George Weller - Settler
George Weller and his brothers Joseph and Edward were members of a wealthy family from Kent. They established whaling stations and trading ventures in New Zealand in the 1830's.
Disappointed ExpectationsGeorge Weller was disappointed in his expectations of receiving a land grant when he first arrived in the colony as the following correspondence from the Historical Records of Australia shows. He returned to England on the Regalia in December 1826.....
Governor Darling to Under Secretary Hay (Despatch per ship Regalia). Government House 16th December 1826
My dear Sir,
I must beg your attention to the enclosed Letter from a person of the name of Weller, who would fain have it believed that he is returning Home in consequence of the disappointment of his expectations in not having received Land as a Settler. I have seen him, and enquired particularly into his case; and my impression is that, although he states he called frequently at the Surveyor General's Office, he was too much occupied in his trading concerns to take the steps necessary to obtain his Land. I questioned him, and found he had never seen or heard of the Regulations, though they have been repeatedly published in all the Papers.
He appears to be of the Class of 'Shop Keepers'; many of whom have lately come out, and think they have a right to Land in proportion to the amount of their Investments. In most cases, the Goods are not their own, but have been supplied on Commission. Mr. Weller told me had had been bred to Business and had no knowledge of Agriculture; still he expected as you will see by his Letter, to have been placed in possession of his Grant of Land without any Interrogations and of course without conforming to the Regulations. As he has been disappointed in this very reasonable expectation, he is about to return Home to represent the grievances, he has to complain of, having, however, prudently converted his outward bound venture into something suitable for the Home Market, which he has embarked in the Regalia.
Too many of this Class come out; there was a batch of four imposition? of them not long since from Cheapside, vouching for each 'shopkeeper.' other's property, and evidently not one of the whole number knowing a potato from a Turnip. A Mr. Ferris arrived a few Months since with a Statement of Property, certainly not his own, to the amount of several thousand Pounds, and claiming in consequence the largest Class of Grant. He, however, shortly after opened a Retail Shop, and is now disposing of the Perfumery and other Articles, which he brought out on Commission from a Dealer in Bond Street. Another Person of the Name of Bodenham assured me he had come out to Cultivate and Settle on his Land. When his Wife immediately after opened Shop, and commenced Business as a Dress Maker. I could enumerate many other instances, but these are sufficient to prove the imposition which is practised. These people obtain Letters from Your Office, and pretend to have a Capital, while they are merely entitled to a small Commission on the Sale of the Goods, they dispose of. It is very desirable it should be explained to all persons coming out that their means and pursuits will be strictly investigated, so that they may not effect to suffer disappointment by not being placed in possession of Land, which they are incapable of Cultivating and have no pretensions to.
I should not omit to mention that a Mr. Bucknell and his family are, I understand, returning to England. He arrived here only in October last, Mr. Barnard recommended him to me, as a person likely to be useful in obtaining Water by means of Boring. I could not engage his Services, as Mr. Busby has been employed by Government the last three Years, and is Scientific Man, regularly bred as a Mineral Surveyor, which Mr. Bucknell is not. I understand he was a Watch Maker. His Wife is a Niece of Darcy Wentworth's; and I suspect there has been some disappointment in discovering the condition of their Noble relative. Mr. Bucknell has not taken the necessary steps to procure his Land. I am, therefore, unacquainted with the cause of his returning Home.
I have troubled you with these particulars that you may be aware of the cases of Mr. Weller and Mr. Bucknell, should they apply again at Your Office. We want Agriculturists and Mechanics, or Persons possessing available Capital; some of those lately arrived, whom I could instance, are now Settled and have already brought their land into cultivation ; and you may rest assured that Persons of these descriptions will always receive prompt assistance, but Shop Keepers can never become Farmers and are not likely to benefit the Colony as Agriculturists. I remain, etc, Darling.
Statement by G. Weller re alleged refusal of land grant. [Enclosure.] Mr. G. Weller to Colonial Secretary McLeay.
Sir, Ship Regalia, 14th December, 1826.
I do myself the honor to communicate to you, for the Governor's information, certain circumstances attending my arrival in this Colony, in order to several embarrassments, under which I have labored (now too late to be removed), may in some degree be lessened in their detrimental consequences.
I beg leave to state that I arrived in this Colony as a Settler, and, after making the requisite application for a Grant of Land, was referred to the Land Board ; accordingly I went to the Board Office, and had an interview with Lieut. Governor Stewart (alone), who, after various interrogations, told me that, if I intended returning to England, I should have no Grant. I beg to state the purport, of what I said to His Honor, to which the above was his reply. That it was my intention to settle, to make, improvements, and to purchase Stock (all which I calculated it would take me at least two Years), and that then I intended returning to England to procure a reinforcement of Capital and, if possible, to induce my Family to come out and settle also. To this, I received the above mentioned answer. When, Sir, I came out to this Colony with an understanding, such as I received in Downing Street, with a letter from the Under Colonial Secretary of State, when I prove myself possessed of competent and tangible property, and especially when there are certain conditions, which if not fulfilled would of course deprive me of my Grant, when I say these things are considered, I, very respectfully and with all due deference, submit that I should have been placed in possession of My Grant of Land without any interrogation, without being obliged to give a Bond that henceforth I would never quit the Country. Notwithstanding, however, what was stated by Col. Stewart, an order, eight Months after application (during which time I was dwindling away my Capital by an unprofitable expenditure in Sydney), was transmitted to the Surveyor General's Office, just when, tired of a 16,000 Miles voyage to no purpose, I was engaging a passage to England; nor was I even made acquainted with this circumstance, till on the eve of sailing for England, and then by the merest chance. I strictly followed the prescribed rules of Office.
I shall now, on my return to England, have made a voyage round the world at a distressing expence, my funds exhausted, and my future prospects perhaps for ever blasted. Were I to receive thrice the quantity of My Grant, it would not compensate me for the incalculable loss, I have sustained; but I only have to request that my order for Land may be re-served, as I propose returning, though certainly under circumstances widely different from those under which I now am here, leaving it to the generous consideration of Government to indemnify me by an extension of Grant for the great pecuniary loss, I have already sustained, not taking into consideration the great advantage I should at this time have gained by an early settlement on my Land, and the great risk and expence I at present incur in a return to England.
I have, etc.,
George Weller. (HRA, Series 1, Vol. VII, p. 768)
Land GrantGeorge Weller eventually took up a grant of 2560 acres at Argenton ('Hampton') in the 1830's. This had been granted by Governor Darling on 29th June 1830. In 1841 part of the Hampton Estate was divided into 25 village allotments and 30 farms on the banks of Cockle Creek ten miles from Newcastle. There was a Reserve for a wharf and market and two acres for a Church and Parsonage. The proposed township adjoined the lands of William Brooks, Jonathon Warner and his brother Joseph Brooks Weller.
This venture was unsuccessful and in February of 1842 land belonging to the Messrs. Weller Consisting of Lot 1 2560 acres at Lake Macquarie, Lot 2 1200 acres at Hexham as well as 320 acres at Hexham and Lot 3, 2560 acres near Lake Macquarie bounded in part by David Maziere's land were advertised to be auctioned by order of the mortgagee Mrs. Louiza Stevens.
FamilyGeorge and Eliza Weller had two sons and two daughters in the 1830's - 1840's - George b 1830, Ellen b. 1835, Fanny b. in 1838 and Edward b. 1840,
Public LifeGeorge was involved in public life, serving on committees and raising funds, although he was fined 40/- when he failed to show for jury duty in 1847. He worked to raise funds for the relief of the Irish famine victims and contributed to other fund raising efforts such as a community fund raising for a testimonial for Rev. Stack.
He requested that a public meeting be called for repairs to the Wallis Creek Bridge (near the family home 'The Oaks') in August 1847 and also in that month made a donation towards the building of a Presbyterian Church at Maitland.
DeathIt was in the burial ground of the Presbyterian Church at Maitland that he was interred after dying suddenly in 1875.