Friday, 7 August 2015

Moving House – The Story of May’s Farmhouse

The May family connection with the Hawkesbury commenced in March 1800 when Laurence May was granted 30 acres of land near Wilberforce, having arrived in the colony as a convict per Queen in September 1791[1].  May was a successful and prosperous farmer and was able to increase his holdings in the district by purchasing additional Hawkesbury portions including land at Pitt Town Bottoms[2].

In March 1803 he acquired Wright’s Farm[3], portion 27 Parish of Pitt Town, County of Cumberland originally granted to Joseph Wright, one of the first twenty two Hawkesbury settlers in 1794.  In 1808 May was in the process of building his home when a terrible calamity swept through the Hawkesbury which was reported in some detail in the Sydney Gazette[4].

`On Friday evening a dreadful hurricane set in at Hawkesbury, which raged for about 20 minutes with uncommon fury, and was productive of consequences which it is feared will have a serious tendency.  The growing wheat upon the banks, which wore a rich and promising appearance, was for many miles lain flat, by the irresistible violence of the wind; and it was apprehended, that very little of the forward crop could be saved, owing to the stems being broken short. An unfinished house, the property of Mr. Lawrence May, at Bardo Narrang, was blown down, and some of the materials scattered to a considerable distance; several buildings at and about the Green Hills suffered much, and among others, the old prison which was used as a place of temporary confinement, was totally thrown down…’

Extract from Hawkesbury Historical Society Newsletter: October 2010

[1] Index to Convicts 1788-1812, Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney.
[2] RLP May Family, Hawkesbury City Library Local Studies Collection
[3] Old Register of Assignments and Other Legal Instruments, p 54, Register 1.
[4] The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, Sunday 6 November 1808, p 2.

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