Kelly Street and Kelly’s Farm

Featured Image: Plan for ‘Invermein’ (Scone) in 1836 by Mortimer Lewis clearly showing Kelly’s Farm

Acknowledgment Scone & Upper Hunter Historical Society

Kelly Street, the main street of Scone, was originally known as the Great North Road. It was named after Richard Kelly, a sea captain with a government (Governor’s) commission to transport convicts to Port Macquarie. His first ship ‘Black Jack’ was shipwrecked at the bar and he was given another ship, ‘The Isabella,’ in compensation. This second ship was hi-jacked by mutineer convicts and disappeared forever with its occupants from the face of the earth. In 1826 Governor Darling recompensed Kelly with a grant of 1920 acres of land. Kelly’s Farm ran east from Kingdon Ponds to the Segenhoe boundary and the track through his land eventually became the main street. We can assume the Wonnarua people were not consulted with the concept of ‘Terra nullius’ prevailing official policy? Richard Kelly was the first ‘colonial owner’ and held his land for just a few years before selling out to William Dumaresq, the first owner of the Saint Aubin’s property.

Governor Darling had married Elizabeth Dumaresq on 13 October 1817. Elizabeth may have been born in Macau although other reports say Staffordshire, England. Governor Ralph Darling was the 7th Governor of New South Wales in office from 19 December 1925 – 21 October 1831. He had earned a somewhat dubious reputation and was regarded as a ‘tyrant’ who tortured prisoners and banned theatrical entertainment. His departure for England was greeted by public rejoicing. Governor Darling extended the boundaries of the colony. Significantly from 1826 he initiated the construction of the convict-built Great North Road linking the Hawkesbury settlements around Sydney with those in the Hunter Valley including the St Heliers and St Aubins estates of his in-law relatives Henry and William Dumaresq. Captain Richard Kelly’s grant in 1826 was at a similar advantage.

Captain Richard Kelly was born in Parramatta on 30 March 1800 and died in Parramatta on 31 October 1878. He was buried in Waverley Cemetery on 1 November 1878. Both his parents were Irish convict immigrants. His father James Kelly was born in Dublin in 1775 and died at Morpeth NSW on 28 February 1833. James Kelly had been convicted of theft on 8 June 1791 at the Old Bailey and was transported arriving on the ‘Royal Admire’ on 7 October 1792. His mother Mary Langan (or Langon) was born in Dublin in 1774 and died in NSW on 15 November 1834 at the age of 60. Mary arrived as a convict from Cork on 27 May 1797 on the ‘Britannia’ with 45 other female convicts. Her trial was held in the City of Dublin in January 1796 and she was given a 7 year sentence. It was a hard journey and many of the convicts died as a result of the severe punishment inflicted on them. Mary Langan was put into a camp on the corner of George and Church Streets, Parramatta. James and Mary Kelly were married in 1800 producing three children: Richard b. 30 March 1800, Margaret b. 18 February 1802 and James b. 1804. Margaret died in infancy at Parramatta in 1805 and James died at Morpeth NSW on 30 November 1834 aged 30.

Beginning life as a ‘currency lad’ Richard Kelly had a successful career as a ship’s captain and lived to be 78. He clearly commanded some respect and was not without influence becoming the first ‘colonial’ owner of the 1920 acres around Scone per favour of the Governor Ralph Darling. The main street in Scone, originally part of Darling’s Great North Road still bears his name. When the new Scone Bypass is completed by about 2020 Kelly Street will no longer bear the through transport along the New England Highway (Great North Road) after almost 200 years?

Captain Kelly sold his portion of land to William Dumaresq who later ‘subdivided’ and on-sold an area of 230 acres to free settler Mathew Barber Miller. The house we now occupy ‘Geraldton’ was constructed by builder Miller on this land at the northern boundary of Kelly Street. He called it ‘Belmore House’ on Belmore Estate after Governor the Earl if Belmore who visited in 1871 to open the newly constructed railway line to Scone. The rail line bisected Miller’s Farm.