All material kindly prepared and collected by Barry Riley in Australia,
our thanks to him and his family.
Eli Bonham 12.5.1828 – 12.3.1914 Eli’s father, William Bonham (1778-1856) lived in Yardley Gobion; he married three times. 1. Elizabeth Cross (1777-1816), married in 1802 and had six children 2. Mary Travill (1792-1836), married in 1816 and had nine children 3. Sarah East (1799-1868), married in 1837 and had three children Eli and his sister Mary Agnes left Yardley Gobion and sailed from Plymouth on the ‘Fairlie’ on April 30, 1848, as assisted immigrants. They arrived in New South Wales on August 7, 1848, a trip of ninety-nine days. The ship’s report showed that they were in good health, neither could read or write, Mary’s occupation was a Lacemaker and Eli’s as a Farm Labourer. After landing in the Colony they made their way to Kelso, a town near Bathurst, NSW. This is over the mountains from Sydney and as there was little transport at that time, the trip was most likely by bullock dray. George Briant (also from Yardley Gobion), a widower with four children was on the same ship; he and Mary married three months after they arrived. On January 20, 1850, Eli married Dinah Burton/ Bierton. Dinah was born in Bierton, lived in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. With her parents, two brothers and three sisters she travelled to Cork, Ireland and boarded the ‘Elizabeth’ as assisted immigrants. They arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney on April 29, 1844, they also settled in the Bathurst area. After settling in Kelso Eli initially worked as a carrier. In 1865, he purchased 50 acres of land at Duramana (near Kelso) for twelve pounds ten shillings ($25.00). This was farming land and they struggled with droughts, later Eli bought some adjoining property. The house they built was still standing until it was destroyed by fire in the 1990s. Dinah and Eli had twelve children; William, George, Job, Mary Jane, John, Sarah, Peter, James, Henry, Dinah, Fanny and Lena. Sarah was my grandmother. Eli; born May 12, 1828, died on March 12, 1914. Dinah; born November 24, 1832, died on October 10, 1915. In 1986, a reunion was held for the descendants of Eli and Dinah at Bathurst Show ground. ‘The Western Times’ reported that over 800 people attended and that Eli and Dinah had twelve children, seventy four grandchildren and at least 1744 descendants. Many of these descendants still live in the Bathurst area. I wonder what that illiterate Farm Labourer who left Yardley Gobion in 1848 would have thought of that. Barry Riley firstname.lastname@example.org