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Richard Rouse

1774 – 1852

Richard Rouse (1774-1852), grazier and landowner, came to New South Wales in 1801 as a free settler with his wife Elizabeth (née Adams, 1772-1849) and the first two of their nine children. Within two months of his arrival, Rouse had taken up a land grant on the Hawkesbury River near Richmond. In 1805 he was appointed Superintendent of Public Works and moved to Parramatta, remaining there until his loyalty to the deposed William Bligh saw him removed from this position. He was reinstated by Bligh's successor Lachlan Macquarie and oversaw the construction of many public buildings including the Parramatta Hospital and renovations to Government House. His loyalty to Macquarie was rewarded with another land grant of 450 acres near Windsor. This property, Rouse Hill, became the cornerstone of the family's farming operations which were extended in the 1820s by a grant of 4000 acres (later named Guntawang) on the Cudgegong River, near Gulgong. By 1828, in addition to these estates, Rouse owned land in the districts around Bathurst, Mudgee, Wellington, Lithgow, and the Hunter Valley, as well as properties in Richmond and Penrith. With the assistance of his sons, Rouse ran these properties from the family home at Rouse Hill, also breeding sheep, cattle and thoroughbred horses. He was described as 'an old and much respected colonist' on his death at the age of seventy-nine, 'a devoted family man, loyal member of the Church of England, a hard-working and honest public servant, and a very efficient grazier.

Updated 2018