Thursday, 8 December 2016

Pictorial History Hawkesbury - revised, reprinted & for sale

Pictorial History Hawkesbury by Michelle Nichols has recently been revised and reprinted and is once again, available for sale.

To purchase an autographed copy $25.00 + $10 P&H go to Order Form For orders of 2-5 copies 5% discount and P&H $15. Copies are also available to pick up in Windsor or Richmond, please contact the author 0408 694 919. Copies are also available from Tizzana Winery at Ebenezer and most bookstores.

The Hawkesbury district was originally occupied by the Darug and Darkinjung tribes and following European settlement in the 1790s the Hawkesbury district developed into one of the major settlements in the colony. Many Australians can trace their origins, both convict and free, to this district and many descendants still live in this historic region.

Chapters of the book cover:

  • Setting the scene
  • Original Occupants
  • Exploration & early European Settlement 
  • Macquarie Five Towns

The publication also includes a history of Hawkesbury localities which extend from Bilpin, Colo, Ebenezer, Kurrajong, Mount Tomah, Pitt Town, Richmond, Wilberforce, Windsor, St Albans and Wisemans Ferry illustrated with almost 200 black and white historic photographs giving a fascinating overview of the history of the area from Aboriginal to modern times.

Michelle Nichols has worked as a Local History Librarian for over 30 years. She published 'Disastrous Decade: Flood & Fire in Windsor' in 2001 and co-authored 'Hawkesbury 1794-1994' with Jan Barkley Jack. She has been the editor of several journals as well as the 'Hawkesbury Pioneer Register 1 & 2.' Michelle received an OAM for her work on local history. A keen photographer, she transcribes Hawkesbury cemeteries  with her husband, Jonathan Auld. 

This is part of a series of pictorial histories and is also available for sale through the publisher Kingsclear Books 

ISBN 0-908272-78-2

Monday, 28 November 2016

Death of an astronomer: Hawkesbury's John Tebbutt 1834-1916

On this day, 100 years ago (29 November 1916) astronomer John Tebbutt, passed away. In Australia he was known for his devotion to astronomy yet internationally he was greatly admired. Tebbutt’s observations assisted in advancing astronomy throughout the world yet he rarely left the Hawkesbury. 
John Tebbutt at the Pensinsular Observatory, Windsor 1915 [Source: Early Days of Windsor by J. Steele, 1916]

The son of John and Virginia Tebbutt, John was born in Windsor on 25 May 1834. His grandfather, also called John, arrived in Sydney as a free settler with his family on the ‘Nile’ in 1801. Soon after their arrival in the Hawkesbury, the family purchased properties and established businesses. In the 1840s Tebbutt’s father, purchased land on the Peninsula near South Creek and built a two-storey house.

Educated in Windsor, it was parish clerk Edward Quaife, who instilled in the young John Tebbutt a love of astronomy. Tebbutt was later taught by the Presbyterian minister, Reverend Matthew Adam, then Reverend Henry Stiles the Anglican minister. He was tutored in the classics including Latin and Greek and in later years, taught himself French and German. To work in the field of astronomy an understanding of not only science, but also higher mathematics was required. Tebbutt was fascinated with all types of machines and studied various mechanisms as well as steam engines. 

With his aptitude for astronomy, Tebbutt purchased his first instrument, a marine sextant in 1853. With advice from John Stiles a retired Royal Navy midshipman and brother of his tutor, Tebbutt commenced his examination of the skies in earnest. The results of one of his earliest observations appeared in  the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ in 1854. 

Tebbutt's letter to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald 13 May 1854, p. 5

Tebbutt also prepared detailed observations of the Donati comet which was discovered in 1858.

In 1857, Tebbutt married Jane Pendergast at St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Windsor. The couple who made their home in Windsor, had six daughters and one son. Tebbutt was a deeply religious man, and a member of the St. Matthew’s Anglican congregation. Tebbutt had expressed that, "The truth shall make humanity free whether it be religious or scientific and we scientists have to fight for that freedom."

In the early days Tebbutt’s instruments were simple but in 1861 he purchased a refracting telescope and the following year, a set of meteorological instruments. In later years he was able to purchase more substantial telescopes and equipment. He meticulously recorded meteorological statistics and Hawkesbury River flood levels throughout his life. During 1861 he discovered the Great Comet which gave him international recognition then twenty years later discovered the Great Comet of 1881. When William Scott (1825–1917) the first government astronomer resigned in 1862, Tebbutt was offered the position however he declined in order to concentrate on his own efforts. Despite not accepting the position he was still considered as one of Australia’s foremost astronomers by his international peers, which caused some repercussions throughout his career. 

Tebbutt built the first of several observatories on the family property in 1863. This building constructed by Tebbutt himself, was wooden with a slate roof, and included a transit room. The following year he purchased a transit instrument and a chronometer. In 1874 he built a circular building, a few metres from his original observatory, to house his 4½ inch equatorial telescope. To assist with his observations, he purchased a Dublin made, Grubb 8 inch equatorial refractor. In 1879 an extensive brick observatory was constructed on the property. It included a meridian room, a fire proof office which contained a library. An Equatorial room was built in 1894 replacing the older wooden building. 

Tebbutt’s consistent observations and astronomical computations were highly regarded by his international colleagues and assisted in progressing astronomy worldwide. In 1867 he received the silver medal of the Paris Universal Exhibition for his paper on the Progress of Astronomy in NSW. Tebbutt was elected a member of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1873 for his contribution to astronomy and when the British Astronomical Association formed the NSW Branch in 1895, Tebbutt was elected as the founding president. For his service to astronomy in Australia he was awarded the prestigious Hannah Jackson nee Gwilt gift and bronze medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, London in 1905 “for his important observations of comets and double stars, and his long-continued service to astronomy in Australia, extending over half a century.” Aged seventy he retired from his routine recordings but maintained his interest in astronomy. 

This can be read online

During his career he published almost 400 articles. He also published the “History and description of Mr. Tebbutt's observatory, Windsor” and "Astronomical Memoirs". The following year, despite his retirement, Tebbutt observed and recorded Halley’s Comet.

View of Tebbutt's vault at St. Matthew's Anglican Cemetery, Windsor and inset below

John Tebbutt died on 29 November 1916, aged eighty-two, after being unwell for a few weeks. His cause of death was recorded as cerebral paralysis. His funeral was held in Windsor’s St. Matthew's Anglican Church and was reported as one of the largest ever held in the Hawkesbury. The prominent astronomer was buried in a vault which he personally designed and had constructed several years before his death. The four corners mark the four points of the compasses and are topped with a globe with longitudinal and latitudinal lines. It rained heavily on the day of the funeral. His coffin travelled by hearse to the church followed by mourning coaches carrying the family, long lines of pedestrians, horsemen and motor cars. 

During the service, Rev Fielding paid tribute to Tebbutt, "one of the most eminent Australians” and noted that “perhaps his character and his remarkable work were not appreciated in their true value in the town…where he spent the whole of his long life.” Many important citizens travelled to Windsor to join with family and the local community to bid farewell to the gifted astronomer. 

After his death, Tebbutt continued to receive accolades. The International Astronomical Union renamed a lunar crater on the moon in 1973 to commemorate his achievements. Tebbutt also appeared on the first Australian $100 banknote in 1984, this was replaced in 1996. 

Hawkesbury Council acquired his Grubb telescope many years ago, and it is on loan to Tebbutt’s observatory. Descendants still live on the property where the original house alongside two of Tebbutt’s remaining observatories. His globe is on display in Hawkesbury Regional Museum. A distinguished astronomer, John Tebbutt remains a name respected amongst eminent stargazers. 

In 1984, Hawkesbury Council reprinted Tebbutt's 1908 "Astronomical Memoirs" - this was the same year the $100 banknote was introduced. It is still available for sale at Hawkesbury Library.

LATE MR. JOHN TEBBUTT. (1916, December 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. 
ASTRONOMER DEAD. (1916, November 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. 
DEATH OF MR. JOHN TEBBUTT (1916, December 8). Windsor & Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 2. 
VALE! JOHN TEBBUTT (1916, December 15). Windsor & Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 2.
Harley Wood, 'Tebbutt, John (1834–1916)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, , published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 28 November 2016
Biographical Entry, John Tebbutt (1834 - 1916) from Encyclopedia of Australian Science Archival and Published Resources 

Friday, 14 October 2016


An elderly lady passed away in Richmond during Easter in 1893. This was not just any woman, but one that had caught the media attention in the 1890s. Mrs Eliza Kingswood was apparently 103 years of age when she passed away in Richmond. Who was this remarkable woman and what was her story?

Born Eliza McNamara around 1790, she was apparently born in Ireland.. She became the wife of Sgt. John Kingswood. A soldier who had participated in the Continental War in 1815, however not in the Battle of Waterloo. The couple eventually arrived in Australia in the 1820s. 

“A much respected soldier” - John and his wife settled in the Kurrajong district, where they grew maize. They then moved to Richmond and lived in a property in March Street. They had one daughter, Mary who was born in the late 1820s. In 1845, Mary married Richard Gow 1822-1889. Richard was the eldest son of convict William Gow 1797-1872 and Maria Dunston 1807-1865. They had at least one son, Francis John, who was born in the Hawkesbury in 1847. Regrettably Mary died 24 October 1865, aged 36 years old. She was buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Windsor. Her headstone (pictured below) indicates that she may have been ill for a long period prior to her death. It states: 

Sickness sore long time I bore
Physicians was in vain
Till God did please to give me ease
And free me from my pain.

Eliza Kingswood's headstone, Windsor Catholic Cemetery

Mary’s husband, Richard Gow, died on 7 October 1889 in Cudgegong.  Despite the early death of their daughter Mary in 1865, both John and Eliza lived on in March-street, Richmond. John Kingswood reached the ripe old age of 95 years old, and passed away in January 1887.  The Freemans Journal reported that "Another Good Old Colonist Gone." It stated that John Kingswood died at the residence of  his grandson, Mr F. J. Gow,
New South Wales has lost one of its very oldest colonists, and one who has won the highest respect of his neighbours. Mr. Kingswood, who had reached the grand old age of 95 years, came to the colony with his wife (who survives him, although she is also 95 years old) in 1826. The good old gentleman preserved all his faculties up to the last, and until attacked by the short illness which carried him off, was able to attend to his ordinary business affairs. Mrs. Kingswood is a fine example of an old lady who has led a simple life, and now, at the age of 95, is as clear in intellect as she ever was.

Eliza Kingswood celebrated her 100th birthday and at the time it was recorded that “her sight and intellect were unimpaired” and she did not require spectacles for reading and was still reasonably mobile. Yet when aged 98 years, Eliza was interviewed for a popular magazine, and although possessing all her mental faculties was not so physical active. Obviously the media liked to stretch the truth, even in those days. The article from the Australian Town & Country Journal 6 August 1892 states:
…Elizabeth Kingswood, 98 years of age, whom I interviewed. Her lower limbs are partially paralysed, otherwise she is as healthy as possible. She is constantly reading, and can read the smallest print without the aid of glasses. She informed me that previous to five years ago she required glasses, but not feeling the need of them, owing to either the loss or breakage of her pair, she has done without them ever since. She stated she went to Monarco[sic] with her parents about 1801 ; she was then between 6 and 7 years of age. Her father was a soldier, and served in the Battle of the Nile. Her husband was a sergeant in the 57th Regiment, which was known as the "Die Hards." They used to live in the old barracks, now Wynyard Square, Sydney.  

Eliza lived for another three years, and died aged 103 years in Bosworth Street, Richmond. Her death, on the 2nd April 1893, was recorded in numerous newspapers including local newspapers as well as Australian Town and Country Journal, Singleton Argus, Clarence and Richmond Examiner, the Sydney Morning Herald and even Broken Hill’s Barrier Miner.  The cause of death was recorded on her death certificate as diarrhoea and exhaustion, both treatable but disastrous for an elderly person. She was ill for a week and seen to by Dr. W. M. Helsham of Richmond, furthermore on her last day on earth. 

Eliza was buried on the 4 April 1893 at the Catholic Cemetery in Windsor. The service was taken by Rev. E Hanrahan and William Tomkinson was the Undertaker. The details of her death appeared in numerous newspapers and an obituary was published in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette, 8 April 1893, and read:

An old lady, who has been a resident of the district for many years, passed away on Easter Sunday night at 10 o'clock, at Richmond, at the advanced age of 103 years. Deceased was grandmother to Mr F. J. Gow partner in the well-known firm of John Bridge and Co., and was the relict of the late Mr, John Kingswood, an old soldier, who died about 10  years ago at the advanced age of 95 years. Deceased and her husband first came to reside at Kurrajong, and after living some years there, came to Richmond and built a house for themselves in Francis-street, where they resided several years. Here Mr. Kingswood died. When deceased's grandson, Mr. Gow, went to reside in Sydney, he tried to induce deceased to accompany him, but as she desired to remain in the town of her adoption, she was placed under the care of Mrs. Cashel and family, Richmond, where she remained until her death. Deceased had one daughter, mothers Mr. F. J. Gow, who died many years ago. Notwithstanding her great age, Mrs. Kingswood experienced excellent health up to the time of her death; enjoying her meals heartily. She was however unable to walk about or use her hands for the past few years. Deceased had marvelous eyesight, and right up to the last was able to read small print without the aid of spectacles, a fact which somewhat surprised her medical attendant, Dr. Helsham. The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon at Windsor, at 4 o'clock, her remains were interred in the R. C. Cemetery. There were not many present owing to most people being away from home at Easter-time. Mr. Tompkinson carried out the duties of undertaker, and gave satisfaction.  
The headstone in the Catholic Cemetery at Windsor also records the death of Marjorie Mary Gow a four month old baby. Marjorie was the daughter of Francis and Clara and died the 24 August 1898 aged 16 weeks.  Her death was registered in Woollahra. By this time, Francis and his family were living in the Eastern Suburbs and he was working as a produce merchants. 

Francis Gow passed away in 1928 aged 81 years. He lived at ‘Maybourne Lodge’ Cook Road, Centennial Park. He worked for many years at John Bridge & Co. in Sussex Street but in 1929, he was a director of the Hotel Sydney Ltd. and the Ranelagh Hotel in Robertson. He was “survived by a widow, two daughters, and five sons. The funeral took place at Waverley Cemetery.” 

Reminiscences of Richmond : from the forties down / by "Cooramill" [Samuel Boughton] & Cathy McHardy (2010) p. 154
Inscription from the Cemetery Register. Windsor Catholic Cemetery from Hawkesbury on the Net 
Family Notices. (1887, January 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from
DEATH OF A CENTENARIAN . (1893, April 6). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from
Richmond. (1892, August 6). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 28. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from
Australian Town and Country Journal (1893, April 15). p. 17 retrieved from 
Singleton Argus (1893, April 8), p. 1
Clarence and Richmond Examiner (1893, April 8) p. 5  
Sydney Morning Herald  (1893, April 17) p. 8
Death of a Centenarian. (1893, April 8). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from
Town Gossip. (1898, September 10). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from
OBITUARY. (1928, April 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from
MR. O'RYAN'S LECTURE ON EMMET. (1887, January 29). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 15. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Chandler's - the undertaking family in Windsor

James William Chandler was born in Windsor in 1859, the son of James Samson Chandler & Esther Bradley. At the time the family were living in a house on corner of Macquarie and Suffolk Streets. When James was aged fourteen he was apprenticed as a cabinet maker in Newtown (Sydney) with his brother John. About eight years later, the two brothers returned to Windsor to set up a business. After a time the business was dissolved and John moved to Katoomba where he “prospered as a cabinet-maker and undertaker and acquired valuable properties.” John eventually sold his business to Wood, Coffill and Company.  

In the 1880s James expanded his cabinet-making business with undertaking. The business was certified to embalm and prepare bodies for burial and he also built coffins. He also would have transported the coffins to the church for the funeral and to the cemetery for burial. Chandler's was one of the most recognised undertaker’s business in the 19th and 20th century in Windsor. 

This advertisement is from the Hawkesbury Advocate 22 Dec 1899

Marrying twice, he had eleven children. His first wife was Sarah Emmaline Goodsell (1860-1892) and the couple married in 1881. Their children included, Lillian Ann b 1881, Ernest John b 1883, Amy Bertha b 1885, Henry William b 1888 Windsor and Percy James b 1889. His second wife was Alice Hanna Slater (1865-1962) and they married in 1898. Their children were Beryl Ester b 1899, Harold Keith b 1901, Wilton Charles b 1903, Alice Martha b 1905 and Myrna Elsie b 1910. 

A man of many talents he enjoyed sport and played cricket as well as music and was president of the Windsor Municipal Band. He was also a member of the Windsor Rifle Club. 

James attended the Methodist Church in Windsor and was layperson for many years. He was a “prominent Oddfellow and Mason”  and a member of the Hospital committee. He was community minded and was elected as an Alderman on Windsor Council. He held the position of Mayor three separate occasions in 1911-1913, 1915 and 1918. He was Mayor at the time of his death. James died 10 April 1919 at Windsor and is buried at McGraths Hill Methodist Cemetery. Cause of death was Chronic Nephritis and Albuminuria, commonly known as Bright’s disease and he died at his residence in Macquarie Street which was only about forty metres from where he was born. His parents, James, who died in 1871 and Esther who died in 1901 are also buried at McGraths Hill. Descendants of James operated the business until the 1980s. 

The grave of James Chandler at McGraths Hill Cemetery
Photo: M. Nichols

On his death a colleague compiled the following poem which was published in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette shortly after his death in 1919.  

His day is closed, his part is played,
He fought the fight quite undismayed;
He strove to shed a ray of light,
Across some brother's path not bright. 
Did Jim Chandler.

His was a work of love below
(A friend indeed was Jim to know),
His quiet mien, we loved it well,
And all his praises each will tell 
Of Jim Chandler.

Happy hours we've spent together
(Oft in cold and stormy weather),
All for the sake of a good cause —
Not for the limelight nor applause —
Did Jim Chandler.

Farewell, dear brother, a long farewell,
We part on earth — your worth we'll tell
To those with us who still remain —
Thy life was such our loss your gain —
Vale Jim Chandler.
[R. W. F.]


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Trove Tuesday ~ Boer War Day

Boer War Day has been designated on the 31 May which is the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging. Between October 1899 until May 1902 the South African War, also known as the Boer War, was fought between the Orange Free State and Boer Republics of the Transvaal.The British quickly requested assistance from the Empire and Australia responded with a large contingent.
Approximately 23,000 Australians participated in the battle. Around 1,000 lives were lost. More information about the Boer War can be obtained from the Australian War Memorial.

Part of Boer War monument, Windsor  
Photo: M. Nichols
The Hawkesbury were quick to answer the call and the following were some of the names included in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette during that time. 

Trooper Pallier, Trooper Hookes, Trooper E. C. Pearce, Col. Cox, Warrant Officer Sullivan, Lt. Simons, Lt. Dight, Lt. Byrne, Major Bennett, Albert Ezzy, Les Ezzy, Fred Ezzy, Walter Smith, Robert Smith, George Smith, D. Hayes, C. Alcorn, E. Day, D. Garland, M. Mitchell, T. Upton, Mr Norris (brother of Fred), Clendon Callaghan, Dr Thomas Fiaschi and his son Trooper Carlo Fiaschi, Dr James Adam Dick, Capt Alfred Joshua Bennett, Trooper "Chum" Holborrow, Lt G. A. H. Holborrow, W. H. Pearce, George Mortimer, Cpl Kilpatrick, Trooper Milverton Ford, T. H. Norris, Lt Heron, George Bush, J. Eggleton and Sgt Major Duke. 

Corp. Pte C. W. H. Coulter wrote a number of very lengthy letters which were published in the local newspapers, including one which mentions a battle in open country near Vredefort. He mentions how the Australians fought bravely and some of the casualties.  Major Moor from Western Australia was shot in the right leg with an explosive bullet, completely smashing the limb at the knee, and died immediately. There were some terrible injuries and mention was made of Sgt. Nicholson, of Albury had his nose blown off by an explosive bullet. A soldier's letter is very detailed and worth checking in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette

Soldier's Letter - Windsor & Richmond Gazette 2 June 1900, p. 7 

Several soldiers connected to the Hawkesbury died whilst serving. They were:

More details can be obtained from the Australian War Memorial and the Oz Boer War site.
Thomas Moore Mitchell is pictured in this image ATCJ 21 April 1900

A number of served in the medical field. Dr Thomas Fiaschi commanded the 1st Field Hospital. In 1900 he led stretcher bearers into Boer territory and accepted 250 Boer soldiers surrender and was awarded the DSO "For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty"  His son Carlo, also a medical practitioner, served as well. Dr James Adam Dick enlisted with the Army Medical Corps and was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Queen's medal. Julia Bligh Johnston was born in 1861 at Spring Hill, McGraths Hill, daughter of James Bligh and Anne Johnston. She trained as a nurse in Launceston in the mid-1880s and was then employed at Sydney Hospital. Julia enlisted with the Army Nursing Service Reserve attached to the NSW Army Medical Corps in 1899 as Superintendent and was sent to South Africa during the Boer War.

After the war the community in the Hawkesbury district chose to establish a memorial to honour the memory of soldiers from the district that died whilst serving in the Boer War in South Africa during 1899 to 1902.  Local monumental mason, George Robertson was appointed to design the memorial which was paid by public subscription. The monument (pictured above) was unveiled at an official function in November 1902.

The Boer War Day ceremony 31 May 2016 in Windsor.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Windsor Boxing match 1836 ~ Trove Tuesday

During the nineteenth century, boxing was a popular form of sport in the colony. The fights were often motivated by betting on the outcome and at times were frowned upon by the law. The following case relates to death in a boxing match at Windsor in August 1836. The death was dealt with as a case of manslaughter in the Supreme Court of NSW. The case of  R. v. GAUDRY & OTHERS took place on the 10 November 1836 with Judge Dowling presiding. Several newspapers provided detailed reports of the court case which in turn gives us a picture of these prize fights. 
A prize fight boxing match was held on the 26 August 1836 at Windsor between George Gaudry and James Bishop. Gaudry was indicted for the manslaughter of Bishop. A group of men were charged with “abetting in the same” Charles Gaudry, Samuel Taylor, John Bates, John Allcorn, John Lucas, George Keys and Thomas Martin. 

William Gaudry’s testimony was recorded:
I live at Windsor, and recollect the 24th of August last, was at a fight that day about two miles from Windsor, my brother George was one did not know the other, but had seen him on the previous evening, took no part in the fight; Dutch Sam (Taylor,) was second to deceased, and George Ray second to my brother, there were bottle holders also, saw Bates, my brother Charles and Allcorn there, someone kept time, the fight lasted about an hour, my brother won the fight. Bishop became insensible soon after the fight, I then spoke to Dr. Rutter who bled him, he was taken into Windsor but died the same evening, there was a regular ring formed by the crowd, a great number of people were there, saw nearly all the prisoners there.
Supreme Court where the case was heard from 'Sydney in 1848' by Joseph Fowles.
Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

Others that were examined as part of the case, included, Christopher Flynn, dealer in Sydney, provided his assigned servant James Bishop, a pass to go to Richmond. Flynn had not seen him since. Under examination Flynn said Bishop “had been with me four years, complained sometimes of a head ache.” Robert Smith, a publican at Windsor, recalled the day of the fight. As a result of the fight the injured man was taken to Smith’s house where he died later that evening. 

John Hibbert attended the fight & saw deceased fall a few times, “he was very much beaten”. Apparently Gaudry “threw him frequently, the last time thrown he laid on the ground speechless a considerable time.” He was taken by chaise to Smith's house and Hibbert stated that he thought it was a “fair fight” while Richard Crampton, a witness stated “I was at the fight in August between Gaudry & Stringybark, I believe Lucas was one of the parties who kept the time, Taylor & Haddygaddy were the seconds.” John Earl, a Cabinet maker, was also at the fight. He said he saw George Gaudry and Bates at the fight. He also mentioned a Mr Dight who held the stakes. Apparently both Bates and Gaudry gave £10 as the stakes. He thought that as Allcorn and Lucas both held watches that they were the time keepers. However when cross-examined, it was noted that other people had watches as well.

Charles Kelly stated that he attended the fight and “saw John Allcorn was one of the time-keepers; saw him act as such; a round or two had taken place before he was called into the ring.” William Maughan was the local constable and was on duty on the day of the fight. He did try and stop the fight but was unsuccessful. Dr. Rutter the doctor that treated the deceased lived in Parramatta but was in Windsor on the day in question.  After the fight the doctor was to examine him. He stated the man “was insensible, labouring under a concussion of the brain; I bled him; the injury I imagine was the effect of a fall; death was occasioned by a profusion of blood on the brain; his head had received an extensive blow, which might produce compression of the brain.” When cross examined, the doctor stated a “fall was more likely than a blow to produce compression; over exertion might produce it.”

Another doctor, William John Whitethorn was also called upon to give evidence. He examined the deceased and stated “death had been occasioned by extravasated blood on the brain; there were several wounds on the scalp which might have been caused by either blows or falls.”

William Henry Gaudry stated “I heard Bishop say that he came up to Windsor on purpose to fight somebody, and mentioned the name of my brother in particular; he was about the same size as my brother.”  Apparently there was some question about the identity of deceased, as no-one who knew Bishop, identified the body. However it was thought the pass was evidence enough. Those being charged did not say anything in their defence but did provide character witnesses. The judge stated that six of the prisoners were born in the colony, and it was “absolutely necessary that prize fighting should be put down, it was a brutal practice and tended to disgrace all parties concerned.  It was also high time that the young men of this Colony should be taught to respect the laws of their country.”  

Interestingly as Taylor was already a convict, his punishment (two years to a penal settlement) was harsher. George Gaudry received six months whilst the others Charles Gaudry, Bates, Allcorn, Kay and Lucas were sentenced to three months imprisonment in Windsor Gaol.

(1836, November 15). The Australian, p. 2. Retrieved from
(1836, November 12). The Sydney Gazette & NSW Advertiser, p. 3. Retrieved from
(1836, November 14). The Sydney Herald, p. 2. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The old Richmond Post Office

Prior to the official appointment of Isaac Nichols as postmaster in 1810 the settlers in the colony made their own arrangements regarding the circulation of mail. An official post office was established in Windsor in 1828 and mails were delivered three times per week from Windsor to Richmond. 

RICHMOND. The Australian  newspaper  13 January 1844, p. 3.
A Post Office was officially established in Richmond on the 1 January 1844 and the first postmaster appointed was William Edward Brew.    

The old Richmond Post Office when it was single storey (right) adjacent to the Court House and old Police Station, 1879
Courtesy State Library of NSW

In 1875 a single storey post office building was erected in Windsor Street, a little known fact. A second storey was added to the building in 1888 and in 1906 the walkways were filled in. The first Telegraph Office opened in Richmond in 1867, nine years after the first line opened in Sydney.   

The building adjacent is the Court House and Police Station, located on the corner of Windsor and West Market Streets, and was built in 1877. There had been an earlier building on this site, called the Watch House, built in the 1820s.

ROBBERY FROM A POST-OFFICE. (1895, December 17). The Sydney Morning Herald 17 December 1895, p. 5. 

In 1895 burglars broke into the Post Office through a side window. They opened the safe and stole a cashbox which contained £120 worth of notes, gold and silver. Rather daring considering the Post Office was next door to the Police Station. 

Postal history of NSW 1788-1901 p.21 
Richmond Post Office, notes from Australia Post Archives
RICHMOND. (1844, January 13). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848), , p. 3. Retrieved April 3, 2016, from
ROBBERY FROM A POST-OFFICE. (1895, December 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 5. Retrieved April 3, 2016, from

Historic St. Peter's Church of England, Richmond

Travelling down Windsor Street, in Richmond is the historic St Peter's Anglican Church, which has changed very little over the years.  The church with its adjoining rectory and coach house, and across the road, the burial ground and hall, sits in a small ridge, with a view to the mountains.

St Peter's Church of England, Richmond 1879
Courtesy State Library of NSW

In 1789 Governor Arthur Phillip explored the area around Richmond Hill. Five years later, settlers were granted land and given permission to reside in the Hawkesbury. The first services were conducted in Richmond in 1808 by Brother Youl but regular services were not customary until after the appointment of the resident chaplain, Reverend Robert Cartwright to the Church of England in the Hawkesbury in 1810. He served both Windsor and Richmond until 1814 when the parishes separated.  

Governor Lachlan Macquarie travelled to the Hawkesbury in 1810 and named the five towns of Richmond, Windsor, Wilberforce, Pitt Town and Castlereagh. In Richmond he selected the location “on a very beautiful elevated Bank and overlooking Pugh's Lagoon and adjoining rich lowlands." He visited again, about a month later, and recorded in his Journal in 1811: 
...the scite(sic) of the church, schoolhouse and burying ground were marked out by strong posts...The name of the town, painted on a board and nailed to strong lofty post was put close to the beautiful bank immediately above and overlooking Pugh's Lagoon and adjoining rich lowlands where it is intended to erect the Church at Richmond.[1]

The Richmond church lands were consecrated by Rev Samuel Marsden in 1811 and in that same year, the decision to construct a brick building was made at a meeting.  The community went about raising the funds, over two hundred pounds, to do so, however the schoolhouse-come-chapel, was not constructed until several years later. 

The two storeyed schoolhouse, similar to the one surviving at Wilberforce, was constructed next to the burial ground, measuring about 12 x 18 metres in size, and could seat up to one hundred people. It had accommodation on the ground floor with schoolroom upstairs which doubled as a chapel on Sundays. The first schoolmaster appointed to Richmond was Matthew Hughes and he taught at the school from 1813 until 1839. This was at a time when schooling was provided by the church, public education did not come about until much later in the nineteenth century.

As the town grew, it was evident a more substantial church building was required. A public meeting was held at the schoolhouse in 1835, headed by Rev Samuel Marsden. A Committee was formed, and a subscription list commenced where people could pledge donations. The church was designed by architect Francis Clarke (1801-1884) who was responsible for the design of several others churches including Mulgoa and Prospect. Tenders were advertised to construct the church in 1836 with local builder James Atkinson the successful builder. Construction of St. Peter's church was underway by late 1837 and took several years to build. It opened on 15 July 1841.

It was reported that: 
The new church, called St Peters was officially opened on Thursday and consecrated by [Bishop Broughton] the Lord Bishop of Australia, when all the responsible families in the town and neighbourhood were present. After the ceremony, a very large party of the gentry and clergy, with the Bishop, police magistrate, &c, were received at Hobartville, and entertained most hospitably by Mr. & Mrs. W. Cox. These meetings on such occasions do great good: they promote harmony, inspire confidence, and tend to unity; and it is a fair example of the really good feeling of the Australian community…[2]

The rectory, also designed by Clarke, was not completed until 1847. It is supposed to be similar to an English parsonage in Farnham Surrey, where Bishop William Grant Broughton lived for a period. A number of changes were made by the well-known architect Edmund Blacket to the rectory in 1863. The nearby coach house and stables have also survived.

The church was originally lit by candle and then kerosene lamp. Shortly after the end of the First World War, the electricity was connected. In 1849 a barrel organ was installed followed by an American styled organ in 1877. This was replaced in 1904 with a pipe organ. There have been a number of changes to the church including the addition of a side-porch, designed by Edmund Blacket, the construction of a chancel and gallery, and reorganisation of the pew layout occurring during the 1850s. Coloured glass windows were introduced in the 1870s, and in 1891 the gates and iron railing were erected. Several remarkable stained glass windows also adorn the church.

Church of England Schoolhouse circa 1870s
Courtesy State Library of NSW
The old schoolhouse was used until about 1874 and a new Sunday School Hall was built next to the cemetery facing Windsor Street. [3] The schoolhouse was demolished sometime later and a number of the bricks were used to build an obelisk outside the church, commemorating the early pioneers of the church and unveiled in 1933.

During the twentieth century the church experienced several disasters. In 1933 a heavy hailstorm smashed over thirty panes of glass from the windows. A wild storm demolished most of the spire in 1956 and it was necessary for it to be replaced. In 1964 the original ceiling was significantly water damaged.  

Burial entry for Margaret Catchpole who died in 1819 and is buried at St Peter's.
Photo: M. Nichols
The earliest recorded death in St Peters burial ground is that of five year old George Rouse who drowned in 1809. As this was before the cemetery was officially marked out and consecrated it is not known if he was actually buried or just commemorated on the headstone. 

View of rear of St Peters Cemetery
Photo: M. Nichols, 2016
There are a number of pioneers who came with the First Fleet in 1788 buried in the cemetery. Ex-convict Margaret Catchpole who arrived in 1801 and died in 1819 is also buried in the cemetery in an unmarked grave. William Cox junior and Andrew Town, both of Hobartville; Benjamin Richards who established the Riverstone Meatworks and botanist, Louisa Calvert nee Atkinson are some of the notable pioneers found in the cemetery.  
Hordern monument, St Peter's Cemetery
Photo: M. Nichols
The Hordern family monument (pictured above) with its exquisite angel is a feature of the cemetery. One bizarre fact is that the famous ornithologist John Gould, captured his first pair of Wonga Wonga pigeons in the cemetery in Richmond.

1. Lachlan Macquarie, Journals of his tours in NSW and Van Diemens Land 1810-1822. p.28
3. Macquarie Country by D. G. Bowd

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Where Hawkesbury buried their dead ~ Trove Tuesday

Windsor Catholic Cemetery. Photo M. Nichols
Prior to 1810, inhabitants of the Hawkesbury buried their dead in various places including their properties, or along the riverbanks. There was also an early burial ground on the banks of South Creek at Green Hills (which was the original name of Windsor) but no records survive and the exact location is not confirmed, although a small plot of land has been set aside to commemorate early burials.

In 1811, the following Government Order, decreed by Governor Lachlan Macquarie was published in the Sydney Gazette stating that all burials were to take place in consecrated cemeteries. The Order stated:

The respective burial grounds which were sometime since marked out for the accommodation of the settlers in the several townships of Liverpool, Windsor, Richmond, Pitt Town, Castlereagh and Wilberforce having lately consecrated by the Principal Chaplain, His Excellency, the Governor is pleased to give this public notice, thereof and at the same time directs & commands that in future all settlers and other residents within those townships, or in their respective vicinities shall cease to bury their dead as heretofore within their several farms, & shall in a decent and becoming manner inter them in the consecrated grounds now assigned for that purpose in their respective Townships.

It was also recorded that when someone died, "notice of the event shall be immediately given to the Constable at the District wherein it has occurred, and the Constable receiving such information is hereby directed to communicate the same with the least possible delay to the nearest Resident Chaplain, in order that he may attend and perform the Funeral Service."

This order was not to be neglected and ignoring it could result in severe punishment. Further it became a "sacred duty ... to guard and protect the Remains of ... deceased Friends from every unnecessary Exposure."

Governor Lachlan Macquarie was keen the burial grounds be made available soon after and donated ten pounds towards the erection of a fence, to be built as quickly as possible. The first of these burial grounds to be established was at Windsor. Many people do not realise that the burial ground came first and was established adjacent to what was eventually to become St. Matthew's Church of England, which began construction in 1817.  Andrew Thompson who died in 1810 was in fact the first person buried in the burial ground. Henry Antill was responsible for selecting Thompson's burial site. 

Shortly after Windsor, burial grounds were established in Richmond, Wilberforce, Pitt Town, Castlereagh and Ebenezer. They were surveyed, marked out and then consecrated.