Capt. George Manning 1811–1907
A convict arrived on the 'Norfolk' 27 August 1829 sentenced to seven years at the Surrey Quarter Sessions.
It is not given to many (writes a correspondent) to pass the end of their lives close to the place where their life work has been carried on, but such was the case with Capt George Manning, who died at Sackville, on the 22 July 1907.
His home was the farm originally built by Mr George Loder, one of the pioneers of farming on the fertile river when it was the granary for the infant colony an important agricultural asset of the land in times when food was often famine prices. The late Mr Manning was in his 96th year at the time of his death; and two years ago, when the writer visited him, had a vivid remembrance of the river from the days of the very early sailing vessels there. He remembered the boat building that made the river a busy place, and the forests of cedar that the sawyers felled and floated down the numerous creeks and rivers, Although before his time, he could speak of such early men as Griffiths, the boat builder, whose Bee took Governor Bligh on his many expeditions to the Green Hills, as Windsor was then called, 'Boat and ship building formed a most important river industry in my early days,' said Captain Manning. 'Beazley's Wharf, between Richmond and Windsor, was still busy, though the building of the Mary and Elizabeth and the Governor Bourke was before my time. The Glory was the last of Griffiths' boats, built about 1819, and the Francis and the Norfolk were still talked of. Captain Manning's sailing vessel, so many years the favorite passenger and cargo boat of the Hawkesbury, was the Maid of Australia, 'but I suppose,' said the ex-master, 'most of those who travelled by her have joined the great majority,' for few live to bear the weight of 90 years. The Loders, Halls, Churchills, Doyles, Parnells, Bowmans, and many other men who first lived at Hawkesbury, though now their names are known throughout the land, were my passengers, and gladly paid 12/6 for a trip from Sydney to Windsor in The Maid. Many a little girl, now a middle aged woman, has been put under my care for her first trip to the big city, as it was then looked on as quite an adventure for young people to go so far from home as from the river to Sydney.' Captain Manning was long the only survivor of the band of river shipmasters who all rest in the graveyards along the banks of the Hawkesbury - Captains Grono, Herd, Christie, Sternbeck, Books, and his partner, Mitchell, being his early contemporaries. Among his passengers was the one-time almost king of the river, old Solomon Wiseman. 'I knew him well,' said the captain. 'He was providore for the convicts, and made many thousands out of that job. A rough mannered man, but very hospitable, and hand-in-glove with the Government. The judges on circuit, especially Judge Roger Therry used to stay with him, in his old house (now an hotel at the Ferry), in the days of overlanding, when they travelled on horseback that way between Sydney and Maitland. Captain Manning came out from England when a child in the very early emigration days.[sic]
After steamers were introduced on to the river as passenger carriers, he continued to command a vessel; and was, for over 50 years, until his retirement into private life on his farm, constantly engaged in the Hawkesbury River traffic. Even to the last he showed traces of what a fine personage physically he was, being fully 6ft high, and a broad, well-built figure. His daughters, who have lived all their lives in the district, tended him in his declining years, and carried on the work of the farm since he ceased to be able to do so.
The late George Manning had been 78 years in New South Wales, and in 1838, at the age of 26, at Sackville Reach, he married Elizabeth Elkins. The issue of the marriage was 11 children, (three of whom are dead, viz, James, who died at Lower Portland, George, and William, who died on the Clarence River. The surviving members of the family are Mrs T. Turnbull (Canterbury); Ann, Mrs John Warr Turnbull (Sackville) Miss Sarah Manning (Sackville); Mr Frederick Manning (Narrabri); Mrs Griffiths (Colo Vale); Mr Andrew Manning (Terrace, Windsor); Mr Charles Manning (Lithgow); and Miss Clara Manning (Sackville). The funeral took place on Tuesday last, the remains being conveyed from deceased's late residence in Mr Jones' steamer, and interred in the family vault in the Sackville C.E cemetery, where a large concourse of people had assembled. Rev W. S. Newton, M A., carried out the last solemn rites, and Mr J. W. Chandler was the undertaker. The cause of death was bronchitis, and deceased had been ill about a fortnight.
Windsor & Richmond Gazette (NSW), 27 July 1907, p 4