Australian Wills Families

How our ancestors came to Australia

A sailing ship of the 1800's It was surely a "giant step for man" to make a three month journey in a sailing ship half way around the world to settle in Australia. A compass rose signifying the distance that they had sailed.

These are families for which I have no further details. Once you have located the first of your ancestors to arrive in Australia, please email details to Tom Wills for inclusion in these pages.
  • 1842 - John Gray (born 1808) and Bridget Scally (born 1826) met on the ship "Wilson" during the voyage to Sydney and married in 1843. They had one child Thomas in Redfern Estate, Sydney. At some time after the birth they moved to Queanbeyan near Canberra and had a further 4 children: Catherine, Francis, John and Mary. John Gray Died in 1851 and left his wife with 5 children.

    Bridget Gray (nee Scally), then got married to a John Wills. This was registered "LW" area of NSW BDM.

    John Wills and now Bridget Wills had 3 more children: James, Bridget, Martain and possibly Michael and Ann. Bridget died in 1894. This is all the information I have about the children accept Thomas who I know all about as he is my forefather. If there is any information about these people on the Wills side of the family it will help my research very much!


  • 27 August 1841 - Henry Wills arrived at Port Jackson, He was born 4 December 1817 in Ashburton, Devon and left Port Plymouth on 21 May 1841 on the ship "William Metcalfe" (also known as "William Mitcalfe"). He came by himself after leaving his parents farm in search of a better life in Australia. He was 24 years old at the time and settled in Marjorca, central Victoria.
  • 17th December 1852 - John William Wills 34 and his wife Nanny (nee Callaway) 35 arrived aboard the "Hydaspes" in Sydney with their 3 daughters Nanny, Lucy, Jane and infant son John. On arrival from their assisted passage John declared that he had no relatives living in NSW. John (a carpenter) and Nanny settled in Ashfield, Sydney where a they built three homes in Norton Street, two of which remain today and are protected by the National Trust. John and Nanny were born in Truro, Cornwall 1819 and died in Sydney 1911 &1880. Anyone wanting more info - feel free Nigel Wills
  • 16 August 1853 - Alfred W. Wills arrived in Melbourne on board the "Lady Kennaway" with his wife Eliza Wills (aged 28), and sons William Wills (aged 6) and James Wills (aged 1). They were Assisted immigrants from Buckingham. The "Lady Kennaway" had left Southampton on 9 May 1853. Alfred was Baptised 24 June 1827 at Edgcott, Buckingham, England his parents being listed as William Wills and Elizabeth. Alfred died in Werribee, Vic. in 1884, aged 57 and Eliza also died at Werribee in 1899.
  • 18 December 1854 - Thomas Wills with his wife Emma and son Edward, arrived in Melbourne on the "Nabob", which had left Liverpool on 7 September 1854. His sister Agnes Wills also came out on the same journey. Thomas's occupation was dealer. The Master of the "Nabob" was Geo Dewhurst, and she carried 228 passengers.
  • 19 April 1857 - John Wills (36) and Joseph Wills (30) arrived in Melbourne aboard the "Great Britain" having left Liverpool on 16 February 1857. Also on board were Robert Wills (49) and his wife Mary Wills (46). Also Ellen Newman (nee Wills) (38), John Newman (40) and Agnes Newman (child). John, Joseph, Ellen and Robert were siblings. John and Joseph were both farmers, as was John Newman. The Master of the "Great Britain" was John Gray and it carried 620 passengers.
  • 2 September 1857 - Edward and Ann Thompson (nee Wills) arrived in Portland, Vic. on the "British Empire". They had left Plymouth on 14 May 1857. Edward and Ann were both 47. Their children were Mary (23), Agnes (20), Edward (18), Richard (16), Anthony Joseph (14), Ann (10), Thomas (8) and Eleanor (7). Ann was a sister of John, Joseph, Ellen and Robert Wills who had arrived on the 19 April 1857. Edward's occupation was "Labourer" and the family came from Westmoreland, U.K. and were C of E. All but the two youngest could read and write. They were employed in Portland before moving to the Oxley plains area near Wangaratta in North-East Victoria.
  • On 21 August 1842 Francis Russell Nixon was appointed first bishop of Tasmania. With his wife and children and their governess, Maria G. Medland Wills, he sailed from England in the Duke of Roxburgh on 7 May 1843, together with 6 other cabin passengers including John Helder Wedge.
    On 28 Dec 1843 Bishop Nixon married John Helder Wedge and Maria Medland Wills in St. Davids Cathedral, Hobart. Maria died in childbirth the next year on the 3 November.
    Maria's father was Garland Langworthy Wills, b 1873, of Plymouth, Devon and his father was Michael Wills of Plymouth.
    Her mother was Susanna Germon (nee Medland).
    Maria was christened on the 12 January 1814.

Email details of your ancestors arrival to Tom Wills
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