|George Joseph Sheppard and Matilda Vernum
- a soldier of the British Army and his family -
Continued from page 1
1851: George spent 14 days in hospital in February, cause unknown. The UK census in April
shows Matilda is living at 1 Goodman Place, St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, the home of her
parents, with children Thomas Chick [probably Johanna - see note on page for Chick
children] and Matilda Ann Sheppard. In May, George spent another 21 days in hospital. In
October George returns to Norfolk Island. Matilda and family arrive in Australia some time
between April 1851 and January 1852.
1852: 26th February George is promoted to Corporal by Vice Gifford. Matilda and probably
daughter Matilda Ann have joined George by this time. Daughter Elizabeth Emma is born on
Norfolk Island on 17th October 1852.
1853: October-December - George is rewarded for apprehending deserters [good conduct pay]
He may have been issued with a Good Conduct Badge at this time.
1854: January, George is stationed at the Tasman Peninsula. March: George is once again
on Norfolk Island. October/Novermber George and Matilda are in Launceston where son John
Thomas is born 1st November [n] and daughter Elizabeth Emma dies 9th November [o]. By
December, George has returned to NSW.
1855: In March George is imprisoned for drunkenness for 16 days and is charged 8s. Upon
his release he is demoted to Private. Son John Thomas dies 19th July at Tasman Peninsula
although it appears that George is still in NSW at this time. It is possible that Matilda stayed
in Tasmania whilst George was posted away. The death certificate also states that George is a
Corporal suggesting that his imprisonment and demotion was not known by his wife at that
1854-1856: First members of the 12th Regiment arrived in Hobart and Melbourne in 1854. In
1856 the 99th Reg return home to England.
1856: George joined the 12th Regiment on 12th January in Adelaide. 18th - 24th April,
George is imprisoned and fined 3s 6d. Son George Edward is born in Adelaide SA.
1857: George is confined and fined 3s 6d.
1858: January George is stationed in Sydney. May, George is stationed on Goat Island, a
small island in Sydney Harbour that housed the Navy and Military magazine [gunpowder and
munitions supplies] June onwards, George is in Sydney. October -December- George spends
six days in hospital. 28th - 30th December George is confined and fined 1s 6d. Matilda has
joined George and is living at the Victoria Barracks in Paddington, Sydney, NSW. Son William
Frederick is born.
1859: George is stationed in Sydney. 3rd -11th March, George is confined and fined 3s 6d
1860: 1st June, George is promoted to Corporal.
1861: 22nd February George is confined and tried and reduced [demoted] 23rd February,
released as Private. George and Matilda are residing at the Victoria Barracks, Paddington
NSW. Daughter Rebecca is born 20th July.
1862: The 12th Regiment leave Australia. Some were sent to New Zealand.The Suffolk
Regiment (“The Old Dozen”) was in New Zealand from 1860 to 1866 as the 12th (Suffolk)
Regiment, under the command of Lt.-Col. H. M. Hamilton, C.B. “New Zealand” is worn on the
regiment's battle honours.
1862: January-March George is stationed in Queensland. 20th September Tried and
Imprisoned for breaking out of Barracks. 20th October, released.
1863: Probably Sydney 12th March, tried and imprisoned for habitual drunkenness. 24th
April, released. April-June, spent some time on Cockatoo Island but still stationed in Sydney.
October - December travelled to New Zealand. Spent three days aboard ship, probably the
HMSS Curacoa that departed on 22nd September 1863 for Auckland New Zealand with 266
soldiers on board. Eldest daughter Matilda Ann remained behind in Sydney. For a report on
the 12th regiment's service in New Zealand Click HERE
1864: George is serving in New Zealand.
1865: New Zealand. Restored to Good Conduct pay.
1866: New Zealand. Son James is born about this time.
1867: 25th April - Good conduct pay. 9th May, promoted to Corporal. July to August,
Stationed in Devonport. This is most likely Devonport England rather than Devonport
Auckland or Tasmania. This would suggest that George left NZ and returned to England
between May and July. Two ships, the 'England' and the 'Mary Shepherd' departed New
Zealand with almost 600 members of the 12th regiment in May.
1868: January- March, George is in Devonport. April to May George is in hospital. Cause
unknown. Daughter Matilda Ann, still living in Sydney, marries Peter Hickson [jnr] of Macleay
River on 2nd November. The Roll of the Married Establishment shows George having a wife
named Matilda and four children aged 1-11 years. July-September George is in hospital cause
unknown. The Roll of the ME appears again and George is listed with children aged 2-12
years. 6th November George requested a Discharge. At the time he was in confinement,
awaiting trial - 9th Nov. 10th Nov tried and reduced to Private, forfeiting on Good Conduct pay,
which left him one upon discharge. 20th November, Discharge accepted. 1st December, finally
Continued Page 3
Left: Victoria Barracks Paddington
NSW, enlisted mens barracks where
George and Matilda resided for a