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Granville William Chetwynd Stapylton
February 28 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
A Hotham History Project event …
Learn from the true journals of the story behind an early land surveyor of what colonial Australia was like in the 1830s.
Chetwynd Street in North and West Melbourne was named in Granville’s honor.
Granville William Chetwynd Stapylton (1800-1840), surveyor and explorer, was, in November 1828, appointed an assistant surveyor in New South Wales. He carried out a number of difficult surveys near Sydney and in 1831 was with a party which traced the Abercrombie River from Bathurst towards the Lake George area. In 1833 his work found favour with the surveyor-general, (Sir) Thomas Mitchell. In 1834 he was praised by the Colonial Office and recommended to Governor (Sir) Richard Bourke for promotion. In 1836 Stapylton was appointed second-in-command of Mitchell’s overland expedition to Australia Felix. In this he did a valuable job, but was very critical of his leader and irked by having to take frequent charge of the base camp and thus prevented from sharing the excitement of making new discoveries. A copy of Stapylton’s journal of this expedition is in the La Trobe Library, Melbourne.
Stapylton was sent to Port Phillip to work under the direction of Robert Hoddle; he travelled to Melbourne overland, arriving in April 1838. About this time he appears to have fallen a victim of intemperance, for the administrator at Port Phillip, Captain William Lonsdale, wrote to the colonial secretary on 5 October 1838, that Stapylton had been so drunk that the chief constable had been forced to confine him, and on another occasion he had found him drunk under his dray.
He was suspended from duty by Lonsdale but later reinstated by Governor Sir George Gipps and sent to work under Robert Dixon at Moreton Bay. He was engaged in surveying the coast south from Brisbane on 31 May 1840 when Aboriginals attacked his camp. Stapylton and an assistant, William Tuck, were killed, and another member of the party was severely injured. Tuck’s body was buried on the spot but Stapylton’s was taken to Brisbane.