John Field was born in the colony c. 1794. His wife was
Eliza Jane Brady who was born in the colony in 1804.
John Field was employed as
Superintendent of Parramatta Barracks 1822 - 1824. His wife gave birth to
twin girls on 28th August 1823 at Parramatta. On 29th December 1823
he wrote to the Colonial
Secretary.....Having resigned my situation as Superintendent of the
Prisoners Barracks at Parramatta, I am now desirous of settling myself at
Newcastle for which purpose I respectfully solicit your kind intercession
with his Excellency the Governor to Grant me a lease of allotment to erect a
dwelling house on.
I am the more solicitous of obtain this favour from
the circumstance of my mother in law and her family residing at that
settlement. Your compliance will be gratefully acknowledged by him who begs
leave to subscribe himself your most obedient servant John Field.
On 8 May 1824, at Newcastle John Field, son of William
Field wrote to the authorities..... - That your Excellency Memorialist is
the son of Quarter Master Field formerly of 73rd regiment was born in the
colony. That Memorialist was brought up in the Military Profession and
having served as he humbly trust with the most unblemished reputation in the
73rd regiment as a non commissioned officer returned from India to this
country where he married a native girl who now resides with him at Newcastle
where your Excellency was graciously pleased to grant him a town allotment.
That Memorialist having some property is desirous of commencing farming
instead of remaining permanently at Newcastle as was his original intention
and therefore humbly and respectfully begs leave to solicit your Excellency
that you may be graciously please to grant him a section of land in such
unlocated parts of Hunter River as your Excellency in your superior wisdom
shall think proper.
John Field was granted 240 acres in May 1824(8)
In correspondence dated 9 April 1825, Eliza Creek, Hunter
River, he informed the authorities that his family consisted of himself, his
wife and two convict servants - John Heafy per Castle Forbes and Thomas
Murphy per the Recovery. They were all granted permission to be victualled
from the Stores at Newcastle for six months from May 1825.
He was promised 60 acres as a secondary grant by Governor Sir Ralph
Darling in November 1825(1) and also an allotment in the town of Newcastle.
John Field was employed as district constable at Eliza
Creek, Port Stephens in 1828(5) In the 1828 Census John's age is recorded as 34, Eliza 24, daughter Eliza 3
and Mary Ann aged 1. Daughter Eliza Field married
Henry Fenwick in 1848.
John Field was employed as
Chief Constable at Port Stephens in
Thomas Bowden applied for the 240
acre grant promised to John Field in
April 1834.(Co. Northumberland.
Parish of Alnwick, Grant No. 130.
Bounded by the farm of Francis
Greenway) (3) This estate known as
Home Bush Estate was offered for
sale in April 1886 - A Grant from
the Crown to the Late John Field,
Governor of Newcastle Gaol in 1837
and subsequent years. This splendid
property comprises sixty acres of
pasture and orchard beautifully
situated on the banks of the
navigable river Hunter midway
between Newcastle and Maitland. Also
a Stone Built Dwelling House
containing four rooms, hall,
verandah; two rooms 15ft by 12 ft;
two rooms 15 feet by 15 feet; height
of ceiling 11 feet; kitchen, two
rooms built of stone. Outbuildings -
shed, swine house etc. (2).
John Field was appointed
Gaoler at Newcastle
about 1834/35. He was highly regarded for his solicitous treatment of the
prisoners, however his job was not an easy one. ......
Gaol Disturbance.-On Saturday last a disturbance took
place in the gaol airing yard in which the male prisoners are confined,
occasioned by the insubordinate conduct of the prisoners who lately escaped
from the hospital at this place, taking with them out of the harbour the
cutter "Brothers." Mr. Field, observing that these men resisted the gaol
constables in the execution of their duty, immediately applied for a
military guard," which was promptly forwarded from the barracks, and on
their arrival at the gaol the prisoners were secured before any serious
mischief was done. The visiting justice, accompanied by Captain Armstrong,
J.P. investigated the affair, and sentenced four of these Norfolk Island
expirees to be placed in solitary confinement for one calendar month..
died on 15th May 1845 in the 53rd year
of his age. We regret extremely to hear of the demise of this gentleman
which took place at 3am. He had been for a long time head gaoler at
Newcastle which situation he filled to the perfect satisfaction of the
authorities. This together with his kindness and urbanity to the prisoners,
caused him to be respected by all who knew him.
..... he was a
zealous servant in that capacity for ten years, a warm friend, a kind
father, and an affectionate husband.
John Field's private worth will be
justly remembered by many, even beyond the circle of his family and friends.
But one whose personal knowledge enables him to record his character as a
public officer, feels that in doing so he discharges a religious duty. Mr.
F. obtained the appointment of gaoler about ten years ago, by the
Sir Edward Parry, whose cordial solicitude for his welfare
procured for Mr. F., when his patron left the colony, the countenance and
good offices of that excellent man's friends.
Having resolved to
correct the demeanour of the miserable persons under his charge, he entered
on the task by enforcing the sanctity of the Lord's Day. This he effected
with a perseverance, kindness, and consistency to be ascribed to other
sentiments than those of official obligation. But his anxiety on their
behalf went beyond considerations of discipline. When he could do so without
violence to peculiarities of faith, he spoke of truths on which he rested
his own hopes of happiness ; and we may hope that many of that class of
persons to whom the gaol of Newcastle was as the gates of death, learned the
way of salvation through the prayers and persuasions of their gaoler. A
public servant who seeks in the first place the approbation of God and his
conscience, meets with many vexations ; satisfied with the rectitude of his
own intentions, he does not perceive the propriety of securing the
commendations of others, nor does he fear their censure. This was Mr. F.'s
experience. Although honored with the kind consideration of the
functionaries of the courts of law ; although allowed by the Judges the
privilege of speech to an extent approaching to familiarity, because of
their confidence in his good faith ; although his eulogium was repeatedly
pronounced by these dignitaries from the bench and in their chambers ; yet
he was sometimes misunderstood, and generally most severely condemned when
most punctually dutiful. These calamities nearly overwhelmed him, but they
are mentioned here because of his reliance upon the particular providence of
God, whose signal mercies in raising up friends in his distress, in the most
remarkable as well as unexpected manner, he used to recount with overflowing
gratitude, and with the humility of a Christian. "Verily there is a God who
judgeth the earth.".
William Tristram was appointed gaoler at Newcastle gaol on the death
of John Field. George Brooks of Newcastle and Jeremiah Ledsam of West
Maitland were the Executors of his Will.
(1) Series: (NRS 898) Special bundles, 1794-1825 Item:
9/2740 Page: 12
(2) Maitland Mercury 13 April 1886
(3) Government Gazette 1834
(4) Maitland Mercury 31 May 1845
(5) 1828 Census
(6) In the Service of the Company. Letters of Sir Edward
Parry, Volume 2 June 1832 - March 1834 Letter 677
(7) Maitland Mercury 8 June 1844
(8) Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Colonial
Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent
within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3511 Page: 323
(9)Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Colonial
Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 897) Main series of letters
received, 1788-1825 Item: 4/1812 Page: 37