This is a story about the different branches of the Jillett family, and the interesting life they led, from their arrival in Australia, some as First Fleeters, crammed within the hulls of convict ships to become part of the fabric of modern Australia.
While the key players in this family story are the descendents of Robert Jillett and Elizabeth Bradshaw, their early life was intertwined with many other convict settlers.
The journey from England in 1788 to 2014 is a long one, and one that winds around many roads from the exquisite beauty of Norfolk Island and the sheer hell of it's early settlements, to the treacherous waters and lives of the early whalers, to the beginnings of Hobart, battles with the bushrangers, droughts, the harsh climatic conations of the central plains of Tasmania, to the wide expanse of inland Australia, the killing fields of the World Wars, and to the vast sheep stations of Central Queensland, and the feat of driving over 10,000 sheep between Victoria to Queensland.
There are so many stories which have been unearthed about this fantastic journey, and this web-page is dedicated to their memories.
Hardships they had plenty, children they had in abundance, sorrow there was a plenty, battles fought and won, through sickness and drought, they carried on.
Their family expanded to include many others, but this story is concentrated on the lives of Robert, Elizabeth and their children, in particular Thomas Jillett and his children, his grand-daughter Katie Jillett and her children, and her eldest son, Dale Herron.
Some of the stories are quite sad, and highlight just how hard life was for our ancestors.
The story of the Jillett Family involves delving into history from the Victorian Times in the 18th Century in England, to the early settlement of both Australia and Norfolk Island as penal settlement, early life in Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, settling in New Norfolk, then Oatlands and York Plains. To bring the stories of these times and voyages to life, many interesting historical facts are included. Alongside those facts are personal anecdotes of the various locations, from our own personal travels, and stories, researched over the years by various people, including exerpts of diaries of so many different family members. Extensive research has also been completed from information readily available on the internet.
There was also another very important reason for developing this website, and that was to raise awareness in the Jillett Family Crypt Restoration Project. There are two crypts in St Peter's Anglican Church Cemetery, in Oatlands Tasmania, one built by John Jillett and another by his brother Thomas.
These memorials were built in honour of 7 of their children who all died within a 6 week period in 1859, from scarlet fever. John lost 4 and Thomas lost 3. Unfortunately the elements have all but underminded the crypt containing Thomas's children. Unless the crypt is repaired the monument will become a pile of rubble, uncared for and unloved.
We believe those children need to be recognised as being symbolic of all the hundreds of young lives that were lost in similar epidemics in the 1800's. There were 6937 children under 10 years of age who died in Tasmania in the 1850's alone. One only has to wander around any old cemetery, and witness just how many of the remaining headstones mark the resting place of young children.
The website has been compiled from long standing family research, and added to with recent research.
There are so many books, and websites out there with mis-information on them.
Robert Jillett was an alias. Finding his real Elston family is an on-going challenge!
Compiling this Family website has been really interesting, and a personal challenge for me. After suffering a brain aneurysm in 2003, my life changed forever, and this research has definitely been part of my recovery process. There is a saying to keep your mind active and do crossword puzzles in retirement, I don't do crosswords, but I am priviledged to be able to now recount many stories of this family's past. Kris Herron July 2010r
The Jillett Family Tree holds many branches, including:
The Jillett Family Heritage
A Long Journey over time, from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 to the present day