Staff Family - Parramatta and Granville 1821

John Foreman Staff came to Australia from Norfolk, England with his Uncle in the "Denmark Hill" at the age of 21 years in the year 1823.  He married Mary Sandle on 1st. September 1824 at St. John's Church of England, Parramatta.  The couple produced twelve children. Family File

He was born in 1802 at Great Yarmouth, Great Britain and his wife, Mary Sandle was born in Parramatta 3rd August, 1804, a daughter of Samuel Sandle and Sarah Whalley.  John Foreman Staff's parents are James Edward Staff and his mother was Sarah Roberts Walter, she died in England 6th December, 1851.  

In 1827 John and his wife Mary opened the first Infant School in Parramatta. They continued it for fourteen years.  He was also Clerk and Choirmaster at St. John's Church of England.  His son, James, turned a large barrel to supply the music.  Photograph is John Foreman Staff and Mary Sandle in later life. 

The choir was organized from the men of the 28th Regiment.  He also acted as first Choirmaster of the first Wesley Chapel opened in Parramatta.  About, the year 1827, he was appointed a Constable to be stationed at the "Factory".  He was also an Auctioneer.  In a Wesleyan Church Baptismal Register of his first child; which is also the first Child's baptism in the book, his profession is recorded as "Steward".  Staff's Cottage, was at the entrance to St. John's Cemetery, fronting Campbell St. below the present Church of England Rectory.

The couple lived 180 -184 George Street Parramatta, the house at 182 was his at one time, it is still standing in 2018 and it is named "Harrisford". Photograph courtesy of Heritage Centre Parramatta.

In 1850 an entry in her diary (courtesy of the Crawford) on Boxing Day of that year, Eliza Sophia writes of going down near Kissing Point, gathering oysters in her apron, lighting a fire to cook them before going back home to Parramatta.

The couple's first born son James Samuel Staff, born in 1825 at Parramatta, married Mary Ann Chaplain at Prospect in !847. 

James was educated under his father's eye and it was intended to put him to a trade, but as he grew to manhood Mr Staff's inclinations turned towards the country and at the age of 22 he purchased some land at Seven Hills and commenced fruit growing.

Shortly after he married and by steady industry gradually added to his possessions so that in a few years he found himself comfortably off'. About ten years ago feeling the effects of age creeping on him he gave up to his children the active work of the orchard, and to live at Richmond River where he remained for about 18 months, He then came to Parramatta and after a residence in town of some years removed to Granville. Click here for family file. 

In the early part of his life Mr. Staff, who was ever imbued with a deep religious feeling, was an active member of the Church of England and was one of the chief organisers in having the Rouse Hill Church of, which he became church warden, erected. Photograph (right) James Samuel Staff and (left) Mary Chaplain and Norfolk Vale their house,  courtesy of Laraine Molyneux a descendant of the family. Below is "Norfolk Villa 60 Prospect Street Granville. Religious writer Ellen White resided there 1894 to 1895.

"Norfolk Villa" Prospect Street Granville

Alfred Norfolk Staff second child of James Samuel and Mary Ann Chaplain married Mary Elizabeth Beardlow in 1882 at Lismore, Richmond, they had five children, Cassandra May, Mabel Maud, Edith Dorothy, Elizabeth Ida, Ernest James Staff. Courtesy Laraine Molyneux. Click to see family group sheet.

Sydney Nelson Staff third child of James Samuel and Mary Ann Staff married Fannie Grainger in Bathurst 1892, they had seven children. The couple were living at 49 Victoria Street, Granville in 1930. Descendant Audrey Meisenhelter (nee Staff) still occupies the house in 2018. The family group sheet can be found here.

Charles Grainger and his daughters Mary, Fannie, Emma, Alice and Kate, photograph courtesy Paul Burns.

The seven daughters of James and Mary Staff.

Above Alfred Norfolk Staff, Mabel, Ernest, Mary Elizabeth (nee Beardlow) Cassandra May

Seated Edith, Ida Elizabeth courtesy Laraine Molyneux

Cassandra May Staff, Mabel Maud, Edith (Dot)

Seated Ernest James, Ida Elizabeth Staff courtesy Laraine Molyneux.

Play the video

© Granville Historical Society Laraine Molyneux, Robert Luke, Audrey Meisenhelter, June Bullivant.