Fremantle Stuff > depots > Lynton


The Lynton Convict Hiring Depot was at Lynton townsite in the midwest region of Western Australia. It is part of a larger rural district known as Yallabatharra. Lynton is situated at the mouth of the Hutt River, 7.6 kilometres by road from Gregory – between the larger towns of Northampton and Kalbarri. Lynton is also the name of an (agricultural) station. Gregory was formerly called Port Gregory, and before that, Pakington.

Lynton Station is on the left of this photograph from the Google Maps satellite. Sandford's house is at the top. The position of the ruins of the hiring depot is indicated by the pin on the right.

Anonymous drawing of the depot c. 1856. Marshall Clifton Collection SLWA 7293B.

Ruins of the Hiring Station (after some restoration)

The Lynton Hiring Station is located on the road to Port Gregory and was established in 1853 to serve the Geraldine Mine and pastoralists in the area. The depot served as an employment agency where ‘ticket-of-leave’ holders could be hired by private enterprise. Lynton House was also the residence of Captain Sanford.

The advent of convict labour and their pensioner guard soldiers in 1853 saw a small community struggling to exist in the area. Life was hard for the families of pensioner guards who were still living in tattered tents in 1855, while five single women from ‘Bride ships’ are also recorded to have arrived at Lynton. On 1 March 1854, the Government officially proclaimed the twin town-sites of Pakington (Port Gregory) and Lynton, with building lots available for purchase. The name Pakington was chosen to try and secure the favour of J. S. Pakington, the Secretary for the Colonies at the time, who disagreed with the project and felt the money being spent on Port Gregory was a waste. The Lynton Hiring Station was abandoned in December 1856 due to the harsh conditions and continued problems with transporting ore from the Geraldton mine. (Rodrigues and Anderson: 9)

The Lynton Convict Hiring Depot (1853–1857) was the first convict depot north of Fremantle, Western Australia. It was established on 22 May 1853 with the arrival of the 173 ton brigantine Leander, which transferred 60 ticket-of-leave convicts and Pensioner Guards (retired British soldiers) who had arrived at Fremantle on the Pyrenees on 1 May. It was established to supply labour to the Geraldine Lead Mine, 64 kilometres (40 miles) north of the site on the Murchison River, and to local settlers. The depot was closed by order of Governor Kennedy on 3 January 1857 due to the high cost to the government of its maintenance.
Lynton Convict Hiring Depot is situated approximately 6.3 km (3.9 mi) east-southeast of Gregory, Western Australia.
By 1856 a store, bakery, depot, lockup, hospital, lime kiln and administration block had all been built but a lack of fresh vegetables had seen the convict population ravaged by scurvy. It was decided to close the settlement and the convicts were transferred with the officer in charge to Champion Bay in 1857. The transfer seems to have been due to the growing importance of the town of Geraldton, and the need for public works in the district.
Five women from the "Bride Ships" were known to have arrived in Lynton.
Lynton remains the most intact example of a regional convict depot in Western Australia. Entered on the Register of the national estate and vested in the Northampton Shire Council, conservation works are in progress via the Northampton Historical Society. Wikipedia.

References and Links

Four of the images are from Google Maps. The second one is from Wikipedia.

Anderson, Ross 2018, 'Pakington whaling station inspection, Port Gregory', report, Dept Maritime Archaeology, WA Museum, no. 328.

Gibbs, Martin 1999, An archaeological survey of the Lynton pensioner guard cottages and Sanford’s Mill, Lynton Station, Gregory, Western Australia—Midwest Archaeological Survey 1998/99, Northampton Shire Council, Northampton, Western Australia.

Gibbs, Martin 2001, ‘The archaeology of the convict system in Western Australia’, Australasian Historical Archaeology, 19:60–72.

Gibbs, Martin 2006, ‘Convict places in Western Australia’, in J. Sherriff and A. Brake (eds) Building a colony: the convict legacy. Studies in Western Australian history No. 24, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, pp. 71–97.

Gibbs, Martin 2007, 'Lynton: convicts, landscape and colonisation strategies in midwest Western Australia', Australasian Historical Archaeology, 25.

Oldman, Diane nd, 'Port Gregory (Lynton) Convict Depot', online.

Rodrigues, Jennifer & Ross Anderson 2006, 'Pakington Whaling Station', Report, Dept Marine Archeology, WA Museum, no. 214.

Wikipedia page for Lynton.

Wikipedia page for Lynton Convict Hiring Depot.

Garry Gillard | New: 21 July, 2020 | Now: 29 July, 2020