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Joshua John Moore (1790–1864)

by L. F. Fitzhardinge

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Joshua John Moore (1790-1864), by unknown artist

Joshua John Moore (1790-1864), by unknown artist

State Library of New South Wales, GPO 1 - 17605

Joshua John Moore (1790-1864), grazier, was born at Horningsea, Cambridgeshire, England, the son of John Moore, a gentleman farmer. On 31 March 1813 he was commissioned an ensign in the Royal South Lincoln Militia. Promoted lieutenant in August, he transferred in September 1813 to the 14th Regiment. Next year he was placed on half-pay, and accompanied his brother-in-law, John Wylde, newly appointed deputy judge advocate, to Sydney in the Elizabeth, arriving in October 1816. He was appointed clerk to the judge-advocate and registrar of the Governor's Court at a salary of £80. When the Supreme Court was established in 1824 he acted for a time as prothonotary, but when this post was abolished the following year he retired from official life to attend to his pastoral interests.

In 1819 he was granted by Macquarie 500 acres (202 ha) at Cabramatta near Liverpool which he called Horningsea, and here he lived until after the death of his first wife in 1839. In August 1821 he occupied land at Baw Baw, near Goulburn, where he was granted 600 acres (243 ha) in 1825 on leaving the public service, and where he lived during the later part of his life. On 21 October 1824 he took out a ticket-of-occupation for 2000 acres (809 ha) on what is now the site of Canberra, and on 16 December 1826 he applied to purchase 1000 acres (405 ha) already occupied by him 'situate at Canberry, on the E. bank of the river which waters Limestone Plains, above its junction with the Murrumbeeja, adjoining the grant of Mr Robert Campbell snr'. He had already built huts and stockyards on the ridge where the Canberra Community Hospital now stands and enclosed thirty acres (12 ha) for cultivation.

Moore had married first on 29 March 1825 at Liverpool Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of David Hollands of Bermondsey, Surrey, shipowner and shipwright. She died aged 53 on 27 September 1839, survived by one son, Frederick Thomas, and was buried at Liverpool. In 1841 at Goulburn Moore married Ann Augusta, daughter of Lieutenant John James Peters, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. He died at Baw Baw on 27 July 1864.

Moore was the first pastoralist to occupy land on the present site of Canberra, preceding Robert Campbell by about a year. It was, however, only an outstation formed by an overseer and a few convict stockmen. Moore himself never lived on the property, and took no part in the development of the district. In 1843 during the depression he sold it to Lieutenant Arthur Jeffreys, R.N., a son-in-law of Robert Campbell, who gave it the name Acton. Moore's property took in the present sites of the hospital, of Civic Centre and of the Australian National University.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 10, 11
  • F. W. Robinson, Canberra's First Hundred Years (Syd, 1927)
  • F. Watson, A Brief History of Canberra (Canberra, 1927)
  • L. F. Fitzhardinge, St John's Church and Canberra (Canberra, 1959)
  • manuscript catalogue under Joshua John Moore (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

L. F. Fitzhardinge, 'Moore, Joshua John (1790–1864)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 24 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (Melbourne University Press), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Joshua John Moore (1790-1864), by unknown artist

Joshua John Moore (1790-1864), by unknown artist

State Library of New South Wales, GPO 1 - 17605

Life Summary [details]


Horningsea, Cambridgeshire, England


27 July, 1864 (aged ~ 74)
Baw Baw, New South Wales, Australia

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