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Craig, Richard (c. 1812 - 1855)

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Born: c. 1812  England.  Died: 14 July 1855  Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.
Richard Craig came to Australia, aged 9, with his convict father, William, on the Prince Regent, arriving on 9 January 1821. In 1825, his father was sent to Port Macquarie penal station for stealing cattle and Richard accompanied him. While his father was under sentence, Richard made friends with the local Aboriginal youth and became familiar with the countryside, learning Aboriginal languages.

Richard and his father were carrying on the trade of butchers in Sydney on 2 July 1828 when both were charged with stealing five head of cattle from a herd at Richmond. William was sentenced to 14 years on Norfolk Island and Richard to death, which sentence was commuted to seven years' hard labour at Moreton Bay. Richard escaped from Moreton Bay three times, the third time on 17 December 1830, when he remained at large. He spent the next 12 months living with Aborigines around the Clarence River, where he became familiar with the country and rivers. Gradually he moved south and arrived in Port Macquarie in late November 1831.

Upon arrival, he gave an account of the rivers and rich grazing flats in northern New South Wales and also the sighting of escaped cattle. As reward for this information, he was allowed to remain at Port Macquarie instead of being returned to Moreton Bay and was allowed to go into private service. By 1836 he was free and living and working at Ryde. He travelled to Maclean to cut cedar and for many years made a good living as a guide in the Clarence River area, travelling and blazing trails through previously inaccessible country.

In 1843 he was superintendent of a property, Eatonsville, but by 1855 was again a butcher. He married Anne Baker and had six sons and one daughter. He died from complications arising from a fall from a horse.

[Brief Biography compiled by Robin Hammond, January/February 2004]


Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: Sophie Patrick
Created: 26 June 2002
Modified: 18 November 2005

Published by The Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 5 April 2004
Prepared by: Acknowledgements
Updated: 23 February 2010

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