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Paterson River history

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John Herring Boughton & Charlotte Westbrook


John Herring Boughton and Charlotte Maria Westbrook arrived in New South Wales in September 1822 on the brig Fame and were married in Sydney two weeks later, possibly as the result of a shipboard romance. Shortly after their marriage John Boughton received 2,000 acres of land on the Paterson River, and he named his grant 'Tillimby' (see map).

In common with other Hunter Valley estates at the time, Tillimby was operated mainly by convict labour. In July 1825 three convicts escaped from Vicar Jacob's farm at Luskintyre and began bushranging in the area. Five men absconded from Tillimby to join them, and the band was called Jacob's gang or Jacob's mob. The gang committed a series or robberies, a rape and arson before their capture in October 1825.[1]

Servants quarters at Tillimby

Servants' quarters at Tillimby, now demolished (photo: Athol D'Ombrain collection).

map showing Boughton's land grant

Boughton's land grant on the Paterson River. See full map.

Tillimby was the site of an early christian cemetery although the evidence is conflicting. On 1 December 1826 Archdeacon Scott requested the Rev. Middleton to fence off a quarter of an acre of his glebe at Patersons Plains and authorised Middleton to bury corpses there.[2] This burial ground was several kilometres downstream from Tillimby (see map showing Middleton's glebe). Another source indicates Middleton selected a site for a cemetery on Tillimby during a visit there in 1825 and that this cemetery was used until 1843.[3] Perhaps both sites were in operation for a while.

In Sydney in 1827 John Herring Boughton was sworn in as an attorney and solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court, indicating legal training and possibly practice in Devon prior to his emigration. In October 1829 John and Charlotte returned to England where they remained for two years.

In 1833 Boughton purchased 149 acres of land at Teralba on Lake Macquarie. This land became known at Boughton Point and the name has since evolved to the present day Bolton Point. In 1834 Boughton purchased land at Reid's Mistake (the entrance to Lake Macquarie) which is part of present day Swansea. Here he established an evaporative salt works operated by his assigned convicts. Salt was in great demand as a meat preservative and as an antiseptic.

In 1837 Boughton obtained a Depasturing Licence on Ohio Creek in the Walcha district where he ran over 3,000 sheep tended by 11 shepherds. He sold this Licence to Abraham Nivison in 1842.

Boughton also expanded his landholdings in the Paterson area, purchasing several lots from 1836 onwards, including a portion of Cintra and adjoining land in 1838. He was active in civic affairs in the district, becoming a member of the Paterson District Council in 1844 and Warden of Paterson in 1850.

John boughton's death notice in the Maitland Mercury

Above: news of John Boughton's death in the Maitland Mercury 30 September 1854.

John and Charlotte Boughton did not have children of their own, but they adopted a young girl named Mary Ann Tomlins who became known as Mary Ann Boughton. Charlotte died in 1853 at the age of 50 years while John drowned in a boating accident on Lake Macquarie in 1854 at the age of 64. John and Charlotte were initially buried at Tillimby but the burial site was affected by flooding and they were reinterred in the churchyard at St. Paul's, Paterson in the 1870s.

In 1859 Abraham Nivison of Ohio Station at Walcha purchased all the Paterson land formerly owned by Boughton.


1. Hartley, Dulcie. John Herring Boughton of Tillimby, Paterson. Paterson, 2000.

2. Waddell, James. A History of St. Peter's Church East Maitland NSW. Published by the author, 1996. Waddell cites the letter from Scott to Middleton from p.327 of Scott's Letterbook.

3. Mitchell, Cecily. Hunter's River. Newcastle, 1984 p146. Mitchell indicated Lieutenant Cory and his wife were buried at Tillimby and re-interred in St Paul's the following century. In this book the Lieutenant is Gilbert Cory who died in 1896 and his wife Jeanette who died in 1854, both after the Tillimby burial ground had ceased operation. Further investigation would be useful.


Hartley, Dulcie. John Herring Boughton of Tillimby, Paterson. Paterson: Paterson Historical Society, 2000.

External links

Index to the NSW Colonial Secretary's papers. There are several papers listed for John Herring Boughton, listed as John Henry Boughton.

See also

An overview of settlement at Patersons Plains from 1822.