Fremantle Stuff > people > John Burdett Wittenoom (1788-1855)

John Wittenoom

J.B Wittenoom was ordained in 1812, and, his first wife having died in England after bearing five children, he was appointed Colonial Chaplain and emigrated to the Swan River Colony in January 1830 via Wanstead, with his mother, sister and four sons, John Burdett, Henry, Frederick Dirck, and Charles.

He was not quite the first minister in the Colony. Thomas Scott had arrived here by accident the previous November and was not able to leave, as it happened, until after Wittenoom arrived, so was available to show him the ropes.

On 3 January 1839 he married Mary Watson Helms, of Perth, by whom he had two daughters and a son who died in infancy. An amateur cellist and a fluent speaker, he encouraged musical evenings and reading parties in his home; but religious enthusiasm was contrary to his High Church views and his colleagues thought him too easygoing and unenterprising as an organizer. With the opening of a convict gaol at Fremantle his duties increased. His health was undermined by domestic worry and too little exercise, and he became a victim of gout. He died in Perth on 23 January 1855. Cranfield 1967.

Edith Cowan was a granddaughter of his.

He conducted the marriage of Daniel and Jane Scott in March 1830 on board the (wreck of the) Marquis of Anglesea.

References and Links

Cranfield R. E. 1962, Wittenoom Family in Western Australia, privately published?

O'Brien, Jacqueline & Pamela Statham-Drew 2009, On We Go the Wittenoom way: the Legacy of a Colonial Chaplain, Fremantle Press.

Wikipedia page

ADB entry


Garry Gillard | New: 13 June, 2018 | Now: 5 May, 2019