Chater, William (Snr) and Elizabeth

Full name:

Chater, William (Snr) and Elizabeth

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:

1836 - ?

Occupation if known and land ownership:

Constable and Lock-up Keeper



As there are two William Chaters associated with Bong Bong and Berrima, father and son, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate who is being referred to in the records.

Descendants on ancestry say William Chater Snr was born around 1786. He joined the military in 1805 when he was 19 years old and served in the Napoleonic Wars. His son was born in 1814, descendents on giving ‘at sea, Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia’ as his place of birth, i.e. while William and his wife, Elizabeth, were en route to the colony.[1]

William Chater Senior was recruited to the NSW Royal Veterans Corps., a regiment formed in June 1789 as a permanent unit to relieve the New South Wales Marine Corps, who had accompanied the First Fleet. When he retired he was granted 60 acres (No 8 of Veterans Allotments) immediately north of the government reserve at Bong Bong.[2] Though the document is dated January 1839 it states he was allowed to take possession of the land in September 1830 as a disbanded soldier. It is possible he borrowed money on this land as the surrender of a mortgage for £37 in 1840 indicates he had borrowed from publican William Bowman.[3]

It is also likely that it is he who was the pound keeper at Bong Bong between 1833 and 1835.[4]

At some point William must also have become a constable as the returns for Berrima Police District, dated 8 March 1839 show his promotion from ordinary constable to watch-house (lock-up) keeper replacing Thomas Loseby in that position.[5] These returns and the application from Frederick Thompson, the police magistrate, recommending the promotion specify it is William Chater Snr in this position and that he is a pensioner of good character and reads and writes.[6]

Chater sold his 80 acres to William Cunningham in 1840 for £140.[7] Given his son had moved to Wollongong by this time, William Snr may have moved with him.

Family records give William Cheater (sic) Snr’s death as 1858 at the age of 72 in Concord, New South Wales. These dates have not been confirmed.

[1] Donna’s family tree on

[2] SRNSW Grant of Land 2710; Series:1216. Description: Copies of Deeds of Grant to Land Alienated by Grant, Lease or Purchase 1838-1839 No. 46 Land Grants no 113

[3] SRNSW Archive Reel:1592; Series: 12992; Description: Registers of Memorials for Land 1825-184 No 599 B2

[4] SG&NSW Advertiser, 26 September 1833 and Sydney Monitor, 24 October 1835

[5] Also NSW Government Gazette, No, 402, 27 March 1939 p. 354

[6] Return of Police Establishment, Berrima 8 March 1839 and Col. Sec. Records 39/3061 dated 14 March 1839

[7] SRNSW Archive Reel: 1592; Series: 12992; Description: Registers of Memorials for Land 1825-1842 no 600 B2