– The Project: Background –
The impetus for this project came through discussions amongst family historians associated with the Cornish Association of Victoria. A large number of Cornish and their families were involved in this migration, but it proved difficult to find detail about the journey itself. In addition, it is clear that the number of descendants of those who made the journey has grown exponentially.
The idea began from an interest in two related family history projects:
- preparations for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of Maria NINNES (d July 1852) and her burial in a lone grave near Bendigo; and
- family re-union in Clare 1998, to celebrate the arrival in South Australia of Thomas and Mary ROACH and their family and other related families (including the Ninnes family).
Initial research into the story of the grave of Maria NINNES indicated that she and two young children died nearing the end of their journey to the goldfields, however there were many details left unanswered.
The families concerned, the Roach and Ninnes family, were only one example in this large-scale migration. By 2002, 150 years later, their descendants numbered more that 1200. The number of descendants of all those who made the journey can only be wildly guessed at.
While some information about the journey and what it involved was located, much of it was not clear and there were conflicting accounts of the route/s taken.