# 37341


[SYDNEY] Contract for the purchase of Andrew Thomson’s house at Windsor, 1812.

$1,100.00 AUD

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Two-page manuscript in ink, folio approx. 315 x 197 mm, in a secretarial hand, signed by John Austin and his two witnesses John [Johnston] and Wm. Mortimer; laid paper with Britannia watermark; dated 27 January 1812 and registered 18 December 1812 as “no. 871” (Registrar: G.M. Woodhouse); very browned and stained, old repairs with small loss, withal good and legible.

Andrew Thomson’s house in Windsor: an early example of a typically complicated Hawkesbury land sale in 1812.

An interesting manuscript detailing the purchase of one of Thomson’s substantial dwellings in Windsor by Third Fleeter John Austin, neatly signed by him and his witnesses.

The house had originally belonged to “the late Andrew Thomson Esq.,” a Scot who was one of the most prominent of the Hawkesbury settlers. Although transported on the Pitt in 1792 for having set fire to a haystack, he had a meteoric rise and was a settler and constable in Windsor by 1800, acquiring his first major land grant from Governor King three years later. By turns a shipbuilder, brewer and manufacturer, like most in Sydney he was most interested in acquiring land.

The manuscript explains that Austin has accepted £60 “in hand well and truly paid” from Richard Woodbury, as paid to him by the executors of the late Andrew Thomson Esq., in regards a “Brick dwelling House and Premises lying and situate in George Street, Windsor, bounded by the Street in the front, on the one side by James Cunningham’s Premises, on the other side by Thomas Broughton’s [Premises] and on the back by William Baker’s Junr. Land, the said House, Out houses and Premises comprising forty Rods…”.

There are several men called John Austin in the records of early Sydney, but the connection to Windsor and with Andrew Thomson must suggest that this is the emancipated convict of that name who first arrived in the colony on the Royal Admiral in October 1792, his trade listed as a shoemaker. He was definitely in the Hawkesbury by 1801 working a farm of 60 acres. He is apparently last noticed in the 1814 census, suggesting that he may have died around that date.

Steele, Early Days of Windsor (1916)