Joseph Gundry was born at Lopen, Somerset, England about 1810. He left England and arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on the Thomas Laurie as a free settler in 1832. His brothers William followed in 1837 on the Fairleie and Charles some years later.
Joseph met Mary Watson and they were married at Hamilton, Tasmania.
Mary was born on 23rd July 1816 at Melville Street, Hobart Town. Mary’s grandmother, Rachel Hoddy, was transported to Australia on the Second Fleet. She was among young women who were transported and brought to Sydney to “restore the gender imbalance and civilise the colony”.
Rachel married Isaac Williams who had been transported to Norfolk Island and later to Tasmania. He was transported on 29th July 1789. Rachel and Isaac Williams produced a child Hannah. ( First generation children of these women were referred to as “currency Lads and Lasses”.)
Hannah married a convict by the name of Richard Watson, and they produced a child Mary. Hannah is buried at Watson’s Marsh in the Derwent Valley of Tasmania.
Mary and Joseph had six children, three were born in Tasmania.
Mary died at Jan Juc (Bellbrae) on 1st July 1905 and is buried at the Bellbrae cemetery. Her fourth child was Charles Edward Gundry, born at Bellbrae, registered in Geelong.
Charles was the first child of the settlers of the Bellbrae area to be born at Jan Juc in 1844.
Her youngest child William Richard Gundry was born at Peubla (Torquay) in 1860 . He married Anna Maria Tomamichael on 17th April 1912 and William died in 1941.
Anna Maria Tomamichael was the daughter of Jane Goodall who was the daughter of John and Anne Goodall. John Goodall, born in 1804 and transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1838 He settled in Geelong and then settled in Bellbrae. In 1857 he bought 101 acres on the north side of Spring Creek, on which he established Springvale Farm. He was one of the earliest settlers of the Torquay/Bellbrae area. He died in 1874 He was 69 years old. His wife Annie died fifteen months later at Talbot.
John and Joseph Gundry were long time friends at the early settlement of Bellbrae and their graves are side by side in the cemetery.
Joseph Gundry came to Port Phillip in search of grazing lands, circa 1841/2. Later he moved to Geelong where Joseph and his brother William are listed as Blacksmith and Wheelwright.
By 1843 he and his family had taken up land in the Bellbrae area.
In 1844 Joseph bought a good deal of land around Bellbrae. In partnership with John Kiddle they took up land known as Ironbark Station. Just before his death in 1878 he offered his property of 7,721 acres plus conditional rights to adjoining lands, plus his two storey eleven room house, known as “Llanberis House”, 6000 sheep, and 60 cattle.
When allotments for the town of Jan Juc were sold in 1864 most of the land was bought by members of the Gundry Family, some of whom owned land running along Spring Creek as far as Point Addis.
Joseph replaced his wooden house on Spring Creek at Bellbrae with a two storey brick house known as “llanberis House” around 1857. Joseph also started the first school of Jan Juc (now known as Bellbrae.). It was attached to his first house on Spring Creek. In 1861 the Jan Juc National School (today known as Bellbrae Primary School) was built using bricks from the brick plant on his property.
The rolls of the Jan Juc school list 22 Gundry students, their dates ranging from 1855 to 1881. The Gundry Family also feature as members of the Jan Juc Cricket team as early as 1862.
Joseph was a member of the Barrabool Road board 1861 to 1865 and was a founding member of the Barrabool Shire Council serving a term as President. His youngest son W. R. Gundry served 30 years on the Shire including a term as President. Joseph was a founding member of the Jan Juc (now Bellbrae) Cemetery Trust, and served until his death in 1878. Joseph died on 11th November 1878 and is buried at the Bellbrae Cemetery.