D'Arcy Wentworth

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This article is about the settler. For the biologist, see D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson.

D'Arcy Wentworth (14 February 1762 – 1827) was born in Portadown, County Armagh, Ireland and emigrated to Australia as an assistant surgeon to then-new colony of Sydney.

Emigration to Australia[edit]

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says that Wentworth was from an English aristocratic family that fell on hard times, and when he was acquitted of three charges of Highway Robbery he only narrowly escaped conviction of a fourth by declaring that he was moving to Botany Bay to serve as assistant surgeon to the colony. He arrived in June 1790 on the Second Fleet convict ship Neptune and not only served in this role, but was made Superintendent of Convicts on Norfolk Island, in Parramatta and Sydney.

Settlement[edit]

Wentworth had several children by several local women; he acknowledged William Charles Wentworth as his eldest son. According to Ritchie (page 23), D'Arcy did not board the Neptune until mid-December 1789 when he met for the first time Catherin Crowley who was already on board. Catherine gave birth to William on 13 August 1790, barely eight months later (Ritchie page 52). Ritchie on page 53 noted that the baby was at least five weeks premature and had to struggle for his life. D'Arcy, who had assisted at the birth, appeared to have no doubt that the baby was his.

Wentworth was granted 3.73 km² of land in what is now known as north Homebush, part of the Strathfield municipality. Historian Michael Jones says that "Wentworth is popularly credited with having called the area after his 'home in the bush', although Homebush is also a place in Kent." Here he was put in charge of the police force and in 1810 became the commissioner of a road toll from Sydney to Parramatta.

Around 1808, Wentworth played a significant role in the rebellion against and overthrow of William Bligh, then governor of the colony. The participants in the rebellion claimed that Bligh had suspended Wentworth from his role as assistant surgeon on the staff, without reason or justice.

In 1810 D'Arcy with two other was given by Governor Lachlan Macquarie a licence to import large quantities of rum on condition that they built a hospital to cater for up to two hundred patients. The original Sydney Hospital was in the Rocks, but the one covered by the contract was in Macquarie Street. What was the original Sydney Hospital in Macquarie Street became in 1854 the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint.

D'Arcy was one of the original shareholders and directors of the Bank of New South Wales formed at the end of 1816. It is now part of what became Westpac Banking Corporation.

D'Arcy built his home in the relatively secluded settlement he had been apportioned. By the time of his death Wentworth had accumulated 543.2 km² of land and had built a large family home. He died in 1827 and his funeral procession, which started at Homebush and ended at Parramatta, was attended by 150 mourners.

The Sydney suburb of Wentworthville is named after him.

References[edit]

  • Jones, Michael (1985). Oasis in the West: Strathfield's first hundred years. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin Australia. ISBN 0-86861-407-6.
  • Ritchie, John (1997). The Wentworths: Father and Son. The Miegunyah Press at Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84751-X. the Son is a reference to William Charles.

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