Thursday, August 30, 2012

My convict - Captain John Macdougall 

 I am proud of my convict ancestor - Captain John Macdougall (1781 - 1845)

In times past people were ashamed of having a convict ancestor, but these days it is something to be proud of.  Having read my Grandpa's diaries there was no indication that he was aware his Great Grandfather was a convict. With opportunities these days to do research I have discovered the "truth".

There was a book written by Walter Cummin Macdougall in 1914 "Family History of the Macdougalls" (1783-1914).  Walter was the grandson of (Captain) John Macdougall - our Convict.  Walter writes about his Grandfather being a Sea Merchant and sailing the seas to eventually end up in Van Diemen's Land in 1821. He secured land and sent for his family.

Reality is that (Captain) John Macdougall was tried in the Supreme Court of Admiralty in Edinburgh, Scotland on 12 May 1821 and given a Life Sentance.  He was transported on "Lord Hungerford", departing England 1 July 1821 and arriving Hobart Town 26 December 1821.

(Captain) John Macdougall, having being involved in a complicated court action over the insurance of a small vessel sunk in the North Sea in 1815, he was accused of "sinking a ship".  He pleaded his innocency.

(Captain) John Macdougall was given a "Conditional Pardon" on 15 September 1834 (see letter written 24 January 1825 requesting a "Free Pardon"). With a conditional pardon one is technically free, but could not leave the Colony until the expiry of his original sentence imposed (Life!).

(Captain) John Macdougall was granted a "Free Pardon" on 6 September 1835. Free Pardon means forgiving someone of a crime. This however did not allow him the freedom to return to his homeland of Scotland (see letter written requesting this on 13 September 1836).

According to the book "Family History of the Macdougalls" (1783-1914) by Walter C. Macdougall, (Captain) John Macdougall's father was Sir John Macdougall (1760-1811) who had acquired considerable wealth by mercantile speculations and by investments made in some large distillery establishments in Scotland. John, the son, was educated with the view to him eventually becoming a lawyer, or what is termed in Scotland a "Writer of the Signet". His father died before he had completed his studies, and the management and responsibility of his father's affairs having suddenly devolved upon him, he resolved to relinquish the profession of the law and devote his attention to mercantile pursuits with a view to carrying out to completion the speculations which his father had already begun, the best and most certain return for capital already invested. He came into contact with owners and builders of ships and he soon became the proprietor of several vessels, bearing to and from various parts of the world the staple commodities of the countries with which his vessels traded.

During the years 1811-1815, when Great Britain was busily engaged in the Peninsula War, and all available regiments were in active requisition, the formation of militia regiments as a means of security at home was a matter of great solicitude to the British Government and the 1st Company of the Royal Lanarkshire Local Militia was commanded by Captain John Macdougall.

Captain John Macdougall wrote to the Duke of York (the then Commander-in-chief), offering to bring his company into active service in the Peninsula, provided his Sovereign would sanction his retaining on entering the regular service, the same rank he held in the Militia (Captain). The Duke thanking him for his patriotic and liberal offer, cheerfully accepted his proposal with the provision that in accordance with the rules of the service, he commence his military service as an Ensign- promising him, however, as rapid promotion as was possible.  John was anxious to accept these terms but was dissuaded from doing so by his wife who was fast increasing the family.

(Captain) John Macdougall continued his persuits as a Merchant. In consequence of the long continuance of war, and the injury it inflicted then and long afterwards on commerce, the losses sustained by merchants were many and heavy.  He among others, had his full share and when peace came despite his perseverance and care, his responsibilities were increasing while his resourses were diminishing and that he must take a giant stride to regain his property and convert all his foreign securities into cash with a view to some new field of action where there would be less competition and surer prospect of profitable investment.

(Captain) John Macdougall was still a Merchant in 1820, reflected in the following: "John Macdougall, Merchant, and Davinia Campbell McGibbon has a lawful son named William James, born on the twenty-fourth day of March, One Thousand Eght Hundred and Twenty Years".
Witnesses: Alexander and Dougall McDougall.

During the next two years John strove patiently to await a return of good fortune, calling on all debts, and realising on as much of his property as possible. About this time his eldest son John Campbell Macdougall (born 1804 or 1805) entertained an aversion to the Scottish Par, for which profession his education at the Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities was intended to fit him, so John devoted all his leisure time to the preparation of his son's mind for commercial life in order to enable him to act as his representative in all instances in which the exigencies of business might call him away.  About this time, John Campbell Macdougall had scarcely attained his 19th year when his father set sail in one of his remaining vessels to Rio Janeiro, he proceeded to the Cape of Good Hope where he stayed a longer time than elsewhere, his business with that place being of a more complicated character than he had evidently anticipated.  While at the Cape, his anxiety to discover new fields for commercial enterprise led to enquiries about the British Colonies (then in their infancy) and from information he obtained he decided to continue his journey to the Mauritius and thence Australia, for the purpose of ascertaining by personal observation the extent of its advantages and resourses. On his arrival in the Australian Colonies he found every encouragement for enterprise, and a brilliant prospect held out for the investment of capital.  He secured land and having otherwise arranged for the disposal of his capital to advantage, he sent for his family who were conducted out under the protection of his eldest son now of age.

This last paragraph as written in the book and obviously passed down through the next 5 generations is a "cover-up" of the truth because in 2005 I discovered that in fact Captain John Macdougall was a convict and came to Australia on "Lord Hungerford", arriving in Tasmania on 26 December 1821.  It appears John Macdougall's wife Davinia came to Hobart, Tasmania with their 7 children sometime between 1822 -1825.

Now for some facts!

(Captain) John Macdougall was born in Buteshire, Burgh of Rothsay on the Isle of Bute, Scotland in 1781. He died on 17 November 1845 in Hobart, Tasmania.  John Macdougall married Davinia Campbell McGibbon (born 5 November 1778 in Inveraray And Glenaray, Argyll, Scotland and died 21 September 1861 in Clarence, Hobart, Tasmania) in 1803.

Together they had 7 children:
John Campbell Macdougall (born 1804/1805 in Scotland and died 21 July 1848 in Hobart, Tasmania). John married Mrs S.Whyte nee Sarah Oakes (1796 - 1830) on 31 May 1825 in St David's Cathedral, Hobart, Australia. They had a daughter Davinia Sarah Campbell Oakes Macdougall (born 1826 and died 1872).  
Sarah died 29 December 1830 and John married Mary Annie Butler (born 1817 and died 1857 in St Kilda, Victoria) in St James Church, Sydney, in 1834 and they had 7 children, the youngest being born 10 weeks after his father's death.   John Campbell Macdougall (born 10 February 1836 in Hobart Town and died 1877), Daniel Campbell Macdougall (born 3 August 1837 in Hobart Town), William James Macdougall (born 25 June 1840 in Hobart Town and died 1890), Emily Mary Ann Macdougall (born 11 May 1842 in Hobart Town and died 1921 in Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia), Archibald Butler Macdougall (born 17 June 1844 in Hobart Town), Stillborn son (born 12 August 1847 in Hobart Town), Ormond Campbell Macdougall (born 2 October 1848 in Hobart Town and died 30 December 1830).

Jessie Macdougall (born 1806 in Scotland and died 4 October 1893 in Melbourne).  Jessie married Daniel McArthur on 21 January 1834 in New Church, Cnr Brisbane & Campbell Streets, Hobart.

Daniel Macdougall born 3 August 1808 in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland.

William Macdougall born 1812 in Scotland.

Archibald Campbell Macdougall (born 26 September 1815 in Campbelltown, Argyll, Scotland and died 2 April 1870 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia).  Archibald married Sarah Calvert (born 20 September 1815 in St Peter, Leeds, Yorkshire, England and died 10 July 1882 in Dimboola Parsonage, Victoria, Australia) on 9 September 1837 in St David's Hobart, Tasmania. Archibald & Sarah Macdougall had 9 children (refer to another Post).

Davinia Campbell Macdougall (born 18 September 1817 in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland).  Davinia married Henry Wishart (born 1800 and died 7 August 1839 in Hobart) at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Hobart on 27 March 1839 and later Thomas Stanwix on 15 May 1847 at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Hobart.

William James Macdougall (born 21 March 1820 in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland and died 1882 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England).  William married Susannah (born 1825 in Middlesex, London) and they had 4 daughters, Jessie (1848), Fanny (1850), Clara (1852) & Ellen (1854), all born in England. William studied Medicine under the Colonial Surgeon until 1839 and was appointed House Surgeon to Sir John Franklin in 1840, before returning to London to study, marry and eventually work in Birkenhead, England.

It appears that (Captain) John Macdougall was not locked up but considered a responsible citizen so was given the opportunity to use his skills in establishing the new Colony.  The Macdougall family were respectable and valued citizens. They were well known for their involvement in the Printing industry.  (Captain) John Macdougall and his son John Campbell Macdougall were Owners and Editors of many newspapers in Tasmania from 1825 - 1848. Another son Archibald Macdougall was a Printer in Hobart, Adelaide and Melboune, and his grandson Walter C.Macdougall was a Printer in Balmain, Sydney ("Balmain Observer").

The book by Walter C.Macdougall "Family History of the Macdougalls" (1783-1914) continues to give information about (Captain) John Macdougall and his agricultural and commercial pursuits and good fortune (with some measure of truth but some has not been substantiated!). (Captain) John Macdougall again possessed  vessels and commanded an immense trade with all the colonies and the islands in the vicinity until his enterprising spirit paved the way to a golden future. He settled in Tasmania while his eldest son visited the other colonies as his agent and conducted the consignments of the various commodities he was continually sending and receiving. It was while John C.Macdougall was residing in New South Wales in 1834 that he met Miss Mary Annie Butler, the only daughter of Captain Butler (in command of Her Majesty's frigate "Norman"). An Irish gentleman who together with his wife died almost immediately on their arrival in Australia and whose son Walter Butler was not long since Mayor of Hobart.  John C.Macdougall and Mary Butler married in 1834 and settled in Hobart.  By 1836 (Captain) John Macdougall was now able to live at ease, surrounded by his united family, rendered dear to each other by the vicissitudes of fortune, but his enterprising spirit did not stop there.  He now became invested with the idea of establishing a newspaper, which should take the same standing as "The Times" in England in talent and perseverance.  He was fond of exercising his mind by literary composition, and both he and his sons were possessed of considerable literary, so "Colonial Times" became a recognised institution and an acknowledged paper of merit, not only in the colonies but in England and elsewhere.

(Captain) John Macdougall died suddenly on 17 November 1845 after undergoing a surgical operation. The Sheriff of the Colony (J.T.Crouch Esq) wrote: "He who has gone has left proof of the exchange being a happy one, and we have the joy of spending an eternity with him.  Your revered and universally beloved parent had an annerism in his left thigh and was induced to submit to an operation on the 5th November.  The sufferer did apparently well for several days and Dr Officer told my good wife he had no doubt your dear father's life had been prolonged several years by his abstemious habits.  About 9 days after the operation all hopes were given up, and he lingered in great and excruciating pain until the evening of Monday, the 17th November, when he breathed his last in the presence of all the members of his family, except two.  He was fully sensible to the last, where I had the privilege of attending to his wants and he gave us the most delightful proofs of his hope beyond the grave, indeed his expressions and smiles were such as to induce those around his bed to silently exclaim "Let my last end be like his". He was interred in the Scotch Burial Ground on Thursday the 20th followed by a long train of mourning friends".

The bulk of (Captain) John Macdougall's property was left to his eldest son John Campbell Macdougall, who was suddenly called upon to take the management of affairs. He exerted himself to the utmost to dispose satisfactorily of the property and return to Scotland, and on the eve of succeeding, when he met with an accident and shortly afterwards died of it's effects on 21 July 1848.

Obituary to John Campbell Macdougall in "Colonial Times" and "Tasmanian".
Open to all - Influenced by none.  This Journal is published on the evening of every Tuesday and Friday and circulates extensively throughout the Australian Colonies, India, China, Europe and America.  It is regularly filed at the office of Messrs. Simmonds and Ward, General Agents, Bargo-yard, Bucklersbury, London and at the Jerusalem Coffee Palace.

July 25, 1848 - "A painful duty devolves upon us, in making known to the supporters of this journal the almost sudden death of its proprietor, Mr.J.C.Macdougall.  About a week previously, that gentleman had been confined to his dwelling through what was thought to be a slight indisposition, but while lying upon a couch he suddenly rolled off, and before aid could be summoned he expired, the cause being heart failure, thus having only survived his father by two years and eight months."

John C.Macdougall's widow (Mary Ann Macdougall) employed labour to conduct the "Colonial Times". Some time later, John Macdougall's brother, Archibald Macdougall was enticed by Mary Ann Macdougall to leave Adelaide and return to Hobart to manage the paper, as those employed by her in its production had got the finances into a muddled state.  This Archibald did, after disposing of his Adelaide property and brought the "Colonial Times" business into a state of success, but when he expected his reward - a partnership - the widow did not keep her word, and from that an estranged relationship existed between them, and Archibald threw up the management and went to Victoria.

Wife Mary Ann Macdougall continued with the "Colonial Times" until 1855, when she married Kenric Edmund Brodribb (born 1825 in Hobart and died 3 July 1898 in Brighton, Sussex, England), a Lawyer, on 26 February 1855.  They settled in Melbourne and had a son Frederick William Brodribb (born January 1856 in St Kilda and died November 1856 in St Kilda). Mary Ann Brobibb died in 1857 in St Kilda. Both Mary Ann and Frederick Brodribb are buried at St Kilda Cemetery, Melbourne. Kenric Edmund Brodribb was a MLA for St Kilda in 1860 and Brighton in 1868.  Kenric's brother William Adams Brodribb (1809-1886) was a wealthy pastoralist and politician and their father was an Attorney at Westminster. William's son, Kenric Edward Brodribb (b1849) inherited his father's properties.

A couple of interesting notes about the children of John Campbell  Macdougall & Mary Ann Macdougall.

John Campbell Macdougall (1836-1877) went to New Zealand and was a gold buyer for the Bank of New Zealand.  Leaving that position he went to Victoria and engaged in the produce business until he pressed his claims on his stepfather for his rights to his share of his father's property.  To keep him quiet Mr Brodribb gave him 500 Pounds to start a country store.  He died of a similar complaint to that of his father.

Daniel Campbell Macdougall (born 1837) after some years in commercial life in Victoria, went to India and fought through the Indian Mutuny.  Afterwards he volunteered for the New Zealand was, where he fought from near the beginning to the end, sometimes under very exciting conditions, having narrow escapes.

William James Macdougall (1840-1890) was a clever Musician and Composer of an oratorio.  He went to Sydney and volunteered for service as a dragoon in the Indian Mutiny.  Later he married and settled in California where he bought up a large family and was commercially successful.

Emily May Ann Macdougall (1842-1921) was brought up by her step-father. She married John Kennedy in 1867 and John Allworth in 1877 in Melbourne and had 2 children.

Archibald Henry Macdougall (born 1844) took to the sea, joined P&O service to China and became a Captain. 1871 English Census, Archibald was living with the Macdougalls at Birkenhead. He married Fanny Macdougall in 1878 (the daughter of William James Macdougall)  but died suddenly, leaving Fanny a widow with no children.

Ormond Campbell Macdougall (1848-1938) was born 10 weeks after his father John Campbell Macdougall died on 25 July 1848. He was probably brought up by his step-father, educated at Melbourne Grammar from1857-1863 and went to learn the pastoral business in Victoria & N.S.W. He bought sheep and cattle, managed stations, and ran steamers on the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Darling Rivers. He was elected an Alderman of Wilcannia in 1886 and Mayor of Wilcannia in 1888.

The widow of (Captain) John Macdougall, Davinia Macdougall, died 21 September 1861 in Clarence, Hobart, Tasmania.


Some examples of business endeavours of (Captain) John Macdougall (the Convict) and his son John C.Macdougall. (Refer to other Posts in this Blog - Tasmanian Archives, Newspaper Extracts, Newspaper Involvements).

The Print Museum in Hobart gives valuable information on the Printing Industry in Hobart.

"Colonial Times" owned by Macdougalls 1839 - 1855

"Austral-Asiatic Review" owned by Macdougalls 1829 - 1830

"The Trumpeter" owned by Macdougalls 1838 - 1848

(Captain) John Macdougall (1781 – 1845) requested "Free Pardon" from Honourable Colonel Governor Arthur 24 January 1825 (given "Conditional Pardon" 15 September 1834 and "Free Pardon" 6 September 1835)


Unto the Honourable Colonel Arthur Governor of Van Dieman’s Land.
The Petition of John Macdougall
Humbly Sheweth…

That the Petitioner as owner of the Brigantine “Friends”, was Capitally tried in Edinburgh before the Judge Admiral in May 1821 for having advised the master of that vessel to sink her in the German ocean in the year 1816 – that the Jury returned a verdict “guilty of the offence at Common Law” and that sentence of transportation for life to these Colonies was passed upon the Petitioner.

The Petitioner was not owner of the vessel subsequent to the month of May 1814, and he denies having given the advice imputed to him, nay he believes the vessel was fairly lost, to which the master and mate, the infamous witnesses who appeared against the Petitioner on his trial and (yet) all the crew swore before the constituted authorities at the time she was lost, am as the Petitioner has the power of appeal reserved for him before the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland, he pledges himself as a gentleman which title he cannot give up tho at present labouring in a miserable situation to prove to the world if it is the Will of Providence to give him the opportunity and the means;  which appeal would have been made at the time but the verdict of the Jury taking away the felony the underwriters became creditors levied on the Petitioners estate left him penniless and his family in want.  But thanks to the British Government, which he has always revered and supported to the utmost of his power, and from whom he has received such kindness not only during his confinement in Britain but also on the passage and since he came to this Colony, that dear, and affectionate family he hopes verily twice in this place an order for them having been sent home last year by the Deveon Captain Wilson, whom he trusts he will yet be able to restore to their former rank, the thing nearest his heart as far as concerns the things of this world.

The Petitioner is aware that the greater proportion of those sent here are not to be believed, but there are among them that abhors a lie, he is aware that in your honor’s public capacity you are bound to consider all those sent here under the Law guilty: he is also aware of the service necessary before colonial or absolute freedom is granted.  But he humbly begs to say that there is no general rule without exception, and that although the law is just, and good, yet in the administration, there are circumstances to which it cannot reach, and to which some consideration is due.

The case of the Petitioner is very public, he being himself much known in the commercial world as the House of John Macdougall, his other partners being Colonel John Campbell of Achinwilline near Rothesay well known to the Governor in chief the Petitioner thinks and Arch.MacGibbon Esq. Inveraray, both dead, so that nothing but the truth is set forth by him, and Mr.Cunningham, ship builder in Sydney being one of the Petitioner’s Jury men who now known tho he did not then how ill the Petitioner was used.

The Petitioner takes the liberty to submit the accompanying papers to your honors perusal from among many more which are couched in too strong language, and he being now above three years in this colony during which period he has given no trouble to Government; he has offered no person intentionally or to his knowledge, and humbly trusting that his conduct has met the approbation of the Constituted authorities he ventured to appeal to your honors goodness for so much freedom as will legalise his industry and procure him the means of gaining the object next to his heart, the overturning of the fabric of Villainy under which he is now lying, so soon as his conduct will be found to justify full freedom.  And your honor in this recommending the Petitioner to his Excellency will confer a Boon on an individual where gratitude will be as lasting, as he feels measurable in his present situation in many respects worse than death.

May it therefore please your honor this application into your honors gracious consideration, and your Petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray.

John Macdougall
Hobart Town
24 January 1825

(A copy of the handwritten letter is on file but typed out for easier reading).


(Captain) John Macdougall given a "Free Pardon" from His Excellency Colonel George Arthur Lieutenant Governor of Van Dieman’s Land 6 September 1835, thanks him for restoring his freedom, and requests permission to return to Scotland

Hobart Town
13 September 1836


Your incessant engagements at this time prevent my waiting in person upon Your Excellency for the purpose of tendering my most sincere and grateful thanks, and those of every member of my family, for your kindness in restoring me to the blessing of freedom, and of wishing Yourself, Your Lady and family a safe, comfortable, and speedy passage home, where you will soon enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that your Government of this Colony will be properly appreciated.

I avail myself of this opportunity to state that some part of my Patrimonial estate in Scotland has remained in statu quo since I left that Country, and which requires my personal presence before it can be in any way arranged. As it may be of considerable ultimate importance to my family, and as my health has declined rapidly these last few years, I am extremely anxious to make the attempt at bringing about such arrangement as early as possible.

I therefore earnestly solicit that Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to complete my pardon, so as I may be enabled to leave here in February or March next, and be in Scotland in the months of July and August 1837 as I fear I could not stand the rigors of that climate at a later period.

If this request meets Your Excellency’s approbation it will confer an additional favour on

Your Excellency’s
Ever grateful
And most obedient servant

John Macdougall

(A copy of the handwritten letter is on file, but it has been typed out for easier reading).

(Captain) John Macdougall (1783 1845) requests town allotment 26 May 1822

Unto the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Van Dieman’s Land.

The Petition of John Macdougall. 

Humbly sheweth

that your Petitioner has wrote for his family to come to this Colony, and having the means now in his power he begs leave to solicit from your honor a town allotment to build a house for their occupation.  May it therefore please your honor to take your Petitioners application into your favourable consideration and your Petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray.

John Macdougall
Hobart Town
26 May 1822

Political Views of John & John C Macdougall 23 August 1827  in Letter to Honourable Colonial Secretary of Van Dieman's Land

Hobart Town
23 August 1827

Dear Sir,  
I am informed a report is circulated that I am interested in the Tasmanian newspaper, with which of course His Excellency is displeased, if the former were true I would justly expect the latter; But as my son is Proprietor there are some grounds for suspicion, and I therefore consider it a duty I save myself and my family to make the following statement which I request you will have the goodness to lay before his Excellency.

By the most assidious and honest industry with strict economy even parsimony, and a little borrowed money I was enabled some years ago to purchase a piece of ground in Liverpool Street, and build a house with the front and one end in stone which I afterwards exchanged with Mrs. Whyte now my daughter in law for that which I hold in Elizabeth Street. Some time after I was advised to borrow money on this property to finish a foolishly expensive home which was formerly partly begun, this advice I took and have since much repented. The seat of what I let not being equal to the Demand for interest and the support of a large family I was obliged to let the whole with a view of renting a farm and stock in the country till I could recover myself – I therefore let my house to Mr.Howe on a lease of 3 years at 80 Pounds per annum and Mortgaged the house to meet my present engagements - before Mr.Howe wasting in Popepion.   It was reported to me that he intended to leave the Colony and my lease unsatisfied, my patience being exhausted.  I awaited upon him about fourteen days ago and having learned the fact I desired him to find  . . . for the due performance of the lease – he replied he hoped that once three Gentlemen with whom he was in treaty viz M.Neal, M.Gillies and R..L.Murray to sell his  …...and would take the …. . atic, I said either of the first two would be accepted but the last could not be a tenant of mine, some days passed but nothing continually in a state of intoxication, in the course of this time my called upon me to say he had been in conversation with M. Neal and had some thoughts of purchasing the press and become my tenant if I had not objection, I stated that I considered it improper and requested him to apply to his Excellency for …., he replied that he had no interest and that from the inquiries he had made he conceived there were more applicants than situations in that quarter, and that he did not like to be idle besides he had reason to believe he could make a livelihood with this …., but that I might not be uneasy besides securing me a good tenant he was also assuring  me this.  Journal would be no longer what is called an  opposition journal, that he would not touch politics nor have any connection with any of its former Editors, he supposed he had given me unequivocal proof of his friendly sentiments towards Government.  In these circumstances I consented to receive him in place of Howe to which my assignee in the lease has made no objections.  To this declaration I am confident he will honourable adhere, and I confess I feel no small pleasure that one of my family has strove a political enemy I had almost said a …out of the field and replaced him with a neutral if not an ally of Government, which I humbly trust will meet his Excellencie’s approbation.

With respect to my political sentiments they were long well known in my correspondence with the minister Pitt and his able follower Percival and they have and never will alter, although the shock I have lately received has rendered me unfit for any thing else than adhering to my former principles, and these are in some measure confirmed by a few testimonials which I took the liberty of sending his Excellency soon after his arrival in this Colony and still remain with him.  In the course of my experience I found my four opposition papers, whose motives were not those of ambition party spirit, in the language of spleen or disappointment; but in this Colony ambition, disappointment and revenge, generally language for fit for Billingsgate than a public……and are calculated to…… than edify and reform a population the bulk of whom are already labouring under the dreadful effects of invetrate evil habits.  In a word let me assure your .. ..that there is not an individual in the Colony who is more satisfied with, or more friendly to his Excellencies person and Government than myself and in making this declaration I have no other motive than honesty and truth.

In confirmation of my intentions of retiring to the country I now state that I have been treating with Mr.Cumming to rent his farm and stock at Swanport and so soon as the lambs are ready for marketing it is likely we shall close, if his Excellency will grant permission for my going.

Having thus stated without disguise my real sentiments I trust and believe that no invidious report will prejudice his Excellency against an unfortunate old man, who is not only indifferent to Politics, but the whole world further than that is necessary for the support of himself and family, and to remove the disgrace under which the .…and respecting which I have wrote his Excellency my sentiments; and so soon as I am possessed of the means of making appeal, and liberty to do it, I shall prove to the world that what I say is right, although I have a dreadfull case of underwriting another interest to contend with, and the more anxious for this on account of my family and myself.

I am Honoured Sir,
With the most sincere respect,
Your very obedient and humble servant,
John Macdougall

To the Honourable
The Colonial Secretary
Of Van Diemens Land.
NB:  J.Macdougall, 23 August 1827. Declaration of his political opinion disavowing any concern with the Tasmanian Paper.

(Copy of the handwritten letter is on file, but typed out for easier reading)

John C Macdougall – offers house as Public Offices 26 January 1828

Tasmanian Office,
26 January 1828


Having been informed that Government are in want of Public Offices, I beg leave to offer to you my House in Elizabeth Street, now occupied by Messrs.Schultze & Co.; which will be found on inspection, in every way suited for that purpose.

If you should think proper to entertain this offer, I will receive payment in Land.

I am Sir,
Most respectfully,
Your most obedient servant,

To The Honorable
Colonial Secretary

Macdougall's Printing Offices in 1850s. From 1875 C.D.Haywood & Co operated their biscuit business from the same premises at 44 Melville Street, Hobart for many years, living next door at "Hazelmere".

There is an interesting coincidence with regards to this property. The Macdougall's Printing Office operated from this location in 1850s. C.D.Haywood & Co. operated their biscuit business from the same location twenty five years later at 44 Melville Street, Hobart and lived next door at "Hazelmere". The lane on the right backed onto "Excelsior Steam Biscuit Factory" at 135-139 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. John Macdougall's grandson William Macdougall married Sarah Allason, the sister of Charles Haywood's wife Suzannah Allason.  (Refer to Allason Family Archives Blog).

Wesleyan Missions Poster - Printers Murray & Macdougall 1829.

John Macdougall – Tasmanian Brewery 10 March 1833

Hobart Town,
10 March 1833


Having commenced the Tasmanian Brewery I will require a quantity of coals – I called on Capt. Momartey this morning to know if I can be supplied by Government – He replied there were now above 800 tons above ground asloping main and a cargo just landed but he had no authority and refered me to you – I therefore take the liberty of troubling you to say I may require about 100 …….If I may be supplied with that quantity I require, may I have three tons next week and a few tons afterwards by every vessel as they arrive so as to save expense of cartage – Terms Cash – I await the favour of your reply and I am respectfully Sir,

Your obedient servant,

John Macdougall

J. Montague Esq.
Colonial Secretary
Van Diemens Land

Macdougall & Stracey – Auctioneers 28 December 1835

December 28 1835


In tending our services as Government Auctioneers from the 1st July last for one year we had special reference to the Gazette Notice No.127 dated 28th May, wherein it is stated that the contracting party shall sell by Auction such public property as is required to be disposed of by the Civil Government generally.

As we understand the Government is about to dispose of Land by Lease & other ways, we beg leave to state that we are accordingly waiting instruction and orders to attend such sale.

We are respectfully Sir,

Your Obedient Servants,

Macdougall & Stracey

To I.Montagu Esq.
Colonial Secretary.

John Macdougall – Rivulet flood 10 May 1836

Hobart Town,
10 May 1836


The late flood having carried away and thenways damaged the greater part of my boundary wall on the town Rivulet in Elizabeth Street, and having been informed that His Excellency has been generously pleased  ……..Mr. Kemp and others who suffered in a similar manner on that occasion to rebuild their walls, I beg leave to……. the loan of a mason and two labourers to rebuild mine.  I therefore request you will save the goodness to lay my application before His Excellency for his favourable consideration.

I am most respectfully Sir

Your very Obedient Servant,

John Macdougall

J.Montagu Esq.
Colonial Secretary

Letter to G. Frankland Esq., Surveyor General from John Campbell Macdougall (1804 – 1848) requesting 100 acres at Pittwater for a Punt 22 September 1836


Melville Street,
Hobart Town
22 September 1836


I believe you are aware of the Location Order for 5 acres of land at the Lower Settlement of Pittwater granted by Lieut. Governor Sorell to one James Honey in order to establish a Punt Ferry at that place.  I sent you some considerable time ago, the papers connected therewith, which after being submitted to Mr. Stephen were returned to Mr. Young, Solicitor.  In accordance with that Order a house was built, a large garden enclosed, several suitable boats and a large Punt provided, in short a complete Ferry Establishment set a going.  The money required for this purpose (above 400 pounds, the Punt alone having cost nearly 190 pounds) was furnished by my late wife and myself on the security of the property.  Honey did not succeed and gave it up, it was then let to George McKirdy, after him to Mr. Reed and others, and is now occupied by a party on my account but in consequence of a severe storm and the want of a jetty to keep the boats safe, the Punt was swept away in the night, and at that searched for at considerable expense, could never apparently be found.  From the want of a Punt, the public have since been compelled to go round by the Coal River, making the distance more than double, and the business of the Ferry has been therefore almost lost.

I will not presume to point out to you, who are better aware of it than myself, the great want of a proper ferry establishment there, and the public good such would effect, but I will take the liberty of submitting, through you, the following proposition to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor. 

That if His Excellency will be pleased to locate to me fifty acres of land on each side of the river, the one fifty acres adjoining, and the other fifty acres opposite to my present five acres allotment.  I shall engage to build a proper Jetty on the north side, houses of entertainment up each side, and establish a Punt and other suitable boats, the Government sending a group of men to erect a basket and rubble stone jetty on the south side.

I feel confident you will readily recommend my proposition to His Excellency’s favourable consideration, and waiting the favor of an early reply.

I have the honor to be most respectfully Sir,

Your very,


(A copy of the handwritten letter is on file but typed out for easier reading).

To His Excellency Colonel George Arthur, Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemens Land and its dependencies

The Memorial of John Campbell Macdougall of Hobart Town 23 September 1836

Respectfully Sheweth...

That your Memorialist arrived here a Free Settler about eleven years and a half ago, having with him a considerable capital, which he invested in business as a Brewer, having erected that very extensive brewery establishment in Liverpool Street, now in the management of Mr. D. McArthur for your Memorialist, and expended altogether upwards of two thousand pounds.  That early in the year 1831 your Memorialist was induced to proceed to New South Wales for the purpose of conducting a Mercantile establishment between Sydney and this colony, which he carried on partly by means of his own vessels, in the course of which he had the misfortune to lose a new Schooner of one hundred tons burden, the Defiance, in an attempt to save the cargo of the brig Courier, which was wrecked in Bass Strait in July1833, and as the proceeding thither was a deviation from the voyage, the Insurance was lost.

That Your Memorialist had deferred making application to Your Excellency for a Grant of Land in consequence of his determination not to do so until by his industry and application to business he had increased his capital to such an extent as should enable him to settle upon whatever Land he might obtain and personally devote his whole attention to its cultivation and improvement.  That unfortunately during his absence at Sydney the new Regulations took place by which, as Your Memorialist is informed Your Excellency is prevented from the disposal of Law unless under such circumstances, as shall induce Your Excellency to consider that the Applicant has a fair claim for favorable consideration.

Your Memorialist humbly submits his case to Your Excellency, and prays of Your Excellency to bestow on him a Grant of Land equal to the means he possesses, of cultivating and improving it.  And should Your Excellency consider the Regulations preclude Your Excellency from bestowing that favour upon Your Memorialist, that Your Excellency will be pleased to subject his case to the favourable consideration of the Secretary of State, and Your Memorialist as in duty bound will be ever grateful.

23 September 1836

(A copy of the handwritten letter is on file but typed out for easier reading).

John C Macdougall requests grant for 100 acres for Jetty & Ferry/Punt

 at Pittwater May 1837

Re Ferry, Pittwater

Location Order for 5 acres issued to James Honey, to establish a Ferry at Pittwater – date not given.  Ditto apparently never issued.  J.C.Macdougall put up a house, and found Punt and boats – cost above 400 pounds.  Honey failed with the Ferry, which was taken on by different persons, with varying success.  The Punt was lost in a storm – there was no jetty to shelter it and the boats.  Macdougall asks for a grant of 50 acres on each side of the water.  If granted, he will provide a jetty and maintain an effective service.  Survey Cert. replies that on one side Richard Lewis holds the land and this desired area on the other is required for a township but “is sure that the ….will allow very practicable assistance” to the undertaking.
File ends

Death Notice of John Macdougall in "Colonial Times and Tasmanian", 

Tuesday, November 18, 1845


DEATH - Last night at 10 o'clock, of Aneurism of the Arterial System, Mr.John Macdougall, Father of the Proprietor of this Journal, aged sixty-four.

Friends are respectfully informed that his Funeral will take place on Thursday next, the 20th instant, at 3 o'clock p.m. from his late residence, New Town Road, to the Presbyterian Burial Ground.

Sheriff of the Colony (J.T.Crouch Esq) wrote to son Archibald Macdougall
"He who has gone has left proof of the exchange being a happy one, and we have the joy of spending an eternity with him.  Your revered, and universally beloved parent, had an Aneurism in his left thigh, and was induced to submit to an operation on the 5th November (it being performed by Dr.Officer, in the presence of Drs. Agnew, Crowther and Casey). The sufferer did apparently well for several days, and Dr.Officer told my good wife he had no doubt your dear father's life had been prolonged several years by his abstemious habits. About 9 days after the operation all hopes were given up and he lingered in great and excruciating pain until the evening of Monday, the 17th November, when he breathed his last, in the presence of all members of his family, except two.  He was fully sensible to the last, where I had the privilege of attending to his wants, and he gave us the most delightful proofs of his hope beyond the grave; indeed, his expressions and smiles were such as to induvce those around his bed to silently exclaim, "Let my last end be like his".  He was interred in the Scottish Burial Ground on Thursday, the 20th, followed by a long train of mourning friends".

Son John Campbell Macdougall was suddenly called upon to take the management of affairs.  On the evening of him returning to Scotland, he met with an accident and shortly afterwards died of its effects on 21 July 1848.

Death Notice – John Campbell Macdougall

“Colonial Times” and “Tasmanian”, Thursday July 25, 1848

"A painful duty devolves upon us, in the making known to the supporters of this journal the almost sudden death of the late proprietor, Mr. J.C.Macdougall.  About a week previously, that gentleman had been confined to his dwelling through indisposition, and on Friday last had, to all appearances, so far recovered as to be enabled to attend to the publication of the last number of this journal.  Indeed he considered himself fast recovering, and was giving directions for the business of the present week, when the hand of death struck the fatal blow, and he expired, seated as he was in his chair, without apparently suffering the slightest pain.

To detail the events of this gentleman’s career during his long residence in this colony is unnecessary, for from the time of his arrival to the day of his death (with the exception of a few years) he was connected with the Press, and as such became a public character, and his conduct and actions liable to the censure of approbation of everyone.  His morality was unimpeachable, and if in his public capacity he made enemies, they were but few, and their enmity was caused by his performing that which he considered a public duty.  The support this journal receives is the best proof that can possibly be given as to the manner in which MR. MACDOUGALL was respected in his public character.  As A private individual he was much esteemed, and his company courted by a very large portion of his fellow-colonists; and on his departing from this life of tribulation, he was at peace with every fellow-creature.

Sudden death affords as awful lesson.  It proves to us beyond doubt, that “in the midst of life we are in death” – that “we know not what shall be on the morrow – for what is our life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away”.  Beautifully expressive is the psalmist, when he pictures the life of man as a flower of the field, and that is so flourishes, but the wind passeth over it, and it is gone and the place thereof knoweth it no more.

The shaft of death brings peace to the victim struck down – with his there remains no rankling wounds to convulse the mortal frame; but, alas! It is those around that suffer.  It is the wife, bereft of the loved partner of her life, that is overwhelmed with anguish – it is the fatherless children that feel the loss of their guide and protector.  And such is the situation of the proprietress of this journal, who is thus suddenly compelled to plunge into the management of a business full of difficulties, in order to support her numerous young children.

We feel satisfied that the widow will succeed in her exertions – that the support received by her husband will be continued to her.  The colonists never hold a deaf ear to the deserving supplicant; and we trust that, in this, her lamentable situation, they will come forward and assist her in her laudable undertaking.
There is one consolation which soothes the mind – it is in the host of formerly unknown friends, who sprang forward to the widow’s assistance directly the demise of her husband became known, and to those it is her desire that her thanks for their kindness should thus be given.

The Funeral will take place at three o’clock to-morrow, and the friends of the deceased are respectfully invited to attend".

 Letters of Administration granted to widow Mary Ann Macdougall

 31 August 1848

In the Administration of John Campbell Macdougall dec.

Citation for Mary Ann Macdougall of Hobart Town
Widow of the said deceased Dated 24 July 1848 Retble 9 August 1848-------------------

Letters of Administration were granted to Mary Ann Macdougall 31 August 1848 upon Bond being given a Copy of which said Letters firstly and of the said Bond secondly hereafter follows------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the Supreme Court
of Van Diemen’s Land             

Be it known unto all Men by these presents that on the thirty-first day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and forty eight  Administration of all and singular the goods chattels credits and effects within the Island of Van Diemen’s Land and the Dependencies thereof which were of JOHN CAMPBELL MACDOUGALL late of Hobart Town in Van Diemen’s Land aforesaid Newspaper Proprietor and Printer deceased was and is hereby committed to MARY ANN MACDOUGALL of Hobart Town aforesaid the Widow of the Said deceased  She having been first duly sworn that she believed the said John Campbell Macdougall died without a Will that she will well and truly administer all and every the goods chattels credits and effects of the said deceased and pay his lawful debts as far as his said goods chattels credits and effects will extend  And also make and exhibit unto this Honourable Court a full true and perfect Inventory of all and every the goods chattels credits and effects of the said deceased which have or shall come to her hands possession or knowledge or to the hands or possession of any other person or persons for her on or before the thirtieth day of April now next And also render a true account of her Administration on or before the Thirtieth day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and forty nine and afterwards from time to time as she shall be lawfully required And further that she believes the goods chattels rights credits and effects of or belonging to the said deceased at the time of his death did not exceed in value the sum of One thousand two hundred pounds in Van Diemen’s Land and the Dependencies thereof -------------------------
                                Given under my hand and the Seal
                                Of the Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s
                                Land this First day of November
                                One thousand eight hundred and forty eight-------------------------------

                                                                                 By the Court
                                                                                 Wm Sorell

Seal of the Supreme
Court of V.D.Land

                                                                                  (Intestate died 21st July 1848)

Know all Men by these presents that we Mary Ann Macdougall of Hobart Town in Van Diemen’s Land Widow John Jackson of the same place Gentleman and William Murray of the same place Grocer are and each of us is held and firmly bound unto the Sovereign Lady the Queen her heirs and successors in the sum of Two thousand four hundred pounds of lawful money of Great Britain to be paid to the Sovereign Lady the Queen her heirs or successors or her or their assigns for which payment to be well and truly made we jointly and severally bind ourselves and each of us by herself and himself and our and each of our heirs executed and administrators firmly by these presents Sealed with our Seals Dated this Thirtieth day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and forty eight-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Condition of the above written Obligation is that if the above bounden MARY ANN MACDOUGALL Administratrix of the goods chattels and effects of JOHN CAMPBELL MACDOUGALL late of Hobart Town aforesaid Newspaper Proprietor and Printer deceased do make or cause to be made a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods chattels and effects of the said deceased which have or shall come to the hands possession or knowledge of the said Mary Ann Macdougall or to the hand or possession of any other person or persons for her and the same so made do exhibit unto the Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s Land at or before the Thirtieth day of April now next ensuring and all other the goods chattels credits and effects of the said deceased at the time of his death or which at any time afterwards shall come to the hands or possession of the said Mary Ann Macdougall or to the hands or possession of any other person or persons for her shall well and truly administer according to law And further shall make or cause to be made a true and first account of her said Administration at or before the Thirtieth day of October One thousand eight hundred and forty nine and afterwards from time to time as she the said Mary Ann Macdougall shall be lawfully required And all the rest and residue of the said goods chattels credits and effects which shall be found from time to time remaining upon the said Administration Account (the same being first examined and allowed of by the said Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s Land) shall and do pay and dispose of in a due course of Administration or in such manner as the said Court shall direct Then the said Obligation shall be void and of none effect or else it is to be and remain in full force and virture --------------------------------------------------------------------

Signed sealed and delivered                                       M.A.Macdougall
By the said several parties in                                      John Jackson
Presence of--------------------                                      William Murray
         James Gill
         Solicitor & Proctor
         Hobart Town

(Copy of handwritten document on file, but typed for easier reading).

William James Macdougall was the 7th child of John and Davinia Macdougall.  

William was born 1820 and trained as a Medical Practioner.  He was appointed by the Governor Sir John Franklin as House Surgeon which he held office until 1840, then completed his studies at London University College with Honours, and the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

William settled in Birkenhead, England and had 4 daughters - Jessie, Fanny, Clara & Ellen.
Fanny married Archibald Butler Macdougall (son of J.C.Macdougall) in 1878 in Birkenhead.

The Doctor died in 1882 from the same complaint as his father - an anuerism in the thigh. His leg had to be amputated and he sat up and watched the surgeons cut his leg off.  The operation was however too late as mortification had set in.

 St Andrew's Old Presbyterian Burial Ground, Hobart
The plaque says "To the memory of the Scottich Pioneers and to mark their first burial ground". The old tombstones are standing around the perimeter of the now Park at Trinity Hill, Hobart. Both John Macdougall and John Campbell Macdougall were buried at St Andrew's Burial Ground.

St Andrew's Old Presbyterian  Burial Ground at Trinity Hill, Hobart where John & John Campbell Macdougall were buried.
Walter C.Macdougall who wrote "Family History of the Macdougalls" 1781-1914. The Grandson of (Captain) John Macdougall, the convict.

If you have any comments or corrections please contact the author, Joy Olney by email: