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Cameron, Charles (1779–1827)

by W. F. Ellis

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Charles Cameron (1779-1827), soldier, was born on 26 July 1779 at Driminasalie, Kilmallie, Inverness-shire, Scotland, the son of Donald and Catherine Cameron. After serving with the volunteers, he was commissioned an ensign in the 92nd Regiment on 18 February 1799 and promoted lieutenant in June. With this regiment, he served in Sir John Moore's brigade in Holland and was wounded at the battle of Egmont-op-zee on 2 October 1799. He entered the 3rd Regiment by exchange on 12 April 1800 and was promoted captain in 1804. In the Peninsular war between 1808 and 1814 he fought on the Douro, at Talavera, Busaco, Albuera, Vittoria, in the Pyrenees and in southern France. He was wounded five times. He was promoted major in 1813 and lieutenant-colonel in 1819.

In November 1821 he sailed from Deptford for Hobart Town in the Phoenix with 3 officers and 50 soldiers as escort to 182 convicts. This party regrouped with others from their regiment in Sydney to relieve the garrison in Australia. Cameron was appointed commandant of Port Dalrymple on 14 December 1822, sailed from Sydney with his troops on 19 January 1823 and landed in Van Diemen's Land on 1 February. During his term as commandant, Cameron was involved in the turbulent exchanges regarding the location of George Town as the administrative and military headquarters for northern Tasmania and the role of the garrison in the government of the colony. Finally, Cameron was ordered to remove his station to Launceston in 1824. In addition to assisting in reforming the public service, Cameron engaged fully in the life of the young colony. He was appointed a justice of the peace on 5 March 1823 and became an active supporter of a new Presbyterian Church. He was a widely respected officer and indicated his intention to retire in Tasmania at the end of his military service. He was relieved as commandant on 6 April 1825 and returned to Sydney with his troops later that mouth.

Cameron was married at Guernsey on 6 March 1807 to Mary, daughter of Ewen MacDonnell. They had at least two sons: Donald Meeut who became a major in his father's regiment, and Charles Duncan who had a distinguished career in the British consular service. After his wife's death Cameron married Luduvina Rosa Da Silva, a nobleman's daughter, in Portugal in 1812. After his death Luduvina married Captain John Finnis in Sydney in 1832. Of her seven children by Cameron, the eldest daughter, Charlotte (1813-1885) married William Dutton at Sydney in 1831, Julian married Dr George Bennett of Sydney and Luduvina (1824-1851) married (Sir) George Kingston in 1841. The eldest surviving son, Ewen Wallace (1816-1876), was a partner of Thomas Mort, and a founder of the Union Club and Prince Alfred Hospital; in August 1859 he received the grant of Merton, 2000 acres (809 ha) on the Hunter River at Muswellbrook, for which his father had applied before he left Australia.

On 30 January 1827 Cameron sailed for Madras, and on 14 May 1827 he died from cholera at Chinsurah, near Calcutta. He is commemorated in Tasmania by a major street in Launceston and is noted in the records of his regiment as a remarkably gallant and devoted officer.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 12, 13, series 3, vol 4
  • C. R. B. Knight, Historical Records of the Buffs … 1704-1914, vols 1-2 (Lond, 1935)
  • WO 31/84, 95, 96
  • Registrar-General records (Edinburgh, and Guernsey).

Citation details

W. F. Ellis, 'Cameron, Charles (1779–1827)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cameron-charles-1869/text2183, published in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 30 July 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

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