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Isaac Fox 1810


Isaac, born in Liverpool in 1810 grew up much under the influence of his mother’s family, the Young’s, who by this time were again established in Britain.  George Young and Admiral William Young had returned from the West Indies.  Isaac went to sea with East India Company Ships and it was as an officer on a charter ship to the British Government that he first visited Australia, probably in 1833*.


In 1835 he married Mary Bridget Richardson, a daughter of William Richardson of Croydon, England.  Mary Bridget was a cousin of John Ruskin, the poet and critic.  His father presented Isaac with a silver snuff box on his leaving for Australia.  Miss Louise Fox has this in her possession today, along with the log books of the ship “Elphinstone”.  A child George was born at Croydon in 1836 but Mary was not well.  She was probably suffering from tuberculosis.  Isaac thought that the climate in Australia would mend her health.  The young couple decided to emigrate.  Isaac sailed as a ships officer or captain in 1838*.  The New South Wales registry shows that a son Isaac Alexander was born on 26th May 1838 latitude 29 degrees 22 min south 37 degrees 37 min east, fathers occupation – Master Mariner.


Isaac and his young family settled on the land.  John Ruskin Fox was born at Binda Vale, Georgianna n 27 August 1840, father’s occupation, settler.  He moved to Taradale, Lake George, Argyle where two more children were born – Mary Eliza Fox on 11 November 1841 and William Richardson Fox on 26 October 1843.  Isaac’s wife did not improve in health and she died at Parramatta on 10 January 1845 aged 30 years.


Isaac was disappointed with his land.  With an ailing wife, young children and the struggle to make a new life in a new land, his lot could not have been easy.  Isaac moved to Parramatta in 1844.  His wife’s death certificate, as listed under the burials in the Parish of St John’s Parramatta, shows her abode as Parramatta.


Isaac Fox’s death certificate in 1878 shows three boys living, one boy and one girl deceased.  George, Isaac Alexander and John of the family are the members who almost certainly survived their father.  Mary Eliza married a Mr Wallis of Mittagong and died on 20 January 1876.  There is no further mention of the William Richardson Fox.


Isaac married again on 10 January 1850, to Sarah Carter as Sutton Forest.  The first child of the second marriage Ann Fox was born at Jerrara, Bungonia on 9 October 1850.  Isaac was back on the land but the intervening years are something of a mystery.  Where did they live?  George was a big boy of probably 14 by 1850 with three younger brothers and a sister.  Who cared for the family.


* Editor’s Note:   He sailed via Hobart as second officer on the transport ship “Elphinstone” in 1836.


*Editor’s Note:      Definitely passengers on the Barque “John”, a merchantman.


The family continued to reside at Jerrara and the following entries from the New South Wales Registrar Generals Department indicate that the family remained on the property until 1860 or 1861.  Nine children were born of the second marriage.


1.                  Ann 09.10.50 Jerrara, Bungonia (father occupation farmer and grazier)


2.                  Thomas Lambert 07.05.52 Jerrara (father occupation farmer and grazier)


3.                  Edward Carter 17.06.54 Jerrara (father occupation farmer and grazier)


4.                  Fredercik Young 13.04.56 Jerrara, Argyle (father occupation farmer and grazier)


5.                  Emma Oldfield 16.05.58 Jerrara Bungonia (father occupation farmer and grazier)


6.                  Fanny 28.03.60 Jerrara (father occupation farmer and grazier)


7.                  Benjamin Carter 10.02.62 Auburn Street, Goulburn (father occupation corn



8.                  Alice Maud 07.11.64 Auburn Street, Goulburn (father occupation hay and corn



9.                  Arthur Holroyd 27.08.66 Clifford Street, Goulburn (father occupation Commission



George was born in England.  There are 13 births registered in New South Wales.  Isaac

and his wives were pioneers in every sense of the word.


George had apparently opened the hay and corn business in Goulburn.  He persuaded his father to move into town and joined him with the business but George soon ventured further a field leaving his father to run the business.  Isaac was probably not a very successful businessman but he was able to educate his family and place most in a position where they could do reasonably well.  Later in life he travelled to Queensland and visited his son George at Croydon (family report).


Life was not always happy for Isaac.  He was a man of stern principles and rumour has it that his second son, Isaac Alexander, so displease him in his conduct that he never spoke to his son again.  He was thrown out of the family home and his name was not to be mentioned by family again. 


Isaac Junior probably went to Queensland.  On one or more occasions he contacted his brother George at “Croydon Station” in Queensland.  The second family knew nothing of his future nor of his family.  John Fox was not heard of again except that now Wilsie Harrison reports that a John once came to visit in Gwen Bucknell.


Alice Maud Manning was alive then but she knew nothing of a John Fox.  Except for George, the first family seems to have drifted away from both the father and the second family.


Records from Goulburn most generously supplied by Stewart Hume Esq of “Garroorigang” threw some light on Isaac and his life in the district.


Wyatts History of Goulburn page 319 “In 1863 Isaac Fox who lived at Run of Waters was appointed Goulburn Agent for the AMP Society.  Fox was also Agent for the Imperial Fire Insurance Company. (Aust Alman 1850, “Goulburn Herald”, 14.04.64), “Evening Post” 12.11.71 page 230 Libs of Agency Clerks.  Managers etc for AMP Society – Isaac Fox 1863 page 373 Isaac Fox member of the first board of Bourke Street, Public School, opened 1868.  Page 475 (Biographical notes) Isaac Fox “Settled Goulburn 1838, grazier, farmer, hay and corn dealer, Insurance Agent, Alderman, City Auditor, died 1878 (Goulburn Herald 04.12.78).  On page 72 there is a reference “The Fox Express” a coach once a week to Sydney in 1860.  There is nothing to suggest that Isaac Fox was the proprietor or had an interest therein, but I have a suspicion that elder son George may have been.  He was interested in horses and in transport in those days.  He would have been 24 years of age and had plenty of initiative as his later history shows.


There is no mention of Fox in the records of the Anglican diocese, but ther is evidence that he was a member of the Masonic Lodge.


The following is an extract form the Goulburn Herald of 4 December 1878.


“Death of an Old Resident” Mr Isaac Fox, who has been a resident in Clifford Street on Saturday last.  His remains were buried on Monday afternoon last, and at his request the funeral was private but several members of the Masonic body accompanied the body to the cemetery.  Mr Fox was from a very respectable English family and was greatly esteemed for his strictly upright and straight forward character.  In early life he followed the sea, but settled in this district as above stated many years ago, and engaged at firs in grazing and farming, afterwards as a hay and corn dealer and latterly as an Agent for the Mutual Provident Society, Imperial Insurance Company and one or two others.  He formally served as an Alderman and afterwards a City Auditor, and owned a large grown up family.  Four of his sons are settled in Queensland, the eldest son George Fox being a prominent member of the legislature of that colony.”


Tom Fox was in Goulburn at the time of this father’s death.  So four sons now live in Queensland.  Three were George, Thomas and Frederick Young and the other I feel sure was the stranger, Isaac Fox.


Sarah Fox, nee Carter seems to have been a good mother to her children.  She was of English farming stock.  One of her children, the young Edward Carter died of scarlet fever at the age of 11 years.  His mother was also gravely ill at that time.  An anecdote of the Jerrara days has been passed down through the eldest daughter Annie, who told of being held up on the road by Ben Hall the bushranger.  He placed his cloak around her shoulders while they were talking.


The children’s young lives were spent in the Goulburn and Sutton Forest – Exeter – Mittagong Districts.  There were some visiting in those days and travel between the families in New South Wales and Queensland.


After Isaac’s death, Sarah and the younger children, Arthur at least, moved to Sydney.  Sarah died at “Argreah” Marrickville Road, Marrickville on 13 July 1895.  She is described as a widow and landowner aged 68 years and 10 months.  She had contracted pneumonia.  Her father was Benjamin Carter, farmer and grazier and her mother, Ann Holmes.  “Signature, description and residence of informant” is shown as W. Wentworth Bucknell, grazier and civil servant “Argreah”, Marrickville.  She was buried on 2 August 1895 at the Church of England Cemetery, Goulburn.  Witnesses at the burial were Ben C Fox and AH Fox.


Sarah was born in Nottingham, England and had been resident in Australia 63 years and 10 months.  She married Isaac in the Church of England at Sutton Forest when 24 years of age. 


“Issue in order of birth, their names and ages” are listed as follows:


                                Anne                Badgery           (44 years)

                                Frederick Young                      (39 years)

                                Emma                                       (37 years)

                                Fanny              Bucknell           (35 years)

                                Benjamin Carter                      (33 years)

                                Arthur Holroyd                       (28 years)


                            2 males deceased


(note the child Edward died of scarlet fever, and Thomas of typhoid fever in Winton).



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