Theresa Bowen said

January 18, 2011

Hi Lynne

I grew up on Fatterini Island in the 1970′s and I must say that it was an idyllic place to grow up.

I am undertaking a research project on that island for a course I am doing and I am interested in any information that you can provide me, as I am just starting out and finding a lot of the information on the Dr to be irrelevant.
Why was the island named after Dr Fattorini when I can find no evidence of him having been there?

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Kind Regards
Was it an aboriginal mission or tribal refuge?


I am looking in the TROVE for info on Fattorini Island. Previously I have only looked at the dates very early on when Sanders were being born there and thereabouts but I shall look at any references I can now find. First – the Historical Newspapers.

Dr Fattorini is well documented as being in Port Macquarie which is also where he died. Fattorini Island is only 62 kms by today’s roads from Port Macquarie. His interests are also recorded on the Macleay. I will keep looking for actual evidence of the naming of the Island ( referred to as “islands’ in early newspapers) but the two places are close enough for Fattorini’s company to be operating on both rivers.


This section says that there is no evidence that he went ahead with his cedar plans, but does indicate his contact with the Macleay.


In this year, the latent entrepreneur in him began to

show. He evidently felt the practice of medicine was not

remunerative enough, for on 21 April 1835 he applied to

the Colonial Secretary for a Licence to cut cedar on the

banks of the McLeay River, giving what were evidently the

usual undertakings to make no waste and to maintain order

amongst the persons employed by him.^^ This he followed

up with a further letter on 8 May 1835,^^ which is by way of

a complaint that on making application to the Collector of

Internal Revenue, according to the Government Notice of 24

April last, to have a licence granted to him to cut cedar on

vacant crown lands, he was verbally answered that having

received no instructions to that effect, the Collector could not

do it. Fattorini refers to his personal discussion with the

Colonial Secretary when he had explained how he was distressed by reason of being deprived of the licence sought.

He says: "I am not only put to the greatest inconvenience,

but also to a very severe pecuniary loss, having great many

men already there and prevented to land, by the interference

of Mr. Rudder,25 to whom a licence has been granted long

time ago." It will be noted that when labouring under excitement or stress his English deteriorates a little.

The letter is minuted "inform that instructions are now

given to Mr. Macpherson to whom he is to apply specifying

the land on which he wishes to cut cedar"; followed by "Mr.

Fattorini has since called and been personally informed."

However, there does not appear to be any record of his having proceeded further with this project.

Map picture

I won’t try to draw conclusions as yet. Just gather the data. Well, maybe a conclusion or two.


The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824-1848), Friday 11 November 1842

steamer2The Australian (Sydney, NSW 1824-1848), Friday 11 November 1842


1849.  There was land for sale on the MANNING River and FATTORINI CREEK had been named there.

FATTORINI CREEK LOTSThe Sydney Morning Herald  Tuesday 20 November 1849


boatThe Sydney Herald , Monday 19 July 1841


"M’LEAY RIVER." The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831-1842) 19 Jul 1841



On MONDAY, 14th MARCH, at eleven o’clock. (1859, March 4).The Sydney Morning Herald 



The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954), Friday 9 June 1893

apbThe Sydney Morning Herald  Friday 9 June 1893



A MISSIONARY DROWNED. (1920, October 12).

The Sydney Morning Herald

MISSIONARYThe Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 12 October 1920



Living by the Macleay River


For more information about connecting to Country, see ‘Living on Cabbage Tree Island’ and ‘Living at Grassy Head camp’, also on this site.

For much of the 19th century, following European settlement in the Macleay Valley region, Aboriginal people continued moving throughout the landscape with small groups settling at camp sites on the outskirts of European settlements for brief periods, then moving on again. Areas such as Pelican Island and the two Fattorini Islands in the Macleay River near Kempsey were reserved specifically for Aboriginal communities and were regarded as refuges where large numbers of Aboriginal people could live relatively undisturbed (Neil 1972).

Public education for Aboriginal children


Aborigines Protection Board, Report, 1923, p 1; Beverley and Don Elphick, eds, Kinchela Aboriginal Home and School: Alphabetical Index of Stu­dents, Canberra, 1997. This is compiled from the Kinchela Aboriginal School Admissions, file 1/9814, in the NSW State Archives. The Elphicks are mistaken in their claim that the girls ‘were taken from their parents and homes and placed in the Kinchela Home at Kempsey by the Aborigines Protection Board’ (p 3), since they seem unaware that in 1923–24 Kinchela functioned not as an institution for separated children but as a dedicated Aboriginal school for the nearby Macleay River Aboriginal settlements of Pelican Island and Fattorini Island, where the girls and their parents lived.



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