I pay tribute to the Manly Daily for its articles on Australia’s colonial history, specifically about those who settled the Manly to Palm Beach peninsula. These articles are especially appreciated because of the Marxist left’s project to erase the history of white settlement and its magnificent achievements. I wrote in my first family history book PRISON HULK TO REDEMPTION (see below) that many Australians can look back on a family history similar to mine, with convicts who made good and contributed to the building of a brilliant new nation. It was their exclusive achievement.
Humble origins didn’t stop James Jenkins becoming the largest landholder on peninsula
FROM arriving as a convict in 1802, by 1825 James Jenkins and his family owned all of the foreshore land from what is now Mona Vale Hospital to southern end of Dee Why Beach (NSW). John Morcombe looks back.
John Morcombe, Manly Daily, 20 November 2020
ONE of the best examples of how a person convicted of a petty crime in England and transported to Australia could rise to become highly regarded and comparatively wealthy is James Jenkins.
From his convict origin he rose to become the largest landholder on the northern beaches, consolidating valuable grazing land and opening up the area by building the first significant road from North Harbour to Collaroy.
But the complex web of legal disputes for the disposition of his estate following his death tended to obscure the magnitude of Jenkins’ contribution to the history of the northern beaches.
Then local historians Ken Muir and Shelagh and George Champion gradually unpicked the web in the 1990s to reveal the contribution Jenkins and his family made to the history of the region.
When James Jenkins and his brother William arrived in the colony as convicts aboard the Coromandel in 1802, they had less than two years left to serve of their seven-year sentences for allegedly stealing seven sheep.