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 Ancestry.com 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.
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.
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.