LAWSON, William (1774-1850)


LAWSON, William (1774-1850)
explorer
was born in 1774 and came to Sydney, an ensign in the New South Wales Corps, in 1800. He was stationed at Norfolk Island between 1802 and 1805, was promoted to lieutenant in 1807, and at the time of the deposition of Bligh (q.v.) was made aide-de-camp to Major George Johnston (q.v.). He was sent to England at the time of Johnston's court-martial, but was soon allowed to return to Sydney and take up his military duties again. In May 1813 with G. Blaxland (q.v.) and W. Wentworth (q.v.) he shared in the discovery of a way across the Blue Mountains, a remarkable feat at the time, which had great consequences. Lawson was rewarded with a grant of 1000 acres of land, and he subsequently became one of the largest holders of land in Australia. He was made a magistrate and was appointed commandant at Newcastle, and in 1819 took up the same position at Bathurst. He did some exploring in 1821 and was the first to pass over the site of Mudgee. In 1835, he was then living at Prospect, he was in the list of persons proposed for selection as nominee members of the legislative council, but was not one of those selected. He was, however, one of the first elected members of the legislative council in 1843, and held his seat until 1848. He died at Prospect on 16 June 1850. He married and left descendants. There appears to be no evidence of importance for the suggestion that has been made, that Lawson was the real leader of the expedition across the mountains.
Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. III, VI, VIII, X, XI, XIII, XVIII, XXIII, XXIV; Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vols. XIX, p. 35, XXIII, p. 28, XXIV, pp. 246, 478; G. Blaxland, A Journal of a Tour of Discovery.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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