Benjamin Singleton (Australian settler)
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|Born||August 7, 1788|
|Died||May 2, 1853(aged 64)|
Benjamin Singleton (1788–1853) was a free settler, miller, and European land exploration of Australia in the early period of British colonisation. He was born in England on 7 August 1788 and arrived in the Colony of New South Wales on 14 February 1792 in the Pitt, a convict ship. His father, William, had been sentenced for seven years to transportation, and had brought his wife and two sons with him. An older son, James, arrived as a free settler in 1808.
Career as a miller
James and Benjamin built and operated several water-driven flour mills in the following years.
In October 1817, Benjamin Singleton set out with a party of men including John Howe (Australian settler), William Parr and Aboriginal guides to find a route, suitable for wagons, to the Hunter River (New South Wales). They almost reached the Hunter Valley before turning back. In April 1818 he led a private expedition to the Hunter which was also unsuccessful.
When, in 1819, John Howe (Australian settler) managed to reach the Hunter, he followed in part the route discovered by Singleton and Parr. He had discovered some fine grazing land, but Howe was dissatisfied with the route.
In February, 1820, John Howe left Windsor with a party of fifteen, including Benjamin Singleton and two Aboriginal guides. By following the advice of the guides they were able to find a route which became known as the Bulga, New South Wales. On 15 March they reached the Hunter, and followed its course upstream as far as Maitland, New South Wales. For his part in this expedition Singleton was granted 200 acres (81 ha), part of which became the site of the town of Singleton, New South Wales.
Singleton used his land for grazing cattle while pursuing other activities. He was appointed to be a district constable, and continued his mill building business. He also built a horse-drawn boat, which was not a commercial success.
He died on 2 May 1853, leaving a wife and ten children, and was buried in the Whittingham, New South Wales cemetery, near Singleton.
The Singleton Council publishes a brochure about Benjamin Singleton, and displays a copy on its website. It contains the story of his life and includes a photograph of the plaque on his grave. The plaque describes him as "Pioneer of the Hunter District and Founder of the Town of Singleton". It recounts that, in 1837, he donated land for a market square, which is now known as Burdekin Park.
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