Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Correspondence of William Lawson - 1809

Ensign Villiers took over duties as Commandant at Newcastle from Charles Throsby in September 1808 and remained until December 1808 when William Lawson was appointed to the position.

Below is William Lawson's correspondence to Governor Macquarie regarding the state of the settlement at Newcastle :

Copy of a letter from William Lawson giving a report for the settlement of Newcastle re stores cargoes rations and prisoners

30 January 1810
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd with enclosed you will receive for the information of His Excellency two bills of lading ship on board the sloop Sally and Speedwell for Sydney. I am happy the Governor sent the prisoners back for the public business at this Settlement was at an end.

I have received from a board the Speedwell, William Johnston, Master, 118 bags of wheat contg 19373 lbs deficient 2 bags - 328lbs for which I have enclosed a receipt for stores received from on board the Sally, James Brown Master, deficient one Gallon of Oil.

Agreeable to His Excellency s Command
Lawrence Davoran returns to Head Quarters by the Speedwell transported at Sydney 1806 for 14 years and sent to this Settlement by Gov. Bligh - permitted to return to Sydney by Major Johnstone sent back again by him for improper behaviour.

I beg you will acquaint the govn the 10 logs of Wood shall be forwarded immediately - it is not to be got nearer than 60 miles from the Settlement it is very heavy wood and must be fletched on the spot, it shall be ready by the 8th of next month.

I have 1200 baskets of lime ready for the use of the public works at Sydney. The whole of the men go up the river this day to procure a quantity.

Samuel Hogg and William Johnstone runaways from the settlement not having arrived at Sydney, I have dispatched two soldiers - I hope they will intercept them. I hope His Excellency will see the necessity of punishing and sending all runaways. It will save the officer in Command a Great deal of trouble.

I have enclosed for the Governors information on return of Sheep and Horned cattle at this settlement belonging to government also a return of Public Labour. A monthly statement and a demand for stores for the use of the Settlement. I shall be glad to have the Stores sent down by the first opportunity - the rope is much wanted for rafting down cedar to the settlement.

Having received no orders respecting the Ration at this place, I have directed the Store Keeper to issue the following ration - wheat - having no sugar 7 beef of 4 port - I also attend The Hours of labour agreeable to Government business at Sydney. From Daylight till 8 o clock and from 9 o clock till 3 in the afternoon.

Thomas Crump boat builder and Thomas Brady overseer and clerk of the Settlement have both received their emancipations from Lt. Govt. Paterson and have applied to me to allow them to return to Sydney. I have detained them until I have received the Govt. Orders for their liberation, they have been upwards of 5 years in this settlement and very useful men to Govt. Also John Jones s term of transportation expired the 12th inst. came in the Coromandel the second - tried at the old bailey.

To J.T. Campbell Esq. secretary to His Excellency.
Signed W. Lawson

Lieutenant John Purcell

Lieutenant Lawson remained Commandant at Newcastle until February 1810 when Lieutenant John Purcell of the 73rd regiment was appointed to the position. Find out more about Newcastle in 1810

Notes and Links

1). Newcastle Penal Settlement 1810

2). George Crossley

3). Roger Farrell s Correspondence 1810

4). Sir Henry Browne Hayes

5). Governor Macquarie's Public Notice


[1] Colonial Secretary Correspondence Reel 6042;9/2736,pp.44-6, 30 January, 1810