THE HISTORY OF THE SYKES FAMILY IN AUSTRALIA

 

STEPHEN GREGORY SYKES (third generation) & Charlotte Barden

Stephen Sykes (third generation), the fourth child of George and Catherine Crowe, was born at Spring Valley on 26th December 1842. He was self educated, and worked diligently around the district.

On the 12th December 1856, William T. Sykes, Stephen's eldest brother, was granted 129 acres 3 roods at 'Telegraph Hill'. After William disappeared in 1853 Stephen applied for the grant, but since no sign of William could be found, these deeds were very difficult to obtain. Eventually after declarations by George and Charlotte, Stephen obtained the deeds in 1867.

Stephen married Charlotte Barden, daughter of Benjamin and Sophia Barden (nee Cutbush), in 1866, and they lived near the Currawang copper mines but soon moved to Telegraph and built a fine house to the east of 'Telegraph Hill', near the main road. All that is left to mark where this house was situated are some poplar trees, and a few fruit trees (see photo). By the year 1880 the copper mines were flourishing and the main road was re-routed to take in the mines, so in 1882 the present Telegraph Hill was built and Stephen and Charlotte and family moved to live there (see photo). They built it right on the new road side, as they intended to use it as an inn, but actually it was never used for this purpose, as the mines soon slackened in business, and closed in 1907.

Charlotte and her mother were converts to the Catholic faith. Mrs Barden died in 1891, and is buried in the Spring Valley Cemetery, next to Edwin Barden and his wife. There is no headstone for her; the only reason I mentioned it here is so she will not be lost from history. Charlotte was born 11th May 1848 and was baptised in the Church of England, Bungonia, on 7th June 1848. She and her mother became Catholics in 1865.

Stephen and Charlotte reared 11 children, seven boys and four girls (for details of their children and descendants, see first three generations). Stephen was well known around the district for his fencing and dam sinking. He and his sons did a lot of work for the late Mr. Lution Faithful, on Springfield Station, and many a good story he told about Ben Hall and Steve Hart's gangs of bushrangers who narrowly missed shooting one of the Faithfuls on 'Springfield', near the Braidwood Road.

Stephen purchased land from Mr Cornelius Leary, Michael O'Brien, and John Ryan to make up the present Telegraph Hill . Stephen was always prominent in church and civic affairs around the district.

Charlotte died on 8th July 1918, at Telegraph Hill , and is buried in the same grave as Stephen who died on 7th February 1922 and is buried in the Spring Valley Cemetery.

History of the Currawang Post Office
Kathleen Sykes, fourth generation, first child of Stephen and Charlotte