Castle Camps: Families


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:

Northeast View of Camp's Castle in the County of Cambridge
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.