Correspondence with someone else interested in the family has indicated that there were at least two Rawson families in Yorkshire prior to the middle of the 1700’s. For all I know there may have been many connected and unconnected Rawson families prior to that time. However, the first Rawson in my records is John Rawson
(my fourth great grandfather) born in 1764. While his birthplace is unknown, he died in Bridlington, on the Yorkshire coast, after a marriage to Jane Jefferson that produced a family of three boys and three girls. One of the boys was named Richard and he is the first of four Richards (I am the fourth) in our direct family line. Richard married Mary Ezard and they had six children all of whom, as far as I am aware, were boys. The sixth child was George, who was born in Bridlington in 1842.
Walhalla, about 135 km to the east of Melbourne, is now a very small township, and it was still without a mains electricity supply into the 1980's. Perhaps as few as 20 people lived in the town at that time and yet, in the 1890's, it was a town in and around which thousands of people searched for, and mined, gold. In "Mountain gold: a history of the Baw Baw and Walhalla country of the Narracan Shire, Victoria" published in 1980, J Adams will give you a good insight into the history of Walhalla. It was into this area that George Rawson
and Mary Hercliff travelled after arriving in Melbourne in July 1862. They came from Bridlington, Yorkshire in England, and presumably they came in search of gold, or at least a more prosperous life. George was only 20 years old and Mary was 25. They subsequently had a large family, and that is reflected in the many families in Gippsland that are in some way connected to these two pioneers. The website of the Walhalla Heritage and Development League
has a list of Rawsons among the many people "who played a part in the town's history."
The Rawson families were obviously prominent in the district and, in about 1971, the town of Rawson, close to Erica was created. The town arose as the living area for those working on the construction of the Thomson Dam and it was originally to be called Robertson, after the Chief Engineer on the construction project. However, the locals objected and the name Rawson was given to honour one of the pioneer families of the district. It seems the land that was acquired for the camp was originally owned by Charles Rawson
(b 1876). These notes
provide the relevant background.
There are some notes on the possible origin of the Rawson name in this document