Lewis Levy and Annie

Full name:

Levy, Lewis and Annie

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:

1838 onwards

Occupation if known and land ownership:

Merchant, Butcher Innkeeper,


Free Settler

A probable date for Lewis’ arrival from London is 1838 when there is an entry for the arrival of a Lewis Levy on the Marion Watson, which sailed from Hobart on 7 February of that year.[1] He may have come to Berrima at the behest of his uncle, Joseph Levy, who was one of the first to purchase land in Berrima and for whom he was to work intermittently. A descendent confirms that Lewis was born on 1 January 1816.

In 1840 he married Annie Armfield who was a widow with a young son. At the time of the 1841 Census they were in Berrima and were listed as shopkeepers in Jellore Street.[2] Levy and his wife were then under 21 and Annie’s son, Henry, was less than two years. They were to be long time Berrima residents.

A year older than Lewis, Annie had been born in the colony in Windsor to the daughter of one of the colony’s most famous early convicts, James Ruse. She was also the sister of Noel Chapman’s wife Rebecca. (Chapman and Rebecca had moved from Windsor when he was appointed Berrima’s chief constable.)

Lewis and Annie were married in 1840 in a Church of England ceremony in All Saints, Sutton Forest.[3] At this time Annie’s surname was Taylor as she had been married previously. [4], In 1838 she had married Mr John Taylor in Richmond but unfortunately John drowned just eleven months after their wedding and a few weeks after their son, Henry William, was born.[5] Annie may have met Lewis Levy on a visit to her sister Rebecca, in Berrima.[6] Their son, Henry William Taylor, went on to marry and have eleven children, all of whom were given the name ‘Levy’ as one of their forenames, acknowledging their step-father.

In 1842 there is mention of a Lewis Levy as licensee of the Victoria Inn (Riversdale) in Goulburn and it is almost certainly the same person.[7] The name Levy remains in the stonework over the front entrance, partially obliterated by the name of Benjamin Gould, Ann’s new husband. (Gould was the third husband of Ann Richards who between 1839 and 1841 held the licence of the Surveyor General Inn in Berrima.[8] Levy and his wife would have possibly run the Goulburn until Ann Richards and Benjamin Gould were established there.

By 1843, they were back in Berrima with Lewis listed as a butcher in the register of Jurors. Given that the place of residence is given as the Market Place he may have been occupying premises at his uncle’s Victoria Inn.[9]


LEWIS LEVY AND CO. beg most respectfully to return their sincere thanks to their friends in the district, and the public generally, for the very liberal support they have received for the last three years, and to notify that they have just purchased a new and extensive stock of every description of goods, consisting of wines, spirits, gentlemen’s clothing, drapery, hosiery, haberdashery, ladies’, gentlemen’s, and children’s boots and shoes, groceries, grindery, oilmen’s stores, in short, every article necessary to carry on the business of a country store, which they are selling at such prices as will defy competition.

N.B.-Favour us with a call and satisfy yourselves of the truth of our assertion. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 June 1855

Where Lewis, Ann and William Henry were during the rest of the 1840s is unknown but by 1850 they were back in Berrima. This is evidenced by an advertisement for the Victoria Stores and a notice of the dissolving of his partnership with James Powell who at some time became the business partner of Lewis’ uncle, Joseph Levy.[10] The name of the store would suggest a link with his uncle Joseph’s original store but this may not be the case.

In 1855 Lewis moved to new premises. The Sydney Morning Herald of June 1855, states

BERRIMA STORES. – LEWIS LEVY begs most respectfully to return his sincere thanks to his kind friends of the surrounding district, and the public in general, for the kind patronage he has received for the last five years that he has carried on business as storekeeper in the town of Berrima, under the style of “Lewis Levy and Co.,” and having dissolved partnership, he has commenced business at his temporary stores, opposite the Pound of Berrima, where he still hopes for a continuance of their favours.[11]

The site he refers to is on the corner of Oxley Street and the Old Hume Highway (Lot 20 Section 30) which Lewis had purchased and from which he operated an inn between 1855 and 1858 called the Coach and Horses. [12],[13] It is now known as Bamber Cottage (left). There are records of the stewards for the annual Berrima Races meeting there in 1857.[14]

However, he seems to have returned to the Victoria Inn after the death of his uncle in 1862, as in a witness statement to a regimental court martial Lewis Levy, an innkeeper residing at Berrima, states:

I was carrying on business for my uncle (since deceased) as an Inn keeper at Berrima on the 10th of August 1862. I had the management of my uncle’s business as Inn keeper there at that time.[15]

Lewis was to remain in Berrima for many years and like his uncle Joseph took an active part in events. At some point in time he and Annie did move to Sydney as he was there when he wrote his will in May 1875.[16] The will reveals Lewis owned real estate in Moss Vale, Burrawang and Murrimbah as well as Berrima. Annie, his wife, was the beneficiary and was to hold the estate in Trust for his step-son, Henry William Taylor, then living in Moss Vale. Only the Berrima properties, all purchased after 1841, were reserved: these were to go, on Annie’s death to Lewis’ own nephew, Henry Levy, son of his brother John. [17]

Lewis died on the 15th October 1879 aged 63. The notice of Lewis’ death in the Sydney Morning Herald of October 17 1879 reads: LEVY.—October 15, at his residence, Berrima, Mr. Lewis Levy, formerly of Sydney, aged 64 years. His death certificate also provides the names of his parents, Henry and Zipporah Levy with Henry designated as a ‘gentleman’. (Perhaps an indicator that Henry was fairing much better than his brother Joseph and was able to give Lewis a more privileged upbringing)

Lewis was buried in Rookwood cemetery, not far from the grave of his uncle. After his death Annie may have returned to the district to live with her son, Henry William. Certainly she was there when she died, a notice of her death in 1898 states she died at the home of her son at the Commercial Hotel, Moss Vale.[18]

Annie’s headstone on her grave in Berrima Cemetery (left) reads:


Lewis Levy’s brother, George, was with him in Berrima in 1833/34 when he ran the Victoria Inn for his uncle. And, at a later date two more of Lewis’ brothers, Michael, John and Nathan, and one of his sisters migrated to Australia.[19]


[1] Lewis’ death certificate, NSW BDM 1879/004451, states he had been in the colony for 43 years which would put his arrival date at 1836. But there is a possibility that he landed and stayed in Hobart for a while, ancestry.com recording a Lewis Levy arriving in Port Jackson on the schooner ‘Marion Watson’ from Hobart in February 1838.

[2] Jellore St at this time referred only to street to the south of Section 6 between the Market Place and the river.

[3] NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages – V1840515 24B/1840

[4] NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages – V18381796 22/1838

[5] Mr J Coltman says while John Taylor was an apothecary and dispenser of medicines at Windsor Hospital he had arrived in the colony as a convict.

[6] All but one of Rebecca and Annie’s siblings, and their father Edward (possibly mother) were to move from Windsor to Berrima.

[7] Some caution is required as the name Lewis Levy is not uncommon and there were many Jewish people living in Goulburn at this time.

[8] Ann and her second husband John Richards were well-known characters in Berrima during the late 1830s and built up a considerable business based on inns, coach companies and breweries.

[9] SRNSW Indexes to Eligible Jurors: Series Number: 854; Reel: 2759

[10] Bells Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer, 15 March 1851

[11]  Sydney Morning Herald, 13 June 1855

[12] SRNSW General Liquor Licenses Series: 14403; Item: [7/1503-1504]; Reel: 1237.

[13] Not to be confused with the original Coach and Horses in Jellore Street.

[14] Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 1857

[15] http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~twelthregiment/12th_Regt_Court_Martial. Accessed 2018

[16] Copy of Lewis Lwill supplied by R Coltman

[17] John’s obituary reveals that in 1871 he had been living in Grenfell, near Cowra and that Lewis also had a sister living on the Parramatta Road. Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 1871.

[18] Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 1898

[19] Personal communication