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Land grant on vellum signed by Governor King, and with a small site-sketch by G.W. Evans.
Sydney: Government House, 1804. Vellum sheet measuring 330 x 230 mm., with manuscript notations to both faces (including a site-sketch with measurements); folded and a little aged yet very good condition. Sydney town block leased by Governor King. Early Sydney lease signed by Governor Philip Gidley King for an allotment in the central Sydney Town, with a sketch of the site executed and signed by colonial surveyor George William Evans.Manuscript documents signed by Governor King are scarce and desirable on the market. King was a pivotal figure in the early history of Australian settlement. His skill as a naval officer attracted the respect of Captain Arthur Phillip, who selected him as second lieutenant of the First Fleet convict transport Sirius. Prior to assuming the position of Governor in 1800, King served in Sydney and Norfolk Island and was widely respected for his skilled leadership through the difficult early years of settlement.This lease is noteworthy for the inclusion of the site sketch by George Evans, a notable early colonial artist and inland explorer. A talented and versatile man, Evans was appointed surveyor to the colony in 1803; he later undertook extensive exploration of the inland and revealed the rich grazing lands around the Lachlan River. Evans was also a skilled artist and companion of the natural history illustrator John Lewin. Few examples of Evan's artistic output have survived.Governor King awarded the seven year lease to Thomas Randall in May 1804 for a ground rent of 10 shillings per year. The subsequent early history of the site is recorded in two manuscript notes detailing further sale contracts to the reverse of this lease. It was first sold on to Edward Wells, who then on-sold the lease to Sydney merchant Simeon Lord, the prominent colonial entrepreneur who rose from humble beginnings (Lord was transported to New South Wales in 1791). He began his trading career selling rum outside the monopoly controlled by the officers of the New South Wales Corps, and later invested in land, shipping and manufacturing throughout the colony.Clearly Simeon Lord was keen to acquire this allotment for he paid the considerable sum of £325 for the remainder of the lease in 1807. The location of the lease, in the immediate vicinity of the Dry Store on Spring Row (later Castlereagh Street) was ideal for a merchant trader like Lord. Earlier he had constructed his private residence in close proximity to the Dry Store, allowing officers of merchant vessels docked in the harbour to stay in his house while remaining close to valuable cargo and merchandise held in the Dry Store.The grant is fully signed 'Philip Gidley King' and the sketch is likewise signed 'G.W. Evans, acting surveyor'. Examples of Gidley King's signature are uncommon on the market, and this grant is not listed in the standard reference Land Grants 1788-1809 edited by R.J. Ryan.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House]
Last Found On: 2015-06-17           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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