#52 Ancestors: Map it out

My favourite maps that I used to help work out the lives of my Shepherd ancestors is an old Southern Highlands map. The first map was created in 1830 when a plan of eight allotments were created at Bong Bong for Veterans from the battle of Waterloo. Pinpointing where they lived provided me with a major clue about their lives and the historical events that surrounded them.

bong bong 1

Veterans’ allotments at Bong Bong in 1830. State Library of NSW.

The veterans were offered an engagement in Australia for two years to help rid the countryside of bushrangers. The rates of pay were relatively generous and on discharge that received a free grant of land.  The eight allotments at Bong Bong were granted to William Chater, John Gilzan, Samuel Holmes, Enos McGarr, Christopher Rhall, Lynn Shepherd (my 3x great grandfather) and brothers Thomas and William Wood (my 4 x great grandfather).

Both my ancestors arrived with the Royal Veterans Corp within a year of each other. My 4x great grandfather, William Wood, arrived in 1825 on the ship the Catherine Stewart Forbes. He took up possession of his grant in 1839. My 3 x great grandfather, Lynn  Shepherd, arrived on board the Orpheus in 1826 and took possession of his grant in 1830.

Each allotment was of 80 acres between Eridge Park Road (then known as Old Bong Bong Road) and the Wingecarribee River. They were given rations for 12 months, and they had to remain on and cultivate the land for seven years before being granted ownership.

The next map I came across provides names on each allotment. It looks as if not all the Veteran grantees did not take up their land or found life too difficult on the harsh swampy land but both my ancestors continue to be listed as landholders.

bong bong map (2)

When I look at it against a map of today I can see why I feel so at home in this part of the world. Their allotments on what is now called Eridge Park Road are less than ten minutes walk from our back gate!

9 thoughts on “#52 Ancestors: Map it out

  1. Hi there,

    I was researching my direct ancestor William Wood and came across your post. He is my ggg grandfather. Im so happy that you have posted the maps of the land allotments. I have been to bong bong and I tried to find his allotments, I wasnt totally sure though that I found it. I went to the church and saw his and Ann’s grave as well. I live in West Australia. William came on the ship Amity to settle in the West from Sydney, when he first arrived in Australia. They named it Fredericks town now called Albany. Maybe you already know all this. My name is Kim (f). Kind regards

    • Thanks for your comment Kim. I don’t know a lot about William, my main focus has been on the Shepherd line. When I retired seven years ago we moved from Sydney to Bowral and I felt as if I had come home, not realising my ancestors’ connections to the area. Our house is only about ten minutes stroll from the sites that were granted to the war veterans. William is on my “to do” list but I am very easily distracted and he has been there for quite some time. I feel a bit ashamed to say even though we live nearby I haven’t even visited his grave yet. Do you have a tree on Ancestry that I could have a look at? Cheers Carol

      • HI Carol, Thanks for getting back to me. I have a tree on “my heritage” and I am very happy to invite you to it. I am interested to know how you are connected to William. My lineage is William/Joseph/Alfred/Colin/Kathleen/Myself. I have a very extensive tree. It is very worthwhile to visit the gorgeous white church and his and Annes grave. How would I go about inviting you to my family tree because I need an email address from you. Are you on Facebook and I can send a personal message to get your email address? I just had a quick look on facebook and are you the lady with the little dog as your profile pic? Kind regards Kim

      • I have sent you an invite to my family tree. Up in the top right hand corner you can search William Joseph Wood 1788-1854 and see the lineage down from there. I am William/Joseph/Alfred/Colin/Kathleen/Myself..Kim. So how are you related to William?

      • Thank you – I will have a look. This is my relationship to William … as you can see from the surnames, Webb and Shepherd there appears to have been a bit of intermarriage between the veterans.
        William Wood 1780-1854 (4th great-grandfather)
        Mary Ann Wood 1822-1896 (Daughter of William Wood)
        Harriet Webb 1840-1917 (Daughter of Mary Ann Wood)
        Charles Alfred Shepherd 1855-1897 (Son of Harriet Webb)
        Sarah Beatrice Shepherd 1886-1962 (Daughter of Charles Alfred Shepherd)
        Charles Godfrey Biggs 1916-2006 (Son of Sarah Beatrice Shepherd)
        Me (daughter of Charles Godfrey Biggs)

  2. Hello my name is Kerry and Lynn Shepherd is my gggg grandfather with his son John my ggg grandfather. have been tracing my family tree for a long while now and always am keen to learn more. My email is kerry_dyer@hotmail.com. I have done my DNA test with AncestryDNA and always happy to meet those I’m related to.

    Regards ,


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