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Ginger Beer Brewers N.S.W.  |



Sarah & George

Confectioner Licensees

Sarah Barton, Church St., Parramatta (1841-1843)

George Barton, Church St., Parramatta (1844-1845)


George Street, Parramatta (c.1842-1854)




'G Barton' 






308ml or 10 1/2 oz

Ginger Beer Bottle

Courtesy M. Carney.


The '1840s Potter'

Pottery Chronology 


Provenanced Example

DoW06-7, QWP: Photo private collection.


George Barton (c.1810-1854), at just over 4’ 9’’ in height, was copper plate printer by trade who arrived in the colony with a 7-year sentence per the Minstrel, in 1825.  Barton’s future wife, Sarah Coleman (c.1812-1855), came free to Australia aboard the Bussorah Merchant, in August 1833.  The Bartons were married in Sydney, in 1834. Permission to marry was requested in May 1834 but was only granted after a second request in August 1834.[i] The Bartons, at the time of their wedding, were government servants to a Mr Palmer and it was agreed George would remain assigned to him until he received his ticket of leave.[ii] The pair were perhaps acquainted with the ginger beer trade through Eleanor Williamson (nee Tapner) as both she and Sarah Coleman arrived on the Bussorah Merchant. Both George as Eleanor Williamson also worked for Thomas Stedman (q.v.) and took on his business after his death, in 1836.


In August 1836, George held a ticket of leave that allowed him to reside in the Parramatta district.[iii] In 1840, his original ticket (July 1836) was extended, which allowed him to travel between Sydney and Parramatta to attend the markets. The travel ticket was renewed for 12 months, in 1842, and he received a conditional pardon in 1843.[iv]


Sarah Barton was licensed to vend ginger beer under a ‘confectioners’ license’ in Church Street Parramatta, in May 1841, and took a second license in April 1842, thus extending it until April 1843.[v] Her husband George, freed in 1843, took a licence, also for Church Street, Parramatta, in April 1844 (the records for 1843 may be lost). These records suggest their brewing and ginger beer vendor business continued at least up to 1845.  The Bartons initially ordered ginger beer bottles from an as yet unconfirmed potter and the bottles were hand engraved before firing; the engravings appear as either ‘S Barton’ or ‘G Barton’ in two apparently different scripts.[vi] In the mid-1840s, bottles impressed ‘BARTON’ were ordered from the potter Thomas Field.


In 1842, George Barton was recorded as the operator of a ‘china shop’ and, in 1847 and 1849, as a ‘shop keeper,’ at George Street, Parramatta. In 1844, title records note Barton as a ‘general dealer.’[vii] The shop and brewery likely operated from the same premises in George St., Parramatta, probably the same allotment that the Bartons purchased in 1849 and had occupied for some years previously.  From 1840, Sarah Barton also had an interest in land in Sorrell St., Parramatta which was sold in 1844.[viii]


George Barton entered a pony, in Race 3 at the ‘Parramatta Hack Races’ on New Years day in 1845, by the name of ‘pop’ - a nick name for ginger beer or ginger pop.  All horses had to be the bona fide property of Parramatta residents.[ix] George Barton died at George St., Parramatta, in April 1854. At that time, he was described as a ‘dealer.’ Sarah, it appears, died at Pennant St., Marsfield, in March 1855. Both Sarah and George were buried at St Johns, Parramatta.  Their remaining property eventually passed to George Barton’s brother Robert.[x]

Full references available upon request.

© Martin Carney


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