Charles and Kezia
Ferguson Family History

Charles and Kezia

The development
of Williamstown

Children of Charles and Kezia
John Franklin


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Captain Charles Ferguson (1813-1868) and Kezia Elizabeth Hayter (1818-1885)

Captain Charles Ferguson, circa 1844 Kezia Elizabeth Hayter, circa 1844Captain Charles Ferguson was born around 1813 in Scotland. He was the Master of the "Rajah" from 1838 to 1850 on voyages from England to Australia and vice versa before becoming the First Chief Harbour Master for the port of Melbourne in 1852.

Captain Ferguson was Master of the Rajah, a barque (three masts) which weighed 352 tons and was built at Whitby in 1835. On the 5th of April 1838, the Rajah sailed from Leith and arrived in Hobart, Australia, on the 22nd of August carrying 19 passengers and general cargo. One month later on the 19th of September the Rajah departed for Sydney with sundries and passengers. The Rajah arrived on the 26th of September and then sailed again on the 7th of October, sailing to Leith via Java with passengers and sundries.

For most of 1839, the Rajah did not sail due to repairs from ship damage. Later that year on the 16th of December 1839, the Rajah left London for Sydney with passengers and merchandise. The Rajah arrived in Sydney on the 27th of April 1840, then departed on the 9th of June for India.

On the 5th of April 1841, the Rajah sailed with James Donovan M.D. as Surgeon Superintendent, and the Rajah sailed from Woolwich with 180 female convicts. The Rajah arrived on the 19th of July in Hobart, with 179 females (one died during the voyage) and 10 children. Miss Kezia Elizabeth Hayter was the matron on board. She was the cousin of the famous miniaturist, Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), son of Charles Hayter (1761-1835). Kezia was born around 1818 in England. The miniature portraits of Charles and Kezia above, were painted by Sir George Hayter in watercolour, circa 1845.

Kezia Hayter was sent out to Australia by prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry, to look after the female convicts. Kezia was responsible for supervising needlework and the creation of the“Rajah Quilt”, which was made by convict women on voyage to Hobart. In addition, Kezia also reported on the condition of female convicts in the colony. This Rajah Quilt was organised by Elizabeth Fry and the British Ladies Society for the Reformation of Female Prisoners. The British Ladies Society for the Reformation of Female Prisoners were a group of Quaker women who formed in 1816. In 1989, The National Gallery of Australia became the owners of the Rajah Quilt.

Miss Kezia Hayter engaged Captain Charles Ferguson in Hobart, 1841. Kezia remained in Hobart while Captain Charels Ferguson and the Rajah departed Hobart travelling to India carrying Surgeon J. Donovan, Rev. R. Davis, 3 passengers and ballast on the 22th of August 1841.

The Rajah was not able to return to Hobart in 1842 for reasons unknown. However, it is possible to contend the ship was being repaired. In the same year Miss Hayter resigned from prison reform work and became a teacher. For most of 1842 she was governess to the children of William Archer of Brickendon, Longford. That year Kezia waited for her beloved, Captain Charles Ferguson to return home to marry.

On the 23th of June 1843 the Rajah arrived in Hobart with 26 passengers, 18 crew and general cargo. The Rajah sailed from Leith on the 3rd of December 1842, but was obliged to pull into the Orkney Islands to avoid the gales. Charles married Kezia Elizabeth Hayter on the 1st of July 1843 in Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, Hobart by Minister James Bell.

Approximately two months later, on the 10th of August 1843, the Rajah with Captain and Mrs. Ferguson, 5 passengers, and sundries, departed Hobart for Sydney and arrived in Sydney ten days later, on the 20th August 1843. On the 15th of September 1843, the Rajah left Sydney and arrived in Geelong on the 26th of September 1843, carrying the Lord Bishop of Australia, Mr. Robinson, Henry Mathews, and sundry goods.

The Rajah sailed on the 10th of January 1844 from Geelong carrying 12 passengers including Lt Gov. Franklin, 1287 bales of wool and one bale of sheepskins. The Rajah arrived in St Helen on the 28th of March, and then arrived in London in on the 8th of June 1844. Soon after, the Rajah sailed again on the 21st of August from London to Port Phillip with 13 passengers, 3 steerage & cargo, and then arrived in Port Phillip on the 21st of December 1844.

In 1845, the following year, the Rajah sailed on the 19th of April from Port Phillip to London. The Rajah carried the following passengers: Mrs. Ferguson; Miss LaTrobe and her servant; O. Fenwick; Dr. Kelty and R. Halliday. The ship also carried 1777 bales of wool, 27 ton of bark, whalebone and garden seeds.

The Rajah arrived at Hobart from London on the 10th of June 1846 with Mrs. Ferguson, 3 passengers, 18 crew and general cargo. One month later, Captain and Mrs. Ferguson's first child, George, was born in Hobart, Tasmania. On the 9th of July 1846, the Rajah left Hobart for Sydney. On the 14th of July George Ferguson was christened in Sydney at Scots Presbyterian Church. On the 21st of October 1846, the Rajah left Sydney for London. The Rajah sailed from London on the 22nd of May 1847, and arrived in Plymouth on the 28th of May 1847. The Rajah arrived in Port Adelaide on the 24th of September. On board was Mrs. Ferguson and her son George, 13 passengers, Surgeon P. Beal and 173 emigrants (all male miners).

On the 18th of January 1848, the Rajah left Port Adelaide for London carrying 4 passengers, wool, whalebone and 225t copper. Later that year on the 9th of September, the Rajah sailed from London via Plymouth. The Rajah arrived in Adelaide on the 6th of January 1849 with 8 passengers including Rev J. M. Strongman, Surgeon J. Day, 182 emigrants, iron and deal. Kezia and her son George stayed in Edinburgh, Scotland. Following this, the Rajah made a return trip from London to Port Adelaide on the 7th of February 1849. The Rajah next arrived in Port Phillip on the 23rd of February with 2 passengers, copper ore & sundries, and sailed back to London on the 24th of April carrying one passenger and 1078 bales of wool. Later that year the Rajah sailed from London on the 27th of November and arrived in Plymouth on the 3rd of December 1849. On the 16th February 1850 she visited Tristan da Cunda for water supplies and arrived in Port Adelaide on the 11th of April with 131 passengers and Surgeon S.A. Brough.

The Rajah sailed again on the 1st of May and arrived in Port Phillip on the 4th of May 1850. On board were Mrs. Ferguson and her son George, an unknown child, Captain McQueen, 20 crew, six passengers, 33 intermediate passengers and one in steerage. Captain and Mrs. Ferguson's second child, Jessie was born in July 1850 in Melbourne. In the same month, on the 9th of July 1850, the Rajah sailed under Captain William McQueen and carried cargo and passengers on coastal voyages for several months. The Rajah travelled to Hobart then to Adelaide, Port Phillip, Sydney and back to Port Phillip again where she loaded for London and sailed on the3th of May 1851.The Rajah arrived in London on the 8th of October 1851.
In 1851 Captain Charles Ferguson remained in Melbourne and became the Harbour Master for Geelong, and then the Harbour Master for Williamstown. Charles and Kezia settled at Williamstown.

Captain Charles Ferguson and the development of Williamstown

Captain Charles Ferguson, circa 1864Kezia Elizabeth Ferguson, circa 1864Captain Charles Ferguson became the state of Victoria’s first Chief Harbour Master in February 1852. Ferguson Street in Williamstown was named in his honour. In the same year he began to perform the duties of both a Police Magistrate and a Water Police Magistrate for Williamstown. Captain Charles Ferguson and Surgeon John Wilkins were big landholders in the colony.

The Argus, Melbourne, November 9 1852, (Shipping Intelligence Section):
On 5 November 1852, 90 days after their departure, the Ticonderoga crawled into Port Phillip Bay flying the yellow flag and carrying the stench of death. The Port and Harbour Master at Williamstown, Captain Charles Ferguson, reported that "100 deaths and nineteen births had occurred on the passage, seven of the former since the ship anchored at the Heads. There are at present 300 cases of sickness amongst them, principally scarletina". There were in fact, 311 cases of "fever" (defined as typhus), 127 cases of diarrhoea and 16 cases of dysentery on the ship's arrival.

In April 1853 Kezia gave birth to their third child, Sophie Ferguson. Sophie was born in Williamstown.

In November 1854 Captain Ferguson was presented with a Silver Tea Set from the ship and crew of the Marco Polo for rescuing the ship at sea.

The Argus, Melbourne, November 7 1854:
Presentation to Captain Ferguson, Harbour Master of Melbourne, Captain Wild, commander of the world-famed clipper Marco Polo, now lying in Hobson’s Bay brought with him a magnificent service of silver plate, sent out as a present to Captain Ferguson, the Harbour Master of this port from the owners of the Black Ball Line of Australian Packet Ships. The present, which is of the value of two hundred guineas, is intended as an acknowledgment of the valuable service rendered by the Harbour Master when the Marco Polo was stranded in Hobson’s Bay early in the present year. The articles consist of a kettle and stand, salver, tea and coffee pots, sugar-basin and cream-jug, the whole being elegantly chased, and bearing the following inscription:-

“Presented by the owners of the Marco Polo to Captain Charles Ferguson Harbour Master of Melbourne Victoria, To mark their high estimation of his invaluable services in rescuing their favourite and far famed ship from her perilous position when stranded in Port Philip Bay in January last. Liverpool, July 1854.”

The presentation took place on board the Marco Polo – the ship in question – on Saturday last. A sumptuous repast was provided for a select few, including, of course, Captain Ferguson and his immediate friends. We are assured that Captain Wild, commander of the Marco Polo did all in his power to show that he heartily welcomed the gentleman who did much substantial service to the noble craft to which he had been so recently appointed.

Silver Tea Set

This is a close-up of an inscription on the Silver Tea Set presented to
Captain Charles Ferguson from the web site of The Marco Polo Project.

Captain Charles Ferguson was very active within the Williamstown community. On the 10th of February 1855 he was made Chairman of the Committee for founding the Fire Brigade service. In the same year, Charles was responsible for raising the first volunteer force, Volunteer Marine Artillery at the time of Crimean War. These volunteers were under the command of the Chief Harbour Master Captain Charles Ferguson.

Kezia Ferguson was a member of the Williamstown Ladies Benevolent Society. The organisation was formed in 1856 and was supported on a voluntary basis. In the same year Captain and Mrs. Ferguson’s fourth child, Alice Ferguson was born in Williamstown. In the year that followed, 1857, another daughter, Edith Ferguson was born in August. Two years later John Franklin Ferguson was born in April 1859. Sadly two months later, in June, Alice Ferguson died aged 3 years.

In 1861 George Ferguson, aged fifteen years took a keen interest in military matters, joining the Williamstown Volunteer Rifles as a private. Captain and Mrs. Ferguson’s fifth child, Wallace Ferguson was born in April of the same year. Uunfortunately Wallace died in December the same year, aged 8 months. The Cecil-Street Sunday School was opened on the 29th of August 1865. Captain Ferguson was the first superintendent, and the roll contained the names of 17 teachers and 130 scholars.

After a long and honourable career in the Government Service of Victoria, Captain Charles Ferguson died in London on December 1868, while visiting Great Britain on sick leave, and was buried in London Cemetery, England.

In 1882 Kezia, her son George and daughter Sophie moved to Adelaide, South Australia. Kezia died on 30 December 1885 in Adelaide, South Australia and was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery.

Captain and Mrs Ferguson had seven children, all of whom were born in Australia.
George (1846-1914), Jessie (1850-1939), Sophie (1853 -1906), Alice (1856 -1859), Edith (1857-.…), John Franklin (1859-1932) and Wallace (1861-1861). Alice and Wallace were buried at the Williamstown Cemetery.

If you are a descendant of Charles and Kezia Ferguson I would be happy
receive any additional information, contact David J Ferguson

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