Grandma Shadbolt was born Jane Whitton. She was from Lichfield in Staffordshire. In 1848, when she was 19, she was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania)  for seven years. In a first offence she had  stolen  the sum of three pounds. Unfortunately we don’t have a photo of her, but the convict records  provide a good description;

Jane didn’t behave at all well during her convict years, in fact she was incorrigible; running off without permission, stealing food, falsely representing herself as a free woman,  getting drunk!  😨However, everything changed when  she married my great-great grandfather George Shadbolt in 1854

George was from Hertfordshire and he  had been transported too, but had turned his life around.  Formerly a labourer, he learnt the trade of blacksmithing while a ticket-of-leave convict,  He had been christened in  the Anglican faith, but due to the influence of  a crusading  preacher he became a Methodist. He and Jane followed this strict faith for the rest of their lives.

George became a successful blacksmith and pioneering farmer  at Sassafras, in the north of Tasmania. He was the first superintendent of the local Sunday School. The couple’s  nighbours, Inghams and Rockliffs, were good hearted free settlers who accepted my  ex-convict ancestors without prejudice.

By all accounts Jane was an extemporary wife and mother. Sadly, she  died in 1875  from an obstructed bowel, probably due to cancer.  She was only 43 and left a heartbroken George, her five surviving  children; Elizabeth, Whitton,  Emma, Annie, Mary-Ann, and Linden, her adopted Shadbolt nephew.

Why I am writing about Jane? Well, my sister Robbie and I were discussing Christmas cakes when she found our Grandma Alice’s  hand written recipe book.

Grandma Alice's recipe book.


In the notebook Robbie came across this gem. I do love the spelling  – Granmar Shadbolt. 😍

Grandma Shadbolt's Christmas pudding


Boiled Christmas puddings like those Grand Shadbolt made.

Hanging up to cure before Christmas.

No doubt Christmas was a time when Jane thought of the family she had left behind so many years earlier. It’s touching that she called her first born daughter Elizabeth, after her mother, and that her family name was passed on through her son, Whitton Shadbolt.

The ‘Beautiful Cake‘ recipe in the notebook was from  Jane’s daughter Emma Singleton (mother of our Grandma  Alice).

In the following family photo, Alice is standing second from left in the back row. Emma is seated in front.

The Singleton Family of Ulverstone, Tasmania

The Singleton Family circa 1905

Alice in the 1950s.

Festive foods are interwoven with family. Thank goodness for the recorders and  preservers of those old Christmas recipes. The notebook will be passed on to my sweet great niece Ashlen, who is already a budding cook. 💛 Rest in peace  Grandmas Jane, Emma and Alice. and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.  🎄🎄 

Grandma Shadbolt left a recipe for Christmas plum pudding.













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