The ancestors of our Australian Fairhall family were William and Ann (Huntley) Fairhall.
William was born in Brede, East Sussex, in 1791, and Ann was born in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, in 1796. They married at nearby Mountfield in 1815, and had 11 children baptised in Guestling, their home village until 1838.
As farm labourers, life was probably very hard due to the climate, various changes to legislation and other factors in England at that time. The government initiated a program of "Assisted Immigration", which aimed to reduce the costs to parishes of maintaining poor families. During 1838, Immigration Agents were able to arrange for 316 people, mostly from East Sussex and Kent, to leave for Australia on board the "Maitland".
They set sail from Gravesend, on the southern bank of the Thames, on 24 June 1838. Also on board were other families whose sons and daughters would maintain the family links forged during the voyage and later marry some of their new-found friends. Those family names included Bowden, Fuller, Gill, Sivyer and Vidler.
The journey was a tragic one, with 35 of the passengers succumbing to Scarlet Fever or Typhus, including a baby born to William and Ann during the voyage. Upon its arrival in Sydney on 6 November 1838, the ship was placed into quarantine at North Head because of the continuing danger of infection.
Following their release from quarantine, the Fairhalls headed north by ship, landing at Morpeth on the Hunter River. From there, William was employed as a farm labourer at "Anambah", a large pastoral holding near Maitland, which was to be the family home until William's death.