Free Settler or Felon?
Hunter Valley Settler
Map 2

Timothy Nowlan
Eelah - Hunter's Hill
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Timothy Nowlan arrived in Australia aboard the Mangles on 8 November 1822. He was accompanied by his wife Eliza, son John, servant Edward Kealey who was a shepherd, and six other servants.

After his attempts to found a sheep breeding program in Van Diemens Land proved unsuccessful, he returned to New South Wales where he eventually received a 2000 acre land grant.

Requests were made to the Government for servants, and a carpenter and constable were assigned to accompany his sheep to Newcastle. Timothy, Eliza and John Nowlan together with servants including Patrick Byrne who had been assigned to Nowlan in April 1823, travelled to Newcastle on the Elizabeth Henrietta later that year. A sheep run was established on his grant which he named 'Hunter's Hill' (later renamed 'Eelah' by his son John).

Timothy Nowlan received 244 ewes from the government herd and rations for his family and servants. In 1824 Henry Corbyn who had been in the orphan school was apprenticed to Nowlan.

Convict servants working for him during the years 1828 to 1833 included:
William Bowles, a house servant who arrived on the Morley;
Michael Carroll a fencer who arrived on the Mangles in 1822;
Byfield Walmsley a shoemaker who arrived on the Prince Regent;
Kyram Whelan a shepherd who arrived on the Mangles in 1826;
Thomas Shuttleworth a shepherd who arrived on the Henry;
James Bristles on the Dunvegan Castle in 1830;
John Commons on the Norfolk in 1832;
William Russell a butcher arriving on the Asia 1832 and
James Pickles a wool sorter who arrived on the Mary in 1833.

Select here to find the names of other convicts assigned to Timothy Nowlan at his Hunter River estate.

By 1828 Nowlan was in possession of over 6,000 acres of land.

Thomas Standfield one of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who arrived on the Surry in 1834 was assigned to Timothy Nowlan. His son John visited him 3 weeks after being assigned to Nowlan and was appalled by his father's condition. He was 'a dreadful spectacle, covered in sores from head to foot, and as weak and helpless as a child. After working from sunrise to sunset he then retired to his 'Watch-box' 6 feet high, with a small bed and one blanket, where he could lie and gaze upon the starry heavens, and where the wind blew in at one end and out of the other, with nothing to ward off the pitiless storm - such were the comforts of the watch-box. Besides this he had to walk four miles for his rations, which journeys he was compelled to perform by night.' Notice of an Absolute Pardon for Thomas and the other Tolpuddle Martyrs appeared in the Sydney Gazette in September 1836, however none of the men were notified by the Government or Masters. Fortunately George Loveless read of the Pardon later and notified the men who eventually returned to England.(1)

Timothy Nowlan had an encounter with the Jewboy gang bushrangers in 1840 when he was travelling in company with another man named Waring on the way to Wallarobba. Some accounts relate that he was robbed and mistreated by the bushrangers, others that he received no personal injury at all. Read an account in the Sydney Herald

Timothy Nowlan died in 1856.  

Rambles in New South Wales


Hunter's Hill   Eelah -

Eelah, Rosebrook Rd, Mr & Mrs W. Measures, October, 1973
Cultural Collections - University of Newcastle  


(1) Mead, Tom, Man is never free : martyrs of injustice, Sydney, Dolphin Books, pp. 216 - 217   

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