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The Blue Plaque recognises former convict and writer Margaret Catchpole (1762 - 1819). 

The New South Wales Blue Plaques program celebrates heritage by recognising noteworthy people and events from our State’s history. The program aims to capture public interest and fascination in people, events and places which form the story of NSW. It is inspired by the famous London Blue Plaques program which originally started in 1866, and similar programs around the world.

In tribute to Australia’s rich convict history, the renowned Blue Plaque Program has unveiled a commemorative marker at the Durham Bowes homestead in Hawkesbury, linking it forever with the extraordinary life of Margaret Catchpole, horse-thief, convict and writer.

This initiative aims to not only honour Catchpole’s legacy but also to invigorate local heritage and culture by shedding light on pivotal historical figures and their connections to the land.

Owned by Penny Sharpe and her mother, Robyn, the Durham Bowes homestead is a living piece of history that stands as a testament to the experiences of those who shaped Australia’s early colonial era. The Blue Plaque was welcomed by the Sharpe family, who now serve as custodians of the sole surviving residence in Australia where Margaret Catchpole once served as a nurse to the Dight family.

The historical significance of Durham Bowes has also been recognised through a $150,000 Caring for State Heritage grant from the New South Wales Government. This financial aid will support crucial preservation efforts for the state-listed home, aiding in its restoration and maintenance.

Penny Sharpe expressed her gratitude and said Margaret Catchpole’s impact on Australia’s literary and historical landscape cannot be overstated. “Margaret Catchpole’s letters to her family and friends in England are a rare insight of a female convict in the early colony. The letters were treasured and preserved by the Cobbold family and provide a portrayal of her life, particularly on the upper reach of the Hawkesbury River,” Penny said. “The Blue Plaques program has offered us the opportunity to commemorate the remarkable Margaret Catchpole as owners of the only surviving homestead in Australia where she was in service as nurse to the Dight family,” she said.
Excerpt from Hawkesbury Post, 18 August 2023. 




Address:22 Inall Lane, Durham Bowes, Richmond, 2753
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.599801
Long: 150.732611
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:August-2023
Front Inscription

NSW Government

Margaret Catchpole

1762 - 1819

Folk legend and friend to free settler families lived and â€‹served here

Source: Blue Plaques Program, ADB, MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au