Researching worldwide

Font Size

Home > Members Only > FHWA Tales > The Evils of Drink

The Evils of Drink


1. Eliza Andrews, of Falbrook, New South Wales

By Robyn Hukin © All rights reserved
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You don't want to dig up the past, you never know what you might find.

Definitely the right button to press to get my attention!

I doubt my husband's formidable grandmother could possibly have imagined the scandals I have dug up on her family over the last 30 years. Among the more sensational stories surrounding her forbears was the tale of Eliza Andrews and only found thanks to the National Library of Australia's on-line newspaper index:  http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/

Eliza was born in 1834 in Bishopstone near Salisbury in Wiltshire. Her parents Abraham and Sarah (nee GIBBS) ANDREWS brought their three young children to New South Wales on the Woodbridge in 1839, settling in Falbrook, near Singleton.  

I had always assumed Eliza's marriage at a very young age was a shotgun one as she was definitely pregnant and the bridegroom was over twice her age. Never assume anything in genealogy, as this story in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser on Saturday 30 October 1847 proves!

Police Court Singleton

Patrick Farrell, a ticket-of-leave holder, was placed in the prisoner's box charged with decoying from her parental home one Eliza Andrews, aged 13 years.

Abraham Andrews, the father of the girl, having been sworn, deposed that he was a farmer, and resided at Falbrook. On Wednesday week, the 13th instant, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening, he had been told that the prisoner had taken away his daughter Eliza, who is but thirteen years of age, into the bush. The prisoner came the next day for his things, and he (witness) took him into custody, and caused him to be placed in the lockup at Singleton. He saw them both together about twenty minutes' before he missed his daughter, but upon looking round he found she was gone. Prisoner had been living under the same roof with them at Mrs. Chilcot's.

Cross-examined by the prisoner: The witness saw them both together at Mrs. Chilcot's, both outside and inside the house. Prisoner kidded her away by giving her liquor. Witness had seen prisoner acting improperly with his daughter, and prisoner used very bad about a week since, but witness looked over that, and he cautioned the girl not to be seen in that place again.

Eliza Andrews, the fair heroine, being placed in the witness box, gave the following statement, as she did not appear to thoroughly understand the nature of an oath : - The prisoner persuaded me to run away from my father's house, and to bring my clothes. I drank two glasses and a half of rum, which I didn't want to take, but he made me. I consented to go away with him after I took the rum, and tried to get Mrs. Chilcot's horse to take me, but the saddle was locked up. I found the rum taking effect on me, and I went with the prisoner about half a mile, when I wanted to return, knowing I was doing wrong, but the prisoner would not allow me. We then went to Magney's inn, and I there had a glass of porter from the prisoner, which I drank. The prisoner wanted to get a bed there, but Mr. Magney said that they were full. We then came on to Mr. Singleton's public-house, near Patrick's Plains, and arrived there about sunrise. We had breakfast and dinner there, and alter dinner the prisoner went away, saying he was going to get his clothes. About dusk, a man named Charles Stanley came, and took me home on his dray. While we were at Singleton, the prisoner wanted me to forge my mother's name, for the purpose of getting married to him. The prisoner offered me marriage at Singleton's, but I did not consent. Stanley took me to Mrs. Hart's, and the next day my mother fetched me away, when I related what had happened.

Cross-examined by the prisoner: I did not say anything at Magney's because I was frightened, and at Singleton's for the same reason. I did not ask you to run away with me.

Sarah Andrews, the mother of the last witness, was then sworn, but her evidence being of a delicate nature and unfit for publication, we must omit it, as the court was cleared during her examination.[1]

The prisoner having been called on for his defence, said that he had several times warned the girl not to come near him; that the girl had said that he was not game to take her away; that he could not stop in the house for her annoying him; and that the girl went away first, and he had followed her afterwards. The prisoner then called the following witnesses: -

Mrs. Elizabeth Chilcot, who deposed that she lived at Falbrook, and Andrews's family lived with her, in an adjoining part of the house; prisoner had been in her service for the last eighteen months, but was now discharged. Never did hear Eliza Andrews ask prisoner when he would go away with her; never knew the girl take any improper liberties with the prisoner; had heard prisoner say that if once he laid hold of a woman she should never get out of his hands again.

Fanny Forden, who was next called by the prisoner, having been sworn, was examined: She lived with her parents at a short distance from Mrs. Chilcot's. She had seen prisoner and Eliza Andrews free and laughing at each other; had seen Eliza take off prisoner's hat in play; had never seen her take up a knife to rip his trousers; had heard her say that she liked Farrell better than Beresford.

This closed the case, when the magistrate said that he regretted that the case could not be decided that day for want of another magistrate being present; he would therefore remand the prisoner till the following Thursday, when the witnesses must again appear.

...Thursday, October 28th.

Patrick Farroll was again brought up, and the evidence gone into (as reported above), when the prisoner was fully committed for trial at the next Court of Quarter Sessions.


The Quarter Sessions trial was reported in the The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser on 12th January 1848

Maitland Quarter Sessions


Patrick Farrell was indicted for unlawfully taking Eliza Andrews, a girl under the age of sixteen years, from the protection of her father, Abraham Andrews, and against his will at Falbrook, on the 13th October, 1847. Mr. Parefoy appeared for the defence; attorney, Mr. Turner.

It appeared that Abraham Andrews and his family lived under the same roof as Mrs. Chilcott, but that the house was divided off, and that the prisoner was a servant of Mrs. Chilcott's. Considerable intimacy had sprung up between the prisoner and Eliza Andrews, and in early October Andrews saw such familiarity between them that he forbid his daughter to have anything to say to him. In consequence the girl did not go into Mrs. Chilcott's house, as she had been accustomed to do, until the evening of the 13th October, when she was in there with the prisoner, and he persuaded her to take two glasses and a half of rum; after this the prisoner came into Andrew's house, and gave him two glasses of rum. The prisoner then returned to Mrs. Chilcott's, and the girl following him, he persuaded her to run away with him, and as a preliminary step to go and fetch her clothes. She did so, and they left the house, and after walking all night, reached a public-house kept by Mr. John Singleton at sunrise next morning, where they took breakfast. The prisoner then returned home, leaving the girl at the inn, but a friend of her father's hearing of her being there, took her away in the evening, and on the second morning she returned home with her mother. Neither her father or mother had ever given their consent to her marriage with the prisoner, nor to her going away with him; and Eliza Andrews deposed that after going a mile she wanted to return home, as she knew she was doing wrong, but the prisoner would not let her. When charged with the abduction on his return, the prisoner denied it, and refused to say where the girl was.

Mr Purefoy addressed the jury, and endeavouring to destroy the credibility of Abraham Andrews, who he was instructed had consented. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the prisoner was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment at Newcastle Gaol.


That did not appear to be the end of the story. Eliza was still aged 13 when she married George SHEARER on the 19th June 1848. Like Patrick Farrell, George Shearer was also a ticket of leave man, born in Paisley in Scotland and convicted at the age of 14 for housebreaking.

Eliza produced a daughter Charlotte,[2] who was christened on the 8th September 1848 at Sydenham, her father shown in church records as being George SHEARER. I suspect she was actually the daughter of Patrick Farrell.

Eliza produced 12 children before her death in 1873 at the age of 38.

Back to Top

Sources & Notes

[1]  Sarah Andrews was known to have been a midwife.

[2]  See www.xroyvision.com.au/andrews/shearer/images.html   for a photograph of Charlotte SHEARER.

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 October 2013 10:36

You are here Home > Members Only > FHWA Tales > The Evils of Drink