Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Colonial Events 1805

January 1

Colonel Francis Grose of the New South Wales Corp appointed Major-General

January 17

Launch of the colonial schooner Governor Hunter....The launch of Isaac Nicholls' little vessel took place on Thursday morning about ten oclock. She went off in superior style; and sinking on the bosom of Thetis, was with the accustomed ceremony baptised the Governor Hunter. In about two months she makes her first sortie for King's Town, there to freight in cedar. - Sydney Gazette 20 January 1805. The Governor Hunter was lost at sea 1816


George William Evans, Surveyor General, discharged for fraud....Evans was persuaded by Captain William Kent to go to New South Wales, and he arrived at Port Jackson in H.M.S Buffalo on 16 October. Evans was initially given the position of store-keeper in charge of the receipt and issue of grain at Parramatta, but in August 1803 was appointed acting surveyor-general in the absence of Charles Grimes who was on leave in England. In September 1804 he discovered and explored the Warragamba River, penetrating upstream to the present site of Warragamba Dam. Discharged from the Survey Department by Governor Philip Gidley King in February 1805, he began farming at the Hawkesbury settlement on land granted to him the previous year. This venture failed during the disastrous flood of March 1806 - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.

March 15

Lieutenant Charles Menzies resigned from position of Commandant at the Second Settlement at Newcastle - Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. V, King 1803, 1804, 1805. Edited by F. M. Bladen, Lansdowne Slattery & Company, Mona Vale, N.S.W., 1979. 570 - 571. Lieutenant Menzies to Governor King, 15th March 1805. Sydney, New South Wales, 15th March 1805. Sir, When I volunteered my services and accepted the command of the settlement at Newcastle, it was at a time when no officer could be detached from head quarters, shortly after the late insurrection took place, and when the exigency of the service required an establishment immediately to be formed for the reception of the most troublesome United Irishmen, in order to separate them from their villanous advisers and connexions; but the colony having long since been restored to a state of perfect tranquillity and good order, and fearful that my remaining in this country any longer would interfere with my rank in the Army, I have to request that your Excellency will be pleased to permit me to resign the command of that district and return to England to my duty in the Royal Marines; and I hope my conduct during the whole of the time I have had the honor to be under your command has been actuated with a zeal for the interests and prosperity of this colony, and happy shall I feel myself if my exertions have in the smallest degree contributed to preserve that subordination so essentially necessary for the welfare of every well regulated Government - more particularly this. Permit me to return my sincere and heartfelt acknowledgements for the uniform protection and support which I have always received from your Excellency's in the execution of my duty, and which will ever be remembered by me with the most lively sense of esteem and gratitude for your Excellency's exalted character. I have etc., C.A.F.N. Menzies, Lieut. Royal Marines.

March 15

Ensign Cadwallader Draffen appointed Commandant at Newcastle. Governor King's instructions to Ensign Draffin on his appointment as Commandant


Loss of the vessel 'Francis' off Newcastle

March - April

Charles Throsby appointed Magistrate and Superintendent of convicts at Newcastle Governor King to Earl Camden
Sydney New South Wales
8 April 1805
My Lord, The Command of that Settlement (Newcastle) being given to an Ensign of the New South Wales corps, it soon became necessary to remove him to this place in consequence of a Mental Derangement, in which he still continues. Having no other person to put in charge of that productive and useful Establishment, I have placed it under the Charge of Mr. Throsby, an Assistant Surgeon, who conducts it with great Activity and Propriety
. - Historical Records of Australia Series 1 Vol. V, July 1804 - August 1806., p. 406.

April 11

Vessel 'Surprise' lost in a gale north of Coal Island....... We are concerned to state the loss of the sloop Surprise, belonging to Messrs, Kable and Co. near the entrance of Hunter's River, for which place she sailed from hence on Thursday the 11th instant; and after a dangerous and fatiguing passage, the three latter days of which she was quite out of water, made the spot upon which she was lost, to the northward of the Coal Island about two miles, and a heavy gale then suddenly setting in, obliged the people to run her a shore for the preservation of their lives, as no possibility remained of getting the vessel out. She grounded within two miles of the spot at the entrance of the River upon which His Majesty's colonial vessel Francis was lately lost....Sydney Gazette 28 April 1805


Troops sent to the Hawkesbury after deaths of settlers at the hand of natives

April 18

Colonial cutter Nancy wrecked....In addition to the losses recently sustained to the Colony in its small craft, we have to regret that of the above fine cutter on the 18th ultimo, a few miles to the southwards of Jervis Bay - Sydney Gazette 5 May 1805

April - May

Launch of Henry Kable's whaler King George - the first of its type in Australia. Burthen over 200 tons; dimensions 87 feet over all, 22 feet seven inches beam, and 14 feet hold. King George, Master William Moody, 185 tons in ballast to the River Derwent 9 October 1805; returned to Port Jackson 5 April 1806 with 1 ton black whale oil; sailed to the southward 27 April 1806; returned 12 August 1806.

May 1

William Bligh Esq., appointed Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over the Settlement of New South Wales (The Morning Chronicle 1st May 1805). Governor Bligh arrived on the Lady Madeline Sinclair in August 1806.

May 8

John Grant who arrived on the Coromandel in 1804, was an associate of Maurice Margarot and Sir Henry Browne Hayes.

Extract of a letter from John Grant, a Convict to Gov'r King, dated 8th May 1805 in the Historical Records of Australia. Series 1, p. 537. Governor King to Under Secretary Cooke Sydney New South Wales 20th

'Now, Sir! I ask you, (as an Independent Englishman) viewing with astonishment the miserable State to which Thousands of unfortunate Men are reduced in this Colony, by what Authority do those in power at Home - by what Right do you - make Slaves of Britons in this distant quarter of the globe?' Grant was later convicted of sedition and sent to Norfolk Island. In 1808 he was employed as a chaplain at Newcastle.

May 23

The Investigator, under command of Captain William Kent departed Port Jackson bound for England. On board were Botantist Robert Brown and Ferdinand Bauer who had accompanied Matthew Flinders on his Voyage of Discovery.

Lieutenant Charles Menzies of the Royal Marines was returning to England on the Investigator and also William John Cole, R.N. who had entered the Navy on 5 June 1802 as a second class boy on board the Buffalo Store-ship. Bartholomew Kent, nephew of Captain William Kent joined the Investigator as first Lieutenant.

The Gentleman's Magazine reported that the Investigator was a very small vessel, whose crew, on their arrival at Liverpool, were rewarded with double pay for their exertions and the hardships they had endured in having effected a passage from Port Jackson to England without touching at any intermediate port. The voyage had occupied a period of five months, during elven weeks of which the men had been restricted to half a pint of water each a day.


Correspondence to Governor King with news that Captain William Bligh was appointed Governor of New South Wales.


Major Semple Lisle on charges of swindling in London.....
Police Office,
Marlborough Street,
Yesterday James Lisle, alias Lesley, the ci-devant Major Semple, underwent an examination on swindling charges. The prisoner is a well known public character, and it will be remembered, that Government released him from a sentence of seven years transportation, for his conduct on board the Lady Shore, some years since, when the convicts mutinied on their passage to Botany Bay
. - The London Times 20 August 1805

September 8

The schooner Governor Hunter arrived in Sydney with 20,000lbs of salt on account of the Government made from the saltpans worked at Newcastle under the direction of Mr. Throsby - Sydney Gazette


Abandonment of the settlement at Norfolk Island


Four convicts escaped from Newcastle and were recaptured near Reid's Mistake.....

On Thursday se'nnight four prisoners left the settlement at King's Town, in order to make their way hither; but being immediately missed a party of military was dispatched in pursuit, and in a short time came up with one of the absentees whom they sent back in charge of one of the party. Reaping every information from the natives, they continued the pursuit, and near Reid's Mistake overtook the other three; whom they conducted into Castle Hill after a painful and fatiguing travel; and who were received in town on Friday, to be returned to King's Town.

Notice - The undermentioned Convicts having absconded from Public Labour at Newcastle and this place the Inhabitants throughout the Colony are hereby cautioned and forbid from harbouring them and are also required to give them up to the nearest Magistrate, on pain of being proceeded against with the utmost severity Joseph Samuels; Thomas Graham; John McCarthy alias Hughes; Thomas Desmond; John Hooper; Patrick O'Brian; William Page; John Murphy; William Russell; Mathew Lee. By Command of His Excellency. J. Harris, Superintendent of Police
. - The Sydney Gazette 22 December 1805


Hurricane at Newcastle - By advices from King's Town it appears, that the late hurricane did considerable damage at that settlement, th gardens being totally laid waste, and the entrances of the coal mines so completely filled with sand and rubbish that much labour will be required to clear them. - Sydney Gazette 1 December 1805