Frederick Meredith

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Frederick Meredith was the Captain's steward on the Scarborough, one of the transports of the First Fleet. Soon after arriving in Sydney, Frederick Meredith had the doubtful distinction of appearing at the first sitting of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction (similar to a Court of Petty Sessions) for breaching the Governor's regulations by giving rum to a convict in exchange for a possum. He was sentenced to 100 lashes but Governor Phillip personally reduced this to 50 lashes.

Frederick Meredith apparently transferred to the Sirius and may have gone to Norfolk Island. He must have returned to England in 1792, because he was selected as one of the first free settlers who came to Australia in the Bellona in 1793. With the other settlers, he was given a grant of land at Liberty Plains, at the present Homebush, but in 1799 he sold the land to a neighbour. His next grant of land was 60 acres right on the point at Rhodes, which he is supposed to have disposed of for a quantity of rum.

He had a number of children from 1790, and in 1801 he had a son, also named Frederick.

From 1800 to 1809, he was a member of the Volunteer Association, a group of respectable citizens who were prepared to turn out to defend the Colony by assisting the soldiers. Later he was a police constable.

In 1809, Frederick Meredith was given a grant of land of 120 acres at the present day Punchbowl, the grant being bounded approximately by Punchbowl Road, Canterbury Road, Moxon Road, Salt Pan Creek, Cullens Road and Rose Street. William Bond was given 50 acres bounded approximately by the present Victoria Road, Wiggs Road, Cullens Road, Rose Street and Viola Street.

This item appears in the Sydney Gazette of Sunday, 1 October 1809:

On Tuesday last, a number of natives assembled about the farm of Mr Bond, at Georges River, and behaved in a very outrageous manner. They manifested an inclination to plunder but were prevented by the :determination that was shown to resist them. They threw several spears, and one of which grazed the ear of Mr. F Meredith, who assisted in the defence of the place, which it was at length found necessary to :abandon. Tidbury is said to have been one of the assailants.

Tidbury led many attacks on the Europeans who were taking their land. This was part of the resistance by the Aboriginal people to the white invasion.

Soon after he arrived in NSW at the end of December 1809, Governor Macquarie revoked all land grants made illegally after Bligh was deposed. Bond and Meredith had to return their deeds, which were originally granted in November 1809, but they asked for re-grants. Macquarie agreed to these requests, and the new grants dated from 1 January 1810. Presumably Frederick Meredith worked his land at Punchbowl, but in 1815 he sold 30 acres, and in 1818 mortgaged the remainder. Within a year or so, he sold the land, together with some harness and a mare named Maggie.

In 1821, he was promised further land at Bankstown, which was actually granted in 1833. He became a Constable at Liverpool, later the first Chief Constable at Liverpool, and he may have been the first Postmaster there. His son, Frederick junior, also became a Constable at Liverpool, and was praised for the capture of bushrangers. Frederick senior ceased as Constable in 1826, and died in 1836. He is buried at St Lukes Liverpool, beside his wife who had died in 1832.

Sources

Madden, B. (1978). Frederick Meredith - First Fleeter. Canterbury & District Historical Society Journal, Series 2, No. 10.