Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Samuel Wright - Commandant and Settler

Bengalla - Map 7

Captain John Bell

This land was a reserved grant to Captain John Bell. John Bell was commander of the convict ship Minerva and after several trips to Australia had decided to settle with his family. He purchased cattle and stocked his land with it while he was away in India and England. He had been issued with a ticket of occupation while he was absent from the colony however these were invalid from August 1826 and the land in his absence was granted to Captain Samuel Wright. Captain Bell settled in Hobart.

Francis Allman Joseph Bettington William Buchanan William Cox Henry Dumaresq Francis Forbes George Forbes George Forbes Donald McIntyre John Pike Samuel Wright Muswellbrook History Hunter River Map 7

Samuel Wright

Samuel Wright arrived in Australia on the Richmond in 1822. [2]

He was born in County Cavan, Ireland circa 1788. He joined the Buffs, the 3rd Regiment (Infantry) of the British Army on 6 March 1806 as an ensign with a purchased commission and was promoted to Lieutenant by 1810. He fought many battles with his Regiment in the Peninsular wars and was wounded at Albuera in 1811 and in 1813 at Bayonne. He spent time with the Regiment in Canada when North America was seeking independence. The Regiment then returned to Europe and Ireland.

In Australia he became Commandant at Macquarie Harbour penal colony, Commandant of the Port Macquarie penal settlement and Superintendent of Police at Newcastle.

His estate Bengalla that he was granted when Captain Bell failed to occupy it was next to the estate of Francis Allman. Samuel Wright and Captain Francis Allman had both fought in the Peninsular Wars and Allman had also been wounded at the Battle of Albuera.

Old Bengalla

George Cavenagh sold his 1000 acres grant adjoining Samuel Wright's land and his right of occupation on the church land to James Bettington which Bettington later sold to Samuel Wright. According to W. Allan Wood in Dawn in the Valley, Captain Wright built the stone house on this land that came to be known as 'old Bengalla' . [1]

Samuel Wright returned to Ireland in 1842 and arrived back in Australia in 1844.

He died on 24 March 1852.

Bengalla Estate

This estate was later acquired by David Charles Frederick Scott and John Hudson Keys

Notes and Links

1). Bengalla, which comprises Inglebrae and Rosgole as well, has been in the Keys' family for half a century, the late Mr. Jno. H. Keys having formed the nucleus of the stock by importing the very best blood from England and Ireland. Similar to the late Mr. Donald Macintyre, of Kayuga, the late gentleman showed his sympathy and unselfish character by assisting many families to emigrate to the colony, where they made for themselves homes, and were raised, from a state of neediness to one of comparative affluence. Before this period it may be interesting to note that Capt. Wright (1825) was the first settler at Bengalla and formed the old homestead where Mr J. T. Keys' mother resided up to her recent lamented death. Captain Wright during his tenure entered into the business of grazing with more or less varied success, trying both sheep and cattle, the remnants of an old boiling-down establishment being visible at Bengalla even to this day. - Maitland Weekly Mercury 12 October 1895

2). More about Captain John Bell at the Australian Dictionary of Biography

3). 3rd Regiment - Buffs 1821.


[1] Wood, W. Allan., Dawn in the valley : the story of settlement in the Hunter River Valley to 1833 Sydney : Wentworth Books, 1972., pp. 163 - 164

[2] Hobart Town Gazette 4 May 1822