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Mark John Currie (1795–1874)

by Xavier Reader, Caroline Ingram and Jane Lydon

This article was published:

Mark John Currie, by Camille Silvy (11 June 1862)

Mark John Currie, by Camille Silvy (11 June 1862)

National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG Ax58508

Mark John Currie (17951874) was a vice admiral in the British Royal Navy and an early colonial administrator of the Swan River colony (Western Australia). He was born on 21 June 1795 at Gatton, Surrey, England, to Mark Currie Esquire (c.17591835), a distiller, and Elizabeth Close (17661856).[i] He had at least nine siblings: William (17911869), Elizabeth (17971879), Henry (c.17991873), Frederick (17991875), Charles (c.18001884), Edward Hamilton (18041889), Percy Gore (c.18061886), Alfred Peter (1806c.1847), and Anne (18081864).[ii] They were likely raised in Middlesex, perhaps in Bloomsbury, which was described as his father’s place of residence from at least 1815 and listed as the birthplace for most of the children after 1799.[iii]

Currie was descended from a long line of Scottish ancestry, which can be traced back to the early 1600s.[iv] His grandfather, William Currie (17211781), relocated to England in the mid-eighteenth century and generated significant wealth as a successful banker and distiller.[v] Located in Limehouse, Middlesex, his company distilled malt; he also owned property on the south side of Poplar Street in London from 1775, which may have been another distilling site.[vi] In October 1773 he established the family’s banking venture: Mason, Currie, James & Yallowley.[vii] He was one of its main founders and the primary provider of initial capital, contributing £10,000.[viii] The bank’s premises were located at 29 Cornhill.[ix] By 1789 the bank was turning a significant profit of £8,776.[x] Curries & Co., as it came to be known, would eventually amalgamate to become part of the Royal Bank of Scotland.[xi] It has been linked to slavery through its provision of mortgages for various slave estates across the West Indies.[xii] The success of Curries & Co. was, however, dwarfed by the profits reaped from the business of distilling.[xiii]

Several of Currie’s uncles also entered the banking profession like his grandfather.[xiv] In addition to his prominent role in Curries & Co., Isaac Currie (17601843) had financial interests in slavery in the West Indies. He was the executor of multiple claims for slavery compensation for Roslin Estate, Brimmer Hall Estate, Trinity Estate, and Tryall Estate in Jamaica, along with other stakeholders, including his brother-in-law Job Mathew Raikes.[xv] These claims reached a total of £15,381.[xvi] He continued to dominate Curries & Co. until his death.[xvii] As Nicholas Draper has shown, alongside mercantile credit offered by London merchants, British banks played a significant role in financing the slave economy by the 1820s. Of thirty London banks listed as agents or principals in the slavery compensation records, Curries & Co. was one of four banks that acted as trustees or executors for slave-owners and as agents for collecting compensation. [xviii]

One of Currie’s cousins, Raikes Currie (18011881, the son of Isaac), became a partner in Curries & Co. in 1826.[xix]He was one of the members of the board of directors for the South Australian Company.[xx] This was a commercial enterprise intended to encourage the purchase of land in the new colony to allow it to meet the requirements of the South Australian Colonisation Act 1834 (UK). One of the conditions of the Act was that land to the value of £35,000 must be bought in the new colony to finance the emigration of new colonists.[xxi] The company sold shares to the value of £25 each and Raikes Currie, his brother Isaac George Currie, and his cousin Henry Currie all bought shares in the company, amounting to a total value of £9,000.[xxii] The South Australian Company also formed the Bank of South Australia.[xxiii] By 1840 Raikes Currie’s name no longer appeared in advertisements for the Bank of South Australia, but Curries & Co. was instead listed as the bankers for the Bank of South Australia.[xxiv] He was also involved with other companies in the area including the South Australian Church Society, for which he acted as treasurer and to which he made a subscription; the South Australian School Society committee, which was founded to establish and conduct schools in the new colony; and the Australasian Loan Company, formed for the purpose of lending money to those who could use land in Australia as security.[xxv] In 1839 Curries & Co. served on the provisional committee of the Australasian Loan Company.[xxvi]

Meanwhile, alongside these banking endeavours Currie’s father continued the family’s other core business, opening the distillery Mark Currie and Co. in Duke Street, Bloomsbury, Middlesex in 1791.[xxvii] In 1821 the distillery shifted its premises to Vine Street.[xxviii] The move may have been due to the growth of the business, as from 1818 to 1821 it was producing between 56,992 and 91,647 gallons of liquor annually. The distillery remained in operation until at least 1832.[xxix] Giving a further sense of scale, Mark Currie and Co. purchased an insurance policy of £50,000—the largest of all distillers in the 1820s.[xxx]

However, Currie did not follow in his forebears’ footsteps to take up the professions of either banking or distilling. Instead, he entered Britain’s Royal Navy on 29 April 1808, aged thirteen. He first saw service aboard the Warspite, but by 1813 he had been appointed to the Centaur, where he was made lieutenant.[xxxi] In January 1823 he was promoted to the rank of commander.[xxxii] During this period of his career he served in the Mediterranean, the East Indies, and the colony of New South Wales.[xxxiii] His visit to New South Wales came during his command of the Satellite in 1823.[xxxiv] He returned to England later the same year, captaining the Asia.[xxxv]

After his arrival in New South Wales, in May 1823 Currie, accompanied by John Ovens and Joseph Wild, undertook an exploration of the area to the south of Lake George.[xxxvi] The journey brought the party into contact with local Indigenous people. In his diary of the expedition, Currie wrote on 4 June that his party:

met a tribe of natives, who fled at our approach, never (as we learned afterwards) having seen Europeans before; however, we soon by tokens of kindness, offering them biscuits, &c. together with the assistance of a domesticated native of our party, induced them to come nearer and nearer, till by degrees we ultimately became very good friends.[xxxvii]

A few days later, the strategy of developing relationships through communication and the giving of gifts had developed a more coercive undertone. Recording his next encounter with two locals, Currie reported:

 they fled like deer the instant they saw us, and being pursued by us on horseback, ran with great agility to the tops of trees, whence it required no small degree of persuasion to remove them; but succeeding at last in getting them down, we compelled one of them to go with us to show us the way to Lake Bathurst.[xxxviii]

Currie, along with the other members of his party, is credited with the European discovery of the Monaroo plains and the Murrumbidgee River.[xxxix] The exploration paved the way for the white settlement of the region that would later become known as the Australian Capital Territory and for the appropriation of the land for the purpose of sheep-grazing.[xl]

Little is known about Currie’s life between his return to England in 1823 and his marriage to Jane Eliza Wood (17971876) on 14 January 1829.[xli] Wood was the daughter of Charles Boynton Wood (17491821) and Harriot Gascoigne (c.17601817).[xlii] She likely resided at Upper John Street in Hayes, Middlesex, which was listed as her father’s residence in 1817.[xliii]

In February 1829, less than a month after their marriage, Currie and his wife emigrated to the newly founded Swan River colony, arriving aboard the Parmelia on 8 July 1829.[xliv] They were also accompanied by at least three servants: Frederick Ludlow (b.1796), Mildred Ludlow (18031834), and Jane Fruin (b.1808).[xlv] In accordance with the terms of granting land based on the value of assets introduced to the colony, Currie was granted 12,200 acres of land for his investments, which were valued at £917.[xlvi] He took up part of this land bordering the left bank of the Swan River in the suburb now known as Crawley. He later resided in Redcliffe on a grant of 2,560 acres, to which he gained full title in fee simple after satisfactory improvements on the grant by July 1832.[xlvii] Another part of his grant was situated adjacent to his good friend James Stirling’s Beverley grant.[xlviii] The Currie residence at Swan River was much admired in the colony, with one observer commenting that ‘Curries [sic] place does him the greatest credit—his garden is full of the very finest vegetables, and he has built a most comfortable little brick house.’[xlix]

In addition to his agricultural pursuits, Currie was also a public official. In 1829 he was appointed a member of the Board of Counsel and Audit.[l] He was said to have been selected due to his qualities of ‘ability, intelligence, and integrity,’ but it was also likely due to his previous experience in administration through his role as secretary to Sir Henry Blackwood between 1827 and 1828, during which he was noted to have ‘officiated with great ability.’[li]Providing him with an annual salary of £300, his role primarily revolved around determining the amount of land that was to be granted to incoming settlers according to the value of the assets they introduced to the colony. After April 1831 Currie was the sole commissioner for the board, following William Stirling’s death.[lii] He also served as harbour master of Fremantle, though no official salary was attached to this position.[liii]

At Swan River Currie undertook several expeditions to define the borders of the new colony. On 30 July 1829 he ‘set off to explore 20 miles to the Southward of Swan River, to ascertain whether any river ran.’[liv] On 27 April 1830 he journeyed to Cape Leeuwin to determine the suitability of using the Cape as a shipping port.[lv] As in the case of his exploration of New South Wales, his wife’s diary gives equal hints of conflict between encroaching settlers and local Noongar people. In February 1832 Jane Currie remarked: ‘Larens boy [was] killed by natives on road.’[lvi] A few months later, she noted that ‘natives speared pigs in swamp’ and referred to a previous incident where ‘a native [was] killed in the act of stopping Bland’s cart going over to York.’[lvii]

During their residence at Swan River, Currie and his wife had at least two children: Jane Eliza (18301913) and Mark Riddell (18311870).[lviii] In June 1832 he requested to leave the colony and return to England to attend to unspecified ‘urgent private affairs.’[lix] He left the colony permanently along with his wife and children on 12 August 1832 aboard the Sulphur.[lx]

Shortly after his return to England, Currie recommenced his naval career. By May 1834 he was captaining the Orontes, a ship owned by Smith and Company, which left from Portsmouth bound for Madras and Bengal via the Cape of Good Hope.[lxi] In 1854 he took up a post of secretary for James Stirling, serving alongside him in Hong Kong, known as the East Indies station.[lxii] In 1862 he was still serving as a captain in the Royal Navy; by his retirement he had ascended to the rank of admiral.[lxiii]

In 1856 Currie’s mother, Elizabeth, died. She had inherited £10,000 from her husband, who died in 1835, bequeathing his entire estate to her.[lxiv] In her will, she divided this equally between her children, and Currie received £1,250.[lxv]He died on 2 May 1874 at Collington House, Anerley, England.[lxvi] At the time of his death his estate was valued at under £3,000.[lxvii] He was succeeded by his daughter Jane Eliza (d.1913).[lxviii] Point Currie, Matilda Bay, on the Swan River, bears his name.[lxix] Mark John Currie and his extended familial and professional networks exemplify the intergenerational movement of investment in Britain’s slave economy to the newer Australasian settler colonies.

 

 

[i] Mark John Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Gatton, Saint Andrews, 1795, Surrey History Centre Archives, P13/1/3, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/4790/images/40761_312028-00916?pId=300361; Mark Currie, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Cobham, Surrey, 1835, Surrey History Centre Archives, COB/4/1, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/176795:4786?ssrc=pt&tid=5047415&pid=232196065727;  Elizabeth Close, baptism, Parish Registers for North Yorkshire; North Riding Record Office, PR/EAS 1/2, Ancestry;  Will of Elizabeth Currie, Widow of Cobham, Surrey, 1856, PROB 11/2228/201, The National Archives, UK (TNA), https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D17643.

[ii] William Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Gatton, Saint Andrews, Surrey, 1791, Surrey History Centre Archives, P13/1/3, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/300347:4790?ssrc=pt&tid=5047415&pid=232196066073; William Currie, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Hillingdon, Middlesex, 1869, London Metropolitan Archives, Dro/110/026, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/9688424:1559?tid=&pid=&queryId=f7b0aed4231db23fca0699298392f016&_phsrc=uLl46&_phstart=successSource; Elizabeth Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Woking, Surrey, 1797, Surrey History Centre Archives, P13/1/3, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/300368:4790?ssrc=pt&tid=5047415&pid=232498265484;  Elizabeth Currie, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Brompton, London, 1879, TNA, 97/136, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/61801/images/61801_work97_136-00241?pId=98495; Henry Currie, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Chilworth, Surrey, 1873, Surrey History Centre Archives, 7224/1/5, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/2952279:4786?tid=&pid=&queryId=f5c41de8cc2c77e24378984c5f6d1710&_phsrc=uLl47&_phstart=successSource;  Frederick Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Saint George, Bloomsbury, 1799, London Metropolitan Archives, P82/GE01/002, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/1624/images/31280_199042-00404?pId=2958436; Sir Frederick Bart Currie, Probate Record, Sussex, 1875, National Probate Calendar of England and Wales, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/4116859:1904?ssrc=pt&tid=5047415&pid=232040380665; Charles Currie, Deaths Index, Civil Registration Deaths Index of England and Wales, Ancestry.com online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/8260439:8914?tid=&pid=&queryId=9784bd49a18e1b2effbfc159d7a84486&_phsrc=uLl50&_phstart=successSource; Edward Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Saint George, Bloomsbury, 1804, London Metropolitan Archives, P82/GE01/002, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/2987759:1624?ssrc=pt&tid=88199973&pid=390040918784; Edward Currie, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Ticehurst, Sussex, 1889, East Sussex Record Office, BN19BP, https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/004426880?i=367&cc=1465706; Percy Gore Powys, Probate Record, Bournemouth, 1886, National Index of Wills and Administrations England and Wales, FamilySearch Online Database, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6FLN-NT61; Alfred Peter Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Saint George, Bloomsbury, 1806, London Metropolitan Archives, P82/GEO1/002, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/2958982:1624?ssrc=pt&tid=62126081&pid=32239730473; Anne Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Saint George, Bloomsbury, 1808, London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), P82/GEO1/002, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/1624/images/31280_199042-00435?pId=2041560; Anne Heathcote, Probate Record, National Probate Calendar of England and Wales, 1864, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/2276477:1904?ssrc=pt&tid=62126081&pid=48585636413

[iii] Bernard Cohn, ‘The British in Benares: A Nineteenth Century Colonial Society,’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 4, no. 2 (1962): 179; Frederick Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Saint George, Bloomsbury, 1799, London Metropolitan Archives, P82/GE01/002, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/imageviewer/collections/1624/images/31280_199042-00404?pId=2958436

[iv] Royal Bank of Scotland, ‘Curries & Co: The Early Years,’ Three Banks Review 61 (1964): 35; Cohn, ‘The British in Benares,’ 179. Following his father’s retirement, Mark moved to the town of Hayes, Middlesex. See Cohn, ‘The British in Benares,’ 179.

[v] Bernard Burke, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, vol. 1, (Crans: Burke’s Peerage Genealogical Books, 1999): 745; William Currie, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Saint Dunstan, Middlesex, 1781, London Metropolitan Archives, P93/DUN/135, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/3484540:1624?tid=&pid=&queryId=0e0fffb74504b88d1d06ddce88b8d257&_phsrc=uLl66&_phstart=successSource

[vi] ‘Will of William Currie, Malt Distiller of Poplar, Middlesex,’ 1781, TNA, PROB11/1083/384, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D396959. See also F. Wilson, A Strong and Supporting Cast: The Shaw Lefevres 1789-1936(London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 21.

[vii] ‘Poplar High Street: South Side,’ in Survey of London: Volumes 43 and 44, Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs, ed. Hermione Hobhouse (London, 1994), 77-90, British History Online Database, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols43-4/pp77-90#anchorn178; Royal Bank of Scotland, ‘Curries & Co,’ 37.

[viii] Royal Bank of Scotland, ‘Curries & Co,’ 37. See also ‘Curries & Co,’ Heritage Companies, NatWest Group, https://www.natwestgroup.com/heritage/companies/curries-and-co.html and ‘William Currie,’ Heritage People, NatWest Group, https://www.natwestgroup.com/heritage/people/william-currie.html.

[ix] Royal Bank of Scotland, ‘Curries & Co,’ 37.

[x] Royal Bank of Scotland, ‘Curries & Co,’ 61, 43.

[xi] Wilson, A Strong Supporting Cast, 21. The Royal Bank of Scotland has also been identified by research of the Legacies of British Slavery project for its connection to financing slavery interests. See ‘Royal Bank of Scotland,’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/firm/view/2144928680.

[xii] ‘Curries & Co,’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/firm/view/1660752256; Nicholas Draper, ‘The City of London and Slavery: Evidence from the First Dock Companies, 1795-1800,’ The Economic History Review, 60, no. 2 (2005): 450.

[xiii] Royal Bank of Scotland, ‘Curries & Co,’ 61, 38.

[xiv] Isaac Currie, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Saint Dunstan, Middlesex, 1760, London Metropolitan Archives, P93/DUN/004, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/448678:1624?ssrc=pt&tid=78035741&pid=390006278869; Will of Isaac Currie, Banker of Cornhill, City of London, 1843, PROB 11/1977/327, TNA, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D99504; Bernard Burke, Burke’s 107th Peerage: Burke’s Dormant Peerage (London: Burke’s Peerage and Gentry, 2008): 1002.

[xv] ‘Isaac Currie,’ Legacies of British Slavery (LBS) Online Database, University College London (UCL), https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/14445; ‘Jamaica St Mary 262 (Roslin Estate),’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/14442; Jamaica St Mary 264 (Brimmer Hall Estate),’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/14443; ‘Jamaica St Mary 265 (Trinity Estate),’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/14444; ‘Jamaica St Mary 266 (Tryall Estate),’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/14445. Isaac’s son, Isaac George Currie (1792-1858), who was Mark John Currie’s cousin, also received £20,031 for his role as a trustee for several estates in Westmoreland, Jamaica. See ‘Isaac George Currie,’ LBS Online Database, UCL, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/43760

[xvi] Ibid.

[xvii] Roger Fulford, Glyn’s 1753-1953: Six Generations in Lombard Street (London: Macmillan, 1953), 187.

[xviii] Nicholas Draper, The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation and British Society at the End of Slavery (New York: Cambridge University Press. 2010), 243. He notes that around fifteen of these banks were predecessor banks of today’s Royal Bank of Scotland Group, 244.

[xix] John Powell, ‘Currie, Raikes (1801–1881), banker and politician,’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 September 2004, Oxford University Press, accessed 6 October 2023, https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-48015.

[xx] ‘The New Colony.—South Australia,’ The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales, 14 May 1836,  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2204318;  ‘The South Australian Company,’ South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, 18 June 1836,  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31749623; Edwin Hodder ed., The Founding of South Australia: As recorded in the Journals of Mr Robert Gouger, First Colonial Secretary (London: Sampson Low, Marston, and Company, 1898).

[xxi] An Act to empower His Majesty to erect South Australia into a British province or provinces, and to provide for the colonization and government thereof 1834 (UK) 4 & 5 Will. IV, c. 95; South Australia Act, or Foundation Act, of 1834 (UK), Museum of Australian Democracy, accessed 18 October 1923  from https://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/item-did-1.html.

[xxii] South Australian Company and London Office, Deed of Settlement 1836, https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/BRG+42/11/5/62, State Library of South Australia.

[xxiii] ‘To the Editor,’ The Cornwall Chronicle,  30 September 1837, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65949978.

[xxiv] ‘Advertising,’ South Australian Register, 6 November 1847, 1, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48543056.

[xxv] ‘A Plan for the Establishment of Schools in the New Colony of South Australia,’ South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, 6 January 1838, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31749756; ‘Loan Company,’ South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, 3 November 1838, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31750208.

[xxvi] ‘Loan Company,’ Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 16 February 1839, 28.

[xxvii] Henry Kent, Kent’s Directory for the year 1794: Containing an Alphabetical List of the Directors of Companies in the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Borough of Southwark (London: R&H Causton, 1794), 50; ‘Insured: Mark Currie, Dukes Street, Bloomsbury, Esq,’ Catalogue record, 6 March 1802, LMA, CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/424/730061, https://search.lma.gov.uk/SCRIPTS/MWIMAIN.DLL/211113512/2/5/2583139?RECORD&UNION=Y&URLMARKER=STARTREQUEST. 

[xxviii] ‘Insured: Mark Currie Vine Street Bloomsbury Esq,’ Catalogue record, 5 December 1821, LMA, CLC/B/F/001/MS11936/489/985967. 

[xxix] University of Southampton, ‘Accounts relating to distillation in England, Scotland and Ireland, 1820-21 (Britain: House of Commons, 1822), 11, https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/community.29945890.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Ae8938a2e0c7e6c2f965297542b2bdb01&ab_segments=&origin=&initiator=&acceptTC=1 ; ‘Insured: Mark Currie and Co., Vine Street Bloomsbury, Distillers,’ Catalogue records, 18 January 1832, LMA, CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/532/1136049, https://search.lma.gov.uk/SCRIPTS/MWIMAIN.DLL/211113512/2/21/3173872?RECORD&UNION=Y&URLMARKER=STARTREQUEST.

[xxx] David Barnett, ‘The Structure of Industry in London, 1775-1825,’ (University of Nottingham: PhD thesis, 1996), 136.

[xxxi] ‘Obituary,’ Illustrated London News, 16 May 1874; William O’Byrne, A Naval Biographical Dictionary (London: John Murray Publishing, 1849), 252.

[xxxii] John Marshall, Royal Naval Biography (London: Longman and Company Publishing, 1835), 125.

[xxxiii] ‘Obituary,’ Illustrated London News, 16 May 1874; The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India, China, and Australasia (London: Parbury, Allen, and Co., 1834), 62.

[xxxiv] L.F Fitzhardinge, Old Canberra and the Search for a Capital (Canberra: Queanbeyan Publishing, 1975), 60.

[xxxv] O’Byrne, A Naval Biographical Dictionary, vol. 3, 994.

[xxxvi] Mark John Currie, ‘Journal of an Excursion to the Southward of Lake George in New South Wales,’ in Barron Field, eds, Geographical memoirs on New South Wales (London: John Murray Publishing, 1825): 375-376

[xxxvii] Currie, ‘Journal of an Excursion,’ 375-376

[xxxviii] Currie, ‘Journal of an Excursion,’ 378-379. Mark later recorded that ‘the native, whom we pressed yesterday, contrived to slip away from us, in coming over one of the steep hills.’ Currie, ‘Journal of an Excursion,’ 380.

[xxxix] Currie, ‘Journal of an Excursion,’ 378; ‘Capt. Mark Currie: Canberra’s First Explorer,’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 May 1927, 2.

[xl] Currie, ‘Journal of an Excursion,’ 378.

[xli] Jane Wood, Baptisms, Church of England Parish Registers, Parish of Saint Pancras, Middlesex, 1797, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/186437568:9841?tid=&pid=&queryId=3f5cfb0ba133ce2d437d4359ccdc2700&_phsrc=uLl79&_phstart=successSource; ‘Currie, Jane,’ National Probate Calendar of England and Wales, 1876, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/3297491:1904?tid=&pid=&queryId=ef5211214123f81a2fdb5bb1c7a99965&_phsrc=uLl80&_phstart=successSource; Register of Marriage, Mark John Currie and Jane Wood, Marriages in the Parish of Hillingdon, 1829, LMA, Dro/047/A/01/002, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/7847799:1623?ssrc=pt&tid=780374&pid=247750732.

[xlii] Baptism, Charles Boynton Wood, London Church of England Parish Registers; LMA, P82/GEO2/001, Ancestry; Charles Boynton Wood, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Saint James, Westminster, 1821, LMA, Dl/T/090/014, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/10167164:1559?ssrc=pt&tid=780374&pid=162337134582; Baptism, Harriot Gascoigne, England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887, FamilySearch, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QLYN-1G3R; Harriot Wood, Burial Register, Burials in the Parish of Saint James, Westminster, 1817, London Metropolitan Archives, Dl/T/090/010, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/10162052:1559?tid=&pid=&queryId=e33ae14427741f2c886c15fed0b4a233&_phsrc=uLl82&_phstart=successSource.  

[xliii] Sylvanus Urban, The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle, vol. 87 (London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley, 1817), 92.

[xliv] Parmelia passenger list, Western Australia Passenger Arrivals and Departures – Swan River Colony 1826-1838, produced by Graham Brown for the Swan River Pioneers Special Interest Group of the Western Australian Genealogical Society, Family History WA Online Database, http://data.fhwa.org.au/component/content/article/72-members/358-swan-river-colony-arrivals-and-departures-1829-1838; ‘Frederick Ludlow,’ The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, pre-1829-1988 (WABD), ed. Rica Erickson (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1987); ‘Jane Fruin,’ WABD. See also Jane Currie’s diary which begins with their disembarkation from the Parmelia: Jane Currie, diary 1829-1832, manuscript, State Library of Western Australia (SLWA), acc. no. 329A, 7. Several of Mark John’s brothers also emigrated to British colonies. Frederick, for instance, had a long and lucrative career in India. See Cohn, ‘The British in Benares,’ 179. Mark John’s cousin, Raikes Currie (1801-1881) chose to invest in the neighbouring colony of South Australia. Raikes became one of the founders of the South Australian Company and a director of the Van Diemen’s Land Company.

[xlv] Parmelia passenger list, SROWA; ‘Frederick Ludlow,’ WABD; ‘Jane Fruin,’ WABD.

[xlvi] SROWA, cons 5000, vol. 7, folio 171.

[xlvii] Berryman, A Colony Detailed, 97; SROWA, cons 5000, vol. 23, folio 140.

[xlviii] Ibid.

[xlix] ‘Colonel Hanson’s Pamphlet,’ Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 12 January 1833, 7.

[l] SROWA, cons 5000, vol. 20, folio 96; SROWA, cons 5000, vol. 36, folio 121.

[li] O’Byrne, A Naval Biographical Dictionary, 252.

[lii] Berryman, A Colony Detailed, 97.

[liii] SROWA, cons 5000, vol. 36, folio 121.

[liv] Diary of Jane Currie, SLWA, 9.

[lv] Diary of Jane Currie, SLWA, 23.

[lvi] Diary of Jane Currie, SLWA, 53.

[lvii] Diary of Jane Currie, SLWA, 59. See also Jane’s entries for 8th April 1831, where she remarked ‘Natives troublesome. Stole 500 cwt. of flour’, 18th March 1832, ‘this time natives speared,’ 25th April 1832, ‘Cobear shot a native.’ Jane Currie diary, 39, 55.

[lviii] Jane Eliza was born on the 27th of January 1830 and Mark Riddell on the 17th August 1831. See diary of Jane Currie, SLWA, 21, 45.

[lix] SROWA, cons 5000, vol. 22, folio 169-170.

[lx] Diary of Jane Currie, SLWA, 59.

[lxi] The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India, China, and Australasia (London: Parbury, Allen, and Co., 1834), 62.

[lxii] O’Byrne, A Naval Biographical Dictionary, 252.

[lxiii] ‘Admiralty,’ The London Gazette, 20 May 1862, 2515.

[lxiv] Will of Mark Currie, Distiller of Saint George, Bloomsbury, Middlesex,’ 1835, TNA, PROB11/1846/285, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D273111; Will of Elizabeth Currie, Widow of Cobham, Surrey,’ 1856, TNA, PROB11/2228/201, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D17643.

[lxv] Will of Elizabeth Currie, Widow of Cobham, Surrey,’ 1856, TNA, PROB11/2228/201.

[lxvi] ‘Obituary,’ Illustrated London News, 16 May 1874.

[lxvii] ‘Currie, Mark John,’ National Probate Calendar of England and Wales, 1874, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/2631122:1904?tid=&pid=&queryId=5d16e30a0e137f8c5ec3e5a218d7bacb&_phsrc=Gnd319&_phstart=successSource.

[lxviii] ‘Jane Eliza MacRae,’ National Probate Calendar of England and Wales, 1913, Ancestry.com Online Database, https://www.ancestrylibrary.com.au/discoveryui-content/view/3539592:1904?ssrc=pt&tid=901496&pid=24093531208.

[lxix] Robert Stephens, ‘A sweet spot in an old Colonial Garden: the historical background of the side of the University of Western Australia,’ Early Days: Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, 4, no. 2 (1950), 38.

Original Publication

Citation details

Xavier Reader, Caroline Ingram and Jane Lydon, 'Currie, Mark John (1795–1874)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/currie-mark-john-34172/text42889, accessed 26 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Mark John Currie, by Camille Silvy (11 June 1862)

Mark John Currie, by Camille Silvy (11 June 1862)

National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG Ax58508

Life Summary [details]

Birth

21 June, 1795
Gatton, Surrey, England

Death

2 May, 1874 (aged 78)
Anerley, London, England

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Occupation