From Distress to Deliverance
The Life and Times of William Gow
Convict, Schoolmaster, Farmer
How did a young man convicted of burglary and sentenced to hang at the Old Bailey in 1816 come to be appointed as one of the first schoolmasters in New South Wales a little over two years later? This is the remarkable story of William Gough who arrived at Sydney Cove on the convict ship Morley in April 1817 - and that coincidence of his transportation with the governorship of the nascent colony by the liberal Scott, Major General Lachlan Macquarie.
Within the next five years William was set to work teaching the children of convicts and free settlers alike in the burgeoning agricultural district in the Hawksbury Valley; was pardoned and granted land by Macquarie; and married a ‘young currency lass’ Maria Dunston. Together they were among The pioneers of public education in this country working for over 20 years in what is today the only surviving school building of its type from that era.