Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Governor Macquarie to Newcastle - 1818

A View of King's Town from the Dangar Index

Captain James Wallis was Commandant at Newcastle in 1818 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited the settlement.

The Sydney Gazette reported on 1st August 1818.....
'On Monday last the 27th ult. His Excellency the Governor and Mrs. Macquarie and Staff, embarked on the government Brig Elizabeth Henrietta for the Settlement of Newcastle on Hunter's river.

The vessel got under weigh between 2 and 3 o'clock with a fair wind, which continuing equally favourable during the night, makes it probable that she would reach the place of her destination by 9 the next morning.

His Excellency last visited Newcastle in 1812 when in its infant state, and comparatively of little importance, being chiefly appropriated for the reception of convicts whose delinquencies here had rendered them liable to extraordinary punishments. It was also resorted to for supplies of lime, coal, and timber for the uses of Government.'

While the Governor was in Newcastle several convicts mounted a daring escape by water from Sydney. Select here to find out more

Macquarie Pier

Soon after Governor Macquarie's visit work was commenced on Macquarie Pier....

According to an article in the Australian in 1825 - There were no artisans appointed to superintend and direct its construction. The engineers at that time, and up to the time of the work ceasing, were subalterns of the 46th and 48th regiments, and totally ignorant of their duty - the mechanics and workmen generally, were under the orders of an old sergeant of the 46th regiment who was principal superintendent of public works and died at Newcastle. The overseers under him were two stonemasons, who, though good mechanics in their way, were totally unfit to carry such an important undertaking into effect. The work at the pier ceased entirely in the early part of the year 1823 read more in an article in the Australian written in 1825.

The Sergeant mentioned above was John Evans. He gave evidence before Commissioner John Thomas Bigge on 18 January 1819 -

Evidence of Sergeant John Evans, Superintendent of Government Works

1. What is the situation you hold in this settlement? I was and am still a sergeant of the 46th Regiment which was here and [l] have a furlough of eighteen months and I am Superintendent of Convicts and Works here.

2. By whom were you appointed and when? By the Governor on the 16 January, 1819. I had assisted previously the Commandant of this settlement.

3. What are your duties? To superintend the convicts, to muster them, to distribute them to their works according to the orders of the Commandant.

4. What is your salary? Fifty pounds a year and two men on the store.

5. What advantage does the allowance of these men produce to you? About £20 per annum which is paid in grain by the settlers who employ them.

6. Do you receive any fees? I receive only one fourth of the metage dues [fees 2 charged for measuring coal] on coals sold here to colonial vessels. It has amounted to about £3 or £4 per annum.

7. Are the coals so delivered measured? They are measured by weighing a barrow filled up and 83 then reckon the number of these barrows required to load the vessel.

8. Are the constables and overseers under your direction? They are,

9. Are they free men or convicts? All convicts - the Chief Constable has lately received his emancipation. (*This was John Smith who arrived on the General Hewitt in 1814)

10. How many free persons are in the settlement? Only four besides the military. They are Mr Evans, the Assistant Surgeon, Mr Tucker, the store keeper, the schoolmaster [Henry Wrensford], and myself.

11. How do you find the conduct of the overseers and constables? The overseers have not the means of purloining as I constantly change them from one gang to another. The constables I have no confidence in.

12. How are they chosen? I choose the overseers and the Chief Constable

Convict Artisans

James Connolly who arrived on the Providence in 1811 was employed as principal overseer at Macquarie Pier. He was sent on the Elizabeth Henrietta on 5th January 1818 [1]

William Temple who arrived on the General Hewitt in 1814 was employed as Overseer of the pier in 1820.

James Clohesy arrived per Somersetshire 1814. Born in Cork c. 1783. Employed as overseer of the stone masons at Newcastle. Worked on the building of the Church, Gaol, Hospital, Officer's quarters and laid the foundation stone at Macquarie Pier.

One of the men who was sent to Newcastle to work on the pier was stonemason Samuel James Pilkington who arrived on the Lord Eldon in 1817.

Convicts at Newcastle in 1818

(List not complete)

John Brown arrived per Admiral Gambier 1811. In 1820 John Brown was one of the convict pirates who stole a boat at Newcastle.

John Bruce arrived per Canada 1815. Employed as Overseer at Newcastle in 1818. In 1820 received a conditional pardon for his steady industry and good conduct in the construction of the windmill at Newcastle

Julia Bryan arrived per Francis and Eliza 1815. Sent to Newcastle in 1815 and 1818. In 1828 known at the Hunter River as Spotted Doe.

Louisa Clay arrived per Minstrel 1812. Sent to Newcastle in 1816 and 1818

Michael Collett arrived per Sir William Bensley 1817. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818. Killed another prisoner in a boxing match in February.

Anthony Diamond arrived per Shipley 1817. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818

Joseph Edwards arrived per Fortune 1806. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818

Edmond Farley arrived per General Hewitt 1814. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818. Later a servant employed by Thomas Winder. Ticket of leave cancelled in 1832 for uttering forged orders.

John Fitzmorris arrived per Elizabeth 1816

Thomas Fitzpatrick arrived per Canada 1815

John Harper arrived per Earl Spencer 1813

George Highland (Heeland) arrived per Atlas 1816. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818. Died in 1858

William Johnston arrived per Morley 1817

Robert Massiter arrived per Baring 1815

John McDowall arrived per Surry 1814

Patrick McGinnis arrived per Three Bees 1814

John Mullins arrived per Three Bees 1814

William Murphy arrived per Francis and Eliza 1815

Isaac Pettit arrived per General Hewitt 1814. Employed as a wood cutter in 1820

Thomas Powell arrived per Admiral Gambier 1811

George Woodroofe arrrived per Baring 1815

Notes and Links

1). Governor Lachlan Macquarie's Journal to and from Newcastle in 1818 - State Library of New South Wales


[1] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3497 Page: 273