Early Hunter Valley Settlers

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 Sir Francis Forbes -  Map 7 


Sir Francis Forbes - Chief Justice of New South Wales.

Francis Forbes was born in Bermuda and after studying law in London became attorney general of Bermuda.

In 1816 he was appointed Chief Justice of Newfoundland.

In London in the early 1820's he influenced the drafting of the Act for the better Administration of Justice in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land under which the Legislative council was formed.

He arrived in Sydney in March 1824 on the Guildford and by 1828 was in conflict with landholders over the breaking up of large holdings; and with Governor Darling who attempted to have him recalled.

Unwell, he returned to England in 1836 and was knighted in 1837.

In 1837 he gave evidence before the Select Committee on Transportation........


Sir Francis and Lady Forbes returned to Australia on the Alfred in 1838. Select here to read the journal of George Foster Wise on the voyage from England to Sydney on the Alfred

Sir Francis Forbes died in 1841.

In 1846 10,049 acres, part of the Skellatar estate was purchased by George Bowman.

Notes & Links:

1). Find out more about Sir Francis Forbes at the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

2). Lady Forbes.......The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland for 1860 by Robert P. Dod, Esq......

3). Reminiscences of Thirty Years' Residence in New South Wales and Victoria, By Roger Therry. Click on text to continue........

4). Descendants of Sir Francis Forbes (Truth (Sydney) 4 June 1899).......

Frequent mention has been made in Mr, Russell's book of ' Skellator,' the old home of the family of the first Chief Justice, Sir Francis Forbes, and kindly reference is also made to a son, Frank Forbes, who died all too young in California during the gold fever of 1849, I think.

Frank Forbes' hobby was a flying machine, of which he had drawings and designs. He had an idea that ho could with his machine knock the bottom out of the modern steam ship for passenger traffic. Some of the aeronautic efforts of the present day are supposed to be based, so Russell thinks, on Frank Forbes' original conception. On Friday, May 19, another son of the first Chief Justice, David Grant Forbes, celebrated in Sydney his 80th birthday. May the kindly and courteous old gentleman have many more. Mr. Forbes was called to the Bar in 1819. He had been P.M. at the old Central Police Court, was then appointed Crown Prosecutor for the Southern District, and for many years had been the senior District Court Judge, from which position he retired only last year. Australia owes much to Sir Francis Forbes. He it was who brought out the first charter of justice, established trial by jury, and gave liberty to the press when Governor Sir Ralph Darling tried to strangle it.

Select here to find portraits of the Forbes family.......Frances Wise in later life, known as Fanny in all Milbourne's correspondence. Born Frances Mary Ann Marsh and married George Foster Wise. Came to Australia in 1839 with her Aunt Lady Forbes, wife of Sir Francis Forbes. George Foster Wise , her future husband, was als on on board the ship "Alfred" and that is where they met. He kept a detailed diary of the journey


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