Jane Langley’s Journey–Part 3

Jane and her little girl Henrietta were sent to Norfolk Island on March 3, 1790 aboard the Sirius with some other convicts and marines. 

The Sirius

The food shortage in Sydney Town was dire, with food expected to run out within just a couple of months and it was felt that food on Norfolk Island would be more plentiful with birds, fish and crops which were already established.  The Sirius arrived at Cascade Bay on Norfolk Island’s north-east side on 13 Mar 1790 and unloaded the people and supplies over the following couple of days.  Unfortunately, during heavy seas and wind the ship was thrown onto rocks and sank.  What work Jane did and how she survived at this point is unknown. 

A Marine by the name of Thomas Chipp finished his service and sailed to Norfolk Island aboard the Atlantic as a Marine Settler a little over 18 months later, leaving Sydney Town on 26 Oct 1791 and arriving on 3 Nov 1791.  Interestingly, Reverend Richard Johnston married Thomas Chipp and Jane Langley just 2 days later on 5 Nov 1791.  It seems certain that Jane and Thomas knew each other before Jane’s departure in March of 1790. 

Jane and Thomas lived on Thomas’s land grant of approximately 60 acres at Cascade Creek.  Jane delivered her first child to Thomas, a little boy they named Robert Thomas, on 1 Nov 1792.  Unfortunately Robert died three weeks later on 23 Nov 1792 and is thought to be buried on the property at Cascade Creek, although no headstone has been found.  Jane had a little girl named Ann in 1793, and then in November of 1794 Jane, Thomas and the two little girls, Henrietta and Ann, returned to Sydney Town .

Norfolk Island Map
Map of Norfolk Island showing Cascade Bay

Jane and Thomas had a land grant at Liverpool named Chipp’s Farm where they spent quite a bit of time, and added another six children to their family.  They were Mary b. 1795, William b. 17 Aug 1797, Sarah b. 26 Sept 1799, Sophia b. 15 Aug 1803, Eliza b. 7 Nov 1805 and Thomas b. 1807 & d. 1807.

Eventually Jane, Thomas and family moved off the land and opened a bakery in Pitt Street where Jane would have no doubt worked hard and long hours beside her husband.   She would have also raised her children and sewn for the family.  Jane saw all her daughters marry however her three sons all died in infancy or childhood. 

At the end of Jane’s life she and Thomas were still at the bakery.  She passed away on 18 Feb 1836 and was buried the following day at the Sydney Cemetery which was on the site of the present day Central Station.  To allow construction of the station most graves were moved after family were notified.  They were given the choice of which cemetery they would like their family member moved to, but unfortunately at this time, no grave has been found for our Jane.

After a long and at times very difficult life our First Fleet Ancestor, Jane Chipp nee Langley, passed away aged 74 years.  The changes this woman saw to Sydney Town, the experiences she had of prison life, transportation, a fledgling colony, and Island life can only be imagined by people today.  What courage and determination she showed!


Sirius:  http://firstfleetfellowship.org.au/ships/hms-sirius/

Map:  http://www.mappery.com/map-of/Norfolk-Island-Map-2


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