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Paterson River history

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Charles Boydell and Elizabeth Ritchie

[Camyr Allyn]

Charles Boydell was born on 29 February 1808, the sixth child and fourth son of Mary Anne and James Boydell. In 1825, at the age of 17, Charles wrote to the Colonial Office in London seeking a grant of land in New South Wales, and his application was successful.[1]

Later that year he sailed on the ship Prince Regent along with George Townshend and Alexander Park who would become his neighbours in the Gresford area of NSW. They arrived in Sydney in March 1826 and a few months later Boydell received a grant of 640 acres of land on the Allyn River above Townshend's grant (see map below). Boydell named his grant Rossett after his home in Wales and later changed the name to Camyr Allyn. His grant includes the present-day town of East Gresford and part of Gresford township.

At the end of 1828 Boydell was running 29 cattle and 526 sheep on his 640 acres, according to the 1828 census, but was not living on his grant. He worked for three years as superintendent on William Carter's estate of "Piercefield" between present-day Denman and Muswellbrook. When his contract finished there in December 1829 he was free to focus on his own land.

In February 1830 he was authorised to take possession of an additional grant of 640 acres which joined the northern boundary of his original grant. The Allyn River formed the eastern boundary to both blocks.

map of Camyr Allyn land

The orginal Camyr Allyn grant of 640 acres is the bottom block shaded green. The additional 640 acres is straight above it. The Allyn River forms the eastern boundary of both blocks.

By 1835 Charles Boydell was an honorary magistrate (date of first appointment to be found). Between 1833 and 1836 he purchased six blocks of government land with frontage to the Allyn River, running north from his original grant up to Allynbrook. He also purchased another three blocks in private ownership (details are provided in Jack Sullivan's book, see references below).

Camry Allyn 1840s

An undated water colour by Conrad Martens c1840s that is catalogued 'on the Paterson River' (State Library of NSW). It is probably a painting of Camyr Allyn showing a rocky stretch of the Allyn River just above the mill pond in the foreground.

On 2 May 1837 Charles Boydell married Elizabeth Ritchie, a granddaughter of John Blaxland. Elizabeth was aged 19 and they were married in St James' Church, Sydney, by Bishop Broughton.

Charles Boydell died at Camyr Allyn in August 1869 aged 61 and was buried at St Anne's Anglican Church at Gresford. Elizabeth died in August 1899 at Marrickville aged 82 and was buried at St Paul's Church in Canterbury, Sydney.

sketch of Allyn River below Camyr Allyn

Etching of one of Charles Boydell's Allyn River mills, located on the river below his house. The etching, published in the Illustrated Sydney News on 24 December 1870, is from an undated pencil sketch by Elizabeth Boydell.

ruins at Camyr Allyn 2017

Ruins of a stone building at Camyr Allyn in 2017 (photo: Brian Walsh).


1. The information on this web page is taken from Jack Sullivan's book on Charles Boydell, details of which are shown in 'references' below.


Sullivan, Jack. Charles Boydell 1808-1869 and Camyr Allyn, Allyn River, Gresford. Paterson: Paterson Historical Society, 1990.