When I retired some years ago, I decided to do a bit of research into my forebears. I knew some of them were reasonably well known, but there was a great deal I did not know.
I was reminded early of the story of my Pockley aunt who made the same decision many years ago, when she was in London. She found a researcher, paid him £5 and sat back hopefully. He wrote a number of times, saying the money had run out and he would need another £5 to keep going. Though 5 was £5 in those days, Aunt paid up. A further period of waiting ensued, and again the man got in touch. He said, in effect: "I think I am on to something, but of course I will need another £5 ". I have come across one George Pockley, who described himself as a fisherman. But don't be discouraged - sons of gentlemen in those days often gave their hobbies as their occupations. It is said of him that he "lived very expencessive and went often to bed drunk". I think that's when the fivers stopped.
As I pressed on, I became more and more fascinated. I've learned that William the Conqueror's half brother, Robert Count of Mortain, had a Manor at Pockley in 1086. I've found that my great grandfather was an Antarctic whaling skipper - that my grandfather was at one time the largest shipowner in Australia, and that he made the first gas on Sydney's North Shore - I've found a cousin who traces her ancestry directly back to John of Gaunt - the 18-greats grandfather of the present Queen of England - a doctor uncle brought the first grains of cocaine out here from Europe.
I am able to name my 8 great grandparents and 13 out of my 16 great-greats. I can go back 12 generations on the Waddy side. Though by no means First Fleeters, there are several Pockley children who are seventh generation Australian-born.
It's been great fun. But it makes me feel old to realise that it was only my grandfather who, when he was Harbour Master here, was advised by letter from South Head of the terrible wreck of the Dunbar and that, at the Brisbane wedding of my uncle, the presents were not sent up from Sydney on account of the heavy duty that would have had to be paid.
I have been criticised for failing to annotate these records by quoting my source of information for everything I have said. I did this deliberately, as my small mind is confused by tiny numbers, sprinkled like pepper throughout the text, referring the reader to footnotes at the bottom of the page, or worse still, to some sort of glossary at the back of the book. However I make an attempt to authenticate facts by setting out many of the authorities to which I have referred.
I am indebted to Gordon Richardson, the then Librarian at the Public Library, who kindly cut through red tape and granted me a Reader's Ticket, and to all the girls at the Mitchell Library, for their help and understanding to an obvious beginner who should have had a large "L" on his chest and back; they helped me to find so much that is there to find. The files of the old Sydney Gazette, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, etc., all helped to piece facts together. For the rest I have relied on my own knowledge and memory, and help from cousins and relations here and abroad. My special thanks go to my cousin Enid Graham, nee Clive; she lent me my grandfather's diaries and gave me the photograph of the beautiful Mary Cloete - which appeared on the cover of my little book on the Wills family - and of "Kid Gloves" himself. In the early stages, Enid most kindly did a lot of typing of the first draft of this. Then Dr John Antill Pockley very kindly volunteered to proof-read the text - a painstaking task.
Since none of the family had any knowledge of our background before Capt. R.F. Pockley arrived here in 1842, research in tracing back from that point has been very largely done by Brian Pockley, and his son Tom, in England. I am most grateful for all their help, and to the Hinders and other relatives for theirs. Mrs Nancy Foote, in Queensland, also gave me a lot of information about the Fulchers and the Swains.
In particular I want to thank my friends Jamie and Laurie McFadden. I was desperately trying to think of a way to produce, in book form, all the family trees which I had spent so very many hours in compiling. The longest - the Antills - stretched 26 feet across our living room floor. Suddenly I thought of thoroughbred horse pedigrees. Jamie had devised a system of condensing the Australian thoroughbred families, and I asked him if I might pick his brains and adapt his method to my trees. He was most helpful, and the trees in this book are a direct result. Laurie even came to my home to check that I had it quite right. They are a bit tricky to compile but, I believe, easy to follow.
As soon as possible after this I hope to bring out a rather longer book on the Antills, and lastly one on the Waddys.
R.V. Pockley - Sydney. October, 1976.