Chapter 7: BALCOMBE FAMILY in NSW: post-William

After the unexpected early death of William Balcombe the family were left in dire straits, with debts to cover, a new home to find and their exalted status in the Colony very diminished. How would Jane and her sons, daughter and grand-daughter survive?

The family of the first Colonial Treasurer of NSW had come to the Colony in April 1824. When William died none of his sons were of age. However the family made the best they could of the situation. Jane and her daughter and grand-daughter made the long journey back to England seeking assistance. William and Alexander became agriculturalists whereas Thomas was employed as a Government Surveyor allowing him to explore the country and meet the Aboriginal people. He sketched activities in the goldfields and became a well respected artist whose diverse work is found in National, State and University collections. Thomas Balcombe took his own life when he was 51 years old. What do we know of this talented but troubled Colonial artist and his brothers?

The three boys had been born in Jamestown on the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena. Their parents were William Tomset/Tompsitt Balcombe and Jane Wilson (nee Green, formerly Byng) had married on 26 July 1799 in Marylebone, London.[1] Daughters Jane (1800) and Lucia Elizabeth (Betsy, 1802) were born in London before the family sailed to St Helena on the East India Company ship Euphrates, captained by Philip Herbert, in 1805.[2] Mary was born on the Island in 1806 but died in the measles epidemic of 1807 and we know from Burchell’s diary that Jane had lost another baby at this time.

Following three girls and the sad death of Mary, no doubt William and Jane were delighted to add three boys to the family. They were

William in 1808, named after his father;

Thomas Tyrwhitt (pronounced Turrett) [3] who was born on 15 June 1810 and baptised on 22 October 1810 in St James Church, Jamestown [4] and named after Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, friend to William Balcombe since his childhood in Rottingdean, Sussex; [5] and

Alexander Beatson in 1811,[6] named after the Governor of St Helena, who Balcombe stood alongside during the armed mutiny of Christmas 1811.[7]


On arrival in NSW, Thomas (then aged 13) and Alexander (aged 12) were enrolled in the Sydney Grammar School. A report held 2 months later showed that:

The Half-yearly Public Examination of the Students at this Establishment look place at the Master’s house, in Philip-street, on Friday, the 25th instant, agreeably to public advertisement … and the junior class, comprising Masters Thomas and Alexander Balcombe, Charles Nichols, and Edward Lord, read, and explained Seleciae; and Profanix, and applied the Rules of Syntax, with much promptitude and accuracy. The Gentlemen, who attended this interesting exhibition, expressed the highest satisfaction ; and the happy young group dispersed, with much apparent delight, for the enjoyment of their temporary Recess”.[8]

Soon after this young Thomas lost his clothing when bushrangers stole a leather trunk from a cart:


WHEREAS a LEATHERN TRUNK, brass nailed, containing a Young Gentleman’s Wearing Apparel, made for the age of 14, the property of WILLIAM BALCOMBE, Esq was robbed from a Cart on the Western Road on the Evening of Friday the 3rd Instant, between the Estates of Captain Bunker and Major Druitt, by two Men, supposed to be Bushrangers: Any Person or Persons, giving such Information as may lead to the Detection of the Offenders, and Prosecution to Conviction, shall receive a Reward of Twenty Spanish Dollars from the Bench of Magistrates at Penrith. As the Articles are numbered and marked T. Balcombe, with Indian Ink, all Constables, and other Persons, are particularly required to use their utmost Vigilance to detect the Property , and to bring the Delinquents to Justice.   Court House, Penrith, Sept. 23 1824.[9]

Thomas was rumoured to have helped plant the Norfolk Island Pines including the Wishing Tree which now grace the Royal Sydney Botanic Gardens. A former workmate recollected:-

In the year 1861 I was a draftsman at the Surveyor-General’s Office, and was with some nine others the first to occupy the ‘old long room.’ Among these men …was Thomas T. Balcombe, the artist, who worked at the same table with me. Mr. Balcombe was a courteous, truthful, and unassertive gentleman. Well, one day he casually mentioned that he was at Government House, when Mrs. Macquarie said to him, ‘Come along Tom, I am going down to the garden to have this tree planted. There were two working men with them, and they planted the tree without any ceremony or formality whatever. [10]

Governor Macquarie had departed for London before the Balcombe’s arrived. Did he really mean the wife of Governor Brisbane or Darling? [11] The Botanic Garden Trustees have no record of Thomas being involved in planting the Pines.[12]

At some time Mrs. Jane Balcombe received a letter from a young man the family had known on St Helena, former Ensign George Heathcote, a former ‘beau’ of both Betsy and Jane who had nursed him back to health when he was so ill. Then studying medicine in Edinburgh he had wrote on 26 March 1826. The letter is held in the Mitchell Library, a single sheet of the thinnest of paper absolutely covered with writing which even crosses itself in places. The Archivist carefully weighed it out for us and just as carefully weighed it back in. It was surprisingly emotional to hold a letter we realised had been handled by people we knew so much about but had never met, ancestors who we had spent many hours researching, talking about and whose home we had visited on that tiny remote Atlantic island half a world away. Mr Heathcote lamented young Jane’s death and Betsy’s disastrous marriage and he wanted to be remembered to the boys

my young friends Alex & Tom, who now I suppose will not remember me. They may not remember reading by my bedside in the house at Arnos Vale (where he was convalescing on St Helena.) But they cannot forget that rich and beautiful vale itself, where their young limbs were strengthened by climbing it’s mountainous sides. – Nor can Betsy forget how often in her gentle moods she knocked me down upon the grass bank and delighted herself with my weakness and her own strength. [13]

One can only speculate on what memories he stirred in Betsy and wonder if she ever made contact with him when she eventually returned to England.

At this time New South Wales was transforming itself from being a minor and inadequate penal settlement into a thriving economic and social concern. Policies which allowed mass convict transportation and the influx of private capital were set in place following the Bigge Report presented to Parliament in 1822-23. The convicts were to become “assigned” labour and new frontiers were to be opened up.[14]

However it appears there was still a considerable amount of crime in the Colony in those days. When Thomas was 17 years old he was witness in the Criminal Court case against Thomas Sweetman who stood arraigned on a charge of burglary.

The indictment contained, two counts. The first count, laying the offence to be that of breaking and entering the dwelling house of William Balcombe with intent to steal; the second, introducing a charge of larceny, in stealing two hats the property of the said William Balcombe. The Acting Attorney-General, after stating the case, proceeded to call Ann Munn, who deposed that she is a married woman, and occupies a house directly opposite that of Mr. Balcombe, (the prosecutor,) in O’Connell-street, Sydney — witness recollected the evening of Saturday, the 7th of July last, it was rather a dark evening ; a lamp, however, which hung over Mr. Balcombe’s door-way, afforded sufficient light for those on the opposite side of the street, to distinguish persons entering on the premises. About half-past seven o’clock of the evening before mentioned, witness, whilst standing against the paling before her own house, which commands a view of the entrance to O’Connell-street, and of the prosecutor’s house, saw three men coming up, they made a stand-still before prosecutor’s house, and after a short consultation between them, one of the three men opened a small wicket and the prisoner, whose person witness felt certain she could swear to, and whom she saw in a stooping posture, with his hand for several minutes in exertion about the lock of the house-door, went in, the other two men remaining side; shortly after prisoner came out with two hats in his hand, which two hats he gave his two companions– the prisoner then returned into the house, but witness having by this time become confirmed in her suspicious of the intention of the prisoner and his associates, went over to the prosecutor’s house, boldly walked into the passage and gave an alarm of the house being robbed. The prisoner on this, attempted to make off, but the witness by some active efforts on her part, and with the assistance of others, prevented his escape. The two other men had taken to their heels and escaped.

Mr. Thomas BALCOMBE, resides with his father, in O’Connell street; on the evening of Saturday, the 7th of July last, recollected, having laid down on a sofa in the drawing-room he felt the hand of some person pass over his face: somewhat surprised at the circumstance, he got up, called out, ‘who’s there?’ No answer was returned, and witness, in directing his eye to the room-door, by a light which glimmered in the passage, saw some strange person there; he was approaching the door, when an alarm was made, as stated by the last witness. A constable being procured, the prisoner was given into custody ; nothing was found on his person, but it was discovered, that two hats had been unhung from a nail in the hall. The prisoner pleaded intoxication in excuse for his being found in the way described, but he denied the charge of robbery. The Judge explained very minutely the law of the case of burglary, and summed up the evidence at great length. Verdict, guilty. Remanded for sentence.[15]

And on 29 August 1827 Thomas Sweetman was sentenced to death.[16]

A few months later Thomas was again witness when two men were on trial for ‘stealing in the dwelling-house of Francis Forbes Esq … 36 shirts, 24 pairs of trousers, 18 waistcoats, and 12 pairs of stockings’. Thomas was in the garden …of his father’s residence,

when I heard the cry of ‘stop thief’. I went in the direction of the noise… I entered Mr. Gurner’s garden… and …saw a man standing in the shrubbery; he was in such a situation as I do not think I would have seen him, had I not been searching… I laid hold of him.

By the prisoner.-Were not my shoes found in the garden, when you discovered me?

The SOLICITORS GENERAL.-Oh! then, it was you ?

Prisoner.-I mean where they say they found me.

When the verdict was issued the next day, John Leader and John Cane were convicted of stealing in a dwelling-house under the value of £5 and sentenced to be transported for seven years.[17]

The Balcombe family led a privileged lifestyle with their gregarious father the centre of an interesting social life, entertaining the elite ruling class of the time. He was involved in the formal establishment of horse racing [18] and hosted or attended many social functions.

William Balcombe had a land grant in the Molonglo area about 18 miles south-west of Lake George. He named the property The Briars. The grant was 2560 acres in the County of Argyle near a tributary of the Shoalhaven, supposedly with plenty of good water; 100 acres was fenced into 3 paddocks for cultivation.

In March 1826 applicant 75, William Balcombe Jnr ‘of Cockburn Plain’ applied for six convicts and was assigned four. In 1827, as applicant 22 ‘of Argyle’, he was assigned one and then as applicant 120, he was assigned three in October and had one specially assigned, so he had a total of five. In 1828 Wm Balcombe ‘of Sydney’ applicant 52, asked for a total of 14 convicts, 4 in February, 2 in May, 1 in September, 4 in October, 2 in November and in December. He was assigned 8. Land clearing would have been in progress as well as developing the property with fencing and buildings. The later months of the year would be busy with lamb and calf marking, with harvest time for the wheat coming up.[19]

From the Colonial records of the NSW State Archives we glean that  over the years there were several people assigned to both William senior and William junior to help run the houses and the property at Argyle/Goulburn Plains.

Petersham: 3 labourers and 1 male servant.

Assigned people.

Under Wm Balcombe.

C1413, Edw Clegg, 29, GS, R Charlotte, 1825, 7, P, labourer to Wm, Goulburn Plains

D1103, Charles Doyherty, 33, TL, Castle Forbes, 1824, 7, C, labourer to Wm, Goulburn Plains

 Petersham: 3 labourers and 1 male servant.

G0273, John Gorin, 60, FS, Coromandel, 1820, L, labourer, Wm, Petersham.

R680, James Richardson, 40, FS, Buring, 1819, 7, servant, Wm, Petersham

W1487, Joseph Wyldes, 23, FS, Grenada, 1820, no sentence shown, P, Labourer, Wm Petersham

E 489 Wm Ennis, 30 FS, Guildford 1818, no sentence, labourer W Balcombe Petersham

Balcombe jun:

D 750, John Dempsey, F 20, GS Eliza 1827, L, labourer Wm jun, Argyle

W 1204, John Whittle 45 GS, Norfolk 1825, 7, labourer, Wm jnr, Argyle

 Balcombe W:

E 489 Wm Ennis, 30 FS, Guildford 1818, no sentence, labourer W Balcombe Petersham

P 863 James Pittman, 47 GS Norfolk 1825, L, labourer WB Goulburn Plains

Mr Balcombe:

E 591, Richard Evans 34 GS, Norfolk, 1823, 7, labourer, W Balcombe Argyle

G1108, John Green, 32, TL, Hadlow, 1818, L, labourer, Mr B, Argyle

G1451, Robt Griffiths,21, GS, Champion, 1827, L, labourer, Mr B, Goulb Plains

J170, John James, 26, CP, Sistoria, 1825, L, Mr B Goulb Plns

J541, Wm Johnston, 28, GS, Minerva, 1822, 14, labourer, Mr B Goul Plns

K932 Catherine Kinsley, GS, servant, Mr B Goulb Plns – no ship, date

L163, George Lane, F, 55, FS, E Cornwallis,11802, 7, servant Mr B;

Lane family 5 children 17 to 4, no wife listed

M26, Mc Alpin, 30 GS, England, 1826, L, labourer, Mr B, Argyle

M1489, John Mahon, 22, GS, M Huntly, 1828, 7, labourer, Mr B Argyle

N322, James Nichols, 40, GS, Mayles, 1824, L, labourer, Mr B, Argyle

R453, James Reid, 27 GS, Phoenix, 1828, 7, labourer, Mr B Goulb Plns

R874, Joh Ritson, 30, CF, Helena, 1824, Stock Keeper, Mr B, Argyle

S1340, Joseph Smith, 28 GS, Asia, 1825, 7, labourer, Mr B, Goulb Plns

T576, John Thomas, 16, GS, Albion, 1827, L, labourer, Mr Balcombe, Argyle


By 1829 there was an 8-room stone cottage with barn, stable, kitchen, store-rooms with dwelling, and out-houses.[20]

According to the census taken in November 1828 young Thomas, aged 18, was working at Port Stephens as a Superintendent employed by the Australian Agricultural Company.[21] Was he trying to gain some agricultural experience?

William Junior obtained land adjacent to his father’s, 800 acres he called Inverary, and he managed both grants. By 1827 he had a stockyard and dairy plus servants huts and other buildings with 12 acres under cultivation.[22] Both Williams had been brought up on the lush vegetation of the south Atlantic island of St Helena and in southern England, also lush and green, with rich damp soils from 10 cm to 5 metres in depth. Betsy recalled that the garden at The Briars on St Helena was a rich, tropical paradise with luxurious growth of vine, orange, figs, pomegranate, mango and vegetable, all worked by the slaves including Napoleon’s favourite Toby and bringing in an annual income of £500 to £600.[23] The Balcombes themselves had little experience in cultivation, cropping or grazing management and definitely not in the ‘foreign’ conditions of NSW where they had to learn how to work this dry country with vulnerable, shallow soil. [24] In addition, from 1826-1829, they faced a drought so severe that the nearby Lake George dried up and the Darling River stopped flowing. [25]

So did the anxiety of helping young William cope with these severe drought contribute to the stresses of ill health and worries about his own position which were already in his father’s life? From the letter Darling wrote to Murray we can see that gout was a major health issue for Balcombe. He had suffered badly from it when on St Helena, and from Archdeacon Scott’s letter to Darling, it had obviously prevented him from carrying out his duties, Scott suggesting that the late Treasurer had rendered little or no assistance in keeping the accounts of the Trustees of the Church and School Lands due to his long and severe illness.[26]

An infection of dysentery on top of the extreme pain of the gout and possible kidney stones, a frequent symptom, combined with probable hepatitis from St Helena days, would be very painful and exhausting for poor Balcombe and it would have been distressing for the whole family. Whatever the health issues, the Colonial Treasurer had suffered an untimely death in 1829.

Governor Darling wrote of Balcombe’s demise to Sir George Murray:

I have the painful duty to report the death of Mr. Balcombe the Treasurer which took place last night. Mr. Balcombe had long been subject to severe attacks of Gout, which occasionally confined him for several weeks at a time to his bed.

His constitution at length became much impaired, and for the last three years he had been a complete invalid. About 4 months since, he was attacked with dysentery, a disease which his exhausted Constitution was unequal to resist, and he continued to decline gradually until last night, the period of his dissolution.

I regret to add that Mr. Balcombe has left a large family in very distressed circumstances. His widow and daughter will suffer severely, as they are without any means of support; for although Mr. Balcombe possessed some land, he has died, I fear much in debt, and his land and stock are not in a state at present to make any return.

There are also three sons, young men, who must provide for themselves, and, with industry and the assistance of their friends, can find little difficulty in doing so.[27]

Balcombe was buried in the Devonshire Street Cemetery. His gravestone, now at Pioneer Park Botany, reads ‘Here lie the remains of William Balcombee [sic] late Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales who departed this life on the 19th day of March 1829 in the 49th year of his age’. [28]

When we found the headstone we noticed the spelling BALCOMBEE and thought the stone mason had made a mistake, but both sides had been carved and there was the same error on the other side too.

Balcombee IMG_8953

When William died his sons were not yet ‘of age’, young William being twenty, Thomas eighteen and Alexander seventeen.


Following his death Balcombe’s land and his livestock had to be sold to cover the debts he had accumulated. The family had to move out of their residence into something smaller and they would have struggled to make their own way without his guidance and conviviality.

A year after William’s death, the ‘residence of Mrs. Balcombe on the Liverpool-road, was robbed on Saturday evening last, of three trunks of property, with which the robbers, two men, decamped, they were both armed.’ [29] The culprits were caught and taken to Court.[30]

A month later ‘two armed bushrangers made an attack upon the house of Mrs. Balcombe, Glebe Farm; but being spiritedly opposed by the servants, and fired at, effected a precipitate retreat.[31] The following morning the watchman, ‘fell in again with the same parties, as he suspected, and one of them fired at him; the man is in consequence much injured.[32] The bushrangers… ‘shot the watchman …through the neck, the ball going in on one side and out of the other…They plundered the house as completely as they did the Greyhound public-house. They did not ill-use Mrs. Balcombe. Mrs. Abell was absent.[33]

Where was Mrs. Balcombe’s residence to be so vulnerable to theft? Was Glebe Farm and Liverpool Road classed as the Petersham where several convicts had been assigned to William Balcombe junior?

Petersham: 3 labourers and 1 male servant.

G0273, John Gorin, 60, FS, Coromandel, 1820, L, labourer, Wm Balcombe, Petersham.

R680, James Richardson, 40, FS, Buring, 1819, 7, servant, Wm Balcombe,, Petersham

W1487, Joseph Wyldes, 23, FS, Grenada, 1820, no sentence shown, P, Labourer, Wm Balcombe, Petersham

E 489 Wm Ennis, 30 FS, Guildford 1818, no sentence, labourer Wm Balcombe Petersham


In 1830 there were several tracts on the Great South Road which led to farms lying between George’s River and Cook’s River on Salt Pan Creek; and the upper part of George’s River… On the north lay the Glebe, purchased from the Church, where before 1832 the widow of the late William Balcombe, the first Colonial Treasurer, had her residence. Through this estate a road or tract joined the Parramatta-road a little beyond Powell’s Bridge, between the ninth and tenth mile-stones.[34]

Jane Balcombe decided to petition the British Government for a pension to allow her to remain in NSW [35] so she and Betsy booked on the ship Nancy, ‘the first wool ship direct to London, a fine First-Class Ship of 400 Tons Burthen,[36] Captain  HENRY PRYCE, R. N. Commander with superior Accommodations for Passengers, and carrying an experienced Surgeon’ [37] advertised from October 1830.[38] [Henry Pryce was an experienced seaman having joined the Royal Navy as a Midshipman in 1796. He rose through the ranks to become an Acting Lieutenant in August 1804, Lieutenant in April 1805, First Lieutenant from January 1809 to Commander in July 1821. He became a Commander of two 50 gun frigates and held a commission as Captain of a line-of-battle ship in the Portuguese service and received decoration for his work in that Navy. He was also known to have commanded some of the finest Indiamen ships out of London.[39]] They sailed from Sydney on 13 February 1831.[40]

DEPARTURES – For London, on Sunday last, the ship Nancy, Captain Pryce, with a cargo of colonial produce. Passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Melville and 5 children, Mr. and Mrs. Potter, Mrs. Abel, Mrs. Balcombe, Mr. George Yates, Thomas Isaacson, Maurice Collins, Patrick Teefy, John Teefy, James Ryan, George Hughes, Edward Barrett, and Timothy Lingahan.[41]

In August it was reported that The Argyle touched for refreshment at Rio, where she found the Nancy, Capt. Pryce, from Sydney, for London, which had encountered very severe gales at Cape Horn.’ [42] but they finally arrived safely in English waters as the Royal Cornwall Gazette reported ‘On the evening of Wednesday, 17 August 1831, NANCY arrived off Falmouth, Cornwall‘ the next day off Brighton [43] and arrived in The Downs on August 19. [44]

News of their safe arrival may not have reached NSW, so imagine how the boys must have felt that December on reading the headlines in several newspapers:

REPORTED LOSS OF THE NANCY – We regret to have to report that the ship Asia… got information of the Nancy, Price; from this port, having been lost on the passage home —a French vessel… found her …waterlogged and deserted. The report is by no means authenticated … Among the Nancy’s passengers, were Mrs. Balcombe and Mrs. Abell. [45]

We regret to have to report that the ship Asia, announced elsewhere, on her outward passage, got information of the Nancy, Price; from this port, having been lost on the passage home —a French vessel, it is said, found her within 7. 25. S. lat. waterlogged and deserted. The report is by no means authenticated, and may yet, as we   hope it will, prove fabulous. But admitting the Nancy to have been met as described, there is every likelihood that her passengers had managed to escape to some place of safety in the ship’s boats— the Coast of Terra Firma or the African Coast, being adjacent on either side. Among the Nancy’s passengers, were Mrs. Balcombe and Mrs. Abell, Mr and Mrs. Putter, and Mr. and Mrs. Melville.[46]

The Balcombe boys had chosen to remain in Australia. Had they done so because they felt they had good prospects in this new colony or did they not have the funds to return to England with their mother and sister? A letter from Governor Darling to Sir George Murray dated 29 July 1829, suggested that the eldest son, an agriculturalist, was given a grant of 2 square miles of land, the second son was employed as a Clerk in the Commissariat[47] and the youngest as a Clerk in the office of the Supreme Court. But May 1830 saw Alexander was working as the “Commissary Officer, Lumber Yard” as shown by this advertisement in the Sydney Gazette of 8 May 1830

TO be SOLD by Private Contract 200 FINE WOOLED EWES and 50 LAMBS, from the Flocks of John McArthur, Esq. purchased from Mr. Icely, the original cost 4 Guineas a-head ; since improved for the last ten years, by Saxon Rams, from the Flock of J. Riley, Esq. Reference to be had to Mr. Alexander Balcombe, Commissary Officer, Lumber Yard.[48]

In July 1829, a Mr Balcombe purchased Lot 2 of the Macquarie Field estate sold by the Sheriff at the Royal Hotel. He paid £510 [49] and we assume it was William Balcombe junior. In February 1830 a ‘Mr Balcombe junior’ was cabin passenger on the ship Sovereign via India for London, arriving in July 1830.[50] By then William had land and both Thomas and Alexander had work. [51]

In 1830 Murray wrote to Darling that he had appointed Thomas Balcombe to be Draftsman on the establishment of the Surveyor General’s department of NSW.[52] Thomas had a salary of £150 but by 1833 his work was apparently considered unsatisfactory, ‘he is not well spoken of by his superior[53] but was saved from dismissal by the promise made to his mother and put on field work. [54]

In the 1830s Surveyor-General Thomas Livingstone Mitchell travelled extensively out of Sydney and had marked his new line of road between Marulan and Goulburn [55] and this would have had an influence on the future of Bungonia, close to William’s property of 2560 acres which has both Yarralaw Creek and Lumley Road (from Bungonia to Tarago) running through it.[56] Thomas Balcombe is not mentioned as taking part on these surveying expeditions. [57]

On Saturday, 5 November 1831, before Judge Dowling, and the usual Commission, three men were charged with robbing the houses of Richard Brooks and William Balcombe

Samuel Reeves, William Collins, and Edward Mott, were jointly indicted for a robbery in the dwelling house of Richard Brooks, and putting the inmates in bodily fear, at Mullonga, on the 22nd July. Collins was found guilty, the other two not guilty. The prisoners were again indicted for a robbery in the dwelling house of William Balcombe, and putting the inmate, William Billingsby in bodily fear, at Mullonga, on the 17th July. Guilty.[58]

In March 1833 Jane and Betsy returned to NSW on the ship Ellen. One of the other passengers on board was Edward John Eyre heading to NSW seeking his fortune. Eyre wrote in his memoir We had one other family party consisting of an elderly lady, Mrs Balcombe, her daughter Mrs Abell and her grand-daughter Miss Bessie Abell, a young girl of about ten years of age. The family had a historical association of great interest independently of their individual attractions., Mrs Balcombe having been the wife of the Treasurer on St Helena at the time Bonaparte was exiled there and having received him as an inmate at her residence, The Briars before Longwood was built: Mrs Abell being at that time quite a young girl in her teens and a great success with the ex-emperor. They are all now returning to Australia where Mrs Balcombe had three sons located as settlers.

Mrs Balcombe was far advanced in years (she was around 60 years old), quiet, lady-like and pleasing, and one could not help but admire the strength of maternal affection which induced her at so advanced a period in life to brave the dangers of the sea and submit to the privations and discomfits of a five month voyage to see her children again. The daughter Mrs Abell was in the prime of life, regular and pretty in features, commanding in person, a good figure, stylish in her dress and having a strange mixture of high polish and dash in her manner which was very captivating. She had beautiful hair – rich nut-brown, shot with gold, in unusual profusion and of an extraordinary length. She had travelled a good deal, seen much of the world, was a linguist and sang ballard music with great sweetness and pathos. In her teens I can well imagine she must have been a lovely girl, for she was still most attractive and had a singular power of fascinating all those who came within her influence. Altogether she was likely to prove a livey, cheerful and pleasant compagnon du voyage – if she did not set us all by the ears in our rivalry to obtain her notice and patronage, for she was full of fun and very fond of mischief. [59]

Eyre also reported on the accommodation for passengers. He had a cabin but most were shared between two and Eyre talked about the misery and discomfit of being boxed up with another person in a confined and stewy place where there is hardly room for one to turn round in – where one must sleep above the other and only one can occupy the floor at once as the space was barely five feet cube to include two beds, wash basins and baggage. Fortunately for the Balcombe ladies, Eyre reported they had a side cabin and a large stern cabin nicely fitted up like a little drawing room where they often used to sit and chat in the evenings, play chess or read. Sometimes there was singing and thus many an hour was beguiled. In the daytime we walked the deck, read or wrote… Mrs Abell commenced writing reminiscenses of “Napoleon” at St Helena and I acted for a time as her amanuensis.

On 1st December Father Neptune advised the ship’s company that he would be visiting them in two days so the passengers knew they would soon be ‘crossing the line’. And two days later the ceremony saw the men were shaved and everyone was soaked to the skin.  Two young servant girls on board belonging to Mrs Abell and the Doctor’s wife had remained in the cuddy trying to see all they could, but that evening when they ventured on deck and they met a dozen buckets of water! Thus was played out the regular ritual of all ships as they crossed the equator. Soon after this merriment saw the Christmas celebrations. Betsy must have had a pleasant singing voice, after supper and punch on Christmas day, 1000 miles from the Cape of Good Hope, she sang “Home Sweet Home” and several other songs, duets, catches and glees with Mr Morphy and  the Doctor. [59a]

The Ellen arrived in Hobart on 2 March 1833 after a voyage of 139 days. Eyre reported that several gentleman from the Colony came off to call on Mrs Balcombe and Mrs Abell who at noon went on shore with their friends., I accompanying them as I had been kindly introduced by Mrs Abell. After calling with her at two or three places I left her at the Judge’s (probably Judge Pedder) …. Mrs Abell who seemed to know everybody and was made much of during her stay was exceedingly kind to both Mr Morphy and myself, taking us with her and introducing us to most of her acquaintances. We were thus introduced to many of the leading people as well as to the beaux and belles of the Colony and came in for some very pleasant parties…… on the 20th March at early dawn the anchor was got up and the Ellen left for NS Wales. Mrs Abell who had been ashore for the last few days and who had been to a ball on the evening of the 19th was very nearly losing her passage, having only returned on board just before we got under weigh.[59b]

After their safe arrival in Sydney several passengers including the Balcombe’s placed a letter in the local newspaper thanking Captain Dixon for ‘his kindness and attention.’ [60] Mr Balcombe was also listed as a passenger from London. [61] Was this the Balcombe who had left on Sovereign in 1830? [62] If it was Jane’s son, surely Eyre would have mentioned it and Jane would have asked him to sign the letter for Captain Dixon.

Before sailing Jane had written from her sister’s home in South Cave, Yorkshire to the the office of the Secretary of State for Colonies where it was ‘Received C.D. Oct 5 1832’

Mrs Balcombe presents her compliments and will be much obliged to Mr Gray if he will grant the bearer of this a Passport – as he wishes to go to New South Wales and has engaged to instruct my little Granddaughter on her passage out.

By then she too was back in London, at Kings Street, St James Square where she was advised that no passport was necessary. [63]

The family arrived back in NSW in May 1833, no doubt nine year old Bessie had kept up her lessons under the tutor who came with them. Very soon after their arrival back in the Colony the newspaper reported

on Sunday evening last, as Mrs Balcombe and Mrs Able [sic] were proceeding to Liverpool they were stopped and robbed by two armed men when within three miles of Jordon’s Plough Inn who had their faces covered with black handkerchiefs; they demanded nothing but such money as the two ladies had with them which was immediately given, and the fellows decamped.[64]

In July 1833, Mrs Balcombe of Erskine Villa was assigned a house servant [65] so were the ladies staying at the home of Wesleyan Minister George Erskine? [66]

In December 1833 Customs reported Mrs Balcombe had imported one case of Millinery on Joseph Banks.[67] No advertisement has been found for a Millinery business run by a Mrs Balcombe but we know there was another Mrs Balcombe in Sydney in 1837 as there was this advertisement:

The Advertiser wishes a situation as a Wet Nurse. Apply Mrs Balcombe, Sussex Street East or ‘Adam and Eve’, Sussex Street.

However in 1834 Jane Balcombe widow of William had decided to travel to England on the return voyage of the ship which brought out the case of millinery Joseph Banks. This time she had been in the Colony for about one year having arrived on the Ellen in 1833. Fellow passenger Edward Eyre had then remarked that Mrs Balcombe was far advanced in years and he admired her strength to take on the discomforts of a five month’s voyage. So what made Jane and Betsy decide to return to England? Was it due to financial difficulties, was she concerned about the robberies and the safety of the girls, was she in poor health, was Betsy homesick for the brighter lights England? Did they think Bessie would have a better future back in the ‘Old Country’? Whatever the reason Jane, her daughter and grand-daughter left the colony on Joseph Banks [68] ten years to the month from their very first arrival in Sydney.

DEPARTURES. For London, on Tuesday last the barque Sir Joseph Banks, T. B. Daniel, H. C. S., commander ; lading wool, &c. Passengers, Mrs. Balcombe, Mrs. Abell, Miss Abell, Miss Susan Price, Major Hoverden, II. M. 4th Regiment; Richard Bourke, Esq.[69]

They were reported as having safely returned to England, arriving at the River, Portsmouth on 30 August 1834. [70] This trip was financed by the Colonial Treasurer who reported ‘Disbursements included To Mrs. Balcombe, Widow of the late Colonial Treasurer as a Gratuity, and to defray the Expense of her Passage to England £450..0..0.[71] so this would be her last voyage to and from NSW, unless the family fortunes improved, lack of finances would make more trips impossible. It would have been a tearful farewell but no doubt Jane hoped her sons would become successful in their new country.

Six months after returning to England, Jane’s death was recorded on 5 February 1835.

Died at Tunbridge Wells, Jane, relict of William Balcombe Esq. formerly of St Helena and late Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales with whose family Napoleon Bonaparte spent many of his latter hours’. [72]

We know Jane’s sister Elizabeth, wife of Teavil Leason, lived in Yorkshire and another sister Lucia, wife of Thomas Hornsby was in London,[73] so why was Jane at Tunbridge Wells? Taking the ‘healing’ waters of the Spa was popular or was Jane visiting other members of the Green family or even the family of the late Alexander Beatson, friend and former Governor of St Helena who had devoted much attention to experiments in agriculture at Knole farm and Henley in Frant, Sussex, near Tunbridge Wells.  [74]

After Jane’s death Betsy and Bessie struggled financially, with Betsy teaching music for a living. Did she ever make contact with her old beau George Heathcote or had he married by then?

Betsy also completed her memoir of her time on St Helena with Napoleon. Extracts appeared in newspapers such as The Taunton Courier of June 26 and July 10 1844 and Sligo News (The Champion) on July 20, 1844. Subsequently she hoped to make some income by selling the book – and we own a precious copy of her work. She canvassed support from friends and contacts as shown by the following letter:

Lyne Grove, near Chertsey, December 8th 1847.

My dear Madam,— I have ventured to trouble you with this note to request that you will permit me the honor of adding your name to my list of friends who have promised to take copies of a book I intend publishing in the spring entitled Recollections of Napoleon during his Captivity at St. Helena, and which will be illustrated with views of the island, one volume. I trust your Ladyship will pardon the liberty I take in making this request, but I am induced to do so from feeling of what use the honor of your name would prove to me.

Many friends have interested themselves very much in the success of my undertaking, and which I am most anxious will benefit me, as from some recent reverses in fortune just now in a great degree thrown on my own recourses.

Myself and daughter are at present on a visit to a very old friend, Mrs. Cavendish, & with whom we shall remain some weeks longer. My daughter & myself beg to offer our best compliments to your Ladyship, & to be kindly remembered to the Miss Powerss who, I hope, have received satisfactory accounts from Van Diemans Land ; and with many apologies for intruding on you, believe me,’ &c. [75]

Links between England and Australia remained for a few more years. In November 1848 Betsy’s daughter Bessie married:

On the 23rd November last, at Stoke Church, Devonshire, by the Rev. W. J. St. Aubyn, MA, Charles Edward, eldest son of George Johnstone, Esq., [and Jane Edwards][76] of Tavistock-square, London, and of Broncroft Castle, Salop [Shropshire], to Jane Elizabeth Balcombe, only child of Edward Abell, Esq., and grand-daughter of William Balcombe, Esq., late Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales. [77]

Broncroft Castle has an interesting history, starting off as a 14th century stone fortified manor house.

Standing on the Clee Hills near Tugford, it remains one of the few inhabited castles in Shropshire. The ruinous circular structure in front of the present castle is thought to be a dovecote, or possibly a corner tower of the castle owned by Roger Tyrell in the early fourteenth century. Sir Simon Burley replaced it in 1382-86 by a new castle. Burley was one of the chief captains of King Edward III’s son, Edward the Black Prince. He was a tutor to the Prince’s son, who in 1377 succeeded to the throne as Richard II. Because of his influence with the new King, who was still a minor, Burley was unpopular with many of the nobility, who in 1386 secured his downfall and unjust execution. The Burleys lived at Broncroft until 1470, when the heiress Joan Burley married Thomas Littleton. In the 1540s Leland called Broncroft “a very goodly place like a castle”, and it later passed to the Lutleys of Enville.

Broncroft was held for the King during the Civil War until the garrison withdrew and dismantled it. In June 1645 it was repaired and held for Parliament by Lord Calvin, and in July a troop of Royalist horsemen defeated the garrison outside the castle, many being killed and wounded, and fifty taken prisoner. In July 1648 Parliament gave the order to “demolish Broncroft Castle and make it untenable”. However, it appears to have been patched up and re-occupied. The Lutleys changed their name to Barneby in the eighteenth century, and in 1807 they sold Broncroft to the Boyds of Rochdale, who re-sold it in 1824 to George Johnstone, Charles’ father. He almost entirely rebuilt the castle. It has since been sold several times, remains a private house, and is not open to the public. [78]

On 20 April 1867, Betsy wrote from 105 Gloucester Place, Portman Square, London to her sister-in-law Emma at The Briars, Victoria

I am sorry to tell you that my son in law is in a very bad state of health, unless he rallies soon I feel confident he will not be long here. Such is life in this Nether World.[79]

and the following year she wrote to tell Emma of the death of Charles, her son-in-law. This was a disaster for Betsy and Bessie as the Castle and land then passed to Charles’ brother who squandered the money and left the two women with no income.

Betsy wrote to her brother telling him the details of Bessie’s husband’s death and how it has reduced her poor darling & deprived her of those comforts which for the last 20 years she had enjoyed – her Husband’s Brother is now possessed of the Estate & being a man of extravagant tastes he has nothing to assist his poor sister in law with & she has now to keep my old self – you know dear Emma I shall next 4th October be 66 years of age having been born 4 Oct 1802 which will show you that whoever takes care of me cannot in all human probability expect according to length of years given to us to have that trouble for more than 4 years & a few months!

The death of Charles has made me very ill and nervous. I wish Bessie and I were near you & my dearest nieces and nephews what consolation it would be to have them all to love and care for us!

So Betsy’s letter to her family in Victoria confirmed that Bessie was treated unkindly by her brother- in- law following the death of her husband in 1868. [80] By this time Betsy only had her brother Alexander still alive, William had died 1852 and Thomas in 1861. Did her youngest brother suggest that she and Bessie return to Australia for one final time to live out their days with relatives? If the suggestion was made, was lack of finance the reason for not coming?

In 1871 the famous Betsy Balcombe, Mrs Abell, died in London.

On the 29th June, at 18, Chester-terrace, Eaton-square, LUCIA ELIZABETH ABELL, widow of Edward Abell, Esq., and second daughter of William Balcombe, Esq., late Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales, and its Dependencies, and formerly of The Briars, St. Helena [81] and The death of Mrs Elizabeth Abell on 29th ult is reported. In her maiden days, as Miss Balcombe, she was known to every reader of the memoirs of the first Napoleon’s career as the young lady whose sprightliness and sympathy were among the few things which rendered his latter days in exile at St Helena supportable.[82]

Betsy, Mrs Lucia Elizabeth Abell was buried with her son-in-law Charles E Johnstone who had died in 1868, they are in The General Cemetery of All Souls, Kensal Green, Kensington, grave number 20908 Square 90 R/S ( roadside).[83]

Rumours within the family circulated that Bessie had a long lasting affair with Napoleon III who was a notorious womaniser.[84] If so surely she would have had some money yet she appears to have been without financial resources and in 1876 Bessie wrote to her Uncle Alexander. The letter is part of the archives at ‘The Briars’ near Melbourne. It appears that the family had urged her to migrate but she wrote to advise that it was too late, with ill health making the trip impossible:

My dear Uncle, The trouble & misery I had undergone during the past year or two, so completely undermined my constitution, which though not a very robust one, has ever been considered healthy. That at last I gave way & a serious illness has caused me to delay writing. I thank you for your very kind letter. Believe me I am most grateful for all your expressions of affection & offers of a home with you in Australia. Had I been of an age to begin a New Life amongst fresh scenes, people and climate, of course nothing would have made me happier than I had started it in the society & under the care of yourself – my dearest – I may say my only relative in the world – for I am singularly alone – and I well know the amiable character of Mrs Balcombe – & I feel like I should have been pleased & happy & surrounded by your children – It is too late to think of that now. I have little health & less spirits. That opinion is shared by those friends to whom I have confided your very kind invitation to the Colony.

I must try and manage an existence here. It is painful & humiliating to be indebted to strangers for almost the necessaries of Life – but what can I do? it is not in human nature to put aside proffered charity in such a case of need as mine – and I confess to you that but for the help of a few genuine friends – my position would have been much worse. As it is I have a great & severe struggle to keep even a decent appearance. I will not say how trying the change has been to me, not of luxuries, I never valued them, but the drifting away from many friends, intellectual companions & things & occupations that interested me. I think I must forget these suffering regrets for loss of the past – & meeting disappointments & ill health &c &c.  I try to comfort myself by saying these words – “It might be worse – It may be better – It must be best.”  We know there is an end to all troubles – and that they are sent to [wean?] us from the world & are blessings in disguise – so I am, dear Uncle, trying very hard to be content – & so creeping on – until my time comes when I am called away to join those / & I trust I shall be worthy of a place with them who have gone before.

Poor Bessie lived on until 1892 when she joined her husband and mother at All Souls Cemetery. There must have been no close family member to give the information and the newspaper notice has her name wrong, she was Jane Elizabeth Balcombe Abell when she married.

Johnstone-On the 11th inst at No 6 Victoria Square London Elizabeth Lucia Balcombe widow of the late Charles Johnstone of Bancroft Castle, and granddaughter of the late William Balcombe, first Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales (By cable )[85]

So the Balcombe family link with England was finally broken in 1892 with the death of Betsy’s daughter Bessie who, as far as we know, did not have any children to carry on that line of the family.



That Thomas was working in the Surveyor General’s department is confirmed by his grand-daughter donating a hand-coloured sepia map of the nineteen Counties dated 7 April 1834 to the NSW State Library. It is inscribed in red ‘Transmitted to Mr Balcombe with my instructions dated 7 April 1834. T.L.M.” The Library notes Mitchell sent ‘an annotated early proof of his map into the field to show the area he wants surveyed for his Map of the Colony.’ [86] These appear to be Mitchells’ instructions to Thomas for his survey in 1834-35. Balcombe’s Field Books are deposited with NSW State Records.


Two books are dated 1834, one 1835, covering parts of the Hunter and Goulburn river valleys.[87] We were able to examine these books, hoping for a few sketches of people and places as well as the surveys.


The areas cover:-

1) the Wollombi Road Country and Northumberland Mountain Ranges between the Hunter River and Wybong Creek and Halls Creek in the counties of Durham, Brisbane, Blaxlands Road towards Ogilvie’s 1834.

The Ogilvies were friends of Balcombes, staying with them in Bent Street, and the land described was just across the river from Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe’s land.

William Ogilvie was born in 1782 at Holborn Hill, England.  He arrived in 1825 on  the female convict ship Grenada with his wife and four children. Accompanied by ship surgeon Peter Cunningham. William Ogilvie sailed to Newcastle before travelling further up the valley to select land. After making his selection, he brought his family to Newcastle while he returned to ‘Merton’ to establish a dwelling for them.

William Ogilvie served as Magistrate for the district and many convicts were assigned to him at Merton over the next twenty years.

Peter Cunningham described William Ogilvie’s Merton in his book  ‘Two Years in New South Wales; a Series of Letters, Comprising Sketches of the Actual State of Society in that Colony; of its Peculiar Advantages to Emigrants’ : –

Mr. Ogilvie possesses here six thousand acres, consisting of alluvial flats and lightly timbered forest land backwards, bounded by a moderately high ridge. A plain of fifty acres of rich land (without a tree upon it) is situated in the middle of the grant, overlooked by a beautiful swelling hill, equally clear, of the finest sort of garden mould, and covered with luxuriant grasses. The Goulburn River enters Hunter’s River opposite to the bottom of Mr. Ogilvie’s grant, the plains on each side being hemmed in by woody ridges of moderate elevation, toward which the back land gradually rises. Contrary to what is generally found in other parts of the country, the ridges upon the upper part of Hunter’s River are almost uniformly flattened at the top, forming little miniature hills and valleys covered with fine soil of moderate depth, and bounding in grass, which makes them the great resort of the kangaroos and cattle in the winter season.‘(26)

……and in Dawn in the Valley W. Allan Wood records the description of Merton by Ellen Ogilvie (Bundock), daughter of William:

The house which our father had prepared for us at Merton was a small four roomed cottage, whitewashed nicely, as pipe clay was found close by – white and buff. Our mother was greatly pleased and very happy at Joining our father in this little house, which was charming. Small as our home was, there was room to receive constant visitors. Our mother had the knack of making all around her charmingly pretty and picturesque, as well as fresh and clean. At first, we had only earthen floors made by Irishmen, who broke up the earth until it was powdered and then, when whitewashed, it made good firm flooring but was very troublesome to keep clean. Subsequently the floors were laid down in wood and by degrees the house was added to.’

In Squatter’s Castle, George Farwell describes the relationship between the Ogilvies and the Aboriginal tribe of the district – ‘The area was heavily peopled with Aborigines at that time and the Ogilvies treated them well and encouraged their children to do the same, a habit Edward (Ogilvie) throughout his life. It was here that he learnt the natives’ language, a fact that was to save his life on at least two occasions.

Peter Cunningham, in the volume mentioned above, described an incident in 1826 in which the intrepid Mary Ogilvie confronted the natives –

The Ogilvies were acquaintances of George Wyndham and his wife Margaret and often visited them at Dalwood in the early 1830’s.

George Wyndham kept a diary in the years 1830 – 1840 and there are many mentions of the Ogilvie family.  e.g., On 12th September 1830 George Wyndham and William Ogilvie embarked on an excursion from Merton to Holdsworthy Downs and then to the Burning Mountain at Wingen. They returned via Segenhoe, St. Heliers and Merton and George Wyndham remarked that he was home at Dalwood by the 18th September 1830.

William Ogilvie died 10 March 1859 at  Woolloomooloo and Merton passed into the hands of the White family. [88]


2) Survey of Mountain Ranges between Wybong and Hall’s Creek, portion of the Goulburn River, Giants Creek Counties Brisbane, Hunter and Northumberland 1834

3) Goulburn River, Smiths rivulet, Ranges west of Halls creek, and between Gunmun and Bow Creeks and Krui river, Counties Brisbane etc. 1835.[89]

These Counties named in Balcombe’s Field Books were four of the of the original Nineteen Counties in New South Wales.

Brisbane County which includes present day Scone, Merriwa and Murrurundi. The Goulburn River is the boundary to the south and the Hunter River the boundary to the south-east. The Liverpool Range area is the boundary to the north, and the Krui River the boundary to the west. Durham County is bordered on the south and west by the Hunter River, and on the north and east by the Williams River. It includes Aberdeen and Muswellbrook. Before 1834, the area known as Durham County included what later became Gloucester and most of Brisbane counties, as far west as the Liverpool Range, and east to the Pacific, including Port Stephens, as shown on an 1832 map.

Hunter County lies between the Hunter River in the north, and the Colo River in the south, including much of Wollemi National Park. Macdonald River lies to the east.

Northumberland County included the area to the north of Broken Bay, including Lake Macquarie and Newcastle. It was bounded by the part of the Hawkesbury River to the south, the Macdonald River to the south-west, and the Hunter River to the north.

The images shown are sketches of river path and retired surveyor John Williams has helped with interpretation:

A survey would normally start and finish at known points.  The line(s) between the start and finish is known as a traverse and the traverse is recorded in the Field Book.    Surveyors always recorded their data “up the page” .

First, a general explanation of what the surveyor is doing. Imagine the double lines up the centre of the page represent the traverse line along which the Surveyor is walking.    It’s a straight line in the Book, and he records both distance and direction between the lines as he progresses.  On either side of the lines he records the features at right angles to his line of progress which are to the left and right of him and indicates the distance of those features from his traverse line on the ground.  What you need to know, but which isn’t obvious in the four pages photographed, are the units of measurement that the Surveyor is recording and the nature of the features he is noting to the left and right of his line.

Some guesswork as to units and features recorded here. Historically, accurate surveys (e.g. for land tenure etc) were completed with lineal measurements in “chains” and “links”. (100 links = 1 chain ; 1 chain = 22 yards; 1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches and nowadays 1 metre = approx 39.37 inches) and directional measurements with a theodolite were in degrees, minutes and seconds from a nominal “North” point established in each Parish. (These sort of dimensions appear on property survey plans). For general topographical survey, however, the lineal units would more generally be in chains and yards or yards only, and directions by compass recorded as “degrees” clockwise from magnetic north (N = 0, E = 90, S = 180, W = 270).

These Field Book pages appear to be recording chains, yards and compass degrees.



Friday 9th May 1834: Drew a few articles from Parramatta Store and started for Hunter River.

Saturday 10th: Travelling.

Sunday 11th: Arrived at Wisemans.

Monday 12th: My Dray arrived not being able to keep pace with Mr. Dixon’s on account of having travelled the two first days with only 3 bullocks.

Tuesday 13th: Got to the 10 mile Hollow.

Wednesday 14th : To Hungary Flats.

Thursday 15th: To Young Wisemans.

Friday 16th: To Mr. Dowlands.

Saturday 17th: To McDonalds, Black Creek.

Sunday 18th: To Hunter River and Patrick Plains.

[Land here had been granted to Benjamin Singleton and the area is now known as Singleton][90]

Thursday 21st: Lang [?] Received slops by Mr Bettington’s dray

[this would be James Brindley Bettington of Martindale, Merriwa][91]

Tuesday 27th: Returned from Maitland. Dray

Wednesday 28th: Drew two months rations from Glennies

[this would be James Glennie of Dulwich.[92] ]

Thursday 29th: Arrived at Masts Water Creek

Friday 30th: Dray arrived at Cpt Wrights tonight from Hunter River

[Captain Samuel Wright was a former soldier from Ireland who had been granted land in the area. He was the Magistrate and Superintendent of Police for Newcastle.[93]]

Saturday 31st May: Resting cattle.

There does not appear to be any record for June, July and part of August.

Sunday 17 Sent chainman and bullock driver in search [of bullocks?]

Monday 18th August 1834: Proceeded with bullock driver and pressed on with 2 days rations.

Thursday 21st: Sent man for 1 weeks rations

Friday: Rained hard all day

Saturday 23rd 1834 August: Rained hard

Sunday 24th: Raining heavy

Monday 25th: Sent in for rations to Singletons

[Benjamin Singleton had land grants in the area]

Tuesday: Man not returned

Wednesday: Continued tracing Goulburn [River],

In August 1834 a man wrote a letter (via the Sydney newspapers) to the Surveyor General concerning the great complaints about the bad state of the roads and bridges in the Hunter River area including Maitland to Newcastle and Maitland to Green Hills, he wrote

“It is said the Surveyor of Roads in that district is more partial to the Police bench than to his official duties. A correspondent informs us he is to be seen daily under the wing of the Police Magistrate in Maitland.” [94] Was Thomas the specific surveyor of roads? If it was him, was he noticed sheltering during the several days of heavy rain with Captain Samuel Wright, the Newcastle area Police Magistrate? At that time there was no regular court held in Maitland until a couple of months later when Pieter Laurentz Campbell was appointed as Police Magistrate on 1st October 1834.[95]

Sunday 31st August: Proceeded homeward

Monday 1st September: Arrived

Tuesday, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Satur, Sunday, Monday: Plotting survey

Tuesday 9th: Waiting for slops

[Slops was a term used for convicts clothing [96] or could be used as either a general term for clothing including trousers, shirts and shoes [97] or specifically for loose fitting trousers which came to just below the knee.[98]. They were ‘working’ clothes rather than ‘dress’ clothes, but it is odd that they were always short of clothing.]

Saturday 13th: Proceeded towards Maitland to ascertain if slops had arrived

Tuesday 16th: Arrived at Maitland

Wednesday 17: In Maitland

Thursday 18th: Went to Green Hills after slops.

[Green Hills was the place on the Hunter River where the steam packet wharf was located, now known as Morpeth.[99]]

Sunday 21st: Arrived at Patricks Plains on my way home.

Monday 22: Arrived at the tents [at] Bengalla

Tuesday 23: —–

Wednesday 24th: Sent bullock driver after the bullocks, returned late.

Thursday 25th: Returned with bullocks

Friday 26th Sept: Sent Dray to Maitland for slops.

 Tuesday: To [Peters… town?], Dray arrived from Maitland but could not cross on account of flood.

Monday October 13: Crossed River Hunter

Tuesday 14: Resting bullocks

Wed 15:—–

Thursday 16th: Crossed at River

Thursday 21st: Arrived at Cpt Wrights Farm Bengalla [100]

(Bengalla is now an open cut coal mine about 4 km south west of Muswellbrook)

November 6th 1834: Removed tents from Cpt Wrights farm to Judge Forbes.

[This was Francis Forbes who had land ‘Skellatar’ near Muscle Town, now Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley][101]

Friday and Saturday 22nd: Now removed to Glennies Paddock .

Friday 5th [December]: ———

Monday 8th Nov: Went to Green Hills, no account of any package. Set off for Maitland to ascertain whether articles from the Survy office had arrived.

Tuesday: at Maitland

Wednesday: Went again to Green Hills, saw Mr Dulhunty. Spoke to him concerning bullocks.

[In 1828 Lawrence Vance Dulhunty was appointed Assistant Surveyor of Roads and Bridges. On 2nd May, 1839, the new line of road from the Green Hills to Maitland was reported by The Australian to have been commenced under the superintendence of Mr L. Dulhunty, the Inspector of Roads and Bridges for that district. On 26th January, 1841, the same newspaper carried a report of a new bridge which had been erected under the supervision of Lawrence Dulhunty at Wollombi Brook.][102]

Friday: Sent to Green Hills, no account of any stores.

Saturday 13th Nov: Returned to tents at Mr Glennies.

Monday 15th Went to Mr Dulhunty for bullocks

Tuesday: Returned to tents

Wed 17:——-

Friday 19: Went to P[atricks] Plains

Tuesday 23rd: Returned to tents, sent man to Mr. White’s for 2 bullocks

Thursday 25th: Went to Patrick Plains

Tuesday 30: Days went to Maitland to look after slops.

Wed 31st: Days went to Green Hills, no slops arrived.


Some of the men Balcombe mentions in his books are shown on these property maps of the area e.g. Sir F Forbes, Bettington, S Wright. taken from Jen Willetts excellent web site.



Thursday 1st January 1835: Returned to Patricks Plains

Friday 2nd: Returned to tents

Saturday 3rd: Wrote to Surveyor General’s office concerning slops

Sunday 4th: —-

Monday 5th: Sent to Maitland for stores. Waiting slops.

Monday 11th: Returned Dray. Distributed leather

Friday 15th: Sent Drays to Green Hills for slops.



The actual interpretation of typical page 70, (more accurately – John William’s interpretation)

Starting at the bottom.
13 – yards along the traverse from the previous “chain 23” point on page 69.
4 to the left of 13 – 4 yards to the left of the traverse line to the feature represented by the wiggly line up the page.  What is the wiggly line??  Quite possibly/probably a stream identified on an earlier page.
15 and 2 to the left – similar
24/ underlined – 24 chains from some starting point on an earlier page. This starting point itself would have been identified on the earlier page and if not the very ‘starting’ starting point (e.g. A Trig station on a hill somewhere), there would be another “traverse” recorded somewhere.
144 with a small “o” to the right – the compass bearing from ‘chainage’ 24 forwards along the traverse towards 25/. i.e. the bearing is 144 degrees east of north or approx SSE (south of south-east) squiggle (unknown, probably a number) – yards from ‘chainage’ 24 to where the traverse line is right on the edge of the stream
10 – yards to where a (branch stream?) crosses the traverse line.
6 to the left of 10 – yards to the stream intersection left of ‘chainage 24 chains plus 10 yards”
and so on
24/  +20  – the traverse line is through the middle of  the stream on a bend in the stream
Page 71
He appears to have finished work for the day at a tree (Type of tree? squiggle) at chainage 27/ +22 ??? (that should be chainage 28/ as there are 22 yards in a chain) and started work again on Sunday October 19th 1834.
The records suggest that he was probably working with a compass and 22 yard long tape, which his “chainman” would lay out ahead, alongside the creek. He would then take a compass bearing to where the chainman was standing and then walk along the tape to a point where he would record the distance and either “guess-timate” or pace out the distance left or right to features recorded.  They would then move forward another “chain”.

The last date recorded was in January 1835. We know there were originally five books… which of the five are the three at the archives and where are the other two?


Balcombe’s field note books contain these sketches of mountain ranges, a conical mountain/hill, (which we is likely to be Mount Dangar), the path of the river and some images of an aboriginal man wearing an animal skin and holding axe (which probably inspired his 1847 painting of an Aboriginal Encampment [103]) a male body and leg, a boxer, a female head and a kettle. [104]

IMG_9270 IMG_9268



The Goulburn River runs near the towns of Denman, Merriwa and Sandy Hollow. [105] Thomas was originally granted 1000 acres of land at the confluence of the Hunter and Goulburn Rivers, No. 362, Parish Denman, County Brisbane.[106]


Goulburn River ↑ with Mount Dangar behind (September 2013)

The confluence of the Goulburn and Hunter Rivers.

The Goulburn joins with the Hunter River at GPS location S 32° 26′ 30″, E 150° 41′ 04″ altitude 60 metres, as measured by Bob and Caroline Gaden on 8 September 2013. The Bridge in the distance is the bridge carrying the Martindale road into Denman.

Goulburn River from Spring Gully campsite, September 2013→IMG_9408

In March 1835 Edward Eyre caught up with Thomas when he was out with a surveying party. Eyre and William Balcombe junior were neighbours at Molonglo and in subsequent years Eyre purchased cattle from him. On 1st March Eyre was encamped four miles beyond the great dividing range between Liverpool Plains and Ganna Plains and by 7th he and his party had managed to scale the range, finding it difficult to transport the drays which had to be unloaded and everything carried up by hand, and also difficult to manage the sheep which tended to scatter at night.  Thomas was out with a surveying party and had a team of oxen so helped Eyre in every way he could.[106a]

By late 1836 all three Balcombe brothers had an interest in Sutton Forest with both Thomas and Alexander subscribing £1 towards the erection of a church, William contributed £5. [107]

The list of Individuals who have obtained Licenses from the Colonial Treasurer, for depasturing Stock beyond the boundaries of the Colony, from the 12th to the 18th February, 1837, on payment of the established fee included “247, Balcombe, Wm.. Molonglo Plains, Western, Monaro”[108]

‘William Balcombe, Goulburn’ had a convict assigned to him in 1836, a pot boy [109] and in 1837 a locksmith and blacksmith. [110] To the men he was known as Billy Balcombe or the Long Fellow.[111] We know he ran sheep on the property as he had wool in the early shipments to England

The ‘ Sydney Gazette,’ of 1823, contains ample evidence of the importance of the industry even at that early date; for there was plenty of shipping available to take the wool away. With this greater competition we find freights lowered, the quotations being 1d up to 1 1/2 d per lb, which even 30 years after could not be considered excessive for clean wool.   Dr. Lang in his ‘History of New South Wales,’ tells us that it was carried by some ships as low as 1/2d andf 3/4d per lb; ruinous rates for those times. Moving along a few years further, our eyes fall on a bold notice in the ‘Sydney Gazette’ of January 1, 1827— ‘ The first wool ship, the Marquis of Huntly, 600 tons, would shortly sail for London.’ And it did with 380 bales on board, and here is a list of the shippers :— W. Goz, G. Cox, Captain Ascough, G. Blaxland, H. Macarthur, Bev. S. Mareden, S. Lord, W. Balcombe, John Browne, P. Demestro, &c. [112]

Living away from the city had some problems. When stock strayed, or were stolen, advertisements had to be placed in the newspapers. Sometimes the assigned convict servants caused problems. William lost some horses and also had his hay stack set on fire.

TEN POUNDS REWARD – A LIGHT chestnut MARE, branded B in two or three places, having been missing from Molonglo Plains for some days past, and being supposed to be stolen, a sum of Ten Pounds will be paid on conviction of any person or per sons of the offence ; or a Reward of One Pound will be paid on recovery of the Mare.

Application to be made to Mr. Balcombe, of Molonglo, or Mr. Murphy, of Gundaroo.

Also, a light bay Gelding, about five years old, branded under the saddle either C or J, from the same place, and for which the same Reward will be paid either on conviction of the party, or on recovery of the horse.

EDWARD JOHN RYAN   April 7, 1837.[113]

On Wednesday, the 23rd ultimo, the wheat stacks of William Balcombe, Esq , Molonglo, were discovered to be on fire, and although every exertion was made to extinguish’ it, the whole were-consumed. An assigned servant who has lately absented, and who has been heard to use very threatening language, is strongly suspected as being the incendiary. A reward of twenty-five pounds or a conditional pardon has been offered by Government for the conviction of the offender. [114]

A reward of twenty-five pounds has been offered by the Government for the apprehension, by any free person or persons, of the party concerned in firing the stacks of hay on the estate of Mr. William Balcombe, at Molonglo Plains, on the night of Monday, the 22nd of May last. If the offender be apprehended by a prisoner of the Crown, the usual application for a conditional pardon will be made to Her Majesty’s Government.[115]


The offender was obviously caught and was charged and appeared in the Supreme Court-Criminal Side.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11.   (Before Mr. Justice Willis, and a Civil Jury.)  

Charles Carty was indicted for setting fire to a stack of hay, the property of Mr. Balcombe, at Molonglo Plains, Queanbeyan on the 22nd of last May.

Robert Griffiths called – I am overseer to Mr. Balcombe, and was in May last ; the prisoner was assigned to Mr. Balcombe, but he took the bush on the 10th of May, and did not return until the 2nd of June, when he gave himself up to me on the farm, saying, he heard that he was accused of burning the barn and wheat stack; that he was innocent, and he came ” to rectify himself.” On the night of the 22nd of May I was alarmed with the cry of fire ; I got up and went to the stack- yard, which I found in one sheet of flame. The wheat stack and barn were on fire, and between three or four hundred bushels of wheat consumed ; I found a bag containing fire stuffed into a hay- stack which stood about twenty yards apart from the wheat, and succeeded in pulling it out before it had time to ignite.

Catherine Griffiths called- I am the wife of the last witness: on the night of the 22nd of May, about ten o’clock, I was told the wheat was on fire, and I went to the stock-yard ; I found it all in a blaze ; I heard a noise, which I thought was made by some pet calves, which were penned up, and on stooping down to ascertain, I saw the prisoner crouching down by the fence ; he had one hand on the fence, and in the other he held his hat, which was a straw one, that I could distinctly see by the light of the fire ; I saw him wipe the sweat from his brows with the back of his hand ; when he perceived me he ran off towards the Range, which is a mountain in the vicinity of the farm; the prisoner was in the bush at that time.

It having been proved that no hay was consumed, the information was withdrawn, and the prisoner indicted for setting fire to the barn and wheat stack, and found guilty on the preceding evidence. Death recorded.[116]

Carty, also known as Carthy, had been transported for 7 years and his time was extended for misbehaviour but by his own calculation on 8 May he was free. However his overseer, ticket-of-leave man ‘Big Bob’ Griffiths, sent him to Queanbeyan magistrates to be punished for absence from work. Carty ran away for some days before returning to set fire to the 600 bushels of wheat (about 22 cubic metres) stored in the barn. He’d threatened to put in a complaint about ‘Big Bob’ who could lose his ticket if he was found to be living with a woman to whom he was not married. He’d also threatened to make Billy Balcombe rue the day as ever he was born. He set fire to the haystack but the light of the fire allowed Catherine Griffiths to identify Carty when he took off his hat and wiped his face with his coat sleeve. The two Griffiths went to Sydney to give evidence and also made sure they tied the knot! Carty was not hung, but went to Norfolk Island for life. It was lucky the fire was extinguished, it could have cost Balcombe an additional 10 shillings per hundred pounds to have wheat carted to his property, on top of the cost of the grain itself. [117]

A couple of years later Thomas Rix and Charles Kemp, assigned servants to Mr. Balcombe, were charged with being at large in the Pack-horse public-house. The charge being proved, the bench sentenced Rix to receive twenty-five lashes, and Kemp thirty-six. [118]

William and Alexander took a lead role in local affairs at a January 1841 a meeting held in Queanbeyan to discuss the establishment of a Parsonage for the local Church of England and a school for the local children. Nine resolutions were passed unanimously with both William and Alexander each moving one and seconding another. [119]

Very soon after this meeting, William took part in the chase of a notorious bushranger called Jacky-Jacky.

BUSHRANGERS-A noted bushranger, a runaway from the service of Mr. King, of Lake George, and who is better known by the cognomen of Jacky Jacky-though a native of the British capital-was captured on Thursday last at Bungendore. Jacky Jacky appears to have taken the bush early in the month of December. Shortly after he had done so he became connected with another ruffian, now in Sydney gaol, who disgraces the honoured name of Curran. It was Jacky Jacky who robbed the Queanbeyan mail a few days before Christmas last. Since that he committed various robberies between Marulan and Razorback. It would appear, however, that he preferred high to low ground; and he left the county of Camden, intending to visit his old haunts and pals. On his way up he called at the station of Mr. Hannibal Macarthur, at Wollondilly, and took from there, not the eternal black mare of which the public heard so much during the last year’s debates in the legislative council, but a noble young animal. After procuring her, the first exploit of Jacky’s with which persons are acquainted was his attempt to rob the mail between Marulan and Bungonia on Monday morning, the 12th instant, and his attempt to shoot Mr. Corbyn, the mail contractor, who very fortunately had charge of the mail bags on the morning in question. The bushranger was traced to the immediate neighbourhood of Bungonia, by which place he passed on Tuesday; a pistol, which he is known to have had, was found close to Lumley. After this he proceeded to a spot called Deep Creek, no great distance from the Long Swamp, in this neighbourhood; he robbed a store, and dressed himself in long frock coat and black cap. He next called at Mr. Hyland’s inn, where, it would appear, he passed himself off as a person travelling on his legitimate business. Having noticed a gig at the door of Mr. Hyland’s house, the bushranger, supposing that its owner was on his way to Sydney, went some distance on the road towards the Deep Creek, with a view of stopping the occupant of the gig, who was the Rev. Mr. McGrath, the Catholic clergyman of this district. This gentleman’s duty, however, taking him in the direction of Bungendore, and in an opposite direction from where Jacky had placed himself, he, finding that he had missed the object he had in view, galloped over the ranges, in order to cut off Mr. McGrath’s route. By the speed of the latter’s horse the bushranger was again thrown out in his calculations. Jacky then rode his horse into the village of Bungendore, and took refuge in the house of a person named Eggleston. Mr. Powell, J. P., having got immediate notice of the bushranger’s being so close at hand, went in pursuit of him, accompanied by Messrs. Balcombe, Rutledge, and Powell, jun. The bushranger mounted his horse, and galloped off; the gentlemen in close pursuit of him. He was armed with a gun, which he presented several times at Messrs. Rutledge and Powell. Jacky was evidently much better mounted than any of his pursuers, and had the mare ridden by him not been fatigued, he would have made the ranges without being captured. The gentlemen at length surrounded him, and about this time Mr. Balcombe came up in a gig, armed with a musket. Jacky, perceiving that there was little chance of his escaping, laid down his gun, and surrendered. He had on his person when taken between £60 and £70 in checks and orders. Great credit is due to Mr. Powell and the other gentlemen for their praiseworthy and spirited behaviour upon the occasion, as, owing to the hurry in which they were obliged to sally out after him, and other circumstances, over which they had no control, they were neither well armed nor well mounted. On the following day Jacky was conveyed to Queanbeyan, where he was identified by several persons whom he had robbed, and was safely lodged in the lockup at Goulburn on Saturday afternoon, Lieutenant Christie and a party of mounted police, who had been out in pursuit of the prisoner since the previous Tuesday, having guarded him from Bungendore to Queanbeyan and from the latter place to Goulburn.-Correspondent, Jan 16. [120]

William was the fourth signature of close to four hundred on a long and passionate memorial to the Governor asking for the road south to be upgraded.

THE SOUTHERN ROAD. The following memorial to the Governor, praying for the erection of a bridge over the cataract at Broughton’s Pass into East Barge, so as to avoid the dreadful Razorback, was presented to his Excellency by a deputation previous to his departure for Moreton Bay. The memorial, as will be seen by the list of names subjoined, to which were added those of all the respectable graziers of the southern division of the country, was perhaps the most respectably signed of any that has been got up in our time in the colony. We regret to say that the answer is, not very satisfactory, nor very consistent with strict truth, if we take into consideration certain other works of manifestly less public importance on which prison labour has been from time to time engaged, but, in the event of a renewal of  transportation, which Sir George Gipps is under stood to regard as certain, the answer of his Excellency is of course a pledge that he will comply with the request of the memorialists.

To his Excellency Sir George Gipps, Governor in Chief of New South Wales and its Dependencies, &c. &c. &c. ” The memorial of the undersigned free inhabitants of the counties of Cumberland, Camden, Argyle, St. Vincent, and Murray, Most respectfully sheweth – “That the public road forming the line of communication between Sydney and the three last mentioned counties is very circuitous and difficult, while the obstacles opposed to the opening of a more direct road are limited in extent.

“That the portion of the line of the great south road from Liverpool to Lupton’s Inn, by way of the Cowpasture bridge and Razorback, is about thirty- nine miles, and that the road by Razorback is naturally very arduous and difficult, both from the height and ruggedness of the mountain range, and the obstruction of water courses.

” That your memorialists are convinced that a much more direct line of road from Liverpool to Lupton’s Inn is perfectly practicable, by adopting the route through Campbelltown to Illawarra, as far as Appin, and the formation of a new road from that township to Lupton’s, a distance of only about eleven miles.

” That the opening of a new road in this direction would not only prove an absolute saving in the distance between Liverpool and Lupton’s Inn of about eight miles, which of itself is of great consequence in so important a line of communication, but from the greater levelness and less broken surface of the country than on the Razorback road, an additional advantage would be gained of at least seven miles more, snaking together the important virtual saving of about fifteen miles from Campbelltown to Lupton’s Inn.

” That among the numerous great advantages of bringing in effect the whole of the south and south- west districts of the colony so much nearer to the capital, may be mentioned the great extent of valuable wheat lands in the districts of Mittagong, Bong Bong, and Sutton Forest, which would thereby be placed within the reach of the Sydney markets, and which would not only essentially benefit the supply of the capital, but impart a fresh and powerful stimulus to agricultural improvement in those and the adjoining districts.

“That the proposed line, passing through Airds and Appin, while it would prove highly beneficial to these populous districts, would at the same time open up a vast tract of government land still unlocated, which would be bought up with avidity, and prove a new source of revenue to the government. This extensive tract of country, situated between the Nepean and Cataract rivers, which is of great fertility and value, notwithstanding its vicinity to Sydney, is at present so difficult of access as to be almost without inhabitants.

“That the said line being indisputably the most level and direct, and there being fewer hills and water courses than in any other direction, the natural advantages are so decided that any establishment formed upon it would possess the assurance of permanency, a circumstance of great moment in promoting the improvement of a new country.

“That the chief and almost only obstacles to the great and important advantages of the proposed line   consist in the works which would be required to effect the passage across the Nepean and Cataract rivers, but these obstacles, your memorialists have reason to conclude, are not by any means of such magnitude as those which have already been successfully surmounted at Mount Victoria on the western, and Wiseman’s on the northern road; as from the best information the banks of the Nepean do not exceed 250, and of the Cataract river 120 feet, whereas Mount Victoria and the hill at Wiseman’s both exceed 600 feet in height.

“That the construction of the necessary road and   bridges across these rivers would be greatly facilitated by the circumstance of the strata on their banks being composed of sandstone, easily worked, and thus affording the means of obtaining, without the expense of conveyance, excellent material on the very line of road, while the solid rock which embeds the channels of the rivers on the proposed line offers the most substantial foundation for the site of the requisite bridges, an advantage, which cannot be commended for a bridge over the Nepean at Camden, on the present line, where the bed of the river is composed of shifting sands.

“That your memorialists humbly trust that your   Excellency will feel satisfied that considerations of impartiality, as respects the equitable distribution of public labour, as well as of public advantage, are equally in favour of the object, your memorialists seek to obtain; the southern districts of the colony having a claim to the equal consideration in the distribution of labour with the northern, or any other districts.

“That, not to dilate further on the numerous circumstances in favour of the proposed new line of road, your memorialists feel assured that, on a thorough examination, your Excellency will be of opinion that almost no public work could be under- taken in the colony which is more urgently required, or which holds out more certain prospects of extensive public utility and advantage than that which they are now solicitous to bring under your Excellency’s notice, and which they are confident would, if successfully executed, form a signal and lasting memorial of your Excellency’s impartial, wise, and energetic government.

“Your memorialists therefore humbly and earnestly solicit that your Excellency would be pleased to take into consideration the expediency of improving the great line of communication with the southern districts of the colony, by the formation of a road from the township of Appin to Lupton’s Inn, on the present south road, and of commencing the works necessary to effect this object, and your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray. ” Wm Hunter, Brig Maj A McKenzie, William Lithgow, M C, William Balcombe,


The Governor’s Reply read.

“Colonial Secretary’s Office, ” Sydney, 19th February, 1842. Sir- I am directed by his Excellency the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of the memorial presented this day by yourself, Mr. Thomas Barker, and other gentlemen, praying for the formation of a road from the township of Appin to Lupton’s Inn, on the present south road ; and in reply, I have the honour to state to you that his Excellency is quite aware of the great advantage to the whole of the southern parts of the colony which would accrue from the opening of the long projected road from Appin to Lupton’s ; and it is only the want of means to undertake the large works which would be required at the Cataract and Nepean Rivers, which prevents his Excellency’s immediately undertaking it.

” I am at liberty to add, that should unexpected circumstances place a sufficient quantity of labour at his Excellency’s disposal, he will not fail to attend to the wishes of the memorialists.-

I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant. ” E. DEAS THOMSON. ” W. H. Hovell, Esq., Goulburn.”[121]


In January 1840 Mr William Balcombe junior of Molonglo was listed in Court of Claims for Land. [122] Later, in 1842 William was requesting that his Grants of Land was to be passed to Thomas Shanahan. Was this because it was too far from the family in Sydney, or for financial reasons or that he was more interested in horse racing pursuits?

Murray. – 34. Thomas Shanahan, 1280 acres, county of Murray, at Winelaw, Molonglo. Promised by Sir R. Darling, on the   6th July, 1829, and possession given, as a primary grant, on the 4th September, 1829, to Mr. W. Balcombe, junior, who now requests the deed in favour of the present applicant. Quit-rent £10 13s. Id. per annum, commencing the 1st January, 1837.[123]

This request was granted

GRANTS or LAND.-Deed dated 22nd September , 1843: 70. Thomas Shanahan, 1280 acres, Murray; promised to William Balcombe the younger. Deed dated 31st October, 1843.[124]

(Map 7-12-1972 shows it is in Molonglo parish, Murray County, near the road from Bungendore to the intersection with the Captain’s Flat-Queanbeyan Road. Balcombe Hill is close.)[125]


When visiting William’s property, brothers Thomas and Alexander would travel through the Marulan and Bungonia areas in the County of Argyle and come into contact with the Stuckey family of Longreach, Marulan, the Mitchells of Brisbane Meadow and the family of Gabrielle Huon de Kerrileau of Caarne, near Bungonia village.

They would also know another local settler, former naval surgeon Dr David Reid, who had been a magistrate alongside William the Colonial Treasurer.[126] He was granted land which he called Inverary Park, with 2060 acres in the 1828 census. In 1841 his daughter Emma then aged 17 married Alexander Beatson Balcombe and they subsequently pioneered land in Victoria where Alexander had been exploring.

At Bungonia, Argyle, on 30th August, by the Rev GM Wood, Mr Alexander Balcombe of Melbourne to Emma Juana, youngest daughter of the late David Reid Esq, Surgeon RN of Inverary Park.’ [127]

Alexander was listed as ‘of Melbourne’ so he had been visiting from Victoria. He and his wife stayed for some time at Merri Creek and in 1846 moved to Schnapper Point, now Mornington. In 1840 Capt Reid had established Tichingorouk but when Balcombe took over the pastoral lease of this crown land it was renamed The Briars and covered 6000 acres in the Mt Martha of the Mornington Peninsula. Alexander subsequently bought 1000 acres of free-hold land in 1854. He also acquired land near Moorabbin and the original railway was located at Balcombe (now called Mentone)

In the 1850’s Alexander went hunting for gold leaving Emma and her children behind and as well as surviving all the caring, cooking and cleaning she had to cope with bushrangers.[128] On his return from the diggings where he had not been successful in finding gold, Alexander settled down to running the property and being a member of the local ‘landed gentry’ and experimented unsuccessfully with making wine.. He was appointed a magistrate in 1855 and became first chairman of the Mount Eliza Road Board formed in 1860. [129]

Alexander Beatson Balcombe and Emma Juana (Reid) Balcombe had 9 children:-

Stephen Cranston, 1842-1844

Alice Mabel Maude, married Harry Emmerton, they leased The Briars from 1891 to 1906, their daughter Mabel married tennis ace Sir Norman Brookes.[130]

Emma Jane, married James Murphy and after Emma Seniors death in June 1907, they inherited the land. This is the modern a’Beckett line, Thomas Turner a’Beckett (1808-1892) married 2 Stuckey sisters. [131]

Alexander Stephen, married Alice Woodville, he lived in the Parkes area being one of the owners (with his youngest brother) of Coradgery Station, near Parkes in 1882-3. [132]

William, 1850-1850

Agnes, b 1852, appears to have not married, she was the ‘Miss Balcombe’ in the notice of her mother’s death. [133]

Maria Juana, married Robert Gottlieb Beggs, one of three brothers who were pastoralists and sheep breeders.[134]

Lucia Emily, married William Hitchins Quick, this is the line of Balcombe Quick the surgeon who was decorated in WWI. [135]

Herbert Henty, married Ida Weston, one of their sons was Alexander Mornington Balcombe, who also farmed at Coradgery Station, Bogan River, near Parkes, NSW. This was the home to many top racehorses. The property was sold in 1920.


The National Trust of Victoria now run a 8 hectare site which includes The Briars homestead at Mornington. It was gifted to them via Alexander and Emma’s eldest daughter Emma Jane and her descendents the a’Becketts.[136]

The stories of Alexander and his children have been well documented by the National Trust,[137] the local Mornington Council, the Australian Dictionary of Biography [138] and in books written by another descendent Dame Mabel Brookes (‘St Helena Story’, ‘Crowded Galleries‘ and ‘Riders of Time’).

Thus Alexander Beatson Balcombe’s branch of the Balcombe family receives only fleeting further mentions in this account, to allow the story of his older brothers Thomas and William to be told.



In March 1840 Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe and his companion Mr Stuckey were involved in a serious accident which was to have devastating consequences for the rest of Thomas’ life.

THE ROADS.–The roads are in a dreadful state, and scarcely a day passes that some serious accident does not occur. A few evenings since, Mr. Stuckey and Mr. Balcombe were driving to Sydney in a gig, when from the state of a bridge near Cutter’s Inn, an accident which was very near being attended with loss of life took place. (Those who knew the spot were reported to take to the bush to avoid it but strangers had narrow escapes crossing it. [139])

(The most likely location was at Gibbergunyah Creek, [140] near George Cutter’s ‘Kangaroo Inn’ on the corner of Lyell Street and current Hume Highway, Mittagong [141])

The horse got his hind legs into a hole, and in plunging, turned the gig over, and Mr. Stuckey fell right through the bridge, a depth of twenty feet, where he remained senseless for four hours. Mr. Balcombe was pitched on his head on the bridge, and is still in a very dangerous state from concussion of the brain. Mr. Stuckey has recovered from the injuries which he had received. The state of the roads is such, that some decisive step must be taken by the settlers themselves, for the government will do nothing to assist the settlers in this department any more than many others. [142]

Thomas had recovered sufficiently 3 months later to marry Lydia Stuckey.

On Saturday, June 27 at Longreach, Argyle, by the Rev. Mr. Sowerby, Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, to Lydia, eldest daughter of Peter Stuckey, Esq., of Longreach.[143]


This painting by Thomas of his wife Lydia remains within the family (Photo by Bob Gaden)

Thomas, born 15 June 1810, had just turned thirty, Lydia, born 10 May 1820, had just turned twenty years old as recorded in the Stuckey family Bible. [144]

Lydia Stuckey had 11 younger siblings and by marrying into the Stuckey family Thomas Balcombe became brother-in-law to several well know pioneering and exploring families, such as the Chisholm, Collins, Huon de Kerrileau, Mitchell and Perrotts. [145]

Peter Stuckey (born 20 September 1821) married Emma Dight

Rebecca Stuckey (born 29 March 1824) married John William Chisholm of Kippilaw

Charlotte Stuckey (born 4 June 1828) married Thomas Mitchell the son of William Mitchell and Elizabeth Huon de Kerrileau of Brisbane Meadow. Elizabeth was the daughter of Gabriele Huon de Kerrileau of Bungonia Creek, and her brother Paul had married Sarah House, sister of Ann [House]Stuckey.

William John Stuckey (born 9 July 1830) married Emma Huon de Kerrileau.

Emma Stuckey (born 17 May 1832) married William Huon de Kerrileau.

Clara Chase Stuckey (born 26 December 1833) married Alexander Keith Collins.

George Robert Hamilton Stuckey (born 20 May 1836) married Emma Perrott.

Amelia St Clair Stuckey (born 28 October 1838) married Granville Robert Murray Collins, brother of Alexander.

Emily Sarah Stuckey (born 29 January 1843) married Henry Huon de Kerrileau.

Ann Elizabeth Stuckey (born 7 May 1826) unmarried

Richard Henry Gould Stuckey (born 4 December 1840) unmarried. Henry died at his sister Lydia’s home and was buried on 18 May 1894. [146]



Peter Stuckey had lived at 181 Salisbury Street, London before travelling to Australia on the ship “Earl Spencer” in October 1813. He was a free settler and came with Thomas Barker and John Dickson, to whom he was apprenticed as a millwright. Dickson built the first steam mill in Sydney, in Darling Harbour near Dickson Street.

Peter Stuckey sold some goods he had brought to the colony and with the proceeds he bought some cattle. He was aged 25 when he married 18 year old Ann House in St Luke’s, Liverpool in 1818.[147]

His wife Ann was the daughter of Captain William House, late boatswain of the HMS Discovery (where he stopped at Dusky Sound, New Zealand in 1791, [148] commander of colonial sloop, Francis, (which was accompanying the sealer-whaling ship Brittania but was blown south and made contact with New Zealand)[149], first mate of the transport ship Ann, commander of the armed brig Norfolk, acting master of HMS Buffalo, first mate on HMS Investigator, medically evacuated on Daedalus and subsequent harbour master at Port Dalrymple [Launceston].

House was known to suffer severely from a violent rheumatic complaint [150] which he named gout, hence the medical evacuation onto Daedalus. This transport ship was owned by Alexander Davison, friend of Horatio Nelson and leased to the Admiralty in July 1792 under Captain Thomas New.[151] It was sent via Cape Horn to the north west coast of America to take possession of several territories as well as re-provision Bank’s survey of the coast of America in ships Discovery and Chatham.

Daedalus then sailed for New South Wales, leaving on 29 December 1792 for Port Jackson, with a scratch crew and a few Spanish seamen and cargo of livestock (both cattle and sheep) before coming under the orders of Governor Phillip to resupply from with China and India. It was on the 1792 trip to NSW that House was a ‘passenger.’ They put in at Marquesas and then Tahiti where they picked up 70 live hogs then sailed to Doubtless Bay in New Zealand, reaching Sydney on 20 April 1793.[152] The ship Francis was then commanded by William House, late boatswain of the Discovery, and who, having been invalided, had recovered sufficiently to accept a Government appointment to explore the sealing possibilities of New Zealand.[153]

House returned to England but he sailed back to NSW as part of the crew on the convict ship Ann, bringing Irish convicts to the Colony in 1801, and he stayed in NSW until his appointment to Van Diemen’s land in 1804. Was his wife a former convict who he met on the Ann? It is not likely that she was the “My Dear” to whom he wrote from the Daedalus in 1792!

The Tamar River in northern Tasmania was settled at Outer Cove in November 1804, to counteract any claim by the French. Led by Lieut-Col William Paterson, about 200 people set up camp. Named Port Dalrymple, the main settlement soon moved to Yorktown on the western side. Gardens for growing supplies were established at both Outer Cove (George Town) and York Town.

In 1806 William House and his family of a wife and three children ran 13 goats of their half acre of land[154], were still living at the port of Outer Cove where the former RN sailor was harbour master [155] and Superintendent of Shipping. [156] House was also appointed the Naval Officer to Port Dalrymple [157]in the County of Cornwall, Van Diemen’s Land, in June 1806. He collected customs duties, port fees and other revenue.[158]

The brig Venus, a ship of 42 tons employed specifically to transport stores from Port Jackson to Van Diemen’s Land, arrived in June 1806, and Mr House met with the Captain Samuel Chase and learned of the vessels problems, bad weather, purloined goods, threats of a mutiny by the mate and theft by the mate’s partner, convict Catherine Hagerty. An armed guard was set whilst House and Chase travelled to York Town to discuss the problem with Lieut-Governor Paterson. On the way back to the Venus, they made the mistake of stopping overnight on the Governor Hunter. When they returned to the Venus they found the guards had been overpowered and put ashore and the ship with her precious supplies was sailing back out to sea.[159]

Thus the colony’s supplies were lost, the people were starving. Capt. Chase and William House were held responsible for the loss of the vessel and supplies. By February the colony had run out of food except for kangaroo meat. Paterson sent William House and four other men in a longboat to row to the mainland for supplies from Port Jackson. They were never heard of again.

The House family received some cattle from Governor King by way of compensation and a rascal by the name of James O’Connell attempted to defraud Mrs. House and her children of the livestock.[160] Luckily the family kept some of the herd and Ann received some of these cattle on her marriage to Peter Stuckey who had also invested in cattle. Their herd was grazed on the property Pomeroy, in the Mummel area near Goulburn, then owned by John Dickson, close to the home of the Durack family before their epic trek north recounted in Kings in Grass Castles.

Part of this land (2 x 50 acre blocks) was bought many years later, in 1975, by Stuckey-House descendent Robert Gaden and his wife Caroline. The then postal address was a Roadside Mail Box, RMB 736B, Mummel Road, Goulburn, NSW 2580. It was located on the corner of what is currently (in 2015) called Range Road and Merricroft Road, Mummel. The block was named Saltersgate (after the Saltersgate Moors over which Caroline spent many hours riding her horses and following hounds during her youth in North Yorkshire) and it is here that their children Philip, Paul and Peter spent their early childhood before heading north to Armidale in 1990 when the blocks were sold to two separate purchasers.

In 1824 Peter Stuckey first settled land which was called a variation of Billy Rampity, the local Aboriginal name which became known as Longreach. Owning cattle ensured being issued with a land grant. The first grant was for 550 acres but he was able to buy up adjoining land grants to enlarge his own property. 1824 was also the year his brother Henry Stuckey arrived on the Prince Regent as a free settler, bringing with him £500. There were ‘Stuckey’ huts at Willi Ploma in the Gundagai area when Capt. Sturt went through in 1829 and they had licences for 60,000 acres (Peter at Willi Ploma) and 20,000 acres (Henry at Tumbolong).[161]

In 1828 Surveyor Dixon had surveyed grants for Peter Stuckey, RM Campbell, W Shelley and Major Lockyer. [162]

The land fronted the Wollondilly River a few kilometres north by northwest of the current town of Marulan. By 1828 the holding had increased to 650 acres with 70 acres being cleared and 30 acres under cultivation. Stock were 20 horses and 350 cattle. Bush rangers were quite a problem with horses being a favourite target.

The census lists Peter Stuckey aged 32, with Ann aged 28, Lydia 8, Peter 7, Rebecca 5, Anne 3 and Charlotte was 1 year old. They lived in a slab hut until a more substantial sandstone building and stables could be erected by convict labour, completed in 1837.

It was on Stuckey land that marble was discovered by Peter Stuckey but he found the quarry operation too difficult and passed it to the Government. In the second volume of Mitchell’s “Three expeditions into the interior of Australia”, in 1838, he devoted a sentence or two to an interesting site not far from the Great Southern Road near Towrang where he noticed a quarry of crystalline variegated marble. This became home to the first marble quarry in the Colony. The Parish of Billyrambija [sic], Portion 9 Longreach was listed as where the first marble obtained in the state was mined. Peter’s brother Henry Stuckey leased a block of land called Hungry Hill near Longreach to Chas McAlister and that land was used for the raising and trading in the marble deposits there.

The crystalline, variegated marble was fashioned into chimney pieces and tables which were sent to Sydney ‘to ornament’ houses. It was bought by the first Premier of NSW Stuart Donaldson to trade in his stores.[163] In the 1840s the site was visited by the Geologist the Rev. WB Clarke who saw the altered limestone was fossiliferous and several specimens of the prepared marble were taken to England by a Captain Baker and presented to the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough, Yorkshire.[164] The Rotunda Museum was built in 1829, to a design suggested by William Smith, ‘Father of English Geology’ whose pioneering work established that geological strata could be identified and correlated using the fossils they contain.[165] It was here, in the 1960s, that it was seen by the science graduate who was destined to become the wife of Stuckey descendent Robert Gaden.[166]



The Stuckey family were friends with the Coopers of “Willeroo”. The men knew each other, and the Balcombes, as they were neighbours on their properties near Lake George in NSW with land granted to their families by the Crown. The Cooper’s property was called “Willeroo”, the name of the curlew in the local Aboriginal language.[167] Neighbour Henry Stuckey was Peter Stuckey’s brother, who had also been granted 100 acres of land in the same area on 26th October, 1840.[168]

No doubt the families all enjoyed their horses, with Balcombe, Stuckey and Cooper all taking part in racing and breeding. In 1864 the Coopers of “Willeroo” (also written as “Willaroo”) were advertising some horses for sale:

20 SUPERIOR HORSES. ” At the Bazaar on MONDAY next, the 28th instant.

BURT and CO. are instructed by J. V. Cooper, Esq., to sell by auction, at their Bazaar, on MONDAY next, at 11 o’clock, 20 very superior horses, bred at Willaroo. They consist of heavy and light draught horses and stylish hackneys. The whole in top condition and thoroughly well broken ; the harness horses are subject to trial, and are got by Horncastle, Waxwork, and Sampson. 25 Horses. [169]


From Willaroo, Goulburn.

At the Camperdown Yards, MONDAY, the 28th.

BURT and CO. are instructed by J. V. Cooper, Esq., to sell by auction, at the above Yards, on MONDAY next, at 2 o’clock, 26 young horses, colts, and fillies, broken and unbroken, all in capital condition, and mostly got by the celebrated sires Young Waxwork, Horncastle, and Sampson.[170]

Subsequently on “Willeroo” Mr. Cooper bred some of the best horses ever seen in the Southern district, including the 1869 Melbourne Cup winner, “Warrior” [171], the 1883 Sydney Cup 3rd placed horse “Willeroo”,[172] and “Thakambau” which placed second in the 1887 Wagga Gold Cup[173], as well as many other prominent performers.

The friendship and business dealings between the families obviously extended forward. There was a squatting firm in which ‘Stuckey, Cooper and Galloway’ were partners.  Mr Stuckey and the ‘wealthy southern pastoralist’ Robert Cowley Cooper took up land on the Victoria River area in the Northern Territory in 1881. We think this Stuckey was Henry Gould Stuckey, son of Peter and brother of Lydia, as he was born in 1840 and RC Cooper was born 1841, so they would have been contemporaries.

They established a property in the NT, named it “Willeroo” and stocked it with cattle from the owner’s property near Lake George NSW. [174] “Willeroo” was one of three stations were established within the land of the Wardman Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. [175]

Mr. Robert Cowley Cooper was a member of a pioneer pastoralist family. Born in 1841, he was the son of Francis Cooper [176] and brother to JV Cooper [177], and had been engaged in pastoral pursuits all his life. He was born at “Willeroo”, Lake George, the land which had been granted by the Government to the late Mr. James Cooper, his uncle. The Coopers were the first white men on Lake George. Mr. James Cooper owned the property in Sydney known as Ormand House and was the first auctioneer in Sydney. Robert Cowley Cooper’s grandfather, Mr. Robert Cooper, was a candidate for the first Parliament in New South Wales. At the time of the famine he started a bakery for the sole purpose of supplying the people with bread at cost price.

The story of how the Coopers obtained their first big “rise” is of interest. In the year of the big drought, when Lake George went dry for the first time, the Coopers went to the Murrumbidgee and bought sheep and cattle in large numbers, obtaining them at very low prices. As the waters of the Lake receded good herbage made its appearance, and the stock fattened well. When they had reached the proper stage the animals were killed and the carcases were boiled down, tallow being then of great value. No casks were available, so the hides of the bullocks were sewn together, the tallow having previously been placed therein, while in the case of the sheep the paunches were used as containers. The tallow was then taken by waggon to Circular Quay and sold.

On the death of his father Francis, Mr. Robert Cowley Cooper and a brother, Mr. J. V. Cooper, managed “Willeroo” in conjunction for some time. Then RC Cooper took up the management of the property himself. When his father’s estate was closed “Willeroo” was bought by Mr. Pat Osborne. By then RC Cooper had acquired “Pylara”, the adjoining property, and had also at one time and another interests in other parts of this State, in Queensland, and in the Northern Territory. Amongst the properties he acquired were “Molonga”, “Mulga No. I” (near Bourke), and “Clyde Station”, Queensland, this last being secured in 1903. He established a station in the Northern Territory, and gave to it the name of “Willeroo”. In 1893 his manager was killed by the blacks, and the station was then sold. At one time Robert Cowley Cooper was amongst the biggest pastoralists in the State, owning large numbers of both sheep and cattle. Cooper’s most striking characteristic was his unconventionality. He declined to accept ready-made opinions, but thought out things for himself. He was of a genial, hearty temperament and held the warm regard of his friends. [178]

By 1885 the NT property was stocked but there were repeated attacks by the local Aboriginal people and money became tight, with one employee having to resort to the courts to be paid what he was owed:-

At the Local Court, on “Wednesday, before Mr. Pater, S.M., and Messrs. Hillson and Wood, a man named Lees obtained a verdict against Messrs. Stuckey, Cooper, and Galloway for the sum of £64 12s. It appears that the plaintiff had been employed on a station belonging to the defendants, and on leaving asked Galloway, the working manager, for his wages. The latter told plaintiff he could not pay him then, as he did not know to which Bank in Palmerston his account had been transferred, but promised him he would be down to town almost as soon as himself, and that all expenses would be paid whilst he was kept waiting. The plaintiff came to Palmerston, and being unable to obtain a settlement of his claim after sixteen weeks delay had brought the present action to recover £211 4s., viz., £136 12s wages, £50 damages loss of time, and £24 12s. hotel expenses. Since the institution of the action the claim for wages had been paid by the defendants. Defendants raised the objection that they had not been summoned to the nearest Local Court, but the Bench overruled it, and after commenting most severely upon the conduct of the defendants throughout the transaction, gave a verdict for the plaintiff for £64 12s.[179]


Lee v. Stuckey, Cooper and Galloway. Mr. Beresford for plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed £135 12s, balance of wages due to him by defendants, also £24 15s. board and lodging agreed to be paid by defendants for plaintiff, and fifty pounds damages being for wages and loss of employment, while staying in Palmerston at the request of the defendants, since 6th November, 1885, in all two hundred and eleven pounds, seven shillings.

Plaintiff admitted having received on 26th February, one hundred and thirty-six pounds, twelve shillings, but not the balance. Verdict was given for plaintiff for sixty-four pounds, fifteen shillings, and costs. [180]


Only weeks later, in June 1886, the North Australian published this information:-


[By Telegraph.]

Saturday, May 29.

WE are indebted to Mr. Frank Cooper, of the squatting firm of Stuckey, Cooper & Galloway, for the following telegram, which was received from the Katherine at 4.30 p.m. to-day :-

” While my man Kean and blackboy were out mustering about 18 miles from the station they were attacked by blacks at three o’clock in the morning. “Kean received a nasty spear wound in the stomach, besides many cuts on the head with stones. ” The blackboy was speared in the back. Both are recovering.[181]

and followed it up a few days later with this report, something which we consider to be very ‘politically incorrect’ and inflammatory today.

It seems as if the aboriginals out in the Victoria River country require a sharp lesson or two. On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Frank Cooper wired the particulars of an outrage committed by the blacks on the Willaroo station, owned by Messrs. Stuckey, Cooper & Galloway, and it will be seen by reference elsewhere that a white man and blackboy were speared, one in the back and the other in the stomach. Fortunately they were not killed outright, and are now said to be recovering. Now, in a case of this sort, if we were to act under the guidance of such holy howlers as Adel- aide is infested with, we would supply these murderous miscreants with a cargo of tucker, supplemented by bibles, tracts, and other persuasive Christian literature, and endeavour to make them comprehend by this means the great importance of the commandment ” Thou shalt not kill.” But put any one, of Adelaide’s most enlightened aboriginal supporters in Kean’s position, with a rifle in one hand and the New Testament in the other, and we’ll wager all our worldly possessions against a pin that the offending nigger would have a ball fired at him before the amateur missionary had given him time to find out whether the book was another shooting iron or only something to eat. He would hardly waste good time in coaxing the savage up to him so that he could read him out a page or two of Scripture for present edification and future use. In the bush he would be the first to recognise the value of doing that which he so much objects to when in town, and free from bush dangers. The black who speared Kean, in the ordinary course of fair exchange, should have had a bullet returned to him for the spear he so readily parted with, and the other one ditto. Bibles are good civilising agents in their place, but in the back bush bullets have always paved the way. [182]

Sid Scott, the Manager of “Willeroo” was killed by the Aborigines in October 1892. Mounted Constable Willshire, the Officer in Charge of Native Police wrote:

Mr WS Scott the manager of Willeroo cattle station, was suddenly attacked out on the run whilst camped for dinner, by a horde of wild savages on October 11th 1892 and speared to death. They stole his rations and firearms and went away into the bush. They were tracked by an avenging party and sic transit gloria mundi! Mr Scott was always a kind man to the blacks and how they served him! [183]  He is buried on the property and the location is known by one of Bob’s former work colleagues who now lives in the area… he has promised to fly us in next time we visit.

Attacks were particularly frequent in the “Willeroo” and “Delamere” area with several drovers attacked between December 1899 and May 1900. [184] After Scott’s murder, severe retribution was exacted on the local tribe of indigenous men by Lindsay Crawford.

This letter was published in the Northern Territory Times and Gazette in November 1892.

The Willaroo Tragedy – “Willeroo” Station, October 25.

Sir-We arrived here on the 21st from the Katherine, en route for Auvergne Station. In addition to my party I was accompanied by Mr. Palmer, going out to take temporary charge of “Willeroo”, and also by M. C. Browne, who was going to arrest the murderers of Mr. W. S. Scott. On our reaching the station we found the blacks had been at work there, and the wreck they had made of the property contained in the buildings beggars description. We did not see the worst of it, as Mr. Crawford-one day ahead of us-found everything taken out and broken and scattered in all directions. He collected them as well as he could, and so we found them-cases broken open and general destruction ; thirty or forty fowls killed and thrown in heaps ; twenty bags of flour, four or five bags of rice, and over 60 lbs of tobacco, with all the pipes and matches; two dozen new Dungaree suits, two dozen pairs of boots ; the whole of the Messrs Scott’s wearing apparel, blankets, and rugs; four new rugs, four Winchester rifles, and 300 rounds of cartridges. All the above mentioned articles were taken away, besides a host of other odds and ends. Had Mr. Crawford not-arrived when he did there is no doubt the total destruction of the station would have taken place. There were no niggers visible when Mr. Crawford arrived on the Tuesday morning, but that evening he accidentally discovered there were from thirty to forty camped in the horse paddock, about half a mile from the station. Mr. Crawford and his party charged their camp, and found Mr. V. S. Scott’s saddle and bridle and some other things. Mr. Crawford left a notice tacked on the door of the hut informing us of this, and also saying that he saw traces of flour and matches, all along ,the road going down Aroona Creek towards Price’s Creek. He made no mention of having seen anything of Mr. Scott’s remains. But Messrs. Brown and Palmer went out to the McClure Rocky Hole and found the remains and brought them in, and we buried them at the station, reading the burial service over the grave. They give a sad account of the “finding of the remains and the scene of the murder, and state that where Mr Scott was first attacked was quite open ground. Here he must have been badly wounded, as they could trace his foot- steps to where he had run to a tree, about 110 yards distant, for shelter. The tree was battered and bruised with stones, and the ground roundabout it strewn with broken spears. Tomahawks had evidently been used after- wards for mutilating the body.

Mr. G. S. Scott, together with Troopers Dooley and Freeman and two other hands, arrived last night, and after them came Messrs T. Sayle and J. Gordon. To assist the police Messrs Sayle, Frayne, Clarke and Diamond volunteered, and two parties were at once formed to go in pursuit of the natives-one party to work up from Price’s Creek towards the head, and the other party down the Gregory and across, meeting at an appointed place.

Mr. Palmer leaves to-morrow for the Katherine for provisions. None of the parties brought more than would do them to this station, and now that the blacks have cleaned it nearly bare we have to send back for more-before we can start on our respective journeys.

What will make matters more serious is that the blacks have possession of four rifles and such a quantity of ammunition and Mr G. S. Scott informs me that he knows there are four or five blackboys amongst them that know how to use them. This I am inclined to doubt. A Winchester rifle, I am thinking, might puzzle them in its action, but it is possible that they may understand it. If so, unless the parties in pursuit can surprise them in camp suddenly, there will probably be a good deal of shooting on both sides. In any case I think the pursuing parties will be bound to have recourse to firearms in making the arrests, and unless a swift and terrible example is made of them no one will be safe in travelling about as before. The (to them) immense booty and the easy and triumphant manner in which they have obtained it will render them still more impudent and treacherous, and the safety of travellers will depend on united and decisive action being taken at once that they will remember for some time to come. This is the third or fourth murder committed in this district. Two men were killed on the Gregory twenty-five miles from here and nothing at all was done in the matter.

Here I wish to state, and it is the utterance of the whole settlement, that the manner m which the police force is   horsed is thoroughly disgraceful, and criminally neglectful on the part of the Government. Some of the horses are actually unsafe to ride-many of them condemned several years ago and totally unfit to go the long and wearisome journeys that they may be called upon to do ; the present case being an instance of their inefficiency, as they were barely able to carry the troopers out ; and still the troopers are supposed on arrival here to be able to go on rapid and active service. I am very much afraid that before they sight any blacks at all their horses will be utterly done up. The people of the Territory should see that such a disgraceful state of things be at once altered. The outlying police patrol stations should have the best horses procurable instead of the worst, and also double the number they are at present allowed. Everybody knows that Inspector Foelsche has tried over and over again to alter this state of affairs, but is powerless to remedy matters, and it is for the residents to strengthen the hands of the Inspector by petitioning the House through our members, and demanding the thorough re-horsing of the whole force. It is absolutely shameful that in a case like the present, where rapid and concerted, action by the police is essentially necessary, that their efforts are rendered absolutely abortive through miserable aged screws of horses, so bad that even a Chinaman would not buy one of them.   I am, Sir, &c,  John. Giles;[185]

Attacks and harassment by the local Aboriginal people continued and eventually made the place unworkable and “Willeroo” Station was abandoned for this reason. [186] Cooper and Stuckey sold their cattle ‘for a very low price’ to Captain Joe Bradshaw and they became the nucleus of the Bradshaw Station herd. They relinquished their lease on “Willeroo” having taken little interest in the place since the murder of manager Scott in 1892, followed by death of HG Stuckey in 1894 [187] and compounded by the fierce resistance of the local Wardman Aboriginal people to the invasion of their land by the European settlers. [188]



Thomas and Lydia initially lived in a house in Castlereagh Street [189] and then moved into a home they called Napoleon Cottage in Paddington. The move took place between September 1841 and May 1842.[190]

He was definitely there by 5 May 1842 as he advertised for

WORKING Overseer wanted, a person of Colonial experience and good character, for a small agricultural farm. Apply at Napoleon Cottage, before twelve o’clock.

and in the same newspaper brother William was advertising for a lost horse.


STRAYED, from a paddock adjoining the Pound, in Parramatta, in the rear of the White Horse Inn, Macquarie-street, one bay horse, about fifteen hands high, with black points and square tail, branded III on the off shoulder, and has a small star on the forehead. Also, one iron grey horse, about fifteen and a half hands high, switch tail, branded SB on the off shoulder and C under the mane ; has an enlargement of the fetlock joint on the off hind leg. Whoever will bring the above horses to the White Horse Inn, Parramatta, shall receive the above reward, or Two Pounds Ten Shillings each.


Thomas also advertised for information when some of his horses went missing from Long Reach and Molonglo in November, 1840.

LOST, on Friday, the 6th November, from Long Reach, Argyle, a chestnut horse, about fourteen and a half hands high, branded on near shoulder OM, a switch tail, and a small white strip down the face; whoever will give information as to the said horse will receive a reward of five pounds. THOMAS BALCOMBE, Long Reach, Argyle. [192]

STRAYED, or Stolen, from Molongolo on or about the 1st of November, 1840, a grey mare, switch tail, branded H H conjoined, or double H on shoulder, Y under saddle, a young foal by her side; if strayed, a reward of £3 will be given on her recovery, at Mr. Powells, Bungandore, or Mr. Peters, Marulan, if stolen, a reward of Five Pounds will be given on conviction of the parties. THOMAS BALCOMBE. Molonglo, November 23, 1840 .[193]

Just a couple of weeks earlier Thomas’ Court of Claims for land had been postponed due ‘to lack of paperwork or non-appearance’ [194] and a few weeks later he also missed joining his brother William in the apprehension of the notorious bush ranger Jackey-Jackey. [195]

In 1842 Thomas was one of the creditors owed money by the estate of Edwin Walsh, £432, a not insubstantial amount of money at the time.[196]

Just over a year after their marriage, Thomas and Lydia welcomed their first child, Jane Elizabeth, in September 1841,

On Monday, the 20th instant, at her residence in Castlereagh-street, Mrs. Thomas Balcombe, of a daughter.’ [197]

In 1840 Thomas Balcombe claimed a deed of grant for 1000 acres located at the confluence of the Goulburn and Hunter Rivers following the death of Lieutenant Robert Stirling. The land was bounded on the north by a line commencing at a marked tree on the River Hunter bearing west 73 chains; on the west by a line bearing south 136 chains to the Goulburn River, on the south by the Goulburn River and on the east by the Hunter River to the marked tree aforesaid. The land was located on an order of Governor Brisbane dated 2 November 1825 in favour of Stirling but, in the NSW Government Gazette of 18 March 1840, Thomas Balcomb [sic] of Molonglo claimed the land belonged to him. [198] In 1847 he was granted that 1000 acres of land north of the Hunter River. [199]

Portion of Land: No. of deed, 4; No. of case, 683; date of decision, 8th October, 1841; grantee, Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe; original donee, Robert Stirling; No. of acres, 1,000; county of Brisbane, parish of Denman; date of promise, 2nd November, 1825; annual quit-rent, £8 6s. 8d.; date of commencement of quit-rent, 1st January, 1833; date of deed, January 20, 1847.[200]

In 1856 Thomas could claim the ‘deed of grant which was ready for delivery’.[201] Denman is about 250 km north of Sydney.[202] One can only wonder why he claimed the land belonged to him and why chose this land so far away from Sydney and the other land granted to his brothers in the Bungonia and Marulan areas.

However this was land he probably knew from Port Stephens days and was certainly part of the land he had knew from survey days back in 1834-35. Had he fallen in love with the area when travelling through?[203] Was their some arrangement with Stirling whilst he was alive but on his death the land reverted to Thomas? Had Stirling lost a bet and with it his land? We’ll probably never know! But only three years later, in 1859 it appears that the land was advertised for sale. A ‘Block of Splendid AGRICULTURAL LAND immediately at the junction of the Hunter and Goulburn River… known as Balcombe’s Grant, containing 1000 ACRES.’ [204]

The photograph shows the actual piece of land. It is the view from the Trig station next to Two Rivers Winery showing the countryside round the confluence of the Hunter and Goulburn Rivers (September 2013). The Hunter is shown to the east by the > shaped line of trees to the centre and left, the Goulburn to the south by the line of trees across the middle distance of the photograph, beyond the scattered stud shelters. The Hunter has permanent water whereas the Goulburn dries up then has raging floods which cause the Hunter to back up and then flood the plains. This was the country for which Thomas Balcombe eventually could claim the deed of grant.

IMG_9692 IMG_9700


Thomas’ artistic talents were becoming more recognised. He drew some of his earlier known pictures, An exploreing [sic] party on the River Bogen [sic] NS Wales after heavy rain and King Teapot and his two Gins in 1837. [205]

As scenes of the life of the Aboriginal population and hunting became more popular with colonial artists, Thomas developed into a respected painter and exhibited many pictures of the indigenous people and wildlife.   Kangaroos of New South Wales 1842 was drawn on stone. New Hollander cutting out a kangaroo rat and Talambeee a native of Bogan River and Aboriginal encampment were others.





He contributed similar paintings to local art unions and raffles, for example The bush with an aboriginal and Aboriginal native in pursuit of game, a painting showing a man observing a bee so he knew where to locate the honey tree.[206] He received critical acclaim for his contribution to the 1848 Aboriginal Exhibition. (In 1983 his painting of a group of Aborigines gathered round a camp fire was sold for £4000 by Christies of South Kensington.[207])

His paintings of Indigenous Australians were more decorative than ethanographically correct but he was able to capture the moment as though the viewer had just turned a corner and come upon a scene depicted in the drawing.[208]

The picture of Black fellows, is a planographic print, the technique being a lithograph, printed in black ink, from one stone onto cream wove paper. The print run was unknown. Inscribed below title in brown ink, ‘This is a true picture of the natives of this continent in the interior and represents a tribe of ‘New England’ about 500 miles North of Sydney, near Moreton Bay – Phillipe de Vigors Septer 21st 1849. [209]

By the 1840s Aborigines were becoming less visible in Sydney as they were pushed out by the expanding white settlement. This painting of an Aborigine with spear revealed a nostalgia for a way of life of which he had no experience. [210]

As well as the local Aboriginal population, many of Thomas’ paintings feature horses. This exploring party showed working horses and as his style developed more equine subjects offered themselves.

Exploreing party



Thomas had seen the spectacle of horse races held at the Deadwood course on the island of St Helena.[211] His father, riding Unwilling, had been involved in an early horse race in NSW against Captain Piper and Mr Balfour, and was part of the group involved with the formal establishment of horse racing in NSW. [212] His brother William was also a foundation member Australian Racing Club. [213]

The back of a painting within the family has the following inscription ‘Toby Steeplechaser owned by AB Balcombe in 1838 at Molonglow [sic] NSW painted at The Briars, Mornington, July 1852. TT Balcombe.’[214]

Brother William was the owner of several horses which he entered in local race meetings.[215] In 1842 he owned Comet, a chestnut horse of 6 years which raced in the Goulburn Town Plate. At this meeting Mr Chisholm owned Merrylegs and Mr Simon owned Baldy. [216]

Old Jorrocks→Horse short tail

By 1843 the Yass races was where Merrylegs, now owned by William Balcombe, won the Yass Plate by 2-3 lengths, beating his other entry in the race, Comet. The horse Baldy, now also owned by Balcombe, won the Hack Race. On the second day of the meeting the Ladies Purse was won by Merrylegs, Baldy raced in the Hack Hurdle race and Comet won the Beaten Stakes [217] a very successful meeting for William Balcombe.

A couple of months later William ran a black horse, Councillor in the Braidwood Purse for second place, and his bay mare, Xantipper ran in the Maiden Plate. Baldy was third in the Hack Stakes and the next day was second in the Beaten Stakes. Following some discussion about the race the previous day, there was a private race run at the start of the day’s racing between Xantipper and Mr Badgery’s horse Rory O’Mora, with £25 per side to be raced for, and Balcombe’s mare won. [218]


This love of racing continued and in May 1847 Mr William Balcombe was at the Homebush races and later in the year was the first named steward at the the Bungonia Races. [219]

No doubt Thomas recognised the interest and potential for income. He was commissioned to paint Old Jorrocks  and Plover, two quality horses in the colony in 1848[220].

Bingham (State Lib)←Commissioner Bingham

As ‘T B’, he also painted a striking picture of Commissioner Henry Bingham sitting next to a fine white horse.[221] This is attributed to Balcombe by Keith R Binney who noted Balcombe had spent time recording sketches at the Ophir gold diggings where Commissioner Bingham operated for a time, and that his paintings of “Kangaroo Dog” and “E H Hargraves” showed distinct similarities.[222]

As the son of the Colonial Treasurer, Thomas probably received whatever professional training was available in the Colony.[223] His work also developed from studying English style pictures which were freely available as prints [224] so no doubt he would be familiar with the work of contemporary English painters depicting hunting and racing scenes.

His painting Kangaroo hunting is reminiscent of the style of English fox-hunting scenes, such as The Beaufort Hunt set by Henry Aken and Walter Parry Hodges in 1833[225]…the horse remains the same only the canines and prey are different.[226]

 Kangaroo hunting
 Kangaroo hunting

One branch of the family owns this painting of a servant girl on a magnificent black horse which, from its provenance, they strongly believe is by Thomas Balcombe. It appears to be another lithograph, printed in black ink, from one stone onto cream wove paper.

Girl on black TB


There must be a story being told in the picture… a top quality horse (as loved by bushrangers), an obviously frightened servant girl riding side-saddle (but it is not a sidesaddle), and troopers on the hillside in the distance…. could Thomas have painted a romanticised “bushranger” story after his brother was involved in the capture of Jacky-Jacky?

There is no signature we can find, but then he was known to not sign all his paintings and Keith Binney also suggests it is a Balcombe painting. [227]

His diverse range of subjects were advertised in local newspapers. In 1844 Thomas and Edward Winstanley combined their talents to offer for sale four hand-coloured lithographs of the Five Dock Grand Steeple-Chase showing three horses and riders in action, Mr Hely on Block, Mr Watt on the chestnut Highflier and Mr Gorrick on the grey British Yeoman, in action over the First Leap, the Brook and the Stone Wall.[228] (The winner was Block, colours red shirt and blue trousers.) These pictures are after the style of Henry Alken and Charles Hunt whose prints of steeplechases were popular in England in the late 1830s.[229]

steepelchaseSteeplechase winner

The Shakspeare [sic] Saloon in Pitt Street was a place frequented by racing enthusiasts. It was a

Cowell proportioned apartment lighted from the roof, richly and artistically decorated with designs inspired by some of the most striking scenes in the Bard of Avon’s matchless works, painted as vignettes in compartments upon the walls. These designs sprang from the fanciful pencil of Mr A Torning, who was assisted in the execution of them by Messrs. Newall and Balcomb [sic] whose names are registered in the archives of  Colonial Art.[230]

This beautiful and classically designed apartment has been open to the public during the week and has been thronged with visitors. On the Race evenings the turfites mustered in strong force, and many heavy bets were booked….The fine oil painting of the ‘Champion of New Holland,’ by Thomas Balcombe, Esq., is on view at the Shakspeare, and will be raffled in a few days.[231]

The Sofala Diggings subsequently inspired more horse racing scenes [232] and he was ‘assigned the task of  perpetuating the graceful form of the renowned Don,’ a ‘gallant chestnut‘ called Cossack, the property of John Tait, Esq., and winner of the Australian Plate, and the first Queen’s Plate run in NSW.[233]

The Society for the promotion of Fine Arts in Australia advertised a couple of Balcombe’s paintings

No. 306.-Horses.-T. Balcombe.-Property of Mr. F. Downes.-Four clever portraits of celebrated race-horses, drawn with spirit, and well executed.

No. 336.-Talambee, a Native.-T. Balcombe. -Property of Mr. T. Balcombe… This artist has long been known to the colony as a very spirited animal painter, but he has now taken a higher flight, and this picture affords an undoubted proof of his ability as a painter of the human figure. It is without exception the best attempt in this style and on this scale that we remember to have seen from the hand of a colonial artist.[234]


Two oil paintings of Kangaroo Dogs belonging to Nicodemus Dunn, a manufacturer of ginger beer and soda water in Castlereagh Street, would have been commissioned by the owner to record his most successful hunting dogs. Both animals are alert, looking back over their shoulder, shown against backgrounds that are indistinct as were most such canine portraits of the time.[235]

ttb roodog

ttb roodog2


Balcombe painted an oil, sepia in tone, entitled Scene on the Murray River, NSW . This painting which was created in 1849 is found in the University of Queensland Art Museum. [236] It is very similar to a sketch by Thomas Mitchell from over 10 years earlier, of a confrontation which resulted in the massacre of many Aboriginal people on 27 May 1836.[237]


The view of the river and its reflections are almost identical to Mitchell’s sketch, the sky only slightly different. But where Mitchell shows the bloody confrontation, Balcombe’s painting has some people peacefully sitting on the river bank, ‘to break a piece of foreground’, so following the advice of William Gilpin on ‘achieving the picturesque’. His trees suggest he was also following Gilpin’s advice to show the trees rather indistinctly. In many early Colonial paintings the trees are not identifiable as Eucalypts and it is only specifically indigenous people or native animals which stamp a painting as being Australian.[238]


Mitchell’s sketch is published as Plate 26 The River Murray and Dispersion of Natives 27th May 1836 in Major Mitchell’s Lithograph book of his Three Expeditions into the Interior published by T&W Boone of London.

On 24 May 1850 Queen Victoria’s birthday was celebrated by the citizens of Sydney ‘with a more than usual display of loyalty’. Nearly all the shops were closed, as well as the banks and Government offices, business indeed was entirely suspended.

The troops in garrison were reviewed in the usual manner, by the Major General commanding. As the British army is only represented here by the Eleventh Regiment, the number of troops on the ground, after making the regular deductions for guards, barrack duty, &c, was necessarily small. These few, however, compensated by the excellence of their discipline for their inferiority in point of numbers. The regiment arrived on the ground at about half-past eleven, and immediately fell into open column. Shortly afterwards they deployed into line, and in this order awaited the arrival of the Staff. The customary salutes having been given, the men fired a feu de joie, and went through the ordinary manouvres of marching round at quick and slow time, and advancing in column, all of which were executed with admirable precision. A great number of spectators were on the ground. This, however, may be attributed to two other causes, besides the ordinary attraction of the review; first, to the unusual fineness of the day, and secondly, to the fact that a rumour had got abroad of an intention to exercise the field battery attached to H.M.S. Havannah. At 12 o’clock a royal salute was fired from Fort Phillip, which was immediately followed by a salute of twenty-one guns from H.M.S. Havannah, fired with most admirable precision.

The Governor hosted a Levée (a formal court reception held only for men[240]) ‘the list of the gentlemen who had cards of entree‘ included ‘Mr Thomas Balcombe.’ [241]

In 1850 Thomas sketched the Master of the Fitz-Roy Hunt[242] and in July he contributed paintings included in prizes for the Grocott Third Art Union. The first two prizes were to be a cottage pianoforte and a water colour portrait of the ticket winner. Thomas’ offerings were the third prize, a framed oil painting of Australian Stockmen (which obtained the first prize of £30 and a silver medal at the Art Union) and the eighth prize Australian Aboriginal in Pursuit of Game, admitted by competent judges ‘to be the best production in the exhibition.’ [243]

Convict namesakes

‘Our’ William and Thomas both had convict namesakes in the Colony, two men convicted for ‘Life’ at the Sussex assizes, (so could well be a family connection as ‘our’ William Balcombe senior, the Colonial Treasurer, was from Rottingdean, Sussex.) [244]

Wm Balcome, 36, GS, Guildford 6, 1824, L, Groom, Mrs King, Melville, B0171

Thomas Balcombe 35 GS, P Orange 1821, L, labourer to Rev Hassell, Bathurst, B0172[245]

Convict William Balcombe, had been reprieved from execution by Lord CB Richards on the Home Circuit and was transported for life for horse stealing.[246] He arrived on the ship Guildford on 22 April 1824, became a groom for Mrs King of Melville and was pardoned 30 October 1838.

Convict Thomas Balcombe, a labourer to Reverend Hassall in the Bathurst area, had arrived on the Prince of Orange on 2 June 1821. In the 1828 census he was aged 35 and listed as a Lutheran.[247] In January 1835 Thomas had his ticket of leave cancelled for having denied before the Supreme Court what he had sworn before the Bathurst Court [248] but it was reinstated in August 1836.[249] He married Mary Jackman or Cox in 1843 in the Church of England, Abercrombie district of Bathurst[250] and was granted a conditional pardon by Thomas Hassall, John Stack JP, William Lawson (Snr) and JT Market PM on 1 February 1843, [251] so that was at least two “Convict indulgences” which he was granted. [252]

Family historians need to be aware of their correct ancestors when researching the Balcombe name. This delightful story from 1879 possibly includes one of these gentlemen or a son:-

As’aulting an Elderly Son-in-Law.
BATHURST, Friday.— At the police court, today James Wyburn was ordered to pay a fine of £3 and costs, for assaulting his son-in-law, a youthful old gentleman named Balcombe, aged 84. There had been some unpleasantness between the parties about a house in which defendant lived, but which Balcombe claimed as his. It appears that he had settled it on his young wife, and she gave her father permission to reside there. Her husband did not believe in this, and on the 10th instant they had a dispute, in course of which defendant struck his elderly son-in-law on the head with a stick, causing injury to his memory and hearing. [253]

(There appears to be no Balcombe-Wyburn marriage in the NSW Birth Death and Marriage register but in 1849 a James Wyburn married Bridget Mundy and in 1854 a James Wyburn married Elizabeth Cowan)


After the discovery of gold, Thomas Tyrwhitt and his brother William spent time on the Turon goldfields, arriving in October 1850. As far as we know William junior never married nor did he have children, so he was free from dependents and it would be easier to pack up and travel. He appears to have had a property, ‘Wambegge’ listed in the 1845 Index of Squatters and Graziers [254] but he was obviously able to leave his land to go to the goldfields.

Did drought influence William to leave the land? Between 1835 and 1850 drought and catastrophic depression had taken a severe toll for nine of those years.[255] The story of this country is ‘drought’, but a story not then learned as the colony had been established for under a century,[256] and people had continued to overestimate the land’s fertility from the arrival in 1770 of James Cook [257] who thought the narrow plain between the coast and Blue Mountains would provide pasture for more sheep and cattle than ever could be brought. Within twenty years of settlement the flocks were on the point of starvation.[258]

At the goldfields Thomas sketched a Hand Barrow, a stretcher made from two saplings and used by miners to transport belongings to a new location.


He wrote ‘This drawing shows one of the methods adopted by the Gold Diggers on the Turon in shifting their goods from one locality to another. The Hand Barrow is soon formed, two saplings are cut down, a few wooden stretchers tied cross-wise on, then a piece of bark is placed, the goods are then lashed over all.’ He advised that the figures represented were he and his brother William ‘whom I joined at the Turon in the month of October last and on the following 13th December we were busily engaged moving our Traps in the manner demonstrated from the Ridge above Sheep Station Point to the river below. Little did I then suppose my generous and kind hearted brother was so soon about to leave me.[259]

In June 1851 local newspapers reported

We are happy to announce that the lithographic print of ‘The Summer-hill Diggings’, and ‘A Portrait of Mr Hargreaves’, both from the pencil of Mr Thomas Balcombe, will be ready for delivery on Monday next. We have seen proofs of both of the subjects, and are happy to observe that the spirit and fidelity of the artist have been carefully preserved. [260]

A more detailed article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald[261], commenting on the gold rush then happening:-

THE GOLD DISCOVERY. – We are glad to see that the discovery of gold in this colony …has been influential in awakening many intellectual efforts highly creditable to the colony. Amongst these we may number two lithographic sketches, drawn by our talented fellow-townsman, Mr. Thomas Balcombe.

The article continued

Both of these sketches display much artistic skill, and are invested with peculiar interest under the prevailing excitement with respect to the gold regions. The first of these sketches represents the “Gold diggings of Ophir,” in New South Wales, some thirty miles from Bathurst. The scene is the Summerhill Creek; the hill rising in the back ground covered with stunted gum-trees, while the banks of the creek are fringed with the native oak. The motley group of diggers and cradle-rockers in the creek, and the little tents scattered over the wild scene, are graphically represented by the artist, and its fidelity to the reality is attested by the signature of Mr. E. H. Hargrave, the gold discoverer. The second sketch is a very spirited one, in Mr. Balcombe’s peculiar line, and in his best style, it is entitled “Mr. E. H. Hargrave’s returning the salute of the gold miners, on his return to the diggings after having made known his wonderful discovery.” The likeness of Mr. Hargrave is very striking, and the picturesque of the “gold digger’s” dress in which he is attired, the life-like spirit thrown into his own figure and that of the horse from which he has dismounted, are deserving of high commendation from those who wish to encourage a school of correct drawing in the colony. [262]

ttb-hargreaves-colour cropped

In fact Hargraves workers found the gold and Balcombe’s scene is probably invented.[263] However the friendship which developed with Hargraves was to have far reaching consequences for his family ten years or so into the future.

Thomas drew a picture of the Bishop of Sydney addressing the miners at Orange diggings on the commencement of a temporary church. [264] The sketches the gold diggings were advertised for sale at the office of Bathurst Free Press for 3/- each.[265] Thomas made a series of sketches of the diggings including Sofala. [266] On New Year’s Day he occupied himself taking a sketch of the scene presented at the Sofala races into which he introduced Georgey Sutter, the aboriginal. Mr. Balcombe’s views, we hear, are intended for the Illustrated London News.  [267]

Flash flooding was reported in the Turon gold fields in November 1851 and into the next year[268] and the following report is an indication of the losses felt

a thunder storm took place at the Turon on the night of Wednesday last…The flood which immediately succeeded washed away an immense number of cradles and pumps, and filled up a large number of holes, in some cases leaving the proprietors…completely destitute… Dysentery appears to be rather on the increase than otherwise, and several deaths have occurred from its attacks. [269]

Whilst at the diggings Thomas’ brother William became ill and died from dysentery at Mr. LW Campbell’s home, Mundy Point, Turon River on 29 January 1852.[270] Sadly Thomas could not get across the river as it was impassable due to the flooding , so he was not able to be with his ‘generous and kind hearted brother[271] when he died at age 43 years ‘after a few days short but painful illness’.[272]

Thomas took offence at the newspaper report of William’s death writing:

To the Editor of the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal.  

Sir, — With extreme regret I perceive in your publication of this day the following notice of my brother’s decease : — ” Amongst others who have died friendless and unknown, we may mention the demise of Mr. Balcombe, brother to the artist, &c.”        

In gratitude to the many friends who tended the bed-side of my lamented relative, I feel bound to contradict this unfortunate misstatement ; and I take this opportunity of expressing my deep obligations to Mr. Kelke, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Gordon, the Messrs. Du Moulins, and others, whose unremitting attention to the comforts of my brother afforded me no little consolation under my inability to reach him, in consequence of the impassable state of the river. So far from my late brother being friendless, even in this unfriendly region, I can only say that he was known to, and respected by, the majority of the residents, on the Turon, and that the sympathy of the townspeople was manifested in every way compatible with the means of a community so singularly constituted.

Without any intention of imputing blame either to your informant or yourself I merely request the publication of these few lines, and am, Sir,

Yours very obediently,



[We are grieved that our remarks respecting the death of Mr. Balcombe should have caused any pain to his bereaved brother, and desire to impress upon him that the double construction of which the sentence admits having been pointed out to us previous to the receipt of his letter, we intended giving the necessary explanation. The whole article was written very hurriedly ; but knowing as we did, that Mr. Balcombe’s brother could be neither “friendless” nor “unknown” we intended these words to qualify the word “others” only. We hope therefore that our Correspondent will believe that we neither did nor could intend any disrespect to his lamented relative or himself in the statement referred to. — ED.] [273]

Thomas visited William’s grave and made the small drawing of the ‘resting place of three of the Gold seekers’ at Turon in 1852, adding that the centre mound in the sketch was ‘a gentleman known in the colony and who was much respected and deeply regretted by most who knew him. This is the drawing of my brothers grave.’

The B carved for Balcombe is clearly visible in the tree trunk.[274] He wanted a copy, along with the sketch of the Hand Barrow, sent to his sister Mrs. Abell of 43 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London.[275]

Thomas was badly affected by the loss of William, the newspaper reporting ‘his had indeed been a lamentable time at the diggings. He is still a great invalid and fortunately has secured a seat in a return cab.[276]

Thomas wrote to advise his brother Alexander of William’s death. The transcript of a copy of the original letter appears below. This transcript was done by Pat Hawkins and Leslie Moorhead from the original letter. Sadly there are places where no attempt was made to identify places and the handwriting of the transcript is sometimes itself hard to read. Even more sadly is that the original letter has been lost so is now unavailable to more recent researchers. [277]

The letter was written from Sydney on 20 February 1852. Thomas’ initial comments suggest he and Alexander had a major falling out over some of Thomas’ paintings which he thought had been taken by Alexander. There is then an account of William’s illness and death.

York Street


Feb 20th 1852

My Dear Brother,

A few short weeks ago I never believed I should have addressed you again by this epithet & the last letter I received from you you are aware was never answered nor is it likely I should ever again have communicated with you in this world had not the recent melancholy end of our poor lone Brother prompted me to do. I will simply mention my reasons & then pass on to what I should hope will be of more interest being the last struggles of your departed relation.

When I last wrote you I desired you to ascertain what had become of the family likeness(es) which were taken from my box many years ago on leaving (?????). William had (left them?) at Mrs Reids on his leaving Inverary & when years ago I paid him a visit at (????) he gave me a letter to Mrs Murphy to return me the pictures he supposed were with them at Inverary. I sent the letter by Mrs Hugh at (?????). I never received any answer. Now you must be fully aware my Father’s likeness was never brought from England my Mother left me hers my (space) was sent me from England which I gave to William on a promise to keep it safe for me. My sisters was given me by William however it appears you took them & in answer to my enquiries abruptly told me you were happy they were in your possession – but let it end. I now send you one which I trust you may prize & may that silent (space) another in your heart sorrow & gratitude for the poor lone form that rests beneath. Oh may his spirit find a resting place above –

I will pass over the many annoyances and struggles which he met at the Turon, now months since he arrived there suffice it say that both he and I were unlucky, and just spent his last 4 weeks existence. I found him suffering from depression as well he might, his last pound was almost spent. I went up the river about 2 miles to a Mr Crawford who was managing man to Mr. T. Campbell who had some rich claims in that part, and asked him if he would engage a gentleman as one of his head (space) and he immediately consented, saying he would be glad for Campbell’s interest to have a person in whom he could place complete confidence and the next day William found Campbell’s party at (space) point. I had given him the tent and all the utensils I had, viz. iron pots pans cans, value about £4, and went myself to (space) township where I joined a Mr Thompson, that is, I lived with him in his hut and commenced my last series of drawings which was soon after finished, and sent home with “Illustrated News”.

Poor William worked hard at the cradle and gave every satisfaction for was a beautiful cradler, and considered one of the best on the river. He received 30 shillings a week and was boarded and (fed?) in a hut with the rest of the gentlemen, 2 in number.

He was much liked and beguiled many a tedious? when at work for he generally had some of his amusing stories and tricks to keep them alive and in speaking of him after his death the miners said the cradles rocked twice as heavy after the General’s death, for that was the name he went by up the river. I had not seen him for a week before he died, he generally walked to see me on Sundays but on that Sunday, about 10 days before his death, I missed him but did not imagine for a moment the reason as I had not been appraised of his indisposition by any parties from his part of the river. The next day Monday I was about leaving the Turon for (Mudgee?) to pay Mr Bayley a visit and endeavour to ascertain if any good place could be found in that locality. I was about getting into Bayley’s gig when a messenger from money point brought me news of my brother’s illness so I forthwith abandoned my intention of leaving and went to him. I found he had been ill a week, he was much reduced and in great pain from the dysentery. He had been treated a doctor (Post?) from Sydney, but he had left. I went back to (space) and procured him the requisite medicines and stayed with him until nearly dark when he desired me to return as it was dangerous travelling at night, so many holes about that quarter. I left him promising to call the following day, should he be worse he promised me he would send a messenger if such was the case, poor fellow, it was the last time I saw him.

I reached the township drenched through for it rained heavily all day. The following day, Tuesday, it poured in torrents, and in the evening the river was up and not passable. That night the storm raged and the next day, Wednesday, the river was roaring and foaming, driving pumps and cradles before it in its fury. Towards noon a messenger came to (space) a stout native of Parramatta by name Maloney, he is a family man and a friend to publican. He, when no bribe could tempt any of the diggers to cross the river, jumped in and succeeded in reaching the opposite bank with a letter from Mr Kelly appraising me of my brother’s approaching end. He was much cut about the knees & legs, he returned with what answer I could, you can judge of my distress at not being able to join him. I was then suffering severely from the same complaint & very weak. I wanted to attempt the crossing with the man Maloney but he declared it madness on my part even if I was in health it would have been very doubtful if I could have (space) the current, only two men attempted it & one was nearly lost. This brave fellow returned and crossed with my letter, how I hoped the next day the crisis would have turned in his favour but no the next day another message brought the sad news of his death, the following day Friday he was buried.

It was a consolation to know that every attention was paid him & the gentlemen used every exertion in their power. No medical man could cross the river & the clergyman was also debarred attending his last waking moments.

A Mrs Gordon and her husband were living in their tent next the hut where he died, they knew him well years ago at B-??? they were very kind and attentive, she administered poor woman to his wants & moistened his fevered lips washed him and attended to him. She told me he was grateful & when she heard I was ill & not able to cross he expressed himself most anxious that I should on no account attempt the river but take care of myself. On Wednesday night he was in great agony but the following day was free from pain, he sat up in his bed as Mrs Gordon says & talked to her, was anxious to be washed, she washed his face & temples also his arms & chest, she told me he was almost a skeleton & seemed to shudder at the idea of being at all dirty. You know what a cleanly fellow he was. This was about 2 o’clock he then expressed a wish to sleep & turned on his right side laying his cheek on his right hand slightly drawing up his knees & placing his left hand on his right breast, his last position alive.

About two hours or rather more afterwards Mr Kelly walked up & putting his hand gently on his shoulder said “Well General do you feel better?” No answer, Mrs Gordon then stepped up & bending over him said “Mr Kelly he’ll never answer us again”– His spirit had fled, not a sigh escaped him, his eyes were open, calm in their expression, his lips slightly parted & Mrs Gordon says he looked like a beautiful statue. His weather beaten and bronzed appearance had left him & he was as fair & handsome as when she recollected him many years ago at Bungonia, poor dear soul may his spirit be as fair and pure in the next world.

The next day at twelve o’clock he was borne to his last home, all the gentlemen on that side of the river attended his funeral. Mr Kelly read the service & the miners about 60 in number formed into solemn procession up the rough mountain side; there under a large solitary gum tree rests our unfortunate Brother.

Many a rough cheek was moistened by the falling tears & everyone after forming a neat mound of the reddish coloured clay brought from the different parts of the hill, a stone which they built a round mound, also a rude head & foot stone of the old grey granite. The flags up the river & in the township of Sofala were lowered at half mast high & the deepest sympathy prevailed among the many to whom he was known. For several days after I was very ill but thanks to God about ten days after I was enabled to get on one of the police horses & ride to his grave, at that rude head stone I knelt & breathed a prayer then took a drawing of his grave, a small & minute copy of which I send. A return cart the following day brought me to Sydney.

I arrived here last Saturday & found as it should be my family in deep mourning & now my dear Brother trusting that your children as well as yourself may look upon this relic with gratitude & ??????? believe me to remain

My dear Brother

Thos T Balcombe


Despite his mourning, Thomas continued to accept commissions of sketches from the Bathurst goldfields, [278] illustrating the book of verse written by GF (George Ferrers) Pickering with seven sketches.

Called Gold Pen and Ink Sketches, both author and artist hoped the book would raise a ‘smile’ in their ‘quondam fellow-labourers in the Gold Fields.’ [279] The newspaper correspondent enthused:

we can only say that if the letter-press equal the talented artist’s illustrations in point and spirit, this little work will not only do credit to the Colony, but will, we feel confident, be admired and appreciated by his home-brethren of the pencil.[280]


The editor of Bell’s Life was that same George Ferrers Pickering [281]and he always supportive of Balcombe’s endeavours at the easel. In 1853 Thomas had lately completed two large oil pictures which Pickering remarked

are his happiest efforts. The subjects are An Unsuccessful Gold Digger, and The Little Nugget, a Successful One. The figures are true to nature, and painted with a free and vigorous pencil ; the expression of the two faces is a felicitous contrast ; the sullen look of the disappointed seeker assuming a more melancholy tone from the sparkling joyousness of the lucky Little Nugget. The artist has been peculiarly happy in his skies, which are full of light and atmosphere. The pictures were on view at Mr Welch’s Colonade, Bridge-street; and those who had a fondness for the art were advised they would find their time well disposed of by a visit.[282]

Balcombe’s pictures of the local people were so good that he was copied by others, something not un-noticed by his supporters. Captain Gordon was subject to severe criticism for copying one of Thomas’ paintings of an Aboriginal man. [283]

His painting of Mr. E. H. Hargraves, the gold discoverer had been well accepted and another beautiful portrait in oils of his wife Lydia remains within the family.[284]

Some of Thomas’ later works included images of sheep washing at Kippilaw (home of relative James Chisholm),[285] swan hunting and sheep shearing at Mummel Station, both near Goulburn in 1853-54, [286] a link with descendent Bob Gaden whose land was part of that original property.

Thomas obviously spent time on the goldfielsd but we do not know the specific dates or places where he stayed. According to one family member, relative Hugh Grant mentioned a picture of Thomas Balcombe and added proudly “he had an affair with Lola Montez while in the goldfields!”[287] 

Lola Montez was an Irish-born professional dancer and actress who had been mistress to King Ludwig I of Bavaria. A notorious dance, she was trained in Spain and danced in France, Bavaria, USA and Australia. She arrived in Sydney on 16 August 1855. The next month she performed her erotic spider dance, revealing she wore no underwear. In April 1856 she visited the goldfields of Bendigo, Ballarat and Castlemaine and performed again before 400 diggers who responded with rapture but there was some mild heckling. She received bad reviews in the Ballarat Times where her notoriety was attacked and she publically horsewhipped the editor. She was publically attacked by her goldfields impressario and took a month to recover before returning to Amreica on 22 May 1856.[288]

It is not known if Thomas was in the goldfields during the 10 months that Lola Montez was visiting but the rumour must have arisen from somewhere.

In 1857 Balcombe published an ink and wash drawing of the Paddington Omnibus Eclipse.[289] It shows the horse drawn bus rattling over a rough road, passengers clinging to uncomfortable boards which passed for seats, a mode of transport familiar to many in the Colony including Thomas, especially as he lived in Paddington! This line drawing is in the Mitchell Library and shows the bus boy who collected fares at the back and the claypipe-smoking driver up front.

ttb-paddington bus

Thomas was obviously well known in Padding and in 1859 a fraudster from Hobart used his name to obtain money from one of the local shop-keepers when he passed false cheques for cash.

CENTRAL POLICE COURT. Samuel Matthews was on Wednesday brought before the Bench charged with having uttered a number of fictitious cheques. Inspector Harrison deposed that on Tuesday night he saw prisoner at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and suspected him to be the person who for the past two or three months had issued a number of spurious cheques, entered into conversation with him. He said that his name was Matthews, two months in Sydney from Hobart Town, by calling a brewer, but had not entered into any business here through want of employment, and that he resided at No. 1, Bligh-street ; accompanied him home, searched his apartments, and found several suits of clothes corresponding with the different descriptions of the apparel of the man from whom the false cheques had been received ; while so engaged the prisoner made a dash-followed by witness out of the room, down stairs, over the roof of a shed into an adjoining  yard, thence into O’Connell-street, and secreted himself by lying under the shadow of a garden fence, where, however, he was discovered and apprehended ; he was then told that he was apprehended for issuing forged cheques, to which he replied that he would answer elsewhere; the examination of his apartments was then proceeded with, and he found a book of cheques; several had been used, and one filled up and signed “James Macarthur,” and, in the same handwriting, a list of persons to whom he had passed cheques, and the amount realised by each transaction amounting in the whole to nearly £80, The other witness not being in attendance, the Prisoner was remanded.

Yesterday, Emma, the wife of William Jackson, of Upper Paddington, shopkeeper, deposed that on the 30th August prisoner came to her with a cheque (produced) purporting to be drawn on the Commercial Bank, for £5, and signed “Charles Kemp,” and said that Mr. Balcombe (a gentleman residing in the vicinity) would be obliged if she could give him cash for it ; she had not so much ; the prisoner said that if she could spare £[?] or £3 now, the remainder would do at another time ; wishing to accommodate Mr. Balcombe, she let the prisoner have £3, and he left the cheque; she afterward went with the balance to Mr. Balcombe, who knew nothing about the cheque or the man, and she afterward ascertained that it was a forged cheque. ……. On this charge the prisoner is remanded for Mr. Tooth’s evidence. Fourteen cheques, of similar character have come into the possession of the police, but according to the memorandum found at prisoner’s lodging there must be several still in circulation.[290]

The School of Arts Exhibition reported an entry by Mr. T. Balcombe of a

very well executed model in colonial wax the subject of which is, New Hollander and Kangaroo. This, is, we believe, the only figure modelled in wax in the exhibition.[291]

It is now on display at the former home of Alexander Beatson Balcombe, “The Briars”, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, now a National Trust property. The photograph (Balcombe collection) shows Thomas making final adjustments.


TT Balcombe with a wax sculpture

As far as the family know, Thomas made just two black wax sculptures of Aboriginal men. The other was owned by grand-daughter Vera (Balcombe) Gaden who donated it to the Mitchell Library, Sydney. It shows a man sitting near a tree stump, snake to his right, dog to his left, with his hand held up for shade… the dog’s beady white eyes used to disconcertingly follow Vera’s grandchildren as they walked down the hallway! [292]


This is one of the only pictures which we think may be a self-portrait of Thomas himself. [293] Is there any family resemblance with the above photograph or with these young ladies, his three daughters whose photographs are below?



Thomas and Lydia Balcombe had three daughters, Jane Elizabeth born in 1841, Mary Newcombe in 1846 and Annie Rebecca Chisholm in 1851. [294]

We understand these photographs, found in an album within the family of Keeling descendants , to be Jane, the oldest, standing next to the chair, Mary in the dark top, and the youngest, Annie Rebecca with the beautifully plaited hair.

Annie Rebecca Balcombe Mary BalcombeJane Balcombe

Imagine the delight in September 1855, fifteen years after their marriage, when Thomas and Lydia welcomed their first son, William Alexander, most likely named after Thomas’ two brothers.

BIRTHS.   At Paddington, on 1st instant, Mrs. Thomas T. Balcombe, of a son.’ [295]

On 6 October 1855, William Alexander Balcombe was baptised at St Andrew’s, Sydney, Thomas was listed as surveyor.[296]

A couple of years later, many years after Napoleon died in 1821, Thomas Balcombe painted an image of the Emperor’s death. The picture, owned by a Balcombe descendant, is titled Napoleon le Grand, it is dated 1857 and is copied from Ibbetson’s work.

Denzil O. Ibbetson had painted an oil on canvas picture of Napoleon the day after his death and this was confirmed by George Rétif de la Bretonne, an important fact with the various controversies about the death masks purported to be Napoleon.[297] Various copies of Ibbetson’s images can be found on the internet.

P1080594This is Balcombe’s image of NAPOLEON LE GRAND which he states it is Carefully copied by Mr T Balcombe from the original sketch taken after death by Mr Ibbetson of the Commissariat

Signed Thomas Balcombe 1857.[298]


Denzil O Ibbetson (1788-1857) was in the Army’s Commissariat Department in 1808. He served in the Peninsular War. He was one of the men who sailed to St Helena with Napoleon on the Northumberland and he was there throughout the former Emperor’s captivity. After the Balcombe’s left the island he became Purveyor to Longwood. His home was at Hutts Gate after the Bertrands moved into their cottage at Longwood. [299]

Had Ibbetson’s images just become available in NSW? Was Thomas remembering earlier times and his famous friend from his childhood? Had he descended into melancholy and become somewhat absorbed by ‘death’ following the loss of his brother?

Sadly ‘death’ was soon to preoccupy the artist and his family again. On Boxing Day in 1858, at ‘Napoleon Cottage, Upper Paddington’, Thomas and Lydia would have been devastated when they lost their eldest daughter Jane.

IMG_9803My interpretation of the death certificate, by study of the letters ‘L’ in Lydia and the ‘S’ in Sydney, is that she did not suffer from ‘Sow fever’ as previously thought, but from Low Fever‘, the name then given to the lice-born, bacterial disease we now know as typhus [300] from which, according to Dr Meymott, she suffered for 3 weeks prior to her death.[301]

She is buried in the churchyard at St Jude’s, Randwick. The gravestone inscription reads:-

In loving memory of Jane Elizabeth who died Dec 26 1858 in the 18th year of her age. She was the eldest daughter of Thos Tyrwhitt Balcombe and grand-daughter of the late William Balcombe Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales. [302]


A delightful memorial hymn was composed, and the card illustrated by E Thomas with a sketch of the Church and her gravestone, with the inscription:

In memory of JANE ELIZABETH BALCOMBE  who died in the eighteenth year of her age on the morning of the 26th day of December AD 1858. Lines written by William Cornelius Urh Esq and set to music by Frederic William Meymott Esq.’


 It was the morning past the day

The natal day of Christ our Lord

When she the lov’d was call’d away

Before the mercy seat of God

She blest her parents gentle care

Then meekly, calmly sunk to rest

Her spirit melting into air

Like twilight paling in the west.

 And friends were there with tearful eyes

In solemn prayerful gaze opprest

Whose throbbing pulses, bitter sighs

Deplor’d the Angel gone to rest.

For they had mark’d her little hour

From tender youth to riper bloom

And watch’d the budding of the flow’r

But to consign it to the tomb.

 And there stood they around her pall

Who knew her worth, her modest grace,

Those truthful eyes that beam’d on all,

Darken’d subdued by death’s embrace.

And now she dwells in Eden’s bow’r

Transplanted by her Maker’s might,

There in the Glory of His pow’r

to bloom forever in His sight.[303]

Uhr 1Uhr 2Uhr 3

Thomas had been badly affected by the death of his brother six years earlier.[304] He was thought to suffer from ‘domestic upheavals’ [305] and his daughter’s death was to trigger a much worse reaction as his mental health deteriorated over the next three years until he eventually took his own life. [306]

We know he suffered from gout,[307] the extreme pain probably contributing to his mental instability as ‘joints can be destroyed, and adjacent deposits of gouty crystals and inflammation cause bony pain and even fractures. Kidney stones are frequent and can result in obstruction and kidney failure.’ [308] He was known to talk about taking his own life[309] and to ‘have severe mental worry’.[310] But most importantly we don’t know what changes had been occurring in his brain since the horrendous accident just before his wedding in 1840, but the tragedy of Thomas’ suicide and details which emerged at the inquest, suggest there had been marked deterioration. Only now do we understand some of the medical effects of such an accident:

One of the silent areas of the brain is the frontal lobes (frequently affected in a fall, where the brain hits the bone anteriorly), where apparently large areas can be damaged with little effect on most functioning. The frontal lobes coordinate emotional responses and have a big role in memory. They have an inhibitory function and are largely responsible for the ‘civilising’ behaviour of our modern culture. If there is some damage, the emotional responses may be exaggerated, and violent and aggressive tendencies which would otherwise be kept under control can be a problem. It is probably safe to presume that Thomas would have memory difficulties, was likely prone to develop rage with little provocation, difficult to reason especially when aroused and angry. He may have walked with a slight limp or had weakness and coordination difficulty which could contribute to loss of self esteem. The daughter’s death would likely have been a trigger to this extreme emotional outpouring which he was unable to control.[311]

The inquest was held ‘before the city coroner and a jury of five’. The extensive newspaper report gives an indication of the suffering of the whole family as Thomas struggled to cope with his mental deterioration. His neighbours gave evidence of his complaints about his wife, his violence towards her, his depression and threats of suicide. Thomas ‘attributed his unhappiness to different causes-sometimes saying, upstarts passed him, who had royal Windsor blood in his veins, in the streets; sometimes attributing his unhappiness to his home.’ Alexander was summoned from Melbourne, he stayed a week but took no ‘steps in reference to his brother’. In the previous weeks Thomas had hit Lydia who was advised to leave for her own safety. She stayed away for 10 days, and this may have been the final tipping point. He told a neighbour ‘my wife is wretched, my children are wretched and I am wretched’ and begged him ‘to look after his children and get his wife home.’

The newspaper headline says it all


The neighbourhood of Paddington was thrown into a state of excitement yesterday forenoon, when it became known that on the previous night (Sunday), shortly after 10 o’clock, an old and respected resident had committed suicide. From inquiry made in the early part of the day, as well as from the particulars which transpired at the inquest, it appears that Mr. Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, aged 51, employed as a clerk in the Survey office, and living at Napoleon Cottage, Paddington, whilst labouring under a fit of mental aberration, deliberately shot himself, by discharging a loaded pistol into the right side of his head, over his ear. The unfortunate gentleman, who was at no great distance from his residence at the time, was immediately conveyed thither, and surgical aid promptly obtained. He never spoke afterwards, and expired within half-an-hour. It would appear that he had in early life sustained an injury in the head. At intervals since his conduct and modes of expression have been such as could be accounted for upon no other hypothesis than that he was at such times labouring under mental aberration. This spasmodic form of monomania led him on several occasions to talk about shooting himself. If our information be correct, he attempted some short time ago to carry his threat into execution, and was only prevented from doing so by the timely interference of a friend. About three years ago his eldest daughter- a fine young woman- was cut off in the full bloom and vigour of youth. This was a severe blow, from the effects of which Mr. Balcombe never thoroughly recovered.

Mr. Balcombe was a member of the family of that name, well known as being the only English family, with whom the Emperor Napoleon was on terms of intimacy, during his captivity at St. Helena. Mr. Balcombe was then a child, and was, in common with the other children of the family, a great favourite with the Emperor.

As may be readily imagined, the deceased gentleman’s family- including his wife, his (now) eldest daughter, aged 17, and two younger children, have been plunged, into the deepest distress by this sad occurrence.

Below we give a full report of the evidence taken yesterday, before the city coroner, J. S. Parker, Esq. and a jury of five – the inquest being held, at Diamonds Hotel, Upper Paddington.

Sophia Mary Brennan deposed :. I am the wife of the Rev. Mr. Brennen; we reside at Paddington; I have known the deceased Thomas Balcombe three years ; he resided next door to us; I have often heard him talking in his house of an evening in a very excited manner, and knock his furniture about; I thought he drank, and that his mind was impaired; he used to look very wild of a morning, and was very excited of an evening; I have had many conversations with him lately; he did not appear sane upon any subject; I heard he had received a hurt on the head; he told me so himself; he did not live happily with his wife; he often complained of his wife treating him coolly; I am quite satisfied he was treated kindly by his wife; whenever he was excited he would say he would destroy himself; sometimes he would weep over his children, saying he was going to leave them; I always felt alarmed when he entered my house; the last conversation I had with deceased was last night; about half-past 10- o’clock he knocked at the door and asked to speak to me for a few minutes ; I showed him into the study; he was in a very excited state, but not in a worse state than I have seen him before; I thought he was labouring under the effects of drink; he was deadly pale and threw up his arms, and mocked the Almighty in violent terms; he said he had written something which would appear in the papers next day; he pointed towards Randwick, and said that was his destination; he said something about going early in the morning to stop something he had written from appearing in the paper; he then took from each pocket a pistol (small ones) he brandished them; the pistols produced are similar to those deceased had: I got alarmed, thinking they might go off by accident; after a minute or two he replaced the pistols in his pockets; he left the house, saying I would see it all in the paper in the morning, closing the door after him with violence; he was only about ten minutes in the house; when he left I called after him, telling him to go home and go to bed as he wanted rest ; I had hardly used the words when I heard the report of firearms. I think I saw smoke; I heard a groan; I did not see deceased fall; I saw him lying across the gateway; I called my husband; I am quite sure, deceased fired the pistol; I did not see any person about at the time; deceased was removed to his own house, and died about half an hour afterwards; I only heard one report of firearm.

The Rev. James Deane Brennan deposed : I am minister of this parish; I have been acquainted with deceased about two years and nine months; he held an appointment in the Surveyor-   General’s office; no person had a better opportunity of being acquainted with the state of deceased’s mind than I; he sought my advice upon most things; after I had known him a month, I was called into his house; he was then held by a servant and his wife; he had smitten his wife; he was looking for a razor, saying he would cut his throat; he was then partially insane; that was my impression; when I would place my arms round him to restrain him, and sit him down, he would get quiet; when I would leave his presence, he would get into an excited state again; when calm, he would say the devil had hold of him; the same scene that I witnessed, when first called in, was enacted over and over again up to the time of his death, at intervals of a month or two, but within the last month it has occurred nearly every other day. He got so violent, that about ten days back, I recommended his wife to leave him for a short time for the safety of her own life; she remained about ten days away; I had made up my mind to leave the neighbourhood, in consequence of my wife being alarmed; he often complained of being unhappy, and attributed his unhappiness to different causes-sometimes saying, upstarts passed him, who had royal Windsor blood in his veins, in the streets; sometimes attributing his unhappiness to his home; sometimes he would call his wife the worst names that a foul vocabulary could furnish him with, and a quarter of an hour afterwards, he would go upon his knees, and beg me not to believe it, that it was all untrue; when talking the matter over with him, which I frequently did, he would say while he was in the office he was all right, but the moment he set his face towards Paddington the devil got hold of him; this he would say in cool moments, generally a day after a row; when I asked him what there was at Paddington that affected him, he would say, ” There is a kind word for everybody except me”; knowing that not to be the case, I invariably pointed out to him that it was his own folly, which he admitted, and would go away, saying he was a fool, and would not anymore make a tom-fool of himself; I have heard him speak of his wife in terms that no man could exceed, both in praise and the reverse; in cool moments he would try to erase whatever he had said against his wife; about four months ago, at seven o’clock in the evening, Mrs. Balcombe rushed into my house, exclaiming, “What shall I do,’- Balcombe has got a pair of pistols; he is going to shoot himself at Randwick”; I persuaded her to sit down whilst I sent for a police officer; that officer is now in the room.; Mr Hargrave came to me on business, and I sent him after Mr. Balcombe; he met deceased coming out the post office at Waverley (about a mile distant); deceased took Hargrave into the post-office and showed him on the counter a letter addressed to Mrs. Balcombe, also letters addressed to Mr. Gorman, to his brother Alexander, and to the editor of the Herald; he picked up the letters and said, “These are not to go now”, he left the post-office with Hargraves for home; Hargraves persuaded him to give up the two pistols he had, and he handed the pistols to Hargrave ; I do not know this of my own knowledge; deceased detailed all this to me the next day, or the day following; he, at the same time, thanked God that Willie Hargrave had come after him, and expressed his abhorrence of the crime he intended ; he told his children to go on their knees and thank God that Willie Hargrave had been sent and saved his life; about eight or ten days ago Mrs. Balcombe fled to a neighbour’s house, and during her absence I talked with him as to the advisability of a separation; he came to me said, “This thing cannot last much longer, my wife is wretched, my children are wretched, and I am wretched; I am determined to take lodgings in town;” I told him it was the best thing he could do; advised him strongly to carry out his intention as it might be the means of saving both their lives; he came to me next day and said he had taken lodgings, and begged me to look after his children, and get his wife home; I saw nothing more of him until I saw him lying at my gate on Sunday night; I mean I had no personal intercourse with him ; he called that night at my house at about half-past 10 o’clock; not being well my wife advised me not to see him, as it always affected my health, that she would see him instead. I had just got to bed when I heard the door closed after deceased had been in the house; I   heard a dull, heavy sound, followed by a scream from my wife; I put on my dressing gown and was there in a minute; I rushed to the gate and saw deceased lying on his back, with the pistol (produced) in his hand; the pistol was empty; he having so often threatened to shoot himself, I did not believe at the moment that he had shot himself; I turned the head over and saw the wound; I felt his pulse and saw he was utterly unconscious he was bleeding profusely, and breathing heavily; Mr. Jackson, my next door neighbour, and Mrs. Balcombe came; we carried him into his own house; I remained with him until he died; I omitted, to state that about four months ago I took steps to get him under restraint, by sending to Melbourne for his brother; his brother came up and remained about a week, but went back without taking any steps in reference to his brother; I heard that deceased had a fall from his horse 25 years ago; deceased told me one glass of brandy would upset him; I am satisfied deceased’s wife treated him kindly. He attended my church perhaps once in three months; he was always orderly there, but sometimes appeared excited; I never knew him to suffer from delirium tremens; I never saw him drink wine or spirits; he has three children alive, and one daughter dead, whose death he grieved over very much ; I do not think he was restless of life; he never neglected his personal appearance; my impression was that he was insane at times.

Mr. Robert Fitzgerald, a draughtsman in the Surveyor-General’s office, stated: Deceased worked in the same room with me; I have known him for five years; he was always able to do his work; about a trifle he would work himself into a passion, but he was generally cheerful; deceased was at the office on Saturday, and left at the usual hour; when I went to the office this morning, I received the following letter :

I was informed he left the letter for me on Sunday; he never did anything at the office to lead me to believe that his mind was impaired; he did not indulge in drink during office hours to my knowledge; he did some work at the office on Saturday; he never complained of his head; he sometimes spoke of persons passing him in the street, whom he considered inferior to him.

Survey Office, Sunday Morning, October 13th, 1861.

My dear Fitz,-Should anything happen to me, pray overhaul my papers in the drawer, and pack them up for Mrs. Balcombe. You will remember me kindly to all the poor fellows in the office, and give them all my farewell blessing, and tell them not to follow any of my failings. God bless you and yours, my dear fellow, and believe me,

Yours most sincerely Thos. T. Balcombe

PS.-Keep. this strictly private unless you have occasion otherwise.  Fitzgerald, Esq

In this letter: a letter to Mrs. Balcombe was enclosed – : the letter produced, is the one; they were both in deceased’s handwriting. It reads as follows: –

Sunday morning My dear Lydia, I die blessing you. I cannot live, it appears, on the understanding I should wish from my heart. A gracious God will provide for you and yours. I feel for the happiness of you all, and must leave you. “The Lord bless you all. I cannot live without you and my children, whom I hold dearer than myself, and that my God knows.”


Richard Bligh, examined, stated: I am a legally qualified medical practitioner; I have resided at Paddington for the last two years; I have been acquainted with the deceased about twelve months; I attended him for gout, he was a quiet patient; he had a haggard appearance; I never saw him when excited; on Sunday night I was called to see the deceased; when I arrived at his house, I found him lying on the floor dying; I examined his head, and found a wound on the right side of his head, above the ear; the brain was protruding; wound was round and large enough to admit my little finger; a ball like the one produced (extracted from the other pistol, also loaded, found in the possession of the deceased) would be likely to cause the injury; he could have inflicted the wound himself with the pistol produced; judging from the evidence I should say deceased’s mind was partially impaired; the ball did not go through the head; I have no doubt the ball has lodged in the brain; I could not have saved deceased’s life.


The Herald report continued

He had repeatedly threatened to commit suicide, and on one occasion attempted it, but was prevented from accomplishing the work of self-destruction. This happened about four months ago, and on the occasion alluded to he went to Waverley, where the attempt was made.”

This concluded the evidence at an inquest on his body held at the Half-way House Inn, Upper Paddington, and the jury returned the following verdict :-

We find that the deceased Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, aged 51 years, died from a wound in his head, inflicted by himself with a loaded pistol, whilst labouring under a fit of temporary insanity. [312]

A few days later the editor of Bell’s Life, George Ferrers Pickering,[313] ‘an intimate friend of the lamented deceased, whose acquaintance we enjoyed for many years’, wrote to state that

We never observed in his conversation the slightest indication of mental aberration, although he occasionally of late manifested deep despondency, the cause of which he freely communicated…We had determined to attend the Coroner’s inquisition… for the purpose of stating certain circumstances which we deemed of importance … Consideration for the feelings of his surviving relatives, disposes us now to withhold the statements made to us by the deceased gentleman; which, however, would in our opinion have tended to relieve his memory from the reproach cast upon it by the evidence adduced, and have gone far to prove that he had been “more sinned against than sinning.” [314]

That last sentence is somewhat intriguing.

The newspaper reported his death ‘BALCOMBE – October 13th at Paddington, Thomas T Balcombe of Napoleon Cottage, aged 51‘.[315]

Thomas is buried with his daughter Jane in St Jude’s Cemetery. The grave is under a tree behind the rectory in St Jude’s Cemetery, Randwick. It was unusual then for the church to allow the burial of a suicide victim in consecrated ground. Under the inscription for Jane are the few additional words ‘also Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, Born June 15 1810, Died October 13 1861′.


Lydia and the children continued to live at Napoleon Cottage, 31 Old South Head Road [316] or sometimes known as Waverley Road[317] (one road is a continuation of the other [318] and names did change as expansion of suburbs continued in Sydney).

Young William Alexander was only six when his father died. We have some idea how the family survived financially but there are also some questions. There could have been some  money from sales of Thomas’ paintings and engravings. Had there been some inheritance when brother William had died at the goldfields? Did brother-in-law Alexander help, or some of Lydia’s Stuckey relatives? Perhaps the editor of Bells Life have made some contribution? Did daughters Mary Newcombe, (who never married) or Annie Rebecca gain some employment? We strongly suspect the family of Edward Hammond Hargraves, the gold discoverer, was involved. Young William Alexander was friendly with his son William Henry Hargraves who lodged with the family for many years and as young adults they went on some ‘expeditions’ together [319] Subsequently both worked closely in the Equity Office.[320]

It appears that Lydia could afford to employ servants, first General servants in 1864

WANTED, a good General SERVANT-one who can cook Mrs BALCOMBE, Napoleon Cottage Upper Paddington [321]

WANTED, a thorough General SERVANT. Mrs. BALCOMBE, Napoleon Cottage, Upper Paddington.[322]

and then a person to do the cooking and laundry as this advertisement appeared in the newspaper in 1865. Who was at Camden? Perhaps the two girls had left home and gone there, leaving just Lydia and young William at Napoleon Cottage.

WANTED, for Camden, a respectable middle aged English woman as good COOK and LAUNDRESS; only two in family ; none need apply without good testimonials. Apply to Mrs. Balcombe, Napoleon Cottage, Paddington.[323]

Lydia lived a further 40 years after Thomas, dying in August 1900. [324] She is buried at Waverley with her daughters, Mary Newcombe Balcombe (who never married and died in 1917 aged 70) and Annie Rebecca Chisholm Tayler (in 1869 she had married Dr William George Tayler, he died 1913, she died in 1922, the marriage appears to have been without issue).


There are Stuckey relatives on either side. Lydia, Mary and Annie’s gravestone is the middle of the three.

The Stuckey family inter-connections continued when descendents of Charlotte and Lydia were both incarcerated by the Japanese following the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942.[325]




In 1895, a Miss Balcombe was involved with the Centennial Tennis Club Woollahra running a successful Bread and Butter dance in aid of club funds.[326] Which if the two sisters, Mary Newcombe or Annie Rebecca was it?

When Mary Balcombe died, much was made of her links with St Helena and Napoleon in the newspapers. The Sunday Sun headline was LINK WITH ST HELENA and the story started Miss Mary Balcombe whose grandfather received Napoleon at St Helena, died at Waverly on Thursday. The article continued about the illustrious Bonaparte-Balcombe connection but there was not one more word about Mary.[327]

LATE MISS BALCOMBE. Miss Mary Newcombe Balcombe, whose death occurred on Friday at Waverley, at the age of 70 years, was interred at Waverley Cemetery on Saturday morning. She was a grand-daughter of the late Mr. William Balcombe, who, as British Naval Agent of St. Helena, received Napoleon on his arrival on the Island, and accommodated him at his residence, The Briars, while the late Emperor’s residence, Longwood, was being prepared. Mr. William Balcombe subsequently came to New South Wales, in 1823, becoming the first Colonial Treasurer, and his portrait now hangs on one of the walls at the Treasury Office. His son, the late Mr. Trywhitt Balcombe, a Government surveyor of New South Wales, was the father of the late Miss Balcombe. Mr. William Alexander Balcombe, Deputy Registrar In Equity is a brother of the deceased, and Mrs. Taylor, widow of the late Dr. Tayler, of Waverley, is a sister. Messrs. Alex, and Herbert Balcombe, owners of Coradgery station, Parkes, are cousins, and other sisters reside in Melbourne [328]

Miss Balcombe’s death makes people recall old history of Napoleon at ‘The Briars, ‘ St. Helena. Miss Balcombe came in direct succession from the Governor of St Helena, who had a secret admiration for the decayed hero. His daughter was the little heroine of some pleasant reminiscences. Most people will remember the old house in O’Connell-street known as Balcombe’s house, with a strong stone wall around. It was pulled down in the   late Seventies. Miss Balcombe was 71, and she had several brothers and sisters living, so the name still survives. She was buried at Waverley Cemetery.[329]

Mary lived at ‘Napoleon Cottage’ with her mother Lydia. Some of Mary’s escapades are recalled by her niece Vera in her memories of childhood visits to Grannie and Aunt Mary…. they are recounted in the next section of this family history.



Annie Balcombe married Dr William George Tayler in 1896 when she was about 45 years old. Was it a second marriage for him?

TAYLER-BALCOMBE -January 1 at St Matthias’ Church Paddington by the Rev J W Gillett, B A, W G Tayler, M R C S E , &c son of the late James Tayler,   formerly of the Manor House Kilmeston, Alysford, Hants England to Annie Rebecca Chisholm, youngest daughter of the late Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, Napoleon Cottage Woollahra and granddaughter of William Balcombe first Colonial Treasurer of N S W. Home papers please copy. [330]

We know Dr Tayler had migrated from England and set up practice in Tamworth. Here a W G Tayler of Tamworth had two children whose mother’s given names were listed as Harriet Campbell. The children were James Baines in 1871 and Frances Baker in 1872. I have found no reference to a marriage for Dr Tayler, nor for the death of a first wife in either the NSW or Queensland BDM Register. The death certificate for James Baines Tayler, who died in 1946, lists his mother as being ‘Margaret’.[331] Were there two William George Taylers?

The Doctor was listed a steward at the 1873 Tamworth Races. [332]

He attended some serious incidents in his time at Tamworth including accidents, rapes and murders.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT-On Wednesday last, Mr. James, of the firm of Archibald, Smoker, and Co., proprietors of the Try-again Reef, met with a serious accident He was returning home, in company with Mr Archibald, and when within somewhat over a mile of Short’s public house, his horse shied at something and brought his rider’s face violently against a tree, the concussion throwing Mr James with considerable force to the ground, where he lay in an unconscious state A messenger was immediately dispatched into town for Dr Tayler, and Mr. James was removed to Short’s Dr Tayler soon arrived, and attended to James’s injuries, which, fortunately, were found to be by no means as severe as his friends at first feared Further than a very severe shaking and some wounds on his lip and other parts of his face, we are happy to say, no bruise of a dangerous nature was sustained by Mr. James [333]


LAW: TAMWORTH CIRCUIT COURT. (From the Weekly News.) Before his Honor Mr. Justice Faucett.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.   William Roach was indicted for that he did, on the 21st July, 1873, at Manilla Station, feloniously, unlawfully, and maliciously wound one John Thomas, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.

The prisoner, who was undefended, pleaded not guilty, and begged leave to make a statement. He said he had given a cheque for £24 to a solicitor of this town, named Smith, from which the latter was to take £2 2s. for professional fees, but he had not received the balance and was unable to pay counsel to defend him. He produced a document, signed by Mr. Smith, acknowledging payment of the money. His Honor expressed considerable surprise at the prisoner’s statement, and said that although he would not censure or condemn Mr. Smith on a one-sided statement, the prisoner would have to make affidavit of the grounds of his complaint, and the gaoler, Mr. Passfield, would also have to make an affidavit of what he knew concerning the matter. He (the Judge) would then bring the case before the Supreme Court with a view to calling upon Mr. Smith to show cause why he should not be struck off the rolls. Mr. Smith might be able to explain the matter ; but so far as he (the learned Judge) was concerned, he should take steps to put a stop to that sort of thing.

The Crown Prosecutor (who was assisted by Mr.   Tribe) then briefly opened the case.

ImThe following is a condensed resume of the chief points of evidence. It appeared that on the 21st July last, the prisoner William Roach, who had on that day been discharged from the service of Messrs. Harden and Eastwood, went to the hut of a man named John Thomas (also a servant of   the above firm), and wanted to sell the latter some tea,   sugar, and flour he had no use for, as he was leaving the place. Thomas did not want the goods, and declined to purchase. There had been some ill-feeling on the part of the prisoner towards Thomas (whether from a real or imaginary cause was not shown), but on the day in question Roach was apparently quite friendly, and expressed a wish to see how Thomas was getting on with the ploughing of a certain field. They started together, Thomas leading two horses, and Roach carrying as usual a waddy some two feet long in his hand, and a knife in a belt round his waist. On their way to the field they passed near to the residence of a Mrs. Burns, who saw them chatting in what appeared to her a very friendly manner. A little further on, when   they reached a slight hollow in the land, Roach suddenly drew back and, raising the bludgeon with both hands, struck Thomas a heavy blow on the top of the head, knocking him down. Immediately after he fell Roach struck him again, and Thomas became insensible. He lay for about an hour or so, and then, recovering his senses, crawled on his hands and knees to an abandoned hut some thirty yards distant, where he found same water, with which he tried to bathe his head. Meanwhile, a young man named McDonald saw the two horses standing near the field where Thomas had been working, and wondering where   Thomas was, went to the hut and found him, his face covered, and his clothes saturated with blood. McDonald went to the nearest house—Mrs. Burns’s—and brought Mrs. Burns, who found Thomas on his hands and knees, bleeding. She washed the wounds, and a man named Floyd, who had come on the scene in the interim, helped Thomas to his own hut, some 300 or 400 yards distant. Dr. Tayler, of Tamworth, was then sent for, and he came and dressed Thomas’s wounds, one of which, at least, he considered quite dangerous. The wounds were four in number—a wound on the top of the head (produced by a blunt instrument) — the most serious injury — a deep wound (produced by a sharp instrument) over the right eye, and hardly healed when Thomas gave evidence in the Court—a cut which severed the upper lip nearly up to the nose—and a small wound over the left eye. The man remained in a weak state for five or six weeks, and it seems clear that had he not been a strong man his injuries would have proved fatal. Roach, after the assault, called at the head station, and spoke to Mr. Eastwood in passing. He is next heard of at Messrs. Blaxland’s Keepit station, where he was arrested by constable McSweeney, of Warialda, who brought him to Manilla station, and subsequently took him to Barraba, whence he was remanded to Tamworth, where, after several hearings, he was committed for trial. From the evidence of a man named Corcoran, in Messrs. Hannell and Eastwood’s employ, and that of the apprehending constable, it came out that Roach made several observations before and after the assault, implying ill-feeling on his part towards Thomas, and an intention to “beat” him. At his trial Roach cross-examined, all the witnesses for the prosecution, but failed to shake their testimony or to elicit anything material to the case. He called Mr. Eastwood for the defence, but that gentleman’s testimony proved nothing of value on the prisoner’s behalf. Roach, a very repulsive- looking man, was found guilty, and remanded for sentence.  [334]



The following telegram from Tamworth, dated Wednesday ,12.34 p.m., appeared in the Evening News that day:

A girl named Coleman, sixteen or seventeen years of age, residing with her parents, on Mullagh station, ten miles above the swamp portion of Mr. John Gill’s Moonbi Run, left home on Saturday morning, with her brother, ten years old, shepherding a flock of sheep. The boy went ahead of the sheep until two o’clock in the afternoon, and in a short time after wards hearing the dog bark, returned and found his sister lying on the ground, black in the face, and apparently dead.

The little fellow getting frightened, immediately ran away and returned with his elder brother, who was minding sheep about a mile distant. The latter saw that his sister was nearly choked, the string which formed the binding of her dress being tied round her neck. He cut the string, but his sister not recovering, he started away home, which was about two miles away.

The father and mother being apprised of what had taken place, went out with a cart and brought their daughter home, reaching the hut at daylight on Sun day morning. The unhappy parents communicated with Mr. Gill, who sent for Dr Tayler, who immediately proceeded to the scene, about thirty miles from Tamworth, arriving there at three o’clock on Sunday afternoon. He found the girl perfectly comatose, and arrived at the conclusion that she had received a blow on the head which stunned her, and that she had been violated and afterwards choked by the ruffian who had committed the outrage. Her dress was torn to ribbons, and the remainder of her apparel tattered, and affording unquestionable proof: that a horrible crime had been committed.

Dr. Tayler tried every means to restore the girl to consciousness, but the girl never rallied, and she died yesterday morning at seven o’clock.

Superintendent Garling dispatched constable Chadwick to the scene of the tragedy. On Monday morning that officer, accompanied by a black tracker, searched everywhere for the traces of the offender, but without success, as the ground was hard and stony, and during the time which had elapsed ram had fallen.

It was conjectured, however, that the scoundrel had left his horse on the mountain and descended on foot to accomplish his purpose.

Suspicion is directed to a certain party, but nothing is yet definitely known to establish the truth of this supposition.

A magisterial inquiry takes place to-day before Mr. Irving, the police magistrate.

Coleman is a respectable and industrious man, and. with his wife and children have been in Mr. Gill’s employ for some time.[335]

At the inquest Wm. George Tayler deposed : I am a duly qualified medical witness; I was called on Sunday last by Mr. Gill to go to Mulla; I there examined Bridget Coleman, whose body I have seen in the adjoining room; she was then suffering from compression of the brain from a blow on the head, and had symptoms arising from strangulation, the marks of which were visible; I believe this caused death; there was a bruise on the right temple, which I believe she would have recovered from if there had not been a ligature round the neck; I also found bruises round the ankles and a slight cut on the knee, which might have been caused by falling on the stones ; she had been violated (the witness gave complete technical evidence as to the violation); I made a post-mortem examination to-day, and found two clots of blood on the membrane of the brain, which, with strangulation, would cause death. [336]

The Common Ranger, Mr Thomas Hughes, met with a very serious mishap yesterday morning, from which there is reason to fear that he can hardly recover. It appears that he had lent a horse to some person, and the animal was no sooner mounted than it plunged ahead, and knocking Hughes down, fell, or trod upon him, breaking one or more ribs, and cutting his face. The victim of the accident suffers considerably from disease of the heart, and it is feared that the shock to the system, combined with and   resulting from the injuries received, will place him in a serious position. We hear that he now lies in a very precarious state, and is enduring great agony. As he is at present under the care of Dr. Tayler it is to be hoped he will recover [337]


COBBEDAH (From the correspondent of the Armidale Express.)

A very sad accident happened to a lad of fifteen years last Thursday, which it is as yet thought will terminate fatally. He is the eldest son of a very respectable family named Sindon, who for many years have resided on the Gineroi station as the head managers of it for A A. Adams, Esq. It would appear that the lad, Wm. Sindon, at the time of the sad affair, was on a visit to the grand people at Piedmont for a few days, and out with some of his uncles after horses He was riding a very quiet horse. It seems the dogs started a kangaroo after which some of the young men rode, and others of them cantered steadily behind, among which was Willy Sindon. The horse he was riding tripped against a stone, fell on its knees, and rolled on to its rider, who received such injuries about the head and body that he lay apparently dead. Water was ridden off for, and brought in the hats of the other young men. The head, neck, and part of the body were bathed, and in about half an hour after life was only just perceivable. A bag was got, a stretcher formed, and he was carried home on the shoulders of his uncles, some five miles distant A doctor was then sent for, and Dr Tayler, of Tamworth, arrived on the spot in as little time as possible, who did all that could be done for the sufferer, who, we are very sorry to find, is still lying in a very dangerous state. We are informed by some of the young gentlemen who were out with Mr Sindon that there can be no blame attached to any person or himself for the accident, as it appeared to them to be purely accidental. We hope in a few days to be able to give you much better hopes of him.[338]


COBBEDAH. ( From the Armidale Express )

In my last I spoke of the sad accident to young Sindon, in being thrown from his horse. We are now happy to find him fast recovering, under the care of Dr Tayler, of Tamworth, to whom, we believe, great credit is due for the skill and attention be has shown. [339]


Dr Tayler must have visited Sydney as we find an advertisement for a horse in the Sydney Morning Herald of 26 October 1878:

FOR SALE, a first-class HACK, by Lucifer. Apply Dr. TAYLER, Hornbank, Ocean-street.

TAMWORTH. (From the Tamworth News, April 16)  A person named James Thomas Dorrington, a free selector near Bendemeer, or perhaps better known as a jockey, was, on Easter Monday last, in company with a friend of his, Peter Blair. They had been attending the races, and were galloping at a pretty free speed towards the township, when Blair every now and again took hold of and jerked the reins of Dorrington’s horse, which was a thorough-bred one. Dorrington asked him several times to desist, which he did do at last, at the same moment throwing his hand in the air, on letting go the reins. This frightened the animal, which immediately bolted, bringing Dorrington against a tree, breaking and crushing one of his knees fearfully. On his reaching home, a messenger was sent to Tamworth for Dr. Tayler, who immediately proceeded to relieve the sufferer, and set the bone, advising his friends at the same time to get him removed to the Tamworth Hospital, which was done, the patient reaching there in safety. All went well up till Tuesday last, and Dorrington was progressing very favourably, when, through the want of attendance (the warder being absent), the patient tried to assist himself, slipped, and fell, re-breaking the bone that was knitting, and divided an artery at the same time. The haemorrhage that followed was immense. Both Drs. Tayler and Wood were sent for, and promptly attended ; but in spite of all that medical science could suggest to their minds, they finally came to the conclusion that to save the man’s life, amputation must be resorted to. Then arose another obstacle the weak state of the patient through the loss of blood, and whether he would be able to sustain the operation; however, there was no time to be lost it was life or death with him, so he was put under the influence of ether, and Dr. Wood speedily and successfully removed the broken limb. On inquiry at the hospital this morning, we learned that Dorrington was progressing well ; in fact, beyond the most sanguine expectations of his medical advisers.  [340]

WG Tayler subsequently left Tamworth and moved south to Wagga Wagga where the hospital held a special meeting to farewell Dr. Hillas who was resuming his practice in Melbourne, and was to be succeeded by Dr. Tayler, “a gentleman well known in Sydney and Tamworth.” [341] So Dr Tayler became doctor at the Wagga Wagga hospital[342]. In 1884 he wrote to the Nepean Times on the subject of cleanliness and hygiene, his letter being reproduced in the Bowral newspaper.[343] He wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald on 29 June 1885, giving a Penrith address:


Sir,-In reading the report of the meeting, I failed to see either of the speakers advocated what to my mind is one of the most essential points in dealing with the subject, viz., the training of the young in the rudiments of hygiene. If instead of the useless subjects now taught, rendering the pupils in after life unfit for their position, children’s minds were cultivated to know more of the laws of health and physiology, a vast saving to the State would accrue.

” ‘Tis the sublime of man, Our noontide majesty, to know ourselves

Parts and proportions of one wondrous whole.”

I am. &c,

W.G. TAYLER. M.R.C.S.E., &e. I Penrith, June 26.


He was listed as “Surgeon, Medical Examiner and was on the Advisory Board and list of Officers for the Widows Fund Life Assurance Society in Wagga Wagga” [344]

He eventually left Wagga Wagga, transferring his practice “to Dr. LIONEL DRUITT, who will in future carry it on at his residence Tichborne Buildings, Gurwood-street, Wagga.”[345] and later another doctor took over his former residence, advertising Dr St. Clair Long,  Physician And Surgeon, &..,  Huntley Cottage (Late residence of Dr W.G. Tayler),  Gurwood-Street, Wagga Wagga. [346]

It looks as if he moved to Molong and in 1893 Dr Tayler was advertising visits to Cumnock

W.G. Tayler, M.R.C. S.E., L.S.A., Molong, Will Visit Cumnock Every Alternate Wednesday, And May Be Consulted At COLBRAN’S HOTEL, On Wednesday, 1st November, From’ 11 O’clock To 12 Noon.” [347]   

Eventually he moved to Sydney and set up rooms in Sydney City:-

WG TAYLER, M.R.C.S.E., L.S.A., &e. Specialty, Diseases of Digestive System; and Dr. PERCY BENNETT (formerly of 135 Macq.-st), Dentist, cnr King and Phillip Sts. Entrance to Rooms, Phillip-st.[348]

He married Miss Balcombe in 1896 in Paddington and died in Waverley in 1913.

TAYLER. — February 27, 1913, at his residence, Werribee, Bondi-road, Waverley, Dr. William George   Tayler, aged 72 years. [349]

Dr. William George Tayler, an old resident of the State, died recently at Bondi road, Waverley, at the age of 72 years. In 1869 he came from England to Sydney, and at once started the practice of his profession at Tamworth. Later on Dr. Tayler practised at Glen Innes and Wagga Wagga. He established, and was captain of the Murrumbidgee Light Horse, one of the first volunteer cavalry corps in the State. His eyesight was affected by an accident while playing polo at Wagga. For many years he lived in retirement at Waverley. He was well known in bowling circles, and was an old member of the City and Waverley clubs. [350]

His wife survived him by close to 10 years

TAYLER, 21 July 1922 at private hospital Waverley widow of the late Dr WG Tayler of Werribbee Waverley[351]

Annie Rebecca Chisholm Tayler is buried at Waverley with her mother and sister Mary Newcombe Balcombe. Their graves are adjacent to Stuckey relatives,[352] two of Lydia’s unmarried siblings, Henry Gould Stuckey (who also died at Lydia’s ‘Napoleon Cottage’) and Annie Elizabeth Stuckey.[353] In addition are the Chisholm family, Rebecca Stuckey and her husband John W Chisholm and their daughter Annie Maria Gibson, another who died at ‘Napoleon Cottage’. [354]

The three graves are identical marble stones, with Lydia’s in the middle. The gravestone inscriptions read, from left to right:-

To the memory of Annie Maria Gibson, daughter of John W and Rebecca Chisholm, of Wollogorang and widow of the late Septimus F Gibson of Kenmore, Goulburn, died 15th September 1888, aged 42 years, also of Rebecca wife of John W Chisholm, died 1st May 1890 aged 66 years.

To the memory of Lydia, widow of the late Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, and eldest daughter of the late Peter Stuckey of Longreach, died 17th August 1900 in her 81st year, Also of Mary Newcombe Balcombe, died 1st November 1917 aged 70 years , also of Annie RC Tayler, died 21 July 1922 aged 68 years.

To the memory of John W Chisholm of Wollogorang, Breadalbane, died 28th April 1899 aged 79 years, also of Henry Gould Stuckey, died 17 May 1894, aged 53 years, also of Annie Elizabeth Stuckey, died 2 August 1900 aged 73 years.

The rest of the Stuckey’s were buried elsewhere as by 1850 the family had left Longreach near Marulan and moved about one hundred and thirty miles west to Gundagai at Willie Ploma where Peter and Ann Stuckey, Lydia’s parents, had died in 1859 and 1863 respectively.[355]

None of the three daughters of Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe and Lydia Stuckey appear to have had any children, so the line passed into succeeding generations only through their son William Alexander Balcombe. Fortunately he survived a serious boating accident to marry and produce four children of his own.

These four grandchildren of Thomas Tyrwhitt and Lydia Balcombe lived through the worry of their youngest sibling fighting in World War I. [356]

The next generation of eight great-grandchildren became the descendents which faced the trauma of World War II.[357]

Thomas’ eight great-grandchildren in turn produced nearly two dozen great-great-grandchildren. As numbers more than double with succeeding generations, [358] there are now many descendents who can proudly claim an ancestor whose beautiful art work is found in National, State, University, National Trust and private collections, the work of respected colonial artist Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe. [359]

#Balcombe  #Colonialartist  #ColonialTreasurer  #Tyrwhitt  #Stuckey



Kangaroo hunting –

Scene on the Murray River-

Five Docks Grand Steeplechase-

Old Jorrocks, Plover, Aboriginal pictures, all listed at –

Mr Hargraves –,_The_Gold_Discoverer_of_Australia,_Feb_12th_1851_returning_the_salute_of_the_gold_miners_-_Thomas_Tyrwhitt_Balcombe.jpg

[1] Information from the Registrar of Marriages, Marylebone Church, personal communication to the author.

[2] Birth records UK and travel details for trip to St Helena, Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 12 August 1805, issue 305.

[3] Vera Lydia (Balcombe) Gaden, grand-daughter of Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, personal communication to the author.

[4] British Library India Office Records N/6/2 f.76 and St Helena Records in the Archives located at The Castle, Jamestown, St Helena, viewed by the author November 2010.

[5] Family history research over many years, compiled by the author.

[6] St James, Jamestown parish register in the Archives, Jamestown, viewed by the author November 2010.

[7] Major-General Alexander Beatson, Tracts relative to the Island of St Helena written during a residence of five years, Bulmer and Co, London, 1816, pp 207-240.

[8] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 1 July 1824

[9] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 30 September 1824.

[10] Sydney Morning Herald, (Hereafter SMH) 23 June 1917.

[11] Wikipedia

[12] Member of Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, personal communication to the author, June 2012.

[13] Mitchell Library, Catalogue Period 5 1820-1849 5-401C, Folio ML MSS 848X, Heathcote, G. H. to Mrs Jane Balcombe from Edinburgh 25 March 1826

[14] John Thompson, Documents that shaped Australia, records of a nation’s heritage, Murdoch Books, Millers Point, 2010, An enquiry into the settlements of NSW – the Bigge report. p 67-69.

[15] The Australian, 10 Aug 1827

[16] The Australian, 29 August 1827 and the Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 29 August 1827.

[17] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser (hereafter Syd Gaz & NSW Ad) 23 May 1828

[18] Keith R Binney, Horsemen of the First Frontier 1788-1900, Volcanic Publications, Sydney, 2005, p 166. and many local newspaper reports in March-May 1825.

[19] Google Books, Accounts and Papers in thirteen volumes, Returns relating to convicts 1826-1828

[20] Sydney Monitor, 13 June 1829.

[21] Free Settler or Felon website,, reference 30954,

[22] TA Johnstone, A brief history of Radcliffe and the Surrounding Area, at Carwoola Community Association and follow links to History at Accessed 8 April 2012.

[23] Mrs Abell, Recollections of Napoleon, p 7-9.

[24] Mark O’Connor, This tired brown land, Duffy and Snelgrove, Sydney, 1998, p 56.


[26] Archdeacon Scott to Gov Darling, 29 August 1829, Historical Records of Australia, Series 1, Vol XV, 1829-30, pp 117-121.

[27] Death of Wm Balcombe, reported by Governor Darling to Sir George Murray, 20 March 1829, Historical Records of Australia Series 1, volume XIV, March 1828-May 1829. p. 688 and NSW BDM register V1829 838220/1829 and V1829 107413/1829.

[28] From Gravestone located in Botany Pioneer Park, Sydney transcribed by the author 5 April 2013.

[29] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 2 March 1830.

[30] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 5 Oct 1830.

[31] The Australian, 31 March 1830.

[32] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 1 April 1830.

[33] The Sydney Monitor, 3 April 1830.

[34] SMH, 25 June 1904.

[35] Kathleen Thomson, ‘Balcombe, Alexander Beatson (1811–1877)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2013.


[37] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 23 Oct 1830, Advertisement for the passage to England on Nancy.

[38] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 23 October 1830.

[39] William R O’Byrne Esq, A Naval biographical dictionary comprising the life and service of every living officer in Her Majesty’s Navy, London, John Murray, 1849, page 937.

[40] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 15 February 1831.

[41] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 15 February 1831.

[42] Hobart Town Courier, 6 August 1831.

[43] Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet & Plymouth Journal (Truro, England), Saturday, August 20, 1831; Issue 1469 and The Morning Post (London, England), Saturday, August 20, 1831; Issue 18938.

[44] The Spectator, 20 August 1831,

[45] Sydney Herald, 5 December 1831 and The Australian, 9 December 1831.

[46] The Australian, 9 December 1831

[47] Confirmation of position in letter from Darling to Under Secretary Hay, 15 July 1829, HRA p. 77, that Thomas was a clerk in the Commissariat.

[48] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad , 8 May 1830

[49] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 25 July 1829.

[50] The Australian, 24 February 1830 and The Asiatic Journal, Issue 7, page 183.

[51] Kathleen Thomson, ‘Balcombe, Alexander Beatson (1811–1877)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, accessed 20 April 2013, and Letter from Governor Bourke dated 1 May 1833, in reply to Viscount Goderich’s letter dated 21 August 1832 in HRA Vol XVII June 1833-June 1835.

[52] Letter from Governor Darling to Sir George Murray 29 July 1829 and letter from Murray to Darling 29 Sept 1830 HRA XV p. 741

[53] Letter from Governor Bourke dated 1 May 1833, in reply to Viscount Goderich’s letter dated 21 August 1832 in HRA Vol XVII June 1833-June 1835.

[54] Kathleen Thomson, ‘Balcombe, Alexander Beatson (1811–1877)‘, Australian Dictionary of Biography, accessed 20 April 2013.

[55] Thomas Mitchell, Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia, in two volumes, Available from the Gutenberg Project, (Volume 1) and (Volume 2)

[56] Maps of the Bungonia/Yarralaw districts

[57] Thomas Mitchell, Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia.

[58] Sydney Herald 7 Nov 1831

[59] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 21 March 1833 and  Edward John Eyre Autobiographical Narrative of Residence and Exploration in Australia, 1832-1839, Introduction and notes by Jill Waterhouse, 1984, Caliban Books,  p.5.

[59a]    Edward John Eyre Autobiographical Narrative of Residence and Exploration in Australia, 1832-1839,  p 4, 19 and 31.

[59b]  Edward John Eyre Autobiographical Narrative of Residence and Exploration in Australia, 1832-1839, p. 27-29

[60] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 30 March 1833

[61] Sydney Monitor, 23 March 1833 and Sydney Herald, 1 April 1833

[62] The Australian, 24 February 1830 and The Asiatic Journal, Issue 7, page 183.

[63] The National Archives, UK, [CO/201/229:  Note from Mrs Jane Balcombe delivered by hand of a Mr Gray –  stamped by the office of the Secretary of State for Colonies ‘Received C.D. Oct 5 1832’. [Marginalia advising action:  that no Passport was necessary. Verbal answer 10 Oct.’]

[64] The Australian, 31 May 1833.

[65] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 4 July 1833.


[67] Sydney Herald, 19 December 1833.

[68] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 25 March 1834 and SMH, 27 March 1834

[69] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 25 March 1834 and Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 1834

[70] Hampshire Telegraph 30 August 1834, via Gale database accessed 3/4/2011 and The Asiatic Journal, 1 October 1834, Page 123, Issue 58.

[71] Sydney Herald, 7 August 1837

[72] The Caledonian Mercury, 5 February 1835 and The Asiatic Journal, 1 March 1835, page 216, Issue 63.

[73] The Lancaster Advertiser, Saturday 9 January 1802, issue 30 and The Diary of Robert Sharp of South Cave. Life in a Yorkshire Village 1812-1837 edited by Janice E and Peter A Crowther. (1997) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-726173-6

[74] and

[75] A. L. S.* Dated Lyne Grove, near Chertsey, December 8th (1847). 8 pages i6mo. Cornell University Library From The Blessington Papers…. the collection of autograph letters and historical documents formed by Alfred Morrison (Second Series, 1882 — 1893). Printed for private circulation.


[77] Bells Life in Sydney, 14 April 1849.


[79] This and the following letters on the next two pages are from Betsy and Bessie to Emma and Alexander Balcombe at The Briars on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. The letters were found in the Mitchell Library, in NSW State Records and in the possession Richard a’Beckett (a descendent of Alexander Beatson Balcombe) and have been transcribed by a team including Richard a’Beckett, Shirley Joy, Keith and Shirley Murley and Anne Whitehead.

[80] Letter from David MacDougal, 30 August 1987.

[81] Sydney Morning Herald 31 Aug 1871 and Empire 1 September 1871

[82] Notes and Queries, 4th 5 VIII July 15, 7L, page 59

[83] Information from Marie Murphy, Cemetery Manager to Keith Murley, Balcombe researcher, The Briars, Mornington, Victoria. 16 April 2008.


[85] The Argus 13 Feb 1892

[86] State Library of NSW, Author Mitchell, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1855. Title [Portion of Map of the Colony of New South Wales transmitted to Thomas Balcombe by Major Mitchell on 7 April 1834] [cartographic material] / Thomas Mitchell. Scale [1:554 500] LOCATION Mitchell Library ,Call ZM2 812.1/1834/1 ,Status Published 7 April 1834. Other Author Balcombe, T. (Thomas), 1810-1861. Other Title Also known as: Map of the nineteen counties, Bib Util 9226634

[87] Balcombe Surveyors Notes Books, State Records Office, 3 Surveyors Field Books, Name, Balcombe, Items 434 (previous system number 2/5053); 415 (previous system number 2/5037); 416 previous system number 2/5038).


[89] Balcombe, Surveyors Notes Books, State Records NSW, Call numbers [2/5037] [2/5038] and [2/5053]

[90] Hunter Valley Settler Index at <; accessed 9 August 2013

[91] <; accessed 9 August 2013

[92] <; accessed 9 August 2013

[93] <;

[94] The Australian, 12 August 1834.

[95] Hazel King, ‘Campbell, Pieter Laurentz (1809–1848)‘, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 10 August 2013.

[96] Beckett, p.179

[97] <> accessed 9 August 2013

[98] <> accessed 9 August 2013..

[99] <> accessed 11 August 2013

[100] <; accessed 9 August 2013

[101] <; accessed 10 August 2013

[102] The Dulhunty Papers part 5, <; accessed 11 August 2013

[103] Patricia R McDonald and Barry Pearce, The Artist and the Patron, p 101.

[104] Images 9267-9283 taken by author, 22 July 2013 of 3 Balcombe Surveyors Field Books.

[105] <; and <; accessed 11 August 2013

[106] SMH 9 April 1864.

[106a]  Edward Eyre, page 75,  79 and 98.

[107] Sydney Gazette, 25 October 1836, Sydney Monitor, 26 October 1836, Sydney Gazette 1 November 1836.

[108] Sydney Gazette 25 February 1837.

[109] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 24 September 1836.

[110] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 1 July 1837.

[111] Kevin Weldon (ed), Australians: A historical Library, Australian 1838, Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Assoc, 1987, p. 142.

[112] Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, 9 December 1899.


[113] SMH, 1 May 1837

[114] Sydney Herald, 3 June 1838

[115] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 14 June 1838

[116] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 14 August 1838

[117] Kevin Weldon (ed), Australians: A historical Library, Australian 1838, Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Assoc, 1987, p. 142 and 148.

[118] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 2 June 1840

[119] Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, 13 January 1841

[120] Australasian Chronicle 19 Jan 1841

[121] Australasian Chronicle, 28 March 1842 and Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 31 March 1842

[122] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 7 Jan 1840

[123] SMH, 28 Oct 1842

[124] SMH, 4 Dec 1843

[125] Information from the Geographical Names Board of NSW, <http:// >

[126] Historical Records of Australia, Series 1, Vol 13, 1827-1828, p 59

[127] Sydney Herald, 3 September 1841

[128] Mabel Brookes, Riders of Time, Macmillan 1967, pages 4-7.




[132] Notice of death of AS Balcombe, SMH, 4 May 1927

[133] The Peak Hill Express, 7 June 1907



[136] and

[137] I Hackett, 2006, “Balcombe family and The Briars Park, Mt Martha, Victoria” <>

[138] and and

[139] Australasian Chronicle, 4 July 1840.


[141] John McColgan, Southern Highlands Story, Wild and Woolley Books, Glebe, Sydney 1995, and

[142] Sydney Herald, 1 April 1840

[143] Marriage notice in the Sydney Monitor and Advertiser, 4 July 1840 and NSW BDM web site Registration number NSW Marriages 1840529 24B/1840

[144] John Arnold, The Stuckey family of Longreach NSW, self published, 1986

[145] From NSW BDM register

[146] All birth dates are taken from a photocopy of entries in the Stuckey Family Bible, reproduced in John Arnold’s notes..

[147]   Marriage Reference number V1818342 7

[148] Chronological listing of early European contacts with NZ at <; accessed 4 February 2009.

[149] Chronological listing of early European contacts with NZ at <; accessed 4 February 2009.

[150]John Earnshaw, A letter from the south Seas, by voyage on the storeship ‘Daedalus’ 1792, Cremorne, NSW, Talkarra Press, 1957, no page numbers.

[151] Martyn Downer, Nelson’s Purse, London, Transworld Publishers (Random House), 2004, pages 80-81

[152] John Earnshaw, A letter from the south Seas, by voyage on the storeship ‘Daedalus’ 1792, Talkarra Press, Cremorne, 1957, no page numbers,



[155] Community History Newsletter, George Town and District Historical Society Inc., Georgetown Online Access Centre, <>accessed 4 February 2009.

[156] Wayne Shipp, William House and the Piracy of the Venus, at <; Accessed 4 February 2009.

[157] Settlement to independence from New South Wales: 1804 to 1824. Senior Finance Officers 1804-1824, at <; accessed 7 August 2013

[158] Settlement to independence from New South Wales: 1804 to 1824. Revenue in Van Diemen’s Land in

<; accessed 7 August 2013

[159] Wayne Shipp, William House and the Piracy of the Venus, at <; Accessed 4 February 2009.

[160] John Earnshaw, A letter from the south Seas, by voyage on the storeship ‘Daedalus’ 1792, no page numbers and NSW State Archives, 1 October 1809 William House, deceased, fraudulent attempt to steal stock. Reel 6038: SZ757 p. 75a.

[161] Pat Shearwood, Stuckey family tree, Self-published 1987.

[162] Maureen Eddy, Marulan, a unique heritage, published by ‘Marulan 150’ by the author, 1985, pp 15, 42, 75, 85-6.

[163] Maureen Eddy, Marulan, pp 85-6.

[164] David Branagan, The Oldest Marble Quarry in Australia, Proceedings of the Australian Mining History Association Conference, Queenstown Tasmania, 7 October 2008, page 11.


[166]Caroline Gaden personal memoir.

[167] Darrell Lewis, A Wild History, Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier, 2014, Monash University Publishing, Victoria, p. 204.

[168] Sydney Herald , 26 November 1840

[169] Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 1864

[170] Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 1864



[173] Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 November 1887

[174] The Pastoral Review 15 April 1914, p. 332.

[175] Darrell Lewis, A Wild History, p. 203.

[176] NSW Birth Register, V18411887 47/1841,

[177] Queanbeyan Age (NSW), 20 March 1914, p 2, and

[178] Queanbeyan Age (NSW), 20 March 1914, p 2, and

[179] North Australian (Darwin) 7 May 1886

[180] Northern Territory Times and Gazette 15 May 1886

[181] The North Australian, 4 June 1886

[182] North Australian (Darwin) 4 June 1886

[183] WH Willshire, (Mounted Constable First Class, Officer in Charge of Native Police) The Land of the Dawning, 1896, WK Thomas and Co, Printers, Grenfell Street, Adelaide.

[184] Darrell Lewis, A Wild History, p. 112.

[185] Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 11 November 1892

[186] Darrell Lewis, A Wild History, p. 99.

[187] NSW Death registration V18401574 25A and Funeral Notice, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 1894

[188] Darrell Lewis, A Wild History, p. 209-211.

[189] Sydney Herald, 22 September 1841.

[190] Sydney Herald, 22 September 1841 and Sydney Herald, 5 May 1842.

[191] Sydney Herald, 5 May 1842

[192] Sydney Herald, 14 November 1840.

[193] Sydney Herald, 26 November 1840.

[194] Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, 20 October 1840.

[195] Australasian Chronicle, 19 January 1841.

[196] Sydney Herald, 30 May 1842.

[197] Sydney Herald, 22 September 1841.

[198] NSW Government Gazette, Wednesday March 18th, 1840, page 273, Case 683, claimant, ‘alleges land belong to him” viewed online at , accessed 26 August 2013

[199] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, (hereafter Maitland Mercury) 13 February 1847 and Government Gazette 5 February 1847

[200] SMH, 12 February 1847.

[201] Maitland Mercury, 9 October 1856 listed information from the Government Gazette, 26 September 1856, list of ‘Deeds ready for delivery’, Number 41, Balcombe T. Tyrwhitt ; Stirling Robert ; Brisbane, 1000 acres.

[202] <,_New_South_Wales&gt;

[203] Balcombe, Field Books, State Records NSW, Call numbers [2/5037] [2/5038] and [2/5053].

[204] Maitland Mercury, 27 August 1859 and SMH 19 September 1859.

[205] NSW State Library Catalogue, Call numbers SV*/EXPL/1 and V/108 and SV/107

[206] Patricia R McDonald and Barry Pearce, The Artist and the Patron pp. 101-2.

[207] Australian Financial Review, 7 June 1983, p 16.

[208] Stephanie Owen Reader, The Vision Splendid, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2011, page 90.


[210] Garry Wotherspoon, Facing the Past, The Australian Magazine, May 16-17, 1992, p 32-33.

[211] Mrs Abell, Recollections of Napoleon pp 111-113, and Gareth Glover, Wellington’s Lieutenant, Napoleon’s Gaoler, p 271.

[212] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 3 March 1825 and 24 March 1825.

[213] Syd Gaz & NSW Ad 25 Feb 1828

[214] From Coradgery Station, given to the author in 2009 by TTB descendent D. Cohen.

[215] Sydney Herald, 29 May 1837, The Australasian, 19 May 1837, The Sydney Herald, 29 May 1837, Syd Gaz & NSW Ad, 18 October 1842, SMH, 10 April 1843, SMH, 2 June 1843.

[216] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 18 October 1842.

[217] Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 1843

[218] Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 1843.

[219] Bells Life of Sydney and Sporting Review, 22 May 1847 & 16 Oct 1847

[220] Old Jorrocks, Plover, Aboriginal pictures, all listed at

[221] NSW State Library call numbers ML 1408, ML 1407 and ML 632.

[222] Keith R Binney, author of Horsemen of the first frontier 1788-1900, Volcanic, 2005, personal communication to the author, September 2013.

[223] Allan McCulloch, Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Volume 1, A-K, Hutchinson, Melbourne, 1984, p. 71-72.

[224] Patricia R McDonald and Barry Pearce, The Artist and the Patron, p. 77.

[225] FL Wilder, English Sporting Prints, Thames and Hudson, London, 1974, p 128-9.

[226] State Library of NSW Media Kit, Art reveals stunning picture of Horse power of the day, issued 4 October 2007, media enquiries to Lisa Loader and Deborah McBurnie, includes image of Kangaroo hunting, date unknown, by Thomas Balcombe,

[227] Keith Binney, author of Horsemen of the first frontier 1788-1900, Volcanic, 2005, personal email communication to the author, September 2013.

[228] State Library of NSW, Call number PXD659, Creator Balcombe, T. (Thomas), 1810 – 1861 and Winstanley, Edward, 1820 – 1849. Title Five-Dock Grand Steeple-Chase 1844 / by Balcombe and Winstanley

Physical Description Prints : 4 handcoloured lithographs ; printed image ca. 30 x 47 cm. or smaller; sheet 45.2 x 64 cm. or smaller. Contents

1. The First Leap. Mr Gorrich on British Yeoman. Mr Watt on Highflier. Mr Hely on Block.

2. The Brook. Mr Hely on Block. Mr Gorrich on British Yeoman. Mr Watt on Highflier.

3. The Stone Wall. Mr Gorrich on British Yeoman. Mr Watt on Highflier. Mr Hely on Block.

4. Mr Hely on Block. Mr Watt on Highflier. Mr Gorrick on British Yeoman.

[229] FL Wilder, English Sporting Prints, Thames and Hudson, London, 1974, pp 64-87.

[230] Joseph Fowler, Sydney in 1848, a facsimile of the original text, Ure Smith, Dee Why West, 1973, p. 32.

[231] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle, (hereafter Bell’s Life) 22 May 1847.

[232] and

[233] Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, (hereafter BFP&MJ), 14 June 1851

[234] SMH, 2 June 1849

[235] Patricia R McDonald and Barry Pearce, The Artist and the Patron, p. 77.

[236] University of Queensland Art Museum, Accession number, 1946.01

[237] Gaynor Gravestock, Art History thesis, HA227- Australian Art, University of Queensland, 1998-9, copy sent to author 1 February 1999, details on painting style and comparison of Mitchell’s sketch and Balcombe’s painting.

[238] Gaynor Gravestock, Art History thesis, University of Qld and personal communication



[241] SMH, 25 May 1850.

[242] National Gallery Australia, Catalogue Accession No: NGA 94.423.2

[243] SMH, 8 July 1850.

[244] Charles Hardy, Biography of East India Company Marine Service Officer 1600-1810 London: Heseltine, 1811, Anthony A. Farrington, biographical index of East India Company maritime service officers 1600-1834, London, The British Library, 1999, p. 37. and EIC Navy (L/MAR/C/699) (No 762 reverse, 1010 on front).

[245] NSW 1828 Census: forms issued Sept 1828, most returned by Nov but some early 1829.

Large, bound volume, Search 9-8-04, Family History Centre, Rosebud, & 4-5-05.

[246] A return of the names of the persons convicted in the years 1823, 1824, and 1825 of stealing horses.

[247] 1828 Census details from Records office.

[248] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 17 January 1835.

[249] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 6 August 1836.

[250] NSW BDM register, Marriage V1843700 27C/1843

[251] 1828 census and state records, Colonial Secretary Index 1788-1825. NSW State records- B0171 and B0172 < > then links to Convict Index and Convict Pardons, <; and also ‘Free settlers or Felon’ at <;

[252] NSW Government Gazette, AGCI Volume 2, Search for Balcombe, NSAG NSW 1836 p 591, accessed 25 July 2006.

[253] The Evening Post (Sydney 1869-1931) 8 November 1879

[254] Index of Squatters and Graziers 1837-49 State Records, Citation NRS906 [X815] Reel 2748-2749, page 31


[256] Michael McKernan, Drought the Red Marauder, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2005. p 5.

[257] Mark O’Connor, This tired brown land, Duffy and Snelgrove, Sydney, 1998, pp 14-16.

[258] Mark O’Connor, This tired brown land, pp 14-16.

[259] Dame Mabel Brookes, Crowded Galleries, p 291.

[260] Bell’s Life, 7 June 1851 & BFP&MJ, 14 June 1851.

[261] SMH, 13 June 1851

[262] SMH, 13 June 1851.

[263] Garry Wotherspoon, Facing the Past, The Australian Magazine, May 16-17, 1992, p 34.35.

[264], Libraries Australia ID 6617496. and

[265] BFP&MJ, 23 July 1851.

[266] and

[267] BFP&MJ, 7 January 1852.

[268] Maitland Mercury, 8 November 1851 and Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser, 7 February 1852.

[269] Maitland Mercury, 21 January 1852.

[270] Death notice in the SMH, 4 February 1852, and also The Lady’s Newspaper, London, 26 June 1852, page 396 (Gale database) and Ryerson Index.

[271] Dame Mabel Brookes, Crowded Galleries, William Heinemann, Melbourne, 1956, pp 276-7, 291.

[272] Dame Mabel Brookes, Crowded Galleries, William Heinemann, Melbourne, 1956, pp 276-7, 291.

[273] BFP&MJ, 7 February 1852

[274] Stephanie Owen Reeder, The Vision Splendid, page 90, Google books <>

[275] Dame Mabel Brookes, Crowded Galleries, opposite pp 20-21 and p. 291.

[276] Bell’s Life, 14 February 1852

[277] Transcript by P Hawkins & Leslie Moorhead of the original letter from Thomas to Alexander to tell him of William’s death at the Turon-Mornington. (Papers 2010, nos 384-395 Hackett Records).


[278] Patricia R McDonald and Barry Pearce, The Artist and the Patron,   p. 178.

[279] G.F. Pickering and T.T. Balcombe, Gold Pen and Pencil Sketches or the adventures of Mr John Slasher at the Turon Diggings, 1852, Sydney, W Moffitt, Pitt Street, Sydney. National Library of Australia, Bib ID 4193532.

[280] Bell’s Life, 12 May 1852.

[281] George Ferrers Pickering was editor and joint proprietor from 1847- c1868 <;

[282] Bell’s Life, 3 September 1853.

[283] Bell’s Life, 15 October 1853.

[284] Owned by a descendent of WA Balcombe.

[285] Illustrated Sydney News, 3 December 1853

[286] Colin Laverty at

[287] Email to family members from D Bradhurst.

[288] <; and <>

[289] Balcombe, Thomas T, 1810-1861, Paddington bus, 1857, Graphic materials, Call number DGV*/General/18 Available on open access, Mitchell Library Reading Room.

[290] SMH, 24 Sept 1859

[291] SMH, 11 March 1862.

[292] Pictures of wax models and

[293] Joan Kerr, ed, Dictionary of Australian Painters, Sketchers, Photographers and Engravers to 1870, Sydney, Sydney University Press, 1984.

[294] NSW Birth Death and Marriage registry.

[295] SMH, 5 September 1855.

[296] NSW Registration of BDM, Baptism 1123 Vol: 42A Copy of a register of Church of England.

[297] <;

[298] Information and image from descendent Diana Cohen

[299] <; and


[300] <> and <; accessed 23 August 2013

[301] Copy of Death certificate for JE Balcombe, Registration Number 1858/002212, obtained from the NSW BDM Registry and <>   accessed 23 August 2013

[302] Transcription of gravestone in St Jude’s church yard,

Randwick, located by the author, 5 April 2013.

[303] Music file in NSW State library, Call Number -MUSIC FILE/MEY, Digital Order Number- a1664003.

[304] Bell’s Life, 14 February 1852

[305] Joan Kerr (editor), The Dictionary of Australian Artists: Painters, Sketchers, Photographers and Engravers to 1870, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992, p 40-42.

[306] Empire, 15 October 1861 and SMH, 15 October 1861.

[307] Empire, 15 October 1861

[308] Medical information re gout and its associated symptoms from a doctor who is a descendent of William Balcombe, accessed 5 August 2012

[309] SMH, 15 October 1861.

[310] Royal Australian Historical Society Journal 1922, Notes on Australian Artists, pages 103-4.

[311] Medical information from a doctor who is a Balcombe descendent.

[312] Empire, 15 October 1861 and Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 1861.

[313] George Ferrers Pickering <;

[314] Bell’s Life and Sporting Reviewer, 19 October 1861.

[315] SMH, 21 October 1861.

[316] Address taken from Sands Directory for 1868 and 1888,

[317] SMH, 18 August 1900, her death and funeral notices both give Waverley Road.

[318] Thomas Ormond O’Brien, Reminiscences of Bondi

[319] Australian Town and Country Journal, 11 July 1874 and Maitland Mercury, 11 July 1874.

[320] SMH, 22 March 1882 and 15 March 1890.

[321] SMH 18 March 1864

[322] SMH 17 August 1864

[323] SMH 20 Nov 1865

[324] SMH, 18 August 1900 and gravestone inscription.

[325] Elyne Mitchell, Speak to the Earth, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1945 pp 3-6 (VX43577 TW Mitchell) and Caroline Gaden, Pounding Along to Singapore, a history of the 2/20 Battalion AIF, Copyright, Brisbane, 2012, (NX12543 EW Gaden).

[326] SMH, 11 May 1895

[327] Sunday Sun, l November 1817.

[328] SMH, 5 November 1917

[329] The Newsletter, an Australian paper for Australian people, Sydney, 10 November 1917, page 8.

[330] SMH 8 Jan 1896

[331] NSW BDM Register 17978/1871 and 18196/1872 and death 28652/1946

[332] Evening News 21 March 1873

[333] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 1 July 1873

[334] SMH 8 October 1873

[335] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 14 Feb 1874

[336] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 17 February 1874

[337] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 12 November 1874

[338] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 27 October 1874

[339] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser,   12 November 1874

[340] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 22 April 1875

[341] Australian Town and Country Journal 9 April 1881

[342] Wagga Wagga Advertiser, 17 June 1877 and 8 June 1882.

[343] Bowral Free Press 6 Dec 1884

[344] Wagga Wagga Advertiser, 31 Dec 1887

[345] Wagga Wagga Advertiser, 21 Aug 1888

[346] Wagga Wagga Advertiser, 14 July 1891

[347] Molong Express and Western District Advertiser , 4 November 1893        

[348] SMH, 7 May 1894, 12 May 1894

[349] SMH, 28 Feb 1913

[350] Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 7 March 1913

[351] SMH 22 July 1922 and NSW BDM Death 12859/1922 Waverley

[352] Photographs taken by the author of the graves of Mary Newcombe (died in 1917 aged 70) and Annie Rebecca Tayler (in 1869 she had married Dr William George Tayler, he died 1913, she died in 1922, the marriage appears to have been without issue and John Arnold, The Stuckey Family of Longreach NSW, Self published, Booval, Queensland, 1986.

[353] Photographs taken by Bob and Caroline Gaden, 2013 and SMH 4 June 1894.

[354] SMH, 17 September 1888

[355] John Arnold, The Stuckey Family of Longreach NSW, 1986, Booval, Queensland.

[356] AWM war service record for William Gould Balcombe, Service Number 7348

[357] Caroline Gaden, Pounding Along to Singapore, a story of the 2/20 Battalion AIF, pp 1, 38, 233.

[358] Balcombe Family tree prepared by the author.

[359] Catalogues of the Mitchell collection of the NSW State Library, the National Library, the National Gallery in Canberra and the Queensland University Art Museum.