© 2008 Wenban Family. Website by Myles design.
John Wenban.... The first Wenban to arrive in Australia in 1838. Married to Mary (nee Piper). They brought six children with them from England and produced three more offspring who were to become the first Australian born Wenbans. Settled in Wilberforce NSW. He was soon followed by his brother William. John died at Wilberforce in a tragic buggy accident in 1859.
David Wenban.... David was born at Hawkshurst England on 13th January 1828 David is a son of John and voyaged to Australia with his family arriving at Sydney on the 6th of November 1838.
Mary Wenban (nee Piper) 1806-1883
Mary Ann.1824 -1914 Daughter of Mary and John.
Bertram Aubrey Wenban son of Alpheus Wenban of Milthorpe Wenbans.
Article (below) from the "ORANGE Central Western Daily Newspaper" written about my late Grandfather Frederick Stanley Wenban.From the Manildra Public School Centenary.
The Story reprinted here in full
Manildra Public School Centenary.
A bushranger played truant and scoured our bushland
(Frederick) Stanley Wenban, a craggy, articulate man of the bush, is the grand old character of Manildra town and at 91 he's obstinate about one thing ---he's a bushranger --- and "Iv'e been one all my life" he said.
He's scoured the bush and highways from Manildra to Muswellbrook. He began in the footsteps of Ned Kelly, he'll tell you, back in the early 1900's while he was still at school.
Mostly he played truant and spent hours "plundering".
He poked his bent thumb behind him---- "I'd be after anything at all. I'd just take to the hills."I'd rob hives for honey and nests for eggs".
The days he did make it all the way to the schoolhouse at Merenburn, just West of Manildra, he'd be more the predator.
"When we used to go to school....boys and girls... there was no difference...not like all the nonsense today."
He broke out in a mischievious grin."Well, mostly no difference."
"There was that day we were caught with the girls down in the creek swimming on our way home from school, Skinny Dipping? I asked,
He tossed that word aside,"Naked you mean, don't you?" The euphanism annoyed him.
He answered his own question. "Of course! we'd have all got flogged for wetting our clothes."
Mr. Anderson, Meranburn's schoolmaster, locked the boys up in the schoolhouse after that, until the girls were safely home.
"The last straw came the day the teacher went home and forgot us. It was dark and we had to break a window to get out."
The bushranger took to the hills after that--- out on farms, fencing, labouring, wheat lumping, -- any job he could get. Then later, through the depression, it was out on the highways, in true bushranger style, with a truck load of hives.
He travelled all over the state, camping on roadsides wherever "There was blossoms for me bees."
It was bee farming in a big way with 350 hives. He mostly kept to the Bega and Muswellbrook areas.
His daughter, Freda, went along too.There was money in it.
"I made 30/- a tin and some years there were 7 or 8 tins, maybe even 10 ! "
(Authors note. A standard tin of honey in those days was 60 Lbs around 27 kgs.)
He kept on bee farming until four years ago (1978) when he sold his hives to an Orange apiarist.
Now the old bushranger sits most of his day on his front verandah, just a few feet from the bed where he sleeps "out in the open, under the stars" with a foxskin rug for warmth.
He faces towards Manildra town on the grapevine covered verandah of the cottage he built himself back in 1914--- watering his tomato plants he means to plant out," as soon as the frosts 'ave gorne."
"I've seen every house built on this side of the creek except the railway house that was there in 1892.
He's proud of that. There was no hesitation with the date. He rolls off memories, slotted acurately with the dates, as though he was speaking about yesterday. He falters, every once in a while, shakes his head and apologises "I'm slippin' ya know".
At 91, he warns you affably, he's "crotchety", "It's me hip, It gets in the way".
He's been around. He's roamed away months at a time, but always comes back home to Manildra. A man doesn't leave the house he built himself, from timber he cut himself.
"Me brother in law 'n me knocked this house up in 21 days". He bought the timber for just 6/- a hundred feet.
He certainly wouldn't leave the home he built for his wife Edith and shared with her until her death13 years ago. It is a home where they'd raised their family of five - Isabel/Mrs Stammers, Cudal, Fred, Sydney, Freda, who lives with her father in Manildra, Marie/ Mrs Wilmot who is Fred's twin and Ruth/ Mrs Rose , the last two now living in Sydney.(1982)
He scoffs at the suggestion that he's a sentimental bloke."I'm a bushranger!" he corrects.
Stan Wenban drove his own car - a Holden station wagon, until his 90th year "With never an accident" he adds.
He still garages his sturdy wagon in the shed behind his home.
Stan Wenban is as much a part of Manildra as it's flour mills, it's piggery, it's Amusu picture theater, which incidentaly is the oldest continuously operating theater in Australia, and also as part as the railway house that happened "to get this side of the creek" before Stan. He's been the town's critic and it's admirer.
His blunt, obtuse manner camouflages his concern, his dry wit and his unabashed sentimentality.
His sensitivity is part of his nature he pretends to deny.
He's been the towns greenkeeper--" I planted the bowling green down" and has also been the town undertaker.
When the brother in law, Arther Cole went away for a while to work at Wunderlich's tile factory in Sydney, Stan took over the burying in Manildra. " Arthur left me the coffins all made up, only trouble was they were all full size jobs."
"Three young children died when Arthur was away "so I had to knock them up meself".
"Very sad, it was,very sad. I didn't mind handling the dead you know, until I had to bury those kiddies".
Stan's father, Frederick Henry Wenban was a teamster, after he sold his farm at Red Hill. He lived to 101! Stan hopes to make that too.
What's his recipe for longevity?
Does he drink or smoke?
"I smoked once, my fathers pipe when I was five and never touched it again."
"I enjoy a beer or two-- no more-- and Iv'e never been drunk. Never"
It was his turn for a question.
"You know why I'm still here?"
He tapped his cane against the verandah.
"It's because I"m a bushranger, that's why!
He laughed at his own persitance.
It's a healthy life---- out stalking the hills.
Footnote on Frederick Henry Wenban.....
The famous radio and early Australiana series by Steele Rudd, "DAD & DAVE - OUR SELECTION" was based on Frederick Henry's farm at Red Hill and Lorna Jennaway's (nee Wenbans) uncle, Ossie Wenban played the part of Joe. (Far right of screen opening shot.)
Thursday, October 21 1982
Frederick Stanley Wenban & His Bride Edith (nee) Cole.
The Authors Grandparents.
Island Life! on Stradbroke Island. Kids Luke,Larissa,Leah and author Myles with shark boy hairdo
Like father like son. Author with Son.
Milthorpe Wenbans above photos
Descendants of John and Mary who arrived in Australia 6th of November 1838 aboard the good ship "Maitland" ex Gravesend England
*Author is little blonde kid in front row!
Edith Wenban nee Cole
Below is an account of Frederick Stanley Wenbans life Written by his daughter Freda
Stan Wenbans’ Life Story
These are true facts often related to me while he recollected over his younger days
By Freda A Wenban 1988
F. Stanley Wenban eldest son of Fredrick Henry Wenban (our old grandfather), was born at Red Hill on their selection, later shifted down the road to Meranburn and when Stan was about 18 they all came to live in Manildra opposite to where the Manildra Bowling Club now is.
When Stan was a young man after coming to Manildra to live, he used to earn his living trapping rabbits and shooting foxes around the hills and flats within walking distance. When he was 23years old he married Edith May Cole in Old Manildra. They had a family of 5 children - Isabel, Freda, Fred and Marie (twins) and Ruth, called after Ruth on the family tree, which had been handed down the 4 generations to the eldest son. Stan being the eldest son of Fredrick Henry inherited it when his father died aged 101. It will now be Fredrick Richards’ as Stan has died, then will be Fredrick Myles’, then Luke Curtis’.
When Stan and Edith had Isabel and Freda, he got a job as handy man working for Mr. Chas. Hazelton where he worked for several years at Toogong. Later in the wheat seasons he and Bert Townsend lumped the wheat at the wheat stack close to the silos. (Now walled in for loose bulk oats). In those days it was open sided, when it was filled end to end to the iron roof, hession was hung down the sides to protect the bags from the weather. Each bag had to be pulled up by a horse on a rope and with a pulley tackle.
He then took on house building with his wife’s brother A.S. Cole as previously they had built their own weather board houses. They built Charlie Beddie’s house, Esme Davises out past Rodwells. I remember going there with food supplies for Dad in the sulky and the little horse called Tibby. We had the baby (Ruth) in an old hamper on the floor of the sulky, was only a few miles away but at about 8 yrs old I thought we’d never get there. I had to open the gates.
They built “Moolahway”, Claud Millers house on Gumble Rd only a couple of miles away. said they used to camp there as it was too far to walk home and back each day. Austy Hamiltons house, Bill Snells, Colin Riaches and a lot of others I can’t remember as well as doing repairs.
We all (Wenbans) went up to the Entrance for a holiday and rented a cottage and boat for about 30 shillings a week, a lot of money in those days. Dad had bought a motor car, a Chevrolet in buckskin brown. While travelling over the mountains Isabel, myself and twins had to get out and walk up “Mount Victoria” as the car wouldn’t pull us and the load up the steep grade. We were about 6-8-10. We used to run for fear of being left behind like babes in the woods I guess.
While we were away all the Kiwa St (Front Street) in Manildra shops got burnt to the ground. A.S. Cole and Stan got the job about 4 yrs later of rebuilding them. which they did with cement all mixed up by hand with a shovel on the ground. Are called Griffith Buildings so sign overhead reads. the cement came in bulk trucks and had to be carted from the train, a lot of hand shoveling. The sand was carted from the flat near the traffic bridge by a Mr. Cassell in a tip dray. One Pound per day good wages then 25 bags at a time.
After building the shops they got the contract of building the ‘Soldiers Memorial Hall’, the foundation stone of which was laid by Sir Neville House on Armistice Day 11th November 1925. This building was also constructed of layer upon layer of cement mixed up on the ground by hand held shovel.
Toms’ used to show films (movies) in the hall but decided as the accustics weren’t very good to build their own theatre round the corner in Derowie St, called AMUSU Theatre and a garage was built alongside. These buildings were built by Stan Wenban and Bill Lea round about 1947( actually 1936. Ed.) or thereabouts.
The second world war erupted and Stan and Bill were called up for National Service to go to Darwin for 2 yrs building soldiers amenities. When Stan was asked what his previous occupation had been he said ‘apiarist’ bee keeping. He was sent home to go bee farming full time, as honey was a necessary ingredient needed by the army, as sugar, tea, clothing was rationed.
So Stan and Walter Wallace pooled their beehives and registered as W & W Apiarists. Dad then bought a new Bedford truck and Walter an ex-army truck and they set off and went migratory bee farming travelling from Bega and Bodalla state forest on the south coast to Emmaville up north. I myself went traipsing round the bush wherever they set up their hives.
When Stan was about 70 Manildra built a bowling green. Stan helped with voluntary labour and when it was finished and the grass grown he was employed as Greenkeeper for the princely sum of one pound - $2.00 now per day. Seven pound per week. He stayed on for a good many years, can’t remember exactly till he eventually retired and just grew vegetables and flowers. He still had his old truck which had been traded for a Ford by this, he still had a few beehives which he scattered around on different sites.
He kept his license to drive till he was 90 yrs of age. He now had a utility which he later traded for a Holden Station Wagon which he later sold after relinquishing his drivers license at age 90 yrs. While he had the Ford truck he used to drive Ruth’s daughter Anne to school. When she was about 3 or 4 yrs old she used to stand at the back gate and yell take me with ya, till he pulled up and let her in and she would stand on the seat and shout at the cows to git uo, git up, when they were hunting them home to get milked. When he was greenkeeping he’d wait until she a 5 year old came along with her little port and old straw hat, and he’d shout her a little bottle of red cordial.
Stan died 6th Jan 1986 aged 95 yrs.
David John Wenban son of David & DJ's wife Maria nee Gill.
Seven Generations of My Australian Wenban line starting with John. Top left.
3. Frederick Henry
Editors Father Frederick Richard & G/father, Frederick Stanley.
Author's Brother, Stephen Wenban with next generation Wenbans, Marley, Luke & May.
Authors son Luke and friend
Authors son and 2nd daughter
Luke and Leah Wenban
Authors son and 1st daughter Larissa Wenban
Reprinted here is an Extract From Archie Wenbans' book "Rude Forefathers"
William & John, the second and third sons of William Wenban b.1773. & Dinah Burgis emigrated to Australia in the early 1800's. Like their uncles before them , who had previously emigrated to America to start the American line of Wenbans', William & John found it hard to keep their growing families. John, eighteen months younger than his brother William,was the first to go. From the Mitchell Library in Sydney, N.S.W. It has been possible to establish that he left Gravesend, on the Kentish shore of the Thames estuary, with his family of six on the 24th June 1838. They sailed on the emigrant ship "Maitland", of 648 tons burthen, she was carvel built and square rigged and had been built originally at Kidderpore near Calcutta in 1811, being re-fitted and registered at London in 1828. One factor that may have decided John to go was the death in February of that year of his baby son aged four months, as likely as not of malnutrician. The voyage to Sydney took the same length of time, four months. All the other children survived the voyage, some of their cousins later were not so fortunate. There were thought to be two other Wenban families on board the same voyage , but has since been proved that these others were Wenhams and nothing to do with our family.
John went up the Hawksbury River to Wilberforce and there settled, presumably using his trade as a wheelwright to get established in the growing settlement. Being literate, he became the schoolmaster at the Church of England school in 1843. Three children, all girls, were added to the family, one of them, Bathsheba, later to become Mrs. Hudson was to visit the old country about 1880 and invited Henry's grandson, Bertram Crole to visit Australia. He did so and died of cholera in Shanghai on the return journey.
John Wenban's death occured as the result of an accident when the spring-cart he was driving was overturned when one wheel went into a hole. He was thrown out with great violence and sustained a fractured skull, within twenty minutes he was dead. A full report of the inquest appeared in Sydney newspapers. His sons Saul, David and Jesse all married and their descendants still live in the Sydney area.
Descendants of John Wenban at Frederick Henrys' 100th at Manildra
Photo by Bob Wenban
Stan top right with father brothers and sisters
Lorna's Wenban Reunion early 80's
Descendants of John and William.
Photos by Bob Wenban
Johns brother, William
Authors sister, Bev Doherty (nee) Wenban
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