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Edward Gostwyck Cory & Frances Johnson

Silhouette portrait of Edward Gostwyck Cory by Richard Dighton c1837- 1842

Edward Gostwyck Cory. Silhouette portrait by Richard Dighton c1840 (State Library of NSW).


Edward Gostwyck Cory was born in Devon in 1797 to landed gentry parents John Cory and Mary Gostwyck. Edward arrived in New South Wales in 1823 on the Allies with his wife Frances (nee Johnson) and his father John. Soon after arrival Edward was granted 2,030 acres of land on the Paterson River which he named 'Gostwyck' after his mother's family (see map).

In 1826, following the death of his neighbour George Frankland the previous year, Edward Cory leased 'The Vineyard' (Frankland's land that adjoined Gostwyck) and moved into Vineyard Cottage with Frances. Edward acquired more land and by 1828 had 4,800 acres that ran along the Paterson River from his original Gostwyck grant to the Wallarobba hills.

Edward and Frances continued to live at Vineyard Cottage while Frances' mother lived at Gostwyck. Towards the end of 1831, however, Edward and Frances built a house and a water-driven flour mill at Gostwyck and moved there from Vineyard Cottage. A lithograph of the c1831 Gostwyck House appears below.[1]

Lithograph of Gostwyck on the Paterson River by George Rowe between 1834 and 1851

Lithograph of Gostwyck on the Paterson River by George Rowe between 1834 and 1851 (State Library of NSW).

Edward Cory did not confine his land acquisitions to the Hunter Valley. In the late 1820s he purchased land on the Pages River near Blandford and established Beckham Station. With most of the better land in the Hunter Valley now taken up, Cory looked for land beyond the official limits of settlement. About 1830, with W Warland and William Dangar (a brother of Henry Dangar), he squatted on approximately 1,300 acres on the Peel River.

In 1832 Cory explored the New England area and, displaying remarkable bushcraft, discovered a track across the Moonbi Ranges that would later form the route of the Great Northern Road. Continuing along the tablelands, Cory occupied large tracts of land at Salisbury Waters and established the stations of Gostwyck (his second Gostwyck), Terrible Vale and Salisbury Plains.

Extracts from the report of Joseph Coleman's trial

Extract from a newspaper report on the trial of Joseph Coleman (Sydney Gazette 9 February 1833 p.2).

1832 was not just notable for the bushman's explorations; it was also the year Cory was nearly killed at Paterson by Joseph Coleman, one of Cory's assigned convicts. In October Coleman refused to work and when confronted by Cory hit him over the head with a shovel, inflicting a significant wound and knocking him senseless.

Coleman was found guilty of intent to kill by the Supreme Court in Sydney and sentenced to be executed. The Governor ordered he be hanged on Cory's farm at Paterson but Cory refused and Coleman was hanged on Monday 18 March 1833 on gallows erected in the vicinity of Old Banks at Patersons Plains.[2]

Cory sold his New England Gostwyck to William Dangar in 1834 and his other New England stations to Robert Ramsay Mackenzie ext link in 1837. 'Although his connexion with this area was short, his explorations of the tablelands north of Tamworth, and his discovery of a route across the Moonbis contributed to the early settlement of the New England district.'[3]

In about 1839 Edward and Frances repatriated to England for six years before returning to New South Wales. In 1847 Edward became a founding member of the Hunter River Vignerons Association which was formed to foster the development of the wine industry. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace (honorary magistrate) in 1849.

Frances and Edward Cory died at Gostwyck (Paterson), Frances in 1870 aged 70 and Edward in 1873 aged 76. They are buried in St. Paul's churchyard at Paterson.[4].

In 1874 Gostwyck was sold to John Ponsford Luke who immediately demolished Gostwyck house to make way for a new dwelling that was completed in 1876 and survives today as Gostwyck house.

Gostwyck House, undated c1970s

Gostwyck House, undated c1970s (Paterson Historical Society).


1. Gent, Lesley. Cory - Luke - Cooper - Priestly: Gostwyck, Paterson 1823 to 2009. Paterson, 2009.

2. Sydney Gazette 9 February 1833 p2. The Sydney Gazette of 16 March 1833 p2 reported that the sentence was to be carried out 'opposite the Court-House, at Paterson's Plains'. This was at Old Banks. The first courthouse in the village of Paterson was not built until early 1835. In 1833 a wooden lockup and courthouse were still in use at Old Banks. For a report of the hanging see the Sydney Herald 21 March 1833 p3.

3. Australian Dictionary of Biography.

4. Clements, Pauline. Burials in St. Paul's Church Cemetery Paterson New South Wales: Part one, from 1839 to 1900. Paterson, 1996 p.88 & pp.101-102.


Gent, Lesley. Cory - Luke - Cooper - Priestly: Gostwyck, Paterson 1823 to 2009. Paterson: Paterson Historical Society, 2009.

Mitchell, Cecily. Hunter's River. Newcastle, 1973.

Taylor, Everil. The History of the Cory Family. Published by the author, 1995.

External links

Edward Gostwyck Cory in Aust. Dict. Biography.

The Corys of Patersons Plains: Jocelyn Lloyd's website.

Index to the NSW Colonial Secretary's papers. There are several papers listed for Edward Gostwyck Cory.

See also

An overview of settlement at Patersons Plains from 1822.