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Peter Archer Mulgrave (1778–1847)

by L. L. Robson

This article was published:

Peter Archer Mulgrave (1778?-1847), public servant, was superintendent of telegraphs in the Channel Islands in 1809-15 and had been wounded in action with a French privateer in 1810. In 1815 he resigned on a pension, but sought a position in the colonies. In 1820 he attended the Central School in London for instruction in the 'national' system of education which, founded by Dr Bell, was then much in vogue and, in the opinion of Lord Bathurst, was 'best adapted not only for securing to the rising generation … the Advantages of all necessary Instruction, but also in bringing them up in Habits of Industry and Regularity, and for implanting in their Minds the Principles of the Established Church'. In November Mulgrave was appointed superintendent of schools in Van Diemen's Land, soon after a complementary appointment had been made to Rev. Thomas Reddall in New South Wales. Mulgrave arrived at Hobart Town in June 1821, and in December reported to Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell on the state of education in Van Diemen's Land, which he thought had been laid well enough to sustain the superstructure of the Bell system. In 1822 it was announced that a government school would open at the eastern end of Liverpool Street, Hobart, next to Mulgrave's premises; later that year he was made a magistrate, coroner and superintendent of police at Port Dalrymple; he also acted as superintendent of schools at Launceston, dividing the duties over the colony with Rev. William Bedford in a similar post at Hobart. In 1824 Mulgrave was appointed superintendent of police at Launceston. Next year he resigned as superintendent of schools and exchanged his land grant at Brighton Plains for one in Launceston. He earned high praise from Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur for his work and in 1829 was appointed chief police magistrate. In December 1831 he returned to the north as chairman of Quarter Sessions and commissioner of the Court of Requests at Launceston, and held these positions until 1844.

Mulgrave had been the northern treasurer of the body formed to donate a present of plate to Sorell when he left the colony, and he joined with many others in urging the British authorities to separate the governments of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. He was one of the original directors of the Derwent Bank and was a director of the Cornwall Bank. He died in Launceston on 8 March 1847 'literally worn out in the Public Service'.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol 10, series 3, vols 4-5
  • Hobart Town Gazette, 20 Apr 1822
  • Sydney Gazette, 28 Mar 1828
  • Australian, 16 Apr 1828, 30 Sept 1829, 30 Aug 1830, 13 Jan 1832
  • Examiner (Launceston), 8, 10 Mar 1847
  • CSO 1/110/2724, 1/348/7956, 1/885/18777, 5/174/4143
  • GO 33/47/690, 33/50/236 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

L. L. Robson, 'Mulgrave, Peter Archer (1778–1847)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 18 April 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

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