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Richard Morrell

Arrived per Eagle 19 January 1832, from Launceston.


The sketcher, builder, farmer, postmaster and publican, was born in England on 29 January 1809, son of John Morrell, a pioneer farmer at Northam, Western Australia. Richard followed his father to the antipodes, arriving at Fremantle via Launceston and King George Sound in the Eagle on 19 January 1832. In August he drew View of Fremantle, Western Australia, from Church Hill, East of the Town (Art Gallery of Western Australia [AGWA]) in pen, ink and watercolour. This lively sketch inscribed with comments identifying landmarks is annotated: 'There are many houses up the side of the river which are not seen in this view’. He sent the drawing to his English friends, the engravers John and Charles Wilson, accompanying it with a letter to John praising the country and climate. John Wilson’s lithograph after Morrell’s sketch was published in London in December 1832 (Mitchell Library, AGWA, British Library).
By then Morrell had started farming near Fremantle and in the Karrakatta district. He married Susannah Summerland at Fremantle on 5 March 1839, and they had nine children. Morrell worked as a builder at Perth for some time, erecting a church there in 1840. He moved to Northam about 1845 after inheriting a share in his father’s property, Morby Farm. There he was variously tollkeeper on the York Road, licensee of the Northam Inn, builder and licensee of his own hotel, and postmaster. He died of rheumatic fever at Northam on 29 April 1863. No other drawings are known. Design and Art.

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