Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Joseph Onus - Settler

Map 5

Joseph Onus (Oness) (Honess) arrived on the Glatton in 1803 after receiving a life sentence in 1801 in Kent.

The Sydney Gazette recorded the arrival of the Glatton on the 19th March - the Glatton had put into Rio de Janeiro en route and arrived in Sydney Cove with 263 male convicts and 130 female convicts, twelve having died on the voyage. One hundred scurvy weakened convicts were put on board the Supply the day before the Glatton arrived in Sydney Cove. Half of these were sent immediately to the Sydney Hospital to recover.


Joseph Onus resided in the Windsor district in 1825 with his wife Anne (nee Ether), age 31 and children Elizabeth (14), Mary (12), Susannah (10), Joseph (7), William (3) and Thomas (6).

Joseph and his assigned servants made several journeys with cattle in the 1820's from Windsor to the farm of Benjamin Singleton in the Hunter Valley and in 1824 he was allowed temporary occupation of land at Cockfighters Creek to use as a grazing run.

James Bowman John Gaggin George Bowman James Glennie David Brown alt=James Mein Dight Family Robert Hoddle George Galway Mills Thomas Parmeter James Hale Richard Hill George Bowman William Sims Bell Robert Adamson Rodd John Howe John Martin Davis Richard Hobden Robert Pringle Sampson Marshall Robert Dawson Archibald Mosman Early Settler Map 5

Land Acquisition

He purchased 1000 acres of land in August 1825 and was granted 550 acres in November 1825. He also leased a grazing run at Liverpool Plains called Boorambil.


Joseph Onus died on 22nd June, 1835.

Assigned Convicts

Convicts and other workers employed by Joseph Onus at Cockfighter's Creek included:

Thomas Ether employed as overseer. Born in the colony
James Leach per Mangles
Robert McNeal per Asia
Lawrence O'Connor per Isabella
Joseph Sharpe Born in the colony
George Smith per Shipley
Thomas Ward per Henry

Notes and Links

Boorambil on the Liverpool Plains was robbed by the Hunter River Banditti in July 1830. After they had robbed the station of Hugh Cameron, they proceeded to Joseph Onus's station....

Charles Westbury, Morgan Browne, Patrick Donnelly, and John Donovan, were indicted for stealing in the dwelling-home of James Onus, at Liverpool Plains, one Samuel Middleton, and one Nicholas Connor being therein and put in bodily fear. Nicholas Connor I am an assigned servant to Mr. Onus, of Richmond, who has a cattle-station at Liverpool Plains; I was there in July last, and lived in the same hut with

Samuel Middleton ; about three quarters of an hour after sun-down, one evening in July, I was sitting at the fire and eating my supper, with my face to the door. when four men whom I did not know entered the hut; I jumped up from the fire, and attempted to run into an inner room, where the arms were, when they dragged me out, and made me sit down on a log ; Samuel Middleton, who was in the hut with me, said it was no use to resist ; they then searched the house, and remained in it about half an hour; they were each armed with a largo stick ; they look away a gun, a sword, one pistol, a blanket, eight pounds of tobacco, and some wearing apparel belonging to me ; they also took some clothing belonging to Samuel Middleton ; the gun belonged to Mr, Onus, the sword to the overseer, and the pistol to Samuel Middleton ; when they took the things out of the hut four of the men carried them away, leaving one behind, till they were a considerable distance off when they called to him, and he followed ; the prisoner, Donovan, was one of the men who entered the house ; I also saw a man named Jones outside the door; none of the men used any violence towards me. Samuel Middleton corroborated the evidence of the last witness. Four men came into the hut, and one remained outside the door; the prisoner, Donovan, was one of the four who entered the hut; the man who was outside is named Jones. John Jones, an approver, was next examined, and said- In July last, I was a prisoner of the Crown, at large in the bush, having absconded from No. 9 iron-gang, stationed 'at Wiseman's; I know Mr. Onus' cattle-station at Liverpool Plains ; I went, there, in July 1830, in company with the prisoner, Donovan, and three other men, to rob the place ; there were two men in the hut when we went there ; I remained 'outside the door and the others went in ; Donovan was armed with a large slick, the other men had no arms ; we took out of the hut a gun, a sword, a pistol, several articles of clothing and other property ; none of the prisoners at the bar, except Donovan, accompanied me in the com- mission of this robbery ; after we left the place with the property, three of the men pursued their way into the bush, bat Donovan and I happening to go into a hut at Mr. Jones's station, were apprehended there by two of the mounted police. Donovan, on being called upon for his defence denied the charge, but called no witnesses.

The Learned Judge summed up the evidence, and told the jury that there was nothing in the testimony adduced in this case to affect any of the prisoners except Donovan. The jury found Donovan guilty, and acquitted the other prisoners. Jones, the approver, was then called forward, and, in answers to some questions put to him by the Court, said that he was with Donovan in the bush for upwards of six months ; I was engaged in several robberies during that time, but Donovan was present only at that committed at Mr. Onus's station, to my knowledge ; he was acquainted with the other prisoners tried to-day, and also with those of the same gang who have been executed.

The Learned Judge, after an impressive address, passed sentence of death upon the prisoner Donovan, and ordered him for execution on such day as His Excellency the Governor may be pleased to appoint. - Sydney Gazette 4 June 1831