Free Settler or Felon 

William Ogilvie

Merton - Map 6

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William Ogilvie was born in 1782 at Holborn Hill, England. He arrived as a free settler in 1825 on the convict ship Grenada with his wife and four children. Soon after arrival, and accompanied by ship surgeon Peter Cunningham, William Ogilvie sailed up the coast to Newcastle before travelling further up the valley to select land. After making his selection, he brought his family to Newcastle while he returned to Merton to establish a dwelling for them.

Alexander Anderson J. Bettington George Blaxland Charles Cameron Peter Cunningham Cyrus Doyle John Hoskins John McGarvie William Ogilvie William Ogilvie Thomas Arndell James Arndell James Robertson
Early Hunter Valley Settler Map 6

Merton Estate

Peter Cunningham described William Ogilvie's Merton estate in his publication 'Two Years in New South Wales; a Series of Letters, Comprising Sketches of the Actual State of Society in that Colony; of its Peculiar Advantages to Emigrants' : -

'Mr. Ogilvie possesses here six thousand acres, consisting of alluvial flats and lightly timbered forest land backwards, bounded by a moderately high ridge. A plain of fifty acres of rich land (without a tree upon it) is situated in the middle of the grant, overlooked by a beautiful swelling hill, equally clear, of the finest sort of garden mould, and covered with luxuriant grasses. The Goulburn River enters Hunter's River opposite to the bottom of Mr. Ogilvie's grant, the plains on each side being hemmed in by woody ridges of moderate elevation, toward which the back land gradually rises. Contrary to what is generally found in other parts of the country, the ridges upon the upper part of Hunter's River are almost uniformly flattened at the top, forming little miniature hills and valleys covered with fine soil of moderate depth, and bounding in grass, which makes them the great resort of the kangaroos and cattle in the winter season.'

The House at Merton

A description of the first house at Merton written by Ellen Ogilvie (Bundock), daughter of William Ogilvie:

'The house which our father had prepared for us at Merton was a small four roomed cottage, whitewashed nicely, as pipe clay was found close by - white and buff. Our mother was greatly pleased and very happy at Joining our father in this little house, which was charming. Small as our home was, there was room to receive constant visitors. Our mother had the knack of making all around her charmingly pretty and picturesque, as well as fresh and clean. At first, we had only earthen floors made by Irishmen, who broke up the earth until it was powdered and then, when whitewashed, it made good firm flooring but was very troublesome to keep clean. Subsequently the floors were laid down in wood and by degrees the house was added to.'

Aboriginal Tribe

In Squatter's Castle, George Farwell describes the relationship between the Ogilvies and the Aboriginal tribe of the district -

The area was heavily peopled with Aborigines at that time and the Ogilvies treated them well and encouraged their children to do the same, a habit Edward (Ogilvie) throughout his life. It was here that he learnt the natives' language, a fact that was to save his life on at least two occasions.

Peter Cunningham, in the volume mentioned above, described an incident in 1826 in which an intrepid Mary Ogilvie confronted the natives


Acquaintance George Wyndham

The Ogilvies were acquaintances of George Wyndham and his wife Margaret and often visited them at Dalwood in the early 1830's. George Wyndham kept a Diary in the years 1830 - 1840 and there are many mentions of the Ogilvie family. e.g., ...On 12th September 1830 George Wyndham and William Ogilvie embarked on an excursion from Merton to Holdsworthy Downs and then to the Burning Mountain at Wingen. They returned via Segenhoe, St. Heliers and Merton and George Wyndham remarked that he was home at Dalwood by the 18th September 1830.

Assigned Convict Servants

The following convicts who were assigned to the Merton estate over the years -

Name Ship and Notes
Albert, Robert Recovery 1819; bullock driver
Allen, Margaret Earl of Liverpool 1831; cook
Barker, Joseph Asia 1832
Bath, John Prince Regent 1824; shepherd
Bayley, William Blenheim 1834
Beacher, Richard Burrell 1830; seaman
Beer, William Burrell 1830; ploughman
Birtles, James Dunvegan Castle 1830; cow boy
Bouchell, Patrick John 1832; tailor
Boulter, Richard Burrell 1830
Bowden, Samuel Claudine 1829; cabinet maker
Brian, Patrick Mangles 1826; weaver
Briant, John Albion 1827; shoemaker
Brown, Sarah Sovereign 1829; servant
Browne, Morgan Speke 1826; groom
Bryce, George Clyde 1832; cabinet maker
Burke, Penelope Almorah 1824
Butts, Edmund Portland 1832
Cannon, Mary Ann Henry Wellesley 1837
Capps, Robert Bussorah Merchant 1828; insurance broker; tutor
Carroll, Hugh Dick 1821
Carroll, Patrick Asia 1831; ploughman and groom
Cheeseman, Ann Princess Royal 1829
Clayton, William England 1826; scourger
Clegg, William Lady Feversham 1830
Connolly, Michael Eliza 1827; labourer
Connors, Thomas Medina 1823; shepherd
Conway, John Blenheim 1834
Copas, Henry Speke 1826; labourer
Corcoran, James Mangles 1826; shepherd
Cottar, John Lonach 1825; stockman
Cummane, James Eliza 1827; shepherd
Curtis, John Morley 1828; shoemaker
Dawkins, John Asia; overseer
Denney, William Captain Cook 1833
Donnelly, Michael Asia 1825 (1); labourer
Donnelly, Patrick Asia 1825 (1); stockman
Donovan, Patrick Norfolk 1832; blacksmith
Dout, John Java 1833; soldier; farm labourer
Dowley, Robert Waterloo 1833
Duncalf, William Strathfieldsaye 1836
Eaton, Phillip Bussorah Merchant 1828; shepherd
Enwright, Daniel Adam Lodge 1840; emigrant
Fleming, William Java 1833
Ford, John Mangles 1833; garden labourer
Fox, John Regalia 1826; tanner
Freeth, John Dunvegan Castle 1830; brushmaker; stableman
Gallagher, Thomas Isabella 1832; plasterer
Glass, John General Hewitt 1814; sawyer
Gilham, Elizabeth Burrell 1832; laundress
Gillman, Charles Claudine 1829; copper plate printer
Green, Michael Asia 1831; soldier
Hall, Robert Hebe 1820;
Hand, William Waterloo 1831; baker and soldier
Hannan, Bernard Hooghley 1825; reaper; labourer
Harris, John Medina 1826; came free; labourer
Haynes, James Marquis of Hastings 1828; labourer
Healey, Maria Kains 1831; pastry cook
Heywood, Daniel Dunvegan Castle 1830; ploughman
Hoyle, Patrick Isabella 1822; fencer
Harrup, Thomas Strathfieldsaye 1836
Horton, William Planter 1832
Hulbert, Edward John 1832
Innman, Thomas Marquis of Hastings 1828; pigman
James, Mary Hooghley 1831
Jennings, John Morley 1828; ploughman
Lewis, John Asia 1825 (111); bullock driver
Malone, Francis Andromeda 1830; baker
Masterton, Edward Borodino 1828; ropemaker
Maw, Robert Parmelia 1832
McKay, Angus James Moran 1839; emigrant
McLaughlin, James and Patrick Adam Lodge 1840; emigrants
McLaughlin, Michael and Mary Adam Lodge 1840; emigrants
McLeod, Alexandeer James Moran 1839; emigrant
McMahon, Nicholas Mangles 1826; ploughman
McNamara, Thomas Mangles 1826; dairyman
Mitchell, Edward Waterloo 1831; stone cutter
Moore, Jane Grenada 1825; milks; makes butter
Moore, Michael Governor Ready 1829; labourer
Morgan, William Lord Melville 1830; ploughman
Morris, Robert Parmelia 1832
Needham, John Prince Regent 1820; constable
Newman, Robert Guildford 1824; labourer
Newton, Gumaliel Andromeda 1833
Oliver, Robert Minerva 1821; shoemaker
Partridge, Ellen Brothers 1824; housemaid
Ponting, Joseph Asia 1820
Poole, James Georgiana 1831
Quinn, Patrick Ferguson 1829; cooper
Redhead, Charles Florentia 1830; shoemaker
Reilly, Peter Roslin Castle 1833; labourer
Riley, Richard Jane 1831; spadesman; reaps, sows
Roberts, Robert Florentia 1828; carpenter
Rose, George Asia 1832; ploughs, milks
Salmon, William Lord Melville 1830; music printer
Shanahan, Michael Governor Ready 1829; shepherd
Sherwood, Robert Georgiana 1831; ploughs; carter
Simpson, William Speke 1826; tailor; publican
Smith, George Jane 1831
Spicer, George Employed as a fencer
Stack, Robert Mangles 1826; farmer and soldier
Stapleton, Samuel Asia 1825 (111); fisherman
Stephenson, John Florentia 1828; butcher
Taylor, John America 1829
Thomas, John Countess of Harcourt 1828; farm servant
Tobin, Martin Hercules 1830; plaisterer
Tripp, James Isabella 1832; groom
Turner, Charles Burrell 1830; carrier
Wadey, Henry England 1835
Waldon, William Three Bees 1814; Constable
Walsh, James Forth 1830 (1); labourer, reaps
Wantling, George Exmouth 1831; tailor
Waters, George Morley 1828; house carpenter
Waterworth, Mary Diana 1833
Wilks, Oliver Guildford 1824; blacksmith
Woods, John Florentia 1830; carpet weaver
Wright, Ann Wanstead 1814; laundress


William Ogilvie died 10 March 1859 at Wooloomooloo and the Merton estate passed into the hands of the White family.

Notes and Links

1). Find out more about Merton Homestead at NSW Heritage

2). Memoirs of Ellen Bundock

3). A visitor to Merton in 1895 described the cellars. They were almost unchanged from the days of William Ogilvie -

A portion of the original convict-built buildings still remain, though the bulk of them of recent years, has been demolished. It is wonderful, looking at the solid cellars built in those days, now over 60 years ago, to note how true and faithful they are in construction, so good in fact that they are almost as perfect as the day they were finished, putting all the modern work quite in the shade. The Merton cellars, for example, into which Mr. White took me, show nothing more in the way of decay, after sixty years, than one crack in the wall. These cellars were used in Capt. Ogilvy's time for the purpose of storing wine, an extensive vineyard in those days being a feature of the place - Strolling round with Mr. Reginald White many things at Merton arrest one's attention, recalling the days when Captain Ogilvy was in occupation. Among the old land-marks is a sundial which was the only recorder of time to ring the consigned servants up and send them to meals, and bed again, whilst alone the dial hangs the Old Bell that is used even to the present day for the same purpose....- Maitland Weekly Mercury 2 November 1895

Cite This Page

Willetts, J (n.d.) "William Ogilvie, Settler at Merton". Free Settler or Felon
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Birth Holborn Hill, London 1782
Arrival Grenada 1825
Land Grant 6000 acres 7 April 1825. Merton
Occupation Naval Officer; Settler
Marriage Mary White 1812
Death 1859 at Wooloomooloo