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James Stirling

James Stirling

The Parish Register of Ash St Peter and that of Stoke next Guildford show some interesting entries relating to Henley Park.Ash - Baptism June 15th 1833. Received into the Church Frederick Henry, son of James Stirling and Ellen of Henley Park, Knight and Governor of Western Australia. Born at sea 26th March 1829 and baptised 19th April 1829 at Cape of Good Hope. Mary, daughter born at sea 11th October 1832 baptised St Helena, 20th October 1832. Stoke - Baptism 19th January, 1834. Charles Edward, son of Sir James Stirling and Lady Stirling, born on board ship at Spithead, Governor of Swan River Colony.

Andrew Stirling was tenant at Henley Park (1818 - 1822). After this H.W.R.W Halsey of Henley married one of his beautiful daughters. In the meantime his fifth son, Captain James Stirling RN (1791- 1865), became involved in Colonial exploration. Captain (later Sir James Stirling), had a long and distinguished naval career. He entered the service in 1803 at the age of twelve and rose through the ranks to Rear Admiral in 1851 and a full Admiral in 1862. He was the first Governor of Western Australia (1829-1838). He and his pioneer group were responsible for laying the foundations of Perth, Fremantle and the Market-town named "Guildford" that is now a suburb of Perth. Capt. James Stirling and Brother-in-law, Captain William Preston RN, married daughters of the local Mangles family of Woodbridge, Guildford. In 1829 they assembled a team of pioneers from the local Parishes of Pirbright and Worplesdon. It is stated that "two RN Captains paid for the passage of the group and that a wooden house was assembled at Capt Preston's home at Sutton Green". This was re-erected near the Swan River, W. Australia and became the Governors home. It was called "Woodbridge" after the Mangles home near Guildford, Surrey. (Who said that "flat pack" was invented by MFI?)

The pioneer group sailed on the "Parmelia", under Captain J.H. Luscombe, out of Spithead on the 6th February 1829 and arrived at Garden Island, W. Australia the 31st May. The pioneers included Capt and Mrs James Stirling and their son Andrew, George Mangles, George and James Elliott, a storekeeper, servants, harbour master, surgeons, surveyors, a horticulturist, a cooper, bricklayer, smith and boat builder - The perfect team for a pioneer settlement - 69 souls in all.

On a local note, the two Captains, father and mother in law, James and Mary Mangles are buried in Wyke Churchyard near the Western end of St Marks Church, Wyke and there is also a memorial tablet within the Church.

I wish to acknowledge my thanks to Eric Marsh and Norman Ratcliffe for assistance with the research.

Christopher John Pettitt

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