Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kissing Point

On Saturday, 21 November 2009, celebtations will be held to mark the completion of the upgrade of works at Kissing Point Park and the adjacent Bennelong Park. These include a new pathway and boardwalk running through both parks.

Kissing Point was the original name of the area that we now know as Ryde. It is believed to have been given that name in the early days of the colony because the area of water around it was the furthest up the Parramatta River that heavily laden vessels could reach before their keels "kissed" the bottom.

On the way up the Parramatta River, the eastern shore flattens out around Kissing Point and so in the early days of the Colony lent itself to farming. The first land grants were made in 1792 to emanicipated convicts in the area which was named "Eastern Farms".

On of the these ex-convicts was James Squires, He was a First Fleeter who came to New South Wales on the Friendship in 1788.

On his emanicaption, he was granted 30 acres of land at Kissing Point on 22 July 1795. James was a very enterprising and community minded person and had many successful ventures in the early New South Wales Colony.

On his farm he grazed sheep, sowed wheat, maize and barley and was the first to successfully grow hops and commercially brew beer.

In 1798 he became the licensee of The Malting Shovel Tavern on the shores of the Parramatta River, a halfway house for travellers between Sydney Town and Parramatta by river.

At one time he had a bakery, suppled the Colony with meat, ran a credit union and was widely known for his fair play as a lender and philanthropist to his poorer neighbours. He was also a resident constable for the "Eastern Farms" district despite his convict background. Bennelong was buried on his farm in 1813.

History Services NSW has records for at least 15 convicts who worked for James Squires at Kissing Point, including those for Thomas Fox who was twice transported to New South Wales, viz:

  • married Bridget Fogarty in Tipperary in 1813 (she came to New South Wales as a free settler on the Bachelor in 1835);
  • first transported on the Guildford in 1816;

  • granted a Conditional Pardon on 31 January 1820;

  • employed by James Squires, Kissing Point 1822;

  • transported again on the Roslyn Castle, 1833;

  • assigned to David Ramsay , Dobroyd 1833 ;

  • granted Ticket of Leave, Parramatta 11 /2 /1841;

  • Conditional Pardon 31/7/1847.

    If you are researching a convict ancestor who was assigned to James Squires, you should go to our website at:

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