Old Parramattans

Old Parramattans is a collection of peer-reviewed essays featuring people connected to numerous heritage sites of Parramatta and buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, Australia’s oldest surviving European cemetery (1790), and/or registered in the St. John’s Parish burial register.

The biographies in the collection have been selected and edited by historian Dr. Michaela Ann Cameron and, while some are voluntary contributions, those marked with an asterisk have been supported by either the New South Wales Government through a Create NSW “Arts and Cultural grant” (2019–2020); a Parramatta City Council Community Grant (2016); or a small grant from the Royal Australian Historical Society through funds allocated from the Heritage Branch of the Office of Environment and Heritage (2015) [See “Credits” below for the key]. Using these funds, a number of historians have applied their expertise to tell these diverse stories from Old Parramatta, ranging from content on First Peoples, First Fleeters, Second and Third Fleeters, to missionaries, surgeons, Female Factory inmates and personnel, children, convicts, constables and colonial elites.

This work is ongoing, but the essays that are currently available can be accessed below.

Augustus Alt: The Baron** [Memorial]

Lydia Barber: A Real Tess of the d’Urbervilles [Memorial]

George Barrington: The Prince of Pickpockets*

Rogues, Rapists, Cheats, Thieves and Murderers: The Batmans* [Memorial]

Nicholas Bayly: The Anti-Settler* [Memorial]

Sarah Bell: Female Factory Matron* [Memorial]

Elizabeth Bennett: The Baker’s Wife [Memorial]

William H. Bennett: An Eminent Baker [Memorial]

Elizabeth Bourke: A Much-Lamented Lady* [Memorial]

The Killing and Keening of Simon Burn* [Reported Grave]

Mary Cavillon: Homemaker, Housebreaker* [Memorial]

Nicholas Cavillon: A Hardened Villain* [Memorial]

Thomas Chipp: The Marine*

Frances Hannah Clements: The Convict’s Child [Memorial]

William Cosgrove: Duty and Destiny* [Memorial]

Catherine Crowley: A Convict Sea Wife* [Memorial]

Thomas Daveney: The Tyrant of Toongabbie* [Probable Grave]

Henry Dodd: The Faithful Servant** [Memorial] [Marker]

My Lord Dunn: A Tragicomedy

Elizabeth Eccles: The Dairy Maid [Probable Grave]

Thomas Eccles: The Swine Connoisseur** [Memorial]

Edward Elliott: The Husbandman** [Memorial]

Lady FitzRoy: The People’s Lady* [Memorial] [Public Monument]

Thomas Freeman: Minding the Store* [Memorial]

The Grimshaws: The Eternal Masquerader* [Memorial]

A ‘Raw, Ignorant Boy’: John Harris, Esquire* [Memorial]

Deborah Herbert: A Prigger of Toggery [Memorial]

John Herbert: From Felon to Farmer** [Memorial]

The Hollands: Guns ‘n’ Tuberoses* [Memorial]

Hugh Hughes: The Wheelwright Made Right** [Memorial]

John Irving: The Best Surgeon Amongst Them*

Mary Kelly: The ‘First Lady’ of Kellyville*** [Memorial]

Prudence Kerr: Dear Prudence*

David Killpack: The Merry Mutineer** [Memorial]

Isaac Knight: The Trusty Sergeant** [Memorial]

Elizabeth Lawry: Little Babe* [Memorial]

‘The Indifferent Characters of Many of the Females’: Mary Leeche and Colonial Controversy in the 1830s*

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Lees: Departed Innocence*

Catherine Leigh: Faithful Coadjutor* [Memorial]

John Lewis: The ‘First’ Murder*

The Wretched, Rascally and Depraved Magees, and the Story of St. John’s First Burial* [Memorial]

Samuel Marsden: A Contested Life [Memorial]

John Martin: The Self-Freed Slave*** [Memorial Plaque]

Mary Martin: Ungodly Visitation* [Memorial]

Thomas Martin: The Ripples of a Revolution*

James McManus: The Wrath of a Madman

Jane McManus: The Maid Freed from the Gallows*** [Memorial]

“He was a Clever Chiel Geordie, Tae be Only a Weaver”: George Mealmaker* [Memorial]

Josephine Mercelin: Convicts, Slaves and the Global Entanglements of New South Wales and Mauritius

Sarah Moses: Tell the World I Died for Love* [Memorial]

Lives Left Behind: The Forsaken Families of First Fleeters William Gloster and James Ogden*

Christopher Palmer: Perils of a Purser* [Memorial]

John Palmer: The Purser, The P.O.W** [Memorial]

Richard Partridge: The Left-Handed Flogger

Benjamin Ratty: Convict Constable* [Memorial]

Mary Rowe: At What Price Theft?*

Ann Smith: A Plunderer*

Mary Anne Smith: A Murder is Announced* [Memorial]

Mary Smyth and John Kenny: A Murderer’s Banes in Gibbet Airns*

St.  John’s Parsonage: Lost Landmark*

Introduction: Lost Landmark*
Part I: Georgian Parsonage*
Part II: Victorian Mansion*
Part III: Ladies’ College*
Part IV: Edwardian Rubble*

Grievable Lives*

No Pity for the Hunted: The Tarlingtons, Little Jemmy and Little George* [Memorials [1] [2] [3] [4]]

The Taylors: I Am But Sleeping Here* [Memorial] [Recorded Grave]

D’Arcy Wentworth: A Gentleman Rogue* [Memorial]

John Williams: The Mayor of Reinvention* [Memorial]

James Wright: The Highwayman*** [Memorial]


The essays in the Old Parramattans collection marked* are supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

The essays marked** were supported through a Parramatta City Council Community Grant.

The essays marked*** were assisted by funds allocated to the Royal Australian Historical Society through the Heritage Branch of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The essays without any asterisk were completed on a voluntary basis and donated to the project by Matthew Allen, Michaela Ann Cameron and Briony Neilson.

Collection Design, Research Assistance, Editing, Multimedia and PublishingMichaela Ann Cameron.

Peer Reviewers: Special thanks to the academic peer reviewers who have so generously volunteered their time (but must remain anonymous).

Authors: Caitlin AdamsMatthew Allen, Sarah A. Bendall, Michaela Ann CameronAlexander Cameron-Smith, James Dunk, Elizabeth de Réland, Penny Edwell, James Findlay, Catie GilchristJennifer McLarenDavid Morgan, Briony Neilson, Danielle Thyer, Ben Vine.

Additional Research Assistance: Jennifer FollersThe Fellowship of First Fleeters, who provided published compilations of First Fleet burials that allegedly occurred in the parish of St. John’s, Parramatta, according to C. J. Smee and Ron Withington: see the ‘Acknowledgements’ section of the First Fleet dataset for further details. Mark Pearce, churchwarden of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta, provided valuable feedback regarding some minor factual details on a number of the pieces published as part of this collection: see the ‘Acknowledgements’ sections in Dr. Matthew Allen’s Samuel Marsden: A Contested Life, Dr. Sarah A. Bendall’s Lady FitzRoy: The People’s Lady, and Dr. Danielle Thyer’s Hugh Hughes: The Wheelwright Made Right. Sue Bell, descendant of Sarah Bell, for research assistance she provided to Dr. Jennifer McLaren for Sarah Bell: Female Factory Matron. The Friends of Honeywood Museum for their assistance in sourcing the Zoffany portrait of the Bourke family for Elizabeth Bourke: A Much Lamented Lady, and to Betsy Bourke’s direct descendant, Janine Wilson, for bringing the portrait to our attention as well as the general feedback she supplied for Dr. Catie Gilchrist’s essay. Thanks to Dr. Alexander Cameron-Smith for sharing the fruits of his archival research at the State Records Authority of New South Wales, which was essential for the completion of The Killing and Keening of Simon Burn. Thanks to Locating London’s Past for pre-approving the use of all extracts of their incredible map resource, Locating London’s Past (www.locatinglondon.org, version 1.0), throughout the project, courtesy of MOLA/MOTCO. David Auger, the online parish clerk for Rainham on Kent Online Parish Clerk (http://www.kent-opc.org/), assisted in tracking down the parish registers online required for reconstructing the lives of some of the peripheral individuals featured in Elizabeth Eccles: The Dairy Maid. Professor Penny Russell and her Research Assistant Dr. Melissa Harper supplied research for Dr. Sarah A. Bendall’s Lady FitzRoy: The People’s Lady. Dr. Anthony Vaver assisted with the attempt to trace Christopher Magee’s movements on arrival as a transported convict in America for The ‘Wretched,’ ‘Rascally’ and ‘Depraved’ Magees and the Story of St. John’s First Burial. Sonnia Ryan, a descendant of Jane McManus, confirmed that Jane’s Macquarie St. allotment was on the site of what is now “The Strand” for the piece Jane McManus: The Maid Freed from the Gallows. For Dr. Michaela Ann Cameron’s Sarah Moses: ‘Tell the World I Died for Love,’ Philip Moses and Jeannette Tsoulos of the Australian Jewish Historical Society assisted in differentiating the convict Moses Moses from the free merchant also named Moses Moses alias Moses Moss, while Anne Drayton at the State Library of New South Wales, confirmed an image of unknown origin that is featured in the piece is held in their collection. Donald N. Hagist assisted in the attempt to understand Ann Smith’s experience in the Revolutionary War for Dr. Ben Vine’s piece Ann Smith: A Plunderer. For Dr. Danielle Thyer’s A Murder is Announced, Peter Selley of The Medical Gentlemen of Bow, (http://medicalgentlemen.co.uk/, 2020), assisted by providing a transcript of the criminal proceedings of Ann Parker alias Wilcox, which are held at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, at The Box, Plymouth, England and Stuart Gregory, Administrator of the Mid North Coast Pioneers: Newcastle to Lismore and Beyond (http://mncp.scss.dyndns.info/, 2020) assisted by sharing a copy of a family history resource. Diana Tilley-Winyard, archivist at Tara Anglican School for Girls, assisted Dr. Michaela Ann Cameron’s research by generously providing a copy of Bronwyn Hubbard, Tara: A Telling of the Tapestry, (Masons Drive, North Parramatta: Tara Anglican School, 1997), which was invaluable in telling the story of Lost Landmark: St. John’s Parsonage, Parramatta. For David Morgan’s piece John Williams: The Mayor of Reinvention, John Williams’s descendants, Dr. Ellen Jordan, Vicki Wilson, and the Fermor Isaac Descendants in Australia and New Zealand Facebook page admin Merrie Bott, assisted David Morgan by answering queries during the research phase of the essay, while Helen Guy generously permitted St. John’s Online to publish the 1866 image of Williams to accompany the published piece. Thank you to the Cade family for granting permission to publish the Holland family photos from their private collection for Dr. Michaela Ann Cameron’s The Hollands: Guns ‘n’ Tuberoses.

Intern: Abbie Hartman.

© Copyright 2015–2021 Michaela Ann Cameron