HENRY KABLE Junior
Henry Kable Junior was born in Norwich Castle gaol on 17
February 1786. His father, Henry Cabell, had met and
fallen in love with Susannah Holmes in the gaol while
both were serving sentences for different offences. In
those times the gaols held both male and female
prisoners. Though Henry and Susannah sought permission
to marry on several occasions from the Governor, their
requests were refused. Despite locked cells and
officialdom the inevitable happened; Susannah bore Henry
In November 1786 Susannah and her little, sickly looking
child, Henry, with a number of other female prisoners
were taken to Plymouth to join the transports of the
First Fleet. They were escorted by the turnkey, or
gaoler, John Simpson to Charlotte. When
Susannah and baby Henry approached the ship the Captain
Thomas Gilbert refused to allow the child aboard, saying
there were no papers for him. John Simpson argued
unsuccessfully with Gilbert that the mother and child
should not be separated.
Simpson, a humane man, hurried to London with the baby
to make a successful plea to the Home Secretary, Lord
Sydney. Lord Sydney was so moved by the story that he
arranged for the child to be returned to its mother and
for the father to be permitted to marry Susannah and
accompany them to the Colony. Sydney generously paid the
marriage fees, although the ceremony did not take place
before their departure. After a London newspaper
printed the story, a Mrs Jackson of Somerset Street,
London, promoted a public subscription which raised
twenty pounds and was used to purchase books, comforts
and clothes. These items were consigned aboard Alexander under
command of Duncan Sinclair. The child was listed as
Henry Holmes when he left England with his parents on Friendship.
At Cape Town Susannah and her son were transferred to Charlotte to
make room for livestock. Henry Cabell and
Susannah Holmes were united at Port Jackson and finally
married on 10 February 1788 by the Reverend
Richard Johnson, two weeks after arriving in the
When the consignment on Alexander was
applied for, only books to the value of five pounds were
forthcoming, the rest of the items having gone missing.
In July 1788 Henry Cabell sued the master, Duncan
Sinclair, for loss of the goods en route. He won his
case, receiving fifteen pounds compensation. This action
was the first law suit in the Colony.
Henry Junior, called “Harry” by his parents, together
with his six-week-old sister, Diana, were baptised by
the Reverend Richard Johnson on the 5 December 1788. He
was attending school in Sydney when his father wrote to
Harry’s grandmother in November 1798. And it was about
this period, the late 1790s, that the family name was
legally changed to Kable.
From an early age Harry worked for his father in the
sealing grounds and later as master of his father’s
trading vessels. In 1799 15-year-old Henry sailed as
master’s mate on Rolla and
was away for about four years voyaging to the Pacific
Islands, Asia, India, Cape of Good Hope and England. In
1803 while launching the 75-ton schooner Governor
biggest vessel to have been built to this time, Harry
had his right arm severely damaged. Although this
was to cause him some inconvenience he continued his
life at sea. In April 1807 he was master of the brig Hannah
and Sally. The
following year he was appointed master of the brig Trial, owned
jointly by his father and Simeon Lord.
In 1810, Harry bought Geordy and formed a shipping
partnership with his brother-in-law, William Gaudry for
the pork trade in Tahiti and local trade on the
Hawkesbury. In effect Harry had taken over his father's
shipping and mercantile business.
In the Sydney
27 April 1811 Harry advertised for muskets for his crew.
He carried the muskets to Otaheite, exchanged them for a
full load of sandalwood, took the wood to India and
exchanged it for a hold full of rum. The rum was carried
back to the Colony and sold for a handsome profit. In
1812, while master of Endeavour, Harry
was charged with having brought from the island of Bolla
Bolla three female natives of the Society Islands,
contrary to the legislation of the colony. The Endeavour was
wrecked by Harry at the mouth of the Shoalhaven River in
1813, his only shipping loss as master.
In September 1813 Harry and his brother Charles were
found guilty of assaulting Thomas Wood, a constable at
Windsor in the execution of his duty. They were
sentenced to pay a fine of ten pounds.
For nearly 20 years Harry sailed as a seaman, navigator
and captain across the oceans of the world and along the
coast of NSW. He never married.
By 1822 he had decided to leave the sea for good and
settle on the land. He made an application (or a
memorial as it was then known) to Governor Thomas
Brisbane for a land grant. The memorial stated that he
had lost the use of his right arm; that he had been
assisting his father through a difficult period; that a
younger brother could now take over and help his father.
Harry hoped to "settle himself comfortably" on his own.
No remarks appear on the 1822 memorial and no
grant materialised. Two years later, another petition
for a grant was sent to the Governor, signed
by Wm Cox, H. Brabyn and Arch. Bell, all magistrates
and J.P.s. These three strongly recommended that the
petitioner receive a land grant. Again there is no
record of any land having been granted to him. The 1828
Census shows that Henry Junior was living with his
father on a 30-acre farm at Pitt Town.
a 2000 acre holding between the Cow Pastures and
Stonequarry Creek (Picton) granted to Lt John Henry Wild
by Governor Macquarie in the 1820s. The village of
workers on Vanderville ultimately
developed into today’s township of The Oaks. In 1833
the property passed to John Benton Wild and his wife
Emmeline Ann Gaudry, who was Harry’s niece. In March
1846, Henry Kable, the elder, died at Windsor. Harry
moved to Vanderville to
live for the remainder of his life, as a pound-keeper.
Henry Kable, the younger, died at Vanderville on
15 May 1852, aged 66 years and was buried in St
Matthew’s churchyard in The Oaks. He had no known
descendants, unless he left an offspring in England,
Otaheite or one of his many other overseas ports of
call. Henry’s nephew, George Littleton Gaudry, is buried
next to him, while the grave of his sister, Susannah
Mileham, is nearby, surrounded by an iron picket fence.
Susannah’s headstone reads: “She hath done what she
could”. All three helped with the management of Vanderville estate
over many years.