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A Farming Family
Title : A Farming Family A Farming Family
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Creator : Peter Brinkworth
Date of creation : 1839–1892
Format : Photograph
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Description :

Thomas Brinkworth and his wife Elizabeth came from the parish of Horsley near Nailsworth, Gloucestershire in the west of the Cotswolds. Family history (as recorded in Enid Prest, The Family History of Thomas and Elizabeth Brinkworth, E.V. Prest, Gulnare, 1976) suggests that the family came over from Normandy with the Conqueror following the trade of chain mail making, and settled around the village now called Brinkworth in Wiltshire. Thus they were called 'de (from) Brinkworth'. While the family was Norman, the name 'Brinkworth' is actually Anglo-Saxon, derived from 'Brynca's worth (homestead)'. During the Middle Ages, the Cotswold hills were home to a flourishing wool trade and Cotswold wool was considered the best in the world. The Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century brought new prosperity to the area through the harnessing of water power, which drove mills to process and weave the wool. It was probably this prosperity that encouraged some Brinkworths to migrate northward from Wiltshire to the Cotswolds, where quite a number of Brinkworths still live. In the five valleys around the town of Stroud there were many mills, including several near Nailsworth, where Thomas and Elizabeth were broad weavers, operating large mechanical looms. With prosperity came an increase in the local population, swollen by 'migrant' workers from outside the area, but soon competition from coal-powered mills in the Midlands led to economic stagnation, severe depressions and increasing unemployment in the Stroud valleys, despite a brief revival in the cloth trade.

By the 1830s, many local people from Horsley-Nailsworth began to seriously consider emigration. In 1837, the Gloucester Journal published a report indicating "a strong prevailing disposition (in Horsley) in favour of emigration to (Australia) to which numerous parties have already gone". Later that year the colonial government of South Australia announced that free passage for married couples of the working classes, aged fifteen to thirty, would be available on emigrant ships to the province. And so when, in 1839, the Commissioners for Colonization of South Australia organized a public meeting at Nailsworth for the purpose of explaining the principles of emigration, between 200 and 300 persons attended and "departed from the meeting in a hopeful spirit". Thomas, aged 27, successfully applied for an assisted passage as a labourer on 14th March 1839, along with his wife Mary, aged 26, and their three children Joseph aged 4, George aged 3 and Mary aged 1. Packing up their quota of belongings allowed by the Commissioners, they moved to London whence they embarked on May 19 on the "Somersetshire", arriving at Port Adelaide on 25th August 1839.

Thomas and Elizabeth's first recorded home was at Nailsworth, just north of Adelaide, which had been settled in 1837 by Enoch Fry, who named the location after his home town, Nailsworth in Gloucestershire. Thomas was employed at that time sawing wood in the government forests. Here son Jesse was born in 1840. His next home was in Walkerville where he built his own house in Smith Street on land now occupied by the YMCA building. Here a further five children were born between 1842 and 1851. His son Daniel was the first person to be baptised at the nearby St Andrew's Anglican Church, of which Thomas was a founding member and trustee in 1847.
By 1843, he is recorded as having 8 acres under wheat at "The Pinery". This was the first of a number of properties on which he cultivated wheat. His first major land acquisition was at Lower Light in 1855, paid for partly from proceeds from nearly two years at the Ballarat goldfields with sons Joseph and George. Here he grew wheat for three years, until drought and crop failure caused him to take up land at Chinkford, Manoora near Saddleworth where he farmed successfully until 1881. His sons - Joseph, George, Jesse, Peter, Daniel, William James and Thomas - were also wheat farmers, pioneering farms at Nantawarra, Kybunga, Magpie Creek (now known as Brinkworth), Yacka, Gulnare, Appila and Quorn. After his retirement from farming, Thomas spent his last days with his son Peter and daughter-in-law Eliza at Gulnare; his wife Elizabeth had died in 1881 and was buried at North Road cemetery, Nailsworth. Thomas himself died in February 1892 and is buried at Georgetown.

The family name is perpetuated in the name of the town of Brinkworth, which was named for George Brinkworth, Thomas's second son, on whose property the new town was founded in 1892.

Peter Brinkworth (Great-great-grandson of Thomas)

Region : Mid North



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