William Walker (1825-1905) and Mary Ann Bessant (1830-1915)

My Third-Generation Great Grandparents of the Stewart-Walker Family

Portishead, England.jpg
United Kingdom of the mid 1800s highlighting the origins of William and Mary Anne

William Walker was born on 25 May 1825 in Portishead, Somerset, England. His parents were Charles Walker and Eliza Fry, both of England. Their marriage date, work and other children are currently unknown.

Mary Ann Bessant was born on 16 Jan 1830 in Portishead, Somerset, England. Her parents were William Bessant (1802-1834) and Jane Atwell (1808-1836), both of  Gordano, Somerset, England. The Gordano region borders Portishead.

William and Mary Ann Walker. Photo sourced from Ancestry.com, originally shared by user: xxamandadentxx on 14/12/2010

William (23) and Mary Ann (18) were married on 26 Dec 1848 in St Peters Church of England in Portishead. They had their first three of fourteen children while living in England:  Ann “Annie” born 1849, Jane born 1852 and William John born 1854.

St Peters Church
St Peters Church and Cemetery at Portishead. Photo sourced from an antique postcard listed for sale on Ebay by K Park Prints and Collectables. Photo date and origin is unknown.

William (30), Mary Ann (24) and their children emigrated to Van Dieman’s Land, arriving in Hobart on 25 Mar 1855 aboard the ‘Ocean Chief’ after a seventy day voyage. They were sponsored by Mr. John Atwell of Spring Valley, Tasmania (In the Westbury District). The Atwell`s are related to the Walker family through Mary Ann’s mother. The Walker family travelled north to Spring Valley, where William worked for Mr. Atwell as a farm labourer. Mary Ann gave birth to their fourth child, Emma Jane, at Spring Valley in 1856.

Painting of the “Ocean Chief.” This painting is found in the Australian National Maritime Museum at 2 Murray St, Sydney, NSW

The family moved to the Deloraine region sometime in the mid 1850s where William continued to work as a farm labourer. Another four children were born in this region: George in 1857, Sarah in 1859, Cordelia in 1861 and Amelia in 1863.

In the mid 1860s, the family moved to “Green’s Creek” near Sassafras. Another five children were born here: John in 1865, Charles in 1867, Ada Ann Elizabeth in 1869, Charlotte in 1870 and Frank in 1872. William also leased some land at the nearby “Christmas Hills.” He and his sons would walk here daily to harvest wheat.

William purchased property in Parkham. On their property, they opened the first post office and store in the region. Some of their descendants would later operate their own post offices around the state of Tasmania. In those days, the post office was responsible for directing phone calls and delivering telegrams as well as handling the mail. There was no power connected in those days.

The fourteen children of William and Mary Ann Walker were: Ann “Annie” (1849-1926), Jane (1852-1922), William John (1854-1942), Emma Jane (1856-1952), George (1857-1926), Sarah (1859-1938), Cordelia (1861 -1947), Amelia (1863-1933), John “Jack” (1865-1944), Charles (1867-1955), Ada Ann Elizabeth (1869-1955), Charlotte (1870-1959), Frank (1872-1899), and Henry Edward (1874-1928).

Walker, William 1825-1904 2.png
William Walker. Photo scanned from ‘Portishead to Parkham’ by Walker, L.E. in 1991. Original source is unknown.
Walker, Mary Ann (Nee Bessant).png
Mary Ann Walker. Photo scanned from ‘Portishead to Parkham’ by Walker, L.E. in 1991. Original source is unknown.

William (79) died on 15 May 1905. He was buried in the Deloraine General Cemetery. The cemetery is located on Emu Bay Road at the Northern end of town just before the exit onto the Highway. Mary Ann (85) died on 25 Nov 1915. She was buried at the Deloraine General Cemetery with her late husband.

William and Mary Ann’s grave is located in the eastern section in the first row. Photo taken in June 2017.

The children of William and Mary Ann Walker went on to have many descendants spanning over six-plus generations.

Other Media:

Portishead to Parkham


Links to Cloud Server with Photos and Documents Pertaining to this Family:



Contributors and Acknowledgements:


See Also:

Walker Family Home Page
William and Mary Anne’s Daughter: Charlotte Stewart nee Walker



If you are a relative to me (distant or close), I am interested in hearing from you. You can contact me on: ernestfromaus@gmail.com



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