The TONDUT Family Charles Francois Tondut

Jack Tondut spent most of his later life researching the Tondut history. Before he died he gave our family a copy of some of his research and others (some of it is in French so is hard to translate). The below has been pieced together by Jack TONDUT and Aloysius (Loy) WHITELY,

Charles Francois Tondut Born in Macon, Burgundy, France on 9 Nov 1816 to Pierre Tondu and Francoise Thivin. Charles Francois married Ann Caroline Jackson and had 12 children. He passed away on 21 Jun 1898 in South Perth, Western, Australia.

Origin: Macon, France

Accompanying Family nil: - but he had a friend Louis Langoulant

Original Occupation: Cook on French Whaler

Occupation in Australia: Fisherman and Winemaker


A factual story of our Families Place in the Making of Western Australia's History.

Authors note: I believe that we descendants of these three pioneers know to little of our heritage. I hope, per medium of this story to impart a little knowledge on the subject.

Right here I wish to thank Herbert (Herbie) Day, a cousin of mine, for supplying me with an abundance of facts and dates etc. He has spent considerable time on research concerning our family history. Herbie like myself is a Great Grandson of Charles TONDUT and John O'GRADY.

I am a grandson of James WHITELY. My late dear mother related much of the O'GRADY and TONDUT family history to me when I was a young lad.

I also must thank Mrs Ivy Russel (nee Ivy TONDUT) daughter of Ferdinand TONDUT "Puppa" TONDUT's son, for information supplied. I have written all the data which has been collected into a family history story. I believe written in this form it will be more interesting to read.

Aloysius (Loy) WHITELY, 31st December 1969

Written in three parts:

  • Part 1: The TONDUT Family
  • Part 2: The O'GRADY Family
  • Part 3: The WHITELY Family


TONDUT, Charles Fancois, "Puppa", as he was affectionatley know in the family circle , was born in a small town of Macon, France in the year 1816. He was the only son of Pierre TONDUT, the local bootmaker. As a small lad he helped his dad in the shop. He studied music and while quiet young the violin with a real professional touch.

Pierre was a devout Catholic, he hoped one day that his son Charles would become a Priest . More than once he suggested to Charles that he leave for Paris and enter a Seminary for the training of young men to the Priesthood. More than once Charles in return tried to convince his father that he, Charles, lacked the necessary vocation. Perhaps the father was wrong in not accepting this assurance, because the young lad left home for the sea port town of Marseilles. While in port he joined the crew of a French Whaler bound for Australia. He was placed in the ship's galley where he worked as a cook's assistant.

After several weeks at sea, during which time the "Wind-jammer" was battered by gale force winds and heavy seas, Charles interest in sea life began to fade. After six months the ship arrived in the port of Albany, in the colony of Western Australia, in the year of 1835. The Ship was several weeks in Albany and during the time the crew became very popular with the local settlers. The Ships Orchestra (several of the crew played instruments) entertained the locals with several concerts. Charles was very popular as a violin soloist. His pal Henri, was also popular with the flute. Both lads liked their new surroundings so very much. So they decided they would not return to the ship.

The day of the ships departure arrived and prior to weighing anchor the Captain carried out the usual roll call. It was then he discovered that two of the crew were missing. A search of the town failed to locate them so the Captain took immediate action. He called at the office of the Port Administrator and listed the two young men as deserters and placed a price on their heads. The young men were in safe hiding, they had gone to one man they knew would help them in their trouble. The man was the Reverend Jackson, the local Anglican Minister.

The Reverend gentleman was a language scholar and spoke French fluently. This was very helpful to the two young sailors who could speak very little English. They told the minister that they liked the country and assured him they had no intention on returning to the ship. The minister took a liking to the two men and because of this he took the risk and agreed to give them shelter until the ship had left port. Right there and then and there the two young Frenchmen became pioneers of our state. They were soon in employment, Charles in town and Henri worked on one of the New Settler's Farm two miles out of town.

A close friendship developed between the Minister and young TONDUT. He suggested that Charles live with his family. Charles accepted and was very happy in his new home along with the Reverend, the Reverend’s wife and 10-year-old daughter, Anne Caroline. Both young men were very happy in their new country. Happy until one faithful day, less than 12 months after their arrival.

Early morning of that day, Henri and his farmer boss were driving their wagon into town, to deliver product and collect stores. Passing over the high slopes, which surround the town, Henri suddenly halted the horses. He was interested in a ship that he could see below in the south. The ship was flying the French flag. After a few minutes of scrutiny, he regonised it as one they had deserted a few months back. A crack of the whip and the horses were hurried to town. Charles must be told of the news.

Henri left his boss and the wagon at the store and hurried to the Manse to contact Charles. They borrowed the Reverends’ binoculars and made for a high hill that today is known as Mount Clarence. Yes! It was their old ship all right. Several of her crew were already roaming the streets. It was action stations for the young deserted. They would have to go into hiding once again. They made their plans right then and there. Charles was to remain where he was on the hill until picked up later by the wagon. Henri left for the town to pick up the wagon. Henri had grow a thick bushy bear since he left the ship, this helped him to get by without being recongised.

After Henri and his boss competed the loading of the wagon they drove down to the Manse to pick up a few of Charles’ personal belongings, then they left to pick up Charles himself. He was placed in the rear of the wagon and covered with sacks and goods etc. no risks were taken. They got through the farm without any trouble. While together on the farm the two discussed their future plans. They realized that they could take no further risks of being picked up, so for the security of their future security they decided they would leave Albany for good.

A few days after making this decision they made up their swags and left on a 300 mile walk, to Perth. The six-year-old capital of the Colony. They were sad at leaving Albany, where they had made friends in their short stay. Friends, who helped them during their troublesome times.

After their arrival in Perth the two settled in well. They were good workers and were soon in employment, in the year 1840 the Jackson family arrived in Perth by coach, from Albany. Young Anne was now 15 years old and was working as a domestic at the residence of the Chief Magistrate. Charles had always been fond of young Anne but now fondness developed into love, and the following year, 1841 he married her. Here is an extract from the Registry General’s Department:




CHARLES FRANCOIS TONDUT Aged 25 years, Labourer

(Roman Catholic), Bachelor


ANNE CAROLINE JACKSON Aged 16 years, Domestic

(Anglican), Spinster

NOTE: there were no catholic priests in the colony at the time. The first Catholic Priest to arrive came in the year 1843.

Anne Caroline JACKSON (my Great Grandmother) arrived in Western Australia (Albany) with her parents in the year 1829. She was born in England 1825. So we see that she was the very first of our family descendants to arrive in Western Australia, The year that captain Stirling proclaimed Perth as the capital of the Colony, was the year that she arrived (1829) at the age of four years. Although the city was proclaimed this year, records show that it was many years before the city spread beyond Perth proper. After 30 years only 29 people lived in South Perth. Records show that the first people there were three families of the TONDUTS, the PUSEYS and the DOUGLASES. We are told the families left Perth in “Wagon Train Style”. The wagons being loaded with materials for the building of their homes. The idea was a co-operative one. Each helping each other build their house. Completing one at a time .

The first to completed was that of the PUSEY family. So we see the first house in Perth belonged to the PUSEY family.

Next they built the DOUGLAS home and finally the TONDUT house. Puppa TONDUT had purchased several acres of land. His house was build in one corner of the property and Puppa later planted the balance of land as a vineyard.

This vineyard was the second to be planted in the state. The first was plated just outside the Fremantle district which is known as White gum Valley. Puppa TONDUT was granted the first license to sell wine in Western Australia. Here is an extract from an early newspaper clipping:

“Governor of the Colony, Fitzgerald, used to gallop his favorite hack over to South Perth each Sunday afternoon to keep an appointment with a close friend, Charles Francois TONDUT. The Governor who spoke French fluently enjoyed his chat with Puppa over a glass of wine”

I have been informed that Puppa TONDUT never really mastered the English Language and right through his lifetime spoke with a strong French accent.

The PUSEYS, DOUGLASES and TONDUTS made further history for the district providing the first three marriages. The first o the three marriages took place in the yea 1857. Miss Elizabeth PUSEY married Mr. James STEVENS of Masons Timber Mill. Elizabeth used to operate a Ferry Service across the Swan River at Mill Point, where the Narrows Bridge stands today. Bride number two was Miss Phalie PUSEY, who married in 1859. The groom was Mr. John ADFIELD, the manager of Pearse’s slaughterhouse and meat works, which supplied Perth and the districts with most of their meat. The slaughterhouse was situated four miles along road from the Canning Bridge, towards Fremantle. The company owned large cattle paddocks, which rand from the Canning Bridge through to the river front and then south to Bicton. The old Bicton Unregisted Racecourse was built on one of the paddocks. When I was a young kid, along with other kids, I used to roam the waterfront around these parts. When we reached the cattle paddocks the bullocks would run to the river fence to see what was going on, but I’m afraid they never found out because we kids would be missing and quick off the mark, I assure you. All this land is occupied today with beautiful homes that overlook the river.

Bride number three was Eulalie (Lilly) TONDUT, daughter of Charles and Anne TONDUT. The groom was Captain Henry Wydham O’GRADY. The marriage took place at Saint Patrick’s Church Fremantle, 1863. Many descendants of these three families still live in the South Perth District today. Recently I visited the original home sits of South Perth’s first thee residents. The large DOUGLAS home is there with part of the little original home behind it. Close by is the original site of Puppa’s home and Vineyard. I stood on the spot where his old home was built and watched young boys kicking a football on the ground, which was his vineyard. The site of the vineyard is today known as Clydesdale Park for the building of a plant nursery, they were forced to chop down a huge old almond tree. Let me write of this event, as is written in a newspaper clipping:

The West Australian, Thursday November 10th 1938, page 22 (pictured above and below)

HISTORIC ALMOND TREE, SOUTH PERTH DESTROYED. To make way for improvements to the Roads Board nursery, an Almond tree plated by the late Charles Fracois TONDUT at South Perth over 90 years ago, was chopped down yesterday by Roads Board employees. The tree is believed to be the first Almond tree to be planted in the district. It was 20 feet high and the trunk was 2 feet – 6 inches in diameter, the branches were loaded with green almonds. The old tree was riddles with white ants and would be a source of danger if left standing….”

We are nearing the end of the TONDUT story and about to being the O’GRADY story. Great grandmother TONDUT, the first in our line to arrive in Western Australia, met with serious physical setback prior to the birth of her last child, she was stricken by paralysis and lost the use of both legs, she died 1887, aged 62, Great Grandfather TONDUT, that great old Frenchmen, who became a Naturalised Australian in 1851, died 21st June 1898 aged 82. They were both interred in the old East Perth Cemetery, May the rest in peace…


Eulalie Frances…….. Mrs. H.W. O’GRADY

Jane (Jinnie)……Mrs. J QUATERMAINE

Mary……………..Mrs. THOMAS





Lake Tondut, located in Perth ( Clydesdale Park). Lake Tondut was named for Charles Tondut – one of the first settlers on the South Perth foreshore. It is believed that Tondut was the second person to establish a vineyard in Western Australia and also the first to have sold wine commercially in the Swan River Colony in 1849.


Young Henry like his father, went to sea and after serving his apprenticeship, obtained his Certificate and became Captain Henry O’GRADY (junior). The young skipper was not as dedicated as his father and spent only a short time at sea. He became a professional fisherman on the Swan River, which in those days with a wide variety of shish available, was a profitable occupation. Today fishermen have to make for the open sea off of Fremantle, to procure his catch.

To be continued...

MARY Tondut: If you are interested in reading more about Mary Tondut a book has been published about her life, you can find it online.

Ferdinand Tondut made his living and supported his family by fishing from the Swan River. he advertised the sale of prawns in the "West Australian".

He supplied fish to the zoo for feeding the animals. He would camp on the banks of the river at Mill Point (South Perth side of the Narrows) during the week and return home on the weekends.

His sons would collect the fish from him and deliver to the zoo where the keepers gave them all the fruit they wanted. Arthur, shown as the son of Ferdinand is actually the son of Millicent (from out of wedlock) and adopted by Ferdinand. Aurthur is pictured in the "Western Mail" showing the cutting down of the Almond Tree in Clydesdale park. I recalles seeing the picture when I was fairly young.

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