Robilliard sail makers

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Harriet Louisa Robilliard and two of her siblings, children of Henry Robilliard and Catherine Ogier


Henry Robilliard, a sailor and then master sailmaker, who was born in Guernsey in 1799, married Catherine Ogier in Guernsey in 1822 and eventually emigrated to Australia. But he clearly lived in Jersey for many years before emigrating because some of their children were born in Guernsey, but the majority in Jersey.

The Guernsey and Jersey shipbuilding industries were at their peak from the 1920s to 1870s, although some vessels were built either side of those six decades. Sailmakers were much in demand in both islands at the time.

Henry and Catherine, and their ten children, the youngest two months old, were living in Seaton Place, St Helier in 1841, a short walk from the West Park shipyards. But the census describes Henry (40) and his 15-year-old son as sailors, not sailmakers. In 1851 the family is still living at 2 Seaton Place, but Catherine appears to have died. Henry is shown as married to Charlotte (29). The couple have a young son Thomas Edwin, born the previous year, and would go on to have six more children before emigrating to Australia in 1871.

There is a strange coincidence here because Charlotte is exactly the same age as Henry's first daughter Charlotte, who appeared in the 1841 census. Henry is now shown as a master sail maker, employing two apprentices.


He was 71 by the time he and Charlotte emigrated to Australia on the Star of India with their ten-year-old son, Walter Hamon Robilliard. The passenger list only shows these three, but other children of both marriages must have emigrated separately.

John Le Page Robilliard (1835- ), Henry's tenth child by his first wife, married twice in Australia and had ten children there, and Joseph Edmund, the fourth child of his second marriage, also emigrated in 1871 at the age of 16 and married and had children in Australia.

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