Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Richard William Fryett (?–1856)

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Richard William Fryett (d.1856), merchant and landowner, was said to have been a sea captain and merchant before November 1814 when he asked Bathurst's permission to join an uncle, John Ingle, in Van Diemen's Land. Fryett had a passage in the Northampton and said he would be taking from £1000 to £1200 to carry on agricultural pursuits. He arrived in Sydney in 1816 and was granted 200 acres (81 ha) at Drummond by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Fryett moved to Hobart Town where on 7 November 1818 he married Ann Southam (1803-1885), daughter of George William Evans. In 1819 he opened a store at his house in Bathurst Street and obtained an auctioneer's licence. He supplied meat and grain to the government, and served on the Lieutenant-Governor's Court and on an official inquiry into an alleged deficiency of spirits landed in the brig Alert. In 1820 he bought four of the merino rams imported from Sydney by Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell and next year received a grant of 500 acres (202 ha), which he located on the River Jordan and named Melville Grove. Here he became clerk and salesman to the Cross Marsh Market Committee. He was also active on his own account dealing in cattle and buying, selling and leasing land on the River Jordan, probably with some help from his father-in-law, who had considerable favours in his gift. Fryett resumed his auctioneering business in Hobart in 1828, leased his farms and later speculated in the Port Phillip District. In 1842 like many others he suffered in the depression, had to sell Melville Grove and became insolvent. After protracted negotiations with the government in 1843 he was offered only £10 in compensation for damage by gangs who cut a main road through Melville Grove. He died at Brighton near Hobart on 15 August 1856.

Two of Fryett's brothers had been encouraged by him to settle in Van Diemen's Land. Daniel Fryett junior applied for a land grant and the usual indulgences for settlers on 14 December 1819, and James Henry Fryett followed suit on 28 September 1822.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 8, 10, series 3, vols 2-3
  • correspondence file under Fryett (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • manuscript catalogue under Fryett (State Library of New South Wales)
  • Bonwick transcripts (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

'Fryett, Richard William (?–1856)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 15 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]


15 August, 1856
Brighton, Tasmania, Australia

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