Mr John Joseph William Molesworth OXLEY (1785 - 1828)**

  • Date of Birth: 01/01/1785
  • Place of Birth: Kirkham Abbey, near Westow, Yorkshire, England
  • Date of Death: 26/05/1828
  • Place of Death: Kirkham, near Camden, New South Wales, Australia

Parliamentary Service

Member of the NSW Legislative Council1 Dec 182310 May 18251yr(s) 5mth(s) 10day(s)
An Appointed Member of the first Legislative Council 1824 - 1843. Appointment terminated by Royal Warrant dated 16 November 1824. Sat in Council till 10 May 1825.
Surveyor-General1 Jan 181225 May 182816yr(s) 4mth(s) 25day(s)

Community Activity

Interested in the public and cultural life of the colony. First officer of Bible Society when it was founded in 1817.

Qualifications, occupations and interests

Surveyor general and explorer. Joined the Navy in 1799 as a midshipman and sailed to Australia. Obtained a grant of 1,000 acres near Penrith and 1000 acres near Camden which he called Kirkham. On 28 May 1818 Oxley led an expedition from Bathurst. Widened his business interests after arriving in New South Wales in 1812. Bred merino sheep taking prizes at Agricultural Society which he helped to found in 1822. Director of Bank of New South Wales. Shareholder of Australian Agricultural Company. In September 1819 was appointed to the committee of the Female Orphan Institution, the Male Orphan Institution and the Public School Institution. In 1821 became a foundation member of the Philosophical Society, and that December was appointed as a Magistrate. Subscribed to both St James's Church and to Scots Church where he was one of the congregation which in 1824 petitioned for government assistance for its Minister. Was selected as one of the five members of the original Legislative Council in 1824, but was not reappointed when the Council was reconstituted the following year.


Eldest son of John Oxley and his wife Isabella. Sired two daughters by Charlotte Thorpe and had issue 1 daughter by Elizabeth Marnon. Married Emma Norton on 31 October 1821 and had issue, 2 sons. Kept a substantial town house in Sydney opposite St James Church. Buried in the Devonshire Street cemetery in Sydney.

Additional Information

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2 E. W. Dunlop, John Oxley, 1960 E. C. Rowland, "The life and work of John Oxley", Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 28 (1942)