Home' Hunter Its People : June 2010 Contents Thursday, June 24, 2010 THE HERALD 39
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Hunter in 1889 for more than five years.
He died at Oakhampton in 1909.
Professor Barry Maitland is the author of the Brock and
Kolla series of crime mystery novels set in London, where
he grew up after his family moved from Paisley in Scotland.
He studied architecture at Cambridge University and has
a PhD in urban design from the University of Sheffield,
where he taught and wrote books on architecture and
In 1984 he moved to Australia to head the architecture
school at the University of Newcastle, and held that position
until 2000 when he retired to write fiction full time. He has
been living in Maitland since 1991.
The first Brock and Kolla novel was published in 1994,
was translated into a number of languages and was short-
listed for the UK Crime Writers' Association John Creasey
Award for best new fiction. Its sequel, The Malcontenta, was
joint winner of the inaugural Ned Kelly Award for best
crime fiction by an Australian author.
Maitland has sold more than 300,000 paperbacks
including 10 Brock and Kolla novels.
One of the best known early rally drivers in the world, Ken
Tubman drove rally cars for more than 40 years with his
major achievements winning the first Australian Redex Trial
in 1953 and winning the second Special World Cup Rally in
1970, travelling from London to Munich.
He was among the leaders in the 1974 World Cup Rally
before sacrificing his chances by stopping to help a fellow
competitor who had crashed, and he helped organise the
1978 World Cup Rally.
Born in Cowra and schooled in Sydney, he became a
pharmacist and worked in Kurri Kurri before moving to
Maitland in 1952 where he became a partner in a pharmacy
in High St. He remained there until he retired in 1982.
Maitland City Council honoured Tubman in 1988 when
it named Ken Tubman Drive in his honour. Tubman died
MARY HUNT (MOLLY MORGAN)
Hunt, better known as Molly Morgan, was one of the
founders of Maitland and in her day was known as the
Queen of the Hunter.
Born in 1762 in England, by 19 she had an illegitimate
child and not long after was jailed for stealing yarn, for
which she was given the death sentence, later commuted
to 14 years transportation to NSW. She managed to get
smuggled back to England in the early 1790s, but in 1803
failed to repay a loan and was accused of stealing and
was sent back to NSW for seven years. She completed her
sentence but was soon in trouble again over a stolen cow
and was sentenced to seven years at Coal River.
In 1818 she was allowed to settle and farm land at Wallis
Plains and the legend of Molly Morgan began to grow,
although most of the stories appear to be pure fancy.
About 1826 she built the Angel Inn and in 1829 she
was granted another 65 hectares, app
covering much of present day Maitlan
Morgan appears to have been a
humane woman, aiding convicts who
had run away from harsh masters,
donating money to build a school
and allowing people to squat on
her land. Married at least three
times, possibly bigamously, she
died at Anvil Creek, near Greta, in
1835, aged 73.
EDWARD CHARLES CLOSE
Close was a settler and churchman,
born in 1790 in Bengal, educated
in England, joining the army in
1808 and serving throughout the
He arrived in NSW in 1817 and after
a few years in Sydney moved to Newcas
where, as acting engineer, he removed
dangerous shoals from Newcastle Harb
a fort and set up a coal-fire light on Beacon Hill.
In 1822 he resigned from the army and settled on his
land grant, Illulang, near the government reserve for the
township of Morpeth. He was appointed a magistrate in
1825 but was later removed, and was appointed to the
Legislative Council in 1829, resigning in 1838. While
this was happening part of Illulang was subdivided and
Morpeth became an important trade centre.
Close built a school in 1836, was treasurer of Maitland
church funds, trustee of the savings bank, first president of
Maitland Hospital and warden of the district council.
Close gave the land and met the entire cost of building
St James Church of England, Morpeth, in 1837, fulfilling
a vow he made during the war that if his life was spared he
would build a church.
In 1848 Close sold his Morpeth home, Closebourne, to
the Anglican church and it became headquarters of the
diocese of Newcastle, while he built Morpeth House. He
participated in local affairs until his death in 1866.
Wilkinson was born at Bathurst in 1826, the son of a
Waterloo veteran who obtained a grant of 16 hectares in
West Maitland and settled there in 1832, taking over the
licence of the Waterloo Inn.
Wilkinson worked as a clerk and in the 1840s tried his
luck in the Californian goldfields before returning to
Australia. Back in Maitland he helped start Stack's Building
Society and the Great Northern Permanent Building
Society, of which he was a director and chairman, and was a
member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, Oddfellows and
the Masonic Order. When the volunteer movement formed
in 1860 he joined as a private and retired in 1893 as a
Colonel. For nearly 50 years he was a member of the School
of Arts, was on the Maitland Road Trust and the Maitland
Bench of Magistrates, and was for many years the returning
officer of the electorate.
He was Mayor of West Maitland on five occasions,
he time of his death in 1904.
ALTER AND RUTH CRACKNELL
ughout his life Walter Cracknell,
n in High St in 1851, played a
rominent part in civic and public
ffairs of West Maitland and Maitland.
A bakery and flour mill owner, in
local government he served almost
continuously from 1883 until his
death in 1921 and was Mayor for
five years, also serving on the Local
Government Association and Board
of Fire Commissioners. For half
a century he was an attendant of
St Pauls Church, was secretary of
Maitland Road Trust, committeeman
f the Hunter River Agricultural and
rticultural Association, director of
land Permanent Building Society
rector of Maitland Nos 1 and 2 Starr-
g daughter was Ruth Cracknell, the
actress born in Maitland who was honoured with an
AM in 1980, named one of the National Trust's 100 national
living treasures in 1998 and received honorary doctorates
from the University of Sydney and Queensland University
In 2001 she was named in the TV Week Logie Hall of Fame
for services to Australian television.
Walter Cracknell died at his home in Sempill St in 1921,
and Ruth Cracknell died in Sydney in 2002.
Maitland Library also acknowledged the work of
local historians Harry Boyle and Andrew Burg for their
contributions towards the history of the area.
... ITS PEOPLE
''Close gave the land and met
the entire cost of building St James
Church of England, Morpeth,
in 1837, fulfilling a vow he
made during the war.''
William Francis King
was a colourful ''athlete''
and street character
known as the Flying
Pieman who performed
walking feats around
Maitland in the 1840s. At
West Maitland he once
walked 1000 quarter
miles (402 km) in 1000
quarter hours, having
on the ninth day to spur
Day tracked down the
murderers from the Myall
Creek massacre in 1838
and captured the Jew
Boy gang in 1840.
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