Who was Silas Smith?

Silas SMITH was born to Charles SMITH and Ann (Lacey) SMITH on 6 March 1824 in Sangford, Somerset, England and baptised on the 28 July 1833 in Ulley, Gloucestershire, England.  Silas and his younger brother, Henry, grew up in Whately Street in Langport. 

Shortly after the death of his mother, Ann, in April 1842, Silas, aged 27 years, was employed as a Police Constable located in Bow Street in Middlesex.  Three years later, he would meet and marry, Maria GOODING, the daughter of Samuel GOODING and Elizabeth (Smith) GOODING on 7 August 1854 at St. John the Evangelist in Lambeth, England.

On the 1 January 1855 under the indenture system, Silas and Maria, boarded the clipper ship “Heather Bell” in London, England and headed for the port of Hobart in Australia. They arrived in Hobart on 27 August 1855, seven months after leaving England.  Under the indenture system, Silas was employed as a gardener and Maria a domestic servant, by James MACLANACHAN, a well-known grazier and politician, in return for free passage to Hobart.

In 1856, following the birth of their first son, Charles Morbeth SMITH the family sailed to Victoria and arrived in Portland on 23 April 1857 where they settled.

Still working as a gardener, in 1866, Silas, purchased a land lease of 40 acres, 3 roods and 10 perches in the county of Normanby and the district of Homerton, which would later be called Narrawong. The family would reside at the family property, “Sunny Bank”, for many years to come and where Silas would become a renowned as a grazier and community man.

Silas and Maria would go on to have ten children between 1856 and 1872.  Eldest son Charles Morbeth (1856 – 1922) would be followed by Morgey Gooding (1857 – 1949), Maude Mabel (1858 – 1888), Milo John (1859 – 1946), Marwood Samuel Kingston (1861 – 1946), Meta Mary Edith (1864 – 1940), Mahala Gertrude Lacey (1865 – 1943), Mira Minnie (1868 – 1952), Manoah Effey (1870 – 1945) and youngest Matthew Henry (1872 – 1944).

On 4 November 1896 at their property in Narrawong, Maria, would die suddenly, aged 68 years.  The Portland Guardian reported at the time, that Maria was going to milk the cows when she collapsed and didn’t regain consciousness, passing away the following morning.  Silas would eventually move in with his daughter Morgey Gooding HANLON and son in law James HANLON who were the licensee of the nearby Criterion Hotel in Hamilton. 

On 5 July 1915, aged 91 years, Silas passed away.  In his Obituary he was described as one of the very earliest colonists and a prominent worker in horticulture and agriculture.  In an article of the Portland Guardian, Silas was recognised as amongst the original founders of St. James’ Church in Tyrendarra that was built by the community in 1874.  Both, Silas and Maria, were laid to rest at the Narrawong Cemetery in Narrawong

Archive Office of Tasmania. (1829 – 1957). Tasmania, Australia, Passenger Arrivals. Tasmania, Australia.

Archives Office Tasmania. (1841 – 1884). Immigrant Lists. Tasmania, Australia.

Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies. (1808 – 2007). Australia Cemetery Index. Australia.

Departent of Crown Lands and Survey. (1890). Narrawong. County of Normanby. Victoria, Australia.

General Register Office, England. (1837-1915). England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915.

General Register Office, England. (1854, August 7). Certificate of Marriage between Silas Smith and Maria Gooding. Surrey, England.

Gloucestershire Archives. (1813 – 1913). Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms. Gloucestershire, England.

Portland Guardian. (1896, November 6). Obituary Maria Smith. Portland, Victoria, Australia.

Portland Guardian. (1915, July 9). Death Notice Silas Smith. Portland, Victoria, Australia.

Portland Guardian. (1915, July 7). Silas Smith Obituary. Portland Guardian. Portland, Victoria, Australia.

Portland Guardian. (1925, December 3). St. James’, Tyrendarra. Portland Guardian. Portland, Victoria, Australia.

Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser. (1866, March 22). Silas Smith 1866 Land Lease. Portland, Victoria, Australia.

Somerset Heritage Socity. (1813 – 2003). Church of England Deaths and Burials. London, England.

The National Archives. (1841). 1841 England Census. 1841 England Census. Somerseet County, England: The National Archives, London, England.

The National Archives. (1851). 1851 England Census. Middlesex County, England: The National Archives, London, England.