D’Arcy Wentworth was born near Port an Dúnáin (Portadown), County Armagh, in the province of Ulster (present-day Northern Ireland) on 14 February 1762. He was the youngest son and the sixth child of eight born to D’Arcy and Martha (née Dixon) Wentworth. His grandfather had been a barrister and his father was a rather more modest, yet still genteel, ‘middling-sort’ of inn-keeper. The Wentworths descended from ancient English aristocratic lineage which could be traced back at least twenty generations. As was common in the eighteenth century, the Irish Wentworths maintained connections, ties and patronage with their privileged high society kinsfolk, most notably the very influential Lord William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam.
In 1782, D’Arcy was commissioned as an ensign in the 1st Provincial Battalion of the Ulster Volunteers and later trained as a medical surgeon. In 1785 he moved to London, ostensibly to further his medical knowledge. But here, by the late 1780s, he was neither keeping up with his medical studies nor honouring his ancient and very respectable family name. Rather, he was living beyond his means, gambling and drinking intemperately. More alarmingly, he was keeping company with ‘bad characters’ and ‘strumpets’ of dubious repute in the dens and rookeries, the ‘flash houses’ and squalid candlelit taverns of the dissolute environs of the south-east end of London.
Between January 1787 and the close of 1789, the handsome and impressionable young cad was embroiled in a series of dastardly, deliciously disreputable, yet never legally proven incidents of highway robbery. Sometimes alone, occasionally acting in concert with other ‘scoundrels’ and ‘footpads,’ and armed with a pistol, his alleged depredations were committed on the dark and dangerous stretches of roads that crossed the heaths and commons of Georgian London. Hiding his face behind a black silk crepe—although not his voice and its distinctive Irish brogue—the large, stout gentleman looted watches, jewellery, purses, coins, chains, seals and anything else worth pawning. He subsequently appeared at the Old Bailey in London and in courts elsewhere in the south of England. By the close of the decade he had become ‘notorious, famous and celebrated’ for being a highwayman. Yet according to the ‘Bloody Code’ this was a heinous crime and one that was usually rewarded with a long drop and a very ignoble ‘launch into eternity’ at the end of the executioner’s noose.
At each trial, he was acquitted of being a ‘gentleman of the road.’ But there is never smoke without fire, and perhaps by 1789 D’Arcy Wentworth had begun to lose some of his swaggering effrontery and audacious nerve. For the dashingly brash, blue-eyed rogue decided to cut his losses—or was perhaps strongly advised to. Following his final appearance at the Old Bailey on Wednesday 9 December 1789 his barrister, the esteemed William Garrow, announced to the many curious, voyeuristic if not bawdy onlookers in the public galleries his client’s intention to ‘self-transport’ himself. And so, in the middle of December 1789, in the year of the tumultuous French Revolution and uproar in Europe, D’Arcy Wentworth made his way to Plymouth. Here, he embarked as a free passenger on the soon to set sail Neptune. The large transport ship was then part of the Second Fleet, waiting to leave the south coast of England for the recently established penal colony on the other side of the world at ‘Botany Bay.’ And like so many of the thousands who sailed from British shores in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, either by choice or by force, D’Arcy Wentworth would never return home again.
The Second Fleet
‘The slave trade is merciful compared with what I have seen of this fleet’
Captain William Hill, NSW Corps
The Second Fleet was an armada of six ships that sailed from England (in the main) during the winter of January 1790 and arrived at Warrane (Sydney Cove) at the start of the southern hemisphere winter in June 1790. It was comprised of soldiers and captains, seamen, a few free persons and 1257 convicts who ranged in age from 10 to 68 years. It also carried out the New South Wales Corps who were to replace the marines sent with the First Fleet. Their presence was to significantly shape and mould the first two decades of white settlement in the colony.
For many of the male (including indiscriminately berthed boy) convicts, the voyage was a hideous enterprise of mistreatment, starvation, cruelty and shockingly high mortality rates. With typhoid fever, dysentery and scurvy rife, of 1006 involuntary exiles embarked on three of the ships, Neptune, Surprize and Scarborough, a staggering if not scandalous 26.5 per cent died on the voyage. Many that survived arrived in a dreadful state of filth, disease emaciation and ‘their own nastiness.’ The Reverend Richard Johnson, the First Fleet Chaplain, greeted the convicts of the Surprize upon their arrival at Warrane (Sydney Cove). According to the minister, it was a horrid spectacle to witness indeed:
Went down amongst the convicts, where I beheld a sight truly shocking to the feelings of humanity, a great number of them laying, some half, others nearly quite naked, without either bed or bedding, unable to turn or help themselves. Spoke to them as I passed along, but the smell was so offensive that I could scarcely bear it…The Neptune was still more wretched and intolerable, and therefore never attempted it…The landing of these people was truly affecting and shocking…Upon their being brought up to the open air some fainted, some died upon deck, and others in the boat before they reached the shore…
IMAGE: Revd. Richard Johnson, B.A., chaplain to the settlement in New South Wales / G. Terry pinxt.; G. Terry sculpt. Paternoster Row. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Upon disembarkation almost 500 Second Fleeters required medical attention in the General Hospital and in the additional 30 canvas tents that had been hastily erected for the emergency on the west side of Warrane (Sydney Cove). Dozens died upon landing or within days or mere weeks of arrival. In his Account of the Colony, David Collins noted that by the last day of June there were still 349 perilously sick patients and every morning ‘opened with depositing in the burying-ground the miserable victims of the night.’
Unlike the First Fleet, which had been a remarkably strategic and logistical military exercise of precise and minute planning, the British Government had abrogated much of their responsibility for the safety and care of the Second Fleet convicts. The powers that be in London had accepted a low tender from the slave trading firm Camden, Calvert and King for their conveyance to New South Wales. These unscrupulous London merchants were paid per head in advance to look after their bodily needs with regards to food, medicine, victuals and clothing. However, anything that was not used on the voyage could be sold upon arrival. Thus, there was no incentive for them to land their human cargo in good health or, in fact, even alive. As a result, starvation, medical negligence and wretched living conditions on board the transports had ensued. Most of the male convicts had been chained together for much of the long treacherous journey. Many died unable to move, still shackled to their fellow starving neighbour, the rations of the deceased secretly claimed until the stench of their rotting flesh became too unbearable for even the utterly desperate yet still living to withstand. As historian John Ritchie has noted, the mortality rate ‘was the highest of any transports that came to the Australian colonies in the eighty-year history of convict transportation.’ The tragedy of what was labelled the ‘Death Fleet’ was one of the first instances of ‘a corrupt traffic in human misery’ to further darken the history of British settlement upon the fatal shores of Cadi (Sydney).
Beyond wilful neglect and cruelty, the long journey to New South Wales was an extreme undertaking for anyone in the eighteenth century, convict or free. Shipwreck, pestilent disease and early, untimely death were threats to all and sundry. D’Arcy Wentworth took a significant gamble with his life when he decided to exile himself on the dangerous voyage rather than risk another appearance at the Old Bailey. Yet as a doctor and relatively privileged, free gentleman, Wentworth escaped the neglect and mistreatment of the luckless convict cargo and survived, as indeed did his fellow passengers, surgeon John Harris and John and Elizabeth MacArthur travelling with their sickly infant son Edward—although the hasty and histrionic Lieutenant Macarthur almost did not. Following a ‘gentlemanly’ dispute and the exchange of some rather ‘warm conversation’ concerning rather trifling details about the Macarthurs’ accommodation on board the Neptune, John Macarthur participated in a duel with the Captain, Thomas Gilbert. And this was before the fleet had even left the cold and wintry shores of Plymouth, Devon on the south coast of England. But for so many men imbued with a particular notion of gentlemanly ‘honour,’ the desire for ‘satisfaction’ when it was seemingly impugned and its ultimate restoration by the ridiculous and increasingly anachronistic tradition of ‘pistols at dawn,’ such then was life.
Early Colonial Life
D’Arcy Wentworth arrived in the colony unscathed although he did not remain in Cadi (Sydney) for long. On 1 August 1790, with 156 female and 37 male convicts, two superintendents and necessary stores and troops from the corps, he sailed in the Surprize for the tiny Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean. The party landed at the remote rocky outpost 905 nautical miles east-nor’-east on 7 August.
With him travelled Catherine Crowley, a female convict and his ‘sea wife’ from the Neptune. Catherine had been convicted at the Staffordshire Assizes on 30 July 1788 for ‘feloniously stealing wearing apparell’ [sic] from a house at Newcastle-under-Lyme. The sixteen-year-old thief was sentenced to seven years transportation across the seas. For most women so convicted, this sentence equated to ‘for the term of their natural life’ as few would ever return to their native home again, transportation being in effect a permanent separation of ‘the greatest width the world would allow.’ On 25 October 1789, with four other women, Catherine Crowley was sent from Stafford Gaol to Woolwich on the Thames for embarkation on the Neptune and, like so many convict women arriving in New South Wales between 1788 and 1840, would sadly never see England’s ‘green and pleasant’ lands again.
There was another person accompanying D’Arcy and Catherine: their son, born on board the Surprize as it lay anchored off Cascade Bay, Norfolk Island, on 13 August 1790. D’Arcy helped with the birth. Despite his inauspicious entry into the world he went on to be the well-known explorer, barrister, landowner and political giant of New South Wales: William Charles Wentworth (13 August 1790–20 March 1872). Whether D’Arcy was in fact the father of the young child is open to question, although he certainly acknowledged and loved him as such. Two more sons were subsequently born to the couple: Dorset Crowley (b. 23 June 1793) and Matthew Crowley (b. 13 June 1795). A daughter Martha died in infancy. All three boys were later sent to England for an education befitting their gentlemanly (albeit bastard) status. Yet cohabitation and illegitimacy were common in the early years of the colony and Wentworth was neither the first nor indeed the last gentleman to take a convict mistress. In theory, it was all terribly scandalous of course, but in the circumstances of colonial New South Wales, with its deep gender imbalance and lack of free women, it was perhaps rather inevitable. Catherine always stayed out of the public spotlight, yet few back in the mother country would have been aware of the Wentworths’ unmarried status, nor their sons’ dubious birthright. D’Arcy’s alleged career as a notorious highwayman would, however, naturally leave a lasting whiff of infamy and scandal for those who remembered.
Norfolk Island had been officially claimed for His Majesty, King George III in March 1788 when a small party from the First Fleet had sailed there in the Supply to establish a second British settlement in the Pacific. Arthur Phillip had appointed Phillip Gidley King as first superintendent and commandant. It was there, at Norfolk Island, that D’Arcy Wentworth resolved to reinvent himself. He was going to make his mark on the world, whichever way he could and, in so doing, restore the honour of his ancient family lineage. Gradually, he gained the respect of his superiors for his ‘propriety, punctuality and industry.’ On this remote, far flung settlement he commenced his Australian medical career in an unpaid role as acting assistant surgeon. In 1791, Wentworth was appointed acting superintendent of convicts on Norfolk Island. Never an admirer of the lash, he preferred prisoners to be treated with gentleness and encouragement. ‘On Munday [sic]’ 6 June 1791, Lieutenant Ralph Clark noted in his journal that having ordered Sarah Lyons to be flogged with ‘50 lashes for abusing Mr Wentworth—she only received 16 as Mr Wentworth begd [sic] that she might be forgiven the other thirty four…’ Later, D’Arcy Wentworth was long remembered for his humanity to the convict servants who were under his charge.
In August 1792 Philip Gidley King, who had recently been promoted to the lieutenant-governorship of the island, further appointed D’Arcy Wentworth a constable, in charge of law and order at the small settlement in Queensborough. A token annual salary of £40 acknowledged his slow, official acceptance by the colonial authorities. In addition, Wentworth was successfully growing maize and wheat and rearing goats and pigs. The fruits of his labours were sold to the commissariat on the island and he also began to export to Cadi (Sydney). This shrewd combination of official position and private enterprise would characterise the rest of his working life. Back in England, the newspapers began to report that the dastardly London highwayman was behaving himself remarkably well on the tiny penal outpost of Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.
The de facto family remained at Queensborough until February 1796 when they returned to Warrane (Sydney Cove) on the Reliance. In April, D’Arcy Wentworth advanced his medical career when he was officially appointed to serve as one of the assistant surgeons of the colony. Finally, he had a proper income, official status and the much-desired outward trappings of respectability. His lucrative trading enterprises also increased and in May 1799 he was made assistant surgeon at Parramatta’s General Hospital. On 18 October, he leased six acres just south of the township. Here, he built an opulent private residence known as ‘Wentworth Woodhouse.’ On 12 November 1799, Governor John Hunter granted him a further 140 acres of land four miles east of Parramatta. It was to be the first of many government land grants and later, grazing tracts and farms were acquired at Homebush, Duck River, Cooke, Toongabbie and even further afield in the Illawarra district.
Sadly, Catherine Crowley died on 6 January 1800, in her twenty-eighth year. She was buried at the quiet, secluded St. Johns churchyard at Parramatta. D’Arcy subsequently changed Catherine’s sons’ names. Six-year-old Dorset became D’Arcy Wentworth and four-year-old Matthew was henceforth to be known as John Wentworth. John tragically died of yellow fever whilst at sea on 20 February 1820 and was ‘confined to the deep’ following the rites of the Church of England. Later, second son D’Arcy was interred with his parents in August 1861 following his death in Launceston, Lutruwita (Tasmania), on 21 July 1861. His career had largely been spent in the British Army. Captain Wentworth married his Scottish born wife Elizabeth Macpherson in Edinburgh in April 1826. Their long union of 35 years unusually produced no children. Unlike his notorious father, the second D’Arcy Wentworth was not particularly well known in New South Wales. However, out of respect to the Wentworth name, and indeed to his elder brother William Charles, the well-attended funeral at Parramatta on Tuesday 6 August 1861 was a large gathering of many of the colony’s most distinguished and celebrated citizens.
D’Arcy’s Second Family
D’Arcy Wentworth senior was never one to do things by half. Following the death of Catherine Crowley in 1800, his private life was shared by two rather different and equally dubious (to polite colonial society at least) English women.
Maria Ainslie had been transported for seven years and reached Cadi (Sydney) in the Indispensable on 30 April 1796. Referred to as D’Arcy Wentworth’s housekeeper at his Homebush property she was in fact his mistress. Despite her felonious past, or perhaps in complete ignorance of it, Maria was fondly loved by Catherine Crowley’s three young sons. It was a love which remained long into their adult lives.
More central to D’Arcy Wentworth’s private life—and for the remainder of his life—was Ann Lawes. On 28 April 1810, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser printed a notice from one ‘James Mackeal’ [sic] informing the good citizens of Cadi (Sydney) that his wife ‘Mary Ann Mackneal’ [sic] had absented herself from his ‘house and habitation without any provocation.’ She had also ‘left an infant son destitute of maternal protection.’ The irate husband further warned that any person found to be harbouring her would be prosecuted ‘to the utmost rigour of the law’ and he cautioned all not to give her credit on his account as he would ‘pay no debt she may contract after this notice.’ Rather salacious to be sure, but it was not unusual for notices about wayward wives and wandering husbands to appear in the colonial newspapers. Mary Ann Lawes, had arrived as a free passenger in the Lady Madelaine Sinclair in 1806. Just thirteen years of age, she went into service and married Macneal in 1808. The circumstances of her first acquaintance with D’Arcy are obscure, but two years after exchanging her marriage vows she deserted her first family for the wiles and charms of Dr. Wentworth. In an attempt to downplay the scandal, Ann, like Catherine Crowley, remained largely isolated from public life. She lived quietly with Wentworth in ‘a state of concubinage’ in Cadi (Sydney) and Parramatta. Ann’s infidelity to her first family was never to be repeated and their long ‘illicit’ union resulted in eight children, seven of whom outlived their father: George (1810–1851), Martha (1813–1847), Sophia (1816–1878), Robert Charles (1818), Charles John (1819–1854), Mary-Ann (1820–1870), Katherine (1825–1898) and D’Arcy Charles (also known as Charles D’Arcy) (1828–1866).
D’Arcy Wentworth’s private life certainly caused some familial umbrage. In 1818, and much to the disgust and distress of his third son John, Maria Ainslie was ‘relocated’ to Wentworth’s Sydney house on George Street. Her ‘usurper,’ Ann, was installed as matriarch at his 1205-acre Home Bush estate. Sadly, John left the colony in despair at his father’s foolish, immoral actions and, despite the best efforts of eldest brother William Charles, the two failed to reconcile before John’s untimely death at sea in 1820.
Whatever his moral failings as a womanising philanderer, in his will D’Arcy Wentworth was exceedingly generous to both women. Maria Ainslie was left a large sum of money, granted a handsome weekly stipend and given the luxury of rent-free accommodation in the Sydney house for the rest of her life. She died in November 1841, prosperous and a woman of ‘independent means,’ albeit reputedly ‘eccentric’ and of ‘intemperate habits.’ Mary Ann Lawes was permitted to remain at the Home Bush estate, with all its luxuries and furnishings, its horses, carriages and comforts. She died there on 25 November 1849 aged 58 years. D’Arcy Wentworth left all of his children well provided for in land grants and money, the hard-earned fruits of his long colonial career.
Climbing the Colonial Ladder
D’Arcy Wentworth was certainly slighted by some of the ‘exclusive’ faction in Cadi (Sydney). He had arrived in the colony under dubious and degraded circumstances and his private life was deemed unconventional if not deeply disreputable to those with aspirations to colonial respectability. In the convict colony, one’s status largely hinged on keeping oneself free of the convict taint and maintaining impeccable moral standards, so a social and political divide emerged between the ‘exclusives’ who arrived as free persons and the ‘emancipists’ who landed as prisoners but whose sentences had since expired. Yet many emancipists went on to make decent, prosperous lives for themselves and D’Arcy Wentworth too became an early colonial success story. Whilst some sought to cut him down, rather than take personal umbrage or resort to ‘a polite exchange of bullets,’ the rumours and slurs which sought to traduce and impugn his character were mostly ignored. Indeed, for the most part he ‘acquiesced in his exclusion from polite society and made his closest friends among the emancipists.’ His public career and rise to prominence were the result of his much-needed skills as a medical surgeon, the generous land grants he was given by a succession of the early governors, and his well-connected name and family background. It was probably also due to D’Arcy playing the colonial patronage game; keeping quiet when he needed to and being crafty, astute, if not ruthless when necessary. Perhaps fatherhood or middle age had sobered him up from his dissipated youthful years in London. Maybe with his solid family background and aristocratic connections he had been blessed with bright prospects from the very beginning. Or was his, just the luck of the Irish?
By October 1807, for example, Wentworth had amassed 1219 acres, owned 29 sheep, 27 horned cattle, 14 horses and 30 swine. He cultivated some of his land for wheat and maize, had an orchard of 9 acres and employed one overseer and five servants, three of whom were convicts. In February 1809 D’Arcy was promoted to Principal Surgeon of the Civil Medical Department covering Cadi (Sydney) and Parramatta. That year, according to French visitor François Péron, Parramatta consisted of about 1500 persons with ‘brick barracks, a strong prison, a house of industry for female convicts, a public school for the young girls of the colony,’ a church, and a brick hospital ‘well regulated’ by ‘the principal physician Mr. D’Arcy Wentworth.’
With the arrival of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, D’Arcy Wentworth’s fortunes had continued to expand. In March 1810 he was given the important responsibility of serving as the Treasurer of the Colonial Police Fund. The following month he was appointed a trustee and commissioner of the new turnpike road from Cadi (Sydney) to the Hawkesbury alongside the prominent emancipists Simeon Lord and Andrew Thompson. The original choice had not in fact been Wentworth, but the Reverend Samuel Marsden. Marsden, however, had refused to work with Lord (an ‘opulent’ merchant) and Thompson (an ‘opulent’ farmer) because these two ‘degraded’ ex-felons both lived with women they were not married to and his association with them would ‘denigrate’ his sacred functions. In May, Wentworth was appointed a Justice of the Peace and in December 1810 he was made Superintendent of Police in Cadi (Sydney) and a Magistrate of the territory of New South Wales. His police headquarters stood at the corner of George and Bridge Streets in Sydney Town. By this time, he also served as Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s personal physician, family doctor, confidant and also his close friend.
D’Arcy Wentworth as Police Magistrate
A strange, perverse, carnivalesque world turned upside down was how many British contemporaries saw ‘Botany Bay’ in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. The gross irony of a penal colony where ex-convicts might make riches beyond their wildest dreams or be granted large swathes of verdant fertile land was not lost on the countless, vocal and very truculent critics of convict transportation. Ex-convicts might also keep very ‘respectable’ company, could act as attorneys in the civil courts and serve as jurors and magistrates. Giving former felons opportunities to transform themselves into upstanding members of the colonial community was all part of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s guiding philosophy and his courting of D’Arcy Wentworth was in this respect no exception. That a reputed highwayman might sit at the dinner table at Government House, nay become the chief police magistrate in Cadi (Sydney), was centrally integral to his ‘levelling,’ if not, enlightened worldview. To others with more conventional mores it was a preposterous state of affairs, not to mention utterly disreputable and morally obscene.
As Police Magistrate, the former highwayman Wentworth dispensed summary justice to malingerers, absconders, drunks, thieves, rogues and vagabonds—both free and bond. More serious offences of assault, fraud, bigamy and buggery were also heard. Convict complaints against cruel or petty masters and grievances about work conditions or rations were also on occasion taken to the Chief Magistrate. Wentworth heard them all and generally responded with fairness and justice. As he had shown earlier as superintendent of convicts at Norfolk Island, his punishments were rarely excessive or cruel. He preferred to treat his own convict servants with generosity and kindness in the knowledge they would prove to be more productive workers, loyal servants and, ultimately, much better citizens. Often, then, Wentworth was motivated by self-interest but this was merged with an unusual degree of benevolence. Prior to the outlawing of female flogging, he usually ‘spared female convicts the pain and humiliation’ of the lash and sentenced them to a stint at the Female Factories at Parramatta.
D’Arcy Wentworth the Businessman
Beyond his land grants, his paid work for the government and his medical career, Wentworth had also become a rather canny and astute businessman. On Saturday 26 May 1810, in his capacity as Acting Principal Surgeon, he announced to the colonists that it was His Excellency the Governor’s intention to contract for the building of a new General Hospital and Medical Officers’ Quarters in Sydney Town. The new hospital was to replace the original hospital in Major’s Row, near Tar-ra (Dawes Point) at the edge of Talla-wo-la-dah (The Rocks) and plans for the new 200-patient structure would be available to view at Wentworth’s Sydney house in George Street in two weeks’ time.  But it was in fact the wily D’Arcy Wentworth together with his partners Alexander Riley and Garnham Blaxcell who were instrumental in building what came to be known as ‘the Rum Hospital’ on Macquarie Street, Cadi (Sydney). In return for the right to hold a near monopoly and import 45,000 gallons of liquor for the thirsty colonists, (later increased to 60,000 gallons), the hospital was commissioned and built. It opened on 8 April 1816. Quite how the Chief Superintendent of Police—whose important task it was to uphold law and order and keep the streets of Sydney respectable and sober—and the main importer of spirituous liquors into the colony reconciled his two seemingly contradictory roles, Wentworth has left us few clues. According to John Ritchie, to Wentworth ‘there was no conflict of interest between his official position and his private concerns.’ As a keen horse racer, gambler and general merrymaker, some aspects of Wentworth’s youth had clearly not quite left him.
In 1816, D’Arcy Wentworth played a significant role in ‘the great public undertaking’ of founding the Bank of New South Wales for the ‘purpose of loan, discount and deposit.’ Much to his own prestige and pecuniary advantage, he served as both a director and a principal shareholder. The bank opened on Tuesday 8 April 1817 in the home of the remarkable emancipist businesswoman Mary Reiby in Macquarie Place, Cadi (Sydney). Interested parties were informed that on its first day of trading it would be open between the hours of ten in the forenoon until two o’clock.
Liberal and pro-emancipist in politics, D’Arcy Wentworth supported trial by jury and advocated the election of a colonial legislature on the long-held British principle, later reiterated by the gold diggers at the Eureka Stockade, of ‘no taxation without representation.’ His eldest son William Charles would later become the principal spokesman and champion of such beliefs. Yet with such libertarian ideologies, D’Arcy Wentworth and his fellow passenger from the Neptune, the resolutely ‘exclusive’ John MacArthur, never agreed—although on the tyranny of William Bligh they presumably found some unusual common ground.
In 1807 Bligh had moved to court martial Wentworth for privately employing a number of convicts who were convalescing at the Parramatta General Hospital. Bligh also suspended him from his post as assistant surgeon and withdrew his salary until the British Government sent further instructions. The Colonial Office in London later concluded that Bligh had acted improperly in his treatment of Wentworth. During the extraordinary proceedings of the ‘Rum Rebellion’ on 26 January 1808, unlike one of the chief perturbators, John Macarthur, D’Arcy Wentworth exercised rather more restraint. Whilst he sympathised with the rebels, he watched events unfold from the safety of the crowds gathered outside Government House. By the close of the following year, Wentworth had obtained a further 1872 acres of land in the Parramatta district for his supposed neutrality. A less generous explanation might suggest that he had stood on the sidelines and plotted his own ambitious, pecuniary gain from the entire sordid episode.
Death and Legacy
D’Arcy Wentworth gradually withdrew from his official government appointments from 1818 onwards. He retired from public life altogether in 1825. Following a severe attack of influenza (pneumonia) he died ‘at his seat at Homebush on the Parramatta Road’ on Saturday 7 July 1827. He was sixty-five years of age. His eldest son William Charles ‘was with him when his spirit was summoned to eternity.’  His youngest child D’Arcy Charles was not yet born. The colony had changed beyond recognition from a remote penal outpost of just 591 Europeans in his year of arrival in 1790 to a (still penal yet also) thriving colonial seaport and agricultural arcadia of 35,000 inhabitants by 1827. On his death, it was noted that he was the largest landholder if not the wealthiest man in the colony. Yet beyond his glittering wealth, it was his honour and high integrity, his zealous professional duty and his long and dutiful public service for which he was particularly noted. Highly esteemed and well regarded as a man ‘of manly and independent principles,’ he had also been a friendly and humane gentleman. All four colonial newspapers—the Sydney Gazette, the Monitor, the Australian and the Gleaner—printed panegyrical obituaries. None mentioned the circumstances of his arrival in the colony, only the legacy he had left behind after thirty-seven years residence in it. The Monitor generously eulogised that he had been ‘a lover of freedom, a consistent steady friend of the people, a kind and liberal master, a just and humane Magistrate, a steady friend and an honest man.’ His death, they lamented, was ‘a national loss.’ He was buried two days later at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. The mournful, impressive funeral procession extended for almost a mile.
D’Arcy Wentworth’s life in colonial Sydney as a surgeon, landowner, government official and astute businessman had been a whole world away from County Armagh, Ulster (Northern Ireland), the place of his birth. It had also been a very different life to the one he had reputedly once played out on the dangerous highways, byways and vulnerable open commons of southern England, where a dastardly and dishonourable young highwayman had, allegedly, once terrorised the local inhabitants of Georgian London. His life in Cadi (Sydney) had been a remarkable one and it left a deeply lasting legacy, not least in the figure of his firstborn son, William Charles Wentworth. And for D’Arcy himself, controversial though he was, in many ways his gentlemanly honour had indeed been restored.
Catie Gilchrist, “D’Arcy Wentworth: A Gentleman Rogue,” St. John’s Online (2021), https://stjohnsonline.org/bio/darcy-wentworth, accessed [insert current date]
Biographical selection, assignment, research assistance, editing & multimedia: Michaela Ann Cameron.
Catie Gilchrist, “Catherine Crowley: A Convict Sea Wife,” St. John’s Online (2021).
- Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0), 12 December 1787, trial of DARCY WENTWORTH and MARY WILKINSON, otherwise LOOKING (t17871212-7).
- Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0), 9 December 1789, trial of D’ARCY WENTWORTH (t17891209-1).
- [Enclosure No. 2] “Court Martial on D’Arcy Wentworth, New South Wales, 17th February, 1808,” in Frederick Watson, Historical Records of Australia: Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. VI, August 1806–December 1808, (Sydney: The Library Committee of the Commonwealth Parliament, 1916), pp. 446–53.
- J. J. Auchmuty, “Wentworth, D’Arcy (1762–1827),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wentworth-darcy-1545/text3917, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 26 March 2019.
- Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993).
- Catie Gilchrist, “Duelling in Colonial Sydney,” Dictionary of Sydney, (2016), http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/duelling_in_colonial_sydney, accessed 19 April 2019.
- John Ritchie, “The Crimes of Darcy Wentworth,” Tasmanian Historical Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, (1998): 1–13.
- John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997).
 Martha Wentworth died on 17 July 1803 in her 76th year and his father died on 14 November 1806 aged 84. For a potted biography of D’Arcy Wentworth see Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993), pp. 601–03. For a more expansive one see J. J. Auchmuty, “Wentworth, D’Arcy (1762–1827),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wentworth-darcy-1545/text3917, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 26 March 2019.
 The ‘flash house’ specialised in gambling, prostitution and the sale of strong liquor.
 D’Arcy Wentworth was tried four times on nine separate charges of highway robbery. Read transcripts of his trials via Old Bailey Online. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0), 12 December 1787, trial of DARCY WENTWORTH and MARY WILKINSON, otherwise LOOKING (t17871212-7), https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?div=t17871212-7, accessed 12 April 2019; Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0), 9 December 1789, trial of D’ARCY WENTWORTH (t17891209-1), https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?div=t17891209-1, accessed 12 April 2019. For a detailed secondary account of his alleged crimes and misdemeanours see John Ritchie, “The Crimes of Darcy Wentworth,” Tasmanian Historical Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, (1998): 1–13.
 Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993), p. 602.
 Original witness statements relating to D’Arcy’s crimes, handwritten by Justices of the Peace, can be viewed via London Lives (https://www.londonlives.org/). Each of these primary documents relating to D’Arcy are already listed under the “Primary Sources” heading on D’Arcy Wentworth’s profile page on St. John’s Online, https://stjohnsonline.org/name/darcy-wentworth-ii/.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 17.
 Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0), 9 December 1789, trial of D’ARCY WENTWORTH (t17891209-1), https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?div=t17891209-1, accessed 12 April 2019. As historian Babette Smith has rightly and wryly noted, “He self-transported to Botany Bay after one too many acquittals for highway robbery.” Babette Smith, “Jane Austen and D’Arcy Wentworth: did a Sydney surgeon steal her heart?” The Australian, May 13, 2017, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/jane-austen-darcy-wentworth-did-a-sydney-surgeon-steal-her-heart/news-story/75c46de91b052d2b4bc49de0b04b64a6, accessed 6 May 2019.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 42.
 The six included the privately chartered transports Lady Juliana (which departed from the Thames earlier on 4 June 1789), Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, the store ship Justinian and the Royal Navy store ship HMS Guardian. The Guardian left English waters on 14 September 1789. It was carrying much needed food, tools, man power and other necessary supplies to the then struggling penal colony but it did not complete the voyage. The store ship made ‘a fatal stroke’ against an iceberg off the Cape of Good Hope in December 1789. It managed to limp meekly to Table Bay but in February it had to be abandoned. Much loss of both cargo and convicts ensued. For a list of Aboriginal endonyms and their related European exonyms used in this project see Harold Koch and Luise Hercus (eds.), Aboriginal Placenames: Naming and Re-naming the Australian Landscape, (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2009), p. 42, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=HyHh-OrnRGoC&lpg=PR1&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed 26 August 2019. For a general discussion about giving prime position to indigenous endonyms and subordinating European imposed exonyms in both the colonial Australian and colonial American contexts as a mark of respect and to “sound” language, see “Name-Calling: Notes on Terminology,” in Michaela Ann Cameron (Ph.D. Diss.), “Stealing the Turtle’s Voice: A Dual History of Western and Algonquian-Iroquoian Soundways from Creation to Re-creation,” (Sydney: Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney, 2018), pp. 25–35, http://bit.ly/stealingturtle, accessed 6 December 2019.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 30.
 This amounted to 267 dead: 256 men and 11 women. In contrast only 24 out of 759 convicts had died on the relatively ‘successful’ eight-month journey of the First Fleet. This was just three per cent. Furthermore, for the unlucky Second Fleet convicts, of those who made it to Sydney nearly forty per cent were dead within eight months of their arrival in the colony. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993), p. 1.
 The Neptune and the Scarborough entered The Heads on 28 June, two days after the Surprize, and anchored at Sydney Cove on the 29 June 1790. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993), p. 49; George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, BA, First Chaplain of New South Wales, Part One, (Sydney: D. S. Ford Printers, 1954), p. 32.
 Richard Johnson, “The Rev. R. Johnson to Mr. Thornton, [Extract],” [c. July 1790], in F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. I, Part 2—PHILLIP, 1783–1792, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1892), p. 387, accessed 6 May 2019. See also George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, BA, First Chaplain of New South Wales, Part One, (Sydney: D. S. Ford Printers, 1954), pp. 30–34.
 According to the Reverend Richard Johnson, 486 were landed sick and ‘the misery I saw amongst them is inexpressible.’ George Mackaness (ed.), Some Letters of Rev. Richard Johnson, BA, First Chaplain of New South Wales, Part One, (Sydney: D. S. Ford Printers, 1954), p. 32.
 David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, (Melbourne and London: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited, n.d.), p. 91, accessed 6 May 2019.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 41.
 Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993), p. 2.
 For more on the duelling ritual and its continued performance in the Colony of New South Wales see Catie Gilchrist, “Duelling in Colonial Sydney,” Dictionary of Sydney, (2016), http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/duelling_in_colonial_sydney, accessed 19 April 2019. Before the Second Fleet left England, Captain Thomas Gilbert was removed from the command of the Neptune following another ‘ungentlemanly’ dispute on board. Unfortunately for the convicts, the notorious and tyrannical Captain Donald Trail replaced him. See Michelle Tucker, Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World, (Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2018), pp. 23–62.
 Vernon W. E. Goodin, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta: Monumental Inscriptions and Key to Graves, (Sydney: The Society of Australian Genealogists, 1964), p. 2.
 For a biography of Catherine Crowley see Catie Gilchrist, “Catherine Crowley: A Convict Sea Wife,” St. John’s Online, (2019), https://stjohnsonline.org/bio/catherine-crowley, accessed 6 May 2019. See also Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1993), p. 229.
 See Michael Persse, “Wentworth, William Charles (1790–1872),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wentworth-william-charles-2782/text3961, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 27 March 2019.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 64.
 Clark arrived on Norfolk Island on 13 March 1790 and remained there until 19 November 1791. Paul Fidlon and R. J. Ryan (eds.), The Journal and Letters of Lt. Ralph Clark, 1787–1792, (Sydney: The Library of Australian History, 1981), p. 202.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 64 citing the Advertiser, 20 January 1792, p. 252.
 The brick hospital had replaced the original Tent Hospital established there in 1789. However, limestone had been unavailable so the year before D’Arcy began working there David Collins reported that all the Government buildings of Parramatta “were so far decayed as to be scarcely able to support their own weight.” See David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London; T Cadell Jnr, and W Davies, 1798), p. 163 and David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. II, (London; T Cadell Jnr, and W Davies, 1802), p. 83.
 Terry Kass, Carol Liston and John McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, (Parramatta: Parramatta City Council, 1996), p. 94. Because of the opulent dwelling and the improvements made to the site, the lease was renewed in 1806 and became an official land grant in 1810. By 1819 the Wentworth Woodhouse estate had increased to 31 acres which W. C. Wentworth inherited on the death of his father in 1827.
 F. M. Bladen, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. IV—Hunter and King, 1800, 1801, 1802, (Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer, 1896), pp. 46–47, accessed 8 May 2019.
 Terry Kass, Carol Liston and John McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, (Parramatta: Parramatta City Council, 1996), p. 95.
 When D’Arcy Wentworth died in July 1827, Catherine’s remains were placed in his vault. The Wentworth vault is located at Section 2, Row J, No. 3, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p. 117. Note that the death date is not from a primary source but from John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 83. The St. John’s burial register does not record Catherine’s death date or, quite unusually, her burial date either, but it is clear the burial occurred in early January based on the subsequent dates. See Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 190.
 “Family Notices,” Launceston Examiner (Tas.: 1842 – 1899), Tuesday 23 July 1861, p. 4; “Funeral of the Late Major Wentworth,” Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 7 August 1861, p. 4; Vernon W. E. Goodin, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta: Monumental Inscriptions and Key to Graves, (Sydney: The Society of Australian Genealogists, 1964), pp. 62–63.
 No children were born to the housekeeper and her lover.
 This was Commissioner John Bigge’s assessment of their relationship. Quoted in John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 197
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 137.
 Her wealth can be measured by the theft of some very valuable jewellery and a large stash of money shortly before she died. It was estimated to be worth between 600 and 700 hundred pounds. She reported the matter; however no one was apprehended. Later, in January 1843, Patrick Monaghan, the husband of her nurse and servant, was charged with having feloniously received her stolen goods. He was found guilty of the serious crime of larceny. At the Supreme Court on Monday 9 January his Honor Mr. Justice Burton sentenced Monaghan to be transported to Van Diemen’s Land “for the term of his natural life.” This was later commuted to transportation for fourteen years. “Supreme Court,” Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843), Thursday 12 January 1843, p. 4.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 236.
 D’Arcy Wentworth’s eldest daughter Martha married John Reddall Esq., on 12 March 1828. “Family Notices,” The Monitor (Sydney, NSW : 1826 – 1828), Saturday 22 March 1828, p. 5. She died on 1 January 1847 and was buried in the Wentworth plot at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. His youngest daughter Katherine married Benjamin Darley Esq., in Sydney on 6 February 1847. “Family Notices,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Monday 8 February 1847, p. 3. She was the longest living of D’Arcy Wentworth’s children and died in London on 14 November 1898.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 235.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 104.
 The appointment was not officially confirmed by the Colonial Office in London until July 1811. Until it was, he had to include ‘acting’ before his official title.
 “Government and General Orders,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser NSW : 1803 – 1842), Saturday 31 March 1810, p. 1; “Government and General Orders,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser NSW : 1803 – 1842), Saturday 7 April 1810, p. 1.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 133. See also ‘Marsden and the Turnpike Road Trust Affair’ in Terry Kass, Carol Liston and John McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, (Parramatta: Parramatta City Council, 1996), pp. 76–77.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 147.
 John Ritchie, The Wentworths: Father and Son, (Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1997), p. 148.
 “Classified Advertising. BANK OF NEW SOUTH WALES,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser NSW : 1803 – 1842), Saturday 30 November 1816, p. 2. The Bank of New South Wales was the ancestor of today’s Westpac Bank.
 [Enclosure No. 2] “Court Martial on D’Arcy Wentworth, New South Wales, 17th February, 1808,” in Frederick Watson, Historical Records of Australia: Series I: Governors’ Despatches to and from England, Vol. VI, August 1806–December 1808, (Sydney: The Library Committee of the Commonwealth Parliament, 1916), pp. 446–53.
 Major Johnston restored him to the office of assistant surgeon in February 1808. In 1816 D’Arcy Wentworth’s son William Charles Wentworth claimed he had fallen head over heels in love with the Macarthurs’ eldest daughter Miss Elizabeth Macarthur. It certainly would have been a prodigious dynastic match although, due to a quarrel over money with her father and perhaps the circumstances of William’s birth, it never eventuated. See Michelle Tucker, Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World, (Melbourne: Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2018), pp. 238–240.
 Ann Lawes was only just pregnant for he was not born until 5 March 1828. The son he never met became known as Captain Charles D’Arcy Wentworth. He died “after a painful illness” at Homebush on 2 May 1866 at the relatively young age of 38. “Family Notices,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Wednesday 23 May 1866, p. 10.
 D’Arcy Wentworth left an impressively large fortune including claims to over 34,000 acres of land across New South Wales which he left to his children. He also bequeathed stocks, securities, money and hundreds of valuable horses, cattle and sheep equally between his children and Ann Lawes. Probate was granted on 28 May 1828
 “The Late D’Arcy Wentworth,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Wednesday 11 July 1827, p. 4. It is worth noting that the Australian was founded by D’Arcy’s own son, William Charles Wentworth.
 Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. The Wentworth vault is located at Section 2, Row J, No. 3, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p. 117.
 Judith Dunn notes, “The funeral of D’Arcy Wentworth took from one o’clock to four o’clock to wend its way from Homebush to the graveside “accompanied by one hundred and fifty persons of the highest respectability in the colony, to be joined by hundreds more in Parramatta. After the funeral an invitation was extended to every individual without distinction who had attended to pay their last tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased, to adjourn to Walker’s Inn where a handsome entertainment was provided.” See Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), pp. 22–23.
 What the original inhabitants of Sydney and Parramatta felt about the land and wealth he had amassed by the time of his death in 1827, historians are only just beginning to uncover.
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