arrived in Australia in
1804 aboard the English
whaler Alexander. He had an adventurous life and
captained ships in the sealing and sandalwood trade.
became master of the King George at the end of 1807 and
brought cargoes of sandalwood, seal oil and seal furs to
In Sydney, Siddons was
employed as Captain of the Campbell Macquarie
by ship owner
Joseph Underwood. Underwood had
purchased the Campbell Macquarie in Calcutta. In
1811 and in 1812 Siddons returned to India on the
and later in that year arrived in
Port Jackson with prisoners and a cargo of
spirits. Also on board a soldier of the Dragoons,
Soon after he again
set out on the Campbell Macquarie on a sealing
voyage to the South seas. They called at Kangaroo Island
and collected seal skins and salt and then headed for
Macquarie Island. The area was treacherous, and the seas
wild when on a foggy night in June 1812 the first mate
James Kelly failed to notice how dangerously close the
ship was to the shoreline. When the alarm was
finally raised, Captain Siddons called all hands to
deck, however attempts to set sails failed and the ship
Siddons tried to
anchor the ship but the anchors dragged and the ship
began taking water. That night they launched their
lifeboats in gale force winds and luckily made it to
shore where the next day they began salvaging efforts,
rowing through the dangerous surf again and again. They
continued to toil or a fortnight and built a hut for
storage during this time. Some of their efforts were
doomed however as high tides washed some of the precious
water supplies and seal skins out to sea where they were
destroyed. While they awaited rescue the crew foraged
for food, killed more seals and dried the skins. They
probably made shelters and clothes for themselves
but conditions were harsh and at least four of the
castaways died. Twelve of them were rescued by the
Perseverance, a ship that had arrived at Macquarie
Island to collect a gang of sealers in October of 1812.
Underwood sent the ship Elizabeth and Mary to the
Island to rescue the remaining crew.
In 1816 Richard Siddons married Jane Powell at St. Phillips in Sydney.
The couple set sail in the Campbell Macquarie soon
1823 he applied for the position of harbour pilot in
Sydney. The couple's son Joseph was born the following
In 1824 Richard
Siddons received a 640 acre grant of land at the Hunter
river, The boundary commenced at the South West corner
Farm. Across the river in 1837 was the
holding of J.T. Lamb. The area was known as Motto Farm and Heatherbrae.
Two convicts servants at
his grant in 1828 were Jeremiah Burnes and Darby Burnes
(Byrnes) who had arrived on the
Ann & Amelia in
1825. Darby married Mary Duffy in Maitland in 1837. They
were described as living at 'Hollow Tree'
Newcastle and Hunter River.
The Siddons family
not reside at the Hunter River property as he continued his position as
harbour pilot in Sydney. In 1830 as a Mr. Furneraux
(or Furner) was renting his estate.
Oliver Graham (cousin of
George Graham) assisted
Sir Edward Parry
as he travelled from George Graham's property
to Newcastle. They had to swim across the river with
their horses to a landing spot just below Sparks farm,
'a heavy swim' that they would have been unable to
manage without the assistance of Graham and Furneraux
In 1830 while working as
Pilot (Sydney) Richard Siddon's boat was upset forcing him to swim for over 1/2 an hour to reach
shore. He was luckier than his crew however, one of whom drowned.
In 1832 he resigned from
this position due to ill health. He was then employed as Superintendent of
the Light House at South Head a position he retained for several years.
Richard became unwell and sold his
property at Hunter River. He died in Sydney in 1846.
His son Joseph
took over duties as Light House keeper at the Macquarie Lighthouse and
remained there until 1897. Joseph married Frances Hannah, the fifth daughter
Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld
on 6th October 1847,
at Bathurst Street, Sydney.