Free Settler or Felon?
Hunter Valley Settlers
Map 2

William Charles Wentworth &
Thomas Melville White Winder

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Thomas Winder was born in London and had been a captain in the Merchant Navy. He arrived in Sydney in 1817 on the Frederick. He was a merchant, however abandoned trading after sustaining financial losses in a deal with Captain Ritchie, who failed to bring a promised cargo from Calcutta. Winder then established a water mill for grinding flour at Botany Bay

In the early 1820's Thomas Winder received several grants of land at the Hunter river and acquired by purchase 320 acres from Luke Dillon.  A grant of 2000 acres was transferred to him by Henry Hawes. It was on these acres that Windermere house was later built. 

In 1823 Thomas Winder accompanied newly arrived Lieutenant William Hicks to the Hunter. Their estates were  situated close by to each other.

A sandstock brick house was built on the estate with the labour of assigned convicts in the 1820's.

Thomas Winder's daughters mentioned in the article below were Jessie, Ellen, Ann, Mary, Agnes and Fanny.

Jessie married Wakefield Simpson.

Ellen married Robert Richard Hungerford.

Ann married John Becher Hungerford in 1839.

Agnes married William Hungerford,

Fanny married George Jean de Winton of 99th regiment at North Brisbane in 1847.

Read about the 'Roses of the Hunter" - Maitland Mercury 26 April 1881.........

Cecily Mitchell in Hunter's River records the following transactions:

On 1 April 1835 T.W.M. Winder sold the magnificent estates of Windermere and Luskintyre to  his friend and business associate William Charles Wentworth who on the same day mortgaged the estates to Winder (from Dawn in the Valley, W. Allan Wood). However, the Australian Dictionary of Biography says that 'Wentworth tried to buy the estate but the sale fell through and Winder leased the land to Wentworth and returned to Sydney'. T.W.M. Winder went to live at Campbell House on Campbell's Hill at Maitland. This was advertised for sale in April 1840. (1)

W.C. Wentworth lived at the estate for several months each year. He later extended the homestead into a thirty room house. There were cellars, stables, coach house and a vineyard.

A few of the many convicts who were assigned to work at the estate when it was owned by Thomas Winder were:

Joseph Branch arrived on the Malabar assigned in 1824

Richard Beal arrived on the Sesostris assigned in 1828.

William Way arrived on the Norfolk assigned in 1828.

John Sheehan arrived on the Baring assigned in 1828.

William Ashton arrived on the Sesostris assigned in 1828

Between 1832 and 1833 the following convicts were assigned: George Ruddle , John Woodfield, Henry Smith, James Kirkwood, John Cookham, William Graham, James Boland, John Connolly and Joseph Quarman

Francis Carding who arrived on the Surry in 1828 was employed on the estate in 1828 as was William Belcher who arrived on the Isabella

Select here to find more about Thomas Winder and other convicts who were assigned to Windermere.

Winder and Wentworth in partnership with Charles Nott established a boiling down facility for the manufacture of tallow at Windermere in the depression of the 1840's, and advertised their establishment in the Maitland Mercury by August of 1844.  By 1847 Wentworth had established extensive vineyards at Windermere. He entered samples of Burgundy wine, sweet water wine, brandy and vinegar in the Hunter River Agricultural Society show in April of 1847.

By 1848 the estates of Windermere were being advertised for lease in small lots, with or without the magnificent Windermere House.  Later, in 1851 the estate was purchased by Charles Nott.

In 1868 the proprietor was Peter Green. He put the estate up for auction in that year. It was described as a magnificent estate situated within an hour's drive by road or fifteen minutes by train from West Maitland and comprising between 950 and 1000 acres, a considerable portion of which was of the richest alluvial character. There was a steam boiling establishment with a twenty horse power engine with pulverizer , bone crusher etc.

Windermere House was considered a commodious family mansion with over thirty rooms and cellars, and the very best ideal of a gentleman's country residence; it was tastefully designed and elegantly finished in the best style of workmanship. The interior was in excellent order and condition, though the outside had unfortunately been neglected, the proprietor having bestowed more attention to home appliances than outward decoration, looking to substantial and lasting improvements to the general estate rather than out door embellishments. It was estimated that the original expense of the erection of the house by must have exceeded 4000.

In addition, the outbuildings were most complete consisting of an eight stall stable (two stories) built of brick, coach house, hay loft etc. with men's rooms all in excellent condition; and a spacious and cellar for wines 90 x 27 x 24 was in the course of being constructed.

There were also between 13 to 15 acres of five year old vines in the vineyard and an orangery that covered 12 acres of land and contained from 1000 to 1200 luxuriant trees.

Windermere was purchased by Charles Solomon Capp in 1870. The homestead burned down in a fire in 1882 and a new house was later constructed on the foundations of the old convict built mansion.

Notes & Links:

Windermere House - A Gracious Reminder of Bygone Days


1). Mitchell, Cecily Joan, Hunter's River, Published by the family of Cecily Joan Mitchell, 1984, p. 124

2). Wood, Allan W., Dawn in the Valley, The Story of Settlement in the Hunter River Valley to 1833, Wentworth Books, Sydney, 1972, p. 27

James Adair John Boughton Edward Collison Close - Green Hills George Cobb Edward Gostsyck Cory Gilbert Cory John Cory william cummings Andrew Dixon Robert Corum Dillon Leslie Duguid William Dun William Evans George Frankland William Hicks Beresford Hudson William Innes Richard Jones James Kelly Andrew Lang - Dunmore Robert Lethbridge Alexander Livingstone James McClymont Thomas McDougall George Muir Find out more about Maitland Timothy Nowlan Henry Dixon Owen - Aberglasslyn Richard Pritchett James Phillips James Read (Reid) George Shaw Rutherford Walter Scott Gentleman John Smith John Galt Smith Hugh Torrance John Tucker Susannah Matilda Ward Susannah Matilda Ward William Charles Wentworth John Wighton Gorge Williams Caleb and Felix Wilson Marie Steamer at Paterson


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