James Reed circa 1865

James Reed

(circa 1810 - 1898)

Personal details


     James was born circa 1810 in Trentham, EnglandG. A letter from the Regimental Secretary of the Staffordshire Regiment (successor to the 80th) states:- "No. 665 James REED enlisted in the 80th Regiment on 11th June, 1827 at the age of 17. The record shows he was a brickmaker and had been born at Trentham in the parish of Stone, Staffordshire".1,2 He was the son of Thomas Reed.1,2


     He died on 30 January 1898 in North Bourke, Bourke, AustraliaG. The official cause of death was senile decay. "In their later years, (James and Frances Reed) lived with their daughter Sarah Ann and her husband Michael Brennan in North Bourke. The Brennan's fourth daughter Isabella was said to be the first white child born at North Bourke, in 1869. Frances died in April 1895 and James in January 1898, aged 88 and leaving, it was reported, nine surviving children, 'held in high esteem', 86 grandchildren and over 40 great grandchildren."1,2 His body was interred on 31 January 1898 in Bourke cemetery, central eastern side, Bourke, AustraliaG.2

Family life


     He married Frances Heazel circa 1830 in Sunderland, EnglandG.1,2,3

Children of James Reed and Frances Heazel

Life event details


  • He and Frances Heazel emigrated aboard convict ship "Earl Grey" on 25 July 1836 from Deptford.1
  • He and Frances Heazel immigrated aboard convict ship "Earl Grey" on 31 December 1836 to Sydney, AustraliaG.1,4
  • He migrated from Sydney to in Bourke circa 1862. "James' and Frances' obituaries in the 'Western Herald' are quite specific that the family moved to Bourke in 1862... The year is significant because it marks the beginning of land selection under the provisions of the Robertson land acts. For several years there had been severe unemployment in Sydney and agitation for land reform, that is, to allow small selectors to move in on the great holdings of the squatters, was vigorous. Provision was made for Crown lands to be selected 'at a price of £1 per acre, with an initial payment of 25 percent and the remainder within three years'."
    "From 1860 it was possible to travel as far as Penrith by train, by Cobb & Co. coach to Dubbo, then by whatever transport was available (frequently horseback) for 400 miles to Bourke. It is likely that the Reeds had to organise their own transport to carry household goods and the women and children".1

Census, occupation and residence information

  • In May 1835 James Reed lived in Liverpool, EnglandG; "The 80th Regiment was stationed in the Liverpool area from May, 1835. In September, the Diary records, 'the Regiment received orders to proceed to Chatham for embarkation in Convict Guards for New South Wales'.
    "A senior officer wrote later, 'It was reported that the Regiment was to embark for New South Wales, but no one would believe it. We considered ourselves a crack regiment ... so fine a corps could not possible be sent on such a service'.
    "Officers could make arrangements to leave the Regiment. Private James Reed had no choice."1
  • In January 1837 James Reed lived in Sydney Barracks, Sydney, AustraliaG; "Until July, 1837 the Regiment was based at Sydney Barracks. It then moved its headquarters to Windsor. It supplied detachments to a variety of locations to act as guards for convict work gangs."1
  • James Reed was employed by self as a grocer in Sydney, AustraliaG, in 1844. "Lew's 1844 Directory for the City of Sydney records James Reed, grocer, Barrack Lane.".1
  • James Reed was employed by Police as a constable in Sydney, AustraliaG, in August 1846. "Another baptismal record - Prudence, August 1846 (born July). The grocer had become a constable in Kent Street. Previously the babies were baptised in St James or St Philip's chirch, the two nearest the Barracks. Prudence was baptised at St Andrews which suggests that James was stationed at the watch immediately behind the still incomplete cathedral.".1
  • He was employed by as labourer in Sydney, AustraliaG, in July 1848. "In July 1848 when ... Frances was born her father was a labourer, residing in Clarence Street. Occupation and residence remained unchanged until at least June 1856 when their last child Jane was born.".1
  • He was employed by self as a publican in near, Bourke, AustraliaG, in February 1870. "Old James' last major venture was to take up 80 acres near Mt Oxley, on the main road (as it then was) to Dubbo via Gongolgon. There he established the Mountain House Hotel in February 1870".1
  • On 18 May 1879 James Reed was occupied as a publican.5

Witnessed events

Remaining events

  • He was inducted into the military on 11 June 1827. A letter from the Regimental Secretary of the Staffordshire Regiment (successor to the 80th) states:- "No. 665 James REED enlisted in the 80th Regiment on 11th June, 1827 at the age of 17".1
  • James reported for active duty in 1832. "The Regiment spent some time in Ireland (1832-1834). The official diary records that 'while at Belfast, many parties were sent out at different periods for the purpose of assisting the Civil Power in collecting tithes as also in aid of the Revenue Officers, which duty was often harassing from long marches and inclement weather'".1
  • James, Frances, John and James traveled to in Sydney on 27 August 1836. "The convicts were embarked in two groups - 91 at Kingstown and 192 at Cork, plus 'five free boys (the sons of convicts in the Colony)'. So the ship sailed on 27th August with 384 persons on board."
    "Sentry duty was carried out around the clock and the men on guard were regularly inspected by the officer in charge. Soldiers could be reported and punished for such offences as insolence, quarrelling, dirty weapons, sitting down while on guard, sleeping on guard or talking to the prisoners".1
  • James, Frances, John and James arrived in Sydney in November 1836. "The voyage took 126 days from Cork to Sydney. The surgeon's account indicates that generally it was without incident. He complains of the heat and expresses concern for the health of the convicts in his charge. At his insistence the vessel called at Capetown in November to take on 'fresh beef, mutton and vegetables for the Guard and convicts'. Scurvy was affecting a number of the convicts by this time, but it cleared up very quickly afterwards. In all, three convicts died on the voyage".1
  • He was discharged from active duty on 31 December 1843. A letter from the Regimental Secretary of the Staffordshire Regiment (successor to the 80th) states:- "No. 665 James REED ... was discharged on 31st December, 1843".
    "On 31st December 1843, Private James Reed left the military service with nothing more to show for 16½ years of service than a gratuity of three months pay (£4/11/3)".1



  1. [S50] Research Report, Reed Family History, Robert Luxford, 1986, Fleming Family History Archive held by Jim Fleming, A19860000.
  2. [S73] Death Certificate for James Reed, 5/1898, NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, 31 January 1898.
  3. [S152] Death Certificate for Frances Heazel, 4274/1895, NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, 8 April 1895.
  4. [S131] "Surgeons Journal, Earl Grey 1837," MS, 1837; Archives Office of NSW.
  5. [S102] Marriage Certificate for James Murphy and Prudence Whye nee Reed, Number 2580 (250), Volume 1879, NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, 18 May 1879.
  6. [S68] Baptism Certificate for Prudence Reed, Vol 31, NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, 30 August 1846.
  7. [S39] Death Certificate for Prudence Murphy, 526/1940, NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, 30 October 1940.
  8. [S389] Various authors, History of Bourke.


Family forebears chart