Richard Alexander Eason and Annabella Sissons


Richard Alexander was christened 21 Jul 1844 at Saint Peter, Liverpool, Lancashire, England. He was the son of Richard Eason and Catherine Cameron of Liverpool.

Annabella Sisson was born c 1844, the daughter of Captain George Alexander Bayfield Sissons and Nell OFlaherty, of Liverpool. George was the son of English parents, ship owners on the Mississipi in early colonial American days. On a voyage to England George met and married Nell OFlaherty in Galway Bay, Ireland. His puritan parents refused to recognise a Catholic daughterin-law, and so George left his sea-faring career and worked in a shipping warehouse in LIverpool, where Annabelle was born. George's parents left him their estate but he refused to accept it, and it went into Chancery.

Pictured are Richard in his later years with his son Dick, Minnie (Dick's wife), and three of their children, from left: Rhoda, Doris and Harold


Richard and Annabella married in June 1870 at Everton or West Derby, Liverpool.

During the 1871 census Annabella and Richard were living with Annabella’s widowed father George at 87 Conway Street. Annabella was a Home Keeper and about that time expecting their first child.

By the time of the 1881 census Richard was a plasterer and the family was living at 32 Gaerwen St West Darby Lancashire. Also staying at the house was Annabella’s sister Catherine Lloyd aged 27 Liverpool, widow of John Tutton Lloyd. She worked as an India Rubber Worker.

In those days Liverpool was a miserable place for many people. There was no sewerage or running water, houses were tiny and cramped together and there were deadly outbreaks of Cholera.

In 1883 Richard and Annabella (written as Arabella on the shipping film) and their children Richard (11), Tom (8), George (4), Catherine (6) and William (1) sailed on the Duke of Buckingham to Gladstone, Queensland. They travelled to Charters Towers to visit relatives there, and then to Brisbane to visit Richard's brother Thomas. The family then made their way to Geelong in Victoria and by 1886 Richard was working as a plasterer in the Geelong area. He was also a stonemason. They lived at Myers St Geelong and later on (1903) at Kilgour St.

Annabella was a wonderful Irish (though born in Liverpool, England) Catholic woman known as the Mater. Once her children returned home from school to find nothing to eat as she had given it all to a needy neighbour.

Alexander Richard and Annabella were Catholics. The story is told how they whisked grandson Harold off to be baptised after he was christened in the Methodist church. The custom in those days was that boys took the religion of the father and girls the religion of the mother.

Three of their children were great footballers: George, Alex and Bill. Tragically George died from football injuries in 1899 at the age of 20. Another child Alexander died aged 1 in 1885.

George's Death

An article in the Geelong Advertiser on Sep 4th reads:

"Injuries sustained by a young man named George Eason, a playing member of the Barwon Football Club, during the progress of the junior football context on the oval on Saturday between Barwon and Chillwell clubs, unfortunately had a fatal termination yesterday, the cause of death being a ruptured liver. The deceased experienced two bad falls on the hard turf, and later on in the match came into collision with a Chillwell player, and both fell. Eason continued to play, but in the light of the subsequent medical examination he must have suffered a good deal through becoming a martyr to what he considered was a duty to his club. He complained of feeling unwell after the finish of the match, and on seeing him at his parents' residence, South Geelong, Dr MCallum saw that he had been badly injured. The patient showed remarkable signs of collapse early yesterday morning, Dr McCallum had a consultation with Dr Croker, but medical skill was of no avail, and he passed away shortly after noon. Young Eason, whose skill as a junior footballer bought him under the notice of the Match committee of the Geelong Football Club, was a currier employed at Munday's tannery, and was about 20 years of age. The circumstances were reported to the coroner, Mr G WE Patterson, PM, who has ordered and inquiry to be held in the courthouse, Gheringhap St, at 2.30 pm today."

The funeral notice on the 6th of September:

"EASON: on the 4th of September, at his parents' residence, Kilgour Street (the result of an accident whilst playing with the Barwon Football Club on the 2nd September, 1899), George Alexander Eason, third beloved son of R and A Eason, aged 20 years. The funeral will leave his parent's residence, 82 Kilgour Street on Wednesday, the 6th inst, at 3pm, for the Eastern Cemetery. Friends please accept this intimation. W B and King and Son, Undertakers, Moorabool Street. (Telephone 322)."

His gravestone at Eastern Cemetery reads:

"In Loving Memory of George Alexander EASON
dearly loved third son
who d 4th Sept 1889
from injuries accidentally received from playing football on Geelong Oval
aged 20 years
Erected by his sorrowing parents and comrades
Forget him we will never
or shall his memory fade
but sweetened thoughts shall linger
around dear George's grave"

In 1900 Richard and his visited South Africa with his two eldest sons - Richard and Thomas - to evaluate the prospects for immigration. They established a successful building business. Richard felt lonely and misplaced there, but he returned to Australia to bring the rest of the family. However he died before he could do this.

The sons in South Africa lived in Bloemfontein, although Thomas left later. The descendants of Richard, the oldest son, are still living there. The rest of the family remained in Australia.


  1. Richard Eason 1871
  2. Thomas Eason 1874
  3. Catherine Eason 1877
  4. George Alexander Eason 1879 - 1899 aged 20
  5. William Eason 1884 - 1957 aged 73
  6. Alexander Eason born 1885,baptised 20th August 1855, died 1886,
  7. Ethel May Eason 1886 (baptised 15th Sep 1886) - 1956 aged 60
  8. Alexander Eason 1889 - 1856 aged 56

See Eason-Sisson Children page for more information on the children


In 1909, while Richard was in Australia planning to take his family to South Africa, he died of paralysis at Corio oval - an old age pensioner at 66. It was deemed unnecessary to hold an inquiry.

He "just put his head down at the dinner table and died" according to his daugher-in-law Minnie. At the time he had a head of thick grey hair and a moustache. Richard is buried at Eastern Cemetery Geelong. His youngest son Alec, who started playing for Geelong in 1909, would have been 20 when his father died.

Annabella died at the home of her daughter Kate (Catherine) Morgan in Winchelsea on the 10th of September 1921. She was aged 78 and had suffered an eight week illness. The cause of death was Haemorrhagic Apoplexy (stroke) and Heart disease. Her grandson Allan Morgan was the informant and the burial was officiated by a C/E minister and she was buried at Eastern Cemetery.

Aboard the Duke of Buckingham

The Duke of Buckingham was built in 1881 and had four masts and steam.

It left Plymouth on June 20th and sailed via the Bay of Biscay, Tangiers, Malta, Port Said, the Red Sea, Aden, Colombo and Java and arrived in Townsville on the 11th August. Three babies were born during the journey and 10 persons died.

On board were 58 steerage passengers, 130 assisted, 230 free, 122 remittance and 15 indented. There were 447 English passengers, 21 Scots and 80 Irish.

The Easons were remittance passengers. This means they had a naturalised or natural born relative or friend in Queensland who obtained a passage warrant from the Government on payment of the required amount. The warrant was then forwarded to the friend or relative in Europe. On presentation of the warrant, the Government representative in Europe would then arrange a passage for the emigrant. Apparently Richard had a brother in Brisbane and an Aunt in Charters Towers at that time.

The passengers were quartered in “hatches”. There were hatches for single men, for married couples and single girls. The single girls were separated behind railings. The bunks were narrow and coffin like – without the lids.

Passengers were also divided into messes of 10 persons in each. They took turns to prepare meals and clean the tables and floor with stones and sand. Typical meals were beef, potatoes and soup or salt pork and pea soup. Breakfast was porridge and bread and butter and coffee.

The ship carried constables to keep order. Religion played a major role, with regular services conducted by the doctor and passengers.

Who is This?

This photo has Grandpa Eason, Queenscliff Cadets, on the back.

Ongoing Research

It is possible that both Richard and Annabella came to Australia earlier, separately, then returned to England. Richard's death certificate states that he resided in Victoria for 37 years, this would mean he migrated in 1872 at the age of 28 - after he was married and had one child. It may have been a mistake.

An Anabella Sisson came to Australia in 1863 at the age of 25 aboard the Bavaria. Also aboard was a female C P Sisson, age 42. There is an age discrepancy as our Annabella would have been aged 20 in 1863. Obviously she did not migrate then as her death record states she was in Australia for 36 years, which agrees with the 1883 voyage.

Richard apparently had an aunt in Chartres Towers and a brother William in Brisbane.

Who is this family?

The group below are either Eason, Huggett or Newell. The photo was taken at Geelong beach.