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Paterson River history

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John Tucker jnr, Catherine Flynn & Frances Turner

[Albion Farm]

John Tucker jnr was one of the first Europeans to take up land at Patersons Plains. He was born in Sydney in 1795, following his parents' arrival there as convicts in 1791 and 1792. John moved to Newcastle with his parents and sister in 1804 when his father, John Tucker snr was appointed Commissariat storekeeper at the Newcastle penal settlement. They moved back to Sydney in 1805 and returned to Newcastle in 1807.

In 1812 John Tucker jnr joined a team of timber cutters sent to procure a special order of Hunter Valley cedar logs. As reward for a job well done, Governor Macquarie permitted five of these men to establish small farms in the lower Hunter Valley. They were John Tucker jnr (free), John Reynolds (convict), John Swan (convict), Benjamin Davis (convict) and George Pell (convict). John Tucker jnr initially settled on land allowed to his father. For the location of their blocks, see map.

John Tucker jnr was 17 years old when he managed his father's 30 acres of land on the east bank of the river at Patersons Plains in 1812 (see image below). He delivered his farm's produce to the store in Newcastle and by 1814 sold surplus wheat in Sydney.[1]. In about 1816 John Tucker jnr was allowed to settle in his own right, and the land he chose joined his father's farm.

map of Tucker's block in 1812

In 1815 John Tucker jnr married Catherine Flynn but she drowned shortly afterwards, along with George Pell and two others.[2] Catherine had arrived in New South Wales in February 1813 on the Archduke Charles with a seven year sentence[3] and in October that year she 'absented herself' from the female factory at Parramatta.[4] In fact she stowed away on the Archduke Charles with four men and, on their arrival in China the five fugitives were detained on the frigate Doris for one year before being taken to Calcutta and then returned to Sydney on the Frederick,[5] arriving on 26 April 1815. As a result of her escape, Catherine was sent to Newcastle in May 1815 for two years and probably met Tucker there.

In 1818 John Tucker jnr wed Frances Turner who had arrived in January 1816 on the Mary Anne as a convict with a seven year sentence for stealing watches and other goods. She was aged 18.[6] Frances worked as a nurse at Sydney Hospital, but in July 1816 she 'absented herself' from employment[7] and was a fugitive from the constables until apprehended a month later and sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle.[8] Here she met Tucker and escaped servitude, legally this time, via marriage to settle with him on his small farm at Paterson River.

In 1818 Governor Macquarie visited Patersons Plains and reported as follows:

We proceeded up this branch [Paterson River] to the farms some time since permitted by me to be occupied by 6 well behaved convicts and two free men. Arrived at the first farm (young Tucker's)... where we landed and walked about for some little time examining the improvements and nature of the soil, which is most excellent.[9]

By the end of 1822 John had cleared 49 acres cleared and planted 30 acres of wheat. He had two horses, 29 pigs and 11 cattle. From the acreages indicated in the 1822 muster, he was running his 30 acre farm in combination with the adjoining 30 acre grant belonging to his father, John Tucker snr.[10]

In June 1824 John Tucker jnr applied to have his farm converted to a small land grant, and his father lodged a similar application at the same time. Each was granted about 315 acres, and the combined block of 630 acres of Albion Farm is shown in the map below. (The first official title holder of Albion Farm was D Brown, the executor of John Tucker jnr's estate).

Albion Farm as finally granted

By 1828 John Tucker jnr and Frances were living at Albion Farm with their six children, the eldest of which was eight.[11] John jnr died in 1838 and was buried at Albion Farm where his father and mother were also buried (died 1834 and 1839 respectively). The now unmarked family plot is believed to be located at 32° 39.80'S 151° 36.367'E. (If you have Google Earth on your device you can click on this kmz file to open the program and show the gravesite.)

Frances remarried, first to James Peattie and then to William Doidge.

Anne Tucker, the eldest child of John Tucker jnr and Frances, married John Taylor in 1839 (research by Peter Hale, see details ).

Notes and references

1. Walsh, Brian. European Settlement at Paterson River 1812 to 1822. Paterson: Paterson Historical Society, 2012.

2. SG 29 July 1815 p2.

3. Convict shipping indents, 4/4004 [fiche 633] p449, SRNSW.

4. SG 23 October 1813 p1 and repeated to 19 February 1814 p1.

5. "Catherine Flynn (Flenn) (1795-1815)" in Mel Woodford and Jan Richards, They Sent Me North – Female Convicts in the Hunter, Newcastle Family History Society, 2019.

6. Convict shipping indents, 4/4005 [fiche 636] p133, SRNSW.

7. SG 27 July 1816 p2 and repeated to 24 August 1816 p1.

8. CS, 4/3495 [reel 6005] p115, SRNSW.

9. from Governor Macquarie's journal of his tours as cited in The Settlers of Paterson's Plains, see reference 1 above.

10. Baxter, Carol (ed.). General Muster and Land and Stock Muster of New South Wales 1822. Australian Biographical and Genealogical Record, 1988. Note: the 1822 muster correctly indicates John Tucker jnr was born in the colony but indicates incorrectly, in view of other evidence, that he was serving a seven-year colonial sentence.

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

External links

  • Index to the NSW Colonial Secretary's papers. There are several papers listed for John Tucker jnr. There is only one paper listed for Frances Turner, see reference 7 above.
  • Online transcripts of the journals of Governor Macquarie: his 1812 trip to Newcastle and his 1818 trip to Patersons Plains.

See also

An overview of settlement at Patersons Plains up to the end of 1821.