born child & third daughter Elizabeth McLachlan was born on the 18th
September 1856 at "Sorn Bank" to Daniel McLachlan & Jane McPherson.
Elizabeth was their fourth child. The children thus far patterned ...
girl, boy, girl ... so the couple were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the
second son to continue the alternating gender pattern.
Elizabeth McLachlan & Charles George Gant wed
This did not occur & the birth certificate adds credence to
the disappointment at the arrival of a third daughter in the age when male
descendants were of such very great importance. The birth certificate
stated that the new baby girl was - at registration ... "unnamed".
The addition was made later to the birth registration
details that the third baby girl was baptized "Elizabeth" at the baptism
ceremony at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church (the old one) at Bathurst
NSW, on the thirteenth day of January 1857, by Reverend James B.
Laughton. (It was to be two more baby girls & six more years before
Daniel McLachlan & Jane McPherson were to be blessed with their next son).
Agnes Gant & James Davis- first five children
Eliizabeth -grandchildren abt 1913
Elizabeth was having the same upbringing as her elder
siblings, aiming at the attention to detail with regard to the excellence
of gaining a good education with reading at the nucleus of it all. She was
imprinted with the predominance of the Christian religion upbringing of
the very old "Scots' Covenanting" spirit. As Daniel McLachlan was a
most fervently devout & exceedingly severe Presbyterian kirkman, that was
the brand of Christianity that Elizabeth was conversant with in her early
Alice Gant - Eliz 4th dau m. Robert Jackaman
Fremantle W.A. 1918
As the baby girl grew to become a physically able toddler,
& as there was an incapacitating shortage of sons in that household, it
seems that Elizabeth joined with the only son thus far, Daniel, to become
another of her father's offsiders. This would have been happening
firstly as the children's mother, Jane McPherson already had two diligent,
willing & capable helpers; & secondly due to the strong & energetic
abilities of the little girl, Elizabeth.
And so life went on ... with the family moving to
Mitchell's Creek & Daniel, the father, changing work status to miner, to
quartz crusher & finally at that location to innkeeper. During this
periood at Mitchell's Creek, Elizabeth is reputed to have "danced with a
bushranger". This was the era of th bushranger chasing after the gold
that the hardworking miners had garnered. An innkeeper, & others
similarly involved in the community affairs of a settlement, would have
had to tread diplomatically & softly when bushrangers were about.
Corrine Gant fifth daughter of Elizabeth
McLachlan photo abt 1910
Tragedy occurred with the death of the mother, Jane
McPherson-McLachlan in 1871 at Mitchell's Creek. Some three & a bit years
later, at some time during the first half of the year 1875, Daniel
McLachlan, the father, moved a small part of his family (as it had then
become) to the Yullundry-Cumnock area near Molong NSW.
The eldest of the offspring that went with him was
Elizabeth McLachlan. Thus as Daniel McLachlan's household & children
manager, (the eldest daughter, Jane, had married & was off away on her new
life), it was Elizabeth who became her father's mainstay for what is
sometimes presently termed ... "domestic engineer".
eld dau Agnes Gant Davis of Elizabeth
McLachlan Gant - with daus Amelia & Kath also Kath's dau Helen
At Yullundry-Cumnock, Daniel, the father, was establishing
his property, "Avondale" from the selection of lands that he had made
while still at Mitchell's Creek. It was there that he took the small part
of his family that travelled with him. Elizabeth was the one who was
responsible for the home & domestic orchard & vegetable garden &
food-raising animals such as "dairy" cows & "laying" hens. Elizabeth
was also the "surrogate mother" of the two youngest sibling-daughters,
Mary, the father's favourite, born 1858, & Agnes, the youngest child born
Among the others that had come with Daniel McLachlan, the
father, was a member of the mining fraternity, by name ... Charles George
Gant. Charles George Gant seemed to have been a great favourite of Daniel
McLachlan. In fact, the marriage of Elizabeth & Charles might have been
principally Daniel's "brain child". On the first day of May 1877, with her
father signing that he was ... "giving permission as she was not yet
twenty one years of age" Elizabeth became the wife of Charles George
At the beginning of the year, 1882, when Daniel McLachlan
senior, was working dangerously - (physically & emotionally) - hard, as
was his wont, & in this instance "sinking wells" & "digging dams" for
the better conservation of the extremely precious (i.e. as far as this
country is concerned) commodity of water, he "caught a cold". This cold
developed immediately into pneumonia, & he died the following day.
As Daniel McLachlan died without making a will, i.e.
"intestate", it became essential that the district magistrate appoint an
administrator of the estate. As Elizabeth, her husband & her (at that
time) first daughter, were residing on the property of "Avondale", it
was inevitable that the magistrate would choose Elizabeth nee McLachlan
Gant to undertake that role & tasks. (The magistrate did advise Charles
George Gant not to interfere in the fairness of arrangements that should
Elizabeth nee McLachlan Gant sold up most of the land
amassed by Daniel McLachlan, then shared the finance gained with her
siblings. She kept the property of "Avondale", for her family, her
husband & herself. Other unsold land in the district was given to the two
youngest sons. Elizabeth, her husband & her family stayed on at
"Avondale" for about twenty years from the time of the couple's marriage
The children born to them at "Avondale", were .... Agnes
Mary born 18 November 1881, Phoebe born 24 January 1884, Jane born 24
July 1887, Norman born 11 October 1889, Alice born 17 September 1891 &
Corrina (known as "Corrie" born 3 October 1893.
Elizabeth McLachlan Gant abt 1910 @ Northcott
Street North Sydney
As they grew weary of the difficulties of farm life &
having an abundance of daughters, they sold "Avondale" to one of the
pioneering families of the district, by name The Bruton family, & in about
1896, journeyed to Sunny Corner, a village not far from where Mitchell's
Creek had been flourishing earlier.
Because Norman Robert Gant was the only son, a great deal
of "pressure to succeed" in everything that he undertook, was placed
upon him until this "burden" overwhelmed him. At about twelve years of
age, Norman left home & family, - never to return.
Norman Robert Gant seems to have been a free & independent
spirit. He led an adventuring-type of life somewhat a mixture of
"swagman" .. "rouseabout" ... "gold-miner", filled with the "wonder of
the everlasting stars" that the Bush poets like ... Andrew Barton
"Banjo" Paterson & Henry Lawson, immortalized.
Elizabeth nee McLachlan Gant with three
granddaughters, Gwen at rear, Kath on her left - Doris on her right
While at Sunny Corner, the second son & last child was born
on the twenty fourth day of November 1898. He was called William John
Gant & known as .... "Bill" ... all his life. (Just as "Norman
Robert" had been in honour of the "Gant" heritage of the family; so
"William John" conveyed respect for the "McLachlan ancestry.)
By this time, the eldest daughter, Agnes born 1881, was
preparing to marry Jim Davis, in Sydney; while Jane, the third daughter,
born in 1887, was considering her "career options". The religion of The
Salvation Army was busy at Sunny Corner & its manner of spreading God's
Word, was impressing itself on the McLachlan-Gant family particularly
In that family, Phoebe, the second daughter, born 1883, was
the stalwart household helper & nursery governess by that time, to the two
younger sisters, Alice Maude & Corrie. She would have been caring for the
baby boy, William John Gant.
Sometime during the first decade of the twentieth century,
Jane Gant left for Melbourne where she trained as a Salvation Army officer
& undertook the Salvation Army's nursing training, at the world-renowned
maternity hospital in Melbourne, called "Bethesda". At the outbreak of
World War One, Jane left the Salvation Army work & enlisted in the
Australian Nursing Service for overseas service. On her Military Service
record, it stated that the family home was at Sunny Corner, although Jane
Gant was enlisting from Melbourne, Victoria.
Jane Gant third daughter of Elizabeth
McLachlan & Charles Gant - Jane, nurse WWOne, photo abt 1915
Jane Gant, the daughter of Elizabeth & Charles Gant, &
Daniel McLachlan born 1889, the son of Dan McLachlan born 1852 at "Sorn
Bank", had become "sweethearts"; but the two families refused consent
to such as "close" intermarriage. Subsequently, Jane Gant never
married. All her life, Jane Gant along with her brother, Bill Gant,
were the greatest of friends with Daniel McLachlan born 1889 at Hillgrove
Jane was a skilful & loyal Staff Nurse then Sister, of the
First Australian General Hospital Special Reinforcements Unit during
WWOne. She returned to Australia on the second day of May, in the year
1919. On her return she continued her involvement with nursing, firstly
in Western Australia & then in the state of New South Wales. At her
retirement in about 1947, Jane Gant held the position of Matron at the
Prince of Wales hospital, Little Bay near Sydney.
During the second decade of the twentieth century, the
parents & the last child, the son, William John Gant, were residing at
"Ballaratt" in Northcott Street, in North Sydney. It was from this address
that Bill Gant, as soon as he was old enough, enlisted on the first day
of February 1917.
Bill Gant enlisted in the 12th Light Horse Regiment, the
same regiment as his first cousin, Daniel McLachlan born 1889, the son of
Daniel McLachlan born in 1852 at "Sorn Bank". Bill & Dan were already
friends but this friendship intensified & continued throughout their
In 1923, Charles George Gant died, & Elizabeth went to
reside at 9 Patrick Street Willoughby, a suburb of Sydney. This was the
home of her eldest daughter, Agnes Gant-Davis & her husband, Jim Davis &
their last three children, Gwen born 1913, Kath born 1915 & Jane born
1917. The last two girls in particular, kept Elizabeth company while their
mother was busy especially with the needs of the house & her husband. They
got to know her very well in the last decade of Elizabeth's
When Elizabeth's eldest sister, Jane, was residing
intermittently at Manly, Elizabeth & Jane would have regular visits one
with the other. On these occasions after 1923, Kath & Jane would provide
her escort. During this period the young girls noticed just how keen her
interest was in the art of reading. They also became aware of Elizabeth's
preference for ... "reading by candlelight", although electricity was
connected to & in popular use in houses of that era.
The girls were witnesses to the demonstrated involvement &
enthusiasm of Elizabeth for the Bible, God's Holy Word, & for the
predominance of the Protestant form of religion. No longer, however,
was she bound by the strict code of Scots Presbyterianism (a relic of the
Covenanting Movement of sixteenth century Scotland) that had tightly
bound her father.
Not only was Elizabeth tall & statuesque in build, but she
had a similar personality that overwhelmed most people. She was very
intelligent & well-read, taking an ardent interest in the politics of the
Day, being a great supporter of the big "L" - Liberal Movement. Above
all, she was an empowered & empowering exponent of the evangelical type of
When Elizabeth died on the seventeenth day of August 1931,
she was quite sure of her transference "from this world to the next" at
the residence of her eldest daughter, Agnes. In preparation for her being
placed in her coffin, she was garbed in white apparel including "white
stockings" to symbolize the "pure in heart" as she went forward to "meet
Phoebe nee Gant Strickland second daughter of
Elizabeth McLachlan & Charles George Gant photo abt 1915
Indeed throughout her life Elizabeth nee McLachlan Gant had
striven to do her best. At her end Elizabeth was suffering from
myocarditis for several months & gastritis for four days. Elizabeth was
last seen by a registered medical practitioner by name, M. O. Stormon,
on the seventeenth day of August 1931. Elizabeth died on the same day at
the home of her eldest daughter, Agnes Mary nee Gant Davis.
Elizabeth McLachlan was buried on the eighteenth day of
August 1931, in the Church of England portion of the Northern Suburbs
cemetery that is situated on the north side of Sydney Harbour. The
officiating minister was William Mullen, who conducted the service
according to the rites of the Presbyterian Church.
The undertaker was Ernest Hawkings, acting for the Funeral
Company of Walter Bruce. The informant of her death, was Elizabeth's
son-in-law, Agnes' husband, James Davis. The event was registered at
North Sydney on the eighteenth day of August in the year 1931.
Very many of her descendants & extended family, were in
attendance at her funeral & burial services, but sadly the "wandering"
son, Norman Robert Gant was not there. Although a search had been
performed in an effort to locate him before Elizabeth's passing, Robert
was unable to be found. It was very much later in time that Robert was
located after his own death, in Stanthorpe, near the border of New
South Wales & Queensland.
researched compiled & written -
by Alison Elizabeth McLachlan-Crowe
for "McLachlan of Avondale" Descendants' Reunion
held on Saturday 17 May 2003 at Bathurst NSW Australia