Charlotte Ann Herbert

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Charlotte Ann Herbert (Davis)

Birthdate: (57)
Death: April 1, 1885 (53-61)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas John Davis and Catherine Davis
Wife of John Herbert
Mother of John Thomas Herbert; Martha Chitty; Esther Monger and Charlotte Donegan
Sister of John Davis

Managed by: Colin Robert Graves
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Charlotte Ann Herbert

"Charlotte Davis arrived as a two year old aboard the Parmelia and family tradition says that a sailor lifted her out of the boat and said "There you are, you are the first girl here". She picked up a bottle of shells from the beach which were treasured in the family and are still in the family possession. She was illiterate, but an excellent housekeeper and manager, and kept the hotel going while her husband was away. She also catered for functions." Extract from Durley HIll and Afterwards, by Lavinia Marianne Demasson and Valarie Ann Strange, p 135.

see also "A Passenger on the Parmelia" by Lyn Coy (a descendant)

Charlotte Davis, aged 2, is claimed to be the first white female to set foot on the Swan River Colony in Western Australia. Charlotte was carried ashore by a sailor and set afoot on the uninviting land on 1 June 1829. My ancestors, the Davis family, sailed with Captain James Stirling on the ship Parmelia for the new colony of Swan River, Western Australia from Plymouth in England. On 1 June 1829, Foundation Day, fate was unkind and the Parmelia struck a sandbank. Orders were quickly given to lighten the load so twenty eight women and children, families of the artificers, were loaded onto Carnac Island with the heavy stores. Amongst the twenty eight off-loaded onto Carnac Island was two year old Charlotte Davis. A sailor carried her ashore and set her down making her the first of her sex to touch the uninviting land. The next five days brought incessant rain and gale to the twenty six castaways, leaving them to survive the elements. They had no shelter, no beds, no food apart from salt beef and biscuits, were soaked to the skin and had one knife and one mug to share among nearly thirty people. As reported by Commissioner Morgan, the solitary man in charge of the stores, the party all survived in good health and good discipline. Thomas Davis was the Government Blacksmith and her mother was Catherine Davis who died in 1836 after only seven years in the colony at Mt Eliza. Catherine Davis was buried in East Perth Cemetery. Charlotte Davis married at eighteen years of age in 1845 at Wesleyan Chapel, Perth to John Herbert who had arrived in 1839 on the ship Westmoreland. John Herbert took over the licensee of the Royal Oak Inn Toodyay from his brother William after he left the district. With Charlotte's good management the family built up an excellent hotel trade and were able to purchase several lots of land in the Toodyay district. Charlotte and John Herbert had four children, Esther, John Thomas, Martha and Charlotte. Charlotte's son John Thomas Herbert made quite a name for himself in the district when in 1883 he decided there was no adventure left in Western Australia and at the age of thirty five set out for South Australia ‘on foot’. He arrived there safely without any real hardship. He married an Irish girl named Elizabeth Conroy but when his mother became ill he decided to return to Western Australia, again on foot, but this time with a companion. On the trek back John and his companion nearly died of thirst and were saved only by the fortuitous arrival of a telegraph linesman, however he arrived back in time to see his mother Charlotte on her deathbed. Charlotte Herbert died at Toodyay on 31 March 1885 aged 58 years and is buried at Toodyay Cemetery. There is a memorial in Newcastle Park, Toodyay Western Australia erected by her descendants commemorating the Davis family. The memorial is a granite rock formed in the shape of Western Australia and was found by one of Charlotte Davis’ descendants on their property in the Toodyay district. A fitting tribute to a true Western Australian pioneer. Written by Lyn Coy – Great Great Great Great Granddaughter of Charlotte Davis (edited by Celebrate WA).

Also from Lyn Coy -Lny Coy said, I have been for many many years trying to find the Davis (Davies) family from Alverstoke. Thomas Davis married Catherine Flemming on 12 Aug 1822 Alverstoke, Hampshire - these were Church of England records. They had two children John - christened 16 July 1826 at Alverstoke and Charlotte christened 4 November 1827.

Thomas, his wife Catherine and their two children John and Charlotte and also a nephew John Davis sailed on the ship 'Parmelia' to the Swan River Colony of Western Australia leaving England in Feb 1829 and reaching here 1st June 1829. The Parmelia was the first ship carrying the free settlers to Western Australia. Charlotte Davis was reputed to be the first white female to set foot on the shores of the Swan River Colony. We have many memorials to her here in Western Australia.

Charlotte is my gt gt gt gt grandmother - I have been researching the Davis line for many years but have never had any success finding the parents and family of Thomas Davis and Catherine Flem(m)ing. Thomas Davis was the Government Blacksmith in the Swan River Colony and it is believed he might have worked in the Naval Dockyards at Portsmouth.

If you can give me any assistance I would be most grateful or could perhaps point me in the direction of a researcher who would be able to assist.

It is Western Australia's 175th Anniversary of Foundation this year - I am the Convenor of the Swan River Pioneers and we are holding many celebrations to honour these pioneers who braved their lives to establish a Colony here in Western Australia.

This family now has thousands of descendants here from Charlotte Davis, her brother John had no children. Nephew John Davis sadly drowned at the aged of 18 where a whaling boat on which he was crew overturned and the crew were lost.


Origin ENGLAND Accompanying Family JOHN DAVIS, CHARLOTTE DAVIS, & A NEPHEW JOHN. First settled in TOODYAY W.A. Original Occupation BLACKSMITH Occupation in Australia BLACKSMITH

Ship: Parmelia

Departure Port ENGLAND Arrival Year 1829

Monument in Toodyay Address: Stirling Terrace, Newcastle Park, Toodyay, 6566 Description: Memorial to Charlotte Davis who is claimed to be the first European female to set foot in the Swan River Settlement and commemorating Davis descendancy. On 1 June 1829, the day James Stirling had decided to declare "Foundation Day", the Parmelia struck a sandbank. Orders were quickly given to lighten the load and so off loaded onto Carnac Island with the heavy stores were twenty eight women and children. Amongst the twenty eight off-loaded onto Carnac Island was two year old Charlotte Davis. A sailor had carried her ashore and set her down making her the first to set foot on the new land. View photo of memorial at

The First Fleet - the Parmelia: 1929 'THE FIRST FLEET.', The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), 1 June, p. 4, viewed 3 November, 2012,

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Charlotte Ann Herbert's Timeline

November 4, 1827
November 4, 1827
November 12, 1847
Age 20
April 29, 1850
Age 22
Toodyay, WA, Australia
Age 24
April 1, 1885
Age 57