- EducationDay in the life of a convict
- Part 1: 1788–1815The convicts’ colony
- Part 2: 1815–1822For the civic good
- Part 3: 1822–1826Back to business
- Part 4: 1826–1837A world of pain
- Part 5: 1837–1848The turning tide
Soon after arriving in the colony in 1791, convict Richard Fitzgerald showed ‘remarkable activity and regular conduct’ and, using his knowledge of agriculture, he successfully took on responsibilities connected with the public farms.
With a seven year sentence, Fitzgerald sailed on the William and Anne and arrived in Sydney on 28 August 1791. The following year he was appointed superintendent of convicts at Toongabbie, extended in 1795 to include Parramatta. By 1798 he had been appointed superintendent of public agriculture and in 1802 Governor King appointed him inspector and director of all government agricultural settlements. Benefiting from the opportunities available to skilled and hard-working convicts, Fitzgerald amassed considerable private assets. After receiving three land grants and purchasing land Fitzgerald held 350 acres (142 ha), where he grew wheat, and bred sheep and other livestock. Governor King later dismissed him from his government positions for his ‘neglect of duty’. When Macquarie decided to recommence public farming in 1819 to employ the large numbers of convicts arriving, he appointed Fitzgerald as superintendent of agriculture at Emu Plains. Macquarie praised the ‘zeal, vigilance and integrity’ of this ‘most honest upright good man’.