John & Mary Edney
|First name||John & Mary|
|Country of Origin||England|
|Date of Birth||1814/1827|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1840/1841|
|Submitted by||Judy Wallace|
John Edney was born in East Dean, Hampshire, England, and was baptised on 3 April 1814 in the parish church of St. Winfrid (now 1000 years old). He was one of eight children of Samuel Edney, a labourer, and Betty (nee Webb). At the age of 25, he came to Australia on board the sailing ship “Andromache” where he was listed as a sawyer. The ship arrived at Port Phillip on 27 June 1840.
Mary Jane Sefton was born in approximately 1827 at Ballynahinch, County Down, Ireland. She was the second of seven children of David Sefton, a blacksmith, and Mary (nee Stewart). Mary’s mother died when she was very young and she was brought up by her grandparents until she left for Australia with her father at the age of 15. Mary’s father had married again to Rebecca (surname unknown). The Sefton family left Greenock in Scotland as bounty immigrants on the sailing ship “Marquis of Bute” and arrived at Port Phillip on 30 November 1841. On the shipping record, Mary is listed as “housemaid”. Her step-mother, Rebecca Sefton, died two months after arriving in Melbourne.
On 8 April 1844, John Edney and Mary Jane Sefton were married at St. James Old Cathedral – the “Church of the Pioneers” – which was then at the corner of William and Little Collins Streets, Melbourne, and has since been moved to West Melbourne. John was 31 and Mary was only 17. Theirs was one of the first marriages there. Mary could not read or write and signed her marriage certificate with an “X”.
For three years they lived at Heidelberg where it is believed John had a butcher’s “shop” and they lived in a tent. Around 1847, John Edney, with a Mr. Piper and a Mr. Hodgson, travelled to Point Henry from Melbourne on the “Devonshire”, a small ship owned and operated by Captain Thomas Halk Sutton. They walked to Ceres and stayed in a shepherd’s cottage. Mr. Hodgson walked further and chose his farm, now called “Stanbury”. John Edney chose “Dean Farm” and Mr. Piper “Newlands”. they waited for Mr. Hodgson to return, walked back to Point Henry and later brought their families. John Edney selected 120 acres of land near Ceres, in the Barrabool Hills, near Geelong.
John and Mary had 12 children – William Henry (born 1845), Caroline (born 1847), Emily Jane (born 1848), Emma (born 1851), Alfred (born 1852), Mary Elizabeth (born 1855), Jane (born 1857), Phoebe Anne (born 1859), John Charles (born 1862), Alice (born 1864), Walter (born 1867) and Esther (born 1869). The parents saw that the children all went to school. They attended the Trinity School which was the third school in the Geelong district, and it cost the family one shilling per week per child. Later the government bought land from John Edney where the present Ceres school stands.
John was involved with the Trinity Church of England, Barrabool. The first services were held in the school building, then the first church was built on the flat lowlands and sank. A second church with a spire fell down and was later re-erected in 1885. Holy Trinity Church and manse are now listed by the National Trust.
The Edney home was built of stone quarried on their own property. The stone part consisted of five or six rooms, and there was a separate wooden kitchen and wash-house/dairy, under which there was a large underground tank with a capacity of about 10,000 gallons. The wooden part is still standing today.
Mary was an excellent horsewoman and used to break in most of the family’s horses. A description of her was “tiny and nice looking – she was like Dresden Chine”. It seems hard to imagine her breaking in horses!
John Edney retired from farming in 1899 and he and Mary moved to a large brick home in Highton. John died on 13 March 1902 at the age of 88. After his death, Mary moved to a small house which she name “Sefton Cottage”. She died at the age of 85 on 18 January 1913. They are both buried at Highton Cemetery.