James Phillips Webber arrived in Sydney on the
Minstrel in 1822 with £2000 capital. He was
granted 2020 acres and later 720 acres were added to
it. In 1828 the estate was called Markham.
James Webber's brother
John Phillips Webber arrived on the Hugh
Crawford in 1826. He was granted land higher on
the Paterson River called Penshurst and which
he later sold to George Townshend; and also Guygallon
on the Upper Paterson River. He returned to England in
the mid 1830's and died of small pox in 1845.
James Phillips Webber decided to leave the colony in
1834 and the Estate was advertised for sale. It
consisted of a total of 3320 acres of land, several
acres of grape vines and orchards and a banana
plantation. The land was sown with wheat, corn and
tobacco and the fields stocked with cattle and sheep.
There was a brick cottage and stable attached.
The estate was purchased by Caleb Wilson and his
son Felix in 1834 and re-named Tocal.
Wilson, a widower, and Felix had arrived in Australia
in 1804 on the
Experiment. They became landowners and
merchants in Sydney. They also purchased estate of
Brisbane Grove from George Williams.
buildings recently constructed at Tocal by Caleb
Wilson were destroyed by fire. Two convicts were
seriously injured trying to extinguish the flames.
Later the property was leased to Charles Reynolds
whose family, after many years purchased the property.
It became famous for Hereford cattle and thoroughbred
Felix Wilson resided at Leitrim in
Camperdown, Sydney in the 1840's. Two of his daughters
Alice aged 2 and four days later Esther Sarah aged 11
years died in an outbreak of scarlatina in 1848. The
pronunciation of Tocal was touched on in an article
reminiscing about the old days on the
I was asked one day why
I was stupid, why did I say "Tocal"? that that was not
right, blackfellow call him "Tookle." This statement
was confirmed not very long since by the oldest living
resident now in this district; his name is Cooper, he
lives at Woodville, is nearly blind, but I have no
doubt retains a good recollection of very old times.
What an interesting article might be furnished to the
readers of the Maitland Mercury, if he were
interviewed by one of those clever men who are now
even to be found on the staff of papers of importance
such as the Mercury. This man speaking to me a few
years since of old times said " I was living then at
Tocal, ' Tookle' we called it then," just as my black
informant said (Maitland Mercury 25 August 1877)