Lucy Goodwin and William Bunster
Lucinda Goodwin was born on 18 March 1798 on Norfolk Island, and baptised there on 18 April 1802.1 Lucy, as she was known throughout her life, was about nine years old when the Goodwin family was removed to Van Diemen's Land in 1807. The family was located on land across the Derwent River at Droughty Point soon after their arrival, but it seems Lucy’s parents sold the land early on, and were apparently living in Hobart Town by 1809, when Lucy’s youngest brother
Five years after Andrew’s birth, on January 10 1814, H.M. Colonial brig Kangaroo arrived in Sydney from England, under the command of Captain Charles Jeffreys, with a young ship's officer, William Bunster, serving on board.3 William's background was poles apart from Lucy’s: born to Jane Winckworth and Humphrey Bunster, his father came from a long line of master mariners, and his mother reputedly descended from British royalty. 4 William was born on March 7, 1791,5 and it's assumed that he was born in Mylor, Cornwall, in England, since he was baptised there, in the Church of England on February 17 1795. 6 William was the youngest of Jane and Humphrey Bunster’s five children, born between 1782 and 1791. In birth order, William’s siblings were Ann, Elizabeth, Humphrey, and Grosvenor, and all of them were to play some part in the lives of Lucy and William’s daughters in the future.
It would seem that William followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, and oldest brother, all named Humphrey, as well as his brother Grosvenor, when he too became a master mariner, since he’d arrived in Port Jackson as a ship's officer. William was not the family's first arrival in New South Wales - his sister Elizabeth, by then married to Ellis Bent, the newly appointed Judge Advocate, had arrived a little over four years earlier in late 1809, on board the Hindostan in the entourage of Governor and Mrs. Macquarie. The Bents' infant son, Ellis Henry, came to the colony with them, and by the time William arrived, they had added a further two children to their family, Robert, born in 1810, and Eliza Winckworth, born in 1812.
At first close friends with the Macquaries, who wrote in 1811 that he was "quite delighted...all in all with him,"7 Ellis Bent had begun to distance himself from the governor during 1813, over the independence of the judiciary. By the time William arrived, his sister Eliza, now expecting her fourth child, was in a difficult position. The Bents were still highly regarded among the colony's "exclusives" and the military, but Eliza was in no position to help William with the sorts of favours he may have won from the governor before their falling out. William was on the outer when it came to land grants and such, but, on the other hand, was already associated with the "exclusives" and their monopoly of trade and shipping within days of his arrival in the colony.
After catching up with the Bents, and meeting their associates, William was paid out by Charles Jeffreys at the beginning of April 1814,8 after a "tedious passage", according to Charles Jeffreys, whose letter of explanation to Governor Macquarie, for the delays he encountered, was to be the first of a long litany of excuses:
H.M. Kangaroo, Sydney Cove, 10 Jany 1814.
I have the honor to inform you that His Majesty’s Brig under my command has just arrived at this port after a tedious passage of seven months and eight days from Portsmouth, having met with calms, heavy gales etc.
I beg leave to send you an account of our stoppages during the above voyage, and also my reasons for so doing.
At Madiera, from the 21st June to 3rd July, in consequence of H.M.S. Inconstant, unders whose orders I was, going there.
At Rio de Janiero, from 20th August to 20th September, put in for refreshments and to get the brig calked in every part of her upperworks, they having proved leaky in consequence of her having been built of green wood.
At the Cape of Good Hope, from 3rd. to 13th. November, for filling water, and getting refreshments, which the women passengers stood in great need of, and to refit our rigging which had been stranded and carried away in several parts owing to the heavy gales of wind met with during the 45 days passage to that place.
I have the happiness to add that we only met with only two deaths, both children not 18 months old.
And also that His Majesty’s brig will be perferctly ready for sea in a few days to perform any service you may think proper, provided it will not exceed three months,
I have &c.,
C. Jefferys, Lieut. and Comm’r.9
This letter failed to reveal the astonishing expenses Jeffreys ran up whilst in Rio - he paid a of £100 for the house he and his wife stayed in between 20 August and 20 September, and a "mere" £20 16s. 0d to accommodate his passengers and crew whilst on shore. William Bunster was paid £41 5 3 for his employ on the Kangaroo - once more, an extremely high salary for a crew-member. The pertinent sections of Jeffrey's account follow:
An account of bills drawn from the public service between 11th February 1813 and 10th February 1814 on HM brig Kangaroo
Payment for a house in Rio: £100. 20th August – 20th September 1813
Hiring of a house & an island for landing the passengers in Rio: £20 16s. 0d. - 20th August to 20th September 1813.
March 13 1814 – Pay due to Mr. Bunster: £41 5 3.10
Almost as soon as he was paid out, William was promoted to the position of ships captain and given his first command, the brig Spring. The Spring had arrived in Sydney from England in early March, 1814, 11and was purchased by the wealthy and contentious “progressive”, Edward Lord,12 significally considered by Governor Macquarie "a dangerous and troublesome man",13 soon after. Now with the title Captain, William’s first Australian voyage was reported in the Sydney Gazette of April 2 1814 thus:
SHIP NEWS. - Yesterday sailed the brig Spring, Captain Bunster, for Hobart Town.
William arrived in Hobart Town for the first time on April 24 1814, as later reported in the Sydney Gazette of June 4, 1814:
The Van Dieman's Land Gazette informs us of the following arrivals at Hobart Town from hence; viz. April 24, brig Spring, Captain Bunster; …14
This was the beginning of William’s life-long association with Van Diemen’s Land. William’s links to the Bents, Edward Lord, and Charles Jeffrey were to give him a swift entrée into the colony’s elite - the governor, Thomas Davey, the colony’s civil and military officers, as well as visiting and resident ships officers. Tom Davey, whose stay in Sydney prior taking up his post in 1813 gave Governor Macquarie full opportunity of observing an extraordinary degree of frivolity and low buffoonery in his Manners. 15 was to guarantee that William’s next years were a whirl of social activity.
These were interspersed with voyages on the Spring to destinations as far apart as Macquarie Island, Kangaroo Island and Sydney. William also attended to his own mercantile interests, trading his own goods as well as Lord’s between Sydney, Port Dalrymple and his new home base, Hobart Town, where he also set up his own store. Captain of the Spring over the next two years, he then took command of another of Edward Lord’s ships, the brig Jupiter, in its stead.
William was soon to add the Reverend Robert Knopwood to his friends, and “Capt. Bunster” crops up repeatedly through his diary. He first mentioned William on May 18, 1814, when he wrote The Spring, Capt. Bunster saild for Pt. Dalrymple. William’s return on May 22, was also recorded:
This morn a signal was made on Mount Nelson that two ships were seen off the heads and standing in for the river….At 5 anchored in the bay the Spring, Capt. Bunker [sic] 16
Apparently William left soon after for Sydney, as Derwent Potatoes of an excellent Quality, imported in the Brig Spring. were on sale there in early July, 1814.17 William’s presence in Sydney at this time was confirmed later, when he solicited freight and passengers in the following announcement in the Sydney Gazette at the end of July, 1814:
THE Brig Spring, Captain Bunster, will sail for the Derwent in a few Days. For freight or Passage apply on board.18
Whether by design or coincidence, William happened to be in Sydney when his brother-in-law’s older brother Jeffery Bent made his entry into Sydney Town on July 28, 1814. Governor Macquarie, had earlier been informed by Ellis Bent, Eliza Bunster’s husband, that his older brother Jeffery was 'a man of considerable eminence as a lawyer, of good sense and conciliatory manners'. Macquarie thought that he would be 'a great acquisition to the Colony' if he were appointed a puisne judge in the proposed supreme court, Ellis being made chief justice of the same…. He reached Sydney Cove on 28 July 1814, having, after leaving England, expressed to Bathurst in sharp terms his disappointment at not receiving a knighthood to emphasize his status. He refused to land and proceed to Government House unless greeted with a formal salute. Macquarie authorized the appropriate gunfire, …19
As Macquarie hadn't organised a gun salute for Jeffery Bent before his arrival, it was announced two days afterwards in the next issued of the Sydney Gazette, and it's amusing to visualize the military scurrying about in an attempt to muster the guns and officers needed, while the petulant Jeffery Bent cooled his heels on deck as he waited for his demands to be gratified.
GOVERNMENT and GENERAL ORDERS.
Head Quarters, Sydney,
Thursday, 28th July, 1814.
JEOFFREY H. BENT, Esq. Judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature recently established for the Territory of New South Wales, being arrived from England on board the Ship Broxbornebury, now at Anchor in Sydney Cove, He is to be saluted with 13 Guns from Dawe's Battery, on his Landing this Forenoon from that Ship.
By Command of His Excellency The Governor.
H. C. Antill, Major of Brigade.20
The thirteen cannons fired at Jeffery Bent’s behest signalled not only the beginning of his tenure in the colony, but the end for the newly reunited Bent brothers. Ellis, who was by this time an extremely ill young man, appears to have surrendered to Jeffery’s domineering and autocratic ways, which were directly opposed to Macquarie’s vision for the future of the colony. Macquarie believed that emancipated convicts should be given positions suited to their talents: Jeffery Bent refused point to serve in the courts with those emancipists Macquarie had already appointed, and with whom his younger brother had previously worked quite amenably. A little over a year after Jeffery’s arrival, Macquarie, by now at his wit’s end, had secured permission from England to dismiss both men. 21
What William Bunster made of all of this is not known: he would have been on the wharf awaiting Jeffery Bent's arrival with his sister and her husband to witness the whole sorry affair, and he probably stayed with Ellis and Eliza whilst he remained there. But what Jeffery and Ellis made of William’s colleague and friend, Edward Lord, married to a former convict, seems abundantly clear. It may not be coincidental that William seems to have begun his relationship with Lucy Goodwin, daughter of two convicts, after Ellis Bent had died, and after Jeffery and Eliza Bent and her children left for England.
William didn’t stay much longer in Sydney after Jeffery Bent’s thirteen gun salute, and the Rev. Knopwood noted his return to Van Diemen’s Land on September 6 1814 thus:
Signal for a ship. At 12 anchored in the bay the Spring, Capt. Bunster from Sydney. 22
Ten days later, September 16 1814, Charles Jeffreys came in to port on the Kangaroo carrying female Irish prisoners. 23
William's prompt return from Sydney, coupled with Charles Jeffrey's protracted one from the same port, incurred the wrath of Governor Macquarie. a long series of letters were sent back and forth between the governor's secretary and the recalcitrant Jeffreys in February 1815, and over the next few years in relation to similar delays.
The Kangaroo being a fine sailing vessel ..His Excellency [Gov. Macquarie] is much at a loss to know how it should so happen that she did not make the passage from hence to the Derwent for the space of ten days after the private merchant vessel brig, called the Spring, which did not sail from hence until three days after her, making a difference of thirteen days from hence to the Derwent.24
This time Charles Jeffreys lay the blame for the length of his journey on the Kangaroo's poor sailing qualities, which failed to impress Governor Macquarie in the least, as it turned out. Jeffreys became notorious for his lengthy voyages, and for his absurd excuses. In fact, he was pandering to his wife's whims, and picnicking ashore at any bay or beach that took her fancy!
In reply to your observations that the Kangaroo is a fast sailing vessel, I beg to observe that he is misinformed.. At 1.49 p.m. August 29  I saw a sail nearly right astern: she was then so far off as to appear a mere speck on the horizon; by 4 she had gained considerably on us; I then perceived her to be the brig Spring with considerably less sail than we had; by 10 o’clock she was at the same parrallel of latitude as ourselves, and about two or three miles distant; after seeing this it is impossible any nautical man can say the Kangaroo even sails tolerable, and this I suppose must be the reason for her arriving at that port before us….25
Back in Hobart Town away from all the acrimony his comparatively good sailing record had caused Charles Jeffreys, William found ample time to relax with his friends and colleagues: on September 8 1814 the parson noted that Capt. Bunster of the Spring calld on me. We dind with Mr. & Mrs. Birch. Ten days later, Knopwood performed Divine Service, then Capt. Bunster and self dind with Mr. & Mrs. Lord. On September 27, he wrote of another dinner with William, at another house: Mr. Bate, Capt. Mackneelance, 26 Capt. Bunster calld upon me. At 4 Capt. Bunster, Mr. Ayers, Mr. Kent and self with Mr. Mitchell dind with Capt. Mackneelance at his new house.
There was no let-up the next month: on October 5 1814, Knopwood wrote: At 5 the following company dind with me, Mr. & Mrs. Hogan and Miss Barrey:- The Lt.Govnr, Mrs. And Miss Davey, Mr. & Mrs. Williams, Mr. & Mrs. Gordon, Mr. & Mrs. Lord, Capt. & Mrs. Jeffreys of the Kangarro, Mr. & Mrs. Evens, Capt. Clark, Lt. Cox, Sur. Bush of the 46., Lt. Lasells, Mr. Gunning, Capt. Bunster and self.
More balls and parties continued, with a ball and supper on October 6 on Charles Jeffery’s Kangaroo, and a dinner in a grand tent with a ball and supper afterwards, given by Mr. and Mrs. Collins two days later. Not to be outdone, a great dinner, ball and supper was given by Mr. & Mrs. Lord to all the ladies and gents in the colony. Knopwood observed that the company stayd very late, and deemed it the greatest dinner given in the colony. 27
This whirl of social activities came to an abrupt halt for William on 8 October, 1814, when he left for Macquarie Island on the Spring, most probably to collect a cargo of seal skins and oil. He was back by early December, and once again attending a dinner with the Reverend Knopwood on the 15th of the month, as the parson noted in his diary that At 5 the govnr., Lt. Cox, Mr. Bush, Lassells, Mr. Lord, Gordon, Collins, Hogan, Mr. Bunster and self dind. With Capt. Clark and Lt. Carne, 46, from Pt. Dalrymple.
Nothing more is known of William’s activities until March of the following year, when a third-hand report appeared in the Sydney Gazette of March 4 1815, describing the unhappy outcome of a voyage the Spring had taken to Macquarie Island:
The Spring brig, Capt. Bunster, as reported to the Commander of the Betsey on his way to Macquarie Island, by Capt. Feen of the Wm. & Ann sloop of Hobart Town, had sailed from the Derwent for the above island, but whether for seal or oil the account does not state. - Another account of this vessel adds, however, that she had encountered severe gales, and was under the necessity of returning to the Derwent, with some damage. The Cumberland colonial schooner is at Macquarie Island, procuring elephant oil.28
After repairing the Spring in Hobart Town, William apparently left for Bass Strait, and the sealing grounds there, as Robert Knopwood’s diary of March 28 1815 recorded that The Spring, E. Lords, Esqr. Vessell arrived from the streights., and the Sydney newspaper recorded in early May that The Spring, Capt. Bunster, had arrived [in Hobart] with 40 tons of salt and 6000 seal and kangaroo skins.29
Between March and August, William stayed in Hobart Town, once more dining with his friends in mid-April at Knopwood’s residence, Cottage Green, on 20 April 1815: I dind with Mr. Lord and Capt. Bunster and Murray of the Eliza. On July 10, 1815, Capt. Bunster of the Spring gave a dinner at Maum’s to some of the officers.
William James Maum was an Irish political prisoner, who arrived in New South Wales in the Minerva in January 1800. He and Governor Philip Gidley King were bitter enemies and when Maum made allegations against the governor's honesty King had him removed to Norfolk Island. From Norfolk Island Maum sought in 1806 to return to Port Jackson as a schoolmaster; he was not allowed to go to Sydney, but was sent to Van Diemen's Land in the Porpoise, arriving on 17 January 1808. He was government store-keeper there from 1814 until September 1816, when he was dismissed after becoming involved in the embezzlements in the commissariat. A year later he was farming at Clarence Plains, where he died in 1850. 30 Since William Bunster was yet to apply for an allotment of land in Hobart Town, it seems he was either renting accommodation from, or boarding with, William Maum.
Interestingly, William Maum was also linked to the Goodwins - as noted above, he’d been sent to Van Diemen’s Land in late 1807 on the Porpoise, along with Lucy Goodwin and her family. 31 Moreover, William Maum was the Goodwin familys' neighbour on Droughty Point, so Lucy knew him long before William.32
Knopwood didn’t attend William’s dinner at Maums: he was invited but declined going. Stayd at home. Knopwood’s health took a turn for the worse days later, so perhaps he declined going for this reason. Within five days, Knopwood was Very unwell, and Mr. Lord, Capt. Clark, Capt. Bunster calld on him that afternoon. The illness that was to plague Knopwood intermittently for the rest of his life laid him low for months during the latter part of the year, and his sick-bed was visited by a constant stream of concerned friends. Mrs. Gunning and Capt. Bunster calld in the aft. on July 26, 1815, before departing for Brown’s River on a voyage to Sydney on August 17, when the Spring dropd down to Brown’s River,…for potatoes. Brown’s River is now Blackman’s Bay The brig Spring was laying there the next day, and on the nineteenth she sailed for New South Wales in company with the Emu:
Saild H.M. brig Emu for Sydney…the Spring, brig, Capt. Bunster likewise to the same place, E. Lord esqr., Capt. Richardson, Mr. Hobbs, passengers. 33
The brig Spring, Captain Bunster, with 1200 bushels of wheat arrived in Sydney on September 30, 1815, the Emu having berthed a day earlier. 34 William remained in Sydney for a little more than a fortnight, during which time it's probable that he stayed with his sister and brother-in-law Eliza and Ellis Bent, and their four children, who now included the baby Ellen, born the previous year. Ellis was extremely ill by this time - The rheumatism and pleurisy which had afflicted [him] on the voyage out recurred; he developed 'dropsy of the chest' and admitted that he did not 'stand well on [his] pins'. 35
By default, William would have caught up with Jeffery Bent, as he had lived with his brother and his family from the start, having refused the accommodation originally offered him as inadequate. Relations between Macquarie and the Bent brothers had reached the point of no return, and the governor had written to England in January 1816, a mere six months after Jeffery’s arrival in the colony, to request their removal from the Bench.36 Though Macquarie was yet to receive a reply to his request, tensions would have been high in the Bent household when William visited, and perhaps he felt a sense of relief when he left Sydney for Hobart Town on September 18, 1815, once again in company with the Emu:
SHIP NEWS - On Tuesday [18th] last sailed for Hobart Town His Majesty's colonial brig Emu; and the brig Spring, Captain Bunster: the former having on board a detachment of the 48th Regt. under the command of Capt. Nairn, to relieve the settlement at present stationed at that Settlement. 37
William’s passengers also included Edward Lord, Mr. and Mrs. Timms, Richard Lewis, and Mrs. Maria Serjeant, all prominent in the island’s affairs. 38 Knopwood reported William’s arrival on September 25 1815, writing that At 3 p.m. a signal was made on Mount Nelson for two brigs being in sight. The same eve we were informed they were H.M. brig Emu and the Spring. Mr. E. Lord esqr. came up. 39
The next day, October 6 1815, Knopwood recorded that he had dined with William, Thomas Daveys, and other close friends at Gunnings, the for the colony: Dind. With Mr & Mrs Whitehead, the Lt. Govnr, Capt. Blyth, Capt. Bunster, Mr. Lassells, Mr. Humphrey at Mr. Gunnings. 40
Amost a month later, on November 1 1815, William left Hobart Town on the brig Spring to Pt. Dalrymple with goods for E. Lord Esqr. 41 He was still at Port Dalrymple three weeks later, on November 21, acording to the commander of the Emu, who had returned to Sydney from that settlement in early December. 42
While William was in the north of the island, his brother-in-law died, and, despite Ellis and his brother’s recent falling out with their commander-in-chief, Ellis was accorded full honours by a magnanimous Governor Macquarie:
GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS.
Government House, Windsor,
Saturday 11th November, 1815
THE GOVERNOR having this Morning learned, by Express from Sydney, the much lamented Death of Mr. JUDGE ADVOCATE BENT, which look place at his House there during the last Night; and being also informed that his Funeral is to take place at the Hour of Nine o'Clock on Monday Morning next, His EXCELLENCY hereby notifies, his Intention of personally attending on that solemn Occasion, in order to mark His sincere Regret for the Event, and His high Sense of the severe Loss sustained by the Colony at lange in the Decease of a Gentleman who has for nearly Six Years presided in its Law Courts, with equal Honour to himself and Advantage to the Public.
The GOVERNOR requests that all the Officers, Civil and Military, within the Colony, will attend the Remains of Mr. BENT to the Burial Ground, at the appointed hour of Nine o'Clock on Monday Morning.
By Command of His Excellency,
J.T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.43
More information on William’s movements between late 1815 and 1817 to come…
When she was nineteen years old, Lucy Goodwin gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth, on 1 July 1817, but the infant died seven days later on 8 July 1817. 44 Elizabeth was not only Lucy’s first child, but also the first child of nine eventually born to William Bunster. Though William wasn't recorded as Elizabeth’s father on her baptism and burial records, the reason for this omission is known - the Reverend Robert Knopwood only recorded the mother’s name on a child’s baptism certificate when a child was born out of wedlock. 45
It seems Elizabeth took her name from both Lucy and William’s sisters, as well as William’s cousin Elizabeth Bunster, who married his brother Grosvenor in the year Elizabeth was born, thus becoming his sister-in-law as well. 46 Grosvenor and Elizabeth Bunster named one of their daughters Elizabeth too: she was born in 1824 in Fetter Street, London, where they, and also Lucy and William were living at the time.47
Unfortunately for Lucy, William was not in Hobart Town to see his first child before she was interred: he had arrived in Sydney on his new ship, the Jupiter, just two days before she was born, carrying a cargo of “several thousand bushels of wheat” from Port Dalrymple. 48 He’d left Hobart Town on May 18 49 to sail for Port Jackson via Port Dalrymple early in the ensuing week.50 William finally returned to Hobart Town in the Jupiter on August 23 1817,51 over a month after baby Elizabeth was buried.
As so often happened at sea, William’s voyage home from Sydney was not a case of plain sailing. He left Sydney on the Jupiter on August 7, 1817, with seventy prisoners from the Chapman on board, as well as their military guard, and a small number of passengers.52 The Chapman had arrived in Sydney from Ireland on July 26 1817, after a mutiny had taken place on board, as reported in the Sydney newspaper upon her arrival:
The complement of prisoners received on board the Chapman was nearly 200, seven of whom we have unhappily to deplore were killed in a daring mutiny, and a number of others wounded. The attempt was made to take the ship, and what is still more terrible to relate, the mutineers were joined by several of the ship's company; who, with the ringleaders, have been kept in confinement ever since.53
Unhappily for the seventy Chapman prisoners transferred to William’s ship, even more trials were soon to come their way, as this account in Sydney Gazette so vividly reported:
The brig Jupiter, Captain Bunster, onboard which vessel Lieut. Johnstone, R N. had embarked as a passenger, left the Heads on Thursday morning last [7 August 1817] for Hobart Town, having on board 70 of the prisoners landed from the Chapman, to be conveyed to that Settlement; but returned to port last evening, owing to severe damage by lightning during the heavy thunder storm on Thursday evening, by which one of the prisoners, named George Mullins, was killed, and several others were much scorched. The lightning struck the vessel twice within ten minutes. It was ahout half past five, the evening very dark, the thunder awful, the lightning excessively vivid, and accompanied with torrents of rain, when the first stroke was received, by which her main-top gallant-mast was shivered, and set on fire. Nothing was visible but the sparks it threw out, and had it not been for the heavy rain, it is impossible to calculate upon the extent of the danger to have been apprehended. The mast was cut away with all possible expedition, and on examination was found to be burnt within to charcoal, the sail being also scorched throughout, and rendered useless. The electric fluid descending by the mast, killed the unfortunate man above named, and produced so dreadful a concussion between decks, accompanied with a report similar to the explosion of a cannon, that it threw the whole of the prisoners into so dreadful a state of alarm, or rather of consternation and panic, that giving aloose to the horrors they had before experienced, some prayed they might not be shot; others in the violence of agitation begged to know why they were to be shot, and all passionately begged that their lives might be spared. It was some time before they could be convinced of the true cause of the disaster; and it was no less wonderful, than merciful in an Almighty Providence, that the fluid should change its direction, or otherwise expend itself without passing into the hold and through the vessel's bottom, thence consigning in an instant all on board to an irrevocable destiny. The second shock now followed, and every man on deck was thrown down by the violence of the percussion; a seamen sounding the pump had the iron rod curled round his hand by the lightening, but escaped any other hurt than a painful swelling in the hand. No other person was injured; but the horrors of such a situation it is almost impossible to have a conception of. On both occasions the electric fluid appeared to strike the deck in the shape of a collected body of fire, some considered it globular, and resembling a fire-ball and all agree that in both instances the collected mass darted forward over the bows, with the report of a cannon.54
Apparently the damage to William’s ship was not as severe as originally thought, according to a newpaper account written upon the Jupiter’s arrival in Hobart Town, on August 23rd 1817:
SHIP NEWS. - This evening arrived the brig Jupiter, Captain Bunster, from Port Jackson:- She sailed from thence on the 6th instant, with 70 male prisoners lately arrived from Ireland; whilst at sea she was unfortunately struck by lightening, which set fire to part of her rigging; considerable apprehensions were at first entertained for the safety of the vessel, and she immediately put into Two Fold Bay, near the heads, where her rigging was overhauled, when it appeared that the damage was not so great as imagined. - On the 12th she again proceeded to sea, in company with H.M. colonial brig Elizabeth Henrietta, with 30 male and 50 female prisoners destined for this Port. - She lost sight of the Elizabeth Henrietta for the remainder of the voyage; she may be hourly expected.55
Lucy and William had a month or so together before William was on his way to Sydney again. 56
A year later, Lucy, already expecting her second child, was listed as "Miss Goodwin" on the 1818 Muster for Hobart Town.57 It's easy to miss the significance of the name "Miss Goodwin", but in referring to Lucy as "Miss", this muster documents Lucy's elevation into the upper ranks of Van Diemen's Land society, subtly but assuredly acknowledging her de facto relationship with William Bunster. In contrast, the only information on William's muster entry was that he “Came free”.58
To be continued……………
Mr. Wm. Bunster and Family proceeding to England in the Lusitania, requests all claims to be presented. 59
Captain Bunster, Lucy Goodwin, Eliza Goodwin, Harriet Goodwin, Jane Goodwin (Passengers) departed Hobart Town for England per ‘Lusitania’. 60
Doubtless the anonymity of living in a city the size of London gave Lucy and William the freedom to live together as “Mr. and Mrs. Bunster”, without the public censure that their association would have provoked in Hobart Town. There William had already become a citizen of some stature, and was known to have a “good” family background: Lucy’s social standing was inevitably hampered by her birth to two ex-convicts. It’s patently clear that Lucy’s background was the reason that William never married Lucy: the easy-going and relaxed days of the colony’s first years had given way to a more rigid, puritanical regime. Governor Sorell had been sent packing because of his adulterous relationship with his de facto wife Julia, to be replaced by the puritanical Governor Arthur. The prominent Edward Lord had turned his back on his ex-convict wife Maria after she bore him a family and worked her fingers to the bone to build up his fortune. And the censorious Reverend Bedford was a far cry from William’s old friend Robert Knopwood, who was in semi-retirement on the Eastern Shore. Ten years had completely changed the social mores of Hobart Town, and Lucy would no longer have been tolerated there as the de facto wife of such a prominent business man as William Bunster.
William’s brother Grosvenor Bunster and his wife, and their cousin Elizabeth were still living in Fetter Lane, in the section of the street named Roll’s Buildings, when Lucy and William moved to London. It seems that the Bunster family had an apartment there, which was used by various Bunster family members when they were conducting business in the city. In mid 1824 Lucy was pregnant with her fifth child, and would have been kept busy looking after her existing three girls. Grosvenor, Elizabeth, and his young family moved to South America to join his other brother Humphrey in 1825, 61 but it’s probable their widowed mother, Jane Bunster, nee Winkworth, remained there along with Lucy and their daughters.
When Lucy was about six months pregnant William left London in order to return to Van Diemen’s Land, and resume his various business enterprises there. A statement announcing his intention to do so had already appeared in the Hobart Town newpaper in late 1824:
Captain Bunster, who went home in the Lusitania, was expected to return here shortly in a vessel of his own. 62
While William was at sea, Belinda Bunster, his fifth and last daughter born to Lucy Goodwin was born. Belinda’s oldest sister Elizabeth had died a week after her birth in Hobart, in 1817, so when she was born, she had three surviving older sisters: Eliza, just six years old, Jane, a little over four, and Harriett, aged three, all of whom had been born in Van Diemen’s Land. Belinda was born on 24 March 1825, at 9 Fetter Lane, in the Parish of St. Dunstan in the West, in the City of London. She was baptised in the parish church, St. Dunstan in the West, by the Reverend. Thomas Boys, on Sunday, 17 April in the same year. 63
Belinda’s baptism was the second known occasion when William and Lucy publicly acknowledged their relationship, when her mother was described as Lucy Bunster in the church register, and William Bunster was named as her father. His occupation was given too, as a mariner. The first time William was known to have openly recognized Lucy and her daughters as his family had been when they left Hobart Town on the Lusitania two years earlier.
Meanwhile, back in the Colonies, on 6 May 1825 the Hobart Town Gazette announced that We have much pleasure in announcing the return to this country of Capt. Bunster, with an extensive investment. The same issue recorded:
PASSENGERS PER THE SHIP HARVEY : Cabin. - Mr. Thomas Lempriere, wife, and two daughters; Mr. W. G. Sams, mother, wife, one child, and a female servant; Captain William Bunster; Mrs. Johnson, wife of Mr Johnson, of the White-horse public-house in this town; Mrs. Honey and child, Mr. Rayner, Mr. Wise; Major Loane, wife, and four children; and Mr. T. W. Wilkinson and two children.64
So thirty odd days after Belinda's birth in London, William landed in Hobart Town as an aspiring free settler. As soon as William landed he submitted a request for a land grant, stating that:
Having arrived from England by the ship Harvey ... with an Order from his Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, for a Grant of Land proportioned to the Means that I posses for its Cultivation and Improvement, which letter I have lodged in your Office; I beg leave to subjoin a Statement of the Property which I bring with me, and which I intend to employ exclusively for that Purpose; and to add, that I am prepared to verify my Statement in any way that may be required,
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient humble Servant
The letter was supported by an additional letter from Downing street supporting William's claim, namely that Lord Bathurst had given permission to William Bunster to proceed as a free settler to Van Diemen's Land and that an appropriate grant of land should be made according to his station. Anthony Kemp added a letter stating that William had £7,500 cash and existing property in the colony worth £3,000.
William had obviously made up his mind that Van Diemen's Land offered the greatest promise for a prosperous future, for himself and for his family, although leaving his wife in the last stage of her pregnancy on the other side of the world would seem to counter any picture we might form of William as a doting family man. It might serve to remember that at the time child bearing and raising were considered the province of women, and this holds doubly true for William who appears to have been a significant man of action. To sum up, while William couldn't be there for his family emotionally, he most certainly did his part financially and practically. As an example he insisted that all his children were formally educated, a condition he made explicit in his much later Last Will and Testament.
In November 1825 William Bunster and Walter Bethune were caught up in the activities of the bushranger Matthew Brady. According to James Bonwick in his book, "The Bushrangers: Illustrating the Early Days of Van Diemen's Land", Brady, with Dunne, Bird, Murphy, and four others:
Arriving at Mr. Bethune's house on the Friday evening, they took that gentleman, his overseer and servants, prisoners, and then made themselves comfortable for the night. The next day was very wet, and the Bushrangers did not feel disposed to change their comfortable quarters. In the evening Mr. Walter Bethune and Captain Bunster rode up. Personating a servant, Brady came out and called for the groom to take Mr. Bethune's horse. When the gentlemen got inside they found themselves in the hands of the Philistines. But Brady at once allayed their fears, ordered dinner for them, and behaved with courtesy and respect. In the course of conversation at table, a remark was made about Brady offering to yield to Government. He indignantly denied that he had thought of such a thing. It was afterwards astertained (sic) that some other party represented himself to be Brady, when rifling a house at Bagdad, and there gave information of the intention of the gang to surrender. The brigand chief said that no occasion at present existed for such a course; for, when hard pressed by pursuit, they could easily retire to a farm they had among the mountains, where they had an abundance of sheep, horses, cattle, flour, and other necessaries. In that secure and pleasant retreat they could take a spell until the excitement had passed.
When it was about ten o'clock on the Saturday night, Brady announced to his friends his resolution to attack Sorell Gaol, and liberate some acquaintances. The two Bethunes were tied, as well as the other inmates, and the whole, eighteen in number, were marched in solemn and silent procession towards the town. Most opportunely for the eight Bushrangers, they arrived at a moment when least expected, and when, in fact, a party of soldiers within were cleaning out their guns. The military, under the command of Lieutenant Gunn, had been out all day looking for the very men who had thus civilly placed themselves in gaol--to make them prisoners. The arms were secured, and the warriors and civilians securely locked up in a cell from which the prisoners had just been released.
Mr. Long, the gaoler, was in his house adjoining the lock-up; and directly he saw how things stood, he made his escape over the wall, and ran off for Lieutenant Gunn, who was then staying with Dr. Garrett. Catching up their double-barrelled guns, they made for the town. The magistrate hurried too much, and fell into the hands of the Bushrangers, who broke his gun, and placed him with the others in the cell. Two of the robbers stood in the path of Mr. Gunn. He raised his fowling piece, but at that instant a shot shattered his arm above his elbow. When the rascals left the scene of their triumph, they placed against the door of the gaol a log ornamented with a coat and hat, to resemble a sentinel.66
The experience did nothing to quell William's desire to settle in Van Diemen's Land. Since his arrival back in the colony however, William was battling with the establishment to gain recognition as the free settler he now wished to become. Whereas he had been in the colony before as a Mariner and as a Trader, it seemed he now wanted to spread his roots and make the island his home. In February 1826 he wrote to Governor Arthur:
To His Excellency
Having arrived in this Colony in May last bringing with me a letter from Lord Bathurst ordering me a Grant of Land in this Colony, which letter having delivered to your Excellency on my arrival, (and) not having received any answer thereto, I beg leave to request that your Excellency ... be kind enough to Signify your intention thereon, As I am about to ... the Country to purchase stock &c.
I have the Honour
There then ensued a chain of correspondence about a previous grant of land in the district of Morven made to William by Governor Macquarie. The suggestion was that William had not met the conditions of the previous grant and was therefore not eligible for a new one. Such improvements were requirements applied to all land grants as a means of ensuring the colony was being developed and not just left idle. William clarified the conditions of the previous grant in a further letter to Captain Montagu on 19 April 1826:
To Captain Montagu
In reply to your enquiry respecting what improvements are made on the Five hundred acres of land given me by the late Governor Macquarie. I beg leave to state that I occupy it as a sheep farm, leaving a small flock of sheep...;and I beg also to acquaint you that the five hundred acres alluded to was not given me as a settler but as a compensation for loss sustained by the previous regime of a vessel I had laden with Colonial produce by the Convicts...68
William's explanation was ignored and more correspondence ensued until in December 1826 he was sent a form to complete requiring him to detail improvements he had made to his previous land grant. William's reply to that letter in February 1827, addressed to E. Dumaresque Esq. Surveyor General, started to express his frustration with the delays in processing his claim:
Hobart Town, Feb[ruar]y 13-1827,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th December respecting my application for a grant of land in conformity with Lord Bathurst's letter to the Lieut. Governor. In reply to which I beg leave to state (I have not filled out the enclosed form not being applicable to my case) that the 500 acres granted me by Governor Macquarie were as a compensation for loss sustained from some prisoners running away with the Elizabeth Henrietta schooner in the year 1819. Consequently, I did not consider myself obliged to occupy the land but have let it upon an improving ... for a long period.
When I was last in London I applied to Lord Bathurst for the usual order for Land and received from him a letter, which on my arrival in the Colony, 20 months ago I handed to his Excellency the Lieut. Governor accompanied with the usual schedule of my property and under the circumstances I considered myself entitled to a grant of land in proportion to my capital in common with other colonists.
I cannot but regret the delay that has occurred in this matter since my first application as I have suffered considerable loss by being deprived of the use of a considerable sum of money set apart for the purpose of stocking and improving the land.
With deference to any further claim I may have for land I beg leave to state the large sums I have expended in Colonial ... and in erecting buildings in Hobart Town I should conceive be grounds for a claim on the Colonial Government, independent of Lord Bathurt's letter.
I have to request that you will submit this statement to his Excellency that I may have a definitive answer as my future proceedings will much depend on the nature of his [reply],
I have the honor to be
Your most sincere
The letter was accompanied by another which provided an inventory of William's current holdings:
To E. Dunaresque Acting Surveyor-General
I beg leave to hand you the description of houses built by me and entitled to grants and have to require that you will be good enough to expedite the same for me. … Wm. Bunster. First A two storey brick built store with dwelling house attached situated in Elizabeth Street, bounded on the north by Morley’s and on the south by W. Cox and on the east by Anthony Tenn Kemp. Second Three storey stone built store and dwelling house situated on the wharf frontage 42 feet depth 60 feet and depth of wharf - 60 feet – bounded on the north by an allotment of Mr W. Walkinshaws, and on the south by William Bunster and [on] the east by the River Derwent. Third A three storey built store and dwelling house situated on the wharf frontage 22 feet depth 60 feet. Bounded on the north by Mr William Bunster and on the south by W. A. Bethune with depth of wharf 60 feet bounded on the east by the River Derwent.70
On 12 March 1827 J. Oxley wrote to E. Dumaresqu Esq. clarifying the terms of William Bunster's original land grant from Governor Macquarie. According to those terms William was required, as the recipient of 500 acres, to clear and cultivate 50 acres, not to alienate the property until after five years, and after that date to pay quit rent of 2 shillings per 100 acres per year. The crown also reserved road and timber rights on the property. These conditions were passed on to William Bunster who replied:
William Bunster's letter to be transcribed.
Prior to this exchange however, events were to suddenly take a different turn at home which William wouldn't have known about at the time. Back in London, William and Lucy's daughter Harriett Louisa Bunster died in early January 1827 at only five years and two months of age. Harriett was buried in the North Vault of St. Dunstan in the West on January 4th, 1827, by the Reverend W. Brownlow 71
Harriett's burial certificate does not record her parents, nor those who were present. In fact the birth and baptism registration for Belinda was the last knownn record of Lucy Bunster (Goodwin). William probably received some indication of what was happening as he left Hobart Town for England on March 23, 1827, on board the Hugh Crawford.72 He arrived several months later, and remained in England until late October.
What had happened to Lucy after Belinda's birth is at this point unknown but the mystery deepens with William's arrival back in the colony. According to the Hobart Town Courier he left London on the Calista on 1 November 1827 and arrived in Hobart Town on 12 March 1828:
On Tuesday the 12 instant the ship Calista, 310 tons. Samuel Hawkins, commander, arrived from London 1 November, with an assorted cargo of British goods, and 320 Saxon sheep - touched at Rio and took on board 460 baskets of Tobacco, and sailed from thence on the 9th January. Passengers from London Mr. and Mrs. Bunster, Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. Pairil, Messrs. Harris, Andrews and Hemmings. - and from Rio - Messrs. Dutton and Docker and five others. 73
So potentially Lucy had arrived back in the colony aboard the Calista, although without any children. On the other hand, the Reverend Knopwood recorded the following in his diary:
Tues. 11 March  The ship Calipso [sic] arrived from England, Capt. Bunster. 74
After the Calista sailed on to Sydney, the Sydney newspapers recorded only “Captain Bunster” as a passenger. This doesn’t discount the possibility that “Mrs. Bunster” had already left the ship in Hobart Town before she sailed on to Sydney.75 The following reports record William’s departure from Hobart Town on 6 April 6, as well as his return to V.D.L. on 15 May 1828.
Shipping Intelligence. On Monday arrived, from London, whence she sailed on the 1st of November, via Hobart Town on the 6th of April, the ship Calista, Captain Hawkins, with merchandize, and 100 Saxon, and 260 Derwent sheep. Passengers, Captain Bunster, and Messrs J. Andrews, J J. Daker, D. Burn, C. Sladden, F. Watkins, and F. Anley, Mrs. Ridge, 2 children, and servant, with 4 steerage passengers. The Calista also brings 8 prisoners, who arrived at Hobart Town on the Caroline, from Calcutta.76
The ship Calista, 310 tons. Capt. Hawkins, arrived on the 15th , (departing) from Sydney the 8th inst, with 220 planks blue gum, and 70 bales wool, shipped at Sydney for the London market. Passengers, Messrs. Bunster and Burn.77
Though it’s possible that the Hobart Town Courier report is correct and both Mr. and Mrs. Bunster arrived in Van Diemen’s Land together, it seems more likely that this is a simple reporting mistake. It’s unlikely that William and Lucy would travel across the world and leave their young family behind. And it’s unlikely that William would bring Lucy back as Mrs. Bunster, when no trace of a marriage between them has yet been found: the Rev. Bedford, and Governor Arthur’s puritanical set would have roundly condemned the pair had that been the case. Finally, no trace of Lucy has been found after Belinda’s baptism in 1825, either in England or Van Diemen’s Land.
The possibility that this Mrs. Bunster may have been William’s future wife, Sarah Williamson, has also been discounted - in May 1827 she had donated £1 0 0 to an appeal for the widow and children of Captain Laughton, who, like William’s brother-in-law Benjamin Briscoe, had drowned in the Derwent River. This was two months after William had sailed for England on the Hugh Crawford and five months before he left London for Hobart Town on board the Calista.78
Whether or not this Mrs. Bunster actually was a passenger on the Calista remains a mystery at this stage, as does Lucy’s fate after Belinda’s birth and baptism in London in 1825. Three other possibilities remain.
The first and most likely possibility is that Lucy died sometime between Belinda’s birth in London in 1825 and William Bunster’s marriage to Sarah Williamson in 1829 Hobart Town, and William arranged for their three surviving daughters to cared for by their Bunster relatives in England, as it would have been very difficult for William to see to their education and upbringing alone. The second is the possibility that Lucy married someone in England after 1825, and brought up her Bunster daughters with her new partner, but this seems unlikely. The other possibility is that William and Lucy parted amicably, and he provided a home and income for Lucy and her daughters so that they could remain in England, where the girls could continue their education.
It is possible that Lucy died around the time of Harriet's death, as the only remaining St. Dunstan's Church records stop after Harriet's death in early 1827, and she may have died any time between January 1827 and 1829 when William married Sarah Williamson. William's brother Grosvenor and his wife Elizabeth may have taken care of the girls until William arrived in England in 1827 to decide on their futures. Until Grosvenor and Elizabeth left for South America, after 1829, the girls may have stayed on in Fetter's Lane, but in the end, Jane, Eliza and Belinda were brought up by William's mother and sister Ann. Their story, and the story of William Bunster, continues on The Bunster Family 1828-1835 page.
- 1. Schaffer, I. and McKay, T., Exiled, Three Times Over! St. David’s Park Publishing, Hobart. 1992 pp. 72-79. Ref: St. Phillip's Baptisms, NSW Reel 5001
- 2. Mercury 12 March 1885
- 3. E. Flinn, 'Jeffreys, Charles (1782–1826)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jeffreys-charles-2273/text2917, accessed 19 January 2013. and Schaffer, Irene: Land Musters, Stock Returns and Lists: Van Diemen's Land 1803-1822; St David's Park Publishing, Hobart, 1991 (Hobart Town Muster, Men, 1822, BUNSTER, William, Came Free, Ship: Kangaroo)
- 4. Andres Valenzuela Searle correspondence.
- 5. IGI Batch CO21852
- 6. IGI Batch CO21852
- 7. ADB Ellis Bent
- 8. CSO NSW Reel 6004; 4/3493 p.122
- 9. H.R.A. Series 1 Vol. 8, Jeffreys to Macquarie 10 January 1814
- 10. H.R.A. Series 1 Vol. 8, Jeffreys to Macquarie March 1814
- 11. SG 4 March 1814
- 12. CSO NSW Reel 6004; 4/3493 pp.96-8
- 13. ADB Edward Lord
- 14. SG June 4 1814
- 15. ADB Thomas Davey
- 16. Nicholls, Mary, Ed.: The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 17. SG 9 July 1814
- 18. SG 30 July 1814
- 19. ADB Jefferey Bent
- 20. SG 30 July 1814
- 21. ADB Ellis Bent
- 22. Nicholls, Mary, Ed.: The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 23. Knopwood
- 24. H.R.A. Series 1, Vol. 8, Campbell to Jeffreys 13 February 1815.
- 25. HRA Series 1, Vol. 8, Lieut. Jeffreys to Secretary Campbell 18th February 1815
- 26. McNeelance, T.J.
- 27. Nicholls, Mary, Ed.: The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 28. SG 4 March 1815
- 29. SG 6 May 1815
- 30. ADB William Maum
- 31. ADB William Maum
- 32. See map at the Van Diemen's Land page.
- 33. Nicholls, Mary, Ed. The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 34. SG 2 September 1815
- 35. ADB Ellis Bent
- 36. ADB Jeffery Bent
- 37. SG 23 September 1815
- 38. SG 9 September 1815
- 39. Nicholls, Mary, Ed.: The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 40. Nicholls, Mary, Ed., The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 41. Nicholls, Mary, Ed., The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 42. SG 23 December 1815
- 43. SG 11 November 1815
- 44. AOT Baptism Reg. 1817/534 & Death Reg. 1817/241
- 45. Garry Wilson email correspondence.
- 46. Grosvenor Bunster m. Elizabeth Bunster 25 December 1817 in St. Dunstan in the West, London. Andres Valenzuela Searle correspondence.
- 47. http://www.geni.com/people/Elizabeth-Chambers-Bunster-y-Bunster/4611926?... & http://clanboyd.info/outsideusa/chile/index.htm
- 48. SG 19 July 1817
- 49. Nicholls, Mary, Ed.: The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood 1803-1838
- 50. HTG 17 May 1817
- 51. HTG 23 August, 1817
- 52. SG 9 August 1817
- 53. SG 26 July 1817
- 54. SG August 9 1817
- 55. HTG 23 August 1817. (Captain Bunster's arrival also noted in Knopwood's diary.)
- 56. HTG 27 September 1817
- 57. Schaffer, Irene and McKay, Thelma: Exiled Three Times Over! (Not Referenced.)
- 58. Irene Schaffer correspondence.
- 59. HTC throughout September 1823.
- 60. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 63/1/1 p. 24
- 61. Eduardo Bunster e-mail correspondence
- 62. HTG 29 October 1824
- 63. Baptisms Solemnized in the Parish of St. Dunstan in the West in the City of London in the year 1825. No. 1537, p. 193
- 64. HTG 6 May 1825
- 65. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 1/103 File 2488
- 66. James Bonwick: The Bushrangers: Illustrating the Early Days of Van Diemen's Land; G. Robertson, 1856 (available from Google Books, http://books.google.com.au/books?id=GdANAAAAQAAJ&dq)
- 67. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 1/103 File 2488
- 68. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 1/103 File 2488
- 69. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 1/103 File 2488
- 70. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 1/103 File 2488
- 71. Burials in the Parish of St. Dunstan in the West, City of London in the year 1827. No. 2056, p.297
- 72. AOT Shipping Departures 63/1/1 p. 278 and AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 63/1/1 p. 278]
- 73. "TRADE AND SHIPPING." The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839) 15 Mar 1828: 3. Web. 11 Jan 2013 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4223661.
- 74. Nicholls, Mary, ed. The Diary of the Reverend Robert Knopwood, 1803-1838.
- 75. AOT Colonial Secretary's Office Correspondence CSO 63/1/1 p. 368
- 76. SG 16 April 1828
- 77. HTC 17 May 1828
- 78. CT 25 May 1827