My information on the Blanch family is taked from the book, 'A Forest of Blanches". This book was produced to commemorate the Blanch Family Reunion held at Raymond Terrace, October 1988, and the sesquicentenary of the arrival in Australia of Edward Blanch, November 1838.
It is from the middle of the eighteenth centry that the Blanch family can be traced. In March 1752, Robert Balnch was baptised at Hollongton Sussex, England. His parents were
Edward and Hannah.
In 1776 Robert married Elizabeth Brann in the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, at Rolvenden. They had eight children.
Elizabeth died in 1792 at Rolvenden Kent, England. She was fourty six years of age. Robert died on the 8 February 1831 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Martha Blanch born 1777, Rolvenden Kent, England. She married James Maynard on the 5 September 1799 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Elizabeth born March 1779 at Sandhurst Kent, England. She married Richard Morris
on the 13 June 1830 at Rolvenden kent, England.
- Mary born 1780 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Ann born 1785 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Edward born 1785 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Sarah born 1789 Rolvenden Kent, England. he married Thomas Kennard on the 13 June 1812. They had three children.
- Philadelphia was born in 1791 at RolvendenKent, England.
- John was born in 1792 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
In 1805 Edward Blanch married Maria Ashdown at Ewhurst Sussex, England. They had fourteen children, all born in England.
- Robert born 19 April 1808 at Rolvenden Kent, England. He married Mercy Balcombe in 1833 in England. They had 5 children.
Mercy left Robert in 1842, taking with her their youngest child. Robert married a second time to Ann callaghan in 1848 and had two more children.
- Thomas born 4 December 1809 at Rolvenden Kent, England. On the 24 April 1830 he married Hannah Austin at Rolvenden Kent, England. They had 17 children.
After Hannah died in 1879, Thomas married a second time to Elizabeth Stanborough (nee Morris). The date was 24 July 1880.
- James born 11 August 1811 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Edward born 1813.
- George born 1815.
- John born 1817.
- Isaac born 1818.
- Stephen born 1820.
- Elizabeth born.
- Philadelphia born 1823.
- David born 19 December 1825 and died 7 March 1826 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
- Samuel born 1826.
- Mary born 1828.
- Ann born 1830.
James married Mary Balcombe on the 12 August 1832 at Rolvenden Kent, England.
They had 17 children.
James died on the 10 November 1895 at Plattsburg, New South Wales. Mary died on the
23 December 1904 also at Plattsburg, New South Wales.
- Mary Ann born 1834.
- Charlotte born 1836.
- Harriet born 1838, at sea. She died in October 1839.
- Eliza born 1840.
- James born 1841.
- Twin daughter born and died 1843.
- Twin daughter born and died 1843.
- Henry born 14 June 1845 at Stocken, New South Wales and died in June 1847.
- Ann born 23 december 1846 at Seaham, New South Wales and died on the 22 March 1859.
- Alexander born 1848?
- Ellen born 1850.
- Emma born 24 May 1851 Nelsons Plains, New South Wales and died on the 22 July 1853.
- Isabella born 1853.
- William born c1855.
- Rachel born 1857.
- Emily born 1858.
- Alice born 1861. She married James Tuck.
Bound For New South Wales.
It was on the 25 March 1838 when four of Edwards son's and their wives and children sailed on the ship "Westminster" from Gravesend for New South Wales. The reason why the entire family did not sail together in not known. Maybe given Edwards age, he could only emigrate to join family members in the colony, perhaps his younger sons were not yet certain that they wanted to emigrate at all. Or perhaps some of the children were ill. Nevertheless, it was Robert, Thomas, James and Isaac who sailed off as the advance guard of the family.
Two days before the "Westminster" arrived in Sydney, June 24 1838, the "Maitland", under the command of Mr Baker, sailed from Gravesend carrying, amongst 205 adults and 110 children, was the patriarch of the Blanch family, Edward. The ship called at theCape of Good Hope on the way, and arrived in Sydney on the 5 November 1838, after a lengthy voyage of 134 days.
The villiage they left, no doubt with regrets, was a place where they had lived all their lives as their ancestors had for generations. There they had lived on the produce of the land, had made their own clothes and had seldom left the parish. These skills were to be of great use when the time came for them to leave forever, to travel to an unknown country half a world away.