Pioneer Settler, 'Tarrawingee'

The earthly remains of one of the earliest settlers of north-east Victoria lie beneath a partly demolished tomb in a forlorn old cemetery at the outer Sydney suburb of Prospect, near Parramatta.

William Bowman died on 20th October, 1848, as a result of a carriage accident in the Blue Mountains. He was 50 years of age, and was buried in the graveyard of St. Bartholomew's Church.

In or about the early part of the year 1838, William Bowman overlanded stock from Bong Bong ( near Berrima ) to Port Phillip and took possession of several stations in the vicinity of the Ovens River. One of these stations he sold on 25th December, 1838 to one Edward William Umphelby, the proprietor of the 'Angle Inn' at Melbourne, together with 8,100 sheep, for the sum of 7,500.

Another station, 'Tarrawingee', on the Ovens River about 15 miles from the present town of Wangaratta, was occupied and became William Bowman's homestead. The dwelling house was the first in the district to have glass in the windows and a wooden floor, and about the beginning of 1842 he brought his family to 'Tarrawingee', being the first settler in the district to do so.

William Bowman is reputed to have been brought to New South Wales in 1801 at the age of three years by his parents, who were free settlers. On 14th January, 1824, he married Elizabeth Hutchinson, a daughter of William Hutchinson, landed proprietor, at St. Phillip's Church, Sydney. William was described on the certificate as a wheel-wright, aged 25, and Elizabeth was aged 17.

Their first child was a son named William Mackenzie, who unfortunately died on 24th March, 1825 aged four months.

William and Elizabeth Bowman had eight other childreen whose names and dates of birth are as follows:

The widow Elizabeth Bowman married Dr. Arthur Huffington, an old family friend, on 16th December, 1848 at Sydney, and died on 30th August, 1849 aged 44 years. Her age is inconsistent with her age stated on her Marriage Certificate.

Of the children of William and Elizabeth Bowman, Emma married John Willmett, a settler a Port Fairy on 14th March 1843 at St James' Church, Melbourne. They had two children, a daughter born 28th March 1844, and a son John William born 7th October 1845 at Collingwood.

Persuaded by her mother, Helen married the notorious dandy Jephson Busteed Quarry, a solicitor, on 10th December 1842 at St James Church at Melbourne. Helen was only 14 years of age and the marriage was not a happy one. After a short time they separated.

In February 1846, the Willmett family and J. B. Quarry left Sydney on board a vessel named the "Peruvian" en route for Hong Kong, which vessel was wrecked on a reef off the North Queensland coast, with the loss of all on board excepting a sailor named James Morrill. This sole survivor lived with the aboriginies for 17 years until he was discovered and was able to give an account of the tragedy. Although a strikingly beautiful lady, Helen Quarry never remarried.

The other children of William and Elizabeth Bowman, being sons, were, during their respective minorities, placed under the care of a Guardian, their step-father, Dr. Arthur Huffington, and ultimately followed in the steps of their father and became farmers and graziers in New South Wales.

In November 1846, William Boman sold 'Tarrawingee' station to Dr. (later Sir) Francis Murphy, who erected a brick house which is reputed to be still extant.

Om 20th December 1853 'Tarrawingee' was purchased by Dr. George Edward Mackay, who had overlanded cattle to Port Phillip early in 1838. Tarrawingee Pre- emptive Right of 640 acres, on which the homestead was situated, was purchased by Dr. Mackay for one pound per acre under the government regulations of 28th June 1850, the grant from the crown being dated 18th August, 1859.

Victorian Historical Magazine, No. 146, Nov. 1966.
"Let's Visit a Historical Site", published by Berrima District Historical Society, 4th edition, 1991.
"Letters from Victorian Pioneers", T. F. Bride, editor, 1898 - PROV VPRS 460 item 15071.

Contributed by Ken Smith ( PPPG Member No. 895 )

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