Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

John Verge - Settler and Architect

Lyndhurstvale - Map 3

John Verge was born in 1782 in Hampshire, England. He was a bricklayer and builder and in 1828 immigrated to Australia with his son Phillip. They arrived on the Clarkstone on 27th December 1828. His wife remained in England.

Land Grant

John Verge was granted 2560 acres of land on the Williams River (Lyndhurst Vale) and in 1838 an additional 2560 acres was granted at the McLeay River (Austral Eden).

His grant on the Williams can be seen in the lower right quarter of the map below.
Ferdinand Anley Matthew Chapman John Hooke John Mann Benjamin Sullivan Alexander McDuff Baxter James Dowling John Lord Alexander Park Charles Boydell Francis Gibbes John McIntyre Joseph Rookin John Verge Crawford Brown Grayson Hartley Duncan Mackay Major Smeathman Charles Windeyer Henry John Lindeman George Townshend Lawrence Myles Early Hunter Valley Settler Map 3

Assigned Convict Servants

Convicts assigned to John Verge included

James Birnie (John Barry 1836)

Michael Brady (Royal Sovereign 1834)

Joseph Bullingham (Lady Harwood 1831)

William Copland (Bussorah Merchant 1828)

John Downing (Mangles 1837)

William Gardner (Lady Nugent)gent)

Magnus McDonald (Parmelia 1834)

Thomas Phillips (Strathfieldsaye 1836)

Henry Spiers (Planter 1833)

John Tredgold (Minstrel 1824)

Ann Tyson (Mary 1835)

Thomas Watts (Mermaid 1829)

Charles White (John 1832).

John Verge's Designs

John Verge worked at his profession in the 1830's. The Independent Chapel in Pitt Street Sydney was one of his early projects.....

John Verge advertisement. The Australian 26 February 1830[1]

One of the first houses mentioned in the newspapers was an elegant Villa built under Verge's superintendence for George Allen, solicitor at his estate Toxteth Park at Glebe near Sydney. It was nearby Hereford House, George Williams' elegant mansion which was also built by Verge. [2]

Elegant villas on Woolloomoolloo Hill were built under his orders said to by worthy of the suburbs of London in appearance.

In 1832 Verge began a shop and premises for Samuel Lyons at the corner of George street and Charlotte place said to be spacious and of elegant design. [3] The construction under the superintendence of Mr. Clarke was not without difficulties however as can be seen in the court case detailed in the Sydney Monitor

He designed among many other buildings, - Barham at Pott's Point Sydney, Tempe House for A.B. Sparke, Lyndhurst at Glebe for James Bowman and the 'Paterson Arms' near Paterson (builder Ralph Mills Clarke).

The magnificent Aberglasslyn House built for George Hobler has also been attributed to Verge.

Austral Eden

By 1837 had retired to 'Austral Eden' on the Macleay River where he died on 9 July 1861. He was buried in the St. Thomas burial grounds, Port Macquarie......

A well known and aged colonist has been called from amongst us, and gathered to his fathers. Mr. John Verge, of Austral Eden, on this river, expired at his residence on the evening of the 9th instant. An attack of apoplexy which came on gradually, first causing giddiness and partial paralysis, then loss of speech, and finally death, all of which occurred in so short a space of time, that ere the messenger sent to procure medical assistance reached Kempsey, Mr. Verge had ceased to exist. The deceased gentleman passed out of life so easily, that he appeared rather to have fallen into a quiet slumber. For many years Mr. Verge was known in Sydney as Colonial Architect and came to reside amongst us about twenty years, since. He has left behind him a very extensive and valuable landed property, extending for a considerable distance along each side of the river, and occupied by a a numerous tenantry' - Mr. Verge it is understood, was 86 years of age, at the time of his death. [4]

Phillip Verge remained in the Williams River district.

Notes and Links

1). Aberglasslyn House.....

From across the river, Aberglasslyn House, March 24, 1961...From across the river, Aberglasslyn House, Aberglasslyn, NSW, Australia - March 24, 1961 - Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle

2). Extraordinary retraction - John Verge, architect v. John Brown, late draughtsman in the Surveyor-General's Department - Sydney Gazette 5 May 1831

3). Death of Sydney Verge in 1930 - Sydney Mail 22 January 1930


[1] The Australian 26 February 1830

[2] Sydney Gazette 27 September 1831

[3] Sydney Gazette 22 May 1832

[4] Empire 1 August 1861