A quote from "A Place of Pioneers" by Philip Geeves states;
"The most notable early resident of Kissing Pt was
unquestionably James Squire. His enterprise and his product attracted to
Kissing Pt men of every station. They came to Squire's jetty on the
Parramatta River not merely to bandy words, but to sample his brown ale.
He put his faith in Englishmen's thirsts and prospered accordingly.
Sailors of many nations who were vague about the locations of Ninevah or
Babylon, could find their way to Squire's in a thick fog."
The entry goes on to wax lyrical about this man apparently
without peer! His tombstone epitaph reads;
"He arrived in this Colony in the First Fleet and by
Integrity and Industry
acquired and maintained an unsullied Reputation.
Under his Care the HOP PLANT was first Cultivated in this Settlement, and
the first BREWERY was Erected, which progressively matured to Perfection.
As a Father, a Husband, a Friend, and a Christian He lived Respected and
Not a bad blurb for a bloke who was convicted of Highway
Robbery, and was transported on the Charlotte. In 1789 he was
charged with theft of medicines from the hospital stores and a pound of
pepper belonging to Surgeon White. For this he received a sentence of 350
lashes. He was assigned to as servant to Lt Ralph Clark after this
incident, until Clark left for Norfolk Island. He fathered a son by Mary
Spencer who was sent to Norfolk Island while pregnant. James Squire’s son
Francis was born on the island and is mentioned in Squire’s will.
Just as an aside while on Francis Spencer, James Donohoe in
his book Norfolk Island 1788 – 1813-The People
and their Families writes …“Every
Anzac Day someone writes into newspapers claiming certain persons to be
the first or the youngest enlistment in the armed forces to serve their
nation. Possibly the real honour goes to Francis Spencer. In 1792 aged 2
yrs, he was enlisted into the NSW Corps as a drummer boy. In line with
practices he was rotated with personnel of the Corps’ Headquarters at
Chatham in Kent then transferred to the 11th Regt of Foot (the
Devonshires). His unit served in action against Napoleon’s Army in Europe.
At age 17, he returned to NSW and was pensioned out. He then operated a
bakery for his father, James Squire, in Kent St next door to the family of
fellow Norfolk Islanders, Mr and Mrs Nathaniel Lucas whose son, William
married Francis’ half-sister, Sarah.”
So, back to James Squire –
while still a government servant he brewed small quantities of beer which
he sold for 4 pence per quart. In July 1795 while holding a conditional
pardon he was given a 30 acre plot at Eastern Farms. The early Governor’s
were concerned about the trade in hard liquor, which was becoming the
principal currency of the colony. The brewing of beer was encouraged
officially in the hope that it might slake the Gargantuan thirsts of the
colonists, and for this matter Governor King endeavoured to import hop
plants from England.
By 1798 James Squire was licensee of the Malting Shovel
public house at Kissing Point, strategically placed to wet the whistles of
passage boatmen shuffling between Sydney and Parramatta. By 1802 he was
experimenting with hop cultivation and by 1804 he was advertising for “any
amount of barley from ten to a thousand bushels”. He picked his first crop
in January 1805. This interested Governor King to the extent that he “directed
a cow to be given to Mrs Squire from the Government Herd”.
By 1811 Squire had 5 acres under hops and produced 1 ¼
tons. Dogged enterprise and the rich soils of Kissing Pt made Squires a
wealthy man, acquiring land to the extent that in 1817 he was able to
offer 1000 acres for sale by private contract, together with his dwelling,
brewing house and cellar on the Point. In 1820 he gave evidence before
Commissioner Bigge as follows. “I have been in
the Colony from its earliest establishment and for 30 yrs I have been a
brewer. I have brewed beer from English Malt ... Indian Corn … and
Colonial Barley. I find the Colonial hops very good, but I think that they
grow better at the Derwent than they do here…”
James Squire died in 1822 one of the wealthiest men in the
colony. He was buried in Devonshire St Cemetery on the site of the
current Central Station, but was later moved to Botany Cemetery and
interred beneath a headstone too faded to identify.
During his life he demonstrated a warm sympathy for
Australia’s aborigines, a trait lacking in many of his contemporaries.
Bennelong who in his heyday had been presented to the court of George the
Third, was buried on Squire’s property at Kissing Point along with his
wife. The same plot contained the grave of Surgeon White’s adopted
aboriginal son Andrew Sneap Hammond Douglass White.
A press notice of 1828 mentioned “the
garden of the late proprietor of the Colonial Brewery is celebrated for
containing the remains of Bennelong, the native chief who accompanied
Governor Phillip to England. He lies between his wife and another chief,
amid the orange trees of the garden. Bidgee Bidgee the present
representative of the Kissing Point tribe is a frequent visitor at these
premises and expresses a wish, after his death, to be buried by the side
of his friend Bennelong.”
In May 2016 a
memorial plaque to James Squire Convict "Charlotte" was installed
in the First Fleet Memorial Park in the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park
Glenda Miskelly, December 2009
#7643, Descendant <email@example.com>