The Other Children of John and Jessie Black
John Moffit Black was the first of John and Jessie Dobbs' children to marry. The marriage took place in October 1854, seven months after the family had bought the farm at Dural. The bride was Mary Ann Brien, another currency lass whose father was a constable at Seven Hills. John Moffitt and Mary continued to live on Woodlawn in Castle Hill and he established a business as a carrier and started a family tradition. Just before Christmas five years later John and his brother James were among a party in horses and carts going to the gold fields which camped outside the Weatherboard Inn at Blackheath to shelter from an approaching storm. John and another man were struck by lightning and killed. The bolt also killed another man and thirteen horses but James was unhurt. The tragedy left Mary at home with a month old baby and two other children aged 4 and 2. In 1861 she married Thomas Greenwood and had four more children and continued to live at Woodlawn. She died 30 June 1931 and was buried at St John's Parramatta as Mary Ann Black. John Moffit’s son Henry George III continued to live on part of his grandfather’s land until he moved to Beecroft in 1908. He operated a produce Commission Agency at Belmore Markets.



Cumberland & Argus Fruitgrower

‘The Black family continued to live on the site through Spencer Marcus (Ben) Black and his wife Jessie. Jessie was a member of the well known Roughley family and through her mother a great grand daughter of Thomas and Charlotte Williams. Their new house stood next to the original dwelling built by his grandfather in the 1850’s. It was constructed from rough-hewn timber slabs and only had a dirt floor being. “When pulling the old house down we found sheets of tree bark under the iron roof for insulation still in good condition. The walls had been lined with lime-coated hessian bags - no other lining”

Ben and Jessie raised five sons and three daughters; Geoff, Robert, Thelma, Lilla, Henry (Chid), Winifred (Joan), Alwyn (Joe) and Phillip. Of notable interest is that Ben Black was an excellent blacksmith, carpenter and nurseryman, as well as being a farmer. Ben’s original blacksmith “Smithy” shed, which stood at the side of Old Northern Road and near his house, became a famous landmark, as in its later life it developed a very distinct lean to one side. Continual propping up and other measures taken to try to restrain the by-now famous “leaning shed” eventually proved to be wasted effort, as one stormy night the whole structure finally collapsed, landing in a heap of split bush timber, slabs and corrugated iron. It seems that the only part of the original “Smithy” left intact was a pit in the ground at the rear which served as a wine cellar. A new and very solid “Smithy” shop was constructed, this time further up on the hill about fifty metres back from the road, that served Ben’s needs for many years. Ben Black’s ability with his hands was widely known and respected. He could forge horse shoes, plough shares, pronged hoes and many other farming tools as well as repairing tools and adapting them for special circumstances. His prowess in the area of ‘smithing’ and carpentry extended to making cut and shut drays, cartwheels, wagons, carts and drays as well as being a wheelwright, along with many other things in the farm implement line. His ability as a farrier was also well-known. His “Smithy” shop had an old-style anvil, with a hand-pumped bellows on the fireplace which was made from special stone and sand. Ben’s expert ability with carpentry tools was also very notable, having been partly taught the trade by Mr. John Adam Schwebel. His farm ladders, made from dressed bush timber, being reasonably lightweight and long-lasting, proved to be exceptionally good for fruit picking and were widely sought throughout the area. Another of the stories told by Ben in later life, with obvious pride in his achievement, was that he had set out and cut the complete roofing timbers totally on the ground, for the house which stands at Pineville, and when all pieces were fully put into place on the roof they fitted perfectly together. He was also known to have carried out a lot of other carpentry work around the district.

On the farming side, Woodlawn was widely known for its production of vegetables and later, stone fruit, both for the Sydney area and export. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Ben Black was known throughout the City Markets and Parramatta area as “The Cabbage King”, it being not uncommon to produce cabbages weighing up to twenty-eight pounds (13 kilos). As well, during this period, the family owned a horse-drawn reaper and binder with which Ben’s son, Geoff, used to travel the surrounding areas cutting and binding oats grown on various other properties. A part-time nurseryman in his later life, Ben grew a variety of seedlings, grafted fruit trees and vines, supplying many of the local farmers with started plants and trees for their farms and orchards. As with many families in Glenorie and other rural areas during that era, the game of cricket played an important part in their social life. Ben Black was no exception, as he played with the local cricket club, as did his sons and many of his grandsons. Ben mainly played as team wicket-player. In the late 1950’s, four generations of the Black family, Ben, his son Geoff, grandson Ernie and great grandson Laurie, all lived on the property. As late as 1969, approximately fifty acres of the Woodlawn , Estate was still under cultivation, at that time being farmed by Ben’s sons, Geoff, Bob and Phillip and grandson, Ernie. About 1970 the majority of the 130 acres was sold, with only Bob and Phillip continuing to farm for a short time longer.’
With his son Roy John formed a company, H Black & Sons, which was well known at the old Belmore Markets before World War II. This family is still lives in Glenorie.

George Purves Black, who was an infant when the family arrived in Australia, moved to Wiseman's Ferry as a young man. He had been given 400 acres of his father’s property (between Munro’s and Harrison’s Lanes) and owned them until he died.

In 1864 he and his wife Mary Ann (nee Foody) managed a hotel which incorporated the post office and telegraph, and ran the ferry. They married in 1861 they had five (perhaps seven) sons and four daughters between 1862 and 1879. George gave up the postmaster post in 1874 and later bought land at Pennant Hills. While ferrying a load of horses the craft overturned an George was thrown into the water. He died in hospital of pneumonia on 16 January 1880. His widow continued the business after the accident and bought another 55 acres at Pennant Hills for £660. She became the publican of the Travellers Rest Inn at Wollombi on the Hawkesbury River Inn at Wiseman's Ferry until her retirement in 1893. Mary, known locally as ‘Aunt Mary Black’, was a courageous lady who rode her horse from Wiseman’s Ferry to Dural. Once she called in on the family at Dural en-route to the bank in Parramatta with 300 sovereigns secreted in her bonnet. In a time of bushrangers she carried a revolver and knew how to use it. She sold her land at Pennant Hills in 1917 for £1800 and died at Wiseman's Ferry in 1922 aged 82.

James Edward Black's section of Woodlawn ran from near Wyld’ Road north east to the Glenorie School and Park and out to Moore’s Rd. It was known as Knockmany Estate. He started to buy more land at Pennant Hills in 1870 and soon became a prominent citizen of Castle Hill. In 1872 he married Dinah Fuller, the daughter of his stepmother Elizabeth Sarah Moore. They had three children, Sydney (b. 1873), Lilly (b. 1874) and Daisy (b. 1878). About 1880 he built a two storied house called Mountain View (now the site of the Mowll Retirement Village). In 1881 Dinah died and he married Mary Jane Baker in 1886 this marriage produced another five children – James Garfield in 1886, Violet in 1888, Gordon in 1889, John Edward in 1890 and Daphne in 1892. Although known for his ‘sterling honesty and upright character’ he went bankrupt in 1895 through assisting in a step-brother's ventures. He soon recovered his financial position and bequeathed land to his sons who became prominent orchardists. He built a packing shed that still stands at the junction of Blacks and Highs Roads. One son, John Garfield, was very active in the equestrian and agricultural show circuit. He was also a councillor for 12 years.

Edwin Joseph Black (aka Ned, John) married Jane Kentwell, a grand-daughter of William and Elizabeth Morris and a cousin of Mary. The marriage took place at St Paul’s, Castle Hill in February 1870. Edwin (known as Ned) began married life in the family tradition of orcharding in Castle Hill with 30 acres of land at the junction of Old Castle Hill Road and Old Northern Road on the Dural side of the village. However by 1886 he had started a business as a coach operator and this enterprise flourished. His twice daily service from Castle Hill to Parramatta station was the foundation of the business In 1893 they moved to Pennant Hills. Jane died in 1912 and when seventy five years old Ned married Ethel Dunk. He died in Wentworthville in 1932 aged 88. He had five sons and three daughters; the eldest son Silvanus Montefiore (‘Charlie’) started driving his father’s coach when sixteen and continued in that role for eleven years. He was also closely associated with the Castle Hill Show and a horse judge.

Black’s stables were located on the present site of BBC Hardware at the junction of Castle Hill Road and Old Northern Road.

Joseph Ebenezer Black spent the early part of his life at Dural working his parent’s farm. Between 1866 and 1872 Joseph and younger brother William Thomas journeyed to the Central West of New South Wales. While they were there, two significant happenings from the family point of view occurred: William Thomas died, cause unknown at Wellington in 1880, and Joseph met courted and married a lovely young lady Emma Jane Bonfield. She was sixteen and the daughter of a shepherd who lived at Yeoval (near Wellington) and they married there in 1873.
This marriage started and finished tragically, the first two children died as babies and although the next two boys, Sydney and Henry survived, another girl died as an infant in 1885.Joseph and Emma decided to part before Jessie’s sixth child, William Henry came along. The date of the divorce is not known and no father was shown on the birth certificate. Emma then married Thomas Knight and William assumed that name. Joseph returned to Sydney where he followed the business lead of his brothers and established a livery stable and mail delivery business at Manly. In 1871 he married Martha Baker and in 1884 won a contract to deliver the mail from Newport to Barrenjoey. Joseph and Martha had two children. He died in 1919 and his nephews Sidney James Black and Wallace M Moore and sister Mary Ann Bayly witnessed the burial at Point Clare.

Of the other children - Christina married George Moore in 1871 and had seven children. She died in Bundanoon in 1918. Frederick Robert married Emily James in 1887 and had six children. He inherited his father’s home and surrounding orchards. He began a mail and later coach service from Dural to Glenorie in 1892. He also got the contract to supply most of the telephone poles in the district. These were cut from his land near Greenhills in Post Office Rd. His children (5 boys and 2 girls) were amongst the first enrolled at the Glenorie School. In 1912 he handed on the business to his son Ernest who was the first to use motor buses and operated from Bus Stable Corner at Galston. His daughter Amelia married Arthur Roughley. Fred sold his house and some of his land to the Porter family about 1922; he died in Glenorie in 1934.

Elizabeth Sarah married James Patterson and had five children. Phyllis died as a child. John married Sarah Ann Taylor in 1908 and had two children. The youngest child, Eleanor married James Costello in 1908 and had one child. She died in Parramatta in 1930.