James Blackman (1759-1842)/Biography

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James was the son of James Blackman (1733-) and Jane Hearn (-).


Full nameEdit

James Blackman


James was christened on 25 May 1760, Deptford, Kent, England, United Kingdom. James was a sickly child, frequently suffering from chest complaints. As a young man he was reported as being a handsome, well educated, spoilt and flamboyant young gentleman. In 1776 he worked as an Artillery man at Woolwich, Kent, England, United Kingdom in the Royal Arsenal. He was well-educated, although not trained for any particular profession ending his education before 1779.

In 1800 James was ill and his doctors recommended a sea voyage. He was able to obtain a high recommendation from the Colonial Office, who were encouraging skilled people to migrate to the colony (of New South Wales). He left England in 1801 on the ship Canada and on 14 Dec 1801 arrived at Sydney, Cumberland County, New South Wales.

When James and his family first arrived in the Colony they stayed as guests of Governor King, in Sydney, from 14 Dec 1801 for 12 weeks. James was employed in 1802 as the Superintendent of Agriculture in Mulgrave Place, New South Wales.

AUS NSW Richmond Bowmans Cottage

Bowman's Hut

He became an owner of land in Mulgrave Place (now North Richmond), New South Wales, on 31 Mar 1802. This is recorded on list of all grants and leases of land registered in the Colonial Secretary's Office. This grant was of 100 acres at Mulgrave Place. He owned this land until 1817. It was constructed from brick nog, a common construction technique at the time. He was unable to pay his debts and forced to sell 40 acres of the 100-acre property. The modern day address of this property is 370 Windsor Street, Richmond, NSW 2753. In 1818 William Cox foreclosed on the property. James sold to out George Bowman. The hut built by James Blackman on this property is now managed by the Australian National Parks service. (1999) It is called Bowman's Hut.

He is on a government document ro received produce from the Hawkesbury Stores. (Government record of Apr 1809 to Aug 1809, Hawkesbury, New South Wales — now in the north-western part of Greater Sydney.)

He was a juror at the inquest on George Rouse, 24 Sep 1809, at Richmond, and again at the inquest on James Steadman, 6 Apr 1810 at Richmond.

He was a signatory to:

  • address from the settlers of the Hawkesbury to Governor Macquarie;
  • Macquarie's reply, 1 Dec 1810 to 5 Dec 1810, Hawkesbury.

He owned land on 12 Jun 1811 in Mulgoa, Cumberland County, New South Wales. He is on a government list of persons to receive grants of land in different parts of the Colony as soon as they can be measured. He is listed as being permitted to draw cattle from Government herds on credit, 12 Sep 1812, New South Wales.

He worked as a Principal Overseer of Government Stock from 1 May 1813 to 30 Dec 1815 in New South Wales. William Chalker was appointed to replace James when he resigned. James is listed on government correspondence in relation to his appointment as a Principal Overseer of Government Stock, 13 May 1813, New South Wales. He was employed between 23 Oct 1813 and 10 Feb 1816 in New South Wales. His salary paid from Police Fund.

During Feb 1815 James received a 50 acre grant of land in Bathurst and acreage outside of town which he called Kelso. (Kelso is now a suburb of Bathurst.) Stephen's Lane in Kelso runs down middle of this block of land.

In 1818 James wrote certifying to the character of Eli Birmingham in support of Birmingham's petition for a ticket of leave, 1818, New South Wales.

James is thought to have accompanied John Oxley on his Journey to Port Macquarie, 1818 (Port Macquarie District, New South Wales). Blackman's Point at Port Macquarie is thought to be named after him.

He is on a list of provisions issued at Mulgoa, and to be in a party in pursuit of bushrangers, 24 Apr 1819, New South Wales. He worked as a District Constable and Poundkeeper in the high-lands of the Richmond district from 24 Aug 1819 to 3 Jul 1822. He was paid from the Police Fund for services after bushrangers.

In 1820, James marked the first road from Bathurst, New South Wales, to Wallerawang, New South Wales.

In 1821 James headed north east from his base camp. This was located near the modern town of Wallerawang. He travelled through modern day Cullen Bullen in the direction of Mudgee. Balckman's Flat and Balckman's Crown have his name. He was the first European to cross the Cudgegong river.

From: Blackman's Base Camp:

In it Val Walsh quotes from the records of Alan Cunningham, which can be found in the lands office in Sydney- re the discovery of Mudgee in 1821.
.....No persons have ventured to penetrate in a due north direction until somewhat more than 12 months since; when James Blackman the late superintendent made an effort at that point of bearing and discovered the valuable limestone sixteen miles on his route, the "Cugeegang" (Cudgegong) a distance of 34 miles further and fine grazing country in the immediate vicinity of the native station called Mudgee 25 or 26 miles down the left bank of that secondary stream.....
Elsewhere in his notes ...The Cudgeegang River, a stream discovered by James Blackman and marked in 1821.... upon which is situated the native "Sit Down" or Bimmil" called Mudgee"
Apparently the claim that Lawson discovered Mudgee and James was just a Lieutenant was made in the book "History of Mudgee" by G.H.F. Cox who mistook an 1822 expedition to the area by Lawson and Blackman for the original 1821 trek by James.
Lawson himself in a letter to Sir Thomas Brisbane states "....He (James B) was the first person to mark the road to Mudgee and also a road to Mr Walkers.... "

In 1822 James and Lawson traced out the route from Wallerawang to Dabee near Rylstone.

James was employed from 4 Jul 1822 to 22 Aug 1822 in Parramatta Gaol, Cumberland County, New South Wales, Australia as the Chief Constable of Parramatta. After this he was in charge of the Parramatta Women's Factory. This employment lasted from 22 Aug 1822 to 28 Nov 1825.

James is on list of persons who have received orders for grants of land; on list of lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane from 22 Feb 1825 to 23 Feb 1825 in New South Wales. James worked as a Chief Constable and Poundkeeper of Bathurst between 28 Nov 1825 and 1 Nov 1831 in Bathurst, Bathurst County, New South Wales. The Kelso book has an alternative start date of 12 December 1825.

James was involved in a court case from 20 Feb 1828 to 21 Feb 1828 in Supreme Court of New South Wales, Sydney, Cumberland County, New South Wales. 25 R. v. Walker, Keefe, Cuff, Adkins and Coates Macquarie University

Supreme Court of New South Wales
Stephen J., 20 and 21 February 1828
Source: Australian, 22 February 1828
Mr. CHARLES SUTTER examined on the side of the prosecution Is a settler living at Bathurst. In the month of September, 1827, the mounted police searched his flock for some sheep, on suspicion that some of them were Mr. Terry's. Blackman, the chief constable, accompanied by one of the mounted police, and an overseer of the name of Gardner, then in Mr. Terry's employ, after examining the sheep, collected, and took away with them about eighteen head. These sheep witness got from the prisoners Adkins and Coates, with whom he exchanged the said sheep for a mare. Adkins and Coates drove a flock of sheep, which belonged to them, into a washing-yard, and selected from among the number, the sheep in question, which witness purchased, and afterwards drove away to his own station. There were several of witness's servants present at the time of this purchase. During the time of sale witness made some enquiries about the quality and breed of the sheep. Adkins said he had purchased them from Mr. Jones, a settler in the neighbourhood, and who is an extensive stock holder in that district. Coates, who was present at this conversation, confirmed the statement made by Adkins, and said he had then a receipt in his possession for the purchase of the sheep. He further undertook to be answerable for Adkins buying the sheep from Jones. Witness knows that the prisoners Adkins and Coates run their sheep in flocks together. Examined the brands of the sheep at the time of purchase. The brand was a cross. There was a sort of welt on the face of the sheep, but no one could distinctly say what was intended by it. They were lambs, with he exception of one or two. Recollects one ewe, which was thrown into the bargain that one had a large welt, and appeared to have been once branded with a round brand, but was badly burnt.
Cross-examined Coates's sheep are marked J C. From the knowledge which witness has of sheep and branding them, there was nothing uncommon about the sheep he bought. Thinks it would not be strange if people, whose christian names happened to be John William, and the surname to be Coates, to brand J C. only as the brand of John Coates, leaving the christian name of William entirely out. Witness bought the sheep in question as Adkins's sheep. The only interest which Coates appeared to have in the disposal of these sheep, was in assuring witness that Adkins had bought them of Jones, a settler, who had a farm in the neighbourhood. Jones (the individual alluded to) has since spoken to witness on the subject of those sheep, and told him that the prisoner Adkins had on one occasion made a purchase of sheep from him. Witness has spoken of a conversation he had with the prisoner Coates. On that occasion Coates said it was agreed between him and Adkins, that he should have the wool the sheep produced, by way of remuneration for the sheep belonging to Adkins grazing on his (Coates's) farm. Cannot tell what were the brands of the sheep bought by witness of Adkins. He bought eighteen on the whole.
Re-examined The marks on the sheep might have been one close brand. It however, was so imperfectly made, that no person could distinguish a letter in it.
Mr. JAMES BLACKMAN searched the flock of Mr. Sutter, in the district of Bathurst, and took thereout seventeen sheep they resembled the prosecutor's sheep, with the difference of a cross, which appeared not to be a natural mark.
This was the case for the prosecution.
For the defence the following witnesses were called:
RUGG, a deputy overseer of Mr. Terry's stated that some sheep of Mr. Terry's were lost from the flock of a shepherd named West, and that he went to the prisoner Coates´s station, being the adjoining run, to look for them, but found none. If they had been there, he must have seen them. The prisoners Walker, Cuff, and Keefe, were shepherds in Mr. Terry's employ at this time. If any sheep had been missing at this period from either of those men's flocks, he must have known it, from having to muster them at stated periods. The sheep that were lost belonged to West's flock. Witness cannot be mistaken in his master's brand. He examined very carefully the prisoner Coates's flock of sheep, but found none of Mr. Terry's among them.
Wm. CHAMBERS. Has also been in Mr. Terry's employ as overseer. Has frequently assisted in branding sheep; Mr. Terry's sheep; has had frequent opportunities of noticing the prisoner Coates's flock, both in the pens and on the run, whilst grazing. After the loss of Mr. Terry's sheep was discovered, he was called upon by the Magistrates at Bathurst to inspect some sheep which were there in charge of the mounted police[.] Understood those sheep to have been sold by Coates and Adkins to Mr. Sutter, from whom they were taken. Witness, on being examined before the Bathurst Magistrates respecting the identity of the sheep in question, and for which the prisoners now arraigned were accused with being complicated in stealing. Made a deposition that they were none of Mr. Terry's property. The prisoner Coates was in close confinement at the time. Witness is enabled to swear most positively that the sheep, the subject of present enquiry, so far from belonging to any of the blocks of Mr. Terry, does not even bear a resemblance to any sheep Mr. T has. Prisoner Coates's sheep are of a superior breed, and generally speaking, more adapted for the cultivation of wool than for the purposes of slaughter.
Counsel for the prisoners Coates and Adkins here closed their case.
The learned Judge recapitulated the evidence to the Jury at great length, after which the Jury retired to their room, where they remained in consultation for nearly an hour, and then returning into Court, found the prisoners Walker, Cuff, and Keefe, Guilty of the capital part of the charge, viz sheep stealing; Adkins Guilty of receiving the sheep laid in the indictment, knowing the same to have been feloniously stolen; and William Coates, the remaining prisoner, Not Guilty, who was accordingly discharged by proclamation.
The prisoners who were found guilty were then remanded to custody, to be brought up on a future day for judgment.

James Blackman's station was robbed on the night of 26 December 1826 . John Hossel stood trial for this crime on 30 May 1826, was sentenced and hanged for the crime. [1]

James was involved in a court case on 16 May 1827 in Burragarang, New South Wales. 26 R. v. Jamieson Macquarie University

Supreme Court of New South Wales
Stephen J., 16 May 1827
Source: Sydney Gazette, 18 May 1827
In the general body of the text...
Henry Preston (the man who was supposed to have been murdered), stated, that he went, according to custom, to the prisoner's at Greenwich Park, for the rations, about 2 o'clock in the afternoon of the 23d of December last; Greenwich Park is about five miles from the out-station where witness is employed; on his return back, witness quitted the regular path, for the purpose of seeing an acquaintance, a shepherd, whom he expected to find; and went astray in the woods, nor could he discover any station till he got to Mr. Blackman 's at Burragarang, on the 2d or 3d of January, about 40 miles from the main road, and nearly 80 miles from the place to which he was proceeding.

Correspondence: 1 Feb 1831, Bathurst, Bathurst County, New South Wales. 27 Source: Australian, 4 February 1831 Macquarie University

To the Editor of The Australian.
Had the lion been the sculptor, he would have been represented standing over the man.
SIR, - I was present yesterday in the Supreme Court, at the trial of a cause, Williams versus Keane, before Mr. Justice Dowling, and a special Jury. I will briefly state the facts, as they came out in evidence, and then offer a few comments on the result.
The plaintiff, Williams, is a sawyer, holding a ticket of leave, in the employment of Thomas Rayne, Esq. of Sidmouth Valley. In the evening of the 22d June last, in the vicinity of Bathurst, on his return to his master's residence, he lost his way, and made up to the nearest house he could discover, to request directions. This happened to be the residence of the Reverend E. Keane, the chaplain at Bathurst. Williams leaped the fence separating Mr. Keane's premises from the main road, and entered the backyard, calling aloud to attract the attention of the inmates. This latter fact renders absurd the imputation of any felonious design. A servant opened the door, and sallied out, and while in conference with Williams, who was unarmed, and totally defenceless, he was followed by Mr. Keane, armed with sword and pistol, and who, with a random blow of the former, nearly wounded his own servant, and before any explanation could be offered, repeated his blow, and inflicted three wounds on the left arm of Williams, whom he then commanded to march before him to a small gate, opening from his premises into the road. Here he inflicted another severe wound on the right shoulder of Williams, and applying a pistol to his ear, ordered him to decamp, without looking to the right hand or to the left, or he would blow his brains out, and send his soul to the Devil! The wounded man proceeded to another house, which proved to be that of Mr. Blackman, the chief constable, who, like the good Samaritan, bound up his wounds, and conveyed him, covered with blood, and in an exhausted state, to the district hospital. It was proved by Mr. Rayne's overseer, that Williams is a man of very good character, which he established during nine years confidential employment, in the service of Mr. Lowe, the Magistrate at Bringelly. The overseer also deposed, that Williams's wounds disabled him for several weeks from his usual work. Such were briefly the facts in proof. The Jury, under direction of the learned Judge (whom I was sorry to hear, in the slightest degree, palliate Mr. Keane's language or conduct) returned a verdict for the plaintiff, with the paltry and inadequate damages of £10. Admitting the former wounds to have been inflicted in a moment of agitation and alarm, the last and most severe wound was palpably given with .... .... .... .... .... .... Williams, at worst, committed only a trespass, an involuntary trespass, or rather a compulsory one, from his peculiar situation, and for it, was severely cut and maimed by a Reverend Member of the Church Militant. Captain Moir shot at and wounded a voluntary and contumacious trespasser, not mortally, but the man subsequently died of a locked jaw! Captain Moir, a military man, was hanged; Mr. Keane, a minister of the gospel of peace, is fined £10. Such is the difference of estimation, .. .. .. .. .. .. in offences. What offences have the chaplains, Wilkinson and Middleton committed, (I would ask our Venerable Archdeacon), at all comparable .................... to this ........ exhibition of sanguinary ferocity by Mr. Keane? THEMIS.

He was living at "Dewhurst", Mudgee, Wellington County, New South Wales in 1842. South of the town near the road to the waterworks. He worked as a poundkeeper in Macquarie Plains, Roxburgh County, New South Wales.

AUS NSW Mudgee Bleak House

Bleak House, Mudgee

James died at Bleak House, Mudgee.
AUS NSW Mudgee Blackman Valt

Blackman Valt, Mudgee

James is buried Blackman Vault in Blackman Park at Mudgee, Wellington County, New South Wales. This was the original cemetery in Mudgee. When the graves were moved to the new cemetery, the only one to be left in place was Blackman's Vault. Blackman's Vault has been renovated.

Directions for Blackman Park. Head south on Cox St for one block to the Mortimer St corner. Blackman Park was a cemetery from 1844-88. Although the headstones were removed to Memorial Park, it still contains at its western boundary the Blackman Vault, which contains the remains of James Blackman who, in 1821, became the first European in the area.


James married St Elizabeth Harley (1765-1842) Margaret's Church, Lee, Kent.


Other descendantsEdit

Related entriesEdit

External linksEdit


Brian Yap



  1. Internet (
  3. Ibid, history of the greens.
  4. Bleak Hut History.
  5. Colonial Secreatry's Office, Fiche 3268; 9/2731 p.124.
  6. Ibid, Reel 6040; 9/2673 pp.33, 35, 79.
  7. Ibid, Reel 6021; 4/1819 pp.611-2.
  8. Ibid, Reel 6021; 4/1819 p.665.
  9. Ibid, Reel 6038; SZ758 pp.128-30.
  10. Ibid, Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.8.
  11. Ibid, Reel 6038; SZ758 p.315.
  12. Ibid, Reel 6038; SZ758 p.371.
  13. Ibid, Reel 6038; SZ759 pp.170-1.
  14. Ibid, Reel 6002; 4/3491 p.465.
  15. Ibid, Reel 6038; SZ758 pp.427, 491, 517 & SZ759 pp.34, 96, 124, 155, 180.
  16. Alan McRae and Carol Churches, Kelso Village Book 1 (Published by Alan McRae and Carol Churches

ISBN 0-646-41551-4
Printed in Bathurst by Central Commercial Printers Pty Ltd), Page 21.

  1. Colonial Secreatry's Office, Fiche 3183; 4/1854 p.21a.
  2. Everyone, Other Researchers, Grant and Jo.
  3. Colonial Secreatry's Office, Reel 6020; 2/8130 p.285.
  4. Ibid, Reel 6038; SZ1044 p.88.
  5. Internet (, Lithgow Tourism Information.
  6. Colonial Secreatry's Office, Reel 6039; 4/424 p.73.
  7. Ibid, Reel 6039; 4/424 p.103.
  8. Ibid, Reel 6039; 4/424 p.462.
  9. Alan McRae and Carol Churches, Kelso Village Book 1 (Published by Alan McRae and Carol Churches

ISBN 0-646-41551-4
Printed in Bathurst by Central Commercial Printers Pty Ltd), Page 12.

  1. Australian, 22 February 1828.
  2. Sydney Gazette, 18 May 1827.
  3. Australian, 1 feb 1831.
  4. Gulgong writing group, Travelling down the Cudgegong, Page 22.
    :Pioneering Mudgee-Gulgong District (ISBN 0 949734 07 1 Publised by Mudgee Visitors Centre)
  5. Internet (, Lisa Gobson, Blackman family.
  6. Marg Curd.
  7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family Search, Batch number: F096743. Surety:2
  8. NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (, V18421538 26B/1842.

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