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William Temple Graham

William Temple Graham (1795-1841) arrived on board the Warrior, 12 March 1830, with his wife, Harriet. He was formerly a captain with the Royal African Corps. He was granted permission to act as a public notary and also practised as a solicitor in the colony. In 1830 he was appointed coroner and Justice of the Peace but resigned in 1832 due, Statham reports, to 'quarrels'. Graham took up land in the Leschenault area.

Graham may perhaps be best known due to his role as a second in the colony's only fatal duel, between William Nairne Clark, a solicitor, and George French Johnson, a merchant, on 18 August 1832, when Clark's shot was (24 hours later) fatal to Johnson.

Allen Graham writes that the duel was fought at the rear of W.T. Graham's house, 'Richmond House'. Hitchcock records that it was fought 'on the south bank of the river to the west of the present traffic bridge'. (The Richmond Hotel was just above that location on what is now Canning Highway.)

Originally a Captain in the Royal African Regiment, he was granted 117.5 acres and in 1841 received titles to Leschenault 18 of 678 acres. He was a Public Notary, solicitor and Justice of the Peace in Fremantle in 1830. He resigned as Coroner for Colony in 1832. In that year he was also tried for his part in the fatal duel in which Johnson lost his life (the other duellist, Clark, was transferred to Albany). He acquired a printing press from Tasmania per Weavell and published the West Australian Colonial News in 1833. By 1838 he was living with Paul Lockyer’s wife in Perth and his will was made out in favour of her daughter, Eliza Clark. Dead Persons Society - which seems to have got all that information from Erickson, as follows:

GRAHAM, William Temple, b. 1795, d. 28.6.1841 (Frem), arr. 12.3.1830 per Warrior with wife Harriet. Chd. Elizabeth b. 1832. Formerly Capt. Royal African Colonial Regt. Granted 117. 5 acres & in 1841 received titles to Leschenault 18 of 678 acres. Public Notary, solicitor & JP 1830 at Fremantle. Resigned as Coroner for Colony 1832. Acquired a printing press from Tasmania per Weavell & published "West Australian Colonial News" 1833. In 1832 was tried for his part in the fatal duel in which Johnson lost his life (the opponent Clark transferred to Albany). By 1838 Graham was living with Paul Lockyer's wife at Perth & his will was made in favour of her dtr. Eliza Clark. (Erickson)

PAUL LOCKYER ought to have stated, that I have not resided with him since 1832, previous, to which, even, he deserted me and my children at Clarence to amuse himself with "Sailor Jim" at Fremantle, as is well known. Government removed me and children to Fremantle, but he left us in sickness again and to starve near the Thames ; but chance making the horrid case known, we were rescued from a cruel and impending death. In 1832, he declared his determination not to be troubled with wife and children and cruelly kept his word, which compelled me and my daughter, Mrs. William Nairne Clark, to go to service, where Mrs Clark continued until her marriage. Since that, I have been forced to earn my bread in service, at Mrs. MacDermott's and at Mr. Curtis's, Fremantle, with Mrs. Captain Byrne, and others and now in the same capacity with Mr. Graham. My age, sufferings from sickness, and my being a cripple, leaving aside "conscience" ought perhaps to have protected me. PAUL LOCKYER is well aware I never had any debts for which he was troubled ; he would do well to think of his own. He detained all mine and my childrens' clothes, and sold them or exchanged them for grog. And I solemnly declare I have not had a shilling from him since I came to Swan River, although I sold a freehold in my own right to bring him and family out here. I will, however, relieve the poor man from some of the odium of his foolish, unnecessary, and uncalled for effusion, by saddling the right animal with the malicious suggestion—my interesting son-in-law, William Nairne Clark, late Sheriff's Officer in a village in Scotland and now in the law here, whose strange peculiarities are too well known to need further comment.
N.B. PAUL is requested to pay the cash borrowed from me since he deserted me ; also the doctor's bill for the cure of his dislocated shoulder (got in a drunken brawl), under which he lay thirty weeks at Mr. Graham's expense. K. L.

A CARD. MRS. GEORGIANA COLLINS begs most respectfully to return her sincere thanks publicly to the Gentlemen of Perth for the liberal manner in which they have voluntarily contributed to pay the Fine levied on her by the Magistrates for horsewhipping OLD GRAHAM, late Captain of the Royal African Corps, and now, a Practitioner in the Civil Court of this Colony. Yes, I am proud ! I must be proud to see A big man, not afraid of God, afraid of me !

PAUL LOCKYER hereby intimates, that he will not be responsible for any Debts contracted by his wife, KEZIAH LOCKYER, who resides with MR. W. T. GRAHAM, late of the Royal African Corps, and now a Practitioner in the Civil Court. Mill Point Belches, March 22.

Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, Saturday 31 March 1838, p. 49.

References and Links

Graham, Allen 2005, 'Early duels of Fremantle', Fremantle Studies, 4: 95-106.

Hasluck, Alexandra 1955, Georgiana Molloy: Portrait with Backgound, OUP, Melbourne; republ. FACP 1990.

Joske, E. J. P. 1974, 'Captain Graham: colonist and coroner of Fremantle', Early Days, vol. 7, part 6: 49-59.

Statham, Pamela, Dictionary of Western Australians 1829-1941, Vol. 1: Early Settlers, 1829-1850.

Perth Dead Persons Society: the Warrior.

Garry Gillard | New: 28 October, 2015 | Now: 23 April, 2021