Nicholas Bayly (1769–1823)

Lieutenant NICHOLAS BAYLY, described as being ‘among the most notable Parramattans,’ was the member of ‘a distinguished aristocratic English family, well represented in the English army, and also well and truly represented among the pioneer families of [New South Wales].’ He came to the colony as a member of the New South Wales Corps per Barwell (1797) and participated in the Rum Rebellion. BAYLY committed suicide at the age of 53 after being ‘for some time past in a declining state of health.’ On the day of his death and the day before, he had ‘manifested symptoms of delusion in the mind.’ At the time, he had been cashier of the Bank of New South Wales. A ‘long train of Civil and Military Officers, and other Gentlemen, followed’ a hearse containing his remains from the Bank as far as the toll-gate, and ‘Several Gentlemen…proceeded all the way to Parramatta.’ BAYLY is buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta in the same vault as his wife, SARAH, who passed away three years earlier, and infant daughter ELLEN, who passed away in January 1819. With his death, the couple’s large family of nine living children became orphans. Eventually, other members of the BAYLY family would be interred in the family vault.


  • Born: 3 September 1769
  • Arrived in the colony of New South Wales as an ensign in the New South Wales Corps:
  • Appointed to the committee to repair roads: 1805
  • Appointed naval officer (collector of customs and port dues): 1809
  • Appointed member of a deputation to present an address to GOVERNOR MACQUARIE: 1810
  • Appointed member of the Court of Civil Jurisdiction: 1812
  • Appointed cashier, Bank of New South Wales
  • Died: 16 May 1823.
  • Buried: 19 May 1823, “Shot himself.” Burial registered by JOSEPH KENYON.

Burial Location

  • BAYLY family vault, Section 3, Row C, No. 17, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Cause of Death

  • Suicide. “Shot himself.” (c.f. St. John’s burial register)


Related Content

Nicholas Bayly: The Anti-Settler (2020)

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>>



Primary Sources

Secondary Sources


# Came free

# Welsh

# Ship: Barwell (1797)

# New South Wales Corps

# Event: Rum Rebellion

# Cause of Death: Suicide

# Burial Year: 1823

# Grave: marked