Collection RS123 - Harrison Bequest

Index to RS123 Proposed church at Killcooley Proposed chapel designed for the Orphan School Establishment Police magistrate's residence St. Pauls Church, Stanley Photograph of St. Pauls Church, Stanley Photograph of St. Pauls Church, Stanley Photographic view of the wharf at Stanley, Circular Head Photograph of St. Pauls Church, Stanley Photographic view of Circular Head Photograph of "Aunt Charlottes" cottage at Circular Head Photograph of Circular Head from the Nut at Stanley Photograph of houses at Circular Head Photograph of woman seated Daguerreotype of woman seated

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Harrison Bequest


  • 1823-1880 (Creation)

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3 files

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Biographical history

Robert William Felton Lathrop Murray (1777-1850), landowner, soldier, convict and journalist, was the only son of Robert Lathropp and his wife Ann, née Williams, of West Felton, Shropshire, and Smith Square, London. Educated at Westminster School and Cambridge University, he was granted a commission in the 2nd Royal Manx Fencibles in 1795. On coming of age he assumed the additional surname of Murray, claiming descent from a certain Robert Murray who, as the son of Sir William Murray, baronet, of Dynnyrne, Scotland, had married into the Lathropp family in 1630 and taken their name. A government announcement in the London Gazette, 3 April 1802, refers to him as Sir Robert Lathropp Murray, and this title was used in other periodicals of that time. He served in the Peninsular war, and the Army Lists from 1807 to 1814 show him attached to the 7th Foot, 1st Foot and from 1811, captain in the Royal Waggon Train.
In January 1815 he was tried for bigamy before the Recorder of London, and sentenced to transportation for seven years. His first mention is as clerk and constable of the Sydney bench, an employee of D'Arcy Wentworth, in 1816. He was granted a pardon soon after arrival, and was recorded in the Sydney Gazette as principal clerk in the Police Office, and in 1820 assistant superintendent. He also engaged in outside business which took him to Hobart Town in 1821. In the next eight years he was given some large grants of land to the south of the town; he lived first at Dynnyrne Distillery in south Hobart and later built Dynnyrne House, which gave its name to a suburb. Across the Derwent, a mile (1.6 km) beyond Kangaroo Point (Bellerive), was his country house, Wentworth.
In 1824 a number of letters signed 'A Colonist' began appearing in the press, violently criticizing the administration; at a public function on 7 April 1825 Murray acknowledged their authorship. He became editor of the Hobart Town Gazette on 8 July, and of the Colonial Times from 19 August 1825 to 4 August 1826
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Civil Engineer and Colonial Architect in Van Diemen's Land, serving from 1827 to 1838 and responsible for all government buildings including those for penal and military purposes. Tasmanian Parliament House is one of his most notable projects. In October 1838 Archer accepted an appointment as police magistrate for the district of Horton. He filled this office, living at Stanley, until his death on 4 December 1852.
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Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Bequeathed by John Murray Harrisson, great grandson of John Lee Archer, 1941

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Scope and content

Miscellaneous papers and photographs of the Murray and Archer families. Includes some Archer architectural plans, photographs of Circular Head, Tasmania area and collection of carte de visite of unknown subjects by various Tasmanian and Australian photographers.

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This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

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