McConaghy/Flatt/Nairn/Creer Family History
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The Creer Family History

1. Gilbert Creer. He married unknown.


2. i Gilbert Creer b. abt 1600.

Second Generation

2. Gilbert Creer, b. abt 1600. He married unknown, married abt 1625. Gilbert died 1687.


3. i Thomas Creer b. 1628.

ii William Creer, b. 1630.

4. iii Paul Creer b. 1632.

iv Katherine Creer, b. 1635, d. 1640.

v Bahee Creer, b. 1641, d. ? Apr 1700.

Third Generation

3. Thomas Creer, b. 1628. He married unknown, married abt 1658. Thomas died 1684.


5. i John Creer b. 5 Sep 1659.

ii Ann Creer, b. 1661, d. 1679.

4. Paul Creer, b. 1632. He married unknown.


i Avericke Creer, b. 1659.

Fourth Generation

5. John Creer, b. 5 Sep 1659. He married Katherine Kelley, married 16 Jun 1688.


i Mariot Creer, b. abt 1690.

ii Christian Creer, b. abt 1690.

6. iii Gilbert Creer b. 1693.

iv William Creer, b. 1694.

Fifth Generation

6. Gilbert Creer, b. 1693. He married Isabel Fail, married bet 1720-1722, d. 1760. Gilbert died 30 Jul 1762.


i Paul Creer, b. 1723, d. 1764.

ii Margaret Creer, b. 1725, d. bet 1725-1727.

7. iii William Creer b. 1726.

iv Margaret Creer, b. 1728, d. 10 Aug 1741.

v Daniel Creer, b. bet 1730-1731, d. 5 Nov 1761.

8. vi Thomas Creer b. 1733.

vii John Creer, b. 1735.

9. viii Philip Creer b. 1737.

Sixth Generation

7. William Creer, b. 1726. He married Susan Boker, married abt 1751.


i Katherine Creer, b. 1752.

ii William Creer, b. 1752, d. bet 1752-1756.

iii Christine Creer, b. 1754.

iv William Creer, b. 1757.

v Elizabeth Creer, b. 1761.

vi John Creer, b. 1766.

8. Thomas Creer, b. 1733. He married Mary Karalagh, married 15 Nov 1758.


10. i Edward Creer b. 22 Apr 1759.

ii William Creer, b. 18 Oct 1761.

iii Benjamin Creer, b. 25 Mar 1764.

iv Bessy Creer, b. 25 Mar 1764.

v Margaret Creer, b. 24 Aug 1766.

11. vi Thomas Creer b. 2 Apr 1769.

vii John Creer, b. 1 Jan 1772.

viii Paul Creer, b. 17 Jul 1774, d. 4 Jan 1823.

ix Daniel Creer, b. 8 Jun 1777.

x Robert Creer, b. 1779.

xi Philip Creer, b. 1782.

9. Philip Creer, b. 1737. He married Catherine Christian, married 8 Mar 1760. Philip died 1810.


i John Creer, b. 1762.

ii Catherine Creer, b. 1764, d. bet 1764-1765.

iii Catherine Creer, b. 1766.

12. iv William Creer b. 1769.

v Margaret Creer, b. 1771.

13. vi Thomas Creer b. 1773.

vii Jane Creer, b. 1776.

viii Paul Creer, b. 1778.

ix Isabelle Creer, b. 1780.

Seventh Generation

10. Edward Creer, b. 22 Apr 1759 in Isle of Man. He married Margaret Lewin, married 8 Dec 1792 in Braddan, Isle of Man, b. 1768 in Isle of Man, d. in Isle of Man, buried: in Isle of Man. Edward died 27 Aug 1834 in Isle of Man, buried: in Isle of Man.


i Thomas Creer, b. 29 Jan 1792 in Braddan, Isle of Man.

14. ii Edward Creer b. 15 Aug 1795.

iii William Creer, b. 11 Jun 1797 in Braddan, Isle of Man.

15. iv Elizabeth Creer b. 1797.

11. Thomas Creer, b. 2 Apr 1769. He married Margaret Fell, married 28 Apr 1798, b. 1777.


i Thomas Creer, b. 1799.

ii Elizabeth Creer, b. 1801.

iii Margaret Creer, b. 1804.

iv William Edward Creer, b. 15 Feb 1808.

v Mary Ann Creer, b. 30 Apr 1809.

vi Judith Creer, b. 17 May 1812.

vii Alice Creer, b. 22 Aug 1813, d. 17 Mar 1814.

12. William Creer, b. 1769. He married Isabelle Cannell, married 1 Mar 1794.


i William Creer, b. 7 Nov 1794.

ii John Creer, b. 1797.

iii Phillip Creer, b. 1800.

iv Thomas Creer, b. 16 Aug 1802.

v Jane Creer, b. 1 Jul 1804.

16. vi John (Joel) Creer b. 15 Feb 1807.

vii Ann Creer, b. 20 Aug 1809.

viii Catherine Creer, b. 15 Mar 1812.

ix Elizabeth Creer, b. 13 Mar 1814.

13. Thomas Creer, b. 1773. He married Elizabeth Kennaugh, married 22 Sep 1798.


i John Thomas Creer, b. 1799.

ii Paul Creer, b. 1801.

iii John Creer, b. 1802.

iv Margaret Creer, b. 1805, d. 1805.

v Edward Creer, b. 1807, d. bet 1807-1812.

vi Ann Creer, b. 1809.

17. vii Daniel Creer b. 1812.

viii John Creer, b. 1812.

ix Edward Creer, b. 1813.

x Jane Creer, b. 1816.

xi Philip Creer, b. 1821.

Eighth Generation

14. Edward Creer, b. 15 Aug 1795 in Braddan, Isle of Man. He married Sarah Dickinson, married 11 Apr 1826 in Kirk Braddan, Isle of Man, b. 14 May 1807 in Braddan, Isle of Man, (daughter of Joseph Dickinson and Mary Tyson) d. 27 May 1850 in Braddan, Isle of Man, buried: in Braddan, Isle of Man. Edward died 5 Aug 1838 in at sea between Douglas and Liverpool, buried: in Braddan, Isle of Man.


18. i Joseph Creer b. 6 Nov 1826.

ii Mary Ann Creer, b. 8 Jun 1829 in Braddan, Isle of Man. She married Archibald McLean, married 25 Nov 1857 in NSW. Mary died 8 Oct 1859.

19. iii Edward Thomas Creer b. 19 Jul 1832.

20. iv Henry Creer b. 30 Jun 1834.

21. v Thomas Creer b. 23 Aug 1838.

15. Elizabeth Creer, b. 1797. She married (1) Nicholas Dickinson, married 7 Apr 1838 in Braddan, IOM, b. 1803 in Isle of Man, (son of Joseph Dickinson and Mary Tyson) d. 1853. She married (2) Philip Crellin, married 28 Dec 1820 in Braddan, IOM, b. abt 1796, d. 1835. Elizabeth died 1857.


i Nicholas Dickinson, b. 1838, d. 1851 in Braddan.

ii Thomas Crellin, b. 1821.

iii Margaret Crellin, b. 1823.

iv Ann Crellin, b. 1824.

v Edward Crellin, b. 1827.

vi Elizabeth Crellin, b. 31 Jan 1830.

vii Sarah Crellin, b. 1831.

viii Eliza Margaret Crellin, b. 1833.

16. John (Joel) Creer, b. 15 Feb 1807. He married Elizabeth King, married 12 Apr 1832, b. 6 Jun 1807, d. 15 Nov 1876. John died 25 Nov 1849.


i Catherine Creer, b. 21 Jun 1833, d. 22 Nov 1896.

ii William Creer, b. 15 Jun 1835, d. 1855.

iii Elizabeth Creer, b. 6 Aug 1837, d. 1903.

22. iv Sarah Creer b. 17 May 1840.

v Jane Creer, b. 27 Oct 1841, d. ? Nov 1853.

vi Ann Creer, b. 28 Oct 1843, d. ? Jul 1857.

vii Mary Creer, b. 6 May 1845, d. 1851.

viii Nelly Creer, b. 17 Jul 1847.

ix Eleanor (Ellen) Creer, b. 17 Jul 1848. She married George Chedyke Smith, married 1 Dec 1868. Eleanor died 28 Apr 1910.

17. Daniel Creer, b. 1812. He married Eleanor Faragher, married 3 Aug 1839, b. 1819, d. 26 Jul 1875.


i Ann Creer, b. 1840, d. 5 Jan 1871.

23. ii Edward Creer b. 19 Feb 1842.

24. iii Catherine Creer b. 1846.

iv Daniel Creer, b. 1848. He married Margaret Kneen, married 24 Sep 1874, b. ? Oct 1848, (daughter of William Kneen and Mary Ann Hampton) d. 2 May 1899. Daniel died 1 Jan 1912.

25. v Richard Creer b. 15 Sep 1850.

26. vi John Fargher Creer b. 1853.

vii Elinor Margaret Creer, b. 1856.

viii Sarah Creer, b. 1860, d. 5 Oct 1938.

27. ix Rhoda Creer b. 1861.

Ninth Generation

18. Joseph Creer, b. 6 Nov 1826 in Braddan, Douglas, Isle of Man. He married (1) (Sarah?) Jane Christian Cain, married 14 Jul 1849 in Adelaide, South Australia, b. 1828 in Isle of Man, d. 10 Jan 1856 in LeFevre Peninsula, South Australia, buried: in Alberton, South Australia. He married (2) Sarah Needham May Ferrers, married 19 Nov 1861 in Adelaide, b. 24 Jun 1843 in Hobart, Tasmania, (daughter of John Henry Needham Ferrers and Mary Bennett) d. 11 Nov 1908 in Watson's Bay, Sydney, buried: in South Head Cemetery, Sydney. Joseph died 9 Jun 1909 in Watson's Bay, Sydney, buried: in South Head Cemetery, Sydney.


i Thomas Edward Creer, b. 17 Mar 1850 in Adelaide. He married Catherine Agnes Neill, married 14 Jul 1892, b. 15 Nov 1862, (daughter of john neill and ?). Thomas died 12 May 1931.

ii Jane Christian Creer, b. 5 Sep 1851 in Adelaide, d. 27 Feb 1853 in Le Fevre Peninsula, Adelaide, buried: in Adelaide.

iii Sarah Jane Creer, b. 26 May 1862 in Port Adelaide, South Australia. She married James Hannah Nairn, married 11 Jul 1900 in Watson's Bay, Sydney, b. 1858 in Whithorne, Scotland, (son of Alexander Nairn and Jane Milroy Gordon) d. 19 Mar 1915 in Neutral Bay, Sydney. Sarah died 1 Jul 1945 in Rose Bay, Sydney, buried: 2 Jul 1945 in South Head Cemetery.

iv Alice Amelia Creer, b. 13 Nov 1864 in Adelaide. She married Gavin Scott, married 15 Mar 1888. Alice died 6 Aug 1946.

v Edith Miriam Creer, b. 27 Jan 1866 in Adelaide. She married Edmund John Baily Playfair, married 8 Dec 1887 in Sydney, b. 22 Aug 1863 in Sydney, d. 6 Oct 1926 in Waverley, Sydney, buried: in South Head Cemetery. Edith died 15 Oct 1942 in Edgecliffe, Sydney.

vi Alfred Joseph Creer, b. 28 Feb 1868 in Sydney, d. 6 Oct 1890.

vii Isabelle Maud Creer, b. 17 Jul 1870 in Sydney. She married Herbert JHD Gale, married 10 May 1899.

viii Adeline Mary Creer, b. 22 Mar 1873 in Sydney. She married Robert Brandreth-Parry, married 30/04/?.

ix Joseph Dickinson Creer, b. 24 Jan 1875 in Watson's Bay, Sydney. He married Elizabeth Gibson, married 1894. Joseph died 17 Apr 1936 in Canada.

x Ethel Ferrers Creer, b. 13 Jan 1877 in Watson's Bay, Sydney. She married Arthur Tarlton Stiles, married 7 Apr 1900, b. 6 Sep 1875, d. 4 Jan 1961. Ethel died 13 Mar 1945.

xi Amy Beatrice Alderson Creer, b. 23 Apr 1879 in Watson's Bay, Sydney. She married Maurice Garwood, married 11 Nov 1907. Amy died 17 May 1944.

xii Herbert Victor Creer, b. 21 Sep 1881 in Watson's Bay, Sydney. He married (1) Veronique Lillian Violet Greville, married 30 Dec 1907 in Christ Church, North Sydney, b. 1869, (daughter of Algernon Greville and Beatrice Montrose?) d. 1956. He married (2) Lynda Martin, married 12 Jun 1957 in St Stephen's Church, Watson's Bay, Syd., d. 0 Aug 1957. He married (3) Bonita Allen, married 14 Jul 1960. Herbert died 5 Aug 1969 in War Veteran's Home, Narrabeen, Sydney.

xiii Reginald Charles Ferrers Creer, b. 21 Sep 1881 in Watson's Bay, Sydney. He married (1) Eulalie Adela Henty, married 15 Jun 1917 in Carlton, Melbourne. He married (2) Kathleen Marianne Silver, married 27 Aug 1927 in Darling Point, Sydney. Reginald died 29 Jun 1958 in War Veteran's Home, Narrabeen, Sydney.

xiv Gwendoline Needham May Creer, b. 4 Aug 1884 in Watson's Bay, Sydney. She married (1) Alfred Bakewell, married 4 Aug 1905. She married (2) William Mason Sykes Hargreaves. Gwendoline died 1 Jun 1923.

xv Creswell Bennett Creer, b. 30 Sep 1886 in Watson's Bay, Sydney, d. 18 Aug 1888 in Watson's Bay, Sydney.

19. Edward Thomas Creer, b. 19 Jul 1832 in Braddan, Isle of Man. He married Jane Neill, married 7 Jan 1856 in Melbourne, b. 1832 in Greenock, Scotland, (daughter of Henry Neill and Agnes McLachlan) d. 14 Jul 1901 in Manly, Sydney. Edward died 2 Jul 1900 in Grafton, buried: in Grafton Cemetery.


i Sarah Agnes Creer, b. 18 Oct 1856 in Melbourne. She married Frank Norrie, married 9 Sep 1876.

ii Joseph Henry Creer, b. 21 Sep 1858 in NSW, d. 18 Mar 1860 in NSW.

iii Edward Thomas Creer, b. 23 Jan 1860 in NSW. He married Mary E Toeth, married 1885 in NSW. Edward died 2 Jul 1900.

iv Henry Dickinson Creer, b. 19 Apr 1862 in Grafton, NSW. He married Harriett Malvina Peers, married 1887 in NSW, b. 1863 in Balmain, Sydney, (daughter of William Selby Peers and Mary Ann Castle). Henry died 17 Jul 1913 in Manly.

v James Neill Creer, b. 15 Feb 1864 in Grafton. He married Agnes Miller, married 1895. James died 1923 in Balmain.

vi Charles MacArthur Creer, b. 12 Apr 1866 in Grafton, NSW. He married Jane Watson, married 1886 in Drummoyne, Sydney, b. 13 Jun 1870 in The Rocks, Sydney, d. 27 Aug 1955 in Five Dock, Sydney. Charles died 25 Nov 1939 in Five Dock, Sydney.

vii Jane Ann Creer, b. 21 May 1867 in Grafton, NSW. She married Charles Hedley, married 1886 in NSW.

viii Jemima Robb Creer, b. 24 Aug 1869 in NSW, d. 1870 in NSW.

20. Henry Creer, b. 30 Jun 1834 in Braddan, Isle of Man. He married (1) Amelia Trasey, married 24 Jun 1857. He married (2) Mary Weekes, married 16 Jun 1862. Henry died 20 Sep 1893 in Sydney.


i Florence SJ Creer, b. 1858 in NSW. She married Archibald Campbell, married 1880 in NSW.

ii Ada T Creer, b. 1860, d. 1861 in Pyrmont, Sydney.

iii ? Creer, b. 17 Jan 1864 in Pyrmont, Sydney.

iv Annie M Creer, b. 1873 in NSW, d. 1874 in NSW.

21. Thomas Creer, b. 23 Aug 1838 in Braddan, Isle of Man. He married Christina Dawson, married 1862 in NSW.


i Elizabeth Creer, b. 1863 in NSW. She married James H Bragg, married 1888 in NSW.

ii Ann I Creer, b. 1865. She married William Jones, married 1886.

iii Agnes G Creer, b. 1867.

22. Sarah Creer, b. 17 May 1840. She married William Corless, b. 5 Feb 1837, d. 10 Feb 1922. Sarah died 25 Oct 1909.


i William Corless, b. 13 Dec 1863, d. 18 Apr 1908.

ii Edward Corless, b. 28 Dec 1867, d. 3 Dec 1899.

iii Robert Corless, b. 2 Jan 1872, d. 23 Aug 1880.

iv Ella Corless, b. 23 Jan 1876, d. 14 Apr 1897.

v Sarah Frances Corless, b. 1 Jan 1878, d. 11 Sep 1931.

vi Frank Corless, b. 18 Oct 1879, d. 1 Aug 1890.

23. Edward Creer, b. 19 Feb 1842. He married (1) Christine Anna Cottier, married 23 Oct 1873, b. 26 Dec 1846, d. 27 Aug 1876. He married (2) Catherine Margaret Crellin, married 7 May 1879, b. 11 Aug 1858, (daughter of Charles Crellin and Catherine Margaret Quirk) d. 27 Jul 1937. Edward died 6 May 1912.


i Matilda Creer, b. 1874.

ii Katie Creer, b. 1 Oct 1881, d. 10 Feb 1934.

iii Edward Creer, b. 1883. He married Gertrude Berridge, b. abt 1899, d. 18 Apr 1973. Edward died 30 Oct 1967.

24. Catherine Creer, b. 1846. She married Joseph Callister, married 2 Nov 1867, b. 3 Apr 1844, d. 22 Aug 1916. Catherine died 10 May 1911.


i Edward Callister, b. abt 1869.

ii Annie Callister, b. ? Mar 1871, d. 16 Sep 1871.

iii Sarah Callister, b. abt 1873.

iv Emma Callister, b. abt 1874.

v Eleanor Callister, b. abt 1876.

vi Katie Callister, b. abt 1879.

vii Joseph Callister, b. abt 1880.

viii John W Callister, b. 1884.

ix E A Callister, b. 1889.

25. Richard Creer, b. 15 Sep 1850. He married Elizabeth Ann Hampton, married 1893, b. 1862, (daughter of William Hampton and Mary Ann ?) d. 1916. Richard died 1922.


i Richard Creer, b. 1898, d. 1974.

ii Daniel Creer, b. 1901. He married Elizabeth Haddon, married abt 1922, d. 1961. Daniel died 1971.

iii William Creer, b. 1903. He married Minnie Killey, married 1940. William died 1982.

iv Thomas Creer, b. 1906. He married Doris Kelly, married 1938.

v Margaret Creer. She married Alexander Faragher, d. 1955.

26. John Fargher Creer, b. 1853. He married Marie Eleanor Kinnish, married abt 1875, b. 1863, (daughter of John Kinnish and Doritha Cosnahan?) d. 20 Nov 1909. John died 19 Sep 1909.


i Alfred Edward Creer, b. 18 Apr 1887. He married Emma Watson, married abt 1911, b. 8 Oct 1890, d. 8 Nov 1949. Alfred died 10 Oct 1920.

ii William J Creer, b. 1889. He married Margaret Ruffle, married 15 Oct 1909.

iii John Robert Creer, b. 1891. He married Elizabeth ?, married abt 1910. John died 28 Aug 1948.

27. Rhoda Creer, b. 1861. She married James Kermode, married aft 1881, b. 1854. Rhoda died 28 May 1921.


i John Kermode, b. 1883.

ii Emily Kermode, b. 1885.

iii William Kermode, b. 1887.

iv Eleanor M Kermode, b. 1890.

Edward Creer


Moras Herald August 7, 1838


Accident- It is our painful task this week to announce the loss of Captain Edwd. Creer, of the smack Fame, of this port. The vessel left here on Saturday night, for Liverpool, with a fresh breeze from the S.W., and cross sea. About seven miles from Douglas head, the master went below, and shortly afterwards came on deck smoking his pipe. Whilst proceeding to the man at the helm, a sea struck the vessel, when he unfortunately lost his balance and fell overboard. His body has not yet been found. It is supposed that he had on his person, at the time of the lamentable accident, a sum of money amounting to about 40 pounds- in sovereigns, bank notes, and copper; also, a good watch. A reward of 5 pounds will be given to any individual who may discover the remains of the unfortunate and much-respected deceased, on application to his afflicted widow, or at the office of this paper. We particularly request that our brethren of the press in Lancashire, Cumberland, the western coast of Scotland, and the north-east of Ireland, will obligingly notice and give publicity to this paragraph in their respective districts.

Creer Family graves, Braddan, Isle of Man



Born: C.1812 (date of death less age) or 1814  (date of marriage less age).

Place of birth unknown- possibly Cornwall where he might have known the Bennett family.


Arrival in Australian colonies- unknown


Died: 16 December 1858 Port Adelaide, buried Alberton Cemetery. Occupation- Farmer and Licensed Victualler in Adelaide (John Henry Needham Ferrers)  (Death Certificate- age 46 at Le Fevres Peninsula. Usual residence Le Fevres Peninsula. Cause- Effusion of the Brain

(Died intestate (SA Govt Gazette 6th Jan 1859- all property to Mary Ferrers)


Buried: 19th December 1858 Alberton Cemetery, Le Fevres Peninsula, Adelaide

("Register" Personal Notices- John Henry Needham Ferrers)


Married: 6 October 1842 to Mary Bennett in Holy Trinity Church, Hobart. Register of Banns: 18th September 1842, 25th September 1842 and 2nd October 1842 Parish of Trinity, Hobart Town (Henry Ferrers and Mary Bennett). Grooms occupation- carpenter. Bride was spinster. Both could write- signed name Henery Ferrers

witnesses- John Whitehall and Josias Keyward (register staff) 

Married only only 3 months after the arrival of the Bennett family and earlier when first banns were read.


(Mary Bennett arrived on the Orleana from England on 4 July 1842 with parents and large family. Family was from South Petherin or Lewannick, Cornwall. Mary was 19 when married, John Henry was 28).


One child- Sarah Needham Ferrers b. 24 June 1843 or 1 Jul 1843 (Birth registration- perhaps adjusted by family to match marriage date. Sarah was born about 9 months from the date of marriage). Sarah was born in Hobart (Sarah- Father Henry Ferrars, Carpenter, Mother not recorded)


Other notes


          Marriage of Henry Beresford 22nd March 1845 in Hobart to Susan Bennett- witnesses incl. Henry Ferrers)


         Henry Ferrers owned the  "Princes' or Princess Hotel" 1851-1858 Prince Wharf, North Parade, Port Adelaide (SA Govt Gazette 30th March 1854 Publican's General License, transfer of licence to Edwin Wallis SA Gazette 23 Dec 1858) (This hotel built 1851 demolished 1909)


         Mary Ferrers owned "British Hotel", 13 North Parade, cnr. Nelson Street, Port Adelaide 15th December 1859 to 6th April 1864 following death of Henry Ferrers (This hotel built 25th March 1847 and still in existence- National Trust listed)


         Henry Ferrers owned property in Adelaide, viz:

 Part Lot 13 Port Adelaide (hotel)

Part Lot 12 Port Adelaide

Part Section 333 Survey B  Gilles Plain  

Lots 90 & 107, Section 1130 

Lot 90, Section 1130 

Lots 7,9,10,11,18,19,20,21,22,29

Section 763 Lefevres Pen. 

Lots 57,58,59,60,61,62,75,76,77,78,79,80

Section 763 Lefevres Pen.

Section 102 Yatala

Section 104 Yatala 

Sections 102 & 104 Yatala 

Section 103 Yatala 

Section 914 Port Adelaide 


         Death of Mary Ferrers nee Bennett: 19th October 1892 in Watsons Bay (Death Certificate- age 70 years, Father Richard Bennett Blacksmith, Mother not known, married to Henry Needham Ferrers in Tasmania only child Sarah Needham Ferrers- born in Cornwall and over 40 years in NSW and SA)


         Death of Sarah Needham Creer nee Ferrers: 11th November 1908 in Watson's Bay (Death Certificate- age 65 years, Father Henry Ferrers Independent Means, Mother Mary Bennett Born Adelaide, lived in SA 18 years)


(Obituary notice- "came of a distinguished naval family. Her father was Admiral Ferrar, and she was connected with the Beresfords, being a niece of Canon Beresford of Launceston". Actually mothers sister Susan Bennett married Henry Beresford, a convict cum policeman of Hobart who had child Alfred Richard Beresford, the Canon of Launceston. Sarah Ferrers would have been a first cousin of Alfred Beresford).



         Carpenter (marriage certificate),

         Independent means (daughter's death cert.)

         Licensed Victualler in Port Adelaide, farmer (death certificate)

         Admiral Ferrar, Connected with the Beresfords of Launceston (Sarah's obituary)


         Possible link with the de Ferrers family originating in Normandy

         Family home "Ferrersfield"?


         Family story of a church memorial window to Mary Ferrers seen in 1914 by Herbert Creer in Devonport or Plymouth


         Arrival in Australia unknown- (perhaps as ship's carpenter)


Correspondence- May 24, 1996


 Dear Mr.Smith


Yours of 29th sent to my former address has been handed to me but I do not believe I can assist with your enquiries.


There is no known reference to the origins of J.H.N.Ferrers to be located in the available to me; nor to the Needham family which, as it recurred would suggest that money, if any, came from that connection. (Needham was later noted in South Australia in connection with some divines in one of the churches).


As you quote various items from Hobart I assume you have been in contact with the Tasmanian Archives, 90 Murray St, Hobart?


According to the 'Hodge' Index in the Mortlock Library it would seem that the Ferrars/Ferrer family arrived from Hobart in the schooner WATER LILY in May 1850.


Mr. Ferrers was licencee of the Prince's hotel or taven from 1851 till 1857

when the licence was transferred to his wife-  probably due to his ill health although there may have been some objection before the court when he applied in 1858 for renewal. The inn was in a good position as it was adjacent to the Mundy St ferry that took workers across the river to the Patent Slip of Mr. Fletcher. The Mortlock Library may be able to establish if the licensed property was the property of Ferrers, should this be of any interest, but I doubt that the building used in 1851 was the same one that was demolished in 1909.


The sch. OMEO was enrolled Apl.1855 by Mr. Ferrers-  I assume that his wife as his beneficiary continued to allow it to operate under the same arrangements as her husband entered into when he purchased it. He most certainly did NOT sail it himself. However, it is more than likely it was sold after his death and the owner/purchaser omitted to advise the authorities-  a not uncommon event.


The land owned in the Pt.Adelaide Area was mostly speculative and of very little value for many years after the purchase. Section 763 was on the tip of Le Fevre's Peninsula comprising mud flats and or sand dunes. Sect. 914 was in Ehtelton about opposite the Prince's hotel-  and possibly the area where Ferrers lived when he died. Part sect.333 was at the North Arm where from time to time speculators tried to have the port moved to but without success.

Section 1130 was what later became Portland Estate but only after it was drained and reclaimed many years after it was sold.


Joseph Creer, pilot, the FREEBRIDGE was owned by the pilots and was employed to seek pilotage from incoming ships by 'ranging the gulf' i.e. cruising about the Backstairs Passage, or western end of Kangaroo Is. There was competition between the pilots as they were not, at that time, regulated or controlled by the government.


Whosoever handled the obits for the family in Sydney was careless with the facts but then it was an era when everyone was trying to 'live-down' their possible association with the convict days-  the claim about Admiral Ferrar seems too good to be true and you could check about that Admiral in the British Army & Navy publications probably available at the National Library to see if there is any slight possibility of a remote association.


Just why the ladies came to live in Watsons Bay may be of interest-  there was one of the Creer family associated with the northern rivers shipping out of Sydney for some time that may have some bearing on the move.


Thomas Ed Creer remained in South Australia and in charge of the Tug Company until c. 1926/7.


I have nothing more, but as I say, some investigation into the "Needham" connection may be worthwhile and if it can be established when J.H.N.Ferrers arrived in Australia it will come from either Hobart or, at a last resort, Sydney- he just may have been sent to Tasmania for some misdemeanour from one of the other colonies.


Yours sincerely


Ronald Parsons


Extract from following publication:

"Shipwrecks in South Australia (1836-1875)"

Ronald Parsons. Pg. 64-65




It seems strange that a ship could go missing in the gulf waters of South Australia but a number of small craft have. The schooner OMEO left Tumby Bay July 26,1866 and disappeared. The Pilot vessel "Young St. George" left Port Adelaide August 17 to try and learn of her fate but she returned on the 30th with no news and it was surmised she must have been caught in a squall, capsized and sunk, taking her three man crew with her. Early in September, however, Capt. Reid of the fore and aft schooner OMEO (a strange co-incidence) reported some pieces of wreckage picked up on the beach about 4 miles from Corney Point, southern Yorke's Peninsula that were identified as coming from the missing vessel. Obviously she had been overwhelmed and probably in the manner earlier suggested. Nothing else was ever seen that could be identified as part of the missing OMEO.


OMEO Wood 2 mast schooner, ON31498, 32 tons, 44.3 x 15.3 x 6.6, built 1854 WH Hales, Melbourne, Owners- JHN Ferrers, reg. Port Adelaide

Richard Bennett and Alice Marshall


Archives Office of Tasmania

91 Murray Street Hobart Tasmania Australia 7000 



30 July 1991


Dear Mr. Smith


I can find no record of a convict named John Ferrers (or any of the variant spellings). Nor can I find him listed as a free arrival, but there are considerable gaps in the immigration records, so this is not conclusive.


Richard Bennett arrived in Hobart on 4 July 1842 aboard the Orleana as a bounty (i.e assisted) immigrant. He was 45 years old, Church of England, able to read and write and a blacksmith by trade. He was accompanied by his wife Alice 34 and their children Mary 18, Grace 16, Susan 12, Elizabeth 9, Margaret 7, John 4 and Matthew 1.


It is possible that John Ferrers was transported to N.S.W. and came to Van Diemens Land after  serving his sentence. It may be worth checking in Sydney, though it is always possible he arrived in Hobart a free migrant and there is simply no record.



Note: The Orleana was 649 tons. This was her 2nd voyage to Hobart. She carried 277 passengers and her Captain was Captain Cameron. She arrived 3 July 1842.

Henry Beresford


Convicted at Leicester for Highway Robbery.previously tried for stealing a pan

Arrived in Hobart on "Westmoreland" on 12 Sept 1841 for 15 year sentence

Height 5'8 1/4",complexion-fair,hair-sandy,eyes-light grey,nose & mouth-large

Permission to marry February 1844, Ticket of Leave 15 December 1845

Conditional Pardon 23 November 1847, Free Certificate 7 April 1856

Police Constable Hobart (1843) Green Ponds (1857-62), Mail Guard (1845-51)



I write further to my letter of the 5 November concerning the Beresford family. Since then we have discovered that there was a Henry Beresford who tallies with some of the information in your letter of 22 October.


He was a convict who arrived in Tasmania on board the Westmoreland on 12 September, 1841. He had been convicted at Leicester on a charge of highway robbery and stealing money and a watch valued at 100 pounds and upwards. He was tried with John Coker on board, and had once served six months for felony and been acquitted on a charge of stealing a copper pan. He was a hawker, single, protestant, and could both read and write. His native place was near Derby, and he was awarded a sentence fifteen years transportation. His father was Aaron Beresford at Louthborough, and he had a brother James and a sister Anna (2/68). His physical description was: Height 5 81/4; Age 21; complexion, Fair; Head, Long; Hair, sandy; Whiskers, None; Visage, oval; Forehead, Medium Height; Eyebrows, Dark Brown; Eyes, Light Grey; Nose, Large; Mouth, Large; Chin, Large. His marks were as follows: Anchor inside right arm: H B C S F H cross heart inside left arm.


His offences in the Colony were few, and he received a Ticket-of-Leave on 15 December 1845, a Conditional Pardon on 23 November 1847, and a Free Certificate on 7 April, 1856. (2/217).


In February, 1844 he applied for permission to marry Susan Bennett, free and this was approved. (2/453).


Berresford (so spelt) applied for a pension in 1862, and in so doing gave some personal particulars. He was then aged forty-seven and claimed eighteen years seven months service in the Police Department, having now been retired from the establishment at Green Ponds (Kempton). He said he had been appointed a Police Constable at Hobart on 3 August 1843; a mail guard with the rank of sergeant from 1845 to 30 October, 1851; District Constable at Kingston from 1 November, 1851, and a First Class Constable at Green Ponds on 1 November 1857, from which position he was reduced on 15 April 1862. The Superintendent of Police, J. Hunter, added this to his application :


Applicants conduct and efficiency came under my observation during an early period of his service in the force, while in the bush in pursuit of bushrangers. In later years also I was personally cognizant of his meritorious services in the bush and of the exposure privation and hardships be endured in very troublesome times when the capture of many absconders was entirely owing to his untiring energy and from which his health suffered very severely. Though a middle aged man he is now to some degree from cold and rheumatism contracted from exposure, unsuited for very active employment and is a fit subject for consideration by the executive. I can confidently testify to his having always discharged his duties with diligence and fidelity while under my charge and respectfully recommend him as an honest meritorious officer entitled to the highest rate of pension his rank and encumbrances will admit of.


A pension of 52 pounds p.a. was allowed (CSD 4/12/88)

Joseph Creer

Sarah Needham May Creer, nee Ferrers



Joseph Creer

Born  6 Nov 1826 Braddan, Douglas, Isle of Man

Baptised 12 Nov 1826 Braddan, Douglas, Isle of Man

Died  9 Jun 1909 Watson's Bay, Sydney

Buried  South Head Cemetery, Sydney

Occupation Master Mariner


1. Jane Cain

2. Sarah Needham Ferrers


      Apprenticeship in "little Manx brig",

      Master of own ship at 21,

      Arrived Australia in 1848?

      then Port Adelaide 28 Aug 1852 on "Grasmere" from Liverpool,

      joined Pilots in Adelaide,

      then Clarence and Richmond River Steamship Company

      Commanded steamer "Duncan Hoyle" "Clarence" and "Ballina".

      then Sydney pilots 1870's and following 35 years of service became Master of Pilots.

      Lived "Clifton", Salisbury St, Watsons Bay ("Clifton" may have been rebuilt by the Playfairs)



Braddan is a small village a short distance from Douglas on the Isle of Man. The old Kirk is no longer in use and is crumbling into ruin. The surrounding churchyard is wild and overgrown. The ancient headstones are all but overwhelmed by the grass and blackberries. The Creer and Dickinson families must have been long time residents of this parish and have been baptised, married and buried in the kirk throughout its long history. The memorial to Edward Creer is the most notable. The inscription reads:


Erected by his widow

In memory of the late EDWARD CREER Master of the smack FAME of Douglas who was unfortunately drowned by falling

overboard on his passage to Liverpool, Sunday August 5 1838

in the 43rd year of his age, greatly respected


and below:


Here lies the remains of FRANCIS RIGBY daughter of Phillip Caine of Douglas and Sarah his wife who departed this life

the 14th October 1847. Aged 1 year and 4 months.


Edward's widow Sarah remarried Phillip Caine in 1842 and had the children Robert Dickinson, Sarah Margaret and Francis Rigby. The widow Sarah Caine is buried beside her first husband. Her grave inscription reads:


Sacred to the memory of SARAH the beloved wife of Phillip

Caine of Douglas who departed this life the 27th of May

1850, aged 43 years






On the night of October 23 1857, the 888 ton clipper ship Catherine Adamson was caught off the edge of North Head in an 80 mile per hour gale and sank. Since that day the wreck has slept in 5 fathoms of water, virtually undisturbed and rarely visited in more than 100 years.


In 1957 Ben Cropp examined the wreck site but it has been only recently that a regular visitor has explored what remains.


Stephen Wagstaff, a professional diver, underwater explore, adventurer and owner of a small maritime museum has made many dives to the Catherine Adamson bringing back crusty souvenirs of the once proud ship.


Stephen whose file cabinet includes information of more than 4,000 Australian ship wrecks, tells the clippers story.


Carrying gold from the minefields, wool and mail from the colonies, the Catherine Adamson had made a record run of 68 days to England in 1856. She was a true credit to her Captain and to her crew.


This time she had made the journey in 87 days out from Falmouth. She was heavy with cargo and ready for fat profits when she anchored outside Sydneys headlands.


In fact she was called the booze barge. Because of her load of scotch whisky, gin, beer and other spirits.


Captain Smart and a crew of 34 with 8 passengers watched with assurance as the pilot, young John Hawkes boarded the Catherine to steer her into Sydney harbour.


Two facts however troubled the Captain. A very strong southerly was blowing waves against North Heads treacherous rocks and just 2 months earlier in similar conditions another clipper ship, the Dunbar, with a 122 immigrants had been lost with all hands save one.


Pilot Hawkes argued with Captain Stewart that he had been successfully bringing in ships for more than 5 years. Rather than waiting for a really nasty gale to arrive and perhaps keep the Catherine out for more than a week, incurring enormous expense, the best move was to weigh anchor and sail immediately.


To no avail the Captain argued that it seemed too dangerous. The young pilots will prevailed and the ship headed for the entrance.


Then the troubles began. The winds increased to cyclone velocity and blew away the fore sail. The Captain again argued that they should return to sea before it was too late but the stubborn pilot was convinced of his judgement and headed the Captain towards Spring Cove for shelter. But increasing winds and waves were against them.


Soon they found themselves within 15 metres of the breakers of North Head and the pilot and desperate Captain ordered both anchors released. But the anchors kept slipping and sliding.


The frantic passengers and crew could hear the breakers pounding against the rocks just a short distance away, but they could see nothing in the midnight darkness.


They were hardly comforted when distress flares were fired into the night.


Meanwhile, the paddle steamer Williams homeward bound from the Hunter River pulled along side and offered help.


The offer was at first not heard because arguments continued on board. Young Hawkes was for sending for help to the tug Washington achored at Watsons Bay and powerful enough to pull them out.


Paddle steamer Captain Creer shouted through his megaphone for the pilot to send him a rope. You havent got the power. Fetch a tug Hawkes screamed back into the wind.


Were 20 horsepower stronger than any tug the angry Creer shouted. Send us a rope you fool.


Still the arguing continued aboard the Adamson.


Finally, a gig and towrope were dispatched but the rope broke. Then there was a second attempt and when the rope finally reached the paddlesteamer, the gig unattended smashed into the paddle wheels of the Williams.


Captain Creer sensed the need for immediate action and he shouted through his megaphone Slip your cables.


Again the response was argument aboard the Catherine. No-one seemed capable of taking command, cutting the anchors free and allowing the Clipper to be towed off by the breaker line.


The time delay caused the Williams to swing broadside and in the confusion the towline was lost.


At the same time the Catherine had drifted perilously close to the first line of breakers. The Williams tried to get closer but failed, so Captain Creer set off for Watsons Bay while Captain Stewart aboard the Catherine saw his last hopes disappear into the darkness.


The crew and passengers pleaded for a lifeboat. The request was granted and a small lifeboat filled with crew and passengers.


But when it was only halfway down the side of the hull the beautiful Clipper ship struck the cliff.


The lifeboat and crew hung dangerously midway between breakers and ship. Cut the lines some-one screamed. The line was cut just as the Captain , having leaped over the Clippers gunwale landed with a plop in the stern of the lifeboat.


The last they all heard in the darkness was the cracking of the mizzen mast.


One hour later when a tug finally arrived the trim Catherine Adamson had been thoroughly wrecked and sunk.


There was no sign of life except for 3 bulls and 2 horses which had escaped their pens on the deck of the Clipper. They stood drenched and bewildered at the foot of the cliff.


Flotsam and jetsam was everywhere and the news of the wreck brought pout dozens of local scavengers. It was Crown property as untaxed bounty so they hid everything in nearby bushes to avoid detection by the police.


A few bodies were recovered, the rest were taken by sharks. The bodies, including the drowned pilot, were buried in a common grave along with the dead from the Dunbar at St Stephens Church in Camperdown.


Only 5 people had been saved, 1 of them being Captain Stewart.


Subsequently, the Captain tried to recover at least part of his cargo, but their was much argument over the salvage rights and eventually he received nothing.


By 8 to 5, a jury found him blameless for the disaster and the fault was attributed to the young dead pilot Hawkes.


Today the Catherine Adamson still holds some of its original cargo and it is these treasures which Stephen Wagstaff has brought back to Sydney.


The water is always dirty from the sewerage he said. In fact sometimes you can barely see in front of himself. But with patience and curiosity weve found some excellent relics such a cannon, brass ships spikes, solid brass weights, cracked pieces of a dinner service and all sorts of cow bells.


Each has a story to tell, a bit sad and melancholy, a bit mysterious too, but every new find adds to the picture off that confusing scene of argument and uncertainty aboard the Catherine Adamson on that fateful night in 1857 Stephen said.




(By Petford Allen- circa 1939.)


A short sketch of the Pilot Ser­vice of Sydney heads may be of some interest to readers of the Lawson Post.


Prior to 1877 the deep sea pilot work at Sydney heads was per­formed by means of magnificent whaleboats manned by experienced fishermen and sailors. It was a very hazardous duty, especially in rough weather, at night. Ultimate­ly. however, it was found that the whaleboats were unable to render towing assistance to vessels in dis­tress, besides which the boats could not venture any great distance from the Heads, sometimes the vessels signalling being as far off as fifteen miles, waiting for a pilot. The steamer Captain Cook was launched at Morts Dock. She was a small wooden craft of about 140 tons, yet one of the most seaworthy cockleshells that ever navigated through Sydney Heads. The Cook as the vessel was more often called, was commanded by Captain Joseph Creer, a dashing sea hero whose name is not likely to be forgotten in connection with life­boat and rescue work at the gate of the port for many years to come.


The vessel, under his able com­mand, was kept as spick and span as the brightest warship in the Navy.


To describe the pilot system: When a ship appears in sight off the Heads, for instance, from London, the vessel, unless the captain has passed the Marine Board of New South Wales examination for com­petency to bring his vessel to an anchorage in safety, requires to sig­nal for the services of a pilot, the signal being the well-known Union Jack flying at the foremast in the daytime, and a blue rocket light (as many as are found necessary to call attention) at night.  Should the captain of the ship have passed the examination referred to, then he flies a white exemption flag on the fore-top, in which case a pilot is not required, the vessel simply being towed into port.


    When the ship has approached sufficiently close to the Heads, what is called the Proceed (a blue streamer) is hoisted near the signal station, on a short pole, separate altogether from the flagstaff, and almost at once the Pilot steamer is under way. Two pilots are always in readiness, and as soon as these are taken, others come aboard to fill their places. The system is perfect. When the steamer reaches the ves­sel signalling, for a pilot a whale­ boat has to be launched out in the open sea, night or day, the pilot boarding the incoming ship often after great difficulty and exposed to much danger. The plan adopted is to launch the boat on the lee side of the ship, which, of course, meanwhile is hove-to, the boat then hav­ing some degree of shelter from the seething break of overwhelming green seas. Occasionally, with very large vessels, particularly those steamships which have discharged the greater part of their inward car­go in Melbourne, the pilot is sub­merged out of sight in the water, in his effort to get a footing on the rope ladder, clinging on to the last rung. Pilots and sailors have been known to meet with injuries through the boat being dashed against the vessels side, some los­ing several fingers, cut off as if by a knife. Then, again, the utmost care has to be exercised in releasing the boat from the davits, the least mistake causing the boat to upset with all its occupants.


Duty calls, even in the very worst weather. Truly, indeed, it is a brave and noble work. In ordin­ary weather the pilot steamer lies moored to a buoy in Camp Cove, a little north of Watsons Bay, but in rough weather to moorings in the latter place. Steam is. always up- morning, noon and night. As soon as the blue flag appears on the South Head flagstaff signalling sta­tion- (blue indicates a ship, a red flag a barque, and various other flags denote other rigs)- the steam­er drops a floating oil drum over­board, to which a hawser is attach­ed connecting with a sunken anchor below, so that when the steamer re­turns all that is necessary to be done is to pick up the oil drum buoy and the vessel is made fast.










Captain Joseph Creer, one of Sydneys oldest pilots, died at his residence. Clifton, Watsons Bay, this morning. He had reach­ed the ripe age of 85 years.

With the passing of the old shipmaster goes a link with the past pilot service of the Sydney Heads. He was born in the Isle of Man, and served his time in a little Manx brig, and became master of his first vessel when he was about 21 years of age. He came out to the colonies and joined the Ade­laide pilots, and remained in the service for some years. A disagreement arose, however, and the captain severed his connection with the Adelaide pilots and went to sea again. Subsequently joining the old Clarence and Richmond River Steamship Company, which has since been absorbed by the North Coast Company. For many years he commanded the steamer Clarence, and, singularly enough, the three brothers Creer all met in the com­panys service, Harry Creer becoming superintendent of the company and Edward Creer became an engineer there at the same time.

The late Captain Joseph Creer left the Clarence and Richmond River. Co. to join the Sydney pilots. That was in the seventies when competition between the pilots was very keen, and before the advent of the Government pilot service. They had then to go out to sea in whalers which carried trained and permanent crews of four and some exciting races for ships were often witnessed. Perhaps half a dozen butcher boats would accompany three or four pilot boats and the sight of the crews racing seaward was watched with interest, but by very few, as the populace of Watsons Bay was then a very small one. There were then five pilots licensed by the old Marine Board, and these included Captains Cork, Coutts, Christison and Creer. Captain Charles Smith was the first "master of pilots, and he was succeeded by the late Captain Creer, and he held the position until his retirement some few years ago.

The memorable loss of the ship Centurion on North Head is recalled by the veteran pilots death. During a terrible south-east gale the pilot boat had to go out to the assistance of the Maneghan. Meanwhile the Centurion got into difficulties, and it was feared ship and crew would be lost on the headland. Captain Creer, in the old pilot steamer Captain Cook, put out, however, and in the thick of the storm the pilot steamers boats were lowered, and succeeded in taking off the whole of the Centurions crew as she was dashed to pieces ­and disappeared at North Head. The captain was presented with a gold watch and chain for his ga1lantry on that occasion.

It is said that although the pilots of Captain Creer's ear1y days were in competition and charged 8d per ton in and out, of which they retained 6d and gave the Government 2d, their earnings never exceeded 1000 pounds per year, and of this the whalers crews had to be paid- and good oarsmen cost money then. One pilot had to remain at the signal

station all night  too and another on the lightship. There was but broken communication between Watsons Bay and town then, and the pilots boats often carried passengers backwards and forwards, as did the butchers boats too.

Mrs. Creer predeceased the captain by some six months. The captain had been ailing for a long time, but had been in very low hea1th during the past two years.


The Late Captain Creer


By Petford Allen



Many of the worlds bravest men and women often perform heroic deeds that pass public recognition, owing to the obscurity and  humble character of their services to humanity. It is after all only a little well deserved praise that is missing; not in the sense of hero-worship, however, but in the sense of giving honor to whom honor is due.

The late Captain Joseph Creer, of the pilot steamer, stationed at Sydney Heads, was one of these, and I would like to lift the veil of obscurity, by a short reference, so that his work might be revealed, and his name justly remembered as that of one of the bravest sea­men of Australia.

One had only to stand for a few hours on the bridge of the frail, old, wooden Captain Cook, on a wild night, 15 miles off Sydney Heads in the thick of an easterly gale, to know what danger really meant, when the fury of the tempest was at its height, with blinding rain squalls and darkness, in the midst of all which, to launch a boat, with a pilot and two men, surrounded  by overwhelming seas, and this often thrice in succession in a single night, the pilot sometimes being submerged out of sight clinging on to the last rung of the ships ladder.

The late commander, nevertheless, safely navigated ­his tiny, shell-like craft in the teeth of a gale that  swept the coast for 40 years and more, and never lost a life.

When the strongest tug boats would not ven­ture outside, and the Manly steamers had not crossed between the Heads for two days, the dauntless sailor was out with his vessel in the worst night of it, in response to the flash of the signal. Together with his coxswain, the late Henry de Fraser (the South Head signalman) guiding him from the land as to the whereabouts of the vessel in distress by means of leading lights, from the cliff above. He performed this heroic work far out at sea in the face of every peril; but as this hazardous work was done mostly at night, the people of Sydney never had the opportunity of knowing what was taking place. In this manner the life-long services of an heroic officer have passed compara­tively unobserved and without fitting recog­nition. The rescue work, apart from the or­dinary duties performed, were of an exceedingly dangerous character, and it required great skill in handling the little vessel, especially when alongside of a foundering ship, or when in close proximity to shallow reefs and hidden rocks. He has followed his faithful signalman by but a few hours, so soon indeed that one might say it was as though in response to the flash of his signal from the unseen heights beyond! An English sailor of the White Star liner Re­public recently became a hero by a single ac­tion- Commander Joseph Creer, of Sydney heads, by his skilful seamanship, dashing bra­very, and 40 years thrilling rescue work at sea, was a hero whose memory the port of Sydney should ever proudly cherish.




Obituary- Mrs. Sarah Needham Creer, wife of Captain Creer, for 35 in years in command of the pilot service in Watsons Bay, died at her residence Clifton, Watsons Bay, on Wednesday last, her remains being interred on Friday at the South Head  Cemetery. The deceased lady came of a distinguished naval family. Her father was Admiral Ferrar, and she was connected with the Beresfords, being a niece of Canon Beresford, of Launceston. Mrs Creer was a resident of over 30 years in Watsons Bay, and was well-known by her many acts of charity. As a token of respect for deceased flags were half-masted on the pilot steamer, signal station, and at many private residences. She died at the age of 65 years after an illness extending for some months. Among her daughters living is Mrs. James Nairn, of Moree.


Creer family- the daughters

Creer family grave at South Head Cemetery, Sydney

Creer brothers- Edward, Joseph and Henry

Edward Thomas Creer, Henry Creer, Joseph Creer,

James Neill Creer, Alfred Joseph, Herbert Victor, Jane Neill




Clarence and Richmond Examiner- Tuesday, July 16, 1861


CREER- At the residence of her grandfather, Mr Arthur Trasey, of Pyrmont, the infant daughter of Captain Henry Creer, aged one year and seven months.


Australian Pioneers and Reminiscences p.51- about 1875


The first sugar mill on the Clarence was a co-operative affair at Ulmarra. It was opened by the Earl of Belmore, the then Governor, during his visit to the Clarence in 1868. The capital was subscribed by the farmers of the neighbourhood, but it was an utter and very costly failure. It never made a pound of sugar. It was designed by a local genius, and was of much the same type as The Barons brilliant conception on the Manning. For many years it remained closed and useless; but in 1875, Mr William Small, of Swan Creek, and his brother-in-law, Mr Edward Creer, of Grafton, bought it from the co-operators, who were not sorry to get some of their money back. A manager from the Mauritius or West Indies was engaged, and the old building was newly equipped with rational appliances. The new manager was considered a failure. He could not make sugar, and the management was entrusted to Mr Grey, who had just arrived as chief engineer of the new steamer City of Grafton, from the Clyde. He worked the mil most successfully, till it was closed for want of cane to operate on. The CSR Co.s mill at Southgate, on the opposite side of the river, being also closed, and removed about the same time, and for the same reason- the persistent failure of the cane crops on the upper course of the stream.


Ulmarra Public School Centenary 1891-1991


Belmore Sugar Mill


The Belmore Sugar Mill at Ulmarra was the first sugar mill on the Clarence River. It was completed in 1869 and opened by the Earl of Belmore, at that time Governor of New South Wales. At the opening the Countess fed a few stalks of cane through the rollers. This was the first visit by a Governor to the Clarence. The Governor later went by boat to Copmanhurst and then on to Yugilbar where they were entertained at the castle.

The venture proved a disaster for all concerned. The shareholders lost their capital and two directors, William Small and Edward Creer were heavy losers as guarantors.

The thoughts of using the mill as a timber mill or bacon and meat works proved unsatisfactory. The building was later pulled down. The old boiler is still visible on the bank of the river.


Grafton Argus 7 June 1875



From a correspondent

Saturday Noon

A very large and enthusiastic meeting was held at Mr C Gruers Caledonian Hotel, Ulmarra, on Friday (last) evening. It was decided to present Captain Henry Creer of the Agnes Irving with a testimonial: and a committee to carry out all arrangements were appointed. Mr S See occupied the chair. Some 36 pounds was subscribed in the room.


Argus- 28 June 1875


We are glad to find our suggestion for some agitation in Grafton in aid of the Captain Creer Testimonial Fund has had the effect of a public meeting being called in this city, which will take place on Wednesday evening next. Since we last referred to Captain Creer, we have found that he entered the Clarence trade on the 18th August, 1859, nearly sixteen years ago; that he has made 1074 trips to the Clarence from Sydney, and four from the Clarence to Melbourne; and that during the whole of that period no serious accident has happened to his ship. In the Agnes Irving he has made 870 trips with the greatest regularity; and since the 1st of January, 1868, as far back as we can obtain valuable information, he has made 549 trips in the Agnes Irving alone- and in those trips his ship has carried 15,428 passengers, 282,000 bags of maize, 40,247 cases of meat, 66,268 bunches of bananas, 5600 bales of wool, 25,000 bags of ores, and sundries. This amount of traffic and shipments will show that the trade of the district is something- seeing that there have been from one to three other steamers regularly trading to this port during the past ten years; and the position of senior commodore of our steam fleet with such a trade as this, is one that none but a really efficient navigator could well fill.


Grafton Argus 28 June 1875


Captain Creer Testimonial- Notice

A public meeting will be held at Mr Irelands Crown Hotel on Wednesday next, 30th June, at 8 oclock pm, in aid of the Testimonial to Captain Henry Creer, of the Agnes Irving. A deputation from the Ulmarra will attend the meeting.

By order of the Ulmarra Committee.


The Grafton Argus- Monday July 26, 1875


Presentation to Captain Henry Creer


On Friday last a number of Grafton people, including the Grafton members of the Committee and representatives of the Press, went to Ulmarra in the steamer Ramorine, conveying Captain Creer thence. Upon arriving at the wharf, a great concourse of people were assembled, and the wharf presented a gay appearance being decked with bunting. Ashtons band struck up as Captain Creer landed. On arriving at Mr CJ Gruers Hotel, the large room was tastefully decorated with flags and evergreens, and a good substantial meal provided. The company assembled, and we noticed a good number of ladies.


Mr Thomas Small the Chairman of the Ulmarra Committee, was on the motion of Mr S See voted to the chair. On taking the chair he said they were assembled for the purpose of presenting their old friend Captain Henry Creer with an address and a purse of sovereigns, and also to say farewell to him as this was the eve of his last trip to the Clarence, previous to his departure for Europe. He felt sure they would all join with him in wishing Captain Creer goodbye and a successful trip and speedy return to the Clarence again. He then read the following address.


To Henry Creer, esquire, Master of the steamship Agnes Irving trading between Sydney and Grafton.


Dear Sir, A wish has been expressed by the passengers and shippers connected with the Clarence, for opportunity to make some public acknowledgment of their appreciation of your services for the last 16 years.

Your temporary retirement from this trade for the purpose of visiting Europe, gives us the desired opportunity of expressing our admiration of the skill, coolness and courage displayed by you in the successful navigation of the ships under your command for so long a period, as well as our esteem for you as a citizen.

The mere fact that you have been enabled, under divine providence, to perform nearly 1100 passages between Sydney and Grafton over a bar harbour with unexampled regularity, and that you have also safely conveyed over 20,000 passengers without interruption or accident to life or property worth mentioning, is a stronger proof of your nautical ability and your presence of mind than any mere words of praise we could use.

We therefore simple offer our sincere congratulations on the unprecedented success which has been achieved by you and which has in a great measure tended to promote the settlement of this district and the welfare of its people. We beg your acceptance of the accompanying purse of 200 sovereigns as a memento of our esteem.

Wishing you a pleasant voyage, success in the mission you are undertaking and an early resumption of the position you have so long held of senior Captain in the Clarence River trade.

We subscribe ourselves dear sir, (the address was signed by the chairman and secretaries on behalf of the subscribers).

Thew chairman then handed the address together with the purse containing 200 sovereigns to Captain Creer.

The address was very nicely engrossed on vellum, and beautifully illuminated with floral letters, having a handsome border in various colours, with an edging in imitation of peacocks feathers.

The address was engrossed and illuminated by Mr Hall of Sydney.

The purse was of seal skin lined throughout and ornamented with blue ribbon and made by Mrs J Grainger.

Captain H Creer on rising, was received with cheers and said that he felt very highly flattered. He could not express the feelings he felt for the very handsome present made to him, and the very cordial address which had been presented. He was sorry he was not able to address them as he should like, but the fact was, he was a sailor and had always been a sailor, he had been at sea since he was 13 years old and had therefore not made a study of public speaking, but he felt sure that they knew his feelings. He was thankful especially to the residents of Ulmarra for starting the movement and also to his other friends in Grafton and in the Lower Clarence and those in Sydney for their kindness and good wishes. He had been successful in the past and he hoped to be successful in his present mission. The company in whose service he was employed had treated him as a gentleman and with confidence and he hoped his mission would be for the benefit for the company and for the Clarence. This trade had been the height of his ambition and he had made it his particular study and especially so since the inauguration of the weekly trips which he tried to carry out with the greatest regularity. On many a Friday night he had had but little sleep thinking how he could secure the bar on the following day. He had had some very angry words with his friends even at that very wharf in consequence, but even these persons were now his best friends and the little tiffs that had taken place had only tended to cement their friendship. This was to him a happy day but it would be a happier one when he crossed the Clarence bar inwards with his new ship. He asked them still to favour the company and his old ship with their support, and he was glad to be able to say that the gentleman that would succeed him would do them justice, and that the old Agnes would be conducted with the same safety and care with which he had always tried to run her, and when he left Sydney Heads he felt sure that the Agnes would be perfectly safe with Captain Bracegirdle. He again thanked them most heartily for their kindness and wished them farewell.

Champagne was then uncorked and the chairman called upon the company to drink to the health of Captain Creer, coupling with it the name of Mrs Creer, which was drunk with three cheers.

Captain Creer thanked them for the toast and for coupling it with the name of Mrs Creer. He assured them that he did leave the district with without regret, and although it would afford him great pleasure to visit the old country and his birthplace (the Isle of Man) he would feel greater pleasure still when he returned and again saw the Clarence Heads. He then called upon them to drink the health of the chairman Mr Thomas Small. He felt sure that all the district respected him. He was one of the oldest residents. He trusted that Mr Small would be spared for many years and he hoped to see his jolly old face on his return. The trade of the river was bound to succeed, they only wanted good ships and good men in them. He was sure that both companies would do all that was necessary to develop that trade, and thought both were necessary, the one to act as a check upon the other, by which the district would be benefit. He always looked upon monopoly in NSW as a great curse and was of the opinion there was room for both.

The toast was drunk with musical honours.

Mr T Small thanked them heartily and expressed the hope that when Captain Creer returned he would be able to meet him in the same friendly way.

Mr L Jacobs proposed the toast of the secretaries Messrs SC and J Grainger. He gave them credit for bringing this testimonial to so successful and issue and was glad to see Ulmarra had succeeded. The secretaries must have gone to a great deal of trouble and expense and he felt sure they would do the same again for as good a cause. Then toast was cordially received.

Mr S See on behalf of Mr Grainger and himself returned the thanks for the toast. What they had had to do they did as a work of pleasure. It was no trouble, they did so because they believed Captain Creer deserving of this mark of their esteem, and he hoped that they would all be spared to meet him on their return. Before they sat down he would like to propose the toast our visitors. A great number had come from Grafton and the lower Clarence, he hardly expected to see so many, and while the testimonial had emanated from Ulmarra, they were greatly indebted for the assistance afforded by their friends in Grafton and in the Lower Clarence. The toast was was drunk with honours.

Mr W Atwater responded on behalf of the Grafton visitors. He said they had all come with great pleasure and what he had done he did  because he believed that Captain Creer deserving of some recognition more so than any other man. He thanked them for the toast.

Mr M Rush responded on behalf of the Lower Clarence. He was glad to see so much interest in this matter. There had not been so much done on the Lower Clarence as he could wish, but there was a little jealousy at Ulmarra taking the matter in hand, but he could assure Captain Creer that he was as greatly esteemed on the Lower Clarence as he was at either Ulmarra or Grafton.

Mr W Atwater then proposed the Committee and the Treasurer. They had toasted their chairman and the secretaries, but without a good working committee they could not be successful. Mr CJ Gruer the Treasurer responded. He had given his might to the fund and had taken care of the money- that was all he had to do; but little he had done, he did with best of intentions, because he thought Captain Creer deserving of it and apart from any other reason he considered Captain Creer after 16 years of service fairly entitled to a holiday. He hoped that he would enjoy himself in the old country and be spared to return to the Clarence.

Mr W Quayle responded on behalf of the committee. He said it was rather a delicate thing for a few people in Ulmarra to have started this movement but he hoped it would show them what they could do if they tried. He had known Captain Creer as long perhaps as anyone present and while he had had as passengers the noblest in the land, he had not proved unmindful of the small shipper with his few bags of maize. What he admired in Captain Creer was his thorough love of independence, a quality to be found in every true Manx man, And while he was independent he was at the same time courteous to all. He thanked them for the toast.

Mr L Jacobs responded on behalf of the Grafton portion of the committee. They had done what they could on this occasion, but he had often suggested that it should have been done long since, but he could not get others to go in it with him. He was glad that Ulmarra had had the pluck to come forward and that they were so successful. Grafton had contributed something and every little helped.

The chairman proposed the toast, Mr A Lardner, local director of the CRRSN Co which was duly honoured.

Mr A Lardner JP said he had not expected to take any part of the proceedings. He came to witness the presentation, which was highly gratifying to him. He was also pleased that it had not taken place at Ulmarra, it was not right that everything should emanate from the one place. There was nothing like a little competition provided that it was carried on fairly. The company with which he was identified had done some thin towards the settlement of this river, and he hoped they would continue to use their influence to the advancement of the district. It was gratifying to him to see this meeting pass off so successfully.

Mr L Jacobs proposed the Press which was responded to by the representatives of the journals present.

The toast of the hosts and the hostesses was drunk and responded to and the proceeding terminated with Auld Lang Syne and three cheers for the Queen.

The Grafton visitors then embarked and returned to Grafton arriving here about 6 oclock.

On Saturday last Agnes Irving left the wharf, when a large number of persons assembled to bid Captain Creer a final goodbye. As the steamer left the wharf three ringing cheers were given for him, who in acknowledgment fires a salute from the cannons aboard.


The Clarence and Richmond Examiner- 23 September 1893


The announcement of the death of Captain Henry Creer which took place in Sydney on Wednesday last will be received with universal regret on the Clarence. His name has been associated with the history of the Clarence during the past 35 years and he contributed in no small degree to the development of the district. No person has played so prominent a part in the shipping trade of the port, and his record as a commander is one of which his friends may well feel proud of, for during the entire period he was engaged in our maritime trade no serious casualty befell any vessel he sailed. This proves the great care he exercised in navigating the steamers entrusted to his care. Captain Creer was born in the Isle of Man on June 3rd 1834 and was consequently 59 years of age at the time of his demise. After making a voyage in an immigrant ship he with Mr R Hudson of Grafton sailed out in the Osprey commanded by Captain Trouton, afterwards manager for the A.S.N Co. The subject of these remarks for a short interval relinquished a mariners life and went to the gold fields which were then attracting thousands. He was sent for by his brother Mr E Creer to take charge of the Fennella which was then trading between Melbourne and Launceston and the Victorian ports. When this steamer was transferred to the HRSN Co. Captain Creer passed with her into the Hunter River trade, and when she was in 1859 purchased by the CRRSN Co, he made the change to the Clarence. For a time he commanded the Williams in the Hunter Sydney trade. From the Fennella he succeeded to the Grafton and after occupying the bridges of the Urara, Hallinn, and one or two other steamers temporarily placed in the trade he was finally placed in command of the Agnes Irving, then the crack boat of the north coast. Of 235 trips he made to the Clarence 23x were in the favourite Agnes. He afterwards commanded the City of Grafton and the Kallatina. He was ever loyal to the company and the latter repaid much confidence in his ability as evidenced by commissioning him to design and superintend the building of several of their steamers. He in 1876 ? superintended the building of the City of Grafton afterwards the Tomki? Woodburn and the Macleay and eventually Kallatina. The adaptability of these boats to the trade sufficiently demonstrates the late Captains ability for fulfilling the charge entrusted to him. During his connection to the shipping trade of the Clarence it has made marvellous developments. 30 years ago fortnightly trips were the rule but the introduction of the superior class of boats referred to, gradually reduced the round trip with the metropolis to once a week, and at present xxxlane because he was for a while appointed marine superintendent for the company in Sydney, but after a time resumed a seafaring life. In this he continued till the early part of the year when he became attacked with a paralysis of the brain, and from this he never recovered but finally succumbed to the effect as stated. He leaves a wife and two daughters, also two brother Mr E Creer of Grafton and Captain Creer of the Port Jackson Pilot service. The deceased Captain was great favourite with the passengers and his reputation for carefulness. In any xxx which contains a history of the Clarence the name of Captain Henry Creer should find a place.


Clarence and Richmond Examiner- Tuesday July 16, 1901


Mrs E Creer died at her residence, Manly on Saturday night. She had been unwell for some time, and though on a visit to Grafton about three weeks ago, was in a delicate state of health. The deceased lady came to Grafton upwards of 40 years ago, and was well known to the old citizens and residents of the district, by whom she was much respected. She was of a benevolent and charitable disposition, and many will regret to hear of her death. Her husband died this month last year, and about 9 months ago Mrs Creer went reside at Manly with her daughter, Mrs Hedley. Her health has been indifferent ever since, and latterly it was evident her constitution was breaking up. She was sixty nine years of age at the time of her decease. She leaves four sons- Mr E Creer of the Tamworth Survey Office; Mr Jas Creer, engineer of the Kallatina, (who remained in Sydney this trip); Mr H Creer, engineer on another of the NCSN Cos boats; also two daughters, Mrs F Norrie, of Rothsay, Rose Bay, and Mrs Hedley of Manly. Her remains were interred in the Manly cemetery yesterday.


Examiner- Saturday July 17 1909- A Retrospective View of Grafton


The Fennella was purchased by the company (Grafton Steam Navigation Co.) while she was in Tasmania, and was brought over by Captain Henry Creer to Sydney, his brother, Edward Creer, being the engineer in charge, having being sent over to inspect previous to purchase. Captain Creer continued in charge, trading to the Clarence for some time. The Duncan Hoyle, purchased by the company, and placed in charge of Captain Joseph Creer, who ran her on this trade until she was sold to go to China. Captain Wiseman again proceeded home and superintended the building of the Urara, which was placed on the trade and in command of Captain H. Creer ran many trips direct to Melbourne with live cattle. The Urara, while in charge of Captain Merritt, was lost by running on the Black Buoy Reef at the Clarence entrance.


The Daily Examiner- Thursday November 15, 1923


Mr James N Creer died at Balmain on Saturday at the age of 59, leaving a widow. Deceased was a native of Grafton and was for many years engineer on the Clarence traders of the NCSN Co. The Creer family were long identified with the steam trade of the Clarence and Sydney. His father Mr E Creer, was upwards of 60 years ago engineer on the Urara, then running to the Clarence, and subsequently was given command of the Ulmarra, the first drogher on the river, and also had charge of the Uloom? and Ramornie. Captain H Creer, brother of the latter, was skipper of the steamers Grafton, Agnes Irving, and City of Grafton, having superintended the building of the last named in Britain and sailed her out to the Clarence. Captain Joseph Creer commanded the Ballina, which also ran in the Clarence Sydney trade.


The Daily Examiner- Tuesday, October 14, 1924


Early History- Pioneer Navigation- Bones on the Bar


Prior to the advent of the iron horse, communication was maintained with the outside world by water. This commenced from a very early period, and sailing vessels were really the pioneers of Clarence- Sydney navigation. The first graziers arrived on the river by this means. History reveals that the inaugural steamboats were the Duncan Hoyle and the William IV. A steamer named the Fennella also ran in the trade. The Clarence and Richmond River S.N Co. were early in the trade and regularly ran the SS Grafton between the Clarence and the New South Wales capital. It was by this steamer that the first settlers in agriculture arrived. The Urara was procured as the trade progressed..The Urara left her bones on the Clarence bar while endeavouring to enter, and the loss of her cargo entailed heavy cost on shippers. The Grafton saw many years service under various flags. The Agnes Irving, named after the daughter of Mr Clark Irving, member for the district, and a large shareholder in the company, was the third steamer to enter the trade about the year 1863. She was a fleet travelling steamer and covered the distance remarkably fast. Captain H. Creer, of the Grafton, was transferred to the Agnes, and commanded her for a number of years. He, too, was a most successful navigator, and, after long years retired with honours. The Agnes Irving eventually came to grief at Port Macquarie. The Ballina, afterwards the Macleay, a two-funnel boat like the Urara, was the next purchase and traded to both the Clarence and Richmond. She had a long career on the coast. The company purchased the SS Rainbow, which was placed in the trade of both the last named rivers, but her career was short. In a gale on the coast she attempted to take refuge in Seal Rock Bay, but was dashed on the rocks, several lives being lost. Captain Creer was dispatched to bring out another up-to-date steamer for the trade, and brought out the City of Grafton, the last of the paddle steamer type. The whole of these just mentioned were paddle power steamers and the era of the screw propelling boats succeeded. The City was a popular steamer in the trade and ran many years successfully.

While there was but a single company catering for the trade, a high tariff existed, and about half a century ago a movement was initiated to float another company, designated the Clarence and New England SN Co. Farmers and business people, with some assistance from New England and Sydney raised the necessary capital to invest in a steamer suitable to enter the trade


The Archives Authority of NSW- 23 December 1992


Particulars of Certificates and of Service issued at Sydney to Masters, Mates and Engineers in the Mercantile Marine, 1872-1916 (COD 196A)


Creer, Alfred Joseph      First Mate, Foreign going ship      No 642       Issued 12 Aug 1916       Watsons Bay            DOB 11 Nov 1894

Creer, Edward                  (Service) First class Engineer                 No 37              Issued 10 Aug, 1872      Isle of Man       DOB 19 July, 1832

Creer, Edward                  (Service) Master, H and R.         No 20        Issued 24 Aug, 1872      Isle of Man       DOB 19 July, 1832

Creer, Henry         (Service) Master, Foreign       No 28              Issued 12 June, 1872      Isle of Man       DOB 30 June ,1834

Creer, Henry Dickenson      Second class Engineer         No 174            Issued 21 April, 1885      Clarence, NSW   DOB 1862

Creer, Henry Dickenson      First class Engineer                       No 157            Issued 22 Aug, 1892      Grafton, NSW         DOB 1862

Creer, Herbert Victor      First Mate, Foreign going ship      No 494            Issued 20 Feb, 1908      Sydney                   DOB 21 Sept, 1881

Creer, Herbert Victor      Master, Foreign going ship            No 630            Issued 11 Sept, 1909      Sydney                   DOB 21 Sept, 1881

Creer, James Neill             Second class Engineer         No 202            Issued 27 April, 1886      Grafton, Clarence      DOB1864

Creer, James Neill             First class Engineer                       No 171       Issued 25 June, 1894      Grafton, Clarence      DOB 1864


Research Department- Clarence River Historical Society Inc. 3 Feb 1993


The Creer brothers Edward, Henry and Joseph were all associated with shipping to and from the Clarence River and are very well documented in the Grafton newspapers of the day.

Edward Creer, Engineer and Hotelkeeper, died in Grafton on 2 July 1900 and is buried in Grafton Cemetery. There is a large upright headstone commemorating his death. Edward was also interested in hotels in Grafton. His obituary appeared in the Examiner of the 7 July 1900. His obituary was also in the Argus of 6 July 1900.

The daughter of Captain Henry Creer died in 1861, aged 1 year and 7 months.


Playfair House "Kioto", Waverley, Sydney




lived "Kioto" Botany St Waverley

Worked Messrs Thomas Playfair, Shipping Providores, George St North

"South Australian"





Power of Attorney step mother Sarah Needham Creer 35 years before her death

particularly unsold portion of Sect 763 LeFevres Peninsula

Manager of The Adelaide Tug Company



AUGUST 23, 1889.









Almost simultaneous with the arrival here yesterday morning of the RMS Victoria, which steamer also brought news of having seen an unknown vessel off the coast sending up rockets and burning a flare-up, the news came by wire that the steamer Fiado was seen passing Jervis Bay in tow of the steamer Victorian. A notice to this effect was posted the first thing at the Merchants Exchange, and was the cause of some comment as to why the Fiado was towing towards Sydney, it being known that steamers are constantly passing in the other direction bound to Melbourne, the port to which the Fiado was believed to be expected at. It was about 7 oclock on Wednesday night, according to the report of the P. and 0. Companys mail steamer Victoria when the rockets were seen off Montague Island. Says the report- We bore down towards the vessel making the signals for assistance, and found her to be a steamer with three red lights burning, evidently disabled. As no other signals were made it was thought that the steamer had been signalling to Montague Island, so the Victoria proceeded on her voyage. In this I conclusion the captain of the big mail steamer was in error, according to the following report of the master of Fiado. He save We left Newcastle on Tuesday morning last for Melbourne, as usual, with 1200 tons of coal on board. The weather was fine, and the wind light; indeed, it seems a mystery how the broken shaft was caused, but at 7 oclock on the next morning, when we were about 20 miles off Montague, the ship suddenly came to a standstill. The water was perfectly smooth, and the weather fine. There was no wind to sail with, so the vessel rolled about helplessly, and our only chance was to pick up assistance from some passing steamer. During the forenoon a steamer was sighted, and we immediately signalled her, but she passed on, taking no notice. As the day wore on another vessel showed up bound south, and passed on, though they must have been aware that a steamer lying with her bead off shore and under canvas only, as we were, was broken down. Two steamers went by in this manner bound to Sydney or to Newcastle, and two passed us going south. The weather looked threat­ening, and there was a rising sea from the southward. With the small spread of canvas we had, and dragging a propeller astern, not much headway, even with a favourable wind, would be possible. Towards dusk another steamer hove in sight, and it was light enough for us to make out, or nearly make out, who she was. She took no notice however, and kept on her course northwards. A little after dark the mail-boat was sighted and a rocket was sent up, also a flare-up kept going. We idly expected she would have made us out, but were again disappointed. We were then 12 hours helplessly knocking at out, and no nearer assistance than when we first broke down. Soon after 9 oclock another light was seen to the southward, and at 11 oclock, having been 16. hours waiting for help, the Adelaide Steamship Companys steamer Vic­torian, Captain Creer, bound to Sydney, bad made fast to us and we were thankful to be out of our difficulties. The Fiado is in command of Captain W. H. Laycock. She belongs to Messrs. Win. Howard Smith and Sons, Limited, and is a well-known coaster. It will readily he believed in the face of the repeated hopes and dis­appointments Captain Laycock experienced be is in earnest when he states that he was never more thankful in his life than when Captain Creer hailed him. His reasonable expectation was that he would not have much difficulty in getting a tow, and considering the traffic there is along this coast that opinion will be held pretty generally. That it is possible to require help and to signal for it to passing vessels without securing it, seems to be .pretty clearly shown in the Fiados case, however touch an experience of the kind may appear impossible to people ashore.



The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN, s.s., from Sydney and Melbourne, arrived on Monday early

and on reaching the Bell Buoy transhipped twenty-two bags of mails for the Orizaba. Captain Creer reports leaving Williamstown at 3.35 p.m. on the 14th, cleared the Heads at 6.20 p.m., Cape Otway at 11.30 p.m., and Northumberland next day. She had light winds and favourable weather throughout the passage. When in Melbourne the master was the recipient of a handsome testimonial, suitably engraved, showing how much he was appreciated by the crew of the Franklin. The presentation consisted of a model light­house about 2 ft. 6 in. in height, with a re­volving lantern on top showing aneroid, clock face, and thermometers on the several faces. The whole is very handsomely got up, and is an appropriate present.



The s. South Australian, from Adelaide arrived in Hobsons Bay at 7.45, a.m. yesterday, having left Glenelg at 6.15 p.m. on the 25th Inst. She had light variable winds with fine weather all the passage. Captain Creer, her commander, has during his long career as an officer and in command of the Adelaide Steam Navigation Companys steamers made himself not only popular with the travelling public, but has, by his just and judicious treatment of those serving under him, gained their esteem. This is particularly set forth by his having been made the recipient of a very valuable and appropriate testimonial from the officers and crew of his late com­mand, the Franklin. The souvenir is a massive gilded working model lighthouse, standing 2 feet 6 inches high, fitted with all the etceteras, such as balconies, doors, windows and stair cases, and a treble arrowed vane on the top. The top portion above the upper balcony revolves, and on its faces are a clock, an aneroid, and a thermometer. On the base is a suitable inscription from the donors.


"Tingara"- commanded by Reginald Creer

Herbert Victor and Reginald Charles Creer


Herbert served HMAS Torrens

picture shows part family: joseph and sarah with children herbert and reginald


Reginald served on HMAS Australia

with Admiral Beatty in China, fought in the South African War

fought in the campaign against German East Africa and in the North Sea (WW1)



Twin Brother Commanders


By a curious co-incidence the two H.M.A. destroyers now in commission are commanded by twin brothers.

Lieut.-Commander H. V. Creer, who saw service with the Grand Fleet dur­ing the war, commands The Stalwart; and his brother, Lieut.-Commander R.C.     Creer, who was navigating officer in H.M.S. Pioneer during her activities on the German East-African coast, is in command of the Anzac. These offi­cers were born in Sydney, being the sons of Captain Joseph Creer, who for 30 years was in charge of the Sydney pilot service.









There are two officers connected with the Austra1ian. Fleet who are twin brothers. They are Commander Herbert Creer, of H.M.A.S. Torrens, and Lieu­tenant-Commander Reginald Creer, of H.M.A.S. Australia. They are so much alike that it is difficult to distinguish one

from the other. During the reception at Government House on Monday evening his Royal Highness stopped Lieutenant-Commander Reginald Creer and said smilingly, Have I not met you before today?  The Prince had seen Commander Herbert Creer among many other officers on Monday forenoon. His Royal Highness, catching sight of the decorations on the former officers breast, chatted with him concerning his services. Lieutenant- Commander Creer was with Admiral Beatty in China and also fought in the South African War, in the campaign against German East Africa, and in the North Sea during the recent war. The two commanders are half-brothers of Captain Tom Creer, of the Semaphore.




China Seas Adventure.


Captain R.C. Creer, who formerly commanded the Australian flotilla leader Anzac, told the story yesterday of how a ship he commanded several months ago was captured by a Japanese cruiser, and subsequently released.

My ship, the Asian, was the first British ship to be arrested by the Japanese, he said. The Asian, which was owned by Williamson and Co., of Hong Kong, sailed from Hong Kong some months ago for Par­seval Bay, Hai-fong, in ballast. We had been at sea only a few hours when the Japanese cruiser, Nagara, closed on us at full speed. She ordered me to stop. A boarding party of 10 officers and 100 men in a motor boat and cutter then came on board.

One of the officers came into my quar­ters. He became interested in a photo­graph hanging on the wall, which showed the principal mourners at the funeral of a high naval officer at Malta towards the end of the Great War. This officer pointed to one figure in the photograph, and said, I was in Malta then, and there I am. I pointed to another figure a few feet away. I told him that that figure was me.

I was cross-examined by officers for two hours The Asian had formerly been a Chinese ship and they believed she was still Chinese-owned. At the end of two hours a Japanese destroyer closed on us, and anchored two cables astern. Signals were exchanged with the Nagara, and I was in­formed that my ship was captured. I protested and requested permission to cable the owners, but this was refused.




That evening, officers and 50 ratings came aboard from the destroyer, and replaced the officers and men from the cruiser. I was ordered to weigh anchor and follow the des­troyer. The Japanese were doubtless suspi­cious because been discovered, unwittingly, that I had been a naval officer.

That evening we arrived at the island of Hoko Retto, in the Pescadores- a Japanese naval base. All our papers were taken ashore. The following morning a committee, consist­ing of the legal adviser to the Japanese Navy, and nava1 and military staff officers, ques­tioned me for four hours. They wanted to know everything about me and my ship.

We were continually under guard, and we suffered much inconvenience and embarrassment.

Then one morning twelve days after we had been captured, the legal adviser and members of the committee came aboard and told me that the ship was free.

    Captain Creer will return to Hong Kong this month on the Neptuna.




Blizzards In China Seas


Frozen after 56 hours on the bridge on one occasion, and a few weeks later ship­wrecked in a blizzard during which six other freighters disappeared, Cap­tain H.V. Creer related stirring  stories of the North China Sea on his arrival in Sydney by the Neptuna today.

Gaunt and nerve-wracked, and with tears clouding his eyes as he told of the heroism of his officers and Chinese crew, Captain Creer, who formerly commanded H.M.A.S Anzac, told of his experiences.

On December 27, Captain Creer took his ship, the 5000 ton freighter, Gemlock, out of Tokio Harbour, bound for Otaru, off the north coast of Japan.

Almost immediately he ran into a terrific blizzard, and was forced to anchor.  For 56 hours he remained on the upper bridge, eventually being dragged below by his officers.

I was just about done said Captain Creer. My men had to cut the ice off me. I was a solid mass.

At Otaru the chief officer was unable to find a doctor on any of the seven freighters in the port. A local Japanese doctor was finally found, and, after careful treatment, Captain Creer recovered, though suffering severely from frost bite.

The Gemlock was ice-bound in Otaru Harbour for three weeks.


Brave Chinese Crew


At noon on March 2, with a load of coal for Japan, the Gemlock sailed from Ching Wang Toi, in North China, six other freighters leaving within a few hours.

Once more a blizzard was encountered as soon as they met the open sea.

Shortly before 1 p.m. I sighted land, an island I thought I knew. I changed course to clear the island by three miles, but at 2.15 we ran onto a reef, said Captain Creer.

The blizzard raged, and it was impossible to see a yard ahead. I ordered the crew to man the life­boats, but the Chinese bosun said, No, sir; we want to go down with you.

At this stage, Captain Creer paused. Those Chinese were brave. It looked as though we were all doomed, he said.

The following day, a Japanese freighter, the Kyoto Maru, took off the native crew, but Captain Creer, with his chief officer, chief engineer, wireless operator, bosun and two firemen, remained aboard.


Escaped In Lifeboat


For three days they were confined to the bridge as the ship sank by the bow, and the blizzard raged. At last they were forced into the remaining lifeboat, and stayed by the ship for two more days.

When the blizzard eased and the fog lifted they made for the Man­churian coast, two miles away, stag­gered ashore more dead than alive, and took refuge with a family of Manchurians living in a mud hut.

For 30 days we lived in that hut, unable to walk outside because of the blizzard, said. Captain Creer. We could not eat their food, so we lived on ships biscuits and water. I am sure the Manchurians had never been guilty of having a bath. You can imagine how pleasant it was!

 Eventually policemen from Diaren found them. Japanese officers gave us the third degree for several hours, then we were taken to Diaren. Again we were questioned closely for some hours, but eventually the British Am­bassador secured our release he said.


Bodies On The Shore


It was then that Captain Creer learned that the other six freighters which had set out in the blizzard at the same time as the Gemlock had disappeared. Salvage yes­sels had found only a number of frozen bodies on the shore.

I had a gruelling time, but, despite the close questioning, I must say the Japanese were most hospitable, he added.

Captain Creer, who is a twin brother of Commander R. C. Creer, of H.M.A.S. Tingira, was met at the wharf by his sister, Mrs. A. B. Gar­wood, of Carthona, Darling Point.


Out of navy:now to sea


A 69 year old retired naval commander, who arrived in Brisbane yesterday, plans to sail more than 12,000 miles alone in a small yacht.

He is Commander H V.Creer, who passed through Brisbane yesterday in the liner Bulolo on the way to Sydney to see his twin brother, Commander R C. Creer, also a retired naval officer.

  Commander Creer said he would buy a small yacht in Sydney to sail home to England to rejoin his wife and family.

      His only companions on the 12,000-mile voyage would be three of his greatest pals-his blue Persian cat, fox terrier, and parrot.


Hates shore


      He wanted to make the trip alone because he loved the sea and hated life ashore. The two commanders have each served in three wars. They joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1911, and were two of the first 12 officers appointed.

      They retired from the RAN in 1926, because we were considered too old at 45. Both served with the Royal Navy in World War II.


-published 1950

Henty Henty-Creer

Henty Henty-Creer


Served in WW2 as Lieutenant in Royal Navy and commanded the X-5 midget submarine in an attack in 1943 on the battleship "Tirpitz" in a Norwegian Fjord. Two other submarines in the successful raid survived and their Commanders received the Victoria Cross. Henty-Creer's submarine was lost. The following newspaper articles describes the attack.

"Fight for a hero denied a VC"

In February, 1944, a young Sydney born Royal Navy lieutenant was mentioned in despatches.

For Lieutenant Henty Henty-Creer, 21, that was all- the only official recognition of his part in a heroic midget submarine attack on the giant German battleship, Admiral Von Tirpitz, in a Norwegian fjord five months before.

The mission to cripple the 41,000-ton pride of the German Navy, code named Operation Source, was vital: the Tirpitz had to be put out of action before it could wreak havoc on the Atlantic convoys.

Repeated bombing attacks had failed, and the Tirpitz- surrounded by an elaborate defence network- was gaining a reputation as unsinkable.

To penetrate its defences, the Allies needed to try something different. Operation Source, bordering on the impossible, was it.

Six X-class midget submarines, designed specifically for this one mission, were to be towed to the Norwegian coast

parent submarines, make their way 50 miles up a fjord through minefields and an intr­icate web of anti-torpedo and anti-submarine nets, past patrol boats and gun emplacements, to the battleships anchorage.

Then they had to lay the pair of two-ton delayed-action explosive charges, attached to

each of them, beneath the Tirpitz. Only three of the 53ft long craft made it to the anchorage- one of them captained by the young Australian. The trio

last rendesvouzed more than 30 hours before the September

22 zero hours, and ex­changed good luck shouts.

The other two commanders- Lieutenants Donald Cam­eron and Godfrey Place

met again after the 8.30 am explosions on September 22, on the quarterdeck of the listing and badly damaged Tirpitz. They had been captured after completing their mission.  What the Australian-manned submarine had been doing in the previous one and a half days- the subject of a. raging controversy ever since-they had no idea.

But, as they were inter­rogated at gunpoint on the panic-stricken ship, they saw the Australians craft surface outside the triple netting around the ship and come under fire. The X-5, Lieutenant Henty-­Creers submarine, disappeared

-it had either sunk after a direct hit or had crash-dived to escape.

The Admiralty was delighted with what they described as one of the great strokes of the war, putting the Tirpitz out of action for seven months. Twelve months after the raid the battleship was sunk by bombers, and five months later the Admiralty was generous in its rewards.

Lieutenants Place and Cam­eron were to receive the Vic­toria Cross. Official naval in­telligence reports said they had completed their mission. Officially, Lieutenant Henty-Creer, presumed killed in action, had not. X-5, said the report,

was depth-charged and sunk almost half a mile from the Tirpitz- having failed to penetrate the nets.

The news was received by his family with disbelief and disgust.

The Admiralty, said the family, had not published any evidence to suggest that the Australian lieutenant had not also completed his mission.

They were convinced that he had placed the X-5s charges, got back out through the nets and was escaping when the submarine

 surfaced and was shelled.

Henty, says his elder sis­ter, Miss Deirdre Henty-Creer, always succeeded in whatever he undertook to do. If he set his mind to do something, he did it.

They clung to the hope that he had in fact escaped after the shelling. After their request for a full Admiralty inquiry had been refused, they began their own search to dis­cover Lieutenant Henty-Creers fate . . . and to prove his right to heros honours.

Last week after a 30 year search for evidence- a quest that has taken the lieutenants mother and his two sisters on three expeditions to the Arctic Circle- the icy black waters of Norways Kaafjord where the raid took place, gave up what could well be the first solid evidence to support their claims.

A team of 16 amateur divers using sophisticated elec­tronic equipment found the wreckage of what they are convinced is an X-class sub­marine . and what the Henty-Creers are convinced can only be X-5. Whether it is X-5 is still the

$64,000 question, says the British team leader- Peter

Cornish. Everybody wants it to be, he said this week, and I personally think theres an ex­cellent chance that it is even though thats based on largely circumstantial evi­dence. Beside a bow section, found upside down on the fjord bed 140 feet below the surface, the divers noted a three-foot-deep crater, German records show that, after disappearing, X-5 was depth- charged. About 900 feet away, partly buried in silt, a 20-foot-long midships section was sighted- split open down the middle.

The divers found no clue as to the fate of the crafts four-man crew, and no sign of the two enormous saddle mines that had been attached to the hull.

The wreckage was found by a 27-year-o1d Melbourne diver, Lindsay Cole, more than a quarter of a mile from where RN records show, X-5 was sunk.

The expedition photograph­ed the wreckage, raised the bow section to within a few feet of the surface for a de­tailed inspection and photographs, and returned it intact to the bottom. The wrecks status as a war grave prevented their salvaging it.

But the remains of a divers boot and a piece of battery recovered from around the hulk are now in Britain for identification.

The find has sparked off new controversy, fired the Henty-Creers with new hope of finding the truth, and won new sympathy for their cause.

Says the lieutenants young­er sister, Mrs Pamela Mellor:

We want the truth to be brought out, whatever it is X-5 has been allowed to slide into limbo, and our family life for the last 30 years has been ruined by the uncertainty of what happened.

Lt Henty-Creers mother, disillusioned by the decades of Admiralty refusal to help solve the mystery of what happened to her son, has steadfastly refused even to look at the Mentioned in Dis­patches award.

The family is now pressing for a Ministry of Defence ex­pedition to raise the wreckage and bring .it back to England. And, if the wreckage is ident­ified as that of X-5, they insist that Lt Henty-Creer be post­humously awarded the Victor­ia Cross. Miss Henty-Creer says: It was a  VC job . . . and Henty should have got it with the others.

More important, they feel, is that the record is put right.

Experts agree with the family that, if the wreckage found is that of X-5, the fact that it is in large pieces sug­gests it had already laid its charges.

Otherwise, says Miss Henty-Creer, it would have been blown to smithereens during the German shelling.

 And the family has a file crammed with eyewitness reports and other circumstantial evidence to support its claims.

They began their private quest for the truth with an ad­vertisement placed by Lt Henty-Creers father, Captain Reginald Henty- and adviser to the RAN in Sydney when

his son was born- in Nor­wegian newspapers immediate­ly after the war, - asking for information from eyewitnesses. A Norwegian living beside the fjord during the war wrote that the propellers of the Tir­pitz were buckled and badly damaged after the attack.

Miss Henty-Creer says: We thought . . . well, there it is. Support for our theory. My brother always believed that the propellers were the best and most vulnerable point to hit. During their 12-month training he always placed his limpet mines on the propellers of the target ship.

It was also known that Cameron, commander of X-6, always laid his charges at the bow, and Place, in X-7, would choose the midships.

The familys firm belief that Lt Henty-Creer was in fact making his escape, having suc­cessfully completed his mis­sion, when forced to the surface and shelled was strengthened by more letters. Norwegian seamen reported seeing the Tirpitzs stern rise out of the water during the explosion. And members of the Nor­wegian underground reported there had been great uneasi­ness aboard the ship before X-6 and X-7 had gone through the nets. This tallied with the Henty-Creers view that X-5 had gone in earlier and laid its charges possibly, making some noise detected by the Germans.

The former Lt P1ace now a retired rear-admiral, agreed this week that neither he nor Lt Cameron had placed their charges directly under the stern. But he said that each of the commanders aimed to place their charges some dis­tance apart- to give the greatest effect. We know that X-6 laid both its charges forard, he said. One of X-7s was forard and the other near the back end of the ship...I meant it to be under the aft gun turret. But its not so easy to identify your position from the ships hull. And the Germans did move the aft end of the ship just before the ex­plosion.

The Henty-Creer family has had to live with theories since 1943.

Miss Deirdre Henty-Creer says: Through the years weve all felt quite ill about it all. Year after year we saw book after book published on the raid . . . with either no mention of X-5's role or giv­ing just the official version.

As far as the family is aware, in five books written about the suicidal raid and in a multitude of official reports, only one differed from the RNs initial version.

Rear Admiral G.E Creasy, Commander of Submarines from 1944 to 1946, did con­cede the possibility that the Australian had already suc­ceeded when X-5 was shelled

about 8:45 am on September 22. .. X-5 may therefore al­ready have attacked and laid her charges and been on her way out when depth-charged and destroyed, or she may have been waiting to attack at the next attacking period at 0900, he wrote.

The Roya1 Navy has promised a sympathetic hear­ing of any submissions put to it regarding the X-5 and Lt Henty-Creer.

The family, bitter over the long years of naval inaction, say it is not before time. Mrs Mellor says: It is quite ridi­culous to think that weve had to rely on enthusiastic amateur divers to try and find our dead war heroes . . . quite ridiculous.


The Sydney Morning Herald- 20 July 1974



THE MYSTERY OF X5.  By Frank Walker and Pamela Mellor. Illus­trated William Kimber, London. Reviewer: Leonard Ward.

 "Simple justice for an

incredibly brave man"


ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1943, three British midget submarines attacked the 43,000-ton German battleship Tirpitz where she lay in Kaafiord in northern Norway.


With eight 15-inch and twelve six-inch guns she alone could have cut such a swathe through Allied convoys taking war material to Russia as to very seriously affect that countrys war effort.


But the three miniature subma­rines, each about the size of a tram, and each with a crew of four, inflicted sufficient damage to put the giant ship out of action for the rest of the war.


Two of the midgets were com­manded by Lieutenant B.C.G. Place, RN, and Lieutenant D. Cameron, RNR. The third was commanded by the oddly named Lieutenant Henty Henty-Creer, an Australian and member of the pioneer Victorian Henty family serving with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.


When early reports of the attack were received by the Admiralty, all three commanding officers, then be­lieved dead, were recommended for the Victoria Cross for what Rear Admiral C. B. Barry commanding sub­marines was to call the bravest deed in history. The recommendations were approved.


However, when it was learned that P1ace with his complete crew, and Cameron with one other of his crew, had survived the attack and surrendered to the Germans, only those two officers received the VC. Henty-Creer, his vessel and crew were missing, believed dead and he only received a Mention in Dispatches.


It should be mentioned here that the Victoria Cross is the only British decoration that can be awarded posthumously.


After the war, Henty-Creers sister, Pamelor Mellor, organised a team of divers (and did some diving herself) and made a thorough search of the seabed of Kaafiord but found no trace of submarine X5, which indicated that Henty-Creer had made his way to deeper water where his subma­rine sank, probably from damage in­flicted by gunfire from Tirpitz during the attack


Doubts have been cast on Henty­-Creers actual participation in the at­tack, but meticulous research over the years has shown with little shadow of doubt that he was there. Sworn affida­vits from Norwegians state that they saw a midget submarine making its way out of the fiord after the attack (the other two were sunk on the spot) while a German explosives expert informed the authors in a letter that the damage done to Tirpitz and recorded in the ships log, could not have been inflicted by only two midget submarines each armed with two mines.


More information can be found at the following link:

Creer Family Website