George Garlick GODWIN + Mary Ann JONES

15 children
Birth: January 27, 1853 45 21Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia
Death: January 23, 1920Failford, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: December 13, 1854 46 22Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia
Death: July 11, 1919Stroud, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: July 14, 1857 49 25Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia
Death: August 22, 1943Merewether, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: May 29, 1859 51 27Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia
Death: October 12, 1917Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: June 4, 1861 53 29Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia
Death: June 7, 1943Bulahdelah, New South Wales, Australia
Newman - Harriet Cape
Birth: June 17, 1863 55 31Cape Hawke (Now Forster), New South Wales, Australia
Death: April 21, 1938Forster, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: September 17, 1865 57 33Wallis Lake, New South Wales, Australia
Death: April 12, 1928Tuncurry, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: July 10, 1867 59 35Cape Hawke (Now Forster), New South Wales, Australia
Death: July 6, 1869Taree, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: January 28, 1869 61 37Cape Hawke (Now Forster), New South Wales, Australia
Death: April 17, 1939Taree, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: September 4, 1870 62 38Cape Hawke (Now Forster), New South Wales, Australia
Death: January 9, 1912Stroud, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: October 29, 1871 63 39Forster, New South Wales, Australia
Death: September 13, 1952Waratah, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: September 27, 1873 65 41Forster, New South Wales, Australia
Death: February 18, 1947Mosman, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: July 11, 1875 67 43Smiths Lake, New South Wales, Australia
Death: September 15, 1951Balmain, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: January 23, 1877 69 45Bungwahl, New South Wales, Australia
Death: August 29, 1953Taree, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: July 23, 1883 75 51Smiths Lake, New South Wales, Australia
Death: October 11, 1954Taree, New South Wales, Australia
Convict uniform as punishment
Birth: between 1808 and 1809 36Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: August 19, 1890Bungwahl, New South Wales, Australia
Birth: calculated 1832
Death: August 1, 1886

Facts and events

Religious marriage May 26, 1852
Address: Church of England
Citation details: V1852662 38C/1852 GODWIN GEORGE JONES MARY A NP
Citation details: 31 October 2013

In part:

"The information on this death certificate as given by the eldest son Nathaniel reflects several facts that sit uncomfortably with the convict George Godwin. Firstly… age of death has his birth date around 1803-4 in Malmesbury. This date is further back-up with his age of 47 years (if born post 26th May 1852) when he married in Kincumber on 26th May 1852."

Godwin - George Garlick - Death Certificate
Godwin - George Garlick - Death Certificate

Note: Image kindly provided by Di Godwin.
Residence about 1862
Note: George and Mary are recorded as being the first settlers in the Forster area. A brief history of abo…

George and Mary are recorded as being the first settlers in the Forster area. A brief history of aboriginals in the Great Lakes District has been written by Narelle Marr in 1993 and revised in 1995. This history mentions the settlement of George and Mary in 1856. But further research appears conclusive that they arrived in late 1862 or early 1863.

The following article published by the Great Lakes Advocate on 3 July 2013, based on information supplied by Gwen Smyth, includes the information that they did not settle at Cape Hawke until 1862. Here is a partial transcript of that article:

"HARRIET Cape Godwin was the first white child born at Cape Hawke (Forster) on June 17, 1863.

To mark 150 years since her parents George and Mary Godwin settled in Cape Hawke, the Godwin clan will be holding a reunion at the Pacific Palms Recreation Club later this year.

Descendent of George and Mary, Gwen Smyth of Bulahdelah is taking the opportunity, on this anniversary of Harriet’s birth, to detail some of the history of how the family came to settle in the area.

“Much has been written by various individuals about the early settlement of Cape Hawke – Minimbah – Forster as it was finally named after William Forster,

Secretary of Lands, in the 1871 map of the village of Forster by John Hall, surveyor,” she wrote in a letter to the Advocate.

“While much written about how the area developed is real enough some details about dates and personalities are not supported by details of recorded births, deaths and marriages.”

Mrs Smyth said the difficulty then came in correcting information, as these facts were often replicated in later writings about the area.

“My particular interest is of course in the family of George Garlick Godwin, who was my great grandfather,” she said.

George Godwin left Kincumber, Brisbane Waters, in late 1862 (a date Mrs Smyth said has been mistakenly recorded as 1856 in some sources) with his wife Many Ann and their five children: Nathaniel (9), Thomas Henry (8), Elizabeth Hillier (5), Mary Ann (3) and George Price (1). They travelled by dray, pulled by six bullocks, with all their possessions, two saddle horses and five head of cattle. They used defined roads to Raymond Terrace, then Booral, and took off from the defined tracks to Bulahdelah.

“Here one of the cows calved, a valuable addition to their stock, and was given special room in the dray for the journey ahead,” Mrs Smyth said.

From Bulahdelah, the family had to cut their own trail through virgin bush to Cape Hawke (Forster). On arrival, George Godwin quickly built a home at the spot where Little Street turns into Mark Street. This spot was marked with a pioneer’s plaque on a monument erected in 1963 during Forster-Tuncurry’s centenary celebrations.

Mrs Smyth said references to George Godwin can be found on the electoral roll of the district of Williams (1869/70). George Godwin is listed in Cape Hawke as having freehold, and being qualified to vote for the electoral district of the Lower Hunter.

Six more children followed Harriet’s birth at Cape Hawke: Robert John (1865), Mathew Mark (1867), Luke John (1869), Martha Susan (1870), James Adolphus (1871), and Emma Florence (1873).

When the Forster school opened on October 19, 1871, among the names of the children enrolled were Elizabeth Godwin (14), Mary Ann Godwin (12), George Godwin (10), Harriet Godwin (7), and Robert Godwin (5).

George Garlick Godwin selected land on the shores of Smiths Lake (a map shows 40 acres), on June 3, 1879, in the name of George Godwin Snr.

More Godwin children were baptised in the Stroud Parish: Lillias Jane (1895), Hannah Maria (1877) and Emily Grace, who was born at Smiths Lake on July 23, 1883.

George and Mary Godwin had 15 children, and only one child, Mathew Mark, died in infancy."

The following is the paper written by Narelle Marr, as mentioned previously:

"Aboriginal History of the Great Lakes District

Written by Narelle Marr, 1993 (International Year for World's Indigenous Peoples), revised in 1995

In 1788 there were approximately 300,000 Aborigines in Australia. Divided into over 500 tribes, each had its own distinct territory, dialect, customs and history.

The Aborigines were hunters and gatherers who wandered within their own territory in response to seasonal availability of food, so that the land's resources could be naturally replenished. For example, the coastal tribes of New South Wales would move inland during winter to hunt, then back to the coast in spring and early summer to fish.

In the Great Lakes district there were two tribes - the Biripi, who inhabited the area between Tuncurry, Taree and Gloucester, and the Worimi, who occupied the land between Barrington Tops and Forster in the north and Maitland and the Hunter River in the south.

The Worimi were divided into a number of nurras (local groups within a tribe, each occupying a definite locality within the tribal territory). Location of these tribal territories is not known accurately because of the extensive de-tribalisation that occurred after European settlement. Nurras were then sub-divided into small groups which were probably based on the extended family unit.

According to W.J. Enright and Boris Sokoloff, there appears to have been the following nurras in the Worimi tribe:

Garuagal (between the mouth of the Hunter River and Maitland). Maiangal (along the southern side of Port Stephens). Gamipingal (along the northern side of Port Stephens and the Karuah River to Tea Gardens). Garrawerrigal (between the Myall River and the seashore). Buraigal (between Karuah River and Paterson). Warringal (between Telegherry River near Barrington Tops and Pipeclay Creek near Nabiac). Birroongal (on the Myall River). Birrimbai (around Bungwahl). Yeerungal (around the Myall Lakes). Wallamba (in the Wallis Lake area).

The Worimi and Biripi tribes both spoke dialects of the Kattang language.

Although Captain Cook noticed the presence of Aborigines in the Myall Lakes area when he sailed along the coastline in 1770 and named Cape Hawke, the first contact that Aborigines had with white people wasn't until 1790 when five convicts escaped from the Second Fleet. They were "adopted" by Aborigines in the Hawks Nest area, who thought that they were spirits of ancestors who had returned, and lived with them until recaptured by Captain William Broughton in 1795.

In 1816 cedar getters and their convict servants started arriving in the Myall and Manning areas. Their impact on the local aboriginals was devastating and caused an early dispersal of the tribes. As a result of this dispersal, the tribal boundaries ceased to be observed and the Biripi and Worimi intermingled and camped in the same territory.

When the Australian Agricultural Company established its headquarters at Carrington in 1826, the Aborigines were treated kindly. They migrated towards the settlement, and began to learn the white man's ways and language, and were employed on many tasks in exchange for food. However, this migration reduced the number of Aborigines following a traditional life style, especially around the lakes.

George Godwin, the first settler to arrive in Forster with a family in 1856, also found the Aborigines friendly and showed them how to grow corn, till the barden, split shingles and palings, and gather oysters and wild honey.

With the withdrawal of the Australian Agricultural Company from the lakes in 1832 and the arrival of settlers in the Manning Valley in 1831, conditions deteriorated rapidly for local Aborigines. They lost land, sacred sites and hunting grounds as settlers took up land grants. Wildlife dwindled as a result of the settlers' guns, timber-getting and cattle grazing. By 1840 the natural food supplies were almost exhausted.

When the Aborigines, who were by then suffering from starvation, began killing stock to supplement their food supply, the settlers retaliated. Hostilities increased on both sides as Aborigines resisted being driven off their land and the settlers protected their properties and lives. The Aborigines ambushed settlers, attacked isolated settlements and burnt crops, buildings and the countryside, while the whites retaliated with random shootings, massacres by settlers, government troopers and native police (eg hundreds of Aborigines were forced over the edge of a cliff at Mt Mackensie), poisoning of waterholes, and "gifts" of food laced with arsenic (known as the "Harmony" policy and widely practised throughout the Manning River basin, e.g. Upper Gangat, Wingham and Bellbrook). Under the two-pronged invasion from the north and south, the Aborigines retreated or were forced into the rough north-western reaches of the Manning River and the ranges behind the lakes.

Aboriginal numbers declined drastically as a result of the hostilities, exposure to European diseases to which they had no resistance, starvation, alcohol and low birth rates. By 1860 the total Aboriginal population in Australia had dropped to 22,200.

From the 1860's to the 1890's, the Aborigines worked for rations, wages or a combination of seasonal employment and traditional subsistence harvesting, depending on the area in which they lived. On the North Coast, from the Hunter Valley to the Bellinger River, at least fifty extended Aboriginal families were able to secure fertile land for mixed farming and dairying.

When compulsory education for all children aged between 6 and 14 years was introduced in 1880, Aboriginal children enrolled in local schools. By the mid-1880's however, there was an official government policy to educate Aborigines separately in their own schools where possible and in 1902 a regulation was issued which allowed a public school to be racially segregated if there was any complaint by parents. This led to schools being set up in Aboriginal reserves. For example, Forster Aboriginal School, which commenced in 1891 and changed its name to Tobwabba School in 1900, operated until 1952, and a Mission School operated at Purfleet Reserve from 1903 to 1952 and at Karuah Reserve from 1916 to 1954. These schools were staffed by untrained teachers who only taught up to 3rd grade level before the syllabus was extended to 4th grade in 1940. Rarely did Aboriginal students go on to high school.

The Aborigines Protection Board was established in 1883 to give out rations and manage all Aborigines and Aboriginal affairs in New South Wales.

The Board's policy was for all Aborigines and part-Aborigines to live on reserves, regardless of whether or not they needed protection. It set up Aboriginal reserves in Forster in 1895, Karuah in 1898 and Purfleet in 1900, which the Aborigines were encouraged to farm to become self-sufficient.

In 1909 the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Act gave the Board wide and far reaching powers. For example:

It could order Aborigines to leave their campsites or town settlements to live on reserves under the control of a superintendent.

Practising tribal customs and speaking their native language were forbidden. This resulted in traditional culture, history and language dying out.

Aborigines needed permission to enter or leave a reserve.

White people were not allowed to associate with Aborigines or enter the reserves.

The sale of alcohol to Aborigines was prohibited.

Aborigines were not entitled to social security allowances.

In 1915 the Board was given control of Aboriginal children and the power to remove them from their families for training and indenture as domestic servants and farm labourers. Girls were sent to Cootamundra Girls' Home and boys to the Aboriginal Inland Mission at Singleton or, from 1924, to Kinchela Boys' Home at Kempsey. As visits were actively discouraged, family members usually lost contact with each other. Apprenticeships ceased in 1940 when the Aborigines Protection Board was replaced by the Aborigines Welfare Board. However, control over removing "neglected" or "uncontrollable" children was merely transferred to the Child Welfare Department who placed them in children's homes for rehabilitation or assimilation, or, after 1957, fostered them with white families. This practice continued until 1969.

The Board shifted whole communities from one reserve to another so that it could close down a number of reserves and lease them to neighbouring white farmers. Between 1911 and 1927, almost half of the total reserve land in New South Wales was revoked. 75% of the land lost was from the North Coast and included independently settled Aboriginal farms, Wingham Reserve and almost half of Forster Reserve.

Aboriginal servicemen who had returned from World War I were not eligible for soldier settler land grants.

In 1918 the Board adopted a dispersal policy and expelled Aborigines who were not full-blood or half- caste from the reserves on the grounds that they were not Aboriginal and should be part of the white community. As a result, the number of Aborigines camping on the fringes of country towns swelled significantly, but they were not accepted by the townspeople. Local Councils tried to move them on by using evictions, demolitions and jailings, and police and vigilante gangs imposed local curfews. As they were not welcome at other reserves or towns, these "part-Aborigines" were forced to wander from place to place, often hundreds of miles from their traditional territory. This lasted until 1936 when the government recognised people with any mixture of Aboriginal blood as Aborigines.

After the failure of its dispersal policy, the Board introduced assimilation for adults. Aborigines and part-Aborigines were again concentrated on reserves to be trained to live in ways acceptable to the white community. This lasted from 1934 to 1939.

When the Aborigines Welfare Board replaced the Aborigines Protection Board in 1940, it continued to close reserves and encourage people to move to town. However, due to townspeople's opposition, the Board compromised by building weatherboard houses on the reserves or town camps instead of in town, and these were denied the supply of amenities by local Councils.

In 1943, as an incentive for Aborigines to integrate into the white community, the Welfare Board introduced an exemption certificate for Aborigines who were prepared to live separately from other Aboriginal people, work in approved regular jobs and save for approved purchases. This certificate freed the person from all legal restrictions imposed on other Aborigines and entitled them to move freely about the district, as well as receive public education, housing, services and facilities on the same basis as white citizens. By 1964 when the system lapsed, there were only 1500 applications for exemption certificates in New South Wales and 1200 approved, reflecting the widespread opposition to the scheme by Aborigines.

In 1948 the Welfare Board abandoned its plans to concentrate Aborigines on reserves and introduced a policy of surveillance by District Welfare Officers to monitor Aborigines who were no longer living on reserves. This lasted until the abolition of the Board in 1969.

The North Coast Aboriginal tribes formed the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association in 1924 to protest the loss of lands, farms and children, and to lobby for equal civil rights (ie. equal education, equal opportunity, equal wages, equal rights to possess property and to be their own master). Full citizenship rights were given to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1967 as the result of a referendum.

Responsibility for Aboriginal affairs was transferred from the Aborigines Welfare Board to relevant government departments such as the Housing Commission and the Child Welfare Department in 1969 and a policy of integration and urban relocation was implemented. In 1972 the Commonwealth Government proclaimed a policy of self-determination and self-management for Aborigines and supported Aboriginal land rights. These policies were subsequently adopted by the New South Wales Government.

In 1974 the New South Wales Aboriginal Lands Trust, formerly the Aboriginal Advisory Council, was given freehold title to reserves, as well as the power to purchase property and develop or mine any of its lands. For the first time Aborigines had control over the reserves.

Cabarita Aboriginal Corporation leased the Forster Reserve from the Lands Trust to provide housing, essential services and management. Similarly, Purfleet Housing Advancement Co-operative leased the Purfleet Reserve. Karuah, however, was unable to secure a lease and was managed by the Lands Trust directly.

In 1983 a system of State, Regional and Local Aboriginal Land Councils were set up. These Councils received Torrens title to land held by the Aboriginal Lands Trust, as well as the power to purchase property and claim vacant Crown land not needed for any essential public service. Local Aboriginal Land Councils were established in Forster, Karuah and Purfleet-Taree. 1983 was also the year when Kamarah Aboriginal Housing Co-operative was formed to manage the Karuah Reserve and take out a 99 year lease with the Land Council. Management of the reserves in Forster and Purfleet was transferred to the Local Land Council in 1990.

In an effort to solve the problems of sub-standard conditions, unemployment, poor health and low educational achievements, Aboriginal self-help organisations have been established over the last twenty years to provide services in areas such as health care, housing, education, employment, broadcasting and the law.

In 1990, The Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Aboriginal Development Commission were abolished and replaced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). A system of elected Regional Councils Australia-wide were set up to determine how Commonwealth funds allocated to their regions would be spent. Funds for Forster, Karuah and Purfleet-Taree Aboriginal Land Council areas are administered by the Lismore Regional Office.

Aboriginal culture is now being revitalised, with growing numbers of Aborigines becoming involved in art, drama, music and dance.

Land Councils and other Aboriginal organisations are also advising the National Parks and Wildlife Service, museums and archaeologists about the management and protection of Aboriginal sites and heritage items.


Keith Leon - Cabarita Aboriginal Corporation. Malcolm Davis - Forster Local Aboriginal Land Council. Michael Leon - Forster Local Aboriginal Land Council. Lance Moran - Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council. Colleen Perry - Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council. John Clark - Purfleet-Taree Local Aboriginal Land Council. Aboriginal People of New South Wales - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, 1990. Clean, Clad and Courteous - J.J. Fletcher, 1989. The Earliest Inhabitants: Aboriginal Tribes of Dungog, Port Stephens and Gresford - Gordon Bennett, n.d. The Great Lakes District: An Aboriginal Perspective - Department of Aboriginal Affairs, 1986? The History of Nabiac and District - L.A. Gilbert, 1954. The Language, Weapons and Manufactures of Aborigines of Port Stephens, N.S.W. - W.J. Enright, 1900. Myall Lakes: Creation to Controversy - H.K. Garland and Joy Wheeler, 1982. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: Regional Report of Inquiry: New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania - Commissioner J.H. Wootten, 1991. Survival : A History of Aboriginal Life in New South Wales - Nigel Parbury, 1986. The Tobwabba Story - Michael Leon. The Worimi: Hunter Gatherers at Port Stephens - Boris Sokoloff in Hunter Natural History, August, 1974.

Written by Narelle Marr, 1993 (International Year for World's Indigenous Peoples), revised in 1995.

Godwin - George Garlick and Family - First Settlers
Godwin - George Garlick and Family - First Settlers

Note: Photo of commemorative plaque in park on MacIntosh Street, Forster. Photo downloaded from Mid Coast…

Photo of commemorative plaque in park on MacIntosh Street, Forster. Photo downloaded from Mid Coast Stories

Posthumous Notable Event
In October 1963 the Godwin family were acknowledged as the first settlers at Cape Hawke
October 1963
Address: Cnr Stanley and Macintosh Streets Forster NSW
Citation details:

Click the above link to be taken to a Google Street view of the monument.

Note: A Brief History of George Godwin & His Family

A Brief History of George Godwin & His Family Godwin Reunion - Wamwarra Park, Bungwahl, 30 January 1994 By Dianne Godwin

The following outline of the life of our ancestor is based on research of public records held at a number of institutions both in Australia and England. It is supplemented by oral history which has been handed down through generations of the family.

George Garlick Godwin was born in England sometime between 1803 and 1810. He arrived in Australia in 1830; married in 1852 and from the 1860s until his death in 1890, lived in the Forster/Bungwahl area. The exact date and place of George’s birth has never been confirmed. However, when registering his children's births in Australia, George stated that his own birthplace was Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England. In addition, George’s stated age when registering the children points to his birth being between the years of 1808 and 1810; most likely between June and September 1809. In contrast, at the time of George’s death, Nathaniel, his eldest son, gave particulars which makes George born in 1803! Nathaniel also stated that George’s parents were John and Mary Godwin (nee Hutchison).

On 27 July 1830, George left England aboard the convict transport, Burrell. After a journey of almost five months, the ship arrived at Sydney Cove on 18 December 1830. Recorded in the Convict Indent for the Burrell is the following information regarding George.

He was 22 years old & single; could read & write - a Protestant. He was 5ft 7ins. tall; had a dark, ruddy, & much freckled complexion with brown hair and hazel eyes. His native place was given as Gloucestershire. His trade/calling was recorded as; “ploughman, reaps, milks & sows“. His crime was pig stealing and he was tried on 6 March 1830 at Salisbury, Wiltshire. The sentence was transportation for life; he had a former conviction of 12 Months.

In accordance with regulations, George was assigned to labour for a master (employer). His master was a young Scottish immigrant named George Mosman and his location was Mosman’s property at Williams River, north of Raymond Terrace (NSW). The property, called Burrowell (or Burrowl) was located on the eastern banks of the Williams River at Seaham. (Mosman is the same person who in 1852 married Jane Blanch, eldest daughter of Thomas Blanch - the owner of first hotel in Bulahdelah and early hotel at Forster). George remained with Mosman and after the statutory eight years of good conduct he qualified for and was granted a ticket-of-leave. His ticket-of-leave was dated 18/2/1839. As a ticket-of- leave holder George was no longer 'assigned' but free to work for wages. However, he still had a number of restrictions imposed, including limitations on his movement out of 'the district'.

In January 1846 George’s ticket-of-leave was endorsed to show that his district had been altered to Gosford. Then, in 1847 after waiting the required six years, George was given a Conditional Pardon. This meant that he was now 'free' on the condition that he never returned to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. George was self employed as a carrier and bullock driver (teamster), working in the forests around Gosford; most likely he lived in the Kincumber district which is south-east of Gosford, on the eastern side of Brisbane Water.

On 26 May 1852, George married Mary Ann Jones at Kincumber. Mary Ann is recorded as being born in Staffordshire, England in about 1833. Her father was Ebenezer Jones, a Welshman from Montgomery and her mother was Elizabeth (nee Whitehouse) of Staffordshire. Mary Ann arrived in Australia with her parents and two brothers aboard the immigrant ship, William Sharples on 29 January 1842. Her father was a sawyer who also lived and worked in the Kincumber district. He died at Kincumber on 28 September 1866 when a log rolled on him. (Mary Ann had a sister, Elizabeth, who was born in Australia and in later years Elizabeth lived at Tinonee. Her eldest daughter, Emma Jane - born 1860, married Charlie Wilson and they lived and raised a family in the Forster/Coolongolook area.)

George and Mary spent the first ten years of their married life in the Kincumber area and their first five children were born there; George having purchased about 42 acres to the south of the village in 1854. Then, in the latter part of 1862, it appears that George and Mary started their journey north. The actual date, duration of trip, route taken as well as the method of travel, etc is subject to speculation. However, stories handed down through generations of the family indicate that the journey, by bullock dray, took three months. They travelled overland, passing through Raymond Terrace, Stroud and on to Bulahdelah before reaching the Cape Hawke district and an unsettled area which is now Forster, in about January 1863. The exact date of arrival is unknown but their 5th child, George Price (born June 1861), often stated that he was 18 months old when the family arrived at Cape Hawke. The journey involved not only the transport of the family of seven (with five children aged less than 10 years) and their household belongings but it seems that two horses and five head of cattle also accompanied them; a calf being born at Bulahdelah.

The family settled on land adjacent to the water and 4 June 1863 is the official date when George 'selected' his 40 acres. Today Mark and Godwin streets border the 'selection' on the south and east. On 16 June 1863 their 6th child was born. She was named Harriet Cape (obviously after Cape Hawke) and was the first white child born in the area. By 1874 George had selected 40 acres of land (Wamwarra) on Smiths Lake, near the village of Naranie (now Bungwahl) indicating that he and the family had left Forster sometime earlier. The Forster land was acquired by John Wylie Breckenridge at about that time. The exact date of the move to Smiths Lake is unknown but the family was recorded as still living at Forster at the time of Emma Florence’s (12th child) baptism on 17 December 1873. Another three children were born after the move to Smiths Lake, making a total of fifteen. On 3 August 1886 Mary Ann died - aged 54 and was buried at Naranie Cemetery. Registration details of her death cannot be located but the headstone erected by George is still decipherable. On 19 August 1890 George died and his death certificate shows he was also buried at Naranie. Unfortunately a headstone marking George’s grave cannot be located but it would be fairly certain that his children buried him beside their mother.

Today, although the surname Godwin is not as prevalent in the area as it once was, the descendants of George and Mary number several hundred. In addition, reminders of this pioneer and his family are to be found at Forster in the naming of Godwin Island and Godwin Street. Also, during celebrations to mark the centenary of the settlement of Forster, a stone monument was erected and a plaque honouring the family was unveiled. This monument is in McIntosh Street.

Researched and written by:
Dianne Godwin (gt, gt grand-daughter)

January 1994
Plaque commemorating the Godwin family as first settlers at Cape Hawke.
Plaque commemorating the Godwin family as first settlers at Cape Hawke.

Note: Image kindly provided by Di Godwin.
Note: Dianne Godwin has written:

Dianne Godwin has written:

"This plaque and monument (a large boulder) was unveiled in Oct 1963 to to celebrate the centenary of Forster. The monument is in a tiny park in Macintosh Street on what was the original Godwin land, and is on/near to the site of their original home.

You will note that the monument shows the family arrived in January 1862, but at the time of preparing for the centenary there was conjecture and debate about the actual date of arrival. The centenary celebrations committee even produced / sold a small commemorative booklet, "Lakeland Adventure, A History of the Early Days of Forster-Tuncurry", in which it was stated that George Godwin (and family) came from Gosford in 1856! However, it was subsequently learned (and now proved) that the date was incorrect; it is fairly certain that the family did not arrive until late 1862 / early 1863. For one reason, three more Godwin children were born in the Gosford / Kincumber area, after 1856. In addition, George did not select / pay the deposit on his Forster land until mid 1863. Further, it was about 6 months after their settlement at Forster, which was then known as Cape Hawke, that the 6th child (Harriet Cape Godwin) was born and it is widely accepted that she was the 'first white child born at Forster'; this fact was also recorded on her headstone."

Image kindly provided by Di Godwin.