Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Charles Vavasour Earle - Maitland Apothecary

Charles Vavasour Earle was born in Winchester Hampshire in 1821, son of John Vavasour Earle.


He was in partnership with surgeon Francis Labalestier in 1841. They ran a Chemist and Druggist business in George St. South, Sydney.


The partnership was dissolved in May and Charles had plans to carry on the business on his own account however in December of that year he married Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of George Poulton of Maitland and his business was commenced in Maitland instead.

Charles and Elizabeth were married by Special License on 29th December by the Rev. William Stack. In the years to come their marriage would be surrounded with sorrow as one after another their children passed away in infancy. Their first daughter Eliza was born in November 1842. She died six weeks later and was buried in the Glebe Cemetery. In April 1844 their son George died four hours after birth and on 9th November 1848 their son born 3 hours previously passed away. In 1855 a daughter Agnes passed away aged 3 years and a son Robert also died in this year aged just 2 days. Another daughter Mary Ellen also died at a young age. They were all buried in the Glebe cemetery nearby by their sister Eliza. A daughter Eleanor was born to the couple in 1846 and a son Charles in 1849.

Charles Vavasour Earle became a victim of the depression in 1843 and was declared insolvent. £54 was owed to Samuel Cohen for rent at this time.

London Medical and Chemical Repository

In September 1846 he advertised that he was Re-opening the 'London Medical and Chemical Repository' in High Street, West Maitland opposite the Angel Inn. Next door to this business was watch and clock maker Mr. S.M. Street.

'By the particular desire of his friends in Maitland, and with the kind assistance of his relatives in England, Charles Earle has reopened with a splendid assortment of drugs and chemicals, which none can surpass in the colony. His drugs are sent to him direct from England by a friend who is in the medical profession; so that he can vouchsafe for their genuine qualities, and from his long experience in the trade he feels assured that his friends and the public will give him a share of their support. The permanent situations he has held in England, France and NSW will be satisfactory to the public. Cupping, Bleeding tooth drawing, and advice gratis, with every medicine on the lowest scale'.

Charles Earle also manufactured Lemonade and soda water from a factory at the back of the Medical Hall, West Maitland. This was 'a delightful beverage to counteract the ill effects of a weak constitution by strengthening the digestive organs and slowly acting on the intestines'. He intended, for the convenience of his customers, to ply between Maitland and Morpeth twice daily if required instead of opening another establishment.


In 1847 Earle was robbed by James Sinnett, who was well known about the town. Earle was nearby early one evening when Sinnett broke a pane of glass with his elbow, removing two medicine bottles before taking off. Earle immediately pursued the thief and caught him 50 yards down the road with the bottles in his hands. Sinnett was later sentenced to 12 months in irons.

In May 1853 he sold his business in High Street West Maitland to Alfred Partridge of Sydney. [1] In July Mr. and Mrs. White were commencing a school in the premises formerly kept by Charles Earle. [3]


By 1855 Charles Vavasour Earle was residing in Sydney and in partnership with E. Youngman and John Caldwell as cordial manufacturers. Their partnership was dissolved in May of that year.

He died in Sydney in 1864 - On the 7th instant at his residence No. 1 Burdekin terrace, late of George Street, chemist aged 42 years [2]


[1] Maitland Mercury 25 May 1853

[2] Sydney Morning Herald 8 June 1864

[3] Maitland Mercury 9 July 1853