Great, Great, Great...

The original William Ewins emigrated from Britain to New South Wales in the 1850s and ended up in the town of Armidale, where he lived for twenty years before moving to Fiji. When I was living in Canberra I did some genealogical research for my mother into my ancestor using microfilm at the National Library of Australia. Here’s some of what I found, to help show why I thought his name deserved reviving. All excerpts are from The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, a newspaper his subscription helped establish. Armidale at the time was a town of around 850 where a dozen eggs cost two shillings and a loaf of bread ninepence.

26 July 1856, no. 17

Evening School.—FROM the 14th July (Monday), MR. EWINS will receive EVENING PUPILS, between the hours of Seven and Nine, for instruction in Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, and Geography. Terms, 2s. 6d. per week.

2 January 1858, no. 92

Ginger Beer, Sugar Beer, &c.—SOLD, wholesale and retail, at W. EWINS’ Manufactory. Splendid Ginger Beer, one shilling per quart, three shillings per gallon, or three and sixpence per dozen bottles. Sugar Beer (the best in the town), one shilling per quart, three shillings per gallon, or ten shillings per dozen pint and a half bottles.

30 January 1858, no. 96

[A report on a local candidate’s speech and audience comments afterwards.]

Mr. EWINS called attention to the important subject of electoral reform, arguing that manhood suffrage was necessary; that representation based on population was indispensable; and that the ballot was requisite for the protection of voters, even in this colony. Universal suffrage had worked well in America, and even the working classes of England had shown by their orderly conduct that they might be safely entrusted with the privilege (hear, hear). The land system should embrace the right of selection, ignore sale by auction, and include deferred payments (cheers). In dealing with the suffrage, it should not be given to those who had been convicted of crime, or of drunkenness (uproar, hisses, and cries of “chair”).

24 April 1858, no. 108

FIREWOOD.—The undersigned, having on hand a Large and Well-seasoned Stock, is prepared to supply it on the same day as ordered. WILLIAM EWINS.

27 November 1858, no. 139

One Pound Reward.—THE above will be paid by the undersigned to any one who will deliver to him a WHITE COW of his (with increase), branded JR conjoined near rump, and not very legible E near side. Last seen on the Five Mile Plain near the Mihi Creek road. WILLIAM EWINS

4 December 1858, no. 140

Armidale National School.—MR. W. EWINS begs respectfully to intimate that he will RE-OPEN a SCHOOL for DAY PUPILS on the first Monday in the new year. The advertiser’s ability as a teacher has been already tested in this town, and the general satisfaction which he has had the pleasure of giving he will do his utmost considerably to increase. All the essentials of a good sound English education will be taught. The School will be conducted in the house lately occupied by Mr. Harris, fronting the Market-Square. Terms—Two Shillings per week each pupil, to be paid in advance. Armidale, Dec. 1, 1858.

Languages.—MR. W. EWINS begs respectfully to inform parents desirous to have their children learn GERMAN and FRENCH that he would attend pupils at their homes after Four p.m., and instruct them in those languages. Also youths intended for an East Indian career he would instruct in Hindustani. The advertiser, when in England, was twice honoured with the offer of the Professorship of Hindustani in the Honourable East India Company’s college at Adiscomb. Terms—Two shillings per hour each pupil. Armidale, Dec. 1, 1858.

24 September 1859, no. 182

School of Arts, Armidale.—THE Reading Room and Library of the School of Arts are now opened Every Evening from Five to Ten o’clock, Sundays excepted. The Reading Room is supplied with the best English and Colonial Newspapers, Periodicals, &c.; while the Library contains many works of great interest by British, French, and American authors. Subscribers can now have the loan of any book for a period not exceeding seven days. W. EWINS, Secretary.
P.S.—Any works that gentlemen can spare from their own libraries for the use of the Institution will be thankfully accepted by the Committee.

24 March 1860, no. 201


THE anniversary of Hibernia’s patron saint was celebrated for the first time in Armidale, in an enthusiastic and harmonious manner, on Saturday evening last, by a public dinner at Mrs. Molloy’s, Wellington Inn, a portion of the building used for the present as a police office having been partitioned off, by kind permission of the Police Magistrate.... 48 sat down to dinner. A few others were absent—some from indisposition and others from a very groundless fear that something unpleasant would occur, owing to past political differences. A more harmonious reunion, however, could not possibly have taken place, and the evening passed rapidly without a jarring note to cause the slightest discord....

Mr. W. Ewins, in responding to the toast, said it had been the fashion that evening for gentlemen in rising to speak to regret their inadequacy to do justice to their task, but he had heard speeches of great ability, and felt a difficulty in responding to the toast in the manner he could desire. Civil and religious liberty was a subject which had received close attention from the greatest and best men; it had rendered Great Britain remarkable among nations; it was through the possession of civil and religious liberty that those now present had been enabled to meet that evening; there were no potentates in Great Britain to prevent her sons leaving their native land, in order to improve their condition; and civil and religious liberty had peopled this colony. And where could they find one who had done more for the principle than that great man Daniel O’Connell had effected? He had been already referred to as a most sincere friend of religious liberty and of civil liberty as well, and he was happy to endorse the sentiment. The exertions of Daniel O’Connell had produced great benefits for Ireland, and had borne fruit also in other countries. No man had any right to coerce another into the adoption of his opinions; for if God gave him a mind to think for himself, why should he not be at liberty to exercise it? He was not one to say otherwise than that liberty should be enjoyed in accordance with the laws, but the person who wished to behave well to his fellow man deserved that liberty in a very extended form. Anarchy, confusion, and strife, brought no good; but if evils were felt, peaceful means, however slowly they might progress, should be resorted to for their repeal. Bloodshed gave no advantage to any man, and due obedience to laws should be inculcated until, if these were found to be wrong, they could be removed by moral pressure. As the sabbath was approaching, he should conclude by stating that he most cordially responded to the toast. The speaker then resumed his seat after being cheered throughout his address.

13 April 2007 · Journal

This was bloody brilliant, what a character! I loved the WHITE COW bit.

Added by shauna on 13 April 2007.

Me too.

(What a shame. All that enterprise and forward-thinking, and all Shauny and I do is talk about cows.)

I do not entirely understand people who have no interest in their ancestors. (But I don't meet many of those, since I work in archives...)

Added by K on 13 April 2007.

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