My name is Daniel Comyn South African by birth and a naturalised Australian since 2008. I live in Canberra with my spouse of 40 years Gayle Susan neé Walton. This inquiry is about my Great Grandmother Kate Brereton. see Birth record attached. She was born in England in 1853 District Manchester County, Lancashire. see attached Volume 8 D page 219
Her father is named as John.. There is no mention of her mother. In 1869 she arrived in Durban recuperate from Asthma brother Randal (Randle) who died a few years later of TB)and spent a few years there before taking a coach to Bloemfontein. Shortly after arriving in Bloemfontein she met and married my Great Grandfather Alfred William Barlow who was a newspaper proprietor and himself an English immigrant from Essex. From the little we know of her she had a very successful life in South Africa as the wife of a prosperous and well known Free Stater. Her children were baptised with her surname as their Christian names and this passed to some of the grandchildren including my mother Felicité Brereton Comyn neé Barlow and her siblings Geoffrey Brereton, Joan Brereton, Brian Brereton but not Harold and Alfred.
She seems to have stretched her birthplace information somewhat as Brereton Hall (as she was born in 1858) that we know was was sold out of the Brereton family in 1818. No doubt this impressed her new family and her acquaintances in the Orange Free State Colony? Certainly we believed this until the search began Most of what we know of her is anecdotal. She seems to have been very strong willed and talented if not a hard woman. She certainly left her mark on her children all of whom had successful lives either in business or politics and her grandchildren and great grandchildren exceeding in medicine and academia.
The question is ''Who was Kate''. and what was her real background? When one considers with all the assistance of modern travel including the security around it, even at the young age of 16 years and being a girl can certainly be very daunting and full of challenges to day. Imagine how brave she was in 1869 taking a sailing ship with her just older brother to a far off colony? Were there Brereton family in Durban to meet and care for them? Who did they leave behind? Any assistance in finding out more about Kate and her parents and relatives will be gratefully received.
Daniel R. Comyn
Below are three documents: