Goss: Robert & Susannah + Family

Robert Goss (1818-1886) and Susannah (nee Cheston) (1824-1908)

Robert and Susannah with two children, Ellen (5) and William Moore Goss (circa.2 months) arrived in Melbourne on 7 June 1855. They were travelling aboard the new (1854) Boston built, 1 790 ton extreme clipper “Blanche Moore”. A few days later they boarded the 176-ton coastal steamer “Lady Bird” for Launceston, Tasmania.

They were emigrating from Norfolk, England, Robert’s family having lived at the rural region of Tottington for at least several generations, his parents, Thomas Goss (1769-1856) and Hannah (nee Burroughs) (1774-1852). Susannah had grown up at Merton, which adjoined Tottington, the daughter of William Cheston (1791-1873) and Mary (1788-1853).

Robert and Susannah had married at Tottington on 5 April 1846 but appear to have moved to the adjoining Thompson region with their first born children being born there – Mary (1848), Ellen (1850), Jane (1851) and William (1853).

Prior to marriage, Susannah, had worked for Lord Walsingham at Merton which adjoined Tottington. He had a large manor and held a senior position in the British Government.

Family stories relate that Lord Walsingham was not impressed with Robert Goss and their intended marriage and had called Susannah to his office advising her not to marry him. However, the marriage took place as planned. Soon the family got into financial difficulties with Susannah, swallowing her pride, called on Lord Walsingham seeking his help, with him organising their emigration.

Susannah Goss (nee Cheston)

At the time the Rev. Benjamin Drake was touring Norfolk seeking emigrants for Tasmania and it is likely that Lord Walsingham put them in touch.

With three of Robert’s siblings already in Tasmania, this would have been a further attraction to emigrate here. They were –

  • John (born 1804) and had emigrated in 1841
  • Sarah (born 1814) married Michael Walker and emigrated in 1842
  • Thomas (born 1807) and emigrated in 1854.

Not only were Robert and Susannah Goss my g.g. grandparents and so also Sarah and Michael Walker.


The “Whirlwind” a 978 ton clipper sailing ship under the command of Captain Edward Dover Edgell was chartered to make the voyage. As well as freight it would carry 76 married couples with their families, 38 single men and 47 single women. All were emigrating under signed contracts.

The “Whirlwind” sailed from Liverpool during December 1854, but shortly after leaving, experienced rudder trouble, obliging the captain to call at Plymouth for repairs which took several weeks to complete. During this time scarlet fever broke out, resulting in numerous deaths, mostly children. Three of Robert and Susannah’s were amongst those who died, Mary (7), Jane (4) and William (1). During the voyage 44 deaths were recorded and 7 births.

At Plymouth those families struck down by fever were quarantined on a hulk in the harbour.

The “Whirlwind” sailed from Plymouth around 6 January 1855 leaving behind those still recovering from the fever, including our Goss family. It reached Launceston on 31 March 1855, landing 255 immigrants.

Emigration – Continued 

Emigration recommenced around the end of March or early April 1855 boarding the 1 787 ton extreme clipper, Blanche Moore, probably from Plymouth. It was a new vessel, built 1854 at Boston and designed to sail at speed. It had left Liverpool 9/10 March.

An item of interest for the Goss family was the birth of a son who was named William Moore Goss. His date of birth has not yet been identified, although his obituary notice records, “He was born at sea near England in 1855”. This gives a birth date during April.

Robert and Susannah’s son William Goss and his wife Martha (nee Jago). Martha’s sister, Honor Jago, married William Robert Page and lived nearby in Liffey.

On the way to Melbourne the boat had a stop over at Adelaide. The Adelaide Times on Friday 1 June 1855 reported in part, “The New Clipper-ship Blanche Moore – This magnificent ship of 1,800 tons, arrived here a few days ago, designed expressly for the Australian trade, and, like our best European packets, is modelled to sail fast.” An extensive report on the ship followed.

Melbourne was reached on 7 June 1855. Around 400 emigrants were carried during the voyage. A group of 18 Blanche Moore arrivals a few days later, sailed for Launceston on the coastal steam-ship, “Lady Bird”.

Robert and Susannah are soon to be found at William Field’s “Enfield” property at Bishopsbourne where his brother John was living and working. There John was head shepherd. It is believed that Robert and Susannah remained there for some years, with their youngest four children being recorded as being born in the area, the twins in February 1861.

Family stories relate that William Field’s wife, Sarah, a semi invalid and childless, took a considerable interest in the Goss children and taught them to read and write. These skills appear to have developed as Ellen when married, at age 16, was able to sign her name, while her parents when they married, signed by mark.

Robert and Susannah’s daughter Ellen and her husband Robert Page. Ellen was 16 when she married Robert who was 28 years old.

Later in life Robert in his death record is noted as a farmer at Sheffield, dying there on 1 September 1886 aged 70 years and buried at Sheffield.

Susannah would live a further 22 years dying on 5 September 1908 at the home of her daughter, Ellen, the wife of Robert Page, at Cluan near Westbury, Tasmania. She was buried at Railton, Tasmania.

Susannah was deeply affected by the tragic loss of their three children during the voyage to Australia and was never happy here and would often say she left her heart in England. Possibly the statement at the end of her death notice, “Her end was peace” referred to this deep sorrowing that she carried.

Robert and Susannah’s Children

  1. Mary – born 1848 at Thompson, Norfolk, died 1855 at sea
  2. Ellen – born 1850 at Thompson, Norfolk, died 1912 at Cluan, Tasmania
  3. Jane  – born 1851 at Thompson, Norfolk, died 1855 at sea
  4. William – born 1853 at Thompson, Norfolk, died 1855 at sea
  5. William Moore – born April 1855 at sea, died 1939 at Deloraine
  6. Susanah – born 1856 at Bishopsbourne, Tas, died 1 May 1858 at Bishopsbourne
  7. Susanah – born 1858 at Bishopsbourne, Tas, died 1939 at Western Creek, Tas
  8. Robert – (a twin) born 1861 at Bishopsbourne, Tas, died 1906 at Merseylea, Tas
  9. Thomas – (a twin) born 1861 at Bishopsbourne, Tas, died 1911 at Perth W.A.

Written by Ivan Badcock on 25 March 2021 

2 thoughts on “Goss: Robert & Susannah + Family


    My History goes back to 1841,John Goss arriving in Van Diemans Land by boat called EMU, in Stanley. Servants of Van Diemans Land Company, after around they them move to Upper Liffey area.
    2gg father, Son William
    gg father ,son Allen
    g father, son Hedley
    father, son Royce Goss marriage Patricia Goss (Johns )
    Children , Barry (dec1961) Allan,David triples ,Stephan(dec1963), Michael ,Wayne (dec 2009) and Vicki


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *