FREDERICK MEREDITH JUNIOR
Frederick Meredith Junior was the eldest of the six children born to the first fleeter and free settler Frederick Meredith and his wife Sarah Mason. He was born I 7 March 1801, and was baptised 5 April that year at St. Phillips Church of England in Sydney.
Frederick Junior married Sarah Morgan, daughter of Eleanor Fraser and William Morgan, on 30 September I 822 at St Luke's Church in Liverpool. He was 21 and Sarah was 18 years of age. At that time, marriages were supposed to be carried out before l2 noon. A story passed down through the family tells that Frederick was late, and the clock had to be put back to comply with the rule. After they married, they lived in Liverpool, where Frederick held a licence for the sale of ale, beer and spirits at a business on Liverpool Road.
Although he continued in this business for some time, he was soon to follow his father into the police force. As one can imagine with two Frederick Merediths, both of Liverpool, both married to Sarahs, telling the two apart was not always easy. It’s clear that Fred Senior was the first to take a post in the Police force, including the position of Chief Constable at Liverpool. It is not clear, however, when Fred Junior took over the position from his father.
In March 1823 His Excellency, the Governor was requested to favourably consider Frederick Meredith, a young man of good character and a Native of the Colony to the position of Chief Constable at Liverpool. This decision proved to be right for the time and the place as records would later show.
The Court House, Liverpool. Artist Edward Mason. Circa 1822-23. This building is thought to have been used as the first Police station and gaol, and would have been the workplace of Frederick Meredith Junior. Courtesy of Liverpool City Library.
With the widening of the track from Sydney to Liverpool into a road capable of taking wheeled wagons, the way was open for bushrangers, escaped convicts, thieves and vagabonds to prey on the settlers taking produce to Sydney and returning with cash and coin from their sales. The tiny Police force was occupied in bringing these offenders, who were mostly armed to the magistrates and they had to travel far and wide to carry out their duties.
Frederick junior’s career as Chief Constable must have been exciting and dangerous. There is one particular occasion worth noting, an account of which is reproduced below that details an encounter with the notorious bushrangers Dolton and McNamara. This is a section from the Sydney Gazette of Tuesday March 30, 1830:
Frederick Junior received a land grant of one square mile for his gallant efforts and so it was not all for nothing. By 1830, Frederick Junior as Chief Constable had four District Constables, eleven ordinary Constables and a watch housekeeper to enforce the laws in the Liverpool district.
In 1838, finding that his salary of 100 pounds ($200) was insufficient to provide for his family, Frederick Junior presented his resignation as Chief Constable. The Police Magistrate and Superintendent of Police at Liverpool made on appeal on his behalf to the Governor quoting him as a zealous and competent man. As a result of the appeal, the salary was raised to 130 pounds ($260) and Frederick Junior continued as Chief Constable of Liverpool until his resignation from the force in 1844.
It's clear that Frederick Junior was a family man as he and Sarah had 11 children. Upon his death, his total estate was worth 2,900 pounds and was divided among his six sons. In addition to their own children, Frederick Junior and Sarah also adopted Ann Clegg, daughter of Lucy Morgan and John Clegg. John Clegg owned the Weavers Arms Hotel on Liverpool Road and was the subject of a notorious incident, being tried for the brutal bashing of his wife and acquitted. He later drowned in his own pond behind the Weavers Arms.
Apart from being a Constable, Frederick Junior was also a farmer, working land at Liverpool and at Banks Town or Irish Town, as it was also known then. Frederick Junior was a community minded and religious man. He built the St Matthew’s Church, which was first built at Church Street, Yagoona and then moved to Milperra. He was one of the early church wardens. He had all of his children christened and was himself married in a church.
Frederick Junior died on the l0 February, 1861. He is buried at St Thomas' Cemetery Enfield.
Sally Mayo, Patricia Meredith and Ken Meredith
Sally Mayo is a descendant of Frederick Junior
Children of Frederick Junior and Sarah Meredith