James Hosken 1863


Born: James Hosken was born 29th June 1863, Gulval, Cornwall, to John Hosken and Elizabeth Friggens Jelbart

Married:  22 November 1891, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, to Ada Roberts.  Minister W.W Finch, Bible Christian Rites Broken Hill.   Witnesses were M.J. Finch and L.C Finch. 

Died: 26 April 1926, Western Australia.  Buried Methodist section, Karakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia



Children of John Hosken and Jane Thomas

Mary Jane Hosken 28 July 1850, Gulval, Cornwall, England m 8 June 1878, Bendigo, Victoria to William Beautyman Nesbit. 5 children, died 1911 Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

William Henry Hosken b 1851,Gulval, Cornwall, England m 26 July 1884 Bendigo, Victoria to Elizabeth Ellen (Nelly) Vigus,5 children. d 1894 Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Children of John Hosken and Elizabeth Jelbart

Elizabeth Jelbart Hosken b 25 October 1858, Gulval, Cornwall,  m 1 May 1887, Penzance, Cornwall, England to John Christopher 4 children, d 1938, Gulval, England

Mary Hosken b 11 September1859, Gulval, Cornwall, died aft 1881

John Hosken b 5 September 1861 Gulval, Cornwall, England m 17 April 1886, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia to Eliza Jane Davey, 4 children., d 26 July 1848, Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia.

James Hosken b 1 January 1864, Gulval Cornwall, England, m 22 November 1891, Broken Hill, Australia to Ada Roberts, 3 children. d 26 April 1926, Perth Western Australia.



Leonard James Hosken, b 22 September 1893, Broken Hill, NSW, m 23 August 1922, Dorakin, Western Australia to Edith Maude Russell Sims

John Hosken, b 18 October 1896, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, m 1921 Williams Western Australia to Sylvia Gladys Lumbus.

William Henry Hosken b 12 February 1900, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, m: 22 March 1939, Wesley Church, Mount Lawley, West Australia, to Olive Priscilla Kingston


Life sketch

James Hosken was born 29th June 1863, Gulval, Cornwall (image 1, image 2), the last child of John Hosken (a miner) and Elizabeth Friggens Jelbart. 


James Hosken’s father, John Hosken, was a miner at the Ding Dong mine (image 3), Boskednan, Cornwall, and had married on 10 July 1847, Gulval, Cornwall to Jane Thomas.  The children from this marriage were Mary Jane Hosken born 1850, and William Henry Hosken born 1851. Jane Hosken (nee Thomas) died 9 March 1853 at Boskednan, Gulval, Cornwall, leaving two young children to be cared for.  John Hosken’s mother, Mary Hosken (nee Saundry) died 12 March 1853, suggesting the death of Jane and Mary may have been caused by an infectious disease.


1851 Census Gulval, Cornwall


John Hosking,Head,,26,,Miner,Gulval Cornwall,,

Jane Hosking,Wife,,,25,Miners Wife (Crossed Out),Madron Cornwall,

Mary Jane Hosking,Dau,,,2,,Gulval Cornwall,,

William H. Hosking,Son,,3m,,,Gulval Cornwall,


John Hosken remarried on 11 August 1858, Gulval Cornwall to Elizabeth Friggens Jelbart.  Children born to this marriage were Elizabeth Jelbart Hosken 1858, Mary Hosken 1859, John Hosken 15 September 1861 and finally James Hosken on 29 June 1863.


Baptisms Gulval

25 October 1858 Elizabeth Jelbert c/o John (miner) and Elizabeth Hosking of Tredinnack

11 September 1859 Mary c\o John (miner) and Elizabeth Hosking of Trythall


1861 Census Gulval, Cornwall


John Hosking,Head,M,37,,Tin Miner,Gulval Cornwall,,

Elizabeth Hosking,Wife,M,,36,,Gulval Cornwall,,

Mary Jane Hosking,Dau,U,,12,Schollar,Gulval Cornwall,,

William H Hosking,Son,U,10,,Schollar,Gulval Cornwall,,

Elizabeth Hosking,Dau,U,,4,Scholar,Gulval Cornwall,,

Mary Hosking,Dau,U,,2,Scholar,Gulval Cornwall,,


Baptisms Gulval

25 May 1862 John c\o John (miner) and Elizabeth Hosking of Trythall


1871 Census Madron

Higher Ninnis

Elizabeth Hoskin,Head,W,,45,Miner's Widow,Madron Cornwall,,

William H Hoskin,Son,U,20,,Tin Miner,Gulval Cornwall,,

Elizabeth J Hoskin,Dau,,,13,,Gulval Cornwall,,

Mary Hoskin,Dau,,,12,Scholar,Gulval Cornwall,,

John Hoskin,Son,,9,,Scholar,Gulval Cornwall,,

James Hoskin,Son,,7,,Scholar,Gulval Cornwall,,


John Hosken died at Trythall, 8 November 1864, so James Hosken never knew his father John Hosken or grandfather William Hosken or grandmother May Hosken.  John Hosken was buried at Gulval Church (image 4 and image 5). The family attended the Carfury Bible Christian Chapel (image 6), which was situated high in the hills above Gulval and Penzance, with good views of Mount Saint Michael rising from the sea (image 7). James had many relatives and friends in the surrounding hamlets of Bodrifty, Trythall and Boskednan, and would often take the 2 mile walk along the tracks and over the rocky stiles (image 8 and 9 that led down to the larger towns of Gulval and Penzance. Sometimes James would take time from working in his much loved vegetable garden to search the seascape for the tall masts of sailing ships and steamers out to sea from Penzance and Mount Saint Michael. 


James heard many stories about Australia, his Uncle, Rev William Henry Hosken (image 10) and young family had in 1861 sailed on the ‘Lillies’  to Australia, where he was a Bible Christian minister in the mining areas of South Australia and Victoria.  James had not met his uncle, but did read his letters from Australia.  James older siblings also emigrated to Australia, Mary Jane Hoskin (image 11), age 19 left for Australia in April 1868 on the ‘Vimiera’, William Henry Hosken (image 12) and John Hosken (image 13) sailed from Plymouth on June 16th 1883 on the SS Iberia, a 4689 ton Orient Line ship travelling via the Suez canal to Adelaide, South Australia and Melbourne, Victoria.  James gave them a book as a farewell present (image 14).


After saying goodbye to William Henry Hosken and John Hosken, James stayed behind In Cornwall helping his mother and his sister Elizabeth Jelbart Hosken with the farm work.


In 1885, at 21 years, James boarded the ‘SS Aberdeen’ (image 15) to join his siblings in Australia. James was an assisted immigrant, with a plan to work in the newly discovered Broken Hill Silver mine in Australia


Elizabeth Jelbert Hosken remained in England and married John Christopher (image 16, image 17) on 1 May 1887 at Penzance, Cornwall, England.  The 1891 Census shows that of the Hosken family, only Elizabeth Hosken, and married daughter Elizabeth Christopher were living in the Penzance area. Other relatives living nearby included the families of John Hosken's brother, Edward Saundry Hosken, and sisters, Jane Bolitho (nee Hosken) and Elizabeth Lawry (nee Hosken)


1891 Census, Penzance

34,Trengwainton Cairn,

John Christopher, Head, M, 28, Gardener Employed, Zennor Cornwall

Elizabeth Christopher, Wife, M, 32, Gulval Cornwall  (nee Hosken)

Lily Christopher, Dau, S, 3, Madron Cornwall

John H Christopher, Son, S, 2, Madron Cornwall,,



Elizabeth Hoskin,Head,W,,65,Living On Her Own Means,,Madron Cornwall,,b1826


1891 Census Gulval,

Bodrifty Folio 100 Page 10

Edward Hosken,Head,M,64,,Farmer,Neither,Gulval Cornwall,

Jane Hosken,Wife,M,,62,,,Gulval Cornwall,

William R Hosken,Son,S,19,,Agricultural Laborer,,Gulval Cornwall,

Emily Trembath,Grndau,S,,14,Assists In House,,Gulval Cornwall,

Elizabeth J Trembath,Grndau,,,9,Scholar,,Gulval Cornwall,


James Hosken settles in Australia


James Hosken boarded ‘SS Aberdeen’ at Plymouth on Sept 8th 1885 and arrived in Sydney Oct 25 1885, a 47 day voyage. The ‘SS Aberdeen’ was a 3616 ton steamer of the Aberdeen Line (1881-1906) and was later renamed the Halep (Turkey)??  During the voyage, there were 2 births and 2 deaths.  The passage was around 15 pounds.  James was listed as a gardener, and religion was Baptist. On arrival in Australia, James Hosken went to work at Broken Hill Mines, in western New South Wales.

In 1891, while working at the Broken Hill Mines, James Hosken (image 18) married Ada Roberts (image 19) on November 22, 1891. The Minister was W.W Finch, Bible Christian Rites Broken Hill.   Witnesses were M.J. Finch and L.C Finch.  Their first son, Leonard was born at Broken Hill in 1893. The Hosken family then moved to Bendigo, Victoria, where his brother John Hosken , and sister Mary Hosken (Nesbit) lived. James set up a fruit and vegetable shop in Mitchell St. John Hosken was born in 1896 (image 20) and William Henry Hosken was born in 1900 (image 21).



The Hosken family had all the unique features of Cornish culture, their expertise in mining, especially copper mining, their involvement with the Methodist Church (Primitive Methodist, Wesleyan and Bible Christian), and Cornish sociology (names, language, friendships)


James Hosken and family then boarded a boat to Western Australia, and had a Grocery and Fruit shop at 269 Wellington St Perth.  The photograph shows James Hosken and son in the cart (image 22)


1901 and 1906 Electoral Rolls

James Hosken 269 Murray St Perth

Ada Hosken 269 Murray St Perth


In 1909, James and Ada Hosken bought virgin land at Dorakin, WA, which was being opened for settlement by the Great Southern Land Company, who had constructed a railway line to the Wickepin area.  The Hosken family, initially lived in tents, while the land was cleared with the axe.  Life was simple and tough, with horses being used in developing the land. The book "A Fortunate Life" by A.B. Facey describes some of these pioneering struggles.


A schoolhouse was built in Dorakin in 1910, and the first teacher was Miss Hardie.  Bill completed all the work that the school had to offer (image 23).  A leather bound book of the poetry of Robert Browning was presented to "Willie Hosken" as “dux of the West Dorakin school”.  At age 14 Bill went to work full time on the farm.


James Hosken and his three sons developed their land into a wheat and wool farm called “Springfield”.  James brother, John and wife Eliza Jane Hosken (image 24), who lived in Victoria, would often write and sometimes visit the James Hosken family at Springfield.


James had deep religious beliefs, and was a lay preacher Image 25), and donated land on the corner of the property for a Methodist church (images 26-28), where many of the Dorakin pioneers worshipped, and James often preached. For weddings, the front of the church was decorated with flowers and greenery, and an arch rose over the aisle.  For Harvest Festivals the pioneers would bring eggs, vegetables, hay and anything else they could spare to adorn the front of the church.  Both John and Len were married in the church.


Two tennis courts were built alongside the church, and it became a popular meeting place for the people in the Dorakin area.  With the growth of the town of Wickepin, the Dorakin church became redundant so the church was moved, and Len used some of the timber to build a house for himself and Edie.  A plaque has now been placed on a large rock to honour the pioneering families that attended the church (image 29 and 30)


In 1910, James Hosken’s mother, Elizabeth Friggens Hosken died at her home at Higher Gear, Gulval, Cornwall, England (photo). The family bible, which Don Hosken has, records the death of G'Ma Elizabeth Hosken at her home at Higher Gear on 23 June 1910, and she was buried at Gulval Church in Cornwall.


In 1916 Len Hosken, while on leave from wartime services in France, visited the Christopher family in Gulval, and noted in his diary:


1916 19th Had few shots at birds today.  Went to Zennor to see Mrs White who came to see us in Perth when father was in England.  Had tea at Uncle Billy's.


It seems that James returned to England around 1910 to catch up with family and old friends, however during the return voyage he became very sick with pneumonia, from which he never really recovered.


With the outbreak of World War 2, Len Hosken joined the army.  He began training at Camp Blackboy Hill on 21sr May 1915.  On September 2nd 1915 at Fremantle, Len embarked on the Troopship 'Anchises' bound for Egypt and Gallipoli. Len Hosken recorded his wartime experience in several diaries.  After Gallipoli, Len joined the 51st Battalion, which had Battle Honours: Egypt 1916, Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, Arras 1918, Ancre 1918, Villers-Bretonneux, Amiens, Albert 1918, St Quentin Canal, Hindenburg Line, Epehy, France and Flanders 1916-18


John Hosken Christopher, also joined the Indian Army and was killed in Mesopotamis (Iraque) during the 1st WW.  After the death of her son and husband, Elizabeth Christopher (nee Hosken) farmed at Gear Farm, about 2 miles out of Gulval, running the farm with her son Andrew and two other married children Bessie and Lillie (image 31 ). 


1916 Electoral Roll

James Hosken "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia

Ada Hosken  "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia


When first settled, each farmer had a relatively small land holding, as the axe, simple ploughs and horse power were the only technology available. When Len returned from war time service, the Hosken farm was prospering, and it was decided to acquire more land to meet the growing needs of the three sons, and this was possible as some of the surrounding farmers decided they were not cut out to be farmers, and left their holdings.  Land holdings grew in size as tractors replaced horses, and improved technology became available (image 32, image 33, image 34). James Hosken was always trying to improve country conditions, and to this end he joined the Wickepin Road Board, becoming President from 1916-1919, and then serving another tem from 1921-1924.


In 1921, John Hosken married Gladys Lumbus, a school teacher at the West Dorakin school.  They had 4 children Jack, June, Darrell and Ralph.  On 23 August 1922, Len married Edith Maude Russell Sims, a local Dorakin girl.  They had 5 children, Russell, Phylis, William. Lesley and Elaine. William died at a young age. The family farmed at Wickepin between 1920 and 1940


The photograph shows the Hosken family (image 35 and 36), and some of the grandchildren of James and Ada Hosken around 1926 (image 37).

The above family photograph was taken during a visit to the farm at Wickepin by John (brother of James) and Eliza Jane Hosken from Melbourne, who are sitting at the front, with Ada Hosken on the RHS and ‘Aunty Annnie Moyle on the LHS.  Len & Ede Hosken and John & Glad Hosken had married. Jack and Russell Hosken are the children at the front of the photo.  Bill Hosken is at the back RHS of the photo.


Trucks were not only more economical than horses for carting wheat to the railway, but were also useful for taking family and friends on picnics and outings (image 38 and 39).


James died at St John of God Hospital, Subiaco on 26th April 1926, age 62 years, possible related to lung damage from his earlier mining days, leaving the boys to work the farm. James did not leave a will, so the "West Australian Trustee Executor and Agency Company" on 28th October 1926, distributed the estate to Ada Hosken, William Henry Hosken, John Hosken and Leonard James Hosken.  On 5th March 1827 the Hosken Brothers formed their farms into one shared holding.


James Hosken buried Karrakatta, Western Australia. Wesleyan DA 634,017232  KB033079


After the death of James, Ada stayed on at the farm, and the Hosken Bros, particularly Bill, developed a Merino stud and gained many prizes for the quality wool that was displayed at surrounding agricultural shows.  Len and John focused on cropping and general farmwork. As the amount of land grew, it became apparent that horsepower needed to be replaced by tractor power, and the first tractor purchased was quite small and proved inadequate for the amount of work.  A larger RD4 diesel tractor was purchased, however this was also inadequate.  It was then decided to purchase 3 Cletrac crawler tractors, which arrived at Toolibin railway siding.  There was much interest from local farmers, as the tractors were unloaded, and crawled by the three Hosken brothers to their ‘Springfield’ farm.  (images 40, 41 and 42)



The photograph shows the tractors being used for seeding and harvesting.


1936 Electoral Roll

Ada Hosken  "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia

William Henry Hosken "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia

Len Hosken "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia

Edith Hosken "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia

John Hosken "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia

Sylvia Hosken "Springfield" Dorakin, Western Australia


In 1938 Bill Hosken, while on a sea trip to New Zealand, met Olive Priscilla Kingston, and they were married on 22 March 1939, at Wesley Church, Mount Lawley, West Australia. Bill sold out of the Wickepin farm, and brought properties at Durranillin and then Darkan. They had three boys, Robert, Donald and Bruce.  Bill and Olive then moved to Perth, with a view to providing educational opportunities for his sons, and was a partner in the rural Real Estate business of Hosken and Quantock for many years, until his retirement to an orchard at Armadale.


Len and Edie Hosken bought the Wickepin Newsagency, and also ran the Toolabin bus run for many years, before moving to Narrogin where Len died in 1966 at the age of 73 years.


John and Glad Hosken moved to a small acreage at Hilton, near Fremantle, where they were surrounded by the children and grandchildren.  John died in 1974 age 77 years.


Today the site of the Hosken farm can be identified from a large stone memorial on the 10 mile road east of Wickepin  (Intersection of Wogolin South and Toolibin North Roads). In 2007 the Shire of Wickepin erected a plaque on a large stone that marks the Dorakin Methodist church stie. The plaque reads - Site of Dorakin Methodist church 1910-1945 Land donated by Mr James Hosken. In memory of the district’s pioneering families.


Ada Hosken (nee Roberts) moved from the farm to Perth in the late 1930s, living at 30 Webster St Nedlands (image 43), where she died on 20 December 1945, and was buried at Karrakatta with James Hosken (image 44) Wesleyan 634, WA. KB03307)


Some early settlers and neighbours to the Hosken family were Cardwell, Martin, Pullin, English, Miller, Sims, Flintoff, Miscamble, Jarvis, Southall, Halliday, Nelson, Stone, Pugh, Jago, Nix, White, Phoebe, Hosking and Lavarter.




  1. Map of West Cornwall
  2. Map of Gulval Hamlets
  3. Ding Dong mine
  4. Gulval church
  5. Headstone of John & Elizabeth Hosken
  6. Carfury Bible Christian chapel
  7. Mount St Michael
  8. Gulval Signpost
  9. Stile at Higher Gear farm
  10. Rev W H Hosken
  11. Mary Jane Hosken (Nesbit)
  12. William Henry Hosken
  13. John Hosken
  14. Farewell presentation of book
  15. SS Aberdean
  16. John and Elizabeth Christopher (nee Hosken)
  17. Hosken home at Higher Gear
  18. James Hosken
  19. Ada Roberts
  20. James Hosken family
  21. William Henry (Bill) Hosken as baby
  22. Hosken grocery and fruitier cart
  23. Bill Hosken as teenager
  24. John and Eliza Jane Hosken family
  25. James Hosken Lay preacher
  26. Dorakin Methodist church A
  27. Dorakin Methodist church B
  28. Dorakin Methodist church C
  29. Church site memorial Dorakin
  30. Church site plaque
  31. Elizabeth Christopher and family
  32. Horse dam scoop
  33. Horse harvesting
  34. Horses and girls
  35. Hosken family photo
  36. Grandchildren
  37. Truck wheat handling
  38. Truck picnic day
  39. Cletrac Tractors on Train
  40. Tractors seeding
  41. Tractors harvesting
  42. Webster St House
  43. Hosken grave Karakatta