Town of Morpeth History.

A book recently published, is of great Historical value "Published July 2000". Following a lot of hard work by Ron Anderson. The book is called Morpeth Insights.
A view of Morpeth's early history as seen through the eyes of the news media of the time. It gives diferent views and variouse news items relating to the people and events
A book worth its historical value, and can be obtained by contacting ." Ron Anderson" on E-mail
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St James Church Morpeth
Morpeth Church of England Cemetery

The information contained has been compiled and organised from a short book named, the 'Morpeth Story' 1821-1971 . A reprint of this book is still avaliable .

Following the begining of the settlement at Port Jackson , Lieutenant Shortland was sent by the Govenor to look for escaped convicts , who were believed to have fled to the north of the settlement , this was in 1797. In pursuit of the convicts, he sailed into a river which he noted had "banks lined with coal ". He named the river "Coal River" .
The first settlement he founded was called Kings Town . The name of the river was
later changed to Hunter's River after the Govenor of the time . It is now known as the Hunter River , whilst Kings Town is now the City of Newcastle.
In 1801 a small party led by Lieutenant Colonel Paterson found its way aboard the
ship "Lady Nelson" to Raymond Terrace , Green Hills & Wallis Creek .
Years prior to Lieutenant Colonel Paterson's voyage , the French Revolution had
commenced . This was the year 1798 , it reached its climax in 1793 when a socialist state was set up . This was not to remain as is . The void left by the lack of a King was filled by Napoleon Bonaparte , who in due course strived to bring all of Europe under French Domination . An ensuing war followed with Admiral Nelson taking care of Napoleon's Fleet & General Wellesley, later the Duke Of Wellington his Armies . Napoleon's power grew , England was percieved to be under threat , and a call to arms went out . Many answered the call to colours , one being a 17 year old lad born at Rangamatty India . This lad was Edward Charles Close . Following his enlistment on 8th February 1808 initially training as an Ensign , he was assigned to the North Hamptonshire Regiment the H.M 48th Regiment of Foot . He was eventually promoted to Lieutenant and became part of the Heroes Of Talavera . This name was given to the Regiment in which he served .
Edward Charles Close was educated with the view to becoming an ordained Minister of the Church , but
Napoleon destroyed that idea .
From 1808 to 1814 he served in Spain , fighting battles at Talavera -28/6/1809, : Busaco 27/9/1810 :
Albuera (16/5/1811) , : Vittoria 21/6/1812 : , Neville , Orthes 27/2/1814 :& Toulouse 10/4/1814 : Vimeiro 21/8/1808 ,
At the battle of Albuera, E.C.Close saw most of his Battalion annihilated by the
French , he was at this time 21 . He then vowed to build a Church in thanks if his life was spared . As fortune would have it his life was spared .
On the third of August 1817 the 48th Regiment with some of their families arrived in Port
Jackson on board the Barque "MATILDA" . E.C. Close remained enlisted for another 4 years following his arrival at Port Jackson, taking his discharge in 1821 . Following his discharge he took up a land grant at Green Hills , Hunter's River as it was known .
E . C. Close arrived at Morpeth in November of 1821 , and gradually began to establish a home for himself
his wife Sophia Susannah Close (nee) Palmer and eventually their children .. He found the area to be dense in vegetation which the family began to clear . Close had the help of ten servants (convicts) in his task. His property was made up of the following 2 portions 1030 & 1020 acres, a Military grant .
There was one hitch to the land granted to Edward , Governor Brisbane had granted the high land to a
private holder , it was to be reserved for public interest . Governor Darling realized this and tried to have the land resumed . Edward wished to be compensated fairly for the hard work put in to clear the land and for his house . A price could not be agreed and the land was not resumed . Whilst this was going on Morpeth was becoming an important river port for the Northern interior with no vacant land left beside the wharves to allow for the growth of Morpeth . Eventualy Edward did release some land and this became Morpeth .
About 1826 Edward built "Closebourn House " in which he and his family lived until 1848 . He sold the
house to Bishop Tyrrell , it then became the residence for the Bishop of Newcastle . He built what is known as Morpeth House in 1852 and resided there untill his death in 1866 .
In 1857 E.C. Close jnr laid the foundation stone for . St James Church of England Morpeth . Edward
( but not during his own life time ) had (or deligated his word to others) lived up to the promise he made during the battle of . Albuera 16/5/1811 , Morpeth had begin to grow.
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Copyright B & M Chapman (QLD) Australia
Last revised: September 02, 2000.