Tag Archives: John Jamison

Regentville

It will be remembered that, on the eve of their journey across the Blue Mountains from Emu Island to Bathurst in April 1822, Thomas and Elizabeth Hawkins were entertained by Sir John Jamison at his property by the Nepean River.

A few months later, in August of that year, Sir John advertised in the Sydney Gazette that he was proposing to leave the colony for Europe towards the end of the year; he was wanting to sell his livestock (horses, cattle, sheep and pigs); and he was prepared to sell or rent ‘for a Term of Years’ his houses in Sydney, his estate of Regent Ville (on the Nepean), and his estates and farms elsewhere in the colony.

However, in September of the following year we find Sir John in the first stages of building a mansion at Regent-ville:

Tuesday last Sir John Jamison, the Proprietor of that invaluable Estate, Regent-ville, situate on the fascinating Banks of the Nepean, immediately fronting the picturesque Plains of Emu, laid the first stone of an intended mansion, to be erected on a magnificent scale. Regent-ville exhibited a scene of unprecedented festivity on the occasion; Sir John entertaining a large Party to an elegant dinner.

This function took place on 9 September 1823. A week later, on 16 September, the Commissariat Office in Sydney announced its acceptance of tenders for the supply of meat (fresh beef and salt pork) deliverable at Sydney, Liverpool, Parramatta, Windsor and Emu Plains. Among the suppliers to deliver at Emu Plains was Sir John Jamison of Regentville, with a tender for 1,000 lbs of salt pork.

In January of 1824 Sir John was advertising for twenty tenants, ‘of honest and industrious Character,’ each to rent at moderate terms ‘from 15 to 30 Acres of rich agricultural clear Land’ for five years on his Regentville Estate.

Proposed sale of livestock and sale and rent of properties: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 23/8/1822, p. 2. Laying of the foundation stone of the mansion at Regentville: ibid. 11/9/1823, p. 2. Tenders for the supply of meat: ibid. 2/10/ 1823, p. 3. Tenants: ibid. 29/1/1824, p. 1. The National Library of Australia holds a published engraving of Regentville by William Wilson, ‘Regentville, the Seat of Sir John Jamison’ (1838), from James Maclehose, Picture of Sydney and Strangers’ Guide in New South Wales in 1839, Sydney, J. Maclehose, 1839, facing p.171, viewable online.

Sir John Jamison and Capertee

On Sir John Jamison’s landholdings at Capertee the following references look interesting:

Documentation: State Library of New South Wales. Gibbes, William John. William John Gibbes – Papers relating to Gibbes’ Trust, 1837-1889. Call Number A5317.
Newspaper advertisement: [Estate of Capertee, to be sold by auction], Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/1846, p. 4. [See Trove for further references.]
Map: Baker’s Australian County Atlas, A Map of the County of Roxburgh.

William John Gibbes married Sir John Jamison’s daughter Harriet.

==

14/6/2011:

Articles
[Advertisement], Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/1846, p. 4 (mentioned above). Col. ii: Samuel Lyons advertises the forthcoming sale by auction of ‘Capertee’; a general indication is given of the location of the property.
Jamison, John (1776-1844), RDHS [Rylstone and District Historical Society] Wiki.
Roxburgh County’, in Wikipedia. Includes a list of parishes, with co-ordinates. Note ‘Map of all coordinates from Google.’
Umbiella Station’, RDHS [Rylstone and District Historical Society] Wiki.

Maps
Baker’s Australian County Atlas, A Map of the County of Roxburgh, 1843-1846, detail. Shows ‘Capertee’ (without boundaries) near the junction of Cook’s Creek with the Capertee River; to the north-east, ‘Umbella’ (in the name of ‘Jemison’) and ‘Numietta’ (both with boundaries drawn).
Thomas Mitchell, Map of the Colony of Sydney, 1834, detail. [The map is drawn with west towards the top.] Shows ‘Capertee’ near Cook’s Creek, also Umbiella Creek, Sir John’s M(oun)t(ai)n and Innes’s M(oun)t(ai)n.

This most tremendous journey

(Continuing with the story of the Hawkins family as they journey from Sydney to Bathurst in 1822. See the entry of 16/2/2011 and onwards.)

At last the day came, Friday 12 April 1822, when it was time for the Hawkins family to move off on their journey over the Blue Mountains. There was some final loading to do, and many things had to be left behind because they could not fit in all their luggage as well as the provisions required – food for the family and for nine men who accompanied them, and corn for the cattle as there was not enough grass on the Mountains. They had two drays pulled by five bullocks each, another dray pulled by four horses, and a cart with two horses; there were no more carts available. Government officers did as much as they could, says Elizabeth, to make the family comfortable. Sir John Jamison came to see them off and gave them ‘a quarter of mutton, a couple of fowls, and some butter.’ They left with the good wishes of all, ‘not excepting a party of natives who had come to bid us welcome.’

They had not gone far before progress was temporarily halted. No more than a quarter of a mile along the road, still within sight of Emu Island, the second bullock dray became bogged in the sandy bed of a stream that ran across their way. The store-keeper superintendent and overseer at Emu saw them in distress and came to help, and stayed till nightfall. It took an hour to get the dray out, with the horses pulling as well as the bullocks.

After another quarter of a mile of slow progress, they were well and truly confronted with the challenge of the climb ahead.

… and now, my dear sister, imagine me at the foot of a tremendous mountain, the difficulty of passing which is as great or greater, I suppose, than any known road in the world, not from the road’s being bad, as it has been made, and is hard all the way, but because of the extreme steepness of the road, the hollow places and the large and rugged pieces of rock.

The Hawkins were the first family of free settlers to attempt to cross the mountains, and Elizabeth had been left in no doubt about the difficulties to be expected.

I had now before me this most tremendous journey. I was told I deserved to be immortalised for the attempt, and that Government could not do too much for us for taking such a family to a settlement where none had ever gone before.

The day they set off from Emu Island to climb the Mountains was the day that Thomas Fitzherbert Hawkins’ appointment as Commissariat storekeeper at Bathurst was announced in the Sydney Gazette.

Quotations are from ‘The Mountains in 1822: Lady’s vivid diary, I’, Sydney Morning Herald 31/8/1929, p. 13; other sources should be checked to clarify the original wording.

Weather conditions: Friday 12 April 1822: Emu Island, apparently fine. Letter, Elizabeth Hawkins to sister, 7 May 1822, partially reproduced in Sydney Morning Herald 31/8/1929, p. 13.

Preparations at Emu Island and dinner with Sir John

(Continuing with the story of the Hawkins family as they journey from Sydney to Bathurst in 1822. See the entry of 16/2/2011 and onwards.)

Having arrived at Emu Island on Easter Monday, the Hawkins family stayed there several days. On Tuesday morning 9 April some of their goods were still on the other side of the river, and heavy rain made conditions difficult for bringing the things across the ford, but it was necessary to do so as the river, swollen by run-off from the Mountains, could rise to a dangerous and impassable level. Wednesday was spent drying things out. On Thursday they unpacked and re-organised luggage to protect things and make the provisions and bedding more accessible.

That evening Elizabeth and her husband (she calls him ‘Hawkins’) had dinner with Sir John Jamison, who had also invited a lady and two gentlemen. The meal was impressive and Elizabeth was delighted with the gardens. She first describes the meal, to give her sister an idea of Sir John’s hospitality and to show her ‘that it is possible for people to live here as well as in England’:

We partook of a sumptuous repast, consisting of mock turtle soup, boiled fowls, round of beef, delicate fish of three kinds, curried duck, goose, and wild ducks, madiera [sic] and burgundy, with various liqueurs and English ale.

As for the gardens, the apples and quinces were ‘larger than I had ever seen.’ It was autumn and many early trees were in blossom. The vines had a second crop of grapes, the fig trees a third crop.

There were also peaches and apricots. He has English cherries, plums, and filberts, with oranges, lemons, vines, citrons, medlars, almonds, rock and water melons, and all the common fruits of England, vegetables of all kinds, and grown at all seasons of the year, which shows how fine the climate is.

This was evidently a delightful evening for Elizabeth on the eve of the challenges that lay ahead.

Their fears that the river could flood were well founded. As a result of explorations some years previously, there was a growing understanding of how rainfall on the Mountains fed the river system. For example, Governor Lachlan Macquarie in his tour inspection report of June 1815 comments as follows on the Cox’s River, which his party came upon after descending from Mount York into the Vale of Clwyd on the far side of the Mountains:

The grass in this vale is of a good quality, and very abundant, and a rivulet of fine water runs along it from the eastward, which unites itself at the western extremity of the vale, with another rivulet containing still more water. The junction of these two streams forms a very handsome river, now called by the Governor “Cox’s River” which takes its course, as has been since ascertained, through the Prince Regent’s Glen, and empties itself into the River Nepean; and it is conjectured, from the nature of the country through which it passes, that it must be one of the principal causes of the floods which have been occasionally felt on the low Banks of the River Hawkesbury, into which the Nepean discharges itself.

Cox’s River winds around from the western side of the mountains eastward and joins the Nepean River. The Nepean flows in a northerly direction past Emu Island and becomes the Hawkesbury River, which was notorious for flooding the adjacent farm-lands.

‘The Mountains in 1822: Lady’s vivid diary, I’, Sydney Morning Herald 31/8/1929, p. 13. Elizabeth Hawkins – Crossing the Blue Mountains. The diary of an early traveller across the Blue Mountains, on the website of the Ambermere Rose Inn (Little Hartley). Cox’s River: [Governor Macquarie’s report on his tour of inspection], Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 10/6/1815, pp. 1-2, at p. 1.

Text: It will be necessary to clarify the wording of Elizabeth Hawkins’ letter more adequately. The quotations above are from the Sydney Morning Herald. For the two excerpts given above, the transcription on the website of the Ambermere Rose Inn has: (1) we partook of a sumptuous repast, consisting of mock-turtle soup, boiled fowls, round of beef, delicious fish of three kinds, curried duck, goose and wild-fowl, Madeira and Burgundy, with various liquors and English ale. (2) The peaches and apricots here are standing trees. He has English cherries, plums and ifiberts [sic]. These, with oranges, lemons, limes and citrons, medlars, almonds, rock and water melons, with all the common fruits of England; vegetables of all kinds and grown at all seasons of the year, which shows how fine the climate is.

Weather conditions: Tuesday 9 April 1822: Emu Island, heavy rain; fears of rising water in the Nepean River. 10: Emu Island, fine enough to dry things. 11: Emu Island, apparently fine. Letter, Elizabeth Hawkins to sister, 7 May 1822, partially reproduced in Sydney Morning Herald 31/8/1929, p. 13.

From Rooty Hill to Emu Island

(Continuing with the story of the Hawkins family as they journey from Sydney to Bathurst in 1822. See yesterday’s entry.)

Having rested on Sunday at the Government House at Rooty Hill, on Easter Monday the Hawkins family – Thomas and Elizabeth Hawkins, their children, Elizabeth’s mother Mrs. Lilly, and their attendants – resumed their journey westwards. The distance to the Nepean River was nine miles, and the road was ‘the same as before.’ (This seems to mean that the road was good, and perhaps also that it passed through forested countryside.) At the Nepean, one has to ford the river to Emu Island, where there are a Government house and depot. From here on there would be no places of habitation until they reached Bathurst, except for a lone house at stopping places.

There was a delay at this point, as this was as far as the animals and carts which brought them from Sydney were to go. Some new horses and carts had to be assembled on the Emu Island side of the river, and the family waited at a hut (on Emu Island?) until these were ready. That night part of the luggage was carried across the ford to Emu Island. The remainder would have to wait until the next day, and Sir John Jamieson (his name is so spelled by Elizabeth), who lived nearby, sent his head constable to guard it.

John Jamison (1776-1844), who was trained like his father in medicine, was knighted twice over, first in Sweden (1809, for dealing with scurvy in the navy of King Charles XIII) and later in England (1813). His father Thomas (1753?-1811) arrived in New South Wales in 1788 with the First Fleet, as surgeon’s mate. He became assistant surgeon, principal surgeon, acting surgeon-general, and a magistrate, and was involved in trade, including trade in sandalwood. He received several land grants, including land at the Nepean in 1805. He was prominent in the rebellion against Governor Bligh. Upon his death his son John inherited the land and came out to the colony in 1814 to farm it. Sir John Jamison was among those who accompanied Governor Macquarie on his tour of inspection across the Mountains in 1815, and would have been keenly aware of the conditions which the Hawkins family would face on their journey.

Governor Macquarie had indicated in an order of 12 July 1814 that the name Emu Plains was to be used for that area ‘hitherto erroneously called Emu Island.’ Eight years later Elizabeth Hawkins refers to Emu Island; evidently the original name had persisted in common usage.

‘The Mountains in 1822: Lady’s vivid diary, I’, Sydney Morning Herald 31/8/1929, p. 13. Cf. Elizabeth Hawkins – Crossing the Blue Mountains. The diary of an early traveller across the Blue Mountains, on the website of the Ambermere Rose Inn (Little Hartley). Vivienne Parsons, ‘Jamison, Thomas (1753?-1811)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, 1967, pp. 12-13, and online. Thomas Jamison [Principal Surgeon], ‘General Observations on the Small Pox’, Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 14/10/1804, p. 2 (the first medical paper published in Australia; see also p. 3, ‘Vaccination’, a brief article about the use of ‘the Cow Pock’ against the plague, reprinted from a London newspaper). G.P. Walsh, ‘Jamison, Sir John (1776-1844)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, 1967, pp. 10-12, and online. Sir John Jamison and Governor Macquarie’s tour of inspection: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 10/6/1815, pp. 1-2, at p. 1 (spelled Jamieson). Emu Plains and Emu Island: ‘Government and General Order’, Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 23/7/1814, p. 1; cf. the entry on ‘William Cox, road-maker’.

Weather conditions: 8 April 1822 (Easter Monday): Rooty Hill – Nepean area, apparently fine. Letter, Elizabeth Hawkins to sister, 7 May 1822, partially reproduced in Sydney Morning Herald 31/8/1929, p. 13 (no evidence of inclemency).