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Paterson River history

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The Lang family

Mary Dunmore. Andrew, George and William Lang. Emily Caswell.


George Lang, son of Mary Dunmore and William Lang, arrived in New South Wales in 1821 at the age of 20 and was granted 400 acres of land by Governor Macquarie.[1] His grant was later increased to 1,000 acres and it was measured at 1,050 acres after survey. It was on the Paterson River immediately south of William Evans block "Belle Vue" and across the river from John Galt Smith's block "Woodville".[2] George Lang named his grant Dunmore after his mother's maiden name.

The Dunmore estate in the Parish of Middlehope on the Paterson River

In 1823 George's parents William and Mary arrived in New South Wales along with George's brother Andrew and sister Isabella. Another brother, John Dunmore Lang, who would become a well known colonial cleric, politician and historian, had arrived in the colony a few months earlier.

In January 1825 George Lang died from illness, aged in his early 20s.[3] Andrew then took over the Dunmore estate, assisted by his parents. William was killed in 1830 when the ship on which he was travelling was wrecked on its way from Newcastle to Sydney.[4]

sale of part of Goulburn Grove to Andrew Lang

Dunmore House still stands today. The back portion was possibly constructed in 1827, but a more definite dating for the house indicates it was completed in 1833.[5]

As shown in the press clipping (above right), in March 1834 Andrew Lang purchased from SL Harris about 1,220 acres of land adjoining the orginal Dunmore grant on the south east[6] (the additional land is shown as portion 35 on the above map). The village of Largs stands on the extended Dunmore estate. The 1828 Census of NSW indicates Andrew Lang at Dunmore had 2,330 acres, of which 50 acres were cultivated and 100 acres cleared. He was running 90 cattle and 5 horses, assisted by 12 male convicts, 1 female convict and 2 free workers.[7]

press clipping re Dunmore windmill

Andrew and William Lang established a horse-powered flour mill at Dunmore in 1828, where settlers could take their wheat to be ground for 18 pence a bushel.[8] In 1831 Andrew converted to wind power when he constructed a substantial windmill (see press clipping at right).[9] This mill is shown in Robert Russell's painting of Dunmore House (see below).

painting of Dunmore House

Dunmore House, Patersons River, 1837. Watercolour by Robert Russell.

In August 1844 Mary Lang died at Dunmore at the age of 75.[10] In 1849 at the age of 45 Andrew Lang married Emily, the eldest daughter of Lieutenant William Caswell of Balickera, Williams River. After the death of their infant son in 1851 Andrew and Emily re-settled in Devonshire. Andrew died in London in 1874 and Emily in Devonshire in 1889.

Lang tomb across the road from Dunmore House

Across the road from Dunmore House, near the intersection of Paterson Road and Largs Avenue, is a tomb where Mary Dunmore Lang is buried along with her daughter Isabella and Isabella's husband, Robert Muir, and the infant son of Andrew and Emily Lang. (GPS: 32° 41.253'S 151° 35.992'E stop sign on private property but can be seen from road)


1. NSW Colonial Secretary's Correspondence – Macquarie's approval of 400 acres is dated 30 October 1821. See also: Mitchell, Cecily. Hunter's River. Newcastle: 1973, pp184-190.

2. Cannon, Geoff. The First Title Holders of Land in the Counties of Camden, Cook, Hunter, Durham and Gloucester, 2004 (CD).

3. Sydney Gazette, 20 January 1825 p2.

4. Maitland Mercury, 10 August 1844 p3. This needs to be confirmed by an 1830 report of the shipwreck, which is proving difficult to find.

5. Roxburgh, R. Early Colonial Houses of New South Wales, p353.

6. Sydney Herald, 31 March 1834 p3.

7. Sainty MR and KA Johnston (eds). Census of New South Wales 1828. Library of Australian History, 2008 (revised edition on CD).

8. Monitor, 28 May 1828 p2.

9. Sydney Herald, 5 September 1831 p4.

10. Maitland Mercury, 10 August 1844 p3.