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Governor Macquarie's Visit to Newcastle



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 Governor Macquarie


Captain James Wallis was Commandant at Newcastle in 1818 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited .......The Sydney Gazette reported on 1st August 1818.....'

On Monday last the 27th ult. His Excellency the Governor and Mrs. Macquarie and Staff, embarked on the government Brig Elizabeth Henrietta for the Settlement of Newcastle on Hunter’s river.

The vessel got under weigh between 2 and 3 o’clock with a fair wind, which continuing equally favourable during the night, makes it probable that she would reach the place of her destination by 9 the next morning.

His Excellency last visited Newcastle in 1812 when in its infant state, and comparatively of little importance, being chiefly appropriated for the reception of convicts whose delinquencies here had rendered them liable to extraordinary punishments. It was also resorted to for supplies of lime, coal, and timber for the uses of Government.'

While the Governor was in Newcastle several convicts mounted a daring escape by water from Sydney. Select here to find out more

Soon after Governor Macquarie's visit work was commenced on Macquarie Pier....

According to the Australian - There were no artisans appointed to superintend and direct its construction. The engineers at that time, and up to the time of the work ceasing, were subalterns of the 46th and 48th regiments, and totally ignorant of their duty - the mechanics and workmen generally, were under the orders of an old sergeant of the 46th regiment who was principal superintendent of public works and died at Newcastle. The overseers under him were two stonemasons, who, though good mechanics in their way, were totally unfit to carry such an important undertaking into effect. The work at the pier ceased entirely in the early part of the year more in an article in the Australian written in 1825.

The Sergeant mentioned above was John Evans. He gave evidence before Commissioner John Thomas Bigge in 1819.

Evidence of Sergeant John Evans, Superintendent of Government works 18 January 1819.....

1. What is the situation you hold in this settlement? I was and am still a sergeant of the 46th Regiment which was here and [l] have a furlough of eighteen months and I am Superintendent of Convicts and Works here.

2. By whom were you appointed and when? By the Governor on the 16 January, 1819. I had assisted previously the Commandant of this settlement.

3. What are your duties? To superintend the convicts, to muster them, to distribute them to their works according to the orders of the Commandant.

4. What is your salary? Fifty pounds a year and two men on the store.

5. What advantage does the allowance of these men produce to you? About £20 per annum which is paid in grain by the settlers who employ them.

6. Do you receive any fees? I receive only one fourth of the metage dues [fees 2 charged for measuring coal] on coals sold here to colonial vessels. It has amounted to about £3 or £4 per annum.

7. Are the coals so delivered measured? They are measured by weighing a barrow filled up and 83 then reckon the number of these barrows required to load the vessel.

8. Are the constables and overseers under your direction? They are,

9. Are they free men or convicts? All convicts - the Chief Constable has lately received his emancipation. (*This was John Smith who arrived on the General Hewitt in 1814)

10. How many free persons are in the settlement? Only four besides the military. They are Mr Evans, the Assistant Surgeon, Mr Tucker, the store keeper, the schoolmaster [Henry Wrensford], and myself.

11. How do you find the conduct of the overseers and constables? The overseers have not the means of purloining as I constantly change them from one gang to another. The constables I have no confidence in.

12. How are they chosen? I choose the overseers and the Chief Constable

James Connolly who arrived on the Providence in 1811 was employed as principal overseer. He was sent on the Elizabeth Henrietta on 5th January 1818(1)

William Temple who arrived on the General Hewitt in 1814 was employed as Overseer of the pier in 1820.

One of the men who was sent to Newcastle to work on the pier was stonemason Samuel James Pilkington who arrived on the Lord Eldon in 1817.


Some of the convicts at Newcastle in 1818 included:

John Brown Admiral Gambier 1811. In 1820 John Brown was one of the convict pirates who stole a boat at Newcastle.
John Bruce Canada 1815. Employed as Overseer at Newcastle in 1818. In 1820 received a conditional pardon for his steady industry and good conduct in the construction of the windmill at Newcastle
Julia Bryan Francis & Eliza 1815. Sent to Newcastle in 1815 and 1818. In 1828 known at the Hunter River as Spotted Doe.
Louisa Clay Minstrel 1812. Sent to Newcastle in 1816 and 1818
James Clohesy Somersetshire 1814. Employed as overseer of the stone masons at Newcastle. Worked on the building of the church.
Michael Collett Sir William Bensley 1817. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818. Killed another prisoner in a boxing match in February.
Anthony Diamond Shipley 1817. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818
Joseph Edwards Fortune 1806. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818
Edmond Farley General Hewitt 1814. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818. Later a servant employed by Thomas Winder. Ticket of leave cancelled in 1832 for uttering forged orders.
John Fitzmorris Elizabeth 1816
Thomas Fitzpatrick Canada 1815
John Harper Earl Spencer 1813
George Highland (Heeland) Atlas 1816. Sent to Newcastle in January 1818. Died in 1858
William Johnston Morley 1817
Robert Massiter Baring 1815
John McDowall Surry 1814
Patrick McGinnis Three Bees 1814
John Mullins Three Bees 1814
William Murphy Francis & Eliza 1815
Isaac Pettit General Hewitt 1814. Employed as a wood cutter in 1820
Thomas Powell Admiral Gambier 1811
George Woodroofe Baring 1815


Notes & Links:

1). Governor Lachlan Macquarie's Journal to and from Newcastle in 1818 - State Library of New South Wales

Governor Macquarie's Journal


2). View of King's Town (Newcastle)....

A View of King's Town from the "Dangar Index". (1818 - 1820)

University of Newcastle - Flickr - Click to enlarge

Newcastle Through the Years
1791   1797   1801   1802   1804   1805   1807   1808   1809   1810   1811   1812  1813  1814   1815   1816   1818   1820   1821   1822   1823   1824   1825   1826   1827   1828   1829   1831   1833   1836   1837   1838   1841   1844   1855   1857


(1) : New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825  Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3497 Page: 273




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