)

Jean Finet was born in France in 1660. He married Jeanne Fejat on 25 Jan 1752 in Avermes, Auvergne, France. Jeanne was born in 1665 in Île-de-France, her parents being François Fejat and Marie Saunier. It is unclear from the records whether the surname was Fejat or Sejat. They had two children, both born in Amiens, Picardie, France: Pierre (b, 1690) and Anne (b. 1692).

Generation 2 (top): Paul Bachellier & Esther Saumon

Paul Bachellier, the youngest of Nicholas Bachellier & Marie Rossignol's 6 children, was born in 1680 in Villeparisis, Île-de-France, France. Ester Saumon was the youngest of Antoine Saumon & Marie Godran's 5 children. Paul and Esther married on 25 Apr 1706 in French Church, London, and had 3 children:

01. Paul (b. 1709, d. 1710)

02. Paul (b. 19 Nov 1711, d. 1762) see below

03. Marie (b. 1713, d. ?) baptised 10 May 1713

Not much is known of their lives in London, although he was possibly a weaver. Paul Bachellier appears as a juror on 16 Oct 1718 in the Middlesex Sessions. Esther passed away in 1724, then on 17 June 1725 Paul married Marie Anne Gaucheron (b. 03 Aug 1707 in London), the daughter of Pierre and Anne Marie Gaucheron. They had 9 children:

04. Pierre (b. 21 Aug 1721 in East London, d. 11 Feb 1795 in the French Protestant Hospital, St Lukes, Finsbury, London)

05. Esther (b. 05 Aug 1726 in Stepney, London, d. 1730)

06. Susanna (b. 26 July 1727 in London, d. 26 Jul 1727 in Stepney, London)

07. Anne (b. 28 Mar 1729 in Stepney, London, d. ?)

08. Esther (b. 02 May 1731 in Stepney, London, d. Oct 1762 in Islington, London, and burried on 03 Oct 1762 in St Luke, Finsbury, London)

09. Judith (b. 23 Feb 1733 in Spitalfields, London, d. 17 Jan 1734 and buried at St Dunstan & All Saints, Bethnal Green)

10. Peter (b. 17 Aug 1734 in Stepney, London, 17 Aug 1819 in Bethnal Green, London). He married Mary Ann Le Duc on 18 Feb 1760 in St Matthews, Bethnal Green, London, England; they had 6 children (Peter, Mary Ann, Samuel, William, Ann and Samuel).

11. Efaye (b. 23 Aug 1740 in Stepney, London, d. ?)

12. Samuel (b. 06 Jul 1743 in Stepney, London, d. 10 April 1836 and burried in St Matthew's, Bethnal Green)

Generation 2 (bottom): Pierre Finet & Marie Magdelein Vasseur

Pierre Finet was born in Amiens, Picardie, France, in 1690. He married Marie Madelaine Finet in the Artillery Church, Spitalfields, London, on 04 Jul 1719 (on a Saturday, so this is a Julian date). From the Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths:

Pierre Finet marriage

Marie's birthplace was Bonneville, about 25km north of Amiens. The couple had two children:

01. Marie Madelaine (b. 26 Jun 1720 in London, d. 1762 and burried in St Matthew's, Bethnal Green)

02. Isaac (b. 02 Dec 1722 in Spitalfields, London, d. ?)

Generation 3 (top): Paul Bachellier & Marie Madelaine Finet

Paul Bachellier was the middle of three children of Paul Bachellier & Esther Saumon. He was born on 19 Nov 1711 in Spitalfields, London and married Marie Madelaine Finet on 29 May 1742. They had nine children, all in Spitalfields, before Marie passed away in 1762:

01. Anne (b. 15 Feb 1742, d. ?)

02. Marie (b. 20 Feb 1743, d. Jun 1768)

03. Ester (b. 13 Oct 1745, d. Jun 1774)

04. Paul (b. 20 Jul 1747, d. ?)

05. Susanna (b. 08 Dec 1749, d. 13 Mar 1812)

06. Marie Madelaine (b. 15 Feb 1752, d. ?)

07. Elizabeth (b. 06 Oct 1754, d. ?)

08. Pierre (b. 30 Oct 1757, d. 17 May 1828)

09. Judith (b. 22 Dec 1760, d. 22 Dec 1760)

05. Susanna Bachellier married Jacob Hack on 12 Feb 1770 in Bethnall Green. Two of their children, James and Francis, became printers, corner of Cullum St & Fenchurst St, London. In 1822 they published a family tree (click here for a high resolution copy, 2.8MB). (Three of Paul Hack's own children were born after publication and were subsequently handwritten in.) Notice the comment that their surname had been changed from Heck by someone unknown at some stage. However Jacob's christening record on 24 Jul 1747 at St Matthew's, Bethnal Green, has his surname as Heck.

Jacob was born on 09 Jul 1747, his parents being Jacob (who was a weaver) and Mary Jane Heck. He was the only suviving child. As the family tree shows, two younger children both died in infancy: John (b. 23 Feb 1744/5, d. 06 Feb 1746/7 aged 23 months) and Elizabeth (b. 23 Mar 1745/6, d. 13 Apr 1746 aged 3 weeks). In 1779 his occupation was said to be a porkman.

Hack family tree

Of Jacob & Susanna's 12 children, five died in infancy and two in their 20s.

08. Paul Hack was born on 29 Mar 1784 in London. When he signed on as an apprentice printer on 04 Mar 1800 (almost aged 16) he was described as a pork butcher (his father was a porkman) and lived in Smithfield, East Wapping:


Paul Hack married Susanna Mander in St Anne's, Limehouse on 25 Oct 1818. Susanna was one of 6 children of John Hall Mander (1764-1817) and Susanna Bellamy (1764-1829); the couple married on 03 Jun 1787 in St Botolph's Church, Aldgate. Their children were Jonathon (1790 - 1790), Elizabeth (1791 - ?), Susanna (Jul 1794 - Apr 1849), John George (10 Dec 1798 - ?), Jane Hall and Clarissa (18 Dec 1805 - ?).

Susanna's sister Jane Hall Mander was born on 21 Feb 1802 and baptised on 21 Mar 1802 in St Botolph Without Aldgate, London, England:


Jane Mander christening

She married David Jones on 07 Feb 1828 at St Andrew Holborn, London and they had 4 sons and 4 daughters. She was David Jones' third wife. His first wife was Catherine Hughes; she died in 1814, aged 19 and within a year of their marriage. His second wife was Elizabeth Williams, born about 1796. They married on 10 Sep 1822, but she passed away in 1826 at the age of 30. David and Susannah moved to Sydney, Australia, and he became a successful merchant; his department stores are still in operation today. G. P. Walsh's biography of David Jones (1793–1873) mentions (some of) their children:

The eldest son David Mander (d. 1864) married a cousin, Emily Ann Jones, and he with his brother George took up the 300-sq.-mile (777 km²) property, Boonara, on the Darling Downs. The second son, Philip Sydney (1836-1918), achieved eminence as a physician and was knighted. The youngest son, Edward Lloyd (1844-1894), married Helen Ann, daughter of Richard Jones and succeeded his father in the business. In September 1848 the eldest daughter, Eliza, married Robert, son of Dr Robert Ross.

In the 1841 census Paul Hack was descibed as a printer, aged 57, and Susanna(h) as a schoolmistress, aged 47. Their two daughters were living with them:

1841 census

Paul & Susanna had 4 children:

01. Susannah (b. 17 Feb 1821, d. ?) christened in St Dionis Backchurch, London, England

02. William (b. 16 Apr 1823, burried on 04 Sep 1834 in St George in the East, Tower Hamlets) died aged 11

03. Eliza Jane (b. 16 Oct 1825, burried on 21 Jun 1831 in St George in the East, Tower Hamlets) died aged 5

04. Clarissa Mary (b. 03 Jun 1832, d. 21 Oct 1906 at Chatswood, Sydney, Australia)

Susanna died in Apr 1849 and Paul on 29 Mar 1784.

Their daughter 01. Susannah Hack married Alexander John Weynton on 11 Jul 1849 in St Luke's Church, Kent; Susannah's sister Clarissa and father Paul were the two witnesses:

marriage certificate

Alexander was born on 10 May 1818 in Kingston, Jamaica. He became an apprentice mariner on board the convict ship the Mangles on its 6th journey to Australia in 1833; he succumbed to the tropical sun en route and was sent ashore at Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne, Australia) but soon recovered. Coincidentally the Mangles was the ship that brought William O'Neill from Co Kerry in Ireland to Sydney in 1822, the 2nd of its journeys to Australia. (William's descendant, Mick O'Neill is the author of this website and is married to Christine Wheeler, Clarissa Hack's descendant.) From the medical report:

mediacl report

Alexander became a master mariner and was master of the Cowlitz from 1846 to 1852, but in 1850 he was involved in his ship being grounded on several occasions while being towed to sea from Port Victoria on Vancouver Island. Evidentally he received an unsatisfactory report and decided to settle in New South Wales. From the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) archives - see also the Fort Victoria Journal:

Alexander John Weynton

Susannah Weynton and Captain Alexander Weynton left for New South Wales on board the Mary Ann, accompanied by Susannah's sister Clarissa, arriving in Sydney on 09 Jul 1852 and reported the following day in the Sydney Morning Herald:

July 9. - Mary Ann, barque, 479 tons, Captain William Darke, from Plymouth 16th March, and Teneriff 4th April. Passengers - Dr. and Mrs. Woolley, five children, and two female servants; Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Darke, Mr. and Mrs. Carden and servant, Captain and Mrs. Weynton and child, Miss Hack, ...

Alexander continued in Australia as master mariner and died on 08 Aug 1862 in Wilton Cottage, Strawberry Hills (an inner city locality of Sydney) aged just 43. From the Sydney Morning Herald on 09 Aug 1862:

On the 8th instant, at his residence, Wilton Cottage, Strawberry Hills, Captain A. J. Weynton, aged 43.

Susannah lived until she was 80, passing away on 29 may 1901 in Katoomba, about 125 km west of Sydney, having ran a guest house for some years. As is mentioned below, Clarissa's husband became known as the father of Katoomba: the township was established after he founded a coal mine there.

04. Clarissa Mary Hack married John Britty North on 13 Feb 1855. From the Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 15 February 1855:


On the 13th instant, at the Congregational Church, Pitt-street, by the Rev. Dr. Ross, Mr. John Britty North, formerly of London, to Clarissa Mary, second daughter of the late Mr. Paul Hack, of Blackheath, Kent.

John Britty North was born in Taunton, Somerset, England and baptised in St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton on 31 Aug 1831:

J B North baptism

His father was also named John Britty North and, as can be seen, was described as a Spirit merchant and resided in Cheapside, a market area of Taunton and close to St Mary Magdalene Church. John Britty North Sn. appears in Taunton Names from Pigot's Directory, 1830, as a Wine & Spirit Merchant in Cheapside, along with a Thomas North in Mill Lane (a Woolstapler) and a Brice North & Co in Paul St (Carriers). John Britty North (sen.) was born in 1800 in Taunton and married Mary Willie on 28 Nov 1828. Mary was born in Crewkerne, Somerset (about 20km south-east of Taunton) on 13 Nov 1804 and died in Poplar, Middlesex on 10 Jun 1855; her parents were William Willie & Mary Sutton and she was one of ten children.

John Britty North Sn. & Mary Willie had three children, with (possibly) an unnamed daughter born in 1833:

01. John Britty (bap. 31 Aug 1831, d. 14 Oct 1917)

02. Mary (b. 1831, d. ?) presumably a twin

03. Ellen (b. 09 Jun 1840, d. 1898)

In the 1841 census John (aged 40), Mary (aged 10) and Ellen (aged 1) were living in the Cheapside district of Taunton. His wife Mary and their son John Britty (aged 10) were not listed. In the 1851 census the family lived at 4 Bedford Place, St Pancras, London.

03. Ellen North married Charles Grabham (born 06 1833, in Bridgwater, Somerset). Their first child, Emily, was born on 25 Sep 1858 in Kingston Upon Thames, England and died on 20 Oct a month later. They then had:

02. Charles Willie (b. 09 Jan 1860 in Lee, Kent, d. Nov 1931 in Longueville, Sydney).

On 21 Jan 1873 Charles signed on as apprentice in the Merchant Navy for a period of 5 years. He married Elizabeth McCulloch Auld on 03 Sep 1888 in Newtown, Sydney (record 2806). They had five children: Edna Alice in 1890, Charles Lancelot in 1892, Robert Harold Auld in 1896 and Sylvia Mary in 1905.

Charles Willie Grabham Charles Willie Grabham

Left: Charles and Elizabeth with their older two children;
Right: Charles and Elizabeth in the middle, Elizabth's sister Amy Alice Auld (left) and
daughter Sylvia Mary.

(Photos courtesy of Chris O'Sullivan, member)

03. Arthur Edward (b. 07 Feb 1861 in Lewisham, London, d. 25 Feb 1927 in Townsville, Queensland, record number C1240)

04. Ellen Mary (b. 23 May 1862 in Greenwich, Kent, d. 27 Sep 1939 in Roseville, Sydney) did not marry

05. Amy (b. 11 May 1863, d. 09 Jul 1943 in Rose Bay, Sydney)

Amy Grabham married Ambrose James Laroghy in Tamworth 1890 (record 6969). Ambrose was a viticulturist who managed the Bebeah vineyards near Singleton and the Kaluna Vineyard, Smithfield. They had seven children: Ida May (b. 1890 in West Maitland, d. 31 Dec 1903 in Singleton aged 13½); Charles Royden (b. 25 Jan 1892 in Tamworth, d. 1959 in Chatswood, Sydney); Harold Ambrose (b. 1892 in Tamworth, d. 1961 in Sydney); Victor Gordon (b. 1894 in Liverpool, Sydney, d. , d. 1971 in St Leonards, Sydney); John Franklin (b. 1897 in St Leonards, Sydney, d. 08 Nov 1917 in  Flanders, France); Eric George (b. 1900 in Balmain South, Sydney, d. 1963 in Sydney); Arthur Colin (b. 1905 in Singleton, d. 1970 in St Leonards, Sydney).

Three of their sons fought during WWI. From the Windsor and Richmond Gazette Friday 30 November 1917:


Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Laraghy, of Tizzana, received sad news on Wednesday, to the effect that their soldier son, Private L. [J.] F. Laraghy, of the 3rd battalion, was killed in action on November 8. We are sure the sympathy of the whole district will go out to the parents and their family in this great loss. Another son, Private Roy Laraghy, came home from the war a little time ago, badly maimed, having lost a leg in addition to other injuries, while a third son is still fighting in France.

The Windsor and Richmond Gazette published on 29 October 1915 a letter that Victor sent home from the front:

Private Victor G. Laraghy, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Laraghy, of Tizzana, Sackville, who left with the 8th Reinforcements of the First Brigade, has arrived in Egypt, and his parents received a letter from him, dated September 12th, from which we give some extracts:

Here I am in camp under the shadow of the pyramids. Have had a very good voyage over, and landed at Port Suez uneventfully. From Port Suez we travelled by train to the camp, a run of six or seven hours right through the sandy desert of Egypt. The journey was most interesting and educational. The quaint mud villages of the natives and their strange customs afforded an interesting opportunity of broadening the mind and adding to one's experience. You in Australia who have not travelled have absolutely no conception of what the customs of the ancient Eastern race are like. It is impossible to set down adequately my impressions of Egypt. As the train winds round about the desert, on its way to Cairo, you catch here and there a glimpse of the famous Suez Canal. That must have been a wonderful undertaking, only realised on inspection. The camp just outside of Heliopolis is a magnificent spectacle. Imagine all the buildings in Sydney removed and a city of canvas erected, and you will get some idea of its size. You can travel for miles and pass through nothing but military tents and buildings. Cairo is the most wonderful, most interesting, yet most degraded city in the world. Nearly all nations are represented — Turks, Egyptians, Russians, French, English, Indians, Africans, and last, but not least, Australians. Poverty reigns absolute, and filth prevails. You must not entertain the idea that it is a tumble-down, ramshackle city. The architectural design is wonderful— solid masonry work, equal to, and in some cases better than, we find in Australia. The Palace Hospital, where a great number of the Australian wounded are, is a most magnificent building in all details and well worth viewing. One feature which strikes the visitor is the number of grimy boot blacks and as soon as you set foot in the city they swarm round you to clean your boots. They will not take 'No' for an' answer, nor even ask if you would like your boots cleaned, but simply set to work and do the job as you walk along, following you up till you arc forced to resign yourself to your fate. They can talk English - or rather I should say Australian, having learnt it from our boys - in rather a plain-spoken way, and straight to the point. I suppose Roy and Jack are on their way now, and if they come, to Egypt I will probably find them. We are all eager to move forward to the trenches, and when the order comes it will be welcomed. Most of the wounded say that the Turks are the cleanest fighters you can meet. The weather is very hot. The sun scorches down on the desert sand with blazing ferocity and we are all as brown as berries. This is the 12th September, and you have another Man in the fold. Fancy celebrating my 21st birthday in this far-off land, with stew for dinner, and nothing but tepid water to drink healths in. The difference in time here is about 8½ hours to Australia and I made a point of being up at 5 a.m. when I guessed you would be at dinner at 1 p.m., and returned the toast in water. We have great difficulty in keeping niggers out of camp. They swarm every where, trying to sell their wares to the soldiers. We have to be careful what we eat and drink from the natives, for they sell all kinds of concoctions of their own manufacture, which are very palatable, but if we saw them made perhaps we would not touch some of them.

Charles Royden Laraghy gained an OBE for his work with the Limbless Soldiers' Assocation in Victoria (Who's Who in Australia, 1921-1950).

06. Elizabeth Maud (b. 04 Mar 1866 in Dartford, Kent, d. 29 Mar 1948 in Roseville, Sydney) did not marry

07. Emily Wallace (b. 24 Jul 1870 in Dartford, Kent, d. 07 Jun 1951 in Roseville, Sydney) did not marry

08. Ethel May (b. 04 Dec 1882 in Tamworth, NSW, d. 1970 in St Leonards, Sydney)

In the 1871 census in England Charles, Ellen, four of their children (Ellen Mary, Amy, Elizabeth Maud and Emily Wallace) and Ellen's father John Britty North Sn. were living at Chiltern Lodge; Charles was described as a timeber merchant. The two boys were not in the household on the night of the census.

In 1873 Charles & Ellen sailed with their daughters Amy, Elizabeth and Emily to New York via Spain on board the Tarronga. They appear to have stayed for 5 years. Charles & Ellen and their children Charles Willie (C. W.), Arthur E[dward], Ellen, [Elizabeth] Maud and Emily then sailed to Sydney, arriving on 01 Jul 1878 on board the Ivanhoe. Charles and Charles Willie were described as farmers:

Grabham family arrival to NSW

Amy Grabham had arrived a few months earlier (10 March of 1878) on the Northbrook. She appeared to come alone, aged 14; she listed her uncle, John Britty North as her relation in the colony:

Amy Grabham arrival

John Britty North Sn. also sailed to Sydney some time after 1871. He died there in February 1889; from The Sydney Morning Herald on 19 Feb 1889:

NORTH.-At the residence of his son, Arthursleigh, Falcon-street, St. Leonards, in his 90th year, John Britty North, sen., the beloved father of Mr. J. B. North, of this city. Bristol papers please copy.

John Britty North Jn. spent some time in the 1850s as an auctioneer in Newcastle (he is listed as such in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 Feb 1856 and their first two children were born their) and for some time in the 1860s in Queensland (The Brisbane Courier published a notice of insolvency of John Britty North, Auctionerr of Toowoomba, on 29 Jun 1867 and one son was born there).

Suzanne Edgar published the following biography of John Britty North in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974. It is quoted in full because it gives an excellent summary of his life in Australia:

John Britty North (1831-1917), stockbroker and mining agent, was born in Taunton, Somerset, England, son of John Britty North, merchant, and his wife Mary, née Willie. At 9 he moved to London with his parents and at 13 went to work for Self, Coles & Co., warehousemen, and stayed for seven years. He reached Sydney in the barque Senator in February 1852.

In 1853 North visited London with £1000 to buy goods for North, Rutherford & Wilson, merchants, a partnership he joined that year. He returned to Sydney in the Windsor on 2 November with some of his family. In 1855 he left the firm before it was declared bankrupt in 1856 and North, who had contributed little capital, received a certificate of discharge in 1857. He probably spent five years in Queensland but by 1861 he was again working in New South Wales, first as a commercial traveller. Later he became a wholesale wine and spirits merchant, at first with G. S. Leathes & Co. and in 1864-67 on his own in Wynyard Street, Sydney. In 1867 he added the business of an auctioneer and commission agent and as J. B. North & Co. borrowed the price of his auctioneer's licence from his sister-in-law, Mrs Weynton.

In 1871 'heavy amounts paid for interest and the depression of the times' made North bankrupt again, but by 1872 he had discharged his debts, and twelve months after its foundation joined the Sydney Stock Exchange. In the 1870s with Robert Henry Reynolds, whom he later bought out, he began to mine for coal in the Jamieson Valley near Katoomba. Once, without machinery and with only a few men, he hauled a 4-cwt (203 kg) block of coal 1100 ft (335 m). up the slopes to exhibit it in Sydney where it secured for North a government contract. An exacting employer, North had over a hundred men at his Katoomba Coal Mine which in 1878 he registered as a company. It was awarded a certificate at the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 for the excellent steaming qualities of its coal.

In 1880 North located a seam of the reddish purple kerosene shale at the Ruined Castle in the Jamieson Valley and in 1882 sent his manager to prospect it. North and his son John took up 1392 acres (563 ha) as mineral conditional purchases. In 1885 North bought £36,000 worth of equipment, formed the Katoomba Coal and Shale Co. Ltd and became managing director. To remove the shale he employed a Scottish engineer to build an elevated tramway 200 ft (61 m) high for two miles (3.2 km) across the valley but it was a structural failure and the company went into voluntary liquidation in February 1892.

The tenacious North had reconstructed the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Co. Ltd. It leased the Jamieson Valley property and worked it successfully with T. S. Mort's Glen Shale mine on the western side of the Megalong ridge, which North had bought in 1890. The two mines were linked by tunnels and continued to yield good quality shale until 1895. The 20,000 tons of shale exported, worth £4-£10 a ton, yielded up to a hundred gallons (455 litres) of oil to the ton. It was refined in Italy and shipped back to the colonies as kerosene. For some time coal lying above and below the shale was extracted but by 1897 it proved unprofitable and the mine was closed; all the machinery had been removed by 1903. After the mine closed North continued as a Pitt Street stockbroker and colliery agent for many mining companies with his sons John and Alfred as partners at different times. In 1917, although retired, North was governing director of Main Range Collieries & Estate Ltd and Alfred was chairman of the Stock Exchange.

Probably from commercial motives North actively promoted the growth of Katoomba, especially its development as a tourist resort. Chairman of the progress committee which achieved the incorporation of Katoomba in 1889, he served briefly as an alderman on the council. He was also a trustee of Katoomba, Leura, Banksia and Echo Parks. He died at his home, Lynton, Wahroonga, on 14 October 1917 and was buried in the Gore Hill cemetery beside his wife Clarissa Mary Hack (d.1906), a niece of David Jones; they had married in 1855. A Nonconformist, he was survived by two sons and six daughters. His estate was sworn at £19,660 and the firm, J. & J. North, was still operating in 1973.

John Britty North John Britty North and the tracks he built to get the coal from the base to the top of the cliff. From about 1945 the Hammond family ran what has become known as the Scenic Railway, taking visitors down what has been dubbed the steepest passenger railway in the world, an incline of 52 degree at its maximum. Click here for a good history of the mine and the scenic world that grew around it.

The Blue Mountain Echo paid tribute to J. B. North in its edition on 06 Mar 1909:


"The Father of Katoomba."

No more appropriate portrait could adorn our pages in this issue than that of John Britty North, so aptly, termed "the father of Katoomba." Nature is not prolific of strong characters, and it is only once in a lifetime that a man of his stamp appears on the horizon, and when such a one does eventuate he leaves his mark for all time. Coming here thirty odd years ago, Mr. North found what had been a hidden mystery for untold ages—the rugged grandeur of the Mountain scenery, the beautiful Falls and charming valleys, and with a prophetic vision saw what was to be. Possessing an energy and incomparable courage coupled with an indomitable will, he determined to lay the foundation of a great and glorious future for this, the most picturesque and magnificent portion of this country. Hastily constructing an unpretentious little cottage under difficulties and obstacles which only such as he could overcome, he determined to search among the hills and valleys for treasures which his keen and deep penetration told him must lie hidden in the solitudes of the Mountains. Less than a twelvemonth slipped away when his labours were rewarded by the discovery of the Shale and Coal deposits which have since proved to be of such vast extent in this district. These opened the way for his unbounded energy, and within a few months time he had a number of men at work opening up the mines. On the spot known as South Katoomba a little village sprang up composed of over a hundred cottages, the residents of which soon had their own School of Arts, and a public school for the children was rapidly constructed. A tramline was constructed to convey the coal and shale from the mine to the shutes at "Essendene," where coal was supplied to the railway. The Intercolonial Exhibtion was then in its initial stages, and Mr. North decided to send an exhibit which would demonstrate to the world that these Mountains contained coal in abundance. A huge pillar was raised from the mine, and sent to the Exhibition, where it arrived in a somewhat damaged condition after its rough handling on the way. Its admission as an exhibit, however, met with a flat refusal, but Mr. North was not to be baffled in his determination to set that pillar up in that building, and up it went - and stayed there. Returning to the Mountains Mr. North started upon the serious object of his life - the development of the mines and the opening up of the whole district. He discovered the beauty spots and made them accessible by the construction of roads, and considering Nellie's Glen the most beautiful of all named it after his daughter Nellie, by which name it has become known and admired by a vast number of people. The opening of the mines was the signal for the rapid advancement of the town and district, and so stupendous an undertaking by a single individual is without parallel in this country. Mr. North paid over three hundred pounds a week in wages to the miners he employed, and had not subsequent events intervened to check further development of the mines, it is impossible to imagine what might have been. But if we read the signs of the times aright Mr. North will live to see his fondest hopes realised, though the winter of life preventing him from participating in their realisation.

Of the esteem and estimation in which Mr. North is held by a large circle of friends and admirers it is unnecessary for us to speak, but we feel convinced that posterity will recognise his work and his worth, and on a conspicuous spot in Katoomba a monument will arise as a fitting tribute to the memory of one of the most worthy, the most generous and kindly natures in human history.

Joseph Ralph Bennett wrote a paper The Katoomba Coal Mine, published in March 1972 and written by for the Blue Mountains Historical Society, who own the copyright. It details the involvement of John Britty North in the coal and shale mines and in the foundation of the township of Katoomba. The paper was reprinted in 2007; the first two parts of the paper are reproduced here with the Society's permission. Part 3 deals with the mine subsequent to 1923. The complete paper can be souced from the Society.

The Hammond family developed the tracks used to haul the coal from the bottom to the top of the cliffs into what has become a major tourist attraction, the Scenic Railway. The modern cable car descends at an incline of 52 degrees through a cliff-side tunnel. A book The Burning Mists of Time A Technological and Social History of Mining Katoomba, written by Phillip J. Pells & Philip J. Hammond with contributions from Amanda Mackie, Karen Carlson and Brian Fox, was launched at the base of the Scenic Railway in 2009. Interestingly the author's wife, Christine Wheeler, was contracted to provide music for the event. She was unaware of what the book was about until the event herself; she recalls chatting to a person acting the part of John Britty North and exclaiming she was a descendant of J. B. North, and was subsequently introduced to a cousin she had never met.

Phil Hammond was also instrumental in an archaeological survey in recent years of the Bleichert ropeway which was installed in 1888 to bring the oil shale 3.2km across the valley from the Ruined Castle Shale Mines to the base of the cliff before being hauled up along the dual tracks and via the tramway to the railway at Katoomba. As mentioned above, the tranway collapsed within months of its operation. A copy of the report of the survey can be downloaded here.

North Lookout North Lookout
North Lookout, Katoomba, NSW, named after John Britty North  
Nellies Glen

Nellies Glen was named by John Britty North in honour of his daughter, Ellen Mary North. The track into the Glen commences alongside North Lookout and descends into the valley with a what seems like an interminably long series of stairs. John Britty North actually offered money to the Council for the construction of a road into the Glen. However the Council declined this offer and no raod was ever built.

Nellies Glen marks the Katoomba end of what has become the Six Foot Track, what used to be the old bridle trail that from about 1884 was a short cut from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. It's now a popular 44 km walking track and takes the average walker 3 days to reach the Caves. It is also used for marathon races.

From The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 22 October 1906:

NORTH. - October 21, at her residence, Lynton, Wahroonga, Clarissa Mary, the dearly loved wife of John Britty North, aged 74 years. Friends are requested to meet the Funeral at Gore Hill Cemetery at 4:30 to-day (Monday).

From The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 16 October 1917:

NORTH.-October 14, 1917, at his residence, Lynton, Lane Cove-road, Wahroonga, John Britty North, aged 86 years.

John Britty North & Clarissa Hack had nine children:

01. John George (b. 15 Dec 1855 in Newcastle, d. 08 May 1939 in Roseville, Sydney)

02. Ernest W (b. 1858 in Newcastle, d. 1859 in Sydney)

03. Clara Minnie (b. 1860 in Chippendale, Sydney, d. 09 Aug 1939 in Manly, Sydney)

04. Ellen Mary (b. 1862 in Chippendale, Sydney, d. 24 Jan 1936 in Manly, Sydney)

05. Lilla Mander (b. 1865 in Chippendale, Sydney, d. 1938 in North Sydney)

06. Alfred Herbert (b. 1868 in Brisbane, d. 18 Dec 1941 in Killara, Sydney)

07. Emily (b. 1870 in Sydney, d. 23 Feb 1928)

08. Ethel Susie (b. 1872 in Glebe, Sydney, d. 1947 in Chatswood, Sydney)

09. Lucy Grace (b. 1875 in Concord, Sydney, d. 1944 in Manly, Sydney)

Clara, Ellen, Emily and Ethel did not marry; the four, plus their sister Lucy, were living with their parents at Lynton, Lane Cove Rd Wahroonga (Electoral Rolls, 1903-4). Probate of Emily's estate was granted in June, 1928, although we are unsure where she died: to date we have not located her death in the NSW records. The following images are: (L) the index to Emily's probate record (her brother-in-law was the administrator), and (R) Lane Cove Rd (now the Pacific Highway) Wahroonga dated 31 Dec 1908 courtesy of NSW State archives.

Emily North Lane Cove Rd Wahroonga

05. Lilla Mander North married Harry George Davey at Ashfield on 24 Nov 1891. Harry was born in Hackney, London, in 1862. He came out to Australia as an assister passenger, arriving 05 Apr 1884, aged 21. In the 1913 electoral rolls his profession was given as conveyancer and Lilla's as "home duties"; they lived in Cooringa, Bennett St Neutral Bay. According to the 1930 rolls they still lived in a house named Cooringa, although the address then was shown as 3 Bannerman St Neutral Bay. Lilla passed away in 1933, and Harry lived in Cooringa until his death in 1955, aged 92. Lilla and Harry had two daughters. From the Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Oct 1938:

DAVEY-October 20, 1938, at No. 3 Bannerman Street, Neutral Bay, Lilla Mander, beloved wife of Harry George Davey, and mother of Ethel (Mrs. P. E. Browne), Phyllis (Mrs. F. E. F. Alderson).

06. Alfred Herbert North was known as Phillip. There is some confusion about his birth year, but a record of a male born in Queensland to John Britty North and Clarissa Mary Hack is dated 1868. He married Emily Gertrude Walker at Petersham, Sydney, on 11 Dec 1896, as described in the Evening News (and elsewhere) on Friday 20 December 1895:

A pretty wedding took place at Petersham on December 11, when Mr. Alfred H. North, son of Mr. J. B. North, was married to Miss Emily Gertrude Walker, daughter of Mr. David Walker. The bride wore a pretty toilette of white silk, with a wreath and veil, and was attended by four bridesmaids, the Misses J. and G. Walker, and the Misses E. and L. North. They were becomingly dressed in white shower of hail muslin over buttercup, with hats en suite, and pretty brooches presented by the bridegroom. After the ceremony the guests adjourned to the residence of the bride's parents, when refreshments were prepared in a large marquee. Among the guests were the Rev. John Walker (who performed the ceremony), Mr. and Mrs. J. B. North, Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Davey, Mr. and Mrs. H. Weynton, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. North, Mr. and Mrs. Goodlet, Mr. and Mrs. A. Simpson, Mr. and Mrs. Scott, Miss Nellie Grabham, Miss Arnott, Mr. B. Vicars (best man), the Misses North, and many others.

Alfred was given a share in his father's mine at Katoomba and they worked it together. After his father's death Alfred purchased the mine, the land and the tramway from his sisters (who were the beneficiaries of J. B.'s will). Alfred was active in business in Sydney, was chairman of the stock exchange and a member of the newly formed Australian Associated Stock Exchanges; from The Sun, Fri 21 May 1937:

Australian Associated Stock Exchanges. Ten members. To represent the view of the Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney Stock Exchanges. Subscribers: Eric G. Blackmore, Alfred H. North, Alan D. Abcrcromblc, Alexander Corrie, Andrew D. Young, Walter Gurnor and Frank L. Langford. Registered office, Sydney.

Alfred and Emily had five children:

01. Gwendoline Enid (b. 1896 in Burwood, d. 1985) married William Trevor Wignall at Chatswood in 1928; they had two sons

02. Doreen G (b. 1899 in Burwood, d. 1927) married Francis C Ibbott at Chatswood in 1926; they had one son

03. Kathleen J (b. 1904 in St Leonards, d. ?1978) married Albert H Gray at Chatswood in 1935; they had two sons

04. Kenneth W (b. 1911 in Chatswood, d. 1911 in Chatswood)

05. Philip John (b. 1912 in Chatswood, d. ) married Joan Elizabeth Walker at Coolah in 1940; they had a son and a daughter

09. Lucy Grace North married Alan Percy Vernon (b. 04 Apr 1877 in Concord, d. 29 Jan 1966) on 02 Aug 1905. Alan was a dental surgeon. In 1903 he was practising at 13 Palace St, Petersham. He then moved to Lane Cove Rd Wahroonga and practised there between 1904 and 1910 (at least). The years 1921 to 1924 the family had moved to Hay. In the early 1930s the practice was back in Sydney, in Waitomo, Pittwater Rd Collaroy. During the second half of the 1930s they were in Denison St Crookwell. Lucy died in 1944 in Manly. By 1963 Alan had moved to Albury, passing away there in 1966, aged 88. The couple had two children:

01. Lucy Miriel (b. 14 Aug 1906 in St Leonards, d. 1996)

02. Alan Malcolm (b. 16 Jul 1911 in Scone, d. 29 Nov 1985 in Cabrini Hospital, Malvern, Victoria)

Lucy lived with her parents throughout her life. In the early electoral rolls she is shown as having "home duties" but from 1963 she is shown as a librarian.

Alan (known as Max) married Nance Elizabeth Chambers in Goulburn, New South Wales, on 16 April 1936. They had three children.