Governor Macquarie announced at a dinner in the Government cottage on the Hawkesbury River in December 1810 that he was establishing a number of settlements along the river. He had travelled through the area and with surveyor Meehan marked out a Common on high ground close to Pugh’s Lagoon which Mrs Macquarie admired very much. He named this place “Richmond from its beautiful situation”.
George Bowman was a leading citizen of the township having purchased property from James Blackman in 1818 and building a home which was enlarged as his family grew. Mr Bowman and a servant were held up by highwaymen on Windsor Road in 1830 with George made to disrobe. The first Presbyterian services were held in private homes from 1836 but proved inconvenient, so Mr Bowman decided to rent a house and have it converted to a chapel. The congregation grew and once again Mr Bowman stepped in and donated land in West Market Street and paid for a church to be built in 1845.
Reverend James Cameron married Eliza Bowman, George’s daughter, in 1857 and together they served the community for the next 49 years. James was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in NSW in 1875 and 1901. Medical doctor Andrew Cameron, James’ brother, married Eliza’s sister Mary in 1871. Andrew was highly esteemed by the Richmond community and a memorial has been erected in the forecourt of the church. Mr George Bowman became the first mayor of Richmond in 1871 and generously contributed to the erection of a tower, bell and clock in 1877. He died at the age of 86 years in 1878.
Elizabeth and Lachlan Macquarie wedding November 3, 1807
Reference: Governor Macquarie Journal of Tours in New South Wales Macquarie Country by D. G. Bowd
Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.