The Gambell Family
Based on an article by June Tuck, Member N.F.H.S.I.


William Gambell was born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1800. At the age of 18 years, he was committed to the Taunton Assizes for the burglary of Thomas Davis' house with William Hodges (aged 19), and stealing banknotes, a fowling piece and other articles. William was found guilty on 27th March 1820, and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to transportation for life. William Gambell and William Hodges arrived in Sydney aboard the ship Hebe on 30th December 1820. Shipping records list William's calling as a farmer's man, while other documents state he was a boot-maker. He was described as being 5'5" tall with a dark sallow complexion, black hair and dark eyes.

During 1830 William went to the district of Gundaroo with nine other families. He was recommended for a Ticket-of-Leave on 30th June 1833 and this was granted on 26th April 1834. William was married to Mary Dardis at St. Mary's, Sydney, by Fr. John McEnroe on 26th January 1835. Mary had arrived in the colony aboard the ship Forth 11 on 12th October 1830, having been convicted in 1829 at the Summer Assizes, Meath, of stealing cloth. Mary received a Certificate of Freedom from Queanbeyan dated 7th October 1843.

The couple resided at Doughboy, Gundaroo - now known as Woodfield - and had six children: Mary (1837); Edward (1840); William (1841); John (1843); Catherine (1845) and an unnamed female who died in infancy. In 1837 William was a servant of Mr. Campbell of Duntroon and Gundaroo, and four years later, he received his Conditional Pardon.

Mary Gambell died on 25th July 1873, aged 62 years, at the home of her son, John, at Roadside Creek, Gundaroo. William lived to be 91 years of age and died on 8th July 1891 at Woodfield, Sutton Road, Gundaroo. Upon his death, the following obituary appeared in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post:

Mr. William Gambell, of Doughboy Creek, died last Wednesday at the ripe old age of 91 years. He was, I think, the oldest resident in the Gundaroo district, having resided there for upwards of 50 years. Much regret is expressed at his death, he being universally liked both for his integrity and uprightness and his other personal good qualities. He belonged to the Wesleyan Church, and years ago used to walk into Queanbeyan, a distance of twenty miles, to attend the religious services held there, before there were any services held at Gundaroo.

In 1885 William had 60 acres of land, with 5 horses, 2 cattle, 140 sheep and 3 pigs on his land. The Gambell property is still standing, approximately 10 miles from Queanbeyan on the Sutton Road, and was sold early this century. William's closest neighbours were Richard Jarvis and his family on whom the A.B. "Banjo" Paterson poem The Gundaroo Bullock is based.


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