Distant Relatives

February 11, 2020

Mayflower Macleod Residents Bob Bird and David Roberts first met back in 2009 when David moved into Crystal Brook Caravan Park in Doncaster East.

Macleod 3

A chance comment at a BBQ a few years later revealed that the two men were in fact related. Distant 4th cousins, they shared the same Great, Great, Great, Great Grand-Parents, Nathaniel Lucas and Olivia Gascoigne.

Nathaniel and Olivia travelled to Australia on the First Fleet as ‘indentured servants’ and due to their ‘character and vocation’ were selected along with 13 others to accompany Lieutenant Governor Phillip Gidley King to form a colony on Norfolk Island, thereby securing the small island for the British Empire.

Finding love on the voyage, Nathaniel and Olivia were married within weeks of their arrival in a civil ceremony. They were married by the island’s surgeon, Thomas Jamison, as there was no minister on the island at the time. The later solemnised marriage resulted in 13 children with their first child, Ann, believed to be the first child born on Norfolk Island.

After 15 years on the island, the family moved to Sydney with two prefabricated windmills, one for the Government and one for themselves. As a result, Nathaniel is known as the first miller in Australia.

Bob Bird, a descendant of Nathaniel and Olivia’s sixth child, Olivia, became aware of his ancestry in 2001 with the publication of the first edition of the book A Nation within a nation – the Lucas clan in Australia, edited by a relative, Peter McKay.

David Roberts, a descendant of Nathaniel and Olivia’s eighth child, James, was unaware of his ancestry until 2004 when a chance discovery by his first cousin, Judith Lagstom, revealed the genealogy of the family.

Since then, Bob and David both moved into independent living units at Mayflower Macleodand enjoy celebrating their shared past and distant family connection.

The Lucas Clan in Australia, as descendants of Nathaniel and Olivia are generally known, is recognised as one of the largest clans in Australia. In 2001, the known living descendants of this family reached 25,584 representing 0.16 per cent of the Australian population in that year. Imagine remembering all those birthdays!

In 2008 David, who is quite proud of his family’s past, joined a group of 150 people to visit Norfolk Island to re-enact the first landing at Emily Bay and celebrate his heritage.

David is particularly active in the Macleod community, editing the resident’s newsletter and assisting with the gardening around the community hub.