Dumbrell Family

In Bulli, we have Dumbrell Rd and it seems that the Dumbrell family were in Sherbrooke on Bulli Mountain before they moved down the mountain to Bulli. So who were the Dumbrell’s ? …

Note – Robert Dumbrell has long been researching the Dumbrell  family in the Illawarra a ..click here for a transcript of his research (accessed from Genie)


The story of William Dumbrell and his family in the Illawarra.

It describes William Dumbrell’s life from his birth in 1815, voyaging to Australia – arriving in 1844 on the Neptune. Also on the Neptune was George Knight and his second wife Rebecca Dearling, accompanied by Rebecca’s sister, Harriet Dearling. William Dumbrell and Harriet married in 1847. It appears that their son, also named William Dumbrell, married Mary Ann Loveday (1860 – 1938).

Ultimately the Knight and Dumbrell families would live in Sherbrooke, probably from the early 1860’s, and become important in the emerging village of Bulli down the Mountain  ….  MORE 

According to Bulli Historian Bill Bayley in his “Black Diamonds”, and also  journalist and writer, Mick Roberts,  William Dumbrell was responsible for introducing blackberries to the Illawarra region, helping create  the industry of blackberry picking for the Sydney Jam industry. However blackberry vines became a  major pest, until they were largely eradicated in the 1940’s – MORE . Although some blackberries are still around the Sandon Point area on the coast at Bulli, where some locals still make Blackberry Jam.

It would also appear that William Dumbrell had some financial challenges in the mid 1860’s, however his family would later become prominent in Bulli affairs (source Trove Digitised newspapers).

Bill Bayley also mentioned in “Black Diamonds” that William Dumbrell (Jnr ?) was involved in potato growing at Sherbrooke, along with William Loveday and Thomas Knight working on shares with property owner Franklin Knight.  William Dumbrell Jnr was also active in the St Augustine’s Bulli Anglican Church from its earliest days in 1882.

Gravestone of Sherbrooke pioneers William & Mary Dumbrell Jnr (right foreground) also other Sherbrooke  pioneers - Henry & Margaret Reeve, also George and Sarah Blinkco

St Augustine’s Bulli Gravestone of Sherbrooke pioneers William & Mary Dumbrell Jnr (right foreground) also other Sherbrooke pioneers – Henry & Margaret Reeve, also George and Sarah Blinkco, John

Additional details on the Dumbrells are available from a Vidler Family tree reference, including connections to the Knights,  Taylor’s and Chilvy (Chilby’s ?), and can be found – HERE – also Vidler info via Rootsweb

Note. There is some conjecture that William Dumbrell may have married Henrietta Grayling in England, but she had died in 1842, before William left for Australia, however there seem to have been no children  – MORE

Later the Misses Dumbrell would operate a Dressmaking business in Bulli, where Edith Morgans nee Nicklin was apprenticed – dressmaking being one of the few occupations available for females in Bulli. (Note – Edith was the mother of one of the Black Diamond Heritage Centre’s volunteers, Bronwen Chamberlain nee Morgans.)


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