Abraham Rooks 1824-1899
Abraham ROOKS was born on 17 Aug 1824 in Castle Camps and was baptized on 3 Oct 1824. He married Sarah Cowell, daughter of William Cowell and Ann Belsham, on 28 Apr 1848 in the village. (Sarah Cowell was baptized on 25 Dec 1828 and was the eldest of four children. Her father died in 1835 and her mother remarried George Saville in 1847.) In 1851 the family was living at Camps End and Abraham was a labourer.
In 1857 the family emigrated to Victoria, Australia on board the "Grand Trianon" along with brothers Isaac and Jacob. Abraham became a successful farmer in the settlements which are now part of Melbourne and there is a road named for him in Nunawading. Among his possessions was a Church of England " Prayer and Psalms of David " book which was inscribed, : Abraham Rooks. The gift of Reverend George Pearson, Castle Camps 26 Jan 1857" The book is at present held by Aubrey ROOKS.
Upon arrival in Australia, Abraham & his brothers their families & two other families spent their first night in the colony camped at Damper Creek, which is now known as Gardiner's creek, Burwood on their way to land newly opened for selection. Abraham selected 79 acres on a rise known as Scotchman's Hill named after the six original Scots who settled there and later called Forest Hill. He acquired his title for the land ten years later for 80 pounds. In August 1864, a public meeting was held at Scotchman's Hill at the cottage of Francis Rooks for the purpose of planning a church. On 26 August the committee formed at the public meeting chose John MATTERS, Abraham ROOKS, & Joseph ORR as trustees to receive a grant of crown land to erect a place of worship. Meetings continued at the home of Abraham & in April 1865 the committee accepted a tender of 62 pounds 13 shillings and 2 pence to build the chapel. In 1870 a school was built and named Vermont School. Many pioneer names appear on the school committee, including Abraham Rooks, farmer. Abraham's sons, Henry(Harry) and Edward(Ted) were Coach builders at Camberwell, their business being situated on the site that is now Camberwell Market. Henry later became Mayor of Camberwell
Abraham and Sarah had the following children:
- Ann Rooks was born on 6 Jul 1848 in Castle Camps,and was baptized on 15 Oct 1848.She died just before her 4th birthday and was buried on 16 Jun 1852.
- John Rooks was born on 2 Jul 1851 and was baptized on 13 Jul 1851 in Castle Camps. He died on 11 Oct 1908 in Toowoomba, QLD, AUS and was buried on 12 Oct 1908. He married Emma MARKS in 1876 and had 6 children.
- Edward William Rooks was born on 7 Apr 1854 and was baptized on 10 Sep 1854.
- William Rooks was born on 16 May 1857 in Castle Camps and died on 12 Aug 1900.
- Edmond Rooks was born in 1857 at sea on board Grand Trianon and died on 27 Feb 1929 in Vic AUS. He married Emily Ellen BELSHAM in 1883 and had 3 children.
- Abraham Rooks was born on 29 Dec 1859 in Boronia,Vic,AUS and died in 1865 in Nunawading.
- Francis Rooks was born on 20 Mar 1862 in Nunawading, Vic, AUS and died there in 1865.
- Henry Rooks was born on 18 Jun 1864 in Doncaster, Vic, AUS and died on 18 Oct 1930 in Camberwell. He married Sarah BROOKS and had 2 known children.
- Charles Frederick Rooks was born on 19 Jun 1866 in Forest
Hill, Vic AUS and died on 13 Jul 1934 in Blackburn. He married Ellen
TAYLOR in 1892 and had 6 daughters and a son.
(Contact his descendant Jacqui)
- Luke Rooks was born on 19 Jun 1866 in Mt Pleasant,Vic,Aus and died on 7 Oct 1891 in Mitcham. He married Bertha Osboldstone in 1890.
- Abe Rooks was born on 16 Aug 1868 in Box Hill,Vic,Aus and died on 16 Jun 1938 in Mitcham,Vic,AUS. He married his cousin Emily Ellen ROOKS in 1897 and had 7 children.
|The grave of Abraham and Sarah Rooks in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne.|
Abraham died aged 65 on 1 September 1889 in Vermont, Nunwading and had been married to Sarah for 41 years. She died in 1896 in Camberwell, and in her will bequeathed "to her son Abraham, the Old Homestead as it stands with about 5 acres including furniture and effects. The balance of the land to be sold and divided equally between sons John, William, Charles and Henry". Both were buried in the Box Hill Cemetery, close to where they had lived for so long.