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Bryant Family History


On the right the Bryant brothers who emigrated to Australia. They are from left to right -

Benjamin Bryant b.1851

Robert Ford Bryant b.1841

Joseph Bryant b.1849

sons of Joseph & Anna Bryant nee Ford

In the Beginning
Bryant Family Story
Drake Reunion in Westralia
Death of Benjamin Bryant
Capt Benj Bryant at the Premier Gold Mine WA
Genealogy 2


John Bryant 1724 - 1784 & Mary Bryant

Daniel Bryant 1767
Joseph Bryant 1770
Jane Bryant 1773

Alexander Bryant 1775 - 1841 married Grace Rodda


1. William Bryant 1806
2. Grace Bryant 1808 - 1879
3. Benjamin Bryant 1809 - 1867
4. Alexander Bryant 1810 - 1884
5. Joseph Bryant1816 - 1877 married Anna Ford
6. Benjamin Bryant 1821 - 1857
7. Jane Bryant 1828 - 1907


Catherine Bryant 1780-1781


Following is an account written by William Lemin included in the Bryant Family History Book

In The Beginning

Everything must have a beginning. The Bryant heritage began when the Normans introduced the name of Breton origin to England in 1086 AD. Like all surnames Bryant has experienced a variety of different spellings throughout the centuries beginning with Briendus De Scal (1086 Ad) and changing into four different spellings in the one family from 1767 to 1780 as shown in the baptismal register of the Parish of St Hilary, Cornwall, when the children of John and Mary Bryant were baptized and their third son Alexander, being the only child to carry the present spelling of the surname, BRYANT.

It is believed that our Bryant forebears came to Cornwall from Ireland and without doubt our forebears lived and worked in the Parishes of St Hilary and St Perranuthnoe, Cornwall, their abodes being in the villages and hamlets of, and surrounding St Hilary and Goldsithney where they married into other village families.

Bryant men were mainly typical Cornish tin and copper miners all their working lives, Joseph (b1816), ending his working career as a silver lead miner at St Teath, Cornwall.

Three of his five sons emigrated to Australia and became very prominent in gold mining. Five of his daughters also came to Australia, making a total of eight emigrants, leaving six in Cornwall of whom only one daughter and one son predeceased him. Joseph Bryant married Anna FORD and had fourteen children. Robert Ford Bryant, eldest son of the family was pushing rail trucks in the mines at nine years of age. His two brothers, Joseph and Benjamin also started work in Cornish mines at ten years and their wages were 10 shillings per month but academical education in their adulthood in Australia enabled them to achieve a high proficiency as mine captains, mining engineers, mine managers and consultants and eventually, for Robert Ford and Joseph Bryant, mine ownership. Back to the TOP

The Bryant Story

Robert Ford Bryant was born in Goldsithney, Cornwall, but lived at Altarnum for nearly twenty years before returning to live at Goldsithney after his marriage and then emigrating to Australia. The last entry in his family bible reads: "Left London for Victoria in the ship "Winifred" 1st January 1864, amidst the prayers and tears of our parents". One can imagine the small family group on a London wharf in mid winter, sharing"goodbye forever" hugs and kisses to loved ones they would never see again. And so the first of the family exodus from their beloved Cornwall began - the eldest son, his young wife (a farmer's daughter) and their seventeen months old son, John Venning Bryant, where to embark on a voyage around the Cape of Good Hope where icebergs were sighted, and south of Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, on board ship, positioned latitude 50 36deg. south and longitude 113 10 deg. east, the second child, Robert Ford Bryant jnr. was born on 23 March 1864. The ship berthed in Melbourne on April 7, 1864 and the young family faced up to the pioneering years ahead. They went to Ballarat and lived in close proximity to "Big" Uncle Ben who in the meantime had married Sarah Kent. Also an emigrant from Cornwall.

The 1860's saw a world price slump for copper and thousands of Cornish miners and their dependants were forced to find a living in the far flung outposts of the empire and over the next ten or fifteen years two more of Robert Ford Bryant's brothers, Joseph and Benjamin followed to find fame and fortune on the Australian goldfields. Joseph came on the ship 'White Star' in 1867, while his brother Benjamin was on the 'Colonial Enterprise" in 1871. Their five sisters who came to Australia, never to return to Cornwall, were Jane, Grace, Mary Ann, Marianna and Anna. Of the fourteen children born to Joseph and Anna Bryant and to Joseph and Anna themselves, tragic deaths in every family occurred. Joseph and Anna lost their daughter Anna aged three years and their youngest son William aged twenty one years.

Joseph lived a hard working life as an underground miner and died at St Teath, Cornwall, from chronic pneumonia, in his 60th year. Anna's mother and father were both dead before she married Joseph Bryant in 1838. Anna was a redhead, autocratic, strict in her upbringing of her own children and grandchildren, a dedicated needlewoman who made all the outer and inner garments for her children and in later years, for her daughter Emily's children in Goldsithney. Anna was baptized, married and buried at Perranuthnoe, a small coastal village , half a mile from Goldsithney, not far from St Michael's Mount and Penzance. At the time of her marriage she could not write but Joseph signed his name in the register.

Marianna Bryant and her first husband Timothy Kent whom she married in Altarnun Parish Church, Cornwall, on May 6, 1869 before sailing for Australia in company with her youngest sister Anna Ford Bryant, then fourteen years of age, in the ship "Glenmark" of 953 tons, leaving Plymouth, England, on the 6 August 1869 and arriving Melbourne in November, 1869. Anna Ford Bryant lived with Robert Ford Bryant and his wife, helping with domestic duties whilst the Kent family went to Stawell, Victoria and where Timothy died in 1876 and where Marina married the second time to Mark Dawe her widower brother-in-law. There were three children born to Timothy and Marina, one son and two daughters and one daughter born to Mark and Marina. Grace Dawe after living only nine weeks in Victoria, and her new born daughter Grace died a few days later and both are buried in New Cemetery at Ballarat. Her brother Joseph also suffered tragic losses with the death of his two wives both thirty years of age. Joseph was left a widower with six children, five of the first marriage and one daughter of the second marriage. The only son, Thomas Gilbert Bryant, was an outstanding rifle shot in his younger days and represented Australia in England. He was also a champion swimmer and played football with Ballarat league.

"Little" Uncle Benjamin's third son Joseph Symons Bryant, was champion athlete of Ballarat College at seventeen years of age, fought in the Boer War, represented Australia in the Army contingent that went to London for Queen Victoria's Jubilee and also fought and was wounded in World War 1. Another son John Clarence Bryant, was awarded a civil OBE in 1950 and a civil CBE in 1961 for voluntary welfare work to North Borneo's indigenous people.

Mary Ann Boundy was widowed after fifteen years of marriage and died herself at the age of sixty five years. She is buried in New Ballarat Cemetery. Anna Ford Welch lived till she was ninety years of age leaving some famous Cornish sayings behind her. ("I feel all cliggy and clammy" and "Lips that touch liquor will never touch mine"). At seventeen years of age she poked out one of her eyes by using a fork to undo a bootlace.

Anne Bickle lost her eldest son at St Teath, Cornwall when he fell down a mine shaft at thirteen years of age and he is buried next to his grandfather Joseph Bryant. Anna Bryant bereft of husband and two deceased children and eight children living in Australia, one blind grandson who died in his teens and one still born grandchild, lived out the latter years of her life in what the Bryants called "the Old Home" in Goldsithney, in company with her unmarried sister-in-law Jane Bryant and her own daughter Emily Perfect, who was then legally separated from her husband. Anna was amply provided for by her children and died at eighty-four years of age and she was buried in St Perran's churchyard. Joseph is buried in St Teath's churchyard (No 2 burial ground across lane from the church)

John Bryant in London, was Managing Director of Morgan & Co., Coachbuilders of renoun and high repute with their works at Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire. He was also a freeman of the City of London, married twice, his eldest son emigrating to South Africa in 1898 and became prominent in mining and for services to the public. His descendants still live in Zimbabwe and South Africa. His daughter by his second marriage, Phyllis Ford Bean still lives in Surrey and has many photographs and invaluable information of the family. Her nephew's wife, Margot Glover did much research in England on the Bryant family. Back to the TOP

"Unless a man knows his past no man knows himself because a man's most treasured possession, his most valued asset, is his name".


It is fitting and proper to remember in the Bryant family story, the pioneers of the 19th century were the products of hard working Cornish folk, forthright in their manner and blessed with a spirit of adventure and endowed with a physical virility that enabled them to survive in difficult periods of time. We know that Alexander Bryant and his wife Grace Rodda remained in Cornwall, both are buried in St Perran's churchyard, Perranuthnoe.

We know their youngest son Benjamin, led the way to Australia in 1854 for his brother Joseph's three sons and five daughters to follow him. We know tis Benjamin and his wife Sarah buried two of their three children who died at an early age in Ballarat. We know Robert Ford Bryant and his wife, Mary Venning buried five sons under the age of seventeen years, leaving eight to survive out of thirteen children. Benjamin Bryant and his wife Catherine Mary Davies bore twelve children, three of whom died in infancy

The two Ballarat cemeteries contain many of the graves of the pioneers to Australia, but Joseph Bryant and his two wives, Elizabeth and Selina are buried in Clunes cemetery, Victoria, 20 odd miles northwest of Ballarat. Benjamin his brother, is interred at Karrakatta cemetery, Perth, Western Australia, as are other members of his family, but his wife Catherine Mary Davies, is buried at Tenterfield, New South Wales. Grace, Marina and Mary Ann are buried in New Cemetery Ballarat as is probably their sister Jane. Anna Ford Welch is buried in Coburg cemetery, Melbourne, whilst Robert Ford Bryant and "Big" Uncle Ben and his wife Sarah and two of their children are all interred in the "Old" Cemetery Ballarat.

A family tree is aptly described since it conjures up the image of an ancient, beautiful tree. It tells the story of the ages it has seen and is still seeing, and contains the dead limbs and branches of years past as well as the living parts of today.

We all contribute to the continued health and growth of this gracious old tree, our family.


Back to the TOP

As reported in the Tenterfield Star (Newspaper)

Wednesday 15 May - departure from Drake of B Bryant .

Saturday 21 April 1894 - death of baby daughter of Mr & Mrs Bryant aged 9 weeks.

9 October 1919 - Drake reunion in Westralia

The returning of Lieut Ben Bryant and his brothers from the firing line, including Jack Bryant of "HMAS Australia" after a Nth Sea Experience was happily made the occasion of a family gathering at the mother's home, Leederville, Perth. Some 35 guests sat down to dinner - a typical Australian one at that. Glorious wattle blooms and flowers that Western Australia is noted for, adorned the nicely set table. It was indeed a Drake reunion - a representative gathering - many of the young folk having been born there and migrating with their parents during the gold fever of a score years back and growing up i the good old west. Judging the function from the display of Khaki and the rank of some of the wearers of it, the old mining town of the Adeline Battery has every reason to be proud of those representing it. And old "Fairfield" got a deserving toast. Many stories were told of the Drake district, event to events in which old Boney the black figured. The old town was represented at the festive board by Mr & Mrs Bob Davies and their two returned soldier sons, Mrs Bell (nee Mickle) and daughters, Miss E O Watt, Mr & Mrs R Flanders & family, Mrs Bryant & family (6). After extending felicitous greetings to the returned boys and complimenting Mrs Bryant on the gathering of old time friends, an adjournment was made to Herdsman's Lake where amidst a fairy land of wild flowers and in the most picturesque spot imaginable, the Warriors doffed the military equipment and donned cricket and sporting accessories. The Bryant boys are some swank when it comes to football and cricket over our way, so it was suggested to put in some of the time at this recreation. The ladies joined in, but when it came to making the fire they put the wood on much better than when they were batting.

The evening enjoyment was continued till a late hour at "Vitherline" the home of Mr & Mrs Flanders and was kept going till some one called out;

"Change here for Sandy Hills and Tabulum, Harry's humby's coast is at the front".

Mrs R Flanders (nee Miss K Ware) acted as hostess and gave the large party a splendid time ........

Report continued with a list of songs sung. Back to the TOP

(Tenterfield Star, Sept., 1910)



The adjourned inquiry concerning the death of Benjamin Bryant, 59 years of age, who died on September 11 as a result of injuries received whilst working in a sewer at East Perth, on September 2, was continued yesterday afternoon before Mr H J Holland, J.P., acting coroner and a jury. Sergeant Kingston conducted the inquiry, and Mr A D Stone for the Crown. Joseph Bennett, an engineer, said that on September 2 he was in charge of the sewerage works in Primrose street, at East Perth. On that day about half-past 10 deceased was working in a trench timbering. Witness was about three yards from the trench, and heard a click. He knew that some steel girders had to be removed. In removing the girders a traversing jack had also to be removed. He produced a plan of the jack. After hearing the click he looked down the trench and saw Bryant in the bottom seemingly unconscious. The trench was about 1 ft deep. Bryant was badly cut on the left side of the head and was bleeding. Dr Officer, who was called to the scene, ordered Bryant to be removed to the hospital. Witness could not say how Bryant received the injuries.

To a Jury man: there was nothing lying on the deceased's head. The jack was lying about four feet away from Bryant. It was the deceased's duty to release the jack, and he had often done so. The weight of the jack was approximately 35 lb.

To Mr Stone: Deceased was cautioned to be careful when removing the jack.

To a Jury man: The steel girders could not fall when the jack was released.

Dr Tymms, superintendent of the Perth Public Hospital, said that when Bryant was admitted to the institution on September 2 he was suffering from severe scalp wounds, and was unconscious. He afterwards became more unconscious, and became paralysed in the left arm and leg, and became comatose. Bryant died on September 11. He made a post-mortem examination, and had come to the conclusion that the cause of death was coma, subsequent on laceration and concussion of the brain. The injuries could have been caused by a fall from a height or else by something falling on him.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence to show how the accident occurred.


BRYANT - At Perth on September 12th BENJAMIN BRYANT late manager of Adeline and Mascott Mines, Drake and father of Mrs Leonard Smith, Tenterfield.


The many friends in Tenterfield and Drake of Captain Bryant, late manager of the Adeline and Mascott mines Drake, will regret to hear of his death, which took place yesterday at Perth, Western Australia. Mrs Leonard Smith, of this town, is a daughter of deceased. We extend our sympathy to the relatives in their berevement.