Life of George Muddle – Diary of an Ordinary Person in the Hunter Valley of the 1840s-1850s

Life of George Muddle [Manuscript]

For the past twenty years, the Dudley Museum has held a xerox copy of a manuscript diary kept by George Muddle (1823-1889) documenting, in the main, his life as a servant worker on Charles Boydell’s estate Camerallyn, located between the Paterson and Allyn Rivers in the Hunter Region, on an almost daily basis from 1847 to 1858.

[Manuscript] Life of George Muddle. With brief account of his life from his birth on 4th January 1823 to his arrival in Sydney on 31st August 1838; where he became a servant to a number of settlers along the Paterson River; his marriage to Elizabeth Moores on 2nd December 1846, followed by daily account  from 1 January 1847 to 30th June 1858 of his life working at Camerallyn (till 21 May 1853), Beldolba (22 May 1853 to June 1854), Levinsbrooke (July 1854) Beldolba (August 1854-November 1855), Camerallyn (26 November 1855 – 9 October 1857), Cairnsmore (20 October 1857 – 30 June 1858) End of manuscript entries. Note: Leaf 13 is missing from the Xerox Copy Therefore Diary Entries from presumably August 28, 1847 to September 14, 1847 are missing.

Camerallyn? Source: f.13 On the Paterson River. Unsigned. Undated. Item f.13 On the Paterson River. Unsigned. Undated. Titled on back in unknown hand. From: Album of cloud studies, mountain, bush and harbour scenes, ca. 1841-1850 drawn by Conrad Martens View Album:


Camerallyn, circa 1851 by [Balcombe, T.T., artist].

DOWNLOAD – Life of George Muddle [Manuscript] – (90.6MB PDF)
Please Note: If you are a direct ancestral descendant of George Muddle, or Mr Craig Berry or his family please contact us.
Please contact or
ring the Office of the UON Archivist on (02) 4921 5819.



Xerox copy of original manuscript “Life of George Muddle”. Xerox copy bears note: “Diary loaned by Craig Berry. He told Mrs Ede that he would call sometime to collect. Diary is in filing cabinet bottom drawer in hallway near history room. [Signed] Claire 4/6/99.” Dudley Museum was closing down operations in 2019, and the Xerox copy was obtained by Greg Ray and loaned to Gionni Di Gravio for digitising in August 2019.



Author: Muddle, George. (1823-1889)

Title: Life of George Muddle.

Contents: [Manuscript] Life of George Muddle. With account of his life from 4th January 1823 to 1846, followed by daily account from 1st January 1847 to 30th June 1858.

Subject: Hunter River Region (N.S.W.) – History

Keywords: Charles Boydell, Camerallyn, Camyr Allyn (N.S.W.), East Gresford (N.S.W.), Servants, Diaries, Social History, Dungog (N.S.W.), Monkerai (N.S.W.), Beldolba (N.S.W.)



1823, 4th January. Born in the Parish of Isveil, (Isfield) Sussex England.

1825 Mother died, Father went to live at Eastwood.

1826 George Muddle went to live with his grandmother at Buxted.

1827 Father remarried, and George went to live with him at Streel Park.

1828 George went to school at Francesfield Sussex, family moved to place called Lowland on the same estate. Went to school at Mr Hilders, and went to school at Buxted Bridge and to Uckfield.

1829 Went to live in Hadlerdown, and still went to Uckfield School.

1830 Went to live in Eastwood and still went to Uckfield School.

1833 Went to Crowborrow School. Father was a daily labourer who used to get work at Mr Winters and at Howbourne and other places.

1838 Father talked about going to New South Wales.

1838, 29 April. We started up to Mr Starr’s at Crowborrow to meet Bariers Waggon

1838, 30 April. We arrived at Gravesend, went on board ship William Metcalf.

1838, 5 May. We arrived at Plimmouth (sic) and stayed there until 14 May 1838 where we set sail for Sydney.

1838, 31 August. Arrive in Sydney and stayed there until 5 September 1838.

1838, 5 September. 10 O’Clock, On board steamer “Maitland” for Morpeth, but due to head wind returned to Sydney, got to Sydney 7 September, stayed until Saturday night, and tried again.

1838, Sunday 9 September. 1 O’clock. Arrived Morpeth.

Started up to Mr Townend Paterson River, stayed 5 days; Then, Mr Davison Penshurst, Upper Paterson; Then, Mr Hardy’s; Then Dr Long’s to live for 5 weeks. (Lent to him as he was badly off for a servant); Then back to Mr Hardy,

1839, 3 February? Then back to Dr Long’s again who hired him for 6mths @ 5 pounds per year

1839, July? Then Mr Boydell’s at Camerallyn. Then home to his father for six weeks,

184-? Then to live at Glennies Glenthorne for 5 years and 4 months

1845? Then Mr C. Boydell’s for 12 months at 16 pounds per year

1846? Then Moore’s for 5 weeks, done some keeping for Mr Steers at Mr Glennies and tied up grape vines.

5 December 1846 Married Elizabeth Moores married by Bishop Broughton in St Mary’s Church Upper Allyn River.

29th December 1846 went to live at Mr C Boydell’s at 18 pounds per year, then commenced keeping daily account to 30 June 1858.


Biographical Note:

Courtesy of the following site Ref:

George Muddle married Elizabeth Moore, known as Betsey, on 1 December 1846 at St Mary’s Church on the Upper Allyn River to the north of Gresford in New South Wales, which was in Houghton Parish. They had eleven children born between 1847 and 1873. They first lived at Allyn River in Houghton Parish in Paterson registration district and then in about 1857 moved to Dungog, where in 1858 George was described as being a labourer when one of his children was baptised. They went back to Paterson registration district for a while around 1863 and then again moved to Dungog. Greville’s Post Office Directory of 1872 records George Muddle as a labourer living at Brown Street in Dungog.

George was described as being a water carrier when he died at Dungog on 27 February 1889, at the age of 66 from natural causes. He was buried in the Anglican Section of Dungog General Cemetery on 28 February 1889 after a service at Christ Church in Dungog. Nineteen years later Elizabeth died at Dungog on 9 January 1908, at the age of 78 (not 79 as given on her death certificate and headstone), from senile decay, and she was buried with her husband in the Anglican Section of Dungog General Cemetery on 10 January 1908. Their grave is marked by and inscribed open-book headstone.

Their children were:

Henry 1847-1925  John 1849-1912  Isabella 1852-1923  Mary Ann 1853-?

Lucy 1856-1917  Alice Mary H 1858-1880  George Australia S 1860-1932

Rose 1863-1892  Sarah Jane 1867-1930  Elizabeth Ellen 1870-1944

Ernest Edwin 1873-1942



1889. Died Dungog Ref:

“George Muddle, an old resident, passed away last week, and was interred on Friday, He was well-known, and had acted as poundkeeper for some years. He was between 60 and 70 years old, and leaves a wife and grown-up family, very decent people.”

We would be very interested in hearing from anyone with further information relating to this manuscript, or knows of the actual location of the original, or is a direct descendant. Thanks to volunteer Natasha Schroder for undertaking the digitisation of the original xerox copy.

Gionni Di Gravio
August 2019


3 thoughts on “Life of George Muddle – Diary of an Ordinary Person in the Hunter Valley of the 1840s-1850s

  1. I have a book Charles Boydell 1808-1869 and Camyr Allyn Allyn River, Gresford. By Jack Sullivan published by Paterson Historical Society Inc. 1999 which makes extensive reference to George Muddle’s diary. It might be useful contacting them to see if they have a copy

    1. Thanks for making contact Ian. If you have any further information on the manuscript we would be very happy to include it. We are not sure where the original manuscript is located, so if you have any leads that would be also very helpful in clearing up some issues with the copy we have worked from. It’s a very interesting manuscript from a working man’s point of view, so not too common.

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