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James Hooper Endacott

Born 5 August 1831 at St Sidwell, Exeter, England. He was the son of William Endacott and Mary Endacott.  After his father's death, his mother remarried "Colonel" John Bartlett.


St Sidwell's, Exeter

The low thatched cottages of the weavers were gradually replaced by the brick houses of the middle-classes that began to settle in the parish - St Sidwell's was becoming part of Exeter's commuter belt with the demand for comfortable houses in more rural surroundings, but remaining within easy reach of shops and social attractions. The number of inhabited houses rose to 1,070 in 1831 (up 138 per cent from 1801, compared with 50 per cent for the city as a whole). The population was 6,602 in 1831. (

In May 1942, more than half of St Sidwell's parish was destroyed in one of the heaviest bombing raids of World War II. Consequently very little of the old St Sidwell's remains today.   The parish church was originally built at least 1,200 years ago! However, if you go there today you'll find that far from being so ancient, the present church is only 40 years old. (


With his mother, step-father, sister, and two half-brothers, James migrated to New South Wales sometime between 1848 and 1850.  According to a family story, they arrived on the ship Swallow. It has been identified that the Swallow arrived in Sydney on 5 April 1848 and again on 14 November 1849 but passenger lists for either journey have not been obtained.

There is a family story that James had been courting a young woman in England prior to his family's emigration and that the young woman's emigration may have been linked to that of James and that the courtship continued after arrival in New South Wales. This has not been confirmed. However it is confirmed that James Hooper Endacott married Sarah Ann McLean in St James Church, King Street, Sydney. The marriage certificate, based on information which the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages obtained from the Church of England marriage register, shows that James Hooper Endacott "of St. James, Sydney" married Sarah Ann Maclean also "of St. James, Sydney". This appears to indicate that they both resided in the parish of St. James in inner Sydney. The date of marriage was 10 November 1851. St James church still stands prominently in the centre of Sydney and was a significant church in Sydney of the 1850s. During the 20th century, Sydney's underground railway was extended to form the "City Circle" line, with the station close to the historic church being named "St James".

Gold had been found in central west New South Wales in 1851 and James joined the search, finding the precious mineral in Merinda Creek in Merrendee in the Mudgee district of New South Wales. He squatted on land and established a farm. Eventually he was able to get the land surveyed and title was registered to him. It is unclear how soon he found gold, or how much he found. According to Lerleen Miller, her great-grandfather, James Hooper Endacott (the first) accompanied by his son, James Hooper Endacott (the second), found a large amount of gold when the son was aged thirteen, which would date the find at about 1870. Another family member described the find as a "gold reef". With the proceeds of his gold find, he built a homestead known as "Devonshire", named after his English homeland. The first home named "Devonshire" no longer stands (it stood on the site on which James' son, also named James Hooper Endacott, later built his home (see here).


This photograph of the second "Devonshire" home was provided
by Lerleen Miller, great grand-daughter of James and Sarah.


The second one, built not far from the first, still stands at Merrendee (now known as Yarrabin) in the Mudgee district of New South Wales. Near the later man-made Lake Burrendong, Yarrabin is approximately 30 km west of Mudgee, and the property is still occupied by members of the Endacott family.


James Hooper Endacott


Information about James and Sarah's children is provided separately. Nancy Endacott reported that, in 1999, she had traced over 700 descendants of Sarah and James Hooper Endacott.


click for enlargement

The Sydney newspaper, Empire, carried the following insolvency news on 21 January 1864 :
James Endacot, of Merrendee, gold miner, Liabilities £300.9s.5d. Assets £16.
Item accessed using Trove, National Library of Australia
Thanks to Ian McMurtrie for this information.




James required major surgery which was not available locally. While his family remained on the farm, he travelled alone by train to Sydney for his surgery. Following the surgery, he died on 15 April 1885 in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, without again seeing his family.


He is buried in Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney in the Anglican section,  area DD, lot 774.    This is very close to the Anglican naval section which may be seen in the background of the photograph above. In the front of the picture, the grave on the right is that of James Endacott. The grave on the left is that of one of his daughters (Esther Babbage) and Esther's son.




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James Hooper Endacott



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