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Photos - St.Matthew's Rectory & Windsor Court House.

WILLIAM COX constructed many buildings in the Hawkesbury/Mulgoa region of New South Wales. This page is presented to give detail of some of these projects. Although he was not taught the trade as far as we know, William had the ability and expertise to construct some fine buildings in the Hawkesbury, many of which are still in use and in excellent condition in 2001.

After the death of Andrew Thompson, William Cox was Appointed Magistrate in 1810. William served in the court house which he built in 1822 and where he continued to serve until his decease in 1837. The Windsor Court House stands proudly on the corner of Court and Pitt Streets. Now restored to it's original fabric, the old Court House struggled through many changes over the years. TENDERS were called to be placed with George Druitt, chief engineer by 15th May. Architect for the court house project was Francis Greenway, whose legacy to Australia is a fine quality of architecture and design. Francis In 1821 William signed a contract, agreeing to build the court house in 15 months for the sum of £1800 and in a 'good efficient substantial and workmanlike manner'. Convicts provided labour on the job, which is a credit to all concerned, as it stands proud today - a tribute to their descendants also.

The COURT HOUSE was cement rendered many decades ago, which 'screamed' disaster to our heritage. In 1961 the N.S.W.Government, under supervision of government architect, had the warm sandstone bricks exposed to show their natural beauty once more, while some worn bricks were reversed. The flagstone verandahs, although well worn, look great. The interior has also survived with the rich cedar appointments, panelling and doors. A large oil painting of Lachlan Macquarie, commissioned by the grateful settlers and sent from England, adorns one wall. Archibald Bell and Captain Brabyn served in the Windsor Court House with William. Elizabeth Bell dau/of Archibald Bell 'Belmont' m.1822 George Cox s/o William Cox - magistrate. Archibald Bell Jun. bro/of Elizabeth discovered 'Bell's Line of Road' the next year 1823, uniting the two families.

STRANGELY, when I began research c.1986 I met two 'girls' Sue Skinner and Kerry Parry. May I also say, that just these past few weeks, I have learned so much, just compiling this web page, from the many papers, letters, emails and books I have gathered over 15 years. Sue Skinner is a direct descendant of Magistrate Archibald Bell, while Kerry Parry is a direct descendant of Magistate Thomas Arndell. Youl, Arndell & Cox families have links.

THOMAS ROSE, a Dorset farmer who emigrated as a free settler in 1793 with wife Jane, moved c.1800 to a small farm on left bank of the Wilberforce Reach of the river, which he bought from Lawrence May. After a disasterous flood in 1809 he moved his home to higher ground. This is one of Australia's earliest weatherboard houses which in 2001, is part of Hawkesbury Heritage Farm at Wilberforce. From 'Walkabout Wilberforce N.S.W." web page "....the centrepiece of the village is 'Rose Cottage' which having been built c.1810, is the oldest timber building still standing in Australia. It was continually occupied by the Rose family until 1961. It is a fine example of a two roomed lathe and mud plaster house...." The first Methodist services in the region, were held in 'Old Tom Rose's house' (Bobby Hardy 'Early Hawkesbury Settlers').

William Cox was responsible for buildings at Mulgoa. William began building one of the colony's first houses of weatherboard and brick-nog construction, which is still in use today. At Mulgoa -'The Cottage' is believed to have been started c1811 and completed around 1822. It remains testimony to construction methods of that early time of Australia's history. The property was an original grant to William's son Edward Cox and named 'Fern Hill' after 'Fern Hill' owned by Cox family somewhere between Poole and Wimborne, Dorset. James Cox owned 'Fern Hill', Tasm.

This home 'The Cottage' became a Special Project and treasure for architect James Broadbent who was in residence during our visit in early 1990's. He had for some time, been lovingly and patiently restoring it to it's original condition - in parts only where it was visible. He went right back to the original fabric of the structure and decor of the cottage - even down to the old fashioned roses in the garden. A few of the early Cox children of Edward and George, were born there 1820's to 1832. Edward built his new 'Fern Hill' a little distance away on the same property c.1840. 'The Cottage' is inaccessible today. (Ref. 'Australian Cottages' by Moore/Burke/Joyce) (See Cox Homes).

St.Thomas Anglican Church. Although not built by Cox, it is significant in that it was surrounded by the dedication of William's sons, who were there from the foundation and now rest in those peaceful surroundings. The quaint little church is not far from 'The Cottage' and set amid the tall eucalypts, creating a delightful setting. It was the church home of the Cox family, many of whom resided in the region for generations. St.Thomas Church Cemetery has many headstones of Cox family descendants, photos of which, I would be happy to pass to anyone.

I have a charming book on the history, published by Anglican Parish of Mulgoa, text by Stephanie Walsh & Peter Robinson 1989. Quote :- "The early history of the area goes back to the first grants of land 1809-1810. Captain William Cox, magistrate was the principal grantee and he built a house halfway along the valley on a spur, overlooking the creek, sometime around 1811...." end quote. George, Henry and Edward resided at 'The Cottage' while building their separate estates of Winbourne, Glenmore and Fernhill. (Cox Homes)

Rev.Hassall conducted the first Anglican service at Mulgoa in a barn near 'The Cottage' 1827. Other early grantees at Mulgoa were James Norton, Robert Cartwright, Rev.Henry Fulton and Sir John Jamison. A need for a church was discussed at a meeting at Edward Cox's 'Fern Hill' property. Committee members G.Savage of 'Claremont'; N.Norton; G.Cox; E.Cox; H.Cox & Rev.Hassall, elected George Cox as Secretary/Treasurer, as they proceeded to raise funds to build a church. Edward Cox donated 5 acres for church and burial ground, while George Cox donated 38 acres for the parsonage, while the beautiful stone in the buildings was quarried from 'Fern Hill' Estate.

Quote:- "Sundays were the one regular day of the week, when for instance, all Mulgoa members of the Cox family ..........would have got together socially. They did of course, frequently socialise in other ways. Balls held by the Cox family were was first public building in Mulgoa, even if it functioned more or less as a Cox family chapel at first." end quote.

A boarding school was established by the parish, creating lively times in the manse. This extract is from James Hassall's account of his time as a student. From 'In old Australia' 1902 - "Makinson arranged to receive twelve boys as boarders and three of Cox's sons as day scholars." James Hassall tells of the Cox family's kindness to the boys -the Cox family "never forgot us in the fruit season or at picnics or other pleasure parties. Mr.George Cox allowed me to keep a horse on his place" The book continues in a vein of loyalty and kindness to those who came in contact with the unique church 'in the wildwood'.


Soon after appointing William Cox as principal magistrate, Gov.Macquarie marked out the town of Richmond. William Cox, along with other prominent settlers, accompanied Macquarie on these journeys. The citizens met to erect a post and rail fence around the Richmond burial ground (which Wm.Cox built), as well as a school house, suitable to act as a place of worship, enclosed with a fence. William Cox had the plan in his possession and was expecting it to be funded by local subscription. He had estimated the cost to be about £200, with contribution of £25 by Gov.Macquarie to start the fund. William erected Richmond School House and Chapel which was completed 1813. For the two storey school house and master's residence, Cox used 40,000 bricks. These bricks were probably hand made on his property, as William supplied the bricks for St.Matthew's Church as well. The builder of that church has not been identified, to my knowledge.

William submitted a tender to build St.Matthew's Rectory for 4,800 Spanish dollars, which was accepted. Designed by the fine architect Francis Greenway, this two storey house built English Georgian style, compliments St.Matthew's Church on adjoining site, where a portion of the land was donated by William Cox. To me, this splendid Rectory has neat, clean, symmetrical lines and both buildings look great in cross stitch design (my other hobby).

William built Windsor Goal in 1812 and altered 1820 costing £489. He made alterations to Pitt Town School House and constructed a road, about 15 miles, from Richmond to Prospect in 1819. As the colony's first civil contractor, he also built Castlereagh Glebe House. William was responsible as many as nine buildings, some planned by Lachlan Macquarie.

Barry Cox's "Lineage of the Cox Family 1670-2000" and Helen Proudfoot's "The Historic Buildings of Windsor and Richmond" have assisted me with this 'picture' of William's achievements and family information.

Extracts from Journal of Lachlan Macquarie state that on 3.12.1810, he set out for the Richmond district with two surveyors, Mr.Cox, Rev.Cartwright and some staff to determine the site of Richmond. Cartwright and wife, Cox and Mileham dined with him that day. William Cox and other gentlemen went with him 10.1.1811, to view an intended site for the township of Castlereagh.

The next Sunday Gov.Macquarie wrote "Mrs Macquarie and myself went to church at Windsor ........we had Mr.Cox, his wife & family, Mrs.Bell, Mr.& Mrs Evans, Dr.& Mrs.Arndells, Dr.Mileham & ....friends dine with us..... before our return to Sydney."end quote.

STATE OF COLONY 1814 From "Landed Enterprise and Penal Society" by B.Fletcher pub.1976 - "Writing of emancipists dealers.....Alexander Riley...1814 observed that their 'caution and poverty is...great at this moment' Men who were struggling to exist...."end quote. The situation was made worse for graziers as in 1810-1812 the caterpillar plagues were followed by flooding rains and then long droughts. (what has changed). Quote "On the Cumberland Plains, losses were heavy, 500 government cattle starving to death in the six months ending Feb.1814. In May-June 1814, William Cox lost 800 lambs and stated that 'in this and preceding year a large number of horned cattle and sheep died in the colony for want of food' end quote." Many of the prominent colonist were suffering difficulties from stock losses by 1815.

From "Macquarie Country" by D.G.Bowd "Success in brewing beer at the Hawkesbury came to Thomas Cadell in 1830's. He rented premises from William Cox for £70 per year" near Cornwallis Bridge on Rickerby's Creek. Cadell and wife Jane arrived on 'Minerva' 1832. After William's death in 1837, Thomas Norris held lease on pub, while Cadell kept the house, brewery and malthouse. This was all part of William Cox's property - quote "being 120 acres on both sides of the road leading to Cornwallis, he called 'Mount Pleasant'. Hereon, was a house, a brewery let to Thomas Cadell, a public house let to Tom Norris, a toll bridge (built W.C) and three cottages including Claremont."

CLARENDON - 1804 - Dight Street, Richmond

Continuing Macquarie Country 'Following the forced sale of his property and stock Cox settled at the Hawkesbury in July 1804, knowing that he had to go to is probable that he built part of Clarendon for his wife and young sons before his departure....." end quote. This property was set up by William himself, unlike those in Sydney. This land was a grant to sons William and James Cox, on arrival as settlers in 1804. William Jun. left the land, joining N.S.W. Corps, while James remained and worked with his mother to maintain the property during William's absence. James Cox settled in Tasmania 1812, residing sometime at his Launceston home 'Staffordshire House' until 'Clarendon' was completed 1838. James Cox is subject of another web site under construction.

In 1814 WILLIAM COX was appointed by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie to construct a road across the 'seemingly impenetrable' Blue Mountains to Bathurst Plains. He commenced the road with convict labour 18th July 1814 and completed the carriageway of 102 miles by 21st January 1815. Numerous places were named in his honour including Cox's River and Cox's Pass in Blue Mountains, Cox Street, Newtown and Cox Street, Windsor. Wm.Cox Street at Richmond by Hobartville is named after William Cox Jun.

William Sen. was a pioneer of the wool industry in Australia and was elected Vice President of Agricultural Society in 1823. As a just, but compassionate man, William became founding President of Hawkesbury Benevolent Society -1819.

From "Macquarie Country" Bowd states "William Cox has received little recognition for his contribution to the wool industry. During his absence....his wife Rebecca and young sons carefully preserved the strain of fine wool Merino breeding stock at Clarendon. When he returned, Cox expanded his pastoral interests and with others, put the wool trade on a commercial basis. Macarthur at this time was an exile in England. According to 1828 census the Cox family owned 13,870 sheep which were depastured on their extensive properties near Mudgee, Burrendong and Mulgoa. Cox built up fleece quality in his sheep, the progeny of which, had an important influence on the development of the Merino breed in this country." end quote D.G.,Bowd.

Burrendong, was once home of Alfred, youngest son of Willian Cox, who settled at Canterbury, New Zealand in 1854. His 'enterprise' would fill a book, as would his descendant Bryan Cox of N.Z.(James Cox web site).

In gratitude to Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the citizens of the Hawkesbury region erected a handsome statue in McQuade Park, Windsor. This striking memorial was unveiled in 1988 during successful Bi-Centennial Celebrations, which we were pleased to attend. The "Cox Building' in Canberra is occupied by Dept.of Transport, named in honour of Australia's first Road builder William Cox.(See Road Builder)

WILLIAM COX Jun. 1789/1850 remained in England with brother JAMES, while completing their education at King Edward V1 Grammar School, Salisbury, Wiltshire. They spent holidays with Mr.Dawes, Manor House, Ditchseat, Somerset. The lads arrived on transport ship 'Experiment' having sailed via Rio de Janeiro. William Jun. was more interested in an army career than farming, so in 1808 he joined 102nd Regiment of Foot as Ensign, serving in Peninsula War from 1808, before returning to Australia 1813. He married Elizabeth Piper 1813, before sailing from Portsmouth. William Jun. like his dad was magistrate 1830-1847 while residing at 'Hobartville' Richmond.

William Cox Jun. was one of the founding directors of Australia's first Bank of New South Wales, with the inaugural meeting being held at 'Hobartville' (old home). The bank was open for receipts 10.7.1819. Both father and son(William) were partly responsible for building St.Peter's Church and burial ground at Richmond and William Jun. is remembered by a plaque on a wall of the church.

CHARLES COX 1793/1813 was thought to have returned to England, and was third officer on 'Hunter' when it called for a cargo of sandalwood from Fiji Islands. He was one of fourteen seafarers killed 6.9.1813. Rachael Roxburgh seems to suggest that Charles was at school in England c.1804 and interested in mission work and was to some degree, supported by Captain Wilson of 'Royal Admiral'. His life however, was short lived - just another sad event in their lives.


"To the house of a friend the road is never long."

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