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Lieutenant John Palmer


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Lieutenant John Palmer

Richmond Vale

Map showing location of Richmond Vale

Richmond Vale was a grant to Lieutenant John Palmer of the 2nd Ceylon Regiment, son of John Palmer (b. 1760), purser of the Sirius one of the vessels of the First Fleet in 1788.

John Palmer Senior

John Palmer senior (b. 1760) entered the navy as a captain's servant aged nine. During the American war of independence he was serving in H.M.S. Richmond which was captured off Chesapeake Bay by a French squadron on 11 September 1781. In 1783, after his release as a prisoner of war, he married Susan Stilwell daughter of an American loyalist family.

John Palmer senior came to Australia as purser of the Sirius with the First Fleet in 1788. He remained in Australia until 1796.

In September 1796 John Palmer senior left Australia for England in the Britannia, returning in November 1800 in the Porpoise with his wife and son John junior (b. 1797), two sisters, Sophia (1777) and Sarah (b.1774), and a naval brother, Christopher (1767)[1]. Two more children Edwin Campbell (b. 1802) and Sophia Susannah (b. 1803) were born in New South Wales. In 1806 their eldest son George Thomas Palmer (b. 1784) came to Australia as part of the 62nd Regiment in the ship Albion with his wife Irene Catherine Pemberton, whom he had married in Malta.

Lieutenant John Palmer

Lieutenant John Palmer (b. 1797) joined the 2nd Ceylon Regiment which was disbanded in 1822. He arrived back in the colony on the Heroine in September 1822. Among the many passengers on that voyage were Miss Jane Wylde and Miss Wylde, daughters of Judge Advocate John Wylde.(8)

Land Grant

Lieut. John Palmer was residing at his father's house Waddon Cottage when he applied for a grant of land in December 1822 -

To His Excellency
Sir Thomas Brisbane -
Waddon Cottage

9 December 1822
I do myself the honor to state to Your Excellency that in consequence of the reduction of the Corps I belonged to the 2nd Ceylon Regiment, I was placed on half pay and that His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief was pleased to obtain for me His Majesty's permission to reside in this colony with my friends until my services might again be required. As it is now my wish to devote my time to Agricultural pursuits and having in possession a number of stock as per margin (100 head of cattle; 370 sheep; 3 horses) being the produce of some given me when I was a child, I trust your Excellency will be pleased to further my views by granting me such a portion of land as you may deem proper.
I have the Honor to be Sir
Your Excellency's Most humble servant
John Palmer
2nd Lieutenant, 2 Ceylon Regt., [2]

Lieut. John Palmer was granted 300 acres of land Parish of Stockrington on 4th September 1823.

An additional six hundred and forty acres of land had been reserved at Mulbring under Governor Brisbane's authority on 17 May 1825 - The land commenced at the North West corner of John Sparke's twelve hundred and eighty acre farm [3]. This land may have been known as Ennindale.

Richmond Vale

In August 1824 two convicts John Roberts and Bryan Jordan were permitted to pass through from Windsor to John Palmer's farm with 300 head of cattle. He was granted victualling from the Stores at Newcastle for himself and his four assigned convicts - John Roberts, Bryan Jordan, George Savage and John Holland.

John Palmer was probably residing at Richmond Vale in August 1827 when he was a jury member of the Newcastle Grand Jury Presentment. Other jury members included E.C. Close, James Phillips, Helenus Scott, Alexander Park, John Laurio Platt, James Mudie, Timothy Nowlan, Alexander Warren, William Innes, John Galt Smith, Standish Lawrence Harris, W. Smith, T.G. Howe, W.B. Wilkinson and W. Scott.


In the 1828 Census taken in November, Lieutenant John Palmer was listed as a farmer and grazier of Richmond Vale, Wallis Plains. Harriett Venner Wylde age 22 daughter of Judge-Advocate John Wylde who first arrived on the Elizabeth in 1816, was still residing with her mother at Cabramatta. John Palmer and Harriet Venner Wylde married on 13 November 1828 at St Luke's Church Liverpool. They resided at Richmond Vale. Their daughter Susan Stilwell Palmer was baptised there by Rev. Wilkinson on his visit to the estate in 1831[9].


Convicts assigned to Lieutenant John Palmer who may have worked at Richmond Vale included:

George Savage arrived per Mangles; assigned in 1824
John Holland arrived per Three Bees; assigned in 1824
Bryan Gordon arrived on the John Barry in 1821; assigned in in 1824
John Roberts arrived on the Coromandel; assigned in 1824
Patrick Caffery per Asia; assigned in 1825 at Parramatta
John Noon per Asia; assigned in 1825 at Parramatta
Denis Dacey per Mary assigned in 1828
William Rook per Recovery 1819; assigned in 1828
William Davis arrived per Fame in 1817; assigned in 1828
James Walker arrived per Morley; assigned servant in 1828
Ann Walker arrived per Morley; assigned servant in 1828
George Clark arrived per Norfolk in 1829; assigned servant 1829
Charles Morgan arrived per Royal Admiral assigned servant in 1830
James Casey assigned servant in 1832
Patrick Connor arrived per Guildford; assigned in 1832
William Randall arrived per John; assigned in 1832
Mary Blackwood arrived per Roslin Castle; assigned in 1832
Mary Mills arrived per Hooghley. Assigned in 1832
James Tripp arrived per Isabella; assigned in 1832
James Robinson arrived per Fortune. Assigned servant in 1832
Richard Sweetman assigned servant in 1837

Return to England

John Palmer senior died in Parramatta on 27 September 1833 at the age of 73.[10]

Five years later in 1838 John Palmer and George T. Palmer and their families returned to England. Family estates - Hambledon, Pemberton Grange, Waddon Cottage and Richmond Vale were leased out or sold[4].

George T. Palmer and wife, Miss Palmer and the Masters Palmer, Miss Lewis, governess and a servant departed on the Eweretta for London [5]

Lieutenant John Palmer, his wife and children - Harriet b. 1829, Susan Stilwell b. 1830, John Edward b. 1832, George Thomas b. 1834, Emily Ann b. 1835 together with their servant departed for London on the Brilliant in April 1838[6].


Lieutenant John Palmer died at Westbourne Sussex on 3rd November 1839 aged 42 years. [7]

Notes and Links

(1) See Map of the Hunter River - J. Cross for location of Stockrington parish. Index to the Map - University of Newcastle Flickr

(2) In the court case R. V. Boatman and Billy Bulleye - Decisions of the Superior Court of New South Wales the estate owned by John Palmer was Ennindale at Sugarloaf.

(3). {Extract} Memorandum - The half pay of the under mentioned Officers has been cancelled from 27th instant, inclusive, upon their receiving a commutation allowance for their commissions: Second Lieutenant John Palmer, half pay 2d Ceylon Regiment - London Gazette 1830.

(4). Marriage on 15 September at Montrose, of Rev. George T. Palmer, B.A. of St. Peter's College, Cambridge, second son of the late John Palmer, Lieut. Ceylon rifles, to Ann Frances, third daughter of Brigadier James Blair, H.E.I.C.S., - The Indian News and Chronicle of Eastern Affaires: 1857

(5). October 22 1861, At St. John's Calcutta, Arthur John Whalley, esq., civil engineer, son of the Rev. A. Whalley of Bath, Somerset, to Emily third daughter of the late John Palmer, esq., Lieut. Ceylon Rifles. - Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Volume 71

6). Sophia Susannah Palmer sister of Lieutenant John Palmer later married Edward Close of Morpeth.

7) Judge Advocate John Wylde departed on the Mangles in 1825

8). Richmond Vale was offered for sale in 1847 - 680 acres ten miles from Maitland upon which are erected a very compact cottage, barn, stockyard, nearly all fenced in. - Sydney Herald 8 May 1847. In 1851 Frederick Nainby advertised for sale...that beautiful homestead and dairy farm known as Richmond Vale situated about 8 mmiles from Maitland upon which was a neat and commodius cottage, mens' huts, stockyards, out buildlings, cultivation paddocks etc., Described as the best watered farm within 100 miles of Maitland having an extensive Lagoon, besides nearly a mile of Wallis Creek running through it.


[1] Margaret Steven, 'Palmer, John (1760 - 1833)', Australian Dictionary of Biographyrong>, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University

[2] Colonial Secretary's Papers New South Wales Government. Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25. Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162. State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. (Ancestry)

[3] State Records Authority of New South Wales; Registers of Land Grants and Leases; Series: NRS 13836; Item: 7/460; Reel: 2549

[4] Sydney Herald 25 January 1838

[5] Sydney Gazette 18 January 1838

[6] Sydney Monitor 2 May 1838

[7] Sydney Herald 24 April 1840

[8] Hobart Town Gazette 14 September 1822

[9] Wood, W. Allan, Dawn in the Valley, p. 196

[10] Ben Vine, 'John Palmer: The Purser, The POW,' St. John's Cemetery Project, (2016)

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