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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Cory, Edward Gostwyck (1797–1873)

by Elizabeth Guilford

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

Edward Gostwyck Cory (1797-1873), pastoralist, was born in Devonshire, England, the eldest son of John Cory, and his wife Mary, née Gostwick, and grandson of Sir William Gostwick of Willington near Bedford. Cory married Francis, née Johnson, and in 1823 sailed in the Allies with her and his father, arriving in New South Wales as free settlers on 12 September. He and his father soon received land grants at Paterson, some of the first in the lower Hunter River district, and named them Gostwyck and Cory Vale. After some five years they bought land on the Pages River near Blandford, and established Beckham station. By then most of the better grazing land of the lower Hunter had been alienated and Cory looked beyond the limits of the Nineteen Counties for additional land. About 1830, in partnership with W. H. Warland and William, a brother of Henry Dangar, he squatted on some 1300 acres (526 ha) on the Peel River.

In 1832 the projected land exchange of the Australian Agricultural Co. on the Peel River threatened to displace many of the earlier squatting occupancies in the area, including that of Cory, Dangar and Warland. In an attempt to find substitute pastures, Cory and a small party set out to explore the area north of the company's Peel River grant. On this excursion, Cory discovered a track across the Moonbi Ranges, by way of a route later followed by the Great Northern Road. Further north, the party camped on an upper tributary of Carlyle's Gully, and named it Cory's Camp Creek in his honour. Cory found no suitable grazing country until he reached the tablelands of the Salisbury Waters. This area proved excellent for sheep, and Cory soon occupied large tracts of it, establishing stations at Gostwyck, Terrible Vale, and Salisbury Plains. Cory sold Gostwyck to William Dangar in 1834, and the other stations to Robert Ramsay Mackenzie in 1837. Although his connexion with this area was short, his explorations of the tablelands north of Tamworth, and his discovery of a route across the Moonbis contributed to the early settlement of the New England district.

From 1837 Cory concentrated on breeding sheep and rearing bloodstock on the Gostwyck estate at Paterson. In 1831 he had a water-mill on his property, and three years later a steam flour-mill, one of the first in the northern district of New South Wales. In 1833 he survived a savage attack from an assigned servant who was later executed. Later, for defamation of character, Cory successfully sued the editor of the Colonist, who was fined £75. Soon after the sale of his New England stations, Cory went to England for five years. On his return he was appointed warden of the Paterson district. Known as the 'King of Paterson', he was keenly interested in all local movements and activities, and did much to stimulate local development. He died at his estate on 7 March 1873.

Throughout his life he supported the more conservative elements in society. After William Charles Wentworth had impeached Governor (Sir) Ralph Darling, Cory was one of a select number of landlords and resident proprietors of the Hunter district who in 1829 presented an address to Darling in support of his administration. Although deeply interested in politics, Cory did not enter the legislature, probably because he knew his conservatism was at variance with the views of most of his contemporaries.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol 15
  • Back to Uralla Souvenir (Uralla, 1925)
  • G. Nesta Griffiths, Some Northern Homes of N.S.W. (Syd, 1954)
  • J. F. Campbell, ‘Discovery and Early Pastoral Settlement of New England’, Journal and Proceedings (Royal Australian Historical Society), vol 8, part 5, 1922, pp 225-88
  • E. S. Lauchland, ‘Homes We Visited: Gostwyck House’, Journal and Proceedings (Newcastle and Hunter District Historical Society), vol 1, part 5, Apr 1947, pp 71-76
  • Sydney Gazette, 18 Sept 1823
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Aug 1831
  • Maitland Mercury, 8 Mar 1873
  • Voice of the North, 8 Aug 1932.

Citation details

Elizabeth Guilford, 'Cory, Edward Gostwyck (1797–1873)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 23 October 2020.

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

View the front pages for Volume 1

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