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This week 190 years ago, the very first European baby was born in the Northern Territory. Elizabeth Melville Richardson was born at Fort Dundas, the first of three attempts by the British to establish a military settlement in northern Australia. Elizabeth was the second child of parents John and June. John was a second-time convict, who first served four years in Sydney from 1817 and then returning to England. He was then sentenced to death at the age of 27 for house-breaking . Instead he was transported back to Australia for the term of his natural life arriving in Hobart. A talented gardener, he was shipped to Melville Island in February 1826 with his wife and first child. Food was scare and the work was punishing. When June died three years later, John was left to care for his two children eventually earning a conditional pardon and lived to 85.

Picture: Rare Map Collection, Northern Territory Library


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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