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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

George Ennever Morris (1782-1842), "Cobbler to Keeper of Inns"

Upon an Extensive Scale  

George Ennever  was christened in Bath in 1782, the eldest son of John Ennever and Sarah nee Hibbitt.  He married Anne Walton in September 1809 in London, a month after a Sarah Ennever, believed to be his mother, was indicted for passing a forged £2 bank note.  She was found not guilty but the family had strong connections to forgers of the time.  Her story can be found in more detail here.

George himself managed to escape the authorities when his brother, Joseph, was captured and subsequently found guilty of uttering (passing) forged notes and executed in 1807. You can find his story here.  George moved to London and changed his name to George Morris to avoid being identified as someone already wanted by the authorities, Morris being an alias that had been used by Sarah Ennever, his mother.  George continued to deal in and handle forged notes and in 1816 was sentenced to death, a sentence that was commuted to transportation for life to the then penal colony of New South Wales.

George's story is then taken up by Kevin Lewis Smith in his book "Upon an Extensive Scale" (see above) 1. The following is largely a brief extract from his book.

George arrived at Sydney Cove in Australia aboard the "Morley" in April 1817, having departed England on the 18th December, a journey of just 113 days.  His wife, Ann, probably paid for her own passage and arrived in Sydney, after nearly seven months aboard the "Friendship", in January 1818. Her youngest child had died during the journey.  Upon her arrival George was given a "Ticket of Leave" which entitled him to trade as a cobbler, his occupation in England.  He set up in business at Castlereagh Street in Sydney and by 1819 had advertised for an apprentice.

Lower George Street, Sydney Cove c1820. The Australian Hotel is centre.
Lower George Street, Sydney Cove c1820.  The Australian Hotel is centre.

In 1821 Ann, now using the name Morris, was granted a licence to sell wine and spirits etc and later that year George petitioned for mitigation of his life sentence as his conduct had been "strictly uniform". They were now operating from the "Greyhound Inn" in Castlereagh Street a fast developing area and George obtained leases of three further lots in the street.  In 1824 he acquired a site in George Street, close to King's Wharf, and opened for business at the "Australian Hotel".  By 1825, four children had been born to George and Ann since their arrival in Australia in addition to their two surviving children from England, now teenagers.

In 1828 George and Ann's daughter, Eliza, married William Barkus, a ship's master, and they were both employed at the Australian Hotel and later that year they were to take over the hotel and George and Ann moved to a new site, the Crown and Anchor, nearly opposite the Customs House and which was advertised as a "Family Hotel and Tavern".  George's business interests continued to prosper and in 1830 he purchased ground adjoining the Crown and Anchor intending to build on it.

William Barkus, however, returned to his nautical life and took charge of a whaling boat but failed to return from his first voyage and was considered to have been lost at sea in 1832.

George St in 1847. The Australian Hotel is the first two-storey building on the left.
George St 1847

In about 1830 George disposed of several leasehold buildings in Castlereagh Street to finance improvements to his freehold properties.  By 1834 the Morris family were considering a voyage to England and the Crown and Anchor tavern was advertised for sale or let and it was sold for the sum of £2300.  The site adjoining the tavern was also sold for £1800 and just before their return to England further property was sold.  In 1836 they returned to England for an extended vacation and George, Anne, Sarah, Louisa, John and Mary can be found in the 1841 census in Elizabeth Terrace, Liverpool Road, Islington.  In 1842 they set sail to return to Sydney.  About one month into the voyage George suffered a fit of apoplexy (a cerebral haemorrhage) and died aged sixty one and was buried at sea.  His Will was executed five months before leaving England with William Chapman, who had been convicted with George for forging a Bank of England note and remained a lifelong friend, as an executor.

Monies invested and property rentals gave the family an assured financial future and Ann devoted her time to her family and the Church after George's death.  She died in 1866, aged 75 years, and was buried in the Sand Hills Cemetery, Devonshire Street, Sydney.

If anyone has any further information or documentation about George, his life and careers, or his family's criminal connections I would be delighted to hear from you.

I am indebted to Glenda Smith, Kevin Lewis Smith's widow, who very kindly gave permission for me to use Kevin's material.  Kevin sadly died in February 2007.


1 'Upon an Extensive Scale' by Kevin Smith. Available from Manning Valley Historical Society (2013)


Author:  Barry Ennever

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