Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Colonial Events 1817

January 1

Thomas Wylde appointed Crown solicitor


Announcement in England of a New Voyage of Discovery - In 1817, Louis Claude Desaulces de Freycinet embarked on the L'Uranie on a major scientific expedition around the world to record information regarding the geography, meteorology, terrestrial magnetism, ethnology, and indigenous flora and fauna of various locations in the southern hemisphere. Rose de Freycinet, the wife of Captain Louis de Freycinet, stowed away on her husband's ship and travelled the globe.

February 24

Arrival of convict ship Lord Melville with 99 female prisoners. Surgeon Daniel McNamara. Frances Johnson was one of 99 women who arrived on the Lord Melville in 1817. Newly appointed Judge of the Supreme Court Barron Field arrived on the Lord Melville

March 8

Arrival of convict ship Fame. Master Henry Dale, Surgeon John Mortimer

March 10

Arrival of convict ship Sir William Bensley. Surgeon William Evans.

April 8

Bank of New South Wales opened for business in Macquarie Place Sydney

April 9

Lieut-Governor Sorell takes over administration of Van Diemen's Land

April 10

Arrival of convict ship Morley from England. Surgeon Robert Espie

April 24

Arrival of convict ship Shipley. Surgeon George Clayton


Expedition by John Oxley westward from Bathurst to explore inland plains.

July 26

Arrival of convict ship Chapman from Cork . Surgeon Alexander Dewar

July 28

Area south east of Moss Vale explored by Charles Throsby

July 29

Arrival of convict ship Pilot. Surgeon Charles Queade

August 5

Arrival of convict ship Canada from Cork with 89 female prisoners and 12 of their children. Surgeon James Allen.

August 9

Arrival of 48th Regiment, commanded by Lieut-Col Erskine on the Matilda....... On Sunday last arrived the Matilda, Capt. Somerville, from Ireland, with the Staff of the 48th regt. commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Erskine, whose appointment to the Rank of Lieutenant Governor of this Territory, is announced in the General Orders of yesterday. She sailed from Cork the 28th March; made Madeira the 9th April, and left the day following; went into Rio the 17th May and stayed till the 26th, when she took her departure for this Colony. The number of troops are 200, and with women and children comprise a total of 250 persons. We are concerned to state that the wife of Serj. Major Scully died before the ship reached Rio; and that 3 children of other persons died also on the passage. - Sydney Gazette 9 August 1817 The 48th regt., to relieve 46th Regiment.

August 29

Arrival of Convict ship Almorah, Master William McKissock. Surgeon Superintendent Edward Foord Bromley.

September 30

Arrival of convict ship Lord Eldon from England. Surgeon James Bowman

October 3

Death of merchant Garnham Blaxcell at Batavia. Garnham Blaxcell, with Alexander Riley and D'arcy Wentworth contracted to build the Rum Hospital. A part of the contract enabled a monopoly on rum importation, however Governor Macquarie gave government consent to the continued competitive importation and selling of rum and their profits were diluted. Blaxcell escaped the colony on the brig Kangaroo aided by Lieutenant Jefferies.


Francis Beattie found guilty of receiving stolen goods (Sydney). Francis Beattie later ran the Crooked Billet Inn at Newcastle.

October 7

Methodist church at Castlereagh opened by Rev. Samuel Leigh

October 1

Foundation stone of St. Matthew's church Windsor laid by governor Macquarie

November 22

Arrival of the convict ship Frederick at Port Jackson. Passenger Thomas White Melville Winder.

November 22

Arrival of convict ship Larkins in Port Jackson with 247 prisoners.

December 7

Death of former Governor William Bligh in England

December 10

Escape of Tasmanian bushranger Michael Howe

December 22

Phillip Parker King and Allan Cunningham left to explore north west coast of the continent. Two Master's mates - Frederick Bedwell and John Septimus Roe; 12 seamen; 2 boys also accompanied the voyage (Total 12) Boon-ga-ree accompanied King on this voyage. This expedition in the Mermaid left Sydney and explored the West Australian coast, collecting information about local conditions and native inhabitants before visiting Timor and returning to Sydney on 29 July 1818. Early Maritime Explorers


Loss of the schooner Endeavour off Newcastle. Owned by John Black. Taking coals when a gale came on from the south. Broke her moorings and washed onto Nobbys Point where she was wrecked.

December 30

Phillip Parker King's expedition entered Bass Strait


Completion of Tower Lighthouse, South Head, Sydney designed by Francis Greenway. First Light House keeper Robert Watson. (Watson's Bay named in his honour).