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               RALSTON Gavin (1804 to 1809 - 27/02/1874)   05RAG4
Father:          RALSTON             *Gavin                                     
Mother:         HUTCHI[N]SON     Sarah          (Variants: McCUTCHESON  Sara, McCUTCHEON Sally)
Siblings:       Agnes    Sarah      Hannah        Margaret     Alexander        Adam
        CROCKETT (nee Vardon)  Emily Anne    (25/01/1832)
      See below.

An article by Antoinette Ralston.

Gavin Ralston was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, but his date of birth is uncertain. Based on his age 68 at death, 27 February 1874, Sandhurst, Victoria, he would have been born around 1806. With reference to material Query No 71/473 (Tasmanian State Archives Office), in his application for land (CSO 1/239/file 5781) Gavin is said to have stated he was born 1804. In his memorial to the Secretary of State (GO 33/20 P574-581) asking for another grant of land he says he was 19 years old when he arrived in the colony (without saying when that occurred). Gavin arrived Hobart Town per Greenock 24 April 1826 (Hobart Town Gazette 29 April 1826), departing immediately for Sydney, returning to Tasmania in 1827 due to ill health. Depending on which of these dates Gavin regarded as his arrival, his birth year would be closer to1807 or 1808, than 1804. Gavin’s death certificate indicates he arrived about 1827; and notes on W.V. Ralston 1828, support a birth date 1806 – 1807.

 There is material in the Tasmanian State Archives Office, and also some accounts published elsewhere, which indicate an assumption has been made by the authors that Gavin is son of Robert Ralston (arrived in the colony per Amity 1824). Robert, by his first wife Anne Grier, did have a son Gavin whom he believed would come to Australia, but he never did and was last seen by family in America. The two men are confused. Gavin Ralston who resided in Tasmania in the 1820s and 1830s was son of Gavin Ralston and Sarah Hutchison.

 Gavin had a son, Gavin Vardon, born 1831 at Launceston, by Mrs Emily Crocket (nee Vardon). Gavin married her 25 January 1832 at New Norfolk, Tasmania. Emily’s first marriage is reported in the Hobart Town Gazette 8 October 1825: Henry Crocket, Esquire, Assistant Surgeon to HM Colonial Hospital married Miss Vardon, daughter-in-law to Mr Drabble, Superintendent of the Female Factory, and niece of Samuel Arthur Vardon, Esquire of the firm of Medley & Vardon, Bartholomew Lane, London and upwards of thirty years a member of the stock exchange. The marriage record shows Henry Crocket was aged 26 when he married Emily, thus born around 1799. Other material describes Emily as daughter of George Vardon of the East India Company Service. Daughter-in-law is an old, loose and now incorrect, way of describing Emily Vardon’s relationship to Mr Drabble; technically it should have been step-daughter.

 Joshua Eynon Drabble, with his wife (Emily’s mother) and Emily, arrived in the colony per Heroine 10 September 1822 (or 1823 in another account) with six children. Prior to her marriage, Emily was required, along with her mother, to assist Joshua Drabble in the work at the Female Factory, her mother becoming Matron there around 1825.

 Emily’s family is very complex. A genealogy gives George Vardon (baptised 1791, died 1817 – 1821) and Ann (or Emily Ann?) Parker, with issue Emily Ann (baptised 1812), Charlotte Mary, George (baptised 1815) and Olive Amelia (baptised 1817). Ann married secondly Joshua Drabble (baptised 1785, died Hobart Town 16 February 1828), and had six known children, at least four died in infancy, Hobart Town, the last, born after Joshua’s death. Ann had two more children in Launceston: William 28 May 1830 and Emily Anne 30 September 1833, supposed by William Davis (a convict), whom she married 17 August 1830 in Hobart.

 On the marriage register, the next entry after the marriage of Gavin Ralston and Emily, is that Charlotte Mary Vardon to James Flaherty. Charlotte and Emily were sisters. It is not known if there is a connection between the following and any afore-mentioned person: Sarah Crocket, unmarried, bore a son William Crocket 24 May 1828 (Reg No 3603.32); and Sarah Vardon, unmarried, had a son, James Vardon Morril at Hobart, May 1833 (Reg 1834 No 5379/32).

 Henry Crocket arrived per Prince of Orange on 23 July 1822. The day after his marriage Henry wrote to the Colonial Surgeon, resigning, alleging he was a victim of a deep-laid and most infamous plot which ‘I can now from the mouth of Mrs Crocket most fully convince you’ (archival materials, Archives Office of Tasmania). Three days later (10 October 1825) Henry wrote to the Lieutenant Governor requesting his resignation be withdrawn, an astonishing letter: ‘I cannot assert that I have fallen a victim to conspiracy without wounding the character of her whom I have vowed to cherish, support and maintain. It would therefore be with painful feelings that I should solicit your Honour to retain me in the service did I not feel that your Honour would make every allowance for one who has been forced into a marriage and who intends even under such circumstances to do his utmost to educate and bring forward in life the person who has thus become his wife and by example to demonstrate how undeserving he has been of such misfortune…’ It seems reinstatement did not follow. Nor was he successful in his application for a grant of land that year and again in February 1826. In correspondence concerning that, he refers to the wretched conditions in which the error of a moment plunged him, his imputed crime blasting every future hope, cutting him off from the respectable rank he had held in society.

 What Henry did isn’t stated, his crime apparently social or moral, not legal, since his name is not on any list of persons tried on criminal charges in the courts at that time. Emily’s marriage seems tied to Henry’s problem, it not to the benefit of his social position. She was aged 13 to 14 at the time, but it is hard to believe her youthfulness alone could be the whole cause of such an upset. About June 1826 Emily Ann Crocket applied for a land grant for herself, unsuccessfully. Whether she did this because her husband’s appeal was refused, or she was in her widowhood, is not clear. A Mr Crocket left Hobart on the Candry for Port Jackson on the 3 April 1826 – is this our Henry? If Henry had died, before Emily’s remarriage, then she was a widow. A deserted wife, also sometimes called a widow, could remarry.

 Emily’s was said to be aged 90 at her death in 1903 at Kew, Victoria, and in her 14th year at her first marriage on 6 October 1826 in Hobart, Tasmania, thus born around 1812. Emily was baptised 10 May 1812, Shoreditch, St Leonards, London, England.

 Gavin and Emily had 13 children, many of whom led productive and successful lives: Gavin Vardon 1831, Alexander James 1833 both born Launceston; Charlotte Amelia 1834, William Henry 1835, both Longford, Tasmania; Sarah Jane 1837, Launceston; George Washington 1839; Emily Annabella 1840, both Bathurst, NSW; Arthur Rankin 1842, Sydney; Henry William 1844, Maitland, NSW; Walter Vardon 1846, Hannah Maria 1847, Alice 1850 and a son (possibly named Gavin, died aged about one hour) 1852, all born Collingwood, Victoria.

 A man named Gavin Ralston had child by Anne Easby (Easley?), named Mary Elizabeth Ralston, and born Collins Street, Melbourne, 10 September 1858 (Vic birth index 1858 – 10618). Some people believe the father to be Gavin Ralston, husband of Emily Vardon. 

 A large amount of information is now collated in relation to Gavin and his family’s history, including careers, properties, capital, business activities, fortune and misfortune, health, character, and so on. The story will be told elsewhere as space would not permit it here. There is information concerning this family, up to about 1838, in the holdings of the Archives Office of Tasmania, but it should be treated cautiously as some of the details are uncertain.