Richard Loseby (22 Dec 1804-18 Dec 1893)

Written by Steve Farmer 2003, 2006.

The Name

The Loseby name has been associated with Leicester since at least the 1500's. It was originally spelt Lowesby and is still pronounced that way. There was a village with the name of Lowseby recorded as existing in 1500. More recent links include a Loseby Lane in Leicester City. 

Three strands which make the rope

The Loseby brothers, Richard, Thomas and Charles in many ways typify the second stage of the early settlement of Australia during the period from 1840 to 1880. Each of them is drawn from one of the three main types of arrivals to early Australia, Convicts, Military Personnel and Free Settlers.

They were as much Pioneers as the people who had arrived 40 to 50 years earlier and they built upon the foundations laid by the earliest arrivals, although the convict stigma was still much in evidence as Richard's epitaph indicates;

"Farewell vain world I say adieu to thee
I now am careless what thou sayst to me
Thy smile I court not nor thy frowns I fear
I fought my battle well from year to year
What faults you see in me take care to shun
Look but at home enough there's to be done"

My connection starts here

Richard was born in Sanvey Gate, Leicester on 22nd December 1804 to parents Joseph Loseby and Ann Haskard; the 5th of 8 children.

Leicester Chronicle
March 30 1822
BOROUGH COURT Leicester(Bow) Assizes

The following prisoners were severally tried before J. Clarke, esq., King's Counsel, and were severally disposed of as follows:

Robert West, aged 15, and Richard Loseby, aged 17, for stealing 5s in copper from the shop of Messrs. Swinfin and Redfern, were sentenced to be transported for 7 years.

Despite his mother presenting a petition for mercy to the King, Richard was transported to Australia on board the ship "Princess Royal".   So began Richards career as a convict !

The Convict Years

"Princess Royal" left London on 5th November 1822. On this trip the master was Hy. Sherwood and the ship's surgeon was Jas. Hunter. The voyage took 124 days.

The Princess Royal arrived in Port Jackson on 9th March 1823 and Richard was disembarked along with 154 other Men and no women. The Governor of the day was Richard Bourke whom history remembers as a fair and able governor. Richard was perhaps more fortunate, though these things are always relative, than the convicts who were transported earlier and had to endure the rule of the despotic NSW Corps, also know as the "Rum Corps". By the time Richard arrived the colony was well established and was, to a large extent, self sufficient.

The next mention of Richard is in the 1828 muster where he is listed as working on road gang 19, L1141, in the Illawarra. 

Freedom in a Land of Opportunity

After serving his sentence Richard obtained his Certificate of Freedom number 29/0278 on 3 Mar 1829 (include copy of COF). 

Richard married Mary Rice in 20 Jun 1830 at St Lukes, Liverpool, the witnesses were George Brown and Margaret Waltham of Liverpool. 

Mary Rice was convicted at the Lancaster Quarter Sessions on 1st August 1825 at age 20 for Receiving Stolen Goods. It appears that she was a part of a group, there is a reference to the trial of Mary Rice and others held in the Lancaster Archives Office. She gave her place of birth as "Near Newry" which means she was Irish. She was transported on the "Grenada (4)" which arrived in Port Jackson on 23rd January 1827.

Mary was assigned to Mrs Underwood the wife of a former convict who was now a prosperous merchant.

In 1830 at Liverpool Richard and Mary Ann had a daughter Mary Ann who died as an infant. Their second child Sarah also died as an infant in Liverpool in 1831. The Southern Highlands is said to be reminiscent of parts of England and it was to this area that Richard gravitated. He purchased an allotment of land at Bong Bong on 30th December 1831. Around 1832 it has been reported that Richard walked with the mail from Goulburn to Sydney, a distance of 120 miles (kms). Another article suggests he walked from Sydney to Goulburn "There being no horses available". There seems little doubt that he made this walk, but no official records have been found to verify it.

In 1832 he applied to be assigned a male convict and he was granted one by Governor Bourke. Also in1832 a daughter Sarah was born to Richard and Mary Ann at Bong and her birth record states that Richard was an innkeeper. He took over the license of the Argyle Inn at Bong Bong on the Wingecarribe River from a Mr Bowman in about 1832. The new Southern Road had just been surveyed and it has been suggested that Bowman wanted to give up the Argyle Inn because he knew that Bong Bong was never going to prosper, being bypassed by the new road. Another article suggests that Mt Bowman wished to go to Port Philip, Melbourne. Richard struck a deal with Mr Bowman whereby he paid Mr Bowman £80.00 per year and anything he earnt above that he was to keep for himself. Richard was obviously a good businessman and it seems the Inn flourished, it is reported that Richard took about £600.00 in his first year. A convict by the name of Susan Milson was assigned to Richard as a cook on 31st Oct 1832. He applied for and was granted a license for the Argyle Inn on 1st Jul 1833.

He wrote a letter asking for a special dispensation for his license since there were only two Magistrates able to sign his license, Charles Throsby not being able to sign. Mr Throsby was a well know settler and a Magistrate of the district. It has been suggested that he disqualified himself due to a conflict of interest, having commenced building an Inn on the hill overlooking the Wingecarribe River. The Inn still stands today and would have been in direct competition with the Argyle Inn situated in the Valley below.

There were further dealings with the authorities over the next few years. The 5th Oct 1833 saw Richard appear as a prosecution witness in a fraud case involving on Joseph Wilks. On 23rd Nov 1833 he was mentioned at the Sutton Forest Bench in connection with a convict named James Marsh who had been charged with "Absconding to Loseby's house".

Another daughter Mary Anne was born on 14 Mar 1834 at Bong Bong.

On 4th June 1834 Richard wrote a letter to the Attorney General complaining about a fine which had been levied upon him by the Magistrates at Bong Bong. It appears that he had been accused and found guilty of supplying liquor to a convict assigned to Mr Charles Throsby. This letter demonstrates that Richard has strength of character as well as the physical strength which allowed him to walk 120 miles with the mail. Despite being an ex-convict, it seems that Richard was very prepared to stand up for his rights. The Argyle Inn must have continued to prosper and Richard began to acquire land in the area including some he purchased from a Mr Comer which was know as "Comerton Park". The only surviving image of Richard is captioned "Richard Loseby of Comerton Park". Comerton Park no longer exists as a property, but it's likely location just outside Moss Vale has been deduced.

Preserved in the Riley papers in the Mitchell Library is an account levied on Mr Riley by Richard on 6 Dec 1834. His license renewal application has also survived in the NSW State Records Office.

There is a monument to the site of the first European settlement in the Southern Highlands near the bridge, just downstream from the site of the old Argyle Inn.

Meanwhile Richard's brother Thomas had enlisted in the Army and had joined the Kings own 4th of Foot regiment. This regiment sailed for Australia and arrived in Port Jackson on Mar 1832 aboard the "Elizabeth" . On 30 Nov 1833 Richard paid £20.00 for Thomas' discharge from the Army. Jobs in the police were very easy to come by for ex soldiers and very soon Thomas had been appointed a Sergeant at Bong Bong.

Richard and Thomas wrote letters back to England and convinced their brother Charles to sell his land in Leicestershire and emigrate to Australia. The Loseby brothers all settled in the Southern Highlands area of NSW.

Around 1837 Richard became the Toll Keeper for the Lansdowne Bridge at Liverpool, NSW. He remained in this position until 1848 when he took over the license of The Pack Horse Inn in Campbell street, Sydney.

Richard remained the licensee of The Pack Horse Inn until his death on 18 Dec 1893.

This story to be continued and expanded !


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