Timeline: 1811 – 1820

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January 1

Governor Lachlan Macquarie‘s police regulations for Sydney come into effect, and the Sydney Police Court is established.

April 5

Thomas Reibey, colonist and husband of colonial businesswoman Mary Reibey, dies, age 42.

April 10

Toll gates come into operation on the newly completed turnpike road from Sydney to Parramatta (one in George St, Haymarket, the other at Boundary St, Parramatta).

June 5

Major George Johnston is convicted of mutiny in London, cashiered and allowed to return to New South Wales. John Macarthur is ordered to remain in England.

June 13

Naval officer and marine surveyor Owen Stanley, born.

July 2

D’Arcy Wentworth appointed Principal Surgeon following the death of Thomas Jamison in England, 27th January.

September 1

Maj Thomas Davey commissioned as Lietenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

October 8

Brig Governor Macquarie launched in Sydney.

October 23

The foundation stone is laid for the Rum Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney. Of the three wings built, two survive today, as NSW Parliament House and the Mint Museum.

October 26

William Charles Wentworth becomes the first native born Australian to hold an important official position when he is appointed Provost-Marshall by Gov Lachlan Macquarie.

November 4

Gov Lachlan Macquarie leaves Port Jackson in the Lady Nelson to visit Van Diemen’s Land and the Hunter River.

November 23

Gov Lachlan Macquarie visits Van Diemen’s Land; he arrives in Hobart, visits New Norfolk (24th), fixes the site for the town of Elizabeth (27th) and crosses overland to Port Dalrymple (2-8th December).

December 2

Rev. Samuel Marsden exports 1,800kg of wool to England in the returning transport Admiral Gambier.

December 16

Gov Lachlan Macquarie sets in motion the move of the settlement at Port Dalrymple back to the George Town site on Outer Cove from York Town. He renames the locality York Cove.

December 20

Gov Lachlan Macquarie sails from Port Dalrymple in the Lady Nelson for Port Stephens (arrives 31st).


January 1

John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley (in England) is appointed Surveyor-General of NSW.

January 3

Governor Lachlan Macquarie visits Newcastle, inspecting coal mines, lime pits and cedar camps.

February 12

The British House of Commons appoints a select committee to consider transportation. This appointment represented the beginning of the end of transportation of British convicts.

February 18

Publisher Andrew Bent arrives at Port Jackson (he would continue on to Hobart on 2nd February) aboard Guildford.

March 25

George William Evans, assistant-surveyor at Port Dalrymple leaves to survey Jervis Bay. He returns overland passing through the sites of Nowra, Port Kembla and Wollongong.

April 14

Explorer and Governor of South Australia, Sir George Grey, born.

June 19

The United States of America declares war on Britain, bringing the Australian colonies also into conflict with America.

July 27

First fleeter Henry Waterhouse dies. A naval officer stationed at Port Jackson, Waterhouse was the first person to import merino sheep for breeding in Australia.

September 12

Governor Lachlan Macquarie orders the branding of all cattle.

October 19

The first convict transport to sail direct to Van Diemen’s Land, the Indefatigable, arrives at the River Derwent with 199 convicts. Among them was Michael Howe, who would become Tasmania’s most notorious bushranger.

October 25

Mistrel arrives in Port Jackson with 125 female convicts. Passengers on board includes the incoming Lieut-Gov. of Van Diemen’s Land, Maj Thomas Davey, and surveyor John Oxley.

November 26

Samarang arrives at Port Jackson from India with £100,000 worth of Spanish dollars.

November 30

The armed brig Emu, en route to Hobart with 49 female convicts, is captured by US privateer Holkar and taken to New York as a prize. The captain and convicts are released at Cape Verde Island in January 1811.


January 3

The Aboriginal Bennelong dies.

January 23

Poet Charles Harpur born to convict parents in Sydney.

February 7

Gov Lachlan Macquarie‘s first dispatches are almost lost when the ship Isabella, which is carrying them to London, is wrecked on a reef off the Falkland Islands.

February 10

Maj Thomas Davey leaves Sydney for Hobart in Van Diemen’s Land to take up his post as Lieut-Gov (on 20th).

March 30

George Johnston returns to Sydney as a private citizen and takes up residence at his Annandale property.

May 11

Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Wentworth set out on a trek across the Blue Mountains, NSW. They reach Mount York (31st) and arrive at Mount Blaxland, beyond the Cox’s River. They turn back having found a route across the mountains and sighting the plains beyond.

May 15

Gov Lachlan Macquarie issues an order restricting Sunday trading.


The first Sunday school in Australia is established by Thomas Hassall on the Parramatta property of his father, Rowland Hassall.

July 1

A Proclamation is issued regarding the introduction and design of the ‘holey dollar‘ to become legal tender on 30th September. The dollars are not issued until January 1814.

July 16

Public outcry ensues after a Court of Criminal Jurisdiction (Judge-Avdvocate and seven officers of the 73rd Regiment) give only a six month sentence to two fellow officers who have murdered a settler.

July 31

Gov Lachlan Macquarie sends a dispatch to the Colonial Office in London expressing his dissatisfaction with the 73rd Regiment and asks that no officer be allowed to remain in the colony after the regiment’s withdrawal.

August 16

Soldier and explorer Peter Egerton Warburton, born in Cheshire, England.


The road between Sydney and Botany is completed.

October 9

Explorer William Hilton Hovell arrives at Port Jackson aboard Earl Spencer with other free settlers and 196 convicts.

October 23

Explorer Frederich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt born.

November 19

George Evans leaves Sydney to cross the main range of the Blue Mountains.

November 27

Gov Lachlan Macquarie prohibits meetings of more than six persons without notice to the Provost-Marshal, and any attempts to influence rates of exchange through promissory notes.

December 6

George Evans explores and names the Fish and Macquarie Rivers and the Bathurst Plains.

December 20

A public meeting is held in Sydney to form a society for the Protection of Pacific Island Natives.


Convict Michael Howe escapes and joins a bushranging gang in Van Diemen’s Land.


January 1

The ‘holey dollar‘ and ‘dump’ go into circulation.

February 4

Three new civil courts are established with the second Charter of Justice: the Governor’s Court and Supreme Court in NSW, and the Lieutenant-Governor’s Court in Van Diemen’s Land.

February 28

The last inhabitants leave Norfolk¨ Island which remains unoccupied by settlers for the next 11 years.

March 22

The road from Sydney to Liverpool is opened.

April 2

Charter of Justice, known as the second Charter of Justice of New South Wales, is made law. It laid the judicial foundation of Van Diemen’s Land. This Charter provides for three new civil courts in New South Wales in place of the civil court established under the New South Wales founding Charter of Justice in 1787.

May 8

Lieutent-Governor and explorer Francis Grose dies, age 55? at Croydon, Surrey, England.

May 14

The first issue of the fortnightly Van Diemen’s Land Gazette and General Advertiser is published. It ceases publication however on 24th September.

July 14

Gov Lachlan Macquarie authorises William Cox to build a road across the Blue Mountains along the Blaxland-Evans track.

July 19

Explorer Matthew Flinders dies, age 40.

August 2

The Court of Civil Jurisdiction is dissolved and the Governor’s Court and Supreme Court are established.

August 22

The Russian ship General Suvorov visits Port Jackson.

August 23

John Pascoe Fawkner receives 500 lashes and three years’ gaol in Newcastle for helping convicts to escape from Hobart. After his release he works as a baker, wood merchant, and sawyer. He later becomes a founder of Melbourne.

August 31

New South Wales’ first governor, Arthur Phillip, dies, age 75.

October 1

The ‘Common stage cart’ service begins between Sydney and Parramatta, Richmond and Windsor.

November 28

Rev. Samuel Marsden leaves for New Zealand to bring Christianity to the Maori people.

December 28

Gov Lachlan Macquarie calls a conference of the Aboriginal people of Parramatta to try to induce them to settle down.


Explorer Matthew Flinders‘ journal, A Voyage to Terra Australis, is first published. In it, Flinders recommends the adoption of the name Australia for the continent.


January 4

The Frances and Eliza, en route to Australia with 123 convicts, are captured by US privateer Warrior and pillaged. The ships are later allowed to continue their voyage.

January 9

First fleeter Augustus Alt, who was responsible for laying out the first streets of the towns of Sydney and Parramatta, dies age 83?

January 14

The road over the Blue Mountains is completed to the Macquarie River.

January 18

A residential school for Aboriginal children is opened at Parramatta.

January 27

Attorney William Henry Moore, the first free solicitor in NSW, arrives in Sydney as a passenger on the transport Marquis de Wellington.

March 23

Rev. Samuel Marsden arrives in Sydney from New Zealand with several Maori chiefs.

April 24

Bushranger Michael Howe and his gang carry out on raids in New Norfolk, killing two settlers.

April 25

Lieut-Gov Maj Thomas Davey proclaims martial law throughout Van Diemen’s Land to check bushranging. Gov Lachlan Macquarie revokes the proclamation in October.

May 1

Deputy Judge-Advocate Jeffery Bent opens the Supreme Court and swears in William Broughton and Alexander Riley, Macquarie’s nominees, both emancipist attorneys, as Magistrates.

May 7

Governor Lachlan Macquarie selects the site of a new settlement naming it Bathurst after the Home Secretary, Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl of Bathurst.

May 8

In the first sitting of the Supreme Court, which is presided over by Judge-Advocate Ellis Bent and his two assistants, emancipist attourneys are not permitted to appear before the court.

May 27

Sir Henry Parkes, a major supporter and promoter of the Federation of Australia’s states, is born.

July 1

Gov Lachlan Macquarie sends a complant to the Colonial Office about the conduct of the Bent brothers and says he will resign if they are not recalled.

July 26

Macquarie Arms Inn, Windsor, officially opened by Gov Lachlan Macquarie.

August 5

Explorer Edward John Eyre born.

August 8

Crown solicitor Frederick Garling arrives in Sydney in the Francis or Eliza.

August 10

The first Wesleyan minister, Reverend Samuel Leigh, arrives in Sydney to organise the Methodist Church in Australia.

September 7

Explorer John McDouall Stuart born.

October 27

Dr William Bland receives a pardon and establishes a private medical practice in Sydney.

November 10

Ellis Bent dies before the arrival of the letter recalling him.

November 11

Scottish Martyr, Maurice Margarot, dies.

December 9

Crown solicitor Frederick Garling is appointed deputy Judge-Advocate.

December 12

James Kelly and four others circumnaviagte Van Diemen’s Land, discovering Port Davey (17th) and Macquarie Harbour (28th).


A non-denominational Sunday School, operated by Rowland Hassall and John Eyre, opens in Sydney.


January 18

Fanny arrives at Port Jackson with 171 convicts and news of the Battle of Waterloo (18th June 1815).

March 3

Four whites are killed by Aborigines near Nepean River, NSW.

March 25

William Charles Wentworth sails for England to study law.

March 30

Gov Lachlan Macquarie appoints Francis Howard Greenway as the government’s Civil Architect.


Gov Lachlan Macquarie sends out three punitive expeditions against Aborigines along the Nepean, Grose and Hawkesbury Rivers. A number are captured following 14 aboriginal deaths.

April 12

Sir Charles Gavin Duffy, Premier of Victoria, born.

June 1

Following a trial issue produced on 11th May, Andrew Bent begins regular publication of the Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter.

June 13

A road to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney is completed. This date is traditionally observed as the foundation of the Sydney Botanic Gardens.

September 12

Convicts seize Simeon Lord‘s brig Trial in Port Jackson and use it to escape. The vessel is found wrecked north of Port Stephens at Trial Bay, four months later.

September 20

The first free migrants arrive in Hobart in the Adarnante.

October 7

Gold prospector Edward Hammond Hargraves born.

October 15

Premier of NSW, Sir John Robertson, born.

November 20

Gov Lachlan Macquarie convenes the first of a number of public meetings to discuss plans to open a bank.

November 30

The colony begins to export horses for the Indian Army.

December 2

The first land grants are issued in the Illawarra district, NSW, alloted by Surveyor-General John Oxley on the site of present-day Wollongong.

December 11

Gov Lachlan Macquarie announces the recall of Jeffery Bent and proclaims Bent has no further authory in the colony.

December 23

Merchant Thomas Sutcliffe Mort born.


Botanist Allan Cunningham arrives in the colony.

In this year

Cadman’s Cottage, on the waterfront at Sydney Cove, is built. It is today the oldest residence in Sydney.


February 2

Two lives are lost when the Hawkesbury River floods.

February 24

Barron Field arrives in Sydney as a passenger on the transport, Lord Melville, to replace Jeffery Bent as Judge of the Supreme Court.

March 7

The Bible Society of NSW is formed in Sydney.

April 8

Australia’s first bank, the Bank of New South Wales opens for business in Mary Reibey‘s house in Macquarie Place, Sydney.

April 8

Col William Sorell arrives in Hobart in the Cochin and the next days takes up the office of Lieut-Gov of Van Diemen’s Land, replacing Maj Thomas Davey.

April 20

John Oxley explores west, beyond Bathurst, to trace the Lachlan River. He finds Lake Cargelligo (25th July), and the Wellington Valley.

July 8

Educationalist and historian James Bonwick born.

July 25

Gov Lachlan Macquarie requests the withdrawal of the 46th Regiment because of insubordinate conduct.

July 28

Charles Throsby explores south-east of Moss Vale, NSW.

August 3

The first detachment of the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment, under Lieut-Col James Erskine, arrives in Sydney to replace the 46th Regiment.

August 25

Architect Edmund Thomas Blacket born.

September 3

Hydrographic surveys of Australian waters begin with the arrival of Phillip Parker King and John Septimus Roe in Sydney in the Dick.

September 30

After eight years, John Macarthur returns to Sydney on the proviso that he will not return to public affairs.

October 7

Australia’s first Methodist Church opens in Castlereagh Street, Sydney, by Rev Samuel Leigh.

December 1

Lachlan Macquarie resigns as Governor of New South Wales but his resignation is rejected by the Colonial Secretary, Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl of Bathurst, when he receives it.

December 2

John Beaumont explores the interior of Van Diemen’s Land.

December 7

Former Governor of NSW, William Bligh, dies.

December 10

Bushranger Michael Howe is captured, then escapes, having stabbed and shot his two captors.

December 16

Colonial architect Francis Greenway is given a conditional pardon.

December 21

Gov Lachlan Macquarie recommends the adoption of the name Australia for the continent instead of New Holland.

December 22

Phillip Parker King, John Septimus Roe and Allan Cunningham, botanist, leave to explore the north-west coast of the continent. They are joined by Broke Bay Aboriginal Bungaree who acts as interpreter.

In this year

Work commences on the construction of Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney; Government House Stables, Sydney (Conservatorium of Museum); Fort Macquarie (on the site of Sydney Opera House); St Matthew’s Church, Windsor, NSW; St David’s Church, Hobart (demolished 1874).


January 8

Gov Lachlan Macquarie accuses Rev. Samuel Marsden of conspiracy and forbids him to come to Government House.

January 18

The Great Western Road between Parramatta and Emu Ford (Plains) opens.

January 26

The first Australia Day celebrations are held.

January 29

The first regular mail service between Hobart and Launceston begins, following the construction of a road joining the two towns.

March 3

Charles Throsby, Hamilton Hume and James Meehan set out from Liverpool to find an overland route to Jervis Bay.

March 28

Gov Lachlan Macquarie withdraws Rev. Samuel Marsden ‘s status as JP and magistrate.

April 19

Phillip Parker King examines Port Essington and the Alligator River (8th May) names Bathurst Island and Melville Island (21st May), Barrow Island (19th June), then returns to Port Jackson.

May 15

Father Jeremiah O’Flynn arrested and gaoled, then deported (20th) because he lacked credentials.

May 21

Artist Samuel Thomas Gill born.

May 28

John Oxley and George Evans explore the Macquarie River.

June 30

Sydney’s female orphans are moved to a new orphanage at Parramatta.

July 8

George Evans explores the Castlereagh River, and in August, John Oxley sights the Warrumbungle Ranges, Liverpool Plains and the Peel River.

September 5

Explorer Edmund Besley Court Kennedy born.

September 12

Louis de Freycinet, in the French naval corvette L’Uranie, surveys Shark Bay, Western Australia (26th September) and at Dirk Hartog Island finds de Vlamingh’s plate. He takes it back to Paris.

September 15

John Oxley examines the Hastings River and names Port Macquarie (8th October).

October 21

Bushranger Michael Howe is killed.

November 21

Gov Lachlan Macquarie gives magistrates jurisdiction in cases involving wage disputes between master and servant.

December 24

Thomas Raine establishes a whaling station at Twofold Bay – the first in New South Wales.


A paper mill is established at present-day Waterloo, Sydney, by Messrs Warren and Duncan.

In this year

St Luke’s Church, Liverpool, NSW, and the Macquarie Place obelisk, Sydney, are erected. Both are designed by Francis Greenway.


January 5

John Thomas Bigge is commissioned by Colonial Secretary Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl of Bathurst to inquire into conditions in New South Wales and the administration of the colony.

February 27

Schooner Young Lachlan seized by convicts in the River Derwent. They are apprehended in Java.

March 6

William Gore suspended as Provost-Marshal and John Thomas Campbell is appointed in his place.

March 22

Gov Lachlan Macquarie submits to the colonial office on behalf of 1,260 colonists a petition requesting a new legal system, including trial by jury, and the removal of restrictions on trade and the distillation of liquor.

April 8

Theatrical entrepreneur George Selth Coppin born.

May 8

Phillip Parker King leaves Port Jackon aboard the Mermaid to resume his survey of the north-west coast of Australia. He will return on 12th January, 1820.

May 13

Convict and pioneer settler Margaret Catchpole dies, age 57.

May 22

The headquarters of the Port Dalrymple settlement are transferred from Launceston to George Town, against the wishes of the majority of its citizens.

June 4

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, NSW, officially opened by Gov Lachlan Macquarie.

June 5

A public meeting is chaired by Gov Lachlan Macquarie who decides to establish a savings bank.

June 25

The road from Hobart to New Norfolk is completed.

July 17

The first savings bank in Australia, is founded by Barron Field and Robert Campbell in Sydney, Parramatta, Liverpool, and Windsor. Popularly known as Campbell’s Bank, it opens branches in Sydney, Parramatta, Liverpool and Windsor.

August 1

Explorer Augustus Charles Gregory born.

August 27

Pioneer artist John Lewin dies, age 49.

September 1

Gov Lachlan Macquarie lays the foundation stone of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney. Commissioner John Thomas Bigge orders construction work to stop a month later soon after his arrival in the colony.

September 11

Emu Plains Government Farm, NSW, opens (operational from 11th September 1819 until 31st August 1832).

September 26

Commissioner John Thomas Bigge arrives in Sydney aboard the transport John Burry, with his secretary T.H. Scott, and Dr James Bowman.

October 24

John Howe pioneers an overland route from Sydney to the Hunter Valley.

October 25

Dr James Bowman succeeds D’Arcy Wentworth as Principal Surgeon. William Redfern resigns from the medical service as a result of being overlooked.

November 1

To pacify William Redfern, Gov Lachlan Macquarie appoints Redfern as Magistrate. Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Bathurst later overrules the appointment.

November 8

Sydney’s first postmaster, Isaac Nichols, dies age 49.

November 18

Louis de Freycinet puts in at Port Jackson having surveyed from Western Australia to Timor, New Guinea, and the Mariana Islands. He finds the town greatly changed since his last visit with Nicholas Baudin in 1802.


NSW Supreme Court Judge Barron Field (1786-1846) produces First Fruits of Australian Poetry, the first book of Australian verse.

December 13

Henry Rice leads an expedition from the Coal River settlement (Richmond, Tas) to St Patrick’s Head and thence to Port Dalrymple.


William Charles Wentworth produces ‘A Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales’, the first book written by an Australian-born author.

In this year

Construction of the Francis Greenway-designed St James’ Church, Sydney, commences.


January 27

The Sydney Burial Ground (Sandhills Cemetery) is consecrated on the site of present day Central Railway Station.

February 29

Governor Lachlan Macquarie asks permission to resign as Governor for the second time. His request is granted (15th July).

March 2

Russian exploration ships Blagonamerenny and Otkrytie enter Port Jackson on their journey to Alaska.

April 1

William Minchin, the holder of land grant, Minchinbury, at Rooty Hill, is appointed Superintendent of Police.

April 11

The Russian ship Vostok, commanded by Faddei Faddeevich (Fabian) Bellingshausen, arrives at Port Jackson on a voyage of scientific discovery to the Antarctic, followed by the Mirnyi on 19th April.

May 3

John Joseph Therry and Philip Conolly, the first Catholic priests officially appointed to Australia, arrive at Port Jackson.

May 14

Politician and Chief Justice of NSW, Sir James Martin, born at Middleton, Cork, Ireland.

June 13

Scientist and pastoralist Sir William Macleay born.

June 14

Phillip Parker King leaves Sydney aboard the Mermaid, and heads for Brunswick Bay, WA, via Torres Strait. He returns on 9th December.

June 19

Scientist Sir Joseph Banks dies, age 77.

July 29

A supplementary issue of the Sydney Gazette is printed on paper made at a mill established at Waterloo, NSW.

August 15

Governor Lachlan Macquarie issues an order enforcing left-hand driving.

August 19

Joseph Wild examines and names Lake George and sights mountains he names the Snowy Mountains.

September 21

The vessels Vostok and Mirnyi return to Port Jackson for a seven week stay.

November 21

Judge-Advocate Richard Atkins dies, age 75.

November 25

Governor Lachlan Macquarie issues a government order permitting limited grazing outside the Cumberland Plains. It also allows grazing on the Goulburn and Breadalbane Plains. (9th December). This marks the beginning of the movement of graziers inland.

December 1

Campbelltown, NSW, is marked out and named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie.


John Macarthur establishes a vineyard at Camden with cuttings brought from France in 1817.

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