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William Lawson's Arrival at Newcastle


William Lawson

Lieutenant William Lawson was appointed Commandant at the penal settlement at Newcastle in December 1808 to replace Ensign Villiers who returned to Headquarters in Sydney.

Lieut. Lawson did not arrive in Newcastle until mid January 1809. The Sydney Gazette gave the following account of his perilous overland trek which was undertaken at the height of summer......

THE Estramina which sailed for Hunter’s River a fortnight since, with William Lawson, Charles Throsby, W. Davidson and ---Kent, Esquires, on board, was by strong southerly winds driven to Port Stephens, between 20 and 30 miles to the Northward of King’s town, from whence the above Gentlemen chose rather to travel on foot, than await a change of the wind; the journey was performed in the course of a day, which was extremely hot, and rendered still more disagreeable by a 20 miles traverse on a deep sandy beach, where a drop of fresh water was not to be procured.

From Mr. Throsby we have the satisfaction to state, that this accidental inconvenience may be productive of future benefit, as he had reason to suppose from observation, strengthened by the information of the natives, that there was a fine fresh water river in that neighbourhood, the banks of which were wooded with immense quantities of cedar.

The ‘Estramina’ got safe into King’s town on the second day after, and returned here (Sydney) on Thursday with Messrs. Throsby, Davidson & Kent; also Lieutenant Villiers, of His Majesty’s New South Wales Corps and Lady
. -The Sydney Gazette 5 February 1809

In November 1809 Lieutenant (?Thomas) Wright of the 73rd regiment was appointed Commandant in the temporary absence of Lieutenant Lawson who had gone to Sydney on the Lady Nelson. Lieutenant Lawson returned to Newcastle early in December 1809 to resume his duties. He remained Commandant until February 1810    


1). William Lawson at Australian Dictionary of Biography

2). Crossing the Blue Mountains - State Records NSW

3) Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson in 1813 - the Historical Records of Australia

4). Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson - State Library NSW

5). Newcastle Penal Settlement 1810  

6). Governor Macquarie's Proclamation 1810  

7). Governor Macquarie's Public Notice 1810  

8). Roger Farrell's Correspondence 1810

9). Colonial Events 1809  

10). Newcastle History

11). Newcastle Through the Years
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