Published on November 26th, 2009 | by Daniel Boyle0
Windellama Historical Society – Hockey Family History
There was a writeup of the arrival of Thomas Hockey and Margaret Jane Hockey (nee Warrington), based on research by Max Laidley. They were some of the earliest settlers in the Windellama area between Goulburn and Nerriga. Through the Warrington side of things we can make connections to the Simpson family and on to Edward Boyle and his line, while the Hockey side of things can connect to various Kennedy and McGrath connections in the greater area around Braidwood, Nerriga, Tarago, Goulburn etc.
This issue of the Windellama newsletter can be seen online.
One of the early settlers to the district was
Thomas Hockey and his wife Margaret nee
Knowland. Thomas was the son of a convict
John Hockey who received his ticket of leave
whilst working in what is now the Dapto/Albion
Park area. Thomas made the original purchase
of the property now known as ‘The Willows’.
The following is from the Hockey Family
History compiled by Max Laidley, one of
Thomas & Margaret Jane lived at Terrys
Meadows until some time after the first of their
11 children were born at the end of 1860.
Then, as explained more fully in Chapter 2,
they moved to the Nowra district & sometime
later they moved to the Nerriga district before
settling at Windellama (around 1870) for the
rest of their lives.
Samuel Hockey, the older half-brother of
Thomas, had married Mary Ryan at Dapto in
1848, & she was a cousin of Thomas’ wife
Margaret Jane, so the two families had strong
ties. They moved about together searching for
gold with some success before settling at
The movements of the Hockey family are not
well documented but it seems that both
Thomas & Samuel found some gold & then
decided to become farmers at Windellama
sometime before 1867. Both were residents of
Shoalhaven River in the Nerriga district and of
Windellama until 1870. Then they were of
At Windellama, Thomas settled at Little
Budgong Creek (more generally known as
Connors Creek), built a slab house there &
raised sheep. But it wasn’t until 1878 that
Thomas owned his land at Connors Creek.
In 1886 Thomas also had grazing land at
Charleyong south west of Nerriga & he then
added to his holdings at Connors Creek by
purchasing Portion 1 in the Parish of
Mullengullenga, County of Argyle, at a cost of
£16/13/4. This 40 acre block of land was at the
source of Connors Creek which flowed east
through the land he had already acquired
downstream. Altogether he btained 5 blocks in
Mullengullenga & 13 blocks in Cullulla, a total
of 740 acres, mostly along the banks of the
creek. It is not known if Thomas raised any
other animals or traded with the miners like his
half-brother Samuel did.
Thomas & Margaret’s original slab house at
Connors Creek had only 2 rooms. The kitchen
was a separate building & there was a large
outdoor oven for baking bread. Later a
dormitory with 3 bedrooms & a bathroom was
built near the house to accommodate the
children as the family grew. Other buildings
included storerooms, a milking shed for 1 cow,
a small shearing shed & pens for sheep. All
these buildings were in a cluster on high
ground quite close to the creek but above
flood level. Rain water collected from the roofs
was stored in galvanized iron tanks for
drinking but creek water was used for washing
& for gardens.
Thomas’ brother-in-law Edward Warrington,
lived at Connors Creek in a hut at the western
end of the property in what came to be known
as Neddies’ paddock. He lived there for a few
years with his wife & family before he died in
Thomas spent a lot of his time mining for gold
at Yellow Springs Creek where he had a hut.
Yellow Springs Creek flowed into the
Shoalhaven River well to the east of Connors
Creek and west of Nerriga. Sometimes
Thomas only had his dog for company but at
other times he would go with a neighbour or
one of his sons. Sometimes he would use a
wheelbarrow to carry his tools and food. At
other times he would take a dray. While there
he would make damper as he did not like
bread. He is reputed to have found lots of gold
in his mine.
Once while there with Dave Sturgiss a piece of
timber in the mine fell, hitting Thomas on the
head and damaging his nose which later
became cancerous. He then took to wearing a
cloth cover over his nose.
Thomas and Margaret lived at Connors Creek
for the remainder of their lives. Thomas died on
13 June 1916 & Margaret died on 10 July
1919. They were buried at Windellama
Cemetery near Samuel & Mary.
All their children left home and became
independent of their parents as they married,
except for George Henry the youngest son. He
remained to manage the property as his father
spent more time searching for gold & the
property passed to him after Thomas died.
No great fortunes were made from the property
or from gold. When there were poor returns
from the wool, families were close to poverty &
when the returns were good, the money was
used to pay debts, to improve the property and
to buy a few small luxuries.
The original buildings remained in use until the
1950’s and the property was sold by George’s
son Reg who had worked it after George died
in 1949. The new owners named it ‘The
Willows’ as there were several willow trees
growing on the creek banks near the house. To
the west of the woolshed there were pine trees
forming a windbreak. In good seasons the
homestead area looked quite pretty. The
temperature ranged from freezing to very hot.