Family Page

The history for the descendants and family of:


William Merrett
4 Feb 1837 - 20 Jul 1901

Mary Ann Merrett (nee Painter)
1836 - 11 Aug 1916

10 Children:

First Generation Australians

1. Sarah Merrett
27 Aug 1857 - 12 Jun 1928

2. Thomas George Merrett
17 Oct 1859 - 24 Dec 1939

3. Merrett Julia
12 Dec 1861 - 26 May 1943

4. Merrett William
22 May 1863 - 12 Dec 1940

5. Merrett Arthur
9 Mar 1865 - 04 Nov 1935

6. Merrett Alfred -
10 Dec 1867 - 14 Nov 1949

7. Merrett Alexander
29 Nov 1869 - 01 Feb 1944

8. Merrett Mary Jane
18 Mar 1872

9. Merrett Alice Rosetta
20 Jun 1874 - 01 Mar 1952

10. Merrett John James
20 Jun 1874 - 23 Jul 1959


William and Mary Ann Merrett with their twins.
John James and Alice Rosetta Born June 20 1874
at Bordertown.

William & Mary Ann Merrett, having married at Wiltshire, England on October 16th 1856, decided to migrate to Australia and set sail on the Tantivy on February 25th 1857.

People in England at the time were very heavily taxed and opportunities were few.
Australia, at the time, was seen as a land full of opportunities.

They sailed from Liverpool, England, on February 25th, 1857, in the sailing ship Tantivy of 1,040 tons and arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia, on June 4th, 1857, with another 341 migrants to S.A.

The Tantivy was on it's way to Sydney having on board some immigrants for that state. At the time of sailing William gave his occupation as a labourer of the County of Wiltshire.

William and Mary Ann were listed on the passenger list as Merritt, spelling mistakes being quite common at that time. The population of the Province of South Australia in 1857 when the Merretts arrived was as follows:

Males - 43,720.
Females - 41,189.

The Early Days of Settlement in Australia by the Merretts
Willia's first known place of employment on arriving in S.A. was with a Mr William Lillecrap of "Netherhill", Kenton Valley, south of Gumeracha. He owned a big sheep run.

Mr William Lillecrap came to South Australia on June 28, 1837, in the sailing vessel Ratherine . William's duty and job was to care for the horses and stables and do shepherding of the flocks of sheep. It was here at South Gumeracha that William and Mary Ann's first child was born. Her name was Sarah, and hers was the first entry in the family Bible which they brought out from England.

William's employment took him and his family closer to Mt Pleasant - possibly still working for Mr Lillecrap - and it was here they had two more children: Thomas George and Julia.

In about 1862 or 1863 William and Mary Ann and their young family moved to Pine Creek, South Rhine, Eden Valley, where William was employed by a Mr John Murray of "Rhine Park" sheep station. Here William worked for some seven or eight years as a stock-holder. South Rhine is about eight miles from Eden Valley where the Merrett family went to worship and the children went to Sunday-school. Transport was horse and dray; the country was hilly, and in places very stony. While here at South Rhine, William and Mary Ann had another five children: William, Arthur, Alfred, Alexander and Mary Jane.

It is difficult to trace William's movements, or to work out just what was taking place from 1870-71. I believe that while the family was still living at South Rhine, William and his eldest son Thomas went looking for work and seeking land, they got employment in the Milang district.

As Milang was close to the route where travellers moved to cross the River Murray at Wellington, they would have heard of the good country "Tatiara", much spoken about at that time. The word was derived from the tribe of Aborigines named Tyatyalla , who occupied this part of the Province of South Australia.

In 1871 William sent Thomas on his pony to have a look at this good country, to seek employment for himself and his father, and perhaps with the view of selecting land. Thomas called at the home of Mr and Mrs August Godfried Frederick Wiese, who I'm sure gave Thomas some good advice and help, and promised the Merretts work when they arrived. Thomas returned to Milang and his father accepted the advice and the report given by his son.

All information on William Merrett and Mary Painter and their descendants is
taken from the Merrett Family History book written by Lionel Merrett.
© Copyright 1977 Merrett Family History Group Inc.