Some History of the NewSouth Wales Corps

Some History of the NewSouth Wales Corps

Many thanks to Lina Moffitt
Select Documents in Australian History” 1788-1850
by C M H Clark , Professor of History,
School of General Studies, Australian National University,
first published 1950

"Formation of the New South Wales Corp. 1789"

(Sir George Yonge to Grose, 8 June 1789. H.R.N.S.W., Vol 1, Pt 2, pp 249-50)

I have the honour to acquaint you the King has been pleased to order that a corps shall be forthwith raised under your command for H.M.’s service abroad, with the particular view of being stationed in the settlement of New South Wales. The corps is to consist of four companies, and each company of 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 ensign, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, with 67 private men. It is to be under your command as major, with the command of a company, and to have 1 adjutant, 1 qr-mr, 1 chaplain, 1 surgeon, and 1 surgeon's mate.

The pay of officers is to commence from the dates of their commissions, which will date from the Beating Order, but are not to be issued until the corps shall have been reviewed and established, and the pay of the non-commissioned officers and private men from the dates of their respective attestations. It is to be clearly understood that none of the officers who shall obtain appointments in your corps are to expect leave to dispose of their present commissions, but they will be considered as purchasers in the new corps.

 In case the corps shall be reduced after it has been once established the officers will be entitled to half-pay. Yourself and the three captains now to be appointed by H.M. will each be required to raise a complete company (viz., 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers and 67 private men), in aid of the expenses of which you will be allowed to name the lieutenant and ensign of your respective companies, and to receive from the public three guineas for every recruit approved at the headquarters of the corps by a general or field officer appointed for that purpose. The lieutenants are to be selected from the rank of ensigns; the ensigns not to be under sixteen years of age; no recruit to be enlisted under five feet four inches and a half in height, nor under sixteen nor above thirty years of age. The names of the captains shall be communicated to you with as little delay as possible. In the meantime, I am to acquaint you that H.M. is pleased to leave to you the nomination of the adjutant and quar.-mar., as also of the chaplain, who must positively engage to embark with the corps, and to remain with it while abroad, and of whose character I shall expect to be furnished with proper certificates before I propose his appointment to his Majesty.

 Mr Adair, Surgeon-general to the Army, will be directed to look out for proper persons for the appointment of surgeon and surgeon’s mate. I am to add that being required that the corps shall be instantly raised and approved, after being reviewed by the 1st of October next, every exertion on your part and of that of the officers of your corps will be necessary that H.M.’s expectations on this head may not be disappointed.

  “The Marines go into Business. 1792”

(Grose to Phillip, 4 October 1792, H.R.A. I, 1, p. 381)

 The situation of the soldiers under my command, who at this time have scarcely shoes to their feet, and who have no other comforts than the reduced and unwholesome rations served out from the stores, has induced me to assemble the captains of my corps for the purpose of consulting what could be done for their relief and accommodation. Amongst us we have raised a sufficient sum to take up the Britannia, and as all money matters are already settled with the master, who is also an owner, I have now to request you will interest yourself in our favour, that you will, by representing the necessities of my soldiers, protect this ship from interruption as much as you can, and that you will assist us to escape the miseries of that precarious existence we have hitherto been so constantly exposed to.

From the Colonial Secretary's Papers, NSW State Archives:

“James Coomer, landholder of Evan maketh oath and deposeth that in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty, he presented a memorial to His Excellency Governor Macquarie for a Grant of Land, which he accordingly granted deponent, and desired him to attend at the Surveyor’s Office and he would observe his name their on the list of those to whom he had given land. That in pursuance of which dept following week sent his father Joseph Griffiths to the Surveyor Generals office, when he there obtained a ‘check’ in the name of deponent for a Grant of fifty acres of land, which ‘check’ dept has lost. That this deponent as repeatedly called at the said office for the purpose of obtaining an order to have the said grant measured and has been informed that in a reference to the Surveyor General’s Books his name (James Coomer) does not appear – but that the name of John Coomer appears to stand opposite a grant of fifty acres still unclaimed which deponent verily believes was intended for him, but that an error has been made in transcribing his name.

                        Joseph Griffiths, Landholder of Evan, maketh oath and deposeth that in the year one thousand  eight hundred and twenty the week after his son-in-law James Coomer presented a Memorial to His Excellency Governor Macquarie for a grant of land, he went to the Surveyor General’s office and obtained a certificate in the name of James Coomer for a grant of fifty acres of land which deponent gave to him.”

Martha Davis - This is probably the Martha Davis who also used the names Martha Daniel/ Mary Davis/ Martha David.  Martha was tried in 1801 at Carmarthen (Wales) and sentenced to life. She received an absolute Pardon on 25/5/1810. 1828 census - Martha Davis G50 Free by servitude, Experiment 1804, Protestant, ref G1340.

 The “Experiment” set sail from Spithead on 6th December 1803 and was damaged by a storm near the ‘Lizzard’. The damage was regarded by the captain to be sufficient to require repairs before the vessel continued on its journey and she put in at Cowes to be refitted. Departed Cowes on 2nd January 1804 arrived in Sydney on the 25th June, 1804.

  Privates in NSW around this time earned 18 p.a. (each regiment had a paymaster on location).

Pay on active duty was given at monthly Musters when men usually received 1.1.11 subsistence – this was halved when men were on transports between posts. Because of an acute shortage of currency prior to 1806, payments to troops were usually in the form of goods instead of cash. So those soldiers involved in escorting convicts from ships had more access to goods arriving from overseas. This was still a time of limited access to food and clothes – soldier’s great coats had to last 7 years. Officers did quite well accumulating assets and had access to convict labour to work on their land grants. Obviously, this is what Joseph Griffiths decided to do – taking monies owed him in the form on an 80 acre land grant and having convicts assigned to work it.

  To His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie Captain General and Commander in Chief in and over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales and its dependencies ..........

 This humble petition of Joseph Griffiths settler of Evan humbly sheweth

 That your Excellency’s petitioner came to this colony per ship Cornwallis in the year 1800 as soldier in the 102nd regiment and that he was discharged in the year 1803 and re..... as his pension a farm at that time, since which time he has received no indulgence but has a wife and family and lives by the produce ... of farm in said district.

 Petitioner humbly and earnestly hopes that your Excellency in your usual goodness will grant him a farm for which as in duly ......... pension ....... farm ......... 19th May 1821. signed Joseph Griffiths


  The Burial Register of Horsham Church

The Burial Register of Horsham Church records a terrible toll of the soldiers' children. Mrs Robinson lists 26 children identified as almost certainly belonging to the 102nd Regiment as well as 22 possibilities. Fourteen men from the 102nd Regiment were buried between 17 December 1810 and 3 July 1811.


Military records of the New South Wales , 102nd & 100th Regiments ,Pay rolls, Pay Musters, Cemetery Records, Church Records & General Muster Records.
Military records  ,Pay rolls, Pay Musters, Cemetery Records, Church Records & General Muster Records, Mitchell Library ,Sydney Australia
The information is intended for short Historical value only,
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