Early Hunter Valley Settlers


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  Stephen Coxen - Yarrundi -  Map 9 
 


Stephen Coxen arrived on the Lucy Ann with his wife Sarah and young son Stephen Henry age 3 in 1827. Another son Charles was born soon after arrival.

The Lucy Ann under Captain Dacre, departed London 19th January and Cork 1st February. She touched at St. Jago and landed in Hobart in May and continued the voyage to Port Jackson in June.

Six hundred and twenty acres was promised to Stephen Coxen by Sir Ralph Darling on 17 August 1827 and converted to a primary grant on 18 October 1831. Another 640 acres was granted on 23 February 1838.

2560 acres which was a grant to Andrew Scales in 1830 was acquired by Stephen Coxen in 1838. This 2560 acres adjoined John Bell's farm. Another 1280 acres higher up Dartbrook was acquired from James Keirnan in 1838. James Keirnan was brother and heir-at-law of Henry Keirnan who was granted the land by Governor Darling in 1828.

Stephen Coxen's brother Charles Coxen arrived in Australia on the Eleanor in 1834 and his sister Elizabeth who was married to John Gould came to Australia in 1838 on the Parsee.

Stephen Coxen's wife Sarah died at Dartbrook in January 1835.

Their son Stephen  Henry Coxen departed for England on the Alfred in 1841....

The son of the wealthy proprietor of Yarrundi, being preparatory to Mr. Coxen's departure in the early part of the ensuing year, for the purpose of entering into extensive arrangements with numerous influential parties at home, connected with the question of emigration to these colonies. Master Stephen Coxen, during his probation for the last few years at the Normal Institution has made such rapid progress under the able superintendence of Mr. Gordon, in the various branches of theoretical and practical sciences, as to have induced Mr. Coxen to send him to the Military College of Sandhurst for the completion of his education. We believe we are correct in stating that Master S. Coxen is one of the first natives of Australia whose talents have evinced a decided superiority in these particular and difficult branches of science. Upon this young gentleman's departure from Yarrundi - the place of his birth, and scene of all his youthful associations - the numerous tenantry and retainers on the estate, amounting to upwards of seventy, assembled together round the festive board to bid their young master and heir a kind and long farewell. Festivity and dancing was kept up to a late hour, when they separated, with the pleasing anticipation of again meeting him, on his return to these shores, with all the polish and refinement a European education can bestow. We wish him a speedy and prosperous voyage, with the hope that his talents may ultimately connect his name in proud association with the history of the advancement of Australia. - The Australian 13 April 1841

A young native boy John Bungaree who was cared for by Stephen Coxen was also educated at the Normal Institution. He died in 1855........

Death of a Civilized Aboriginal - We have recently heard of the death of an aboriginal native, whose history is so remarkably distinct from the usual career of his countrymen that it deserves to be briefly recorded. The aboriginal alluded to was generally known by the name of "Young Bungaree." He was a native of Namoi, and about twenty years ago was taken into the service of the late Mr. Stephen Coxen, with whom and his brother, Mr. Charles Coxen, now of Brisbane, Bongaree remained for about thirteen years. He was educated at the cost of Messrs. Coxen, and was for a long time under the tuition of the Rev. Henry Carmichael, at the Normal Institution, in Sydney, where he evinced much capacity, and gained the prize at one of the examinations for his proficiency in geography. After leaving Mr. Coxen s service, Bungaree lived for some time with other gentlemen, usually in the capacity of shepherd, and ultimately joined the native police force as a corporal. He was employed as storekeeper, and kept the accounts of the station to which he was attached, in the Port Curtis district. He died a few weeks ago, very much regretted by all who knew him, and who had become attached to him in consequence of his intelligence and amiable disposition. The case of this native at all events proves that if the blacks of Australia are incapable of civilisation, that rule, like others, is not without exception. He never evinced the slightest desire to return to savage life, but when, owing to those commercial disasters which a few years back so much disarranged the affairs of this colony, It became necessary that he should fall back upon his own resources, be at once betook himself to the ordinary industrial pursuits of a working man, and sought employment wherever he could find it. His death should not pass without a record, and the history of his life should stimulate other colonists to follow the worthy example of Messrs. Coxen whenever an opportunity offers....Maitland Mercury 10 January 1855


After great financial difficulties, Stephen Coxen senior died by his own hand in September 1844.  Yarrundi was later acquired by Sir John Robertson.

Stephen Henry Coxen died at Daandine on the Darling Down, the property of his uncle Charles Coxen. On 7th January 1861 while trying to head some horses in company with three native boys about half a mile from the stockyard he was killed instantly after colliding with a leaning tree.



Notes & Links:

1). Select here to find some of the convicts assigned to Stephen Coxen at Dartbrook.

2) Charles Coxen's travels in 1835

3) Correspondence re Stephens Coxen's grants....



4). Mr. Gould's descriptions of new Australian birds identified



5). Gould, the naturalist, was also a visitor to Cressfield during his prolonged stay with his brother-in- law, Stephen Coxen, at Yarrundi, a homestead about five miles away. He made a considerable portion of his marvellous ornithological collection in that locality, and many specimens are set down in his works as having been first obtained at Yarrundi.

His special henchman was an aboriginal called " Larry' who, when furnished with a gun and ammunition, became a most enthusiastic and successful collector. This black fellow was a man of marked personality and courage, as was proved when later in life he received such accidental injury as to produce suppuration and consequent disorganisation in his knee joint. He refused conveyance to the nearest hospital, nearly a hundred miles away, or to go into a house for systematic treatment, choosing to remain in camp with such attendance as his fellow tribesmen could give. This went on for a long time,  until the lower limb became a mere dead appendage attached by a few half dried ligaments. One day, on the residents of the neighbouring house visiting him, as they did regularly to give such assistance as was possible, they found that, becoming tired of his burden, he had twisted off the withered leg, and burnt it in the camp fire. The wound granulated and eventually healed. For many years afterwards he was able to travel fairly with a wooden leg, provided for him by Sir John Robertson, who knew him well, and in common with many others really esteemed him.
.... `
My recollections of Australia & elsewhere, 1842-1914` by John Mildred Creed


Stephen Coxen Puen Buen - the Estate of John Bingle Alexander Livingstone Stephen Coxen

 

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