The Morgan Brothers

Mount Morgan Sugarloaf Shaft Mine 1895

The story of the Morgan Brothers, Frederick Augustus Morgan, Edwin Francis Morgan and Thomas Squire Morgan, starts with the story of their father, Frederick Morgan (Senior).

Frederick Morgan (snr) was born at either Essex or London in 1807. Convict records say he was born at Essex but family records say London.

On the 28th February 1825, he was arrested for stealing a length of cloth from a tailor's shop owned by George Samuel Blunt of Popham Terrace, Islington. On the 7th April 1825, he appeared before Justice Park in London's Old Bailey on the stealing charge. The 17 year old was found guilty and sentenced to death with a recommendation for mercy, because his parents were industrious. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with transportation to Australia. He was transported to Australia on the "Marquis of Hastings", leaving Portsmouth on the 24th August 1825, arriving in Sydney Town, Australia on the 3rd January, 1826.

On arrival at Sydney Town, he was assigned as a tailor to David Smith, tailor of O'Connell Street, Sydney N.S.W. It appears he remained in Smith's employment for 12 years until he was removed by the authorities in 1838.

Apparently, he left Sydney in 1838 and went to live at Bathurst, N.S.W. He received a Ticket of Leave, issued at Bathurst on the 1st May 1839 which bore the endorsement "allowed to remain in the District of Bathurst...December, 1836". His "Conditional Pardon" was approved by the Queen on the 12th August 1846. It contained the condition that he should never return to England.

In 1836, he met Emma Martha Woodward and a relationship developed, their first child (Frederick Augustus Morgan) being born in Sydney on the 2nd June 1837. Emma, her mother and Emma's two brothers arrived in Sydney on the 7th April 1827 as "free immigrants" on the "Elizabeth". The couple were married on the 24th April 1851 at Bathurst, four months before their eighth child was born. They eventually had sixteen (16) children altogether.

When they went to live at Bathurst in c. 1838, Frederick (snr) opened up a tailoring business but later changed his occupation and became a publican, becoming the proprietor of the Spread Eagle Inn, in Durham Street, Bathurst, in 1850.

Frederick's next move was to Tenterfield N.S.W. where he again became a publican, receiving the license of the George Inn on the 22nd April 1856.

By February 1859, Frederick (snr) and Emma had left Tenterfield and returned to Sydney.

Frederick Morgan (snr) died of bronchitis (death certificate) on the 25th May 1886, aged 79 years, in the home of his son, Thomas Squire Morgan, at "Morganville", Bishops Avenue, Randwick, Sydney. He was buried in the Devonshire Street Cemetery, before being re-interred with his wife at Rookwood, Sydney.

The three eldest of Frederick Morgan's sons, Frederick Augustus Morgan, Edwin Francis Morgan and Thomas Squire Morgan were the men responsible for the development of the Mount Morgan Mine. The discovery and development of the mine has been covered fully elsewhere. Briefly, a stockman named William Mackinlay, in c. 1870, discovered that Ironstone Mountain (later renamed Mount Morgan) was auriferous (gold bearing). He asked his family to keep his discovery a secret but his daughter told her boyfriend and he eventually told the Morgan brothers, who had mining and business interests in Rockhampton, Queensland. In 1882, the Morgans pegged out and registered a claim on the Mountain and MacKinlay was the loser.


Usually known as Fred, he was born in Sydney on the 2nd June 1837. While at Bathurst, Fred worked in a butchershop and he became a keen prospector. When his parents moved to Tenterfield in 1856, he worked as a butcher there and developed a great interest in horse-racing. In 1863, he became the first licensed auctioneer in Tenterfield.

In 1864, he married Mary Jane Wheatley, daughter of a local inn-keeper. Their only child, Frederick George Morgan was born in the following year.

Fred and his wife left Tenterfield in 1866 and went to live at Warwick, Queensland, where Fred opened his own butchershop. With brother Tom, he mined for tin at Stanthorpe and with D. Budgen, licensee of the Criterion Hotel at Warwick, worked a gold mine at Thanes Creek, north-west of Warwick. He also kept stables, his horse "Thyra" winning the Glen Innis Cup in 1877.

Fred moved to Rockhampton, Queensland, in 1879, staying at the Criterion Hotel (originally named the "Bush Inn"), on the corner of Fitzroy and Quay Streets, near the Fitzroy River and eventually purchased the license of the hotel.

Fred recognised Rockhampton's future and encouraged Tom and Edwin (Ned) to come to Rockhampton. Tom and Ned joined Fred in Rockhampton in 1881 and assisted Fred in managing the Galawa Mine, the lease of which Fred had taken up at Mount Wheeler on the Cawarral gold-field, in 1881. Tom took up the license of the European Hotel briefly in 1882. Fred also became a share-holder in the Mount Wheeler Gold Mining Company, formed to mine the Belemji and John Bull reefs, in December 1881.

When the Morgans learnt of MacKinlay's discovery of gold in Ironstone Mountain (later renamed Mount Morgan), they registered a claim on the mountain on the 22nd July 1882. Needing extra capital to develop the mine, Fred wrote to Thomas Skarrat Hall (a Rockhampton bank manager) offering half shares in the mine to anyone who would invest £1200 in the venture. Hall, William Knox D'Arcy (solicitor) and William Pattison (grazier) raised £2000 and became partners with the Morgans in the mine. One condition imposed by Fred was that Edwin (Ned) was to be manager of the mine.

The Morgan Brothers sold all their shares in the mine in 1884, and severed connections with the Mount Morgan Mine.

Frederick Augustus Morgan went to live in Rockhampton and built a house "Avonleigh" in Quay Street. He took an active part in the business and civic affairs of the town. He acquired the Canal Creek and Targinee cattle runs, a farm "Lionleigh" near Rockhampton and had a boiling down works. He stood for the Queensland Parliament in 1890 but failed to win the seat. He became a member of the Rockhampton Municipal Council and was Mayor for three years from 1891 - 1894.

He died at his home, Avonleigh, on the 8th November 1894, aged 57 years and was buried in the Church of England section of the South Rockhampton Cemetery.


Usually known as Tom, he was born at Bathurst on the 7th June, 1845.

When his parents left Tenterfield in 1859, he apparently stayed in Tenterfield and worked in the butchershop with brother Fred. In November 1864, he married Louisa Koch, daughter of a local farmer.
In c. 1870, he joined Fred in the tin mining venture at Stanthorpe and in May 1874, he took over the license of the Cricketers's Arms Hotel in Manners Street, Tenterfield. In 1878 he became a mail contractor. In 1881, he joined Fred at Rockhampton, where he took over the licensee of the European Hotel for a brief period, and then assisted Fred at the Galawa mine at Mount Wheeler.

After selling his shares in the Mount Morgan mine in 1884, he moved to Sydney, where he built his home, Morganville, at Bishops Avenue, Randwick.

In 1888 Tom made a prospecting excursion to the Bathurst district and made a major find of gold on the Turon goldfield, near Sofala north of Bathurst N.S.W.

Tom died at his home Morganville on the 17th March 1903 and was buried at the Church of England section of the Rookwood cemetery.


Edwin was known as Ned, because it was thought his name was Edward.

He was born at Bathurst N.S.W. on the 27th August 1847. Ned was only twelve years old when his parents left Tenterfield for Sydney in 1859 and it appears he stayed with Fred in Tenterfield.

At one time, Ned worked as a navvy on the construction of the Ipswich - Toowoomba Queensland railway line. In 1867, he and two of his work-mates went to the Gympie goldfields.

From Gympie, Ned went to manage the Bungaban Cattle Station on the Dawson River (Queensland) owned by Charles Bell. He married Charles' daughter, Louisa E. Bell, on the 28th June 1873, the ceremony taking place at Fred Morgan's house at Warwick (Q).

By the end of 1879, he was back in Warwick working as a butcher. In 1881 he joined Fred and Tom at Rockhampton (Q.).

After selling his shares in the Mount Morgan mine in 1884, he went to live at Vermount, near Warwick. After living there for about five years, he moved to Brisbane, making his home in McLennon Street, in the suburb of Albion.

Ned died in his home at Albion on the 18th September 1916 and was buried in the Church of England section of the Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane.