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Mrs Paterson's keepsakes: the provenance of some significant colonial documents and paintings.

The bicentenary of the 1804 Battle of Vinegar Hill was extensively commemorated during 2004. As a result, a painting of the event became the year's most frequently reproduced depiction of colonial New South Wales, appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald (28 February 2004), Australian (1 March 2004) and Daily Telegraph (2 and 4 March 2004), among many other publications. It has been discussed, analysed and dissected at great length but in the absence of basic information about its origins and ownership. Without these crucial details its value as historical evidence has been dubious at best. This fatal flaw can now, in part, be rectified.

The Battle of Vinegar Hill was the result of a convict rebellion that began at Castle Hill on 4 March 1804. The following day a contingent of 25 members of the New South Wales corps, led by Major George Johnston, confronted and defeated the rebels in an encounter which took its name from the culmination of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland. From evidence now uncovered it emerges that the painting of the battle was taken back to England in 1810 by Johnston's commanding officer, Colonel William Paterson, and then passed down through his widow's family until it came onto the market in 1963. The discovery of this line of provenance for the painting also elucidates the origin of other important colonial documents and paintings. The key figure in this research is Paterson's wife Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Driver was baptised at Maryton near Montrose, Scotland, on 21 April 1770, the second of five children of William Driver and Elizabeth Johnson. John and Mary, their third and fourth children who appear later in this narrative, were both baptised on 31 August 1774. (1) By the late 1780s Elizabeth and Mary had moved to Liverpool, England, to live with their mother's brother, Captain John Johnson of the Royal Navy. The fact that Elizabeth retained a Scottish accent indicates that her move to Liverpool is unlikely to have occurred before she was in her early teens (around 1783).

At the age of nineteen Elizabeth Driver married William Paterson on 28 September 1789 at St Martin in the Fields church, London. (2) He was 34 years old, having been born in August 1755 in Kinnettles, a small village near Forfar in Angus. (3) His father David Paterson was a gardener at Brigton House outside Kinnettles. William seems at first to have followed the same occupation, which brought him under the patronage of the Countess of Strathmore whose family seat, Glamis Castle, was five kilometres west of Kinnettles. The Countess was an enthusiastic botanist, and it seems that it was through her that William was sent to the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. While there is no record of a formal apprenticeship, his correspondence with the superintendent of the Garden, William Forsyth, is preserved at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) and Forsyth was named as a trustee of Paterson's will written in 1789. (4)

It was also through Lady Strathmore's patronage that 22-year-old William Paterson went to South Africa in 1777, where he remained for three years. During this time he made four journeys into the interior, and on his return to England he brought with him the skeleton and skin of a giraffe, said to have been the first seen in England. The skin was mounted and presented to John Hunter, surgeon and Fellow of the Royal Society who had a large museum attached to his house in Leicester Square, London. (5) The skin was later acquired by the British Museum although it did not survive the nineteenth century. (6) The skeleton, although slightly damaged in the Blitz, is still held in the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons, London. (7)

In 1781 William Paterson joined the army as an ensign in the 98th Regiment and spent the next four years in India where he took part in the Second Mysore War against Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan. He was present in April and May 1783 when British forces besieged and captured the fort of Caroor (Karur) 75 kilometres inland from Trinchinopoly. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1783 and returned to Britain in 1785. He transferred to the 73rd Regiment in 1787 and in 1789 was gazetted Captain in the newly-formed New South Wales Corps. (8)

In 1789 it was decided to replace the Marines who had gone out on the First Fleet with a new regiment, the New South Wales Corps. The regiment was headed by Francis Grose, son of a well-known antiquary described by the poet Robert Burns as 'a fine, fat, thick-set man; of stature short, but genius bright'. (9) The Corps' former poor reputation has undergone revision in recent years, with earlier negative assessments being overturned by more modern scholarship based on systematic analysis of primary material. (10)

Coinciding with Paterson's entry to the New South Wales Corps and his marriage to Elizabeth Driver was the publication of his account of his South African explorations, Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffraria, which was dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks. William and Elizabeth Paterson arrived in Sydney in October 1791 and left after a few days for Norfolk Island, where they remained until March 1793. Mrs Paterson's arrival on Norfolk Island was recorded by diarist Ralph Clark, with the comment that she was 'a good cosy Scotch lass and fit for a soldier's wife.' (11)

In September 1793 Paterson led an expedition to find a route through the Blue Mountains, and discovered and named the Grose River after the commanding officer of the New South Wales Corps Major Francis Grose. In January 1794 Grose permitted the establishment of a new agricultural settlement at the Hawkesbury. The Hawkesbury's new settlers were all emancipists, and they lost no time in beginning to clear the land. (12) By August a road had been constructed from Parramatta, which shortened the travelling time from Sydney to eight hours by foot. (13) The settlement was part of a policy change from public to private farming, and over the next two years under Grose and his successor, Captain Paterson, the acreage of land sown by the Government fell from the peak of over 1,000 acres in 1792 to 400 acres in 1793 and 1794, and 340 acres in 1795. (14)

By now Paterson was Grose's second-in-command and on Grose's departure for England in December 1794 Paterson became acting Governor until the arrival of Governor Hunter nine months later. In 1795 Paterson was promoted Major, returning to England the following year. During his three years in England from 1796 to 1799 Paterson was elected to membership of a number of prestigious learned societies. He became a fellow of the Linnaean Society on 19 December 1797 (15) and a Fellow of the Royal Society on 10 May 1798. (16) By 1801 he was also a member of the Asiatick Society, founded in Calcutta in 1784. (17) He and his wife also sat for portraits by one of Britain's most eminent painters, William Owen, whose other subjects included Tory Prime Minister William Pitt, and the Whig grandee (and patron of D'Arcy Wentworth) Earl Fitzwilliam.

Paterson arrived back in Sydney in late 1799 as a Lieutenant-Colonel and, in the permanent absence of Colonel Grose from the colony, he was commanding officer of the New South Wales Corps. Paterson had collected botanical, geological and insect specimens during his previous stay, and introduced several fruits into the colony including a peach. He had a 100-acre estate at Petersham where he experimented with imported plants and trees, as well as a small garden at the Lieutenant-Governor's house in Sydney. On his return in 1799 he discovered that his precious garden had been turned into a horse paddock by his successor, Major Joseph Foveaux, and the rancour between the two men continued for ten years. (18)

In 1801 Paterson became enmeshed in a dispute between John Macarthur and Governor Philip Gidley King. The complexities of this power struggle, which ended with Paterson challenging Macarthur to a duel, have most recently been re-examined by Michael Duffy. (19) The encounter took place in September 1801 when Paterson was shot through the shoulder and Macarthur was sent to London under arrest. Mrs Paterson had become embroiled in the dispute due to a private letter she had written to Mrs Macarthur. In the same period she was involved in the establishment of the Female Orphan School in Sydney in 1800, and served on the committee of the Female Orphans' Institution with Mrs King in 1803.

Paterson was the commanding officer of the New South Wales Corps in 1804 when the rebellion broke out at Castle Hill. Whilst he did not take part in the military deployment, remaining in Sydney, it is likely that any painting of the battlefield events would have been shown to him and possibly given to him as a record of the military prowess of his troops.

After a long recovery Paterson was sent to found a new settlement at Port Dalrymple (now Launceston) in October 1804. He remained there for four years, during the overthrow of Governor William Bligh and the assumption of Government by Major Johnston and later Colonel Foveaux of the New South Wales Corps. Paterson finally returned to Sydney in January 1809, assuming control as Lieutenant-Governor and placing Governor Bligh under arrest before accepting Bligh's agreement to sail for England. By March 1809 Paterson conceded that his poor health made him unfit to conduct daily administrative duties, and he handed command back to Foveaux who continued as de facto governor until the arrival of Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

News of recall of the New South Wales Corps and its renaming as the 102nd Regiment reached Sydney in July 1809, although the decisions had effectively been made in October 1808 within a month of news reaching London of Bligh's arrest. (20) In a repetition of the first military interregnum of 1793-94, the flooding of the Hawkesbury in May 1809 forced Foveaux and Paterson not to wait for approval from London for the issuing of land grants to open up large tracts of land for small-scale farming. Accordingly, during the latter half of 1809, Paterson, acting on Foveaux's advice, issued 297 land grants totalling 46,656 acres. The main districts for these grants were Minto (9,470 acres), Richmond Hill (4,810), Cooke (3,530), Botany Bay (2,785), Cabramatta (2,608) and Parramatta (2,024). Other areas of significance were Mulgoa (1,980 acres), St George (1,980), Evan (1,760), Bankstown (1,680), Bringelly (1,530) and Holsworthy (1,000). (21)

In March 1810 the newly-arrived Judge Advocate Ellis Bent described Mrs Paterson in a letter to his mother: 'Mrs Paterson is a pleasant and obliging woman, fat and forty. She is very sharp--knows her own interest very well and sticks close to it--is a Scotch woman: need I say a woman of the world?' (22) The Patersons left Sydney for London on the Dromedary on 12 May 1810, but Colonel Paterson died at sea off Cape Horn on 21 June at the age of fifty-five. On learning the news Lieutenant James Finucane expressed a mixed view of his commanding officer: 'His benevolence, hospitality and extreme good temper rendered him much beloved in private life, altho' an uninterrupted series of many years of ill health and a dislike of public business made him unfit for any situation of great difficulty or trust'. (23)

William Paterson wrote a will in 1789 at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Driver. His lawyers drew up a complicated formula anticipating the birth of children but by 1806 he realised that they would be childless. As Elizabeth was his sole beneficiary, Paterson was concerned that their simultaneous deaths would result in him being virtually intestate, so added a codicil which provided that 'as by my public situation my duty renders me liable to frequent voyages and in which my dear wife accompanies me that in the event of our death happening at the same time' his estate should be divided in three parts, with the beneficiaries being his sister Emilia, wife of George Thompson of Forfar, Scotland, his wife's brother John Driver of Montrose, Scotland, and his wife's sister Mary Banning, 'wife of--Banning port master of Liverpool'. The codicil was renewed in a more legalistic form in 1810, by which time Paterson's sister had died and her portion was left to David Foulds of Dundee, Scotland, whose relationship to Paterson was not specified. (24)

Mrs Paterson's sister Mary Driver, then aged around 30, married Thomas Banning at St Peter's, Liverpool, England, on 2 July 1805. Banning was the port master of Liverpool and a widower with two sons, Thomas Haines Banning (born 1783) and William Banning (born 1785). (25) Thomas Haines Banning became a doctor while William succeeded his father as port master of Liverpool. (26) William was to be an executor of Captain Johnson's will and was also residuary legatee and sole executor of Mrs Paterson in 1839.

The close and continuing relationship of the New South Wales veterans is indicated by the fact that Colonel Paterson's widow married General Grose in March 1814 but he died two months later. General Francis Grose was buried in Croydon with his first wife, Frances, and their only son, Francis Devis Grose, died in 1819. Little more is known of Elizabeth's life although she remained in touch with other friends from her days in New South Wales. In 1825 John Macarthur junior reported to his mother a visit to Mrs King's where he met Mrs Grose, 'looking very well, but extremely stout. She inquired most kindly for you, and for her god-daughter'. (27) The god-daughter was possibly the Macarthurs' youngest child Emmeline, baptised in Sydney on 15 April 1810.

The Banning family

Despite being denied a pension as Colonel Paterson's widow, Mrs Grose seems to have been left in reasonable financial circumstances by her second widowhood and returned to Liverpool where she lived out her days in the circle of her sister's family. In 1824 her uncle Captain John Johnson died and left her 600 [pounds sterling]. He does not name any children in his will, and the legatees included his sister Ann Chillingworth, nephew John Lashbrook and niece Elizabeth Farlow. His executors were William Banning, Thomas Banning and Charles Horsfall, all of Liverpool, and the residuary legatee was his godson, Thomas and Mary Banning's eldest son John Johnson Banning. (28)

Mrs Grose died in Liverpool in 1839 at the age of 69. In her will she left 900 [pounds sterling] each to her brother John Driver's children Elizabeth, Helen and Johnson Driver, and various legacies to her sister Mary Banning's children: 800 [pounds sterling] to John Johnson Banning (aged 33), 500 [pounds sterling] each to Benjamin Banning (32), Elizabeth Paterson Banning (28) and Charles Barber Banning (25), and 300 [pounds sterling] to Mary Richardson (nee Banning, aged 28). Mrs Grose's two other beneficiaries were her sister's stepsons: Thomas Haines Banning, doctor of medicine, received 200 [pounds sterling], and the residue of her estate went to William Banning, port master of Liverpool, who was also sole executor. (29)

While William Banning was the residuary legatee, most of Mrs Paterson's keepsakes seem to have been given to her nephew Benjamin Banning who was 32 at the time of her death. Benjamin attended Trinity College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1829 and MA in 1833. He took holy orders and was appointed vicar of Wellington, Shropshire, in 1841, a post he retained until his retirement in 1881. (30) He had one son, Henry Thomas Banning born in 1844, and at least one daughter, Helen Lacy Banning born in 1841. (31)

Benjamin Banning's son Henry Thomas followed his father to Trinity College, graduating BA in 1868 and MA in 1870, and was called to the bar in 1871. He married Annie Laura Druce on 20 October 1875 and they settled in Blackheath, Kent. (32) Benjamin Banning died at Bath, Somerset, on 14 August 1899 at the venerable age of 93 leaving the bulk of his 11,000 [pounds sterling] estate to his daughter and sole executrix Helen Lacy Banning. (33) Also mentioned as beneficiaries were his son's children Henry Druce Banning (born 1876) and Helen Florence Banning (born 1880). (34)

The 1912 bequest

In 1907 Helen Lacy Banning, then aged sixty-six, began to settle her affairs. She made a will bequeathing the Banning family portraits to her nephew Henry Druce Banning and also considered the disposal of her great-aunt Mrs Paterson's colonial keepsakes. She wrote to the Sydney City Library offering for sale a number of documents, which included commissions of Colonel Paterson and General Grose, letters Mrs Paterson had written from New South Wales to her uncle Captain Johnson, two plans of land grants in Sydney, and Colonel Paterson's 'remarks' on the locust of Van Diemen's Land. The letter was passed to the Public Library, which eventually acquired the documents. (35)

Miss Helen Banning died in Kensington, London, on 30 May 1912. Under her will she left 'all articles of jewelry trinkets pictures and other effects which may be specified in any list or memorandum signed by me and deposited with this my will or which may be left by me at my death' to be distributed by her executors. (36) Under this clause the executors, her nephew Henry Druce Banning and cousin Ernest Baggallay, arranged for the presentation to the Art Gallery of New South Wales of four paintings--the Owen portraits of William and Elizabeth Paterson and two scenes of early Sydney.

The portraits were painted by the renowned portraitist William Owen in 1799 just before the Patersons returned to New South Wales. It appears that they may have been left with Mrs Paterson's uncle and sister when the subjects returned to New South Wales, for the portraits were included as 'my pictures of Mrs Grose [and] Colonel Paterson' in Thomas Banning's 1833 will as a legacy to his wife Mary Banning.

The Paterson portraits remain in the Art Gallery collection, but 'copies' were acquired by Sir William Dixson and presented in 1929 to the Mitchell Library where they are now in the Dixson Galleries collection. (37) While the paintings of William Paterson are similar, the 'copy' of Mrs Paterson has a different pose and clothing. While the subject of the original portrait is bare-headed, wears a pale round-necked dress and has an oblique pose typical of the fashionable portraits of the day, the copy's subject faces the artist in a more formal pose and wears a dark square-necked dress with a lawn bodice and cowl with jewelled headband.

The other paintings bequeathed to the Art Gallery by Miss Banning in 1912 were later transferred to the Mitchell Library. They are watercolours of Sydney Cove by John William Lewin dated 1808 and reproduced many times, notably in First Views of Australia 1788-1825. (38) The paintings are shown as plates 102 and 103, and are catalogued as ML 60 and ML 50 respectively. The date of these landscapes places them after the deposition of Governor Bligh and the assumption of command by Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux, and before Colonel Paterson's arrival in Sydney from Van Diemen's Land in January 1809. The artist Lewin had accompanied Paterson on his 1801 explorations of the Hunter Valley.

Paterson's South African manuscript

The manuscript of Paterson's 1789 Narrative was located in 1956 among manuscript sermons in the strongroom of the General Conference of the New Church at Swedenborg House, Bloomsbury, London. There is no record of William Paterson in the early records of the New Church, which was founded in 1787. (39) However it was Thomas Banning rather than William Paterson who was interested in the teachings of Emmanuel Swedenborg and his followers, for he bequeathed to his son John Johnson Banning 'my folio edition of the Universal Theology by Swedenborg in the pleasing hope that he will be led by the divine mercy some time to study it and know for himself its inestimable value'.

Thomas Banning also left his son Benjamin 'my pictures of the Honorable E. Swedenborg and the Revd John Clowes also my manuscript of the Apocalypse explained'. In 1912 Helen Banning left the portrait of the Reverend John Clowes to the Swedenborg Society, a learned society and publisher with an extensive library. After the discovery of Paterson's South African manuscript in the New Church Library it was sold at Sotheby's in 1960 for 750 [pounds sterling]. This price may have influenced the Bannings to consider selling Mrs Paterson's keepsakes and to choose Sotheby's as the means of putting them on the market.

The 1963 auction

It might be thought that Miss Banning's legacies had completed the disposal of Mrs Paterson's keepsakes, but over fifty years later it emerged that other important items had been retained in the family of her nephew. Henry Druce Banning died in 1958 and his widow Mabel in 1968. (40) Between these two events, on 16 July 1963, Sotheby's auction house in London offered seven lots, 'the property of Mrs H. D. Banning':

(124.) Wales. Vale of Llangollen; and Abbey Crusis, by F. Jukes after T. Walmsley, coloured aquatints, some tears at edges, framed, 500 mm by 615 mm (two pieces)

(125.) Rome. Mausoleum of Caius Cestius; and Porta Sto Giovane, by F. Jukes after E. Edwards; and Interior of an Ancient Subterraneous Ruin in the vicinity of Otriculum, by T. Pickett after S. Fairbairn, coloured aquatints, framed, 450 mm by 580 mm (three pieces)

(126.) Australia. Near Grose Head, New South Wales, 1809, by Joseph Lycett, watercolour drawing, inscribed on the back, 275 mm by 370 mm

(127.) Australia. View of part of Hawkesbury River at 1st Fall and connection with Grose River, N.S. Wales, 1809, by Joseph Lycett, watercolour drawing, inscribed on the back, 215 mm by 378 mm

(128.) Australia. Major Johnston with Quarter Master Laycock One Serjeant and twenty-five Privates of ye New South Wales Corps defeats two hundred and sixty-six armed Rebels, 5th March 1804, watercolour drawing, folded, framed, 290 mm by 400 mm

(129.) Australia. View of Sydney Cove, New South Wales, by F. Jukes after E. Dayes, aquatint, framed, 400 mm by 610 mm

(130.) S. Africa. View of the Cape of Good Hope; and View of Muysenberg and Simons Town, by R. G. Reeve after Captn Dillon, a pair, coloured aquatints, framed (two pieces) (41)

Lots 126 to 130 would appear also to have been among Mrs Paterson's keepsakes. Annotations on the microfilmed catalogue show that lots 126 and 127 were bought by Maggs for 100 [pounds sterling] and 50 [pounds sterling] respectively, lot 128 by F. Edwards for 40 [pounds sterling], lot 129 by F. B. Daniell for 110 [pounds sterling], and lot 130 by Sawyer for 40 [pounds sterling]. Including the Roman and Welsh prints Mrs Banning's seven lots realised a total of 348 [pounds sterling].

Lots 126 and 127, dated 1809, cannot have been painted by Joseph Lycett who did not arrive in the colony until 1814. This fact was pointed out to the auctioneers by Australian art historian Rex Rienits and was announced in the sale room. Rienits bought lots 126 and 127, presumably using the well-known dealer Maggs as an agent. (42) Photographs of lots 126 and 127 are held in the small picture file in the Mitchell Library, and appear to confirm Rienits's assessment that George William Evans was a more likely artist. The current whereabouts of the originals is unknown. (43) Lot 126 shows the river that Paterson discovered and named after his commanding officer, Francis Grose. Lot 127 shows the junction of the Grose and Nepean Rivers with substantial buildings on Matthew Kearns' grant. It is possible that the pair was being taken back to England by Paterson for presentation to Grose, but if so Grose's marriage to Paterson's widow and his subsequent death returned them to her keeping. Lot 129 would seem to have been a copy of the 1804 aquatint reproduced as plate 55 in First Views, (44) while lot 130 was a reminder of Paterson's South African adventures. (45)

The most significant item in the group, however, was lot 128 depicting the 1804 Battle of Vinegar Hill. The painting was purchased by Francis Edwards, a wellknown book dealer who often acted as purchasing agent for that great collector of Australiana, Rex Nan Kivell. (46) Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1898, Nan Kivell moved to England where he became an art dealer and collector. In 1959 he sold his Australiana collection to the Australian Government for a fraction of its true value, adding subsequent acquisitions. (47) After its purchase from Sotheby's in 1963 the Vinegar Hill painting duly passed into Nan Kivell's collection in the National Library of Australia, although regrettably the Library had no information on its prior ownership. (48)

Nevertheless, despite ignorance of its origins, the painting has been treated as important historical evidence. Organisers of the 2004 bicentennial re-enactment of the Battle, staged at Rouse Hill Regional Park, placed great reliance on the painting as historical evidence: 'it is excellent in terms of depicting people and from an historian's point of view it was painted by somebody who knew the inner workings of the army and the political reaction'. (49) Another organiser said he had studied the crowded picture for so long that 'he now feels he knows every man in it personally'. (50)

The painting of the Battle shows a sequence of events rather than a snapshot of a single moment. It features speech bubbles giving the words of various participants. The caption indicates that the rebels numbered 266, and the image shows the NSW Corps arrayed on the left in two rows of twelve, firing at the rebels who are scattering and running on the right. The Windsor Road runs across the foreground, indicating that the encounter took place on the road. Rebel leader Philip Cunningham is shown twice, hatless and in light-coloured clothing: on the right he says 'Death or Liberty Major' to Major George Johnston, while on the left Quartermaster Laycock says 'Thou rebel dog' while striking Cunningham on the head with his sword, to which Cunningham replies 'Oh Jasus'.

Behind these two scenes Trooper Thomas Anlezark, mounted on a dark horse, says 'Croppy lay down' to William Johnson, another rebel leader, who replies 'We are all ruined'. In the background the Catholic priest James Dixon calls 'Lay down your arms my deluded countrymen'. In the left background among the trees a scene from several days after the rebellion depicts leaders William Johnson and Samuel Humes hanging on gibbets, which actually took place at Castle Hill and Parramatta respectively.

Apart from the historical value of its depiction of the events of 1804, the significance of the painting is that it also symbolises the 'military glory' of the New South Wales Corps. Major Johnston stated 'I never in my life saw men behave better than those under my command ... Our poor fellows do not want spirit, I only wish we cou'd have an opportunity of their shewing it on the Spanish Main.' (51) In style the Vinegar Hill painting is similar to the famous depiction of the New South Wales Corps finding Governor Bligh under a bed after his deposition in 1808, which remained in the Johnston family until 1898 when it was presented to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. (52) Both works are less than professional in their execution, but possibly exhibit an accuracy in their depictions of scenery and uniforms which is not otherwise available. The picture of Bligh was immediately publicly exhibited and acquired a propaganda value, while the Vinegar Hill picture is not known to have been similarly exploited.

The preservation of the Vinegar Hill picture among Colonel Paterson's effects means it must have been painted before his departure from New South Wales in 1810. It is not as technically proficient as the work of George William Evans, two of whose paintings were also preserved by Paterson. Nevertheless the provenance of the painting gives more solid credentials to its depiction, with the possibility that Johnston was the source of detail such as some of the words spoken, the number of rebels involved, and the location of the Battle on the Windsor Road. Given the continuing debate on the location of the Battle this evidence on the painting's date and origin assumes new significance. (53)

The similarity of naive style of the Vinegar Hill and Bligh paintings; their depictions of the two significant military engagements of the New South Wales Corps during its stay in the colony; their ownership by the two senior officers of the Corps and retention in their families for such extended periods suggest the possibility that the unidentified artist was closely associated with the Corps.

Custodians of family tradition

The memorial tablet to William Paterson, erected in Kinnettles parish church by his widow Elizabeth, bears the following inscription:
 Sacred to the memory of Colonel William Paterson, Fellow of the
 Royal Society, Member of the Asiatic and Linnaean Societies,
 Lieutenant-Colonel of the 102d Regiment, and for many years
 Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. He served thirty years in
 the Army, twenty-five of which were passed in the East Indies, and
 in New South Wales: and in fulfilling his duty to his country he
 twice circumnavigated the globe. His taste for natural history
 induced him in the earlier part of his life to travel from the Cape
 of Good Hope into the interior of Africa, into which country he
 penetrated farther than any European had ever done before him. His
 unwearied assiduity in the pursuit of science, supported in an
 unusual degree by talent and zeal, enabled him to collect and bring
 to England specimens of plants and other curiosities, till then
 unknown. He discharged with honour and fidelity the trust reposed in
 him as an officer; and his services were particularly valuable to
 New South Wales as Lieutenant-Governor of that settlement. Nor did
 he there neglect his favourite pursuit, but continued to enrich both
 public and private museums by employing his leisure hours in useful
 researches into nature. His life was not less amiable than useful,
 and his happy disposition endear'd him to his dependants, to society
 and to his friends. After a long period of ill health he attempted
 to return to his native country, but it pleased God to take him
 during the voyage. He was born in this parish on the 10th of August
 1755 and died on the 21th of June 1810. His Widow who throughout his
 voyages was never separated from him, erects this monument as a
 small tribute of that grateful remembrance and affection which so
 uninterrupted an intercourse has indelibly impressed upon her
 heart. (54)

Elizabeth Paterson's affectionate opinion of her first husband and his various life experiences seems to have coloured the views of her collateral descendants. They did not recognise the significance of the painting of the 1804 Battle of Vinegar Hill, probably because it did not have an obvious personal link with Colonel Paterson. As a result the picture was not offered to New South Wales repositories and remained in family ownership for over 150 years after its creation. A further forty-one years have passed since it came to public notice and passed into the collection of the National Library, before the history of its ownership was researched.

Determination of its provenance and origins mean that the role of this key historic image as a near-contemporary illustration of the encounter of 1804 can be more meaningfully assessed. The role of Mrs Paterson and her great-niece Helen Banning in this story is a reminder of the significance of women as keepers of family tradition and memorabilia--often overlooked because women either changed their surnames on marriage or died childless with no one to inherit their memories. While recent studies have focused on minority cultural communities, the role of women as custodians of family tradition was no less apparent in mainstream society in nineteenth-century Britain and Australia. (55

RAHS Senior Vice-President


(1) Scottish parochial registers, County of Angus.

(2) International Genealogical Index (IGI).

(3) Information on Paterson's background and African travels is from Vernon S. Forbes and John Rourke, Paterson's Cape Travels 1777 to 1779, Johannesburg, 1980, pp. 16-33.

(4) Will of William Paterson dated 8 October 1789 with codicils dated 13 August 1806 and 30 April 1810, proved 22 November 1810, Prerogative Court of Canterbury [PCC], PROB 11 / 1516/ 400, National Archives (UK), formerly Public Record Office.

(5) This is not the John Hunter who was Governor of New South Wales from 1796 to 1800.

(6) Personal communication, Daphne Hills, Zoology Department, Natural History Museum, June 2004.

(7) Personal communication, Simon Chaplin, Senior Curator, Museums of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, May 2004.

(8) Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, pp. 317-19.

(9) Paraphrase from stanza 2, 'On the late Captain Grose's Pereginations through Scotland', Robert Burns, The Works of Robert Burns, Edinburgh, 1877, vol. II, p. 233. For other Burns poems on Grose see pp. 232, 311-12.

(10) For example, T. G. Parsons, 'Courts Martial, the Savoy Military Prison and the NSW Corps', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society (JRAHS), vol. 63, pt 4, 1978, pp. 248-62; Tracey McAskill, 'An Asset to the Colony: the social and economic contribution of Corpsmen to early NSW', JRAHS, vol. 82, pt 1, 1996, pp. 40-59; John Black, '"King George commands--and we obey over the hills and far away", the New South Wales Corps 1789-1810: A Reassessment', paper given at the BASA conference, University of Stifling, 1996.

(11) Paul G. Fidlon and R.J. Ryan (eds), The Journal and Letters of Ralph Clark 1787-1792, Sydney, 1981, p. 221.

(12) This settlement was in the area now known as Pitt Town Bottoms, between the Wilberforce Reach of the Hawkesbury River and Bardenarang Creek.

(13) Grose to Dundas, 31 August 1794, in John Cobley, Sydney Cove 1793-1795, Sydney, 1983, p. 174.

(14) Brian H. Fletcher, Landed Enterprise and Penal Society: a History of Farming and Grazing in New South Wales before 1821, Sydney, 1976, pp. 27-9.

(15) Personal communication, Lynn Crothall, cataloguer, Linnean Society, August 2004.

(16) Certificate of Election EC/1798/07, Royal Society,, August 2004.

(17) Personal communication, Simon Fourmy, library assistant, Royal Asiatic Society (London), August 2004. For the history of the Asiatic Society (Calcutta) see their website http://

(18) Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, pp. 317-19; Anne-Maree Whitaker, Joseph Foveaux: Power and Patronage in Early New South Wales, Sydney, 2000, pp. 52-3.

(19) Michael Duffy, Man of Honour: John Macarthur, Sydney, 2003, pp. 194-9.

(20) Castlereagh to York, 11 October 1808, Historical Records NSW (HRNSW), vol. VI, pp. 7789; York to Castlereagh, 20 October 1808, HRNSW, vol. VI, pp. 782-3; Castlereagh to York, 14 December 1808, HRNSW, vol. VI, p. 813; Pulteney to Grose, 29 December 1808, NSW Corps out letters, Secretary at War, 1803-1810, WO 4/846, National Archives (UK), p. 55a.

(21) R.J. Ryan (ed.), Land Grants 1788-1809, Sydney, 1974, pp. 204-15, 289-301.

(22) Ellis Bent to his mother, 4 March 1810, MS 195, National Library of Australia, p. 78.

(23) Anne-Maree Whitaker (ed.), Distracted Settlement: New South Wales after Bligh from the Journal of Lieutenant James Finucane 1808-1810, Melbourne, 1998, p. 122.

(24) Will of William Paterson dated 8 October 1789 with codicils dated 13 August 1806 and 30 April 1810, proved 22 November 1810, PCC, PROB 11/1516/400, National Archives (UK).

(25) IGI.

(26) Will of Thomas Banning dated 23 August 1832, proved 28 June 1833, PCC, PROB 11/1817/ 68, National Archives (UK).

(27) John Macarthur junior to Elizabeth Macarthur, 12 April 1825, Macarthur Papers, A2911, Mitchell Library, p. 280.

(28) Will of John Johnson dated 8 July 1814, with codicil dated 20 September 1820, proved 27 July 1824, PCC, PROB 11/1688/182, National Archives (UK).

(29) Will of Elizabeth Grose dated 7 February 1839, proved 19 December 1839, PCC, PROB 11/ 1920/1159, National Archives (UK).

(30) Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses 1715-1886, Oxford, 1891, vol. 1, p. 57.

(31) Helen Lacy Banning, daughter of Benjamin and Helen, baptised 9 February 1841 at St Catherine's, Liverpool: IGI; Henry Thomas Banning, born 24 August 1844 in Wellington, Shropshire: Joseph Foster, Men at the Bar: a biographical hand-list, London, 1885, p. 22.

(32) Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, p. 57; Foster, Men at the Bar, p. 22.

(33) Will of Benjamin Banning dated 1 February 1899, proved 5 October 1899, National Archives (UK).

(34) Birthdates from 1881 census, household at 7 Colville Terrace, London, RG 11/36/45, p. 20, National Archives (UK).

(35) The Mitchell Library now holds Miss Banning's letter along with an 1804 commission to Colonel Paterson, his remarks on the locust, and Mrs Paterson's letters to her uncle at Ap 36. Grose's commissions and the land grant plans are at Ag 31, while an 1801 commission to Paterson is at MLDOC 73.

(36) Will of Helen Lacy Banning dated 18 July 1907, probate granted 27 July 1912, National Archives (UK).

(37) The copy of Colonel Paterson's portrait is at DG 175 and that of Mrs Paterson at DG 172.

(38) Tim McCormick et al., First Views of Australia 1788-1825, Sydney, 1987, pp. 138-9.

(39) Forbes and Rourke, Paterson's Cape Travels, pp. 44-5.

(40) Henry Druce Banning died on 25 May 1958: The Times, 27 May 1958, p. 1. Mabel Tempest Banning (nee Adkin), widow of Henry Druce Banning, died in Lincolnshire on 11 February 1968: The Times, 15 February 1968, p. 16.

(41) Sotheby's Catalogue of Sporting Prints, Views and other coloured prints, 16 July 1963, University Microfilms, part IV, reel 80 of 164.

(42) The book dealers Maggs Brothers are still trading in England but have not responded to requests for information about their records of the 1960s.

(43) Rex Rienits died in London on 30 April 1971: The Times, 6 May 1971, p. 18.

(44) McCormick, First Views, p. 89.

(45) Lot 130 was purchased by Charles J. Sawyer, booksellers, the same dealer who purchased the Paterson manuscript in 1960.

(46) Although the firm of Francis Edwards is still trading, regrettably their records do not go back to 1963: personal communication, Deborah Clark, manager, May 2004.

(47) Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 15, pp. 459-61.

(48) Personal communication, Sylvia Carr, Pictures Reference Librarian, National Library of Australia, April 2004. The picture's catalogue number is NK10162, Nan Kivell collection.

(49) Brett Kenworthy of Historica Pty Ltd quoted in Daily Telegraph, 4 March 2004.

(50) Stephen Gapps of Historica Pty Ltd quoted in Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 2004.

(51) George Johnston to John Piper, 12 April 1804, Piper Papers, ML A256, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, p. 329.

(52) Richard Neville, 'The Arrest of Governor Bligh: pictures and politics', Australiana, vol. 13, no 2, May 1991, pp. 38-42.

(53) Objections made to the proposal to make a permanent conservation order in respect of land in the vicinity of Windsor Road at the Second Ponds Creek as being a site associated with the Battle of Vinegar Hill, Proposed Permanent Conservation Order No 192, report by Commissioner of Inquiry for Planning and Environment Charles O'Connell, May 1982. See also Anne-Maree Whitaker, 'Report on the Site of the Battle of Vinegar Hill, 1804', report for Lend Lease Development Pty Ltd, August 2004.

(54) Forbes and Rourke, Paterson's Cape Travels, p. 29.

(55) For example, Janet Mancini Billson, Keepers of the Culture: the power of tradition in women's lives, New York, 1995; Janet Finch and Jennifer Mason, Passing On: kinship and inheritance in England, London, 2000; Carolyn Folkman Curasi, Linda L. Price and Eric J. Arnould, 'How Individuals' Cherished Possessions become Families' Inalienable Wealth', Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 31, no. 3, December 2004 (forthcoming). The phenomenon of scrapbooking, which became popular in the 1990s, is a revival of the tradition of preserving family keepsakes.
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Author:Whitaker, Anne-Maree
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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