George Garlick Godwin was born around 1803 in Wiltshire, England.1 He was given a life sentence for pig stealing and transported to Australia on the convict ship ‘Burrell’ in 1830.2 He received his ticket-of-leave in 1839 after completing a nine year assignment to a young Scottish immigrant George Mosman at Williams River.3
In 1846 George was transferred to Gosford where he received a conditional pardon. He worked as a carrier and bullock driver in and around Kincumber and in 1852 he married Mary Ann Jones.4 Ten years later George and Mary decided to move north with their family. They travelled overland for many weeks forging their own trail through Raymond Terrace, Stroud and Bulahdelah. Along with their possessions they had a team of 6 bullocks, a dray, two saddle horses and five cows. They arrived in Forster in 1862 and were the first white settlers to do so.
Oral stories tell that the Godwins were befriended by Worimi people and George was encouraged to collect oysters and honey while he shared his knowledge of growing corn and splitting shingles. On 18 June 1863 George selected 40 acres under conditional purchase near where Godwin Street, Forster is today. Their daughter Harriet was reportedly the first white child born in Forster. George selected another 40 acres west of Smiths Lake at Wamwarra in 1874 where he lived until his death. George and Mary are buried at Neranie Head cemetery, Bungwahl.5
A reminder of this pioneering family can be found on a bronze plaque in a tiny park on MacIntosh Street, Forster.
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 Grave marker at Neranie Head Cemetery, Bungwahl.
2 Convict Records for George Goodwin [sic], https://convictrecords.com.au/convicts/goodwin/george/106760
3 Ancestry.com.au; Settler and Convict Lists, 1828-1832.
4 NSW BDM, Marriage index, No. 662/1852.
5 “The History of Tuncurry: Darawank, Failford, Nabiac, Wang Wauk, Coolongolook, Krambach” compiled by Elva Carmichael for the Great Lakes Historical Society, 2000.