Free Settler or Felon?

Hunter Valley Settler

George Townshend
Trevallyn Map 3


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Drought and depression in the 1840's claimed yet another victim in Paterson River settler George Townshend.

Mr. Dodds, auctioneer, advertised that the effects of the estate, including equipment would be sold in April 1842. Something of the life of George Townshend can be gleaned from the items listed at the auction. They included extensive variety of agricultural implements, drays, carts, ploughs, barrows, bullock harness, yokes, bows, and chains; a winnowing machine, a large quantity of tobacco screens, truss hoops for tobacco kegs, screw presses for tobacco kegs and for wool; also a large quantity of cedar and pine in flitch and scantling; machinery for a water mill, steel mill, mill stones etc. carpenters' and smiths tools; a quantity of iron; large beams and scales, weights, dairy utensils, several articles of household furniture, such as tables, chairs mattresses, pillows ; a large quantity of wheat seed barley and prime Lucerne hay; together with all the working bullocks, cows, heifers, steers, and calves. Prospective buyers were informed that every requisite for carrying on farming operations on an extensive scale would be found at the sale.

Ten farms on the Paterson and Allyn Rivers belonging to Townshend had already been advertised in January.
Lot 1 was one mile from the village of Gresford and consisted of 300 acres bounded on two sides by Mr. Fenwick's and Mr. Crichton's land and fronting the River. There was a cottage with detached kitchen with fences and a garden stocked with trees.
Lot 2 was situated one mile above lot 1 and contained 385 acres with a well finished cottage, barn and other buildings.
Lot 5 was situated between lots 3 and 4 and contained 1002 acres with a cottage, kitchen, barn, tobacco shed all substantially built. The area was said to be admirably adapted for homesteads, and for dairying, breeding of horses and fine cattle and for cultivation of all kinds, the soil being of the richest description. For vineyards and orchards no part of the colony surpassed it. There was plenty of stone, brick earth, limestone, cedar, and every other description of building material on the farms and two beautiful streams abounded in fish. Two medical practitioners lived only a short distance from the farms and mail was conveyed three times a week to Mr. Boydell's two miles from Gresford.

The Trevallyn land where George Townshend had built his homestead was retained.

George Townshend arrived in Australia on the Prince Regent in March 1826 when he was 28 years old. Other passengers on the Prince Regent included Charles Boydell, Alexander Park and George Weller (4).

George Townshend was a frequent companion of George Wyndham in the early 1830's. George Wyndham arrived in December 1827 and purchased Dalwood on the Hunter river soon afterwards.  He kept a Diary between the years 1830 - 1840 and George Townshend is often mentioned. They visited each other's estates and attended meetings together. They were of a similar age, although perhaps not background. George Wyndham was probably thankful to receive agricultural advice from George Townshend and they likely had much to discuss about floods, failed crops such as wheat and those more successful like tobacco. There was always convict work force to deal with as well - both men signed the petition to the Legislative Council from Hunter Valley settlers regarding the Summary Punishment Bill in 1833 (3)

George Townshend served on the committee to raise funds for a Church at Paterson and attended other meetings and dinners such as that organised to thank Pieter Laurence Campbell on his retirement from duties as Police Magistrate and a Farmer's Club held at Jarvistown, Patterson's Plains.....  A numerous Meeting of Gentlemen, making the fifth meeting since the institution of the Farmer's Club, took place last Monday three weeks. The Club assembled at the residence of Alexander Warren, Esquire, at Jarvistown, for the purpose of distributing rewards for the most deserving specimens of agricultural produce, as well as for the transaction of other business. James P. Webber, Esquire, the President - Alexander Warren Esquire, Vice- president, and the other members of the Club, or the principal proportion of them, being present, there were exhibited for competition specimens of cotton, cheese, and tobacco, the growth of the district. The 5 prize for cheese was awarded to the Reverend G. A. Middleton; and the tobacco prize, also of 5, to Mr. John Swan.

There were two samples of cotton produced but the quantity being inconsiderable, the reward proposed for that article, it was considered best, for awhile, to withhold; the small, quantity exhibited, however, displayed an excellent staple, and was the subject of much surprise and admiration. Large quantities of seed were distributed amongst the members with much liberality, by George Townshend, Esquire ; and it is not unreasonable to expect, that at the next annual meeting, there will be a considerable shew of this article, and no inconsiderable competition for the reward and credit attaching to the produce of the best sample. Numerous trophies of native dogs' tails were produced; and for every tail, there was disbursed a certain sum from the funds of the Club. After this, the expediency of establishing a regular fair for stock and other, produce was discussed, and the Club passed a resolution to the effect following; "Considering that it is highly conducive to the interest of the landed proprietors now assembled, to establish a fair at Paterson's Plains, it is agreed, that a Committee be appointed to carry that object into effect, and that his Excellency the Governor, be requested to honor the proposal with his sanction and assistance." A botanic garden was the subject of some discussion, which ended in a resolution to the same effect ; George Townshend, Esquire, handsomely volunteering a piece of ground for the purpose, and, moreover, undertaking its superintendence. Thanks of the meeting were then voted to the President and Vice-president, for their exertions during the past year ; and shortly after, the Club sat down to an excellent dinner, to which the cordiality and good fellowship that circled around the festive board, contributed not the least agreeable sauce.

George Townshend married Elizabeth Bottrell Manning, daughter of John Edye Manning in June 1833. He died in 1872

Maitland Mercury Obituary......

The late Mr. Townshend was one of the earliest settlers on the Paterson; in fact he must be considered one of the pioneers of the district, we believe he has resided for more than forty years at Trevallyn. In its early days Mr. Townshend was one of the most energetic of the business men of the district, and took the greatest interest in promoting every object which could advance the interest of the district and to develop its resources; for many years he was a magistrate of the territory, in which capacity he most zealously attended to the performance of his magisterial duties. In the general crash in which so many of our old colonists suffered through the over speculating mania which existed in the years 1840 to 1842, Mr Townshend suffered severely, and lost nearly all of his extensive property. Since which, however, although he has never re- gained that position of popularity which be formerly held, has ever steadily endeavoured to advance the interest of the district, and promote the welfare of the people. A few years ago Mr Townshend, with his family, left for England, where they resided for some few years, Mr. Townshend returning to the colony about three years ago, leaving his family in England, who, we are informed, were about to rejoin him here in a short time. At his death Mr Townshend had attained his seventy-fourth year, and to his advanced age must be attributed any eccentricity which he may of late have exhibited in public matters.

Notes & Links:  

1). Image of Trevallyn - National Library of Australia  

2). George Townshend at The State Library of New South Wales  

3). Select here to read 'A Settler's Letter' written by Arthur Way to his brother in Durham England in 1842. Arthur Way was in partnership with John Henry Durbin at Clivedon upper Gresford. Clivedon was established on 800 acres purchased from George Townshend

4). Find out more about George Townshend at Paterson River History  

5). One settler who purchased some of Townshend's estate in 1842 was Dr. Henry Lindeman who had arrived in 1840 on the Theresa. He purchased over 800 acres in 6 lots and named the property 'Cawarra'.

Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London - Rev. W.B. Clarke

7). Convicts Assigned to George Townhend:

John Sargeson per Marquis of Hastings

Joseph Wilson per Marquis of Huntley

James Smart per Countess of Harcourt

William Smith per Manlius

George Spencer per Marquis of Hastings

Michael Coghlan per Ann & Amelia

Thomas Collins per Almorah

William Chapman per Waterloo

William Currey per Prince Regent

William Leatherwood employed as constable

William Osler per John

John Day per Surry

John Sullivan

Michael Storen

Thomas Tate

Laurence Lynch

Dennis McCormick

George Worthington

John Lowe

John Armstrong per Asia

Employed Steven Banker as overseer

William Bolton per Guildford

Dennis Wynch per Norfolk

Thomas Chadd per Surry

Robert Deynes per Prince of Orange, carpenter employed by Townshend

Henry Coleman per Marquis of Huntley

John Jones per Surry

William Arnold per Aurora

John Ashurst per Aurora

Andrew Menzies employed as a groom

Henry Ferris per Marquis of Huntley

Edward Fisher per Batavia fencer employed by Townshend

William Howard per Countess of Harcourt

Edmund Irving per Mary
Henry Judd per Countess of Harcourt

John Kelly per Guildford

Paul Law per John

Samuel Lee per Larkins

Dennis McCormick per Mangles

William Moore per Minerva

Daniel O'Hara per Phoenix

William Oldaker per England constable and scourger

Joseph Owen per Marquis of Hastings

James Pasco per Marquis of Hastings

Henry Rooth per Mary employed as carpenter

John Brophy per Asia

Michael Dunne per Dunvegan Castle

John Matthews per James Laing

Christopher McGuire per Bengal Merchant

John Jones per Surry

William Bolton

Thomas Jones

Thomas Grear per Bussorah Merchant

Charles Horton per Eleanor

John Howell per Hive

Nebuchadnezar Lansdown per Burrell

Daniel Larkin per James Laing

John Lowry per Waterloo

Lawrence Lynch per Fortune

William Osborne per Andromeda

John Parsons per Bengal Merchant

James Richardson per Fairlie

Thomas Riley per Aurora

James Rust per Waterloo

James Ryan per Portland

Hiam Aarons per Guildrod

James Martin per Leechman per John

Peter O'Neale per John

William Shepherd per Isabella

George Weston per Camden

William Williams per Asia

Thomas Buxton per Henry Tanner

George Fowler per Dunvegan Castle

Henry Jones per Dunvegan Castle

John Cran per Portland

Lawrence Sullivan per Marquis of Huntley

Patrick Cartfield and Marcs Doherty Freeman employed by Townshend

Joseph Willson per Marquis of Huntley

James Croft emigrant employed by Townshend

David Baker emigrant employed by Townshend

William Wilson emigrant employed by Townsend

James an David Baker emigrants employed by Townshend


(1) The Australian 1st August 1828

(2) Maitland Mercury 23 May 1872

(3) Sydney Gazette 24 August 1833

(4) Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser 3 March 1826

Henry John Lindeman - Cawarra


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