Times were extremely hard in the south of England during the 1830s. Hundreds wandered the countryside looking for work and something to eat.
The sheer poverty and hardships drove many thousands to gather together their belongings
and emigrate to America and Australia.
Because the Australian Emigration Agent in London had been offering ' free passage to
New South Wales' for men and their wives under 30 years, interest in that developing
new land was intense.
A handout bill being circulated at that time by the Emigration Agent, stated there was 'an extensive and urgent' demand for carpenters, joiners, stonemasons and cutters, bricklayers, plasterers, blacksmiths, wheelrights, glaziers, agricultural servants, shepherds and gardeners.
Hundreds of families responded to the Bill and their moves were made that much easier
King William IV
which ensured anyone in need could be given passage to a British Colony.
Edward Macarthur son of merino sheep pioneer
of Camden New South Wales, was visiting England around that time, recruiting
suitable workers for the Macarthur farms in Australia
Brothers George and Stephen Butt and their families were assisted in their passage
to Australia with the help of
John West, Rector of Chettle, whilst their bounty
was paid with financial assistance from their parish of
Winterborne Stickland in Dorset.
Winterborne Stickland, October 14th 1836
I have advanced Twenty Pounds for this family, perhaps some Bounty may be recovered for
the children, but the parents are too old, being more than thirty. I have just heard from
our overseer that the parish has managed to raise the sum required for the passage of
both our immigrants and their families. Stephen Butt is absent but his brother saw him
yesterday and agrees that Stephen will consent to your proposal accepting George's family. They will therefore, God willing, join Mr Watts' party and proceed to Cowes at
the appointed time. Should you have occasion to write to me or Mr Watts, would you have
the kindness to mention if there is an provision in the colony for the sick and aged,
and what means of help your people have. I ask this because I hope we have only agreed
to make a beginning when we went to the Butts. A married man brother to Stephen Butt with
six children has also called with a message from the Hon. Mr Damen expressing a wish that
you also be kind enough to let him and his family into N S Wales in the same ship that
takes our main party, these men are both valuable steady men and if it is as immigrants
beyond an anxious feeling in the substinence of the day for themselves and families. I
will with pleasure accept your kind invitation at South Hampton. The parishioners of
Stickland have placed 40 Pounds in my hand for the Captain, for George Butt's passage to
N S Wales. A very promising young man with 2 children related to Stephen Butt called on
me yesterday and expressed a strong desire to join the party, but I thought there was not
a chance now of this being engaged by you, unless one of the party already engaged
chance be prevented by illness or decline going.
As a gesture of good faith, and to seal the deal, George Butt executed a promissory note in favour of the Macarthurs:
On demand I promise to pay
Edward Macarthur Esquire or his order, Twenty Five Pounds Sterling, Five Pounds of which is to be remitted for every year I pass in his or his brothers' service in New South Wales, the period of my service to commence from the date of my arrival at Sydney.
The Mark of George Butt
Witness: William Churchill, Clerk
Preparations were made for departure, and the following instructions were issued by
Instructions by The Rev. John West to the Immigrants to Assemble and to
Proceed to the Ship
When the party are called upon to leave their homes and their relatives my wish is,
that they all rendezvous at the Chettle Church in the morning at 9 O'clock, attend the
morning service at the church, when I would address them, and immediately afterwards
they should proceed in covered light waggons, my own and Mr King's the Clergyman from
---- Vale to Ringwood, a distance of about 18 miles from here, when they would stop 3
or 4 hours and partake of light refreshments and then wend their way to Southampton, so
as to arrive by seven or eight o'clock the next morning, and go direct by the steam boat
to the ship. My promise of seeing the immigrants to the ship gave me so much satisfaction
to the parties and relations, that I have a pleasure in fulfilling it.
Accordingly, George and his wife Charlotte and six children, together with Stephen and
his wife Martha, sailed from Southampton aboard the
'Brothers' on 20 November 1836.
At the end of a four and a half month voyage, the ship arrived in Sydney on 8 April 1837.
George was described as 'an agricultural labourer' aged 33 years who could read. Charlotte was 34 and could neither read nor write. Their children were Isaac (14), Samuel (12), William (9), Robert (6), Stephen (3) and Caroline (14 months). The elder three could read. Three more children were born in Australia; Joseph in 1838, John in 1840
and James in 1843.
George's brother Stephen was 22 years old when he came to Australia. His wife Martha was 21. Stephen was listed as an 'agricultural labourer', whilst Martha was a 'clerk'