04. Bostock

The following is from Thelma Birrell’s book “Mariners, Merchants then Pioneers”

ROBERT BOSTOCK (2) was born 1784 at Tarleton Street, Bootle, Liverpool, where his father Robert (1) had relocated, to take advantage of the docking facilities on the north bank of the River Mersey. Although this area was devasted during the war, seven miles of docklands were available in earlier times. Six million people (many Irish) departed for worldwide destinations from the Port of Liverpool in the 1800’s.

Today the Merseyside Corporation has reconstructed a marvellous tourist venue on the River Mersey, with Merseyside Museum, great shopping arcades and home units in a modern precinct. Further down river, devastation of wartime is still visible.

ROBERT BOSTOCK (2) arrived 1814 in Sydney. He immediately set out to become a merchant, conducting a business at his residence 15 Hunter Street, Sydney. He was well acquainted with trading, as it had been his lot for some years. Robert and John McQueen arrived together on ‘Indefatigable 2’ and both received their pardon by 1815. Robert added to his Hunter Street property with the purchase of property at the corner of Bligh Street, Sydney. On 23.1.1816 Robert married a young lady born in Old Sydney Town in 1800. RACHAEL RAFFERTY was born to ELIZABETH RAFFERTY and Captain ROBERT RHODES. The story of Rachael is interesting, full of detail, and is on the website  http://matthewbirrell.50megs.com/index.html 

As Robert had business to attend to, and family still living in Liverpool, both he and Rachael with baby daughter Elizabeth b.29.10.1816 sailed for England in the vessel ‘Harriet’. Two sons, Charles Bostock b.1818 and Robert Walker Bostock b.1820 were baptised at St.Nicholas Church by River Mersey, Bootle.

By 1821 the BOSTOCK family sailed for Australia, with a letter from 10 Downing Street, London, to confirm the right to be treated as a free settler with his family, in the colony of New South Wales. He was to receive a grant according to the means which he may possess and bring it into cultivation. Robert and Rachael, with their young family arrived 1821at Hobart on “Jessie” and straightway, Robert departed on “Duchess of York” to Old Sydney Town. He needed to close down his merchants business, conducted in his absence by John McQueen.

On arrival in Hobart, the family lived in a house called ‘Vaucluse’ Macquarie Street. Some questions still remain , as to why so many places were named ‘Vaucluse’ from 1800 in Sydney, up to 1920 in Warrnambool. Rachael’s mother Elizabeth held ‘Vaucluse’ property in Sydney, through her son Thomas Dennett. (See Rafferty in this site) Robert worked at Government Commissariat Store on arrival, before building his own bond store, on what was then, the Hobart waterfront. I have a great photo above of store, that was sold a few years later to become Government Treasury. Robert’s next project was to build a vessel which he named “Governor Arthur” after the Governor, whom he had befriended. The ship was launched at Newtown in 1824. He certainly had a wide knowledge of the sea, merchandising and shipping, which he eventually put behind him as he settled in South Esk Valley, at Epping Forest.

By 1826 Robert had built quite a large stone house down by the South Esk River, near the water supply it seems. In 1826 the year GEORGE was born, Robert and Rachael were residing there and in 1828 he began construction on his last ‘Vaucluse’ where he and Rachael lived out their lives. This is a wonderful old home, listed but not owned by the National Trust of Tasmania, with a history of owners since Robert’s decease in 1847.

When a Will was made in these earlier times, harsh clauses favoured the eldest son and so on down the line. Even the wife was most often just left an annuity, as long as she remained unmarried. The younger children received a lesser inheritance. Robert was different in that he left his will to be divided equally among 8 of his surviving children with the 9th Robert Walker Bostock managing the property for a time. “Vaucluse” property was sold in 1847 for £9,057, while younger Robert W.Bostock d.1853 six years after his father.

Set on 8,000 acres ‘Vaucluse’ is a four storied residence, with cellars under and an attic on the top floor. Extensive white painted stone barns, coachhouses and workshops, all work to create a picture of a graceful Australian Pioneer Homestead set in the Lomond Hills of Northern Tasmania.

Robert & Rachael had 11 children up to 1837 when sadly Rachael died at birth of James. Their first daughter Elizabeth died young, while Charles died accidently at ‘Ellenthorpe Hall’ Ross, aged 21. Robert Walker Bostock died unmarried, at Westbury. All the other siblings married into prominent families who followed pursuits in Western District of Victoria, Gippsland, Mansfield and gold fields.


RACHAEL EMILY married Michael CONNOLLY of Launceston; ‘Leura’ Port Fairy and Gipps St., Port Fairy. Michael was pastoralist/merchant, operating with Griffith in the shipping and whaling industry at Port Fairy, where he died in 1855. Rachael Emily died in 1856 aged 34 years.

MARGARET married Lieut Francis Crossman DOVETON, first Gold Commissioner to Ballarat 1851. He was transferred to Mt.Alexander, Victoria, prior to Eureka. Francis married secondly to Annie Snell following the death of Margaret and child in 1853 age 28. Francis d.1905 at Prahran aged 87.

GEORGE married Ann COX of ‘Clarendon’ Evandale, Port Fairy; ‘Eumarella West’ and Warrnambool – See following web page.

THOMAS EDWARD married Catherine Jane MACKERSEY of ‘Greenhill’ Macquarie River and Kenilworth Run, Hamilton. Thomas died young 1874 at Melbourne. Catherine predeceased him in 1866 aged 38, while managing ‘Boortkoi’ Hexham for Manifolds. Bostock’s Creek, near Cobden is named after the first Thomas. His son Thomas E.Bostock became Mayor of Geelong 1905-1908. Edward Robe BOSTOCK cousin of T.E.Bostock (1)and his brothers, married Mary MACKERSEY sis/of Catherine Jane and occupied ‘Jellalabad’ before returning to England 1853 as agent for Australian family. Thomas’ daughter Jessie Bostock married Frank AUSTIN of pioneering Victorian family of ‘Werribee Plains’ and ‘Barwon Park’ and ‘rabbit saga’.

ELIZA ANNA married Alexander McLean HUNTER, explorer, who occupied large tracts of land in Gippsland and Mansfield regions of Victoria. ‘Flemington Racecourse’ was Alexander’s practice racecourse in earlier times. With his four energetic brothers, they participated in most of the steeplechase events, as they had done in Scotland. The Hunter Brothers held ‘Kalangadoo’ in Sth Australia, while sharing a great friendship with Thomas Browne (Rolf Bolderwood). ‘Belloura’ & ‘Keillor’ north of Melbourne, were home stations of these “larrikin gentlemen” who had links to the ROME Family, some of whom lived in Argentina..

AUGUSTUS married Margaret AITKIN of ‘Glen Esk’ Tasmania, living at Thomas Manifold’s ‘ Grasmere’ and William Bayles’ ‘Coomete’, and at his own ‘Vaucluse’ in Warrnambool in retirement. A hard working and very enterprising man, who gave employment to many families during those pioneering years. Augustus left us with a diary of daily events from 1854 to 1920 when he passed away aged 87, after a life of innovation on the land. Margaret predeceased him in 1919 aged 78. They both lived a full and colourful life. Two of their daughters married into the Lindsay family of neighbouring ‘Quamby’ and ‘Union’.

ERNEST married Lucy Hannah AITKIN of ‘Glen Esk’ Tasmania and ‘Lipook’ Warrnambool. Ernest died 1871 aged 36, of a fever. The renovated ‘Lipook’ is still a beautiful home today, as is ‘Brisbane Hill’ at Byaduk, where Ernest lived shortly before his death. He had been an agent in Warrnambool, among other things. Ernest, like his brothers, was active on many committees and in local government, although he appeared to be of a more reserved nature. Lucy died 1911 aged 82 in Melbourne. The family of Ernest were linked to PATERSON, WARE and McROBIE lines. Daughter Lucy & John Ware lived at beautiful ‘Weeripnong’, once owned by uncle James Bostock.

JAMES married Alice AITKIN of ‘Glen Esk’ Tasmania & ‘Weeripnong’ Warrnambool. James was an agent and financier and lived a long life before his decease 1919 aged 82, leaving no issue. He became a star boarder with the Mack Family of Warrnambool until his death. These three ladies, were daughters of James AITKIN and Mary Meacock MANIFOLD sister of Thomas, Peter and John, pioneers of Western District, formerly Tasmania. The Manifold brothers occupied ‘Purrumbete’ along with many other fine properties. Fifteen years elapsed between the marriages of Ernest, James and Augustus Bostock, while Ernest had died before James married Alice Aitkin.

RACHAEL BOSTOCK died in childbirth aged 37 and was laid to rest at General Cemetery, Campbell Town, Tasmania. Robert was buried there after his decease in 1847 at age 64. We believe that Robert’s family never did learn about his previous activity as a Master Mariner. Five of his sons went to the Western District and all represented their region on Road’s Board, Local and/or Shire Councils over many years. The earlier years were in an honorary capacity. It is also shown that the Lindsay family of ‘Quamby’ and ‘Union’ had a continual representation on the local council for a number of generations. All the Bostock men were well known for their enterprise and integrity, while Ernest, Thomas and George died young. Many of the women also died young, along with their offspring. Lucy Bostock and Ann Bostock, both lost their husbands in the same year as a child was born, and another young child had died. They were indeed very sad and difficult times, compared to this 21st century.

Elizabeth Rafferty from Ireland.

What a wonderful story has come from a disastrous beginning. In October 1795 Elizabeth Rafferty was tried for treason at Dublin and given a seven year sentence. She was sent to Cobh Harbour, Co.Cork, where she survived about 18months in the old and rotting timber, prison hulks that littered the beautiful harbour we see today. By 1797 she sailed in “Brittania 2” for the new colony of New South Wales, arriving 27th May 1797. What a bustling little colony she had arrived at and within a few months on 19th August her son Thomas Dennett (2) was born.


The voyage of “Brittania 2” with Captain Thomas Dennett at the helm, is recognised by prominent historians as one of the worst. On board were 144 male prisoners and 44 women. This diastrous voyage, on which 10 people died and the degradation was absolutely apalling, compelled author Charles Bateson to call it the “Hell Ship”. Robert Hughes in his historical novel “Fatal Shore” relates the story of this ‘Hell Ship’. Women were so degraded, which allowed Elizabeth Rafferty to take the clever option and ‘please the master’. For this reason she survived better than most. Margaret Rafferty who was also a passenger, must have been her sister, but without any knowledge of their parents, their homeland, birth or death dates, it is hard to determine.

Mr.W.Branch Johnson wrote, regarding the British system, that many for political and religious reasons, as well as criminals had been shipped, over generations, to America and West Indies, thereby saving the country from a degree of turbulence. Reformists in Britain and the American Colonies revolted in 1775 when jails were full with persons who had been given a seven, fourteen or twenty one year sentence, with no place to send them.

Thinking that this convict labour would be useful to Britain they set about to clean up the River Thames. The convicts were chained together around the ankles, sometimes the waist or with neckchains. Their habitat after a hard days work, was the old prison hulks. This operation was in full swing during Elizabeth Rafferty’s imprisonment at Cork, which was a part of the British Empire at that time. With the public learning about these hulks, particularly ‘Justita’ and ‘Census’, steps were taken to hide them from prying eyes, but people could still read about them in publications. The slaves barely spoke, as their industry, behaviour and manners determined their time of release. W.Branch Johnson wrote “The place where the convicts are now at work, is enclosed on the land side by a brick wall, so that spectators will soon (if not already) be barred by the sight of these miserable wretches, on the land side, except at a distance.” In 1801, a reformer who had been agitating for years for the removal of the slave’s rigid leg bolts, achieved his objective for the prisoners on ‘Hercules’ and ‘Atlas’ waiting in Ireland’s Cork Harbour for transportation. The prisoners, strong, weak, or ill were placed in lighter chain fetters. This occurred about three years after Elizabeth had sailed for Australia, confirming her suffering under the restrictive heavier leg-bolts and inhumane conditions as described by Robert Hughes.

Capt.THOMAS DENNETT and Dr.Augustus Beyer were ordered back to England to face trial for the dreadful ill-treatment of prisoners. Beyer was an accessory, as he allowed the floggings and sadistic punishments of men and women to take place on board the vessel. The Military Tribunal charged that the severity of punishments ordered by Dennett caused the death of six convicts. Patrick Garnley received 400 lashes and was found dead next morning. James Brannon received 300 lashes one day and 500 the next. They were tied to the ship’s mast.

I am quoting these instances to help us all understand just how degraded the system was at that time. Think a moment about this !!!! – These were the actions of the white race to it’s own kind. Is there a comparison with the slave trade ? The same kind of treatment was metered out in Tasmania, to many hundreds of male and female, British convicts.

The Death in England in 1800, of Thomas Dennett, allowed his will to be determined. Before his decease Thomas (1) made a will leaving his Sydney property to the unborn child of Elizabeth Rafferty. His wife Ellen had remained in England. As noted earlier that child was Thomas Dennett(2) and story follows later in this page.


After all those years of uncertainty, Elizabeth got on with her new life in a new country. She commenced in business at The Rocks, as soon as she received her pardon – for good behavoiur !!!! I have some great stories and artist’s impressions of her life and her shop in Old Sydney Town, where she sold all manner of merchandise, by way of the Captains she was obviously familiar with. She lived mostly in the vicinity of Gloucester Street and was also noted as living at Prince Street and Cumberland Street, where she owned property.

ELIZABETH RAFFERTY advertised thus:- Sydney Gazette 3.8.1806…”To be sold by private contract a very capital and commodius dwelling house delightfully situated on The Rocks and commencing at once an uninterrupted prospect to South Head, the Parramatta River, and the whole picturesque diversity of ….the garden is handsomely laid out and capable of much improvement, the whole highly deserving the attention of purchasers. The premises were formerly the property of J.Kenny, but now of Mrs. Rafferty, of whom particulars may be had.”

Sydney Gazette 21.6.1807:- General orders – To be sold by private contract………..A GOOD FARM on the Sydney Road, near to Parramatta comprising 100 acres, 50 of which are inclosed (sic) with an acre and a half laid out in gardens. A very commodius and substantial dwelling house in front of the road. A good 3 acre orchard, cattle shed, coach house, usable well and duck pond….For particulars enquire of Mrs.Rafferty.

Sydney Gazette 15.3.1807:- “STOLEN PROPERTY OF ELIZABETEH “Lately stolen from the farm house of E.Rafferty of Parramatta the following property, viz. 1 work’d quilt, blue ground and very remarkable; 1 white do. (ditto ?) flowered border; 4 pair of stockings; 2 table and 2 teaspoons; 2 tablecloths, 1 dimity petticoat; 1 longcloth bedgown and sundry children’s cloaths (sic) – also stolen from thence several months since, 4 pieces of fine Madras chintz, cambric, the pattern of the cocoa nut tree, 2 ditto of Bengal ditto, 2 sofa covers, 1 pair of Irish sheets. Also stolen from the Green Hills (Windsor), 3 petticoats, 3 pair of stockings, 3 shifts, 3 tuckers, one of which trimmed with Valenciennes Lace, and one yellow muslin ditto, 1 pair of green leather shoes, 1 shawl, 2 long cloth gowns, and one yellow muslin ditto. Any person having purchased either of the above articles is requested to give information thereof to Elizabeth Rafferty; and any part thereof that may hreafter be offered for sale is requested to be stopped and the parties detained.”

Elizabeth Rafferty is mentioned regularly in the Sydney Gazette with advertisements for a range of things, including property. At “Old Sydney Town”, Somersby near Gosford, a replica of her shop can be seen. Although so much has been written about her and I could fill a book, she never took her place with prominent pioneer women. While still conducting her shop, she had another child by her seafaring friend Capt.Robert Rhodes. That relationship must have been short lived, as Robert had to return to England with his vessel, the whaler ‘Alexander’ in 1806.

See Robert Rhodes – Robert Walker Pages.

RACHAEL RAFFERTY was born 6th April 1800 at Old Sydney Town to Elizabeth and Captain Robert Rhodes.

See previous Bostock pages.

At this early time from 1800 onwards, Elizabeth Rafferty had inherited, in the name of her young son Thomas, the ‘Vaucluse’ property, bought by Capt.Thomas Dennett (1) while he was in Australia. The story of this property, bought in 1827 by W.C.Wentworth and reported to be owned by Henry Brown Hayes, remains a mystery even until today. The property was the inheritance of Thomas Dennett (2) with his mother as guardian. Robert Rhodes was also linked to Elizabeth’s land acquisitions. Simeon Lord(1) had purchased ‘Vaucluse’ by arrangement for £100 without the deed being sighted and put Hayes on the property. ‘Vaucluse’ House is in the hands of the Historic Trust of N.S.W. in 2001 and is a beautiful venue for tourists and citizens to spend a day.

By 1807 Elizabeth Rafferty has all her possessions for sale in the Sydney Gazettte and prepared herself to sail for England with her new companion, Captain Robert Stewart Walker. He was constantly on the ocean, which accounts for Elizabeth being missing for long periods during her life, while her death has never been determined. The N.S.Wales Muster has her listed as being married to Robert S.Walker (obviously in England) with her daughter Rachael now being Rachael Walker (by adoption ?). They arrived in the colony on ‘General Graham’ in 1812.

Thomas Dennett (2) it appears, remained in England and joined the Royal Navy in due time. Of course lads were able to join the navy at a young age, as in the case of Gov.David Collins, who joined the Royal Navy at age 9. In 1821 young Thomas Dennett (2) arrived in Sydney, with the legal deed for ‘Vaucluse’. THOMAS DENNETT 1797/1822 as quoted in Hobart Town Gazette 29th June 1822 “Deaths, on Sunday last, on board the ship “Castle Forbes”, by which vessel he came passenger from Sydney, Mr.Thomas Dennett, brother in law of Mr.Robert Bostock, merchant of Hobart Town. The deceased was born in the Territory, from which he had been several years in England, and only returned here a few months ago in the “Countess of Harcourt”, as one of the Officers on that vessel”.

His Mother ELIZABETH (Rafferty) WALKER as noted in Sydney Gazette 19.7.1822 “Ships News – Mrs.Elizabeth Walker leaving the colony for Hobart Town, by an early opportunity, requests claims to be presented.” All persons leaving the colony during those years had to have a clearance before boarding any vessel. This was very soon after the reported death of her son, denying them all that wonderful time of reunion with her daughter, son and grandchildren in Tasmania. What a disappointment indeed. So little is known about Elizabeth (Rafferty) Walker between those years and nothing is known after 1822. The quest for knowledge of this amazing lady will remain. From where did she come and where did she die ?

Rachael (Rafferty) Bostock was my gr. gr.grandmother, while their son George Bostock and his wife Ann Cox became my great grandparents, the details of which I discovered in 1987. This brought joy and delight to many of the descendant families, throughout the eastern states of Australia.

Elizabeth Rafferty, was a very enterprising woman and her story is exciting, despite the things she may have done unlawfully. Indeed many, if not all of us could be charged for speaking against the government. I can sometimes picture the scene in Dublin in 1795, where the protesters gathered to complain the injustices, to womenfolk especially.

Photo- Rachael Rafferty/Rhodes This is obviously a sketch/painting of the daughter of Rachel Rafferty-RhodesElizabeth Rafferty. As Rachael was born in 1800 in Old Sydney Town, this would have been c.1816. Rachael married in 1816 to Robert Bostock RN who was a merchant in Hunter Street, Sydney. He sold all manner of cloths and fabrics

Robert Bostock and Rachael Rafferty Rhodes’ son GEORGE BOSTOCK was born 1826 at Launceston, while the family lived by the South Esk River at Epping Forest, between Launceston and Campbell Town. Nothing is known of George’s formative years, except to say that there was always a full house and many visitors. There were three pianos – including a grand, in their home at one time. Friends of Robert, after Rachael’s passing, called often to play Backgammon. Some great lines are recorded in the wonderful book ‘Clerk of the House’ by L.Van Andel. There were many convicts, servants and tradesmen over the years who resided at ‘Vaucluse’ and became part of the industry that kept the self contained village community operating effectively.

Records show 26 persons residing at ‘Vaucluse’ in 1840. (census ?) The property was eventually expanded to about 8,000 acres. Remnants from those early days were still evident when we visited in 1988 as we came away with a feeling of history and grandeur of an earlier place in time.

GEORGE must have listened intently, as his father told him many stories of the sea and his adventures. Robert himself, had three times, sailed in an old wooden vessel between U.K. & Australia. He was a mariner for some years, before landing 1814 in Sydney Town. By the time George was aged 13, he went, with the support of his father, to work at Port Fairy. His mother had died and ‘distant hills were greener’ offering much more potential to a young man with a future. Records appear to say, that he lived near the river mouth, but we are unable to confirm detail. However, George lived at ‘Leura’ with Michael Connolly, who was working in the Whaling Industry at that time with the Griffith family. Michael married 1841 to George’s sister Rachael Emily in Tasmania.

Just prior to 1839, John COX had moved to Port Fairy and established the first Bond Store on the waterfront. Wanting to venture into pastoral pursuits, John sold the business to William Rutledge c.1842 which is a extensive story in itself. So George was then employed by Rutledge to enter all vessels coming into the Moyne River. No doubt his father had taught him the ways of the sea and Thelma Birrell has letters, written to George by his father Robert, giving him encouragement and advice in ways of business. The letters were delivered by ships between Launceston and Port Fairy.

Ann Cox and George Bostock

George Bostock married Ann Cox (both pictured above) granddaughter of William Cox who famously built a road across the Blue Mountains. (See Who do you think you are UK series on Jason Donovan for William Cox’s story)

ROBERT BOSTOCK – 1784 – 1847  –    Old Sydney Town  1814. (with thanks to Thelma Birrell)

Ticket of leave, emancipation and pardon records, 1810-BOSTOCK, Robert. 31st January 1816. Discharged from custody by order of Governor Macquarie. 49-52.  [4/4427] Cod 18. 601 Transported for 14 years to NSW from Sierra Leone for trading in slaves 23rd July 1813.  McQueen, John. 31st January 1816. Discharged from custody by Governor Macquarie 49/52 [4/4427] COD18. 601.  Transported from Sierra Leone for trading in slaves 23rd July 1813.


“To Governor Macquarie,  Officer Administrating the Government of New South Wales…  Downing Street, 19th September 1820  Sir, I am directed by Lord Bathurst, to acquaint you that he has given permission to the bearer Mr.Robert Bostock, accompanied by his family to proceed as a free settler to the settlement of New South Wales, and I am to desire that you will make to him on his arrival a grant of land in proportion to means, which he may possess, of bringing the same into cultivation. I am Sir, You Most Obedient, Humble Servant.Henry Goulburn.”  

Pursuing British Slave Traders near Sierra Leone. [pps 120-123] ‘The History of Sierra Leone’

“In 1811 Brougham passed through the [English] Parliament the Slave Felony Act, to punish British slave-traders, or foreigners trading in slaves on British soil, with transportation, thus bringing many British slave-traders still settled in the rivers adjoining the [Sierra Leone] Colony within reach of the law. [Governor] Maxwell took the offensive in 1812 and had two slave traders, Samuel Sameo and Charles Hickson, seized at Isles de Los, brought to Freetown for trial [p.120].

Robert Thorpe, an Irishman, was appointed Chief Justice to Sierra Leone in 1808 but he did not take up duty till July 1811 [pps 115/116]. Thorpe, who was to try Sameo and Hickson doubted that he could. Sameo was Dutch, and neither the territory where he and Hickson were seized, nor Rio Pongas where Sameo had lived for 16 years, was British. Hickson was acquitted and Sameo found guilty but Thorpe “dare not sentence him”. Sameo ended up being pardoned after some discussion with chiefs in Rio Pongas [p.120]. Maxwell then enlisted the Navy. In June 1813 Captain Scobell of the “Thais” destroyed a British slave-factory in the St Paul’s River, south of Cape Mesurado, freed over 200 slaves, and brought the owners, Robert Bostock and John McQinn, to Freetown. As Thorpe was on leave in London, Purdie, the Colonial Secretary tried them.

He sentenced Bostock and Quinn to 14 years transportation, based on the precedent of the earlier case.  Later, in March 1814, after an unsuccessful attempt by the Navy in 1813, Maxwell used 150 soldiers to destroy slave-factories in the Rio Pongas area and brought back four slave-traders for trial. Dunbar, Cooke and Brodie were sentenced to 14 years transportation and Hickson sentenced to 3 years hard labour in Freetown.  Thorpe at the time was in London and was not pleased with what had happened in his absence. Turning against Maxwell, he denounced him. “Once the flail of slave-traders, Thorpe became their prop. He called attention to Dunbar, Cooke and Brodie, waiting in the hulks at Portsmouth; they petitioned the Home Secretary and were released .

“The clause in Brougham’s Act empowering the Sierra Leone courts to try slave-traders for felony was based on a repealed statute. Thus their trial had been illegal. They and Hickson were pardoned.” Cooke was to bring an action against Maxwell.

“Cooke’s action was heard in the King’s Bench in 1817.No defence could be made. Cooke was awarded Pounds 20,000 damages that the government undertook to reimburse Maxwell. Brodie too began proceedings but died before they came on; Dunbar and Dickson were dead by 1818 [p.123]’ 123]”.  Bostock, back from Australia, brought an action against Captain Scobell [in 1820] that was settled out of court. Thus it was shown the illegal slave trade had to be suppressed by legal means [p.123].”   Comment: One can only surmise what damages for Robert Bostock were agreed to out of court. Were they of the order that Cooke got or more or less? Whatever, Robert Bostock must have had access to substantial capital on his arrival back in Sydney, this time as a free settler rather than as a convict.

Note: Robert Bostock and John McQinn had been granted pardons in Sydney in 1816 by the Governor with all their rights restored following a successful petition to the Prince Regent.



An historic, most important grouping of three documents concerning the trade of slaves off the coast of Sierra Leone [later Liberia] by British Slavers, their attack on a British warship, and the signed testimony of a slave describing the slavers “factory”, all documenting events occurring years after the enactment of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 which halted the trade in slaves within the British Empire. The first document is a Bill of Sale for slaves sold off the coast of Sierra Leone, 1p. 7 ½” x 5” Cape Monserado, June 1813, reading in full: Received from Mr.Bostick [Bostock] and Mr.McQuin [McQueen] of St.Pauls [on the Guinea/Liberia border] in June 1813 payment for Twenty prime Slaves being purchased from Bostick and McQuin viz: 2 Hhds Tobacco 1 pipe and half of Rum and some Trade goods which slave[s] I undertake to have ready when Bostick has ship ready to send them off the Coast.  Cape Monserrado June 1813 [Signed] John Stirling Mill Witness Edw.Neede”.

Two names on the document have been obliterated, trimmed at top and bottom, otherwise very good. The second document is an affidavit, 1p. legal folio, Sierra Leone, July 11, 1813, a statement taken by Judge of the Vice Court of Admiralty Robert Purdie from Navy Lt.John Wilkins. Wilkins testifies that on June 27th of that year, Capt.Edward Scobell of HMS Thais had ordered him to take under his command: “four armed Boats and proceed to examine the vicinity of Cape Monsurado and detect the slave trade…said to be carried on in that neighbourhood…by persons named Robert Bostock and John MacQueen. That proceeding under the English Ensign to the factory of said Bostock and MacQueen, he was from thence assailed and fired at, which wounding two of his Majesty’s subjects, one of whom is since dead, and the probability of many more falling, the said Deponent was compelled to act on the offensive, and in so doing, captured three Boats or small craft with Two hundred and Thirty Three Slaves, who were surrendered as the property of the concern of the aforesaid Robert Bostock”.

The third document is the most striking, 2pp. legal folio, “Colony of Sierra Leone”, July 9, 1813, an ex-slaves deposition before the same Judge Purdie concerning his services for Slavers Bostock and McQueen. In small part: “…appears before me…Tom Bau, a Native Man of Africa, about three or four and twenty years…he has been the slave of Robert Bostock since he was a little Boy, first living with him at the Gallinas, then came with him to Saint Pauls Mensurado on the settling of the factory at that place about two years and a half ago…. He has had the charge of feeding the Slaves, many of whom have been occasionally set off in irons to ships coming for them.

A year and a half ago Mason, a white man with whom Bostock lived at Gallinas came in a Brig and filled her Belly with Slaves. The Slaves were sent off in boats in irons about four months ago was the last time a vessel took Slaves….. she was a schooner and took a good many ….when the Man of War came…Bostock had a great many slaves ready for being shipped off. Bostock sent to him to put the slaves in three boats….this Deponent embarked in the small craft…seventy nine slaves were captured by the Man of War whom name he does not know….there were more slaves of Bostock removed that morning by other people and also captured…does not know what afterwards past at the factory. John McQueen, a white man has lived with Bostock at Saint Pauls for two years, has helped Bostock to buy and send off slaves….and when Bostock was absent a year ago McQueen had charge of the factory….bought slaves, put them in irons and Deponent fed them when kept in the factory in irons”.

Signed by slave Tom Bau with his “mark” at bottom. Near fine. Following the enactment of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, the British Navy declared that ships transporting slaves were the same as pirates and so ships carrying slaves were subject to destruction and any men captured were potentially subject to execution.

In 1808 Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, became a British Crown Colony, hence the British felt that their intervention in the slave trade in offshore water was perfectly justified.   Between 1808 and 1860 the West African Squadron alone siezed 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were found aboard. According to news reports of the period both Bostock and McQueen were captured, transported to England aboard the  “Thais” and tried and were ultimately sentenced to be transported for 14 years. A most important set of documents, the first of its type we’ve ever encountered… £7,000 – £9,000


387 MD 54]. The Robert Bostock letterbooks, covering the period 1779-92, include much business correspondence on the slave trade. Bostock was both a ship captain and a merchant. He was captain and first owner on three Liverpool slaving voyages, in 1769, 1770 and 1786. He was the first owner of fourteen other Liverpool slaving voyages between 1787 and 1793, and took shares in twelve other slaving voyages from the Mersey. In Africa Bostock traded with the Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Windward Coast and the Bight of Biafra. He delivered slaves to Antigua, St. Kitts, Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica.

His letters include instructions to ship captains about the conduct and destinations of their African voyages; advice on the purchase of slaves and commodities in Africa; requests to London merchant houses for financial guarantees for payment of slave sales; the average prices for which captains should sell slaves in different Caribbean islands; and communications with factors and agents about economic conditions in the Caribbean. Bostock’s letterbooks are especially useful for their abundant evidence of contemporary prices paid for slaves in the West Indies. One detailed sales’ list of slaves at Antigua for September 1784 is included in this first letterbook [folios 16-18].

Robert BOSTOCK v Edward SCOBELL: King’s Bench, 1820 . Robert BOSTOCK v Edward SCOBELL: King’s Bench, 1820 Date: 1820. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives.

  1. Acknowledgements…….The National Archives acknowledges the contribution made by members of the User Advisory Group [Caroline Bressey, Louise Craven, Madge Dresser, Peter Fraser, Guy Grannum, Sara Griffiths, Georgina Hague, Rachel Hasted, Steve Martin, John Oldfield, Angelina Osborne, David Richardson, Gemma Romain, Sam Walker, James Walvin, and Kristy Warren] in the compiling of this Research Guide. Leyland’s vessel sailed about six years later and was carrying over £8000 worth of goods. His account book for the voyage of ‘Lottery’ 1798 provides details of this considerable initial outlay: Figure 4: Cargo list for voyage of ‘Lottery’ from Liverpool to Africa, 1798.

Once again, the largest proportion of expenditure was on extensive quantities of textiles, with ‘India’ goods brought from London. Other significant items listed were barrels of gunpowder, copper and brass goods, particularly the large brass pots or neptunes for cooking or boiling salt water, bottles of beer and spirits, various caps and felt hats, and boxes of clay pipes. The lesser group of textiles referred to as ‘Manchester goods’ was probably shipped to Liverpool, although the large number of woollen and linen drapers listed in the Liverpool directories might provide some indication of the distribution network. Supplying the extensive cargo and fitting out ships setting sail for the coast of West Africa would therefore have provided employment for numerous craftsmen. It is, however, difficult to piece together the extent of this ‘enclave of high-class craftsmanship’ as no business records survive for the majority of these concerns. Visual sources provide a delightful indication of the earliest forms of manufacturing industry. For example, the earliest view of Liverpool from the south-west, drawn and engraved by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck of London in 1728 identifies a copperas house [13], a glass house [14] and a sugar house [16].


From this time to 1791, when the British Parliament began to collect testimony concerning the slave trade, there seems to have been no important change in the influences operating on the coast, or in the character of its inhabitants. The collection and publication of testimony was continued till the passage, in 1807, of the act abolishing the trade. From this testimony, it appeared that nearly all the masters of English ships engaged in that trade, were of the most abandoned character, none too good to be pirates. Their cruelty to their own men was so excessive and so notorious, that crews could never be obtained without great difficulty, and seldom without fraud. Exciting the native tribes to make war on each other for the purpose of obtaining slaves, was a common practice.

The Windward Coast, especially, was fast becoming depopulated. The Bassa country, and that on the Mesurado and Junk rivers, were particularly mentioned, as regions which had suffered in these wars; where the witnesses had seen the ruins of villages, lately surprised and burned in the night, and rice fields unharvested, because their owners had been seized and sold.

On other parts of the coast, the slaves were collected and kept for embarkation in factories ; but on the Windward Coast, ” every tree was a factory ;” and when the negroes had any thing to sell, they signified it by kindling a fire. Here, also, was the principal scene of ” panyaring;” that is, of enticing a negro into a canoe, or other defenceless situation, and then seizing him. The extent of this practice may be inferred from the fact, that it had a name, by which it was universally known.

A negro was hired to panyar a fine girl, whom an English captain desired to possess. A few days after, he was panyared himself, and sold to the same captain. ” What!” he exclaimed, “buy me, a great trader?” “Yes,” was the reply, — “we will buy any of you, if any body will sell you.” It was given in evidence, that business could not be transacted, if the buyer were to inquire into the title of those from whom he bought.  Piracy, too, added its horrors whenever the state of the world permitted, and,was rampant when Liberia was founded. Factories, however, were gradually re-established and fortified ; but not till the slave trade had nearly depopulated the coast, and thus diminished the danger. Two British subjects, Bostock and McQuinn, had a factory at Cape Mesurado. In June, 1813, His Majesty’s ship Thais sent forty men on shore, who, after a battle in which one of their number was killed, entered the factory and captured its owners. French, and especially Spanish factories had become numerous.

Mr Caulker of the Bananas and Robert Bostock

Relating to the Court Charges Robert Bostock brought against Edward Scobell in 1820.

John Reffell alias Yana and William Tamba, two African men, both swore depositions in April 1820 in Sierra Leone concerning the circumstances in 1813 when Captain Scobell on the “Thais” stormed the Slave Factory Of Robert Bostock at Mesurado. They related that Robert Bostock received intelligence from a Mr Caulker that the “Thais” was on its way to raid his Factory. John Reffell referred specifically to Mr Caulker of the Bananas. Both indicated that a female relative of Mr Caulker was living with Robert Bostock as his wife.

Caulker Background

In 1684 a Thomas Corker came out from London to the Sherbro in the service of the Royal African Company. He later moved to the Gambia and died in England in 1700. Fyfe wrote, “He had two sons, Stephen and Robin, by a lady known to the English as Seniora Doll, Duchess of Sherbro: Bulom tradition knows her as a member of the Ya Kumba family who ruled on the shore of Yawry Bay, between the Sierra Leone peninsula and the Sherbro estuary”

Further, Fyfe wrote, “Their descendants, keeping the paternal surname, inherited the maternal claim to the chiefdom, which they extended to the Plantain and Banana Islands.” Though the Bananas were to be lost to the Cleveland family in 1785 when a William Corker was deposed and beheaded, this was later avenged and reversed in 1797 when a Stephen Caulker [as the surname came to be spelt] put William Cleveland to flight from the Bananas

Fyfe also noted  “Stephen Caulker was on friendly terms with the Colony: two of his sons accompanied Macaulay to Clapham.” Fyfe’s book mentions a George Caulker who was educated at Clapham.  In the early 1800s, the Clevelands were still fighting the Caulkers and Fyfe noted  that” European slave-traders supplied arms, and reaped a rich harvest of slaves captured from devastated villages all over the country”.

Chief Stephen Caulker died in 1810 and his brother Thomas had to right to succeed him. However Stephen’s son George Stephen [who had been educated at Clapham, and who had become government store keeper on his return] persuaded his uncle to share power with him. “Thomas took the Bananas and the mainland, George Stephen the Plantains” .  Note: From the above, it appears that is was Thomas Caulker of the Bananas who had sent a warning to Robert Bostock and that it was a female relation of his who was the wife of Robert.   Fyfe also wrote on page 133 how, “In 1820 the Caulkers were at last persuaded to lease the Banana Islands to the Crown for an annual rental of 250 bars paid, not as normally to chiefs, in goods, but Spanish dollars valued at a bar each. Thomas Caulker moved to Bumpe on the mainland”.  Also reported on page 133, “On the Plantains, Stephen Caulker, George Stephen’s brother, CMS teacher, opened a school, where he taught partly in English, partly in Bulom. He translated some hymns into Bulom; they were printed on the government printing press. Some of his pupils’ copybooks were sent to London to the CMS where they still survive.”

Watch the movie “Amazing Grace” also watch the “Who do you think you are? BBC UK series  episode with Hugh Quarshie.)


1820 – 1869             1828 – 1874


Edward Robe Bostock was born at Plymouth, England in 1820, the son of Lieutenant Charles Bostock and Sarah Ann Robe. Charles in his youth spent seven years in servitude to a master mariner after which, he was impressed into His Majesty’s Navy.

He was the brother of Robert Bostock of Vaucluse V.D.L.

Edward Robe was serving as a mercantile marine for the Clyde Company when his first ship burnt at sea. He was one of the few survivors, picked up in a small boat and landed on Isle de France. He eventually returned to England after being thought dead by his family for a long period of time.

Inspired by his cousin Keith Jackson King to try his fortune in Australia, he arrived in this country as early as 1837 and purchased land at the first land sale held in Melbourne. At that time the Jellalabad run at Elephant Crossing was leased by the partnership of Keith Jackson King and James Down, merchants in Launceston. James Down retired from the Jellalabad partnership in 1842 leaving it to Keith Jackson King. After Keith Jackson King married Hannah Bedlington Allison in 1845, he transferred the lease into her name. Edward Robe served as her agent from then until he purchased Jellalabad in early 1849.

Jellalabad consisted of 16,000 acres, carrying 4,000 sheep; the foundations of which were laid down by a pure draft of merino sheep bought over from V.D.L. by J. D.Bromfield.in about 1836. Any one of the following could have been responsible for introducing the breed to Jellallabad – Keith Jackson King, James Down, Edward Robe Bostock or his cousin Thomas Edward Bostock

In 1849, a reporter of the Australasian (Melbourne) stayed with Edward Robe at Jellalabad and mentioned seeing only one public house in Elephant Bridge, which would have been the Clyde Inn.

In 1850 Edward Robe married Mary Mackersey of Green Hill, Macquarie River, at Campbell Town in V.D.L. In the following year they had a son Charles James born at Jellalabad and then a daughter Sarah Lethem, a year later.

Thomas Edward Bostock, a cousin of Edward Robe, who had obviously been working at Jellalabad since his arrival in 1848, met Catherine Mackersey the sister of Mary and they married at Jellalabad in 1851.

Thomas Edward had been born at Vaucluse, near Launceston in V.D.L. to Robert Bostock and Rachel in 1818, and he came to the mainland on the Shamrock in 1848. We have to wonder if Thomas had managed the Jellalabad for Mrs King with Edward Robe acting as he agent?

In June 1847, Edward Robe held the lease on the Dueran run near Mansfield which he sold to Keith Jackson King in May 1848, maybe swapping it for Jellalabad ?

Thomas Edward and Catherine had a son they called John at Jellalabad in February 1852 who subsequently died there in March 1853.

In 1853 Edward Robe disposed of Jellalabad to Jeremiah Ware of Koort Koortnong, who in 1856 sold to Thomas and Maria Dowling, formerly Maria Ware, a sister of Jeremiah.

In 1853, Edward Robe and his family returned to live in England and soon after, Eliza Jane was born in his home town of Bootle, Lancashire.

In the short time that Edward Robe had been in this country, he was considered to have contributed much towards the foundation and development of the sheep industry, which became an important factor in the progress of Australia.

Edward Robe entered upon a commercial career in London, transacting wool business for many of his Australian friends and his claim to fame was when he purchased the famous bull, Master Butterfly for James Ware of Minjah.

The rest of their children were born in Islington-John Edwin in 1855, Edward in 1858, Mary in 1859, Henry in1860, Louise and Herbert in 1861, Thomas in 1862, Maria Emily in 1864 and Lucy Margaret in 1867.

Back in Australia Thomas Bostock and his wife Catherine also had more children-Eliza Rachel, born 1853 Woodburn, Tasmania, Augustus and Margaret born 1855 and 1857 respectively Geenhill, Tasmania, Jessie born 1858, Rosehill, Warrnambool, Amy born 1861, Boortkoi, Hexham, Thomas Edward born 1863, Warrnambool and Alice born 1865, Lipook, Warrnambool.

Catherine Bostock died in 1866, soon after the birth of her last child and after her death the blood ties were still so strong between the two families that Edward Robe and his wife Mary (Catherine’s sister) took some of the children to England to care for them.

Edward Robe’s work in England kept him occupied until his death in at Middlesex in 1869 aged 49. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery of St James, Saint Pancras with his wife Mary, who died at Highbury in 1879.

Thomas Edward Bostock died of cancer in Melbourne in 1874 aged 56.

John Edwin Bostock, the son of Edward Robe and Mary, came to Australia in 1874 on the Lincolnshire and made his way to his Bostock relatives at Coomete in Western Victoria. After spending three years gaining experience, he joined a party in search of pastoral country in the north and in 1877 with Peter Manifold and his son Walter, leased Sesbania Station in Queensland. In 1907 John Edwin was apparently managing Sesbania for Manifold Bostock & Co. which at some stage was said to have covered 1,550 square miles and carried 195,000 merino sheep, 175 Durham cattle, 250 horses and produced 450 tons of greasy wool a year. John Edwin in 1909, then aged 54, married Edith Clive Bartlam in Melbourne, the only daughter of W. B. Bartlam of Palerenda, Queensland.

John Edwin managed Sesbania for many different owners over a period of fifty years, seldom leaving the property and when he died at Sesbania in 1926, he was considered to be one of the last pioneer sheepmen in the northwest. His brother Edward also came to this country, did not marry and died at Sesbania in 1895.

The two brothers lie in graves side by side under the trees near the homestead at Sesbania; and so lie the last remnants of Edward Robe in this country although their sister Lucy Maria Bostock could have been residing here in Winton at one time.


Researched and written in 2015 by Florence Charles with much help from Thelma Bostock /Birrell of Queensland.




The following paragraph sets the scene, for the arrival of George Bostock to Belfast (Port Fairy), where he was immediately employed. In 2009, after more research, we believe that George worked for a time, with his relative Keith Jackson King, a merchant in Launceston. The letters from Robert to his son George, shows they were posted to George c/- Keith King & Co. at Launceston. George was the Bostock, named on manifest of vessels, sailing between Launceston and Port Fairy, as early as 1839. It appears that he visited the region a few times, under the watchful eye of his future brothers in law, Michael Connolly and John Cox.


George appears to be working for Keith King up to c.1844, before he sailed to Belfast, where he worked and lived with Michael Connolly. After that date, the mail from Robert to George was sent to Belfast. Ann’s brother John Cox, arrived at Port Fairy c.1837 onward, to establish the first Bond Store there. Michael Connolly, husband of George’s sister Rachael Emeline Bostock, arrived about same time as Ann’s brother John. Michael became manager for William Rutledge, while George worked in the shipping side of the business. This was after 1842, as John Cox had sold his Bond Store to William Rutledge. John Cox moved to his pastoral properties at Mount Rouse, Mt.Napier, Weerangourt at Byaduk etc.




The letters, preserved through family members, may shed light on some facts. There must be other data, lost over the passage of time, more than 150 years. We are grateful for what we have, from almost 200 years since Robert Bostock, convict (1784-1847) landed in Old Sydney Town in 1815.


To George Bostock c/- Messrs King & Co. Launceston. Rec’d 8.11.1844  re – Wheat, Bark etc.)


My Dear George, I do not know what 10 bags of wheat you allude to. There was 12 new bags sewn up, went into town on 8th October with two bales wool. Weight of the two bags by my weight was 2444….and the last time one new bag with wheat sewed up making in all 13 bags.

You are certainly a very confidential man to take things into the store under your charge without taking any account or is King too stingy to allow you a store book. For the future you will send me a receipt for everything the cart takes in. Even the wool I get no receipt for. I never, for the last eight years sent a bale of wool, but I always got a receipt. What check have I upon the men.

The fellows here will takes the eyes out of your head if you don’t mind. Griffith’s vessels remain such a very short time in port in general that if I did not take this opportunity I was afraid the boys would lose their passage. If she was likely to remain some time in port you had better send the boys out by the waggon. I got your letters and receipts by the waggon am sorry they cannot take any more bark. The bullock cart started yesterday. I did not get your letter until he was gone.  In future if any of the men misbehave I wish you would take them before the Police Magistrate.


They are all Ticket of Leave or Probationers. You might get James something like what he has got on if you can fall in with one that pleases your fancy and send me out some shirting and the tailor can make some by it. Has Keith (King) gone to Piper’s River. (K.J.King first cousin of Bostocks from Maria Bostock) I enclose the pound note I got from you, to get me two half hides of seal leather. Button advertises it at 5d per lb.…….it be good if there is any money left give Augustus 2/- and Jimmy 1/- and tell them it is for being good boys, when at home and at work. You must charge what you paid for the horses to me. The waggon will be in on Friday and you had better take Jack with you to pick out the leather. I hope the ship has not stopped taking the bark. Is there any more bark shipped beside mine. The boys had better come out in the waggon. I shall endeavour to meet them at Captain Woods. I will write to Keith (King) by the waggon. William Wood was here the other day to say the bark he says it is a very fine sample. Cooper is waiting for the letter.

Yours affectionately …………….  Rob’t Bostock….’Vaucluse’         (Father of the boys.)


Rec’d 17th November – arrived 20th November. From (George’s father) Robert of ‘Vaucluse’.


My Dear George, I rec’d your different letters and they gave me much pleasure, but I must say I am afraid you are neglecting your business in going about so much. I would rather hear of your keeping close to your business and going in a way to make yourself independant. It is paying you a very great compliment when they can spare you so much from the business. I have sent you your Black Box over. I could not send at present more than one pair boots as we have had no kangaroo skins out in the Box is pl….y,  4 pr mens kidd gloves, two small pocket combs for the boys, the lady kidd gloves for Emily (Rachael), a case of hams and bacon for Mrs.Connolly. I have sent a case of clocks, I have bought from Mr.King. (Keith Jackson King, his nephew, and merchant Launceston)

They are very nice things and go very well. I have one at the farm, a very excellent time keeper.

If you are at a loss in setting them a going, I think Mr.Clark will be able to show you. There are

six in the case. I gave him one pound seven shillings and six each. (£1/7/6d) He is selling them here at two pounds each. Has Emily ? (Rachael Emily Connolly) in advance to the boys and yourself, if you can pay the amount over to her. The profit of any you can keep and if you want any more let me know. Send the boys measure over for boots. Mark it on the letter so that it will not get lost. I have sent 6 Regular and 6 Boy’s shirts. Emily, I have not written to – she will get all the news from Mrs.Clarke. Make my kind love to her and the boys. Should Connolly want any more gun caps or powder he can let me know. The powder was 4/- per lb and the gun caps 4/- each. ..make my kind regards to him… Yours affectionately…….Rob’t Bostock.


One cask hams and bacon Mrs.Connolly; 6lbs powder and 6 gun caps, ditto)Given to charge of Mr.Clark; One light ? Coat ?  ……ditto  ); The Black Box you left at Kings;  4 P….  ?  lly; 2 Pairs Buck skin gloves;  2 Pocket combs – One pair boots;  4 Pr Men’s kid gloves — pr women’s — ;

1000 wax matches in paper case; 1 Box for holding matches in Mrs.Clark charge; 6 Regular and 6 white shirts for boys  “ “ “ ; 1 pr silk handks for yours, M. and Boys  “  “;  One shooting  ?? target according to order;

Let me know if you like the boots and send me the boys measure as thus. I cannot say anything as to the quality of the Hams and Bacon as I gave up the the superintendance and curing of them. Let me know how they like them. (Some is very difficult to read and can come together over time).



To Mr.George Bostock c/- Messrs King (Keith) & Co. Launceston. Rec’d. 4th December 1844.

from Robert Bostock of ’Vaucluse’, Tasmania.


Do not forget  my Commission. I forgot to tell you to procure me a bag of rice. We commenced shearing yesterday and expect to get  in a load of wool by the beginning of next week. I have sent Bob (Robert Walker Bostock) in with 70 bags of bark. Now they have got the wool up from Piper’s River..  Yours affectionately………… Rob’t Bostock.


Tuesday morning….I suppose Keith (Jackson King) has gone down to Piper’s River. Remember me kindly to them. I am in B… for waiting. I have been obliged to give them all a blowing up and Tom has come in for his share. Should Keith be in town, tell him I cannot write.  end of letter..!!!


George Bostock c/- Messrs King & Co. Launceston. Rec’d. December 23rd 1844. Robert Bostock at John’s Shop.(Launceston)  Letter has John’s Shop on posting! Sunday Evening.

My Dear George, I should not take upon myself  to advise, was I not convinced you would take it in good part and consider it from a good motive. I saw a gentleman from town yesterday. He said he saw you that morning. I enquired when he saw you when he said it was sitting in ? John’s shop. Now my Dear Boy it looks very bad for a young man to be lounging about in a shop. I do advise you to …. ? it.  I shall expect Edward tomorrow or Tuesday. I suppose you cannot leave Piper’s River. Chart ? If you have an opportunity send me out a syth ? (sythe) .

Yours affectionately, Rob’t Bostock.  p.s. have you forgot the book, one like the one I have here.


From Vaucluse 1st January 1845……To George from Rob’t Bostock. Rec’d. January 2nd 1845.


My Dear George,  Tom (Thomas Edward Bostock) wrote to you by Sam and he got letters from me to Keith. I suppose he has not delivered them, as you do not say anything about them. Let me know the result of your enquiries. In Tom’s letter from Bob (Robert Walker Bostock -eldest son) as I suppose he is in town. The mare that Sam took into town belongs to Dewhurst the blacksmith.

Do not let any of the men hang about your place without they come in for me. Sam’s time with me expires today. He has a few shillings to receive so that you must let me know the expenses of the mare and I will endeavour to stop it. But the best would be for Wills to get our order from him upon me. I have just been looking over Sam’s account and I find there is only 1/3d coming to him, so do not advance him one penny beyond that.? I never lend a horse to any man, so that if you see a horse of mine in town with one of those fellows you may be sure he has stolen or taken it without my knowledge, which is much the same thing. Is Doy in town? How has Cooper managed with the sheep?  I received Two Pounds from Mr.M.Woods which I have enclosed an order on King for.

Has Keith(King) gone to Piper’s River? I have just sent Tom to Winters to see if he can come on his waggon. If he gets it, I will send in a load of bark this week. I will have eight bales more wool and if that comes out from Piper’s River I shall be able to make up nine. I am anxious to get the bark as you may have an appreciation of shipping by some of these vessels. If you have not got the tickets never mind about getting them as I have got some from Hamilton. The wine will come out by next cart and oil cloth. Do not forget to get the keys of the storeroom and cupboard from Rob (Bostock) Sam went into town entirely on his own business.

I remain yours very affectionately Rob’t Bostock.


p.s. Get a permit tomorrow for the bark and let it be for four or five days and if you can get the cart away by 5 o”clock in the morning.  The last part of the letter has been lost….



To George Bostock, Port Fairy Rec.1.5.1845 per “Essington”. Robert Bostock answered 3.5.1845 per “Essington” for L’ceston. Letters sent same page. written 7th & 11th March – posted as above.

My Dear George,  I was very much pleased at receiving your letter by Mr.Doy, but was disappointed at you not mentioning anything about the boys, how they liked the passage, whether they were sick. I suppose you must have taken Connolly by surprise. To me all these little things are interesting. In your next mail let me know all about them. Cooper is dead. He got drunk at Campbell Town and mounted his horse on his way home fell off and in a few hours died without speaking. I am glad to hear Connolly has agreed to take you into his office. I wish you would devote all your spare time to the boys, particularly to Augustus.

If it met with Connolly’s appreciation, it would be a good thing for him to have a good deal with you and in the long  evenings you might give him some lessons in drawing. He is a good boy and I am sure he will attend to what you say to him. The carpenters about Kings have been robbing him. They have been taking a little at a time and have taken a good deal of loaf sugar. Deals from the carpenter that lives at the back. He was caught with a pair of blankets in the hut. Keith (King)saw him through over the paling. He lost no time in getting a constable over and searched his house when he found a number of small things.  I told you before you left to look over the school books and pack up what you thought the boys would want. I find there is two arithmetic books. Now why did not you at least, take one. You know the inconvenience I am put to in sending things to town. I hope and trust that you will be a little more thoughtful. I would wish you to perservere in your handwriting. It is a ….few persons write, but as everyone must approve of.

I am sorry to hear Mr.Connolly has caught cold. The weather here has been very dry. We have had no rain to speak of since you left, nor have I been to town. I do not know what the cattle and sheep live upon. The box of preserves was left at Kings. I have today written to him to forward them. Lord pas’d from town the other day. He says that oats, hay and potatoes are upon the ..the latter six pounds a ton. Make my love to all.  Yours affectionately…Rob’t Bostock 7th March 1845…  p.s.

I should like very much to have a chat.

This is part of same letter written on the previous day.     I understand from William the (?….)…has sailed without the Box. Being Sunday they have all gone up to Mrs.Aitkin’s and I suppose will take tea. I very often, as an old man give advice and not attend to, but still it does not prevent my going on particularly to you, as I think you pay some attention to it, which is, if any person asks you anything about the office or the concern, you must tell them you know nothing about it, but refer them to Mr.Connolly and whatever you may know never repeat, forget if you are not asked to remember it. Always write in time for anything you or the boys may want.

You know I cannot send the cart in very often.


Mr and Mrs Lord passed to Hobart with the coach last week. She is going to see the judge about business. I do not expect them for. I hope Ernest and Margaret’s, letters were in hand. I have got the machine from Mr.Lord and shall commence thrashing wheat in the barn tomorrow. I have got my passbook from William. It is a very heavy one. This ought to have gone by the last vessel but I was in town which I suppose Miss Cox informed you.  Keith King is very gay. He is constantly going dancing – the one the other day, was rather a grand affair. I have just received your letter.

I have no sheep skins so cannot make the slippers by this opportunity without the vessel remaining longer than I expect. The cart starts tonight with wool and I only received your letter today so that I have no great deal ‘of’ time. Bob (Rob’t Walker Bostock) is here. Mr and Mrs.Aitkin are on a visit to Hobart Town….Yours  affectionately Rob’t Bostock


‘Vaucluse’ 10th Mar.1846- letter Robert Bostock to George Bostock. Rec’d.27.3.1846 per ”Hero”.


My Dear George, I was much disappointed at not receiving from you or Emily by the Cutter hire, a letter. I wrote a long letter from town which Mr.Crookshank took charge of, to Emily (Rachael Emily Connolly). Mr.King according my request has placed Emily Bi..?  to my account amount £4/3/3d. s ? didy /? 6 shirts and wool ? for Mrs.Cox (Frances wife of John ?) to procure from her amount of £1/13/-. I cannot write which you may presume. Make my love to them all………

Yours affectionately…Rob’t Bostock.       Continued from previous letter:-

1 Piano Forte

  1. Cn box of sundries. List of items, I expect, will be put on board the vessel “Hero”
  2. Case of Apples. 4. Case of Apples; 5. Cask of apples.             6. Cask of apples;

1 Cask of Risston Pippons directed to Mr.Connolly;       1 Trunk  – Mrs Connolly;

1 Box Jam Michael Connolly Esq.;                                  1 pr ? fire ???   Mr.Connolly…………….


A letter to Michael Connolly 17th October 1847 from Robert Walker Bostock, elder brother of those brothers who went to Warrnambool. Robert Walker Bostock born 1820 at Bootle, Liverpool,  and died at Westbury, Tasmania in 1853, surviving his father by six years. He was executor of Estate of Robert Bostock 1784/1847, their father and husband of Rachael ‘Rafferty’ Walker.

Robert Bostock died in June 1847 of Appoplexy and laid to rest at Anglican Cemetery.


To M.Connolly Esq., Belfast. (Michael at Port Fairy, wife of Rachael Emily Bostock)

My Dear Connolly, I should have written you on this, but I thought I would wait until after the sale. I have now altered my mind for I thought I might not have an opportunity of writing for some time. The general opinion is that ‘Vaucluse’ will fetch at least 30/- an acre. We have now another purchaser come into the market -old Anstey of Oatlands (first Magistrate there). He wishes to purchase it for his son in law Dr.O’Doughty. Doughty was all over it the other day and he told some of his friends that he likes the estate very much. Bayles has also been over to see it but I am afraid the £5,000 remaining so long on the property will deter him from purchasing. I was over there the other day and he said that if the bank was pressing me, so that they might buy in, he would pay off all the mortgage for me and give time so that the property might not be sacrificed. Some very bad accounts have arrived of the 10th June sales.

Youl’s wool will not net much above a shilling. (continued over). Our wool has sold a little better so I will not lose much by it. We have had no rain since you left and the crops are looking very bad indeed and if we do not have rain by the end of a fortnight there are many that will not be worth reaping. Tom (T.E.B.) is still wishing to rent Read’s farm, but I saw Read the other day and he told me  ? if  Lewis has it, he would not let him have it. Margaret (Doveton) and all the rest of the family are quite well. Wheat has not risen in price yet, but I think there is every prospect of it doing so. I hope you had a pleasant passage over. I think she pitched very much before we left you. I would not have liked to be in her. I received a letter from ? Ned (maybe Edward Robe Bostock) the other day-he is in a. ?…with me for not writing, but I have written him twice since I came over when no letter from him till the “Shamrock” arrived the other day. Will you tell him if he should happen to be down that I will write by the same opportunity as this.

With Love to all, I remain ..Yours sincerely Rob W.Bostock.  (R.Walker Bostock)


Private-from Horace Flower 21.5.1857. (Horace related to W.Rutledge)to George Bostock Esq.Dear Bostock, Your letter of 11th came to hand same day but I could not attend to the subject sooner.  I paid Capt.Hawkins (William Lilly Hawkins) the rent as per receipt forwarded and hope Bayly will let you have a draft of the lease if it is still required. I enclose a letter for you to sign on your own and your brothers behalf, authorising me to sublet. My doing so will greatly add to the value of the property as I shall not allow anything for fences or buildings unless the latter are permanent home, houses or barns and then only to the amount agreed upon in original lease, namely one half of £800.0.0 which will not go far. I am having a fine place of the property got ready. You did not reply to my enquiry about your brother’s coming to Port Fairy. Lloyd Rutledge seemed to think he might possibly come down and take the ‘Leura’ house and ground.  I have signed and delivered the letter for………Yours very ?  Ho Flower.  (Horace Flower)


The following is part of a letter torn in half…regarding property of Late James Cox (d.16.3.1966). (Ann Cox, died 1865 w/o George Bostock (I believe written by James Lord, executor of James Coxcontinuing torn letter:-  “per ?   ? “ will be satisfied in this land when they see the ship return. By the way I intend to try, if we cannot obtain some redress from the loss occasioned by their credit not being fulfilled. The loss could be in the exchange perhaps 2 @ 3%. I have had letters from ?to 4th August – the potatoes had been rejected owing to their being in a rotten state that ? others I fear, will be a losing one. Br ???  & Co state that they would postpone buying the cargo as long as possible as prices are falling. This is so far fortunate. I hope the cargo will not leave here until next month. This market may then be in a better position………  be perfectly satisfied that the acceptors name is ‘ficticious’ – it certainly has every appearance of it.I made enquiry of  James Cox (2) (Grandson – in Port Fairy who inherited Clarendon) respecting his grandfather’s Will – he showed it to me. I find Mrs.George Bostock, their children are devised that 1078 acres of land, bounded by the South Esk and near the Clarendon Estate. as per following sketch, ”Sth Esk. 4000 acres. 1081 acres (1078 acres) Clarendon Estate, devised to Mrs.Winter – (devised to Mrs.Geo Bostock and issue.).  James Lord – Mrs.Eliza Cox and Miss Eliza Cox are Executors.”

(I purchased a copy of this will many years ago and donated a copy to Clarendon…Thel).


Letter from Clarendon 24th September 1866 by James Lord, Six months after the death of James Cox (1) March 1866.


“My Dear Bostock, The property left to the children of the late Mrs George Bostock by the Will of the late James Cox Esq., is One Thousand and Seventy Eight Acres of Land near Evandale – let to the following tenants. Messrs John Hanney, Thos Hanney, John B …as and  ?. A. Hall – rents at present amount in all to the sum of £299/8/- per annum. The property is left to the three executors in trust until the children become of age, either to invest accumulate or give as they think best. As we believe the property left them by their father is sufficient for their education, we propose to allow the amount to accumulate for them until that time but we shall be glad to meet their Guardian’s wishes in any way they may propose for the ultimate benefit of the children. I will feel obliged by your answering this at your earliest convenience…

My Dear Bostock………Yours very much…James Lord.


This Letter, was probably sent to Augustus Bostock, husband of Margaret Aitkin at “Coomete” .


To Mrs.M.Nathan, Reeneka, Launceston, “Vaucluse” Hopetoun St., Warrnambool, 8.7.1910.


My dear Cousin, For you are my cousin once removed. Your father was my first cousin. I quite well recollect him coming to stay with us at Vaucluse, when he first came out from England and of course knew your mother before she was married. She corresponded with my wife up to her death. I lived with your father on the Windmill Hill, most of 1847. I don’t know which of you were small at that time but I often was made nursemaid, as used to think the kids, as I called them, a great trouble. Mr.Wilkinson was a cousin  of ours, but personally I never met him. I don’t know of any other relationships between our families.


I got your letter of the 14th and also photos which came in splendid order. I now enclose you postal notes for 29/6d and will you kindly pay for them for me. I send 2/6d so far as I could make out and from the stamp it was about that. It was kind of you to take so much trouble about these as we were very pleased to get them.  I don’t think Miss Bostock was a sister of your grandmother. She was a sister of Admarue ? Bostock (or another name like. I can’t decipher) and was my father’s aunt. ?  She was 80 years old when the painting was taken and I remember the painting being at Vaucluse 70 years ago, as it always hung in the dining room.


When Vaucluse property was sold, all the old relics of the family went into my eldest brother’ hands (Robert Walker Bostock). He never married and died quite a young man and all his belongings were scattered abroad and we never got any of them. Even the old family Bible was lost. We should like very much to get any of the old family relics and if you should know of any, I would be glad to pay for them, if they could only be got. You see, we all came over here in the forties and fifties and people, when young, don’t trouble their ….. much about family history.


Emily Palmer (Rachael Emily Doveton born 1847) is now in Warrnambool and her address will be just now – Warrnambool, Victoria. She has just returned here after staying with her sister Lizzie (Margaret Elizabeth Doveton born 1844) until she sold her house. I hope Vera will sometime pay us another visit. With kind regards to all your circle in  which all here going… ..

Your Affectionate Cousin………Augustus Bostock.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s