Freebody Family




The first Freebody to arrive in Australia was Sion Clarkson "Simon" Freebody.  Simon was an English convict who had been sentenced to seven years transportation for theft in 1787.  He was said to be twenty years of age and married.  He spent several months in New Gate Prison and aboard a hulk in the Thames before he was transported to New South Wales with the notorious Second Fleet, arriving in 1790.  Simon travelled aboard the "Surprise."  Conditions on board were appalling, with convicts reported to be chained below decks, where they would wallow up to their waists in water following storms.

The gravestone of Simon and Mary Freebody, St. Matthew's Church of England, Windsor New South Wales. Copyright 2000 Joanne Mitchell. 




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For an American connection visit LAWREN FREEBODY'S new web site and see some family pictures.

Following his arrival in the colony, Simon was sent to Parramatta, then in 1794 he was granted thirty acres of land a little to the North of what was to become the township of Windsor.  This land was known as "Freebody Farm."  By 1895 Mary Wells was living with Simon at "Freebody farm".  Mary was also a convict.  She had arrived in the colony in1892 aboard the Royal Admiral, after being sentenced at York, England to seven years transportation.  Her crime was the theft of twenty-seven yards of printed calico from the draper James Robson - a charge to which she pleaded not guilty.  Upon arrival in the colony, Mary had been assigned to Simon as his housekeeper.

There is no record that Simon and Mary ever married - perhaps due to his prior marriage in England - but over the years Mary gave birth to seven children with Simon.  Their eldest was a daughter named Anne (married 1:  Daniel Henshaw;  partner:  James Oldfield;  married 2:  Daniel Hansell), followed by a son named Simon (married Susannah Miles).

In 1799 Simon found himself in trouble with the authorities when he was amongst a group of five men who were convicted of the murder of two aboriginal boys, however no punitive action was taken and Simon was able to return to his life with Mary at Freebody Farm.  Their five younger children were Mary Anne (married Daniel Search), Sarah (married John Hoskinsson), John (married Sarah Connolly), Margaret and William.

Towards the end of their lives Simon and Mary lived with their daughter Sarah and her husband John Hoskinsson on his property near Windsor.  Mary died in 1855 and was buried at St. Matthew's Church, Windsor as Mary Freebody.  Simon died the following year and was buried with Mary.

THE younger simon freebody

In 1820 the younger Simon Freebody married Susannah Miles, the daughter of First Fleet convict Edward Miles/Moyle.  The marriage took place at St. Luke's Church of England, Liverpool, New South Wales.

For further details on the Miles family follow this link:

Three years later when their eldest son, also named Simon (died as a child) was born, they were living in the Richmond district of New South Wales, not far from Windsor.  In total there were eleven children from the marriage, all born in the Richmond or nearby Kurrajong districts.  The other children were:  Elizabeth (married James Paull), Robert (married Martha McGrane Riley), Susannah (died in infancy), Edward (married Eliza S. Locker), Mary Ann (married Jeremiah Eldridge), John Myles (married Margaret McEvoy), Sarah, Martha (married James Miners), Joseph (married Elizabeth Mary S. Miners) and Emma (married William Miners).

Some time between the birth of their youngest child in 1845 and 1850 Simon, Susannah and most of their family moved south to Cooma, New South Wales.  The only family member to remain in the Windsor district was their eldest daughter Elizabeth.  Simon's brother John also relocated his family to the Cooma region, where many Freebody descendants can still be found today. 

All Simon's children, except Elizabeth married in or near Cooma, several of the younger family members marrying into the Miners family.

Simon died in 1878 at Bolairo near Adaminaby and Susannah died almost five years later in 1883 at Wambrook, also in the vicinity of Adaminaby.

Elizabeth freebody

Elizabeth Freebody, probably called Betsy by her family, was the eldest daughter of Simon Freebody and Susannah Miles and thus the grand daughter of four convicts.  She was born in the Richmond district of New South Wales, in 1825 and appears to have remained in that area after the rest of her family moved to Cooma in the 1850s.

Click HERE to learn more about the family of James Albert Paull and Florence Agnes Hall.

In 1851 she acted as a witness at the marriage of her future mother-in-law, Lydia Paull (nee Trott) to Gabriel Walden.  About two years later in 1853 she married James, the eldest son of Lydia and her deceased husband George Paull.  Following their marriage, James and Elizabeth continued to live in the Windsor region.  Their eldest son, George Simon (married Mary Elizabeth Freebody) was born a little over a year later, early in 1855.  He was followed in 1856 by a daughter Mary Susannah (married Alfred Walker).  Other children born to James and Elizabeth were Maria Ann (married James William French), Elizabeth Emma (married Robert French), Charlotte E. (died as an infant), James Albert (married Florence Agnes Hall) and Clara M. (died in infancy).

For further details on the Paull and Walker families follow this link:

By the time Charlotte was born, the family had moved away from Windsor, but instead of joining other members of Elizabeth's family at Cooma, they travelled westwards to Mudgee, and it was in this area that the three younger children were born.  It appears that they remained in the district for some years.  In 1873 Elizabeth gave consent for her eldest daughter Mary Susannah to marry Alfred Walker.  At the time, all three parties were living at Warren, New South Wales.  The following year Elizabeth was the sole witness to the birth of their eldest son, Alfred Thomas James Walker.

The grave of Elizabeth Paull (nee Freebody) and her daughter Elizabeth Emma at the Rookwood Anglican Cemetery, New South Wales. c Joanne Mitchell 2000

In about 1885 or 1886 it is believed that Elizabeth and James along with their three daughters Mary, Maria and Elizabeth and their respective spouses made the long journey north to the township of Blackall in Outback Queensland.

It appears that after their arrival in Blackall James Paull may have worked further north as a cane cutter, however there is no indication of what Elizabeth may have done at this time.  Her daughter Maria and husband James French remained in the district where their descendants still lived in the 1970s.  The younger Elizabeth married Robert French (the brother of James) shortly after their arrival in Blackall, however the couple soon moved south again to New South Wales.

Mary, Alfred and their still increasing family buried one of their children (an infant named Edward Miles, for his great-grandfather who arrived with the First Fleet) at Blackall before moving on to "Coreena" a property near the newly established township of Barcaldine some distance away.

James Paull it seems spent the remainder of his life in Queensland.  He died in 1912 and was buried at the Blackall Cemetery.  Elizabeth predeceased her husband by about two years, however her death occurred at Ashfield, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales.  The address given at the time of Elizabeth's death was probably that of her youngest daughter Elizabeth.  Whether she had moved to Sydney to live or was just visiting her daughter at the time of her death is unclear.

Elizabeth was buried at the nearby Rookwood Anglican Cemetery, a plot she later shared with her youngest daughter and namesake.

If you would like further information on the Freebody, Paull, French or Walker families or can help with my research, please email me:

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