The Ridgers of Oz


Updated   12th January 2003 (underlined)

Last issue  6th January 2003


There has been some new developments on the ‘family tree’ front and it all started at the beginning of December 2002. It looks like we are re-establishing the links between the Hampshire Ridgers and relatives in Australia and how we got there.


This is a description of how it came about and the current situation.



In August of 2002 Christine Watson posted the following  message on a board at :~


William Ridgers, Great Great Grandfather born Hampshire 1830 migrated to Tasmania Australia in 1855 with his sister Elizabeth, her husband William Rapley & their children. My Grandmother corresponded with cousins Ridgers in Bognor Regis England thro'out her life. A story passed down is that William's father, also named William was a soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Can anyone shed more light on the Ridgers family in England, especially William and Waterloo.


I saw this on 4 December as a result of an idle search on for “William Ridgers”. I replied pointing out that I had both William and Elizabeth on the family tree but that there was a disconnection in the given name of William’s father. The next message exchange indicated that William’s age was given as 25 (in 1855) and Elizabeth was 30.  This was another ‘disconnection’ as our Elizabeth was born in 1831 making her 24 in 1855.


However the two names and the links to Hampshire plus the modern links to Bognor Regis suggested there was still a good chance of finding a link.  I pointed Christine to the Web Page and ‘the book’.


It may be handy to have look at the family tree at this point:~



Colin found George’s (G2) death certificate and he and his second wife Mary (M3) both died at 5 Brewery Lane, Bognor Regis. At the suggestion of Peter Ridgers in Chichester Colin had written to Maude Hey in Australia without success. This is documented in ‘the book’ and when Christine saw this and sent an email:~



I have just read Colin and Heather's book on your web site. I quote . . . . . .

"During correspondence with a PETER RIDGERS of Chichester he mentioned that

his mother still corresponded with a relative in Australia, by the name of

MAUDE HAY. Despite several letters to her I did not receive a reply". . . .

. . .

Maude Hay is my dear departed grandmother. Guess she didn't reply as she

had passed away. I still have some of her letters, newspaper cuttings &

photos of Fred & Lil Ridgers of Bogner Regis - these being the Ridgers

"cousins" my grandmother & Great Aunt Win were in contact with. I also

corresponded with one of this family as a child. His name was Roger Gilbert.

Happy times



At his point we still had not resolved the two disconnections (Elizabeth’s age and William/Elizabeth’s father’s name. But we did have the connection to Maude Hey  but Maude was not specifically on the family tree. Maude did give us strong circumstancial evidence of a link to George & Mary through the connections with Bognor Regis .


Then Christine sent this:~



Thanks for putting the photos of the graves on the web.

Don't know any connections as yet but surely must be somewhere along the line.

William Ridgers came to Tasmania on board the ship Wanderer arriving in

Hobart 13th Feb 1855. He was aged 25 years, Church of England religion,

could read, native place was Hampshire, trade a shepherd. He came with his

sister Elizabeth age 30, farm servant, & her husband William Rapley, farm

labourer of Berkshire. Both C of E and could read. The Rapley children who

travelled with their parents were Thomas age 10, William 5, George 2, & Ann

was born on the voyage out. They all came as assisted immigrants Cost 71

pounds 10 shillings for the Rapley family & 22 pounds for William. Walter

Synnott applied to bring them out and he would have paid for their passage

out. He would have been (haven't chased after Synott as yet) a landholder

in Tasmania. Labour was short at the time so the landholders paid the

passages out for the migrants. The migrants then worked for the landholder

for a time in payment for the passage.

Regards for now




This mail offered a solution to Elizabeth’s age.  As stated the children that travelled with Elizabeth were:~ Thomas (10), William (5), George (2) and Ann (0) born on the voyage.  Now firstly it seems a little strange that the it’s the second child that was named William like his father (William Rapley) rather than the first or none at all. And secondly with gaps of 3 and 2 years between 2nd, 3rd and 4th why is there a gap of 5 years between 1st and 2nd? It’s not as if family planning could have played a role in this! The current speculation is that the Thomas that travelled with Elizabeth and her husband was not their son at all but the son of John’s (J1) second wife Mary (M1) who was in fact Thomas White, not related to Elizabeth or her husband apart from being a sort of half-step-brother to Elizabeth. He would actually have been 10 or 11 in 1855!   [Recent document sent by Christine relating to Immigration details for Rapley family and William Ridgers says of Thomas Rapley (White):~


Entered on the Bounty ticket presented as 10 yrs but stated by father to be 12


Thomas White was born 1844 making him 11 in 1855. Would a man like William Rapley not know the age of his oldest son?  The fact that his confusion is recorded indicates that everything was suspicious at the point of entry.


Then Christine sent me a photograph of William taken around 1890,  and I compared that with William James Pelly (W3), my Grand father and posted in on this web site. you can see the comparison for yourself.   Click here


I have, today 06/01/03), picked up a copy of the Entry of Marriage for Elizabeth’s marriage to William Rapley dated 15th March 1852. Unfortunately both parties ages are given as ‘full age’.  Elizabeth’s father’s name is given as John Ridgers (Ridges) which is the last disconnection we needed to resolve.  QED!


I will attempt to keep this page up to date, things change by the hour at the moment!




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