Frederick Manton & Marie Emilie Blanchard

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]orn on the 21 Nov 1799 in London Frederick was the 5th babe of Mary Ann Aitken and Joseph Manton

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey are the first record I have of Frederick.

On 27 Jan 1821 there was burglary at Manton home – towels, tablecloths, clothes brush and a hat as well as Frederick’s 6 shirts valued at 40 shillings being stolen (His brothers Joseph jnr and Henry also had the shirts taken) For this 2 men were sentenced to death and 2 women to 14 years transportation.

At the age of 22 he joined his father’s gun making business, and at 25 he was sent to establish his father’s firm in Calcutta. He left the family business four years later.

By 1829 Frederick was in Mauritius en route to Australia.

MAURITIUS and Marie Emilie Blanchard

The first record of Mauritius was made by the Arabs in the 2nd century, followed by the Portuguese in 1507. In 1638 the Spanish made the first permanent settlement naming the island after Prince Maurice. They introduced, sugar, Malagasy slaves and a herd of deer.

They abandoned the settlement in 1710 leaving the Ebony forests decimated and causing the extinction of the Dodo. (Stood 1 metre tall and weighed 20 kg.)    

They were followed by corsairs and gentlemen farmers from Brittany, the younger sons of titled families who came in the hope of finding fame and fortune in the tropics.

The French seized control 1715 renaming the island Isle de France and established a prosperous sugar industry. Port Louis, the Capital was named by the French after Louis xv The Creole Language emerged as an interaction between French settlers and African slaves. During the Napoleonic wars the English set out to gain control and the French surrendered in December 1810 when the Island reverted to being called Mauritius.

From the Mauritius Collection ANL (MS 2282 Item 21) There is An account of the conquest of Mauritius by an officer who served in the Expedition. 1811 

He describes Mauritians;

The inhabitants receive foreigners with the utmost politeness and hospitality. Many of them are of the ancient Nobless families –a great deal of cordiality and mutual and unaffected kindness exist in their society. 

The men are well made, and the number of females is surprising; they are remarkably handsome, have a great wit and vivacity and their manners engaging.

The French, many of whom have considerable wealth are expected to speculate with ardour.

The Houses

The 1st houses in Port Louis were simple wooden boxes, roughly hewn and without foundation: they were often moved, in pieces or as a whole on rollers. Wood was the favoured material of boat builders who were also responsible for building the first houses during the French rule of Mauritius.

Some very beautiful homes were built later.

Shutters, long square columned verandas and tall French windows, represent all that is most typical of traditional Mauritian architecture. The colours –white, black and Wedgwood blue – Roofs covered in black bitumen paint used by naval boat builders to protect the hulls: walls were white washed with lime produced by burning madrepores and the blue of the shutters was achieved by adding permanganate to this lime to protect the wood from termites.

Verandas, surrounded or extended the house, and were both the sitting room and garden. They were a place for relaxation.

Paul Jean Toulet wrote

In the land of sugar and mangoes

The pale Creole ladies

Fan themselves under the verandahs

In the land of sugar and mangoes

And slowly lisp their words

For Mauritians the veranda was very important as it served as an observation post. The true sailor was always looking out of his house either to check his boat at its mooring or to watch out for an invasion by the enemy.

Julien Ive Blanchard, Emilie’s father was reportedly a French Naval Officer living in Mauritius however a descendant of Emilie’s brother Julien Charles told me that he really only had a little boat and would chase pirates away.

The Blanchard family originated from Rennes Brittany

Marie Emilie born 9 November 1811 Port Louis Mauritius her mother was Frances Adele Royer To my knowledge she had 2 brothers. She spent the first 17 years of her life in Mauritius.

On the 17th Jan 1829 Frederick with Marie Emilie Blanchard sailed as Cabin passengers from Mauritius on the Brig Guide 147 tons. Emilie’s servant Uraine Figaro (aged 13) travelled in Steerage

The Guide called at Hobart Town before arriving Port Jackson 8 April 1829

Marie Emilie Blanchard and Frederick Manton were married “in the Town of Sydney” by the Presbyterian Chaplain on 20 April 1829, Frederick being 29 years and Emilie 17.

Later on 27July 1829 they married again at St Mary’s R/C Church Sydney.

The Catholic Church in Australia was administered from Mauritius at this time.


Before 1817 Windsor and Camden marked the extremities of occupation of the colony with one isolated offshoot at Bathurst across the range. The construction of the Great South Road from Picton commenced in 1820 for the specific purpose of opening up the Goulburn and Breadalbane Plains for grazing. Yass was discovered in 1821 by Hamilton Hume, Barber & Broughton.

The boundaries of the colony had been more or less set – the Lachlan and the Goulburn Plains seemed to impose a natural limit to the south; the Hunter region to the North while to the west the inhospitable lands beyond Bathurst indicated the Wellington Valley.

The lands between these points became known as the 19 Counties –from Manning to Moruya, from the coast to the Lachlan. These were the limits of colonization and only within them would settlement be tolerated –if you went outside this area you were deliberately abandoning Government protection.

To all intents and purposes these counties were Australia.

Oxley and Mitchell mapped out the counties which were declared in 1829.

Everywhere people were dabbling in sheep. The financiers could scarcely find employment for the private wealth coming into the country and anyone could sell stock sight unseen at fabulous prices.

Before about 1830 society consisted of a few gentlemen–settlers, emigrants of good social position and possessed of considerable means who had come to form the nucleus of a society – retired officers and merchants and younger sons sent out to swell the family fortunes or to work off their energies in a new and distant land, most of whom came out with specific recommendations from the Secretary General. The community was divided into convict servants and a minority of landed proprietors who had received their holdings under a system of free grants then in vogue. (Free grants were ended by the Home Office in 1831)

After Hume & Hovell passed through on their overland journey to Port Phillip in 1824 came the squatters including Mantons, who began to claim their Grants of land and for the picked sites it became a game of devil take the hindmost (meaning those in the rear must look after themselves.)

It was in 1829 that Frederick took his new and pregnant wife to Yass, Yass being just inside the thick black line on the map showing the limit of settlement.

Frederick chose land the County of King for his Grant of 2560 acres in a parish that was later named Manton.

Possession authorized by Sir Ralph Darling 1st July 1829

(Darling commanded the British troops on Mauritius before being appointed 7th Governor of NSW. He wasn’t liked and banned drama and musical

Emilie and Frederick named their property “Mon Reduit” (My Retreat) [Government House Mauritius built 1788 was called Le Reduit]

Frederick’s father Joseph wrote to the Colonial Office 5 April 1830 seeking a Grant of Land for Henry, Frederick’s brother. He stated in the letter  -that Frederick had made a fortune in India: had written to him saying that ‘they’ were petitioning the Government to make him a Magistrate; and had invited his brother Henry to come and settle near him; Joseph would be sending Henry out to the country in the next month and requested a grant of land for Henry

Henry arrived on the Lang October 1830

Emilie & Frederick built their permanent home in 1832.

There were comparisons with the houses in Mauritius

Veranda front and back

Beautiful arched doorway – originally with double glass doors

Full length windows and a very handsome stone colonnade.

George Bennett gave this description of the Manton’s Farm (in part)

…the house being constructed on an elevated site, commands a fine picturesque view of the extensive plains or dales of Yas….This part of the colony appears valuable; the country for the most part open forest, with luxuriant pasturage and well watered….having a fine stream of water running through it, every facility for sheep washing is afforded him –a desideratum of the first importance in the colony, where wool forms the staple article, the settlers main prop, and the cleaner it is bought to market, of course the better the price can be obtained. The land about the farm, (as must be expected from all large grants) is composed of good and bad portion, but the former I believe preponderates.

He also noted that snakes were common – black and brown

Later described in “The NSW Calendar & GPO Directory” for 1835…. has an excellent house even at this distance from Sydney. Then continues – the land is found to be remarkably favourable to sheep pastures but the soil is so good being almost clear of timber that wheat may be raised without the labour of cutting stumping and clearing.

And The Australian 8 Nov 1836 describing the Yass Plains:

On the edge of the plain the O’Briens and Mr Dutton have built very neat houses, having the Yass River running between them, which is there pretty broad. A Mr Manton has built a house with a very handsome stone colonnade. This view is quite English, and reminded us very forcibly of park scenery at home…

At least 24 convicts were assigned to Frederick.

From labourers, brick makers to shoemaker and errand boys, ploughs, indoor and farm servants as well as soldiers.

Emilie & Frederick produced their 1st 4 sons at Yass between April 1830 and Sept 1835. Frederick Julien, Joseph, Charles Henry & John Aitken.

Uranie Figaro (Emilie’s Mauritian servant) lived at Mon Reduit with the Manton’s Frederick giving her permission to marry John Jeffery in 1831 and she shortly afterwards gave birth to her 1st of 13 children, naming him Richard Manton Jeffery. Another son was called Frederick. She stayed at Yass until the Manton’s left and eventually moved to Tumut with her Shoemaker husband. Uranie was thought to be Negro – French.

Val Wilkinson wrote of Uranie –From humble beginnings when she arrived as a child servant to Miss Blanchard to the progenitor of hundreds of descendants now living in all parts of Australia Uranie can proudly take her place as a true pioneer.

But life on the land had its difficulties. There was the awful disease ‘Epidemic Catarrh’. In 1831 on the Yass Plains Frederick lost 320 of 418 sheep at the rate of 40 to 60 each night. 8 km away his flocks were not affected. Most of this rapid spread of the disease appeared to be related to the long range movement of sheep. The outbreak on Frederick’s property started within days of infected stock grazing on the Yass Plains adjacent to his land. The infection was transmitted rapidly and pastures remained infected for months.

The Government formed a committee to see if the disease was contagious like sheep scab and there were acts known as the Scab Acts of 1832 and 1834 Catarrh was incorporated into these acts.

It was thought that the disease may have been spread by a snail.

Frederick joined the Southern Association formed in 1835 for the suppression of Stock Stealing in the General Southern Districts

It was that year John Augustus Manton and his wife Charlotte joined Frederick’s family at Mon Reduit.

Emilie’s brother Monsieur Julien Blanchard arrived, a passenger on the Barque Explorer from Mauritius on 21 Jan 1836. Also on board the “Explorer” were Marie Emilie’s mother Madame Masse (having married Alexis Antoini Masse) and her half siblings Antoini, Marie Eugenie and Adele Eulalie.

The number of family members in Australia was growing!

A decade after Hume and Hovell’s Exploration stock from the settled areas of the nineteen counties moved as far south as the Murray.

Umbango near Tarcutta was leased from the Crown by Blanchard and Manton.

Frederick also had ‘AmericanYards’ and another leasehold on the Tarcutta Creek

Recommendations were made for the location of Police Stations on the Road to Port Phillip and one was suggested in the vicinity of Manton’s station at Homebango (Umbango) distant 110 miles from Yass, and the Mail Route was to pass by Umbango

By Jan 1837 when no 5 son, Alfred Royer was born Frederick and Emilie were back in Sydney.  Their address was Elizabeth Street.

The decision was made that the family would leave the Colony 

An Auction was held 11 Oct 1837 at 11 o’clock precisely at the residence of Frederick Manton esq. Elizabeth Street The Proprietor leaving the colony consequently without reserve.

Emilie’s brother Julien was left to manage Mon Reduit.

Oct 17 1837 the ship Abel Gower, sailed for London with a cargo of Colonial produce and the Manton Family.

Emilie presented Frederick with their 6th son Edmund Herbert Numah (a French name) on 26 November 1838 while they were in London.

However it was not long before they made the decision to return to Australia (bit like the £10 Poms) this time they were accompanied by Charles Manton and Caroline Wilkinson and three of their children.

So on 24th Jan 1838 the families sailed on the Tropic from St Katherine’s Dock, just below the Tower on the Thames for Port Jackson, and  by 27 May 1838 they were back in Sydney together with Mr Mrs & Miss Sparrow who later married Emilie’s brother Julien.

Melbourne 1839 by Sleap, F. A. Engraver  SLV

The family soon moved to Melbourne then in the Port Phillip District of NSW arriving 12 Nov 1839 on the Parkfield.

1839 was a very important era in the early peopling of Melbourne because during the later half there was a number of very desirable arrivals –merchants professionals and others who introduced capital for investment. J. B. Were and Redmond Barry were amongst the arrivals the same day as Frederick.

In December that year Frederick placed an advertisement in the Port Phillip Patriot calling for tenders for the erection of two of eight two story houses with shop fronts to be built in Elizabeth Street also tenders for a store to be built adjacent to the above.

This was the first of many involvements by Frederick in the business life of Melbourne.

May 1840 Frederick Manton purchased lot 7  in Melbourne near the corner of King & Flinders Street and the site where their Saw & Flour mill was built.

The Courier Hobart Tas. 12 Mar 1841 reported – A walk through Messes Manton’s premises on the wharf will amply reward the curious, and will exhibit to them the skeleton of works now in progress, which we hope will turn out as profitable to the proprietor as beneficial to the public. A saw mill, which in a few days will be at work will cut in the open air timber necessary for its own building and also that of a steam flour mill in connection with it. The splendid stores already erected, give a presage of what the whole will be when completed, and will not only form a lasting ornament of the hereditary skill and mechanical genius displayed by the sons of a man known to all the world who spent fortunes in mechanical improvements who was the recherché of all sportsmen and often for weeks together with royalty itself.

1840 saw the Formation of Manton & Co.- Frederick was the entrepreneur, John Augustus the engineer and Charles the squatter explorer.

Frederick liked to write letters particularly to the authorities – now in the PROV

Anything from requesting permission to build a jetty, to rent a piece of land on the opposite side of the river, to erect buildings on the South side of the Yarra and proposed to complete the dam and bridge across the river.

There was also a complaint about a paragraph in the Gazette in which he had been misrepresented.

30 Sept 1840 the papers reported; Court favour: Whilst Mr Manton is deprived of a small piece of ground on which to build those vessels, punts & c which when completed will conduce so much to commercial advantages and public convenience we perceive that the Tide surveyor is allowed an extended allotment for the growth of his Cabbages and potatoes.

If there was a Company with a board Frederick’s name appeared as a Director.

From the Melbourne Water Co, The Melbourne Bridge Co, The Coal Mining Company, The Melbourne Auction Co, Melbourne Steam Navigation Co, Port Phillip Bank

He was on the committees for the formation of Markets, Chamber of Commerce, Control of Immigration to the Colony, The introduction of Coolie labour to the colony (Charles Blanchard Emilie’s brother was also involved in this idea having had experience in Mauritius)

In November 1841 Frederick with his brothers Charles and John Augustus formed a partnership with G. W. Cole. With forward thinking Frederick and his partners saw the potential to expand Melbourne to the West offering to lease 8000 acres for ninety nine years, drain what was known as the West Melbourne swamp then to sub lease smaller blocks to house builders . As with so many of Frederick’s ‘good’ ideas the government of the day objected and the plan did not proceed.

This area is now known as Docklands and is still being developed.

There were the Port Phillip Runs;

Manton’s Creek Flinders Manton’s Old Station (Field’s Station or Tooradan) Noorilim and Arcadia Old Crossing Place & Tabilk, Cairn Curren.

Conveniently over summer the cattle from the Goulburn River Runs could be depastured on the Western Port Runs – driven down to Melbourne where they were taken round to Western Port runs on their steamer the Vesta there being no overland route to Gippsland.

Newspapers are a wonderful source of information giving an insight into private life of Frederick’s family – from donating money to worthy causes, including St Peter’s Church to buying tickets for concerts.

Also there was the need to find “staff” – a respectable man-servant to wait at table none but persons who can produce satisfactory references need apply, a tutor was wanted for a private family to superintend the education of four boys.

In Melbourne they lived in one of the houses owned by Governor La Trobe in the Government Paddock. It was reported that he rented Government House Jolimont after the Governor left however this can be disproved as Fred left the in 1842 and La Trobe in 1854. The house most probably rented was later used by Bishop Perry.               

The Manton family spoke Spanish fluently but the language spoken at home was French.

Then from Diaries we gain a little more :

Georgiana Mc Crae wrote of a visit to Mr Manton’s where her mare disarranged the sheep’s shank bordering of the flower bed.

Henry William Downes Journal of 1841 gives this insight into the families lives. Describing how Mr F. Manton had invited him to dinner went on to say “his lady played the piano better than almost any Lady I know-played several tunes and remained up til 1 am. Mrs Manton is a kindly lady like person and her accomplishments are great. The next day Frederick took Downes to Pascoe Ville and Merri Merri Creek and this trip was undertaken from Mr Manton’s kindness and desire to make my stay with him pleasant”

Frederick and Emilie’s time in Melbourne was marked by the joy of the birth of their 7th son Edwin Harper and the sadness of the death of this son and his older brother Edmund.

1842 saw the beginning of a financial down turn!! (nothing changes)

Port Phillip was in the direst throws of financial distress and a dead sheep was better than a live one and tallow replaced wool as a means of income.

Frederick decided it was time to leave Melbourne and move to Chile. The Brig Vesper was purchased in Aug 1842

28 Sept 1842 she sailed from George Town Tasmania bound for Valparaiso. On board were Mr & Mrs Manton Mr & Mrs Blanchard with their families.

Conflicting reports appeared in newspapers.

PPH attacked Frederick calling him a Flash insolvent and continued – that it had received a letter stating that Frederick was living in Valparaiso in a style of great splendour passing himself off as a man of considerable wealth and wished his duped creditors here could reach the fellow.

PPP Replied Mr Manton on leaving the country did not owe one pound to any one person. Mr M discharged all accounts of milkmen bakers butchers and wages ….. to class Mr M with others of our insolvent pillars of society would be doing him an injustice.

A letter to Frederick in Valparaiso from London solicitors in 1846 tells of his 3 sons sent to England to Mr Baker’s school at Chatham who complained that the boys had inadequate clothing and expected to be reimbursed for the new suits of clothes and shoes bought for them. It explained that there would be no money from the Brompton estate after fees had been paid and sort another £200 to cover the school bills.

He sold the Vesper to the Chilean Navy April 1846 it having been registered to Frederick Manton and Charles F Blanchard, Emilie’s brother, who was also living in Valparaiso.

Frederick and his family spent 10 years in Chile, amongst other things copper mining. Family reminiscences tell of Frederick wrapping himself in a Union Jack to prevent being shot by a firing squad during a revolution.

Emilie had 3 more sons during the families stay in Chile, Albert James, William Arthur and Arthur Percy the youngest of 10 sons.The family returned to Australia. Passenger lists show: Manton: Ship, Dolores Dep. Valparaiso 23 Dec 1852 Arrived Melbourne 30 Mar 1853 Mr, Mrs, Fam, Svt   

However Frederick had returned to Australia prior to this.

Frederick was on board the Delmar when she sailed from Valparasio on 15 Sept 1852. He brought with him 14 Chilean miners. These miners were engaged with the Turon Gold Quartz Crushing Company. Papers reported : Mr Manton a man of considerable mining experience, under whose auspices these men have been brought hither.

Frederick brought a Chilean Quartz Crusher with him when he returned to Australia. It was used in the Mt Tarrengower gold fields near Maldon

However the best known Manton mining foray was at Peak Downs. The wonderful tale was told of how a gold digger in 1861 was prospecting during a rush near Peak Downs had discovered what was thought to be copper and showed it to John Aitken Manton, Frederick’s son who gave the digger a bottle of Rum and the promise of a share in the mine if he disclosed the whereabouts of his find. Frederick was an early advisor to the Peak Downs Copper Mining Company.

In 1854 Frederick & Emilie purchased Tahlee House and grounds Carrington Port Stephens for £2,500.

This description from the Maitland Mercury: Tahlee is finely situated on an elevated head land and having an imposing and magnificent appearance from the water. The pleasure grounds are tastefully laid out and a tall flagmast graces the lawn.

There were groves of orange and lemon trees interspersed with clumps of roses.

However The South Australian Advertiser reported April 1860 ‘the total destruction of this splendid building – During the night of Thursday last, the inmates were alarmed by the fearful cry of fire: on rushing out the shingled roof was discovered to be in a blaze. The fire already made so much progress that any effort to save the main building would have been fruitless. The family with few persons present therefore used their utmost exertions to save the furniture and movables and we are happy to say that although at much personal risk from falling timber they succeeded in rescuing a considerable amount of property from the devouring element. About three hours after the first alarm nothing remained of this fine old building but a pile of scorched and blackened walls.

… This fine property had but recently passed into the hands of Mr Manton who was in Sydney at the time of the accident.

It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald 5 May 1860 that Mr Manton had received £2000 from the Liverpool and London Fire Insurance Company being the amount insured upon Tahlee House Port Stephens, which had been destroyed by fire on 27th March 1860.

Frederick applied unsuccessfully for the position of usher of the Black Rod in the Victorian Parliament in 1856.

 Frederick died 23 September 1863 Belgrave Terrace Darlinghurst. He was buried at St Judes Randwick.

His will, written on his death bed bequeathed all real and personal estate of every kind and description unto my dear wife Marie Emilie Manton for her own use and benefit.

The estate was valued at £20,000.                                                                

Emilie died 27 Sept 1867 “Elliston” Hunters Hill, then called a French Village and was also buried in the family vault at St Judes Randwick.

Her will was interesting. In part she named Charles Julien Blanchard and William Arthur Manton with her solicitor as trustees and executors, divided her estate in different ways to her sons as well as her brother Francis Charles Blanchard who was still living in Chile with his family.

Her mother Frances Royer Masse was bequeathed her wearing apparel and to her daughter in law Emily, spouse of John Aitken, Tahlee subject to the mortgage on it.  The will was signed 3 days before her death. Her estate was valued at £9600

Emily Manton sold Tahlee for £850 in 1880

To forget ones ancestors is to be like a brook without a source, a tree without a root: Chinese Proverb


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