Samuel Terry

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Samuel Terry (c. 1776 – 22 February 1838) was transported to Australia as a criminal, where he became a wealthy landowner, merchant and philanthropist. His extreme wealth made him by far the richest man in the colony and compared with the wealth of the richer in England. Terry’s estate at his death was valued at £200,000.

The year and circumstances of his birth are unknown. While working as a labourer in Manchester, England, on 22 January 1800 he was sentenced to transportation to the colony of Australia for the crime of stealing 400 pairs of stockings. He was taken to Sydney, Australia, where he served as a stone cutter. After working several jobs, he earned a farm in 1808. In 1810 he became an innkeeper in Sydney and married a widow with three children, who was herself an innkeeper. He continued to prosper, becoming a trader and became a supplier of food to the government.

By 1820 he possessed significant amounts of property and was a large shareholder in the Bank of New South Wales. There is some controversy about the means he used to acquire his wealth, and he became accused of extortion by his enemies. It was alleged that he brought land owners to his inn, who would become intoxicated and sign away their property in payment of debts. By 1821 he also brought 28 actions to the Supreme Court.

In the 1820s he was wealthy and a public figure. He was also a philanthropist, contributing to local societies and schools. He also worked for the emancipists and, in 1826, became president of the Masonic Lodge.

The Samuel Terry Public School, Cranebrook is named in his honor.

Notes[edit]

  • "A.L.F"The history of Samuel Terry in Botany Bay : who died lately, leaving a ... fortune of nearly one million Sterling. With an appendix on emigration and transportation to the Australian colonies London : J. Pattie, 1838.
  • William D. Rubinstein in association with BRW. The all-time Australian 200 rich listCrows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2004.