Frederick Lansdown was born circa 1849 in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia and died 20 December 1910 in Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia of Cancer. He married Maria Gosper (1844-1910) 24 November 1875 in Windsor, New South Wales, Australia.

Frederick's name

Frederick first appears in the records, as Frederick Thomas Lansdown, when he married in 1875. In records after that date for the births of his children he is recorded as either Frederick Thomas Lansdown or Thomas Lansdown. Later in life he dropped the name of Thomas altogether, and became Frederick William Lansdown, the name under which his death is registered. By the time of his death the spelling of his surname had also become LANSDOWNE, the spelling also used by most of his children.

Frederick's occupation

Frederick was illiterate and worked as a station hand all his life. Even though his wife Maria inherited farmland from her sister Mary Ann in 1880 this land was sold to her brother William Henry Gosper rather than farmed by Frederick.

Who was Frederick's father?

No birth registration exists for Frederick. At his marriage in November 1875 he stated that his mother was unknown but that his father's name was Thomas Lansdown. According to the age that he gave when he married, Frederick was born in 1849. In contrast his family stated his age at death to be 55 giving a year of birth of about 1855. Frederick's stated birthplace at death was Goulburn. No parents were listed at his death.

Two men have been identified as fitting the profile as possible fathers of Frederick. It is also possible that Frederick's father was neither of these men. The two men who have been identified are Isaiah Thomas Lansdown (1823-1900) aka Thomas Lansdown and Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) of Boxers Creek.

Frederick can only be the natural-born son of Isaiah Thomas Lansdown (1823-1900) if he resulted from an earlier relationship than Isaiah's marriage to Catherine McAra (-1896) in 1852, or if Frederick was younger than the age that Frederick gave when he married in 1875. If Frederick was born about 1849, the year of birth from his marriage record, it would explain why he did not know who his mother was when he married. If Frederick was born after 1852 it does not explain why he did not state at his marriage that his mother was Catherine McAra.

Frederick is not the natural-born son of Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) of Boxers Creek. For a long time in both families, however, it has been believed that he may have been either the natural-born son or adopted into the family. Two of Frederick's granddaughters, the daughters of his son Henry Thomas Lansdowne (1878-1959), married two of the grandsons of Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885), the sons of his son Robert Best Lansdowne (1864-1945), in Murwillumbah in 1934. From that time onwards these two Lansdowne families became intertwined. This then provides an explanation for the origin of the following stories.

From the details that Frederick provided when he married in 1875 of father Thomas Lansdown, mother unknown, and year of birth about 1849, there had arisen a story in the family of Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) of Boxers Creek that Frederick was the son of Sophia Todd (1831-1916), the supposed first wife of Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) who he supposedly married in November 1850. In this story Sophia died, possibly in childbirth, and as the sole surviving parent Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) ended up raising Frederick. This story was offered because until 2013 no record had been found of what had happened to Sophia after her wedding to a Thomas Lansdown in 1850. It is now known that Sophia moved to Melbourne and lived to the age of 85. It is also now known from records associated with her death in Victoria that Sophia had no children. It is now known, from new research undertaken in 2013, that Sophia Todd did not marry Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) but married another different man by the name of Thomas Lansdown and moved with him to Melbourne. Also Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) was literate (as proved by a court case in 1857, and his marriage to Rebecca Best (1834-1921) in 1873 where he signed the marriage register), and Sophia Todd and her husband Thomas Lansdown were both illiterate (as proved by the marriage register which they both signed with their mark, that is a cross).

There is also another story that has become folklore within the family. In this story Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) had an adopted son by the name of Frederick, and his birth surname was either Day or Faithfull. It is known that Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) worked on the "Springfield" Stud of pastoralist William Pitt Faithfull (1806-1896) at Tirrannaville near Goulburn, the only Faithfull family associated with the Goulburn district in that period. William Pitt Faithfull (1806-1896) had been granted land in the district in 1828, and married in 1844. One version of the story states that Frederick was the son of a Miss Faithfull and an employee by the name of Day who became scared of what her family would do to him and absconded. Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) was then given some land as consideration for adopting this child who was an embarassment to the Faithfull family. There was, however, no Miss Faithfull of child-bearing age in the Faithfull family in that period. Neither has a record of transfer of ownership of a piece of land been found. In 1838 William Pitt Faithfull (1806-1896) did himself father an illegitimate son, Henry Pitt Faithfull (1838-1896), with a female employee working on his farm. This child was raised by his mother and given the Faithfull surname which he retained even after his mother married. He then married one of his Faithfull cousins. This is the exact opposite of a precedent of adopting out illegitimate children of the Faithfull family, or of being ashamed of them. There also appears to be no truth in the story that Frederick was adopted by Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885). Thomas had all of his children, except fpor the youngest who was with her mother, baptised together at Goulburn in November 1857 including his eldest child who was rebaptised. There was no child by the name of Frederick baptised amongst these children. Also in a court case of December 1857 it was stated that Thomas was the father of 6 children who have all been accounted for, and who do not include Frederick.

There are stories within the family of Thomas Lansdown (1817-1885) that Frederick share-farmed with his "half-brothers" Henry Thomas Best Lansdowne (1858-1918) and Robert Best Lansdowne (1864-1945) at Murwillumbah, New South Wales before Frederick moved to Colo, New South Wales before his marriage in 1875. This story is untrue, however, as at this time Robert Best Lansdown would have been only 10 years old. Marriage records show that the following generation was definately associated with Murwillumbah. Two of Frederick's granddaughters married two of the sons of Robert Best Lansdowne (1864-1945) in Murwillimbah in 1934.


Offspring of Frederick Lansdown and Maria Gosper (1844-1910)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Constance Mary Lansdown (1877-1918) 7 April 1877 Halls Creek, Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 25 February 1918 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Patrick Ford (1871-1952)
Henry Thomas Lansdowne (1878-1959) 10 November 1878 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 22 April 1959 Rosemonte, Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia Ellen Maud Mitchell (1891-1959)
Agnes Maria Lansdowne (1881-1948) 1881 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 1948 West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia George Train (1876-1919)
Alice May Lansdown (1882-1968) 24 April 1882 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 19 August 1968 Dee Why, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Frederick White (1877-1959)
Edith Alberta Lansdowne (1882-1961) 24 April 1882 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 1961 Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia Alfred Frederick Howe (1886-1949)
Robert Ernest Lansdowne (1884-1950) 5 March 1884 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 1950 Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia
Sophia Jane Lansdowne (1886-1963) 1886 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 1963 Inverell, New South Wales, Australia James Henry Mitchell (1885-1949)
Hamilton William Lansdowne (1889-1954) 1 September 1889 Merriwa, New South Wales, Australia 10 August 1954 Willowtree, Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia
Stillborn Male Twin One Lansdown (c1891-c1891)
Stillborn Male Twin Two Lansdown (c1891-c1891)



Footnotes (including sources)