Dalwood House‘ is a property that is nestled in Branxton in the historic Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. It is Australia’s oldest Greek style building, and is home to Australia’s ‘oldest continuous commercial vineyard’. This National Trust (NSW) property is also included in the Australian Government’s Register of the National Estate. This is a place not only with a long, long history, but also one that so many people have a connection to, and the Dalwood Restoration Association are looking for descendants of all who worked there between 1828 and 1900, more on that shortly. But first a little history.

George Wyndham (1801-1870), pioneer farmer, pastoralist and vigneron was born at Dinton House, Wiltshire, into an old and prominent English landowning family. Educated at Harrow and Cambridge with a view to taking a living in the Church (of England) held by the family, he preferred to make his own way in the world.

In 1826 he went to Canada to investigate at the possibility of acquiring land on which to settle. He travelled with John Galt, the prominent Scottish novelist and lobbyist, who had been appointed a member of the British Government’s Commission of Inquiry, to establish the price for one million acres of land to be acquired for development by the Canada Company. When Inquiry Commissioner John Galt became Secretary of the Canada Company, he founded Guelph in 1827, naming the main street Wyndham in honour of George as he expected him to be the first purchaser or land.

Following his marriage to Margaret Jay in 1827, and his refusal of a Government position, he decided to emigrate to New South Wales as the Colonial Office was offering a free grant of 640 acres (260 hectares) for every £500 ($1000) of capital, with a maximum of 2560 acres (1040 hectares).

George and Margaret arrived in Sydney on Christmas Eve 1827 on the “George Home” with several servants, cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, hounds, goods and chattels. He purchased 2080 acres (842 hectares) at Branxton in January 1828 and renamed it Dalwood after one of his father’s farms at Dinton. Construction of the house was commenced in 1829 or possibly 1828.

Dalwood House in 2017

The purchase of adjoining land, a Grant and lease at Merriwa, and the taking up of land under licence at Collyblu on the Liverpool Plains, Bukkulla and Nullamanna near Inverell and Keelgyrah on the Richmond River enabled George to expand his pastoral activities over some 200,000 acres or 1,284 square miles (80,937 hectares).

Working a property as vast as this takes hard work, but George didn’t do it alone. In fact over the years there were hundreds of convicts, indigenous people, free settlers, colonial born employees and German vine-dressers who worked there. The following is a list of 160 or so (known) convicts that were assigned to George Wyndham between 1828 and 1849.

This is a prelimiary list of convicts who worked for George Wyndham at Dalwood (Branxton), Mahngarinda (Merriwa), Colly Blu (Liverpool Plains), Bukkulla (McIntryre River), Mullamanna (McIntye River) or Keelgyrah (Richmond River).
Abrian, HenryClyde1832
Ahern, PatrickMarquis of Huntley1827
Allan, JamesClyde1837
Allen, John BrewingClyde1832
Allen, ThomasFlorentia1830
Arnold, WilliamClyde1832
Ayres, ValentineSurry1819
Bagley, FrancesBurrell1832
Bagnall, WilliamAlbion1827
Balls, ThomasRoyal George1828
Barnes, ThomasAsia1830
Beard, MichaelEliza1827
Biggins, ThomasClyde1837
Boland, AnthonyMarquis of Huntley1828
Bradford, James AlfredPrincess Royal1823
Breene, MichaelHavering1849
Brett, JaneLouisa1830
Brien, JohnMarquis of Huntley1828
Brogan, JamesMarquis of Huntley1828
Brotheridge, WilliamWaterloo1833
Brown, BridgetAsia1831
Brown, HenrySurry1834
Brown, PatrickMarquis of Huntley1828
Brown, JohnWaterloo1833
Browne, WilliamCanada1819
Byrnes, JohnHavering1849
Cannon, JamesFerguson1829
Carroll, ThomasHavering1849
Casey, JohnJohn Barry1828
Chorlton, JamesMellish1829
Coleman, JosephLarkins1829
Callinan, JohnNorfolk1832
Collins, JamesNorfolk1829
Connolly, JamesAsia1828
Connolly, JamesFerguson1829
Connor, JamesJohn Barry1821
Connors, JohnHavering1849
Copenhurst, EmmaMary Anne1839
Corcoran, jeremiahLarkins1829
Cotton, RichardJane1831
Coughlan, BernardHavering1849
Cousins, JamesFerguson1829
Coyle, CatherineHooghly1831
Croft, IsmaelNorfolk1837
Cunniff, MaryMargaret1839
Curley, EizabethHooghly1831
Curren, JohnCaste Forbes1824
Currane, MichaelHavering1849
Curtis, NicholasLord Sidmouth1820
Dacey, JamesCamden1831
Daly, BridgetMargaret1839
Dangerfield, JamesAsia1825
Davis, ObadiahMarquis of Huntley1828
Donoho, PatrickLonash1825
Dent, JohnVittoria1829
Dewsnap, ThomasAsia1828
Draper, GraceMary Anne1835
Duggan, MichaelHavering1849
Eccles, RichardLord Lyndoch1833
Errington, ThomasLord Lyndoch1838
Fearne, ThomasExmouth1831
Faugkner, PatrickBlenheim1839
Feeney, TimothyEarl St Vincent1818
Field, GeorgeMarquis of Hastings1826
Finch, JohnCaptain Cook1833
Fogarty, EdwardJava1833
Frazer, AnneBrothers1827
Gamble, JaneMary Anne1834
Gibbons, MichaelLarkins1837
Gibson, David (John Sinclair)Champion1827
Grady, JohnHavering1849
Greenwood, ThomasNithsdale1836
Hamill, JacobCambridge1827
Hawkins, WilliamHenry Porcher1835
Healy, MichaelBoyne1826
Heloise, Joseph A FLady Harewood1832
Heskins, LouisaRoslyn Castle1830
Hill, JohnLord Lyndoch1833
Hodwell, DavidNorfolk1837
Howells, MariaCompetitor1828
Hughes, ElizabethCompetitor1831
Irvine, ThomasBoyne1826
Jackson, AnneGrenada1827
Jenkins, JamesAlbion1828
Jones, George PowellSusan1836
Jones, William HenryLady Nugent1835
Keane, ThomasEliza1829
Keen, CatherineLucy Davidson1829
Kearney, JohnFerguson1829
Kenny, DanielWaterloo1831
Kent, RichardHeroine1833
Kimmerley, JamesLord Melville1829
Laddams, BenjaminCharles Kerr1836
Lawler, CavinHavering1849
Lawless, JohnWaterloo1831
Lee, HerbertClyde1832
Lloyd, IsabellaGrenada1825
Lock, JohnGuildford1824
Lunn, JohnLarkins1817
Lynch, MichaelLonach1825
McBean, JohnStrathfieldsay1836
McCarthy, PatrickHavering1849
McDonald, AnnForth1830
McGough, MichaelElizabeth1829
McInerney, JosephEliza1829
McKeon, BryanRegalia1826
McLennan, MichaelIsabella1823
McManus, JamesMinerva1818
Magee, JamesHavering1849
Magrath, James (Magraw)John Barry1821
Maher, JohnEliza1829
Malowney, PatrickLonach1828
Manning, PatrickBlenheim1834
Marron, MichaelMary Anne1819
Martin, AliceDavid Scott1834
Meredith, JohnJava1833
Meredith, RobertJava1833
Mehan, DarbyHavering1849
Moran, MichaelEliza1832
Moran, PatrickEliza1832
Moore, AnnAsia1830
Murtagh, JohnDorothy1820
Neale, WilliamCastle Forbes1824
Niblett, JohnWestmoreland1835
Nixon, JosephLloyds1837
Noonan, MichaelHavering1849
Nulty, Thomas (McNulty)Lord Sidmouth1821
O'Brien, JamesJames Pattison1830
O'Neil, JohnEliza1827
Price, HenryBaring1819
Quinlan, PatrickHavering1849
Quint, JohnEliza1829
Rafferty, JamesHercules1830
Redmond, JamesCalcutta1837
Reeves, EstherBuffalo1834
Robertson, EdwardLakins1829
Robinson, JohnClyde1832
Rostram, WilliamWaterloo1838
Rourke, FrancisCalcutta1837
Russell, WilliamAsia1832
Ryan, WilliamHavering1849
Simpson, AnnPrincess Royal1829
Slater, RogerAsia1833
Smyth, BridgetPyramus1836
Stacey, JohnEmma Eugenia1838
Stanley, IsraelCountess of Harcourt1823
Sullivan, MichaelCastle Forbes1824
Sullivan, OwenBorodino1828
Sweeney, EugeneCastle Forbes1824
Syas, AnneBurrell1832
Tench, WilliamBorodino1828
Timson, EllenLucy Davidson1829
Tithers, CharlottePrincess Royal1829
Tobin, NicholasJava1833
Unwin, FrancisAlbion1837
Ware, JamesKatherine Stewart Fowler1830
Wells, HenryRecovery1836
White, WilliamHercules1825
Wright, ElizabethNuma1834
Wright, JohnNithsdale1830

Are you descended from any of these convicts?
Or anyone else that you know who worked at Dalwood
during the period 1828-1900?

If so, the Dalwood Restoration Association would love to not only invite you to their Descendants Day at Dalwood on 7 September 2019 at the Dalwood Estate Cellars at Branxton, NSW, but they would also love to hear from you, as their ultimate goal is to find out more about the lives of the convicts (and others) who worked there. Including what happened after their assignment at the Wyndham’s was over?

If you’d like more information about the Descendants’ Day, or can provide information relating to the convicts or other workers, please send an email secretary@dalwood.org.au. To download the list of convicts CLICK HERE.