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William Hutchinson (superintendent)

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For other people named William Hutchinson, see William Hutchinson (disambiguation).

William Hutchinson (1772 26 July 1846) was a British convict who was transported to the
Australian colonies, ultimately to become a successful public servant and businessman.

Hutchinson was by trade a butcher in England.[1] In June 1796, Hutchinson was convicted at
the Old Bailey of stealing 40 worth of goods, and was sentenced to death, though this was
later commuted to transportation for seven years.[2] After spending three years in London on
board the prison hulk Newgate, Hutchinson was transported to Australia on the Hillsborough,
sometimes referred to as the "Fever Ship" since some ninety-five of the three hundred
convicts aboard died from typhoid fever brought aboard from the prison hulks.[1] Reaching
Sydney in 1799, Hutchinson was again convicted of theft after stealing from the government
stores in Sydney, and was transported to the penal settlement on Norfolk Island.[2]

Hutchinson soon gained employ in the administration of the settlement, becoming an


overseer of government livestock. In June 1801, he married his first wife Mary Cooper (also
known as Mary Chapman), a convict who had been transported from Surrey, arriving on
Norfolk Island in 1798; together they would have eight children, six of them born on Norfolk
Island.[2] In June 1803 he was appointed an acting superintendent of convicts on the island,
and in 1805 he officially became an emancipist.[1] By 1809 he was made a superintendent
proper.[2] Hutchinson acquired significant land holdings on the island, and did a handsome
trade selling pork to the government.[2]

After 1803, there was a push for the settlement on Norfolk Island to be disbanded, mainly on
the part of the then Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Lord Hobart; the military
presence there was ultimately withdrawn in 1813, and Hutchinson, along with the boat-
builder Thomas Ransom, was among the last of the settlers to leave the island in February
1814.[3]

Most of the Norfolk settlers were relocated to the recently founded Hobart Town, in the
colony of Tasmania.[3] However, Hutchinson had been recommended to the Governor of New
South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, by the former Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island,
Joseph Foveaux, and so Hutchinson instead returned to Sydney, where Macquarie appointed
him the superintendent of convicts and public works, to succeed Isaac Nichols from April
1814.[2] Hutchinson gained much influence in this position, however after John Bigge's reports
into the transportation system in the Australian colonies, Hutchinson was replaced as
superintendent by Frederick Hely in 1823.[2] Hutchinson was to have been appointed chief
wharfinger in Sydney in 1817, though this appointment was never formally recognised by the
British authorities.[1]

Hutchinson's eighth child with his first wife Mary was born in 1817; Mary is thought to have
returned to England in March 1819, and there was no record of her after that.[1] On 21 June
1825 Hutchinson married his second wife, Jane Roberts, who was also a former convict
(having been transported for seven years, arriving in 1803) and who was the widow of
another former convict turned businessman.[2] Though the marriage only lasted a short time,
two of Jane's sons from her first marriage married two of Hutchinson's daughters from his
first marriage.[2]

Hutchinson became a significant businessman in Sydney, forming business partnerships with


Edward Eagar, William Redfern and Samuel Terry, among others; he also had extensive land
holdings in Sydney, its suburbs and the surrounding towns, and also in Melbourne.[2] His more
rural holdings made him a successful pastoralist.[4] He had participated in the 1816 founding
of the Bank of New South Wales, and was a director of the bank from January 1929 onwards.
[2]
In 1835, he was elected to the board of directors of both the Marine Insurance Co and the
Australian Wheat and Flour Co, and participated in the formation of the Australian Patriotic
Association, and in 1840 he was one of the original directors of the Mutual Fire Insurance
Association.[2]

At his death, Hutchinson left goods worth 20,000; together with his land holdings, his estate
was worth 220,000, or about A$1.77 billion in 2004 value.[2][4] On this valuation, in 2004
William Rubinstein placed Hutchinson at 147th on his list of the two hundred richest
Australians of all time.[4]

References[edit]
1. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e Humphreys, Stephanie (October 2006). "The Hutchinson Family"
(PDF). The Granville Guardian. Granville, New South Wales: Granville Historical Society. 13
(10): 46. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2007.

2. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m Le Roy, Paul (1966). "Hutchinson, William (1772


1846)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 1. Melbourne University Press. pp. 574575.
Retrieved 30 November 2007.

3. ^ Jump up to: a b Watson, Reg (29 September 2007). "Loath to be Tasmanians". The
Mercury. pp. B12.

4. ^ Jump up to: a b c Rubinstein, William (2004). The All-Time Australian 200 Rich List.
Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. pp. 5455. ISBN 1-74114-187-7.