Elizabeth and William Adams arrived in Fremantle in 1830 aboard the Rockingham. They had left their home of Robertsbridge, Sussex to start a new life with their two children. They were servants indentured to Thomas Peel, but were soon released.
William had fought in the Battle of Waterloo and was wounded in the head. For the rest of his life he carried a silver plate in his skull. The plate was found to be intact when his remains were transferred from Alma Street to his present resting place at Fremantle Cemetery.
Elizabeth made her mark as Fremantle’s first midwife, delivering hundreds of babies into the world while also managing to bear and raise ten more children of her own. She was affectionately called the 'Mother of Fremantle and later 'Granny Adams'. Elizabeth went to maternity cases in Perth when requested, frequently walking when there wasn’t a suitable conveyance available. It was claimed she never lost a case, even though she rarely had the assistance of a doctor.
Meanwhile, William worked out of Fremantle as a whaler and general seaman. The inscription on their tombstone describes William as 'one of the heroes of Waterloo', although during his lifetime William was modest about his part in the battle, saying only that he had 'done his bit'. Elizabeth and William both died of old age. MCB.
Top photo from the MCB Heritage Tour website. The middle one is my snap of the 1867 tombstone on their second grave, at Anglican A146 in Fremantle Cemetery. The bottom photo, FHC image #4764, c. 1910, shows the same headstone in its original position in the Skinner St cemetery. Their remains (or at least those of William) and the stone were brought from the second Fremantle cemetery at Skinner St.
William Adams was born in 1792 and died on December 12th, 1867 at the age of 75. He was buried in the Skinner Street Cemetery. His remains and headstone were later removed to the Fremantle Cemetery where he was reinterred in 1915. FHC.
One of their daughters, Ellen Adams, married Peter Hedland, after whom Port Hedland is named.
Garry Gillard | New: 20 January, 2015 | Now: 26 March, 2018