William Keen and Elizabeth Manton
William Keen was born in Blockley, Gloucestershire England, in 1824, the eldest son of William Keen (b. 1780) and Ann Nicholls.
William Keen (1824)

On 17 October 1846, he married Elizabeth Manton who was born 15 December 1828 in Campden, Gloucestershire, England, to Charles Manton (c. 1796) and Mary Chamberlain (b. about 1805 in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England.)

William worked as a stable hand and amateur vet for Lord Norfolk, and their first three children were born at Blockley, of whom the 1st, William Henry Keen (b. 1847), is written of earlier.

They decidsed to emigrate to Australia, and, helped by Lord Norfolk, set sail aboard the "Irene" in June 1852, arriving in Australia on 16 October 1852, surviving 4 and a half months of measles and malnutrition.

They were hired from the ship by Mrs Hardah for 20 pounds ($40) per year and rations. These consisted of 10 lb flour, 10lb meat, half lb tea and 4 lb sugar. They were to work on an orchard at Longsight, about 2 kms from Parramatta on the Pennant Hills Road.

William and his family stayed with Mrs Hardah for about 12 months before moving to another orchard for 30 pounds ($60) a year and rations.

Their next two children were born at Parramatta.

In 1855 they moved to Burwood, and settled on Burwood Road. Here William worked for a Mr James Edropp as a butcher.

There were only four houses on Burwood Road at that time and, what is now Burwood Park, was known as the Twenty Acre Paddock where race horses were trained.

In 1855 the first train ran from Sydney to Parramatta, and William took his eldest three sons, William, Charles and Frederick, to see it. They stood on the three-railed fence at Burwood and cheered as the train went by. The engine was named the "Governor-General".

The new station consisted of an office about 6 feet (1.8 meters) square, just big enough for the station-master to stand in and issue tickets. The station-master lived in a tin-roofed, 2-story shanty of wooden slabs and lined with newspapers to stop the wind coming through the cracks.

Shortly after this William again moved the short distance to Parramatta Road, Burwood, opposite the Concord Park.

Their remaining 7 children were all born at Burwood, making 12 chidren in all.

Lord Norfolk, William’s old employer, later became Governor of New South Wales, and it said that William used to call in on him at Government House like an old friend.

He used his skill as a vet to make up medicines for the local animals, as well as for the odd sick child.

To ensure his sons had work, he started a Brickworks in Lang Street, Croydon. The business was taken over about 1884 by the Excelsior Steam Brickmaking Co. The brick pit was only filled in during 1969 and is now a park.

William Keen died on 26 March 1902 at Burwood. His wife, Elizabeth Manton, died on 6 March 1926.

William Keen [1824] and his mother, Elizabeth Keen [nee Manton]

Left: William Keen (1847) with his mother, Elizabeth Keen (nee Manton) in their latter years.




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