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Week 20 Farquhar Morison #52ancestors

May 10, 2020

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. I am happily taking up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, that will collate many years of research results. In most cases, the research for my ancestors is not complete, and possibly never will be complete, but I’m hoping to build a story of the lives they lived with the information I have to hand. I’m hoping to publish these stories in a book at the end of 2020. Each week a prompt will be given as the theme for the week.

Week 20: Travel

My great great grandfather FARQUHAR MORISON was born on 07 November 1820, the second eldest of eleven children, born to WILLIAM MORISON AND JENNAT MacRAE. He was born at Glenshiel, Ross-Shire, Scotland.

Farquhar emigrated to Australia in 1848 during the potato famine. He was aged 26 and unmarried, when he left Scotland to start a new life.  Farquhar travelled to Australia, as an assisted passenger, on ‘The Blonde’, leaving Portsmouth, England on 20 June 1848, and arriving at Port Phillip, on 15 October 1848. The Blonde was a 610 ton barque, captained by Mark Todd, and carrying several passengers in cabins and 241 assisted emigrants. During the 117 day voyage, there were two births and two deaths. The doctor on board was surgeon, Dr. John West Miller and the matron appointed by immigration commissioners was Mrs. Mary A. Campbell, of County Down, a widow and seamstress. Mrs. Campbell was found, by Captain Mark Todd, to be careless in her duties, and officials refused to pay her gratuity.

Farquahar Morrison was appointed schoolmaster for the voyage, and was paid a wage of five shillings. It’s probably not at all surprising that he took on this task, as his father, William, was the schoolmaster of the parochial school in Glenshiel. After the death of William, other Morison family members took on the role.

When Farquhar arrived in Australia he was employed by Dr. D.C. Stoddart at Lake Coolac, Victoria. The term of his employment was to be six months, with an annual wage of 20 shillings.

Farquhar Morison was appointed inaugural Head Teacher to the Colac National School and also to Smeaton’s Plains State School (no 869).


National Records of Scotland: Old Parish Registers Births 067/20 22 Glenshiel page 22.
Vision and Realisation: A Centenary History of State Education in Victoria(Education Department of Victoria 1973)
Graham Sleeth fellow family researcher
Further reading: The Somerset Years by Florence Chuk, Pennant Hill Publications, 1987

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  1. Graham Sleeth permalink

    Hi Jen

    We have a problem. Farquhar was at the Colac National School before his appointment at Smeaton Plains. He was actually the inaugural principal at both schools, but at Colac first.

    Kind regards,


    On Mon, 11 May 2020, 7:29 PM Tracking Down The Family wrote:

    > Jennifer Jones posted: “Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson > Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to > write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. I am happily taking > up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, t” >

  2. I realise the potato famine did not only affect Ireland but am interested if you think it was a major reason for Farquhar Morrison to emigrate from Scotland.

    • This is an interesting question Anne. He lived in the Scottish Highlands, but he actually came a few years before the Highland Emigration Scheme. Perhaps he saw hard times coming and the opportunity for a better life. As far as we know,
      he was the first person in his family to emigrate to Australia. I would love to know the answer. Sorry Anne, that I’ve taken so long to reply. We’ve only just got our phone and internet back after many days.

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