William Ogilvie and wife Mary settle “Merton”

Naval officer William Ogilvie and his wife Mary settle “Merton” (2,000 acres on Jerrys Plains) where the Goulburn River enters Hunter's River on the Upper Hunter River in 1825. A private village emerges on Merton. It is isolated but largely self-sufficient. Aside from pastoralism, dairying and viticulture were practiced. In 1841 the population was recorded at 137. Merton became the centre of a designated police district (called Merton) and Ogilvie was appointed a magistrate. Merton was a distribution point for blankets to Aborigines and the Ogilvie family developed very friendly relations with local Aboriginal people. This is perhaps best illustrated by the action of William and Mary’s son Edward.