Saturday, 11 October 2014

George Bunston

Taken mainly my book - "The Bunston Family, Past and Present" though new research has also been added.

George Bunston

George, the eldest child of Samuel and Fannie Monk, was born on March 31st 1835 in South Petherton, Somerset, England. George worked as an agricultural labourer.

On November 22nd 1854, George married Sarah Jane Tulk in the Registrar Office of Yeovil, Somerset. Sarah Tulk, or Taulk, was born in around 1836. She was the daughter of John and Mary Tulk. Like the Bunston family, the Tulks lived in Stratton, a part of South Petherton. Sarah, a professional Tailoress, worked for her father. When they were married both George and Sarah were minors. Sarah’s brother was a witness at the ceremony.

George on his property near Skipton 1915
In February 1855 George, his wife Sarah and his sister Mary, left England for Australia aboard the “Epaminondras”. George had a job at Indented Heads, near Geelong, arranged for him upon his arrival in Australia. Sadly however, Sarah died on May 6th before they arrived in Australia. They had only been married six months.

The “Epaminondras” landed in Port Phillip Bay on June 1st 1855.

In the late 1850's or early 60's George met Elizabeth Lyle Thompson, the fifth child of John Thompson and Isabella (or Mary) Lyle.

Elizabeth was born on June 31st 1848 in Kinross (or Berwick), Scotland. John and his young family of four arrived in Australia from Scotland in September 1852 on the "Marco Polo", when Elizabeth was four years old. They came to Australia on their own account and lived in Scoresby, Victoria. On August 5th 1853, less than a year after arriving in Australia, Isabella Thompson died of Chronic Dysentery in the Benevolent Asylum, Melbourne. As there are no records of a remarriage, it is possible that John raised his children alone. John Thompson died at Scoresby on May 30, 1869 aged 56.

Elizabeth worked at “Langi Willi Station”, near Skipton (probably as a maid) before she married George on September 9th 1864. She was eight months pregnant with their first child, James, at the time of the wedding at Hermitage Road, Geelong. Both George and Elizabeth lied about their ages on their marriage certificate. They claimed they were 25 and 22 when they really were 29 and 16 years old.

George owned a farm at Skipton, where in the early 1860's, he built the house in which the Nash family later lived. Apart from running a viable property, George also worked as a wool carrier, carting wool from other properties in the Skipton district to a Wool Store in Geelong.

George was one of the early pioneers of the township. In 1876, he was one of many to sign a petition to His Excellency Sir John Ferguson Bowen for severance from the Hampden Shire. The petition, however, was unsuccessful. George and two other men, W. Parsons and M. Notman planted sugar gums around three sides of the school block and a few pine trees along the north side. Although these trees have been lopped and thinned over the years, many of them are still standing today, nearly 100 years later.

During the 1860's, the Western District Pastoral and Agricultural Show, held at the Skipton Common, was recognised as the top show and fair for the exhibition of the finest merino sheep bred in Victoria. The show amalgamated with the Ballarat Pastoral and Agricultural Society in 1873 after being washed and flooded out by the Mt Emu Creek. George was very successful at the agricultural shows. He won many prizes for the quality produce he grew.

George tried to enlist in the army to fight in the Crimean War, but was rejected for being too short. As well as being a farmer and wool carrier, George was also a mailman. He would ride on horse back delivering mail to the Skipton residents.

Together, George and Elizabeth had ten children: James (1864); John (1867); George (1869); William (1872); Frances (1874); Mary (1876); Jane (1878); Philip (1883); Georgina (1886) and Andrew (1889). All of the children were born in Skipton.

George and Elizabeth once again lied about their ages, this time on the birth certificate of their youngest daughter, Georgina. They stated they were 45 and 40, when they were really 51 and 38 years old.

After their youngest living child, Georgina, and her husband, Percy, took over the running of the family property, George and Elizabeth stayed on, living with them. The youngest member of the family, Andrew, had died aged just two years. George died at Skipton on April 18th 1923 aged 88. Elizabeth also died at Skipton on June 14th 1926, aged 77. They are both buried in the Skipton Cemetery, with their infant son Andrew and grandchildren Thelma Bunston and John Nash.


  1. They are wonderful photos Georgie. Seeing what my ancestors looked like and knowing some of the story of their lives is what keeps me researching my family history. At times I have cried at seeing a photo of an ancestor or family member who I had never in my wildest dreams imagined seeing.

  2. Thanks Kerryn. Some of the stories I come across make me cry to - get so overwhelmed by the spirit and courage. Haven't quite figured out the photo layout business, but getting there :)