Ravensworth land grants (1.)

This post is intended to provide a brief overview and timeline of some of Dr. James Bowman’s land grants and land purchased that formed the Ravensworth homestead in the Hunter Valley, largely reflected through formal Colonial Secretary correspondence and personal correspondence from the James Bowman papers held at the Mitchell Library.

Bowman May 1824
Record of James Bowman’s first Ravensworth land grant (2000 acres), May 17th, 1824. New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856
col sec Sept. 22 1824 memorial
Reply by Colonial Secretary Goulburn concerning (probably the second) grant of Ravensworth land (6000 acres) granted to Bowman. Dated 22nd September 1824. New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856
surv gen Oct 8th land purchase
Deposit receipt from Surveyor General on land purchased by Bowman in 1825 (5000 acres). James Bowman Estate Papers, A4250, Mitchell Library, NSW.
land grant 1826
Correspondence between Colonial Secretary and Bowman dated 18th November 1826, regarding Bowman’s repeated applications to be granted additional land.  James Bowman Estate Papers, A4250, Mitchell Library, NSW.

This reply above states that Bowman is permitted to retain the government mandated maximum of 2560 acres of land as a grant without purchase, with 3440 acres being permitted to be held under a rental scheme. The ‘Government order’ mentioned in this letter is presumably referring to the 1826 Government requirement that land granted to non-resident landholders must be adequately developed with a functional residence before approval (referred to in the image below).

col sec Oct 3 1826 improvements
James Bowman Estate Papers, A4250, Mitchell Library, NSW.
col sec 1828
This pointed letter refers to Bowman’s apparent failure to both formally respond to the 1826 development requirement and payment of the requisite rent. James Bowman Estate Papers, A4250, Mitchell Library, NSW.
Mitchell wants land 1831
Further requests, 1831. James Bowman Estate Papers, A4250, Mitchell Library, NSW.

If located, Bowman’s reply to these requests, detailing the dimensions and property assets of the Ravensworth homestead, has the potential to pin down the construction dates of various dwellings on the property.


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