On the First Fleet was Zachary Clark (sometimes Zacharia and sometimes Clarke). He embarked on the Scarborough and transferred to the Alexander during the voyage. He was engaged by the agent who provisioned the First Fleet to represent that agent’s interests. At Port Jackson he was made responsible for the weekly issue of provisions. Later he went to Norfolk Island.
Clark had a daughter named Ann who married Thomas Hibbins on Norfolk Island on 9 October 1803. The previous wife of Hibbins had died a few years before. Hibbins was an Eton educated solicitor and was the Deputy-Judge Advocate on Norfolk Island (the chief legal officer).
Thomas and Ann had a number of children including Juliana born on Norfolk Island and Hobartia who was born after the family moved to Tasmania.
These two daughters married two brothers in Tasmania. Juliana married William Abel (jnr) and Hobartia married Thomas Abel. These two men were sons of William Abel (snr) a former convict. The Abel family also moved from Norfolk Island to Tasmania.
Juliana and William (jnr) had eight children including a daughter named Julia. Julia’s mother died not long after she was born and it appears that she was raised by her aunt Hobartia who had a large family of her own.
Thus Julia Abel was the great grand-daughter of Zachary Clark.
Also on the First Fleet was Thomas Lucas a marine private who also went to Norfolk Island and became a sergeant before retiring to farm. Thomas married Anne Howard a convict who had arrived on the Second Fleet. They had four sons: Thomas (jnr), Richard, John and Nathaniel.
The family also moved to Tasmania where all four sons married and had large families. They initially settled in the area known as Kingston on the edge of Hobart.
John Lucas, the third son of Thomas (snr) married Sophia Sherburd and they had twelve children. Among those children was another Nathaniel Lucas who became a master mariner and was then known as Captain Nathaniel Lucas. Nathaniel was therefore the grandson of Thomas Lucas (snr).
Nathaniel Lucas and Julia Abel lived together in Hobart for some years but it appears that they did not marry. It is just possible that Nathaniel had married someone earlier while overseas.
Nathaniel and Julia had three children including one son who died in infancy. Another son, James, was born in 1861 and another child, a daughter named Constance was born a year or two later but seemingly her birth was not registered in Tasmania.
While James was about two years old and the daughter Constance a young baby, Julia Abel left Tasmania and moved to the Crooked River mining area near Dargo in Gippsland, Victoria. Julia, with her children, lived with a new partner named Samuel Harris who was an American and had a number of children with him before they finally married.
James was accordingly the great grandson of Thomas Lucas (snr) and the great, great grandson of Zachary Clarke. James was also my grandfather but he died in 1926 at the age of 64 which was a long time before I was born.
James married Ellen Nolan who was born on 5 April 1862 in Ardfert, County Kerry, Ireland. They were married in September 1884 but at that time Ellen had already produced a child on 2 June1879 when Ellen was only seventeen. The birth records state incorrectly that Ellen was eighteen when her child was born. Ellen could not read or write. The identity of the father was not revealed in the birth records and is unknown by any living family member. Of course she may have been raped. This secret was never discussed among the families of the children of James and Ellen as her daughter also called Ellen (or Helen or Nell) was raised as if she were a daughter of James.
James and Ellen then had twelve children of whom three girls including twins, died in infancy. They then raised their ten surviving children until 1906 when Ellen took her three youngest children away from Crooked River moving finally to Richmond close to the centre of Melbourne. It is believed that she was seeking to obtain a better education for her young ones than was available in the rather remote Crooked River area.
The ten children who grew up consisted of two girls and eight boys. The boys were James (jnr), George, John (Jack), Edward (Ted), Thomas (Tom), Richard (Dick), Henry (Harry) and Francis (Frank). The later surviving daughter was Mary (May).
Honouring their WW1 Descendants
During 1916 three of the four older brothers joined the army. In 1917 James the oldest brother in the family made application to enlist. It is possible that James did not go to France but all the other three did and I have some records about their service. All the brothers survived the War with the possible exception of James about whom little is known.
I possess a photograph of four men in uniform who are believed to be the four brothers. The age of the photo and of the subjects and their physical characteristics suggest it is likely to be a genuine photo of the four Lucas brothers.
At this stage I have very little information about James and I did not know much about Edward but I knew the other two brothers quite well when I was a child. James, the oldest son, was born in 1887. He was thirty years and one month old when he applied to enlist in February 1917. I believe that he died in 1919 of meningitis a disease which also afflicted my father, Harry, one of the younger brothers, when he was a child. I shall discuss what I know of James later.
George’s military records reveal the following. George had spent one year in the 10th Australian Light Horse in 1910. At the time he was twenty-two years old. Obviously at that age the army did not have overwhelming appeal. In January 1916 at the age of twenty-seven years and three months he enlisted and was appointed to the 37th Battalion as a private. He embarked for overseas in October that year and disembarked at Plymouth in January 1917. During the course of 1917 he was appointed as acting lance corporal and acting sergeant before “reverting to ranks”. In December 1917, he was sent to France. In January 1918 he was appointed lance corporal and in March he was promoted to sergeant. On 12 October 1918 he was transferred to 38th Battalion. On 30 October he went back to England as he was due to take leave. Not until 7 February 1919 did he return to Australia on the Lancashire. He was formally discharged on 16 November 1919.
What happened to him between 12 October 1918 and 7 February 1919?
An inspector of the Metropolitan Police at Penge begged to report that on 8 November 1918, George was unpacking his kit at 99 Woodbine Grove, Penge, when he handed his service revolver to a resident of the house, one William Watts, when it accidently discharged and shot George in the right groin. George had thought the weapon unloaded. A local doctor dressed the wound and ordered George’s removal to the Lewisham Military Hospital where he lay in a “dangerous” condition. Sergeant Lucas had been “on leave for 14 days from 7th November from France”. Both George and Watts were consistent with their evidence. It seems that Watts was totally inexperienced with fire arms and said while he was holding the revolver: “What an awkward thing to carry about” and that he had no idea how it had happened. George asked that a message be forwarded to his brother Gunner Lucas (reg. No. 2892) at 4th General Hospital Denmark Hill London.
When George enlisted he was said to be 181 cms (5ft 11 and ¼ inches) in height and to weigh 74.3 kls (164 lbs.). He had auburn hair. My recollection is that he was a bit taller than that.
My father Harry Lucas, told me that George had been an Army boxing champion. As my father was never given to exaggeration that may well have been true.
Before he went away overseas George got married to a lady named Victoria. I have no idea of her maiden name. She had died before I met him when I was a child. They had two children.
After the War George joined the Victorian Police Force. In due course he was one of those many police officers who went on strike in the famous strike of 1923. Along with six hundred other strikers he was never able to be employed again in the force although the strikers received some vindication in a Royal Commission into the strike later which found that wages and conditions were inadequate.
When I met George in his later life he lived in an old dwelling known as “Delving House” on the Princes Highway in Gippsland near the little town of Fernbank and I went to stay with him a couple of times as a boy. He trapped rabbits for a living and he would take me out in the early mornings around the traps to teach me how it was done.
The next son in order of age was John, known as Jack. Jack was born in July 1890. He was twenty-five years and seven months when he enlisted in February 1916. He was recorded as being 186.7 cms. (6ft 1½ inches) in height and 78.47 kilos (173 lbs) in weight. He had black hair.
Jack was in “A” company of the 3rd Australian Pioneers Battalion. The only information I have about his military service is a record of shots fired at a range in practice. I believe he was a cook during the War as he had been before the War. After the War Jack became a chef at Geelong Grammar School where he worked for many years and no doubt met a lot of the interesting young people who attended that school during the thirties and forties. He and his wife lived at Corio and had three children.
I was given a copy of Jack’s war record only to find that, due to a clerical error, the file contains details of some, totally different person whose only thing in common with him was his surname. I knew him as a quiet and gentle man in his older years.
Such of his war records that I have reveal that Jack spent 1,287 days in the armed service of which 950 days were served abroad.
The next in age was Edward Albert Lucas who was born in 1893 and was twenty-two years and seven months when he enlisted in May 1916. He was 1.85 metres (6ft 1 inches) tall and weighed 73.278 kilos (161 lbs). He had brown hair.
Edward, (Ted), had a war history marked by frequent injury and illness. He contracted bronchitis seriously enough to be hospitalized. He then suffered influenza and afterwards pleurisy which again resulted in his going to hospital. He was in the 3rd Division artillery as a gunner and later posted to the 53rd Battalion. He went to France in November 1917. He was twice deemed to have been absent without leave. On one occasion he was A.W.L from 9.00 p.m. on 15 January, 1918 until 3.00 pm on 16 January 1918. This sounds rather like a big night on the town. He was wounded in action in April 1918. He rejoined his unit in June but received multiple wounds in October including severe wounds to his right eye. He was again in hospital in London and was discharged from hospital in March 1919 when he returned to Australia arriving in May 1919. It was in hospital that he was contacted to receive advice about his brother George who was also in another hospital at the time. He was discharged on 26 July 1919.
I know nothing more about Ted and I assume he did not live to an old age as he was never the subject of discussion by his brothers some of whom I knew quite well.
Reverting to the oldest of the brothers, James. He was a big man being 6ft. 2 inches (188 cms) in height and weighing 175 lbs (79 kilos). I have searched the records of the National Archives for James’ war record and have found almost nothing. The only document held is a standard form of Application for Enlistment dated 17 February 1917. There is no record of service available whatsoever. Although it is by no means clear an inference can be drawn from the application that he may have been rejected for medical reasons.
James certainly died before 1926 when his father died. I believe he may have died in 1919 and my recollection is that I was informed a long time ago that he had died after contracting meningitis.
There are a couple of curious factors. Firstly, there is no trace of a death registration for James in Victoria. There was a registration of his birth in the normal way. There is always a possibility of a death not being registered but it seems quite improbable in particular when a birth registration exists. If a person dies while in hospital then registration is even more likely.
The other odd factor is that the old photograph of the four men, if it is in fact the photo of the four Lucas brothers, shows all men in uniform which of course must include James. It is possible but unlikely that he posed in a borrowed uniform. If James did not enlist until February 1917 then the photo can only have been taken after the War when all the brothers were back in Australia late in 1919. The photo was taken in Melbourne according to the print on the reverse side. Also on the reverse the word “Lucas” appears in pencil.
The other possibilities are that James died overseas or perhaps he died interstate.
The sad fact is that the official Government records are totally deficient if sought to allow anybody to find out what happened to the person making the application to enlist after the date he presented for enlistment.
Julian Lucas (Descendant of Thomas Lucas, Scarborough and Zachary Clark, Alexander).