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Paterson River history

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George Pell

George Pell was one of the first settlers at Patersons Plains. In July 1797 at the age of 24 he was convicted in the Old Bailey, London, on two counts of breaking, entering and burglary (see trial proceedings).[1] He was sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to transportation for life[2] and he arrived in New South Wales on the Hillsborough in 1799.[3]

In June 1804 Pell was again in trouble with the law. He was brought before the Bench of Magistrates in Sydney, charged on suspicion of aiding and abetting someone who had been capitally convicted (ie sentenced to death). Pell was sent to work in the gaol gang.[4] It is not known if this incident or other circumstances at a later date led to his banishment to the penal settlement at Newcastle.

In 1812 Pell joined a team of timber cutters sent from Newcastle to procure a special order of Hunter Valley cedar logs. As reward for a job well done, Governor Macquarie permitted five of these men to establish small farms of their own in the lower Hunter Valley. They were George Pell, Benjamin Davis (convict), John Reynolds (convict), John Swan (convict), and John Tucker jnr (free). John Tucker jnr initially settled on land allowed to his father.[5]

Pell's land was located on the west bank of the Paterson River immediately to the north of Davis' block (see map).[6] The southern portion of Pell's block became part of William Evan's grant (Bellevue) in the 1820s. A government cottage was constructed on the northern end of Pell's block as part of the government station at Old Banks.

Pell's farm

Pell's farm on the west bank of Paterson River at Patersons Plains, superimposed on a satellite image.

Press clipping of Pell's drowning

Unfortunately Pell drowned in the river at Newcastle in 1815 along with three other people including John Tucker jnr's new bride, Catherine Flynn. The report at right appeared in the Sydney Gazette.[7]

Apparently George Pell had a daughter named Sarah who was orphaned by his drowning in 1815 and was then cared for by George Phillips in Sydney. No details about Sarah's mother are known at this stage but evidently her mother had died before her father drowned.[8]

Notes and references

1. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 to 1913 (on-line).

2. Convict Transportation Registers, HO11/1 p250, PRO.

3. Convict shipping indents, 4/4003 [fiche 617] p369, SRNSW.

4. SG 17 June 1804 p2 (on-line).

5. Walsh, Brian. European Settlement at Paterson River 1812 to 1822. Paterson: Paterson Historical Society, 2012.

6. Doran, Luke. A Historical Investigation into the Colonial Surveys at Old Banks, Paterson River. Major Project, Bachelor of Surveying, University of Newcastle (unpublished), 2007.

7. SG 29 July 1815 p2 (on-line).

8. See the index to the NSW Colonial Secretary's papers for Sarah Pell.

External links

Index to the NSW Colonial Secretary's papers. There are two papers listed for George Pell.

See also

An overview of settlement at Patersons Plains up to the end of 1821.

Further research needed

Look up Bench of Magistrates 1788-1820: Pell, George, 20/3/1804, obstructing a constable, bundle 50 reel 656 [SZ768] p.465, SRNSW.