Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Richard Siddins (1770–1846)

by Vivienne Parsons

This article was published:

Richard Siddins (1770?-1846), master mariner, pilot and lighthouse keeper, first came to New South Wales in the crew of the whaler Alexander in May 1804. For many years he took part in trading voyages to Calcutta and the islands of the South Seas. He was in Port Jackson in 1806 in the King George, in 1808 in the Mercury, in 1809 as master of the Mercury and in 1810 as master of the Endeavour. In 1811 he became master of the Campbell Macquarie; on 10 June 1812 she ran aground at Macquarie Island and went to pieces, but Siddins and his crew were saved and he was given a passage home in the Perseverance. In 1813 he again called at Sydney as master of the Elizabeth and Mary on his way to the sealing islands, and in June 1814 arrived as master of the new Campbell Macquarie on his way to the Society Islands and Fiji in quest of a cargo of sandalwood. From 1814 to 1818 Siddins was master of the Campbell Macquarie, calling at Sydney with general merchandise from Calcutta, then leaving for the whale fishery and sandalwood of the South Seas and the islands, and calling again on his way home to Calcutta to take on spars and coal. Dr Joseph Arnold described him as having been long in the sandalwood trade and well acquainted with the Fiji Islands, even understanding their language.

In Sydney in 1816 Siddins married Jane, daughter of Edward Powell and Elizabeth Fish, of the half-way house on the Parramatta Road. He had previously fathered a son by Catherine Keenan and a daughter by Eleanor Cooper, both of Sydney. Siddins continued his trading voyages, becoming master and part owner of the Lynx in 1818 until 1823, when it was sold. He then settled in the colony, becoming one of the Port Jackson pilots. In August 1824 he was granted 600 acres (243 ha) on the Williams River and in September 1834 3½ acres (1.4 ha) at Watson's Bay. In 1832 he was compelled by ill health to exchange his situation as pilot with the superintendent of the South Head lighthouse. He died on 2 July 1846, aged 76. His wife died on 9 February 1883 and was buried at Richmond cemetery; they had two sons and nine daughters. A son, Joseph Richard (1823-1891), became a pilot at South Head.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol 7
  • J. S. Cumpston, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Sydney, 1788-1825 (Canberra, 1963)
  • Sydney Gazette, 31 Oct 1812
  • Australian, 13 Apr 1832
  • manuscript catalogue under Siddins (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Vivienne Parsons, 'Siddins, Richard (1770–1846)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 25 May 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

Life Summary [details]


Louth, Ireland


2 July, 1846 (aged ~ 76)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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