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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Ingle, John (1781–1872)

by K. A. Green

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

John Ingle (1781?-1872), merchant and shipowner, sailed with David Collins's expedition to Port Phillip and went with it to Van Diemen's Land in 1804. On the voyage he was appointed an inspector of public mechanics and artificers. In October 1805 he resigned, became a private settler and was granted land which he located near Bagdad. He acquired allotments in Hobart Town and other land by purchase and grant at Sorell and Green Ponds. Ingle soon became a leading merchant, making several voyages to England and acquiring merchandise through relations in London. Friendship with Edward Lord was a major cause of Ingle's prosperity. He benefited handsomely by outfitting the extravaganza of David Collins's funeral procession, and in 1813 stated in a petition that his livestock, buildings and merchandise were worth more than £23,000.

Ingle left Van Diemen's Land for the last time in January 1818 in his own ship, the Spring, although he often expressed his desire to return to the colony. When he left he sold much of his land to Lord and his still considerable financial affairs in the colony were managed by agents. Ingle's opinions of the agricultural prospects in Van Diemen's Land were highly regarded by the meeting which decided to found the Van Diemen's Land Co. but he appeared to have no direct connexion with the company after its formation. In England, Ingle was able to increase his fortune by investments and trading ventures and was appointed a magistrate. When he died, aged 91, on 21 June 1872 at Sandford Orleigh, Newton Abbot, Devon, his English estate was sworn at under £35,000 and his Tasmanian estate was valued at £2081.

On 1 July 1804 at Hobart he married Rebecca, sister of James Hobbs; after his return to England, he married Sophia Browell Currey. He had at least seven children in Van Diemen's Land by his first wife and at least two by his second.

Ingle was probably the most successful of the early merchants in Van Diemen's Land. Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1815 considered him a 'low, Vulgar Man who has Accumulated a Considerable Property by Carrying on Trade at the Derwent', an opinion shared by many of Ingle's contemporaries. He is remembered in the name Ingle Hall given to a warehouse he was reputed to have built on property he owned. Its exact date is not known but it is believed to be the oldest building still standing in Hobart.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 7-9, series 3, vols 1-3
  • correspondence file under Ingle (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

K. A. Green, 'Ingle, John (1781–1872)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 21 October 2020.

This article has been amended since its original publication. View Original

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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