Robert Lathrop Murray

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Robert Lathrop Murray

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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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