Thomas Hapgood- arrival and settlement at Ulladulla 1854 to c1860

Thomas and Hester Hapgood, and their 4 children William, Richard, Thomas and Sarah all arrived in Sydney on the Lady Ann in 1854 (See previous post). Thomas’s brother George Hapgood and his wife Hannah Sims came on the same ship. Its not known how long they were in Sydney, or when or why they came to Milton Ulladulla area, or whether they came via the road [1] or via a ship [2] .

The Milton Ulladulla Historical Society has an excellent walking tour of Milton, which also works well as a “virtual walking tour”. By 1860 Milton was a small settlement with a subdivision of streets that are still recognisable in the town today [3].

Milton subdivisions 1860. The diagonal road is now the Princes Highway, which still runs through the middle of the town. Source: Milton walking tour [3]
Milton 1860, looking south east from Church Street. Source: MUHS walking tour of Milton [3]

A 1911 obituary for their daughter in law has detailed family history information, and in this it says that the Hapgoods initially worked for Mr Wason and Mr Ewin at Woodstock, near Burrill Lake [7]. Mr Wason owned a flour mill at this time [8]. These are two famous local families, and a Ewin descendant, Joanne Ewin, wrote the fabulous “Meet the Pioneers” book about Milton pioneer families [4].

The Hapgood’s originally settled in Murramarang [4], which is on the coast a bit north of Kiola. At the time it was a large dairy farm owned by the Evans family [5]. It was an isolated area and took 8 hours to get back up to Milton via the roads with a wagon [5]

Map of Milton Ulladulla district, which shows Murramung, and Brooman. Cockwhy is on the Princes Freeway, just near the word “Princes”. Source: Ewin [5]

We don’t know if they worked for the Evans family or for another family, but the Evans family owned almost all the land in this area at the time. They had over 170 cows, with 100 of them active milking cows in 1854 [5]. I assume they were working as dairy farmers because of the Marksbury dairy and cheese connection.

The Hapgoods were from Marksbury, Somerset, which was a very small rural village and with one main farm, “Vale Court Farm” or “Court Farm”. There is also “Church Farm” in Marksbury but Court Farm seems to have been the largest and most significant. By 1861 Vale Court Farm was occupied by Joseph Harding known the “Father of Cheddar Cheese” [6]. He invented a new cheese maker and specifically focussed on the importance of hygiene during cheese making – no milkers were allowed in the dairy where the cheese was being made, and this improved the quality. This was a new approach at the time. We can speculate that Thomas and George Hapgood were skilled dairy labourers and cheesemakers and may have learned some of James Harding’s cheesemarking techniques in the 3 years between Hardings arrival at Vale Court farm in 1861 and their emigration in 1864. They may have been in demand by the Evan’s family to assist with cheesemaking at Murramurang.

At some stage the Hapgood’s moved a bit further inland to Cockwhy [4], presumably to start their own dairy farm (and a long dairy tradition of Hapgood dairy farming). They had about 120 acres at Cockwhy and their cheeses won prizes at Sydney shows (although no direct record of prizes has been found so far) The farm was eventually inherited by their eldest son William, who later passed it to his 3 sons [4].

There is still a Hapgood Road and Hapgood Creek clearly shown in Google maps, indicating the approximate location of their farm. Even today, the dense bushland around the Hapgood Road clearing gives an indication of the amount of work that must have been involved in getting the farm up and running. There is a sign for Hapgood Creek as you drive along the Princes Freeway.

Hapgood Road and Hapgood Creek, Cockwhy, NSW. The road runs between the current Princes Highway, and the old Princess Highway.

Hapgood road is by no means a major thoroughfare – it is a dirt road that is too much of a track even for Google Maps to follow, but we can see the start and end of Hapgood Rd on Google Maps. The start of Hapgood Rd which comes off the Princes Freeway does not have a street name sign, although there are several (unreadable) signs stuck to the trees.

Hapgood Road, entry from Princes Freeway.
Hapgood road heading up and over the ride, at the other end where it intersects with the old Princes Freeway.

Still, its amazing to think that after all this time there is such a clear link between the Thomas Hapgood and his family that can be seen today in Hapgood Road and Hapgood Creek.


[1] Bruce Hamon. “They came to Murramung. A history of Murraming, Kiola and Bawley Point” ANU Press, ebook edition 2015. Chapter 2, Settlement at Murramung. Available online at

[2] Bruce Hamon, “They came to Murramung. A history of Murraming, Kiola and Bawley Point” ANU Press, ebook edition 2015. Chapter 6 Transport: Ships and Roads. Available online at:

[3] Milton walking tour, by Milton Ulladulla Historical Society.

[4] Ewin Joanne, “Meet the pioneers : early families of the Milton-Ulladulla district with photographs”, 1991. Out of print but often available on ebay or or at various libraries:

[5] Bruce Hamon. “They came to Murramung. A history of Murraming, Kiola and Bawley Point” ANU Press, ebook edition 2015. Chapter 3 The Evans Era. Available online at:

[6] Court Farmhouse, Marksbury, Somerset, including information about Joseph Harding and cheesemarking 1861-1871: See also for more information about Joseph Harding.

[7] Ulladulla Milton Times 13 May 1911

[8] William and Sarah Wason,

Updated 5th Jan 2020


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