THROSBY, Charles (1771-1828)


THROSBY, Charles (1771-1828)
explorer
was born at Leicester, England, in 1771. He arrived in Australia as surgeon of the transport Coromandel on 13 June 1802, soon afterwards joined the medical staff, and in October was appointed a magistrate and acting-surgeon at Castle Hill. In August 1804 he was transferred to Newcastle, and in April 1805 was made superintendent there. Towards the end of 1808 he was given a grant of 500 acres at Cabramatta, and in the following year resigned his position at Newcastle. In 1811 he was employed as agent by Sir John Jamison (q.v.), subsequently paid a visit to England, and in 1817 did some exploration near Moss Vale and Sutton Forest. On 3 March 1818, with James Meehan (q.v.), he set out to discover a route to Jervis Bay, and about three weeks later the party having been split up, Throsby's section reached Jervis Bay by way of the Kangaroo and Lower Shoalhaven rivers. Another valuable piece of exploration was begun by Throsby on 25 April 1819 when he left the Cowpastures, and travelling first south-south-west, then west, north-west, and north-north-west, finished his journey near the site of Bathurst. Macquarie stated in a dispatch that "the rich fertile country passed over by Mr Throsby . . . will be fully equal to meet every increase of the population . . . for many years". Throsby himself was given a grant of land near Moss Vale. He was put in charge of the construction of a road to the Goulburn plains and in August of that year two of his men discovered Lake George. In October Governor Macquarie (q.v.) visited this district with Throsby, and while he was there Throsby and two other men made further explorations. The details of this trip are lost, but it is probable that Throsby passed through what is now the federal territory and that he discovered the Yass River. On 20 March 1821 Throsby with two companions made an expedition to discover the Murrumbidgee River, having heard of its existence from the aborigines. Coming first to the Molonglo River he probably discovered the Murrumbidgee below Tuggerenong early in April 1821. In November 1824 Throsby was one of the 10 landholders and merchants submitted by Governor Brisbane (q.v.) to Earl Bathurst as suitable for appointment for a colonial council, and when the council was formed in December 1825 three of these were appointed of whom Throsby was one. His standing in the community was very high and he was the owner of about 20,000 acres and large and valuable herds of cattle. Unfortunately for himself, about the year 1811 he had become security for the purchase of a vessel by a friend who had left the colony and then died. Proceedings were taken against Throsby which were long drawn out, and eventually a verdict against him was obtained for £4000. His health had not been good for some time and becoming depressed, on 2 April 1828 he committed suicide by shooting himself. Though Throsby's name is seldom mentioned in the history of Australian exploration, his work was valuable and had an important influence on the opening up of the country beyond the Blue Mountains.
F. Watson, A Brief History of Canberra; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. III to XIV.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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