Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Robert Green - Maitland

Robert Green was 19 years of age when he was convicted at the Old Bailey on 19 February 1812 of burglary and breaking and entering the dwelling house of James Rogers. [1]

Both Robert Green and his partner in crime John Parton were sentenced to death, the sentence being respited to transportation for life. They were sent to Newgate prison and then to the Captivity hulk on 9th May 1812. From the Captivity Hulk they were put on board the Fortune convict ship in October 1812.[2]

The Fortune departed England on 3 December 1812 and arrived in Port Jackson on 11th June 1813.

Robert Green led a long and mostly successful life in the colony. In 1821 he married Mary Price, a convict girl who had arrived on the Wanstead in 1814.[3] The 1822 muster records the couple living in Sydney and Roberts occupation as farmer. They had three children - Robert, Peter and Charlotte.

Marriage Banns Robert Green and Mary Price

Robert Green was very active in the Maitland district for many years and was well regarded for his charitable work in establishing the Maitland Hospital. Upon his death in 1873 the Maitland Mercury published an obituary with information given by his relatives:


'Another of the very old residents of the Hunter has passed away, Mr. Robert Green, aged 83, the father of Mr. Peter Green, with whom he had lived for several years past. Our own acquaintance with Mr. Robert Green commenced nearly thirty years since, when he was actively helping to establish the Maitland Hospital on a firmer footing ; but a relative has kindly supplied us with a sketch of his active and useful life, commencing many years before. For some time past Mr. Green has been gradually sinking, from decay of nature, and had for months been nearly constantly confined to his bed. He had always been in the enjoyment of vigorous health (lameness excepted) until the last one or two years, when he found it necessary to take medical advice.

He in early days led a most active life, and was the owner of two 30 or 40 ton vessels, and as captain and owner was about 1827 or 1828 the first free trader that was permitted to trade from Sydney, to the Coal River (now the Hunter). He piloted two of the first ships that ever entered Port Stephens, with part of the Agricultural Company's effects ; and he also brought several of the early settlers to the Paterson and Hunter. He was the first person that ever took a load of cedar from West Maitland then Molly Morgan's Brush, Wallis Plains - to Sydney. He was once nearly wrecked on Nobbys, once on the Oyster Bank, and at another time was driven off the land with westerly gales for five weeks, and was reported as lost in the Sydney papers; he suffered very great deprivations, being nearly starved.

His sea life continued with success for about seven years. He then started the first agency business in Sydney for the settlers of the Hunter, and was ultimately succeeded therein by Mr. Paddefoot. Mr. Green then remained in Sydney in comfortable circumstances.

About twenty-six years since he became a resident of West Maitland, for four years, when serious losses compelled his return to Sydney, and he ultimately lost several thousand pounds and became a poor man. Then after a time he became a resident of his sons house (Mr. P. Green) and remained with him till his death.

All who knew him will bear testimony to his kind and benevolent disposition, his desire at all times to do good to his fellow men in distress. Perhaps no one deserves a larger need of praise for the great services he rendered in early days in assisting in the erection of the Maitland Hospital, and otherwise in his exertions for the inmates. The first meeting he attended was held in East-Maitland, where the hospital then was, which meeting was called to devise means to relieve it of a debt of 25 or 30 pounds, and otherwise to consider the advisability of finally closing it, or of placing it upon a more secure footing. He then undertook and accomplished the collecting of half the debt, and some two or three charitable gentlemen collected the remainder.

Mr. Green then rented, at 6s. per week, a house in Durham-street, West Maitland, to which the patients were removed; and where, with the assistance of Drs. Sloan, Liddell, and Beardmore, and an efficient committee, the institution (small as its beginnings were) continued to thrive and expand.

The institution was then removed to larger quarters, Hannan House, in Hannan-street, being rented. This was occupied until it also became too smalI, and the building of a new hospital was determined upon.

And all old residents will concur in their testimony to the unremitting attention which Mr. Green, as treasurer of the hospital, bestowed in his efforts to accomplish the heavy task of raising the necessary funds to meet the Government grant in aid, frequently going miles to attend and assist in holding public meetings in the surrounding towns, getting up bazaars, receiving donations in kind, etc. Of course he was largely assisted by many charitable ladies and fellow townsmen in this good work, and the object was at last triumphantly accomplished. Mr. Green continued the treasurer of the hospital for about four years, and his services were by his fellow labourers and friends acknowledged by the presentation of a handsome silver snuf-box as a testimonial, which he valued with pride and pleasure.'[4]


[1] Old Bailey Online

[2] Prison Hulk Records Books. Ancestry

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1856 Copies of Letters Sent Within The Colony, 1814-1827

[4] The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893) Thu 24 Jul 1873