Sacred to the memory
who died Sept. 14th
aged 51 years


also of
who died the 30th of June 1859
aged 9 years


and of
who died the 28th of August 1854
aged 2 years


who died 18th June 1885
aged 86 years


who died 18th Sept 1902
aged 60 years


The grave of Sarah (nee Pepperill) and Jeremiah Diplock and three of their children is in the Wollombi Cemetery in New South Wales. There are several other graves belonging to other Diplock’s, which possibly indicates that this was a family plot. It’s the first grave that I have intentionally set out to find as Sarah and Jeremiah are my paternal great-great-great grandparents. Despite spending most of my childhood in the neighbouring town I never knew that my ancestors were early settlers of the area, probably because cemeteries and family history aren’t all that important when your young. I admit that when I located the grave I choked up with emotion and I may have introduced myself to them………..

Jeremiah Diplock was born in 1798 is Sussex, England and came to Australia onboard the Coromandel in 1819 as punishment for being found guilty of burgling the house of Richard Verral. On arrival in New South Wales Jeremiah was sent to work at Windsor and the convict indents show that in 1825 he was working with the clearing party of William Hovell at Minto. After serving his 7 year term Jeremiah had his Ticket of Freedom granted in 1826. The 1828 census records that Jeremiah was then working on the property of Alexander Livingstone, which was on the banks of the Paterson River.

Sarah Pepperill was born around 1809 is Essex, England and by 1830 she was working for William Mantle as a servant at the Catherine Wheel public house at New Brentford. She was charged in April that year of stealing 9 sovereigns from her employer, but stated that she happened upon a purse containing money on the steps of a nearby house. Whilst a constable William Durban testified that a Mr Powell did indeed lose a purse containing a sum of money around the time the judge found Sarah guilty of theft and sentenced her to 7 years transportation.

Sarah sailed to New South Wales onboard the Earl of Liverpool and arrived in Sydney on April 17, 1831. Sarah spent 11 days in Sydney Gaol before she boarded the Caledonia, which would take her via a night’s stay in Newcastle Gaol, up river and into the service of Alexander Livingstone where she met Jeremiah.

Within five months Sarah and Jeremiah had lodged an application to marry, which was granted and the couple married in Maitland on October 24, 1831. Marriage for a female convict effectively transferred their ‘ownership’ from their employer to their husband, so quick marriage was an attractive option for female convicts. Additionally, the government was keen to populate the colony and encouraged marriage between convicts.

About the time of their marriage Jeremiah began a new career as a cattle rustler.  A letter dated 15th February 1843 written by the Police Magistrate refers to Jeremiah as being ‘The Captain of the Blue Company…(a) notorious gang that so long infested the Williams and Paterson (Rivers)’. The gang would steal cattle from the upper Hunter and Wollombi areas and conceal them around Dora Creek.

In 1843 Jeremiah applied for a land grant but this was turned down as a result of his cattle rustling. He continued to apply for land grants and was finally granted 100 acres near Wollombi in 1853 and from this point Jeremiah seems to have left his criminal past behind hin in favour of respectable land ownership.

Jeremiah and Sarah had 7 daughters and 2 sons. After Sarah’s death Jeremiah was taken care of by his daughter Charlotte, who is the final burial in this grave.

RIP Diplock family.


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