Edward Austin aka Elias Arnstein, Convict "Hercules" 1832

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Edward Elias Austin (Arnstein)

Also Known As: "Edward Elias AUSTIN", "Elias ARNSTEIN"
Birthplace: Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bavaria, Germany
Death: March 30, 1856 (51)
Kelso, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Place of Burial: Kelso, New South Wales, Australia
Immediate Family:

Son of Loeb Loew Arnstein and Carolina Chaile Arnstein
Husband of Mary Ann Austin - Sweetman, {Australian Immigrant} 1839
Father of Esther Elizabeth Jones; Mary Anne Ann Beech Dickson; Edward William Austin; Caroline Eve Lane; Charles German Austin and 4 others
Brother of Esther Hernfeld
Half brother of Adolf Arnstein

Managed by: Samuel Austin - Le Maux
Last Updated:

About Edward Austin aka Elias Arnstein, Convict "Hercules" 1832

  • Take the name of AUSTIN in England. Being convicted the 1st december 1831 at London Gaol Delivery for a term of 7 years.
  • Transported to Australia on the Hercules, 14 June 1832 . [sources Australian Joint Copying Project Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 357(179) ]
  • Certificate of Freedom 19 April 1839 see here
  • Naturalisation 6 Jan 1847 see http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au
  • Read also: "The Austin Brooch" here:


“In May 1851, a few months after Edward Hammond Hargraves had published his discovery of gold, Bathurst shopkeeper Edward Austin arrived in Sydney with a nugget weighing about 225 grams. According to The Sydney Morning Herald (15 May 1851) it created ‘a great sensation’. Austin’s find fanned the excitement that was to shake the colony and create a rush to the Bathurst region. Choosing to remain in Bathurst, Austin made his fortune by providing diggers with credit to buy mining tools and then afterwards purchasing their gold. He commemorated his success with this brooch, which he gave to his wife, Mary Ann. For Austin, the brooch underscored a life of ups and downs. Born Elias Arnstein, a Bavarian Jew, he was apprenticed as a tailor when he went to England in 1831. After only two days in London, he was arrested and sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing a ring and two brooches. The Austin brooch belongs to a group of ‘goldfields’ brooches of a type made exclusively in Australia from local gold between the mid 1850s and the mid 1860s. Massive and ostentatious, most were melted down when smaller brooches began to be favoured in the following decades or when they were sold for much-needed cash during the depression of the 1890s. Only a few have survived and most are not marked. Their provenance has been long forgotten. “ – Powerhouse Museum


Edward Austin and Mary Ann Chambers The name Edward Austin kept appearing in various books and articles that I had been reading over the years in investigating families who came to the Cornish Settlement. That name appeared in pages about the Cornish Settlement, about the gold rush days which followed and in papers quite further afield (see Ref 3). After a numbers of emails between us and a visit by Robyn Proft to the Bathurst district, a surprising story emerged. A young man named Elias Arenster Arnstein was born on 17 July 1804 in Sulzbach, Bavaria Germany, to Loew and Caroline Arnstein. Elias completed his apprenticeship in dressmaking and tailoring in Sulzbach, working in Munich and Switzerland for some time. He travelled to England in about 1831, having changed his name to Edward Austin. Within days of his arrival in the London area, he was arrested and charged with stealing two brooches and a ring valued at 3 pounds ten shillings. At his trial in December 1831, he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation. He arrived in Sydney in 1832 in the convict ship Hercules 2 and was sent immediately to Bathurst as a Government servant. He was assigned to work for Major General William Stewart in 1837. He obtained his ToL and his CP in April 1839. On the 19 November 1839, Edward Austin married Mary Ann Chambers at the Holy Trinity Church at Kelso. It was only eight months after Mary Ann had arrived in Australia with her mother and sister. With his CP granted, Edward set himself up as a Merchant and Storekeeper in Bathurst and, by 1841, had purchased his first home and store in a building on the corner of Durham and William Streets in Bathurst. By 1846, Edward Austin had acquired twenty one more properties in the Bathurst city area around his first home and store. A testimonial was attested by ten signatories, some of the most influential men in the district, and submitted by the Governor, Sir George Gipps, to Lord Stanley in London. Edward Austin was given an Absolute Pardon (AP) by Queen Victoria as a consequence. He went to England for a visit in that same year and visited the Hunt families with whom he now was connected by marriage. He was by then a rich and compassionate man. More of the largesse that he gave will emerge later. He returned to Australia in the ship St George, arriving on 17 December 1846. When gold was discovered and the Gold Rush began in the Sofala/Turon/Hill End/Ophir areas in 1851, Edward advertised that he was prepared to purchase gold in any quantity from 1/- to 1,000 pounds. At one point, he held between two and three hundred pounds worth of gold in his stores. Some time later, he established the first Bullion Office in Bathurst where he continued his purchases of gold, silver and precious or curious stones. Edward and Mary Ann had a family which continued to grow in Bathurst. Their first daughter was Esther Elizabeth (b.1840), followed by Mary Ann (b.1842), William (b.1842), Edward William (b.1843), Caroline Eve (b.1845), Charles German (b.1847), Benjamin Albert (b.1852) and one unnamed in 1856. Edward Austin's extensive commercial career over so many years was terminated by a fatal sickness of a few hours on 30 March 1856. His wife Mary Ann was expecting another child when she suddenly became a widow. The obituaries in Bathurst expressed the view that few gentlemen in the district had ever taken so prominent a part in local improvements or interested themselves so warmly in public affairs generally. Ever ready to co-operate both by his exertions and his purse in the furtherance of any undertakings connected with the welfare of the town, his loss would be felt for many years. It goes on to add another aspect to these statements. Mr Austin had other claims upon the respect of his fellow townsmen; his private charities were numerous and unostentatiously dispersed, and there was no reason to believe that the poor ever left his door hungry. Of this, we will remark more later. He was buried at the Kelso Cemetery, after a huge funeral procession from Bathurst to Kelso. Robyn Proft has given me two extraordinary photos of presents given by Edward to Mary Ann, possibly after his visit to England. The brooch shown below was made of gold, showing miners using a winch to raise a bucket from a mine shaft, hopefully with much gold.The gold brooch was held at the Mint Museum, and is now in the Power House Museum in Sydney.

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Edward Austin aka Elias Arnstein, Convict "Hercules" 1832's Timeline

July 17, 1804
Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bavaria, Germany
August 8, 1840
Bathurst, Bathurst Regional Council, New South Wales, Australia
New South Wales, Australia
October 30, 1843
June 10, 1845
Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia
September 28, 1847
New South Wales, Australia
March 12, 1852
NSW, Australia
March 30, 1856
Age 51
Kelso, Bathurst, NSW, Australia