Richard Morgan King George 1806

                                                                                                King George

                   RICHARD MORGAN
     Reg Watson   

TRIED                                                 Gloucester 23 March 1785:

TRANSPORTED:                                7 Years to Africa, changed to NSW

SHIP:                                                   Alexander

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:                   8 January 1790

SHIP:                                                   Supply

TRADE:                                               Farmer                                    

TO VDL:                                             6 October 1806

SHIP:                                                   King George

MARRIED:                                          Catherine Clark (no record) (2)

DIED:                                                  26 September 1837

BURIED:                                             September 1837 Kangaroo Point




WIFE: (1)                                            Elizabeth Lock

                                                            30 March 1788




WIFE: (2)                                            Catherine Clark (1770-1828

TRANSPORTED:                                2 May 1789

SHIP:                                                   Lady Juliana (1790)

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:                   August 1790

SHIP:                                                   Surprise

TO VDL:                                             6 October 1806

SHIP:                                                   King George

MARRIED:                                          Norfolk Island 1791

DIED:                                                  July 1828

BURIED:                                             27 July 1828 Clarence Plains




      1                                        Born     1792    NI

Married John Wade

Died     1788


2.                                                                              William Henry

Born 1794 NI

Married Emmeline Busby

                                                Died  1850



3                                                                              Richard

Born 1796 NI

Marrier (1) Elizabeth Thomas

             (2) Elizabeth Dart

Died 1877


        4.                                         Mary   

Born 1799

Married David Smith

Died 1821


         5.                                     Sophia

                                                Born 1801

                                                Married (1) Robert Graves

                                                              (2) Peter Buchanan

                                                Died 1844



Born 1801

Married Alexander Bricheman




Born 1804



Born 1804

Died 1836





RICHARD MORGAN (1761-1837)




Reg. A. Watson



            The old barn at Rosny on the Municipal Golf Course has become a most significant historic building in Tasmania.  Probably the oldest building on the eastern shore, it may have been built for the owner, Richard Morgan, by Richard Clark (c1815) who came with Lt Bowen’s party in 1803. The barn had a multiple purpose other than just storing things.  It could have been a place of worship and where Morgan’s servants slept.





 The original owner, Richard Morgan, arrived with his family on October 7th 1806.  Richard was a First Fleeter and a Norfolk Islander.  Authoress, Colleen McCulloch, who visited the site in August 2000, has released a book called “Morgan’s Run”, a novel based on Richard Morgan’s life.  McCulloch’s book, first and foremost, is a novel, a somewhat romanticised version of the life of Richard Morgan;  nonetheless, “Morgan’s Run” gives a reasonable account of life how it was.

            But who was the real Richard Morgan?  Was he the man of comely appearance of the book? A man who had sensitive New Age qualities?  Was he a strong moralist with a strong sense of the religious?  Was his son, William Henry, almost a mystical child as portrayed?

            As mentioned, Richard Morgan was a first fleeter, arriving in 1788 with Gov. Arthur Phillip.  Alas for Richard, he travelled not in style, but with the other convicts, having been convicted in 1785 at Gloucester on the oaths of “John Trevillian Ceely Trevillian esq and others” The offence was “stealing in the dwelling house of the said Richard Morgan (sic) one metal watch value three pounds and also charged with assaulting the said John Trevillian Ceely Trevillian and threatening to murder him and by force unlawfully obtaining from him a promissory note for the payment of five hundred pounds.”  Morgan was convicted and was sentenced to be transported to Africa for seven years.

            Morgan, however, appealed and his complicated story was rather different. Morgan, asserted among other things, that he found Ceely in bed with his wife and that Ceely offered him the promissory note of five hundred pounds as compensation.  I will quote from the book “The Founders of Australia” by Mollie Green. (P. 250) of the affair.  (to quote)…”His own account of the incident was a little different in the long petition he submitted on 5th April to Lord Sydney.  He said that when working in a Bristol distillery he had noticed a lot of pipes erected to defraud the Revenue, and out of a sense of duty he had reported the fraud to the Collector of Excise, who investigated and ended the practice.  Morgan had been required as a witness to the subsequent prosecution and had been approached with bribes to compromise.  A trial was avoided through delay in bringing it forward and Morgan understood that the case had been settled out of court for 800 pounds and costs, and thought he was entitled to some of this money as informer.  He was then told (he said) that there had been criminal connection between his wife and one Ceely of Bristol, a man of property and to test this he hid with a witness in the house and found Ceely in bed with this wife.  Morgan said Ceely then offered him the promissory note for 500 pounds as compensation, which he accepted so his wife would not be shamed by public infamy.  He said that in his fright Ceely had left a watch in the bedroom and that he had kept it, thinking that he had a right to do so.  He intimated that the present charge against him had been instituted to avoid paying the 500 pounds.  He added, ‘Your Petitioner had no criminal intention in what he did but has always acted as a faithful and honest Subject both towards the Government and his neighbours’.  If no free pardon was offered, he asked for permission to transport him with the money he still believed due to him for his services in disclosing the fraud. (end of quote).

.The appeal, sadly, was rejected and Morgan was transported to the prison hulk, “Ceres”.  McCulloch has him married to the dainty, demure, Margaret nee Biggs at this time and according to her, she was a first cousin.  Records State that he was transferred to the vessel Alexander in January 1787 and it was on this vessel he arrived at Port Jackson as a member of the first fleet, 26th January 1788.  The Alexander was not a happy ship as most of the deaths occurred on this boat and at one time there was a mutiny.

            Two months later, Morgan received permission to marry another convict, Elizabeth Lock, who had been in gaol with him at Gloucester.  Elizabeth had actually received a death sentence for two accounts of breaking into a house and stealing, but the sentenced was reprieved to seven years transportation.

            They were married 30th March 1788 at St Phillip’s Church, Sydney with witnesses, Ann Colpitts and William Whiting.  There was no church building at the time, so they were no doubt married under a large gum tree. On the 8th January 1790 Richard was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply with 21 other male convicts and one female.. Elizabeth followed in Feburary 1790. There appears to have been no further contact between the two.  Morgan had now been given his freedom and was granted two acres on the island, which he called “Morgan’s Run”, Queensboro, the title of McCulloch’s book.

            Morgan was a randy fellow, for he took up with another convict, Catherine Clark arrived later in the colony (1789) aboard the Lady Juliana. He and his second life, Elizabeth Loch, had obviously separated, she finding a protector on Norfolk Island, with Thomas Scully, a marine.

            Richard had actually committed bigamy as he still had a wife back in England.  Now he lived in a de facto relationship with Catherine Clark. Catherine had been charged along with three others, an Elizabeth Riley, Mary Barnes and Ann Bryan, for the theft of muslin. She was convicted in Middlesex in 1788 and was sentenced for seven years

            There does not appear to be any children to his previous two wives.  The first, by records, came in 1792 with the birth of Catherine.  William Henry came second (1794) although McCulloch has him being born to his wife in England, many years before.

            Morgan was a hard-working and energetic man and with the help of Catherine they prospered on Norfolk Island (lot number 80 )– and increased their acreage to 50, eventually supplying pork to the government.  He was also employed as a sawyer and an overseer.  On October 15th 1805, they left Norfolk Island (now with seven children, including one set of twins, (George and James) for Port Jackson. It is interesting to note that “James” was the second child of that name.  An early James was born on Norfolk Island in 1798 and died 1798, parents Richard Morgan and Catherine Clarke.

There has been general belief that for a short period Richard was occupied as a self-employed tree faller at Port land Head, near Windsor NSW.  While falling a tree, he miscalculated its fall, it falling across the man’s house who contracted him, Richard Dunn.  Tragically, two of Dunn’s children were killed, Catherine (10) and James (7).  They were asleep at the time.  For this affair, Richard was sentenced to 500 lashes. According to the Sydney Gazette 21 Sept 1806 P.4, Richard fell the tree “before day-light” with the subsequent tragic results. The Gazette records, “A servant of James Dunn, being employed in falling timber near to his master’s house, a tree of immense size fell upon it, and renting it asunder, killed two fine children as they lay in bed, besides maiming the mother in a most dreadful manner as she sat by the bedside.  Dunn had himself providentially got out of bed an instant before or must have inevitably shared the fate of his unfortunate children, one of whom was a girl of ten years and the other a boy of seven. – An inquest was taken on the bodies and under some peculiar circumstances Richard Morgan the servant, was committed to custody.”

For some time, this was accepted to be ‘our’ Richard Morgan.  Family researcher, Cec Quin from Sydney, however, has disproved that.  The above is another Richard Morgan.  This latter Morgan was a convict assigned to J. Dunn and is shown as arriving on the Coromandel 1. This arrived  in 1802.  Our Richard certainly was not a convict in 1806 and as the newspaper stated, Morgan “the servant”.  Our Richard Morgan was free at the time of the tragedy. Henceforth we can dispense with the story.

 However, it is believed that particular Morgan avoided the flogging.

On October 7 1806 ‘our’ Richard Morgan and family arrived at Hobarton on the King George to take up 130 acres at Kangaroo Point, Clarence Plains.  The Morgans were the first settlers at Kangaroo Point.  Two assigned servants accompanied them.

            The Morgans were part of a number of Norfolk Island families sent to populate Van Diemen’s Land.  They were to be victualled at the expense of the Crown for two years and allowed convict servants for several years.  This influx of arrivals placed an enormous strain on the colonial government of Lt-Gov David Collins.

            Knopwood records:  “At 11 I went over to Morgan’s farm and took refreshment with me.  Came home at 5 pm.  Mr and Mrs McCauley with me.” (January 1808).  Lt Gov Collins also visited his farm “across the water” A year later, (1809) when the notorious Captain Bligh was on his ship on the HMS Porpoise, Morgan who had known Bligh while in New South Wales.  Richard supplied him with fresh provisions. It was a tricky situation supporting Bligh in the light that Collins opposed him. Indeed, Collins sentenced Morgan’s friend, James Belbin to 500 lashes for boarding Bligh’s vessel as it was moored in the River Derwent. I understand the sentenced was not carried out.

            In 1813, Surveyor G.W. Evans plotted 190 acres of Richard’s grant.  In the survey (which was based on original marks left by James Meehan on tree stumps in 1803), reference is made to survey points such as ‘on Morgan’s wheat’; ‘on the other side of the farm’; and ‘Morgan’s cultivated land.’

            Evans also marked out 100 acres for William Morgan and Richard senior’s boundary, but this appears to have been taken up by Richard junior.

            In 1815, he was constable at Kangaroo Point, a post that he was dismissed from on July 26th 1817.  In that year he was commissioner for wheat.

            Both Richard Morgans tendered for wheat and meat contract.  Richard Senior tendered for 15090 lbs of meat every three months and 77-100 bushels of wheat in season.  The farm at Kangaroo Bay was not large enough to carry the number of cattle that supplied meat to the store.  These may have come from the additional lease Richard Morgan Snr. had at Prosser’s Plains (now Buckland).  They may also have come from stolen stock.  They also had sheep at Scantling Plains (York Plains) as Knopwood records in November 1815:  “the natives had killed and destroyed 930 of his sheep, (and) had piled them up together and burnt them.”

            In 1818 Thomas Florance, who first owned Rosny point, ran a scow or open ferry across to Hobart Town from Morgan’s, carrying livestock.  The Hobart Town Gazette (11th Aug 1819. 2c) reports:  “All live animals to be received at the Point adjoining Mr. Mrogan’s land, but all produce and luggage will be received at the command landing places…until two or three weeks have elapsed, when a road will be completed at the said Point, passing to and through Mr Morgan’s Farm, forming a junction with the Pittwater Road, a few rods south of Mr Ballance’s Inn.”

            Richard in supplying the meat to the government had his own slaughtering house, for which he was licenced. The exact location of the enterprise is not known.  Probably close to the water’s edge of Kangaroo Bay.  This would help in the ferrying of produce to Hobart Town situated opposite.  It was a lucrative and demanding business as all the convicts and soldiers were dependent on the government.

            In 1818, Richard Morgan and Rowland W. Loane were jointly charged with slaughtering cattle without a licence.  Morgan stated that he had rented the place to Loane, and that he was not there at the time of the slaughtering. Loane it would appear was not popular and a number of people gave evidence against him, including the owner of the vessel Derwent, William Carr, re illegal slaughtering.  Nonetheless in 1820 both Richard and son William signed a petition in favour of Loane. They year before (1819) both Richard and Loane are on record in donating money (Loane five pounds and Richard one) to the Bible Society of Van Diemen’s Land.

The HTG (22/8/1818) reported: “By Public Auction at the Premises of Mr R Morgan on Monday 24th instant at 12 o’clock, Ten horned cattle.”

It was rumoured that the Morgans were heavily involved in sheep theft and that they co-operated with outlaws.  His son, William was definitely heavily involved. He and brother Richard (see below) lived at Hollow Tree (now Cambridge). William with his brother-in-law, Derwent Hibbens, who was also involved in stock theft, ran some type of crime partnership. Indeed Derwent was sent to Port Arthur for his efforts. It was a touchy situation, as sister Catherine had married John Wade, who pursued offenders with vigour.  It is also believed the situation made it some-what difficult between the Wades and the Morgans. Eventually the evidence was overwhelming and a warranted was issued against William and against Richard Hibbens and his brother, Douglas.    William “took to the hill”, but was pursued by a groups of constables, led by Daniel McKenna.  They found and arrested him at Richard Morgan Junior’s home at Hollow Tree and William was sent to Hobart.  On August 14, 1819, he was committed for trial in Sydney.  Despite a petition to the effect that he was “honest” William was sentenced to death, but fortunately for him and his family, Governor Brisbane pardoned him. He certainly led a charmed life, for it was known that his and brother Richard’s farms at Hollow Tree was a base for illegal transactions involving stolen livestock. This was the era of Michael Howe, perhaps the best of the very early bushrangers and there is evidence that the Morgan boys were associating with the gang, especially George Watts, a member of Howe’s gang. Watts, while no relation, was an interesting fellow, as he married Margaret Eddington, the mistress of the late Lt-Governor of the colony, David Collins.

In 1819 there were 21 acres of wheat, 2 acres of barely, 2 acres of potatoes, half an acre of beans (usually used as feed for horses) and 174 acres of pasture.  The property consisted of 81 cattle, 2 horses and 231 sheep. Three years later he had 22 acres of wheat, 2 acres of barley, half an acre of beans, 2 acres of potatoes, 174 acres of pasture out of a total of 200 acres.  He owned 2 horses and 81 cattle plus 230 sheep.

            In 1822 Richard Morgan Senior was compelled to caution people from grazing stock or cutting timber on his farm at Kangaroo Point. The farm included an additional 200 acres, which Richard Morgan had purchased from Colonel Davey in 1817, when Davey returned to England.

Richard’s son, Richard Junior, (bn.1797) was later granted 50 acres, also at Clarence Plains, later increasing his holding to 80 acres. On this grant consisted, 18 acres of wheat, one of beans, 3 of potatoes and 58 in pasture and was running 28 cattle.

The Muster Lists for 1818-1821 showed a number of prisoners worked on the Morgan farm. Those for Richard Senior were John Brown; John West; James Donovan; James Manton; John Webster; James Johnson; while for Richard Junior were John Snell; Neale Carey; William Cullen; and Samuel James. James Manton was given 50 lashes twice, in 1820 and 1823 for neglect of duty, disobedience of orders and abusing his master, Richard Morgan junior. John West was also given 50 lashes for disobedience of orders and neglect of duty. John Webster was given in 1820, 25 lashes.  He was freed in 1828, but in 1848 was sentenced for life for sheep stealing.

Richard Jnr, being a freeman, became a prominent member of the local community.  He married Elizabeth Thomas 22nd May 1823 at St David’s Church, Hobart. We touched briefly on his early life and his exploits with brother William.  In October 1823 he had to sell his Hollow Tree to clear his debts.  The property was described as: “Right and title to a weatherboard house and farm of 60 acres, with barn and out-houses, etc, at Hollow Tree near Kangaroo Point.” (Hobart Town Gazette 4/10/1823).  However, it would appear it did not sell, for in 1828 his father’s farm at Kangaroo Point was put up for sale, father Richard being forced to sell because of a severe financial depression which hit the colony.  The Hobart Town Courier (22/March 1828) recorded:  “A farm of 130 acres one mile from Kangaroo Point on the Pittwater Road, bordered on one side by the Rivulet, 60 acres of which are in a high state of cultivation and clear of stumps with a good house and most excellent Barn.”

In that same year 1828 both Richard Morgans tendered for more land, which was rejected with it being written on Richard Snr, “This man has always borne a suspicious character and to whom no encouragement should be given as an occupier of land  On Richard Jnr’s it states, “This is the son of the elder Morgan to whom I believe the same suspicions are attached as to the father” (CSO papers, Archives of Hobart.)

            The farm was sold in 1831 to Joseph Hone, Attorney-General.

In 1858 Richard Junior built the “Bellerive Hotel”, which was called The Villa. Originally a two storey structure it faces Kangaroo Bay. In 1939 fire destroyed a major part of the building.  It is now single storey. However, Christopher James Todd was in charge of the hotel in 1860. In 1919 an advertisement declared it having “excellent accommodation”. The author of this work, co-incidentally, worked as a journalist for the community newspaper, Eastern Shore Sun, the early years of the 21st century, which operated from The Villa.

Richard Junior died 11 June 1877. Richard Jnr was to marry a second time, to Elizabeth Dart (1806-1869) on 23rd May 1838 at Trinity Church, Hobart. He, together with sisters, Mary Louise, Elizabeth Sussannah, and Ada Augusta are buried in the grounds of St Matthew’s Rokeby, Tasmania. Their tombstone still can be seen today (2002). His second wife, Elizabeth, is mentioned on the tombstone, but it is believed she is buried in the Risdon (Bellerive) cemetery. With Elizabeth (Dart), he had six sons and six daughters, with his first wife, Eliza, just one son, Charles Morgan.

            A daughter of Richard Snr, Catherine, married an ex-convict, John Wade, who arrived with David Collins to settle Sullivan’s Cove in 1804.

            Richard Morgan Snr died at Clarence Plain and was buried on Sept 26th 1837 at Clarence Plains (Rokeby) aged given as 78 years.  His wife, Catherine, was buried July 27th 1828, also Clarence Plains, age given as 57.  I cannot find their burial site, but they are listed in ‘Burials in the Parish of Clarence Plains and Kangaroo Point’.

William Henry had an interesting career. Emmeline Hibbins married William Henry 23rd April 1814 at Hobart Town. She was daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Bushy.  Thomas was a free settler and another Norfolk Islander. On 16th February 1819,William Henry stole 200 sheep, the property of Edward and William Kimberley, Daniel Stanfield and William Nichols junior, from Tin Dish Holes near York Plains.  Hobart historians, Irene Schaffer and Thelma McKay state, “William escaped from gaol with John Oliver, he was described as 25 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, of stout build with dark hair and eyes and was born on Norfolk Island…A reward of 25 pounds was offered for his capture.

“He was captured and fully committed for trial and sent to Sydney on the ‘Prince Leopold’ on August 12 1819 with 12 men to give evidence, his wife accompanied him…’Mrs Morgan wife of the prisoner and child.’

“On 7 September 1822 their son Thomas was born in Hobart, on his baptism on 3 December 1822 it was noted…’E.M. (Emmeline Morgan) was married to Morgan, but at the time she was pregnant, he was confined in the gaol at Sydney, where he had been two years and she was delivered after his return to Hobart.’

“William was granted 100 acres of land in September 1816, he later sold this to Edward Lord.  No record of Emmeline’s death has been found.  William died in 1850 in Hobart.”

Richard and Catherine’s children included:-

            Catherine (1792-1877), William Henry (1794-1850) married Emmeline Busby/Hibbens, Richard (1796 or 97-1877), Mary (1799-1821), Sophia (1801-1844), Margaret, twin to Sophia. Sophia was grandmother to Emma Gaylor Graves who had a relationship with first cousin, once removed Brereton Rolla Jnr.  Sophia died 15th January 1844 at Kangaroo Point, the same day of her daughter's (Georgina) wedding.  Sophia married twice, firstly to Robert Graves (M.18th Feb 1821) who was a “gauger of spirits in His Majesty’s bonded stores.” and secondly to Peter Buchanan, who died at George Town 27th October 1891. She with sister Margaret owned livestock and gave testimony at a trial of the rape of Catherine McGinnis, a servant of John Wade. (see above section on John Wade)

George* and James (1804-1836), twins thus Richard and Catherine had two sets of twins.


            The stout barn still stands.  It is not exactly known when it was built, but no doubt in the second decade of the nineteenth century. (c1813). In 1831 it was sold to the Attorney-General, Algernon Sidney Montague and it was probably he who built the cottage close to the barn.  Like his son-in-law, Richard Morgan snr was a member of the colony’s earliest racing fraternity.

            As a matter of interest, the colonial government had plans for the erection of a military battery on land belonging to Montagu at Kangaroo Point in 1840. (Colonial Times 1st December).  In the following year, the new battery was commenced further up the hill near the new flagstaff.

*George died in 1815.  The Rev Knopwood reported that he buried Mr  Morgan’s son who fell from a cart and was killed.

Article written by Reg Watson 


Richard Morgan is one of the main subjects in Reg Watson’s book “Tasmania! – a saga of a pioneering family”





I would be very interested to know if the Robert Wade Morgan (father the late Richard Morgan of Tasmania) who married Jane Dingwall (my half great aunt)at Stafford, Westland, NZ on the 23/4/1883, is related to the Richard Morgan in the above article.
They had 2 children Louis Richard Morgan b1884 and Francis Wade Morgan b1885. Any information gratefully received.

I would like to know if you have any information about Mary Louisa Morgan daughter of Richard jnr and Elizabeth Dart.
I was hoping you could tell me who she married. If it was Robert Miller she is connected to my maternal family tree.
Thanks ....Susan

I am one of the greater grandsons of Richard Morgan (Caroline Morgan 1833 - 1905) was my gr gr grandmother). Are there any images / photos of any of the Morgans? I have one of Richard Morgan who was transported as a convict but am intrigued if there is a pic of Catherine Clark or others.
Many thanks
Gary MacDonald (live in far north QLD)

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