Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Charles Baldwin (1829–1906)

by Dorothy Durrant

This article was published:

Charles Baldwin (1829-1906), pastoralist, was born on 12 October 1829, at Wilberforce, New South Wales, son of Edwin Baldwin (1805-1868), farmer and grazier, and his wife Alice, née Clarke. His grandfather, Henry Baldwin, was of Welsh descent and had arrived at Sydney in the Admiral Barrington in October 1791; he settled on the Hawkesbury River at Wilberforce and by diligent farming, husbandry of livestock and purchase of farms at Kurrajong and on the Hunter River built up an estate worth more than £5000 which he left to his family when he died on 6 June 1843. His son, Otto, was amongst the first to take stock across the Liverpool Range, where as a squatter he was dispossessed when Warrah was granted to the Australian Agricultural Co. in 1833. With his brother Harvest, Otto then squatted near Manilla, where his run, Diniwarindi, covered 30,720 acres (12,432 ha) in 1848. In 1885 the station's name was changed to Durham Court.

Charles went to Diniwarindi as a young man to help his uncle Otto, who soon moved to Singleton and left Charles to manage the run. His most outstanding characteristic was his love of high-class stock. He bought high quality Australian cattle, imported many pedigree bulls from England to improve his herds and won high repute for the Durham Court Shorthorn stud. He also imported blood horses and established a stud; it became his special interest and he was founder and patron of the Manilla Race Club. Horses bred at Durham Court won such prominent races as the St Leger, Epsom, and Sydney Cup. Havoc was one of his most successful sires. Baldwin was prepared to pay high prices to acquire fine horses; for example, the stallion Machine Gun, bought for nearly 1000 guineas just before Baldwin's death, was sold in 1908 for 1500 guineas. His thoroughbreds and Shorthorn cattle had a marked effect on the standard of Australian stock.

Baldwin had a retiring disposition and a keen sense of humour; he was severe in his criticisms but shrewd in his perception of human nature. He was also generous in supporting worthy causes. He made donations to various churches; in 1892 he subscribed £50 towards the building of the first Church of England in Manilla and gave £500 to Tamworth Hospital for the establishment of an operating theatre in 1901. He was a justice of the peace.

At Richmond on 10 June 1856 Baldwin had married Mary Ann, daughter of John Crowley; they had three sons and six daughters. His wife had a terrifying experience when the Diniwarindi homestead was swept away by flood in 1864; the family narrowly escaped with their lives but her health was affected and she died aged 35 on 1 February 1872. On 13 April 1875 at West Maitland Charles married Mary Ann, daughter of Isaac Gorrick; they had three sons and two daughters. A large new homestead was built in 1876 on the northern side of the Namoi River. There Baldwin died on 25 November 1906 and was buried in the Church of England cemetery at Manilla. Durham Court was auctioned in 1908 and parts of it were bought by members of the family. The homestead section became the residence of a grandson, Otto.

Select Bibliography

  • A. R. Macleod, The Transformation of Manellae (Manilla, NSW, 1949)
  • J. F. Campbell, ‘The First Decade of the Australian Agricultural Company, 1824 to 1834’, Journal and Proceedings (Royal Australian Historical Society), vol 9, part 3, 1923, pp 113-60
  • J. F. Campbell, ‘"Squatting" on Crown Lands in New South Wales’, Journal and Proceedings (Royal Australian Historical Society), vol 15, part 2, 1929, pp 93-120 and vol 17, part 1, 1931, pp 43-86
  • Manilla Express, 28 Nov 1906
  • Sydney Mail, 24 Feb 1909
  • family papers (privately held)
  • private information.

Citation details

Dorothy Durrant, 'Baldwin, Charles (1829–1906)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 17 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (Melbourne University Press), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


12 October, 1829
Wilberforce, New South Wales, Australia


25 November, 1906 (aged 77)
Namoi River district, New South Wales, Australia

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