James Ruse

Convict
Arrived on: Scarborough
Sentence and crime: Seven years transportation for breaking and entering
Remained in New South Wales until his death on 5 September 1837
Ex-convict James Ruse became the first person in NSW to receive a land grant when Governor Phillip gave him 30 acres at Parramatta in April 1791.

The grant was provided in return for Ruse’s efforts to successfully grow wheat and maize on a small allotment. Governor Phillip had been anxious to determine whether colonists could become self-sufficient in the new colony, living without the assistance of the dwindling government food stores.

Ruse had been transported to Australia with the First Fleet after he was convicted of breaking and entering. According to Marine Officer Watkin Tench,

When his term of punishment expired, in August 1789, he claimed his freedom, and was permitted by the governor, on promising to settle in the country, to take in December following, an uncleaned piece of ground, with an assurance that if he would cultivate it, it should not be taken from him.

In August 1793, Ruse fruitfully sold 600 bushels of grain grown on his Experiment Farm back to the government stores. He later assisted in opening up the Hawkesbury River region to European settlement.

Source: Watkin Tench, A complete account of the settlement at Port Jackson, G Nicol and J Sewell, London, 1793.