Maughan, John


early Wellington Valley settler


Career Highlights

John Maughan had been involved in the East Indies trade when he arrived in NSW in 1828 with over £9000. While operating as a merchant in George St, Sydney, Maughan went to Wellington Valley with his friend, William Odell Raymond, and purchased a 778 acre block upriver from Raymond's property `Apsley', on the Macquarie River. Maughan and Raymond were the first semi-resident gentleman landowners to personally orchestrate their local interests in the Valley. They resided on the settlement for three years with the consent of the missionaries, clearly outstaying their welcome. These arrangements were scrutinised during an Executive Council inquiry into the Wellington mission in 1839 (see below), and explained in Reverend Watson's "Reply to the Charges preferred against him by the Reverend James Gunther" (CMS CN/O93).

In 1838, Maughan was among the Wellington land and stock owners who signed a petition for a local township, and he gave evidence at the subsequent Executive Council enquiry in April 1839. In November 1842 he chaired the first public meeting in the town of Montefiores (Wellington) at the new Lion of Waterloo Hotel, which resolved to petition the Secretary of State regarding the importation of Indian labour. In the same year, on the recommendation of Commissioner Allman, he was appointed to the Wellington Bench in order to help curb the sly grog trade below Wellington Valley. He was one of the first people to purchase town allotments in the new village of Wellington in 1845.

In 1841, Maughan purchased the license for Dundullimal station near Dubbo, which, under the 1847 regulations, was estimated at 27 077 acres with a capacity of 3000 sheep. He also held the lisence for "Bickanbeenie" station, and "Rocky Station" on the north bank of the Macquarie River (County Bligh). Dundullimal homestead, which underwent significant rennovations in the late 1840s, was presented to the National Trust in 1986 and restored under its Bicentenary program, described as "the most sophisticated slab homestead known in Australia" [C. Lucas, quoted in P. Dargin, `Aphra Maughan']

In 1852, Maughan married Aphrasia Kemmis (nee Raymond), sister of William O'Dell Raymond and widow of the merchant Arthur Kemmis (founder of the Port Phillip Steam Navigation Co. who died in Melbourne in 1842). They resided at Dundullimal from 1852, until it was sold in 1858, when the Maughans returned to Darling Point. Aphrasia died in 1863.