AUSIGEN - Family History

William Shelley

Male 1774 - 1815  (41 years)


Personal Information    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name William Shelley 
    Born 29 May 1774  Hanley, Staffordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Baptism 16 Jun 1775  Leek Parish Church, Staffordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Article


    • Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for:
      SHELLEY (SHELLY) WILLIAM (1774-1815), missionary and trader, was born on 29 May 1774 at Hanley, Staffordshire, England, where his family had long been associated with the local potteries He was apprenticed to a cabinet maker at Leek, joined the Congregational Church in 1794 and volunteered as an artisan missionary to the (London) Missionary Society He was one of the party which sailed in the Duff in 1796 with Rev J F Cover [q. v.] and was a member of the original mission to Tonga. When the Tongans killed three missionaries in 1799 he escaped and next year went to Sydney in the Betsy, in company with the Anna Josepha, navigated by Rev John Harris [q. v.] Shelley took up his residence with Rowland Hassall [q. v.] at Parramatta, commenced his own trade, and helped in the religious work of the settlement

      In March 1801 he left for England in the Royal Admiral in the hope of reopening the Tongan mission, but after arriving at Tahiti decided to join the mission there He returned to Sydney to marry Elizabeth Bean, daughter of a free settler, which he did on 7 October and returned to Tahiti next month While in the colony he impressed Samuel Marsden [q. v.] with the dangers to the mission of establishing a government colony at Tahiti and proposed that the pork trade should be conducted by the Missionary Society Shelley was deeply impressed with the need of a ship to support the mission by trade and, being dissatisfied with the organization of the mission, determined to work independently He returned to Sydney in the Lucy in April 1806, taking with him about forty gallons of rum made secretly at the mission still to use for barter Soon he entered into a commercial arrangement with John Macarthur and Garnham Blaxcell [q. v.] and engaged as supercargo in the Elizabeth, which had been bought to open trade in sandalwood with Fiji. However, Shelley sailed to Tahiti in the Harrington in January 1807 There he built the Halcyon, which he sent to Sydney with a cargo of pork, and in May he joined the Elizabeth, returning to Sydney in June and again in November, estimating that his own share was upwards of 1,000-pounds Convinced that a trading ship was essential if the mission was to prosper, and with plans to reopen the Tongan mission, he sailed for London in the Albion in November 1808, but he could not convince the directors that he was right, even though he had the help of Marsden, who was then in England

      Early in 1810 Shelley returned to New South Wales and next year opened a general store in York Street, Sydney In August 1812 he was granted 400 acres at Cabramatta and a town lease at Cockle Bay, but early in 1813 he closed his business and sailed from Sydney in May as master of the Queen Charlotte. In the Tuamotus the ship was seized by Raiatean pearl divers, three men were murdered and Shelley narrowly escaped with his life He recovered the ship at Tahiti and returned to Sydney in February 1814 with a large cargo of shells and 'as large a quantity of pearls as has ever yet been procured by a single vessel' It was probably during this voyage that Shelley left a European artisan at Tongatapu preparatory to reopening the mission there

      Resettling at Parramatta, Shelley conducted Congregational services in his house and commenced work among the Aboriginals He attempted to learn the language, took some children into his own family and addressed Governor Macquarie on 'the practicability of civilizing them. He was invited to draw up plans and in December was appointed superintendent and principal instructor of the Native Institution at Parramatta, the first of its kind in the colony However, after establishing the school, he died on 6 July 1815.

      According to Marsden, with whom he was on intimate terms, Shelley was a man 'of very comprehensive mind.' Macarthur described him as 'respectable and intelligent' Captain House found him an over 'busy' person, whilst to W. P. Crook [q. v.], he was 'bustling and active', with his heart set on this world' Macquarie described him as well qualified and a 'Moral, Well Meaning Man' Mrs Shelley continued the work of the institution, but despite Macquarie's interest it met with little success and was closed in 1826. Shelley's plans to reopen the Tongan mission were also abandoned, but later Mrs Shelley persuaded Rev Walter Lawry [q. v.] to reopen it She died on 20 September 1878. Two of their sons, William (1803-1845) and George (1812-1852), were among the pioneers of the Tumut district, taking their herds beyond the Nineteen Counties in 1829.
    Occupation 1800 
    a missionary and trader 
    Immigration 13 Feb 1800  Port Jackson, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • aboard the sailing ship Duff/Betsey
    Religion Church of England 
    Died 06 Jul 1815  Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried St John's Church of England, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I884  Mote/McInnes
    Last Modified 7 Jul 2006 

    Father John Shelley 
    Mother Elizabeth 
    Family ID F409  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Bean,   b. 31 Dec 1782, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Sep 1878, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 95 years) 
    Married 07 Oct 1801  St John's Church of England, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Charles Shelley,   b. 13 Feb 1803, Tahiti Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Mar 1807, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 4 years)
     2. William Shelley,   b. 04 Jan 1804, Tahiti Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Jan 1844, Goulburn, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 40 years)
     3. Lucy Shelley,   b. 29 Jun 1806, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 Oct 1888, Burwood, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years)
     4. Elizabeth Shelley,   b. 30 Oct 1808,   d. 11 Jan 1866, Bay of Biscay Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years)
     5. Mary Ann Shelley,   b. 12 Dec 1810, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Nov 1865, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
     6. George Shelley,   b. 12 Oct 1812, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 May 1852, Melbourne, VIC, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years)
     7. Rowland John Shelley,   b. 07 Dec 1814, Parramatta, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Jan 1888, Elizabeth Street, Ashfield, NSW, Australia, -33.8885698,151.1241979 Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
    Last Modified 17 Mar 2018 
    Family ID F395  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 29 May 1774 - Hanley, Staffordshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth