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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Murray, Hugh (1789–1845)

by H. M. Murray

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

Hugh Murray (1789-1845), grazier and merchant, was born on 20 May 1789 in Edinburgh, the son of Hugh Murray, beer, wine and spirits merchant, and his wife Anne, née Young. In Edinburgh he married Jean, daughter of Andrew Carmichael, also a writer to the signet, and his wife Lillias, née Cross; they had eight children: Hugh, Andrew, Lillias, Anne, Margaret, Jane, Agnes and Elizabeth. Murray was one of a party which chartered the brig Urania, sailed from Leith in June 1822, and arrived in Hobart Town on 14 January 1823. He was accompanied by his wife and five children and a smith, ploughman and female servant. He brought capital of £2184 in goods and cash, and was granted 1760 acres (712 ha) which he selected on the Macquarie River near Campbell Town and named St Leonard's.

His brother David, accompanied by his wife and two children, arrived in Hobart in the Portland on 10 September 1824, bringing with him a carpenter, cooper, farm overseer, and capital of £1456, and he was granted 800 acres (324 ha) near Campbell Town, which he selected between grants owned by J. P. Briggs and William Millikin. By some error this overlapped Briggs's grant and David Murray spent much time and energy endeavouring to settle the matter. He gave up his land to live in Launceston as licensee of the York Wine Vaults and died in 1837.

Hugh Murray applied for an additional grant in 1830, having improved his property by a dwelling house, outbuildings, two miles (3.2 km) of four-railed fence and the cultivation of 100 acres (40 ha). He had 1800 sheep and 25 cattle. He also expected to receive from £80 to £100 a year from the estate of his mother-in-law, who had recently died in Scotland. The police magistrate at Campbell Town reported that Murray was 'generally understood to have little surplus capital, being of rather expensive habits'. Nevertheless Murray was granted an additional 800 acres (324 ha). He sold his property in 1831 to C. Baskerville Viveash, and it was renamed, or perhaps incorporated in a larger property, Baskerville. Murray moved to Hobart and established himself as a wine and spirit merchant, first in Liverpool Street and later in Collins Street. He also held the rights of a large sheep station at Port Phillip, where his eldest son Hugh, aged 23, had taken up land by Lake Colac in 1837 and was the first settler there. His brother Andrew joined him later in the year.

Hugh Murray was active in the Presbyterian Church. He helped to establish the first church, still standing, at Kirklands near Campbell Town, joined the petitioners for government aid for a minister for St Andrew's Church in Hobart, and helped to raise funds for the erection of Scots Church, Melbourne. He was one of the first trustees of the Hobart Savings Bank. He died at his home in Colville Street, Hobart, on 21 December 1845 and was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery. This was recently converted to a park, most of the headstones being set in the surrounding wall. Murray's headstone, however, was left in its original position, as were those of the first minister of the church and a few other dignitaries.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Heyer, The Presbyterian Pioneers of Van Diemen's Land (Launceston, 1935)
  • Hobart Town Gazette, 18 Jan 1823, 10 Sept 1824
  • Hobart Town Courier, 2 May 1829, 20 May 1836
  • Colonial Times (Hobart), 15 May 1840.

Citation details

H. M. Murray, 'Murray, Hugh (1789–1845)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 30 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

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