Henry Kable & Susannah Holmes


to the Family History Website and Digital Family Tree for the descendants of HENRY KABLE AND SUSANNA(H) HOLMES…

This newer version website has additions to and extensions of its forerunner created in preparation for the Kable-Holmes Family Reunion at Windsor NSW Australia, which was held on February 10 and 11, 2018 to celebrate the 230th Wedding Anniversary of H & S.


An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. It can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live [meet today], the ATSI people of the “AUSTRALIAN NATION” and pay our respects to Elders past present and emerging.

On the 10th and 11th of February 2018 at Windsor NSW, Australia, descendants of the first white people to settle on the DARUG land at Sydney Cove in 1788, gathered to celebrate the 230th wedding anniversary of their ancestors Henry & Susannah. Windsor NSW is also located on country of the DARUG nation. At the opening session of this celebration, the Kable descendants were welcomed to Country by DARUG woman Rhiannon Wright, in local language as well as in English.


The purpose is to share the rich historical fabric of “our KABLE-HOLMES family history” that commenced with the beginning of the nation of “Modern Australia 1788”.

Committing the story of Henry & Susannah to a digital platform, enables this family’s contribution to Australian Folklore, to be accessed outside a traditional library or book source. Further it provides one family’s snapshot of their social, cultural and familial history. Further the ever-increasing number of descendants/progeny of First Fleeters Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes can be “squeezed” into bits and bytes more readily than an A1 format poster. Currently upwards of 5000 persons are included.

As well, this website presents an interactive opportunity to connect ongoing stories and contributions from those interested descendants, whose research has formed the tree and caused the growth of the branches, twigs and leaves.

we are the chosen.pngThese “researchers” can loosely be referred to as “the chosen” described in the “POEM” beside. Their efforts collated here, have contributed to this digital version of the KABLE-HOLMES DESCENDANT’S story.

The significance of the KABLE-HOLMES story is not just for the descendants but equally for its place in modern Australian folklore, as Henry and Susannah were one married couple amongst approximately 1,500 participants in the FOUNDING OF MODERN AUSTRALIA, 26th January, 1788.  Thus, this website brings together “SOME” of the numerous stories records and notable occurrences from the intervening 230 years. To the date of 10th February 2018 Henry, Susannah and their descendants brings this website to you.

A page for comments and suggestions has been added to the site to encourage social communication to maintain the “story” of one FIRST FLEET FAMILY of the Colony of NSW 1788 and their descendants. Further this website attempts to bridge the family celebrations of the BICENTENNIAL year 1988 forward to the SESTERCENTENNIAL (250 years) celebrations of the founding of MODERN AUSTRALIA (2038). Maintaining the story in a contemporary frame of reference is seen to be equally worthy as that of the producers of the story Henry & Susannah.


Both websites (the previous WIX-site and this newer WORDPRESS-site) have been created by JANE and JOHAN VAN WOERKOM. Jane – First Fleet Descendant of Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes-Kable through Diana Kable/Cable (born 1788).
JANE is the Text and literary Layout Design Editor and Author and JOHAN the Website layout and digital design author and also liaison contact person for descendants and family members who contributed, and still are contributing, to the digital tree.
Many thanks are owed to those who contributed and donated family tree records and who belong to the KABLE-HOLMES Sydney Cove and beyond DIASPORA.
Ironically some of the early European Maritime explorers who sought to locate/explore the Great Southland “TERRA AUSTRALIS” were from THE NETHERLANDS.
That another Nederlander, using digital technology bringing this to the Internet/Digital World, is fitting.
Many, many thanks to Johan van Woerkom creating this platform for Jane’s “Family History Story” of her maternal line, ancestors and First Fleeters (convicts, sentenced “Beyond the Seas” aged 19 years) and the subsequent descendants of Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes-Kable.


Living  family members acknowledged by name here, for their special, unique and substantial contributions to the KABLE-HOLMES story include June Whittaker OAM (author /deceased Feb. 2022), NSW; Commodore Paul Kable AM RAN (rtd) (author) NSW.; Bryan Thomas (author / deceased) and Zillah Kable-Thomas-Campbell (1988 Family reunion convenor) and Kable family papers (SLNSW), NSW; Roslyn Robinson (Family tree records and archives), NSW; Johan and Jane van Woerkom (author), NSW; Sharon Lamb (FFF Director) and Bob Rickards (former FFF Website technician / deceased July 2021). Greater detail of their contributions will be provided later. Many many many other descendants research and contributions  have been used/referred to throughout this site and will also be acknowledged in more detail later in this site, including for example Julia Kable’s contribution.


Gladys Busch  and her husband Noel were both Churchill Fellowship Awardees. Gladys’ focus in her study tours were “ARTISAN DOLLMAKING”. In developing her skills as an Artisan Doll Maker she provided the Historical Dolls/Figurines for the 1988 Bi-Centenary Celebrations of the Founding of Modern Australia. Included in this collection were the Henry and Susannah “dolls.” For the recent 230th wedding Anniversary Reunion at Windsor NSW – February 10&11 2018 Gladys created the “contemporary version of Henry and Susannah and brought forward their story by also creating their eleven children. Photographs of Gladys’ Artisanship work forms the photographic backdrop of the website and selected other pages. Special thanks to Gladys and Noel!


Thus this website brings the many and various combined efforts of KABLE-HOLMES descendants and their stories from Norfolk and Suffolk, England from 1700, forward to Australia 2018 and through the WordPress blog options will assist in continuing the building of the KABLE-HOLMES FOLKLORE.

    The Earliest Humans | History
    Before the story of Henry and Susannah there were many beginnings. Many migrations explorations and discoveries. The use of technology has enabled user friendly “stories” to outline the narrative of Human development growth and migration to “new worlds”.Commonly accepted research now states that early humans migrated out of Africa and succeeded in the competition with other species on the planet and today “manage” that success. YouTube provides one such story presentation of the earliest human and migrations (see this link). Also DISCOVER MAGAZINE (ONLINE) CARRIES AN ARTICLE titled -‘Timeline For Human Migration Gets A Rewrite’ which discusses how recent developments arising from DNA research into the “migration patterns  of Human Beings” provides an even clearer picture of the links among peoples and the shared history of us all.
    By tracking DNA movements and settlements research groups such as National Geographic researchers have been able to produce a humankind migration model as seen below in National Geographic’s – Genographic Project. This visual model enables a hypothetical mock-up, supported by strong research results and DNA mapping methods, which provides another story of mankind and ancient movements.
  • ANCIENT MIGRATION ROUTES – In this next section the pre-Henry and Susannah story is paid due respect. These ancient migration routes tell briefly humankinds’ migration, before the story of our Ancestors First Fleet migration from England to the Colony of New South Wales Australia. It also briefly tells of the migration before Henry and Susannah- the migration of the pre-existing dwellers the Traditional inhabitants of “Terra Australis”. Tongue in cheek we might say Henry and Susannah took the long way around … or the scenic route!
    Thus, recent advances in DNA research have taken the customary fieldwork explorations and research from outdoors to the inside laboratory where theoretical models of ancient migration routes have been developed and displayed (as below), telling another story of how mankind has been on the move exploring, discovering and engaging with planet earth for somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 years. More can be learned of this story by deferring to the information presented in the below links and map outline.
    For ten years, Genographic Project scientists have explored and explained how patterns in our DNA show evidence of migration out of Africa and across the globe. But new research shows that eventually some of our ancient ancestors also moved back. (Nat Geo Explorers Journal / ref. source).
    2018-08-01 (5)Click here for a larger image of the map.
    The humankind migrations referred to above are wondrously significant but in each time and place a new migration, exploration and discovery has added to the rich fabric of each groups discoveries.
    Mankinds’ quests to learn and come to know who we are and where we come from continues today. Henry and Susannah’s migration story is pre-dated and further detailed with reference to the most recent (last 1000 years) discoveries leading up to Terra Australis / modern Australia settlement.
  • ANCIENT AUSTRALIS  Australian anthropology digs have found evidence of Aboriginal habitation up to 80,000 years ago. Artifacts in Kakadu national park have been dated between 65,000 and 80,000 years old, extending likely occupation of area by thousands of years. These findings also suggest people crossed over from south Asia at a time that was cooler and wetter, with lower sea levels allowing easier sea crossings (The Guardian – Helen Davidson at Madjedbebe and Calla Wahlquist- Thu 20 Jul 2017 00 AEST).
  • AUSTRALIS IN ANTIQUITY – The existence of Terra Australis was not based on any survey or direct observation, but rather on the idea that continental land in the Northern Hemisphere should be balanced by land in the south.[1] This theory of balancing land has been documented as early as the 5th century on maps by Macrobius, who used the term Australis on his maps.[2]
  • TERRA AUSTRALIS –  (Latin for South Land) was a hypothetical continent first posited from the time of the great Greek and Roman civilizations and began to appear on maps between the 15th and 18th centuries. Europeans had been searching for rich new lands in the Southern Hemisphere long before Captain James Cook arrived on the east coast of Australia in 1770.
  • SPANISH EXPLORATION – In a quest to advance Catholicism and discover new sources of natural resources and precious metals, early Spanish explorers opened up many parts of the world to European settlers. They are considered the first Europeans to discover Vanuatu and what is now known as the Torres Strait.
  • DUTCH EXPLORATION – The most significant exploration of Australia in the 17th century was by the Dutch. Commissioned by the world’s largest trading company at the time, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Companie or VOC), Dutch explorers charted much of the Southern Hemisphere in search of its famed riches.
    Dutch sailors made their first landfall on Australian shores in 1606. By the time Captain Cook arrived nearly 170 years later, the Dutch had charted all but the south-eastern coastline of the continent they called ‘New Holland’.
  • BRITISH EXPLORATION – Fanciful notions of the far South Land were also common in the English imagination. Successful explorers were held in high-esteem, as many longed to discover the untold treasures that lay beyond the equator.
    • Whilst English exploration of the Southern Hemisphere began in 1577 with the voyages of Francis Drake, it wasn’t until the late 18th century that expeditions finally revealed the true extent of the region and the final pieces of Terra Australis Incognita.
    • Dalrymple’s book was read with interest by those mounting the 1770 expedition to view the Transit of Venus in Tahiti. Joseph Banks, members of the Royal Society and the Admiralty took Dalrymple’s research into account, particularly when issuing Captain James Cook’s expedition with secret instructions to seek the Southern Continent after their scientific observations in Tahiti.
    • Dalrymple was desperate to be given charge of the expedition and his exclusion from the party remained a source of bitter resentment for the rest of his life. http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/stories/voyages#!/st/0

Captain James Cook’s confirmation of the great south land lead to the establishment of the colony of NSW following international events involving the British colonies in the Americas and thus through other circumstances Henry and Susannah came to be unwitting participants in the foundation of a nation.


Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes born in 1763 Suffolk and 1764 Norfolk, England (respectively) were young English persons who became victims of their time in England. The Inclosure Acts from 1604 to 1914 saw 5,200 Acts passed. These acts removed available land for people to farm and graze and thus changed the way people were able to provide food and shelter for themselves. Often this lead people to move away from family supports/networks to find work and when payment for work couldn’t be found, crimes of theft occurred.

Thus according to the times, Henry and Susannah, were each found guilty of such crimes of theft, in 1783 and 1784 (respectively). Sentenced to death both were reprieved (aged 19 years) but sentenced to transportation to the American Colonies. When the American War of Independence from England ended (1783), England was no longer able to transport convicted felons to the American Colonies and alternative locations were sought. Thus Henry and Susannah became part of the convict transportation BEYOND THE SEAS to TERRA AUSTRALIS.


When the American Colonies were no longer receiving convicts from England, King George III, ‘with the advice of his Privy Council’ directed Lord Sydney (Thomas Townshend) to instruct Arthur Phillip to prepare a fleet of ships to commence transportation of convicts to the GREAT SOUTH LAND. The first Instructions included Phillip’s Commission as Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of New South Wales. An amended Commission, dated 25 April 1787, designated the territory of New South Wales as including ‘all the islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean’ and running westward to the 135th meridian, that is, about mid-way through the continent.


The Instructions advised Phillip about managing the convicts, granting and cultivating the land, and exploring the country. The Aborigines’ lives and livelihoods were to be protected and friendly relations with them encouraged, but the Instructions make no mention of protecting or even recognising their lands. It was assumed that Australia was terra nullius, that is, land belonging to no one. This assumption shaped land law and occupation for more than 200 years.

preparing first fleet

Thomas Rowlandson (1756─1827), Convicts Embarking for Botany Bay c. 1800, Rex Nan Kivell Collection, nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1738410


The First Fleet Over 252 days, the First Fleet brought over 1500 men, women and children half way around the world from England to New South Wales. On 13 May 1787, the fleet of 11 ships set sail from Portsmouth, England. Led by Captain Arthur Phillip, this historic convoy, which later became known as the First Fleet, carried officers, crew, marines and their families, and convicts from Britain to a distant and little known land on the far side of the world (see more….).

Image result for route of the first fleet to australia


See the page “The Dirt on the Rocks” at http://thedirton.therocks.com/2011/04/26-january-1788.html

“In the evening of the 26th the colours were displayed on shore, and the Governor, with several of his principal officers and others, assembled round the flag-staff, drank the king’s health, and success to the settlement, with all that display of form which on such occasions is esteemed propitious, because it enlivens the spirits, and fills the imagination with pleasing presages.”

Figure 3. “The Founding of Australia. By Capt. Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove, Jan. 26th 1788” / Original [oil] sketch [1937] by Algernon Talmage R.A.


WHILE Arthur Bowes Smyth  a naval officer and surgeon on the First Fleet that established the colony of New South Wales, kept a diary and documented the natural history he encountered in Australia- he wrote

 “26 January … about 7 o’clock p.m. we reach the mouth of Broken Bay, Port Jackson, and sailed up into the cove where the settlement is to be made … the finest terraces lawns and grottos with distinct plantations of the tallest and most stately trees I ever saw in any noble man’s gardens in England cannot exceed in beauty those which nature now presented to our view” (page 131)

Edited extract from Arthur Bowes Smyth’s Journal – ship Surgeon on Lady Penrhyn, diarist and natural history artist “Journal writer” – written between March 1787 and January 1788.

Other website contributions to recording Australian migration history timeline can be seen by clicking here.


Henry and Susannah, were married in the first marriage ceremony conducted in the colony 10th February 1788, two weeks after the flag of settlement was raised in the newly established English Colony of New South Wales (Australia), 26th January 1788.

Henry and Susannah’s marriage which is recorded in St Phillip’s Church Sydney, Register as the third of five couples married on that day, with an “X” marking their names.

Notably, Henry and Susannah’s marriage was the only marriage to produce children who survived to adulthood. One other couple William Bryant and Mary Broad/Braund/Bryant had a child Emmanuel born April 1790 who died in 1791. Mary “Bryant” also had a daughter Charlotte, on board  Ship Lady Penryhn, Baptised at Capetown (October/November 1787) and who also died in infancy.

kable invitation card (2)Thus Henry and Susannah’s story and that of their children and their descendant’s was richly praised at the first gathering of almost 120 of their descendants who attended the Georgian House North Sydney function on the 27th January 1968 which was organised by Della Scott and June Whittaker. The event was designed as a fundraiser to carry out maintenance work on the Kable-Holmes-Teale burial vault at St Mathew’s Church, Moses Street Windsor. This historic Church of England with its churchyard gravesite, is the location of internment for many Kable-Holmes family members’ ancestors. Specifically interred at the vault and surrounding area plot are the following family members:

KABLE VAULT 1986-1988Susannah Holmes-Kable (wife of Henry and mother of their 11 children) (1764 – 1825); Henry Kable (First Fleeter, husband and father) (1762 – 1846); H&S’s daughter Diana Kable-Gaudry-Teale (1788 – 1854); William Littleton Gaudry, first husband daughter Diana 1778 – 1816); Diana’s second husband John Teale (1789 – 1852); Diana and John Teale’s two unmarried daughters Caroline Emmaline Teale (1821 – 1854) and Diana Blanche Teale (1823 – 1843); Edgar James Kable (1806 – 1849). Also interred, somewhere in the grounds of the Church, but the exact location is unknown, is John “the boxer” Kable (1802 – 1859).

Arthur Ingham Myers, descended through Henry & Susannah’s child William Nathaniel (1804-1839) delivered the address at The Georgian House event at North-Sydney location. Notably this 1st Kable-Holmes reunion event was the first for First Fleet descendants who acknowledged and celebrated their ancestors and specifically the convict status. The words of praise from Arthur Ingham Myers (author) included the statement:

When embarking on the telling of a family history story and especially one that has such a rich historical fabric as that which commences with the beginning of a nation, then an introduction is deserved. In this instance the primary persons are our First Fleet convict ancestors Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes….

Equally, there was a gathering of some 200 descendants on the banks of the Hawkesbury River Windsor on Sunday 28th January 1968 (See news item report at SMH Friday the 26th January 1968- source https://www.newspapers.com/ ). See also June Whittaker’s contribution and presentation at the 230 years celebrations at Windsor, 2018 Genesis of Kable Reunions.

In the Bi-centenary year 1988, Zillah Kable organised another reunion of significance, (500 PEOPLE ATTENDED) which was held at the Regent Hotel (site of the early gaol where Henry was Chief Constable and next door to where the home was in George Street Sydney-location of THE ROCKS). See link to “THE BIG REUNION” above.

Windsor NSW, 10 and 11 February, 2018- Johan and Jane van Woerkom co-ordinated, planned, organised and managed the FAMILY REUNION in conjunction with the support of many family members mentioned and acknowledged in the reunion Program Kable Reunion Book.

IRONICALLY, Johan van Woerkom- a Dutch born person- married to Jane van Woerkom (a Diana Kable-Gaudry-Teale descendant) is working to complete the explorations, of his mariner compatriots of the 17 century.

Thank you to all the family past, present and future who made/make/will make the folklore be!


In developing this website many resources have been referred to both public and private especially those of KABLE-HOLMES descendants who have broadly and specifically researched the story and /or their particular family line. Click here to go to the Resources page.