The Bednall Archive
Last updated 22/06/2012
So far three separate Bednall groups have been identified in Australia. but, so far, only one group of Badnalls The first Bednalls to set foot in the country do not , however, appear to have left any descendants there. Australian Timeline
Samuel Bednall was born in Hanbury, Staffordshire in 1804, the son of John Bednall and his wife Sarah nee Godwin and a grandson of William Bednall of Hanbury, Staffordshire and his wife Martha, nee Hawkesworth. He was thus a 3 x great, grandchild of William (1627-1700) and Sarah Badnall of Hanbury and Uttoxeter, the common ancestors many of the Bednalls of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and elsewhere, including Australia. The first 20 years of his life were characterised by poverty, the break up of the family home and the crimes that lead to him being transported to Tasmania. After a voyage of nearly 4 months he and 98 other convicts, landed in Hobart on the 22 November 1826 as convicts on ticket of leave. He completed his sentence in 1836 and in May 1837 applied for a pardon, which was granted on the King’s birthday. Sam remained in Tasmania until June 1848 when he sailed from Launceston to Sydney, Australia and subsequently returned to England, a reformed character and for the remainder of his life, lived a quiet life in the village of his birth. Samuel Bednall never married and (as far as is known) never had any children. For a brief account of his life see Samuel Bednall of Hanbury 1804-1881: A Brief Biography
John Bednall was the son of Thomas & Eleanor Bednall of Leicester and a grandson of William Bednall of Hanbury, Staffordshire (1734-1823) and his wife Martha, nee Hawkesworth. He was thus one of the 3 x great, grandchildren of William (1627-1700) and Sarah Badnall of Hanbury and Uttoxeter, the common ancestors of many Bednalls in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and elsewhere, including Australia. Discharged from the Royal Marines for mutiny, much of his life was characterised by the effects of a chronic drink problem and crimes that lead to him being transported, first to Bermuda and then to Tasmania. As far as is known, he never returned to England, never married and never had any children. The following article is a brief account of his life up to the date of the last record of him so far found: the actual date and place of his death are still unknown. For a brief account of his life see John Bednall of Hobart, 1809 to 1859: A Brief Biography
Conchologist, genealogist, journalist, editor and one of the founder s of the Royal Society of South Australia, William Tompson Bednall was the next Bednall to emigrate to Australia. He was born in Leicester, UK in 1838 and educated at the Philological School, London. He and his widowed mother Etheldreda, (nee Blore) emigrated to Australia in 1853. He obtained a post on the Adelaide newspaper The Register * where, except for a period as editor of Port Darwin newspaper, he remained until he retired in 1908. A conchologist of repute, he was particularly proud of two species that he discovered –Voluta bednalli and Murex bednalli. He also had a considerable reputation in the field of genealogy and so wide ranging were his interests that he is credited with being the first to attest 57 words in the Larrika language**. Today, his descendants constitute the majority of Australian Bednalls and in August 2003 they celebrated the 150th anniversary of their ancestor's arrival in Australia. For that event, our cousin Roger Bednall wrote a family history which he has kindly allowed us to post on this site. See also "The Ancestors of W. T.Bednall"
* The Register 1836-1931. A daily newspaper (the first in the State of South Australia) which was eventually taken over by the Advertiser.
**An aboriginal tribe of Northern Australia.
The Bednall's of Narrogin in Western Australia are the descendants of John Harrop Bednall who was born in Hanley, Staffordshire in 1879. He was the son of John Harrop and Catherine Bednall and his father was the brother of Peter Bednall, partner in the firm of Bednall & Heath of Hanley, potters. John's Army Record shows that when he joined up on 6 May 1916 he was 5' 3" tall, weighed 107 lbs and had blue eyes and brown hair. Initially appointed to the Army Reserve he was mobilised in October and became a private in the Royal Scots Guards. In April 1917 he was transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps, Aldershot and 3 months later sailed in Stephen for Archangel with the North Russia Expeditionary Force in September 1918. There he remained, working in the staff hospital until he embarked for home in August 1919. Demobilised on 1st September 1919, John returned to his wife and civilian life at 1 London Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
What it was that caused John and his wife Harriet Ann, née Leach, and their son Alan to emigrate to Freemantle, Australia in 1924 is not known but by 1925 they were living on Forrest Street, Narrogin and John then described himself as a potter. [NB Both Harriet and her son are referred to as potters, in the Australiana Magazine]. Eleven years later the directories show that they then lived on Williams Road, Narrogin and that John then worked for the local water company. His son Alan, described himself as "maker of the famous A.J.B. Cycles, Fortune Street, Narrogin". John died on 26 August 1962 at the age of 83 and Harriet on 12 May 1979 aged 88 followed 2 years later by their son. Alan had married and he and his wife Vida Jean had at least two children. .Descendants are thus believed to be still living in the Perth area.
Leonard John Bednall was born in Bridgewater, Somerset, one of the sons of Alfred Michael Bednall of Leicester, England. In the 1920s, Leonard emigrated to Australia and was living in Mowll Retirement Village, NSW when he died at the age of 72, on the 1st September1974*. Leonard's descendants still live in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia. The family's paternal family tree can be traced back to the Badnalls of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire and hence to the original origin of the Badnalls in the Eccleshall area of that county. They are thus cousins of all the Badnalls/Bednalls mentioned on this page with the exception of "The Other Badnalls of Australia".
*Sydney Morning Herald 03/09/1974
Charles Henry Fiennes Badnall was the son of enterprising one-time silk manufacturer, inventor and writer Richard Badnall and a great, great, grandson of silk dyer, William Badnall of Leek, Staffordshire. He was thus a 4 x great grandchild of William (1622-1700) and Sarah ( -1710) Badnall of Hanbury and Uttoxeter, the common ancestors many of the Bednalls of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and elsewhere, including Australia. Charles’ early life was influenced by the death of his father life when he was only 6 years old and the reduced circumstances in which the family subsequently lived. Following rustication from university he emigrated to Australia and was one of the early settlers of Heywood, Victoria. By turns school secretary, surveyor, shopkeeper, journalist and local politician, his personal qualities and work for the local church and community were such, as to make him “greatly-beloved by many in this town [Portland] and neighbourhood”. When he died “flags were shown on the masts of the town and ships in the bay at half-mast as a token of respect“. For a brief account of his life see Charles Henry Fiennes Badnall of Portland 1833-1885: A Brief Biography
Several Badnall families currently live in Australia but we have no further information about their family history -yet. One possibility is that they are related to Walter Badnall of London whose daughter Florence Alice Badnall who is said to have married Edward Killick in Peru, in 1930. [Please note: the link to the Killick details is slow] Their marriage was actually recorded in Fulham in the 2nd quarter of 1905 [vol. 1a, fol.688 ] and Florence's paternal family tree can be traced directly back to James Badnall of Soho, a tailor and his wife Hannah nee Hawkes.
Other Badnalls/Badnells may have emigrated to Australia, for example: on the 20 April 1861 the barque Kate of 341 tonnes, Master Philip Jones, arrived in Sydney from Auckland carrying amongst others a steerage passenger by the name of J. Badnell (see John Bednall above]. Who this person was is as yet unknown and further research is needed to identify all those early Badnall etc, settlers who moved to the Australia prior to the middle of the 20th century.