G3 1 Ellen Wearne Henwood (nee Sullivan)

This article is about Ellen Sullivan, daughter of Timothy Sullivan, who migrated with the family to South Australia in 1859, married blacksmith John Henwood in Burra in 1861, and had three adult descendants.

This article could be improved if additional research information becomes available . If you can help please contact us.



Ellen Wearne Sullivan was the first child of Timothy and Ellen Sullivan and was born in St Ives Cornwall in 1842. She emigrated with the family to Adelaide, arriving at Port Adelaide on the “Lady Anne” in October 1859 aged 17. She was described on the ship’s passenger manifest as a domestic servant. She proceeded with the family to Burra where father Timothy found employment as a miner. On 22/06/1861 Ellen aged 19 married John Daniel Henwood, aged 27, a blacksmith, at St Mary’s church Kooringa near Burra. On the marriage certificate father Timothy is described as a miner, residence Burra. (1)

John Daniel Henwood was born in Lanlivery Cornwall, about 3 kilometres from Lostwithiel, in September 1833. His father John Henwood, was also a blacksmith, born about 1802, and who had married Ann Cook in April 1831. They had four children, Richard, John Daniel, Ann and Elizabeth. Wife Ann and child Ann died in Bodmin Cornwall around 1846 and 1848 respectively. Widower John Henwood then married Frances Jenkin around August 1848 in Bodmin. The Henwood family arrived in South Australia in June 1853 on board the “Pantaloon”. It’s not clear whether the oldest son Richard Henwood who would have been 21 made the trip.

John Daniel Henwood’s sister Elizabeth married Thomas Mitchell Hattam, a blacksmith, on 24/06/1858 at St Mary’s church, Kooringa, near Burra. Shortly after the marriage the Hattams moved to Moonta, where most of their children were born, and several died as infants.

The newlyweds John Daniel and Ellen Henwood had three children in Kooringa in quick succession, Elizabeth in 1862, John in 1863 and Julia in 1864. The family left Burra shortly thereafter, like so may others, to try their luck in the Victorian goldfields. A daughter Ellen was born at Smythesdale in 1868, followed by another daughter, Mary Jane, in Creswick in 1870.

Tragedy struck the family at Smythesdale, as the Ballarat Star of March 9th, 1868 reports:

"On Saturday afternoon, about four o'clock, a fine intelligent boy, five years of age, only son of Mr John Henwood, blacksmith, Smythesdale, was drowned in a waterhole adjacent to the creek, near Fraser's Hill, a short distance from Smythesdale township. It appears that the boy was at the creek accompanied by a little sister three years of age and, so far as can be gathered from her prattle, was lying on the bank of a hole about four feet deep looking after frogs or insects, when he fell in head foremost and went to the bottom and never rose. The little girl then started for home, and on the way thither met an elder sister, six years of age, who had been sent by Mrs Henwood to bring the two children home from the creek. On meeting the elder girl the little one cried out—" Oh! Johnny went into the water, and he never spoke!" The elder girl then hastened home and told her mother, who ran forth with in distraction to the waterhole and there found her worst fears confirmed by the sight of her poor little boy's cap floating on the surface.

Mrs Henwood then in desperation ran across to the main street to her husband's workshop, and gave the alarm, and assistance was speedily rendered by the neighbors; but the boy had by this time been about fifteen or twenty minutes in the water, and when recovered life was extinct,—all the restorative appliances used by Mr H. A. Coriualdi, chemist, who was soon on the spot, and by Mr Jordan, surgeon, who eventually arrived, being unavailing."

The Henwoods probably moved on from Creswick to Sandhurst (Bendigo).  The Sandhurst Directory (1872) records a John Sullivan, miner (Ellen’s younger brother) at Barkly St Sandhurst (Bendigo) at the same time as a John Henwood blacksmith residing in Booth St, less than 3kms apart. They may have been present at John Sullivan’s wedding in Ballarat on 30th March 1872.

The 1872 date is corroborated by an extract from The Yorkes Peninsula Advertiser and Miners and Farmers Journal Moonta on 20/11/1877 that read:



In returning thanks to his customers for past favors, begs to inform them that he has taken the shop lately occupied by Mr. C.R. Beard, on Blanche Terrace, next the Royal Hotel, where they will meet with the same civility and attention as in the past.

Those accustomed to deal with Mr. Beard will do well to give Mr. Morris a call at the same shop, where they will receive every attention.

Mr. Morris’s work is so well known that it needs no comment by him, but speaks for itself.

Horses carefully shod by a first-class Shoer (Mr. John Henwood), who has been in my employ for the last five years.


The Henwoods were living in Moonta in 1873 when their oldest daughter Elizabeth aged 11 died from typhoid in May that year. The family at the time of her death were living in Milne Terrace.There was a major epidemic of typhoid in 1873 and 1874. Lack of fresh pure water was a contributing factor, as most of the water supply was from underground water tanks that became polluted by effluent. There was probably some understanding that the water was polluted, but parents had nothing else to give thirsty children

A second son, also named John, was born in Moonta in 1879, but tragically only lived for an hour after birth. 

John Henwood, John Daniel Henwood’s father, died at Moonta Mines in July 1876, and was buried in the Moonta Mines Cemetery. His widow Frances (nee Jenkin) aged 71, died at Moonta Mines in October 1880. (1)

Life in Moonta was not without its ups and downs for the Henwoods, as evidenced by another extract from a local newspaper, The Yorkes Peninslula Advertiser, Moonta, Tuesday October 22 1878:

"Thomas Yelland, of Moonta Mines, fell down dead, whilst sitting down at his table, writing, on Monday morning.  An inquest was held in the afternoon, the report of which will be found in another column.

On Monday morning, the 21st inst., it was reported to P.C. Harris that Thomas Yelland, a miner, residing on Moonta Mines, had died suddenly at his house, and as the doctor who was called in did not feel that he could state the cause of death it was deemed necessary to make further enquiry into the matter.  An inquest was accordingly held in Mr. J. Henwood’s house, before G.F. Wyatt, Esq., J.P.  

Thomas Yelland, son of deceased, deposed - At a quarter to seven o’clock this morning my father was to all appearance well.  I left the house at that time to go to work.  I heard him say (in answer to an enquiry) to a friend last night, that he was never better in his life.  I did not see my father alive after the time I left for work in the morning.  I was sent for to come home from work at about half-past nine this morning.  When I got home my father was lying on the bed dead.  It is four or five months since Dr. Archer attended my father.  He was then suffering from inflammation of the lungs.  Have not heard my father complain during the last five months, of being very unwell.  He was sometimes a little unwell but not so as to need a doctor.  My mother is in convulsions, and cannot attend the inquest.  Her present illness was caused by my father’s death.  [The Foreman here stated that he had known deceased for twenty years, and had always looked upon him as a weakly man.]

Thomas James, duly qualified medical practitioner, deposed that about nine o’clock in the morning he was called to see deceased.  On arriving at the house saw him supported in a sitting posture in a chair.  His face and lips were pale and the expression of his features calm.  The surface of the body was cooler than natural, and life had ceased, but evidently he had not been dead long.  There were no external marks of violence.  Could not positively give an opinion of the cause of death, as there are many things that might have caused it.  By the Foreman - I can’t form any opinion of the immediate cause of death.  It might have arisen from rupture of a blood vessel, or from heart-disease.

Ellen Henwood deposed that about half-past eight o’clock that morning she heard Mrs. Yelland scream.  Ran in and saw Mr. Yelland sitting in a chair.  She put her arms around his neck to support his head.  With the assistance of a neighbor tried to give him some water, but he could not swallow.  He moaned slightly.  Left, and ran for Dr. James, who came at once, but on reaching the house was told that deceased was dead.  He did not speak while witness was in the house.  By the Foreman - Mrs. Yelland was in the room when I went in, but did not hear her say anything.

William Goninon deposed that somewhere between eight and nine o’clock he heard Mrs. Yelland scream and immediately ran to the spot.  Looked in at the door and saw deceased sitting in a chair at the end of the table.  A woman called him and he held deceased in his arms until he died.  Deceased did not speak.  By the Foreman - When I went into the room Mrs. Henwood, Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Yelland were present.

After a short consultation the jury returned the following verdict, “That deceased died by the visitation of God.”

The Henwoods remained at Moonta until 1887. The 1885 Sands directory has JD Henwood blacksmith at Moonta, the 1884 and 1887 House of Assembly Electoral Rolls also list him at Moonta. An Electoral Roll Amendment in the South Australian Gazette has him leaving Moonta in 1888. Ellen’s father Timothy Sullivan died at Moonta Mines aged 72 in April 1887. Ellen’s second brother Samuel had been appointed head master of the Moonta Mines school in May 1886. So it’s not clear whether the Henwoods were still in Moonta at the time of Timothy’s death, nor whether Timothy’s wife and family matriarch Ellen Grose Wearne Sullivan went with the Henwoods to Adelaide or remained in Moonta with Samuel Grose Sullivan and his family.

By 1888 Ellen Henwood would have been 46 and John Daniel Henwood 55. The loss of both parents and children in Moonta could have been a contributing factor to their move to Adelaide.  Overcrowding may have also contributed, with Moonta around that time the second most populous town in the state after Adelaide. But why did the Henwoods to settle in the Bowden area immediately north west of Adelaide? A likely reason is that Thomas Hattam, John Henwood’s brother in law, and also a blacksmith, had preceded the Henwoods in moving from Moonta to Bowden, and possibly could have provided John Henwood with work to help get him on his feet.

During the next twenty years or so the Henwood's life would be bound up in the Bowden Village. 

  • When the Henwoods arrived in 1887 in-laws the Hattams were living at 6th St Bowden where they remained until about 1910. Elizabeth Hattam, John Henwood's sister, died in Bowden aged 59 in 1899. Her husband Thomas Mitchell Hattam lived to the grand age of 99, and also died in Bowden in 1934.
  • The Henwoods initially lived at Second St Bowden, from 1888 to 1889, in two different houses. Whilst at Second St oldest daughter Julia married Richard Henry Williams, at the time a labourer, who lived on the corner of Gibson St and Second St.
  • The Henwoods then moved to Gibson St in 1890, on the east side on the corner of 4th St.  Interestingly the Sands 1890 directory lists Mrs Ellen Sullivan living virtually opposite the Henwoods in Gibson St.
  • By 1891 newlyweds Richard and Julia Williams had moved into 4th St two houses down from Gibson St.
  • In 1889, one Benjamin Bowering was trading as a shoemaker on Gibson St at the corner of 11th St, and around 1893 moved to the north east corner of Gibson and 13th St where he traded until 1903. In 1914 Julia William’s daughter Ellen married Benjamin Bowering’s grandson. 

Around 1893 the Henwoods, with John by then aged about 60, appear to have relocated to Elizabeth St North Croydon, and he may have ceased to trade under his own name. However around 1905, by then aged in his early seventies, reopened his own smithy, located next door to the Williams family now in 13th St , where he continued to trade for a few more years. In 1911 the Williams family moved to the corner of Drayton and 13th.

IMG 1710The Henwoods maintained some contact with the Adelaide Sullivan's, as John Rundle Sullivan recalls visits from "Uncle Henwood and Aunt Ellen."

In the Advertiser Notices of 22/06/1911 appeared notice of the Golden Wedding of John Henwood and Ellen Sullivan, present address Elizabeth St North Croydon

Three years later John Daniel Henwood, retired blacksmith, died in he AdelaideHospital at age 80 on 12/07/1914, residing at 81 Elizabeth St North Croydon having lived in Australia for 59 years. His issue is described as 3 females living, 2 males deceased and 1 female deceased.(1)  Cause of death was prostate cancer, and he was buried in West Terrace Cemetery road area 1-2 row 10w.

Ellen Wearne Henwood died at age 85 on 26/06/1926 at Whinham St Fitzroy, the home of her daughter Julia Ellen Williams, having lived in Australia for 67 years. Her issue was described as 1 male living, 1 female living, 2 males deceased and 2 females deceased. Cause of death was bronchitis and pneumonia, and she was buried in West Terrace Cemetery with her husband. (1)


(1)   District records of SA Births, Deaths and Marriages, copies held by SA Genealogy and Heraldry Society.