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Hunter Valley Settlers


George Thomas Graham

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Newcastle - Ash Island - Hunter River - Iron Bark Creek


George Thomas Graham was twenty four years old when he arrived in 1827 on the Marquis of Anglesea. His brother James Graham arrived on the same vessel. He was granted 640 acres of land by Governor Darling on 14 December 1827. Known by Aborigines as 'Warraburreen', this land was situated about 12 miles from Newcastle.

In 1830 Sir Edward Parry,, on a trip from Tahlee to Newcastle found there was a good marked path all the way which could not be mistaken and the distance was about 21 miles from Tahlee which took them three hours. Sir Edward's party were most kindly received by Mr. George Graham and his Cousin Oliver however the Graham's boat was not available for Parry to cross the river and he was obliged to accept the Graham's hospitality for the night. He later described Graham's farm:

'Everybody who complains of their lot in this colony ought to visit those who are established as settlers. For nothing in the shape of description can possibly convey an adequate idea of the state of dirty wretchedness and want of comfort in which they live for several of their first years. Mr. Graham's father kept his hunters in England. They now live in a miserable slab hut of their own building open to admit the wind and rain in most parts badly thatched with reeds, of which the color is not to be seen within for smoke and dirt with which it is covered - no floor - the fireplace a recess made of slabs - their beds a sort of cot slung with bullock's hide to the rough rafters, and everything giving the idea of filth and wretchedness. They wait entirely on themselves chop their wood, boil their kettle, wash their cups. and pannikins - plough, reap - and everything else, themselves. They slept under their cart for three weeks, keeping watch with a loaded gun alternately. Mr. Graham has about 80 acres under cultivation, all good alluvial land close to the river, with a bank forming a natural wharf which will admit of a vessel drawing 8ft. of water. The grant of 640 acres is certainly an excellent one - probably 540 acre of excellent land. A good creek runs up from the river close to the house, with a good depth of water in it. The ground still requires draining in some parts but is easily drainable; a rising bank , which has evidently been once the bank of the river affords an excellent position for building, Graham rents also from the Government a few hundred acres of grazing land at the bank of his own. His average crops have been the last year , from 14 to 40 bushels per acres of maize ( average about 30) and 7 to 10 bushels of wheat.'

Despite this description, George Thomas Graham did have convict servants assigned to him in 1828 - William Abrahams, William Daniel, James Coombs and John Horton who arrived on the Hooghley and Thomas Clifton who arrived on Earl St. Vincent.

Settlers like the Graham family not only had to battle fires and floods but also had to contend with dishonest or absconding assigned servants who turned to bushranging to sustain themselves. Convicts who had absconded from Vicars Jacob's farm and formed a gang (Mr. Jacob's Irish Brigade (Jacob's Mob) were active in the area in these years, terrorising settlers and travellers alike. The Graham's were robbed by John Callaghan and their convict servant John Horton who were indicted for the theft in 1831.

In September 1833 George Graham married Miss Janet Carmichael a sister of Rev. Henry Carmichael and then in December 1835 the Rev. Henry Carmichael married Mrs. Nancy McClymont at the residence of G.T. Graham of Newtown, Sydney.

The estate was advertised for sale in the Sydney Herald in February 1834 and described as - ' 640 acres, a Grant from the Crown, having one mile of frontage on the navigable part of Hunter's River; bounded on the west by the Hunter, on the South by Siddon's grant and on the north by a village reserve. The steam boats afford a communication three times a week with Sydney and the estate commands an extensive and never failing grazing run reaching for several miles over undulating forest and reedy swamps towards Port Stephens. One hundred acres of brush land, alluvial soil and blady grass flats have been cleared, fenced and in cultivation. There is an orchard stocked with worked fruit trees of the finest kinds; a vineyard of one acre, trenched three spade deep, fenced and planted with choice vines of the more hardy sort; the frame of a substantial and commodious verandah cottage residence of 4 rooms with a kitchen detached has been erected and part of the materials for completing it were on the ground. A large substantial slab barn, with stock yard, huts are built.'

In October 1839 Archibald ndeyer purchased Kinross from George Graham. Windeyer enlarged Kinross purchasing two parcels of land adjoining in 1841.     

Ash Island - Alexander Walker Scott John Laurio Platt Australian Agricultural Company Joseph Weller George Weller William Brooks Jonathon Warner George Brooks Richard Windeyer & Adam Beveridge William Peppercorn Richard Siddons John Maclean G.T. Graham William Sparke Henry Rae Vicars Jacob Francis Shortt Francis Moran John Eales William Bradridge Nobbys Island c. 1910 Black Swan from the Skottowe Collecion. Artist R. Browne Iron Bark Creek 1907 Escape of Convicts - Bushrangers

 








 

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