John Townson

Last updated

John Townson
3rd Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island
In office
September 1796 November 1799
Preceded by Philip Gidley King
Succeeded by Thomas Rowley
Personal details
Died 8 May 1835
Sydney, New South Wales
Spouse(s) Sarah Griggs (illeg.)

John Townson (died 1835) was an army officer and settler in the colony of New South Wales. He entered the 18th Regiment of Foot in 1779 and was part of the Gibraltar garrison. He transferred to the New South Wales Corps in October 1789, and arrived in Sydney on the Second Fleet ship Scarborough in June 1790.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Royal Irish Regiment (1684–1922)

The Royal Irish Regiment, until 1881 the 18th Regiment of Foot, was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, first raised in 1684. Also known as the 18th Regiment of Foot and the 18th Regiment of Foot, it was one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, its home depot in Clonmel. It saw service for two and a half centuries before being disbanded with the Partition of Ireland following establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922 when the five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded.

Gibraltar British Overseas Territory

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to over 30,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians.

Townson spent most of his military service in the colony at Norfolk Island where he was stationed for six years and received a twenty-acre (81,000 m²) lease. In 1794 he was a member of the court of inquiry investigating Lieutenant Governor King's actions during the 1793 mutiny on the island. He was promoted and captain, and from September 1796 to November 1799 acted as lieutenant-governor of Norfolk Island while King was absent in England.

Norfolk Island external territory of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean, consisting of the island of the same name plus neighbouring islands

Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, 1,412 kilometres (877 mi) directly east of mainland Australia's Evans Head, and about 900 kilometres (560 mi) from Lord Howe Island. Together with the two neighbouring islands Phillip Island and Nepean Island it forms one of the Commonwealth of Australia's external territories. At the 2016 Australian census, it had 1748 inhabitants living on a total area of about 35 km2 (14 sq mi). Its capital is Kingston.

Philip Gidley King British Colonial governor

Captain Philip Gidley King was the third Governor of New South Wales, and did much to organise the young colony in the face of great obstacles.

His administration was generally efficient and he seems to have had a steadying influence on the population of convicts and settlers. During his regime the only ship built on the island, the sloop Norfolk , used by Matthew Flinders to circumnavigate Van Diemen's Land, was constructed in 1798. He lacked confidence in Governor Hunter and his complaints to England played a part in Hunter's recall.

Matthew Flinders English navigator and cartographer

Captain Matthew Flinders was an English navigator and cartographer who led the first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent.

Van Diemens Land British colony, later called Tasmania

Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania, part of Australia. The name was changed from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania in 1856.

Townson left Norfolk Island in 1800 and returned to England, where through illness he retired and sold his commission in July 1803.

He returned to Sydney in 1806, and after come controversy was granted 2000 acres (8 km²) in the Bexley and Hurstville districts. He sold these in 1812 and developed further grants on the Tamar River in Van Diemen's Land. Townson died in Sydney on 8 July 1835, leaving an estate worth £5,000.

Bexley, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Bexley is a suburb in southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Bexley is located 14 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Bayside Council and is part of the St George area.

Hurstville, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Hurstville is a suburb in southern Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is 16 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD and is part of the St George area. Hurstville is the administrative centre of the local government area of the Georges River Council.

Townson is described by his biographer as "an efficient, if unspectacular, administrator." Unlike many of his fellow New South Wales Corps officers, he does not seem to have been involved in the rum traffic. He was generally well liked by his contemporaries but ill-health and deafness led him to avoid public life, and earned him a reputation in his later years "of being unsettled and querulous."

Rum Rebellion

The Rum Rebellion of 1808 was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history. During the 19th century, it was widely referred to in Australia as the Great Rebellion.

Related Research Articles

This article describes the history of the Australian colony and state of Victoria.

First Fleet 11 ships that left Great Britain to found the penal colony in Australia

The First Fleet was the 11 ships that departed from Portsmouth, England, on 13 May 1787 to found the penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. The Fleet consisted of two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships and six convict transports, carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 convicts, marines, seamen, civil officers and free people, and a large quantity of stores. From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving over the period of 18 to 20 January 1788, taking 250 to 252 days from departure to final arrival.

Sir George Arthur, 1st Baronet English colonial official, Governor of Bombay

Lieutenant-General Sir George Arthur, 1st Baronet, KCH, PC was Lieutenant Governor of British Honduras (1814–1822), Van Diemen's Land (1823–1837). The campaign against Tasmanian Aborigines, known as the Black War, occurred during this term of office. He later served as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (1838–1841) and Governor of Bombay (1842–1846).

William Paterson (explorer) Scottish soldier and botanist in Tasmania

Colonel William Paterson, FRS was a Scottish soldier, explorer, Lieutenant governor and botanist best known for leading early settlement in Tasmania. The standard author abbreviation Paterson is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. In 1795, Paterson gave an order that resulted in the massacre of a number of men, women and children, members of the Bediagal tribe.

William Balmain was a Scottish-born naval surgeon and civil administrator who sailed as an assistant surgeon with the First Fleet to establish the first European settlement in Australia, and later to take up the appointment of the principal surgeon, for New South Wales.

Joseph Foveaux was a soldier and convict settlement administrator in colonial New South Wales, Australia.

John Piper (military officer) Norfolk Island administrator

John Piper was a military officer, public servant and landowner in the colony of New South Wales. The Sydney suburb of Point Piper was named in his honour.

The history of Australia from 1788–1850 covers the early colonial period of Australia's history, from the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet of British ships at Sydney, New South Wales, who established the penal colony, the scientific exploration of the continent and later, establishment of other Australian colonies.

The following lists events that happened during 1790 in Australia.

Convicts in Australia

Between 1788 and 1868, about 162,000 convicts were transported from Britain to various penal colonies in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1812 in Australia.

The following lists events that happened during 1799 in Australia.

The Lieutenant Governor's Court was a court established in the early 19th century in the colony of Van Diemen's Land which subsequently became Tasmania, a state of Australia. The court had jurisdiction to deal with civil disputes where the amount in dispute was not more than £50 sterling in the colony. The establishment of the court was the first practical civil court in the settlement. This was an important first step in improving the resolution of civil disputes in the settlement. The Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land eventually replaced it in 1823 when the court's charter was revoked by the Third Charter of Justice.

Edward Abbott was a soldier, politician, judge-advocate and public servant who served at Parramatta, the Hawkesbury River and Norfolk Island in the colony of New South Wales, now part of present-day Australia. He also served at the settlements of Launceston and Hobart in Van Diemen's Land, which was part of New South Wales until 1825, when Van Diemen's Land became a self-governing colony.

Anthony Fenn Kemp was a soldier, merchant and a deputy judge advocate of the colony of New South Wales. He was one of the key participants in the "Rum Rebellion" that removed William Bligh, the appointed governor of the colony, and established an interim military government. He was later permitted to settle in Van Diemen's Land and became a successful merchant and farmer there.

Isaac Nichols was an English Australian farmer, shipowner and public servant who was a convict transported to New South Wales on the Third Fleet, on the Admiral Barrington. He was transported for seven years in 1790 for stealing. He is most remembered as the first postmaster of the postal service now known as Australia Post.

<i>Ocean</i> (1794 ship) English merchant ship and whaler built in 1794 at South Shields, England

Ocean was an English merchant ship and whaler built in 1794 at South Shields, England. She performed two voyages as an "extra" ship for the British East India Company (EIC) and later, in 1803, she accompanied HMS Calcutta to Port Phillip (Melbourne). The vessels supported the establishment of a settlement under the leadership of Lt Col David Collins. Calcutta transported convicts, with Ocean serving to transport supplies. When the settlers abandoned Port Phillip, Ocean, in two journeys, relocated the settlers, convicts and marines to the River Derwent in 1804.

William Baker was a New South Wales Marine and member of the First Fleet that founded the European penal colony of New South Wales.


<i>Australian Dictionary of Biography</i> biographical dictionary

The Australian Dictionary of Biography is a national co-operative enterprise founded and maintained by the Australian National University (ANU) to produce authoritative biographical articles on eminent people in Australia's history. Initially published in a series of twelve hard-copy volumes between 1966 and 2005, the dictionary has been published online since 2006.

Margaret Hazzard 1910 – 19 January 1987 was an Australian author born in Hertfordshire, England.