Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Daniel Stanfield (1766–1826)

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Daniel Stanfield (d.1826), marine and settler, was reputed to have come from an English naval family. He arrived at Port Jackson with the First Fleet as a private in the marines. He was promoted corporal and on 15 October 1791 at St Philip's married Alice, widow of Thomas Harmsworth who had died at Sydney in 1788. In less than a month Stanfield was on duty at Norfolk Island. By 1794 he was discharged from the marines, sworn in as a constable, had begun to farm at Little Cascade and received two goats from Lieutenant-Governor Philip Gidley King, who described him as a deserving settler. In March Stanfield was robbed and with other islanders petitioned Lieutenant-Governor Francis Grose for restoration of the arms of which they had been deprived by government order. Stanfield also talked of enlisting in the New South Wales Corps, and in November he sailed in the Daedalus for Port Jackson. Next October he returned to Norfolk Island in the Supply with his wife, four children and the promise of a sixty-acre (24 ha) land grant. By 1804 he had five children, 30 sheep, and of his 120 acres (48 ha), 35 (14 ha) were under cultivation. When the evacuation of Norfolk Island was planned, Governor King suggested that Stanfield with his children should remain and encouraged him by offering additional land from expired leases on the island. However keen and determined, Stanfield did not find life easy; he sailed with his family in the City of Edinburgh and arrived at Hobart Town in October 1808. Next month he took up land at Green Point near Bridgewater and built a weatherboard house which he valued at more than £2000 and which stood for over a century. There Stanfield's industry and enthusiasm brought him better results than in Norfolk Island: by February 1825 he had been granted 1200 acres (486 ha) in widely separated areas, had purchased 890 (360 ha) more and claimed to have 1000 cattle, 800 sheep, 10 horses, a flour-mill and other capital. His only grievances were that Michael Howe had raided his stock-yard and other bushrangers had plundered his properties, though he was sometimes compensated for these deprivations by more land. In 1826 he was summoned to Hobart to give evidence against the receivers of goods stolen from him, but he died there suddenly on 4 February, leaving 'a very numerous and opulent family'.

His eldest son DANIEL STANFIELD was baptized on 25 April 1790 at St Philip's, Sydney. He inherited a full measure of his father's energy and acquisitiveness, and a great deal of property. But he was not entirely reliant on his father. By 1825 he could claim 450 cattle, 600 sheep, 7 horses and other capital. His land grants included 410 acres (166 ha) from Governor Lachlan Macquarie, 300 (121 ha) from Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane, and 300 (121 ha) from Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur, and he had bought 830 acres (336 ha) at Green Lagoon. His brothers also had land and stock and in 1827 the land commissioners reported that the Stanfields, 'a large Clan altogether, have had immense Herds of Wild Cattle roaming all over this quarter of the Island, finding themselves limited, they have driven off many hundreds to the Sea Coast'.

Stanfield improved his properties and became well known as a stock-breeder. In 1828 he was one of the first in Van Diemen's Land to export apples to Britain; one specimen was a foot in diameter, but the shipment did not carry well. Like his father he had trouble with bushrangers and by 1825 had been to Sydney twice to give evidence at the trials of some culprits. Again like his father he had a large family: in Hobart in January 1816 he married Maria Kimberley (d.1851), the daughter of a transported convict; according to one report, they had eight children by 1831. He died on 28 March 1856.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of New South Wales, vol 2
  • Historical Records of Australia series 1, vol 5, series 3, vols 2, 3
  • Philip Gidley King papers (State Library of New South Wales)
  • Colonial Times (Hobart), 3 July 1829
  • Tasmanian Mail, 17 Oct 1908
  • CSO 1/288/6887, 1/289/6899 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

'Stanfield, Daniel (1766–1826)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 20 July 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]


3 August, 1766
Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England


4 February, 1826 (aged 59)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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