LETTERS | Seeking Thomas’s modern relatives

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Next month is the 200th anniversary of Thomas Willis’s arrival at Port Jackson on the convict ship Isabella. In 1817, as a teenager, he was sentenced to seven years for stealing shoes. He left in 1818 and was assigned to a land-clearing party at Liverpool. By 1828, he was a free man in Sydney, working as a shoemaker. He wed Catharine Trainer in 1826 at St John’s Parramatta and had 11 kids, most of whom lived. Catharine was born here to two convicts. She died in Liverpool in 1871; Willis died in Liverpool in 1882. There’s a family lunch on September 15 at the Botanic Gardens. We’re working on a family tree.


katrinawillis@iinet.net.au or 0431 184 717 or 6284 4113