John Hellmrich was born 3rd March 1812 in Parskene, Aberdeenshire in Scotland. He was one of six children to Charles Hellmrich (1779 – 1879) and his wife Elspit Summers (1778 – 1862). * Elspit’s name is spelled several different ways in records. On the 26th March 1812, John was christened in Skene, Aberdeen, Scotland. His mother’s name was recorded as Elspet. John’s siblings were Alexander Burnett Hellmrich b. 1805, Mary Burnett (?) Hellmrich b. 1808, Charlotte Hellmrich b.1810, Charles Frederick Hellmrich b. 1814 and Isabel Hellmrich b.1816. Isabel died nine and a half years later still in childhood and is buried with her father.
On the 11th December 1836 John married Margaret Mathieson at Banchory-Devenick, Kincardineshire, Scotland. Margaret was born and as I understand raised in Banchory-Devenick. John was 24 and Margaret 22 respectively when they married.
Margaret Mathieson was born around 1815. She was the daughter of John Mathieson (1790 – 1837) and Margaret Mathieson both of Scotland. John and Margaret (confused yet? – yes the same names as her parents!) had six children. John Lambertus Hellmrich b. 1837, George Donaldson Hellmrich b. 1841, Charles G Hellmrich b.1845 , Margaret Hellmrich b. 1843, Alexander Burnett Hellmrich b. 1850 and Mary Jane Hellmrich b.1852.
John and Margaret must have had adventurous souls because at some point in the proceedings they decided to emigrate from Scotland to the colony of Australia. They boarded The Lady Kennaway which departed Leith Roads on 19 April 1838.
John and Margaret came to Australia as assisted bounty immigrants in a group of 283 immigrants. Assisted bounty immigrants were free people who had been ‘located’ by an agent and were given free passage to Australia and some assistance to help them with setting up their new lives in the colonies. The agents were paid a fee by the government of the colonies and Britain. This was to secure young immigrants, mainly from the working classes or trades who could settle into the new country that desperately needed labour to ensure it’s growth.
John and Margaret fitted the bill. They had only married two years beforehand and were both fit and young. John had a trade as a Mason. They sailed with their six month old son John from Leith Roads. Leith Roads being a stretch of water about 2 kilometres long from the coastal town of Leith in Scotland where ships were able to dock and sail out from.
According to the shipping records the journey was largely uneventful for the Hellmrich family. On the shipping records they are recorded as Helmwich, no doubt a clerical error. They also sailed with Thomas Mathieson and his young family. Likely these were relations of Margaret Mathieson . Thomas was listed as a Labourer. Both families hailed from Aberdeen in Scotland. All of the Hellmrich’s and Mathieson’s (adults) could read and write. They gave their religion as Presbyterian. John’s father by this time was deceased and his mother recorded as a housekeeper in Aberdeen, Elspath Somers. They arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales on 12th August 1838. Between 1842 – 1843 the electoral rolls show John, Margaret and their family living in Clarence Lane in Sydney. During their time in Sydney they also lived at Gordon Street in Paddington.
From 1846 whilst the family were living in Two Fold Bay, John was employed as a stone-mason/builder on Boyd’s Tower. Boyd’s Tower is a 23 metre stone tower which was built from Pyrmont sandstone from Sydney. Benjamin Boyd a fellow Scot had commissioned the tower to be built. The initial purpose of the tower was for it to be used as a lighthouse. Boyd’s tower is now a popular tourist destination for those visiting Sydney. Poor old Boyd some years later went broke and lost all of his money.
In February of 1851 gold was discovered near Bathurst at an area that becomes known as Sofala. Within months the area was teeming with gold prospectors hoping to make it rich quick . John joined them on the gold rush diggings. On the 27th December 1851, aged 39, John is reported in the Empire newspaper as one of the many miners who has joined the gold rush and had some success. In John’s case this was a modest 6 ounce find at Sofala in New South Wales. In today’s money that is worth about $5,400.
By 1853 the electoral rolls show John once again living back with the family in Paddington a comfortable suburb of inner Sydney. In 1865 the family were recorded with John at the age of 53 in the Sands Directory with his occupation given as stonemason living at Gordon Street in Paddington. John is also recorded in the Sydney Morning Herald 27 April 1864 as a Councillor for his local area. He attended regular council meetings. John would have had to be voted into this position. On the 11th May 1870 John’s death was recorded in Paddington. His name was spelled Hellmrich. Registration number 2053. John’s fathers name is given as Charles and his mother as Elspeth. He died at his home at Gordon Street in Paddington. In 1886 Margaret is recorded in the Sands Directory as living at Mary Street in Newtown as Mrs Hellmrich.
Margaret died in 1898. Neither of her parents names are included on the index of her death. Rather oddly they are marked as unknown. Her death was recorded in Newtown. Margaret’s name is also recorded with the spelling of Hellmrich. After this generation Hellmrich becomes Helmrich as one of the l’s is dropped.