Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Memorial of Sir Henry Browne Hayes

Convict at Newcastle 1808

Ensign Villiers took over duties as Commandant at Newcastle from Charles Throsby in September 1808 and remained until December 1808 when William Lawson was appointed to the position.

Several Bligh supporters were rounded up and sent to the Coal River in the aftermath of Governor Bligh's arrest on 26th January 1808. Following is a Memorial written by Sir Henry Browne Hayes complaining of the injustices he had suffered at the hands of Lieut. Lawson.

The Memorial is interesting for the mention of Hayes' cottage, perhaps the earliest reference to this building. A few months later Lieut. Purcell, commandant at Newcastle was given approval by the governor to purchase Hayes' cottage. At this time it had already been converted to a hospital [1]. This was probably the first hospital in Newcastle and may have been the only one until about 1817.

Memorial of Sir Henry Browne Hayes

(Colonial Secretary's Papers)

Vaucluse, 18th March, 1810.

To His Excellency Governor Macquarie

The respectful Memorial of Sir Henry B. Hayes, - Most dutifully sheweth: -

That your memorialist, amongst many unmerited persecutions which he has suffered in this country by means of dark and malignant influence and misrepresentations, humbly begs leave to lay before your Excellency the following instances of oppression which have been practised against your memorialist since the removal and arrest of the late governor Bligh, and which, as they seem to have been set on foot from no other notice or cause but from memorialist's having manifested a sincere and uniform resolution to preserve his faithful allegiance and attachment to the representative of his sovereign, memorialist trusts he may submit to your Excellency as just matter of complaint.

Your memorialist, on the 16th March, 1808, whilst at dinner with some gentlemen, commanders of vessels then in the harbour, was arrested by Redmond the Chief constable, assisted by some other constables and hurried to the Hospital Wharf and forcibly put on board the Resource, then lying there, bound to the Coal River. Your memorialist required to know by what authority this outrage was committed but could obtain no other answer but that it was Captain McArthur's pleasure, and that was sufficient authority for the act; nor was your memorialist suffered to prepare a single article of comfort or necessaries for the voyage, or even to send for a change of apparel, but that evening the vessel sailed down the harbour.

That your memorialist, on his arrival at the place of his destination, received many marks of liberal attention, as well from Mr. Charles Throsby, who then had the command, as from his successor, Lieutenant Villiers; and memorialist is happy to pay his tribute of gratitude to those gentlemen for their delicate and humane commiseration of his circumstances and situation.

That at the expiration of about eight months memorialist was recalled by an order from Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux, who had then arrived in this country, and took on himself to administer the government, in pursuance of which order memorialist arrived at Sydney, and resided constantly on his estate at Vaucluse.

That in the month of May last, memorialist had occasion to come to Sydney to consult a physician on the state of his health, which was much impaired, and was walking peaceably in the town, when he was suddenly set upon by a party of armed men, who said they were constables, and who proceeded with unheard of violence to drag your memorialist to the common jail, in committing which outrage on the person of your memorialist, they tore your memorialist's cloaths, wounded and bruised him, and at length, without any warrant, a pretended authority bore off your memorialist, whom they had thus overpowered, to prison, where your memorialist was that night confined, and early the next morning, in like forcible illegal manner, was sent off again to the coal river, where, unfortunately for your memorialist, Lieutenant Lawson, 102nd Regiment, had got into the command.

That on the 14th day of July, 1809 your memorialist was sent for by Lieutenant Lawson, and whilst your memorialist, unconscious of having done any wrong, or offended Lieutenant Lawson, was proceeding to Government House there, he was suddenly interrupted by Lieutenant Lawson, who vociferacely called out to some of his people, and made use of the following words: 'Seize the villain by the scruff of the neck and drag him to the guard house'. That your memorialist endeavoured by remonstrance to learn the cause of this fresh outrage, but was prevented by the constant vociferation of Lieutenant Lawson, who loudly called out that he would flay your memorialist, and put him to work on the shell boat. That memorialist was dragged, in strict obedience to Lieutenant Lawson's commands, which it seems no one there then dared to hesitate in performing, and kept closely confined till night, and in the course of the afternoon a messenger came from Lieutenant Lawson to demand the key of memorialist's house, which memorialist refused to deliver, and the consequence was the house was broke open, the contents rifled, scattered, wrecked, and exposed to general plunder, your memorialist's papers taken away, furnishing amusement to the lower orders of people assembled in their huts in the evening, whilst other papers were returned to your memorialist. Those which related to your memorialist's private and domestic concerns were withheld, and memorialist has not been able to regain possession of them, nor of his private letter book.

That Lieutenant Lawson, by way of pursuing the system of oppression which he had thus wantonly commenced, seized every opportunity to harass and distress your memorialist, regardless of his extreme ill health and infirmities, which required attendance and nourishment; and with a view to cut off your memorialist from every resource of this kind, Lieutenant Lawson published an order threatening to punish any man with 200 lashes who should do anything for your memorialist, or even to seem to hold converse with him.

Your memorialist repeats his declaration of being unconscious of any act he had ever done to merit such severe, such unheard of treatment, and if, from the temporary zeal of his mind, and an honest indignation at the outrages and indignities committed against the representative of Majesty, your memorialist has expressed himself incautiously and unsuspecting that his words would be reported with the usual additions and tortured construction by spies and emissaries, and such expressions have been offensive and irreconcilable to men not in authority, but in power, memorialist humbly trusts he may be permitted to plea the justice of the cause by which he felt himself actuated, and that since those measure have been marked by His Majesty's displeasure, it will not be deemed wrong in a faithful and loyal subject to have animadverted upon them according to their deserts.

May it therefore please your Excellency to order the papers so illegally seized to be restored to your memorialist, and that you will please to grant him such relief in the premises as to your wisdom shall seem fit

Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. VII, Bligh and Macquarie 1809 - 1811. Edited by F. M. Bladen, Lansdowne Slattery and Company, Mona Vale, N.S.W.,1979, pp. 316, 317, 318, 319.


[1]. Colonial Secretary's Correspondence. Copies of Letters Sent To Van Diemen's Land, Newcastle and Norfolk Island, 1810 - 1813. Correspondence to John Purcell, commandant at Newcastle, 10 October 1810.