Dr. W. Foxton Hayley
Up Bell-Armstrong Connections    Home


Family Trees
William Foxton b.1725
Rev. George Foxton
Dr. John Foxton
Capt. John Foxton
John Greenlaw Foxton
Dr. W. Foxton Hayley
Col. Justin F G Foxton
The Pantons
Dr Harold V Foxton
Rev. G.F.H. Foxton
Postcards 1900-1910
Letters 1805-1920
Electoral Rolls to 1936
Foxton Directory   

Bell-Armstrong Site
PNG Connections

Rootsweb Database

Contact me





William Foxton (grandfather) b.1755 Caroline Foxton (mother) b.1790


Dr. William Foxton Hayley was the son of Caroline Foxton (born 1790) and William Hayley, and grandson of William Foxton, (born 1755). He was born about 1808 and died in 1878 in Sydney. He arrived in Sydney in 1836 on the ship "Henry Taner",  after qualifying as a surgeon in Middlesex Hospital, London. He married Elizabeth Davis in 1843. They had twelve children:-
  • Frances Hayley, born 1843, married Anthony Freestone
  • Alice G Hayley, born 1845,  married Thomas Dawson
  • Florence Jane Hayley, born 1847, married Francis Robert Louis De Rossi (see below)
  • William Henry Foxton Hayley, born 1848, and died in 1924, and is buried at Wellington Cemetery, NSW. He married Arabella Wilmot Rotton. He was the Manager of the Commercial Bank in Wellington, NSW, for a number of years.
  • Mary Madeline Hayley, born 1850, married Joseph Allworth
  • Frederick Ernest Hayley, born 1853, married Fanny Clayton

[Most of  the above families married in the Goulburn - Yass-Canberra area

  • Laura Emily  Hayley, born 1855, died young or at childbirth
  • Henry Percy Hayley, born 1857, died young or at childbirth
  • Alfred Reginald Hayley, born 1859, died young or at childbirth
  • Sydney Victor Hayley, born 1862, died young or at childbirth
  • Unnamed Hayley (twin) born 1862, died young or at childbirth
  • Walter Harold Hayley, born 1865, died young or at childbirth

The family lived at "The Oaks" Queanbeyan. He was was also the owner of the "Springbank" property at Canberra for a time, and it was sold in 1875.

Alice Hayley married a Thomas Dawson. Interestingly, two of Wilhelmina Foxton-Jones' (nee Fox) daughters in NSW  married Dawson brothers - John and Henry. (Unknown connection)


Dr. William Hayley (c. 1864) Courtesy National Library of Australia, Pictures Collection http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an24219383






Dr. William Foxton Hayley, possibly at the home of Augustus Gibbes (1828-1897) - Yarralumla.

Medical and Personal Life

He was the first doctor in the Queanbeyan - Canberra region pf NSW, having qualified as a surgeon at the Royal College of Surgeons London in 1835, after which he came to Australia.  Dr. Andrew Morton joined the practice ten years later. 

In 1847, he Queanbeyan Benevolent Asylum was established and Drs Hayley and Andrew Morton were both medical officers for the facility. 

In 1858, Drs Hayley and Andrew Morton first used chloroform as a general anaesthetic, and this was only ten years after it had been first introduced in Australia.   

In 1861, Drs Hayley and Morton performed one of the first plastic surgery operations in Australia. Their patient had an ulcerated lip and chin. The successful surgery removed the lip and fashioned a new one. This was a remarkable achievement for country practitioners with limited facilities available to them.

He continued his practice in Queanbeyan until 1868 when he left for Goulburn. He established a practice there and continued until his death in 1878.

Dr. Hayley was the personal physician of Colonel John Gibbes (1787-1873) and Mrs Elizabeth Gibbes of Yarralumla, Canberra, and their youngest son, Augustus Gibbes (1827-1896) , pictured at right,  and his family. Augustus Gibbes was the owner of "Yarralumla" ( right) from 1859 to 1881.

Dr Hayley also looked after the medical needs of Augustus' frail sister, Mary "Minnie" Murray (1817-1850) -- the first wife of Canberra pioneer Sir Terence Aubrey Murray.  Hayley was considered a family friend and attended the funerals at Yarralumla of the Colonel and Mrs Gibbes in 1873 and 1874 respectively.

Yarralumla is nowadays the site of Australia's Government House. 

Click here to view more pictures of the Gibbes family and Yarralumla

Jerrabomberra and the Gold Snuff Box

Dr Hayley also owned  "Jerrabombera" at Queanbeyan, which is now a housing estate. The family of Brian Smith, a descendant, still owns a gold snuff box that was presented to the Doctor on his departure from England. Following is a copy of an article from "The Bulletin" of about 1881:

In a recent issue of the Bulletin, there was noticed "The Disinterment at Jerrabomberra" of a long-long gold snuff box. We are now informed by an obliging corespondent that the box in question, which belonged to the late Dr.  Hayley, was presented to that gentleman on his departure from England in the year 1835 and bore the following inscription:

Presented by the Governor and Physicians of the Middlesex Hospital, London, to Dr. Hayley, for his attention and zeal in the discharge of his duties as house-surgeon to the institution 1835.

On 24th of March 1836, during Dr. Hayley's absence from his residence "Jerrabomberra", the box, with other valuables was stolen by an assigned servant. none of  the stolen property was ever recovered until 24th of March 1881 - the same date and month on which the robbery was committed, forty-five years before. On that day, a labourer on the "Jerrabomberra" Estate in digging a post hole turned up the missing snuff box. Apparently none the worse for its long interment. Search was made about the spot for a gold watch and other stolen jewellery, but none was discovered.

My thanks to Brian Smith for the above additional information. (April 2006)





Augustus Gibbes (1828-1897), owner of Yarralumla, ca. 1860s , Courtesy National Library of Australia Picture Catalogue







Yarralumla 1860's, Courtesy  National Library of Australia Picture Collection http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an24219391

Public Life

He was.....

  • appointed Commissioner for Crown Lands for the Police District of Queanbeyan in 1853
  • closely associated with the Church of England, and was a member of the Church of England School Board in 1865
  • an active supporter of the Queanbeyan Cricket Club, when social cricket was played by the professional men of the district on the market reserve in Morrisset Street. 
Florence Jane Hayley and FRL DeRossi

The de Rossi family descended from the Corsican aristocracy (the family held the title of count.) Intensely pro-British, they came to Australia in 1825. They made their home at Rossiville -- a large sheep-farming property near the NSW town of Goulburn (which is on the road to Canberra-Queanbeyan). Part of historic Rossiville house is still standing, but it is owned these days by other people.

The de Rossis were close friends of the Gibbes and Murray families during the 19th Century, and were no doubt well acquainted with the Hayleys, too.  Indeed, Dr Hayley died in the Goulburn area in 1878.  Interestingly enough, after he had sold Yarralumla in 1881 in order to travel to England for an extended holiday, Augustus Gibbes bought a property close to Rossiville, called Braemar, where he lived with his wife and four sons until his death in 1896.

The full name of Florence Jane Hayley's husband was Francis Robert Louis (de) Rossi (1823-1903), of Rossiville. He died in Sydney and is buried at Waverley cemetery in Sydney. In 1896, two years after marrying Florence in Sydney, he inherited his Corsican title and henceforth styled himself the Comte de Rossi. His marriage to Florence was controversial as Rossi had divorced his first wife, Jane -- the daughter of an Anglican dean, William Sowerby  -- whom he had wed in 1847. Moreover, Jane Rossi was still living at the time of her ex-husband's second marriage. As a consequence, the Bishop of Goulburn famously refused Holy Communion to Rossi and Florence at a service in St Saviour's Cathedral in 1896. Rossi, his Mediterranean blood aflame, counter-attacked with a Supreme Court writ and it took the intervention of the Bishop of  Sydney to resolve the dispute. Florence de Rossi (nee Hayley) died in Sydney (Marrickville) in 1920. (Rossi's first wife, Jane, had expired at Hunter's Hill, Sydney, in 1913.)

Rossi served as Registrar of the District Court of Goulburn and captain of the Goulburn Volunteer Rifles. He was a major benefactor of the Anglican church in Goulburn.

Rossiville was established on the Wollondilly River in the early 1830s by Rossi's father, Captain Francis Nicholas Rossi, who had been appointed Superintendent of Police for NSW following his arrival in the colony in 1825. The current owners of Rossiville have turned part of the homestead into a b&b place.



(Source:- Canberra Times, February 15, 2000)

Thank you to Stephen Gibbes for additional information on the DeRossi and Gibbes families. 27 Dec 2004