DESCENDANTS OF JOHN TAYLOR and MARGARET WYLIE
and the Rockliff Family who went to Australia
by S. Larkey
The Australian connection begins when William Rockliff, the future husband of Jean Taylor was born on Sunday, 23rd October,1825 in Sydney, New South Wales. He was the eldest son William Rockliff, a British Redcoat who was serving with the 40th Regiment of Foot which had been sent out from England to the Penal Colony to guard a consignment of convicts and on arrival to protect the settlers from attacks by bushrangers (usually escaped convicts) and aborigines.
In 1838 when William was thirteen his soldier father who was being repatriated with his wife and children due to illness, died at sea en route from India to England. This spelt financial ruin for the Rockliff family and began a cycle of poverty for his dependants as Sergeant Rockliff was one month short of the twenty-two years of service required for a pension. The family was given 1 penny a day to cover travel expenses while they returned to their relatives in Scotland whom they had not seen for fifteen years. The Rockliffs appears in the 1841 Census of Kilwinning but we cannot know what was their reception. Margaret Rockliff, William's mother and a brother, Daniel (b.1838) eventually ended up in the Poor House for the usual reasons of ill health, misfortune and the death of a provider, in particular her son, William.
William who worked as an iron stone miner had married Jean Taylor (b 1824) daughter of John and Margaret Taylor in 1847 in Dalry
William and Jean's marriage was sadly of short duration. He appears to have died at the early age of thirty and before the birth of their third son, Roger Ayton Rockliff in 1853 who was destined to rekindle the Australian connection.
Roger Ayton Rockliff who lived with his maternal grandparents, John and Margaret Taylor in Dalry before his widowed mother's remarriage, married Mary Faulds Montgomery (b1851) in 1875 in Glasgow.
Then fate took a hand. In the late 1870's they decided to join Mary's brother who had emigrated to Tasmania. Australia and who sent encouraging letters about employment opportunities and wonderful weather. No doubt too, Roger had grown up hearing the stories of his father being born 12,000 miles away in Sydney and his soldier grandfather's adventures in the early days of Australia was open to the idea
Thus, did a branch of the Taylors travel to the New World