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The Wentworths Father and Son

Melbourne University Publishing

The Wentworths Father and Son


Against a backdrop which ranges from the mansions of Georgian England to the hovels of New South Wales, John Ritchie tells how a man endeavoured to re-establish himself and to further the career of the son for whom he cherished great expectations.

D'Arcy Wentworth was born in Ireland in 1762. While living in London, he was tried four times on nine charges of highway robbery. He reached New South Wales in 1790 and worked as an assistant-surgeon on Norfolk Island. Returning to Sydney in 1796, he rose to be principal surgeon, superintendent of police, treasurer of the police fund and a magistrate. He also engaged in trade, retailing, agriculture, building and banking. By the time of his death in 1827, he was the largest landowner and wealthiest man in the penal colony. His son, William, benefited from the fortune that D'Arcy had amassed. By 1827 William had crossed the Blue Mountains, studied law in England, published a book and a poem about Australia, practised as a barrister, helped to establish the first independent newspaper in New South Wales, and promoted the civil rights of emancipists and native-born. 

About the Author

Professor John Ritchie is general editor (since 1988) of the Australian Dictionary of Biography at the Research School of Social Sciences, ANU. His publications include Punishment and Profit, The Evidence to the Bigge Reports, Australia as once we were, A Charge of Mutiny, and Lachlan Macquarie - a biography.

John Ritchie
Published November 1999
328 pages
233mm x 152mm
ISBN 9780522848786

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