FRANCIS THOMAS GREGORY

1821 - 1888

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francis Thomas Gregory
F. T. Gregory

 

Francis Gregory (known as Frank) arrived as a 8 year old in 1829. The family were neighbours of J.S. Roe who helped his brother Augustus get a cadetship to the Surveyor General's Department. Francis also became a surveyor in 1849 working on the layout of the streets of Fremantle and supervising the building of roads.

 

After accompanying his brothers (1) (Augustus and Henry) on two expeditions, in 1857 Francis led his own party from Geraldton to the upper Murchison and the following year travelled 3200 kilometres in 107 days through the Gascoyne.

 

He returned to England in 1860 to seek funds for an exploration of the Pilbara and along with Maitland Brown, Pemberton Walcott and James Harding boarded the ship Dolphin and sailed to Nichol Bay (2) in May 1861.

 

As the party went ashore, Hearson, the 2nd Mate of the Dolphin was wounded by the accidental discharge of a musket that Abraham James had forgotten to make safe as a landing party was bringing in horses from the ship to the shore. Hearson was lucky as the musket ball passed right through him without hitting any vital organs or large blood vessels. He eventually recovered from the wound.

 

A faulty chronometer made taking bearings difficult but the party journeyed a long way inland to a point within sight of Mount Augustus (named by Francis in honour of his brother.)

 

They found deposits of iron ore and passed over grassland that would later become important in encouraging settlers to move north.

 

They party returned to the ship and rested for a while before heading east along the coast to the De Grey and Oakover rivers. The results of this exploration led the Governor to offer pastoral leases in the north and led directly to the opening up of the north west.

 

In 1862 Francis left Western Australia to join his brothers in Queensland. In 1864 he married Marion Scott and the couple had five sons and one daughter.

 

Francis was appointed commissioner of crown lands in the Toowoomba district and joined the Legislative Council in 1874. In 1883 he was appointed postmaster-general.

 

When Francis died in Brisbane on October 23rd 1888, John Forrest wrote of him:

 

'To him was reserved the privilege, with his brother Augustus, of discovering the most important districts and naming their most important features.'

 

(1) There were 5 Gregory brothers; Joshua William Gregory, Augustus Charles Gregory, Francis (Frank) Thomas Gregory, Henry Churcham Gregory and Charles Frederick Gregory.
(2) The old spelling Nichol Bay appears to have been the way the name was meant to be spelled. Today the name is spelled either Nicol or Nikol

 

Chronology

 

1821 - Born 19th October.

1829 - Arrived in Western Australia.

1841 - Became a cadet in the public service.

1847 - Became an assistant surveyor.

1846 - Exploration north of Perth.

1849 - Became a staff surveyor.

1857 - Explored the upper Murchison.

1858 - Further exploration to the Gascoyne.

1860 - Goes back to England to raise funds.

1861 - Exploration of the Pilbara.

1862 - Moved to Queensland.

1863 - Awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society.

1864 - married Marion Scott.

1874 - Member of the Queensland Legislative Council.

1883 - Postmaster-General of Queensland.

1888- Died October 23rd.

 

Links to more information:

 

Francis Thomas Gregory

Gregory, Francis Thomas (1821 - 1888)

Gregory, Francis Thomas (1821 - 1888)

 

 

 

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