When we began researching my husband's family we knew very little about the early lives or ancestry of his parents JAMES ALBERT WHITAKER and GRACE CHRISTINA HILL. Although there was some Scottish ancestry we had no idea where the families had actually come from or when they had immigrated to Australia.

The story of the four main lines beginning from his grandparents include:-

  • Arthur Henry WHITAKER  with  Saul, Chorlton.
  • Elizabeth Bain McDONELL  with Andrew, Watson.
  • Benjamin Harrison HILL with Cameron, Hewitt.
  • Christina Elizabeth McDOWALL with Crispin, Kilpatrick, Carrick, Churchward, Irish.

Information on any of these names can be found via the surname index and you can click on the individual pop up pedigrees. Descendant charts are being added. It is a work in progress as new information becomes available .

Because the strongest influence was the association of the McDowall and Hill family with the Fire Brigade, She starting point was Bob's maternal grandmother, Christina Elizabeth McDowall. Her birth certificate gave me the first surprise. Her father Archibald had been born in New Zealand but her mother Sarah Crispin had been born in Sydney about 1850. This indicated an arrival for her family before the gold rush and records from New South Wales. were searched. Sarah Churchward Crispin who was baptised at the Church of St. James in Sydney on 2 April 1850 proved to be the first Australian born ancestor.

The earliest arrivals were the Crispin and Kilpatrick families who landed in Sydney in 1841. The McDowalls left Scotland for New Zealand in 1847. The decade of 1850 saw the arrival of this family in the Port Phillip District as well as the Hill family, Grace Cameron, the McDonells and the Andrews. It wasn't until 1888 that Arthur Henry Whitaker decided to migrate.

The final coming together of the different strands was at the Fire Station in Ivanhoe where James A V Whitaker and Grace Christina Hill were married.

Since this introduction was written, the McDonell story was completed by Win McDonell and the stories of the McDowalls and the Whitakers have been published