James Bowman entered the Royal Navy as an assistant
surgeon in 1806. He was promoted to surgeon in 1807.
He was appointed Principal Surgeon for the colony of New
South Wales after arriving on the
John Barry in
1819. He had previously been employed as surgeon
superintendent on the
Mary Anne in
1816 and Lord
Eldon in 1817.
James Bowman was on the local
committee of the
Agricultural Company from 1824 until 1829. Other members
of the committee were James Macarthur, Hannibal Macarthur,
and Captain King.
He married Mary Isabella
Macarthur, the second daughter of John Macarthur in 1823 and
by 1832 had established a sheep run on more than 11,000
acres at Ravensworth. He did not reside at Ravensworth as he
worked at the General Hospital in Sydney. The Ravensworth
Estate was worked by overseers and assigned convicts.
In March 1832 Ravensworth was visited by Australian
Agricultural company Commissioner Sir
Edward Parry on his journey to the
Plains. Parry and his party had left Maitland at 9 am
and reached Glendon, the estate of
Helenus and Robert Scott by
4pm. The following day they left Glendon at 10am and
proceeded across Black Creek. After this the road passed
James Mudie's Castle
Forbes through Henry
Dangar's Neotsfield to the Hunter River
crossing near Singleton's
Plough Inn. After crossing the river the first
property was James Glennie's
Dulwich and the road then went via Ravensworth
where they arrived at at 3 o'clock.
They were kindly
received by managers Mr. & Mrs.
James White who were formerly in the service of the
Agricultural Company. Here Sir Edward was comfortably
lodged, although he did not think highly of the Estate. He
thought a great deal of money must have been spent to clear
and stump large home paddocks. The flat land near the Foy
Brook, Mr. White did not consider good and the higher land
was too thickly timbered with ironbark to be of any good or
even middling quality. Dr. Bowman was building a substantial
stone cottage for the use of Mr. White. Their garden
consisted of 8 acres fenced with a paling fence and a little
stream running through it. It was partly laid out in a
tasteful and ornamental manner. Sir Edward thought that if 5
or 6 men could always be employed it could soon be a very
handsome garden however he thought it too large for a
private estate like Ravensworth. On leaving
Ravensworth, Parry's party would have continued on the
road which passed over Saltwater Creek and over the ridges.
Once in the valley the road divided with one branch
Muswellbrook and the other towards
Ravensworth estate was visited By Lieutenant George
Pulteney Malcolm in October/ November 1835.....
Lieutenant Malcolm had arrived on the
Porcher in 1835 and spent over a year in New South
Wales travelling extensively. He kept a journal throughout
the voyage and afterwards on his travels in Australia. A
copy of the journal is held by the
State Library of New South Wales. Lieutenant Malcolm
spent six weeks in the Hunter region where he also visited
Robert and Helenus Scott at
Glendon and brothers
Henry and William
Ravensworth was also visited
by missionaries Backhouse and Walker in June 1836........
During these years James Bowman engaged architect
John Verge to design and build
a mansion on 36 acres at Glebe called Lyndhurst. He
may not have resided here very long as he had retired to
Ravensworth by 1840 when
James White departed.
At Singleton he became
involved in community affairs in the district and held the
position of President of the Singleton Benevolent Society
and donated land for a church near Camberwell. The infamous
bushrangers the Jewboy Gang
robbed nine drays near his estate around this time.
James Bowman died in August 1846 at Ravensworth.
After his death Ravensworth was purchased by
Captain William Russell. Captain Russell arrived in the
colony in 1837 and became a pastoralist and agriculturalist.
He later acquired other properties as well including
Glenridding near Singleton,
William Russell died in
England in 1866. Ravensworth was subdivided in 1882
and part of the estate was eventually purchased by
Duncan Forbes Mackay.
Notes & Links:
1). Parliamentary Papers
- Correspondence relative to Crown Lands....
Among the Pastoralists - Maitland Weekly Mercury 7