Members of the Barton family gather for reunion

A reunion of the Barton family was held in Forbes on the weekend of March 26-27.

A total of 60 descendants of Richard James Barton and Honora Barton (nee O'Loughlin) attended the weekend which was organised by Bob Flynn of Milton and Rex Barton of Forbes and held at Club Forbes.

Visitors came from Victoria and Queensland as well as throughout New South Wales for the occasion.

The weekend consisted of a dinner at Club Forbes on Saturday night where visitors could examine the details of the Barton family history, compiled by Bob and Rex, dating back to 1861-1862 when evidence points to Richard Barton arriving in Forbes.

On Sunday morning there was a gathering at Forbes Cemetery when a plaque was unveiled giving information on Richard and Honora and their four children. The unveiling was carried out by the oldest and youngest descendants present - Joe Gately aged 89 and Jarrah Gately aged 8.

Richard James Barton was born on January 1, 1829 at Nottingham, England, the son of Thomas and Agnes Barton. He left Liverpool, England on October 26, 1856 and arrived in Sydney as an Immigrant on January 31, 1857 aged 28, on board the "Emma". He was a bachelor and was able to read, but not write.

Richard was a farm hand in England and his religion was Church of England.

He came to Forbes during the early years of the gold rush and took up mining. In late 1870, he reportedly found the largest nugget of gold in the Lachlan Valley weighing 8lb (3.6 kg) at Matheson's Lead located near where Bunnings is now situated.

According to Richard, a walk along the position now occupied by Rankin Street took over an hour because of the amount of mining being carried out there.

Barton Street in Forbes is named after Richard James Barton.

Honora O'Loughlin was born in Tulla, County Clare, Ireland.

She sailed aboard the "Tudor" which left Birkenhead, England on May 9, 1860, and arrived in Sydney as an Assisted Immigrant on August 17 1860. She could not read or write.

Ship records show Honora O'Loughlin was aged 20.

Richard and Honora were married on 26th September 1868 at the Holy Trinity Church, Grenfell.

The reason for the marriage taking place in Grenfell is unknown, but the name O'Loughlin has been in Grenfell from the middle of the 1800s to 2020.

Richard and Honora had four children -

  • Thomas Richard Barton (1869-1934)
  • Richard Patrick Barton (1870-1939)
  • William James Michael Barton (1873-1944)
  • Mary Agnes Barton (1874-1914)

Honora died on July 10, 1906 at Forbes and is buried in the Roman Catholic portion of the Forbes cemetery. Richard is buried with Honora. Their son, Thomas Richard, is buried next to them.

A hand-written note by Jack Brown (son of Mary Agnes Brown, nee Barton) states that Mary is also buried next to her parents.

Descendants of three of Richard and Honora's children (Thomas, Richard and William) were able to attend the reunion.

Rex and Bob would like to thank everyone who travelled to Forbes for the event.

A special thank-you must also go to Club Forbes for their support and assistance during the reunion weekend.

Everyone who attended was very impressed with the hospitality shown to them and pronounced the weekend a great success.