William Hicks arrived as First Officer on the
Friendship. He requested to remain in the colony
after the departure of the Friendship but permission was
denied owing to certain considerations respecting the
conduct pursued towards the women convicts during the
voyage of the Friendship.
William Hicks departed
for England on the Laurel in April 1818.
arrived in Australia four years later as First Officer
on the brig Admiral Cockburn. The Admiral Cockburn under
Captain Briggs sailed from England via Madeira and the
Cape of Good Hope arriving in Hobart in November 1822
and in Port Jackson at the end of December.
valuable cargo was carried including a 20ft cutter which
was later offered for sale (6)
Cockburn departed Sydney in March 1823 bound for the
Isle of France via Hobart. Although William Hicks was to
sail with her this apparently did not happen.
Instead he decided to settle in Australia. In a memorial
to Governor Brisbane dated 4th February 1823 he applied
for a grant of land:
I beg leave to
acquaint your Excellency that I have recently arrived
from England in the ship Admiral Cockburn and that I am
desirous of settling in the Colony and becoming an
Agriculturalist. I therefore request your Excellency
permission and also that you Excellency will grant me
such a portion of land and other indulgences as may
appear to your Excellency consistent. I have the Honor
to be, Your Excellency's Most Obedient and Humble
William Hicks, Lieutenant, R.N.(2)
He was granted 1120 acres of land on 27th February
1823 and in November 1823 also applied for a grant of
land in the town of Newcastle which had recently closed
as a penal settlement. His name appears on a list of
about 100 settlers who were granted allotments in the
township in 1823(3)
He was granted permission to
sail to Newcastle on the Angerstein in March
and probably selected his land at this time.
Lieutenant Hicks returned to Newcastle and his Hunter
River grant in April 1823 accompanied by
Mr. Thomas White
Melville Winder and assigned servants Thomas Smith
and Bartholomew Duffy and soon afterwards he came into
dispute with neighbours when he refused to allow cedar
gangs to remove cut timber from his land, threatening to
shoot them if they attempted it. Later that year he was
also in dispute with neighbour
James Reid, again over land.
On 18 November
1823 at St. Phillips in Sydney Lieutenant William Hicks
married Sophia Hickey, a daughter of John Hickey of Bent
Street Sydney. Sophia had arrived on the
in 1818 with her mother Ann Hickey and other brothers
In 1824 William Hicks was once
again in opposition to his neighbour Magistrate James
Reid when he supported
Captain Gillman in his dispute with Vicars Jacob.
Read more about this dispute in the
Australian 14 October 1824 - King V. Gillman -
Military or Civil Society.
The estate was robbed
by marauding bushrangers Jacob's Mob on
8th July 1825. Lieutenant Hicks was more fortunate than
neighbour James Reid whose house Rosebrook was burned
down by the bushrangers.
purchased Melville for £670 in 1826 (7)
In 1827 William Hicks departed New South Wales in
command of the Mary Elizabeth. Accompanied by H.M.S.
Success, Marquis of Lansdown, and the
Amity and their Officers and crew, Lieutenant Hicks
on the Mary Elizabeth set sail for the
fledgling British settlement Fort Dundas in Australia's
The Success, shortly after her
return from Bateman's Bay, proceeds on a voyage of
survey along the coast to the northward. She is to be
accompanied by the Government vessel the Mary and
Elizabeth, having on board a number of mechanics who
have volunteered their services, and a detachment of the
39th under the orders of Captain Smith of that regiment.
The Government brig Amity accompanies the Success and
the brig Mary and Elizabeth as far as Melville Island
where she is to leave a supply of provisions and proceed
to King George's Sound. (5)
harsh and attempts at settlement were not successful. In
February 1828 the Sydney Gazette reported the death of
Dr. Wood at Port Raffles and of Mr. Green, storekeeper
at Melville Island who was speared by natives, as was
Dr. Gold. Their bodies were discovered by Lieut.
Hicks.....The Sydney Gazette told of the disaster -
Melville Island.- In our last number, it was our
melancholy duty to announce the lamented death of Dr.
Wood, which occurred at Port Raffles, as also the death
of Mr. Green, at Melville Island, the son of a Gentleman
in this Colony that is sincerely es-teemed. We have
since been favoured with a document which furnishes some
particulars respecting these disastrous events. By a
letter from Lieut. Hicks, R. N. commanding the Mary
Elizabeth, it appears that Mr. John Henry Green and Mr.
John Gold were destroyed by the natives at Melville
Island, on the 2d of November last. The following is an
ex-tract from the document already referred to :- p.
m.6.15. The alarm given that the natives had surrounded
Mr. Green and Dr. Gold, who had walked towards the path
; shortly afterwards the body of Mr. Green was found and
brought dead into the fort, and Lieutenant Bates and
myself attentively examined it, and found the following
wounds: Mr. Green had received in all 17 wounds from
spears - three were in his throat, one through his arm,
ten in front of his body, and one in his back ; he had
also two severe cuts on the head, one was about six
inches long, the lips above two inches deep, the skull
laid open, so that the brains could be distinctly seen.
Nov. 3,A. M 7. the body of Mr. Gold brought into the
fort by the party who had been sent in search of it, and
had the following wounds in it as were found by myself
and Lieut. Bates. On the body 31 spear wounds, in seven
of which the heads were still sticking, several of the
spears had gone through the body and head, and one
appeared to have penetrated the bowels, several wounds
were in his legs, and from every circumstance I should
fear he had died very hard. (4).
Hobart Town Courier reported the death at Melville
Island of Lieutenant Hicks' wife Sophia and their two
children - William b. 1825 and another.
Hicks arrived back in Sydney on the Mary Elizabeth
in August 1828. He remained in command of the Mary
Elizabeth making voyages to Port Macquarie and
In 1830 it was announced that he was to depart for the
Isle of France with the intention of bringing back cargo
on the return voyage. In 1838
Henry Usher of Newcastle applied for the deed of
grant for William Hicks' allotment of land at Newcastle,
Hicks being absent from the colony.
1). Cross, Joseph. Map of the River Hunter, and its
branches [cartographic material] : shewing the Lands
reserved thereon for Church purposes, the Locations made
to Settlers, and the Settlement and part of the Lands of
the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens
together with the Station of the Mission to the
Aborigines belonging to the London Missionary Society on
Lake Macquarie, New South Wales 1828. MAP NK 646.
Sydney Gazette 15 March 1823
Secretary's Papers, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25.
Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162. 4/1834B. Number 138. p.
843. State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South
Wales, Australia. (available at Ancestry)
(3) Special Bundles, 1794-1825. Series 898, Reels
6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. 9/2652, p. 75., State
Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New
South Wales, Australia.
Sydney Gazette 25 February 1828
Australian 9 May 1827
Hobart Town Gazette 23 November 1822
Sydney Gazette 11 February 1826