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Hamilton Hume

(19 June 1797-19 April 1873)

 


Born

10 June 1797 at Seven Hills near Parramatta, a settlement close to (and now a suburb of) Sydney.

He was the eldest son of Andrew Hamilton Hume and his wife Elizabeth, née Kennedy.

Early Life

Andrew Hume received the appointment of Commissary-General for New South Wales, and came out to this colony in 1797.

There were few opportunities for education in Australia during the first ten years of the nineteenth century, and Hamilton Hume received most of his education from his mother.

When only 17 years of age, Hume began exploring the country beyond Sydney with his younger brother John and an Aboriginal boy as far to the south-west as Berrima, and soon developed into a good bushman.

In 1817, Hume went on a journey with James Meehan, the deputy surveyor-general, and Charles Throsby during which Lake Bathurst and the Goulburn Plains were discovered. Subsequently in 1818, he went with John Oxley and Meehan to Jervis Bay.

the Shoalhaven

In 1822, he journeyed with Alexander Berry down the south coast of New South Wales.

He travelled as far south as the Clyde River, and inland nearly as far as Braidwood.

Berry came to settle in the Shoalhaven, and in June 1822 he left Hume and a party of convicts to cut a 209-yard canal between the Shoalhaven River and the Crookhaven River to allow passage of boats into the Shoalhaven.

This canal was Australia's first navigable canal, and the work was completed in 12 days.

The canal today forms the main water flow of the Shoalhaven River.

Married
Hume married Elizabeth Dight on 8 November 1825 at St Philip's Church in Sydney, who survived him but had no children.
Exploration

Hume was an excellent explorer, a first-rate bushman who was courageous and resourceful, whose work was not adequately appreciated or rewarded by the government of the time.

Hume had a good knowledge of some of the local aboriginal people, was always able to avoid conflicts with them, and appears to have learnt something of their speech.

He has an established and well-deserved reputation as a great Australian explorer.

In November 1828, Hume journeyed with Charles Sturt into western New South Wales, where they discovered the Darling River, the Murray River's longest tributary.

Hume was able to communicate with some aborigines they met early in their journey who consented to act as guides, and later, when the aborigines left them, Sturt speaks with appreciation of Hume's ability in tracking their animals which had strayed.

Being a drought year, it was a constant struggle to find water, and only good bushmanship saved the party.

Sturt would have liked Hume to go with him on his second expedition, which started at the end of 1829, but he had a harvest to get in and was unable to make arrangements.

Hume had finished his work as an explorer, and spent his remaining days as a successful pastoralist.

Died
Hume served as a magistrate in Yass until his death at his residence, Cooma Cottage in Yass on 19 April 1873.


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