Free Settler or Felon?

Hunter Valley Settler

George Blaxland
Map 6
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George Blaxland was born in Kent, England in 1802, son of Gregory Blaxland and Elizabeth Spurdon.

He died from wounds received in an accident at his estate Wollun in 1849.

The Maitland Mercury gave the following account of the inquest into his death -


An inquest was held at Wollun House, six miles from Merton on the 13th August 1849 before John Boucher West, Esq., coroner for the district on view of the body of George Blaxland Esq., J.P.

It appeared from the evidence that the deceased gentleman had left the residence of John Bettington Esq., J.P., at Martindale, about sunset on Friday evening, last for the purpose of proceeding to his residence at Wollun, a distance of about eight miles. On Saturday morning about eleven o'clock, one of the servants at Wollun went with a water cart down to the crossing place of the river, near Wollun House, when he saw his master's carriage upset, and the horse lying there; he then went across the river, and found Mr. Blaxland a little distance from the carriage, quite dead; the carriage had turned off the main road, and gone down a steep bank, and had turned over more than once from where it first upset, and the deceased had evidently fallen out of the carriage on his head as the neck was dislocated. The jury returned a verdict of 'Died by injuries received by the accidental upsetting of his carriage, in descending the bank of the river near his own residence, on the evening of Friday the 10th instant.'

On Tuesday the 14th instant, the deceased's remains were removed from Wollon, followed by his near relations, the magistrates of the district and a numerous train of gentlemen and the body was interred in the burial ground of the Merton Church. The deceased gentleman was a native of the colony, and a very upright, impartial magistrate; he was 47 years of age, and has left a widow and three children to lament the loss'. (1)

George Blaxland had been trustee of the Merton church and burial ground where he was later to be interred. He had worked to establish the building, attending meetings and calling for tenders etc in the 1840's.

In 1843 he was on the first district council for Merton and Muswellbrook along with William Ogilvie, Francis Forbes, David Scott, David Forbes, John Robertson and John Pike.

He was on a committee for improving roads and inspected, with other gentlemen of the district, the new line of road from Chain of Ponds to Muswellbrook which was finished a few months before his death in 1849. 

Wollun was advertised for lease by George Blaxland's widow in 1852. The property was described as having more than 5000 acres with a frontage of some extent to the river. There was an excellent dwelling house and other buildings including a woolshed and everything need for a farming or sheep establishment.  

Notes & Links:

1). Australian Almanac 1831.........

2). Merton Cemetery Restoration Group - Facebook
3). Two Journals of Visitation to the Northern and Southern Portions of his diocese by the Lord Bishop of Australia, 1843.Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2010

References: br>
((1) Maitland Mercury 18 August 1849  



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