CHARLES HOOK was a Scottish merchant who hailed from Argyllshire. Before coming to the colony of New South Wales, he had been a merchant in India, where his brother Captain Lionel Cook was employed by the East India Company. In Calcutta, CHARLES HOOK worked for the firm Campbell & Clark and eventually became a partner. By 1805, the firm was known as Campbells, Hook & Co. HOOK arrived in the colony per the firm’s ship Eagle (1808) and joined the firm’s Australian branch. The firm was known to support the deposed Governor WILLIAM BLIGH. In 1809, HOOK was incarcerated on a charge of sedition for distributing BLIGH’s proclamation declaring New South Wales in a state of mutiny.
HOOK had close ties with the HASSALLS, was an original shareholder in the Bank of New South Wales. Under Macquarie’s governorship, HOOK was a magistrate.
In 1821, HOOK’s servant, ELIZABETH RICHARDSON, a young apprentice from the Female Orphan School, fell pregnant to JOHN BATMAN, son of WILLIAM BATMAN and MARY BATMAN. JOHN BATMAN refused to acknowledge the child as his, and refused to marry ELIZABETH, though HOOK and THOMAS HASSALL were both certain he was the father.
HOOK died at Parramatta, aged 64, and was buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta
- Section 1, Row N, No. 13, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta
Abstract: In recent years, Parramatta Lanes festivalgoers have packed into a narrow laneway bearing the sign ‘Batman Walk’ off Macquarie Street, Parramatta, to feast on flavoursome street food whilst feasting their eyes on quirky art installations. Perhaps one or two attentive types made a jocular comment about the caped crusader, little realising that this particular laneway actually owed its name to an old Parramatta family that resided here, in a humble cottage that predated and once shared the same allotment as the architect James Houison’s two-storey sandstone Georgian townhouse at 64 Macquarie Street. The present day redevelopment of Parramatta being what it is, even since the festival, the laneway has been widened as part of the city’s new Civic Link: ‘a green, pedestrianised public space and cultural spine’ physically ‘connect[ing] public life from the heart of Parramatta CBD to the River.’ Yet, due to its former occupants ‘the Batmans,’ a small vertebra of that ‘cultural spine’ also invisibly connects to Parramatta’s historic St. John’s Cemetery, and even more broadly, connects the City of Parramatta to Lutruwita (Tasmania) and Narrm, the City of Melbourne in historically significant ways. However, for reasons this essay makes plain, that very history is precisely why the Batman name and image has already proven highly controversial in Victoria. So what does this mean for how the City of Parramatta, as the birthplace of John Batman, “remembers” the Batmans, and the “narrative” it offers its residents and visitors to “read” in its revised urban plan of our streets and laneways? Read more>>
By James Dunk
Abstract: Though he really was, for a time, one of the principal inhabitants of the colony with a good deal of land and money in his hands, Nicholas Bayly was never satisfied, and never successful. Perhaps he was a poor match for the colony. Others seemed to make the most of the freedoms and opportunities of their colonial setting. They took their free land from Aboriginal People, free convict labour, free seed, free stock, free food. They traded astutely, farmed wisely, made money, and built up small and great estates and left much more to their children than they had inherited. But Nicholas Bayly took one wrong turn after another, almost from the outset. And yet he seems worth remembering—not as a successful colonist, a ‘principal inhabitant’ of the settler colony, whatever that might mean, or as a masculinist hero of the rebellion, but as the marked anti-settler of the colony, the one who could not or would not settle. Read more>>
- Margaret Steven, “Hook, Charles (1762–1826),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hook-charles-2196/text2835, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 12 April 2021.
# Came Free
# Ship: Eagle (1808)
# Burial Year: 1826
# Grave: marked