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John Macarthur
Elizabeth  Macarthur

On 28th June 1790 the Second Fleet of 6 ships arrived in Botany Bay.  On board the “Scarborough” as part of the New South Wales Corps were Lieutenant John Macarthur and his wife Elizabeth (Veale).   John Macarthur was posted inland to the Rose Hill settlement but in 1792 he moved to Parramatta as regimental paymaster.  In 1793 he received a grant of 40 hectares at Parramatta and became the first in the colony to clear and cultivate virgin land and built Elizabeth Farm.  In May 1795 he was promoted to Captain.  Macarthur came into conflict with Governor John Hunter and his successor Governor Philip Gidley King and in November 1801was dispatched to England for Court Martial in the “Hunter”.  The voyage was so circuitous that Macarthur, and his two sons who accompanied him, did not reach England until December 1802.

Macarthur made powerful friends in London and the case against him was dismissed.  This influence under the auspices of Lord Camden was enough to secure Macarthur’s resignation from the army and his return to N.S.W. to develop the wool industry.   Official approval was emphasised in 1805 by a grant of 10,000 acres (4,046.9) hectares of the best pasture land in the colony and by his possession of rare Spanish sheep from the Royal flocks.  Governor King was not happy at granting Macarthur his 10,000 acres at the coveted Cowpastures, the best land in the Colony but he was allowed to occupy his grant whilst King argued his case with the British Government.   Walter Davidson, the nephew of Sir Walter Farquhar, had accompanied Macarthur, his sons and nephew Hannibal Macarthur on the voyage.  Davidson carried permission for a grant of 2,000 acres (809) hectares alongside Macarthur.  This grant was eventually incorporated into the Macarthur grant.

John Macarthur and his sons, James and William, built up Camden Park into a property which was not only the “mother sheep station of the Commonwealth” but a great experimental farm to which farmers came from everywhere.  By 1820 he had on the property a choice merino stud 300 strong, 5,000 graded up merino wool sheep and 700 cattle.  On 10th April 1834 he was carried from the first wing of the Camden Park mansion, currently under construction by John Verge, to the cottage at the Home Farm (Belgenny), where he was to die.  The Home Farm cottage had been built in 1820 to replace the “miserable hut”.

Additional References:  http://www.belgennyfarm.com.au/about_belgenny

JOHN & ELIZABETH MACARTHUR