My 2nd great grandfather Richard “Dick” Hapgood – 1844-1917

My 2nd great grandfather, Richard Hapgood b1844, was born on 2 June 1844 to Hester Hanney , age 27, and Thomas Hapgood, age 26, in Burnett, Compton Dando, Somerset, England. He was baptised at St Michaels Church, in Burnett, Somerset, as shown in the church register entry below. Burnett is about 2 miles north of Marksbury.

His parents emigrated to Australia on the “Lady Ann” as assisted migrants, when Richard was 11 years old. The arrived in the colony of New South Wales in September 1854.

His mother Hester Hapgood (nee Hanney) passed away aged 45 on 26 October 1862 in Ulladulla, New South Wales, when Richard was 18 years old. Three years later, in 1865, Richard married Jane Wearing in Ulladulla, on 17 March 1865. The marriage certificate shows Richard is a labourer in Ulladulla, and says that Jane is the daughter of Mary Anne Middlewick and Peter Wearing. (I will be writing a whole future post on Jane, there are many contradictions and inconsistencies to unpick in the birth, death and marriage certificates for Jane and her mother Mary Anne Middlewick…..) Their wedding was witnessed by Richards sister, Sarah Elizabeth Jones (nee Hapgood) and her husband Mark Jones.

Richard “Dicky” Hapgood also contributed to the community. In May 1858, several community members (Mr Wason, Mr Kendall, Mr Talbot) held a meeting in the school house about raising funds for an Episcopalian Church to be built in Ulladulla. There are five Hapgoods listed in the paper as contributing to the subscriptions campaign: Thomas Hapgood, Mrs Hapgood, George Hapgood, William Hapgood (10 pounds each ) & Dicky Hapgood (5 pounds). The Church was built in 1860 and is still standing in Ulladulla today.

Anglican Church of St Peter and St Paul, Milton NSW original building, build 1860, photo from ~1890s. [1]

We are very lucky to have a couple of excellent photos of Richard and Jane, later in life. The first one appears in the “Milton Pioneers” book by Joanne Ewin [1]. It shows Richard in a black suit with white shirt and black tie, sporting a full beard but still a bit of hair on top. Jane is next to him with her white/grey hair pulled back and up, smiling slightly, wearing a black dress with a white lace collar.

Richard Hapgood and Jane Wearing [2]

The second photo features prominently on this blog, and turned up sometime later to great excitement. Its taken at the same time, but they are wearing hats – Janes hat is spectacular! And its a lot clearer resolution – you can see the details of his suit and her dress and the lace embelishments much more clearly.

Richard Hapgood and Jane Wearing (Family collection)

Richard and Jane had 7 children over 17 years, all born in Milton NSW:

  • Richard James “Jim” Hapgood b1865 Born on 28 Nov 1865 and died on 8 January 1934 in Tilba, NSW
  • Alfred Thomas Hapgood b1867, born on 27 May 1867, and died 19 Jan 1947 in Bondi, NSW
  • Mary Anne Hapgood b1868, Born 28 Nov 1868 and died 22 Sept 1940 in Bangalow, NSW
  • Esther Sarah Hapgood b1871, Born 28 Feb 1871, and died 15 Oct 1953 in Milton, NSW
  • William Charles Hapgood b1872, Born 25 July1872 and died on 25 May 1966, Maleny, Queensland (my great grandfather)
  • Herbert Hapgood b1874, and died 5 July 1941 in Cooroy, Queensland.
  • Alexander Mark Hapgood b1883, Born 23 April 1883 and died 26 April 1946, Bulli, NSW.

Unusually, it seems all of their children survived, which seems somewhat unusual for the era – most of the other families in my tree have a few sad records of children dying shortly after birth or very young.

In the late 1890s, Richard and Jane and their 4 youngest children (Mary Ann, Esther, William and Herbert) were living in Brooman, and Richard was a signatory to a petition to help establish a Provisional school at Brooman [5]. Sadly no pictures of Brooman school seem to have survived and the town itself is a ghost town although some rustic country accommodation is available on AirBnB. A visit to Brooman is on my “Family History Roadtrip” bucket list!

By 1901, the census shows Richard Hapgood living at “Sunnyvale” in the township of Croobyar, just off Croobyar Road, West of Milton. William Hapgood appears to be living close by a few properties away. I William in this case is Richards son, (not his brother?), as his older brother William took over the family farm at Hapgood Road, Cockwhy, but its hard to be sure. We know Richard was definately living in Croobyar (not Brooman) in 1910 because there is a reference to his sons, William and Herbert, coming down from the Northern Rivers in NSW to visit him in the Milton Ulladulla Times on 11 Jun 1910

1901 Census of Milton Ulladulla, showing Richard Hapgood and family living at Sunnyvale Farm, Croobyar.
Milton Ulladulla Times, 11 Jun 1910

Sunnyvale is a historic dairy in Croobyar, surveyed in 1997 as part of an achaeology report on the Shoalhaven dairy industry [4]. It was the Warden family farm, so I am not quite sure why the Hapgoods are listed at this address. A blurry scan of the report is available online and it shows a sketch and some pictures of the old dairy. Its quite run down, and I imagine its in an even worse state of repair by now but you can still see the gracious old bones of the house and sheds. One day I hope to visit and to stay in the Croobyar School House, which is now renovated into idyllic luxurious accomodation.

Sunnyvale farm, photos from 1997 [4]

Richard died on 31 August 1917 in Ulladulla, leaving Jane a widow. The Nowra Leader included an obituary. Typically for the time, his wife Jane isnt mentioned, and oddly the obituary says more about his sons and business partner Millard than Richard himself! (Disappointing for family historians…) Given that the paper that this obituary appears in is the Nowra Times, it focusses on the Nowra links and I suspect this is why it focusses on just 2 sons who had a Nowra connection. His daughter Mary Ann Hapgood (who married John Jackson) also put a memorial notice in her local paper, the Northern Star in Lismore.

Richard Hapgoods death certificate NSW 1917

I dont know where Richard is buried, but most likely in the Milton Anglican Pioneers Cemetery which was cleared and is now a vacant block.

I do hope more photos and stories of Richard and Jane and family turn up one day. Let me know if you have any to share on the blog: karenhapgood {at} gmail {dot} com


[1] Walking Guide to Historic Milton NSW by Milton Ulladulla Historical Society

[2] Ewin Joanne, “Meet the pioneers : early families of the Milton-Ulladulla district with photographs”

[3] Census 1901. or via

[4] Shoalhaven Dairy Industry: Stage 1 Achaeology of the Milton and Kangaroo Valley Areas, Peter Freeman and Edward Higginbotham, 1997.

[5] Alex McAndrew, “Tales out of School in the Milton Ulladulla district from Conjola to Kiola”, 1990

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