Saturday, 11 August 2012

Laurence Butler- Ch. 18: Property Investments

Laurence made several property investments in the period 1815- 1818. They are recorded in the Old Registers:


No. 32 Kent Street:
July 15th 1817
Agreement bearing date 27th day of June 1815 Between Thomas William Middleton of Sydney of the one part and Lawrence Butler of Sydney also Cabinet Maker of the other part reciting as therein is conditioned. It is witnessed that for the consideration therein the said Thomas William Middleton Did bargain and assign over to the said Lawrence Butler all that Dwelling House outhouses yards gardens ground and premises situate No 32 Kent Street then in the occupation of the said Thos Wm Middleton or his under-servants To Hold unto the said Laurence Butler his Heirs and assigns for ever which Agreement is witnessed by Wm Beard _ and was Registered at 10 Am of the 15th day of July 1817
Book A 1817  [1]

This Kent Street property, described as 'a dwelling house, outhouses, yards, gardens, ground and premises', remained in the Butler family until well into the 1830’s. Although no sale price is given in this document, a number of sales of the adjacent properties do give sale prices:
Old Registers-5/301/1206- 1814- No. 31 Kent St
Transfer dated 21 Feb 1814 of a house and plot of ground No 31 Kent Street made John Morrison & Andrew Rogers both of HM 73d reg. To Geo Ruff of Sydney In Consideration of ₤36 Stg to have and to hold etc.

Old Registers- 5/300/1202- 1814- No. 35 Kent St- James Dempsey
Memorandum of Agreement 28 Feb 1814
Between Noah Trump of HM 75th Reg of the one part and James Dempsey of Sydney of the other part….. consideration of the sum of ₤28 Stg paid by James Dempsey…. House and premises situate No 35 Kent Street.

Old Registers- 5/40/488- 1811- No. 34 Kent St
Sale from James O’Connor of HM 73rd reg unto Geo Ruff Sydney in consideration ₤22- house and premises situate No 34 Kent St formerly known by the name of Wm Davis Tenement

These sales indicate the value to be approximately ₤22 to ₤36.
Most of these properties, numbered 31 to 45 belonged to soldiers in the 73rd Regiment who arrived in January 1810 with their commander Lachlan Macquarie. The military barracks were situated close by and Erskine Street was the military road down to the foreshore where a military bathing area was designated and the Powder Magazine at Soldiers Point at Cockle Bay- it was named after Lt. Gov. Erskine C.B. Colonel commanding the 48th Regiment who left the colony in 1823. In early 1814, the 73rd Regiment shipped out to Ceylon, and the soldiers sold their properties prior to their departure in March 1814. George Ruff, who already owned No. 34 (bought in 1811), further purchased No.17 (₤15), No.31 (₤36), No.36 (₤20), No.38 (₤12), No.39 (₤40), No.40 (₤9), No.45 (₤20). 
At the same time, James Dempsey (Wexford rebel who also arrived on the 'Atlas 2', stone mason and devout Catholic) purchased No 35 (₤28) a 'house and premises, and other premises as therein described'; No. 53 (₤25) with Michael Ryan, 'a house a Premises with furniture';  and an un-numbered property in Kent Street from James Connor of the 73rd for ₤26, a house and allotment of ground. This may be the James O'Connor of the 73rd who had sold his property, No 34, to Geo Ruff in 1811. 

1836 Map of Parish of St Philips, Sydney, showing the military barracks and the military officers' bathing area at Soldiers Point at the end of Erskine Street
Section 57 bordering Kent Street, backs onto Cockle Bay

An advertisement in the Sydney Herald 27 June 1836 p1 (see advert below), by Samuel Lyons, selling property in Kent Street bounded on the north by Butler’s and on the south by Ruff’s Premises, on the east by Kent St and on the west by McGuigan’s, indicates that the property was still in Butler hands in 1836. This particular property was also described as 21 feet in front, and in depth 127 feet. Notably, George Ruff had owned several properties in Kent Street, including No. 31 and No. 34, which could indicate that the property for sale in 1836 was No. 33. (James Dempsey owned No. 35, and William Davis had previously owned No. 34.) However, George Ruff appears to not have been around at that time- maybe the description refers to 'original' owners of the properties.
The description also indicates that the property was on the western side of Kent street facing east which is Section 57 on the maps of the Parish.

As noted, one of James Dempsey's properties was No 35 Kent Street. Columbus Fitzpatrick wrote to the Goulburn Argus in July 1865:
Father O'Flynn left the Blessed Sacrament at the house of the late Mr James Dempsey of Kent Street near to Erskine Street, and next door to the then residence of Mr Thomas Day, the boat builder.
 (1828 Census, 1832 and 1834 Sydney Directory- Thomas Day b.c.1794-97, boat builder, Monument House, Kent Street- son of Thomas Day Snr arr. 2nd Fleet).

The following advert appears to confirm that Dempsey's property and therefore Butler's both backed onto Cockle Bay. It also confirms that Dempsey no longer owned it:

Sydney Gazette, 1 Sept 1831 p4

Sheilds Map 1844 showing Kent Street, particularly section between crossroads Erskine Street and Margaret Place

Sheilds Map 1844 further to the left of the map above
(Sydney City Council Historical Maps online)

Sheilds Map 1844- Section 57, 58, 54, 53
NB. few buildings shown in Section 57

Looking at a 1833(?) map of Section 57, one can see that Thomas Day owned two properties in this section, which makes it difficult to then pinpoint which property would have been Dempsey's and thereby Butler's. Notably both of Day's properties adjoin Cockle Bay at the rear with the one on the right more suitable for a boat builder.

                                                        NORTH ---------------->

City of Sydney Archives- Historical Atlas of Sydney- City Section Survey Plans 1833
Although this states the map is 1833, the Sydney Gazette 12 March 1839 p4 has the 'Description of Grants of Town Allotments with the names of persons to whom they were originally promised, or by whom they are now claimed ', which then describes each owner as noted in the above map and descriptions of the property.

Of the above property owners, the only residents who were in Kent Street in the 1828 Census were: Thomas Day (born in colony 1794) boatbuilder (at which of the three properties in Kent Street is not specified), and George Peat (BC) shipwright, and David Anderson mariner & sailmaker who came free in 1816. Notably in 1828, a William Ruff (no relation of George Ruff)who arrived in 1817 for a 14 year sentence was living in the household of David Anderson  in Kent Street; 
Thomas Bates a boatbuilder- notably his daughter married John Stewart a mariner and shoemaker in 1825 (see adjoining properties above). Bates, a convict in 1790, enlisted in 1800 and transferred to the 73rd Regiment in 1810 and transferred again to the 46th Regiment in 1814 when the 73rd left. He was discharged in 1817 and established himself as a boat builder. He received a lease of 13 1/2 rods of land in Back Row on the shores of Cockle Bay which became Sussex Street, the right of way down to the water's edge was known as Bates Lane. In the 1828 Census, Bates was living in Sussex Street near his daughter and son-in-law John Stewart (who was a grantee of the 20 perch block adjoining his father-in-law on 2 Dec 1836).
David Anderson was living in Kent Street by 1832, and John Kellick in 1836. Kellick, a cabinet maker living in Phillip Street who also owned the Cabinet Makers Arms pub in Phillip Street, and by the early 1830's was a ship owner carrying cedar from the Illawarra. In September 1836, he was advertising his Cedar Yard, address given as 1 Margaret Place Darling Harbour, and advertised his Phillip Street property To Let (which had remained in his hands in 1846),  and later, adverts for his Kellick's Wharf, including into the late 1840's.  In 1845 Kellick and Anderson made a complaint that the new kerbing in Margaret Place had encroached on their properties.

 Re the advert above "bounded on the north by Butler’s and on the south by Ruff’s Premises, on the east by Kent St and on the west by McGuigan", which related to a foreclosure on a property owned by Mary Morris, the wife of David Morris who were living in Kent Street in the 1828 Census. Although, to confuse things, David Morris, shopkeeper in the 1834 Directory, was situated in Upper Kent Street.
Notably, the McGuigan's and James Dempsey's son Cornelius Dempsey (who followed James from Wexford in 1817) were involved in a Chancery dispute over properties in George Street and 19 perches in Kent Street (which of Dempsey's Kent street properties is not specified). This dispute was after James Dempsey's death on 6 February 1838, leaving son Cornelius Dempsey as an executor. Notably James's Kent Street properties were not mentioned in his will.
As well, Mary Ann McGuigan, aged 11, was living with Cornelius Dempsey at Lower Minto in the 1828 Census, indicating a close relationship between the McGuigan's and the Dempseys.

Sydney Monitor Fri 10 March 1837 p2- No 5

The properties opposite were in Section 58 and included another of Thomas Day's properties, so it is possible that Dempsey and Butler's premises were here:

The following two maps show the sections to the left of Erskine street, Section 54:

and Section 53 opposite:

 Map of Sydney- Section index

Walter Butler's future father-in-law Thomas Dunn was granted a lease on an allotment in Erskine Street near the Cockle Bay end in 1813- No 2 of Section 56 (behind Section 57) which was originally 2 allotments shared between David Brown Jnr and Thomas Dunn, with David Brown Snr buying Dunn's allotment. This area began to develop to serve the industries located at Cockle Bay, with water craft delivering timber for carpentry and cabinetmaking; wheat for the flour mills and coal for the gasworks. The properties adjoining the water could use their own wharves, which also proved an excellent position for the business of boat building. It is thought that Laurence's son Walter was involved in the boat building trade at one time. It may also have been the reason why Laurence invested in a property in this area, for the convenient transport and offloading of his timber.

Millers Point in early 1840’s taken from the Flagstaff (now Observatory Hill), Upper Kent Street, with Cockle Bay now Darling Harbour behind.
 NB. Lord Nelson Hotel at the end of Kent Street 
(Lithograph from “Sydney Illustrated” by John Skinner Prout & John Rae, pub 1842. )

As stated in Laurence Butler's Will, his estate included the property No. 32 Kent Street described in the sale agreement as:
" a dwelling house, outhouses, yards, gardens, ground and premises."

The Kent Street property was subject to a case in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in December 1829, 'Bell vs Leary'.
George Bell rented the premises in Kent Street from Miles Leary (viz. the man who took charge of Butler's workshop after his death) for 15s./week and was behind two weeks rent- probably George Bell, labourer, wife Martha and 6 children named in the 1828 Census living in Kent Street.
The Australian newspaper reported that Bell stated he had notice from a 'Mr Butler' to pay Leary no rent (ie. Laurence's son Walter Butler). The Sydney Gazette reported that 'Young Butler' had demanded to be paid rent instead of paying it to Leary. Witness John Connell (the Butler's neighbour in Pitt St) stated that he was appointed executor jointly with Mr Davis (ie. William Davis- Wexford rebel and close friend of Butler's) following the death of Laurence's wife Ann Butler in 1824, and the house in question was demised to defendant (Leary) on condition of his effecting certain repairs, in consideration of which, he was to receive the rent until his expenses were reimbursed, but that he had never sent in his bill.
Conclusion of trial: Bell was ordered to pay the 30s. owing)
(refer to full details of this trial in chapter on Ann Roberts and Miles Leary)
Miles Leary died before June 1834 and his estate demised to William Davis and John Leary by the Court. They were named as beneficiaries in an unsigned Will by Leary, witnessed by Leary's solicitor who stated that Leary was too ill to sign the document. It is unknown what then became of the Kent Street property. In the 1832 Post Office Directory for Sydney, Lawrence Butler Junior is listed as living in Kent Street- whether at this property in unknown, but seems likely. The Sydney Directory of 1834 had George Bell living at 100 Pitt Street, so he was no longer occupying the Kent Street property. By 1834 both Lawrence Junior and Walter were the licensees for pubs in Pitt Street and George Street [2]

As the 100 acre farm at Petersham was sold in the year 1837, the Kent Street property was probably also sold at that time, as shortly after, Lawrence Jnr and Walter left Sydney for Melbourne.

The following adverts give an idea of the value of the Kent street properties  in the 1830's:

Sydney Gazette 21 Nov 1835 p3

Sydney Gazette 13 August 1831 p1- rental returns of property in Section 57 showing 15s per week viz. ₤39 p.a. 

Sydney Herald Thurs 24 December 1835 p3
Sale to Thomas Day- Margaret Place adjoined Kent Street on the northern side.
Thomas Jones was living in Kent Street in 1828, and arrived in 1818- was this the block adjacent to his other property facing Kent Street?

Full advert describing property of Margaret Morris next to 'Butlers, Ruff's, and McGuigans':
Sydney Herald  Mon 27 June 1836 p1

The exact year that the Butler siblings sold Kent Street is not yet known, but must have been sometime in the 1830's, before they all left New South Wales for Melbourne and Hobart. (Suggest checking microfilm 1829 Hallen Survey in NSW archives, which included Kent Street in his survey)


In the same month that Laurence purchased the Kent Street property, he also purchased a property in Elizabeth Street which he sold a year before he died. The Indenture does not state the exact location, but the map (below) may indicate the location. Today it would be approximately where Martin Place is located, or just south.

July 15th 1817
Indre (Indenture) of assignment bearing date the 19th day of June 1815 between Geo Lane and Mabea Ryan of the one part and Lawrence Butler of the other part, Both of Sydney This witnessed for the Consons? (Consideration?) therein mentioned the said George Lane and Mabea Ryan did bargain sell assign and absolutely convey assign and make over unto the said Lawrence Butler all those premises which the said George Lane and Mabea Ryan then held at and in Elizabeth Street adjoining Wm B___ on the one side and James Cox on the other To Hold (unto Lawrence Butler?) for ever, which said Indre is witnessed by __ Flaherty and James Butler and was Registered __ AM __ 15th day ___  [3]  (NB. Document torn, and parts difficult to read.)

Sheilds Map 1844 showing Elizabeth Street which appears to end in King Street which contradicts with the 1833 Survey maps below
(Sydney City Council Historical Maps online)

Map of Elizabeth Street- City Section Survey Plans 1833- Section 40 St James
(City of Sydney Archives- Historical Atlas of Sydney)

The Elizabeth Street property was resold in 1819. Elizabeth Street was an ‘upmarket’ street and the property was probably quite valuable:
October 2nd 1820
Indenture of Assignment bearing date 16th Day of December 1819  Between Laurence Butler of Sydney Cabinet Maker of the one part and Joseph Willmot of Sydney dealer of the other part Whereby it is witnessed that for the Considerations therein mentioned He the said Laurence Butler Did Grant, Bargain, Sell Assign and set over unto the said Joseph Willmot His Heirs and Assigns for ever All That Piece or Parcel of Land situate in Elizabeth Street Sydney and bounded on the North Side by Roberts Premises on the South side by Payne’s Premises on the West or front by Elizabeth Street by a line 65 feet from thence to the rear a line of 80 feet extending to the premises of George Lane and on the rear by those Premises. To Hold the same with the Appurtenances unto the said Joseph Willmot His Heirs and for ever which said Indenture is witnessed by James __ and James French and was registered at__ 10 o’clock in the forenoon of the 2nd day of October 1820
Received 9th January 1821
Book C 1820 No 245 [4]

According to Joseph Fowles in his description of the Elizabeth Street houses and occupiers:
On the opposite side of the street are several verandah cottages, built the style peculiar to the Colony, and which if it be not remarkable for architectural beauty, is at all events best suited for comfort and convenience in this climate. The wide verandahs afford a cool shelter from the intense {page 79} heat of the meridian sun, and give the cottages an air of shady retirement, which has its own peculiar elegance. One of these cottages is occupied as the business offices of George Allen, Esq., one of the most respectable Solicitors, and wealthy men of the City. He was admitted an Attorney of the Supreme Court in the year 1822, and his career has strikingly illustrated how high respect and honour can be achieved by persevering industry, and unswerving integrity. Mr. Allen was elected an Alderman of the City at the first Municipal Election, and became the third Mayor of the City. He was also nominated as a Member of the Legislative Council by Sir George Gipps, and re-appointed after the dissolution of the first Legislative Council. In. all these positions his conduct has been such as to command respect and approval, but a far higher claim will endear his name to the Citizens arising out of his sterling worth as a man, and the unbounded philanthropy which has marked his course through life.

George Lane who sold the property to Laurence, and who still owned a property behind the said property in 1820 when Butler sold his to Willmot, was living in Philip Street in the 1828 Census, a stone cutter who arrived in 1802, and died in 1835. 
George Allen, solicitor, who arrived with his mother in 1816, was admitted as a solicitor in 1822 and opened his practice in Elizabeth Street in 1825.


The following property transaction was a bill of sale which is a means of creating security, rather like a mortgage. It was probably given to stop Laurence suing Edward O’Hara for a debt to ensure repayment of a loan. The debtor, O’Hara, would promise to pay the debt back in a certain time. If not, Laurence could sell the property covered by the bill of sale. A second transaction covered O’Hara’s chandler’s business including tools of trade etc. O’Hara owed Laurence ₤113, which he was required to pay back before the end of 1818. He must have done so as this property in Princes Street did not remain in Laurence’s hands. However, there is no mention of a proviso in the second bill of sale, which may have meant that his business tools etc were kept or sold by Laurence.

July 15th 1817  (NB some parts very badly damaged and unreadable)
Deed Poll bearing date the 23rd day of May 1817  __   ___  therein is cont d This witnessed __  O’Hara of Princes St Sydney Chandler __ Therein mentioned Did grant, bargain assign __ unto Law Butler of Sydney Cabinet Maker All that House and premise mentioned being a certain House ___ situate and numbered Ten in Princes Street unto the said Lawrence Butler his Heirs for ever- subject to a proviso to make the on payment by the said Edward O’Hara to Lawrence Butler of the sum of ₤113 before the 23rd day of Dec 1818 which __  witnessed by Archibald B Wood and Nicholas (x his mark) Delaney- Registered at 10 of the Clock --- the 15th day of ___

July 15th 1817 (NB. Right hand side of document missing)
Deed Poll by way of Bill of Sale bearing __  the 23rd day of May 1817 to hereby Edward O’Hara Princes St Sydney in Conson?(consideration ?)  of the ___ Did bargain and Sell unto Lawrence Butler __ Pitt Street Syneyd____ all the goods and ___ utensils for chandling and implements of ____ and all other goods whatsoever mentioned __ there unto annexed  ____ of and being ___ and premises then occupied by him __  Ten in Princes St Sydney Also __ to Hold unto Law Butler his Exors Admors and Assigns __- which said Deed Poll is witnessed by Archibald Wood and Nicholas (x his mark) Delaney
Registered at 10 of the Clock AM of 15th day of July 1817
(NB. A Deed Poll is a deed signed by only one party.)

Princes Street in 1853 by John Hardwick, showing old original cottages


No. 7 (Left) and No. 6 (Right) Pitt Street

This property purchased under mortgage from Samuel Terry in 1816 was discussed in detail in  Chapter 10 (Butler’s Properties in Pitt St)
The fate of the Pitt Street Properties:
The No. 7 Pitt Street property, which was the original home and premises of Laurence Butler was situated at Angel Place, next to where Martin Place is situated now, the forecourt of the General Post Office building. As previously outlined in Chapter 10, each of the two buildings comprised two separate premises. A series  of advertisements in 1825 by another merchant, 'A. Pollack', in the 'Sydney Gazette, gave his address as No. 7 Pitt Street, (adverts beginning 5 May 1825, page 1), and continued in July, August, September, and October). On 25 October, Pollack announced he was moving his business to George Street and opened his larger establishment in Waterloo House in George Street on the 10th November 1825. There are no further advertisements for No, 7 Pitt Street. Pollack must have rented the second part of No. 7 Pitt Street which included the shop front and designated store, whereas Miles Leary probably continued leasing the workshop at the rear of the property and possibly the residence.
In 1825 Walter was still living at the Pitt Street address, according to his Memorials, which may have been in the adjacent building No 6 Pitt Street. However, by 1828, Walter was living in Castlereagh Street, and Miles Leary was still listed as living in Pitt Street with several carpenters. It therefore would appear that Leary was leasing the house and the workshop at the rear of the property. Leary was not listed in the 1832 Sydney Directory, however in the Sydney Directory of 1834, Miles Leary is listed as a carpenter in Pitt Street- this was the same year as his death, so it would appear that he was still occupying the premises, possibly renting from the new owner Samuel Terry as the premises were sold by the Butler children in October 1833.

In the Sydney Gazette,beginning 23 July 1835, advertisements appeared announcing that James Hamilton, Coach and Gig Maker had commenced business at No. 7 Pitt Street "in those extensive premises lately occupied by Mr Thompson, Carpenter".
Hamilton must have taken a lease from Samuel Terry who then owned the property.
In the 1834 Sydney Directory, a James Thompson, sawyer, was listed at Upper Castlereagh Street, and a William Thompson, sawyer, at Kent Street, but no Thompsons in the building trade were listed in Pitt Street, unless Thompson was an employee of Leary's at the time of Leary's death.

In 1834, Laurence's heirs sold the combined property in Pitt Street to John C. Macdougall (Butler's posthumous son-in-law), who quickly resold it to John Terry Hughes (Samuel Terry's son-in-law), who then sold it back to Samuel Terry, and so it reverted to the Terry estates.  [5]
Selling the Pitt Street property to Mary Ann Butler's fianced future husband was probably made because Laurence Butler's original purchase of No. 7 Pitt Street was never officially registered and by selling it to Macdougall and thereby registering ownership, the next transaction was made much easier as the future buyer would then only have had to complete the sale transaction with a single person named on the Deed. At that time, Mary Ann was still under the age of consent. 

© B. A. Butler

Contact email address:  butler1802  (NB. no spaces)

Link back to Introduction:

Links to all the chapters in this blog:

The 1798 rebellion
Laurence Butler's trial for his role in the Rebellion
Analysis of Butler's trial
Laurence Butler at the Battle of Tubberneering
Laurence Butler's imprisonment
Butler's life and family in Wexford
Laurence Butler's transportation to Sydney in 1802 on the Atlas 2
Conditions on Convict Ships
Life as a convict in Sydney
Laurence Butler's property investments in Pitt Street Sydney
Sydney Town in 1800-1810
Laurence Butler's petitions to the Governor
Laurence Butler's 100 acre land grant in District of Petersham
Butler's membership of the Commercial Society of Sydney
Laurence Butler's court cases
Laurence Butler's business interests in Sydney
Laurence Butler's cabinet making business
Laurence Butler's property investments in Sydney
Laurence Butler's colonial family
Laurence Butler's death in 1820
Laurence Butler's issue- Walter, Lawrence Junior and Mary Ann
The Catholic Community of Sydney up until 1820
Genealogy- Butler's possible ancestry and possible descendants in Ireland, and BDM records
Butler's fellow Irish rebels transported to Sydney
Conclusion about the life of Laurence Butler

[1] State Records NSW: Old Registers One to Nine, Book 6 page 307 No. 98, pub. Kingswood Sydney, 2008
[2] The Australian, 23 December 1829; The Sydney Gazette, 19 December 1829
[3] SRNSQ: Old Registers One to Nine, Book 6 page 314 no. 109
[4] SRNSW: Old Registers One to Nine, Book 8 page 168 No.245, op.cit
[5] Government Gazette 1839, p.589, Case No. 399 Rosetta Terry.