Attested copy of Thomas Jamison’s last Will and Testament

Signed by Thomas Jamison.

Large folio, three leaves.

Probate granted 7 February 1811, attested copy made and signed 12 March 1811. One of few surviving First Fleet wills outside of official archives, this fine document also represents the foundation of one of Australia’s most important early properties and of a private fortune that was to have a significant effect on the colony.


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Description

Jamison was surgeon’s mate on Sirius in the First Fleet, later becoming the colony’s Surgeon General. He was deeply involved in the struggles between Macarthur, Johnston and Bligh, eventually joining the deposers of the Governor and acting in an official capacity in the rebel government. He appeared as a witness at Johnston’s court martial. By 1807 he held 2,300 acres in the colony, including his first grant of 1,000 acres on the Nepean, later known as Regentville, the site of one of the colony’s first grand rural properties. He left his property in New South Wales to his son, Sir John Jamison, who consolidated his father’s rural holdings and became one of the most important landowners in the colony; in 1829 he was described by Darling as “holding perhaps the largest Stake in the Colony”.

Sir John Jamison entertained lavishly both at his town house and at his country estate, and in the season of his affluence never lost an opportunity of extending hospitality to visitors to the colony, for whom he arranged outings, picnics and other diversions. He lived like a genial and prosperous English squire, earning by his unlimited bounty the appropriate title, “the hospitable knight of Regentville” (G.P. Walsh). In his will Jamison confirms his son, “Sir John Jamison Doctor in physic and one of the physicians to His Majesty’s Fleet” as his executor and heir to “all the residue of my Estate and Effects whatsoever and wheresoever”. This probated will would have been the copy made for Sir John Jamison and either brought out to Australia with him or sent before his arrival in 1814 to his lawyers in the colony.

Additional information
Date

1811

Author/Maker

Thomas Jamison

Material

Ink, Paper