Lieutenant William Hicks
In 1818 William
Hicks arrived as First Officer on the convict ship
Friendship. He requested to remain in the colony after the
departure of the Friendship but permission was denied owing to
certain considerations respecting the conduct pursued towards the women
convicts during the voyage of the Friendship. The Governor would not
on any account sanction or permit Hicks' remaining after the departure
of the vessel. William Hicks departed for England on the Laurel
in April 1818.
He next arrived
in Australia four years later as First Officer on the brig
Cockburn under Captain Briggs sailed from England via Madeira and the
Cape of Good Hope arriving in Hobart in November 1822 and in Port
Jackson at the end of December. A valuable cargo was carried including a
20ft cutter which was later offered for sale
The Admiral Cockburn departed Sydney in March 1823
bound for the Isle of France via Hobart. Although William Hicks was to
sail with her this apparently did not happen. (1)
Instead he decided to settle in Australia.
In a memorial to
Governor Brisbane dated 4th February 1823 he applied for a grant of
I beg leave to
acquaint your Excellency that I have recently arrived from England in
the ship Admiral Cockburn and that I am desirous of settling in the
Colony and becoming an Agriculturalist.
I therefore request
your Excellency permission and also that you Excellency will grant me
such a portion of land and other indulgences as may appear to your
Excellency consistent. I have the Honor to be,
Most Obedient and
He was granted 1120
acres of land on 27th February 1823 and in November 1823 also applied
for a grant of land in the town of Newcastle which had recently closed
as a penal settlement. His name appears on a list of about 100 settlers
who were granted allotments in the township in 1823(3)
He was granted permission to sail to Newcastle on the
Angerstein in March and probably selected his land at this time.
Newcastle and his Hunter River grant in April 1823 accompanied by
Mr. Thomas White Melville
Winder and assigned servants Thomas Smith and
Bartholomew Duffy and soon afterwards he came into
dispute with neighbours when he refused to allow cedar gangs to remove
cut timber from his land, threatening to shoot them if they attempted
it. Later that year he was also in dispute with neighbour James Reid,
again over land.
On 18 November 1823 at
St. Phillips in Sydney Lieutenant William Hicks married Sophia Hickey, a
daughter of John Hickey of Bent Street Sydney. Sophia had arrived on the
Friendship in 1818 with her mother Ann Hickey and other brothers
In 1824 William Hicks was once again in opposition to his
neighbour Magistrate James
Reid when he supported
Captain Gillman in his dispute with Vicars Jacob.
More about this dispute in the
Australian 14 October 1824 -
King V. Gillman - Military or Civil Society.
The estate was robbed by marauding bushrangers
Jacob's Mob on 8th July 1825.
Lieutenant Hicks was more fortunate than neighbour
whose house Rosebrook was burned down by the bushrangers.
1827 he departed New South Wales in command of the Mary Elizabeth.
Accompanied by H.M.S. Success, Marquis of Lansdown, and
the Amity and their Officers and crew,
Lieutenant Hicks on the Mary Elizabeth set sail for the fledgling
British settlement Fort Dundas in Australia's north. .....
The Success, shortly after her return from Bateman's Bay, proceeds on a
voyage of survey along the coast to the northward. She is to be
accompanied by the Government vessel the Mary and Elizabeth, having on
board a number of mechanics who have volunteered their services, and a
detachment of the 39th under the orders of Captain Smith of that
regiment. The Government brig Amity accompanies the Success and the brig
Mary and Elizabeth as far as Melville Island where she is to leave a
supply of provisions and proceed to King George's Sound. (5)
Conditions were harsh and attempts at settlement were
not successful. In February 1828 the Sydney Gazette reported
the death of Dr. Wood at Port Raffles and of Mr. Green, storekeeper at
Melville Island who was speared by natives, as was Dr. Gold. Their
bodies were discovered by Lieut. Hicks.....The Sydney Gazette told of
the disaster - Melville Island.- In our last number, it was our
melancholy duty to announce the lamented death of Dr. Wood, which
occurred at Port Raffles, as also the death of Mr. Green, at Melville
Island, the son of a Gentleman in this Colony that is sincerely es-teemed.
We have since been favoured with a document which furnishes some
particulars respecting these disastrous events. By a letter from Lieut.
Hicks, R. N. commanding the Mary Elizabeth, it appears that Mr. John
Henry Green and Mr. John Gold were destroyed by the natives at Melville
Island, on the 2d of November last. The following is an ex-tract from
the document already referred to :- p. m.6.15. The alarm given that the
natives had surrounded Mr. Green and Dr. Gold, who had walked towards
the path ; shortly afterwards the body of Mr. Green was found and
brought dead into the fort, and Lieutenant Bates and myself attentively
examined it, and found the following wounds: Mr. Green had received in
all 17 wounds from spears - three were in his throat, one through his
arm, ten in front of his body, and one in his back ; he had also two
severe cuts on the head, one was about six inches long, the lips above
two inches deep, the skull laid open, so that the brains could be
distinctly seen. Nov. 3,A. M 7. the body of Mr. Gold brought into the
fort by the party who had been sent in search of it, and had the
following wounds in it as were found by myself and Lieut. Bates. On the
body 31 spear wounds, in seven of which the heads were still sticking,
several of the spears had gone through the body and head, and one
appeared to have penetrated the bowels, several wounds were in his legs,
and from every circumstance I should fear he had died very hard.
In 1828 the
Hobart Town Courier
reported the death at Melville Island of Lieutenant Hicks' wife Sophia and their two
children - William b. 1825 and another.
William Hicks arrived back in Sydney on
the Mary Elizabeth in August 1828. He remained in command of the
Mary Elizabeth making voyages to Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay.
In 1830 it was announced that he was to depart for the Isle of France
with the intention of bringing back cargo on the return voyage.
He may not have returned as in 1838 Henry
Usher of Newcastle applied for the deed of grant for William Hicks'
allotment of land at Newcastle, Hicks being absent from the colony.
Map of the River Hunter,
and its branches [cartographic material] : shewing the Lands reserved
thereon for Church purposes, the Locations made to Settlers, and the
Settlement and part of the Lands of the Australian Agricultural Company
at Port Stephens together with the Station of the Mission to the
Aborigines belonging to the London Missionary Society on Lake Macquarie,
New South Wales 1828. MAP NK 646.
Papers, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25. Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162.
4/1834B. Number 138. p. 843. State Records Authority of New South Wales.
Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. (available at Ancestry)
(3) Special Bundles,
1794-1825. Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. 9/2652, p.
75., State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales,
(5)The Australian 9 May 1827