Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

William Ogilvie - Settler

Merton - Map 6

Alexander Anderson J. Bettington George Blaxland Charles Cameron Peter Cunningham Cyrus Doyle John Hoskins John McGarvie William Ogilvie William Ogilvie Thomas Arndell James Arndell James Robertson Early Hunter Valley Settler Map 6

William Ogilvie was born in 1782 at Holborn Hill, England. He arrived as a free settler in 1825 on the convict ship Grenada with his wife and four children. Soon after arrival, and accompanied by ship surgeon Peter Cunningham, William Ogilvie sailed up the coast to Newcastle before travelling further up the valley to select land. After making his selection, he brought his family to Newcastle while he returned to Merton to establish a dwelling for them.

Merton Estate

Peter Cunningham described William Ogilvie's Merton estate in his publication 'Two Years in New South Wales; a Series of Letters, Comprising Sketches of the Actual State of Society in that Colony; of its Peculiar Advantages to Emigrants' : -

'Mr. Ogilvie possesses here six thousand acres, consisting of alluvial flats and lightly timbered forest land backwards, bounded by a moderately high ridge. A plain of fifty acres of rich land (without a tree upon it) is situated in the middle of the grant, overlooked by a beautiful swelling hill, equally clear, of the finest sort of garden mould, and covered with luxuriant grasses. The Goulburn River enters Hunter's River opposite to the bottom of Mr. Ogilvie's grant, the plains on each side being hemmed in by woody ridges of moderate elevation, toward which the back land gradually rises. Contrary to what is generally found in other parts of the country, the ridges upon the upper part of Hunter's River are almost uniformly flattened at the top, forming little miniature hills and valleys covered with fine soil of moderate depth, and bounding in grass, which makes them the great resort of the kangaroos and cattle in the winter season.'

The House at Merton

A description of the first house at Merton written by Ellen Ogilvie (Bundock), daughter of William Ogilvie:

'The house which our father had prepared for us at Merton was a small four roomed cottage, whitewashed nicely, as pipe clay was found close by - white and buff. Our mother was greatly pleased and very happy at Joining our father in this little house, which was charming. Small as our home was, there was room to receive constant visitors. Our mother had the knack of making all around her charmingly pretty and picturesque, as well as fresh and clean. At first, we had only earthen floors made by Irishmen, who broke up the earth until it was powdered and then, when whitewashed, it made good firm flooring but was very troublesome to keep clean. Subsequently the floors were laid down in wood and by degrees the house was added to.'

Aboriginal Tribe

In Squatter's Castle, George Farwell describes the relationship between the Ogilvies and the Aboriginal tribe of the district - The area was heavily peopled with Aborigines at that time and the Ogilvies treated them well and encouraged their children to do the same, a habit Edward (Ogilvie) throughout his life. It was here that he learnt the natives' language, a fact that was to save his life on at least two occasions.

Peter Cunningham, described an incident in 1826 when Mary Ogilvie confronted the natives :


Acquaintance George Wyndham

The Ogilvies were acquaintances of George Wyndham and his wife Margaret and often visited them at Dalwood in the early 1830's. George Wyndham kept a Diary in the years 1830 - 1840 and there are many mentions of the Ogilvie family. e.g., ...On 12th September 1830 George Wyndham and William Ogilvie embarked on an excursion from Merton to Holdsworthy Downs and then to the Burning Mountain at Wingen. They returned via Segenhoe, St. Heliers and Merton and George Wyndham remarked that he was home at Dalwood by the 18th September 1830.

Assigned Convict Servants

The following convicts were assigned to the Merton estate over the years -

Albert, Robert
Recovery 1819; bullock driver

Allen, Margaret
Earl of Liverpool 1831; cook

Barker, Joseph
Asia 1832

Bath, John
Prince Regent 1824; shepherd

Bayley, William
Blenheim 1834

Beacher, Richard
Burrell 1830; seaman

Beer, William
Burrell 1830; ploughman

Birtles, James
Dunvegan Castle 1830; cow boy

Bouchell, Patrick
John 1832; tailor

Boulter, Richard
Burrell 1830

Bowden, Samuel
Claudine 1829; cabinet maker

Brian, Patrick
Mangles 1826; weaver

Briant, John
Albion 1827; shoemaker

Brown, Sarah
Sovereign 1829; servant

Browne, Morgan
Speke 1826; groom

Bryce, George
Clyde 1832; cabinet maker

Burke, Penelope
Almorah 1824

Butts, Edmund
Portland 1832

Cannon, Mary Ann
Henry Wellesley 1837

Capps, Robert
Bussorah Merchant 1828; insurance broker; tutor

Carroll, Hugh
Dick 1821

Carroll, Patrick
Asia 1831; ploughman and groom

Cheeseman, Ann
Princess Royal 1829

Clayton, William
England 1826; scourger

Clegg, William
Lady Feversham 1830

Connolly, Michael
Eliza 1827; labourer

Connors, Thomas
Medina 1823; shepherd

Conway, John
Blenheim 1834

Copas, Henry
Speke 1826; labourer

Corcoran, James
Mangles 1826; shepherd

Cottar, John
Lonach 1825; stockman

Cummane, James
Eliza 1827; shepherd

Curtis, John
Morley 1828; shoemaker

Dawkins, John
Asia; overseer

Denney, William
Captain Cook 1833

Donnelly, Michael
Asia 1825 (1); labourer

Donnelly, Patrick
Asia 1825 (1); stockman

Donovan, Patrick
Norfolk 1832; blacksmith

Dout, John
Java 1833; soldier; farm labourer

Dowley, Robert
Waterloo 1833

Duncalf, William
Strathfieldsaye 1836

Eaton, Phillip
Bussorah Merchant 1828; shepherd

Enwright, Daniel
Adam Lodge 1840; emigrant

Fleming, William
Java 1833

Ford, John
Mangles 1833; garden labourer

Fox, John
Regalia 1826; tanner

Freeth, John
Dunvegan Castle 1830; brushmaker; stableman

Gallagher, Thomas
Isabella 1832; plasterer

Glass, John
General Hewitt 1814; sawyer

Gilham, Elizabeth
Burrell 1832; laundress

Gillman, Charles
Claudine 1829; copper plate printer

Green, Michael
Asia 1831; soldier

Hall, Robert
Hebe 1820;

Hand, William
Waterloo 1831; baker and soldier

Hannan, Bernard
Hooghley 1825; reaper; labourer

Harris, John
Medina 1826; came free; labourer

Haynes, James
Marquis of Hastings 1828; labourer

Healey, Maria
Kains 1831; pastry cook

Heywood, Daniel
Dunvegan Castle 1830; ploughman

Hoyle, Patrick
Isabella 1822; fencer

Harrup, Thomas
Strathfieldsaye 1836

Horton, William
Planter 1832

Hulbert, Edward
John 1832

Innman, Thomas
Marquis of Hastings 1828; pigman

James, Mary
Hooghley 1831

Jennings, John
Morley 1828; ploughman

Lewis, John
Asia 1825 (111); bullock driver

Malone, Francis
Andromeda 1830; baker

Masterton, Edward
Borodino 1828; ropemaker

Maw, Robert
Parmelia 1832

McKay, Angus
James Moran 1839; emigrant

McLaughlin, James and Patrick
Adam Lodge 1840; emigrants

McLaughlin, Michael and Mary
Adam Lodge 1840; emigrants

McLeod, Alexandeer
James Moran 1839; emigrant

McMahon, Nicholas
Mangles 1826; ploughman

McNamara, Thomas
Mangles 1826; dairyman

Mitchell, Edward
Waterloo 1831; stone cutter

Moore, Jane
Grenada 1825; milks; makes butter

Moore, Michael
Governor Ready 1829; labourer

Morgan, William
Lord Melville 1830; ploughman

Morris, Robert
Parmelia 1832

Needham, John
Prince Regent 1820; constable

Newman, Robert
Guildford 1824; labourer

Newton, Gumaliel
Andromeda 1833

Oliver, Robert
Minerva 1821; shoemaker

Partridge, Ellen
Brothers 1824; housemaid

Ponting, Joseph
Asia 1820

Poole, James
Georgiana 1831

Quinn, Patrick
Ferguson 1829; cooper

Redhead, Charles
Florentia 1830; shoemaker

Reilly, Peter
Roslin Castle 1833; labourer

Riley, Richard
Jane 1831; spadesman; reaps, sows

Roberts, Robert
Florentia 1828; carpenter

Rose, George
Asia 1832; ploughs, milks

Salmon, William
Lord Melville 1830; music printer

Shanahan, Michael
Governor Ready 1829; shepherd

Sherwood, Robert
Georgiana 1831; ploughs; carter

Simpson, William
Speke 1826; tailor; publican

Smith, George
Jane 1831

Spicer, George
Employed as a fencer

Stack, Robert
Mangles 1826; farmer and soldier

Stapleton, Samuel
Asia 1825 (111); fisherman

Stephenson, John
Florentia 1828; butcher

Taylor, John
America 1829

Thomas, John
Countess of Harcourt 1828; farm servant

Tobin, Martin
Hercules 1830; plaisterer

Tripp, James
Isabella 1832; groom

Turner, Charles
Burrell 1830; carrier

Wadey, Henry
England 1835

Waldon, William
Three Bees 1814; Constable

Walsh, James
Forth 1830 (1); labourer, reaps

Wantling, George
Exmouth 1831; tailor

Waters, George
Morley 1828; house carpenter

Waterworth, Mary
Diana 1833

Wilks, Oliver
Guildford 1824; blacksmith

Woods, John
Florentia 1830; carpet weaver

Wright, Ann
Wanstead 1814; laundress


William Ogilvie died 10 March 1859 at Wooloomooloo and the Merton estate passed into the hands of the White family.

Notes and Links

1). Find out more about Merton Homestead at NSW Heritage

2). Memoirs of Ellen Bundock

3). A visitor to Merton in 1895 described the cellars. They were almost unchanged from the days of William Ogilvie -

A portion of the original convict-built buildings still remain, though the bulk of them of recent years, has been demolished. It is wonderful, looking at the solid cellars built in those days, now over 60 years ago, to note how true and faithful they are in construction, so good in fact that they are almost as perfect as the day they were finished, putting all the modern work quite in the shade. The Merton cellars, for example, into which Mr. White took me, show nothing more in the way of decay, after sixty years, than one crack in the wall. These cellars were used in Capt. Ogilvy's time for the purpose of storing wine, an extensive vineyard in those days being a feature of the place - Strolling round with Mr. Reginald White many things at Merton arrest one's attention, recalling the days when Captain Ogilvy was in occupation. Among the old land-marks is a sundial which was the only recorder of time to ring the consigned servants up and send them to meals, and bed again, whilst alone the dial hangs the Old Bell that is used even to the present day for the same purpose....- Maitland Weekly Mercury 2 November 1895