Free Settler or Felon?
Hunter Valley Settler
Map 2

James Thomas Lamb

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James Thomas Lamb was master of the convict ship Lord Eldon in 1817.

According to the 1828 census he arrived in Australia with his family on the Nimrod in 1827 - wife Jessie and sons Edward James and William Buchanan Lamb.

He was the son of Edward Lamb R.N. and Elizabeth Buchanan. His brother was Captain John Lamb, who was commander of the convict ship Baring in 1815 and 1819 and in 1825-28 master of the merchant ship Palmira on the Indian service.

With his cousin Walter Buchanan, John Lamb formed the house of Lamb, Buchanan & Co. As its resident partner he arrived in Sydney with his wife and five children in the Resource in May 1829. He received in May 1830 a primary grant of 2560 acres (1036 ha) which he selected in the County of St Vincent. John Lamb died in 1862. (1)

Another brother William Buchanan Lamb was master of the convict ship Batavia and merchant ship Prince Regent.

On 2nd January 1828 James Thomas Lamb was promised 2560 acres of land situated in the co. of Durham, Parish of Wolfingham/ Wolfingham. Possession was authorised on 10th March 1828. The Estate commenced where at the west boundary line of the Parish of Wolfingham intersects the north boundary of the Crown Reserve in the parish of Stanhope and Wolfingham.... etc. (2)

Lamb's Valley is described in the 1832 Directory {Extract} -

Leave the Great North Road. The road in present use, between this and Maitland, has been but lately made. There are two old tracks, ex- tending from this point to the north and north-east. That to the north, on the left of the present road, crosses Black creek at McDonald's farm, at 113 miles from Sydney ;-three miles further, at Coulson's farm, it meets the road from Newcastle to Patrick's plains, at the 32d mile (see that road, page ) ; 2& miles further, it meets an old track from Maitland upwards, and at 120 miles from Sydney it crosses Anvil creek ; at 123 miles from Sydney it crosses the Hunter, at Maziere's farm, now the residence of George Wyndham, Esq. called Dalwood. The track now passes through the Church grant and village reserve of Wolfingham, and follows the course of Bundanbing brook, up Lamb's valley, and leading to the east, crosses the Paterson river at Adair's farm, 134 miles from Sydney.

Map of the River Hunter showing location of Bundanbing Brook- Joseph Cross 1828 - Digital Collections Maps.

James Thomas Lamb became insolvent in 1832..... -

Insolvent Estate of J.T. Lamb of Bundanbing Brook. 2560 acres to be auctioned. (3) The following case was heard in the Supreme Court --Before Mr. Justice Stephen and a special Jury. Wilkinson v. Lamb, Esq., ..... This was an action on the case. The damages were laid at 700. The parties are settlers at Hunter's River. Mr. Keith opened the pleadings. The declaration averred, that the defendant, fraudulently conspiring and intending to injure, deceive and defraud the plaintiff, to whom one James Thomas Lamb, the defendant's brother, was indebted in a large sum of money, to wit, the sum of 118 10s. 4d. and to cause the said plaintiff, from dread of the institution of legal proceedings against himself, to defer the present enforcement of his said debt against the said James Thomas Lamb, and to refer it to arbitration, and thereby to gain time of payment to the said James Thomas Lamb, and in order to afford him the said James Lamb, an opportunity of making away with the property, deceitfully represented to plaintiff, that in the event of the plaintiff adopting legal proceedings against his brother, a certain mortgage deed and warrant of Attorney of the plaintiff to one Harvie, of London, then in the hands of Captain Bunn, would be acted upon without delay against the plaintiff by Captain Bunn, or by the defendant with Captain Bunn's concurrence.........cont. in the Sydney Monitor 19 October 1831

Lamb's Valley became the haunt of bushrangers over the years. In a notorious case involving John Larnach the absconding convicts retreated to Lamb's Valley.

The Bushrangers - another letter has been received from Major Mudie, stating, that the bushrangers 'attacked Castle Forbes a second time, namely on Tuesday morning at break of day, when finding the Major prepared, they retired, and went to Mr. Cobb's farm, distant a mile and a-half. A Mr. Sparks was in charge ; they first threatened his life, but afterwards contented themselves with tying him to a post in the kitchen, stripping him, and flogging him. They took away a horse, saddle and bridle, clothes, watch; and several other articles. They informed Mr Sparks of all the punishments that had been awarded by the Bench the day before; Which evidences the communication they keep up with people about the Court. They said they did not expect to be long in the bush, but they should die satisfied if they had the heads of the Major and Mr. Larnach. On Thursday night they attacked Mr. Dutton, robbed him of a chest of tea, bag of sugar, a quantity of slops, some spirits, two fowling pieces, a double barrelled gun, powder and shot, a horse, saddle and bridle ; they told Mr. D. they should leave a sentry near the house for the space of two hours, who would shoot all who left the premises.

Messrs. Scott and Larnach, and two of the Mounted Police, with twenty others armed, and some blacks are now in pursuit. It is believed the bushrangers have twenty stand of arms with them, and four horses. Extract from a letter dated Maitland, 13th November :-' Major Mudie's men, seven in number, who had taken to the bush, have all been captured at Lamb's Valley, about ten miles from Maitland and ha
ve just passed my door in custody of the police." From this it appears that the reign of these men has been unusually short. Sydney Monitory 16 November 1833


(1) Australian Dictionary of Biography

(2) New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Land Grants and Leases, 1792-1867 [database on-line]. Original data: Registers of Land Grants and Leases. Microfilm Publication 25602561, 2846, 25482550, 27002702, 27042705, 11 rolls. Record Group NRS 13836. New South Wales, Australia.

(3) Sydney Herald 10 December 1832.   

James AdairJohn BoughtonEdward Collison Close  - Green HillsGeorge CobbEdward Gostsyck CoryGilbert CoryJohn Corywilliam cummingsAndrew DixonRobert Corum DillonLeslie DuguidWilliam DunWilliam EvansGeorge FranklandWilliam HicksBeresford HudsonWilliam InnesRichard JonesJames KellyAndrew Lang - DunmoreRobert LethbridgeAlexander LivingstoneJames McClymontThomas McDougallGeorge MuirFind out more about MaitlandTimothy NowlanHenry Dixon Owen - AberglasslynRichard PritchettJames PhillipsJames Read (Reid)George Shaw RutherfordWalter ScottGentleman John SmithJohn Galt SmithHugh TorranceJohn TuckerSusannah Matilda WardSusannah Matilda WardWilliam Charles WentworthJohn WightonGorge WilliamsCaleb and Felix WilsonMarie Steamer at Paterson


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