Elizabeth (GUISE) (1762 - 1853)
Children Self + Spouses Parents Grandparents Greatgrandparents
Hannah GUISE (1793 - 1793)
Richard GUISE (1794 - 1855)
William GUISE (1797 - 1850)
Elizabeth GUISE (1799 - 1879)
Elizabeth (GUISE) (1762 - 1853)


Richard GUISE (1757 - 1821)

b. abt 1762 at Faversham, Kent, England
m. aft 1789 Richard GUISE (1757 - 1821) at England
d. 01 Oct 1853 at Gundaroo, New South Wales, Australia aged 91
Children (4):
Hannah GUISE (1793 - 1793)
Richard GUISE (1794 - 1855)
William GUISE (1797 - 1850)
Elizabeth GUISE (1799 - 1879)
Grandchildren (14):
Martha GUISE ( - 1884), George GUISE (1823 - 1839), Esther GUISE (1834 - 1922), William James GUISE (1839 - 1922), Richard GUISE (1816 - 1844), Elizabeth Jane GUISE (1818 - 1876), William Charles GUISE (1823 - 1853), Emily Amelia Australia GUISE (1824 - 1904), Hannah GUISE (1825 - 1891), Jessie Augusta GUISE (1826 - 1858), Henry Eyre Cyril GUISE (1827 - 1845), Mary Ann GUISE (1832 - 1855), Ellen GUISE (1844 - ), William GUISE (1845 - )
Events in Elizabeth (GUISE) (1762 - 1853)'s life
Date Age Event Place Notes Src
abt 1762 Elizabeth (GUISE) was born Faversham, Kent, England Ancestry - Hunts of Faversham 6
aft 1789 27 Married Richard GUISE (aged 32) England 10
May 1793 31 Birth of daughter Hannah GUISE Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 6
24 May 1793 31 Death of daughter Hannah GUISE Sydney, New South Wales, Australia V17931021 2A/1793 6
27 Jul 1794 32 Birth of son Richard GUISE Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Note 1 6
27 Jul 1797 35 Birth of son William GUISE Sydney, New South Wales, Australia V1796561 1A/1796 6, 10
1799 37 Birth of daughter Elizabeth GUISE Sydney, New South Wales, Australia V1799856 1A/1799 6, 10
16 Apr 1821 59 Death of husband Richard GUISE (aged 64) Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia V18215038 2B/1821 6
17 Mar 1850 88 Death of son William GUISE (aged 52) Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia V185078 36A/1850 6
01 Oct 1853 91 Elizabeth (GUISE) died Gundaroo, New South Wales, Australia V18531149 39B/1853 6
Note 1: V1794372 1A/1794, Quise
V1794291 4/1794, Guies
Personal Notes:
The following paper by a student at Dickson College is probably only half true and is probably an example of 'creative writing'. David Cartwright points out that we have very little evidence of Elizabeth's origins and that they "remain a mystery".

"Elizabeth Guise – A Canberra Pioneer
Snowy Haiblen, Dickson College 2006

In the quiet, peaceful cemetery of the church of St John the Baptist in Reid, ACT, lays the
grave of Elizabeth Guise, who died in 1853. She was 91 years of age when she died. Behind
the simple inscription on her gravestone is a fascinating story.

Destined to end her days in the Canberra region, Elizabeth was born in England in 1762.
She was already eight years old when Cook sailed into Botany Bay, a teenager when rebel
American colonies won independence from King George III, and a young woman of twenty-
six when the first fleet departed from England to found a convict settlement in NSW. She was
living in England when the revolution erupted in France. While little is known of her
childhood, the first major turning point in the long life of Elizabeth Guise came with the
French Revolution of 1789.

Her future husband, Richard Guise, was born in 1757 in Lorraine, France. A relation of
the French Royal Family, he fled to England to escape the guillotine when the Bastille was
stormed on 1789. On 14th October of that year he joined the Royal Grenadier Horse Guards
as a private, hoping that maybe the King and Queen of England would attempt to save the
King and Queen of France. It would have been some time after 1789 that Richard met
Elizabeth (nee Armstrong) who was described as an “English young lady of good character”.

It seems that the two fell in love, for Elizabeth’s parents were said to have strongly
opposed the idea of her marriage to Richard Guise. In 1791 Richard transferred to the New
South Wales Corps (the 102nd regiment of foot) and Elizabeth decided to elope with him to
the other side of the world. Having left all of her family and friends behind forever, this was
clearly another turning point in her life.

The NSW Corps was raised specifically for service in the colony of New South Wales.
The arrival of the first contingent of the Corps in Sydney in June 1790 was described by
Watkin Tench, RM (Clark, 1950, p60). “Before the end of the month, three more transports,
having on board two companies of the NSW Corps, arrived to add to our society. These
ships also brought out a large body of convicts.” John Macarthur, one of the most well
known personalities of the early colony and later destined to be a near neighbour of Richard
and Elizabeth Guise, was one of the lieutenants in this first contingent. A letter from Sir
George Yonge to the commanding officer of the NSW Corps, Major Francis Grose, dated 8th
June 1789 said: “The Corps is to consist of four companies, and each company of one
captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, three sergeants, two corporals, two drummers, with sixty-
seven private men.” The instructions stipulated that “no recruit be enlisted under five feet
four inches and a half height, nor under sixteen nor above thirty years of age.” (Clark, 1950,
p49) Richard Guise enlisted into the Corps first as a corporal, then a sergeant. (Blackmore)
Thus he was one of the twelve senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in the Corps.

It is likely that Richard and Elizabeth arrived in the colony in 1792, in a later contingent of
the NSW Corps that included Lieutenant-governor Francis Grose. If so, it is probable that
they embarked on the Atlantic, reaching the colony on 29th June of that year. According to a
guidebook published some years later, The Emigrant’s Friend 1848, the passage would have
lasted some four months. The Friend would have advised Elizabeth to furnish herself with
“one warm cloak, (with cape), 2 bonnets, one small shawl, one stuff dress, two print dresses,
six shifts, two flannel petticoats, one stuff petticoat, one pair of stays, four pocket
handkerchiefs for neck, three caps, four night caps, four sleeping jackets, two black worsted
hose, four cotton hose, two pairs shoes, six towels.”

The arrival of Elizabeth and Richard to the colony of New South Wales coincided with the
departure of Governor Phillip who left for the old country aboard the Atlantic on 10th
December 1792. Collins (Clark, p.71) described Phillip’s departure: “His excellency, at
embarking on board the Atlantic, was received near the wharf… by Major Grose, as the head
of the NSW Corps, who paid him, as he passed, the honours due to his rank and situation in
the colony.” Presumably Sergeant Richard Guise took part in the ceremony. Perhaps
Elizabeth was standing among the crowd of onlookers. On 12th December Lieutenant-
governor Francis Grose assumed command of the colony until the arrival of the next

It was not long before Richard and Elizabeth started a family. Richard junior was born in
1794 closely followed by William (b. 1796). A daughter Elizabeth was born in 1799.
Unfortunately there is some confusion between sources. Blackmore’s genealogy chart gives
the children’s names as William, b.1792, Hannah, died at birth 1793, Richard jnr, b. 1795 and
Elizabeth, b. 1799. The children’s births were not only a turning point in the lives of
Elizabeth and Richard, but also within the greater colony where they must have been among
the first Europeans born on Australian soil. They were probably referred to as “native stock”
or “currency lads and lasses” as such children were termed at the time.

Richard was therefore a soldier in the NSW Corps during the governorships of Hunter,
King and Bligh. Richard may have been one of the soldiers who, on 5th March 1804, quelled
the Castle Hill convict revolt. This is the same period during which officers of the NSW
Corps were said to have created a rum monopoly in the colony. Richard was possibly one of
those who arrested Governor Bligh at government house on 26th January 1808, the twentieth
anniversary of the colony, on the orders of Major Johnston, commanding officer of the Corps.
This so-called “Rum Rebellion” was a turning point in colonial history. It is interesting to
speculate on what Elizabeth and Richard thought of these events.

Bligh returned to England during 1808 and was replaced by Governor Macquarie.
Sergeant Guise may have paraded at the wharf to greet the new governor. This was probably
one of the last times the NSW Corps did so. Macquarie came to the colony accompanied by
the 73rd Highlanders, who replaced the NSW Corps. The officers of the Corps were recalled
to England.

Even without knowing details it is clear that Richard and Elizabeth Guise lived though this
major turning point in the country’s colonial history. Property records in Sydney show that
Richard Guise held a wine and spirits licence at premises in Kent Street called the “Jolly
Sailor” from 1809 until 1911. It is therefore clear that he left the NSW Corps in or soon
before 1809, presumably due to its disbandment and became a publican. According to
Blackmore, Richard Guise was assigned a convict assistant, George McCurr, in 1809. The
records indicate that McCurr absconded.

Perhaps Richard’s hotel was similar to the one described by this eyewitness in 1830.
“Almost everyone was drinking rum in drams… every man seemed to consider himself just
on a level with all the rest, and so quite content… I think there was not an individual in the
room, but one female, who did not smoke (a pipe)… Their dresses were of all sorts: The blue
jacket and trousers of the English lagger, the short blue cotton smock-frock and trousers…
some wore neck handkerchiefs; some none. Some wore straw hats, some beavers, some caps
of untanned kangaroo-skin. And not a shin in the room… had on either stocking or sock.”
(Clark, p.428)

In 1811, the Guise family reached another turning point. Richard sold his licence and
purchased land at Bankstown, then later at Minto, where he built a homestead. The children
were then probably aged nineteen, sixteen and eleven, Elizabeth herself now forty-nine. The
property at Minto, named “Casula”, adjoined another property belonging to Charles Throsby.
Charles Throsby was the first white man to explore the Canberra region, in 1820. Richard
Guise ran his Minto property for the rest of his life.

Perhaps the next turning point in Elizabeth’s life was the birth of her first grandson,
Richard, to son William and his wife Catherine Allan in 1816. In 1821, six years after the
defeat of Napoleon in Europe, Richard Guise died of liver complaint. Elizabeth, now fifty-
nine years of age, was both a widow and a grandmother.

In 1820 Charles Throsby discovered the Canberra region. According to Gillespie (1991),
Throsby had arrived in the colony in 1802 as surgeon-in-charge on the convict transport
Coromandel. He received a grant of five hundred acres at Glenfield in 1809, and used his
new residence as a base for exploration into country further south. By October 1820 his
explorations had reached Lake George which was “covered in innumerable flocks of black
swans, ducks and seagulls.”

On a trip in December of that year Throsby first set eyes upon the Limestone Plains. “A
lovely clear plain called be the natives ‘Candariro’ (Gundaroo)” was reached on 7th
December. The following day a “very high hill” was ascended near the Molonglo River,
from which there was an extensive view of the surrounding region. Throsby reported that on
“the banks of the river on both sides . . . is a most beautiful forest as far as we could see
thinly wooded by gums and Bastard Box.” It is generally accepted that the high hill was
Black Mountain.

The General Muster of 1822 gives us some specific information on Guise family holdings.
It lists both William and Richard junior as “residing at Liverpool on 100 acre grants” together
owning a total of nine horses, over 200 head of cattle, 28 hogs and a considerable amount of
both wheat and maize. As commissioner Bigge stated, successful farming in the colony was
a forbidding prospect, so this was quite an achievement. “Industrious habits, some portion of
agricultural knowledge . . . and the operation of a steady demand for produce.” “More
extensive grants [such as the Guise’s], united with the profits derived from grazing” promised
better results.

Throsby’s explorations had opened up the Canberra region for grazing. The General
Muster of 1822 also informs that the Guise brothers had been given a grant of 100 acres near
Gundaroo as payment for carting wheat and provisions to the men working on new roads to
the interior. This may have been the road to the Goulburn plains, a project under the control
of Charles Throsby. It is thought that the Guise family moved to this property on the Yass
River just north of Sutton in 1826. This was Elizabeth’s final major move. She was to spend
the rest of her days in the Canberra region until her burial at St John the Baptist’s Church in

In 1829 the Guise’s established a permanent home at Bywong, Elizabeth now in her sixty-
seventh year. Over the next few years the family holdings increased rapidly. In the 1834
census by Dr Lysky, the Guises are listed as owning over one thousand head of cattle at their
property on the Monaro, “Buluko”. In the mid 1830’s the two brothers grazed their herds in
the Khancoban district. According to Blackmore, a severe drought caused the Murrumbidgee
“to cease running and Lake George to dry up.” In 1845 the Guise family owned more than
two hundred and eighty thousand acres in Bywong and Gundaroo alone. One could guess
that Elizabeth, now eighty-three, remained at the Bywong homestead for the rest of her days.

A widow of twenty-three years, Elizabeth had to deal with the loss of many close relatives
in her later years. Her son William died in 1850, most probably fifty-four years of age. His
death closely followed that of his wife Catherine Guise (nee Allan), who died two years
before him in 1848. Martha Guise (nee Lette), who married Richard junior in 1821, died in
1844 aged 30.

Elizabeth also lost two grandsons. Henry Guise, the younger son of William and
Catherine, was killed in 1845 when he was only eighteen. His elder brother Richard whose
grave is the oldest at St John the Baptist’s church, was killed when bringing horses up from
Victoria in 1844. He was only twenty-eight. His cousin George, son of Richard and Martha,
also died young – he was only sixteen when he died in 1839. We can only guess the pain
these early deaths must have caused elderly Elizabeth.

One of the more fascinating deaths was that of Mary Ann Guise, daughter of William and
Catherine. In about 1851 Mary married a man named Brownlowe. “A man of lax morals”,
as he was described by Samuel Shumack, her marriage to Brownlowe was short lived. “One
day when she was carving the dinner an argument developed over his association with
another woman, and in the heat of the moment she stabbed him with the carving knife,
inflicting a wound from which he died three days later.” Mary was arrested, charged with
murder and later tried and found guilty at the Goulburn jail and sentenced to hang. Much of
the region was in turmoil over what was viewed as an “inhuman” sentence and petitions were
presented to the Governor in Council who rejected them all. Remaining in prison until the
birth of her child, Mary was hung, presumably also in 1851. (Shumack, 1967, p89)

Elizabeth Guise passed away peacefully two years later, in 1853, having reached the age
of ninety-one. She lies at rest in Canberra’s oldest cemetery to this day, where the story of
her fascinating life lies hidden beneath her gravestone. Elizabeth’s life contained a series of
turning points, both in a personal sense and in a wider meaning. She lived though exciting
times and her life was, in a real sense, a turning point in the heritage of modern Australia.


1. ‘Guise Family of Jerribiggery’ 2006, Blackmore, Terry, viewed 44 August 2006,

2. Clark, CMH 1950, Select Documents in Australian History, Angus & Robertson,

3. Flannery, Tim (ed) 1996, 1788 Watkin Tench, Complete Account, Text Publishing,

4. Britton, A, Historical Records of NSW, vol II, in Australian National Biography.

5. Allan, J 1948, The Emigrant’s Friend: an authentic guide, facsimile edition printed by
Readers’ Digest.

6. Collins, D, English colony in New South Wales, in (2) Clark, CMH.

7. Harris, A, Settlers and Convicts, pp12-13, in (2).

8. Bigge, J.T, Agriculture and Trade, p. 24, in (2) Select Documents.

9. Gillespie, L 1991, Canberra, 1820 – 1913, AGPS, Canberra.

10. Aplin, Graeme et al. 1987, Australians: Events and Places, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon
Associates, NSW Australia.

11. Shumack, Samuel 1967, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers, Australian
National University Press, Canberra. "
Source References:
6. Type: Book, Abbr: Queanbeyan Register, Title: Biographical register of Canberra and Queanbeyan: from the district to the Australian Capital Territory 1820-1930, Auth: Peter Proctor, Publ: The Heraldry & Genealogical Society of Canberra, Date: 2001
- Reference = 129 (Death)
- Reference = 129 (Birth)
- Reference = 129 (Name, Notes)
10. Type: Web Page, Abbr: Elizabeth Guise - A Canberra Pioneer, Title: Elizabeth Guise - A Canberra Pioneer, Auth: Snowy Haiblen, Dickson College 2006, Date: 2006, Locn: www.dicksonc.act.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/55409/CLIO_Aust_Hist_Elizabeth_Guise.pdf
- Reference = (Marriage)
18. Type: E-mail Message, Abbr: e-mails general pool, Title: e-mails general pool
- Reference = David Cartwright 22-9-09 (Name, Notes)

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