Frederick Meredith arrived with the First Fleet as a steward to Captain John Marshall of the convict transport Scarborough. He came before a magistrate for exchanging a “squirrel” for rum, apparently on the orders of the captain, and was sentenced to 100 lashes. Governor Phillip reduced the sentence to 50 lashes on representations from the captain and others. Shortly before the Scarborough sailed to China, he signed on to the HMS Sirius with the duties of a baker. He was twenty three and gave his birthplace as Denham Wales.
Convict transport Scarborough
His initials are still visible at Garden Island where the crew were assigned to preparing a garden. After the Sirius was wrecked off the coast of Norfolk Island on 19 March 1790, Frederick and some of the other crew members returned to Port Jackson on HMS Supply.
Frederick Meredith’s initials at Garden Island
Captain Hunter of the wrecked Sirius and the crew embarked for England in March 1791. Frederick was then paid off by the navy in 1792 and decided his future lay in Botany Bay.
He returned on the Bellona in 1793 with a small group of the first free settlers. They were given land grants at Liberty Plains (now Strathfield). His second grant was 60 acres, where Rhodes railway station is today. Both land grants were unsuited to farming.
Frederick received a further grant of 120 acres near his farm at Salt Pan Creek (pictured at left and now part of Punchbowl) in 1809, for aiding a neighbour in an affray with the aborigines.
He also had a bakery in Chapel Row (now Castlereagh Street) which he sold in 1810.
Frederick had several children with convict women: Charlotte born to Mary Allen (Allein) in 1790; Amelia to Anne Case in 1793; and Charlotte to Mary Kirk in 1794.
Salt Pan Creek Grant
In 1800, Governor Hunter set up the Loyal Sydney Association, following reports of rebellion by Irish convicts. Frederick enrolled as a volunteer armed policeman and was involved in the Vinegar Hill uprising.
Frederick married Sarah Mason, a convict who also arrived on the Bellona. Their relationship had begun in 1800 and they were married in 1811 when Frederick joined Governor Macquarie’s police force. He was later appointed the first constable, then chief constable of Liverpool. Their children were Frederick junior, born in 1801, Sophia in 1803, Elizabeth in 1806, William in 1807, Anne in 1811 and Eleanor in 1813.
In 1823 he joined the Liverpool and surrounding districts police force. He remained in the police until 1828, holding positions of Constable, Chief Constable and District Constable. His final land grant was 60 acres at Liverpool Road Banks Town in 1826. The farm was called Gunsborough.
The first post office was opened at Liverpool in 1828 and Frederick acted as the first postmaster until Donald MacLeod took up his appointed position.
Frederick and Sarah lived at Gunsborough until her death in 1832. He married Mary Ann Day in 1833. He died at the property in 1836 and was buried next to Sarah at Liverpool Cemetery.