EXHIBITIONSParramatta has a collection of quality exhibition spaces within the city. The Parramatta Artists Studios, the Heritage Centre and the Riverside Theatres are the main gallery-style spaces in Parramatta and they host a number of compelling exhibitions throughout the year. ICE; the Information and Cultural Exchange, an arts-based organisation supporting creative arts development in Western Sydney, is based in Parramatta. They produce or support a large range of creative pursuits (workshops, performances, industry networking events) and some of these involve exhibitions of new work. Other ‘expo’ style exhibitions occur too, most of these taking place at the Grand Pavillion at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. A diverse range of interests are showcased over the calendar year from Quilting and Craft and Golfing to Parenting, Careers, Caravans and Camping…. even Country Week comes to town.
CONVICT PARRAMATTAGuiding you from the grisly ‘Hanging Green’ to ‘God’s Acre,’ this tour traces the lives of convicts – where they lived, worked, rioted and were punished. You will learn how they were treated by the emerging health care systems and where many of them were buried. Your tour features convicts who rose above their convict status by grasping opportunities in the developing colony. And you will discover less fortunate convicts who found themselves behind bars in the penal colony, at the end of a hangman’s noose, and destined for a pauper’s burial.The tour starts in Parramatta Park in front ofOld Government House. Estimated walking time: one hour
There are 11 mentions of a John Curtis in the years 1800-1810 in the Sydney Newspapers.
THE PROMISORY NOTE.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803-1842) Sunday 3 September 1809
GRANTS WERE MADE TO :
he Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803-1842) Sunday 17 December 1809
Martin Sweeney Isaac Cornwall
Michael Murphy Stephen Shore
John Jones Humphry Thorn
Thomas Mansfield John Handle
John Liquorice James Ruse
James Plunkett William Ward
John Lacy Edward Ryan
Thomas Dunn John Miller
John Rowe Edward Miles
John Jones John Nichols
Hannah Taylor Annesly McGra
Elizabeth Moore Hume Richard Hammet
Richard Dowling David Batty
John Curtis Edward Main
Thomas Rose Obadiah Ikin
Charles Tompson Mary Shepley
Thomas Green John Burgin
Alexander Ikin John Farlington
Andrew Cunningham John Jones
JOHN WAS GRANTED LAND ON 17 DECEMBER 1809 BY GOVERNOR PATTERSON. LATER CANCELLED AND THEN RE-GRANTED BY MCARTHUR IN 1810.
SOME MORE BACKGROUND NATIONAL LIBRARY AUSTRALIA ARTICLES REFERRING TO PARRAMATTA OF THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY.
|YEAR||FAMILY NEWS||NATIONAL LIBRARY HISTORIC NEWSPAPERS ARTICLES OF THE TIME|
On 17th December 1809 JOHN CURTIS was notified that Lt Gov Patterson had granted him land at Parramatta.
January 14, 1809.
JOHN CURTIS wrote a memorial to Gov Macquarie seeking confirmation of the grant. ( sm folio pp 4 1810 NSW Colonial Sec in letters and memorials 1810 AK NO 80 REEL 1066 AONSW
The Sydney Gazette and… Sunday 14 January 1810, page 1.
SOME OF THE OFFICERS WHO HELD OFFICE BEFORE THE LATE GOVERNOR WAS ARRESTED ARE RE-INSTATED TO THEIR POSITIONS INC REV FULTON.
Ann too was proving to be a marvellous help and mother and on Wed 3rd July 1811 gave birth to their third son PETER.
Clear orders from the Governor regarding illegal brewing of beer and spirits in Sydney and in the out-settlements which included PARRAMATTA. A list of names of people granted licences. Ann Moran is not listed here but in later years is issued with a brewing licence.
During March 1812 there were again heavy rains and the Hawkesbury rose 12 feet over its banks. Flood years seemed to stir John’s spirit for on 7th December he further petitioned the Governor , this time for a free pardon which was granted
As cattle were always straying through the burial grounds behind St Johns Church Parramatta, an appeal for funds towards enclosing the grounds was made, to which JOHN CURTIS subscribed ( Sydney Gazette Jan 1813).
The Sydney Gazette and… Saturday 13 February 1813, page 4.
An iron grey horse had also strayed – from Smith’s Paddock, at the PARK GATE near PARRAMATTA. The owner JAMES WRIGHT offered a 20 shillings reward.
ANN MORAN and JOHN CURTIS MARRY
The trial and tale of a sordid murder at the Turnpike at Parramatta. A story of RAGGED RASCALS and COARSE WOMEN. Of HOOLAGHAN and SUITAR. Of a yellow handkerchief and a piece of lead worn in an ear.
The Sydney Gazette and… Saturday 7 October 1815, page 2.
The second Thursday of March meant that the half-yearly fair was to be held in PARRAMATTA and it was expected that it would be well attended.
IN addition there is an account of a fatal trip to the Shoal Haven and of the party sent to look for missing men.
The patronesses of the FEMALE ORPHAN INSTITUTION are named.
THIS PRESENT SEASON OF SCARCITY.
A calamitous season of floods leads to Government Orders regarding rations. Details are set out in the article.
JOHN CURTIS AND ANN MORAN WERE GRANTED LAND IN PARRAMATTA IN 1809 .
THE EVENTS OF THE CURTIS ERA WERE REPORTED IN THE SYDNEY GAZETTE – NOW THANKFULLY ONLINE. FOLLOW THE LINKS TO THE WORLD OF THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY OUT AT PARRAMATTA.
The Sydney Gazette and… Saturday 2 April 1803, page 1.
|http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article625427||THE INSURGENTS AT CASTLE HILL|
The Sydney Gazette and… Saturday 26 March 1803, page 4
|EXECUTIONS RESULTING FROM CASTLE HILL UPRISING.|
No person whatever is to pass through or
into the Town of Parramatta, either by
night or day, with a musket , who has not
the Magistrate’s permission for that purpose.
By Command of His Excellency,
G. Blaxcell Acting Sec.
June 7, 1805
JOHN AND ANN PART 2. PARRAMATTA
FROM PHIL READY’S READY OR NOT.
KING’S successor WILLIAM BLIGH had even more trouble with MACARTHUR and the NSW CORPS as he was more interested in discipline than seeing the officers get rich for he well remembered the mutiny of his crew on the BOUNTY. So while JOHN and ANN worked hard to build a future for their family which had grown to five with the birth of two sons, JAMES and JOHN, friction was building up between BLIGH and MACARTHUR.
The smaller settlers and emancipists whom the Corps despised, backed BLIGH as he tried to bring the Corps under control and stop them abusing the privileges they had squeezed from his predecessors. On Friday 1st January 1808 as evidence of their backing they penned an address of loyalty to him , which JOHN CURTIS also signed.
Unfortunately, under the threat of financial ruin along with other signatories, John was forced to retract and sign another in favour of MAJOR JOHNSTON when MCARTHUR and the more influential settlers , feeling threatened by Bligh, persuaded Johnston to depose BLIGH and assume command himself ( Banks papers. vol 622 captan bligh and nsw corps 1906 1811 p 301).
As no provision had been made for settlers by the English Government when setting up the prison Colony, there was a great shortage of coins at this period so coins from other nationalities were put into use and IOUS and PROMISSORY NOTES came into circulation. John Curtis was unfortunate enough to lose one of these promissary notes and during March 1809 advertised in the papers for its return. ( Check the details on https://lynnesheritage.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/st-johns-church-parramatta-john-curtis-and-ann-moran/. They read a little differently with access to NLA ).
Leaving Lt Gov Patterson in charge McArthur and Johnston made the mistake of going to England to explain their actions to the English Government which was not amused by the way they had deposed BLIGH. Major Johnston was casheered and John McArthur exiled from the Colony for 8 years.
On 17th December 1809 JOHN CURTIS was notified that Lt Gov Patterson had granted him land at Parramatta. Eleven Days later Lachlan Macquarie Bligh’s replacement arrived and within a few weeks had assessed the situation and cancelled everything that had been done officially since Johnston had deposed Bligh ; all land grants, appointments and trials. It had been decided that the NSW CORPS was to become one of the ordinary regiments of the British Army and sent home.
With staggering speed Macquarie started to clean up the mess he had inherited for he found the population continually threatened with starvation, the buildings decaying and the morals of most of the population in the lowest state of debasement whilst religious worship seemed to be in a state of almost total neglect. Arrival of the grain ship MARIAN a fortnight after Macquaries arrival followed by a mild autumn and bounteous spring partly relieved the problem of feeding the starving community and Macquarie was able to concentrate on other matters needing his attention.
Cancellation of all land grants made during the rebel’s rule meant that JOHN CURTIS too lost the land granted to him by Lt Col Gov Patterson so he wrote a memorial to Gov Macquarie seeking confirmation of the grant. ( sm folio pp 4 1810 NSW Colonial Sec in letters and memorials 1810 AK NO 80 REEL 1066 AONSW). Macquarie as was his way when dealing with those he considered worthy emancipists acquiesced.
The skills John was acquiring in the Colony coupled with those he had learned as an accountant in England were coming in handy and life was improving steadily for he appears to have been able to use some of the Government Land at the dairy for his own cattle. Ann too was proving to be a marvellous help and mother and on Wed 3rd July 1811 gave birth to their third son PETER. This was ANN’s 4th child but John’s 16th, two of his English children had died before he left England leaving 5 sons and 5 daughters there.
During March 1812 there were again heavy rains and the Hawkesbury rose 12 feet over its banks. Flood years seemed to stir John’s spirit for on 7th December he further petitioned the Governor , this time for a free pardon which was granted. (NSW COL SEC IN LETTERS Petitions mitigating sentences 1811 – 1812 pp 110-111 reels 1227 and 612 ) (register of pardons and tickets of leave Vol 1 p 183 Col Sec papers COD ML ).
As cattle were always straying through the burial grounds behind St Johns Church Parramatta, an appeal for funds towards enclosing the grounds was made, to which JOHN CURTIS subscribed ( Sydney Gazette Jan 1813).
On Tuesday 16 August 1814 in a ceremony at St Johns Church at Parramatta witnessed by Chistopher Grogan and Margaret Neale , JOHN CURTIS and ANN MORAN were married. This ceremony was followed by the baptism of 3 year old PETER and his baby sister CATHERINE ( Kitty) born on 7th June that year ( 1814) . A muster taken at this time lists JOHN, ANN and these 2 children as still being supplied from Govt Stores whilst the other 3 children were not.
The CURTIS children grew as the years passed with all helping out on the farm as they became able . Elizabeth blossomed into a young woman and JOHN READY who lived nearby became interested in her. In 1829 when ELIZABETH was 17 and JOHN READY was 30 they were married.
With other ROMAN CATHOLIC members of the community, JOHN CURTIS signed a petition to J T BIGGE for a ROMAN CATHOLIC CHAPEL when Bigges came out to the Colony to investigate and report on how it was going. ( 20 Feb 1820 Bigges Report app p 3943).
Because of John’s advanced age,( he was now 72), ANN CURTIS set up business for herself. On 21 April 1821 she paid into the POLICE FUND for 6 months brewing licence and a retailing licence ( Wenworth Papers dip 228).
Almost six months later on Wed 12 September 1821 , John Curtis died and was laid to rest in the BURIAL GROUND behind ST JOHNS CHURCH PARRAMATTA.
ST JOHNS FEATURES THROUGHOUT THE FAMILY.
The Sydney Gazette and… Sunday 10 April 1803, page 4.
This being Easter Sunday, Divine
Service will be performed by the Rev. Mr.
Marsden, at St. John’s Church Parramatta, for the first time.
FROM PHIL READY’S “READY OR NOT”.
JOHN CURTIS – 1749-1821
At his trial March 1795 in Gloucester, England, forty five year old accountant , John Curtis, was found guilty of coinage. (forging coins) and sent to Portsmouth where he was placed aboard the prison hulk LION to await a ship for the Colony of NSW . Separated from his wife Jane and 10 remaining children who lived in the Parish of St Augustin Bristol, he was never to see them again.
1. JOHN CURTIS married 1773 to JANE PURRIER
THE CHILDREN OF JOHN AND JANE CURTIS
1 1774 ELIZABETH 2 1776 SARAH 3 1778 JOHN 4 1779 THOMAS 5 1780 ? 6 1781 JOSHUA 7 1782 FRANCIS 8 1784 WILLIAM 9 1784 BENJAMIN 10 1785 WILLIAM H 11 1787 ANN 12 1793 CHARLOTTE
During the 18 months wait, John and the other prisoners aboard THE LION were “employed as health and weather permitted” by instructions from Mr James Bradley and in compliance with the desire of the Master General in Ordinance, in removing mud and gravel , raising, sloping and preparing Glacis on Weevil lines near Gosport and other occasional works under the direction of the Engineer appointed to superintend the fortifications at that place. ( HULK RETURNS. PRO REEL 3557 AONSW).
On 29th September 1796 John was discharged from the LION , placed aboard the GANGES and sailed via Rio de Janeiro to New South Wales. Arriving at Sydney Town on 2 June 1797 he was sent to the Government Stores and put to work there. John’s skills at reading and writing would have been of great benefit at the stores and he worked so well there that three years later he was promoted to an overseer and a numerous stock of cattle placed in his care. ( Petition from John Curtis to Governor King – King papers Vol 1 pp 66-69 M.L.)
John had been overseeing the dairy for two years when he was advised that there was also to be a dairymaid at the dairy. Enquiries revealed that her name was ANN MORAN.
ANN had been tried at MEATH, IRELAND, during the Spring of 1800. Found guilty , sentenced to seven years transportation to NSW she too was held in custody to await a ship. On Sunday the 29th November 1901, two vessels, HERCULES with Ann aboard and ATLAS sailed from the port of CORK.
HERCULES – a two deck square masted vessel of 395 tons burthen built in Newcastle England was armed with 10 guns, carried a crew of between 32 and 35 men , 140 male and 25 female prisoners and several passengers among them MAJOR JOHNSTON who was later to figure prominently in the history of the Colony. The ship HERCULES also carried a detachment of the NSW Corps under CAPTAIN RALPH WILSON ( PRO REEL 413 WO 12/9901 FOLIO 160 ML)
GRANTED an emancipation by Governor King on the Anniversary of GEORGE III , JOHN CURTIS was now a free man but unable to leave the Colony.Very lonely he formed an attachment with ANN MORAN but, sadly missing his family and unaware that his wife JANE PURRIER had died in 1800, tried in 1803 to obtain permission to return home to them. Taking up his quill and paper, John wrote in his neat script to the Governor. ( I am presuming Phil Ready sighted these documents. )
” HIS Excellency Governor King,
Your humble petr, John Curtis begs leave to state that he is now at the advanced age of 60 years.
Marked by the hand of misfortune he was torn from a beloved family and a wife and ten children who live in the Parish of St Augustin City of Bristol, tried at Gloster March Assizes 1795 convicted and arrived in this Colony in the ship GANGES . That petr has been three years in his Majesty’s Stores and from that situation promoted to an overseer and a numerous stock of cattle consigned to his care.
Petitioner need not to a gentleman of your Excellencies perspicacity and distinguised knowledge point out his unwearied attention and strict integrity in the dishcarge of his duty suffice to say that thru your Excellencies experience Wisdom of Humanity you were pleased to extend his majesties gracious bounty of an emancipation on the celebration of H.M. anniversary on June 4 1802.
The petr situation and conduct so universally known to the gentleman of this country emboldens him to solicit their signatures as a testimony of his good behaviour in every situation since his arrival and trusting in the merciful disposition of your Excellency has ever invinced in the cause of justice, humanity and the unfortunate must humbly implore a further extension of the Royal clemency by suffering him to returning and spending his latter days with a long estranged family who with petitioner as in duty bound.
Under the signature of John CURTIS are the signatures of
1. W Patterson Lt Governor
2. Geo Johnston
3. Rev Samuel Marsden
4. Thomas Jamieson Supt of Govt Stock
John’s petition could not be granted as it was not within the Governor’s power to do so but ANN had already become pregant to John and later that year have birth to a daughter whom they named ELIZABETH, perhaps after John’s first daughter, Elizabeth, born in England in 1744.
The busy Governor had other things on his mind and a revolt in 1804 by the convicts at CASTLE HILL, only a few miles from John and Ann, made him realise how much his authority depended on the unruly NSW CORPS. The thought kept him on edge for he was having trouble with its officers and more especially with its paymaster JOHN MACARTHUR who wanted the Governor to comply with the CORPS’ wishes and become rich. By 1806 King had had enough and resigned as Governor.
- http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article625518 The Sydney Gazette and… Sunday 17 April 1803, page 3.
On Sunday last St. John’s Church, at Parramatta, was opened, and Divine Service performed by the Rev. Mr. Marsden ; who delivered an excellent Sermon on the following Text,
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth ? behold, heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built !” II. Chron. c. vi. v. l8 : In the course of which he made some animated allusions to the structure of ‘Solomon’s Temple,, and afterwards gradually traced the progress of Religion in succeeding ages, adverting to tge many solid advantages that must be necessarily derived to this Colony, from a proper observance of the duties of christianity and a religious worship.
The concourse of persons that attended from all parts of the Colony, and the becoming silence that prevailed, added much to the solemnity of the service. Many Ladies of the first respectability were present, some of whom went purposely from Sydney ; and the Military Detachment on duty at Parramatta, were alfo partakers at the sacred festival. St. John’s Church may justly be stiled the finest building in the Colony ; the paintings are well designed, and tolerably executed. The Altar Piece, tho’ somewhat heavy, is nevertheless entitled to praise. The pews are not yet put up, but when they are, it will certainly become a handsome, well-finished. and commodious place of worship.
On Wednesday last, at St. John’s Church,
Parramatta, Lawrence Brady, baker to M.
Peat, spinster. She is the first young woman
married from the Orphan House.
- A STORY FROM THE NLA HISTORIC NEWSPAPERS OF A NOTE OF HAND INVOLVING JOHN CURTIS OF PARRAMATTA AND HUGH DEVLYN.
Whereas a Promissory Note of Hand drawn by John Curtis of Parramatta in favor of one Thomas Jones for the Sum of £40 Sterling, was about a twelvemonth ago lost at Parramatta, and has not since been recovered. Now this is to give Notice, that the said Note was negociated to me, Hugh Davlyn, of Richmond Hill, who do hereby acknowledge to have received from the above Drawer (John Curtis) full satisfaction for the same ; I do therefore forbid all persons receiving the same under any pretence whatever, as it is the sole property of the said John Curtis; any person rendering it up to whom or to myself will be handsomely rewarded. Hugh Davlyn.
The Sydney Gazette and… Sunday 3 September 1809, page 2.
Johannah was my great-great-great-great grandmother on my mother’s side as they say. That is – she was my GGGGGrandmother if in fact it was her son who fathered Peter Mark. It could have been one THOMAS HOGAN. For the time being we will stay with the legal records and claim Johannah as kinfolk.
This is her story as Phil Ready recorded it for READY OR NOT.
JOHANNAH READY 1765-183?
” The ARCHDUKE CHARLES , a one class two decked vessel of five hundred and twenty five tons burthen was built in Newcastle England in 1809. With J.P. JEFFRIES as master and JOHN PAWSON as surgeon the ship sailed from Cork, Ireland on Friday 15th May 1812 with 147 male and 54 female convicts for the Penal Colony of NSW. Travelling via Rio de Janeiro she arrived at Sydney two hundred and seven days later on 16th February 1813. ( The Convict Ships by Charles Bateson)
Among the prisoners was 47 years old Johannah Ready sentenced by the court during 1811 in County Tipperary, Ireland to fourteen years transportation to the Colony.
On disembarking at Sydney Cove, Johannah was taken to the women’s barracks and then allocated to work at Government House Windsor. This necessitated a journey that was long and dangerous at that time for there were many thieves and bushrangers about so the party travelled with an armed guard. Johannah is listed in the Windsor Ration Book as receiving rations during 1813 and 1815 ( loc A 803 pp 59,90,122 ML) and during this time became Housekeeper at Government House.
Records show that she received payments for this position during 1814 and 1815 from the Police Fund. (Wentworth Papers loc. D1 M4 pp 121 137 ML) Her salary was published in the following editions of the SYDNEY GAZETTE.
5 AUGUST 1815 12 MONTHS WINDSOR 20 pds 11 MAY 1816 6 MONTHS PARRAMATTA 10 pds 8 FEB 1817 12 MONTHS WINDSOR 20 pds
As housekeeper at Government House Johannah would have come in contact with some of the most influential people in the Colony including the Rev Samuel Marsden and William Cox , Magistrate.
Johannah’s son John Ready, arrived as a prisoner aboard the convict ship THE THREE BEES in June of 1814 and by the end of the year had become overseer of the Government Dairy at Windsor.
In July of 1814 there was great excitement in the Colony for Governor Macquarie had accepted the generous offer of William Cox to build a road over the mountains along with the route discovered by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. So well did the team work that by 21 Jan 1815 the road had been completed and by May the Governor with his wife and a well equipped party was able to travel along the new road from Parramatta. Crossing the mountains Macquarie was able , with the help of Cox to lay out the proposed town of Bathurst on the banks of the Macquarie River which had been discovered by George Evans the previous year.
Two years later John and Johannah both still at Windsor, testified at an inquest held on Wednesday 16th December 1817 into the accidental drowning of a dairy stockman. In their testimony they stated that the stockmen John Holland and Edward Knight were good friends at the time of the accident.
Holland and Knight had gone to a nearby creek to bathe at a spot that John Holland considered safe but unfortunately neither could swim and when Holland got out of his depth Knight was unable to help him. He ran to a nearby Mill but being unsuccessful there went on to Government House where he asked the Gardener for help. As only one of those who came to help could swim ( very few people at that time could) it was two hours before John Holland’s body was recovered.
The Coroner being absent the Rev Samuel Marsden swore in the Chief Constable Francis Oates to act in his stead and Johannah unable to write put her mark on her testimony whilst her son John signed his name ( INQUESTS AONSW)
On 31 August 1819 both Johannah and John Ready received their pardons from the Governor and just over 6 months later on 7 Feb 1820 John married Elizabeth Curtis, daughter of John Curtis and Ann Moran . Elizabeth born in 1803 was now 17 years of age and John 30.
Although of the Catholic faith the wedding took place in St Johns Church of England Parramatta for at that time Catholicism was discouraged with no Catholic Priest being allowed to officiate.
In 1822 Johannah applied to the new Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane, to have her sone Phillip and his family brought out as assisted immigrants from Ireland stating that Phillip was known to Mr Walsh the gaoler at City Cork where both she and John had been held for some time before embarkation but there is no record of the family ever having migrated to the Colony ( Governors Despatches 1822 loc 1193 p 230 ML)
Finally restrictions on the Roman Catholic Faith were relaxed with a move made to build a RC Chapel at Parramatta. Johannah is listed in the SYDNEY GAZETTE EDITIONS
17 MAY 1822 11 OCTOBER 1822 13 MARCH 1823 17 MARCH 1824
as making a subscription towards this aim. However as the Chapel had not been built by the 9th June 1824 Johannah was obliged to use St John’s Church, this time for her own wedding , for at the age of 59 she married 46 year old FRANCIS PRENDERGAST.