Christine Elizabeth Wheeler’s
Having loved and played Irish music professionally, Chris always dreamed that her ancestors were Irish. It was therefore a great joy to her when she discovered that one branch, the West forebears, came from Northern Ireland! She knew sketches of her family history back a generation or two but not the detail, and it was fun to uncover some of the secrets of her past. We encourage any input that friends or family can make. Please send your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris’s forebears came mainly from England over the first 120 years of the colony’s existence. She is a descendant of William Boggis, a convict who arrived with the First Fleet on board the Scarborough. Also with the First Fleet was another relative, the Rev. Richard Johnson, who the first first Christian cleric in Australia and the man who built the first church in the new colony. This side of her family is outlined on the Johnson family pages.
Chris’s Shepherd forebear Thomas, a botanist, was gifted 28½ac in 1827 and established the Darling Nursery at what is now Darlington (Chippendale). The University of Sydney now encroaches on what was the Darling Nursery, which is commemorated by the streets named Shepherd, Pine, Ivy, Vine, Myrtle and Rose. It is believed that the name Darlington was derived from Shepherd’s Darling Nursery.
Chris and her husband Mick O’Neill now live in Blackheath at the top of the Blue Mountains, about 125km west of Sydney. It was not until they had been there for a couple of years that they realised that her great-great-grandfather, John Britty North, was the owner of the coal mines in nearby Katoomba from the 1870s. In fact the township of Katoomba grew as a result of the mine, and hence is why John Britty North is affectionately known as the Father of Katoomba. His wife, Clarissa Mary Hack, was from a Huguenot family that had fled persecution in France. These two families are outlined in the North and Hack pages respectively.
Chris’s parents were Robert Henry Wheeler (1922-1995) and Margaret Cynthia North (1926-1981). The following two charts show the family structure back four generations.