Below is a brief summary of the British Colenso family members with records indicating their presence in Australia.

I have not yet included details of the children of Colenso women.



William Colenso (1811 to 1899) arrived in Sydney on the Prince Regent, on his way to New Zealand. He had been employed by the Church Missionary Society as a printer.


William was the eldest son of Samuel May Colenso and Mary Veale Thomas.


Edwin Colenso (1827 to 1897), travelled to Geelong, Victoria aboard the Berkshire that had sailed from Plymouth. He is recorded on the passenger list as “Edward Collins”, a carpenter from Penzance. He settled in Geelong, although spent time in Ballarat, reputedly at the Eureka Stockade. After having his own business as an undertaker, he became a long-term employee of W B King & Sons, a firm that still exists today.


Edwin married twice – Eliza Cook and later Martha Austin – having a total of 12 sons and 3 daughters. The majority of Colensos in Australia, especially in Victoria and New South Wales, are descended from him.


He was the youngest son of Samuel May Colenso and Mary Veale Thomas.


Jonathan Colenso (1810 to 1883), with his wife Ann Carter arrived in Melbourne on the Earl Grey. They were accompanied by their children William, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Ann and Margaret. Also on the boat was their married daughter Emily with her husband Benjamin Polglaze.


Jonathan was a stone mason and the family settled in Sandhurst, now Bendigo. Ann Carter died in 1880 and Richard returned to Cornwall with his daughter Margaret and her husband Richard Carter in time to be recorded on the 1881 Census. After his death in 1883, Margaret and Richard settled in Canada.


Jonathan and Ann’s son William died unmarried, but the other daughters married and settled in Victoria – as did Emily and Benjamin Polglaze. Mary Ann married William Henry Fitcher, Elizabeth Ann married Arnold Rogers.


Jonathan was the son of Jonathan Colenso and Elizabeth Ladner of Paul.


Ann Colenso (1817 to 1893), arrived on the Medway with her husband John Thomas. They do not appear to have had any children and settled in Beechworth, Victoria. John was a stone mason.

She was the daughter of John Colenso and Jane Moon, born in Falmouth.


William Henry Colenso (1828 to 1890), arrived in Melbourne in 1859 aboard the Beechworth. Also traveling on this ship was Frances Mary Richards, accompanied by her father and siblings. William and Frances married in Sandhurst in December 1859. This couple was back in Cornwall by the 1871 Census, with Frances a patient in Bodmin, where she died in 1894.

William was the son of James Colenso and Margaret Pollard, born in Newlyn.


William H Colenso (1841 to 1923?), arrived in Adelaide aboard the Mary Shepherd. He was 22 and a miner.

William was the son of John Colenso and Mary Tyacke, born in Breage.


William John Colenso (1853 to 1921), with his wife Eliza White arrived in Sydney on the Samuel Plimsoll. He was a baker.

William and Eliza had three sons who died in infancy and two daughters. Around 1905 they moved to the outskirts of Perth in Western Australia. Their daughter Edith Jane married William Walter Williams and Annie Florence married Edgar John Giles.

William was the son of Edward Colenso and Jane Hosking, born in St Erth.


John Richards Colenso (1860 to 1937), arrived in Townsville Queensland in 1878 aboard the Scottish Prince. He married Bridget Hughes in 1883 and was a publican in Mackay at the turn of the century. Apparently no children.

His sister Rosina Colenso (1857-1931) also immigrated to Queensland after 1881. She married James Gardner in 1899.

These siblings were two of the surviving children of John Colenso and Eliza Jane Richards. They were born in Helston and Crowan respectively, with their father dying in 1868 and their mother before the 1871 Census – consequently they were in the Helston Workhouse for that census.

About 1880

Richard Thomas Colenso (1855 to 1936), disappeared from England before the 1881 Census. He married Margaret Moore in North Melbourne in 1912. There does not appear to be any children.

Richard was a bricklayer, born in Mylor and the son of Richard Thomas Colenso and Caroline Jory.


William Henry Colenso (1856 to 1914), arrived in Adelaide on the Hesperus, accompanied by his wife Lydia Evans and sister Mary Ann Colenso (1861 to 1922). He was a bootmaker.

In May 1886 William Henry, his wife and brothers Charles, Fred and Sidney are shown as passengers traveling to Melbourne on the SS Orient. This is possibly for the wedding of Mary Ann to Albert James Owen in Beechworth.

Charles Edward Colenso (1862 to 1886) returned to Adelaide where he died in December. Edward Sidney Colenso (1864 to 1937) stays in Australia, despite having married and left Mary Ann Whitrow (1885) and two daughters in Bristol. Sidney has another daughter in Melbourne in 1892 and marries again in Sydney in 1902. He served in the AIF during WW1, using Charles’ name, and died in Sydney in 1937.

All of the others returned to Bristol and continued their lives there, although Mary Ann and Alfred Owen had 5 children in Melbourne between 1887 and 1894.

These siblings were the children of Joseph Colenso and Louisa Pymm of Bristol.


Thomas Henry Colenso (1855 to 1906), arrived in Melbourne on the SS Orient with his wife Sarah Penelope Roberts. They proceeded to Sydney and had two children – Thomas William and Grace Jane. He was an artistic photographer. They returned to Cornwall and were recorded in Hayle for the 1891 Census – subsequent records indicate that he was an engineer.

Thomas was the son of Edward Colenso and his wife Jane Hosking, born in Hayle.


Walter Ernest Colenso (1867 to ?), arrived in Victoria aboard the Hohenzollern. He did not stay long - he is recorded on a US census as having immigrated there in 1890.

Walter was the son of George Colenso and Jane Boardman Williams, born in Liverpool.


George Squire Colenso (1865 to 1948) was a seaman who married Mary Ann Wilson in Sydney in 1893. They appeared to move quickly to Brisbane, Queensland and had two sons – Leslie George and Cecil Wilson. George ultimately moved to New Zealand with his brother John Francis, where he died.

Mary Ann brought up the sons and they were the patriarchs of the Queensland Colenso branch.

George was the son of George Squire Callenso and Fanny Elizabeth Holbert Tozer, born in Devonport.

Before 1931

William Albert Colenso (1901 to 1933) was a Methodist Cleric who married Myra Phoebe Campbell in Western Australia in 1931. He died in 1933 in Norseman WA. They do not appear to have had children. She remarried in 1942 to Alfred Taylor.

William Albert was the son of Albert Hannay Colenso and Louisa Mary Prowse, born in Plymouth Devon.

After 1962

Joseph George Dennis Colenso (living) with his wife Olga Mowbray and children Jean, Steve and Alan. They live in northern NSW and Queensland, with one of the sons in Tasmania.

Joseph is the son of Joseph George Colenso and Mary Winifred Collard, born in Bristol.

About 1980

Terence William Colenso (living) with his wife Sue McWilliam and son Iain. Another son David was possibly born here. They live in NSW.

Terence is the son of William Charles Frederick Colenso and Gladys Vera Marriott, born in Bexley Kent.

Before 1991

Henry Royston Colenso (living) with his wife Pamela, daughter Carol and son Kelvin settled in Victoria.

Henry is the son of Arthur Colenso and Rose Harvey, born in Bristol.

Before 1996

Christopher Colenso-Dunne (living) settled in Queensland. He is the son of Gordon Dunne and Rosemary Colenso.

Before 1996

Ronald Clive Alan Colenso (living) settled in South Australia.

Clive is the son of George Bryan Raymond Colenso and Antonia Lisby, born in Hampshire, descended from the Liverpool branch.

His brother Bryan Nigel Colenso (living) and family have recently returned to NSW, after originally immigrating here in 1978.