Thomas Clarkson - BUNBURRY CURRAN. C.1815 - 1822.  

    A Government notice issued by the Secretary's Office and published in the Sydney Gazette of 25 May 1816 announced the completion of a new line of road leading from Sydney and Parramatta to Liverpool. A toll gate had been erected at Moore's Bridge and a list of rates considered to be "reasonable and moderate" was tabled and would take effect from 1 June.(21)
    An accompanying notice from John Oxley, the surveyor, informed the inhabitants of the colony that he and his deputy would be in the town of Liverpool on Monday 27 May at 8AM for the purpose of locating and measuring allotments of land already promised in the districts of Minto, Airds, Appin and Bankstown.(22)
    These areas were thriving and many settlers were already in occupation of the lands they'd applied to have granted to them. The Surveyor's job was so immense that the wheels of officialdom couldn't keep pace with the rapidly expanding districts and so, many grants were issued quite some time after they had been occupied.
    The concept of the grants was to provide land which would be utilised and worked so that the settler's, particularly the small holders would have means to support themselves and their families. To these ends Macquarie initiated conditions governing the grants, in order to stop profiteering by some owners who sold their grants almost immediately.
    These conditions were that they couldn't sell or alienate the property for 5 years and that a proportion of the acreage must be cultivated within that same period. After this the grantee paid a quit rent of usually 5/-. During the 5 year rent free period, if these conditions were not met, then the land reverted to the Crown. This was known as the 5 year Alienation Act.
    In essence this was understood but the conditions were extremely hard to enforce and much exchange of land took place over a short period of time. Ultimately the small holdings often passed into the hands of a large landholder.
    So it was that most of the settlers awaiting Oxley's visit were only wanting his confirmation and measuring of their properties, as they were firmly established on their proposed grants.
Prior to this visit and in order to expand the original 100 acres for which he was anticipating a grant, Thomas Clarkson appears to have made agreements to lease and then to buy various portions of land adjoining his allocated property.
    A) On 17 November 1815, Thomas negotiated successfully with William Wilson to lease "a certain allotment of farm land containing 200 acres which allotment is situate at Bunburry Curran in the district of Airds, adjoining a farm now in the occupancy of the said Thomas Clarkson", for 5 years commencing from the date of the granting of the land.(23) On the same date another indenture was made out to transfer the land into the possession or Thomas Clarkson. Both transactions were witnessed by William Fleming. (24) The official grant of this land was made to William Wilson on 8 October 1816, some ii months after the sale of the property.(25)
    B) On 1 June 1816, John Johnson agreed to rent or lease his forty acres of land, bounded on the East by Clarkson's farm, to Thomas Clarkson for 5 years.(26) On the same day Johnson "being minded and disposed to sell the same (farm) to the said Thomas Clarkson after the expiration of a lease granted to him for five years" transferred the forty acres to Thomas for 5/ sterling.(27) This deal was completed before the grant of Johnson's land was officially registered on 20 June 1816,(28) but would have been made after Oxley's survey of the property. So the conditions of the grant were adhered to by leasing the land for the mandatory five years and at the same time selling the grant from the point of time where the lease expired. Thomas became the owner, and once again William Fleming, the witness.
Curiously, although Thomas was recognized as the purchaser of both the above properties the documents of lease and transfer were never registered, even though Thomas was in possession of the deeds of the grant.(29)
    C) Thomas' next purchase however, WAS registered, and that was the land granted to Samuel Pullen. It was also an adjoining property containing forty acres and being on the west of Clarkson's farm. This farm was to cost Thomas £35 sterling.(30) This grant bore the date 20 June 1816 and was transferred in a similar way to Johnson's forty acres, i.e.; by a five year lease and an automatic ownership thereafter. Although negotiated on 14 August 1816, the transaction wasn't registered until 8 August 1818, when Thomas acknowledged receipt of the deeds.
Attached to these documents we found the original promissory notes which Thomas had made out to Samuel Pullen to cover the purchase of the land. All dated 14 August, they are for various sums of money and on the backs of some are records of how the amounts were redeemed. e.g.;(31)
Sydney, Aug 14 1816
seven months after the date I promise to pay to Sam Pullen or bearer two pounds ten shillings currency for
Value Rec d by me
Thomas Clarkson
    The reverse shows the following;
Aug 16 1816
received     rum                               5   0
                  1 loaf                                 11  
                            glass                                    7 1/2
                            tea  7 1/2 sugar 9            1  4 1/2
                            rum                                 5  7
                            butter                              2  8
                            same                               2  6
                                                                 18  8 1/2
                                                                 10  0 1/2
                                                              1   9   9                                                Image of Promissory Notes
    Every note was cancelled so we can safely assume all was redeemed.
    There were other grants adjoining Thomas' land which were not acquired by him. These belonged to Francis Cox, John Lee and Owen Lenegan. Whether Thomas attempted to buy these at any time is uncertain.
    Another successful negotiation was with Thomas Prentice who occupied a portion of land which narrowly adjoined Clarkson's property of 100 acres. On the 17 September 1816 Prentice leased and transferred his 50 acres to Thomas Clarkson. This transaction was witnessed by William Fleming and was registered at the Judge Advocate's Office on 17 July 1817.(32) An agreement to sell the land must have been made some time previously to this, as in a later document Thomas was to refer to comments passed between Prentice and the surveyor who was measuring up the land, stating that Prentice had remarked that the surveyor was to consider the land as Clarkson's property. --- Quite a bold remark to a Government Individual from one who was about to become bound by a condition not to alienate his land for 5 years. This would have been around the date of 27 May.
    Adjoining both the properties of Clarkson and Prentice was 50 acres owned by Mark Millington. This portion was acquired by Thomas the very next day after the grant had been formally granted, on 9 October 1816, in the same manner as the others, by lease and then ownership. Thomas paid £25 sterling to Millington for the 50 acres and this was sinned, sealed and delivered in the presence of George Jubb.(33)          Image of Transfer
    The 8 October 1816 was to mark the granting of Thomas' own grant at Bunburry Curran, Airds. (34)
I do by these presents give and grant unto Thomas Clarkson, his heirs, and assigns, to have and to hold forever one hundred acres of land lying and situate in the district of Airds --- bounded on the North side by a line of thirty seven chains, commencing at Lenegan's North North West corner, On the West side by a South line twenty eight chains. On the South side by an East line twenty seven chains to Pullen's farm, and on the West side by that and Lenegan's farm --- To be had, held by Him the said Thomas Clarkson, his heirs and assigns, free from taxes, quit rents and other acknowledgements for the space of five years from the date hereof provided always, and it is hereby expressly to be understood, that the said Thomas Clarkson, the grantee in the presents named shall in no wise either directly or indirectly sell, alienate or transfer any part or parcel of the land hereby granted within the said term of five years.  And also provided always that the said Thomas Clarkson shall clear and cultivate or cause to be cleared and cultivated within the said term of five years the quantity of twenty acres of the said land hereby granted, Otherwise the whole of the said land shall revert to the Crown and the grant hereby and thereof shall be deemed null and void.                            Image of this Grant
    The Government reserved the right to make Public roads where ever necessary and was at liberty to claim any timber growing on Thomas' land which might be deemed fit for use for Naval Purposes. After the term of 5 years he would be expected to pay a quit rent of 2/- annually.                    Image of some of Thomas' Quit Rent Receipts
    In anticipation of a formal grant to the land of George Berry, Thomas contracted to buy those 34 acres. These 34 acres adjoined William Wilson's 200 acres which were already in Thomas' possession. They became part of the Clarkson estate on 26 October 1816.(35) Thomas was to find the grant did not eventuate until 13 January 1818.(36) That did not deter occupation though.
    On 28 November 1816 Henry Cole leased, conveyed and simultaneously transferred his 200 acres to Thomas Clarkson for the sum of £100, making Thomas the leasee for 5 years and then after that period, the automatic owner.(37)
    Similarly, on 20 December 1816, Thomas negotiated the lease and transfer of the 80 acres adjoining Henry Cole's 200 acres (see map) and these 80 acres were leased and transferred to Thomas by the owner. Esther Spencer.(38) By the time the grant was officially given on 13 January 1818, Esther Spencer had become Hester Stubbs.(39) She was later to become Esther Bigg and was resident in Phillip street.(40)
    One land holding which was to cause Thomas Clarkson considerable anguish at a later date was the 50 acres he'd acquired from Thomas Prentice on 17 September 1816.(41) On 22 August 1822 Thomas Clarkson addressed a letter to the they Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, complaining that Thomas Prentice had "dishonestly and fraudulently" disposed of the 50 acres which, in 1816 he had sold to Clarkson, to another party, namely Joseph Ward. (44)
    He claimed that Prentice had given him a "Power of Attorney" to take the grant out of the Secretary's Office but that Prentice himself had collected the grant and in 1819 had sold the land to the above mentioned Ward, who, by the way, just happened to also be the Constable in the District of Airds and who was fully aware of the former sale to Clarkson.
    Thomas claimed he had purchased the land 6 years previously (making it 1816, which was perfectly true) and that the only reason for the purchase was the close proximity of the land to his "capital substantial dwelling house" and office built on an enlarged and extensive scale, costing in excess of £1500.(43) (We believe this house to be the present day Eschol Park House at Campbelltown).
    The outcome of this dispute between Clarkson and Ward was not evident until documents lodged at a later date showed that Ward emerged the winner from an eviction battle dated 22 August 1822.(44)
By the end of 1816 Thomas' holdings at Bunburry Curran were well and truly functioning. As Thomas himself still resided at Sydney with his family, he installed his friend and son in law, Thomas Rowley in his new house and would have been hopeful of seeing his substantial expenditure there, recouped before too long. It is also possible that he'd hoped to establish a reasonably large and prestigious estate through all his efforts.
    Thomas' herds of horned cattle had increased so that by May 1816, they were large enough to tender to the Government stores for the supply of fresh meat to the inhabitants. A tender of 2000 lbs was accepted(45) and he was soon advised of the point of delivery (which was usually the premises of a shopkeeper.) We have assumed that the meat came from the Bunburry Curran farms and not the Hawkesbury as a notice published in the Sydney Gazette on 17 August 1816 informs us that he had a herd running in the Airds district.(46)
Strayed into the herd Of Mr T. Clarkson at Bunburry Curran some time ago, a large black buffalo bull with no marks and a young brindle bull about 2 years old with white face and legs. The owner may have them on paying the necessary expenses
Thomas continued to tender to the stores in 1817 for the same 2000 lbs(47) and then in 1818 increased the supply to 3000(48) and then doubled this again in 1820 to 6000.(49) A tender for 100 bushells of wheat in 1821(50) was accepted and in 1823 he undertook to supply 1000 lbs of salted pork.(51)
    The surveyor made another visit to the Airds district in 1818 to allocate and mark out land allotments. As before, Thomas was in possession of leases of land about to be granted. Direct access between these portions was made possible through the grant of George Berry, obtained in 1816.(52) This 34 acres bounded Wilson's 200 acres, already owned by Clarkson, and led onto the 60 acres granted to William Guise on 13 January 1818 and purchased by Clarkson for £60 on 14 October 1818.(53) Grants given to Hester Stubbs (formerly Esther Spencer) for 80 acres, Henry Cole for 200 acres, John Yates for 80 acres, John Cureton for 50 acres and Thomas Clarkson for 50 acres all bore the same date of 13 January 1818, All of these became part of the Clarkson Estate,---Cole's already in his possession since 22 November 1816, Hester Stubbs since 20 December 1$16 and now Clarkson added Cureton's 50 acres on the 15 August 1818,(54)
    "The said John Cureton was desirous of selling" his 50 acres to Thomas Clarkson "after the expiration of a lease granted to him for five years".
Reciting that the said John Cureton was seized and possessed of a grant and reciting that the said John Cureton was desirous of selling the same to the said Thomas Clarkson after the expiration of a lease granted to him for five years, it is witnessed that the said John Cureton in consideration of the sum of 5/- ….
    John Cureton sold the 50 acres to Thomas.(55)
    On 23 September of this same year, Margaret, widow of John Irish Yates, conveyed the grant she had accepted on her husband's behalf, to Thomas Clarkson. This grant contained 80 acres and was next to those 50 acres of Thomas Prentice. John Irish Yates was the son of Edward and Catherine Yates and had been born at Std Bototh's Aldersgate St, London on 27 October 1772. His father was a playing card maker and stationer. Yates did not live long enough in NSW to see the granting of his land.(56)
    Thomas continued to negotiate for land in the Airds region and on 13 March 1819 Edward Shakely of Sydney leased his "recently granted 200 acres of land at Bunburry Curran" to Thomas.(57) This was definitely in anticipation of a grant, as it didn't become official until 1823.(58)
Edward Shakely had arrived free into the colony in 1818 on board the "Ocean".(59) It is apparent that he must have made his way to the Liverpool district quite soon after this. His allotment of land was leased on a five year term from the date of the original grant but Thomas Clarkson occupied the land from the date of the lease, i.e.: March 1819. By the time the grant was finally issued the land had become part of a mortgage from Thomas Clarkson to Daniel Cooper.(60) So Shakely took possession of the grant and conveyed it to Cooper. By the 1828 census Shakely was listed as a gardener working far Thomas Rowley, Rowley at this time was a tenant on a property at Holdsworthy.(61)
    Part of the land that Thomas Rowley was to possess in his lifetime also became part of the Clarkson Estate. Rowley held 60 acres of land in Airds, bounded by Barrett's Goldsmiths and Beddow's farm, near Bow Bowing Creek and he conveyed it to Thomas Clarkson under the same conditions as Shakely's negotiation.(62) Once again a grant was not issued for this allotment until 1823 and the land passed to Cooper in a similar manner.(63)
    All of this land that Thomas had acquired at Airds, was to pass to Daniel Cooper in 1822(64) and in 1828 on to Jemima Jenkins.(65) Subsequent owners were to divide it up into diverse portions. One such portion became what is today known as the "Eschol Park Estate", a name given to the property as far back as 1876.
Image of Map, Thomas's Estate Bunburry Curran, Airds

 Page last updated -  7 July 2006