Person:Elizabeth Presnell (1)

Elizabeth Presnell
b.20 Jun 1802 Norfolk Island
m. abt 1801
  1. Elizabeth Presnell1802 - 1885
  2. Thomas Presnell1804 - 1805
  3. Thomas Presnell1805 - 1838
  4. Sarah PresnellAbt 1808 - 1839
  5. James PresnellAbt 1811 -
m. 7 Jul 1823
  1. James William Robinson1824 - 1906
  2. Sarah Ann Robinson1825 -
  3. Elizabeth Henrietta Robinson1825 - 1894
  4. Stella Ann Robinson1827 - 1904
  5. Emma Robinson1829 - 1852
  6. Matilda Robinson1831 - 1918
  7. George Robinson1834 - 1836
  8. George Washington Robinson1837 - 1882
m. 21 Oct 1844
  1. Sarah ChapmanAbt 1844 - 1927
Facts and Events
Name Elizabeth Presnell
Gender Female
Birth[1] 20 Jun 1802 Norfolk Island
Christening? 25 Jul 1802 Norfolk Island
Marriage 7 Jul 1823 Hobart, Tasmania, AustraliaSt David's Church of England
to George William Robinson
Marriage 21 Oct 1844 Glenorchy, Tasmania, AustraliaArgyle St
to Thomas Chapman
Death[2] 22 Jan 1885 Shelford, Victoria, Australia
Burial? 24 Jan 1885 Shelford, Victoria, AustraliaShelford Cemetery

1802 - Elizabeth PRESNELL was born to convicts Ann FOWLER and William PRESNELL on 20 June 1802 at Norfolk Island. Her birth is registered (transcribed?) with the surname "BRESLAW" and her parents are given as William BRESLAW and Anne FOWLER. There is a registration for both 1802 and 1803.

1808 - Elizabeth travelled as a six-year-old with her parents and two siblings to Hobart Town on the "City of Edinburgh" when the Norfolk Island settlement was being dismantled. They left on 3 September 1808 and arrived on 2 November 1808.

Little is known of Elizabeth's childhood and whether or not she attended school. However, it does appear that she could write as she apparently signed both of her marriage certificates.

1814 - Elizth PRISNELL, on stores, is recorded in the children's section of Hobart Muster, apparently taken in early October. Thomas, Sarah and James (her siblings) are also listed.

1823 - Elizabeth married American whaler and adventurer, George William ROBINSON, who was about two years her senior. George was given 50 acres of land and a brewing and cartage business by Elizabeth’s father, William PRESNELL, but the lure of the sea still proved strong. Elizabeth and George had a son, James, before George mortgaged the property he had been given and bought a schooner which he refitted in 1825 in preparation for a sealing expedition. Elizabeth reportedly went with him on the initial voyage as far as Sydney in May 1825, but had returned to Hobart in time for her twin daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah, to be born on 5 November of that year.

After a couple of non-profitable voyages, George apparently abandoned the sea and spent the rest of his time in Van Diemens Land, engaged in various occupations including inn-keeper, coachman, post master and farmer. It is not known exactly what role Elizabeth played in any of these enterprises, but no doubt she was kept busy. Altogether Elizabeth and George had eight children. The second last, George, died as a toddler when he drowned near their inn called The Black Snake.

1839 - Elizabeth's husband George died after a short illness. 1839 must have been a very trying year for Elizabeth - her father, sister and husband all died between June and September that year and her brother Thomas had died the year before.

1844 - Elizabeth married Thomas CHAPMAN, who was apparently much younger than her. No birth or baptismal record has been found for Elizabeth's daughter, Sarah. She was known as Sarah CHAPMAN and it would appear that Thomas was her father. However, the age given at both Sarah's marriage and her death indicate that she was born in 1842. There is a record of the birth of a Sarah BLOOMFIELD with mother Elizabeth ROBINSON and father William BLOOMFIELD in Hobart in 1842. It appears that this Elizabeth also had a son to William BLOOMFIELD in 1847, so it would seem unlikely that this Sarah was Elizabeth's child.

1846 - Registered the death of her mother. She was named as Elizabeth CHAPMAN of Argyle Street.

1852 - Elizabeth and Sarah went to Williamstown, Victoria from Hobart on 18 February 1852 on board the "Margaret Brock". Apparently they followed Elizabeth's daughter Matilda and son-in-law Matthew FARRAR to the Shelford area. Thomas apparently also travelled to Victoria in February 1852. It is not known what happened to Thomas; he seems to have disappeared from the scene, but Elizabeth apparently became a local midwife and is later listed as such in the local Bailliere's Directory.

1885 - Elizabeth lived with Matilda and Matthew FARRAR until her death in 1885. Although she would have been about 82 years of age, the age given on her death certificate was 79. On her death certificate it states that Elizabeth had lived 33 years in Victoria and 46 years in Tasmania. It also indicates that she was a widow. Cause of death was given as Carcinoma Uteri (4 years) and the death informant was David Cations, friend, Shelford. George William ROBINSON is given as her first husband and it is stated that they were married in Hobart, Tasmania when Elizabeth was 17 years old [even though she was about 21; this may be because she lowered her age when she married Thomas CHAPMAN who was a much younger man].

The issue from her first marriage are given as: James, 62 years; Elizabeth, 60 years; Annie, 58 years [possibly Sarah Ann or Stella Ann]; Emma, 56 years; Matilda, 54 years; George (deceased).

The issue from her second marriage is given as: Sarah, 40 years.

Matthew FARRAR [son-in-law], along with James ARMSTRONG [relationship not known], was a witness to her burial. Elizabeth was buried at the Shelford Cemetery. The undertaker was Robert RICE, and the officiating clergyman was Alexander STEWART, Presbyterian minister.

  1. NSW Birth Reg. No. V180234 4A/1802.
  2. Vic Death Reg. No. 2042/1885.