George and Rachel Mead arrived in Maitland in 1848 and settled on the Bolwarra Flats near the site of today's Lorn. Aged just 18 and 17 and with a baby daughter, Ann, they had come from the village of Wing in Buckinghamshire, just north of London.
What we know of George and Rachel comes entirely from Ian Bowrey's 1985 book, The Ploughman, about the couple and their descendants in Australia.
George and Rachel arrived in Sydney on the Thetis, a 460-ton barque which carried more than 20 former residents of Wing. Among them were shepherds, carpenters, bricklayers, masons and farm labourers.
These people had been forced by the depressed conditions of rural England to leave their homes. Some went to the industrialising cities, while others emigrated.
George had a skill that was in demand in NSW. At a time when convict transportation was in decline and with the convict and ex-convict workforce lacking farming skills, his speciality in ploughing held him in good stead.
He quickly obtained employment on the McDougall Estate covering the site of what later became Lorn and the areas to the east once known as Midlorn and Glenarvon. As a ploughman he would have been paid more than most who worked on the land.
On the Flats George ploughed land already cleared and cleared thick bush from more. He was part of the decades-long effort to fashion farms out of the forest of the lower Hunter floodplain.
The Meads made their home in a slab-and-bark hut, probably about 10 feet by 12 feet (or less than 12 square metres).
Rachel was a home-maker who also helped with farm work. She would have had to do much hard work cleaning up after floods which were frequent in those pre-levee days.
George himself was part of the first levee-building effort in the area during the 1860s. He was a member of what became known as the Bolwarra Embankment Committee.
In due course, in 1863, George acquired land of his own between today's Sharkeys Lane and Glenarvon Rd. It cost him £668/10, a huge amount and testimony to his ability to work hard and save. Some of that money may have come from off-farm activity possibly including gold mining in areas far from the Hunter.
George and Rachel eventually had 12 children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. Most became farmers or married farmers and several remained in the Bolwarra area. But they spread to other areas too, both around Maitland and further afield.
By the mid-1980s George and Rachel had more than a thousand descendants in Australia. By 2020, seven generations of their progeny had been born in this country.
George Mead died in 1894, aged about 64, of heart disease.
Rachel followed four years later. Both were buried in the Methodist cemetery, Rutherford, in a grave with a headstone crafted from Italian marble.
They had contributed to agricultural development in the Maitland area.
Noel and Ian Mead, great and great-great grandsons of George and Rachel, live on the Bolwarra Flats today.