Catherine Ryan
Submitted by Val Wilkinson, Tumut.

Catherine Ryan arrived in NSW on the convict ship 'Brothers' in 1824 and spent some time in the Parramatta Female Factory. By 1830 Catherine was living at Liverpool with a widower, William Wilkinson, and his three young children, John, Thomas and Elizabeth. In 1830 a son, Henry Wilkinson, was born, followed by another son, Edward Wilkinson, born at Gundaroo in 1834. By this we assume the family moved to Gundaroo in the early 1830s.

During 1836-37, Catherine took up with Joseph Turton, a convict who had arrived on the 'John' in 1832. A son, Charles Turton, was born to them in 1838, and a daughter, Sarah Turton in 1843. By 1838 the three Wilkinson children had left Gundaroo to settle at Tumut, and it is believed William Wilkinson also left about the same time following them there.

In the 1841 Census of NSW, Catherine Ryan appeared as the Head of the Household at Gundaroo, with an adult male and several children living with her.

On Surveyor Larmer's map of 1837, 'Mrs Wilkinson's hut' is shown on Portion 15, Parish of Nelanglo at the junction of Broughton (or Nowlands) Creek and the Yass River. In early 1845 entitlement of this piece of land was under dispute, with Catherine Ryan, writing as Catherine Wilkinson, making claims to it. Joseph Turton also weighed into the debate, but the ultimate outcome has not been discovered. In a later survey of this block, it is shown in the name of William Ryan, but whether there was a relationship to Catherine Ryan is not known.

In April 1845, Catherine Ryan and Joseph Turton, of Gundaroo River, were married. They apparently continued to live in the area, which became known as Turton's Flat, close to the original site of Portion 15, Parish of Nelanglo, County of King.

Joseph Turton died suddenly on 13 April 1867 at the home of his step-son at Bunkers Hill. Edward Wilkinson resided at Bunkers Hill in 1867, so it is presumed he was the step-son. Although it has not been possible to identify the site of Bunkers Hill, family history records the property name was later changed to Springfield, and this property is shown as being on the opposite side of the Yass River to Turton's Flat.

Catherine Turton (née Ryan) died on 12 June 1868 and is buried with her husband in unmarked graves in the Gunning Cemetery.

Of her two sons to William Wilkinson, Henry, when a young lad, moved to the Tumut district where he married and had a family. Edward Wilkinson, however, stayed in the Gundaroo district at Dicks Creek, where he also married and had a large family.

Although five children are noted on the death certificates for Joseph and Catherine Turton, only 2 apparently survived to adulthood. Charles Turton married Mary Ann Lanham in 1865; and Sarah Turton married Henry William Lanham in 1860. Both siblings stayed in the Gundaroo district leaving families in the area.

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