Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

George Williams - Settler

Brisbane Grove - Map 2

Arrival in the Colony

Free settlers George Williams, wife Mary and son Vincent George Williams arrived in Australia on the female convict transport Broxbornebury in 1814. Two of Mary Williams' children from a previous marriage, Edward and Frederick Hunt accompanied them.

They may have thought themselves fortunate to have arrived safely after witnessing the appalling state of affairs on board the Surry which had left England in company with the Broxbornebury. The Surry had an outbreak of typhoid shortly after leaving which necessitated them putting into harbour. Despite this, the disease was to claim the lives of convicts, crew, Ship's surgeon and Captain before the voyage was over. The Broxbornebury on meeting with the Surry off the Coast of NSW put a crew on board to see her safely into Sydney

After arriving in Sydney, George Williams found employment as a Cryer at the Supreme Court and was to receive a grant of land. However he forfeited this entitlement due to misconduct in 1816 [1]. In 1821 he was employed as a printer.

Land Grant

In a Memorial dated 19th July 1822, Vincent George Williams, aged 18 applied for a grant of land. His address at the time was the residence of W. Hunt, cabinet maker in George Street, Sydney[2]. He was granted 60 acres on 6 August 1824 [3].

George Williams received a grant of 500 acres dated 11 March 1824.[4]

George and Vincent George took up their grants on the Paterson River near Susannah Matilda Ward's 'Cintra' and 'Clarendon park'. They named their estates 'Brisbane Grove' and 'Vincent Vale'.
James Adair John Boughton Edward Close - Green Hills George Cobb Edward Gostsyck Cory Gilbert Cory John Cory william cummings Andrew Dixon Robert Corum Dillon Leslie Duguid William Dun William Evans George Frankland William Hicks Beresford Hudson William Innes Richard Jones James Kelly Andrew Lang - Dunmore Robert Lethbridge Alexander Livingstone James McClymont Thomas McDougall George Muir Find out more about Maitland Timothy Nowlan Henry Dixon Owen - Aberglasslyn Richard Pritchett James Phillips James Read (Reid) George Shaw Rutherford Walter Scott Gentleman John Smith John Galt Smith Hugh Torrance John Tucker Susannah Matilda Ward Susannah Matilda Ward William Charles Wentworth John Wighton Gorge Williams Caleb and Felix Wilson John Thomas Maughan Early Settler Map 1

George Williams was also granted an allotment of land (28 perches) in Newcastle. The grant was made by Governor Brisbane and dated 21st April 1824. When George died intestate in December 1838 Vincent sold the allotment to Samuel Wright [5].

Convicts Assigned to Brisbane Grove

Convicts assigned to the Brisbane Grove estate in 1828 included:
John Booth arrived on the Hooghley
James Burns arrived on the Borodino 1828
Garrett Coughlan arrived on the Borodino 1828
Mary Carrol arrived on the John Bull (free in 1828)
William Gover arrived on the Asia 1825

By 1828 ninety acres of land had been cleared and 50 acres were under cultivation. There was also a herd of 28 cattle.

Sale of Brisbane Grove

Brisbane Grove was sold to Caleb and Felix Wilson and advertised for lease in October 1834...Brisbane Grove, situated on the navigable part of the Paterson River, about two miles farther up than Tocal and to which the Steam constantly plies. This compact Estate consists of five hundred and sixty acres, sixty of which are let to various tenants, besides one hundred and fifty acres of rich land cleared and under cultivation, with a comfortable house excellent barn, stockyard, paddocks etc. for further information apply to C and F Wilson or to William Dun or to R.M. Clarke at Brisbane Grove [6].

Thomas Tilstone arrived on the Henry in 1833 and was employed as Superintendent of Convicts at Norfolk Island in 1834. He returned from Norfolk Island in December 1836 and resided at Brisbane Grove in 1836 - 1838. He died of consumption in 1839.

Later Brisbane Grove was leased to Joseph Tucker [7]

Vincent George Williams

Vincent George Williams married Ann Townsend in 1832 at St. James Church in Sydney. Ann had arrived as a convict on the Roslin Castle in 1830. He was living in Maitland in the 1840's and working as a cabinet maker. He became insolvent in 1841 and his furniture, plated ware and cooper's tools were advertised for auction [8]; although in 1843 he was still in business. He was ordained into the ministry of the Scots Church in July 1860 [9]. 

Vincent George died at Haydonton, Pages River on 1st January 1864 aged 59.[10]

George Williams died in December 1838 and was buried in the Glebe Cemetery

Notes and Links

For a full account of George Williams' family see - ' The Williams Family in Australia by Annie and Wal Lotocki


[1] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3495 Page: 103

[2] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 899) Memorials to the Governor, 1810-1825 Item: 4/1832 Number: 428

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 898) Special bundles, 1794-1825 Item: 9/2740 Page: 31

[4] Sydney Gazette 25 April 1833

[5] Government Gazette 11 September 1839

[6] Sydney Herald 9 October 1834

[7] Mitchell, Cecily., Hunter's River : a history of early families and the homes they built in the Lower Hunter Valley between 1830 and 1860. Published Newcastle West, N.S.W. : Administrator of the Estate of Cecily Joan Mitchell, 1973. p 28

[8] Hunter River Gazette 8 December 1841

[9] Empire 12 July 1860

[10] Maitland Mercury 7 January 1864