by Clarrie Neal and Barry Drayton
Members of the Drayton family can trace their maternal ancestors back to the arrival of the First Fleet. Samuel Pickett (sometimes spelt Piggot) was 24 years old when he was sentenced at the Exeter Assizes to be hanged for stealing two pieces of woollen serge valued at 40 shillings. This sentence was later commuted to seven years transportation to a penal colony. He was then taken to the convict hulk “Dunkirk” where he spent 12 months before being transferred to the “Charlotte” to begin the long voyage to Australia. Sam Pickett died in 1817 aged 50 and was buried at St Johns at Parramatta.
Mary Thompson was 19 years of age when she was sentenced to seven years transportation for the theft of a silver watch. She arrived in the colony aboard the “Lady Juliana” with the Second Fleet in 1790. After spending a number of years on Norfolk Island they were returned to Sydney where they were granted 30 acres of land at land at Pitt Town, on the Hawkesbury. Later in 1804, Samuel was granted another 35 acres at Mulgrave Place.
Samuel and Mary had six daughters and one son. Their eldest daughter Ann married Peter Carroll, an Irish convict transported for horse stealing. Their daughter Mary Ann married a convict James Warwick who had been transported to the colony for Highway Robbery.
There is much confusion as to the actual status and whereabouts of Mary and Samuel in those early days of the colony. However, some of the later records show:
Charlotte Warwick b.17/5/1845 at Richmond, married Samuel Drayton in the Presbyterian church at Windsor on the 3/12/1864. Charlotte Drayton (n. Warwick) died 14/10/1897. They had 10 children, most of whom stayed in the Hawkesbury and Riverstone districts.
Samuel, b.1841, arrived in 1857 aboard the “Plantagenet” with his parents Henry and Jane and four siblings from Barrington, Somerset, England. Henry and Jane came as free settlers and settled in the Hawkesbury district where they had more children.
Samuel Drayton died 12/4/1921 at his daughters place in Riverstone and is buried in the cemetery at Riverstone.
Barry Drayton’s grandfather Oscar (Ossie), was the last child born to Samuel and Charlotte Drayton. Ossie was born in Windsor in 1890. He married Clementine Stanford Reynolds in 1920 at Windsor. Clementine was born in 1893 at Scone. She was a member of the Reynolds/Fibbins families from Muswellbrook who owned property at Riverstone, which was how they met.
Clementine died in 1950 and Oscar died 1st March 1957. They had five children, unfortunately two died at birth. The surviving children were Una, Eileen and Leonard.
Barry’s father Leonard (Lenny), continued on the Drayton family tradition of his father and grandfather, working at the meat works all their lives. Unfortunately he passed away in 1971 at the young age of 48.
Other members of the Drayton families who worked at the meat works for most of their lives include –
- Arthur (Titchie) Drayton b.1915 – 1983 Buried at Castlebrook. Rouse Hill.
- James Henry Drayton b.1886 – 1950. Buried in the Riverstone cemetery.
- George (Dosser) Drayton b.1894 – 1967 Buried at Castlebrook, Rouse Hill.
- John (Jack) Drayton b.1917 – 1982 Buried at Castlebrook, Rouse Hill.
Barry Drayton, born 1943, recalls …
“The five children born to Oscar Drayton and Clementine Reynolds were
- Mona Drayton – 1910 died in infancy
- Una Drayton – 1911 m. Edward Power
- Harold Drayton – 1916 died in infancy
- Eileen Drayton – 1917 . Thomas Spencer
- Leonard Drayton – 1923 – 1971 m. Betty Evans d. 2007
I have been told my grand parents lived in a house down near the football field, though my earliest memories of the grandparents were when they lived on the corner of Castlereagh and Oxford streets. They owned two Fox Terrier dogs, several birds, and a horse called ‘Neddy’. Neddy was used in the cart to collect fire wood and when they went rabbiting. Some of the neighbouring families were Charlie Smith, Johnny Waters, Bottles, Marlin, Critchell, Cartwright, to name just a few.
Other family names that were associated with the Draytons in this era were Russell, Byrnes, Mudiman, Allison, McInnes, Roberts and Marlin.
When my grandmother passed away in 1950, Oscar spent his time living at various times with his three surviving children – Una in Sydney, Eileen in Cowra, and with Lennie in Riverstone. It was on one such visit at Riverstone that he had a fatal heart attack on Blacktown Railway Station and passed away. Both grandparents are buried in the Riverstone Cemetery.”
Barry’s father Lennie continued on the Drayton family tradition of his father and grandfather of working at the meat works all their lives. The family continued to live in the old house in Mill Street until 1960, when they moved to a new house at 152 Piccadilly Street, where Lennie and Betty raised their three children, Barry, Keith, and Beverley. Unfortunately, Lennie passed away in 1971 at the young age of 48.
Betty continued to live in Piccadilly Street until her death in 2007. Barry recalls living in this house as a child was heaven compared to their old house in Mill Street.
This old weather board house in Mill Street was owned by Lizzie Blair who owned a shop in Garfield Road, later run by John O’Hanlon. Neighbouring families included Alcorn, Wiggins, Tait, Parry, Home, Parkinson, Watton, Challenger, Shepherd, Johnston and Heyler.
Barry continues the family story…
“At the time there were only two tarred roads in Riverstone and many a marble game was played on the dirt road with the ring being dug with the big toe. Not many of us wore shoes in those days. We also had plenty of open space for footy and cricket games after school and at week-ends; usually the goal posts were only erected at one end.
Another pastime was gathering wood, trees and old tyres for the bonfire on cracker night, always celebrated on the 24th May. Guard duty was required as there was great rivalry to see who had the biggest bonfire; sometimes they were burnt down before the official night. Rabbiting, fishing, and swimming in the meat works paddocks were other pastimes. You were never bored like the kids of today.
My brother Keith, born in 1945, lived all his life in Riverstone, except for the two years he was conscripted into the Army and served 12 months in Vietnam. He was a trained Motor Mechanic working at Hunt Bros. in Parramatta and in later years at Sinclair Ford in Penrith.
He enjoyed Rugby League and was a staunch Western Suburbs supporter. He loved his game of bowls and his greyhounds. Sadly he passed away in 2010 aged 65. He is survived by his wife Karen (nee McCarthy) and their four children.
My sister Bev also has lived all her life in Riverstone and still lives in Hunter Street today. She worked in the Textiles at the meat works when it was operating. She married and had 4 children, sadly losing her son Danny at 12 years of age.
I lived in Riverstone for 57 years, except for the periods I was working in country and interstate towns in my job as a government Meat Inspector with the Department of Primary Industry. This was a position I held for 35 years.
On the 4th June 1966 I married Anne Jackson, a girl from Schofields. In 1971 we built a new house in 205 Piccadilly Street where we lived for 30 years and raised our 3 children Wendy, Kirk, and Kirrily.
I have always been involved with the Riverstone Rugby League club and played from 1957 to 1973, subject to when I was not away in the country. When available I coached or managed the Junior teams from 1964 to 1994 and was rewarded with Life Membership of the club in the mid 1980’s. I have always been a staunch supporter of the Parramatta District League Club.
I am also a great supporter of the game of cricket, playing with the Riverstone R.S.L club from 1960 to 1970. I then played with the Schofields cricket club from 1972 to 1984, coaching several junior teams at the same time.
I’ve seen many a boy that I coached in football and cricket grow up and are now raising their own families in the area.
Today I’m a keen lawn bowler and play whenever the opportunity presents itself. I also enjoyed the game of squash and regularly played when the Bowling club built the squash court in the 1980’s.
As you can see, the Drayton family have a long history in the area and it still continues on.
I personally, even though now living Tea Gardens, have always and always will regard ‘Rivo’ as my home town.”