Passengers stories 
by their descendants.

George & Annie Bulpit
The story of: George & Annie Bulpit, ticket number 6060, steerage.
A Tragic Life

Sarah Hudson Cross was born in 1822 in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire to Edward and Susannah Cross.

Sarah married Thomas Greenhall Atkinson on 31 March 1844 in the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Uttoxeter. On the marriage certificate Thomas is described as a draper and their place of residence, Newport.

Their child Ann Susannah Cross Atkinson was born on 8 December 1844 and was baptised in the Wesleyan Chapel, Coal-Pit Bank in the Parish of Wombridge, Shropshire on 29 December 1844.

Sarah died in January 1845 and was buried on 4 January 1845 at the age of 23 years in Newport Shropshire.

Ann (or Annie as she was known) was brought up by her maternal grandparents Edward and Susannah Cross who in the 1851 English Census lived at Balance Hill, Uttoxeter. Edward was born in 1795 and died in 1870 and his occupation is described as joiner/builder. Susannah was born in 1797 and died in 1860. Annie was still living with her grandfather in the 1861 Census after the death of her grandmother.

On 6 November 1865 Annie, at the age of 21 years, married George Henry Bulpit, aged 30 years. The ceremony was held in the Millbrook Parish Church, South Stoneham, Hampshire. The marriage certificate describes George’s occupation as a “block maker”.

Annie and George departed London on 1 April 1866 aboard ‘Netherby’ a wooden hulled, full square rigged, thee masted clipper. The ship was bound for Brisbane after being chartered by the Queensland Government to bring immigrants to settle in the colony. It was carrying 413 paying, assisted and free passengers. Annie and George were travelling as assisted passengers.

On the evening of 14 July 1866 whilst traversing Bass Strait in difficult weather conditions the ship ran aground on a reef off King Island. All passengers and crew were able to be rescued and taken ashore on the island where they remained for several days suffering much hardship. Over the next few days the ship broke up.

Two ships ‘Pharos’ and ‘Victoria’ took provisions to King Island and returned the passengers and crew to Melbourne, arriving on 26 July at Port Phillip where some of the rescued, including George and Annie, were accommodated in the Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

George and Annie continued to Brisbane on the steamer ‘City of Melbourne’ on 30 July 1866 and arrived in Moreton Bay on 4 August where they were transferred to the steamer ‘Ipswich’ and taken to the Brisbane Immigration Department on 5 August.

Their stay in Brisbane was brief as on 21 September they sailed aboard the steamship ‘Telegraph’
for Sydney. Their first child Leonard Edward Bulpit was born in Sydney on 29 January 1867.

There is no record but after the birth of Leonard they appear to have returned to Victoria. Annies father Thomas Greenhall Atkinson had remarried and together with his family, migrated to Melbourne in 1852. Annie and her father appear to have been estranged. Thomas was a senior officer in the Victorian Parliament at the time being the Clerk of Papers and Letters in the Legislative Assembly and a short biography is included in the 1882 publication ‘Victorian Men Of The Time’.

In December 1867, George and Annie travelled by SS ‘City of Adelaide’ from Melbourne to Sydney. In 1869 Alice was born in Redfern, Sydney. They had once again returned to Melbourne in 1872 when their third child, Victoria was born in Richmond on 3 June.

The Bendigo Advertiser of Saturday 21 June 1873 carries a report head-lined “A Sad Story”. It tells of the Bulpit family being found in destitute circumstances living in a “miserable hut” with no food or blankets. George was said to be “afflicted with religious mania” and had previously been in the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum in the Melbourne suburb of Kew, “but as he recovered a little he was liberated on the application of his wife”. He was however unable to settle down to work and wandered from one place to another and “his wife kept faithfully by his side with her children”. Annie again became concerned for his wellbeing and she applied to the Eaglehawk bench for him to be returned to the asylum, which was granted on 19 June. As a consequence, with no means to support her children it was recommended to Annie that her two older children, Leonard aged 6 years and 6 months and Alice 4 years, be sent to the Industrial School in Geelong to which she reluctantly agreed and the Eaglehawk bench ordered, on 4 July 1873, that they be forwarded to the State home for destitute children for seven years. She received temporary relief from the poor box. The youngest child, Victoria, later followed her two siblings, being committed on 24 January 1876 aged 3 years and 9 months. She sadly died a few weeks later on 6 March 1876 at the Geelong Industrial School.

George appears to have suffered severe mental health issues for the remainder of his life. He continued his nomadic life wandering from place to place seeking work as an itinerate carpenter and spending periods of time in institutions for the insane. On Friday 5 May 1876 a report in the Ballarat Courier headlined ‘The Burrumbeet Outrage’ gives an insight into his sad life. He was again mentioned in the Victorian Police Gazette of 24 June 1878 under the heading ‘Escaped Prisoners’ which stated that “he is charged, on warrant at Eaglehawk, with lunacy” and was being sought by the police. A further report in The South Australian Police Gazette of 11 September 1878 stated that the Victorian Police were requesting information as to the whereabouts of George Bulpit who “is afflicted with religious mania and was discharged about 4 years ago from the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum”.

During the 1870s George and Annie were presumably divorced as Annie married Thomas Beeching in Melbourne at the office of the Registrar of Marriage in Gore Street, Fitzroy on 8 July 1879. Details in the Marriage Register reveal that Thomas was a widower (1868) with 3 children whilst Annie is described as a widow (1876) had her 2 living children and 1 deceased. George was, in fact, still alive at this time. Thomas was born in Mauritius and his occupation was buoy maker and Annie a domestic. 

Sadly on 9 March 1884 Annie passed away after being “found in a state of insensibility and on the point of death” at home. She was reported to be an habitual drunkard in The Argus newspaper of 10 March which carried the story of her demise. A sad ending to a tragic life. Annie was buried in Williamstown Cemetery.

George lived until 18 August 1891 when he died at the Hospital for the Insane in Parramatta, New South Wales of pneumonia. He was buried in Rookwood Cemetery, NSW.

Note by Karina, web admin:
Initial contact in April 2020 via the Facebook group by Anita Glenn, who described her connection as “Annie’s connection to my distant extended family is through descendants of her son, Leonard Edward Bulpit, whose granddaughter, Patricia Bulpit married George Henry Limbert (1921-1991) in 1942. Long story short, it’s a marital connection to the wife of an uncle of mine”. 
Anita’s post referenced Annie’s additional surnames which led me to some Trove searching where I located several news articles that appeared to be all linked to George and Annie but I wanted further confirmation from a descendant before I created a page for them.
Anita later provided the following info: “Annie and George Bulpit had a daughter Victoria Agnes Bulpit born at Richmond in 1872. She died in 1876 at the Geelong Industrial School which is where children deemed to be neglected were placed when removed from their family. Oddly there is no corresponding Death record in the Victoria BDM online. Not under her birth name and I did some wild card searches”. 
She also provided a link to an image of the Geelong Industrial School and a government inspectors report for industrial and reform schools in Victoria in 1877 and while it doesn’t name children, it makes for very sad reading.

Next contact was in Sep 2020 from Rob Atkinson. He described his connection as: “The daughter of my Great Great Grandfather together with her husband was a passenger on the voyage. They were George and Annie Bulpit. Annie was the only child of my GGGFs first marriage and her mother died within a few weeks of her birth. My GGGF subsequently remarried and I am a descendent of that union. So I am, I think, a third cousin of Annie, maybe once removed, but I’m not sure”.

I sent Rob the articles I had sourced and he confirmed they matched his records. Rob wrote the above story about the tragic life of George and Annie and provided it to me for this website.

Other sources: Newspapers as attached. I searched Find A Grave and located a memorial ID for Annie Beeching in Williamstown Cemetery (153396025) but no grave photo. A search for George produced no results. I have added the search result and grave photo for their son Leonard Edward. 

1884-03-10_The Argus_Death of Anne Susannah Cross Atkinson Bulpit Beeching
This PDF is a detailed report into the Industrial and Reform Schools in 1877. While it doesn't name individual children, it makes for very sad reading about the children's lives there. Click on the link to open.