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NEWMAN, (Major) Charles 1783 - 1865

Descendants of Major Charles Newman

Click on Diagram to Enlarge Major Charles Newman Descendant Chart

Charles NEWMAN was born in the village of Cranborne, County of Dorset, England on the 21 December 1783. He was the first son of Thomas and Mary NEWMAN whose home was near the hamlet of Monkton which lies three miles north of Cranborne. At the age of 17, in 1801 he was nominated as a cadet for the Bombay Establishment of the Honorable East India Company under the sponsorship of Paul Le MESURIER, the Headmaster of Hailebury College. This college was the training facility for the civil and military officers, who were employed by the company in its virtual monopoly of the East India trade and the Administration of India such as it was in those days. Charles NEWMAN was trained at the college for a further five years before entering the Madras Military Establishment in 1806.

He rose within the ranks during the next 30 years and attained the rank of Major in the Indian Army commanding the 51st Regiment Bengal Native Infantry. He married Catherine OTTO, the widow of Sergeant Josiah READER who had died of cholera at Fort St George during 1823. Catherine had one daughter named Maria Augusta READER who was born in 1822 at Madras, Tamil Nadu, India. She was also pregnant with a second child at the time of Josiah's death. In 1824 Isabella Reader was born at Madras. Tamil, Nadu.

Records prove that Charles NEWMAN and Catherine READER had a son born on the 8th February 1828 at Madras whom they named Thomas NEWMAN. The birth record which was sourced from the East India Register, states the child was his son and heir. The child died on the 20th June, 1829 aged 1 year, four months and twelve days. The infant Thomas NEWMAN was buried at St. John's Church, Tiruchirappalli, Trichy Cemetery Madras. Late in 1828 their second son Charles was born at Madras, Tamil Nadu. In 1833 a daughter was also born at Madras and was named Caroline.

Marriage records show that Charles NEWMAN and Catherine OTTO were married at Madras, Tamil Nadu, India on the 8th September 1834. As his sight had degraded, Charles NEWMAN retired from the Honorable East India Company army on the 10 September 1834 and with his family and two step daughters migrated to the penal colony of Van Diemans Land (VDL) Tasmania. The NEWMAN family arrived at Hobart on the ship Princess Victoria on the 10 November 1834. He expected to get a grant of land in VDL only to find out that free grants of land had been abolished. He procured a job supervising convict labour at a place called Pontville where there was a Garrison and Barracks. He travelled to Port Phillip Bay in about 1837. Hearing that land was selling quickly in the newly formed town of Melbourne he followed the Yarra River on the north side from Heidelberg. Fertile flats along the creek attracted his eye and he purchased a large area of land that totalled 640 acres what is now known as Newmans Road, Templestowe. He held a pastoral lease on 10,000 acres through Templestowe, Warrandyte and East Doncaster where he grazed sheep, cattle and bred horses.

A further two children were born to Charles and Catherine while in VDL, Louisa born near Brighton in 1836 and Thomas born in Hobart town on the 15th January 1839. In 1840 Major NEWMAN was the first permanent (European) settler who squatted on the land at the junction of Deep Creek, now Mullum Mullum, and the Yarra River. In 1843 he settled with all of his family at the homestead he built and named "Pontville". Within a few years Major NEWMAN built a second family home at Monckton. He eventually owned 640 acres freehold, and leased 10,000 acres throughout Warrandyte, Templestowe and East Doncaster. In 1852 he built a third house in Lennox Street, Hawthorn. Their final child was born in 1842 at Pontville and named Mary Anne. The NEWMAN family, at this time were the the furthest settlers east of Melbourne. Their descendants occupied the land until 1955, the only descendants to still carry on the NEWMAN name today are the WEBSTER Family. Maria Augusta Reader (NEWMAN) daughter of Catherine OTTO and step daughter of Major Charles NEWMAN married Thomas CUNNINGHAM an early descendant of the HORGAN - CARROLL and CLEAR Families.

Much has been documented about Major Charles NEWMAN over the years during the history of Templestowe. He had run ins with the local bushranger gang whom he pursued relentlessly. The bushrangers were said to be former convicts whom he harshly supervised in VDL. To get even they raided his farm and on one occassion led him away to the horse paddock with the intention of shooting him. His wife Catherine stepped in and demanded to go with them to the paddock. This saved his life, the bushrangers took his best horses then rode away. The second band of the bushranger gang raided his homestead shortly after this encounter and while they ransacked his home and stole priceless possessions they forced him to stick his head in a chimney while the robbery took place. Eventually the bushrangers were captured and hanged in Melbourne. Most of Major Newmans stolen property (military medals and artifacts) were later found hidden on a property not far away and returned to him.

Major Newman was also harsh on the local natives who constantly set fires in his paddocks and property. He insisted that his employees be armed and use their weapons against the natives. To get even for the harsh treatment a group of these local natives ascended onto his homestead armed with spears with the intent of killing him. Catherine hid him in the chimney and eventually the natives went away. On coming out of the chimney, the story goes, that he was singed and all black and covered with with soot. The Major also had problems with the law and order procedures and decisions made by the magistrates in the colony. On several occasions he questioned the decisions of magistrates when things did not go the way he expected. On at least one instance he was threatened with contempt of court by the presiding benchman.

Major NEWMAN grazed cattle and sheep with his two sons. He bred horses, welsh ponies and turned to breeding and racing thoroughbred horses in the surrounding districts . He had his own racetrack at the river flats by Homestead Road. He owned a racehorse called "Necromncer" that was the best blooded horse in the provence and valued at 700 guineas. The horse died suddenly in 1846. He regularly travelled back and forth between Tasmania (VDL) and the mainland to buy his cattle and sheep and once lost a valuable consignment of stock in a shipwreck. He appealed to the NSW Government for grants of land under the retired soldiers act but was denied as he had left his claim too late, he only had a certain amout of time to make application for land which had expired since his retirement from the army. Major NEWMAN employed native Indian servants for the running of his household needs. He would also attend incoming migrant ships to sign suitable employees for his farm, and would have police arrest those he considered did not meet their employment conditions. His daughter Caroline ran a small school house from her fathers property and students would row across the river from Eltham each day to attend school.

The NEWMAN family were not without their share of tragedies. The death certificates of Charles NEWMAN and Catherine OTTO (READER) confirms that their eldest child was born 1828 in India and named Thomas, followed by another son late 1828 who they named Charles. A third son was born in 1839 at HobartTown, VDL and also named Thomas. There was also a reference at the NEWMAN - Monckton Family Crypt to the death of a son named Thomas, who is now confirmed as their first born and buried at Trichy Cemetery, Madras in 1829.

Louisa NEWMAN died at Templestowe on the 19th December 1853 aged 17 years, Caroline NEWMAN died at Templestowe in 1857 aged 24.

Catherine OTTO (READER) died at Hawthorne, Victoria on the 8th February 1865, Major Charles NEWMAN died shortly after on the 12 September 1865, he was totally blind when he died. His death certificate gives the year of 1865 as the year of his death, on his headstone it is shown as 1866. Thomas NEWMAN died on the 6th June 1869 at Collingwood aged 30. He left a wife Susannah Victoria NEWMAN (nee WEBB) and and two daughters, his two sons born earlier had died in infancy and buried at the Monckton family cemetery. Charles NEWMAN (junior) died at Warrambyte in 1904. Mary Ann NEWMAN married Edward Richard CROSSWELL in Melbourne during 1865. The marriage produced ten children three of whom died at an early age. Mary Anne died on the 12th June 1903 at Prospect Grove, Northcote, Victoria. She was buried in Whittlesea (Yan Yeah) Cemetery.

Both the Major and his wife Catherine were buried in the family crypt at Monckton located at the end of Homestead Road. Burial on private land was discouraged by the government and was finally abandoned several years later. After the area was divided into orchard lots. The NEWMAN remains and their headstones were moved to the Templestowe Cemetery in 1910. Monckton was demolished in 1968. Local history has it that the grave diggers who were supposed to relocated Major NEWMAN's remains simply moved the headstones to Templestowe cemetery leaving the remains where they were originally buried at the entrance gates to Monckton homestead (now called Windrush). The will of Major Charles NEWMAN was very demanding and insisted that if his son Thomas married into the WEBB family he was to forfeit his share of the inheritance. In 1862 Thomas did marry Susannah WEBB and after the death of Charles in 1865 and Thomas in 1869, Mary Ann NEWMAN permitted her sister in-law Susannah NEWMAN and her two nieces to remain and share the NEWMAN estate

The two step daughters of Major Charles Newman, Maria Augusta READER married Thomas CUNNINGHAM at Green Ponds, Tasmania during 1839. Maria and Thomas settled at Templestowe and raised a large family. Maria died on the 4th July 1897 and is interned at Templestowe Cemetery. Isabella Reader married Joseph HAYNES at Melbourne in 1843. Isabella and Joseph also raised a large family and eventually moved to Sydney NSW where she died on the 9th November 1898 at Newtown NSW. She was buried a few days later at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney.

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Thumbnail 1 This map of India compares the Honourable East India Company's extent in 1837 and then in 1857. Major Charles Newman resigned his commission in 1835 and the map also shows his whereabouts in MADRAS at the time. The Sepoy Rebellion/Mutiny of 1857 included his former unit the 51st Regiment Bengal Native Infantry. The Regiment took part in the mutiny that cost the lives of so many English civilians and their army personnel. Fortunately Charles Newman and his family had well departed from India (23 yeras) before hand.

Thumbnail 2 This photograph of "Pontville" homestead was taken in 2006 by the great grandson of Major Newman namely Carl Bradley Newman WEBSTER. It was the home of Major Newman and his family, situated on a hill near the junction of Mullum Mullum Creek and the Yarra River at Templestowe, Victoria. It was the first permanent house in the district and now the oldest building in the Templestowe municipality. Charles Newman built the house based on the Indian bungalow style in the mid 1840's. The house originally consisted of three rooms with a surrounding verandah. In 1875 alterations were made and the house was not materially altered again until the 1950's. Today it is heritage listed and visitors are not allowed in.

Thumbnail 3 This plaque is located at the base of the headstone of Major Charles Newman at Templestowe Cemetery, Victoria.

Thumbnail 4 The aging headstone of Major Charles Newman who died in 1865. His remains and headstone were relocated from the family crypt at Munckton in 1910.

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Thumbnail 5 The Newman family plot at Templestowe Cemetry in Victoria. Relocated from Monckton in 1910

Thumbnail 6 The headstone of the grave of Catherine Otto, the wife of Major Charles Newman, and the former wife or Sergeant Josiah Reader who died at Madras in 1823.

Thumbnail 7 The headstone and grave of Caroline Newman who died in 1857. Her remains and headstone were relocated from the family crypt at Munckton in 1910.

Thumbnail 8 The headstone and grave of Louisa Newman who died aged 17 in 1853. Her remains and headstone were relocated from the family crypt at Munckton in 1910.

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Thumbnail 9 The Headstone for Thomas Newman the first son of Catherine Reader and Charles Newman. Born at Madras, Tamil Nadu in 1828. The infant died in 1829 aged 1 year 4 months and 12 days. This is his grave at St John's Church, Tiruchirappalli, Trichy Cemetery.

Thumbnail 10This is the Monckton Homestead that charles Newman built as his second home in about 1847. And this is where the original private family cemerery was located. Unfortunately the house was demolished in about 1910 when the property was subdivided into orchard lots.

Thumbnail 11This is the original Major Charles Newman gravesite. It is believed his remains still lie here and were never relocated to the family crypt at Templestowe cemetery. This unmarked grave is of an historical significance to the history of the area. The photograph is of the gravesite which once was the entry to Monckton is now called Windrush, at the end of Homestead road.

Thumbnail 12This is an oil painting of Monckton that Carl Bradley Newman Webster of Ferntree Gully, Victoria (the great grandson of Charles Newman) commissioned Canberra artist Ross Townsend to complete in 2011. It is not an exact reproduction of the hill the house sits on. Carl had requested that Ross Townsend fit in the family cemetery and the tree into the painting. The house is at it appeared in 1933 and the details of the headstones have been well done. Thanks to Carl for allowing me to show this painting on this site.

Pontville Homestead History Source: From the Wikipedia, free encyclopedia - extract from Templestowe, Victoria.


Below is an oil painting of Pontville Homestead that Carl Bradley Newman WEBSTER, the greatgrandson of Major NEWMAN, commissioned Canberra based Artist Ross TOWNSEND to paint in 2008. Thanks to Carl for allowing me to display it on this site.

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Pontville Homestead was constructed in the early 1840s on part of Newman's pastoral holding, at the confluence of the Yarra River and the Mullum-Mullum Creek. The remains of his first dwelling, a turf hut, was located near the site. Pontville now comprises a house constructed c. 1843-1850 and extended in the 1870s, remnant plantings, cottage foundations, outbuildings, bridge foundations, tracks, and a range of other features associated with the farming use of the area since the 1830s. Pontville was acquired by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works in 1978, and Melbourne Water and Parks now manages the property as part of Paddle Reserve.

Pontville Homestead is socially, if not in practice, one of the last pastoral selections on the Yarra River within the metropolitan area, and is associated with the earliest development of the Templestowe area. Major Charles Newman, one of only two ex-Indian Army officers resident in Victoria at the time, was influential in the development of Australian colonial society, and his Indian experience strongly influenced the architectural form of the Pontville homestead. Newman was also associated with gold prospecting in the district following the discovery of gold at Anderson Creek in Warrandyte. He was among the first in south-eastern Australia to mine quartz reefs.

Pontville is historically and aesthetically significant amongst the early towns as its landscape contributes to the greater understanding of 1840s agricultural and garden history, as well as for containing numerous relics of aboriginal life. The survival of its formal garden terracing and the presence Hawthorn hedgerows, used for fencing, is unusual. In his book on pastoralism in Tasmania and the 1920s conflict with the island natives, Keith Windschuttle writes: " In the 1820s [and 1830s], some settlers began to plant the hawthorn hedges that remain part of the Tasmanian landscape today. However, this was also a slow and expensive process. The plants had to survive several months of sea transport from England and one mile of hedgerow required between 8,000 and 10,500 plants. The early hedges were used primarily as windbreaks for the house, and were planted close to it. Before the 1830s, Sharon Morgan writes, 'stone walls were almost unknown, and hedges were rare'."

The property itself (now subdivided) has several remnant plantings of the colonial era including Himalayan Cypress, Black Mulberry and willow trees; and, the integrity of ancient scar trees, ancestral camping sites and other spirit places of the Wurundjeri aborigines which was respected by the Newman family. They can be observed in their original form along the trail systems at the Tikalara ("meeting place") plains tract of the Mullum-Mullum Creek.

Pontville is architecturally important in the evidence surviving from the original homestead building, most notably its distinctive Indian Bungalow form (a core of three interconnected rooms surrounded by a broad verandah formed by the continuation of the main hipped roof slope, within which the ends were built in to create further rooms) and elements of the original fabric which provide a technical history of colonialism. Important items include a displaced hearth of a stone clearly imported from outside the Port Phillip District, possibly English millstone grit, some unexplained sallow cream bricks, probably of local manufacture, pit sawn hardwood ceiling joists, and a stair opening in the ceiling trimmed with tusk tenon joints. Other significant elements are the plaster finishes and remnant ruled lime stucco - the oldest such surface finish in authentic condition to be identified in Victoria, if not Australia. Indian influenced houses are a significant element in Australian colonial architecture, but are extremely rare in Victoria. Associated with the homestead building are the farm outbuildings which are important for their ability to contribute to the historical understanding of the homestead property.

Pontville is archaeologically important for the below ground remains inherent in the location of, and the material contained within the archaeological deposits associated with Newman's turf hut and the subsequent homestead building, cottage, associated farm and rubbish deposits. The structures, deposits and associated artefacts are important for their potential to provide an understanding of the conditions in which a squatting family lived in the earliest days of the Port Phillip settlement

Major Charles Newman - Legal Matters and Magistrates

During 1847 - 1848 Major Charles NEWMAN had several newspaper recorded court room arguments with the Melbourne Magistrates when rulings or decisions they made did not turn out the way that he would have expected. As an ex Army Officer and upholder of English discipline and justice he wanted the civil administrators of the colony to be harsh in handing down strict sentences to those who broke the laws, especially against him. His courtroom outbursts demonstrated this point.

AN ABSCONDER.Source: The Melbourne Argus - Friday 1 September 1848.

Major NEWMAN appeared at the Police Office on tuesday last, to substantiate a charge which he had preferred against a youth in his employ, named John WATTS, for neglect of duty and then absconding from his hired service. The gallant Major stated his complaint of twelve specific acts of negligence and disobedience of orders, but particularly dwelt upon the boy refusing to take out his sheep on sunday last, upon which occasion defendant stated he had not engaged as a shepherd, and moreover, that being a lad the Police Bench would not punish him for his refusal. On being called upon for his defence, the boy said he was badly fed and hardly treated by the Major; that no later than last week he had been given as rations portions of a diseased lamb, and therefore bolted to his parents for some wholesome food. The Major offered to produce evidence to rebut this assertion, but the Bench did not think it necessary, as it was highly improbable, and was not credited by them. The Bench mulcted the lad of all wages due, and ordered him back to his employment. During the investigation of the case, Major NEWMAN stated that his complaints did not receive that degree of attention from the Police Bench which a proper feeling of justice would warrant; upon this the following fracas took place: - Mr James SMITH (one of the presiding magistrates): - I will not allow you (addressing the Major) to make use of such language in this Court. You are in the habit of animadverting upon the judicial conduct of the magistrates in a manner totally uncalled for, and I tell you plainly I shall not tolerate it for a moment. Major NEWMAN: - If I have animadverted upon their conduct, I presume I had and still have reason for so doing. Mr RUTLEDGE, J.P. (from Belfast): - I consider, Major NEWMAN, such a remark extremely impertinent. This is the first time I have sat upon this Bench, and therefore your language cannot possibly apply to me; but I feel convinced your remark is equally impertinent when applied to the other magistrates. Major NEWMAN: - I beg to state to your Worship (addressing Mr RUTLEDGE) that I did not intend my words to apply to you. Mr SMITH: - It is no matter who you applied them to, Sir; and if you cannot behave yourself in a Court of Justice in a more becoming manner, I shall commit you for contempt. Major NEWMAN: - Well, you can do that if you are inclined, I suppose, and abide the consequences.
Mr. RUTLEDGE: - Such conduct, Major, is extremely unseemly; and I trust that in future you will treat the Bench with becoming respect. Major NEWMAN: I have not been treated fairly in this Court; I have frequently made statements in cases where I was interested, but persons in this office have thought it too much trouble to take them down. Mr BELCHER:, Clerk of the Bench, said - the last remark of Major NEWMAN, if applied to him was incorrect ; and as the Major did not vouchsafe a reply, the matter dropped.

THE MAGISTRACY. - Some days ago, Source: The Melbourne Argus - Friday 25th August 1848

Mrs. NEWMAN, wife of Major NEWMAN, applied to the Police Bench for a warrant to apprehend a runaway servant named BADDELL. The presiding Magistrate, Mr. A. McLACHLAN refused to entertain the case, upon the grounds that Mrs. NEWMAN was not competent to file an information in a matter where her husband was the complainant. On wednesday Major NEWMAN attended at the Police office for the purpose of making the application in person, when it was ascertained that the defendant had effectually baffled every attempt which could possibly be made for his capture by leaving the Province. Major NEWMAN, thereupon, took the Bench to task for negligently administering the laws, owing to which he said criminals escaped the punishment due to their offences, and employers of labour, as in his own case, were subjected to serious inconvenience and pecuniary loss; Mrs. NEWMAN had frequently acted for him in India and some of the adjacent Colonies while he had been otherwise engaged, and he could not understand why a similar practice should not obtain here; the Melbourne Magistrates did not know or would not comprehend their duties, and the public were the sufferers; these were the only British Colonies where the laws were improperly administered. Mr HULL, one of the presiding Magistrates informed the Major that such language would not be tolerated, as he was convinced that the Magistrates of Melbourne performed their duty as fearlessly, as honestly, and, according to their ability, as efficiently as any other justices in the world; with regard to Mr. McLACHLAN, he believed the language used in connection with that gentleman's refusal to entertain the former case, was equally uncalled for and unwarrantable ; he would not sit there and hear such aspersions cast upon the Magisterial character of the Port Phillip Bench, otherwise it might he construed that his silence was a tacit acknowledgment of their truth, especially when these charges were made by a gentleman in a high rank of life such as Major NEWMAN. The Major explained that his language did not apply to the Magistrates then on the Bench ; but Mr. HULL interrupted him, and directed him to wait upon the Clerk of the Bench with regard to the subject of his complaint.

AN ABSCONDER. Source: The Melbourne Argus Tuesday 29 August 1848.

Major NEWMAN applied to the Police Bench yesterday, for awarrant under the Masters and Servants' Act to apprehend a man named George WATTS, who had absconded from his hired service. The warrant was ordered to issue. Major NEWMAN stated to the Bench that unless assistance was afforded him by the Magistrates, he would be unable to keep a single man upon his station ; the new arrivals from Britain he said were uncontrollable, and although receiving high wages were little better than useless. Mr. WESTBY said the Bench would afford every reasonable assistance, with which the Major appeared more pleased than upon his former visit to the Police office.

A FATAL FLAW. Source: The Melbourne Argus Friday 23 April 1847.

A man named George SELLERS who had been in the employment of Major NEWMAN and was sentenced to one month's imprisonment for disobedience of his master's orders and at the expiration of his incarceration to return to his master and complete his agreement, was on wednesday last brought before the Magistrates charged with "absenting himself from his hired service." It appeared that the man had been released from gaol two days before, and had not as he had been desired returned to his master. The magistrates held that this was not an absenting within the meaning of the Act and SELLERS. was consequently discharged.

View Newspaper report of 1851 that Major NEWMAN was responsible for a large destructive bushfire when burning off growth from his own property. Needs Acrobat Reader.

The Last Will and Testament of Major Charles NEWMAN 1783 - 1865

This is the last Will and Testament of Major Charles Newman. The will was dated on the July 14th 1860. Pages 1 to 16 of his will refers to how he wished for his assets to be divided after his death. However on the 16th May 1865, just prior to his death he made a Codical to his will (pages 17 - 27) which was filed for probate on 21 November 1865. It would appear that in between the years of 1860 and 1865 his son Thomas NEWMAN became involved and planned to marry a Victoria WEBB. Major NEWMAN strongly objected to the union and stated in the Codical " Now I hereby declare that in case my said son Thomas NEWMAN shall previously to my death intermarry with the said Victoria WEBB or any other daughter of the said John WEBB the several bequests of chattels and personal estate made by the said will to be in favour of the said Thomas NEWMAN as hereinbefore mentioned shall be void ......."

What ever the bad blood between John WEBB and Major Charles NEWMAN was, is unknown, but Thomas Newman married Victoria WEBB, and from what the records tell us the wedding was in 1862. It is either a misrecording or the Major did not know about the marriage. However, Thomas NEWMAN himself died in 1869 and his widow Susanne Victoria NEWMAN (nee WEBB) with her surviving children remained on the NEWMAN estate with Mary Anne CROSSWELL (nee NEWMAN) well after the death of Major Charles NEWMAN and his son Thomas NEWMAN. The bad blood by Major Charles NEWMAN towards the WEBB family was not shared by the other NEWMAN family members. The Will document of 1860 and Codical of 1865 are in excellent condition after 150 years in the Victorian Government Archives.

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