Archive for the ‘History’ Category

James Hartwell Williams

Saturday, 16 September, 2017

I was taking a walk from home today and passed through St Thomas Rest Park, an old cemetery, now used for exercising dogs by local residents, as it’s no longer actively used for new burials. I’ve been through here dozens of times but I’ve never taken a good look at the graves and inscriptions.

I did today and was surprised to find this one, which marked the grave of one James Hartwell Williams. The remains of his headstone, in rather bad repair, have been placed on a newer memorial, which lists his significance – he was the first United States Consul to Australia, appointed in 1836. (Well technically it would have been to the colony of New South Wales, as Australia didn’t exist as a nation yet.)

James Hartwell Williams

He didn’t arrive in Australia until 1839, where he served as Consul until resigning in 1858, except for a 6-month period in 1853-54 when he was removed by the American Whig government, before being reinstated by the newly elected Democrat government.

He did not return to the US, but instead sought naturalisation as a British subject of New South Wales. He died in 1881 in St Leonards, and was buried in the cemetery that later became St Thomas Rest Park, in the adjacent Sydney suburb of Crows Nest.