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On-site Biographies

BRACEGIRDLE, Frederick by Julie Tadman

GILLETT, Henry by Steve Wainwright

LANDRIGAN, Thomas by Lorraine Collier

WEATHERSTONE, Samuel George by David Christian

Off-site Biographies

Life histories and biographical annotations across the web.

BAKER, John
Pioneer Gardener and patriarch of an extended family of Clarence settlers.

CARR, Abraham
Biography of Abraham CARR and his wife Maria BURDETT; founders of a large family in the Clarence River area.

RANKIN, William Edmund
Life as an impoverished child in the Clarence River area, mid-19th century.

Official Biographies

Life histories and biographical annotations as per formal publication.

ALLAN, Catherine Mabel Joyce (1896-1966)
The first woman to be elected a fellow (1943) of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Allan succeeded Iredale in 1944 and on 1 February 1949 was appointed curator (of shells, later molluscs). She attended meetings of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, the Pacific Science Congress in New Zealand (1949) and the International Congress of Zoology in Copenhagen (1953). Her most notable collecting trips were to Lord Howe Island and to the mouth of the Clarence River in northern New South Wales where opisthobranch molluscs abounded.
D. F. McMichael, 'Allan, Catherine Mabel Joyce (1896 - 1966)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, Melbourne University Press, 1993, pp 25-26.

BARRETT, James Noel (1903-1958)
On 6 July 1958 he drove his truck into the Clarence River at Grafton and drowned; the coroner returned a verdict of suicide. Survived by his wife, two daughters and three of his sons, Barrett was cremated; his estate was sworn for probate at £72,817.
G. P. Walsh, 'Barrett, James Noel (1903 - 1958)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, Melbourne University Press, 1993, pp 120-121.

BRUXNER, Sir Michael Frederick (1882-1970)
Born on 25 March 1882 at Sandilands, Tabulum, New South Wales, second son of English-born Charles Augustus Bruxner, a pioneering grazier on the Clarence River, and his wife Sarah, daughter of Henry Barnes of Dyraaba.
Don Aitkin, 'Bruxner, Sir Michael Frederick (1882 - 1970)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, Melbourne University Press, 1979, pp 468-469.

COHEN, John Jacob (1859-1939)
Architect, politician and judge; born on 20 December 1859 at Grafton, New South Wales, third son of London-born parents Samuel Cohen, storekeeper and pioneer in the Clarence River district, and his wife Rosetta, née Menser.
H. T. E. Holt, 'Cohen, John Jacob (1859 - 1939)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, Melbourne University Press, 1981, pp 55-56.

COODE, Sir John (1816-1892)
In 1885 Coode revisited Australia and examined harbours and river mouths from Fremantle round the southern and eastern coasts to the Gulf of Carpentaria. He reported from London in 1887-88 to the New South Wales government on the Clarence River, where he recommended the building of two moles or piers to act as breakwaters and training banks and the removal of the rocky reef across the entrance to provide a fixed navigable entrance and reduce damage from floods and tides.
D. R. Crawford, 'Coode, Sir John (1816 - 1892)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 447-448.

CRAIG, Richard: The Biography of Richard Craig (UNE Heritage Centre)
Biographical article on Richard Craig from the time he arrived in NSW when a boy in 1821 until his death in 1855, written by his great-granddaughter, Kathleen Simpson, 1965. Craig's name is associated with the early history of the Clarence River district, particularly in respect to his exploratory expeditions and skill as a drover and bush guide. TS., 22 pages.
University of New England and Regional Archives (assn. no. A335)

DOBIE, John (1794-1866)
Lead an expedition into the unsettled Clarence River valley, where he took up Ramornie station in June 1840, Stratheden station in the Richmond River valley in 1842, and exchanged Ramornie for Gordon Brook station in 1845. He was a magistrate of the territory in 1840, and was listed among the 'Largest Occupiers of Crown Lands and Largest Holders of Stock' in 1844. He contributed greatly to the early development of the Clarence squatting district.
Louise T. Daley, 'Dobie, John (1794-1866)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, Melbourne University Press, 1966, pp 310-311.

FORSTER, William (1818-1882)
He went on one of the first overland expeditions to Port Philip and from 1839 took up depasturing licences and leases and bought land. By 1840 he had a station near Port Macquarie and other property in the Clarence River district. In 1848 he moved into the New England district and in 1849-54 pioneered the Burnett and Wide Bay regions in the Moreton Bay District where he amassed runs of about 64,000 acres (25,900 ha).
Bede Nairn, 'Forster, William (1818 - 1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, Melbourne University Press, 1972, pp 199-201.

GROSE, Joseph Hickey (c.1788-1849)
He became interested in the development of the Clarence River valley, sending 8000 sheep to his station there in 1839.
Louise T. Daley, 'Grose, Joseph Hickey (1788? - 1849)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, Melbourne University Press, 1966, p. 490.

HOOD, Sir Alexander Jarvie (1860-1934)
Registering on 16 June 1884, Hood took the advice of Samuel Macnaughton and began practice at Rockymouth (Maclean) on the Clarence River. He served gratuitously as medical officer of the Lower Clarence Hospital from 1887, and next year was appointed government medical officer for the district.
Ann M. Mitchell, 'Hood, Sir Alexander Jarvie (1860 - 1934)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, Melbourne University Press, 1983, p. 358.

IRVING, Clark (1808-1865)
Convinced that the Clarence River provided the best seaport for Armidale and New England, he obtained a government grant of £20,000 to improve navigation on the river, and secured additional grants for roads, a gold escort, a telegraph line and other benefits. He invested heavily in the Grafton Steam Navigation Co. and in 1860 became managing director when it was renamed the Clarence and Richmond Rivers Steam Navigation Co. In 1859 he had founded the first newspaper at Grafton, the Clarence & Richmond Examiner. A justice of the peace, he was active in most local organizations.
Louise T. Daley, 'Irving, Clark (1808-1865)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, Melbourne University Press, 1972, p. 462.

KOPSEN, William (1847-1930)
After working as a cook and shepherd on sheep-stations near Bathurst, he went next year to the Clarence River where he bought a small boat and traded.
B. Dale, 'Kopsen, William (1847 - 1930)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, Melbourne University Press, 1983, pp 634-635.

MANNING, Edye (1807-1889)
Leaving the Hunter River trade to the steamship company formed there in 1839, he bought the old paddle-steamer William the Fourth from J. H. Grose, built the Phoenix around the engines of the old Sophia Jane, the first steamer imported from England, and started to trade with south coast ports and the Clarence River, where he bought Ramornie station in 1845.
Louise T. Daley, 'Manning, Edye (1807 - 1889)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press, 1967, p. 202.

MESTON, Archibald (1851-1924)
In the Saldhana he went with his parents to Sydney in 1859 and lived at Ulmarra on the Clarence River where his father taught him the rudiments of farming. At 19 he spent six months in Queensland rambling through the country districts; he returned to New South Wales and at Sydney married Margaret Frances Prowse Shaw. They went to the Clarence River district and in 1874 to Queensland where he managed the Pearlwell plantation of Dr Waugh on the Brisbane River.
S. E. Stephens, 'Meston, Archibald (1851 - 1924)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, Melbourne University Press, 1974, pp 243-244.

MICHAEL, James Lionel (1824-1868)
Bankrupt in 1858 Michael transferred his legal practice to Grafton in October 1861. He became a member of the committee and secretary of the local School of Arts. The only lawyer in the district, he had a busy practice but found time to contribute leading articles, poems, essays and practical advice to farmers in the Clarence & Richmond Examiner.
T. T. Reed, 'Michael, James Lionel (1824 - 1868)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, Melbourne University Press, 1974, pp 244-245.

OGILVIE, Edward David Stewart (1814-1896)
In 1840, after the ex-convict Richard Craig had refused to let them join Dr John Dobie's party which he was guiding to the Clarence, Edward pushed on with his brother Frederick and an Aboriginal and reached the Clarence at Tabulum ahead of Craig.
Martha Rutledge, 'Ogilvie, Edward David Stewart (1814 - 1896)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, Melbourne University Press, 1974, pp 358-359.

ROUS, Henry John (1795-1877)
On 14 August he left in the Rainbow to explore the northern rivers of New South Wales. Prevented by heavy surf from entering the undiscovered Clarence River he charted the Tweed River which he named the Clarence, unaware that it had been discovered and named in 1823 by John Oxley.
Louise T. Daley, 'Rous, Henry John (1795 - 1877)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press, 1967, p. 400.

SEARLE, Henry Ernest (1866-1889)
Born on 14 July 1866 at Grafton, New South Wales, son of Henry Samuel Searle, bootmaker, and his wife Mary Ann, née Brooks. The family later moved to Esk Island, lower Clarence River, where they farmed at subsistence level.
Scott Bennett, 'Searle, Henry Ernest (1866 - 1889)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp 99-100.

SEE, Sir John (1845-1907)
In May 1862 with his elder brother David he began farming at Southgate on the Clarence River, but after disastrous floods in 1863 and 1864 he set up as a produce merchant and commission agent with George Nipper in Sydney
Keith Henry, 'See, Sir John (1845 - 1907)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, Melbourne University Press, 1988, pp 560-562.

TINDAL, Charles Grant (1823-1914)
By September 1850 when his brother Frederick Colquhoun (1829-1855) joined him, Tindal had leased Koreelah station near the headwaters of the Clarence. They worked hard and prospered. In September 1852 he bought Ramornie at Copmanhurst which was to be the headquarters of his Australian enterprises.
G. T. Stilwell, 'Tindal, Charles Grant (1823 - 1914)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp 277-2787.

VARLEY, George Henry Gisborne (1852-1936)
His championing of dairy farmers aided the establishment of the Grafton Dairy Co. Ltd, of which he was chairman. Varley persuaded the New South Wales Fresh Food & Ice Co. Ltd to operate on the Clarence, with strategically located creameries. A leading member of the Clarence River Railway Construction and Harbour Improvement League, he lobbied hard but unsuccessfully for the Clarence-New England connexion, then turned his attention to the construction of the coastal line.
John Atchison, 'Varley, George Henry Gisborne (1852 - 1936)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp 311-312.

YABSLEY, William (1812-1880)
To escape from the Sydney police Yabsley sailed in the John for the Clarence River in search of a job as cedar-getter or shipwright. When his wife joined him in 1840 he started to build his first ship, the Providence, but sold it before he moved with his bullocks to the Richmond River in 1843.
Louise T. Daley, 'Yabsley, William (1812 - 1880)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, p. 448.

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