Henry Moses

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The Formative Years of Henry Moses


Henry’s parents were Jacob John Moses, originally a convict, and Mary Connolly who had married in a Christian Ceremony in Hobart Town in 1826. The couple subsequently moved to Sydney where Mary converted to Judaism, took the name Rebecca, and they were remarried, by P.J. Cohen, in 1831 in what was to be one of the first Jewish marriage in Australia. (Hilary L. Rubinstein, The Jews in Australia: a thematic history, Volume I, 1788 to 1945, Heinemann, Port Melbourne, 1991. p. 238)

Old Bailey - Prisoners waiting below the Dock - 1873On the 28th June 1820 Jacob Moses had been convicted at the Old Bailey, aged 17, of stealing a watch, etc., and was transported to News South Wales, on board the Asia, for Seven Years (Old Bailey Trial transcript). By 1821 he had been assigned to William Thompson, a baker of Sydney, who wrote to the Colonial Secretary recommending Jacob for a mitigation of his sentence (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary, Letter Received; 4/1863 p. 36, copy at Fiche 3209).

The social conditions around this time in London were described in an extract of a letter published in the Sydney Gazette of 24th June 1826:

    “It is astonishing to view the manner in which the dense part of London is built - the thousand narrow courts and streets which look precisely like long alleys, with houses four stories high on each side. These buildings contain numerous families; thousands and thousands live next door to each other, in the same building, and on the same floor.....

    “The Jews live in the same narrow streets, and their shops and personal appearance beggars all description.....”

On the 17th January 1823 Goulburn, the Colonial Secretary, wrote to Lieutenant Governor Sorell of Van Diemen’s Land, advising him that Jacob had been given permission to proceed to Hobart Town, aboard the Caledonia, to be assigned to his brother on the condition that ‘his character be respectable’ (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary, Letter Sent; 4/3507 p. 198, copy at Reel 6010).

The brother referred to was Moses Moses who had been sentenced to transportation for life for the theft of a notebook containing L7 on the 14th July 1813 (Old Bailey Trial Transcript). Moses was transported to New South Wales on the Marquis of Wellington and was assigned to Mr. Hovell’s farm at Narrellan where he was reported as an absconder in the Sydney Gazette of 8th July 1815. On the 10th April 1816 was sent to VDL on board the Kangaroo (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Papers, 1788-1825, letters sent, 1 Jan 1814-19 Jan 1816; 4/3494 p. 461, copy at Reel 6004). On the 7th May 1817 Moses was sentenced to work for the Government for one month, on his own time, and confined at nights for attempting to leave the Colony on a vessel (Archives Office of Tasmania, CON31/1/29, p. 4). The Hobart Town Gazette, and Southern Reporter, 10th May 1817, reported the incident :

    “His Majesty’s colonial brig the Kangaroo, Lieut. JEFFREYS, sailed from this harbour in the afternoon of the 6th, and anchored again off Sandy Bay. She went down the river on the 7th, and after standing out into Storm Bay, returned and anchored in Storm Bay passage, where she still remains.

    “ Four crown prisoners, who were found concealed on board on the 6th & 7th, have been landed; and they declared on their trial, that they were not conveyed on board in any boats of the settlement, but that the boats of the Kangaroo took them on board.”

Moses Moses next comes to attention when it was reported :

    “BOXING. - On Monday last the amateurs of the fist had a grand field-day on a spot of ground called Stanley’s farm, near this town, amidst a numerous concourse of spectators. The first battle was between a Hibernian of the name of Scott, and an Israelite named Moses Moses. After a deal of hard fighting, in which paddy appeared determined to be the champion, the jew was declared best - So great was the odds, that farms to a pig-stye were bet in favor of the Hibenian ! .....The third and last battle was between Stewart, another Hibernian, and Lyons, a tailor of the jewish persuasion. - Both stood well to each other for a long time, but the tailor’s _____ were completely flattened, and pat was declared victor, who retired with his face well black-balled.

    “We regret to state that at a scene so disgraceful and indelicate, several females were present, whose time might have been occupied to much better advantage in the pursuit of domestic affairs, and with much more credit to themselves.” (The Hobart Town Gazette, and Southern Advertiser, 4th October 1817).

On the 6th of January 1818, Moses Moses again tried to leave the Colony by concealing himself on the Pilot and was sentenced to five months in an ironed gang. The Hobart Town Gazette, and Southern Reporter, 10th January 1818, reported the incident :

    “On Monday, four prisoners, named Moses Moses, Richard Baker, James Jenkins, and Henry Cresswell, were found secreted on board the ship Pilot, with intent to escape from the Colony. They were brought before the Bench of Magistrates on Tuesday, and sentenced to work 6 Months in irons in the gaol gang.”

Moses Moses was ‘recalcitrant’ in the Gaol Gang and, on the 10th March 1818, was sentenced to receive lashes for repeated disobedience. Having served his sentence Moses was again in trouble when, on 9th September 1819, he received 50 lashes and was returned to the Goverment for disobedience to his master, Florence (Archives Office of Tasmania, CON31/1/29, p. 4).

In 1819 Hobart Town had a population of 3145 consisting of :

  • Free Persons and Settlers - 677 Men, 319 Women, and 488 Children
  • Convicts - 1460 Men, and 201 Women

In 1820 Hobart Town has a population of 4018 consisting of :

  • Free Persons and Settlers - 726 Men, 460 Women, and 759 Children
  • Convicts - 1875 Men, and 266 Women. (George William Evans, A Geographical, Historical, and Topographical Description of Van Diemen’s Land, John Souter, London 1822, pp. 136 - 137).

Moses was married to Sarah Brown on the 18th June 1821.

The Hobart Town Gazette, and Southern Reporter, 8th September 1821, reported :

    Moses Moses, a convict, was charged with receiving on the 13th August last, one bag of wheat, the property of Peter Hawkins, knowing it to be stolen; but the prosecutor not appearing the prisoner was discharged.”

In 1822 Moses Moses took his first steps into the world of commerce and the following advertisement was placed in The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 15th June 1822 :

    “MOSES MOSES, at Mr. R. Wallis’s Brick
    Houses, corner of Wellington-bridge, begs
    leave to inform the Public, that he has on SALE,
    all kinds of Confectionery Goods, Candied Bread,
    and Sweet-meats. - Orange and Lemon peel can-
    died or preserved on the shortest notice.”

Moses Moses was quick to take on a partner in his new venture as the following advertisement was placed in The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 29th June 1822, shows :

    “JOHN BICKERTON, Bread and Biscuit Baker
    from London, begs leave to inform the Inhabit-
    ants of Hobart Town, that he has entered into
    Partnership with M. Moses, in the above Business,
    at the Bakehouse at the corner of Wellington
    Bridge; where they trust, they will merit a con-
    inuance of those favours heretofore experienced
    from them, by making Bread of the very best
    - All sorts of fancy Biscuits, Confectionery, &c.”

Bickerton had been in business with Joseph Rogers in Elizabeth Street, opposite the Bricklayer’s Arms, but had dissolved their partnership a fortnight before (The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 29th June 1822).

The partnership did not last long as in October of the same year Bickerton was appointed a Constable of Hobart Town (The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 5th October 1822) and by November he was back in business again with Rogers (The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 24th November 1822). An interest footnote to Bickerton in this story was recorded in The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 17th September 1824 :

    “A singular though unfortunate circumstance occurred on Saturday last. The two remaining bush-rangers having been heard of somewhere in the neighbourhood of Brown’s river, several parties of constables were in consequence dispatched in pursuit of them. It happened that one party, comprising two police officers, went into a little hut which they had promiscuously discovered, while two other constables, in quest of the bush-rangers also, perceived them. The latter taking the former to be the bush-rangers, hailed them, but not being answered at the moment, they instantly fired at the hut, and thereby severally wounded both of their brother officers. We however are happy to add, that they are now in a fair way to recovery. Their names are, Bickerton and Brown.”

Returning to the Moses family, Jacob had joined his brother in Hobart in 1823 and we find that Moses Moses was granted his Ticket of Leave in April 1824 (The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 23rd April 1824) and by September had decided to sell a house that he owned. It is unclear whether this was the place were he ran his business from:

    “TO be Sold by Private Contract,
    eligibly situated in the central part
    of Elizabeth-street, a HOUSE, con-
    taining 3 Rooms, together with a Bake-
    house, and a 12-bushel Oven, with a
    good run for Business. - A Credit will
    be given on approved Security. - Apply
    to MOSES MOSES, corner of Wellington
    Bridge, Elizabeth-street.” (
    The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 24th September 1824).

Curr gives up some idea of what Hobart Town was like in 1824 (Edward Curr, An Account of the Colony of Van Diemen’s Land, principally designed for the use of Emigrants, George Cowie and Co., London, 1824) :

    “.....the Town contains about 600 houses and 3500 inhabitants.” (p. 5)

    “Dwelling-houses in Hobart Town are generally of one floor only, though latterly it has been found more advantageous to build them of two stories. When a person of small means can procure an order (which is not only given to emancipated convicts, but also to prisoners of the Crown) for an allotment of ground in the town, he usually commences by building what is called a skilling or lean-to, which composes the rear of his future house, and as his means improve he erects a front.

    “The rent of houses in Hobart Town is very high; a cottage consisting of four to six rooms lets for 60l., 70l., and 80l. per annum. A house of two floors, containing eight or ten rooms, for 120l. to 150l. per annum; if an an advantageous position, 200l. will be given for it. Hobart Town indeed is in all respects an expensive place to live in; and it is often difficult to procure the most ordinary comforts and necessities of life. There is a market-place, and a market-day, and I have seen something in print about market prices; but as yet there is in reality no market. Fire-wood is become a most expensive article, and to obtain it is difficult.” (pp. 8 - 9)

Boyce writes that there were no barracks, either for prisoners or military, in Hobart Town prior to 1825 (James Boyce, Van Diemen’s Land, Black Inc., Melbourne, 2008, p. 137.) and that the free settlers and the convicts, including the emancipists, co-existed in separate social groups from the 1820’s (pp. 158 - 161).

Jacob Moses received his Ticket of Leave in 1824 (Hobart Town Gazette and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 14th May 1824) and ss we have seen above Jacob John Moses married Mary Ann Connolly, or Connelly, in Hobart in 1826. Mary was the daughter of Henry Connolly who had arrived in Hobart, 17th November 1820, as a convict aboard the Caledonia from Portsmouth.

By 1827 Jacob had opened a business in Hobart and advertised that he and his partner, G. Evans, were selling every article in the Pastry and Confectionery line from their shop in Elizabeth Street (The Colonial Times, and Tasmanian Advertiser, 28th July 1826). The partnership of Jacob Moses and George Evans was short lived and a notice of the dissolution was published in February 1827 (The Colonial Times, and Tasmanian Advertiser, 9th February 1827). Jacob continued to trade on his own, The Colonial Times, and Tasmanian Advertiser, 3rd August 1827 :

    “J. MOSES, Confectioner, Elizabeth-street,
    begs leave respectfully to inform his
    Friends and the Public in general, that he
    has just landed, and has on SALE, an assort-
    ment of oranges, lemons, walnuts, almonds,
    raisins, cinnamon, preserved ginger and cit-
    ron in jars, dried pears, nutmegs, loaf sugar,
    rusks, gingerbread, and confectionery of every
    - J.M. hopes, by unremitting attention
    to the Confectionery part of his Business, be-
    ing his principal study, to merit a continu-
    ance of that patronage which has hitherto
    been so liberally bestowed by the Public,
    and thankfully received by him.”

The Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 10th November 1827, reported that Moses Moses had been convicted for driving a cart on a Sunday at New Norfolk.

Jacob would have been free by servitude during 1827.

In January Jacob placed the following advertisement in The Hobart Town Courier, 26th January 1828 :

    THE public is hereby cautioned against buying
    or negotiating a note of hand or bid for L30
    drawn by W. Parsons and accepted by James Burns,
    as the same was an illegal and unwarranted transaction.

    “The public is also cautioned not to pay to the
    above named Parsons or Burns for the goods lately
    disposed of on commission by Parsons from the un-
    dersigned, nor to any other persons but himself or au-
    thorised agent.
    J. MOSES.
    Elizabeth-street Corner of
    Liverpool-street. Jan. 25.”

despite this Jacob’s business must have been successful as in March, 1828, he and Mary embarked on the brig Woodlark bound for the Cape of Good Hope and from thence, presumably to London (Hobart Town Courier, 29th March 1828). The family never made their destination :


    “In addition to the above, we have also to record the melancholy intelligence of the wreck of the brig Woodlark, Lieutenant LEARY, R.N. Commander, bound from Hobart Town to the Cape, and which sailed from Sydney on the 29th of February last. The Woodlark left the Derwent on her voyage to the Cape on 24th of March, but met with such unfavourable weather at the entrance of Bass’s Straits, as induced the Captain to change his course with the intention of making his passage through Torres’ Straits, and in less than three days he was off Cape Bowe. On Friday, the 18th of April, however, between the hours of three and four in the morning, the vessel struck on a reef in Torres’ Straits. For some time hopes were entertained that she would come off, but, at length, the Captain found it necessary to order the boats out with such provisions and water as could hastily be got ready, but just at the moment the jolly-boat was ready for lowering, a heavy sea washed her away, and the other boat, only 24 feet long, was all that was left then to take 24 people including two women, and a child of 5 months old. All hopes of the vessel being given over, the two males and four seamen got into their sole dependence, the remaining boat; but, immediately on the fills being cut away, so great was the violence of the surf, that she turned bottom upwards, and the crew with difficulty succeeded in making a neighbouring rock which appeared just above water. One of the men had his ribs broken, and the boat was torn to pieces. The remainder of the crew and passengers soon found themselves obliged to abandon the vessel, which soon after parted, and the whole of the unfortunate persons lately on board of her found their only footing on a rock just above water, at least 70 miles from land. The boat was subsequently repaired by the exertions of Mr. Ryan, the chief officer, and a raft constructed out of such portions of the wreck as could be picked up. Eight persons got upon the raft which was towed by the boat; and, in this manner, the unfortunate crew and passengers of the Woodlark committed themselves to the ocean in the hope of making some part of the coast of New Holland. The raft was subsequently obliged to be abandoned, and, together with the six individuals who trusted to it, has not since been heard of. The boat, with her crew, after the most terrible privations from hunger and thirst, and after a voyage of about eight hundred miles, at length made Moreton-bay, where every attention was paid to the sufferers by the Commandant, and Mrs. Logan, on the 14th of May, after being 26 days at sea. The passengers from Sydney to the Cape were, James Flaherty, Esq. and servant, O.G. Bennett, and Mary Ferris. From Hobart Town, _____ Moses, wife, child, Frue, Hines, and J. Clare. The names of the unfortunate individuals on the raft who have not been since heard of, are Callicott, the ship’s carpenter, Rowland, begly, Maconish, and Blackstone, and J. Pike, Mr. Flaherty’s servant. We have been favoured with the particulars detailed at considerable length, which we shall most probably publish in our next.” (Sydney Gazette, 23rd June 1828)


    “In reference to the wreck of the Woodlark, which we slightly noticed in our last, we have been furnished by the Captain, with the following additional particulars : - ‘The Woodlark left Sydney, February 29th, 1828, and arrived at Hobart Town on the 13th March; we left Hobart Town on the 24th of March for the Cape of Good Hope, and had got about 2 deg. W. of King’s Island, but gaining no ground for several days owing to strong N.W. and Westerly gales, we bore up for Torres’ Straits, and having the wind to the Northward of east, were proceeding to the West of Wreck Reef, intending to enter the barrier where the Indefatigable found a passage, when at 3 A.M. on the morning of the 18th April, being in 24 deg. 54 min. South latitude, observation at noon that day, and 153 deg. 53 min. East longitude by reckoning, carried on by observation of the chronometer on the forenoon of the 17th we struck on a reef with such violence, that in a few minutes the rudder was unshipped, the starboard quarter bilged, the jolly boat washed from the stern, and not the slightest hope or chance of saving her. The long boat now became the only resource for the preservation of the passengers and crew, and (having put into her what provisions and water we could find room for), she was hoisted out, but at that moment a heavy sea struck the brig, upset the boat and stove her, sending her at the same time with the boat’s crew well up on the reef. By this misfortune all our provisions, chronometer, sextant, charts, ship’s papers, &c., were lost, and no chance at getting at any more. By this time daylight came, but only to convince us of our forlorn and hopeless situation; we found we had struck upon an extensive coral reef, running nearly N. and S. with a strong current, setting 3 or 4 knots in a N.W. direction; and a cable’s length a-head of the brig we observed a small rock about 20 feet diameter, and affording the only spot in sight capable of affording a footing upon. This desolate rock we all reached about noon, and collecting every thing we could secure as it drifted from the wreck, we constructed a raft, in hope of reaching the main land directly West of us, although at the time near 200 miles from it. This done, our long boat was hauled upon it, and on examining her, we found her stove in several places; but by the exertions of the chief mate and carpenter she was repaired by sun-set, and in a state much better than could be expected. It was now resolved not to leave the rock till morning, and this night was passed on it by as many of us as could find room, (17) and the remaining seven on the raft, in a state of anxiety more easily imagined than described, without food or water, the slight covering we had saved entirely wet, and the sea at times washing entirely over us, and at low water beating against the rock with such violence as to shake even its foundation.

    “ ‘Thus saturated, daylight returned, and we left the rock, 18 in the boat and 6 on the raft. The boat’s bottom boards for paddles, an oar for a mast, and a sheet for a sail. We steered W. by S. and by midnight had got 9 or 10 leagues to the Westward; when we were compelled to cut off the raft, in consequence of a heavy swell, and in the morning at daylight lost sight of her. We continued our course in this direction, suffering excessively from heat and thirst, until the morning of the 23rd, and at daylight saw the main land about Cape Palmerston and the Northumberland Isles, and before sun-set reached one of these islands, and commenced digging for water, until near midnight, but in vain. We slept on the beach here this night and morning; after bathing, from which very considerable benefit was derived, we resumed our course for the main, but in rounding a point of the island about noon, we discovered some small rock oysters; here we landed, and to our great joy water was discovered in the cavity of a rock, and in such abundance, that for a while we forgot our forlorn situation over the feast which Providence had provided for us. This was the seventh day we had been without food or water of any kind, except a few bird’s eggs. Having finished our repast, and returned thanks to that Power which seems never to have forsaken us, we resumed our course for the main, and on the following morning landed in a bay near Cape Palmerston. here we procured both fire and water, and also the remains of an emu we discovered a native dog devouring, which again afforded us a comfortable meal, and having the wind in our favour, we continued coasting it along, landing occasionally for water, or any wild herbs or fruits we could procure, until the morning of the 14th of May (having been kept seven days in Bustard Bay by foul winds, and a heavy surf, which prevented us launching the boat), when we arrived in a state little short of starvation at Moreton-bay, where the humane attention of Captain Logan and family, and every individual on the settlement, proved a balm for all our sufferings, and restored us to that health and strength which we shall ever feel grateful to him. We left Moreton Bay on the 24th; and owing to foul wind, did not arrive at Sydney, until Saturday the 21st, at 4 P.M.

    “ ‘G.A. LEARY.” (Sydney Gazette, 25th June 1828)

This article was also reprinted in the Hobart Town Courier 26th July 1828 when the following was added:

    “We regret that Captain Leary has not communicated the names of the 6 unfortunate persons who were on the raft. Among the 18 who reached Sydney we have learned the names of Flaherty, Hines, and Moses, wife and child.”

Captain Leary was to narrate a more comprehensive account of the tale which was published in Tales of Shipwreck and Peril at Sea, No Author, Burns and Lambert, London, 1858, pp. 1 - 16 :

    “THE brig Woodlark, having been chartered from Hobart Town to the Cape of Good Hope, left that port on the 24th of March 1828; and as the winds on her entrance to Bass’s Straits were favourable, it was thought that the vessel might reach to the westward of King’s Island, sufficiently to insure her arriving by the southern passage at her place of destination. We had not, however, proceeded above two degrees to the westward of the Straits, when there arose hard gales from the north-west and west, which continued for nine or ten days, and blew at times with such violence, as to render it useless for a vessel of her description to contend longer against them, and we were at length compelled to bear up for a passage round the north end of Australia, called Torres’ Straits. On the 17th of April, at noon, we were in latitude 23 deg. 17 min. S., longitude 153 deg. 36 min. E., the weather fine and moderate; but as the wind was to the north-east, we were unable to take the usual passage outside Wreck Reef, where the Porpoise and Cato were lost some years ago, except by working to windward, which would have occupied nearly two days; we therefore chose the passage, nearly a hundred and thirty miles wide, between Wreck Reef and the Barrier Reefs. We steered for the middle of this passage on the night of the 17th, and were running at the rate of six or seven knots, when at 3 o’clock on the morning of the 18th, the brig struck on a coral reef with such violence, that in a few minutes the rudder was unshipped, both quarters bilged, and all hopes of saving the vessel were entirely abandoned.

    “The preservation of our lives (in number twenty-four) was our first anxious thought, for which the only chance was our long boat, of twenty-two, and jolly boat, of sixteen feet long; but the uncertainty of our situation was increased by the absence of daylight, and the sea made a thorough breach over the vessel, while each succeeding surf lifted her nearer the edge of the reef, where it broke with such violence as to render it doubtful if she would hold together till daylight; the danger of lowering our boats in such circumstances was too apparent. We continued in this awful state of suspense until twenty minutes past three, when a heavy sea struck the jolly boat, and washed her away from the stern.

    “To describe our feelings at being thus deprived of one of our principal means of escape, would be impossible; but we endeavoured to console ourselves with the certainty that our long-boat was still preserved to us on the booms, although known to be incapable of carrying more than two-thirds of our number. All our attention was now turned to providing this boat with what provisions we could come at; an eight-gallon keg of water, a large stock of bread, beef, wine, beer, a chronometer, sextant, small arms, and ship’s papers; these with the boat’s masts and sails and about eight hundred pounds of money, were hastily collected, and put into her. It was intended that the passengers (among them whom were two females and an infant about ten months old) and part of the crew should have taken to the boat, while the master and the remaining hands should remain for the purpose of constructing a raft, upon which they were to depend for their preservation; being at this time, either through some inaccuracy in the chronometer or unaccountable mistake in the reckoning, under the delusive idea that the brig was on the Barrier Reef, and consequently not more than from ninety to a hundred miles from the coast of New Holland; an idea which doubtless gave strength to our efforts during our subsequent progress of seven days to the mainland. At length, we succeeded in getting the long-boat over the side, and waited a favourable moment for lowering her down, when, as if to complete our misfortunes, a heavy surf upset the boat, and carried it (with those who were in it) more than the brig’s length up on the reef. Thus we were at once deprived, not only of every article which we had provided for our use and subsistence, but also of the possibility of procuring anything more from the wreck, which was now fast breaking up by the violence of the surf.

    “Deprived as we were now of our last resources, and unable, from the darkness, to ascertain the fate of the boat or its crew, no common degree of exertion might be thought be thought requisite to prevent our total abandonment to despair; and yet it is but justice to say, that this and our other fast-accumulating misfortunes were met by a cool and determined spirit of resignation. The appearance of daylight at length discovered to us the awful reality of our forlorn and hopeless condition; we found we had struck on the edge of an expansive coral reef; and our companions, providentially preserved, though much injured from the bruises they received, were clinging to the boat, turned bottom upwards on the reef. Near to the boat, a directly a-head of the brig we perceived a small rock, about twenty feet in diameter, affording the only prospect of a dry footing we could discover in the whole extent of the reef. The masts were now cut away, and to this rock, as our next step towards our preservation, we directed all our exertions; and here the hand of Providence appeared in our favour, and we all succeeded in reaching, through a heavy surf, this much-desired spot about noon, when we immediately commenced collecting all the spars, rigging, and such articles as chance threw within our reach, and that might be serviceable to us in the construction of a raft. Upon this we had now determined to seek such part of the main-land, distant about two hundred miles from us, as the mercy of the winds might drive us to; but, when completed, it was found incapable of bearing more than half our number. Our shattered long-boat was now thought of, and it was hauled under the lee of the rock; when, on examination, her bottom was found to have two large holes in it; all her planks were torn from the stem on both sides, her gunwales were stove in, and she destitute of mast, oars, sail, or any one thing belonging to her; and indeed, in such a worthless state was she considered, that she was at one time actually cast adrift from the rock, and only recovered by the prudential foresight of one of the crew.

    “Here it may be permitted to remark the fortunate circumstances of the brig striking the spot she did; for had she taken the ground a cable’s length in a contrary direction on either side, not a soul could have been saved. The preservation of the boat’s crew, the recovery of the boat itself, and the discovery of a resting-place for nearly the whole of us, are certainly instances of the kind interposition of a Providence which extends its guidance to us through the perils and privations we were yet destined to endure. In this extremity, the long-boat gain occurred to us as affording a remote possibility of supplying the place of the raft; and having hauled her upon it, by means of some nails the carpenter had luckily saved in leaving the wreck, with some pieces of copper ripped from a part of her, and a tarpaulin frapped round her bows, she was patched up in such manner as promised, by continued baling, to carry us afloat. Night closed upon our labours, and it was agreed that we should remain in our present situation until the following morning. Thus were a number of human beings, destitute of water or food, at the distance of nearly two hundred miles from land, confined to the narrow limits of a small rock, whose foundations trembled under us at low water with the violence of the waves; while the sea breaking over us continually in the night, exhausted our strength, and left us without a hope but that of daylight. That trust in Providence, however, which assists us in our most trying adversities, lent its support to us on this occasion, during hours of which none but those circumstanced as we were can imagine the anxious suspense.

    “Daylight of the 19th at length appeared; and after surveying the wreck, in the vain hope of procuring some article of food or use, we left our solitary place place of refuge in two parties; eighteen in the boat, and six upon the raft. We had now fasted nearly forty-eight hours, when a sheep, which had been caught in its attempt to swim from the wreck, was killed, and its blood collected in a bucket; with this we tried to appease our excessive thirst, while the mutton was divided between the raft and the boat, in proportion to the number on each. With the bottom boards of the boat for oars, a broken oar for a mast, a sail made by stitching a table-cloth to a piece of canvas, a compass and quadrant, and without a rudder, the long-boat proceeded with the raft in tow. This latter had a top-gallant studding sail boom secured as a mast, with a sail to assist them; and with fine weather and a fair wind, varying at times from N.E. to S.E., we entertained hopes of reaching the land in forty-eight hours. We were doomed, however, to experience in this, as in many other instances, the misery of disappointment. In about an hour, we succeeded in clearing the numerous small rocks with which these reefs abound; and at noon, with the wreck still in sight, steering W.S.W., we obtained an observation of the sun, by which we found we were in lat. 21 deg. 52 min. S. Our progress was now at the rate of about two and a half miles an hour, with all the advantages of moderate breezes, smooth water, and a clear atmosphere.

    “At midnight the breeze began to freshen and caused a ripple of the sea, which made the boat feel the heavy weight of the raft in tow, and at length (the wind still freshening) it tore away the rope to which it was made fast; it was then secured to the stern-post of the boat, which it started, and at times shook with such violence as to threaten the destruction of us all. A sense of self-preservation now compelled us to cast off the raft, but with the impression at this time that there was nothing between us and the main-land, which we hoped they would reach as safely as those in the boat. The following night convinced us of our error. In about an hour after we had cast off, we lost sight of the raft entirely; and when daylight broke, not a vestige of her was to be seen, , though probably not more than two or three miles from us. We kept our course through an open smooth sea, baling the boat without intermission during the whole time we were in her, and beginning to feel the want of water, without hunger sufficient to oblige us to eat the raw mutton, which had now become too offensive to keep in the boat. From the excessive heat and thirst we found considerable relief by pouring salt water over the head and neck, a practice which was continued every day afterwards.

    “On the approach of the night of the 20th our fears and anxiety returned, nor would our spirits permit us to break the silence which prevailed, or hazard a conjecture of what might be the fate of our fellow-sufferers on the raft.* [* Footnote - We never saw or heard more of them, but afterwards concluded they must have perished on the Barrier Reef.] It may be mentioned, that by this time we had contrived to make something in the shape of a rudder, of which we had long felt the want, with no other instrument but a pocket-knife. The stillness of the scene was broken about midnight, by a voice calling out ‘Breakers-a-head,’ which we distinctly perceived to stretch on both bows, as far as the eye could reach. By lowering the sail and making good use of our paddles, the boat was got round and kept clear of them; but when daylight appeared, our hopes of land also vanished, and we found we were among a range of reefs, consisting of sunken rocks and low sandbanks, extending in all directions, except from the eastward, as far as we could discern. This must have been the Barrier Reef, from the distance we afterwards ran to the main-land. The water was smooth; but with some difficulty, and after grounding several times, we effected a passage through, and about two P.M. we landed on a small sandbank, where we began to search for shell-fish, or anything which promised relief to our excessive thirst. A few boobies’ eggs here rewarded our search; which proved a most grateful though slender repast, affording great relief to our thirsty and parched throats, for we had now been four days without food or water. It was here proposed to rest our weary limbs, stiff and cramped from the crowded state of the boat, for the night; but this was overruled, a fine breeze and smooth water being too valuable to be lost; and after putting two or three birds in the boat, we left this (to us welcome) spot with better strength and hopes than the morning had held out to us. We had a fine little breeze during this night; which passed a little more cheerfully with us than the former ones. The moon, now in its second quarter, began to be of considerable service, enabling us by its light to see the compass, and dispelling much of that gloom which the darkness, combined with our destitute situation, was calculated to impress on our minds. We had also some hopes of seeing the land in the morning; but when the dawn of the 23rd appeared with a bright rising sun and a clear horizon all round, a feeling of disappointment was strongly visible in every countenance, with nothing but the well-founded hope and assurance that another day would bring us in sight of it could dispel. As the sun gained its reviving power to dry our clothes, we renewed our usual attempts at cheerfulness; but not the least interesting object was the little infant [Jacob, or John, and Mary’s child] who, though deprived of its usual nourishment from the weak state of the mother, submitted to these hardships with a playful smile, not a little calculated to produce resignation amongst those more conscious of their future prospects.

    “About noon this day we found ourselves in shoal water again, among sunken rocks so thick that we were obliged to get out of the boat to lighten her and assist her through them; this, in our exhausted state, proved how little exertion we were capable of, if we had met with a repetition of these difficulties. This part of the reef we were on lies in latitude 21 deg. 41 min. S., by which we found the current had been setting us to the northward; for we had been steering W.S.W., with the intention of making the coast as far to the southward as possible; Moreton Bay being at this time about four hundred miles from us.

    “Having at length got entirely through the reefs with which the coast is surrounded, we proceeded to the westward during the night, with little change of scene but that which every two hours afforded, by relieving the helm and look-out, which stations were now much sought after, as giving occupation to the mind.

    “Our hopes of land were not disappointed, while the anxiety painted in each countenance, as the twilight slowly announced the rising sun, would have been a subject of mirth to men differently situated to ourselves, and perhaps not less so to have witnessed the joy among us, as the sun cleared away the mist of the night, and discovered the high mountains of New South Wales, with a number of small islands, called the Northumberland Islands, between us and the main-land. It was quickly resolved to make for the nearest of these islands, which we succeeded in reaching about six o’clock P.M., but in such an exhausted state, that when we were within five or six miles of it, it fell calm; and though by our exertions at the paddles we gained considerable ground, they were at one time laid in, and the boat left to drift as it would, while we rested to regain strength to renew the exertion.

    “On landing at this spot, the island proved to be a barren rock, covered slightly with furze and grass, but without anything in the shape of food to relieve our hunger; our disappointment, especially at not finding water, drove us nearly to despair. We succeeded, however, in finding a sandy bay for the boat; and having secured her for the night, we turned our whole attention to digging wells in the sand, above high water-mark, in the hope of finding fresh water. We had no weapons but our hands for this purpose, but we continued digging in different places till near midnight, at times tasting the moisture of the soil as we got deeper into it, when the search was relinquished as hopeless, and we threw our weary limbs on the sand in silent sorrow, seeking relief from our distressed feelings in rest and sleep. This we enjoyed to its fullest extent, and at daylight in the morning we found ourselves much refreshed, and prepared to start for the main-land, about nine or ten leagues from us. The boat’s sail was repaired a little for the better, a branch of a tree was cut for a yard, which before consisted of two sticks lashed together, and we left this bay about noon of the 24th in hope of reaching the main-land before dark.

    “There was, however, some good fortune in store for us exceeding our most sanguine expectations. The boat was in the act of rounding a small point of this island, when a rocky spot was observed on it, covered with shell-fish, which we soon found to be rock oysters; here we landed, and in less than five minutes one of our crew, who had been attracted to a height on the rock, almost inaccessible, by the circumstance of a crow flying from it, called out, ‘Water ! Water!’ This he had discovered in a cavity of the rock, in great purity and abundance; and it is doubtful if any one of us has since enjoyed a happier hour than we did over the feast which Providence seemed to have provided for us; for it is to be remembered, that we had been since the 17th without one drop of water. All our food, too, since that day had consisted of a few boobies’ eggs, and the raw liver of the sheep with which those in the boat used to moisten their parched palates.

    “After finishing our repast, and filling a small keg which we had saved, we gathered a quantity of the shell-fish into the boat, and left this delightful spot; when, after a night spent in comparative comfort, we landed about nine, on the following morning, on the main-land, near Cape Clinton, in latitude about 22 deg. 33 min. S. We beached the boat here in a snug sandy cove; and, on landing, our troubles and necessities all seemed to be at an end, so much preferable did our situation appear to be, even on a wild barren coast, to the anxiety we had felt while only depending on our wreck of a boat. Our party divided themselves in search of water, or whatever the country might produce; and in less than two hours we all met together again by the boat, some having found fire, which was obtained from a spot where the natives had been burning. We also followed in silence the sound of what we supposed to be wood-cutting, in hope of cultivating the good-will of the natives; but they disappeared with shrieks of terror the instant we broke upon their view. A rivulet of water had also been discovered about a mile from us; and to crown our success one of the crew had discovered a native dog devouring an emu, seemingly just after having caught and killed it. The hungry animal was quickly driven from his prey, having only eaten one of the legs, and the bird was shouldered down to us amidst a shout of joy and satisfaction more easily conceived than described.

    “A fine blazing fire was quickly kindled, the emu skinned and cleaned, the sound leg (which weighed equal to a good sized leg of mutton) was laid apart, to be roasted for our future support on the boat, which, that we might enjoy the feast at our leisure, was hauled up on the beach, while the compass-box (which happened to be brass), divested of the card, was converted into a kettle for cooking. We had still one piece of mutton in the boat not much the worse for time, with which and our emu, and a species of wild lettuce and beans, found along the beach, a most sumptuous meal was provided for all hands, the mate standing cook, and providing for four at a time, as many as our cooking-vessel was adapted for. We indulged ourselves here in all the luxury this place had so unexpectedly supplied us with; and after naming it Emu Bay, and filling our vessels with water, we took our departure thence to resume our journey along the coast for Moreton Bay.

    “The fine weather we now had, with a fair wind, was very much in our favour; and the progress we made this night to the S.E. gave us great hopes of reaching the settlement in three or four days, though ignorant how far we were from it, and only knowing there was a such a colony from the fact that one of our crew had been there in a colonial vessel three years before. In the morning we landed again, in a place we called Desolate Beach (from its general appearance in the short range we had of it); and we left it without finding anything to assist us in the continuance of our voyage.

    “Continuing our course until the 29th, hugging the land by night and stretching off in the day-time, and assisted by winds too favourable to be lost by landing in search of food, we were at last induced to land in a fine bay near an opening which had all the appearance of a river, and is marked in the charts as Bustard Bay. We immediately made for this imaginary river, and, without stopping at its mouth, proceeded a considerable distance up, when, to our great disappointment, it proved to be salt, and in the end turned out to be a salt-water lake, about five or six miles in extent. In about an hour we again experienced a remarkable instance of good fortune; in our general search, two wells, which had been dug by the natives, were discovered, so small, and in such an obscure situation, that it was a matter of astonishment to us all how they were found. We slept on the sandy beach this night, sheltered only by the canopy of heaven; and in the morning at daylight, to our great mortification, we found the wind from the S.W., with a steady settled breeze. Here again, our distresses seemed to excite pity from the ever-bountiful hand of Providence; for on renewing our search for food, as some of our party were crossing the lake above-mentioned at low water, the bank chosen for a passage was found to abound in small oysters; and as nothing else had promised us support but a kind of wild sorrel and a dry hard bean which grows spontaneously along the coast, the news of this discovery was hailed as a continuance of the protection of that gracious power which had hitherto supported us, and inspired us with a well-founded hope of eventual deliverance.

    “On this bank, then, we assembled for our daily sustenance, about an hour each day at low water, our feet torn or cut by the rocks, without shoes, and a very slender covering to shelter us from the heavy rains which poured upon us during the night; thus we spun out an existence, now become desirable only for the sake of objects dear to us all from the various ties by which we were bound to them. This state of things continued until Tuesday the 6th of May, without any circumstance worthy of observation. A thought at times occurred to some of us to relinquish our boat entirely, as each morning added to our disappointment at finding no change of wind, and to make an attempt to reach Moreton Bay over land. This proposition, however, fortunately met with little support; for, with the mountains, bays, and rivers to oppose us, it is next to impossible we could ever have succeeded in reaching it. On the morning above-named, we observed, for the first time two natives crossing over from the opposite side of the lake; and on two or three of us approaching toward them, they appeared very friendly, and supplied us with fire, which we had now been without for eleven days, although all our ingenuity had been frequently exerted to procure it. The men were armed with spears, while the younger part of them carried a small waddy, with which they began to amuse themselves by beating against the trees to a kind of song and dance, with all which we professed to be much pleased, it being highly necessary to cultivate a friendly feeling with them; but about noon they began to increase, and shortly after collected around us, from various directions, in such numbers as to assume a formidable appearance if they should prove to be hostile. They did not keep us long in doubt of their disposition; for, after sending away their women and children, about thirty of them assembled together, and commenced plundering us of the few clothes we had. They first seized the only two blankets among us, the property of the women; then a red frock or cap attracted their attention; at last, finding their propensity for anything of this colour, we endeavoured to satisfy them by tying a slip of red bunting from the remains of our ensign round their necks; this seemed to excite great admiration among them for a while, but did not satisfy, however, their rapacity. At last a thought occurred that our quadrant might possibly have the effect of checking them; and when this was brought into motion, by moving the index, and playing with the glasses, it had evidently the desired effect, for they drew back alarmed, conversed with each other, and eyed the instrument with a doubtful look, which clearly showed their ignorance of its power.

    “From all we observed, we considered ourselves in a critical situation, and we resolved to take to the boat with any wind, in preference to remaining among our new acquaintances, who, by their private conversation and mysterious manoeuvres, now began to threaten us more seriously. Our boat was a mile distant, and we chose the beach in preference to travelling through the bush; but, just as we were congratulating each other on our escape from these savages, we were surprised to see them on the beach, about half-way between us and the boat, having taken a short cut through the bush to get to the beach before us. There happened to be a cloak lined with red on one of our party, which they had previously endeavoured to get possession of without success; and this, with the boat’s sail, seemed to be their principal object in following us. They now began to threaten us, by running before, and, on their knees, pointing their spears at us with one hand, and stroking their beards with the other, seemingly with much fury, perhaps to terrify us into a surrender of what we now held dear to us as life - our boat’s sail. All this, however, we affected to regard with indifference; and it proved in the end the best line of conduct we could have adopted. At length we reached the boat; and having a few nails, the brass handle of a door, and other trifles of this description, we divided these among them, in the hope of inducing them to assist in launching the boat; for we found our strength so far gone that we could not move her. Seeing this, one more benevolent than the rest set the example, and they all suddenly threw down their arms, and closing round our boat, she was quickly launched through the surf, to their great amazement; and it was not until we were quite out of reach of their spears, that we felt perfectly free from their violence, which the least irritation might have brought upon us.

    “After leving this spot, we were two days before we lost sight of it, without venturing to land, having water sufficient to give us about a pint each person daily, but no food during this time; and we continued our course until the 10th, when we landed in latitude 25 deg. 8 min. for an hour. Here we found water in a small hole in the rock, and also a species of fruit common to this country, similar in appearance to the pine-apple, but with very little nourishment.

    “On Sunday the 11th, we found ourselves in Hervey’s Bay, formed by by Sandy Cape to the eastward, by which we lost one whole day; and although the natives came down to the beach, and even up to their necks in the water, offering us fruit and other marks of civility, it was not thought safe to venture among them; * [* Footnote - It does not appear, on the whole, that the natives of this part of New Holland have any cannibals among them; but they are treacherous, disposed to plunder, and would not hesitate to murder to obtain their object.] and we proceeded until near dark, when, seeing none of them near us, we ventured to land, and again fortunately found a pond of fresh water, with a plentiful supply of the fruit above-mentioned. But about nine at night, we were suddenly caught by a strong current, rapidly setting us among the breakers on the spit off Sandy Cape; and this was probably the most awful moment we experienced since the commencement of our difficulties. One sea had already half filled the boat; and to lighten her, our water and everything we could think of was hove overboard, when, at the moment our destruction seemed inevitable, and all hands were probably in silent prayer, we found the current had set us clearly through an opening of these breakers, the water smooth, and our boat, as if by a miracle, fast drifting from them in the direction we were bound. A short prayer of thanksgiving was now offered up to that Being whose power alone could have preserved us; and we continued our course along the land, our hopes strengthened by this additional act of mercy, and daily expecting a sight of the settlement we were in search of. Nothing occurred between this and the morning of the 14th, when at daylight we discovered three remarkable mountains, known to be near Moreton Bay, called the Glass-houses. About 8 A.M. we hauled in for an opening, which proved to be the entrance of the Bay; and shortly after landed at Amity Point[Stradbroke Island], where a corporal and four privates were stationed at an outpost to the settlement, about fifty miles from this point, and thirty up the Brisbane River. We received at Brisbane town every attention from Captain Logan, the Commandant, and his family, which our exhausted situation required, and which the most delicate feelings of humanity could point out as contributing to our recovery; from every individual on the settlement, indeed, we received some act of attention, according to their respective means.

    “In ten days we found ourselves sufficiently recovered to proceed to Sydney (400 miles distant) in the Government schooner Alligator; and the Commandant having ordered us a passage, supplied us all with clothing, and ten days’ provision. We left this hospitable spot on the 26th of May; but, unfortunately, we did not reach Sydney until the 21st of June, owing to strong southerly gales, making a voyage of twenty-six days of one which is often performed in three. On our arrival here, his Excellency General Darling was pleased to evince a considerable interest in our misfortunes, by desiring no claim should be made for the supplies we had received, and endeavouring to provide employment for two or three among us, who were entirely thrown on the world by their losses.

    “on our arrival in Sydney, a subscription was eneterd into for the relief of the crew, and the soothing hand of humanity otherwise extended to those who stood most in need of it; while the humane attentions of Captain Logan at Moreton Bay, and the kindness displayed by the Governor at Sydney, have impressed our minds with feelings of gratitude which no time can eradicate.”

This extraordinary story was not over on their arrival in Sydney as this letter, written by Mary Moses, was published just seven days after their arrival :

    “TO THE EDITOR OF THE SYDNEY GAZETTE. - SIR; Having heard that rumours are spread through Sydney, respecting Mr. John Moses, my husband’s, unfeeling manner towards me and child, and Miss Mary Ferress, during our melancholy situation of shipwreck, in the brig Woodlark, which said report has emanated from Mr. ____ _____, through a trifling dispute with my husband; I therefore am induced to beg of you, Sir, to insert the particulars in your Paper, which is quite the reverse to my husband’s acting in an unfeeling manner towards me, my baby, and Miss Ferress; and I cannot say too much in praise of my husband’s conduct, humanity, and perseverance in our perilous situation, which is also authenticated by Miss Ferress, as well as myself. The particulars are as follows, viz. that after leaving the wreck, and suffering the most terrible privations in an open boat, from hunger, thirst, and inclemency of the weather, and being thinly clothed, as the shock of the brig striking on a rock was so sudden, that we had no time to dress before we abandoned the vessel; and although Mr. _____ had two heavy coats on, he did not offer any assistance to either me, my infant, or Miss Ferress, although Miss Ferress was under his charge and protection, and we were nearly naked. On our reaching land on the coast of New Holland, my husband rendered every assistance in his power, to me, my infant, and Miss Ferress, in endeavouring to console us with prayers to the Supreme Being, as well as exerting himself to the utmost in obtaining food to put in our lips; his exertions were not fruitless, for he climbed rocks, and went almost up to his neck in water to procure shell-fish, and although the portion was but scanty, it kept life together for me, my baby, and Miss Ferress. No other person offered any assistance to either me or Miss Ferress, and after being in this situation for six days, existing solely on the few oysters obtained by my husband, the natives came with some fish; my husband obtained one, for which he gave the shirt off his back to one of the natives. Mr. _____ obtained three fish from them, and then demanded the one from my husband, which he refused, stating at the same time to Mr. ___ _____ it was solely for the females, but he was welcome to half, and not more, as no one appeared to care if the females had perished. Mr. ___ _____ stated he would not take half, and said, in an angry manner, that he would be revenged on my husband, at the first port he arrived at. I therefore cannot suffer any false rumours to be circulated without any foundation whatever, and must also say, that he is far the greater sufferer, both in person and property.
                                                    MARY MOSEs.

    “I, the undersigned, do return my most sincere thanks to Mr. John Moses for his kind attention during the whole time of our melancholy situation of the wreck of the Brig Woodlark, and I fervently pray for the welfare of himself, wife, and child, whom he saved from destruction as well as myself.
                                                    MARY FERRESS.
    Sydney, June 26, 1828.” 

The Mr. _____ must have been either Flaherty or Bennett who had embarked in Sydney along with Mary Ferress, or Ferris, and if anyone can help to identify who it was please post the information on our discussion board. Mary’s perception of the attitudes of the male passengers, including the Captain and crew, is disturbing as points to an ‘every man for himself’ situation existing, with a definite indifference to the survival of the women. But this is mitigated by the extreme circumstances they found themselves in, battling thirst, hunger, travelling in a leaking wreck of a boat patched together as well as they could, the loss of the crew of the raft, and the uncertainty of day to day survival. It is hard to imagine the difficulties they underwent or what reaction we would have ourselves if placed in the same circumstances.

We do not know what John’s losses were from the shipwreck, but it is likely he received assistance and support from the Jewish community in Sydney and a little over 12 months later he was back in business as shown by the advertisement he placed in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on the 18th August 1829:

BEGS to inform his Friends that he
has commenced in the above line of
Business in his new and commodious Shop,
nearly opposite the Main Guard, George-
street, which he intends to conduct on the
Plan of the London Houses; and hopes by
a rigid attention to the same, to merit the
approbation and support of the Australian
J. M. has for Sale, of superior quality,
and reduced Prices, all kinds of Pastry,
a general assortment of Confectionary, En-
glish Preserves of every description, a va-
riety of Sauces, Loaf Sugar, &c, &c.
Soups, Jellies, Sandwiches, Custards,
Biscuits, and Ginger Beer, ready every Day.
Bride Cakes made, and Country Orders
executed with despatch, and on reasonable
N. B. - A snug Parlour.”

The Hobart Town Courier, 22nd August 1829, also carried the following news item :

    “Mr. Moses who kept the confectioner’s shop at Wellington bridge and was wrecked in the Woodlark, has set up a shop opposite the Sydney Gazette office.”

John must have done well in his new venture, but he did not remain in the business long. Levi and Bergman state that Michael Hymam, who will feature more prominently in this story later, purchased John’s shop (J.S. Levi, G.F.J. Bergman; Australian genesis: Jewish convicts and settlers, 1788 - 1860, MUP, melbourne, 2002, p. 178) and by March, 1830, John had moved to Penrith to take over the license of the King’s Head Tavern. In June 1829 an auction of a five year lease of the Tavern had been advertised by Messrs. Paul (Sydney Gazette, 29th January 1829) but the sale was settled by private contract before the auction date (Sydney Gazette, 19th February 1829). Shortly afterwards the Tavern was again for sale by private contract with application to made to Mr. J. Josephson, of Castlereagh street Sydney, or Charles A. Wilton [Wilson ?], the proprietor (Sydney Gazette, 4th July 1829). early in 1830 an advertisement was placed stating that the lease had been sold and that the furniture and stock would be auctioned (Sydney Gazette, 23rd January 1830). The lease was purchased by Moses and Russell :


    respectfully inform the good folks of Australia,
    that they have taken and fitted up at great ex-
    pense, the Premises lately occupied by Mr. FRANCIS,
    known by the Sign of the KING’S HEAD, PEN-
    RITH; and intending to conduct the same on the
    principle of a first-rate London Inn, trust, by as-
    siduity and attention in their new undertaking, to
    merit a ‘bumper’ of public patronage.
    persons travelling, either ladies, gentlemen, or
    families, will find the King’s Head a snug retreat,
    and will meet with accommodation to their wishes
    - both as to comfort and economy.
    Excellent Stabling.”

    (Sydney Gazette, 13th March 1830)

Lorna Parr writes that the hotel was the first in Penrith, named the Depot Inn, and opened in 1824 by Sgt. Baylis who sold the Inn to John Moses who immediately changed the name to King’s Head. The Inn was situated in High Street east of the present Police Station, which was in those days the Court House. From the above advertisement it would appear that the hotel was leased to Mr. Francis but the name of King’s Head was certainly in use before it was purchased by Moses and Russell.

Penrith and its accommodations at the time were described in the following article :

    “EMU FORD. - The great and increasing intercourse between the eastern and western parts of the Colony, renders it desirable that every accommodation should be afforded to travellers at Penrith.

    “In addition to the King’s Head inn, kept in the township by Messrs. Moses and Russel. we are glad to hear that Mr. Josephson is about to erect a new one, on a commodious and elegant scale, close by the brink of the river where the punt is plied. It is to comprise ten convenient apartments, besides a suitable range of out houses; and having upwards of four hundred acres of excellent land attached to it, the most complete accommodation will be provided for horses, cattle, and sheep, as well as for men, women, and children. The cottage now standing near the site of the intended building has been licensed for the last three years, part of which time it has been conducted by Mr. C.A. WILSON, Mr. Josephson’s stepson; but its insufficiency has led to the determination to erect a new one. Mr. J. has taken the land, which forms part of the fine estate of Captain Woodriffe, for a term of twenty-one years, at the large rent of L200 per annum.

    “It has come to our knowledge, that an objection has been started by some of the resident Magistrates, against the renewal of Mr. Wilson’s license, on the score of the unsuitability of the present house; but surely when preparations are actually going forward on the spot, it would be an extremely hard case to deprive Mr. J. of the only advantage that can at all remunerate him for the high rent he pays, and indeed the only one for which he took the lease. Nor would it be just to the public, whose comfort will be essentially promoted by the contemplated establishment; and we should hope, that when the licensing day arrives, the worthy justices will see the propriety of enabling its proprietor to carry his intentions into effect. There is perhaps no part of the Colony so much requiring a good inn, as the vicinity of Emu Plains, which is every day becoming a still greater thoroughfare; and it is well known that there are few inn-keepers so well backed by wealthy relatives as Mr. Wilson, who possesses every meams of putting his establishment upon the most respectable footing.” (Sydney Gazette, 25th March 1830)

Although living in Penrith now, John Moses was an important member of the Sydney Jewish community :

    “JEWISH RITES. - Next Wednesday, the 7th instant, will be the first day of the Jewish Passover; and for the celebrations of this ancient solemnity, the respectable members of that persuasion resident in Sydney are making considerable preparations. Mr. Moses, the late pastry cook, has been in town for the last few days for the purpose of making the unleavened bread used in the feast of the Passover, he being the only person in the Colony who understands the art. - On Sunday next the rite of circumcision will be administered to the infant son of Mr. V. Solomon, by Mr. Hyam [Michael], who has been duly authorised by the High Priest of London.....” (Sydney Gazette, 1st April 1830)

The Sydney Gazette, 15th May 1830, carried an item regarding an address, by the residents of Evans district, to Horatio Walpole, Police Superintendent (Captain of the 39th Regt.), on his retirement, which was signed by John Moses.

The following notice appeared in the Sydney Gazette, 27th May 1830 :

    “ALL Debts owing to the King’s Head
    Inn, Penrith, prior to possession having been
    taken by the present occupant, Mr. MOSES, are to
    be paid to Mr. C.A. WILSON, at the sign of the Pine
    Apple, Emu Ferry.”

John was not to be outdone by the proposed hotel of Josephson, and his step son Wilson, and embarked on a series of improvements as the following news item reported. It also noted that John Moses was the proprietor with no mention of his partner Mr. Russell, as did all subsequent reports, so whether the partnership had dissolved by this time or Russell had merely taken on a silent role is open to conjecture :

    “We have much pleasure in noticing the excellent, first rate accommodations, said to be provided by Mr. Moses, the proprietor of the King’s Head Inn, at Penrith, for gentlemen travelling up and down that road. He has built four spacious rooms, in addition to the other part of the house, together with stables and other out buildings, and every comfort and attention is rendered to the traveller, on the most reasonable terms, in addition to which, well secured paddocks are open to their bullocks and drays, for the night, when passing to and fro, thereby obviating the necessity hitherto pleaded by the men for stopping at some of the road-side huts, where grog was illegally supplied to them, and the property entrusted to their care, being left out in the open road, not unfrequently plundered, by bushrangers, and in some intances by the very parties at whose houses it was remaining.” (Sydney Gazette, 28th September 1830)

The following items give us an idea of John and Mary’s time at Penrith :

Sydney Gazette, 18th November 1830 -

    JOHN MOSES, of the King’s Head
    Inn, Penrith, begs to acquaint the Public, that,
    to encourage the breeding of Horses in the Colony,
    and to keep up old English amusement, he intends
    to revive the practice of HORSE-RACING in his
    J.M., in furtherance of the above object, proposes
    to have the first Races on Saturday, the 27th Instant,
    when he will present the following stakes to be run
    for, viz. -
    FIRST RACE. - A new English Saddle, for
    horses of all ages.
    SECOND RACE. - A new English Saddle and
    for untrained horses.
    - The Racing will take place on the Old Race
    Course, facing the King’s Head, on the Western
    N.B. - No trained or winning horses will be al-
    lowed to run.”

Sydney Gazette, 23rd November 1830 -

    “Mr. Moses, we understand, has it in contemplation to start a vehicle for the conveyance of passengers and luggage between Parramatta and Penrith. In this undertaking Mr. M. has our warmest wishes.”

Sydney Gazette, 30th December 1830 -

    “THE Inhabitants of Evan will pre-
    sent the Public with a SUBSCRIPTION
    CUP, value L15, to be run for on the Old Penrith
    Course, on the 29th day of January next.
    The best of heats, one mile - by any Horses in the
    Colony, carrying weight for age, according to the
    established Jockey Rules.
    A handsome Saddle and Bridle will also be pre-
    sented after the First Races, to be run for by hack
    Horses, the best of heats, one mile - catch weights.
    Some minor prizes will succeed.
    The Course has been so selected along the Western
    Road, as to obviate the former objections as to the hard-
    ness of ground.
    Further particulars will be laid before the public,
    previous to the day of the Race.
    - Subscription Lists lie at Mr. Moses’, King’s
    Head, Penrith.”

On the 10th of July John and Mary, who was given the Hebrew name of Rebecca, were married, again, in a Jewish Ceremony and their Ketuvah, Marriage Certificate, is reproduced in Levi and Bergman (p. 157). They state that the document was written by Aaron Levy during his Australian visit and also that the date on the document was changed to protect the Jewish status of their first two children. Rubenstein states that this was the first Jewish Marriage performed in Australia, by P.J. Cohen (p. 238), but Levy and Bergman write that although Cohen presided over the first and third marriages he did not preside over the second ‘in which one of the partners was a convert to Judaism.’ (p.154) Was this convert Mary Connolly ? If anyone can clear this up please post a message on our Discussion Board.

On the 1st June 1831 Henry Moses was born to John and Rebecca, one source putting it at 1st January 1833, but Henry’s Memorial in Nowra Cemetery, Jewish Section, confirms this date. Photo Gallery of Moss Family Graves, Nowra Cemetery.

The King’s Head was sold to John Matthewman, at an unknown date who was advertising by July (Sydney Gazette, 28th July 1831).

In August of 1831 John, Rebecca and their young family, listed as three children, left the Colony, bound for Hobart Town, aboard the barque Duckenfield (Sydney Gazette, 9th August 1831). Subsequent to their departure from New South the following was related in the Police Report :

    “Mary Mahoney was brought before the Bench by Mr. Jilks, who apprehended on suspicion of being at large. From her own statement it appeared that a person named Moses, to whom she was assigned, had recently left the Colony for Van Diemen’s Land, telling her on his departure that she was at liberty to go on her own hands, and do the best she could for herself. Under these circumstances the Bench ordered the woman to be returned to the first class, very properly expressing at the same time their determination to take care that Moses, if he returns to this country, shal have no more assigned servants.” (Sydney Gazette, 13th August 1831)

The family’s stay in Hobart was brief, as the Duckenfield took on cargo for a passage to London and John and his family re-embarked and left Hobart, for London, on the 29th October 1831 (Sydney Gazette, 8th November 1831: Van Diemen’s Land News).

The vessel travelled via India and reached the mother country on 21st January 1832 (The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India, China and Australasia, Vol. VIII - New Series, May - August 1832, Parbury, Allen & Co., London, 1832, pp. 56 -57.)

We know absolutely nothing regarding the time the family spent in England except to say that it was probably spent with family in London as when they returned they were accompanied by John’s brother Abraham and his family.

The Sydney Gazette, of the 8th January 1833, reported the arrival in Sydney of John Moses, Confectioner, as a passenger on the Edward Lombe having left London on the 25th June 1832, whilst the same paper, 12th January 1833, reported the arrival of the Palambam, departed London 14th August 1832, and listed the following amongst her passengers :

  • Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Moses
  • Mr. J. Moses, senior.
  • John and Julian Moses
  • Mrs. R. Moses, Henry, Deborah, and Hannah Moses
  • Rabbi Naum Simon

From the above it is clear that John had sailed on an earlier vessel to be followed by Rebecca, and their children, his brother Abraham Moses and his family, and I believe that the J. Moses senior was probably their father Joseph Moses whose name was confirmed on John’s death certificate (BDM, Death Certificate, Registration Number 1977/1883). Rabbi Naum Simon was brought out by Abraham as his private teacher and to slaughter kosher meat. Abraham was to move to the Monaro district and these extracts from “Back to Cooma” Celbrations, published by The Direct Publicity Company, Sydney, 1926, detail :


    “The native name of which is Boonyan or Pigeons’ Resting Place, is five miles north of Cooma, and is of interest that is the locality where early settlement suggested the probable formation of a town. It was in the direct line of travel for anyone coming from Queanbeyan, and making for the hinterland of Manaro. It had extensive flats, which offered inducements to graziers. So in the very early thirties Dr. reid settled there and from this fact the place gained its early name of Reid’s Flats. Reid’s Innkeepr in 1832 was William Stanton, who was Nimmitabel’s first hotel-keeper. Though officially Reid’s Flats was known as such till about 1858, in which year it was called Bunyan, it was locally spoken of as ‘Jews’ Flats,’ by reason of the fact that in the thirties members of the Jewish families of Solomon, and later those of Moses and Shannon, resided there.....” (p. 39)

    “ABRAHAM MOSES in 1838 established himself at Reed’s [Reid’s] Flat, erecting a hotel opposite one later carried on by John Cullen, in a building now occupied by David Power. He remained at the Flats for two years and then sold out to Solomon Solomon, later of Eden.” (p. 84)

Further details of Abraham’s progress at this time can be found in the New South Wales Government Gazettes :

  • Purchased Lot 9, Village of Goulburn, 2 roods, L16; NSWGG, 17th August 1836, p. 627.
    Purchased Lot 11, Village of Goulburn, 2 roods, L12 6s 8d; NSWGG, 17th August 1836, p. 627.
    Purchased Lot 13, Village of Goulburn, 2 roods, L9; NSWGG, 17th August 1836, p. 627.
    Purchased Lot 14, Village of Goulburn, 2 roods, L16, NSWGG, 17th August 1836, p. 627.
    License to depasture stock beyond the boundaries of the Colony, No. 376, A. Moses, Monaroo; NSWGG, 22nd August 1838, p. 920.
    License to depasture stock beyond the boundaries of the Colony, Abraham Moses, Maneroo; NSWGG, 12th August 1840, p. 761.

In the 1840’s Abraham and his brother also Isaac sold lots which they had subdivided and called the the Kensington Estate adjacent to the Kent Brewery site.

Some five years later Abraham was back in Sydney ans starting to amass quite a real estate portfolio :

To give an idea of the value of Abraham’s holdings the Bank of New South Wales purchased one of his properties in George Street, in 1862, for L10,500.

In 1850 Abraham was also involved in a mining venture :

    “VALUABLE MINERAL DISCOVERY. - We have the pleasure of announcing that there is every prospect of the southern districts vieing [sic] with the great mineral colony of South Australia, in the extent and value of its copper deposits. Major Lockyer’s mine is progressing most favourably; the miners, we understand, having succeeded in raising a large quantity of grey ore, with every appearance of an inexhaustible supply immediately at hand. But our more particular object at the present time is to draw public attention to a tract of land situate near the Pudman River, in the Burrowa district, twenty five miles from Yass, which was purchased last week by Messrs. Abraham Moses, and Moses Joseph of Sydney, on behalf of themselves and a select company. This land has been proved to contain a deposit of the richest copper ore ever found in New South Wales, and equal in value, and apparently in extent, to the famed Burra Burra of our southern neighbours. About two tons, as a specimen, are now on their way to Sydney, and we have been assured that active measures will immediately be taken to bring this new and valuable article of export into the market. A grass captain, with a number of hands, are already on the ground, and the strength of the corps will in the course of a week be increased to forty men. We have been shown some specimens of the ore; they consist of blue carbonate and green malachite, and were taken from about five feet below the surface of the earth. The country around is described as so nearly level, so that there will be no difficulty, nor much expense, in bringing the ore to market. The mine has been christened Wallah Wallah, the native name of the locality. There was much competition at the time of the sale, the second thirty acres being run up to L11 per acre, at which price it was knocked down to the gentlemen mentioned. - Goulburn Herald, October 19.” (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 26th October 1850)

    “MINING NEWS. - On Monday last about two tons of copper ore from the Wallah Wallah mine passed through this town on their way to Sydney. From last accounts we have received connected with this new discovery, we are confident that the most sanguine expectations of the proprietors will be realised. Fifteen tons have already been raised, and the deeper the miners go the more valuable id the ore they procure. - Goulburn Herald, Nov. 9.” (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 13th November 1850)

    Copper Ore. - Some very beautiful specimens of copper ore from the Walla Walla mines have been brought to Sydney by Mr. A. Moses. They consist of blue, red, and black oxides, all of them containing above thirty per cent. of copper. Irrespective of their importance in showing the richness of the ore from the mine, these specimens, from the brightness of their colours and their general beauty, would be invaluable for a geological cabinet. About twenty tons of ore from the Walla Walla mine is now on its way to Sydney for shipment to England.” (Courier, Hobart, 26th July 1851)

    “The Wallah Wallah Copper Mine has ceased operations, but whether from the same cause as that which affected its great predecessor in South Australia - want of hands - or from any failure in its mineral resources, does not appear. - Goulburn Herald Correspondent.” (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 24th March 1852)

    Abraham returned to London c.1857, to take up residence at 68 Russell square, and on the 10th February 1858, his youngest son married Maria, the daughter of Lewis J. Jordan of 6 Bedford square (Source). Abraham died on February 27th 1873 :

      “MOSES - February 27th, at Russell-square, A. Moses, Esq., late of Sydney, new South Wales, aged 74.” (Daily News, London, 3rd March 1873).

leaving an estate reputed to be L650,000 ! (Source)

We now return to John Moses who lost no time in establishing another shop in Sydney returning to his old calling of confectioner :

    “We perceive that Mr. Russell, the confectioner, has now a rival in the person of Mr. Moses, his predecessor in George-street, who has returned to the colony. Very well; so much the better. Nothing like competition !” (Sydney Gazette, 28th February 1833)

Was this the same Mr. Russell whom John had originally bought the King’s Head Tavern with ?

The Hobart Town Courier, 15th March 1833, reported that a Mr. Moses had sailed to Sydney as a passenger aboard the Gulnare from London, via Hobart Town, whilst the Sydney Gazette of 23rd March 1833 announced the arrival of John Moses as a passenger on the Gulnare. The fact that John was a passenger from Hobart to Sydney is confirmed in the Hobart Town Magazine, Vol I, H. Melville, Hobart Town, 1833, p. 117. So it is apparent that John had made a quick return trip to Hobart at this time, but, for what reason we do not know.

By July 1833 a Stephen Bax had taken over John’s business, as Cook and Confectioner, which was situated in William Place, George-street, Sydney (Sydney Gazette, 25th July 1833). The transaction was not smooth and the Sheriff’s Office advertised the sale of Bax’s furniture and goods, in satisfaction of Moses v. Bax (Sydney Gazette, 30th November 1834). Bax took the case to the Supreme Court, moving for a new trial arguing that the original verdict was contrary to evidence but his appeal was refused (Sydney Gazette, 5th April 1834).

The Sydney Gazette, 1st May 1834, reported that at the sitting of the Quarter Sessions :

    James Ralph was indicted for embezzling one pair of trowsers, the property of his master, Mr. John Moses. The prisoner was convicted and remanded.....”

John’s brother, Moses, had now received a Conditional Pardon (Hobart Town Gazette and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, 25th July 1834)

John then found himself on the other side of a Supreme Court judgment :

    “In the Supreme Court

    Maguire v. Moses.

    “ON the Premises of the Defendant,
    Situate in Darling Harbour, on Saturday the
    6th day of December instant, at one o’clock p.m.,
    unless this execution be previously satisfied, the
    Sheriff will cause to be sold the Right, Title, and In-
    erest of the defendant, in and to one couch, 3 tables,
    picture and chimney ornaments, 11 chairs, 2 chests of
    drawers, bedsteads and bedding, fender &c., and a
    quantity of kitchen utensils, as well as a variety of
    other articles of household furniture, also one bay
    horse.” (Sydney Gazette, 2nd December 1834)

The judgment was presumably satisfied before the auction. John had now turned his hand to auctioneering :

    “Mr. John Moses, Auctioneer, King-street, put up to auction, at the London Tavern, on Thursday morning, some 8 or 9 horses, most of them tolerably fine animals. They did not average above L12 each.” (Sydney Gazette, 20th December 1834)

The following news concerning John was reported in the Sydney Gazette 13th January 1835 :

    “Alexander M’Guire stood indicted for stealing two boxes of scented oils, the property of Mr. John Moses of King-street, auctioneer. Guilty. remanded.

    “Patrick Redman, an old man, was indicted for assaulting John Moses, auctioneer. John Moses deposed that sometime in November last he was standing at his door, when prisoner came up to him and shoved him nearly off the pavement; I asked him what he meant by that, when prisoner took out a knife and made a violent thrust at me with it. Witness further siad if he had not got out of the way, the knife would have seriously injured him. Gabriel Thompson, plasterer, deposed that prisoner had worked for him for the last two years off and on, and from what he had seen of prisoner’s conduct, he believed him to be insane. Another witness deposed that he believed the prisoner to be in an unsound state of mind. Verdict - Not Guilty on the ground of insanity.

John opened another business, returning to his old trade, in Sydney and it was reported in the Sydney Gazette, 15th August 1835:

    “A new eating-house, and refreshment room, in the vicinity of the Supreme Court-house, has been recently opened by Mr. John Moses. The establishment which appears to be conducted on a respectable scale, is situate at the corner of King and Elizabeth Streets, and we beg to recommend it especially to the patronage of those, who may stand in need of refreshment, during the sittings of the Supreme Court.”

This advertisement appeared the following month :

“JOHN MOSES begs to inform
Friends and the Public, that he has opened a
general Boarding, as well as Eating House, at the
corner of King and Elizabeth-streets, where persons
can regularly obtain their meals at any hour on the
most reasonable terms.
N.B. Preserved Meats and Fowls, in cannisters,
for sea voyages, warranted to keep for any time,
and in any climate.”
(Sydney Gazette, 22nd August 1835)

John and his family returned to Hobart on the 25th October 1835 on the schooner Champion (hobart Town Courier, 13th November 1835). During the next two years John was granted 1 rood 15 perches of land in Hobart Town, originally located to Joel Lovell (Hobart Town Courier, 26th August 1836), and a further 28 perches in Hobart Town in 1837 (Hobart Town Courier, 24th February 1837).

In Hobart John was again to diversify his interests and embarked on a totally new venture :

    “it is said Mrs. Cameron has made overtures to the managers of the Sydney Theatre to join the Sydney corps dramatique. If this be the case, we would recommend Messrs. Simmons and Knight to close with Mrs. C. by all means.....Mrs. Cameron had taken the Freemason’s Tavern at Hobart Town, temporarily. Mr. Meredith has taken and fitted up the Argyle Rooms there very tastefully and with a small company and his own theatrical talents, contrives to draw houses.” (Sydney Gazette, 14th January 1836)

    “Mr. and Mrs. Cameron it appears by the following extract from a Hobart Town paper, have leased the new theatre in that place, so that their stay, we infer,, must necessarily be short here [Sydney]. We regret this much; and think they will have cause to regret it as much as we do - for surely in so small a place as Hobart Town, and with a rival theatre too, having the powerful assistance of Mr. Meredith as its conductor, they must make a losing concern of it. We trust they have so far not entered into definite engagements but that they can yet give up the idea of such a project. The lessee of the Sydney theatre would, we imagine, find it to his interest, to hold out an inducement sufficiently profitable to detain them in Sydney; the public here are both able and willing to give them every encouragement, and the more so as independent of their acknowledged talents as performers, their respectability and character are alike irreproachable in private life; this is just what the Sydney stage now requires, and their arrival on our shores will be hailed with interest by private families who are willing to encourage a rational entertainment, particularly when such performers as Mr. and Mrs. C. may be reckoned among our Sydney corps.

    “The new theatre is leased to Mr. Cameron, as we anticipated, but on such terms as in our opinion no man of common sense would agree to. The gentlemen managers are a wonderful lot of Solons - they have stipulated that Mr. Cameron shall pay L300 before the theatre opens, and shall expend L300 morein scenes, &c., and this L600 is to be expended before one farthing income is derived. Where the money is to come from, we know not; probably there are persons supporting Mr. Cameron, and if they belong to the present management we pity them, for they will of a verity burn their fingers. The lessee is, we learn, also bound to perform such pieces as the gentlemen committee approve of, and the lessee is to be fined 5s for every drunken or noisy man found in the house. The Tasmanian always predicted the theatre would be a miserable failure, and subsequent conduct of its managers have at last coincided in his prophecy. Of course, the Argyle theatre will be kept open, and as Mr. Meredith has so well deserved public patronage, he will no doubt continue to receive that support he has hitherto possessed. One thing is certain, that his expense will not be one third of those of the large theatre, and his house, in all probability, will possess better performers, and be equally well filled after the first night or two. - Colonial Times, 11th Oct.” (Sydney Gazette, 27th October 1836)

    The Drama. - There has been hitherto, so much bickering and jealousy, so much opposition and ill feeling among our colonial Corps Dramatique that it was scarcely possible for the Press to take any notice of their proceedings without becoming in some measure identified with one or other of the contending parties; but now that these petty differences among the Heroes and heroines of the Sock and Buskin have ended in an amicable adjustment, we shall have much pleasure in affording this truly rational species of public amusement an occasional corner in our Journal.....The adjustment of which we have before spoken, is the promotion of a coalition management between Messrs. Cameron and Meredith, united with Messrs. Belmour and J. Moses - (Taylor was to have had a share but he handsomely ceded his right in favour of Mr. Cameron and still retains his office of stage manager.) These parties have become co-lessees, or rather co-tenants under the lesseess, of the new house, so that the Argyle Theatre is now closed and the whole body of talent concentrated at the colonial Theatre in Campbell-street.....” (Hobart Town Courier, 7th April 1837)

A benefit was held at the Theater Royal, Hobart Town, for Mr. Moses :


    “For the Benefit of Mr. Moses.
    Under the special patronage of the Principal
    Chief, and Members of the Royal Arch
    Chapter, and Members and Brethren of
    the several Lodges of the Ancient, Free,
    and Accepted Masons.
    ON MONDAY EVENING, June 10th,
    1837, will be produced, for the first
    time in this Colony, with entire New Scenery
    Machinery, and Dresses, the Legendary
    Romantic Drama of
    And the Fair Imogens,
    OR THE
    After which, the admired Frace of the

    “OR THE
    Adeventures of Benjamin Bowbell,
    With a variety of Entertainments.
    To conclude with the grand mythological,
    metrical, parodical, Burlesque Burletta Ex-
    travaganza, peformed with uninterrupted
    success for two consecutive Seasons at the
    Queen’s Theatre, London, with entirely new
    dresses, scenery, and decorations, called
    Some Passages in the Life of Love.
    In the last scene of this piece, a grand dis-
    play of Fireworks.
    For particulars see Bills of the day.
    - Tickets to be had at the Box Office of
    the Theatre; at Mr. Peck’s, Repository of
    Arts, Elizabeth-street; at Mr. tegg’s, Eliza-
    beth-street, and of Mr. Moses, 34 Bathurst-
    - Doors open at Six, - Performance to
    commence at Half-past Six.”
    (Hobart Town Courier, 16th June 1837)

On the 11th August, 1837, the Hobart Town Courier published a Police Office Notice stating that John Moses, of Hobart, had been duly licensed as a Hawker for twelve months from the 2nd of March 1837 (Hobart Town Courier, 11th August 1837). the same paper also announced, 15th September 1837, that John Moses’ title deeds for his 28 rood grant in Hobart Town were ready to be issued on payment of the amount due.

John is next mentioned in the Sydney Gazette on the 2nd December 1837, when the Court of Claims announced that Claims for Deeds of Grant will be ready for execution in two months:

    “Case No. 177. - Richard Hunt and Samuel Barber, both of Parramatta.
    one hundred acres, in the County of Westmoreland, parish unnamed, at Burragorang.
    On the 12th November, 1825, an order was given by Sir Thomas Brisbane in favor of Benjamin West, for 100 acres; West, it is alleged, sold to John Harper, who sold to John Moses, who with his wife, sold to claimants.”

John continued his association with the Theatre as ticket agent (Hobart Town Courier, 9th February 1838) and hands on manager :

    “The female theatrical amateur, charged by Mr. Moses with having in her possession two theatrical dresses, alleged to have been stolen from the Theatre, appeared on summons. Mr. Wynne appeared for the defendant and Mr. Rowlands for Mr. Moses, who withdrew the complaint, as he stated, at the request and by the advice of his solicitor, who was of opinion that there was no felonious intent.” (Hobart Town Courier, 2nd March 1838)

    “David Moses, was charged with violently assaulting Mr. John Moses. It appeared David was trying to force himself into the pit of the Theatre and prevented by John, who succeeded in pushing him into the street; half an hour afterwards he returned and asked for John, who, the moment he appeared, was knocked down by a huge piece of paling, which struck him on the head. Fined 40s. and in default of payment, sent to the House of Correction for two months.” (Hobart Town Courier, 30th March 1838)

The Hobart Town Courier, 11th May 1838, noted that John Moses had been assigned a Convict from the Prisoners Barracks at Hobart.

As well as his Theatrical interests John re-entered the liqour trade and a notice published in the Hobart Town Courier, 25th May 1838, advised that John Providence Lester’s license for the ‘Globe Tavern’ in Murray street had been transferred to John Moses and it was not long before he was in the news again :

    “Thomas Reaves was charged by Mr. Moses, with making too free of the good things of the Globe Tavern, and no means to pay. As Mr. Moses declined further proceedings, he was discharged.” (Hobart Town Courier, 6th June 1838)

John placed the following advertisement in the Hobart Town Courier, 29th June 1838 :

Situated on the corner of Collins and Murray

“JOHN MOSES respectfully acquaints his
friends and the public in general, that he
has commenced business as above, and has laid
in a superior stock of wines, spirits, ales, and
porter, all of the best qualities obtainable in the
market. He also begs to intimate to gentlemen
(professional or otherwise), that he has fitted up
a room on the first floor, in which (and to which
there is access by a private side door) they will
find elegance and comfort combined, and where
will always be found, sideboards laid out with
cold meats, sandwiches, soups, &c., at a very
moderate charge; and in soliciting their patron-
age in his new undertaking, he trusts, by pro-
viding every article of the best, after once being
favoured with a trial, to ensure a continuance.
Dinners or made dishes for small parties pro-
vided in a superior style at the shortest notice;
and should a bowl of punch be desired, J.M.
challenges any competitor to produce a superior
June 28.”

John went from strength to strength during this period and the Hobart Town Courier, 10th August 1838, reported that a 10 acre, originally William Farrell, grant in the Hobart Town suburbs would be ready for examination by the Commissioners on the 4th of October.

John then went on to add horses and gigs to his business interests, Hobart Town Courier, 17th August 1838 :

JOHN MOSES, of the ‘Globe Tavern,’ re-
spectfully acquaints his friends and the
public, that he has several very excellent horse
to let, either for saddle or harness, with fashion-
able gigs. Persons requiring such accommoda-
tions, by favouring him with a call, must be sa-
isfied with the superiority of the TURNS
August 7.”

The Hobart Town Courier, 24th August 1838, reported that John Moses was assigned convict labour from Grass Tree Hill.

On Friday September 7th 1838 John appeared in court with regard to the Globe Tavern :

    “Mr. John Moses was charged with breach of the Police Act, in causing a nuisance and obstruction in the high road in Collins-street. It appeared that Mr. Moses had by this alleged offence intended to benefit and amend the road, and for which the information was dismissed; not withstanding which, he was ordered to pay all costs.” (Hobart Town Courier, 14th September 1838)

By October John had changed the name of the Globe Tavern to St. John’s Tavern (Hobart Town Courier, 12th October 1838) (see list), a name which he was to use again for his pub at Bowning. The Hobart Town Regatta was held on the 1st of December and John made the best of the opportunity:

    THE undersigned begs to inform the ladies
    and gentlemen of Hobart Town, that he
    has been granted permission to erect a Tent on
    the Regatta ground, Pavillion Point, where he
    will be able to furnish every description of
    wines, beer, &c.; also geese, turkeys, ducks,
    fowls, ham, &c, and every other luxury of the
    season, on resonable terms, with good accom-
    St. John’s Tavern, Nov. 20.”
    (Hobart Town Courier, 30th November 1838)

The same paper, 14th December 1838, announced that John Moses’ title deeds for his 10 acres in the suburbs of Hobart were ready upon payment of the amount due.

In the ‘Hobart Town Extracts’ of the Sydney Gazette, 20th December 1838, we find the following :

    “The Ball, given to the officers of the 21st Regiment, previously for their departure to India, and which was postponed last week, in consequence of the lamented decease of Messrs. Moodie and Fairgrieve, took place at the Theatre last night. It came off in excellent style; there being, as we are informed, (for our pressing avocations precluded our attendance) upwards of 300 persons present. The supper and refreshments were provided by Mr. John Moses, of St. John’s Tavern, and deserved every praise. They were, indeed, such as would have done credit to even a London artiste; indeed, so complete were the arrangements, that His Excellency, who, with Lady Franklin, was present, expressed his decided satisfaction at the display, which was exhibited.”

John was also assigned further labour from the Prisoner’s Barracks in Hobart (Hobart Town Courier, 21st December 1838).

Early in 1839 it was reported in the ‘Van Dieman’s Land News’ section of the Sydney Gazette, 26th February 1839:

    “We understand that Mr. John Moses, has purchased the Theatre, and that he intends to open it upon an entirely new plan, to that hitherto pursued. His object is to issue annual tickets for the boxes, so that he may insure none but a respectable audience for that portion of the house; as, however, he has not definitively settled his plan, we shall defer any further notice of it, till we are in possession of the particulars. Colonial Times, February 5.

John had now reached the zenith of his economic rise; landowner, publican, theatrical entrepreneur, and a respected member of the emancipist society of Hobart Town. The purchase of the Theatre would have required a considerable amount of capital or the ability to borrow it and whether he was able to do this we don’t know. John did however, quickly start to liquidate some of his considerable assets:

    On Wednesday, March 13th,
    Have instructions to sell by Auction, on
    the respective premises, commencing at
    twelve o’clock, the following properties
    belonging to
    MR. MOSES,
    who is considerately extending his present
    business, and being on the eve of import-
    ing very large quantities of Wines, Spirits,
    Beer, &c., he has resolved to employ his capi-
    tal in
    One Concern, and therefore
    submits the following to public competi-
    LOT 1. A very substantial well-built
    brick Cottage, situated at the top of
    Market street, with convenient yards, &c.
    Lot 2. Adjoining Lot 1, a valuable build-
    ing Allotment, situated at the corner of
    Bathurst and Market-street.
    Lot 3. A very substantial well-built brick
    House of two stories, containing seven large
    well proportioned apartments, built for an
    inn, with large secure yards and other con-
    veniences, situated in Watchorn-street, near
    Lot 4. Will embrace a very valuable block
    of land, divided most judiciously into TEN
    PLOTS, situated on the most eligible part
    of WARWICK STREET, with frontage on
    BROWN-STREET, and contiguous to Eli-
    zabeth street. The soil is deep and luxuri-
    ant, as the adjoining gardens fully evince;
    and the money required for the repairs of the
    street is subscribed and ready fro disburs-
    The following Lot will comprise TEN
    ACRES OF LAND in Landsdowne Cres-
    cent, which will be sold in one or more lots
    at the option of intending purchasers at the
    time of sale. The view these allotments
    command, is an inexhaustible of de-
    The titles to the whole are unexceptionable.
    Possession will be given as soon as the
    conditions of the sale are complied with and
    payment will only be required as follows : -
    Lots 1, 2, and 3, a cash deposit on the day
    of sale of ten per cent, the residue by ap-
    proved bills at three and six months, bear-
    ing interest st ten per cent.
    For the remaining lots, a deposit of ten per
    cent in cash, and the residue at 3, 6, 9, and
    12 months, the two latter bearing interest at
    ten per cent per annum.


    “And the following day at their mart, Eliza-
    beth-street, at one o’clock, also by direc-
    tion of
    Mr. Moses,
    One very handsome Town built
    Built to order for the
    And is unequivocally one of the very best
    Carriages in the Island, as well for utility as
    appearance; it will be sold with corres-
    ponding harness (nearly new.)
    Lot 2. - One very handsome town-built
    Lot 3. - One ditto with or without harness.
    Lot 4. - One ditto well calculated for tan-
    Lot 5. - One ditto.
    Lot 6. - One ditto light and strong.
    One very useful gig horse.
    Saddles, Bridles, Harnesses, &c., &c., &c.
    All which are offered for sale with a view
    to accommodate persons at the approaching
    Terms. - Under L20 cash, above that sum
    approved bills at three months.”

The balance sheet for the Regatta, which was held in December 1838, were published in the Hobart Town Courier 15th March 1839, and John was paid L15 13s for the supply of refreshments to the band, and we can only wonder how they managed to play towards the end of the day !

We have found no references as to how much John realised from the sale of his assets, but clearly it was not enough :

    “THEATRICAL NEWS. - The Hobart Town Theatre is again in the market, the former purchaser, mr. Moses, having failed to complete his contract. The theatre will be re-sold by Mr. Macmichael, by public auction, at Mr. Moses’ risk, to-day.” (Sydney Gazette, 19th March 1839)

John still continued to carry on his hotel business :

    J. MOSES
    TAKES the present opportunity of in-
    forming his patrons and the public
    generally, that he commenced on the 8th
    instant, and will continue to have on hand
    throughout the winter season, the following
    soups a la Ude: - Mock Turtle, Mullaga-
    tawney, Ox-tail, Pea, &c., &c.; and he
    flatters himself, that his friends, who are
    well acquainted with the peculiar rich and
    piquant flavour of his soups last season,
    will require no further inducement to step
    in and gratify their palates.
    Steaks, Chops, Currie, Fish, Ham, Fowl,
    &c., always on hand, and ready at a mo-
    ment’s notice; also Tea, Coffee, &c., morn-
    ing and evening.
    J. Moses’ Wines, Spirits, and Malt Li-
    quors ‘need no bush.’”
    (Hobart Town Courier, 19th April 1839)

Sometime in 1840 John’s brother, Moses, married Hannah Dray the daughter of the Rev. William Dray of Alfreston Kent, at St. Andrews Scots Church, Sydney (NSW BD & M’s, Rgistration No. V1840645 75/1840 and V18403351 74A/1840). This is strange as it is also reported that his first wife, Sarah, did not die until 1st April 1841, and is buried in St. John’s cemetery, Parramatta (Reference).

The economic depression of 1840 hit Tasmania and many businesses suffered including John Moses. John sailed for Sydney, on the 28th June 1840, aboard the the barque Australian Packet (Sydney Gazette, 4th July 1840)and returned to Hobart on the same vessel, leaving Sydney on 19th July 1840 (Sydney Gazette, 21st July 1840). The reason for this journey will become apparent later. Despite the depression John was not yet insolvent and was to donate L5 towards the St. Mary’s Church, Mount Carmel, Hobart Town (Courier, Hobart, 27th November 1840).

Courier, Hobart, 11th December 1840 reveals that John had also owned the vessel Maria :


    “Moses v. Smith

    “This was an action of trover, arising out of the sale of a vessel called the Maria, on board of which were certain stores, unaccounted for in the sale, and the amount now sought to be recovered (L40) was their value.

    “Mr. Rowlands stated his having served Capt. Smith with a demand for the stores, consisting chiefly of rope and biscuit, on board, on the 10th May, in behalf of Mr. Moses: - I hereby give you notice, that if you do not give up the article hereunto annexed, on board of the Maria, of which you are the purchaser, I shall bring an action to recover them in the Supreme Court; viz. four coils of rope, half a ton of biscuits, a cruet stand, and a picture. (Signed by plaintiff and witnessed.)

    “To Capt. Smith.

    “William Osborne examined, said - I reside in Murray-street, I know John Moses and Captain Smith, the parties in this action; I know the vessel called the Maria, once the property of Mr. Moses; I recollect being on board her when given over to the defendant, on her return from Port Phillip - in fact I returned by her at that time; she was sold less the cargo; an agreement had been drawn out between the parties; she was sold conditionally by that agreement; I know there was a quantity of rope on board; we brought back from Port Phillip four coils, equal to 6 cwt; I cannot speak as to the value; they might be worth 80s each; I knew of some biscuit being on board; there was half a ton, less 1 cwt., worth about L62 per ton; there was also a liqueur stand on board, worth about L3 10s.

    “Verdict for plaintiff L26 10s.”

The Maria was subsequently lost, June 1840, on a voyage from Port Adelaide to Hobart Town; the survivors having made shore were subsequently killed by the local aborigines. The wreck of the Maria had been reported in the contemporary press, including the Hobart Town Courier 6th October 1840, so it is difficult to explain why the case against a man who had perished under such tragic circumstances, in August, was being prosecuted in the Supreme Court in December.

John was next to embark as the Supercargo aboard the vessel Sisters, Captain Clarke, bound for New Zealand with a general cargo and two passengers, on the 10th January 1841 ( Courier, 12th January 1841) and the following item appeared in the Sydney Gazette, 2nd February 1841 :

    “Emigrants. - Mr. John Moses has proceeded to New Zealand in the Sisters, for the purpose of bringing away such emigrants as choose to better their conditions by coming to this Colony.”

John’s financial situation was deteriorating and a granishee was taken out at some time by William Osborne, the witness in the Maria case above :


    “Tuesday, May 18.

    “There was no business of any public interest before the Court. In the case of Marzetti [Thomas Marsetti, auctioneer and merchant] v. Moses, Mr. Rowlands obtained a rule to show cause why the writ of Foreign Attachment issued against the defendant, through his garnisher, William Osborne, should not be set aside for informality.....” (Courier, Hobart, 21st May 1841)

The schooner Sisters, with John and his servant, arrived back in Hobart Town on the 19th of July (Courier, Hobart, 20th July 1841) and he again liquidated more of his assets (Courier, Hobart, 6th August 1841). The following news item appeared just after this :

    “BOLTING. - A few weeks since the Colonial Times announced that ‘our respected townsman,’ (Mr. John Moses) returned yesterday in the Sisters. We have now to add that ‘our respected townsman’ has just bolted to Sydney, leaving his creditors here minus some two or three thousand pounds.” (Courier, Hobart, 20th August 1841)

John was now in bankruptcy in Van Dieman’s Land and the assignee instructed that the following auction be held :

    “THE AUCTION COMPANY have instructed their
    Agent, Mr. J.C. STRACEY, to SELL by AUCTION,
    at the Company’s Rooms, Macquarie-street, on Wednesday,
    the 17th instant, at 2 o’clock, by directions of the assignee
    of the estate of John Moses, and with consent of the mort-
    gagee, all that allotment or piece of LAND situate and
    being in Bathurst-street, Hobart Town, bounded in front
    by 31 feet or thereabouts along Bathurst-street, on one side
    by a straight line of 93 feet 6 inches or thereabouts along
    certain land belonging to to Mr. Joseph Lester, and now
    occupied by John R. Stanley, Esq., on the other side by a
    straight line of 52 feet or thereabouts, extending from
    Bathurst-street along a roadway called Market-street
    leading to Bathurst-street, and again by a straight line of
    33 feet forming an obtuse angle with the said line of 52
    feet and extending along the same roadway, and at the
    back by a straight line of __ feet or thereabouts extending
    from the said roadway to the said land of Mr. Joseph

    All the interest of John Moses in a valuable plot of
    LAND, known as lot 7 of BIRCH’S ESTATE, being all
    that piece or parcel of Land situate, lying, and being in
    Collins-street, being a corner allotment, bounded by 60
    feet along a new street called Victoria-street, thence by a
    line of 45 feet 8 inches along Collins-street, thence by a
    line 90 feet along lot 6, thence by a line of 45 feet 8
    inches along lot 4 to the point first named.
    Ten Shares in the Van Diemen’s Land Assurance
    Terms at time of sale.”
    (Courier, Hobart, 5th November 1841)

John was to fare no better in News South Wales where his intestate estate was listed as having L539 3s 1d in receipts and only L18 3s in hand (The Sydney Gazette, 25th January 1842).

The New South Wales Government Gazette, 8th February 1842 p. 247, carried a notice regarding the Insolvent estate of John Moses, stating that it was placed under Sequestration on February 2nd and a creditors meeting would be held in the Supreme Court on the 18th of February; whilst a notice in the Sydney Gazette 10th February 1842 tells us that John Moses, insolvent, surrendered on the 2nd February, the debts were to proved on the 18th February and a Trustee was to be named on the 25th of February.

Another civil case relating to the Sisters was heard in the Supreme Court of Hobart, on 18th March 1842 :

    Moses v. Clarke.

    “In consequence of a new trial having been granted, the present case was instituted for the recovery of the value and freight of certain goods placed on board the ‘Sisters,’ of which vessel defendant was master. After hearing the evidence, which was precisely of the same as that laid before our readers on a former occasion, the jury, having been locked up for a considerable time, decided in favour of the defendant.” (Courier, Hobart, 25th March 1842)

John was again back in the Supreme Court, this time in New South Wales, regarding his dealings with the Sisters. His brother Isaac Moses, who was the owner of the vessel, was trying to recover money from William Osborne. It was alleged that a large quantity of goods shipped to Hobart were actually the property of John but the bill of lading had been altered and Isaacs name substituted. Matheson, clerk to the principal superintendent of Hobart, deposed that John had told him that he had altered the document so that Lucas, whom, John owed money to, should not be able to claim the goods on arrival. This evidence was backed up by George Downing whom John had told the same story to. John, of course, denied this. In summing up it was stated that someone had committed perjury and after consultation the assessor awarded Isaac damages of L104 (Sydney Morning Herald, 26th April 1842; see also).

John’s brother Isaac had been transported in the Surry (4) after being convicted on the 11th March 1823 in Sydney was sent to Port Macquarie on the Sally by the order of the Governor (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Papers, 1788 - 1825, letters sent, 30 Dec. 1823 - 31 Dec. 1825, 4/3864, pp. 37, 398-9, Copy at Reel 6019). He received his certificate of freedom on the 18th of August 1836 (SRNSW Reel 997). Isaac had done well in the colony and the Government Gazette of New South Wales records his land purchases :

  • Marulan Village, Lot 21 of 2 roods, L1; GGNSW 30th November 1836, p. 928.
  • Berrima Village, Lot 19 of 2 roods 13 perches, L5 0s 9d, GGNSW 1st March 1837, p. 214.
  • Berrima Village, Lot 20 of 2 roods 15 perches, L6 6s 8d, GGNSW 1st March 1837, p. 214.
  • Berrima Village, Lot 23 of 2 roods and 22 perches, L5 2s, GGNSW 1st March 1837, p. 214.
  • Yass Village, Lot 55 of 2 roods, L1 6s 8d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.600.
  • Yass Village, Lot 62 of 2 roods, L5 0s 8d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 63 of 2 roods, L5 0s 8d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 76 of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 76 of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 91 of 2 roods, L2 13s 4d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 92 of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 101 of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 102 of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 102 of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.
  • Yass Village, Lot 105, of 2 roods, L1 0s 0d, GGNSW 30th August 1837, p.601.

See the Moses Family Landholdings in the Township of Yass.

Isssac had built and opened the the ‘Rose of Yass’ Inn which was licensed in April 1837. We don’t know how long Isaac remained in Yass, but by January 1840 James Middleton was the publican of the Rose Inn and in 1845 Isaac was living in Sydney at No. 7 Bridge Street in a three storied brick and shingle building owned by a Mrs. Kelly (Index to the City of Sydney Rate Assessment Books, 1845, Bourke Ward).

I believe that John’s quick trip to Sydney in June 1840, see above, was to request the help of Isaac, or enter into a partnership with him in which he made use of Isaac’s vessel the Sisters.

The Sydney Gazette, 24th May 1842, carried an advertisement that John’s was to apply for a Certificate with regard to his insolvent estate in New South Wales, which was eventually granted, unopposed, almost two years later(The Sydney Gazette, 24th February 1844)

The assignee of John’s estate in Tasmania continued to sell off his assets in an attempt to satisfy his creditors :

    One Hundred Acres of Good Land.
    at his Mart, Elizabeth-street,
    On WEDNESDAY, the 28th instant, precisely at 12 o’clock,
    without the least reserve, and by orders of the assignee to the
    estate of John Moses, an insolvent,
    All that piece or parcel of LAND situate, lying, and being
    at Ralph’s Bay, in the county of Monmouth, Van Diemen’s
    Land, containing 100 acres, more or less, situate, adjoining,
    and to the south of a location to Thomas Phillips, at the
    Pipeclay Lagoon.
    Title unexceptionable.
    Terms - 20 per cent. cash deposit; the residue by bills at
    three and six months, the last bearing interest at the rate of
    10 per cent.”
    (Courier, Hobart, 23rd September 1842)

As can be seen above John was legally solvent in May 1844 and resident in Sydney, his son Henry attended the prestigious Sydney College, which was patronised by the elite of colonial society, under Thomas Braim, and left c.1844 :

    ‘This is to Certify that Master Henry Moses was a student in Sydney College under my Care and that he made Considerable progress in his classical and mathematical studies and has at all times been a youth of most correct deportment. I shall be truly glad to hear of his success                  Thos. Hy. Braim
                                         Head Master
                                         Syd. College.
    25 April 1845.”

    (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214. 48/13174)

The following advertisement for the College appeared in 1844:

    “Sydney College, Hyde Park.

    “PRESIDENT, W. Bland, Esq., M.C.; Treasurer, Mr. Alderman Allen; Honoarary Secretary, Councillor Holden. Committee - W. Lawson, Esq., M.C., W.C. Wentworth, Esq., A.M., M.C.; J. Blaxland, Esq., M.C.; Mr. Alderman Broughton, J.P.; Councillor Driver; T. Barker, J.P.; J. Josephson, R. Bourne, S. Lyons, L. Iredale, W. Hutchinson, H. Halloran, P.W. Plomer, and T. Hyndes, Esquires.

    “The educational department is under the direction of T.H. Braim, Esq., of St. John’s College, Cambridge, as Head Master, assisted by gentlemen of superior attainments in the classical, mathematical, and commercial branches.

    “All the pupils will have the advantage of being taught the science of Singing by Mr. Nathan, and Drawing by a master of tried ability.

    “The Head Master’s house has been fitted up at great expense with every comfort for the accommodation of young gentlemen from the country as Boarders, whom he is willing to receive into his family on very low terms during the present depressed state of the colony. Such youths are carefully instructed by the Head Master, assisted by Mr. J. Laughton, B.A., and Mr. Edwin Braim, in addition to the regular college hours of study.

    “Parents desirous of availing themselves of the advantages of this Institution are requested to communicate by letter (post paid) to the Head Master, at the College.” (The Maitaland Mercury, and Hunter River General Advertiser, 12th October 1844)

John and his family moved to the Yass District where his brothers Moses Moses and Isaac Moses had both settled earlier and we have the following descriptions of the town :

In 1838 Thomas Horton James, Six Months in Australia, J. Cross, London, 1838, had written the following descriptions -

    “GUNNONG [Gunning], a township containing two houses, a store and an inn. Though in the height of summer, I found the parlour fire at breakfast very agreeable.” (p. 188)

    “YASS, the approach to which is very beautiful, on account of the abundance of the grass. There appears here no limit to the rich feed for sheep, and yet it is well known that the whole country is occupied by large flocks and herds. Yass is two hundred miles from Sydney, over a very practicable road, and standing in a remarkably interesting and abundant country, might be supposed to exhibit signs of greater advancement than it does. But the serious difficulty of having to drag every thing such a journey as two hundred miles, will for ever prevent these interior towns of Australia from rising to any eminence. There is a pretty and respectable Court-house in the town, and one or two inns and stores, and within the circle of a short ride, some tasty and agreeable places belonging to the principal proprietors, who live in an elegant not to say profuse style, forming a very pleasant society. The Yass river is a very paltry affair, and is nothing more than a mere puddle. Every thing is extravagantly dear, and owing to the universal neglect of tillage, my horse was being saddled and bridled without getting a feed of corn, had not the dray and team of bullocks just arrived, laden with maize, all the way from Campbell Town, about one hundred and seventy miles off !” (pp. 189 - 190.)

    “BOGOLONG, We are now outside the boundary and beyond the civil jurisdiction of New South Wales, which terminates about eight miles south-west of Yass, at a remarkable and lofty hill, called by the natives Boonyun. But though beyond the Colony, the inhabitants seem rather to increase than otherwise, and though every inch of land belongs to Government, yet there is just as much fencing and cultivation going on as if it belonged to the temporary occupants.

    “These squatters are a noisy and joyous set of young men, feeding sheep on Crown lands, and appear to be as happy as the day is long, though living in the rudest huts, and principally upon salt beef, tea, and damper, with an occasional sheep or two, and a constant supply of game. Many of them are well educated, and well connected young gentleman; but as looking after sheep is rather a lazy life, they have plenty of time upon their hands for galloping about the country, and may be seen adopting the short black pipe of tobacco, and the tin pot of tea, in preference to the most precious porcelain. It is a life that has evidently great attractions for young men, and the rapid increase of their sheep soon makes them independent.” (pp. 190 191)

The following appeared in The Sydney Gazette 11th February 1841 -

    “Country Intelligence.
    (From our Bush Correspondent at Yass.)

    “I have just arrived here from my farm, and as I have a few minutes leisure I will pen you a few lines.

    “This township is fast improving, its central position for inland traffic has only of late begun to be appreciated. Mr. Moses [Moses Moses] is preparing to build a very large Inn in the town, which when finished is expected to compete with your first rate houses in Sydney. I need scarcely say that such is must required, as good accommodation has been long a desideratum betwixt this and Goulburn. There also talked of being erected two steam mills - the projector is Mr. Hume, one of the oldest and most respected of our Colonists. A gentleman of the name Barker intends, as soon as his honeymoon is over, to commence building an extensive store and dwelling house.

    “O’Connell, which some time ago was chosen as the site of a new township, and is close to Yass, begins to shew symptoms of existence, a few handsome cottages being in progress of operation.

    “When I was last up towards Manaroo everything looked well, and there were excellent crops on the Murrumbidgee, but a general out-cry for labourer. You would be greatly astonished to see what wonders civilization has wrought beyond the bounds of location. At Bowning a new inn is being built for Mr. J. Underwood, when finished competent judges say it will be, with the exception perhaps of the new Royal, one of the most spacious and elegant hotels in the Colony. Mr. U. the land lord is most attentive to travellers to and from Australia Felix, his fare is such, that to a poor devil travelling all day through the bush, his hostilry seems a paradise. A little further on is Mr. Middleton’s inn - this worthy Boniface is also very attentive to strangers , ever at his post dispensing his good things, assisting the needy, and feeding the hungry. Mr. Chisholm has started from Goulburn Plains a very large number of sheep for the Southern markets; all kinds of stock are looking down. If you have emigrants in the Barracks direct them in this district, they will be well received, but for ______ sake encourage none of those riotous worthies - men, who require a tread-mill to break in, for we have those, but I am told we are soon to have a few solitary cells, for any stragglers that may be picked up in the far interior. For ourselves we do not require such hard treatment (unless a few would be great men who take no little pleasure in snarling at Police Magistrates, to whom a few weeks solitary confinement would be of essential benefit) for of all the little towns in New South Wales, Yass is the quietest - there being in it no drunken riots, stocks, factory, nor tread-mill. Every praise is due to our excellent Police Magistrate, who by his indefatigable industry, and the pious exertions of the Ministers of religion, have managed to keep things in the best of order. Bushranging, arson, murder, and the other crimes which abound in the various districts of the Colony are unknown of late amongst us - this is a sufficient proof of the activity and sufficiency of our ‘men in power,’ - Yours CRABTREE.”

The Population of Yass at this time was -

    1837 : 37

    1841 : 141

    1848 : 270

Moses Moses had received his Conditional Pardon on the 24th February 1832 (Archives Office of Tasmania, CON31/1/29 p.4) and we know that he had been in Yass much earlier than 1841 as he was appointed Poundkeeper, by James Steel the C.P.S., in 1837 (Sydney Gazette, 2nd December 1837). Mosesd Moses was also listed in the 1841 Census at Conner Street, Yass (SRNSW Reel 2223, p. 127). The hotel of Moses Moses, mentioned in the above article was the the ‘White Hart’ at Yass and his first license was issued on the 8th June 1841, costing L30 (SRNSW Reel 1236). The New South Wales Government Gazette 15th August 1843, p. 1047, noted that he had been appoint to the Yass Distict Council along with Henry O’Brien, Esq., Warden; William Henry Broughton; Cornelius O’Brien; Peter Best; James Middleton; and Dr. Benjamin Clayton, Esq.

John Moses opened a public house at Bowning and the following details are recorded in the records of Publican’s Licenses held at State Records of N.S.W. -

    Vol. 16. May 1844 - March 1845

    No. 365. License issued to John Moses for the House known by the Sign of the St. John’s Tavern at Bowning. L30, dated 16th April 1844 at Yass. (SRNSW Reel 5059)

    Vol. 19. April - June 1847

    No. 149. License issued to John Moses for the House known by the Sign of the St. John’s Tavern Bowning, from 1st July 1847 to 30th June 1848. Issued at Binnalong on the 4th May 1847. L30. (SRNSW Reel 5061)

John Moses was also appointed the Poundkeeper at Bowning, by Edgar Beckham the Commissioner of Crown Lands Lachlan District, after the resignation of Richard Miller Redmayne, in 1844 (New South Wales Goverment Gazette, 2nd July 1844, p. 863).

It was here, at Bowning, that young Henry’s, and also that of his family, life was to change dramatically.

The first tragedy was the death of Henry’s two sisters:

“MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - On Monday last, Mr. John Moses (late of Bridge-street, Sydney, now residing near Yass,) was crossing Barber’s Creek with his two daughters in a gig, when in consequence of an alteration of the ford, caused by the late rains, the gig was upset, and, melancholy to relate, the two girls were drowned. The unfortunate deceased were respectively named Hannah and Sarah Moses, and were twelve and fourteen years of age. Ibid [Sydney Herald], Nov. 28.” (Courier, Hobart, 3rd December 1844)

See Goulburn Jewish Cemetery Photo Gallery

The tragedy affected the family severely and John was obviously bereft when he placed this advertisement son after:



    “TO LET. - This commodious Inn, and appurtenances, are situated at the corner of the roads leading to Murrumbidgee, Yass, and Port Phillip, from Sydney, nine miles west of Yass, is doing a first rate business, ensuring a fortune to a persevering person at an early period, who, by good management in the mean time, may sit


    “The present occupant declining business entirely from ill-health, arising from domestic calamity.

    “The Inn is a commodious two storey building, consisting of eight large well-finished rooms, witha spacious hall through to the yard. The hay paddock is thirty acres of land, to which are attached five large stockyards; also, several other paddocks for accommodation; and, also, the


    “Near to these, on the Murrumbidgee road, is the Old Tenement, suited to poorer sojourners. This consists of nine rooms, kitchen, eight-stalled stable, a large yard, closed by folding gates, brick cottage, and a weather-boarded house. Annexed to these is an excellent run for cattle or sheep, six miles by five; the whole possessing every convenience for the security of property or stock, is well-watered in all seasons, and will be let at a very low rent.

    “To such as desire to become a tenant for any period, and who wish by a small investment, with personal exertion, to become comfortable for life, it will be necessary to make immediate application to the present occupier; or to Mr. J. G. Raphael, Lower George-street, Sydney, who will treat with all responsible parties, on the most liberal terms.

    “N. B. - The furniture, fittings, utensils, &c., with transfer of license, can be had on valuation, and immediate possession given. There is an excellent stock of wines in bottle and draught; rum, brandy, and gin; ale, and porter, in bottle and draught; the whole of which can be had at the market price, which will enable any person taking the above house, to continue the business without any delay or injury to the present flourishing trade.

    “To prevent disappointment, early application is necessary.

    “All letters must be post-paid, either to Mr. John Moses, Bowning; or to J. G. Raphael, 616 Lower George-street, Sydney.

    “Bowning, near Yass,
    March 1.” (The Sydney Morning Herald, 7th May 1845)

On the 28th April the Colonial Treasurer notified the Colonial Secretary that L28 had been received from John Moses, of Yass, for lots 57 and 58, of two roods each, and lot 61, of two roods thirty two perches - Allotments numbered 15, 16 and 19 of Section No. 21 in the Town of Yass. (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary; Letters received relating to land, 1826 - 56, CGS 907 2/7933. Copy at SRNSW Reel 1165)

An advertisement announced that Messrs. Myers and Alexander have opened the ‘Yass Store’ in premises recently built by Moses Moses (The Sydney Morning Herald, 12th December 1845).

The following advertisement was placed in the Sydney Morning Herald, 22nd May 1846, and we that Henry Moses, at the age of fifteen years, was taking his first steps into the world of business :


    “JOHN MOSES, of the Saint John’s Tavern, Bowning, respectfully begs to return his sincere thanks to the inhabitants and the public at large, for their liberal support to him during these past two years, and assures them that nothing shall be wanting on his part to endeavour to merit their further patronage and begs to assure them that he has purchased a large stock of wines and spirits of the choicest quality and of the best brands now in the colony; and for the convenience of travellers, his stock-yards and accomodation paddocks have undergone a through repair, so that sheep and cattle will be secure in them, and no charge will be made for use of the same. Gentlemen travelling will find every accommodation at the most reasonable charge.

    HENRY MOSES begs leave to inform the public that he has opened a General Store, where every description of goods can be purchased at the Goulburn prices, and every article will be sold of the best description, as a large selection has been made suitable for the country trade. Produce will be taken in payment at the highest market prices.

    “N. B. - A supply of flour always on hand, and will be sold at the Yass Mill prices.
    May 11.”

In the same year Henry’s uncle, Moses Moses, was also embarking on a new venture :

      “YASS ! YASS !!

    “MOSES MOSES, Licensed Victualler, of Yass, in returning his sincere thanks and grateful acknowledgments to his friends and the public generally, for the liberal patronage and support whith which they have hitherto favoured him at his late residence, the ‘White Hart Inn,’ Dutton-street, Yass; M. M. , respectfully begs to inform them that he has removed his business to new and very commodious premises, Comma-street [Comur street], istuated in the central part of the said township, fronting the southern of the Port Phillip road, and opposite the Yass Court house, and known as the YASS INN, where he trusts by strict and undeviating attention to the comforts of his guests, and providing wines of the choicest quality, and viands of the best description, suitabel to the tastes of the most fastidious epicures, he will ensure a continuance of their favours and support.

    “The building is a new one, and complete in every respect, having been erected without regard to expense, with strict attention to the convenience and comfort of travellers, independent of the stabling being a brick building it is very roomy, and is well ventilated; good loose boxes for the accommodation of entire and blood horses.

    “A good and experienced groom on the premises.

    “N. B. - M. M. begs to remind his friends and the public in general, that they will be sure to find well aired beds, and first-rate fodder for their horses, and every thing at the most reasonable charge.” (The Sydney Morning Herald, 10th March 1846)

Moses’ hotel was mentioned in an account regarding Yass the following year :

    “It is [the township of Yass] pleasantly situated on a gentle declivity, bordering the vast plains of Yass; and contains a few houses, the principal part of which are inns. An Israelite landlord of the name of Moses served our turn, and supplied our wants, not forgetting to charge us the reasonable sum of fifteen shillings each, for our horses, accommodation for the night.” (The Public Ledger, 7th December 1847)

The second tragedy to John and Rebecca Moses occurred when an incidence of arson occurred at the Inn :

    “YASS. - A clear case of incendiarism took place at Bonning [sic], near Yass, on the 16th instant, when a stack of ten tons of hay, the property of Mr. John Moses, was consumed. Mr. Moses offers L25 reward, and it is expected a considerable sum will also be raised in the district (one gentleman has subscribed L20) to increase the amount, and it is hoped that the government will see the importance of assisting in the detection of the ruffians who have committed so diabolical an act. - herald, Feb. 23.” (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 26th February 1848)

    “INCENDIARISM. - Our readers will remember that a few days since we reported that a stack of hay, the property of Mr. Moses, of Bowning, near Yass, had been burnt, under circumstances which left little doubt that it had willfully been set fire to. We regret to state that yesterday intelligence reached Sydney that on Tuesday evening the stables belonging to Mr. Moses’s Inn, at Yass, were set fire to, and totally destroyed. We hope the Government will offer a reward for the detection of the perpetrators of this most horrible crime. Mr. Moses offered a reward of L20 for evidence that would lead to the conviction of those who committed the first outrage, and some gentlemen in the neighbourhood did the same. - Herald, March 11.” (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 15th March 1848)

Henry Moses was subsequently charged with Subornation and John and Rebecca lost their beloved son. The case was originally heard at Yass Police Court:

“YASS. - A case of incendiarism has been for the last week occupying the police authorities here. It ended on Friday, with the committal of a youth named Henry Moses and another boy named John Barber, a shepherd, to take their trial for having set fire to the stables and hay stack of a publican at Bowning, named John Moses, (father of the former), and afterwards forming a conspiracy with the view of charging another publican, named Mackay, living also at Bowning, with having committed the offence. Through the indefatigable exertions of Chief Constable Mallyon, aided by Constable Smart, of Gunning, this atrocious attempt to implicate an innocent person in an offence of so serious a nature, was fully brought to light; the examination by the magistrates revealing, throughout the whole affair, a most complicated and deep-laid piece of villainy. Correspondent of the Herald.” (The Maitland Mercury, and Hunter River Advertiser, 5th April 1848)

Obviously the presumption of innocence or the principle of sub judice were not issues with the press of the day.

The News South Wales Government Gazette, 27th June 1848 p. 795, noted that the following Title Deeds were ready :

  • John Moses, Lot 57 Village of Yass, 2 roods.
    John Moses, Lot 58 Village of Yass, 2 roods
    John Moses, Lot 61 Village of Yass, 2 rood 32 perches.

Henry’s case came before the District Court in Goulburn :

“District Court
Wednesday Sept. 6th, 1848.

“Henry Moses, aged 19, indicted for suborning one John Barber to commit willful and corrupt perjury.

“THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL assisted by Mr. Holroyd conducted the case for the Crown, and MR. LOWE was retained by the prisoner.

“It appeared from the evidence (which was of considerable length), that the defendant’s father, John Moses, was landlord of an Inn at Bowning, near Yass, during the month of March and April last. That during the latter part of the first month a stack of hay belonging to Moses was destroyed by fire, and on the 7th of March the stable also belong to defendant’s father were in like manner destroyed. John Barber, whom the defendant was charged with suborning to commit perjury was at that time tending sheep on Moses ground, and bedding them every night on his premises. That on the 8th of March, the day following the destruction of the stable, Mr. Mallyon, the chief constable of Yass, upon information he had received from the boy Barber, took Alexander Mackay, publican of Bowning, and Richard Podmore, a tanner of Bowning, into custody, on suspicion of arson. At their examination, Barber swore that a few days previously to the burning of the stack, he was tending his father’s sheep in a gully on Moses ground, and near his premises, when he saw the two prisoners (Mackay and Podmore) in deep conversation. There was a scrub intervening between witness (Barber) and prisoners so as to prevent him being seen by them; that he heard Podmore say to Mackay ‘my b____y woman will never say any thing about it, there was L200 reward.’ And heard Mackay say ‘Moses has plenty of money and can buy another stack.’ Barber also swore at the Yass Court, that on the night of the firing of the stack, he saw Mackay and Podmore, get over the fence and run away, and that Henry Moses, the defendant, never told him to give such evidence. On the 11th this boy made a true confession to Mr. Mallyon, the chief constable, in Yass, and subsequently before the Bench, that all the depositions he had previously given were false, and that Henry Moses, the defendant had told him to make such depositions and give such evidence.

“Alexander Mackay : - Is inn-keeper, at Bowning, knows defendant and his father, John Moses; recollects the stack and stable being burnt; knows Richard Podmore, he lived on his ground at the time of the fire; knows a gully near John Moses’ public-house; was not in the gully with Podmore at any time; never heard him say ‘my b____y woman would never say any thing about it if there was a L200 reward;’ never said ‘Moses had plenty of money, and can buy another stack of hay;’ was in my own bar at the time the stable was burnt; heard the report of a shot; was in my own house two hours before and never went out beyond the veranda [sic]; a woman named Bridget Carline was in the house at the time of the fire; it was about 130 yards from Moses’ stable; I ran over to the stable; saw the defendant; asked him if the horses were out; prisoner said, be off, be off, you’ll hear more about it in the morning.

“Bridget Carline examined : - Recollects the night of the fire; was in Mackay’s house in Bowning; heard a shot fired; ran out; saw a fire at Moses’ stable; saw the last witness before the fire; and he never was out of her sight for two hours.

“Richard Podmore, tanner : - Never was in the gully alluded to, nor used the expressions; nor heard Mackay use the expressions sworn to by the Barber, at Yass; was asleep when the gun was fired; was on good terms with the defendant and his father.

“James Smith, lives at Bowning : - Heard a shot fired; got out of bed, as soon as he opened his own door, saw last witness, he was undressed.

“John Barber, examined by the Solicitor-General : - Is between 15 and 16; has been examined by the clergyman; it is wrong to tell a lie; was sworn at Yass; if he was sworn here and told a lie, he should expect to be punished hereafter. The witness was then sworn. - Knows the defendant, Henry Moses, and was present at the examination of Podmore and Mackay for setting fire to John Moses’ stable at Bowning; knows the gully mentioned in his deposition; never heard any conversation there between Podmore and Mackay; never saw them getting over the fence when the stack was burnt, nor saw them running away. Henry Moses came to him and asked him if he would swear against Mackay and Podmore; if he did not, the defendant would not allow him to stop there with the sheep, but if he swore what he told him he would give him L20; defendant told him he wanted him to swear that he saw Mackay and Podmore fire the stack; this happened about three or four days before Henry Moses told him that he was to go to him when he saw the stable on fire, and that he would fire a gun; the defendant also told him that he was to swear to having seen and heard Mackay and Podmore in the gully. Evidence as before. On the night of the fire was sleeping in the stock yard; jumped up and ran to the window; said to the defendant, who was in the house ‘the stable’s on fire;’ did not mention to him at the time the names of Mackay and Podmore; then went and helped George the harness-maker, to get the horses out of the stable; did not see the defendant get any of the horses out; the fire was burning at the far end; there were two or three stalls between the fire and the horses, saw no one pull any manger or rack down; must have seen if it was pulled down. (The defendant in his evidence against Mackay and Podmore at Yass, had sworn, that in his getting the horses out of the stable he had pulled some racks down.)

“George Allen sworn : - Recollects the night of the fire; was in the tap-room at the time of the fire; defendant was there writing letters; recollects the boy, Barber, calling outside the window ‘the stable’s on fire’; will swear he said something else, but could not hear what it was; there were two muskets on the table, defendant and witness caught them up and ran out; we broke open the stable door, the stable is about 40 or 50 yards from the house; there was a fire in the manger of one of the stables, where horse was tied up; if the defendant swore that I could not get the horse out, it was untrue; did not see the feeding trough pulled down.

“Cross examined by Mr. Lowe : - An armed watch was kept nightly since the stack was burnt; the guns mentioned in evidence were for that purpose.

“John Crabtree : - Was in the employ of John Moses in February and March last; kept watch with defendant on the Monday before the fire; saw two men walking about that night; did not go up to them; they were near the road; mentioned it to defendant; he said it was of no consequence, it might be people travelling; does not remember his saying anything else; did not say that he expected Mackay and Podmore were walking about; remember he said they might come and fire the stable; defendant hindered me from going to them; what defendant swore in Yass Police Court, that he (defendant) would have gone over the fence to see who they were only that I prevented him, saying it was a cow, is untrue.

“Cross examined by Mr. LOWE : - The defendant never siad, let them come and fire the stable; went to Yass for Mallyon the night of the fire, by defendant’s orders.

“(This witness appeared desirous of giving evidence favorable to both sides.)

“William Smart - Is lock-up keeper at Gunning; went to Bowning on Sunday, the 19th of March, with Mr. Mallyon; stopped there until Thursday; the defendant, while he (witness) was there, kept very close to him, on the Wednesday after he arrived there, he told him he would give him information about a bullock that had been slaughtered; he took witness on the Benelong road, after he had gone half a mile he said his (defendant’s) father would certainly shoot himself if he did not get the best of Mackay; witness asked him if he could suggest anything he could do as far as his duty would allow; witness and defendant turned off the road and sat down; defendant kept his head down and did not speak for some time, defendant said he would give witness L10 if he would do as he wanted; witness said he would, and asked him what it was; defendant wanted witness to go over to Mackay’s, to draw him out of his place into conversation for 15 or 20 minutes; that he (defendant) would cause Gilmore and Reid to be outside the house, and draw their attention to witness and Mackay being in deep conversation; witness was then to call out, ‘You Scotch b______ , I’ve got you’; they were then to come over to his assistance - was to accuse Mackay before them offering him L15, and that Mackay wanted witness to swear that he overheard defendant say to his mother, that he burnt the stable himself - to show a pound note, as earnest money he had given witness - and was to handcuff him and take him to Yass; this occurred on the 22nd March; went then towards Moses’ house; defendant then said he did not think there was sufficient to implicate Mackay; defendant also wanted to induce Crabtree to leave Moses and go to Mackay, in order that he could get Mackay to swear that he saw the defendant (Henry Moses) get out of the back window, and fire the stable, witness told defendant it was best to get Mallyon out; swore he (witness) would not deceive him; defendant got his horse saddled for witness, asked if witness could see the boy Barber (who was in Yass lock-up), so as to give him encouragement that he might not ‘come it’; rode into town on Wednesday; Mallyon was preparing to come out; the chief constable and witness went to Mr. Watson; and afterwards returned to Bowning, it was a moonlight night, placed mallyon in a slabbed hut in the yard, then rode up to the house as if witness had just come in from Yass; defendant asked about the boy Barber; told him all was right, he was standing his ground, but he had no relief; defendant then blamed Gilmore that he had not given him the five shillings he had sent; Gilmore said he had bought tea and sugar with it for Barber, and had ordered bread to be sent to the lock-up from the bakers; witness then went out with defendant in the direction where Mallyon was planted; defendant said they were very poor, that they had not the L10, but had thought on a better plan, which was to raise L200; that the Jews were very liberal, and he would raise the sum through them; moved away from where Mallyon was, and went into the yard through the back door; defendant gave witness two blankets; witness laid them close to the slabs where Mallyon was planted. (It must be remembered that the witness was on the premises for the ostensible purpose of watching). Defendant followed witness out and sat upon the rail close beside him; witness said, ‘how am I to be sure of getting the L200’, defendant said he would write the letters that night, and give them to him the next morning; witness then asked him for the L1 that he was to produce on apprehending Mackay the next morning; he said he had only a L2 order; witness replied, ‘the more the merrier’; did not get the cheque; next morning went into the tap room, saw a letter on the table, it was open; defendant came in and said, ‘Gilmore has taken the liberty to read the letter, I will write another’; witness was to put them in the post. (Letters produced and read. One was addressed to Mr. Simons, and the other to Mr. Raphael, of Sydney, they mentioned that defendant hoped these gentlemen would exert themselves to raise a sum of money to be given for the discovery of the person who had perpetrated the arson, and expressed a certainty that it would be Smart who would take the reward, and also that he would in all likelihood apprehend Mackay again.) Defendant brought a 10s order on Myers and Alexander, of Yass, and some silver; refused the silver.

“Cross examined by MR. LOWE. - Came to the colony in 1824; was 18 months in an iron gang; was 10 years at Norfolk Island, held a ticket of leave for five years; never gave defendant any reason to believe that he would do more or less than his duty.

“By the Jury. - Never knew the boy before, but knew the father; went into the lock-up at Yass as a cattle-stealer in order to draw from the boy, Barber, who it was that put fire into the stable.

“John Stiles, Clerk of the Bench at Yass - The letters produced are those produced in the Police Court at Yass; do not remember if permission was asked of defendant to open the letters; the letters were sent to the Attorney-General for legal advice; were opened and read in defendant’s presence when returned; defendant declined to say anything; they were first produced on the 22nd of March; the 10s. order produced was given in by the Chief Constable Mallyon, and sworn to.

“Chief Constable Mallyon - Took Smart to Moses’ on 19th March; next saw him on the 22nd; was place in Moses’ out hut between 9 and 10 o’clock; herad defendant say to Smart, ‘I’ll make up L200 for you’ - this was all witness heard at that time as they went away; - witness changed his position, and laid down by the slabs; defendant and Smart returned in about an hour; Smart laid low outside; Moses sat on rail close by; Smart commenced, ‘how am I to get the L200’; the defendant replied, ‘Government has offered L50, Ned Ryan L25, and his father L20, and he would write to Mr. Raphael of Sydney to make up the remainder.’ Smart then said, ‘how is it to be done’; defendant asked if Mallyon was coming out, to which Smart replied ‘I think early in the morning’; told Smart to take Mackay into the garden when he saw Mallyon, the doctor (Reid) and Gilmore in front of the house; roar out you b_____ Scotch b______ ; I’ve got you at last; they’ll then go over to what is the matter. (The witness then gave evidence on this subject similar to that given by Smart, and reported in his evidence.) Before Smart and defendant separated for the night, the constable asked him for the letter; Smart was put in the lock-up after the boy made his confession; witness took the defendant into custody the next morning at about 9 o’clock.

“ _______ Gilmore examined by Mr. Lowe. - Saw the defendant give the constable two letters, and a 10s. order; the order was to pay for the letters; the defendant asked his mother for some silver.

“This closed the case for the Crown.

“The Court then adjourned at 6 o’clock.


“REGINA v. HENRY MOSES. - This case was resumed this morning.

“Mr. LOWE, for the prisoner took several technical objections to the information which being answered by the Solicitor General were over-ruled by his Honor.

“The learned gentleman then addressed the jury in his usual and eloquent manner. He analized [sic] the evidence and went through the whole of it in detail, commenting upon its bearing on the present charge, and holding that although the conduct of the defendant might be highly reprehensible and open to suspicion, there was in reality not a little of evidence given by persons of undoubted credit that could make good the charge. The boy Barber had perjured himself times out of number, and was wholly undeserving of credit. Smart had given so good a character of himself that he need say little of him; and the very method he took of bringing the charge to bear on the young man at the bar, was such to raise a feeling of indignation in the breast of all Englishmen.

“We regret the want of space compels us to curtail our report of the trial, as well as omit the learned counsel’s address, and the Solicitor-General’s reply.

“HIS HONOR summed up at considerable length, and the jury having retired to consider their verdict, returned into court after 15 minutes absence, finding the prisoner - Guilty.

“Mr. LOWE again addressed jis Honor in arrest of judgment, His Honor considering the objections he urged insufficient, addressed the prisoner thus -

“Henry Moses, you have been found guilty of a heinous offence; had the men, whom you suborned a witness to swear falsely against, and there is also little doubt you committed perjury yourself, been found guilty of the charge that was laid against them, the court would have awarded them the sentence of transportation for life, and did the law allow me, I should feel it my duty to sentence you to the same punishment, but, fortunately for yourself, the utmost punishment I am empowered to award you is transportation for seven years. It is within the power of His Excellency the Governor to commute such sentence (under a recent colonial act) to a term from three to five years’ labour on the roads, but I do not think I shall be acting rightly if I do not sentence you to the heaviest punishment that the law allows, leaving to His Excellency to commute it if he thinks fit. The sentence of the court is, that you be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years.


“John Barber was then placed at the bar, indicted for willful and corrupt perjury.

“The SOLICTOR GENERAL having intimated to his Honor that he did not intend to press the case against the prisoner.

“His HONOR cautioned him as to his future conduct, and ordered him to be discharged.

“His HONOR then thanked the jury for the patient attention they had given the business, and discharged them from their duties.

“This case closed the criminal court.”

The Mr. Raphael mentioned in evidence above was Joseph George Raphael, who had married Henry’s cousin Maria (daughter of Moses Moses) at Yass on the 30th December 1840.

An insight into the character of William Smart, or the state of his conscience, may be gained from the following news item which was also printed in the same issue -


“GOOD AND EVIL. - It seems that Mr. constable Smart before he proceeded on his homeward bound journey yesterday, at the conclusion of the criminal trials, imbibed a superfluous quantity of the font of the grape; and under the exciting influence of the potations ‘pottle deep,’ proceeded to the Royal Hotel, and addressed some magistrates who happened to be there, in terms very offensive to their dignity. The result of the inelegant harangue was incarceration in the lock-up.” (Goulburn Herald, 13th September 1848)

It is interesting to note that Mallyon was soon replaced as the Chief Constable by Noel Chapman (New South Wales Government Gazette, 9th March 1849, p. 393)

On reading these transcripts, over and over, I was disturbed by the inconsistencies in the comparison of the witnesses statements, the timelines of the evidence, the credence that was placed on Barber’s evidence, a youth of 15 or 16, and the lack of credence given to Moses’ witnesses. I was not convinced that a Jury of today would return a guilty verdict and that a miscarriage of justice had occurred.

According to Rubinstein the Jewish population in New South Wales was

    1833 - 302 (p. 87)
    1836 - 466 (p. 88)
    1841 - 856 (p. 90)

which was a minor percentage of the total population of the Colony. Was Moses’ case contaminated by racial or religious prejudice, personal animosity, commercial jealousy or other reasons. I could find no real evidence to support my belief but the belief that the trial was little more than a farce, but it still bothered me.

I had originally come across Henry in my researches into the Yalwal Gold Field and had formed a very favourable impression of his achievements and conduct, and having gone back in time, so to speak, to look at his early life I began to question if I was considering his case more subjectively, or with less intellectual rigour, than I would any other person.

My doubts as to the soundness of the conviction were reinforced when I came across the following letter some months later in the course of my research. It was written at the height of the malicious and vindictive campaign waged by the conservative elements in opposition to the first Nowra Municipal Council and published in the Illawarra Mercury, 4th June 1861:

(To the Editor of the ‘Illwarra Mercury.’)

“SIR, - The reports of the above case in several journals contain statements which careful reporters should not have made, and extra judicial remarks which a discreet judge would not have given utterance to. I must therefore beg space in your valuable paper for a few observations.

“The report states ‘It appears that the plaintiff was convicted of perjury and sentenced to seven years transportation,’ Bell’ Life, is more precise in its misrepresentation - thus ‘the following facts came out in the examination and cross-examination of the plaintiff, the only witness called,’ thereby making the plaintiff appear to convict himself by putting words into his mouth which he never uttered.

“The plaintiff was not convicted of perjury, but of ‘subornation,’ it is therefore not likely that upon ‘examination and cross-examination’ could have been, nor was it, given; and had proper attention been paid to the evidence, and to the able advocacy of the counsel, the reporters would, in fairness, have gladly admitted he had been more sinned against then sinning; in fact that he had been most grievously injured; and had they made themselves acquainted with the facts attending that trial, and circumstances antecedent to it, they would, one and all, feel indignant that the liberty of any man, much less that of a boy, as he then was, should have been fettered upon the testimony of an oft-convicted expiree and his ‘pal,’ and that of a prisoner then in Goulburn goal under a charge of perjury; and they would have added that none but an ignorant, stupid, negligent, or corrupt jury would have convicted even a person of any questionable character upon the evidence so utterly unreliable and so transparently vicious; so unworthy of a moment’s consideration was that evidence that Mr. Lowe, then the most eminent counsel in the country, rejected it with contempt, nor did he even consider it necessary to call evidence for the defence, although several most respectable witnesses were in attendance, but merely addressed the Court ‘upon points of law’ (an error too frequently committed by very clever lawyers) which the Judge - the present Sir William Manning overruled; hence the conviction, the jury having no room in their wooden noodles to recollect the more suspicious character of the evidence, and the ‘points of law,’ always puzzling to such a jury having been overruled, the prisoner of course must, in their narrow estimation, be guilty. Had there been a right of ‘new trial,’ which every criminal should, under proper regulations, be entitled to, the case would have been discharged, and possibly, the witnesses placed in the dock instead of their victim, whom afterwards, it became known they conspired against, not so much to injure him as to be revenged upon his father.

“Years ago I enquired minutely into the matter. I found out, at that time, he was little more than a boy in years, and but a child in knowledge and experience of the world, consequently quite ignorant of the main springs of vice and malignity of the bad human mind, which make man the bitterest enemy of man; living, too, in an atmosphere the most unsafe for the inexperienced and unsuspecting to breathe, exposed to all the evil consequences of the bitter animosities known to exist between his father and a troublesome vindictive neighbour, rendered not the less acrimonious and revengeful by the difficulty, if not the danger, of directly assailing the father: hence the son must be sacrificed; the innocent suffered that the guilty might escape; of this I have no doubt.

“Having to enquire, I felt, and still feel, myself fully justified in acquitting him of the charge, for which he has so dreadfully suffered, through the vanity of his counsel desiring to exhibit his superior knowledge of ‘law points,’ and relying on technicalities instead of calling witnesses for the defence, and resting his claim to acquittal upon the truths and merits of the case. It is never safe, in law, especially in Criminal law, for the Attorney-General must have a verdict of ‘right or wrong’ to depend upon trifles as light as air - such as law points and quibbles, which a breath can blow away.

“No one has a more intimate knowledge of Mr. Moss’s moral character and public conduct than I have; for the greatest part of eight years T have acted with him in most of the stirring local matters, public and political, and although we have differed on more than one occasion, and in private matters very seriously, I cannot, in the face of such a dastardly, unprincipled, and unmerited attack withhold my testimony in his favor; I believe him guiltless of the charge; I know that during the eight years of my almost uninterrupted intimacy with him, his moral character has been unimpeachable, and above suspicion; and his public conduct in local and political matters has deservedly gained for him the good will and esteem of all of the same political creed, and they are the great majority. No doubt he is a sore thorn in the side of those who differ with him, but surely this neither justifies nor palliates the uncharitable and malignant libel so injudiciously published in the Express.

“But suppose Mr. Moss to have been unmistakably guilty of the charge, or even a crime of much worse nature, are twelve long years  of unimpeachable moral character and conduct to be of none effect in establishing, and freely according to him a moral, as well as the legal right to immunity for the past ? Are the errors, or even the crimes of youth, or young manhood, never to be forgotten or forgiven ? God forbid that the world were so evil-minded, so vicious, and so malicious, as the dastardly anonymous writer, who, to gratify political hate, or personal animosity, so far forgot what was due to christian [sic] feeling and manly principle, and thus wantonly and cruelly to thrust his envenomed sting into a long healed wound. He did well to hide his name behind the editor’s shield.

“Look throughout the colony, aye the colonies, see the many hundreds, thousands I may say, of men of unsullied honor, integrity, and worth, both in public and private life, respected and esteemed, whose early times were of no equivocal character, but which, happily and charitably, are now long forgotten and forgiven, cast into utter oblivion - save by such as the anonymous libeller [sic] - by years of moral excellence and usefulness in every station of life. Is it then to be permitted, or justified in any way, or for any purpose, that in consequence of some local squabble, or personal dislike, the bitter recollections of the bitterer past are to be revived, and the high privileges of the press prostituted, to gratify the unholy and unhallowed hatred and malice of the pitiful base-minded slanderer, were such to be the state of society, and be permitted with impunity, and without public execration, society would be a hell on earth, as the mind of the anonymous libeller [sic] must be an hell to himself. And it is because Mr. Moss has by his untiring energy and usefulness attained a popularity and political influence which his traducer can never even hope to attain, or because, as Mayor and ex officio magistrate, he claims that precedency [sic] within the Municipality which, notwithstanding the extra judicial opinion of the Chief Justice, and the inconsiderate one of Sir William Manning, and despite the very presumptuous contempt with which our magistrates treat the deliberate opinion on the subject of the honorable the Attorney-General, I maintain the Mayor has an unquestionable legal right; it is, I repeat, for these grave offences against the dignity of a few magnate exclusives, who would rule according to their positions of right and wrong, that Mr. Moss, or any other equally upright and useful man, is to be held up to public scorn to serve the vile purpose of a vindictive, unprincipled libeller [sic] ? The writer who, to serve so base a purpose, evokes bitter memories of a past life of another to wound his most tender feelings and lower him in the estimation of the world, is to be both pitied and despised, pitied for his want of christian [sic] charity; despised for his contemptible meaness.

“If the people of the Shoalhaven, whom Mr. Moss has so long, so unremittingly, and faithfully served, at the cost of much valuable time and money. have any sense of gratitude, any public spirit or virtue, or any regard for character, they will at once give such public expression to their feelings and opinions as shall mark their just appreciation for him, and their detestation of the unworthy, unjustifiable means resorted to, to ruin him in the public estimation.

“The opinion of the Chief Justice and Sir William Manning on the Mayor’s right of precedency [sic], and the opposition of our territorial nominee magistrates deserve a separate notice which, with your permission, I shall trouble you with in my next, when I hope to prove the error of judgment.

                                   “I am Sir,
                                      Your obdt. servant,
                                          GEO. UNDERWOOD ALLEY.’

I found this a surprising and compassionate appeal from Alley which expresses an unexpected degree of empathy with Moss. Alley shows an intimate knowledge of Moss’ case which would not have been normal general knowledge in the Shoalhaven. It reveals an unexpected side to the, intellectually, enigmatic Alley. In all of his prodigious output of letters Alley’s arguments are logical and cogent, but here we see an emotionally charged side to his character which is not normally evident in his writing.

But we must return to the time of the conclusion of Henry’s trial and we can only imagine the utter shock, and subsequent feeling feeling of disbelief that must have pervaded Henry, his family and supporters, as he was led to the cells to begin his sentence of transportation for seven years.

On the 14th November 1848 John Moses, writing from Bridge Street Sydney, petitioned Governor FitzRoy writing that he “believes that his son is the victim of a gross Conspiracy but that your Petitioner is not ina position at present to expose the same nor prove his innocence.” John had obtained character references from John Richard Hardy, H. O’Brien and Father Lovett, all of Yass. John feared that Henry would be transferred to Cockatoo Island and requested that he be allowed “to exile himself from the Colony for the term of seven years (long before which time Your Petitioner hopes to establish his innocence) to such place as Your Excellency shall be pleased to point out.” Appended were 24 signatures in support of the petition and also a recommendation from J. Long Innes, Superintendent of Police. (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214. 48/13174)

Rebecca Moses, writing from Bridge Street Sydney, also petitioned Governor FitzRoy on the 18th December 1848. She was oviously devastated at the result of the trial and pleads for her only son to remain at Darlinghurst Goal and not be transferred to Cockatoo Island which “admits od no Classification of Offenders - no separation of the Juvenile Delinquent, from the old and hardened Criminal.” She is concerned regarding Henry associating with prisoners “of the most degraded Character” and asks that because of his tender age and being his first offence that he be allowed to remain at Darlinghurst where “he be kept apart from association with older and more depraved criminals.” (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214.) She was most likely staying withh Abraham Moses, her brother in law, who was occupying a brick shop at 25 bridge Street, owned by Cooper and Holt (Index to the City of Sydney Rate Assessment Books, 1848, Bourke Ward)

Despite Rebecca’s plea Henry was transferred from Darlinghust Goal to Cockatoo Island.

Enclosure in a Letter of the Chairman of the Convict Classification Board of the Colonial Secretary, dated 9th January 1851 - No. 51/4: “This is the only man on Cockatoo Island under a sentence of Transportation, and had his sentence been commuted would now be eligible for Indulgence.” (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214. 51/4)

On the 9th January 1851, J. McLean, Chairman of the Board for Classification of Prisoners, wrote to the Colonial Secretary recommending a remission of sentence for Henry, after his case had been brought to their attention by the Visiting Magistrate of the island. On the 4th of February 1851 McLean wrote to the Visiting Magistrate informing him that His Excellency had not seen fit to authorise any remission. (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214.)

In April 1851, Henry, writing from Cockatoo Island, Petitioned Governor FitzRoy. The Petitioner “has earnestly endeavoured to prove by his conduct since his confinement, his deep sense of his unhappy position, and his sincere determination to look forward to the future with a humble but sincere hope to reprieve, by every means in his power, the stain now affixed to his character.” (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214.)

On the 15th April 1851 Henry, writing from Cockatoo Island, Petitioned Governor FitzRoy. He stated that he had been transferred to the Island on the 1st February 1849 and he had been working hard ever since as a toolman, overseer and lately as a Constable of the Cells, “an office of responsibility which he still holds.” Henry also saved the life of one of the Guards sationed on the Island: “That petitioner, on the forenoon of the 29th March last, observed a Private Soldier of the Detachment on Guard at his station, accidentally fall into the River, whilst fishing, and leaping into the Water to his assistance, succeeded (with the aid of another prisoner), in extricating him from his perilous situation.”

Henry’s Petition had the following annotation by the Superintendent of Cockatoo Island, dated 21st April 1851: “his conduct has been very exemplary - he has been employed in places of trust since 27 November 1849 - and has given the greatest satisfaction Statement re soldier verified, he was seized by cramp.” (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214. 51/5658)

On the 21st May 1851 H.M. Brown, the Visiting Magistrate, wrote to the Chairman of the Classification Board recommending that Henry be granted a Ticket of Leave for the service he rendered in saving the life of the soldier noting that “his conduct while here has always been exemplary.” (SRNSW Reel 605)

On the 2nd June 1851, William Elyard wrote to the Superintendent of Convicts: “The Prisoner named in the margin [Henry Moses on Cockatoo Island] having petitioned for a mitigation of his sentence of Seven years transportation passed on him for Subornation of perjury I have the honor to inform you that His Excellency the Governor has been pleased, under the recommendation of the Visiting Justice at Cockatoo Island, to authorise the remission of one year of the Terms of Probation to be served by Moses as a reward for his saving a soldier from drowning.” (SRNSW Colonial Secretary Letters Sent. Copies of Letters sent re Convicts, 29 August 1850 - 18 May 1855; CGS 4/3694. Copy at SRNSW Reel 1055)

On the 5th June McLean again wrote to the Colonial Secretary, after Captain Brown (Visiting Magistrate) had raised Henry’s case with the Classification Board. The Board recommended a Ticket of Leave be granted to Henry Moses at once. On the 15th June McLean was able to write to the new Visiting Magistrate at the island that ‘His Excellency has been pleased to approve a ticket of Leave being immediately granted to Moses - but, he must select a District at a distance from both Bathurst and Yass.” So Henry was to be freed from Incarceration and although he was not able to reside near the gold fields or return to his home he would be able to start afresh. (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214)

John Moses, his father was now in bankruptcy again :

    “New Insolvent.

    “JUNE 11. - John Moses, of Yass, dealer. Amount of liabilities, L198 10s; of assets, L72. Mr. George King, official assignee.” (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 16th June 1852)

Henry Moses’ Ticket of Leave No. 51/16 was dated 4th July 1851:

    Ship - Native of the Colony
    Master -
    Years -
    Native Place - Sydney
    Trade or Calling - Labourer
    Place of Trial - Goulburn C. C.
    Date of Trial - 7 Sept. 1848
    Sentence - 7 years
    Year of Birth - 1830
    Height - 5 ft. 6 inches
    Complexion - Ruddy
    Hair - Brown
    Eyes - Grey & inflamed
    General Remarks - Dimple in chin Large scar under part of right hand Scar back of right hand near knuckle of fore finger.
    Allowed to remain in the District of Wollongong On Recommendation of Wollongong Bench.
    (SRNSW Butts of Colonial Tickets of Leave, 4/4227; Copy at SRNSW Reel 891)

Obviously John Moses was unaware of the decision and writing from Coomer Street Yass, again Petitioned Governor FitzRoy, on the 13th September 1851. He wrote of “.....the unspeakable sorrows of an inconsolable Mother and heartbroken Father, thus afflictingly bereaved of their only Male child.” This petition was also signed by six other residents of Yass. (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214. 50/9107)

Henry wrote to Governor FitzRoy in December 1852 from Wollongong, Shoalhaven was crossed out and Wollongong substituted, for an absolute pardon. He had testimonials from the Superintendent of Cockatoo Island, Michael Hyam and Kenneth MacKenzie. Hyam stated that Henry had been in his employ for 18 months and was in charge of his store whilst also acting in that capacity of his book keeper with “the greatest punctuality and integrity.”

McLean wrote to the Bench of Magistrates at Wollongong, on 2nd June 1853, asking them for a report on the memorial Henry had submitted. On 8th July 1853 MacKenzie replied, on behalf of the Bench, from Shoalhaven Police Office that Henry had “.....by his unexceptionable conduct, has fairly entitled himself to the warmest recommendation we can give him and we shall rejoice to hear that His Excellency, has looked favourably on his application.” This is an opinion that MacKenzie was to change when Moss had the audacity to challenge the status quo of the Shoalhaven’s social and political fabric.

An annotation on this Petition, by the Colonial Secretary dated 20th July 1853, states “As Moses has held his Ticket of leave for two years & is so strongly recommended by the Bench of his District I recommend that he may be allowed a free pardon.” (SRNSW, Colonial Secretary Letters Received, Main Series 1826 - 1934. 4/3449, Bundle 61/2214)

Why did Henry settle in the Shoalhaven District ? As we have seen before the Jewish population in N.S.W. had only grown from 302, in 1833, to 856, in 1841. Henry’s father, John, had known Michael Hyam in the early days in Sydney and it seems logical that he should turn to his old friend for help.

See also