Susannah Dando (nee Hapgood) Emigration to Australia 1853-1861

Susannah Hapgood, the 4th and youngest daughter of John and Elizabeth Shore, was born in 1830 and baptised married blacksmith Edward Dando (b1830) in 1850. They lived in Marksbury Somerset and their first child, George Dando, was born in June 1850 but passed away only a month later. In 1851 they were living in Marksbury Somerset, where Susannah’s parents John and Elizabeth Hapgood and her younger brother Edward Hapgood were still living.

Edward and Susannah Dando living in Marksbury Somerset at number 33. Her parents were living at number 21 and there are a number of Hapgood’s living in the village. The Hanney family are next door at 32 (her sister in laws parents). Source: 1851 England census via

In 1853, Sarah Hapgood (21), emigrated to Melbourne on a ship called “Australia” with her husband Edward Dando (22), who was a blacksmith. I found this quite a surprise, as my family history knowledge was all about the “two brothers” Thomas and George who came out to Australia in 1864, so I was quite fascinated to learn that their younger sister actually emigrated first!

In 1853 Edward and Susannah Dando left from Liverpool and arrived in Melbourne on 20 September 1853, in time to be part of the Victorian gold rush which was in full swing. Both Susannah and Edward could read and write. Their second child Frank Dando was born in Somerset and came with them on the voyage as an infant (under 1 year old). They appear to have found employment in Collingwood immediately after disembarking, but moved to Castlemaine, Vic between 1855-1857, when the goldrush period in this area of Victoria was at its most frenzied. A Lydia Dando (single woman, 16 years old, servant) also came out on the same ship, she is also from the same town as Edward and was presumably a relation – some posts say she was his half sister

Source: Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 via ancestry.

Susannah and Edward Dando had 5 more children in Australia:

  • George b1850 d1850 Marksbury, Somerset
  • Frank Edwin b1852 Marksbury, Somerset.
  • Mary Ann b1855, Collingwood, Victoria.
  • Elizabeth Annie, b1857, Castlemaine, Victoria.
  • Susanna b1858, Fryer’s Creek, Victoria, Australia (this is about 10-15 km south of Castlemaine)
  • Hannah Louise b1861 *

*Hannah Louise Dando b 1861. Some records record Hannah as dying in 1861, others show she lived until 1938 in Tasmania and married. Some show her mother as Susannah Hapgood, others as Edwards’s second wife, Susan Best. The death certificate shows Hannah as being 5 months old at the time of Susannah’s death, so I assume she was indeed Susannah’s biological child, but raised by Sarah Best. Or perhaps Susannah and Sarah both had baby girls, within a year of each other, both called Hannah Dando.

Edward Dando built a house for his family in the 1860s, which is still standing at 86 Main Rd, Campbells Creek. There is quite a lot of detail about the house in a Mt Alexander Shire Heritage study. Edward Dando was granted a block of land in February 1860 and build the house (believed to be the brick section at the rear). At the time it would have been one of the few houses in the area. In 1863 the rates notice shows that it had 3 rooms [1].

Edward Dando’s house, built c1860, at 86 Main Rd, Campbells Creek, Victoria. Source: Heritage study [1]

In October 1861 Susannah Dando (nee Hapgood) died of “phthlitis (tuberculosis, or a similar wasting disease) aged 30 and was buried in Castlemaine Cemetery, Victoria.  When she died, her children were Frank (8), Mary Ann (6), Elizabeth Annie (4), Susannah (2), and Hannah Louisa (5 months). A 6th child George is listed as “dead” on her death certificate but no age or date, but must be the child who died in Marksbury before they left in 1860.

Susannah Dando nee Hapgood’s death certificate 1861. Source Vic DBM

After Susannah’s death in October, Edward was working as a blacksmith/farrier and had 4 kids to look after, and he quickly married Sarah Best in Dec 1861. He was 31 and she was 25. They quickly had more children, including Fred Dando (b August 1862, d1862) who is buried with Susannah. They also lived in the house at 86 Main Rd, Campbells Creek, until they moved to Westbury Tasmania in 1866 [4]. The house stayed with the Best family, and was owned by Philip Best, a draper, in 1870. The house stayed in the family continuously until 1966 [1]. It recently was sold, and although it still looks charming on the outside, internally it is best described as a “renovators delight”…. although the old bones of the house are sure to still be there, under all those layers of wallpaper…

I was also quite excited to realise that her grave was actually not too far from where I live, so I contacted the Castlemaine Cemetery Trust to ask if they had information on the location of her grave. Denis ( a volunteer at the cemetery) wrote back with all the information and offered to meet me at the cemetery when I came up, to show me the exact location.

Castlemaine Cemetery is lovely – full of old history graves from the early western settlers, plus the graves of many chinese gold seekers. Its a very picturesque cemetery, set in the bush, with a cute little gatehouse lodge at the front (below) . Inside the lodge are all the old burial registers (see images below) and he showed me the entry for Susannah Dando.

Gatehouse lodge at Castlemaine Cemetery, (taken Oct 2019)
Burial registers for Castlemaine Cemetery. I was so surprised to see these on the day that I forgot to take a photo, so this photo is from the Castlemaine Cemetery Trust Facebook page. (posted on 8 Nov 2018, )

Susannah was buried on Oct 8 1860 in in an unmarked private grave No.194 in the Methodist section at the Castlemaine Cemetery.  Denis pointed out that two children are also buried in the grave – they are two children of Edwards second wife Sarah Best: L Dando aged 10 months (d1861), and F Dando aged 3 weeks (d1862).

Grave of Susannah Dando nee Hapgood, Castlemaine Cemetery general (flowers in the middle foreground mark the spot).

Her husband Edward remarried Sarah Best, also from Castlemaine Vic, in shortly after Susannah’s death, and moved the family to Westbury Tasmania, still following the gold rush. Edward ran a blacksmith business in the main street. He died there in 1914 and there was a detailed obituary in the paper [3].

(Update: A large number of descendants of Dando/Searle and Donaldson families in Tasmania have a private facebook group to connect and share family history. If you are a descendant, you can find the group here.)

Edward Dando. Date unknown. and grave in Westbury, Tasmania, uploaded by Jaynine9 on
Obituary, Edward Dando, Daily Post (Hobart, Tas. : 1908 – 1918), Saturday 31 October 1914, page 11


[1] Shire of Mount Alexander, Heritage Study of the Shire of Newstead STAGE 2. Available online.

[2] Castlemaine Cemetery Trust, contact via Facebook page. Thanks again to Denis for his help on the day!

[3] Obituary Edward Dando, 1914


Updated Jan 2020


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