Robert Lethbridge was born at Okehampton, Devon in 1790,
son of Christopher and Jane (nee Arscott) Lethbridge.
The following children were born to Christopher and Jane
at Okehampton (3).......
John 22 April 1772
George 10 August 1773
Grace 5 July 1776
Jane 29 December 1777
Catherine 31 August 1779
Sarah Arscott 12 June 1781
Thomas 14 February 1783
Elizabeth 10 August 1785
Christopher 12 February
Robert 2 April 1790
Thomas Arscott 25 November 1794
Lethbridge entered the navy in 1811......
In August 1821 Robert Lethbridge, formerly
of the Royal Navy, sailed to Australia via the Cape in
command of the ship
departed Sydney for the return voyage to London in
February 1822 with a cargo of whale oil and wool. A
fire was discovered on board while off the Cape of Good
Hope and while passengers and crew stood off in a
longboat, Captain Lethbridge and four men remained on
board in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the
flames. The ship was burnt to the water line and the
passengers and crew eventually made it to Cape Town
after a fatiguing journey overland. Dispatches from
Governor Macquarie were saved by Captain Lethbridge. See
Sydney Gazette 6 September 1822
for the full story.
Robert Lethbridge returned to his home Okehampton, Devon
England where he married Mary Cunninghame (born
Luxmoore) in September 1822.
Robert and Mary Lethbridge arrived in New South Wales
on the Lusitania in May 1823 where Robert took up a
grant of land at Prospect that he named Flushcombe.
He had been granted 1000 acres by Governor Brisbane
for saving the government dispatches when the Grace
went down and he was on a list of settlers who received
an order for a grant dated 8 May 1825 for 1000 acres.
Possession of a 1000 acre grant at Falbrook was authorized by
Governor Darling on 20 May 1831 as an additional grant
being in lieu of like quantity promised by Gov.
grant at Bridgman
near Falbrook was
who also had a smaller grant nearby.
Select here to read about the massacre that took
place at Bridgman in 1826.
Some of the assigned
servants and workers at Bridgman in 1828 were
Stephen Brooks per Ocean;
James Sheehan per Prince Regent;
John Cope per Phoenix;
James Davis per Albion.
Duncan McCallum per Dick, was
employed as a builder and Michael Mulcahy as overseer
of convicts in 1828.
Captain Lethbridge also acquired
at Maitland where he resided for several years and this
is the estate which can be seen on the map above next to
Henry Owen's Aberglasslyn. His house was
considered to be better than most on the Hunter; he
drove a very fine carriage and was at one time referred
to as 'the Squire of Maitland' (4)
per Edward and Mary Ann Smith per Princess Royal were
two of the
assigned servants working at Oakhampton in 1832.
In 1844 the beautiful Estate of
Oakhampton Park was
advertised for lease. Still owned by Robert Lethbridge,
the stone house on the estate had recently undergone a
thorough repair, newly papered and painted. The cleared
land comprised of about 80 acres and the run bounded by
the Hunter River consisted of 400 acres. The lake
situated at the foot of the lawn abounded in wildfowl
and fish. All the land situated on the south west side
of the Lake (295 acres) was to be sold.
In November 1848
five hundred acres of the
Oakhampton estate was auctioned by local auctioneer
Jeremiah Ledsam. At this time it was described as
situated within 1 1/2 miles of West Maitland and being
of rich arable land, well watered by the River Hunter on
the one side, and by a lagoon on the other. The property
was said to be renown for its productive qualities and
unrivalled in New South Wales. The land was to be
sub-divided into farms of 20 acres each and upwards with
'a view to encourage, establish and perpetuate an
Later a boiling down
facility was established at or near Oakhampton by
In 1849 Robert Lethbridge returned to
1851 Census he and Mary resided at Okehampton, Devon
with with their unmarried children Mary Jane age 25,
Elford C. age 21, Harriet age 17 (who had all been born
in New South Wales). His occupation is given as Lieut.
R.N. (Half Pay). Mary Lethbridge died in Devon in
Lethbridge died on June 3rd 1864 at the Vicarage West Shurrock,
Essex, aged 74 years.
His Will was dated 6 July 1864....The Will of the Honourable Robert Lethbridge formerly of Sydney in the Colony of New
South Wales afterwards of Southsea in the County of Southampton but late
of West Thurrock Romford in the county of Essex, Captain in HM Navy
deceased, who died 3 June 1864 at West Thurrock aforesaid was proved at
the Principal Registry by the oaths of the Reverend Elford Copland
Lethbridge of West Thurrock aforesaid Clerk the Son etc.,(2)
Notes & Links:
1). Obituary of George Langworthy
Lethbridge, son of Robert Lethbridge: -
old Singleton identity in the person of Mr. George
Langworthy Lethbridge passed away recently when within a
few weeks of his 90th birthday. The deceased was a son
of Captain Robert Lethbridge, R.N., who was given a
grant of land by Governor Bourke for his conduct in
saving the Governor's despatches when his ship was burnt
at sea in 1821.
The late Mr.
was born at Parramatta in 1827, and was educated at The
King's School, and in England. After his return from
England he was occupied on his father's estate at
Bridgman, near Singleton, and a little later went to
manage a cattle station of his father's on the Horton
River, near Barraba. Here he resided for no
less than 30 years, living for the most part in a small
bark-covered hut. When the cattle station was sold he
returned to Bridgman, where he lived for over 40 years.
During the period of his life at the cattle station,
which was known as Currangandi, Mr. Lethbridge took part in an interesting expedition of
The party, which included
Mr. Kelman, of Kirkton, Mr. William Carter, of Goorangoola, and two aborigines, started on
February 14, 1854. They went as far as Peake
Range, being the third party out after Leichhardt, the great explorer. The second party --
Hedley Mitchell's - was killed by blacks; and Mr. Lethbridge's party got Mitchell's horses and brought
them in. They returned about the middle of August,
having been out six months from day of starting. A lot
of country was taken up on the head of Palm Tree Creek,
a tributary of the Dawson, with more country on the
Dawson and Mackenzie rivers.
On the eastern side
of the Peake Range a beautiful bit of Downs
country, with plenty of water, fell to the lot of Mr. Lethbridge, and to this day is called Lethbridge's Pocket.
a noted breeder of stock while at Bridgman, and was for
many years a member of the Northern Agricultural
Association. He was a noted authority on sheep. He took
a keen interest in local affairs, and had been for many
years the oldest J.P. in the district. The fact that a
driving accident had crippled him many years ago did not
prevent him regularly being present at the committee
meeting of the Agricultural Association, and attending
other duties. He took a lively interest in public
matters up to within a few months of his death, which
occurred at a private hospital in Singleton.
funeral took place at Bridgman, the burial service being
conducted by Archdeacon Tollis, of East
Maitland, and the Rev. C. N. Mell, of Singleton.
- SMH 31 May 1917
2). Destruction of the
vessel Grace off Cape of Good Hope in 1821 -
Sydney Gazette 6 September 1822
3). Robert and Mary Lethbridge's son
Thomas Bridgman Lethbridge had a distinguished naval
(1). Sydney Morning Herald 17 August 1864
(2). Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar
(Index of Wills and Administrations), Ancestry.com
Operations Inc, 2010. Original data: Principal Probate
Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters
of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the
High Court of Justice in England. London, England
Family Search.org - Lethbridge family of Okehampton
(4). Wood, W. Allan, Dawn in the valley : the story
of settlement in the Hunter River Valley to 1833,
Sydney, 1972. p. 275
Gazette 14 December 1839