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Sandford George Bolden (c. 1819–1843)

by P. L. Brown

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BOLDEN BROTHERS: John Satterthwaite (1805-1892), Lemuel (flourished 1838-1874), Armyne (1817?-1843), and Sandford George (1819?-1843), cattle breeders, were the second, sixth, seventh, and eighth sons of Mary Satterthwaite (d.1844) and her husband, John Lennard (1776-1855), M.A., shorthorn expert, of Hyning, Lancashire, England, whom she married in 1801, a year after he took his maternal uncle's surname and estate. Their eldest son, William (1803-1895), inherited Hyning. The third, Samuel Edward, whose first name displaces Lemuel's from various Australian records, filled his father's shoes in the British shorthorn world. John Satterthwaite became a clergyman. But he and his three youngest brothers were also shorthorn enthusiasts. News from Port Phillip induced the latter to emigrate.

Lemuel recorded that he arrived in October 1838. Thomas Manifold stated that the Boldens occupied Pirron Yalloak in January 1839, and that from August to Christmas 1840 they took up all the country along the Hopkins that was afterwards held by a score of squatters, including his own Grassmere run. Edward Bell wrote that, as a raw overlander from Sydney in December 1839, he camped on the Murray with the Boldens, who had crossed hundreds of south-bound cattle that day.

Rev. J. S. Bolden, with his wife, four children, and two servants, reached Melbourne in the Dumfries from London on 14 December 1840, the day that the Vesper from Liverpool brought goods for 'L. & A. Bolden'. The Dumfries carried no cattle, and the Durham (shorthorn) bull, cow, and calf that arrived in the Orient from London the day before may not have been shipped by John Bolden; but Australia's 'greatest early bull—Mussulman (4525)' apparently was, and arrived about the same time, with other pedigreed beasts.

John Bolden settled at Heidelberg, and so became friends with T. A. Browne (Rolf Boldrewood), with whom in 1843 he visited Grassmere, where Lemuel and Armyne were living. There Browne saw stock unrivalled in the antipodes, grazing in paddocks unmatched in the Western District. Richard Howitt might harry, and others impound, prizewinners that followed the Yarra from John Bolden's Leighton or Campbellfield; Browne could only admire the perfection around him. Far in the wilderness he found a model stud farm, and cattle with Bates and Booth in harmonious blending.

Within a year all was dispersed. On 22 April 1843 S. G. Bolden died at Heidelberg, aged 24, apparently after falling from a horse. On 9 July 1843 Armyne, who had married Anna Raymond of Sydney in October 1841, and had a daughter, died in Melbourne of apoplexy. The economic pressure of the times, failure in an attempt to export salt beef, and disagreement between the remaining brothers caused the sacrifice of 'a priceless shorthorn tribe', with runs given in.

Lemuel stayed in the colony. He acquired the Strathfieldsaye station, Gippsland, in 1856, and held part of it until 1870. He married Henrietta Travers on 26 January 1860 at Kilmany Park; they had at least eight children.

John sold his library of 1500 books, his imported mahogany furniture and Broadwood piano, in April 1847, and returned to England, where his son Charles (1838-1934) succeeded him as rector of Preston Bissett, Buckinghamshire, and as a practical cattleman. Evidently he wished to keep part of the original runs and the pedigree stock, but 'Lemuel was not willing. He thought and said it would be only squatting in a small way'.

Those 'Young men of good Family and connexions' whom Gipps found among the squatters certainly included the Boldens, who were knowledgeable, plucky, and resourceful, although at times indiscreet and perhaps insensitive. The juniors quarrelled readily—with neighbours, with the crown lands commissioner, and with the blacks. But five out of nine awards went to the brothers' cattle at the second Melbourne Show, in 1842, and their influence on Australian shorthorn development was both profound and persistent.

Select Bibliography

  • R. Howitt, Impressions of Australia Felix (Lond, 1845), p 93
  • Facsimile of Address From the Old Colonists of Victoria to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (Melb, 1868), p 19
  • Garryowen (E. Finn), The Chronicles of Early Melbourne, vols 1-2 (Melb, 1888), p 349-50, 896
  • R. Boldrewood (T. A. Browne), Old Melbourne Memories(Lond, 1896), pp 124-6, 182, 184-5, 200, 204
  • T. F. Bride (ed), Letters from Victorian Pioneers (Melb, 1898)
  • R. V. Billis and A. S. Kenyon, Pastures New (Melb, 1930), p 132, 147
  • R. V. Billis and A. S. Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip (Melb, 1932)
  • M. H. Ellis, The Beef Shorthorn in Australia (Syd, 1932)
  • A. Hart, 'Notes from an Early Diary of Sir Redmond Barry, 1839-42', Victorian Historical Magazine, vol 13, no 3, June 1929, pp 133-46
  • Port Phillip Patriot, 17 Dec 1840, 25 Oct, 6 Dec 1841, 24 Nov 1842, 19 Apr 1847
  • Port Phillip Herald, 18 Dec 1840, 7, 25 Oct, 4 Nov 1842
  • Port Phillip Gazette, 26 Apr, 13 May 1843.

Citation details

P. L. Brown, 'Bolden, Sandford George (c. 1819–1843)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 12 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (Melbourne University Press), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


c. 1819


22 April, 1843 (aged ~ 24)
Heidelberg, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

horse riding accident

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