|Country of Origin||Ireland|
|Date of Birth||1805|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1841|
|Submitted by||Judy Wallace|
David Sefton was born around 1805 and was living in Ballynahinch, Co Down, Ireland, although it is not known where he was born. He was a blacksmith by trade and married Mary Stewart, daughter of William Stewart. David and Mary had seven children: Margaret (born 1823), Mary Jane (born 1827), Nancy (Anne) (born around 1831), William (born 1833), Jane (born around 1834), Thomas John (born around 1835) and Matilda (born around 1839).
Mary died in Ireland and David remarried Rebecca (maiden name unknown) who was ten years younger. On 11 August 1841, David, Rebecca and the seven children boarded the sailing ship “Marquis of Bute” at Greenock, Scotland, and headed for an uncertain future in Australia. They arrived at Port Phillip on 30 November. At the arrival of the ship – as was the custom – the Union Jack was run up the flagpole on top of the hill where Flagstaff Gardens are now established.
Rebecca died a month after arriving in Auystralia and is thought to have been buried in the old cemetery where the Queen Victoria Markets now stand in Melbourne. She died on 28 January 1842 at the age of 28.
David and his family first settled in Swanston Street, Melbourne, on the present site of the Public Library. He also bought a block of land at the corner of Elizabeth and Collins Streets where he had a ‘place of business’. Later they went to the River Plenty. In 1848, he had a block of land in the village of Ceres (where his daughter Mary Jane Edney was living) near Geelong, and in 1875 he was living at Dean’s Marsh – around the same area. On 8 June 1882, he died in Geelong Hospital of “old age” at the age of 77, and was buried at Highton Cemetery.
The family were Orangemen, and were prejudiced against Catholics. David’s son, William, was a wild Irish boy. On a Saturday night, he would get drunk and ride along Moorrabool Street, Geelong, shooting out all the gas lamps. The police would give chase and he would dive his horse into the Barwon River and swim it across to the other side. The police, being dressed in their heavy black serge uniforms, would not go into the river, for if they did they would have drowned with the weight of the uniforms. It is also understood that William would go around to any Irish Catholic’s house and invite the men out to fight!
On 30 November 1991, 200 descendants of David Sefton gathered at the Flagstaff Gardens, Melbourne, to celebrate the arrival of the Seftons exactly 150 years before.