The Neale’s of Hartley
James Henry Neale



The Neale’s of Hartley  


Thomas Henry -  James Neale’s brother was the last Magistrate to sit in the Hartley Courthouse from 1873 till its closure in 1887 and had negotiated with Joseph Collits in 1875 for the purchase of the house on 17 acres in which he was residing at the time.  Joseph was by this time was occupying his land at Canowdra and had no use for “the Billesdene Grange” Cottage which Thomas had named as his place of residence.


            (Subsequent to further amalgamations  James  Henry Neale’s group of properties finally passed into the combined ownership of L. D  O’Connell of 277 hectares. James owned 6 large parcels of adjoining land and  Thomas owned  a block of land of 117 acres which bounded up to the edge of the escarpment)


Family History


John Neale was born on 26th Oct 1797 at Parramatta and married Sarah Lees who was aged 17 from Castlereagh on 1st Jan 1816  St Phillips and they had  13 children. John was aged 43. They moved to Denham Court  Lower Minto at Campbelltown  where  James was born on 27th Dec 1828 and then Thomas on 29th Dec 1830.  Obviously James and Thomas became very close brothers in their adult life.   Other Hartley landowners Dr William Redfern also had property at Campbelltown, as did John Grant. Dr Redfern was a good fiend of Governor Macquarie


(Thomas Neale's Grandfather was William Neale, born about  1720 at  Billesdon, Leicestershire, England hence probably the naming of Billesdene Grange at Hartley.


James Henry  Neale had transfered to him substantial areas of land in Katoomba.  An area of around 100 acres around Katoomba Falls Road in 1876 as well as land selected by Montague Levey in 1887 which was around 44 acres plus an area of 80 acres and now is the site of the shopping area of Katoomba was bought by James Neale. At this time the Courthouse at Hartley was closed so Thomas moved to Western Australia where he died in Albany in 1989.


Around 1870 James Henry Neale was the member for Hartley in the Legislative Assembly and held a considerable portion of land  in the region. His religion is listed as  Methodist.


Mr Neale organized a picnic and enlisted the services of Princes Betsy a famous old full blooded aboriginal of the Kanimbla tribe.  When viewing the falls Mr Neale said "“Betsy what do you call this place?” and Betsy replied Katoom-bah”. Neale asked the meaning of this to which the dusky old Princes answered “shiny, falling waters”. 


Mr Harry Peckman of Katoomba vouches the authenticity of this statement and gives the informant as Mr James Neale himself”. Katoomba was previously known as  ‘The Crushers”-due to the  crushing plant  for the sandstone  and before that the coachmen referred to the area as Williams Chimney and Collett’s Swamp.


In August 1878 James Neales requested the local MP  to make representations for the establishment of a Post Office at Katoomba. The mail train reported that an average of three letters a night were addressed to people in Katoomba.  Hence the request was rejected.  A Postal Inspector travelled to Katoomba and reported that there was no mail that night for Katoomba but also added that the population consists of Mr Neale and his servants, the railway platform keeper, three railway workmen and their families. So in 1880 Katoomba Post Office was established.


James Neales house was ‘Froma’ and built in the late 1870’s and is believed to have been the first house built in Katoomba. At first he would bring his friends from Hartley to Katoomba to picnic there.  In 1879 he sold the property to a syndicate which proceeded to subdivide the property and hence became the first town development of Katoomba.  The Katoomba Taffe occupies the site now and the lane leading to it is still called Froma Lane.  It was to be 14 years after building ‘Froma’ that the Carrington was built in 1884 - an extraordinary opulent and lavish building called the Great Western .


James Henry Neale owned land adjacent to Joseph Collits and adjoining  the land of William Cummings lon which had been erected Rosedale or Mt Victoria Inn as it was then known.


His occupation was listed a "a butcher"  and he remained unmarried till his death in 1890 aged 62 at Wentworth Falls. He was the Parliament Member for East Sydney for 5 years, then the Member for Hartley for 2 years, then again a Member for East Sydney till 1874.


In 1852 Thomas Henry Neale married Selina Meurant –her  mother was Rose Martin in Prospect.    Rose Martin was born 3 March 1796 at: Parramatta and died aged 83 on the 12th Jan 1879 at Little Hartley and more than likely lived with Thomas and Selina  at Billesdene Grange.    In 1874 Thomas bought Billesdene off Joseph Collits.  Thomas was the last Magistrate to sit at the Hartley Court House prior to its closure in 1887. He died 10 years later in  Freemantle Western Australia.


( Rose’s father was Owen Martin born in  1773)





JOHN NEALE  arrived on the Third Fleet  sentenced to seven years transportation.


 The third fleet of 11 ships arrived in 1791, with over  2000  convicts.  The newspaper report states that 194 male convicts and 4  female  convicts  died  during the  voyage,  and  that  though  conditions on board ship weren't as "diabolical" as the  previous year, they were still outrageous. Conditions for transportation of convicts still required remediating.


From the "NEW HOLLAND MORNING POST", 18th October, 1791


Persons transported as Criminal to New South Wales in the Ships as following, via: Atlantic, William and Ann, Britannia, Matilda, Salamander, Albemarle, Mary Anne, Admiral Barrington, Active and Gorgon*


John NEALE,  born in Kent  of  Irish extract, was sent out on one of the above the ships on the 3rd fleet sentenced to 7 years transportation in the  colony  and he arrived in 1791. 25 years later he married Sarah LEES.  Sarah married John NEALE at St Phillips Church Sydney on 1 January 1816. Sarah was aged 17, and John was aged 43. They had 13 children.




1.        PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Has No Children"
Sarah R NEALE b: 1853 in ,,New South Wales,Australia

2.        PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Has No Children"
Thomas H NEALE b: 1855 in ,,New South Wales,Australia



Thomas Henry James Australia NEALE  Born: 29 OCT 1830 at: Lower Minto, New South Wales, Australia Married: 22 NOV 1852 at: St Bartholomew's, Prospect, New South Wales, Australia

Died: 27 OCT 1898 at: Albany, Western Australia Father: Mother: Other Spouses: 


Wife: Selina MEURANT

Born: 1832 at: Prospect, New South Wales, Australia Died: at:

Father:Ferdinand MEURANT

Mother:Rose MARTIN


Wife: Rose MARTIN

Born: 3 MAR 1796 at: Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

Died: 12 JAN 1879 at: Little Hartley, New South Wales, Australia

Father:Owen MARTIN

Mother:Sarah WARFORT


George Neale was an immigrant from England who married Ann Fulton, granddaughter of Rev. Henry Fulton .  Their family was store-keepers in Penrith for generations.  Many of the shop and innkeepers  moved in from Parramatta, Windsor or Sydney where they had been running similar businesses.







Birth: Abt. 1720 <, Billesdon, Leicestershire, England>


Mother: Mary NEALE (AFN: 1GNF-GHC)


Birth: Abt. 1724 <, Billesdon, Leicestershire, England>

Marriage: Bilsdon, Leic, Emg




Thomas NEALE  b  1796

Birth                     1746   Bilsdon, Leics, Eng

Death         2 Apr 1787   Bilsdon, Leics, Eng


Husband's Name









James Delaney was a wheelwright