Joseph Henry Chalker 1813 to 1893

Joseph Henry Chalker was the son of convict parents Elizabeth Shackle and William Chalker and was their fourth child.   He was named after Elizabeth’s father, Joseph Henry, and was born at Prospect on August 26th, 1813.   He and his older sister, Maria, were baptised together on Boxing Day 1813 at St John’s Church, Parramatta.   Joseph died at Caddigat, Adaminaby on June 21st, 1893 after spending much of his adult life in the Monaro district.

Joseph grew up on the family’s property known as “Elder Park” at South Creek.   The land on which the house had been built had been granted to his father by Governor Macquarie.  At the age of twenty, together with his friend and near neighbour John Cosgrove, he joined relatives on the Monaro.   His sister, Maria, had married Charles York, who, together with his brother Henry York, leased much land there.   Joseph Henry and John Cosgrove obviously decided to join them, because we know that in 1833 the pair was at Billilingra.   Shortly afterwards, Joseph Henry went to Adaminaby as storekeeper for Charles and Henry York and John Cosgrove went into partnership with his relatives, becoming manager of Billilingra after his marriage.

Joseph Henry stayed with the Yorks until the gold rush at Kiandra in 1860, when he obtained a publican’s general licence for “The Travellers Rest Hotel” at Adaminaby.   Apparently, he did a roaring trade there selling grog at 1/- (viz. one shilling) a nobbler.   Adaminaby, being midway between Cooma and Kiandra, grew into a small township and a stopping off place for the miners and travellers.   The old house or hotel, which was of wood and had a roof thatched with grass, was burnt to the ground.   Chalker then built another hotel opposite the old site, which was later known as “The Rose Inn”.   The Surveyor General’s map of 1860 actually referred to Adaminaby as Chalker’s.   This was when a post office was being sought after rather than people having to go to Cooma, which was 30 miles away.

In “BACK TO COOMA” by Felix Mitchell it states that in 1832 “The Adaminaby interests of York and Cosgrove were looked after by their stockmen and hut-keepers, Martin Byrne, Henry Ball and Thomas Westerman, the latter being known as “Yorky Tom”.   After Byrne left, his place was taken by Joseph Henry Chalker.

Joseph Henry returned to the family property “Elder Park” at South Creek in March 1837 to marry Ellen (Eleanor) Kelly at St Pauls, Cobbitty.   Ellen was the daughter of convicts Morgan Kelly and his wife Mary English.   The witnesses were Henry York and his wife Mary.

Joseph Henry Chalker and Mary Kelly had nine children:

Mary Chalker, born 1838;
Maria Chalker, born 1840;
Joseph Chalker, born 1843; and
William and James (twins), born 1846.   All of these were born at South Creek.

The next three children, Eliza born 1849, Edward in 1852, and Charles in 1854 were born at “Billilingra” Bredbo, so the family had obviously moved back to the Monaro.   The last child, Sarah, was born at Adaminaby in 1857.

Joseph Henry died on June 21st, 1893 and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Adaminaby.

The Monaro Mercury of June 24th, 1893 carried the following death notice:

Chalker J.H. died on Wednesday night.   He was an old resident of Monaro.   He came to Billilingra owned by Mr Cosgrove about 60 years ago.   Funeral Friday.