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Paterson River history

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Green Wattle estate (earlier Glenurie)

First title-holder – Eliza Walsh/Smith

Eliza Smith in her senior years

Believed to be a photo of Eliza Smith in her senior years, taken by Moss, West Maitland – digitally repaired and coloured, copy courtesy of Robert Wade.

Eliza Walsh arrived in Sydney on the ship Globe in 1819. She was the eldest of three sisters who had arrived with her brother-in-law, the newly appointed Deputy Commissary of New South Wales, Frederick Drennan. The three sisters had gone to live in Jamaica some years earlier with their father John Walsh, a Naval Chaplain who settled at Kingston, the Island's capital. In 1817, after his death, the family moved back to Britain.

On arrival in New South Wales Eliza applied for land but Governor Macquarie refused to grant it to a single woman so Eliza purchased a farm in the Kurrajong district and lived on it. She doggedly continued to challenge Macquarie's ruling that she was ineligible for land because she was a single woman. Eliza petitioned successive governors until finally, in December 1828, Governor Darling issued an order for a grant of 1,280 acres in her own right, even though she was now married. He authorised her to take possession of her grant from May 1829.[1]

Eliza chose her land in the lower Paterson River area in today's Woodville district. At first she named her grant "Glenurie" but within a few years changed the name to "Green Wattle" estate or "Green Wattle Creek" estate, because Green Wattle Creek flowed through it.

The 1,280 acres comprised lot 58 in Butterwick Parish. As first title-holder, Eliza Smith received the deeds to Glenurie/Green Wattle in 1839.[2]

Glenurie's 1,280 acres

Glenurie or Green Wattle's 1,280 acres (at right) was lot 58 on the Butterwick Parish map. The road running through the land to the left (west) of Glenurie is today's Butterwick Road.

After Eliza Walsh married John Galt Smith at Liverpool (NSW) in 1823[3] they lived on his "Woodville" estate. It was just over four kilometres from Woodville House to Green Wattle's nearest boundary, a short ride by horse or buggy. The couple did not have children and Eliza became sole owner of Woodville estate on the death of her husband in 1847. Eliza died in 1861 and is buried with John Galt Smith in St Paul's cemetery, Paterson.

There were two huts on "Green Wattle Creek Farm" when John Galt Smith advertised the property for lease in 1843.[4] The lease was taken up by William Bell at a yearly rental of £25.[5] Bell continued to lease the property until about 1851.

Green Wattle was advertised for sale in 1849 but apparently not sold. It was again advertised for sale in 1851, this time "on instructions from the mortgagees" but it remained unsold.[6]

In the mid 1850s Eliza Smith managed to satisfy her creditors by selling several lots of the "Woodville" estate. She was then able to discharge the mortgage on her Green Wattle estate in 1857. Now debt free, Eliza made a Will in 1859 that reads in part "I give and devise all my Real Estate and bequeath all the residue of my personal Estate unto and to the use of Helena Maria Lucy Lett who is now residing with me at Woodville House ...".[7]

Lett-Middleton ownership

After Eliza's death in 1861, ownership of Green Wattle estate passed to Helena Lett but was managed by Jonathon Young, the owner of nearby Loch Goyle, until at least 1868.[8]

On 31 December 1861, only weeks after Eliza Smith died, Helena Lett married Charles Robert Middleton (1825-1912) who was leasing Tressingfield.[9]

At some stage after the marriage their nephew, Charles Edward Middleton (1844-1926), took up residence at Green Wattle. In May 1888 Helena Maria and Charles Robert Middleton sold all of Green Wattle estate's 1,280 acres to nephew Charles Edward Middleton for £900.[10]

Subdivision of Green Wattle

sale of part of Green Wattle in 1891

Advertisement for sale of part of Green Wattle on the front page of the Maitland Mercury on 10 February 1891.

Only four months after purchasing Green Wattle in 1888, Charles Edward Middleton split the estate and sold the eastern 500 acres of mainly hilly country to Woodville farmer William Taylor for £381.[11]

Charles retained the remaining 780 acres as a family residence. His parents, George Augustus Middleton (1818-1900) and Frances Middleton nee Tucker (1822-1896) died at Green Wattle in 1896 and 1900 respectively.[12]

In 1891 Charles Edward Middleton advertised the sale of Green Wattle, now comprising 780 acres, but the outcome is not kown.[13] Please contact me if you have further information.

Notes

1. NSW Colonial Secretary's correspondence, various.

2. NSW Government Gazette, 1839 page 674.

3. Sydney Gazette, 23 October 1823 p3.

4. Maitland Mercury, 4 November 1843 page 1.

5. NSW Old Systems Land Titles, book 8 number 24.

6. Maitland Mercury, 6 October 1849 page 3 and 2 April 1851 page 3.

7. NSW Old Systems Land Titles, book 52 numbers 665 and 666; Eliza Smith's Will – book 152 number 660.

8. Maitland Mercury, 13 September 1862 page 3 and 19 September 1868 page 1.

9. Sydney Mail, 4 January 1862 page 1.

10. NSW Old Systems Land Titles, book 391 number 211.

11. NSW Old Systems Land Titles, book 397 number 497.

12. George Augustus Middleton(1818-1900) was a son of Rev. George Augustus Middleton (1791-1848).

13. Maitland Mercury, 10 February 1891 page 1.

References

Hunter, Cynthia. "A Lady by the Name of Walsh". Raymond Terrace and District Historical Society Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, April 1986.

McGrath, Betty, research notes on Eliza Walsh, copy courtesy of Robert Wade.

Wade, Robert, The Smith Family of Belfast and Tingha, self-published, 2019.