Forest Wood Rosemaling Art & Craft

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MARTIN- RAYNER family history

Adapted from the text by G. McGarry
Yattalunga, 13th May 1991.
AND Andrew Graham's Family History of John MARTIN and Jemima RAYNER (Research by Frank Bowden - a descendant)

ISRAEL RAYNER (a.k.a.Raynor and Rainer)

Born 25 August 1775
(son of James RAYNER and Mary RAYNER)
Christened 10 Sept 1775 Manchester Cathedral, Manchester, England.
Occupation: Shoemaker, Farmer, Toll House keeper, Pioneer Free Settler to penal colony of New South Wales, Australia
Married Elizabeth Carpenter on the 25th December 1796 at St. Mary's Ealing on the western outskirts of London, England.
Died 23 Aug 1845 Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

 (Manchester Cathedral, where Israel was baptised. All Saints Cemetery, Parramatta  where Israel is buried is pictured below)


Born 21st October, 1775, in Ealing London, England,
(Daughter of Mary Carpenter)
Baptized 3rd November 1775
Israel Rayner on the 25th December 1796 at St. Mary's Ealing (on the western outskirts of London, England.)
Died 1838 Wilberforce, New South Wales, Australia
"Wellow farm" Freeman's Reach, Wilberforce, New South Wales
Occupation: Housekeeper

Israel and Elizabeth's first child
, Jemima, was born c 1797 and the second Sarah was born c 1799 in England.

srael Rayner was a shoemaker and the colony was in dire need of tradesman of all kinds. Israel RAYNER had found favour with the Duke of Portland, as, they were in possession of a letter from the Duke, asking that the Colony provide them on arrival with the usual rations and other indulgences granted to free settlers.The family was given a free passage to Australia on board the NILE which sailed from Spithead on 21st June 1801. The Nile was under the command of Jas Sunter and was 403 tons with 10 guns and a crew of 24 men.The journey was  176 days. Surgeon on board was Jos Hislop. 96 convict women were aboard and 96 disembarked. The ship was built at Newcastle, England in 1799 and registered in London 1801. The NILE arrived in Sydney in 14th December, 1801. 

As a free settler, he was granted 100 acres of land, two convicts, and twelve months of supplies of him and his family, by Governor King on 31 March 1802.
As a matter of interest the tools supplied to the settler were meagre, comprising one thousand nails, one adze, one bill hook, two reaping hooks, two tomahawks, two hoes, tow axes, one hand saw and a shared crosscut saw. Defense of life, limb and property was effected by the issue of one musket, seven musket balls and one pound of powder.

The land King granted to Israel RAYNER was located at Toongabbie and the two convicts were assigned to clear the land and help sow the crop of maize. The 1802 muster shows the farm had four acres cleared and planted with maize, 2 acres of maize in hand, and grazing two female sheep. The land is now what is known as Seven Hills Road, Baulkham Hills. The land was not self-supporting for the first 18 months and the returns of free settlers victualled from the Government Stores up to the 30th June 1805 shows the Rayner family of Israel, Elizabeth, and Jemima receiving rations for 553 days form 26th December, 1801. Unfortunately, Sarah Rayner only received rations for 371 days which places her death about New Year's day 1803.

In the early 1800's there were fears of civil unrest not far from Rayner's farms, which culminated in March 1804, with several hundred Irish convicts from the barracks at Castle Hill,
plundering and ransacking local farms and ultimately fighting a fierce battle at Castlebrook Lawn Cemetery. This has become known as the Vinegar Hill uprising (see article below) Irish convicts and Vinegar Hill Battle after a similar incident in Ireland in 1798. Several of Israel's neighbours were affected, and most likely the RAYNER family as well. Israels neighbour, William JOYCE, whose farm was where the present M2 Motorway joins Old Windsor Road, rode onto Parramatta to raise the alarm, with Governer King subsequently declaring Martial Law in Castle Hill, Seven Hills, Baulkham Hills and the Hawkesbury and Nepean area.  Israel Rayner had previously registered a gun with the authorities at Baulkham Hill on  10th April, 1802.

It seems that Israel was not so suited to the farming life, or perhaps the soil on his farm was not very fertile, but it seems that from the death of little Sarah RAYNER, the family and its fortunes deteriorated. Elizabeth's next child was a son born on 30th May 1804 (conceived preseumably during august '03) and christened Willow at Parramatta. The father of the child was Henry Baldwin who had land of the Hawksbury river near Windsor. Elizabeth had taken a job housekeeping for the now reasonably affluent BALDWIN and the child's birth led to the permanent breakup of the Rayner marriage although they did not, or perhaps could not, divorce. The 1806 muster lists Elizabeth as the housekeeper for Henry Baldwin while Mima RAYNER is listed as working for "Rayner, Parramatta". ( Jemima was around 9 years of age)

Israel was joined by Martha Capon who was a female convict who had been tried on 31st July, 1809 at Norfolk, (aka Martha CAPORN) and had been transported for 7 years on board the Canada with her son, William which left England 3rd March 1810 and sailed via Rio de Janiero and arrived in Sydney 8th September, 1810 with 122 female convicts. No record can be found of William CAPON. She went to live with Israel RAYNER and bore him three children.  Martha was born 1811, an unnamed son who died shortly after his birth in 1815, and Rebecca born 1819. There is a discrepancy regarding the documented the date of birth as October 10th, 1809. The explanation is that the young Martha was only 14 years old when her son was born to William CAWELL and the substitution was made to appear that she was 16 years old.

The 1814 census shows Israel RAYNER as the Toll Gate Keeper at Windsor and living with Martha CAPON and their child.
Israel was a signatury of the "Hawksbury Address" to Governer Bligh in 1806. Israel was described in the "Bigge's Report" as worthless and lazy, and in another source as slothful, but in the absence of any details this may have been unfair, certainly by today's more compassionate standards, as life in the colonies was not altogether easy and required a certain resourcefulness to survive in the early years.

The 1822 muster shows Israel RAYNER returned to Parramatta where he remained for the rest of his life and he returned to his trade of shoemaker. Israel Rayner of Pennant Street, Parramatta, ( now Victoria road), occupation shoemaker, died 23rd August, 1845 and was buried in All Saints Church of England Cemetery, Parramatta, in the Parish of Marsfield on 25th August, 1845. His name appears as entry number 28 in the burial register, but there is no evidence of a headstone. Although Israel's name is listed on a plaque to some of the pioneering family buried here.

Despite any shortcomings, Israel RAYNER may or may not have had, he was the one who initiated the family's move to Australia from England and thereby is the father of the many thousands of successful Rayner/Martin descendents that endure and are proud to be Australians.

Cemetery where Israel Raynor, first of the tribe to come to Australia, is buried. He was 83 years old, quite a feat to live to that age in those days. Plaque details his name age and date of his death. Interestingly also a "Jane Martin".

Martha CAPON moved to Marsfield and died on 16th June 1860. She is buried in the churchyard at St Ann's.


Henry BALDWIN and Elizabeth RAYNER had  12 children, christened as RAYNER/RAYNOR but most married under the name of BALDWIN. Henry was baptized on the 4th October 1769 at Chipping Barnet, Herefordshire England to Henry Baldwin and his wife, Sarah Anne, (nee Paige). He was tried at Warwick Assizes on 3rd April, 1789, and sentenced to 7 years transportation. to Australia. He arrived on the Admiral Barrington which left Portsmouth on 27th March, 1791 and arrived 16th October, 1791, the last vessel of the Third Fleet to arrive. He had money and obtained land by purchase and Government Grant.  He was appointed a trustee of Philip common 20th June 1805 ( park in present day Windsor).  By 1828 he was reputed to have 1600 acres of land, 1500 cattle, 1700 sheep,
5000 and a dwelling house at Wilberforce. Elizabeth CARPENTER/RAYNER/BALDWIN was not free to marry Henry BALDWIN whilst Israel RAYNER was alive.

There are reports in 1803 that Israel sold his wife to Henry BALDWIN for 6 bushels of wheat and a large black pig, ( women were very valuable in this male dominated colony!) However, there was a custom at the time among the lower classes who could not afford a diveorce, "that the husband would take his faithless wife to market with a rope around her neck and sell her to the highest bidder". In any case Elizabeth would have been condemned by all society for her love of Henry.

Eizabeth RAYNER died in 1839 in Wilberforce, NSW and was buried in the family vault which is located near the corner of Wellow farm, along Hibberts Lane but has since collapsed.  Henry BALDWIN died and was buried alongside his beloved Elizabeth on the 7th June, 1843.

see photo of Wellow Farm below....


born before 26 May 1795 in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England, son of Thomas Martin (of Horsted Keynes - see more info below) and Sarah Constable (born Balcombe) (see below for more family details)
Died 28 March, 1848 in Gostwyck, Paterson, NSW.
Married Jemima RAYNER 3 November, 1823 in St Luke's church*, Liverpool, NSW   (pictured here) 
*St Lukes Anglican Church Northumberland Street and Elizabeth Drive at Liverpool. This heritage listed church claims to be the oldest Anglican church in Australia. It was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway in the Georgian style and completed in 1819. One convict-builder hanged himself in the tower during it's construction; three others were killed by lightning whilst sheltering from a severe storm on the 17th of January, 1823, no doubt aided by the fact that the convicts always worked in chains, sometimes even double chains.                                                                                         

burial: 17 Jan 1872 Paterson, NSW, Australia
Cause of Death: Dysentery
Emigration to Australia 1801 aboard "The Nile" which sailed from Spithead 21 June 1801
Marriage: John MARTIN 3 Nov 1823 ST Luke's Church, Liverpool, NSW
Property: 17 March 1854 - 16 Jan 1872. 16 acres at Pateson called "Forest Wood"
Religion: Church of England

HORSTED KEYNES is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village was twinned in 1971 with Cahagnes in Normandy, from where the Keynes family had originated, and to whose ancestor the Saxon village of Horsted was given some 900 years earlier.

St Giles’ Church in the village is 13th century, though the tower is probably earlier, and former Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan and his family are buried in the churchyard.

MARTIN, a labourer aged 24 was tried at the Sussex Assizes on a charge of stealing sheep. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, the penalTy was commuted to transportation for life to the colony of N.S.W. He arrived in Sydney on board the General Stuart on 31st December, 1818. His records show that he had no previous conviction, was a protestant,  5 feet 8 ¼ inches tall, with a fair and ruddy complexion, black hair and hazel eyes. On 13th January, 1819, he was sent by boat to Parramatta to join a gang working on the road to Windsor. He was made an overseer and for the next 4 ½ years supervised clearing parties at Windsor, Rouse Hill, and the Orphan school at Liverpool.

Jemima was engaged to an officer but after the banns were called she apparently broke off this engagement. The Register of St. Philip's church in Sydney shows that Emma, daughter of John MARTIN and his wife Jemima RAYNER was born on the 14th November 1821 and baptized 23rd October 1822. John MARTIN and Jemima RAYNER were married at St Lukes, Liverpool on 3rd November 1823. On the same day Emma Sophia was baptized for the second time together with her brother John Thomas who was born on 12th May 1823. Irrespective of the reason for the delay the marriage was required in light of hte following events.

About this time John MARTIN was returned to the Convict Barracks in Sydney town. On the 22nd November 1823, a bench comprising Supreme Court Judge Barron Field and Magistrates H.W. Antill J.P. and
W. Moore J.P. heard a petition by free settler, Jemima MARTIN to have John MARTIN "be allowed off stores to earn a livelihood." Their finding was that John and Jemima had three children, one of whom was very ill, that John MARTIN had a good record of "having conducted himself with propriety" and that "none of his gang had been brought before the Magistrates." The bench recommended the petition be allowed  and it was forwarded to the Governer, Sir Thomas Brisbane on 15th December, 1823. On 19th December, John MARTIN was assigned to G.J. Franklyn, Hunter River. This is an error in transcription a the assignment was to Captain George Jackson Frankland. John's assignment to the Paterson river property was effected by the end of January, 1824. The child that was ill, John Thomas and another daughter, Sarah, who was born on the 24th July, 1824, and baptized at Newcastle 24th November of the same year, both died in childhood. However the birth of Sarah, tells us that Jemima joined her husband  at Paterson.

Their employer, Captain Frankland arrived in Sydney 19th July, 1823, and his brig ANN from London via Hobart Town with passengers including Mrs Frankland. He decided to send his vessel to sea and go on the land. He wrote to the Colonial Secretary on 22nd August, 1823 requesting 20 men and a female servant to work his 2000 grant. There was a shortage of convict labour at the time and 5 months later he was still 9 men short of his requirements. The 12 recruited included John Martin. Frankland's grant was called Vineyard Cottage or the vineyard on the northern bank of the Paterson River facing Broughton's Tillimby and adjacent to E.J. Cory's Gostwyche.*
(Gostwyche's chapel is pictured here)

*Gostwyche's history

The property was selected by Edward Gostwyck Cory around 1830. He and colleague William Dangar had earlier squatted on land along the Peel River near Tamworth, but found themselves ousted by aggressive land exchanges pursued by the fledgling Australian Agricultural Company.

Prospecting for new land, the pair climbed onto the New England tableland and pegged out sheep stations - Terrible Vale, Salisbury Plains, Palmerston - whose names continue.

Cory quickly sold Gostwyck, named after his grandfather, to William Dangar, who by the late 1840s owned 200,000 acres (81,000 ha) of New England grazing country. Gostwyck wasn't by then part of this empire: in 1834, William sold the property to his brother, Henry, assistant surveyor to explorer John Oxley.

The earliest picture of Gostwyck came from a government survey in 1848: 50,000 acres (20,200 ha) carrying 60 horses, 640 cattle and 20,000 sheep.

By the time "The Pastoral Review" visited in 1912-13, Gostwyck was about half its original size, but now shore more than 30,000 grown sheep.

This "beautifully wooled" flock had by then benefited from nearly 60 years of stud breeding.

Henry Dangar founded the Gostwyck stud in 1854 with the importation of 28 rams from a Herr Gadegast in Saxony.

After 18 months, the Martin's stay at Vineyard cottage came to an abrupt end with John MARTIN being brought before E. C. Close J.P. and J.P. Webber J.P. in the Newcastle Magistrates Court. On 6th August, 1825, he was "found guilty of robbing his master G.J.Frankland Esq. at sundry times" and was sentenced to 14 days solitary confinement in the cells and six months on the Goal Gang at Newcastle.

During John MARTIN's enforced absence the Sydney Gazette announced on 15th December, 1825, the death of G.J. Frankland, aged 33 on the 1st December 1825 while visiting Sydney. When John MARTIN completed his sentence, he could not be returned to the Vineyard as it was now leased to E.J.Cory until his new house Gostwyche was built. John was kept on "stores" at Newcastle but no rations were provided for Jemima and the children.

Jemima MARTIN again petitioned the Governer, Sir Thomas Brisbane, on 13 th February, 1826 "in the hope that I will meet your kind approbabtion to allow me the indulgence of taking my unfortunate husband off the Goverment stores which would be the means of rendering happiness to a distressed wife and three children as I can assure Your Honour I am forced to strain every nerve to get substinance for my family and can scarcely do it." Captain Allman, the Commandant at Newcastle, advised the Governer on 6th March, 1826 that John Martin's "conduct while on this settlement has been satisfactory he appears to be of industrious habits and proporly (sic) attentive to his children." The Governer directed that convict John Martin be assigned to his free settler wife, Jemima.

Jemima obtained employment with the Revered George Augustus Middleton, who at this time was residing in Newcastle. The 1828 census shows her working as a farm servant for G.A.Middleton on his property Glenrose on the Paterson Plains with John assigned to Jemima. Also listed at Glenrose were George Augustus Middleton aged 34, his second wife Sarah Rose, (nee Styrrup, who he married in 1824 when she was aged 16), his sons George 10,  Charles Robert, 3 and Osmond Edward aged 2 years. Glenrose  consisted of 2400 acres of which 130 was cleared, 32 cultivated, grazed 6 horse, 337 cattle and 285 sheep. The property adjoined the N.W. boundary of Tocal and the western boundary of J. Phillips 'Bona Vista'.

Also on Glenrose in 1828, were Jane Soulston 14, born free in the colony, servant William Foxley who came free with Middleton on the PRINCE REGENT in 1829 and is described as a farming man and John Hall 26, who had served his 7 years sentence and worked as a stock keeper. The two labourers were convicts Patrick Lynch, 29, the only catholic on the property, and James McNab aged 27. The Reverend Middleton had been Assistant Chaplain in Sydney town and in 1819 was appointed Chaplain at Newcastle. In 1821 he resigned rather than take up his appointment as Chaplain at Port Macquarie. In the same year he drove the first herd, comprising 173 head of cattle overland from Windsor to the Paterson  Plains. This track became known as the Parsons Road. It was too rough for vehicular traffic and was replaced by the Great Northern Road from wisemans Ferry via Wollombi in 1825. In the early 1830's Middleton was prominent int he Pterson Farmers Club and was one of the district representatives to the Agricultural Society in Sydney.

The Martin family's progress can be followed in the baptismal record for their children. Jane 1826, Eliza 1828, and Edwin John were baptized at Maitland on 12th February, 1832 with John recorded as a labourer living at Paterson Plains, possibly still at Glenrose. John Thomas 1833, George Gostwych 1834 and Charles William 1839 were baptised at Paterson on 10th September 1840 by John Jennings Smith, the first incumbent of St Pauls, Paterson.  In the meantime, my Great Great Grandmother, Eve was born 1837 and baptised in Maitland in the same year. At both these events, John MARTIN is recorded as a farmer at Paterson and their son George's second name,  indicates that he was a tenant farmer on E.G. Cory's farm, Gostwych. In any case, when their last child Jemima was born and baptised in 1841 their address was Gostwych probably on the 50 acres of Cann's 60 acre grant which Jemima MARTIN obtained by indenture on 7 May 1840. This land was in the area now known as Martins Creek.

John MARTIN received a Conditional Pardon on New Year's Day 1842. This had been supported by Edward Macquarie J.P., John Lane J.P.,and H. Adams J.P. On the same day his son-in-law John DODD the husband of the Martin's eldest daughter, Emma, also received his conditional pardon. John Martin died on 16th January, 1848 aged 56 years and his tombstone still stand in St Paul's churchyard, Paterson stating that he was
"a loving husband and a good father."

Jemima MARTIN supplemented her land holdings on 17th March 1854 with the purchase of another 20 acres from Thomas Laing located in the Parish of Barford, County Durham.

Jemima  died on 16th January 1872, at her home Forest Wood, Paterson aged 74 years and 24 years to the day after the death of John. During her final illness on 9th January 1872, she made her Will and as was the practice divided her estate between her four sons. The youngest Charles William receiving the 20 acre block and 12
½ acres of the Cann Grant and the others receiving 12½ acres each of the Cann Grant. Some insight into Jemima's character may be gleaned by the codicil she added to her will on 11th January 1872 leaving her side saddle to " the wife of Jim Taylor of Cox's creek." This bequest was cancelled on 14th January because "she had not come for it." 

This pioneering family are almost certainly responsible for the name Martins Creek, but if any individual deserves the recognition; it is without doubt Jemima Martin.

Martins creek Church, Martins creek, New South Wales

Wellow farm on the Hawksbury, home of Henry Baldwin and Elizabeth Carpenter/Raynor's son Wellow located on Henry's land. Family vault resting place located near here off Hibberts Lane on high ground. It collapsed many years ago.

from Local History sources: "Martins Creek" :-    Named after Edward Martin who settled on the banks of the Paterson River near where the creek joins it, in 1851.  Source:   MM 05.06.1967.
Martinsville.    William and Sarah Martin were the earliest known settlers in the area and in the early 1890's a meeting of local citizens adopted the name in their honour.   Source: Lake Macquarie Past & Present.

MARTIN  (MARTIN / CONSTABLE of Horsted Keynes and Balcombe)
John Martin was fifth son of One THOMAS MARTIN born abt 1752 in England;
Thomas MARTIN died 15 Dec 1829 in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England.

John's mother was SARAH CONSTABLE, born about 1764 in Balcombe, Sussex, England, died 14 Jun 1826 in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England.
BALCOMBE is noted for its beautiful woods, lake, millpond and reservoir. The farms, mainly dairy, are as well tended as the forested areas. A network of footpaths is dotted around the parish, which are particularly spectacular in spring and autumn.

There are fifty-five listed buildings in Balcombe, including the Parish Church of St Mary, with its 15th century tower and recent lych gate. Also worth a mention are the many timber-framed buildings, fine stone and later brick houses and the famous Balcombe Viaduct. ( Scenes from BalcombeVillage are pictured here)

Children of Thomas
MARTIN and Sarah CONSTABLE were:

1 Thomas
MARTIN born before 14 Oct 1786
Christened 14 Oct 1786, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England.

2. John MARTIN, born before 8 April 1789 in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England, died before 16 July 1789 in same village.
christened 8 April 1789 Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England.

3. Richard MARTIN
Christened 29 August, 1790, Horsted Keynes, Sussex England so born sometime before this date.

4. Edward MARTIN,

Christened 3 Dec 1791 and born before sometime before that date.

5. John
MARTIN, born before 26 May 1795 in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England,
Died 28 March, 1848 in Gostwyck, Paterson, NSW.
Married Jemima RAYNER 3 November, 1823 in St Luke's church, Liverpool, NSW.

6. Mary MARTIN, christened 18 July 1797, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England.

7. Martha
MARTIN Christened 26 May 1799, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England, and born sometime before that date.

8. Henry
MARTIN christened 4 Jan 1801, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England, and born sometime before that date.

MARTIN christened 19 Dec 1802, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, England, and born sometime before that date.

Growing up in Paterson 1846

The Martin family grew up in Paterson.
This paragraph was taken from a link on the Hunter Valley Connection page and describes school children attending a community event in 1846.
The language and descriptions evoke a time past. An interesting read.

Juvenile Tea Meeting
: - On Tuesday evening, the 6th instant, J.H. Boughton, Esq., invited the children under the tuition of Mr. J. Hollingworth, of the Paterson township, to a public tea. They walked in procession from the school house to the residence of their kind host, who, anticipating their approach, hastened to meet them. He appeared highly gratified with the juvenile procession, which was truly interesting, as it moved towards the edifice (contiguous to his house) set apart for the evening's entertainment. The building was most tastefully decorated with flowers and evergreens, exhibiting the appearance of an alcove. At 4pm fifty children sat down to tea. The provision was most abundant, varied, and of the best description. The tables literally presented a magnificent appearance. After tea, innocent and mirthful recreation was indulged in by the pupils, until the shades of evening, when they were led by their
teacher to express their obligations to their highly esteemed host and hostess for their condescension in having personally waited upon them during the happy season of their festivity. (January 16 1846)

Irish convicts and Vinegar Hill Battle

Taken from

On the evening of March 4th, 1804, John Cavenah set fire to his hut in Castle Hill at 9.00 pm. This was the signal for the rebellion to begin. With Cunningham leading, 200 rebels broke into the Government Farm's buildings, taking firearms, ammunition and other weapons.

Initially there was pandemonium as buildings were ransacked to cries of "Death or Liberty". Two English convicts dragged the Hills District flogger, Robert Duggan from under his bed. The English convict George Harrington beat the flogger unconscious. A constable was saved from a musket ball in the face when the musket of John Brannon misfired. Another constable was saved in similar circumstances when Jonathon Place's musket also misfired.

Cunningham gathered the rebels and dressed them down for the lack of disciplined behaviour. The rebels then went from farm to farm on their way to Constitution Hill at Parramatta gathering firearms, supplies and drinking any liqour they found. The looting of farms gave the rebels over 180 swords, muskets and pistols. In 1804 this was close to one third of the colony's entire armoury.

The Rebel March To Constitution Hill

Within an hour of Cavenah firing his hut word had got to Parramatta of the rebellion and by 11.00 pm Governor King in Sydney was aware of the situation. The air in Parramatta and Sydney were soon full of drums and gun shots as the military and militia were called to duty. In Parramatta Samuel Marsden evacuated the town by boat with his and John MacArthur's family. Marsden was an obvious target as his tyranny and penchant for flogging had earnt the enmity of a good number of convicts.

In Sydney Major George Johnston[11] rounded up a New South Wales Corps contingent of twenty-nine soldiers and forced marched them through the night to Parramatta. Governor King immediately set off for Parramatta where one of his first actions was to declare martial law. From the Sydney Gazette;

I do therefore proclaim the Districts of Parramatta, Castle Hill, Toongabbie, Prospect, Seven and Baulkham Hills, Hawkesbury and Nepean to be in a STATE of REBELLION; and to establish Martial Law throughout those Districts.

Cunningham's plan involved torching the MacArthur property of "Elizabeth Farm" in order to draw the Parramatta garrison out of the town. Once this was done the rebels in Parramatta would rise up and set fire to the town as a signal. The Castle Hill rebels would gather at Constitution Hill and then raid the barracks for more arms and ammunition. From there the rebels would march to Windsor and join up with the rebels in the Hawkesbury before marching on Sydney.

At dawn on the 5th of March rebels were still straggling in to Constitution Hill. Phillip Cunningham and William Johnston were busy drilling the rebels on the hill while they were waiting for the signal from the uprising rebels in Parramatta. The signal never came. Cunningham's messages to the Parramatta and Windsor rebels had never gotten through. Cunningham decided rather than to face the garrison head on, that the rebels would head down the Hawkesbury Road [the current Old Windsor Road and Windsor Road] to Windsor to meet up with the rebels from the Hawkesbury.

The Australian Battle of Vinegar Hill

Major Johnston's group of twenty nine New South Wales Corps soldiers and fifty members of the "Active Defence" militia [12] pursued the rebels through Toongabbie and Sugar Loaf Hill until the soldiers were only a few miles away from the rebels. Major Johnston sent Father Dixon to the rebels in an effort to have Dixon convince the rebels to surrender. Mainly Johnston wanted Father Dixon to slow the rebels down so his foot soldiers could make up the few miles difference.

When Father Dixon failed to halt the rebels, Major Johnston and Trooper Anlezark rode to the rebels to have them take the Governors offer of clemency. After Major Johnston challenged the rebel leaders to come forward, Phillip Cunningham and William Johnston separated from the two hundred and thirty three rebels and spoke with the Major. It was agreed that Major Johnston would bring back Father Dixon to talk with them again.

This delay had given enough time for the New South Wales Corps soldiers and Militia to catch up to the rebels. When Major Johnston and Trooper Anlezark returned with Father Dixon they knew that their troops were not far behind and acted accordingly. Once again Phillip Cunningham and William Johnston walked out to meet them while the rebels formed ranks behind them. Lynette Ramsey Silver writes of the final confrontation between the rebel leaders and Major Johnston;

Finally, when the major asked them [the rebel leaders] what they really wanted, Cunningham replied 'Death or Liberty' adding (according to one account) the very practical request 'and a ship to take us home'.

With these words Major Johnston held a pistol to William Johnston's head and ordered him to move toward the soldiers and militia which had appeared over the rise. Anlezark did the same with Cunningham. Lynette Ramsey Silver writes of the start of the battle;

Major Johnston without any other preliminaries, ordered his men to charge and open fire. Over fifty armed civilians, a mounted trooper, and 29 military men (26 of whom were capable of firing 780 prepared rounds of ammunition in 10 to 15 minutes), were pitted against 233 rebels. The odds were technically with the rebels, but it was Enniscorthy's Vinegar Hill all over again. With machine like precision and the economy of movement that comes with practice and military training, the red-coated soldiers formed ranks and for 15 minutes carried out their duty precisely as ordered. Leaderless, caught completely unawares and totally unprepared, the rebels weakly returned the fire before fleeing in all directions.

The rebels were not as well armed nor as well trained as the New South Wales Corps soldiers. After the battle several prisoners were murdered by the soldiers and militia. Major Johnston rescued the lives of several rebels by threatening his troops with his pistol. In the distraction of all the firing William Johnston escaped his captor's attention and fled into the bush.

Cunningham was not so lucky and was struck by the sword of the burly Quartermaster Thomas Laycock. Cunningham fell to the ground unmoving. He was assumed dead and left behind as the soldiers rounded up the rebels. Amazingly Cunningham survived the blow and was picked up by soldiers the next day. In the official reports that followed the battle neither Major Johnston's actions or Laycock's were mentioned. During the short battle fifteen rebels had fallen.

The Aftermath; Hangings and Floggings

Governor Kings retribution for the rebellion was swift as he believed that the leaders had caused the others to follow. King believed that punishing the leaders heavily and quickly would pacify the convicts who had followed the rebel leaders. There were a considerable number of English convicts involved as well as free men like Charles Hill. King's decision meant that most of the rebels were let off. This was most likely a pragmatic decision as the captured rebels were still needed to work the Government Farm.

Phillip Cunningham was quickly hung from the staircase of the public store at Windsor on the 6th of March. The rest of the leaders were brought before a judicial panel. William Johnston who had surrendered to the authorities plead guilty. John Neale admitted he was in the rebel group. Jonathon Place denied all charges and the rest claimed they had been forced to participate in the rebellion. William Johnston and Samuel Humes as leaders in the rebellion were ordered hung in a public place and then for their bodies to be hung in chains. Lynette Ramsey Silver writes;

There are very old legends about the two 'hanging trees' at Toongabbie. .. one on Toongabbie Hill and the other by Johnston's Bridge. It is probable that the body of Samuel Humes was hanged on one of these two trees. The Johnston's Bridge site is favoured, as it was by the main road to the Hawkesbury and right in the centre of the Government Ground. ....

.... The body of Johnston was hanged in a small hollow on the road to Prospect where the road climbs from Parramatta and then descends, shortly after leaving the township.

There were nine executed including the three above. Charles Hill and Jonathon Place were hung at Parramatta, John Neale and George Harrington were hung at Castle Hill while John Brannan and Timothy Hogan were hung in Sydney. Many of the remaining leaders were flogged with either five hundred or two hundred lashes and then sent to the new colony at Coal River [Newcastle]. Father Dixon for his perceived part in the rebellion was made to put his hands on the raw and bloodied backs of the rebels flogged at Sydney as a grizzly reminder.

Gaoling and Exile

Finally the "United Irishman" Joseph Holt and "The Scottish Martyr" Maurice Margarot were arrested on suspicion of involvement. Holt had successfully skirted the issue of his involvement in each insurrection and rebellion to this point. He had managed to survive without being exiled to Norfolk Island but this time his luck was to run out. Holt was ultimately held partly culpable for the rebellion. It is still not known if he was involved in the rebellion, Silver wrote on Holt's involvement;

Holt was kept in gaol before being packed off to Norfolk Island on 19 April, on the instructions of the magistrates who decided that, although there was insufficient evidence to convict him of treason before a criminal court, 'the tranquility of the colony' required such a measure. On the balance of probabilities it seems that the slippery Joseph Holt had once again escaped the attentions of the executioner.

Margarot also joined Holt in exile at Norfolk Island. Other suspected seditionists in the Sydney colony that were not openly involved in the rebellion were also sent to Norfolk Island without proof of their involvement.

Reasons For Convict Rebellion

Unlike the Eureka Stockade which achieved a Chartist agenda, or the "Blood on the Wattle" stand-off in 1932 against increasing Federal oversight, there was no claim made by the rebels of 1804 to a higher order of liberty. The words, "Death or Liberty" popularised by the firebrand orator, Patrick Henry in 1775 were heard several times during the rebellion. But the rebels made no greater claim to liberty.

There was undoubted tyranny in the New South Wales colony. There was also discrimination from the Georgian view of the criminal underclass and Irish underclass. This was especially true in the manner in which the New South Wales Governors dealt with the Irish leaders. Robert Hughes writes on the view of the Irish by the New South Wales authorities;

The Irish, on arriving in Australia, were treated as a special class. As bearers of Jacobin contagion, as ideologically and physically dangerous traitors, they were oppressed with special vigilance and unusually hard punishments. They formed Australia's first white minority. From the outset, the Irish in Australia saw themselves as a doubly colonized people.

At the Magistrate level, Samuel Marsden's zeal for the lash was often used with little respect for English common law. The New South Wales Corps practiced a brand of cronyism. Monopolising the rum trade and consolidating a great deal of land and stock wealth with their officers[13]. Robert Hughes writes on the New South Wales Corps attitude to convicts;

Their [New South Wales Corps] junta mentality fostered two assumptions. The first was that none of them ... believed that naval governors were ever on their side. The second was that the convicts were there to be used, not reformed. Both caused a rapid hardening of attitudes against convicts, the lumpenproletariat of New South Wales. The New South Wales Corps stiffly resisted any effort to criticize, or even inspect, its treatment of convicts.

While the New South Wales Corps, Marsden and the Governor were targets of the rebellion they weren't the ultimate focus of the rebellion. This lack of focus makes the rebellion appear as a knee-jerk reaction to the convicts being exiled half a planet away from their home and under the tough and rough conditions of the penal colony. A situation where their incorrigibleness was uniformly assumed and their lack of dignity guaranteed by their treatment.

Many of the convicts wanted a ship home, away from this harsh, hot, alien land with its odd plants and animals. Away from their convict life and the immediate Colonial authorities. The Irish in particular attempted many escapes with the hope of catching or stealing a ship to the green and cold Ireland. Lynette Ramsey Silver concludes that a ship home was the main focus of the rebellion.

Carol Carruthers, Curator of the Hawkesbury Museum has an alternative view. The Irish leaders did not see English authority as legitimate in Ireland and were not prepared to recognize its legitimacy in Australia either. To the Irish Defenders and the United Irishmen, all English authority was illegitimate, unjust and their natural state was to resist it. The actions of the Irish political prisoners between 1800 and 1804 are consistent with this world view.

Ongoing Debate Over The Location Of Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill was not a formal location in 1804. The battle between the rebels and the soldiers became commonly known as the "Battle of Vinegar Hill" after the Irish battle in 1798. Common usage of the name Vinegar Hill began to appear in the 1810's and 1830's in the Rouse Hill area. But there is no formal Vinegar Hill on a map.

The road the rebels and soldiers travelled in 1804 was the Hawkesbury Road. This is the modern day four lane highway from Seven Hills roundabout, down Old Windsor Road and along Windsor Road. There have been competing thoughts for the location of Vinegar Hill. Originally it was thought to be Rouse Hill but Australian Historian George Mackanass challenged this in the 1950's. Marking the location of Vinegar Hill as the crossroads between Windsor Road and Schofields Road. In the 1980's several other local historians came to the same conclusion as did the NSW Commissioner for the Department of Planning and the Environment in 1982.

Lynette Ramsay Silver points to the letter of Major Johnston which talks of his troops turning at the 'Government Stock Fence' to the second hill from Half Way Pond. By her reckoning the Government Stock Fence is where Old Windsor Road and Windsor Road meet today and Old Ponds Creek is known today as Second Ponds Creek. To Silver the location of the battle is approximately at the crossroads of Schofields Road and Windsor Road. Silver writes;

The area occupied by Castlebrook Lawn Cemetery satisfies the criteria in every respect.

In 1988 a sculpture commemorating the battle was dedicated at Castlebrook Lawn Cemetery by former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam