Next to the busy commercial centre of Eastlands, Rosny, Tasmania is a building belonging to the past.  Situated amongst the golf grounds, the Historic Barn is possibly the oldest building on the eastern shore to Hobart and certainly one of the oldest buildings in Tasmania.  It dates back to c1813 and was built for an early settler at Kangaroo Bay, Richard Morgan.


Richard arrived with his family on 7th October 1806. He was a First Fleeter and Norfolk Islander. Richard was sent as a convict to Sydney and then to Norfolk Island.  He married Elizabeth Lock in Sydney, but it was a short-lived union as he took up with Catherine Clark on his 50 acre farm on Norfolk. Catherine became his common-in-law wife and together with seven children arrived on the King George to Van Diemen’s Land after being removed from the South Pacific Island.  In 1815 he was a constable at Kangaroo Point, a post that he was dismissed from in July 1817. In that year he was also Commissioner for wheat. Nonetheless, the Morgan family prospered even though there were problems with bushrangers and the natives. His 130 acres at Kangaroo Point was not large enough to run the number of cattle which he needed to supply the Government store with meat, so Morgan also had land at Buckland where the Rev Knopwood recorded (November 1815) “the natives had killed and destroyed 930 of his sheep and had piled them up together and burnt them.”


Richard Morgan has often been – what I would consider unfairly maligned pertaining to his character.  He was arrested for running an unlicensed slaughter house, but he was exonerated.  There were rumours that he was involved in sheep rustling, which certainly one of his sons, William was, but he was not the worst and probably better than many characters of the time.


Richard died 26th Sept 1837 and wife Catherine July 27th 1828.  I am not sure where their burial places are, but they are listed in “Burials in the Parish of Clarence Plains and Kangaroo Point.”  The Morgan family tombstone in the Rokeby cemetery is to the memory of the various children of the couple, including Richard Morgan junior who built the Bellerive Hotel in 1858.


The barn and property was sold to Algernon Sidney Montague in 1831. The barn would have been used for multiple purposes other than just storing things.  It could have been a place of worship and where Morgan’s servants slept.

The barn is well worth a visit being located in a peaceful environment; a rural plot now surrounded by intense modern development with its commercialism and the accompanying hectic pace and noise.



Profiles of Norfolk Islanders to Van Diemen’s Land. HMS Porpoise 1807-8, Volume 2. Part 2.  Pages 4 & 5.

“Stock Thieves and Golfers” – Peter MacFie. (Clarence City Council 2002)

The Eastern Shore” – a history of Clarence. Alison Alexander. (Clarence City Council 2003) –This material cites the incorrect story that Richard Morgan was flogged after felling a tree and killing the occupants of a house.

Family History work which includes The Morgan and Graves family by Cecil (Bruzz) Quinnell.  10 Hudson Street, Seven Hills NSW 2147).  Excellent source for details on Morgan’s children

Tasmania! – a Saga of a Pioneering Family” – by Reg. A. Watson.  Living history of the Morgan-Wade-Wentworth (Watson) families.  This was launched on the 200th anniversary of the coming of the Morgans to Tasmania.  Launched 6th October 2006.

Mystery, History and Intrigue…” by John Sargent. 2006

Sydney Cove 1788: by John Cobley. (P.113 mentions Morgan’s marriage to Lock.)

The Forgotton Generation” – by Reg Wright. (Library of Australian History, 1986)

“Island to Island” –Published (2007) by the Hobart Town (1804) First Settlers’ Association.  Supplement, Vol 6. By Reg. A. Watson

Norfolk Island – its first settlement”. By Raymond Nobbs.  Briefly mentioned on page 198. He writes: “Morgan’s Run was in the west towards Headstone Point” This statement is repeated in Jack McCubben’s work, “Norfolk Island and its first settlement 1788-1814” on page 117.

From Norfolk Island to Van Diemen’s Land” by Reg. A. Watson. Australian Heritage magazine, Autumn 2008

Pioneers of Van Diemen’s Land” by Reg. A. Watson.  Mentions Richard Morgan and his father-in-law John Wade of Sorell.

Richard Morgan mentioned in an article on John Wade published in the Hobart Town (1804) First Settlers’ Association “History of Sorell” Part 1. Released 27th March 2009, 200th anniversary of the Pitt Water district. By Reg. A. Watson.

Walk around Historic Bellerive” by Eve Gibson (2010). Richard Morgan in mentioned in this book, but what I would consider unfairly, puts him in a very bad light.

The Founders of Australia” by Mollie Gillen. Library of Australian History Sydney. 1989.

“Loath to be Tasmanians”. By Reg. A. Watson. The Mercury Newspaper. .Sept 29th 2007, page 12.

“Bequest from the Past”. By Reg. A. Watson. The Mercury. Sept 23, 2006.

“Spirit of Clarence” City of Clarence 1989. Richard Morgan, both senior and junior is mentioned quite a few times in the book.

“Richard Morgan” by Reg. A. Watson. Lindisfarne Historical Society Newsletter. July 2011

“Baptised in Blood” by Robert Cox 2010. Brief mention on page 329


by Reg. A. Watson.




Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters