Frances Reed (nee Heazel), circa 1885

Frances Heazel

(1812 - 1895)

Personal details


     Frances was born in 1812 in Canterbury, EnglandG. According to Luxford's "Reed Family History", "Frances was the daughter of Sergeant Major Benjamin Heazel and his wife Elizabeth, and was born at Canterbury in 1812".1,2 She was the daughter of Sergeant Major Benjamin Heazel and Elizabeth Wilson.1,2 As of circa 1830 her married name was Reed.1,3,2


     She died on 5 April 1895 in Bourke, AustraliaG. The official cause of death was apoplexy. Luxford writes in "Reed Family History", "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 There was a funeral for Frances on 7 April 1895 in Bourke Cemetery, Bourke, AustraliaG.2

Family life


     She married James Reed circa 1830 in Sunderland, EnglandG.1,3,2

Children of Frances Heazel and James Reed

Life event details


  • She and James Reed emigrated aboard convict ship "Earl Grey" on 25 July 1836 from Deptford.1
  • She and James Reed immigrated aboard convict ship "Earl Grey" on 31 December 1836 to Sydney, AustraliaG.1,4

Census, occupation and residence information

  • In May 1835 Frances Heazel lived with James Reed 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 Frances Heazel lived with James Reed 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
  • 1844 in Sydney, Frances Heazel witnessed the employment of her husband James Reed as a grocer. "Lew's 1844 Directory for the City of Sydney records James Reed, grocer, Barrack Lane."1
  • August 1846 in Sydney, Frances Heazel witnessed the employment of her husband James Reed as a constable. "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
  • She was employed by "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." with James Reed in July 1848 in Sydney, AustraliaG.1
  • February 1870 in Bourke, Frances Heazel witnessed the employment of her husband James Reed as a publican. "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

Witnessed events

  • She witnessed the illness of John Benjamin Reed on 30 July 1836 in aboard "Earl Grey".4
  • She witnessed the baptism of Sarah Ann Reed on 26 May 1844 in Sydney, AustraliaG.1
  • She witnessed the baptism of Prudence Reed on 30 August 1846 in St Andrews, Sydney, AustraliaG.1,5
  • She migrated with James Reed 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
  • At William Wright's birth, on on 27 November 1862 in Gralger No 17 Station, Bogan River, AustraliaG, she assisted as a midwife.6
  • She witnessed the wedding of her daughter Prudence Reed to Joseph Whye on 28 April 1863 in Bourke, AustraliaG.7,6

Remaining events

  • 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 traveled to 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



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


Family forebears chart