Bingeing on History

If you are interested in watching some productions which may add to your understanding of Charles Whalan and Elizabeth Berry’s world, here are a few suggestions:

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The first is ‘Barnaby Rudge’ – an adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens. It is set in London at the time of the Gordon Riots of 1780.

We cover this period in Chapter 2 of our book about Charles Whalan. At the time of the riots, Charles was a young Catholic boy, experiencing the anti-Catholic sentiments of the Protestant Association, which wanted to repeal legislation that had been passed in 1778, giving Catholics the right to swear allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain without renouncing their Catholicism.

This BBC adaptation of Dickens’ work is the only TV production made. If you can forgive the 1960s black and white technology and less-than-perfect sound track, you may enjoy catching up on some history with this series.

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The second suggestion is ‘Garrow’s Law’, which follows the career of William Garrow, a very influential lawyer working  passionately at the Old Bailey in London in Charles Whalan’s time, to reform the British court system. We mention Garrow in Chapter 6 of Charles Whalan’s story, as he defended a number of Charles’ contemporaries, including Harry Stern (“Gentleman Harry”) and George Barrington, both of whom were eventually sentenced to transportation to New South Wales.

By portraying a number of his cases, the series gives a fascinating insight into the workings of the legal system of the day – e.g. showing branding as one of the possible punishments handed out to those found guilty; and the role of ‘thief takers’ (highlighted in Chapter 4 of Charles Whalan’s story, with reference to his grandfather, Charles Wayland).

The story also follows Garrow’s personal life and the difficulties he faced in being with the woman he loved. Recommended viewing.

Garrow's Law

The third recommendation is the classic Australian TV production from the 1970s, ‘Against the Wind’. This production fits in so well with Charles’ and Elizabeth’s stories – it features, for example, the history of the Irish who were largely sent to Australia for political reasons, the conditions on convict ships, the battle of Vinegar Hill, the harshness of the conditions for the early arrivals, but the hope of there being a brighter future for many … covering the period from 1796-1810.

I am fortunate to have the book which was sold at the time of the production. It outlines the very careful research that was undertaken to ensure that the clothing, furnishings, utensils, weapons and so on were represented authentically. In fact I found this research helpful, and referenced it in Chapter 12 of Charles’ book (page 117), when I was recording the details of Sgt Whalan’s gun, reported to have been given by the Sergeant to a Mr Brady of the Fish River area.

Against the Wind

So this production gets my vote as a well-researched portrayal of the Whalans’ world in the early days of the colony. (Forgive some of the traces of a 1970s production – such as John English’s hairstyle!)

Many local libraries will have these DVDs, but they can also be purchased, and are reasonably priced.

Happy viewing!





More comments from readers of ‘Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781-1866’, & our first reader responses to ‘Charles Whalan 1768-1839’.

Many thanks for your prompt reply to my email, sent on Tuesday.  It is an absolute thrill to have this contact with you, and I want to commend you and your Sister, most sincerely, on the wonderful research, and many hours you both would have spent in researching, noting, collating and publishing these records from so long ago.   I am sure we will be in contact further in the future, and would you let us know when your companion book on Charles Whalan will be available as well please…

We will look forward to receiving these special publications, and reading the interesting contents.  I have told my other siblings about your new book, and I will leave it up to them to contact you regarding any further purchases.  (They all loved our surprise gifts of Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan publications).

Kath W, Aitkenvale



You have both out done yourselves. I thought the book on Elizabeth (BERRY) WHALAN was outstanding, but this book on Charles WHALAN is outstanding too.

You have continued with the theme of publishing facts, and you have blended the living conditions in England and in the Colony with Charles WHALAN, and that really made this book so great.

I am amazed how you found his baptism. We all knew it was not at St. Clement Danes. As it turns out, you found it at the nearby Sardinian Roman Catholic Chapel in London & then you went back another two generations in Ireland. I think most of us knew all along that Whalan is an Irish name, so really we were not surprised to see that you both confirmed this.

I cannot wait for your next book, which I believe is on Sarah WHALAN & John MORRIS. Good luck & please keep up the great work.

Matthew Smith, Rhodes


I am now part way through Charles’s story and find it again fascinating in its detail and content.  It reads like something out of a Charles Dickens story and is therefore easy to envisage.

Doug Carney, Canberra


I think I enjoyed Charles’ story even more than “Elizabeth Berry” but there is so much information to absorb that I will have to reread it without rushing before I can decide whether I prefer one book over the other or like them equally. (I have now read “Elizabeth” three times and enjoy it more on each rereading.)

Name withheld by request


I have finished the book on Charles and enjoyed reading it too although the small print was trying – sorry. I know it would keep the cost down but Lorna is only able to read 2 pages a day. Amazing where you found his baptism and written in Latin. Could you do it all from Australia or did you have to go to England? Anyway you have both done a wonderful job of researching the facts. Thankyou so much.

Sandra Yelland, Manildra

[Thank you for all your comments Sandra. I’m sorry the print size has been an issue for both you and Lorna. We had so much material to present and were trying to keep the printing/postage costs down to make the book affordable, so that was our thinking, but I take your point nevertheless.

Regarding our research, we were able to do all our research from Australia, though that did require purchasing copies of some documents directly from the UK and from the National Library in Canberra. The internet has been such a marvellous asset for researchers, so we were able to access a lot of information that way. There were also countless visits to the NSW State Library in Sydney, the NSW State Archives in Kingswood, libraries in Ryde, Parramatta, Castle Hill, Old Government House in Parramatta … wherever the trail led!

Caroline Hardie, Castle Hill]


 Vicki McKerrell of Loganlea in Queensland wrote several emails – this extract is from the first one:

 I’ve just come across your website this morning and am just so thrilled that you’ve written a book about Elizabeth Berry! I’ve been trying to find out more about her.  And like you and your sister Elizabeth I’ve felt that the female lines tend to get less exposure. I’ve renewed by subscription to because it included records from the UK but I’ve been really disappointed with what I’ve come up with there. This morning I decided to go back onto Google to search and low and behold I’ve found you! I would like to order a copy of your book … I have a fascination for Ireland and am trying to find a family connection there … 

Extract from Vicki’s second email:

It really was something very special for me to read about the history of the Whalan family coming from Ireland to England. And it was also so unexpected. I never thought I’d find an Irish connection on my Dad’s line because we’d always accepted the English history. And I have to give you and your sister Elizabeth a big tribute for all you’ve put into this research. It was quite an emotional experience for me reading those pages because it was the fulfilment of something that I knew was true even though I couldn’t provide any evidence for it. But of course it was tinged with a little sadness and shock to find the deeper link with criminality that the family had engaged in. But I try not to be too judgemental of the past because people’s lives were so much harsher and survival more difficult. The Irish certainly had a lot to deal with.  I was going to email you when I finished reading the book but I’ve not quite finished yet.  I’ve been going back over the early parts of the book because it’s been so engrossing to discover these new details of the Whalan family history.  The mythology surrounding the previous accounts of the Whalan ancestry was quite an idealised one. Strange as it might seem though, I feel more content with the warts and all Irish Whalan ancestry than I do with the previous one.  And also Elizabeth Berry’s story. I’d much rather know the truth. Have you received much feedback on the book? I’m wondering how others feel about it. Will let you know my thoughts on the rest of the book once I’ve finished it. 

 The third extract:

… What you’ve said about Grandfather Charles was difficult for me too. The way the penalty for crime was delivered just didn’t seem to make sense especially considering that he was the ringleader and then gets rewarded for leading people to their deaths. Mercy was shown in some instances but as with James Mallone there was no mercy at all. And then to think that Charles was quite willing to speak about what he’d done to Joseph Cox – a policeman! And to reveal the wider conspiracy. AND still manages to avoid any penalty! I’ve reread those pages trying to find some sort of redeeming quality! ….

 This email has been a work in progress! I’ve now finished the book. Just a few  reflections that come to mind. I was really moved by the letters from the young Lachlan to Charles and his giving of the desk. Also Elizabeth Macquarie’s letters to Charles. I can imagine more why they all formed such a strong bond. When you’re so far away from home and trying to create a new life you would have to develop trust in the people around you, and dependability.  The entry that Governor Macquarie wrote about their goodbyes was very touching. It must have been so difficult saying goodbye after so many years and experiences they shared. It certainly gave me a greater sense of them all as people rather than the flat characters we often read about in history books. They were in one sense just ordinary people but living extraordinary lives – carving out a new colony and creating history. I was also moved by Charles Whalan’s care for the people around him and the community. And learning about his surveying was really interesting. I was also relieved to read about the care and respect for the local Aboriginal tribes that Macquarie seemed to display especially when I’ve read of awful massacres that occurred in those early days …

 I was so sad to learn that Charles’ brother James died as a baby.



Dear Caroline,

 Just a quick note to congratulate you and Elizabeth on the two books.

 While my duties don’t leave too much time for reading these days, I had the opportunity to read both books over the past few days, in fact I couldn’t put them down.

 I was particularly moved by your book through the eyes of Elizabeth who (as it was always my personal impression) was very close to Elizabeth Macquarie as was Charles to the Governor. I have always felt the life they left behind in England and the personal hardships they both endured, would have had a profound effect on the decisions the Governor made, especially in emancipating convicts and providing them with their own piece of Australia to farm and raise their children. Just my opinion but I felt this was also yours through the thorough research you have undertaken…

 … It further strengthens my links to Irish heritage through both the Allen and Whalan families, both of which I am fortunate to have the family history thanks to wonderful people such as yourself…

 Let’s catch up for dinner in parliament when you have the time, can’t wait to discuss this further, just wonderful books, well done.


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Ray Williams MP 

Member for Castle Hill’



Ray Williams and Caroline Hardie – descendants of Elizabeth Berry and Charles Whalan – meeting at Parliament House, 14th March, 2018.



Readers’ comments: Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781-1866

Julie Pinguinha was one of the first readers to comment on this book, posting the following comment on the website:

I have read your amazing book twice now and have learnt so much. Thank you for clearing up the unchristian attitude information as I always believed that was the reason for her transportation. I wonder where that information came from. Thanks again.
Julie Pinguinha


Other readers have mailed or emailed their comments directly to us, and have given us permission to reproduce them below. More will be added after permission has been obtained from the writers to add them to the site.


I really enjoyed reading your book.  It was interesting to read a bit of Elizabeth’s story.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that she “married” Charles so soon after her arrival as a convict. The family history I have read has always stated that her crime was “unchristianlike behaviour”, or something similiar to that ….. seemed a harsh penalty!

 Your research sheds a new light on Elizabeth.

They were extremely harsh times, particularly for the women. She must have been an extraordinary person. Raising her children, her apparent close friendship with Elizabeth Macquarie and her good deeds in the community…..I can see a movie!

 Thank you again for telling her story and providing her descendants with a well researched book.

 I will wait to now read Charles’s!!

Chris Whalan, Terrigal


I received my books yesterday and dropped everything and immediately read the book from cover to cover.  Congratulations on an excellent achievement.  I found it extremely well researched and equally well written.  I look forward to your book on Charles Whalan.

Doug Carney, Canberra


I am very grateful that you have worked so hard in researching this book.

Dr Deborah Jane Macarthur, Watson’s Bay


Good afternoon Elizabeth

Just letting you know that I received the books on Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan in the mail yesterday.  Thank you for sending them so promptly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read!

As I told Caroline, after reading the family history book on Charles Whalan, I developed an interest in the Whalan/Macquarie relationship.  I did some personal research in the NSW and Australian libraries and the Edinburgh library.  Most of my time was spent reading Macquarie’s diaries.  

It was good reading about the keeping of locks of hair.  Just last week I was telling a group of friends that I was reading the Macquarie diaries (I’m pretty sure I was in Edinburgh) and I turned a page and there was a lock of hair and a note in Macquaries hand that it was a lock from his son.  I thought at the time that not many people, if anyone else at all, might have seen it.  

Thank you to you and Caroline for taking the time to do research on Elizabeth and for sharing your findings with the family.

I am looking forward to the book on Charles.

Nancy Haslop, Bathurst


Dear Caroline

I am not the slightest bit interested in my own ancestry, let alone anybody else’s. It was only out of a sense of loyalty to Elizabeth [Moxham] that I picked up your book – & then to my utter amazement, I couldn’t put it down!

 You have turned your family history into a fascinating tale – with glimpses into the culture & conditions of the times. The letters at the end had me in tears. You write so well & have linked everything up so skilfully. Of course, you had an expert researcher at hand!

 You & Elizabeth are to be congratulated. The book is a little treasure – & with all those illustrations. I can’t wait to read your next publications. Bring them on!

 All the very best in your next project.

Cheryl Cartwright, Randwick


 Hello Caroline and Elizabeth,
 I have enjoyed reading your book on Elizabeth Whalan and so did Lorna Cullen. The information you have rounded up is so interesting and especially as she and Charles were close friends to the Macquaries.
Thankyou for putting it in the Telegraph, and that is the only Telegraph that I have bought all year!!! Meant to be.

Sandra Yelland, Manildra

I received the books this morning. What a delight to see a book written with 100% fact rather than a mixture of fact & fiction. You and your sister are to be congratulated for an outstanding job. I just cannot fault your book.

…Hi Caroline,
I’d like to purchase another three copies of your book. Two I will give to two of my daughters and the other I am going to donate to the library at old Government House in Parramatta – I suspect they would like a copy, especially when they find out your book is 100% fact.

Matthew Smith, Rhodes


Just to let you know I received your book today.  You and your sister should be very proud of what you have achieved…I know I’m impressed immensely!!

…Well the book is brilliant – exceptional work which I am sure you had much pleasure in researching!!

Sandra McCabe, Canberra




Charles Whalan 1768-1839 is now finished and published.


Charles' Story


Well after countless happy and satisfying hours of research we have moved from handwritten notes, copies of documents, whiteboard planning and the computer screen, and are now pleased to be able to share our finished work on Charles Whalan with descendants and others who have an interest in early Australian history.

Proud researcher, Elizabeth …  Elizabeth

… and the other proud researcher and author, Caroline.  Caroline

We have really appreciated the interest in our first book on Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan, and hope that readers who enjoyed her story will be equally interested in the research we have done for Charles Whalan’s biography. Here are some brief details of our second book, taken from the book’s blurb:

‘Charles Whalan 1768-1839 is a comprehensive biography of the patriarch of the Whalan family in New South Wales, Australia. Many details of his life have been hibernating in repositories in Ireland, England and Australia for over 200 years, and are revealed in this book for the first time.

Charles’ story is traced from the slums of Georgian London, England, to his arrest and incarceration, first in Newgate Prison and then on the hulk, Stanislaus; to his arduous journey in the Albemarle, part of the Third Fleet bound for Port Jackson, NSW.

His army days in Sydney and Parramatta, and his farming days in Mulgrave Place, Parramatta, Bathurst and Prospect are explored in depth. His family life with his wife, Elizabeth Berry and their children, Mary, James, Charles, Sarah, Macquarie, Campbell and John, is chronicled. His close relationship with Governor Macquarie, Elizabeth Macquarie and Lachlan Junior is honoured. His connection with other members of the Colonial society is examined.

In this companion piece to Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781 -1866, Caroline Hardie and fellow researcher Elizabeth Moxham have worked with information and documents, some of which have not been accessed over the last 200 years and more, to inform this story, which dispels some myths and reveals some previously untold truths about the life of Charles Whalan – a one-time convict, but more importantly, an honourable man, loved and respected by all who knew him well.’

At 230 pages, this book is longer than Elizabeth’s story, as we always knew it would be. Unlike Elizabeth’s life, Charles’ life-story was well-documented, and we have certainly incorporated much of that documentation in this book, and so printing and postage costs are greater.

To order a copy of Charles’ story, please contact Caroline at or Elizabeth at

The price – $40.00 – includes postage.

[Elizabeth’s story is still available. The price – $30.00 – includes postage.]




An ‘unchristian attitude’

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the last time Great Britain shipped convicts to Australia.

After 80 years of penal transportation, the practice came to an end on 9 January 1868, when 280 Irish convicts arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia.

We thought we would take this opportunity to clarify some erroneous reports, found in books and online, which followers of Elizabeth Berry may have seen. These reports state that she had been transported to Australia for having an ‘unchristian attitude’. The source of this information has not been given.

If such a charge was ever laid against Elizabeth Berry, it would have been from an ecclesiastical court, not a secular (i.e. legal) court.
Ecclesiastical courts dealt with spiritual and moral matters – such as failing to have a child baptised; misbehaviour in church; being drunk on a Sunday; adultery; incest; breach of promise – but they had no jurisdiction in criminal cases, and certainly no power to sentence anyone to transportation.
Perhaps Elizabeth had a charge brought against her in an ecclesiastical court, but there has been no systematic indexing of these records, so we have not tried to search for it. It may also be that no such charge ever existed, but it was a story used by family members in former times to give a more ‘gentle’ explanation for Elizabeth’s transportation than the truth of the matter.
In the first chapter of Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781-1866, we have given the full account of Elizabeth’s court appearance and sentencing to transportation for 7 years, and this was for stealing.
The jury who found her guilty as charged was comprised of :
Job Bilton
Jane Bilton
Hannibal Dunn
George Sayer
Sarah Worby
William Berry
Ann Camp
Orders for this book can be placed by emailing Caroline at, or Elizabeth at
The price – $30.00 – includes postage.

Warm greetings!

Warm greetings to all readers of this site who have been drawn to find out more about our research and the writing of Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan’s story. This is Caroline Hardie, the author of our book…


Caroline Hardie with books

And here is my sister and fellow researcher, Elizabeth Moxham:

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We want to thank you all for your interest and share with you our delight that so many people are keen to find out more about Elizabeth’s story. We have been contacted by many descendants of Elizabeth and Charles Whalan, as we expected we would be.  But people interested in early settlers’ stories have also made contact. And we have heard from others who obviously associate with our desire to allow Elizabeth’s identity to be recognized, independently of her role as Charles Whalan’s wife.

In fact we have been rather overwhelmed by the level of interest in Elizabeth’s story, and we now realize that our print run was more modest than it should have been. I even joked with the printer that were not aiming for a best seller – that our book was designed for a niche market! Well happily it seems to be a big niche.

We have almost sold out of the stock that we had ordered, and although I have placed an order for another print run this morning, there will be some delay with this because of the public holidays. I do hope those of you who are placing orders understand that we didn’t expect our book to be so popular! But we will advise you of estimated times of availability, and hopefully estimate our numbers more accurately for the companion piece, Charles Whalan’s story, which we hope to publish in February 2018.

Cheers for now,
Caroline Hardie and Elizabeth Moxham

‘Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781 – 1866’ is published

We are excited to announce that Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781 – 1866, written by Caroline Hardie, and researched by Caroline Hardie and Elizabeth Moxham is published and now available for purchase.

Elizabeth (Berry) Whalan 1781 – 1866 gives a voice for the first time to the convict woman who became the matriarch of the vast Whalan family in New South Wales, Australia. From Hartfordshire in England to Sydney, Parramatta and Macquarie Park in Prospect, and finally to retirement in Oberon, New South Wales, we trace Elizabeth’s story.

Included in this book are the details of her arrest, court appearances, and conviction for theft; her sentencing to transportation and her journey in the Glatton from Portsmouth to Port Jackson; the raising of her children – Mary, James, Charles, Sarah, Macquarie, Campbell and John; her place in colonial Sydney as a friend of the Governor and Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie as well as fellow working folk; her work as a domestic servant to the governor, wife to a soldier / farmer, and finally a retiree.

By drawing on numerous documented records, collated in this book for the first time, we allow Elizabeth Whalan to stand beside her husband, Sergeant Charles Whalan, and be acknowledged in her own right.

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