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The Descendants of Emma Adsett

by F. J. Erickson

Children Sex Age Born Birth Place Died Death/Burial Site
1WinifredF8417 Sep 1859Milton Brisbane1 Aug 1944Brisbane
2SarahF??13 Apr 1861Brisbane??? ???? unknown
3WilliamM625 Jan 1863Brisbane13 Apr 1869Brisbane
4WalterM030 Mar 1865Brisbane5 Dec 1865Brisbane
5LydiaF7222 Aug 1866Milton 7 Dec 1938Brisbane
6EveylnF8426 Nov 1867Milton 1 Apr 1952Auchenflower
7SusanF6728 Dec 1868Milton25 Dec 1936Dunwich QLD
8PriscillaF79 7 Nov 1870Brisbane 8 Nov 1949Nundah
9James AquillaM7222 Apr 1872Brisbane 7 Jul 1944Valetta St Manly
10EmmaF022 Feb 1873Milton23 Feb 1873Milton
11John ErnestM4314 Jan 1874Milton30 Jul 1917Brisbane
12MinnieF129 May 1877Milton 9 Oct 1878Milton
13Frederick DanielM7029 May 1879Brisbane10 Jun 1949Auchenflower
14MayF7321 Oct 1880Milton 27 Jan 1954Yeppoon
15Arthur AlfredM85 6 May 1882Brisbane10 Feb 1968Toowoomba

Emma Adsett was born on Sunday, 29 March 1840, at East Horsley, Surrey. She was the sixth and youngest daughter of John Adsett and Ann Kitchenside, and the tenth child in their family of thirteen. Her childhood years were spent in East Horsley.

Early in June 1855, with her father, her sister Matilda, and her younger brother Charles, she sailed from Liverpool in the royal mail ship Donald McKay. The group disembarked in Melbourne in August 1855, and went on to Brisbane, in the Colony of New South Wales.

On her arrival in Brisbane Emma Adsett was a girl of fifteen. Four years later, a young woman of nineteen, she married James Young.1 The wedding was celebrated in St John's Church, Brisbane, on Saturday, 11 June 1859, by Rev B. E. Shaw. The witnesses to the marriage were John Adsett, Emma's oldest brother, and Louisa, his wife.

Born in January 1834, James Young was 23 at the time of his arrival in Australia. As an assisted immigrant he landed in Sydney from the ship Regina in June 1857. The Immigration Department list reveals that he came from Bedford, Bedfordshire.2 The list also shows that he was a bricklayer and a bachelor, that his religion was Church of England, and that he could both read and write. His parents were William Young, carpenter, and Sarah Sharpe. Both were then living in Barnet, in Hertfordshire, ten or twelve miles north-west of the heart of London.

A mere two years elapsed between the time of James Young's arrival in the colony and the time of his marriage. Evidence indicates that during this time he acquired land in the Milton area, and undertook the erection of a house for his future family. The land, a sizeable block of over six acres, was very close to the property jointly held by Emma Adsett's brother Moses and Henry Howard Payne; and it is very likely that Emma and her father, John, were living here with Moses and his wife Susan during this time. The following diagram, based on an old Lands Department map, shows the positions of the two properties.3

Both properties have, of course, long since been subdivided for residential and commercial purposes. Maps of today show Young Street and Emma Street running through the land formerly held by James Young. Not far away are Howard Street (Paddington), and Payne Street (Torwood), named after H. H. Payne.

It would appear that James Young was a tradesman of considerable ability, for he held the post of foreman bricklayer with John Petrie, leading Brisbane builder of the time. It may be that he had also acquired skills in carpentry from his father, William Young. Certainly he put his abilities to good use, for at different times he built three houses on his own land at Milton. Two of these survive at the time of writing. and are still occupied as private homes. One of the houses, Lucerne, has twice attracted the attention of historical writers. F.E. Lord, in an article published in the Queenslander in 1932, wrote as follows:

This old house at Milton, like the fair city of its name, Lucerne, abounds in historic interest. It was built about 70 years ago by a Mr Young, who subsequently became foreman bricklayer for the late Mr John Petrie, of the historic old family of that name. Both Mr Young and his wife came of good old British stock. The former was a native of Barnet, in Hertfordshire, and came to Sydney in the sailing ship Regina in 1857, at the time - the month of August - when the ship Dunbar was wrecked near the Gap, at South Head. One of Mr Young's daughters, Mrs Sutch, has in her possession a bolt from this ill-fated ship . . . .

The land on which Mr Young built his home, now known as Lucerne - the houses in that part being few in those days he had not found it necessary to name it then - consisted of about six and a half acres. After a time he built another house on his property - this was demolished a little time ago - into which he and his wife and the children they then had moved, and their former home was let to Mr Guthrie, a solicitor, and a Scotchman by birth, who named it Lucerne, that city in the land of William Tell evidently having some particular association for him. After Mr Guthrie's time there Lucerne was let by Mr Young to Miss Davis, who conducted a girls' school there. Then it was purchased by Mr Campbell, of the old Indooroopilly family of that name, who later sold it to Mr John Scott, a squatter, and it was from his daughter, Mrs Marmaduke Bell her husband was related to Sir Joshua Peter Bell, of old Jimbour station - that it was purchased between 25 and 30 years ago by Mrs A. P. Hirst, widow of the late Mr Justice Hirst.4

Writing in 1978, A.T. Miles had this to say:

James Young was foreman with John Petrie, a builder in early Brisbane, and a member of one of the pioneering families. Originally from England, Young had met and married in Brisbane an English girl named Adsett, who bore him sixteen children. He owned 2.6 hectares at Milton where he built his family house. This is the house at 23 Fernberg Road now known as Lucerne, although Young did not give it a name.

The house was believed to have been built about 1862. However it has been recorded that, during renovations in 1943, the date 1858 was found scratched over the front door. At this time also, the original shingles were removed from the roof and hand-made nails were found.

After a time, Young built another house on the property into which he and the family moved. This house was demolished about fifty years ago. The original house was rented to a Scotsman named John Guthrie, a solicitor. Guthrie named the house Lucerne, presumably after the city in Switzerland, although the connection is not known.5

Miles also lists the various occupants of Lucerne, and in the main his account agrees with that given by Lord. He notes that Mrs Hirst was living in the house as late as 1943, but that at some time between then and 1949 the house was sold to Mr and Mrs Cecil Ward. Ward was a great-nephew of John Scott, the former owner. Miles continues his account as follows:

The wards sold to Dr and Mrs John Morrow about 1956 and they in turn to Dr and Mrs D. O'Sullivan in 1968. The O'Sullivans have added twice to the house. In 1969 a new kitchen and laundry were built and the old kitchen converted to a bedroom. Later two more bedrooms were added. All these extensions have been carefully designed to blend with the old house.6

Miles notes that Lucerne is classified by the National Trust and registered by the Australian Heritage Commission on the Register of the National Estate. These considerations bear tribute to the excellence of the workmanship of James Young. At the time of writing Lucerne is still owned and occupied by Dr and Mrs O'Sullivan.

James and Emma Young lived all their married lives in Milton. They had fifteen children - nine daughters and six sons - during the years 1859 to 1882.7

The third of the houses erected by James Young on his Milton land faced Heussler Terrace. Built around 1892, it was named Barnet, after the Hertfordshire town in which the Young family had lived. Emma and James made Barnet their home during their later years, and it was here that James Young died, in December 1904 - one month before his seventy-first birthday. He is buried in Toowong Cemetery.

Emma Young died in April 1916, aged 76, at the home of her daughter Winifred, in Baroona Road. She also is buried in Toowong cemetery. top of page

Four of Emma Young's family did not survive to adult years. Walter (born 1865), Emma (1873), and Minnie (1877) all died in infancy. William, the eldest son (born 1863) died by drowning at the age of six.

There is, unfortunately, very little information available for three more of the family. Sarah, the second daughter, was born in April 1861, but nothing is known of her life. Lydia was born in 1866, and it is known that she was single in 1899 at the time of the marriage of her sister Pricilla but no other information is available. Susan, born December 1868, remained single. She died at Dunwich in 1936. top of page

Winifred Young the eldest daughter (born 1859), married William Walpole Sutch in August 1898. The ceremony took place in the residence of the bride's parents, the house later known as Lucerne, in Fernberg Roads according to the rites of the Congregational Church. William Sutch was born in London. He was by trade a bootmaker, and for many years ran a business at the corner of Baroona and Fernberg Roads, Milton. The family lived in Baroona Road, but, following the death of Emma Young, moved to Barnet, now 67 Heussler Terrace. Winifred Sutch died in 1944. Her husband predeceased her in 1935.

Winifred and William Sutch had one son, A1fred James Wa1po1e Sutch, born July 1899. He married G1adys Elvera Wasley in 1932, in Brisbane. The couple had four children, Joyce Elva, Wi11iam John A1fred , Gladys Rae, and Allan Edward. Alfred Sutch was a chartered accountant. Initially he was employed by Offner and Sons. Later he established his own practice, at first in Creek Street, then in Queen Street, Brisbane. During World War II he served with the army in New Guinea, holding the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He is remembered as an astute and reliable man, who was always willing to give assistance. 8 top of page

Evelyn Young, born November 1867, fourth daughter of Emma and James, married Frederick William Brookes, in 1897, at Rockhampton. Frederick Brookes was a carpenter, working at Mount Morgan. The couple had one daughter, Mildred Evelyn. Evelyn Brookes died in April 1952, in Brisbane. There are no descendants of this line of the family. top of page

Priscilla Young, the sixth daughter, was born in 1870, in Brisbane. In May 1899, in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Bundaberg, she married John Warton Swann. Born in Bath, Somerset, John Swann was by trade a blacksmith. The couple had one son, Robert Stanley, born 1906. It is known that he did not marry, and died in Brisbane in 1931. There are no descendants of this line. John Swann died in 1945, and Priscilla Swann died in 1949, both in Brisbane. top of page

James Aquilla Young, born 1872, was the third son of Emma and James Young but the first to reach maturity. In 1905, in Brisbane, he married Ada Marion Willoughby from Adelaide. James Young died in July 1944. The death certificate shows that he was then living in Valetta Street, Manly. By occupation he was a labourer. Two daughters, Winifred Ada and Nellie Evelyn, were living at the time of his death. Ada Young, his widow, died in 1956, also at Manly. top of page

John Ernest Young, the fourth son, was born in January 1874. In 1906, in Brisbane, he married Frances Priscilla Jane Roy1e, from Maryborough. The couple lived in Brisbane. John Young worked as an iron worker's assistant. During the years to 1917 six sons and two daughters were born to the union. The sons were Joseph James C1yde, John Francis Stanley, Royle Edgar, Claude Ernest, Reginald Arnold, and Leslie Norman. The daughters were Ena Joyce and May Faith. In July 1917 the marriage was tragically terminated when John Young was fatally scalded by molten iron. He died in Brisbane Hospital, and is buried in Toowong Cemetery. It is believed that after the death of her husband Frances Young and her family moved to a farm at Traveston, near Gympie. Reginald Arnold, who had early suffered a paralytic disease, died as a young man. Royle Edgar did not marry. He became a farmer, and died in 1985. Frances Young died in 1933, at Traveston. No other information concerning the lives and occupations of the family is available. top of page

Frederick Daniel Young, fifth son of Emma and James, was born in Brisbane in May 1879. He was 27 when he married Ida Perrin Moore, in Brisbane. Frederick Young was an accountant. Two children were born to the union. These were Marjorie Alice and Ivan Frederick Surrey. Frederick Young died in June 1949, at Fermoy Private Hospital, Auchenflower, at the age of seventy. top of page

May Young, the ninth daughter, was born at Milton in October 1880. In December 1918, at the age of 38, she married Walter Kehl, a cousin. This was Walter Kehl's second marriage, and it was without issue. The couple lived in the Clermont area. At the time of Walter Kehl's death in October 1935 they were living on Fig Tree selection, about twenty-five miles from Clermont. May Kehl died in Rockhampton in 1954. top of page

Arthur Alfred, youngest child and sixth son of Emma and James Young, was born in Brisbane in May 1882. In May 1908 he married Matilda Emilie Caroline Topel, in Boonah. The couple had one daughter, Rowena, who was born in Boonah in 1916. Arthur Young was a farmer, at Dugandan, near Boonah. In 1932 the family moved to Gympie, where Arthur Young found railway employment. At the time of his retirement he was working as railway gardener. In their late years the couple lived in Toowoomba, where Arthur Young died in 1968. His widow died in 1979, also in Toowoomba. Rowena Young married Cecil John Biddle in October 1947, in Brisbane. The couple had one son, Peter David born 1962.

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The resources and information on which this chapter is based have been provided by Stephan Kelly, whose research has involved much time and care.

Immigration Department list of assisted immigrants inwards to Sydney. Original records held by the Archives Department of the Public Library of New South Wales, Reference No. 4/4972. Microform copy held by Queensland State Library.

A.T. Miles, A History of Rosalie (limited edition 20 copies, 1978), p. 13. Copy held in John Oxley Library, Brisbane.

F.E. Lord, "Brisbane's Historic Homes, XCVIII, Lucerne, The Queenslander, 17 March 1932, p. 35.

Miles, pp. 10-12.

Miles, p. 12.

Both Lord and Miles give the number as sixteen. No record has been found to confirm this. Perhaps a sixteenth child was still-born.