Bassett Family Association Database

Henry John Morley

Male 1802 - 1876  (74 years)

Personal Information    |    PDF

  • Name Henry John Morley 
    Born 1802  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 6 Dec 1876  Chittering, Western Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • The West Australian, Saturday, December 4, 1976
      A True Pioneer Settler, By Douglas Jecks

      Henry Morley died 100 years ago on Monday. His wife, Sarah, and he were among the first settlers to come to Western Australia.
      They had eight children. Today there are more than 1000 of their descendants living in WA.
      Henry and Sarah Morley are both buried near the entrance to All Saints Church at Upper Swan. They were among the church?s first parishioners when it was established in 1841.
      On December 16, 1876, the Herald printed this obituary:

      ?Mr. Morley led a quiet and useful life discharging the duties of his position with conscientiousness and integrity and as one of the class of sturdy sterling yeomen to whom the colony owes so much.?

      A few glimpses into the lives of Henry and Sarah Morley, their children and their grandchildren show us a little of what it meant to be one of the first settlers.
      The Morleys arrived at Fremantle aboard the Wanstead on January 30, 1830. Their ship had taken almost five months to make the voyage from England and their only other landfall had been the Cape of Good Hope.
      Henry was 26 and Sarah 24. Their eldest daughter, Jane, was only two and their second daughter, Johannah, was five weeks old, having been born at sea.
      They had come to WA to farm, as had almost all of the other settlers. They moved on to land at Upper Swan, planted vegetables, fruit trees and a small crop and started to breed from their few animals.


      Generally, working conditions were primitive and the land was cultivated with hand tools. Every member of the family worked, tilling the soil or looking after the farm animals.
      Up to 1850, when the population of WA was only 5886, they joined those early settlers who farmed the better soil near Guildford and along the Swan and Avon valleys.
      The Census of 1937 records that they had five acres of wheat, 2 acres of barley, one-eighth of an acre of potatoes and one acre of garden. In addition, they had three tons of hay, one horse and 10 swine, and 10 pigs killed for house use.
      Their five daughters, Jane, Johannah, Barbara, Caroline and Hannah, were born before 1839. During the next five years they had three sons, Charles, Henry and William.
      By the late 1840s Henry Morley was looking for more land on which to establish a second and bigger farm.
      In 1851 he helped survey the Blue Plains Road near Lake Chittering Brook. Soon afterwards, he decided to move his family to Chittering, which was about 40km north of the farm at Upper Swan.
      In 1853 he paid 20 for a grant of 20 acres at Chittering. Five years later he bought an additional 15 acres. Today this land is owned by Mr. and Mrs. K.J. Clarke, of Dolkeith.
      When he moved to Chittering Henry Morley was 50 years old. Clearly, this new farm was to be for his sons.
      The house that the Morleys built at Chittering is still in good repair, and Mr. and Mrs. Clarke have restored it very much to its original condition.
      Henry Morley?s barn, which was built with convict labour in the late 1850s, is also in good repair. It measures 20m by 10m and its thick walls are built of stone an pug.
      The barn originally had a wooden floor and from time to time was used for dances, the music being supplied by an accordion player. Social life was limited and visitors often stayed for some time before returning to their isolated farms.
      Jane, Barbara and Hannah Morley married three brothers, Thomas, James and Alexander Ferguson of Toodyay. The suitors rode their horses about 40km across country to the Morley farm (a journey taking about six hours) to court the sisters.
      At Chittering, the sheep and cattle were taken out into the bush each day by shepherds.
      They grazed the animals along the Chittering Brook and at night brought them back to the farm to be penned. Part of the ruins of one of the shepherd?s stone huts is still standing.
      About once a month the Morleys made the 40-kilometre journey to Guildford. It took about ten hours by horse and buggy.

      Like Barter

      In Guildford they sold butter, eggs, vegetables, fruit and meat at Gull?s store They bought cloth, clothing, iron implements and powder and shot. The transaction was little short of barter. Overnight they stayed at the ?? and Crown Inn before returning home to Chittering.
      On April 23, 1862, news reached the Morleys that their fourth daughter, Caroline, had died.
      At 18 Caroline had married Daniel Baughan. At first they lived at Upper Swan, but then they took up land near Greenough. When she died she left three young children, Johannah (6), Emma (3) and Daniel (1).
      Daniel Baughan had no satisfactory way to care for his children so he had written to the grandparents. And the decision was made that Sarah Morley would go and fetch them back to Chittering.
      A week after hearing of the death, Sarah (56) set off alone with a horse and buggy.
      She travelled about 400km along a bush track to Greenough. Apart from brief spells to rest and to water the horse, she travelled for 12 hours each day. The track was bad, and it took her nine days to reach Greenough.
      She stayed there for five days to rest the horse and to prepare to return to Chittering. Eighty-four years later, in 1946, Johannah, the ledest child, recalled her father?s sorrow when they left him.
      To the best of Johannah?s memory when she was 90, the only white men Sarah Morley and her grandchildren saw on their trip south were the monks at New Norcia.
      She recalled that her grandmother?s main fear was that the horse would run away during the night. Each evening, Sarah Morley fed the horse, tied it by the neck securely to the buggy and hobbled first its back feet and then its front feet. Then the woman and three children bedded down on the ground under the buggy.
      The loss of the horse would have been disastrous. A woman and three small children would have had little chance of walking to safety.
      Sarah Morley returned to Chittering on May 24, 1862. The round trip had taken 25 days.
      Today few men would care to undertake this return journey in the way in which she made it more than 100 years ago.
      Caroline Baughan was only 27 when she died at Greenough. Like her mother, she had faced the hardship and the rigour of being a settler?s wife in the largely undeveloped and unpopulated colony.
      Her eldest daughter, Johannah, lived until 1948 when she was 93. Her other daughter, Emma, had died in 1938. But their brother Daniel, died in infancy less than a year after his grandmother had brought him back to Chittering.
      Until Henry Morley died, Johannah and Emma Baughan lived at Chittering. Their grandparents raised them as a second family and taught them to read and to write. There was no formal schooling for them.
      The greatest treat Johannah and Emma had was the occasional trip to Guildford. On the farm they helped with the gardens and the orchard, and tended the animals. There were few toys.
      After her husband died, Sarah moved to Guildford with her grandchildren.
      In Guildford Johannah married Charles Wellman and went to live at Rose Hill, which was farmed by the Wellman family. Later the Wellmans sold Rose Hill to their nephew, Matthew Padbury. Today it is the Rose Hill Country Club.
      Emma married George Pollard, a policeman. Members of the Pollard family have continued to serve in the WA Police Force.
      Some West Australians visiting All Saints Church will, perhaps, read the inscription on Henry Morley?s headstone. It applies quite as much to Sarah, who died seven years after her husband.
      It reads: ?One of the oldest settlers who successfully contended with the early difficulties of the colony. Was universally esteemed by his neighbours and deeply mourned by his relatives and immediate friends.?
      In the general sense, this epitaph might apply to others who pioneered. WA.

    Person ID I183  224B John Bassett of Rotherfield, Sussex, England
    Last Modified 18 Dec 2016 

    Family Sarah Bassett,   c. 21 Dec 1806, St. Dennis Church, Rotherfield, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Jane Morley,   b. 1823,   d. 1919  (Age 96 years)
     2. Johannah Morley,   b. 1829,   d. 4 Dec 1909, Gingin, Western Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     3. Hannah Morley,   b. 1838,   d. 1921  (Age 83 years)
     4. Henry Morley,   b. 1842,   d. 1927  (Age 85 years)
     5. Barbara Morley,   b. 24 Feb 1832,   d. Feb 1920  (Age 87 years)
     6. Charles William Morley,   b. 20 Jul 1840
     7. Caroline Morley,   b. 29 Jul 1835
     8. William Morley,   b. 31 Aug 1845, Gingin, Wester Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Aug 1872, Upper Swan, Western Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 26 years)
    Last Modified 18 Dec 2016 
    Family ID F48  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart