John Murray Bate, my great-grandfather, was born in Hobart in April 1814 and baptised by the notorious Rev Bobbie Knopwood, friend and drinking mate of his father Samuel Bate
the magistrate. At 18 months of age Jack, as the family called him, was taken to London where he lived until 1824 when the family returned to Sydney. The family rented a farm in Pitt Street while they built an eighteen room mansion "Belvoir House" in Strawberry Hills, Surry Hills.
Jack and his two brothers loved Sydney Harbour and sailed whenever they could. They had a shack at Echo Point, where Jack eventually built a two story wooden house for his wife Julia and growing family. He had a variety of jobs: clerking and school teaching even a stint back in Hobart in the 1830s sorting out his father’s property there.
His wife Julia died in 1865 leaving Jack with eight children who ranged in age from 24 to 5. Sarah the eldest took over the mother’s role for some years until she married in 1870. Jack was by now bankrupt and still had four children living at home. So he proposed to marry the widow Eliza Arthur living next door with 4 small children from her first husband Charles Arthur a surveyor who had died young leaving a farm to the children. They married in Bathurst in December 1870.
In 1872 the decision was made to move to the Arthur Farm at Vittoria near Bathurst. This was Jack’s first attempt at farming and he does not appear to have been very successful. He tempted his eldest son Frank home from Queensland by promising to leave him the farm which he didn’t own. (Jack and Elizabeth had a prenuptial agreement such that Charles Arthur’s property could not be used to pay John Bate’s creditors as it was Charles Arthur’s children’s inheritance. There was a court case about that in the 1880s). Jack died in 1877 leaving Eliza to bring up both their families.