CAPTAIN GEORGE GRIFFIN was a mariner. As the Captain of trading vessels in the days of sail, his life at sea was hard and adventurous, and often dangerous. Events were to prove that it was none the less so, when he finally retired from the sea to settle in the Moreton Bay District of New South Wales, prior to the separation of Queensland. The first record we have of the Griffins is the marriage of George Griffin, seaman on board the “Prince of Wales”, and Janet Taylor at Stromness in the Orkney Islands, on 13th October 1812, by the Rev. Wm. Clouston. As a British seaman, George would most likely have seen action during the war with Napoleon. One of his sons, probably William, said that his father “was with “Exmouth”Cochrane in the Bombardment of Algiers”. Algiers was the home port from which the infamous Barbary pirates preyed on shipping. In 1816, combined fleets of the British and Dutch navies almost completely destroyed the Algerian fleet in the bombardment of Algiers.
It is believed that George and Jane, as Janet was known, resided at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, for some years before moving to Australia in the late 1820’s. The exact date is not known as George probably visited the Australian Colonies several times, before bringing his family across, and it seems the often quoted myth, “Our Grandparents arrived in their own ship”, really did apply as far as the Griffins were concerned. If it was not actually owned by them, at least George was the Captain.
Shipping records show that Geo. Griffin, Master Mariner, was a passenger on the “Nancy” from Hobart Town to Port Jackson in October 1830, but even before this, in 1826, as Master of the Brig “John”, Capt Griffin was trading between Cape of Good Hope, Hobart Town, Port Jackson and Calcutta. Then in 1831, as Master of the 26 ton schooner “Caledonia”, he was trading between Port Jackson and Newcastle. In 1832 his ship was the 124 ton barque “Nereus” which voyaged to Launceston and to Norfolk Island. From 1833 to 1837 his command was usually the 108 ton brig “Dart”, voyaging to Newcastle, Mauritius, Swan River, King George Sound, Moreton Bay and Norfolk Island, with cargoes of Coal, Wool, Wheat, Barley, Hides and ‘Opossum’ Skins. In 1837 and 1838 he took the 383ft barque “Strathisla” to Calcutta. 1839 and 40 saw Capt. Griffin in charge of the 400 ton ship “Medway”, with Colonial Produce and Passengers to London. On the 1840 voyage to London the ship had to put back for repairs, “very leaky”. Jane Griffin is believed to have been with her husband on this voyage.
In 1839, Henry Francis, in a letter to his daughters about young Henry’s attachment to Mary Ann Griffin, said that Capt. Griffin was the Captain of a whaler. As the young couple had not known each other long, and the two families did not know each other well, it is likely that Henry’s information was incorrect, unless the Captain went whaling between other voyages. The two eldest of Capt. Griffin’s sons, Frank and William, both followed in their father’s footsteps and both served with their father for a time.
Capt. George and Jane (or Janet) Griffin had five children. Francis, or Frank (probably christened Francis Henry) was the eldest, then Jessie (or Jane) born about 1817, William Robert Saunders about 1819, Mary Ann 1822, and John Broomfield Saunders in 1823 or 24. Frank and Jessie were likely to have been born in England, while William and John were said to have been born at Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Mary Ann was said to have been born on board ship, and according to her death certificate, her birth was recorded in England. If this is so, the family is likely to have been travelling between the Cape and England at the time of her birth. In the days of long sea voyages it was usual to record the shipboard birth of a child at the port of arrival.
In Sydney the Griffins resided at Gloucester Street and were parishioners of the Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang, the energetic and visionary Presbyterian Minister, who took an active interest in the colonisation of Australia. Lang became friendly with the sea Captain and his family and he took an interest in their welfare. He visited the Griffins after they had moved to Moreton Bay, and he also called on their daughter Mary Ann and her husband Henry Francis when they were in London. J. D. Lang was advocating strongly for free Protestant settlers for the country north of the Clarence River, and he lobbied for the area, which he called Cooksland, to become a separate Colony. There is no doubt his enthusiasm for the area influenced the Griffins to select land in the Moreton Bay district.
The selection was a large tract of rough virgin bush, about thirty miles north of the town of Brisbane. With an area of some twenty-eight square miles (over 7200 hectares), it stretched from the mountains to the sea, with the Pine River as its southern boundary. - that is roughly from Dayboro to Deception Bay in to day’s terms. The venture afforded an opportunity for the Captain and his sons to give up their arduous and dangerous life at sea. Little did they realise what dangers lay ahead. Their selection, named “Whiteside”, was taken up by Frank Griffin, in 1843, the first to give up his life at sea to move onto the property. He was joined by his young brother John, and the following year by William. William’s arrival was introduced by their father with the following words of advice: -
To Mr J.B.S. Griffin
Sydney 8th March 1844
My Deare John,
I take this opportunity of writing per William’s Schooner, which will be delivered to you by your brother William, who is coming down to joine the Station and I trust you will receive him and live together as brothers should, in brotherly love and kindness, and believe me dear John, while you remain together I have no fear, but you will both do well, but if you part and go away, wagers depend on it, they will take advantage of it and will so endeavour to engender strife between you, and you must be aware that that alone would break your mothers heart, and let me beg of you to keep your selfs at a respectable distance from servants, but mind, I do not mean that you shall treat them with any disrespect or unkindness, for that of itself will make them treat you with contempt, but on the contraye, by keeping them in their proper place, you will find that they will not only obey you but will also look after your interest, and as you are now set out on your own account, you must be aware that it will require both care and perseverance for few first years. When I and mine have passed away, I trust you all will have it to say that you will not have to beholden to any for support, but have it to say that we thank God that we have abundance and to spare to the needy, and believe us dear John, your affectionate father and mother
G & J Griffin.
The brothers soon established a basic homestead on the property and Captain and Mrs. Griffin moved up from Sydney to join them about 1845.
Meanwhile, their youngest daughter, Mary Ann, had married Henry Francis in Sydney in 1839. Henry sold up his business in Sydney, and with Mary Ann and their two children, Christopher and Jessie, sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, in 1844, on an ill-conceived business venture. Mary Ann’s elder sister Jessie went with them. However, they found Chile was not to their liking, and Jessie Griffin was keen to return to Sydney. Later in 1844 Jessie Griffin married Arthur Edenborough in Chile. It is not known if Arthur travelled to Valparaiso on the “Alfred” with their party, or followed her there later. The Francis’s eventually left Chile and went to London, where they resided for almost fifteen years, before returning to Australia. It seems the Edenboroughs also went to England before returning to Australia, as their eldest daughter, Emily, was born there in 1845. In all probability it was easier to obtain passage to England, and then to Australia, as few ships would have sailed directly from Chile to Australia. Ships bound for England would have had to sail around Cape Horn, a perilous passage in the days of sail.
The Griffin homestead “Whiteside” on the Pine River was described in “Cooksland in North-Eastern Australia” by the Rev. J. D. Lang. He visited them there on 10th December 1845, accompanied by Henry Wade, one of the government surveyors.
According to Lang:
The squatter to whose station on the North Pine River we were bound, was Capt. Griffin, a respectable shipsmaster whose family had for many years been members of my congregation in Sydney. They had finally removed only about six months before my visit to the squatting station at Moreton Bay, on which two of his sons had been located for two or three years previous. Mrs. Griffin, a native of the Orkney Islands was absent in Sydney.
At the station J. D. Lang met James Davis, who arrived there with four black natives. Davis, the son of a Scottish blacksmith, was transported to New South Wales, at the age of sixteen, in the “Minstral” in 1824. Later he was transferred to Moreton Bay, where he absconded and lived with various native tribes under the name of Durumboy. Lang said Capt. Griffin provided them with food and gave Durumboy a kangaroo dog.
He went on to say;
Captain Griffin’s house was of the same primitive character as those of squatters generally, consisting of rough slabs fixed in sleepers below, and in a grooved wallplate above, and roofed with large sheets of bark, supported by rough saplings for rafters. Mahogany tables, chairs, sideboards, &c., and the other removables of a respectable family in town, appeared rather incongruous articles of furniture in such an extempore structure; but they gave promise at least of a better house, which I was told it was intended to erect as soon as the more important out-door operations of the establishment should afford the requisite leisure for the purpose, the present house being intended eventually for the barn.
I was amused at the ingenious nautical expedient that had been had recourse to, to form an additional apartment. The carpet which the family had had in use in their dining room in Sydney was “triced up” to use the nautical phrase, during the day, to the wall-plate of the slab house; but on the usual signal of “Let go the Haulyards,” being given, at the proper time for retirement at night, the carpet descended like a curtain of a theatre, and not only formed a partition between the sitting-room and a commodious bed-room but stretching, as it did, along the whole extent of the slab-wall of the latter, served to exclude the cold night wind which otherwise would have found a thousand entrances by the interstices between the slabs. These indeed were so numerous as to render the formality of a window quite unnecessary, and the work of supererogation. As being the greater stranger on the occasion, the use of this bed-room, in which I found a colonial cedar post-bed, with the usual furniture of a respectable bed-room in a town, was, in the absence of the lady of the house, assigned to me; my fellow-traveller being accommodated with a stretcher in a detached building along with Captain G.’s sons.
On the whole, I was much gratified with my visit to this recently formed Squatting-Station so far to the northward; as it showed how very comfortably a respectable family could be settled in the bush, with a comparatively moderate means and exertion, in Australia, with all their flocks and herds around them, like the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of old. I question indeed whether any of these patriarchs was ever more comfortably lodged than Captain Griffin; for I should certainly prefer an Australian slab-house roofed with bark to a tent, however patriarchal. At all events, although any one of these eminent patriarchs would doubtless have been most willing to treat my fellow-traveller and myself to a kid of the goats, or a fatted calf and a cake baked in the ashes (which in Australia is usually styled a damper) I am quite sure that not one of them could have added to the entertainment the never failing and universally acceptable beverage of the bush in Australia—a comfortable cup of tea .
“The Picturesque Atlas of Australia - A Historical Sketch of Qld”., printed in 1886, which provides this information, also records that in 1844 there were 17 Squatting Stations in the Moreton Bay District and 26 on the Darling Downs. The Atlas records that in the following year, 1845, there were only 812 souls recorded within a five mile radius of Brisbane. It goes on to comment on Dr. Lang’s influence on the settlement and to record more on the conditions under which settlers lived and the challenges they faced.
A community so small could scarcely be expected to make materials for history. It’s situation was, however, so exceptional that incidents frequently occurred fraught with romantic interest. Dr. Lang’s book derives much of its interest from the word-pictures and narratives of the conditions of existence as he saw them among the early settlers. He gives a description of the bush home on the Pine River, within a day’s ride from Brisbane of a stout old sea captain and family, formerly members of his congregation in Sydney. Mention of the name of the Rev. Mr. Gregor suggests a sequel to Dr. Lang’s account of the happy, peaceful domesticity, the rural felicity, and Sabbath calm of Captain Griffin’s homestead. The story will serve to illustrate the conditions under which the settlers wrung a living from the wild bush country, not merely at that epoch, but even to the present hour on frontier settlements.
On the Pine River, the nearest neighbour to the Griffins was Mr. Gregor, brother to the clergyman at Brisbane town. In Mr. Gregor’s cottage lived Mr. and Mrs. Shannon - the latter attending to the housekeeping - and two little girls, the Shannon family. Mr Gregor was on good terms with the blacks, and habitually employed them in such odd jobs as they cared to undertake, such as chopping firewood, stripping bark, and the like. One Sunday morning, a neighbour, John Healy, who had passed the night at Griffin’s, started on his way, which led him past Gregor’s place. The Griffins were all at home on account of the day, and were surprised a little later to hear the tramp of a galloping horse approaching from the same direction. It was John Healy returning at a furious pace, his horse covered with foam and reeling with fatigue.
As he approached he shouted out his evil tidings, “The blacks are killing Gregor!” The Griffins had their horses up from the bush and saddled in hot haste, and, armed to the teeth, they were soon dashing along the track, accompanied by Healy on a fresh horse. About two miles from Gregor’s they met Shannon and a little black boy coming along the track. There was no time for a long story. In a trice Shannon was mounted behind one of the horsemen, and the pace was renewed. Just as the last ridge which hid the road from the homestead was being ascended, Gregor’s mob of horses came clattering along, scared from their home pastures. A brief discussion ensued - whether to halt and shift the saddles from the blown nags on to these fresh ones, or to proceed without delay. It was decided that every moment was of vital importance, and rescue more important than pursuit. So the ridge was surmounted, and the horsemen dashed down to the homestead. No blacks were visible at first, but as they closed with the cottage, two rushed out and made a break for the creek-bed close at hand. Healy, John and Frank Griffin spurred after the fugitives, but these reached the steep bed before they could be overtaken.
One seemed to turn up the creek and instantly disappeared. The other turned down, with worse fortune. John Griffin fired at him, but both barrels of his gun missed fire. Healy had a flying shot at close quarters, and the bounding savage gave a quick flinch as the bullet, entering his back, traversed his body and came out his belly. But still he dashed along with undiminished speed, almost brushing against Frank Griffin’s stirrup. There he was received with another shot which broke his shoulder. Stooping, with a stagger, he disappeared among the bushes and seemed to vanish. Reluctantly the avengers relinquished the quest and returned to the hut.
Here they found a heart-rending sight. In front of the hut lay the body of Mrs. Shannon. A gash from a tomahawk had laid bare the skull on one side and divided the ear. She was dead, a spear sticking in her groin, and her unborn child was coming into the world. The men, hot from pursuit, wept at the piteous spectacle. But the overburdened horse which carried Shannon besides its own rider was approaching. They rushed to intercept the unfortunate husband. He read something of the truth in their faces, leaped down, crying, “Where’s my wife?” in a tone of penetrating agony, thrust aside the kindly interposing figures, caught one glimpse of the spectacle on the ground, and fell beside it, convulsed in a dreadful fit. Poor Shannon! He never properly recovered. It was not long before his reason became hopelessly deranged, and the asylum for the insane at Tarban Creek received him.
The two children were unhurt. Had they been boys they would have been brained at the first moment. Being girls, they were spared to witness the struggles and murder of their mother, and were rescued before any harm befell them. The corpse of Mr. Gregor was found a few score yards away by the stockyard, extended face downwards on a sheet of bark. His skull was smashed into a pulp. It was conjectured that he had received the sheet of bark from his murderer, had stooped to flatten it on the ground, and had been smitten down while in that attitude. Shannon had been at the creek to get a bucket of water. The little black boy, who was domesticated, and of another tribe, ran to him telling him the “myalls” were killing everyone, and he fled with the boy, unnoticed.
There was no mystery relative to the offenders. The eldest child told who some were, the little black boy knew others. One was a well-known black named “Constable”, another was Milbong (or one-eyed) Jimmy, another was equally well known. Commissioner Simpson hastened, on being apprised of the tragedy, to the scene. There he could do nothing; but continuing his rounds once in the district, he halted one night at Durundur station, where “Constable” coolly made his appearance, neatly attired in a shirt and trousers of Gregor’s, stolen at the time of the murder. He was seized and sent to Sydney to stand his trial. The period being that succeeding Attorney-General Plunkett’s exploit in hanging seven whites for killing blacks, people were chary how they dealt with native offenders. As no witnesses were forthcoming at the trial, “Constable” was discharged, and some timber-getter’s craft conveyed him to Moreton Bay.
For the apprehension of Milbong Jimmy a reward of ten pounds was offered. Whether the words “dead or alive” were part of the proclamation may be doubted, but some timber-getters in the Pine River scrub so understood it. When Milbong Jimmy presented himself at their hut and demanded bread, the hutkeeper, in order to detain him until the other two returned from work, said he only had the damper then cooking in the ashes. Jimmy waited. The men returned to the hut at even, and watching their chance, tried to grab the murderer. But it is no easy matter to hold a naked man. Jimmy wriggled free, and made for the scrub - but a bullet was quicker than he. The timber-getters brought his head into the settlement, and, it is said, had a narrow escape of being hanged for their trouble.
No official had a second chance of dealing with “Constable”. After his return to Moreton Bay he took refuge in the blacks’ camp at Brisbane town under the guns of the law, as it were. The camp was situated in what was known as York’s Hollow, now Victoria Park. One night, shortly after “Constable’s” presence was known. A party of white men visited the camp, pounced upon “Constable” and put an end to him without troubling the authorities about the matter. How the third murderer fared has already been narrated.
Of old Captain Griffin’s sons, one, who took active part in the management of the station, and remembers Dr. Lang’s visit and Leichhardt’s visit earlier, and all the incidents of those days, still resides in Brisbane, having passed the latter part of his life in seafaring pursuits. Crippled by the effects of a night’s exposure to snow and bitter cold while lying wounded after an action in the war with China, he is, in other respects, a hale and hearty man. “Yes,” said Captain Griffin, “we had three men killed on our own place. Not at the head station, you know, but out on the run. The blacks were shy of tackling the head-station. You see, my father being a seafaring man and used to armed ships - he served with “Exmouth” Cochrane at the bombardment of Algiers - didn’t leave the place undefended. He had brought up a ship’s swivel-gun, and mounted it on a stump in front of the house, and he built a frame over it, and covered it on top; and once or twice, when there were a lot of blacks about - gathering for the bunya season, it might be - he loaded her up with grape and canister, and just banged her off to give them an idea of what she could do. It scared them, I tell you. But outside it was different.
The son of Captain George Griffin referred to in the above Paragraph, also as Captain Griffin, was most likely William Griffin, who inherited the “Whiteside” property from his mother.
Captain George Griffin was used to the command of a ship, to giving orders and having his orders obeyed. This made life somewhat difficult for his sons, and it wasn’t long before a rift developed between the Captain and his eldest son, Frank, who left the property about 1848 and returned to Sydney. Frank was given his share of the value of the property and it seems there was little or no contact after that, and what became of Frank is not known for sure. Henry Francis, senior, mentioned him in a letter to young Henry and Mary Ann in London, and in June 1865, Jessie Francis mentions meeting him at the opera and on the next day, she and her mother having tea and spending the evening with his wife in Sydney. Henry senior’s letter that mentioned the rift between Frank and his father said,
Mrs. Griffin called on us on Easter Sunday, 31st March 1850, and next day brought us your letter of Oct. 28 1849 per Dr. Lang. Business had caused her journey to Sydney to redeem some obligations, which had been contracted in bad times, but she had the good fortune then to repay. I suppose you have all their family news, but if not from better authority, she states Captain Griffin is so greatly punished by Rheumatism he cannot walk across his chamber. I suppose you have also heard of the narrow escape he had, from being poisoned, by incautiously drinking arsenic sheep dip for clear water, when warm, at the sheep station, but he fortunately drank an overdose and the stomach rejected and voided the contents. I saw him very well some time after the occurrence, in Sydney. It had materially altered his appearance and reduced his person. I suppose you also know Frank Griffin is married, has had one child since. It died in infancy. The Captain and his son Frank disagreed and parted. Frank came to look out for some kind of berth in Sydney; it was at the time the Bank of Australia was disposing of the number of properties they had received in mortgage, by lottery, amounting to lots numbering 11,248 in big and little prizes, although it was contrary to law. One drawing of a part of the lots took place on 1st January 1849-(the second drawing was stopped by Attorney General) the tickets were sold at Four Pounds each and a great number were sold. Frank bought one ticket and obtained for his prize the Wool Pack Inn at Maitland, which rents for about £100 a year. Gros. bought a ticket and got a lot at Hastings, value Nil. This bankruptcy of the Bank of Australia has ruined numbers who happened to be shareholders, names too numerous to write about and has impoverished the Colonial Community. The subscribed capital of £200,000 was lost and the shareholders had upwards of £200,000 to pay in addition. Some could not pay and became Bankrupts, or bolted. This more distressed those who had property.
For his part, William Griffin seems to have come and gone from the property. About 1847 he married Sarah Kernahan and they eventually had eight children.
In an entry in the station diary for Wednesday, 5th July 1848, John recorded: Fine weather. Only myself and Mother at the station. At 9 PM the dray returned with William, Sarah and child.
Only John remained with his parents throughout these difficult times. In 1852 he married Isabella Joyner, the widow of William Joyner, from the neighbouring Samsonvale Station. John moved to Samsonvale and managed the two properties from there. Isabella, was the child of a Sea-Captain too. Her father was Captain Penson, master of the “Mermaid”. She had a son, William Charles Joyner, from her first marriage, but her marriage to John Griffin was childless.
Returning to Jessie and Arthur Edenborough, now living in Sydney, we find that events that took place in 1851 had a severe impact on their lives. According to “Edenborough History – Roots and Recollections” by Samuel G. Edenborough, Arthur secured employment with the N.S.W. Customs Department, as a Tide-waiter. A Tide-waiter, as defined by the Customs Department is
“A Customs Officer who awaited the tide upon which sailing ships might arrive or depart, and who supervised the ships while in port to guard against smuggling or other breaches of the Customs Regulations.”
In November 1850 the American ship “Emerald Isle” arrived in Sydney. A survey showed that she had received some damage during her voyage. A controversy arose regarding the manner in which the repairs were carried out, and necessary Customs and Water Police Certificates were withheld. The authorities placed Arthur, as Customs Tide-waiter aboard “Emerald Isle” to prevent her sailing.
The Sydney Morning Herald of 16th January 1851 reported under Departures –
The “Emerald Isle” for San Fransisco, with upwards of 100 passengers is detained in consequence of the necessary certificates being withheld by the Government authorities.
The authorities having become anxious about the situation, the shipping clerk went aboard the “Emerald Isle” at 7.30pm on 17th January to ascertain the intentions of the master, Capt. Holt. He saw the Clerk to the Captain, who advised that the Captain was ashore for the purpose of procuring two steamers to tow the vessel out. The Water Police were informed at 10.30pm, but replied that there was one Customs House Officer (ie. Arthur) aboard and that if they were to employ all their force, consisting of six policemen, they would be of no more avail than the one then aboard, if the Captain had made up his mind to go. Capt. Holt, having decided to leave without clearance, set sail that night. Arthur was forcibly locked in a cuddy with no bedding or change of clothes, he having anticipated being relieved of his post within a few hours.
The Governor was informed of all the events. The Attorney General gave his advice as follows:
We beg leave to state we do not see that anything can be done with effect by the Government in this matter. It would indeed be expedient that a report should be made to the Home Government and to authorities in San Francisco and other ports in the course of the “Emerald Isle” at which there is a British Consul or Consular Agent. Should the master of the vessel return to this port the penalty of sailing without survey might be received; but it is not very probable that she will come within the jurisdiction until the matter is forgotten or becomes difficult to prove.
On the 18th January 1851 the Customs Department wrote to the Colonial Secretary in London informing him of the “Emerald Isle” incident. However it was some time before the story of the “Emerald Isle” and it’s prisoner, Arthur, unfolded further. The Sydney Morning Herald obviously had limited information when on 27th May, under ‘Ships Intelligence’, it reported:
“Emerald Isle” – Capt. Holt from Sydney to California called at Tutuila (in American Samoa) on 12th February and resumed her voyage on 26th. All well.
All was not well. The “Emerald Isle” put into Honolulu for water, and Arthur was released there. He contacted the British Consul who got Arthur a passage to New Zealand. From there, while waiting for a ship, he wrote to his wife, Jane, the first information she (and presumably the Government Authorities in Sydney) had had of him since he was abducted from Sydney without trace five months previously. We can imagine the anguish suffered by both Arthur and Jane (with 3 children under six) during this period, as well as the privations suffered by Arthur on board the “Emerald Isle”. Arthur eventually travelled from New Zealand to Sydney aboard H.M.S. “Havannah”. Records disclose that the Collector of Customs had some concern for Jane. She was paid a moiety of Arthur’s pay, which was six shillings per day, during his absence.
Our story of the “Emerald Isle” and Capt. Holt ends with an interesting letter giving Britain’s comment on the subject. The letter which arrived in Sydney on 11th March 1852 ex “Agincourt” was from Downing Street, London, addressed to the Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy:
Acknowledging all the details of the clandestine departure for California of the “Emerald Isle” taking with her an Officer of the Customs Department. In Answer I have to inform you that I have communicated with the proper Departments of the Government with a view to the adoption of such measures as may be necessary to bring to justice the parties concerned in that transaction.
Signed by Grey.
The conclusion of the “Emerald Isle” saga and Capt. Holt, was mentioned in “Smugglers and Sailors”, the Customs History of Australia 1788 – 1901 by David Hay.
The voyage without a change of clothes or bedding had shattered Mr. Edenborough’s health causing him to retire from the Service in 1856 at the age of 37. As for the “Emerald Isle”, her captain and crew deserted in San Francisco leaving the mate in control of the vessel. When the new captain returned to Sydney in 1852, no penalties were possible.
Arthur arrived in Sydney a very sick man. Too ill to return to his position of Tide-waiter, he was employed by the Customs Department as Fourth Locker, with responsibility for Bond Stores. His ill health caused increasing absences from work and he was ultimately forced to retire in 1857, although he was only 37 years old. On his behalf a petition was sent to the Legislative Assembly of N.S.W., praying for consideration of his reduced circumstances of dependence and poverty, due to paralysis brought on by the privations suffered when he was carried off to Honolulu, by the master of the “Emerald Isle”. Arthur’s case was championed by the Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang, Presbyterian Minister and member of the Legislative Council of N.S.W., with the result that the proposal to pay Arthur a gratuity of 130 pounds was ultimately approved. Rather meagre considering his salary on retirement had been 210 pounds per annum.
Arthur’s share of his father Samuel’s estate must surely have evaporated by the time of Arthur’s death, which occurred at Redfern on 22nd May 1869, aged 49. Jane died in 1898 aged 79. They were survived by four children, Emily born in London in 1845, Claud Dudley, born in Sydney in 1847, Augusta Jessie born in Sydney in 1848, and Edwin, born in Sydney in 1850.