About Henry Kable (Keable)
On the 1st. Febuary 1783 Henry Keable the younger (spelt "Cabell" on his Charge Sheet) was
convicted at Therford Norfolk of Burglary he was imprisoned in Norwich Castle awaiting transportation. His
father and a accomplice Abraham Carman were hanged for their part. On the 13th of May 1787 Henry sailed in
the Friendship bound for Botany Bay.
THE MIGRATIONS OF THE KABLE FAMILY.
Henry Kable moved his family to Windsor in 1810. Two sons George and William
settled in Bathurst in the 1820's whereas John remained at Portland Head.
s sons pioneered new territories south and west of Bathurst, and are
continuing to do so to this day. Williams sons, and dauthter Agnes Maclean
journeyed north beyond the Moreton Bay settlement to bocome Pioneers of the
When the first NSW Electoral Roll was published in 1869 ther was only one Kable mentioned: George Kable
Piper Street Bathurst. In those days the only persons allowed to vote were those males who had finacial
standing in the community.
From the mid 1870's until the turn of the contury evidence emerges of Kables
following the gold trails, for example Edgar and Charles Kable Gulgong 1874
William Kable Cobar 1881, John and Charles Kable Bourke 1892 and Prosper Kable Parkes 1893.At the turn
of the Century (nearly 100 years after Henry Left) the Kables began creeping back into Sydney. The first was
William Edgar (son of John and Grandson of Henry) who set up a Bakery in Granville from 1892 until his
death in 1915. He was quickly followed by his sons and nephews. John, Lloyd, Frederick and Charles, all of
whom produced large families which helped to form the basis of the "City Cousins" of today.
Of the 5 couples married in the 1st ceremony (Feb. 10 1788) Henry and Susannah were the only ones to
produce descendants in Australia.
THE PRIVATE ENTERPRISE OF HENRY KABLE
When Henry Kable arrived in Sydney Cove, he was already a trusted convict. He
had a degree of freedom of the ship during the journey; gained the sympathy of the Reverend Richard Johnson;
and was employed as a watchman over Governor
In Jun 1788 Henry complained to the Governor, that certain goods bestowed upon him by concerned people in
London had been allowed to be pilfered by the Master of the "Alexander" on the voyage.
A court was duly set up, wherein the Master, Duncan Sinclair was ordered to pay Henry 15 pounds
With this money he teamed up with fellow convict James Underwood (a shipwright by trade) and together they
built the first ocean-going vessel in the Colony;
The "Contest" (44 tons). Henry and James thus became the first private
enterprise partnership in Australia. Two more ships followed the "Governor
King" (75 tons) and the "King George" (185 tons). Many other ships were brought and Kable and Underwood
engaged in the Sealing trade in Bass Strait.
In 1794 Henry became Chief Constable of Sydney, and in 1796 was Keeper of the
Gaol, until dismissed in 1802. He remained in the house next to the Gaol. and
in 1803 built a 3 story masion nearby.
His Enterprise expanded when he and Underwood teamed up with Simeon Lord in
1805 to become Kable and Co. They were imprisoned for one month by Governor
Bligh in 1807 for disagreeing with his orders. In 1810 Henry Jnr. took over
from his father, who took up farming at Windsor.
At the height of his career. Henry was reported as; "Being the proud owner of
25 ships and that at his table a choice of 2 wines was served, and of the best quality."
At the time of Henrys death his occupation was stated as Yeoman.
In 1818 Henry was in possession of the "sisters farm" Windsor 250 Acres (Sydney Gazette 1818)
NORWICH CHRONICLE (some time early in the 19th century)
.....gaols were a mixture of squalor, depravity and brutality, and he speaks
well for the character as well as the reputation of Kable, that after 3 years
he could be described by a writer in the Norwich Chronical as a fine healthy
In the same gaol was a female convict, Susannah Holmes, serving a sentence
for 15 yrs. transportation for burglary (in the company of her brother and
another man.) she and Kable fell in love, and in 1786 she gave birth to his
child, a son also named Henry. Henry and the mother were devoted to the child,
and Kable asked repeatedly to be allowed to marry her, but without success.
When the child was 5 months old and "a very fine babe which the mother had
suckled from birth" tragedy struck the young couple. Orders were received that the female convicts (three in all)
in the gaol, were to be taken to plymouth to join the expedition then fitted out, under Captain Arthur Phillip, to
establish a colony in NSW. Kalbe was very distressed when his plea to be allowed to be transported with the
mother and child was refused. In November 1786 the three women and the child, under the guard of a turnkey
named John Simpson, set out on the long voyage some 300 odd miles, by coach to Plymouth, there to be taken
on board the hulk in which they were to await transportation. There was however worse to come. After waiting
in an open boat for 3 hours the women were put aboard, but the captain of the hulk refused to allow the child
on board, on the grounds that it had no papers. He was adamant in his refussal, despite the pleas of both the
mother and Simpson. Finally the mother was dragged weeping bitterly and threaterning to kill herself at the
first opportunity, to her cabin, and Simpson was forced to return ashore with the child. Fortunately for the child
and his parents, Simpson was a humane man of strong character, and he resolved a direct approach to Lord
Sydney, the Home Secretary. He thereupon
took the first coach to London, nursing the child all the way, and feeding it
as best he could. On arrival at London, he went straight away to the home of
Lord Sydney, where he forced his way to the attention of a secretary and
persuaded him to make out an order for the restoration of the child to his
mother. He then waited in the hall until Lord Sydney came cown the stairs, and begged him to sign the order. it
is to the everlasting credit of a nobleman of that period that, instead of having him thrown out, Lord Sydney
listened to his story. He was "deeply affected", and not only signed the order, but gave instructions that, the
mother was to be informed without delay that her son was being returned to her. He furthermore ordered that
Kable was to be transported at the same time, and in the same fleet. Simpson having arranged for the care of the
child, hastened to Norwich to break the news to the father.
At the Hawkesbury his farming interest grew, but an attempt to run a
stagecoach service failed. In the wider sphere, a whaling and sealing
partnership with Underwood and Lord was dissolved in 1809 leaving Kable a
legacy of legal battles for his assets. Under protective cover of transfer the Henry Jnr. the sydney interests were
secured, while he gradually strengthened those in the growing town of Windsor.
Kable had swum against the Hawksbury tide in 1808, pledging hes contribution to a fund for sending
Macarthur Home to complain of Bligh. But more provoking no doubt was the toughness of his pursuit of
outstanding debts; in the aftermath of the 1809 flood some 50 farms were transferred to Kable's name. When
visiting the Hawkesbury, Henry stayed with his agent William Mason (this was probably William C.1768-1839
Armagh 1791 Life "Boddingtons 1793. A names sake by the "Royal Admiral however, also a lifer and
conditionally pardoned in 1812 cannot be ruled out. Both were in the Windsor-Pitt Town area. and
contemporaries sought to distinguish them by the appellations of William the first and William the second.) at
Killarney Farm. Once in April 1809, through chafing to return to Sydney he yielded to Mrs. Mason
s desire that
she be conducted with her daughter to Richmond in his chaise. Setting off briskly along the grassy river road,
near Bakers Lagoon the vehicle hit a concealed stump and Henry went overboard. The driverless horse took
fright and bolted, throwing out the ladies and one of them lay motionless; a wheel had passed over and crushed
Mrs. Sarah Mason's back. The Badgerys and William Faithfull passing by were
very attentive to the offices of
humanity' but when Dr. Mileham arrived the patient was dead in her daughter's arms; she left a disconsolate
husband with 6 children.
The Widower, as Kable's chief debt collector, was assisted by Matthew
Everingham and Miles Fieldgate from downriver; and maybe the assault charges
levelled at Kable and son-in-law Gaudry in 1811 came of their own direct
approach. Henry had already tried a milder one, reminding settlers via the
Gazette of their promises to pay up at harvest time, promises which seeminglyendured in his memory alone!
In 1811, as lessee of the 350 acre Balmain Estate at McGraths Hill he brought
Susannah and her brood to take up residence. But the Kable star was waning,
vast landholdings on the Hawkesbury and Nepean notwithstanding; the Geordy, the Hawkesbury or Endeavour
lying at the Windsor wharf to take on Kable grain; the partnership with Woodbury in the old Thompson
Brewery; the store with exotic merchandise of India and European goods everything it seems from saddlery to
perfumery. The brewery closed in 1813, the Hawkesbury preferring hard liquor to Woodbury's excellent beer.
And Henry's affairs on other fronts were shaky, even as he was officiating, along with other well-to-do
emancipits at the 1813 anniversary dinner in Sydney. Later that year the provost-marshal was advertising his
property for sale.
A son it seems, in 1814 was fined for working on the Sabbath, but the family
was not awaiting proceeds from this illigal employment to by a loaf of bread;
there was still sufficent to ge by. Henry Jnr. was to make a creditable living from the shipping trade, while
others of the family prospered on the Hawkesbury or at Bathurst. Old Henry in 1820 became a committee
member of the Windsor Bible Association. Source Early Hawksbury Settlers.
THE CABELLS AND THE COUNTY GAOL.
Norwich Mercury, 8 February 1783;
Last week some villains broke into the house of Mrs. Hambling. at
Alburgh, near Harleston, in this county and during the absence of the family, who were in this city, stripped it
of every moveable, took the hangings from the bed-steads, and even the meat out of the pickly cases: it is
supposed they also regaled them-selves with wine, having left several empty bottles behind them. The marks of
the feet of horses being seen in the orchard by a neighbour, was what firs led to a discovery of the
Henry Cabell and his father Henry from Mendham in suffolk, and Abraham Carman
of Laxfield, were arrested for the break-in and committed to the Castle in
Norwich. The following monthe they were conveyed from Norwich to the Assize at Thetford to stand trial. All three were found guilty and condemned to be hanged on the scaffold an the Castle Hill in Norwich. However,
Henry Cabell Junior was reprieved and sentenced instead to transportation to America. After the Assize was
over they were taken back to Norwich to await their fate. A fornight later on 31st March, Henry's father and
Abraham Carman were executed outside the Castle according to their sentence.
In the November of 1783 Susannah Holmes was committed to the Castle for
burglary. She had to wait until the following March before coming to trial at
Thetford, and there she was given a sentence of death commuted to
transportation to America. Before the sentences could be carried out the
American Colonies broke away from England's rule and there was no longer
anywhere to send the transports. Henry and Susannah and the other prisoners in a similar situation were
stranded until an alternative could be found.
Eventually it was decided to send a fleet of convict ships to found a new
colony in Australia. However the fleet did not leave until the spring of 1787
so Henry and Susannah remained in the Castle for the intervening years. Those
years spent confined in the Castle began a lifelong partnership.
John Howard the prison reformer, had visited Norwich Castle in the 1770
commented on the conditions existing at that time. It is from his report and
other contemporary records that we are able to catch glimpses of what life may have been like for Henry and
Susannah encarcerated in the old gaol. The prison consisted of the roofless shell of the Norman Keep with a
collection of later brick buildings built around its walls. These buildings incorporated the surviving stone
dungons of the original Keep. Drainage and sanitation were almost non-existent and the atmosphere in the gaol
on hot summer days must have been extremely unpleasant. In winter it must have been bitterly cold as little sun
would have filtered over the top of the high Keep walls down to the felon's yard below. There were fireplaces
and fuel available but cold stone dungeons would respond little to the few meagre fires provided by the
authorities. A bleak outlook indeed for those forced to live in such surroundings.
In the spring of 1783 when Henry was convicted, the day-to-day running of the
gaol was in the hands of the gaoler, George Gynne. In former years the
prisoners had complained about the brutal treatment meted out by some of his
predecessors but John Howard records that George Gynne was a humane man and
respected by his prisoners.
The gaoler received no salary by paid the Under-Sheriff 31pounds 10shillings
per annum for his job. At that time few gaolers were paid a salary. They
expected to recoup this outlay and make a profit by a system of fees and
charges that they levied on the prisoners and magistrates. Every event in the
life of the prison was made the subject of a fee. A prisoner paid a fee to the gaoler on coming into prison, and
then a fee called "garnish" to his fellow prisoners. He was fitted with a set of leg irons, although if he was rich
enough he might pay to have them removed. Almost all felons at the Castle wore irons until the early
nineteenth century and Henry was probably no exception.
Prisoners were expected to pay for lighting, heating, bedding and most of all
any food over and above the meagre rations provided by th county for the relief of poor prisoners. They were
issued with a small loaf of bread each day and shared a stone of cheese each week. A prisoner's share would
have been very small, especially when the prison was crowded, as it was in February 1786. Then it was ordered
by the Justice that an extra stone of chees be provided, presumably because the usual allowance was not enough
to kee the prisoners from starvation.
The prisoners were able to make small items such as garters, nets, laces and
purses to sell to passers-by through the gratings of the day rooms on the east side of the Castle. By this means
they were able to earn a little money for extra food and, perhaps, beer or wine available from the gaoler. In connection with these earnings we come across John Simpson, the turnkey, whoes efforts before the fleet set
sail enabled Henry and Susannah to leave together with their child. In 1786 the justices awarded Simpson one
shilling in the pound out of the prisoners's earnings, so he must have kept a close eye on the prisoners and their
transactions and, no doubt, got to know Henry and Susannah very well.
If a prisoner was rich and could afford to live in the better rooms on what was called the Master's side of the
gaol, then life might be made tolerable. If he was poor, then he lived in the squalid dungeons on the Common
side and survived as best he could on charity and his wits. The weekly rent for the best rooms was painted
above the doors and an extract from Howard's report descrives the fees as follows.
"For chamber rent where the gaoler finds bedding and linen and a prisoner hath a bed to himself or herself, per
week 2 shillings. Where there are two in a bed not exceeding per week 1s.6d. Where there are three in a bed not
exceeding per week each prisoner 6d."
If you had no money for bedding and could not obtain any by other means, then
you slept on the floor. Life could be unbearable if that floor was in the
dungeon described by Howard as being".....down a ladder of 8 steps, for men
felons; in which has been sometimes and inch or tow of water..."
Even in this apparently hostile environment there were opportunities for those with the ability to exploit them.
In fact the gaoler would have relied to a certain extent on trusted prisoners to help run the gaol and would have
given them special treatment as reward for their co-operation. Perhaps Henry was a trusty. If he was it would
have helped towards his survival and later
sympathetic treatment by the authorities in keeping his family together.
Whatever their circumstances were Henry and Susannah seemed to have the knack
for survival. Despite the squalid conditions theyt emerged after three years
with their health intace.
During the day there was no segregation of the sexes in the old Castle yard or dayrooms although it seems
likely that they were locked up separately at night.
Because of the free association possible between all classes of prisoner at that time, Henry and Susannah would
have come to know each other very well. Their relationship grew and in 1786 a few months before the first fleet
set sail for Australia their eldest son Henry was born.
During the period of their imprisonment there were some changes made. A
bathhouse had been built up against the wall in the north west corner of the
yard. An improvement, no doubt, but probably little used at the time and not
used at all thirty years later. Washing was not a high priority in eighteenth
century gaols. A pump had also been provided in the prison yard so that
drinking water was readily available to the prisoners. New regulations for the prison were drawn up, perhaps in
response to the criticisms made by John
Howard. There was a move to reduce the profit motive of the prison staff and
thereby hope to end the corruption in the system. The licence to sell wine and beer to the prisoners previously
granted to the gaoler was withdrawn and
several of his other fees and perks were stopped. In lieu of the income from
the licence and fees, George Gynne was paid a salary of 200 pounds beginning in 1785. His vested interested in
the prison was lessened but did not end there as he still continued to sell some comforts to the prisoners, but the
survival of the felons was less dependent on their financial circumstances and this was a welcome
Amongst all these reforms, one thing did not improve and that was the state of the buildings which in 1785
were declared unfit for properly keeping prisoners.
A year after this declaration on 26th October 1786 Elizabeth Puiley, Susannah
Holmes and her baby son Henry, and Ann Turner, were taken from the Castle,
ultimately to join the first fleet of convict ships being assembled off
Portsmouth. They were taken first to Plymouth to board a prison hulk to await
transportation. However when they arrived, the captain refused to allow
Susannah to take her son with her as he had no papers for the boy. John
Simpson, the trunkey who had accompanied them from Norwich, was outraged by
this callous behaviour and took the child to London to petition Lord Sydney,
Colonial Secretary, for papers for the child. His efforts were rewarded and
Lord Sydney granted his request, and further ruled that Henry Cabell, still in the Castle in Norwich, should be
brought to join them in Plymouth. So the
family was reunited and after a long voyage the ships arrived in Australia to
found the new colony. Soon after their arrival Henry and Susannah were married in the first wedding ceremony
held in Australia on 10th February 1788. Their family went from strength to strength, surviving the precarious
early years of the colony, and the descendants of their children still live and thrive there today.
What of Norwich Castle? The dingy, foul smelling dungeons were at the end of
their life and soon after Henry and Susannah left Norwich, plans were drawn up for a new gaol. In 1792-3 the
old buildings were swept away and new buildings were erected in the shell of the old Keep.
By. Nick Arber, Norfolk Museums Service June 1897.
HENRY KABLE'S LANDHOLDINGS.
1794 - Granted 30 Acres at Petersham
1795 - Granted 15 1/2 Acres at Petersham (approx Summer Hill Railway Station)
1796 - Purchased 100 Acres at Petersham from occupiers Thomas Rowden J. Jones
F.McKewen and J. Butcher
1803 - Granted a lease of 67 1/2 rods for 14 years on the north side of the
1804 - Granted 30 Acres at "Bulanaming" (south of Petersham) by Governor King
1809 - Granted 84 1/2 rods High Street Sydney
1809 - Windsor allotment on road from Howe's Bridge north from George Street
South by Macquarie Street given to hem by Governor Macquarie. Note
Kable Street Windsor
1810 - Granted 200 Acres at Airds, on the Nepean River
1810 - Granted 300 Acres at Minto on the old Hume Highway - known as
1813 - 100 Acres grant at Bathurst in exchange for land a Petersham given
up to make the Liverpool Road
1815 - Granted 45 1/4 rods plus 4 cows as renumeration for a plot of ground
in Windsor given up to make the general hospital
1825 - Purchased 60 Acres at Pitt Town the grant of William Douglas. (Henry's
final residence where he remained until his death in 1846)
NEWSPAPER ADDS BY HENRY KABLE.
Sydney Gazette August 18, 1810
Lost from Mr. Kable
s stock at Long Cove, a young red cow with a white star in the forehead and a white mark
over one of the eyes - also a black bull - calf of twelve months old. Any person restoring the above shall receive
two guineas reward for the cow (which is supposed to have calved since being missing) and one guinea for the
calf. Some information having been given where such strayed cattle are supposed to be, any person with
holding them after this advertisement will be prosecuted with the utmost vigour.
Sydney Gazette August 11, 1810
Mr. Henry Kable has to acquaint the Government, the Military and the Public
committees that merchants ship owners families and the public in general that
having erected a commodious building for the purpose of baking bread and
biscuit which will be opened on Monday where they may rely upon every attention being paid to any orders
that may be received upon the most reasonable terms, having every advantage of a good windmill and baker, in
addition to asubstantial bakehoust. NB> Should the grain be required of Mr. Kable for baking as above a timely
notice is requested.
Sydney Gazette July 14, 1810
Mr. Kable wishing to accommodate all such persons residing at the Hawkesbury as stand endebted to him and
preclude any excuse for not liquidating the same
informs all such the Sound Maize will be taken at Four Shillings per bushel
which will be received at the following houses - Viz Mr. Matthew Everingham and Mr. Benjamin Carver from
the Green Hills and Mr. Miles Fieldgate down the river Hawkesbury each of which will give receipts for any
payments made to him on his account and Mr. Kable thus publicly assures all those persons so indebted who do
not avail themselves of this opportunity that the most speedy and efffectual method will be adopted to enforce
From the book The Secord Fleeters, an artical re. Sarah Woolley. On 12 April
1809 Sarah asked the local Buisnessman Henry Kable Senior to take her for a
drive from Green Hills (Windsor) to Richmond for the sake of her health.
Accompanied by her eldest daughter Elizabeth they set off by the riverside
road. The Chaise struck a concealed stump near Mackellars Creek throwing Kable to the ground. The women
screamed at the jerk, causing the horse to bolt, trowing them as well. Sarah said one of the wheels of the vehicle
had passed over her back (further details in the book.)
From "The Breweries of Australie: A History" by Deith M. deutsher,
Kable's Brewere 1811-1830
At the beginning of 1811 Henry kable and richard woodbury built a large and well-equipped brewere on a 2
acre block of land, with a freshwater creek flowing alongside. the complex consisted of a brick Brewery,
malthouse, kiln, granary and a comfortable house. In keeping with the custom of the period, Kable &
Woodbury advised all and sundry, by card, of their superior products and terms of trading.
Richard Woodbury retired in 1816 and sold his interest to his partner. By 1820 the management had been taken
over by Henry kable's son George who ran the business untill the late 1820's or early 1830's.
A note received on the Net from Janice and Alan at email@example.com
The side of the Regent Hotel is on the original site of The Old Gaol and part of the home site of Henry Kable,
on the rest of the Kable site is the overhead roadway of the cahill expressway.
Kable's home was on the corner of Brown Bear Land and Major's Row (later Lower George Street) his
residence was directly opposite the home of George Johnston as per a mop of the town dated 1803-1810. On a
later map of Old sydney Town dated 1844-1848, the Old Gaol site is still there, however there are no buildings
shown to be still standing on the site of the Old Goal. Henry Kable's property on this map is now a pub called "
Rose of Australia" and on the opposite north corner is the pub Brown Bear. -------------------- From website - family tree of unknown source:
Henry had a Flour Mill at Windsor. Hired Convicts, and is how John Teale met Henry's daughter Diana.
Mill's name: Endevour Mill, and also called Fairy Dell Flour Mill
Per internet random persons tree - Married Susanna in 1788 In Sydney. Makes them first settlers?
KABLE, HENRY (1763-1846), businessman, was convicted of burglary at Thetford, Norfolk, England, on 1 February 1783 and sentenced to death. This was commuted to transportation for fourteen years to America, but he remained in prison until he embarked in the transport Friendship, in which he sailed in the First Fleet to New South Wales. On 10 February 1788 he married Susannah Holmes, a convict from the same village, who had already borne him a son. Before the young couple left England certain people, moved by their plight, had subscribed £20 to buy them a parcel of goods which Rev. Richard Johnson was to give them on their arrival in the penal colony. The gift was plundered on the voyage, but Kable won damages of £15 against the ship's captain in the first civil suit heard in New South Wales. This oddity may have brought Kable to the governor's notice, although Kable later claimed to have had influential letters of recommendation, for soon afterwards Governor Arthur Phillip appointed him an overseer. Three years later he was made a constable and nightwatchman, and a further three years service saw him elevated to chief constable: but he was dismissed in 1802 for misbehaviour, after being convicted for breaches of the port regulations and illegally buying and importing pigs from a visiting ship.
Kable's business activities were to keep him in comparative affluence for at least the next ten years. His early activities as a trader, probably as a middleman between the trading officers of the New South Wales Corps and the consumer, are suggested by his possession of capital sufficient to take part in the sealing industry on a considerable scale after 1800. He was also one of seventy signatories to a petition to Governor John Hunter from creditors who were anxious to prevent debtors from frustrating their demands by legal delays.
Kable's association with the emancipist boatbuilder James Underwood dated from at least as early as July 1800, for in that month he signed a partnership agreement with Underwood and a mariner resident in Sydney, Samuel Rodman Chace, who was to command Kable & Underwood's sloop Diana in sealing expeditions to Bass Strait. The agreement envisaged the working-up of sealskins into leather for boots and shoes. The partnership was to last two years, with Chace spending the coming year at Cape Barren or on other sealing grounds. The association with Chace proved transient but Kable and Underwood remained partners until 1809. At first they exported sealskins in ships controlled by Robert Campbell and his Calcutta partners who had an agent in Canton, but the depressed state of the China market persuaded them to join forces with Simeon Lord who had a valuable London connexion, T. W. & J. Plummer and Co., through which they could market their skins and oil. During the next two years Kable acted as 'ships' husband' to Lord, Kable & Underwood (Lord & Co.). The firm was involved in a wide range of speculations, including whaling, sealing, sandalwood and wholesale and retail trading, but Lord withdrew in 1808, Underwood split from Kable in 1809 and the firm dissolved in a welter of law suits not finally settled until 1819.
Like Lord and other early Sydney entrepreneurs, Kable always had a substantial landholding as a kind of 'sheet anchor'. He had been granted farms at Petersham Hill in 1794 and 1795, and in the latter year bought out four near-by grantees within a week of their grants being signed. In 1807 he owned at least four farms of about 170 acres (69 ha); in 1809 in addition he held five farms at the Hawkesbury and 300 acres (121 ha) at the Cowpastures, with a variety of real estate in Sydney itself including his comfortable house and extensive stores. He also had 40 horned cattle, 9 horses and 40 pigs. His business reputation seems to have been dubious, for he was regarded with distrust by Governor King and with active hostility by Governor William Bligh who thought him and his partners fraudulent and had them imprisoned for a month and fined each £100 for sending him a letter 'couched in improper terms'. It is certain that Kable played no part in public life comparable with Lord's multifarious activities. His commercial career in Sydney seems to have ended soon after Lord & Co. broke up, for as early as February 1810 he announced that his son Henry had taken over the entire management of his Sydney affairs.
In 1811 Kable moved to Windsor where he operated a store and brewery, the latter in association with a partner, Richard Woodbury, and his Sydney warehouse was let to Michael Hayes. In 1812 he was sending wheat down the Hawkesbury consigned to Robert Campbell junior, perhaps partly his own growth, partly the fruits of barter for his beer. He was never again a prominent businessman, although he signed a petition in distinguished commercial company for the granting of an auctioneer's licence to William Baker of Windsor in 1821. Evidence collected by Commissioner John Thomas Bigge in 1820 shows that, while he had once owned 700 acres (283 ha) by grant and a further 250 (101 ha) by purchase, he then held only ninety acres (36 ha) and a further thirty acres (12 ha) as a tenant.
Kable's commercial career cannot really be considered separately from James Underwood's, and it was of little significance compared with Simeon Lord's. In combination with these two, Kable did much to pioneer sealing and shipbuilding in New South Wales, but it was Lord who marketed the skins and Underwood who built the ships; yet Kable's achievements were remarkable for a man who could barely sign his name and had no other claim to literacy than his ability to add a column of figures.
From Australian Dictonary of Biography:
Kable, in his own words, 'reared ten children'. At least two of them, Henry junior and James, were mariners, commanding vessels owned wholly or in part by their father. James was murdered by Malay pirates in the Straits of Malacca on a return voyage from China about 1810, but Henry remained prominent in Sydney mercantile circles for some time after his father withdrew to Windsor. There are some signs that the elder Kable may have transferred much of his property to his eldest son to avoid having to pay a judgment of £12,000 awarded to Lord in 1811. The property probably included the schooner Geordy which Henry junior owned jointly with William Gaudry who had married Kable's daughter in 1809, and the schooner Endeavour, of which Henry junior was sole owner, and which he employed in the Tahitian pork trade in 1812. A third son, John, known as 'Young Kable', was a prominent pugilist of the 1820s. Susannah Kable died on 8 November 1825, aged 63, but Henry, who was described as a farmer at Pitt Town in the 1828 census, survived her for twenty-one years and died on 16 March 1846 at the age of 84.
Henry KABLE/CABLE/CABELL (c1776-1846) was sentenced to death at Thetford, Norfolk 14/3/1783, with his father, of Mendham, Suffolk, for house theft. His father was hanged and his sentence commuted to 7 years. He was gaoled at the castle of Norwich to await transportation. There he met Susannah Holmes who bore him a son Henry (junior) in prison in early 1786. They were both sent to hulk Dunkirk, without their son, on 5 November 1786. After the intervention of the chairman of quarter sessions for the county they were all reunited on the Dunkirk on 15 November 1786. The three were embarked on the Friendship on 11 March 1787. At the Cape of Good Hope Susannah and her son were put on board the Charlotte to make way for livestock.
As soon as they arrived in Sydney Cove Susannah and Henry were married, being one of the first marriages in the colony, on 10/2/1788.
Kable became a night watchman by early 1791 and was granted 30 acres at Petersham. He operated the Rambling Horn in 1798 and was appointed chief constable in 1799.
By 1806 Kable had a comfortable estate of 215 acres.
He, Simeon Lord and James Underwood built ships and traded in sealskin, using the sloop Diana. They skinned up to 30,000 seals per year. They also entered the rum trade progressing to iron, timber and other goods.
Kable opposed Governor Bligh in the rum rebellion.
Kable, after a remarkable life, died on 16 March 1846 at Windsor Sydney. He was buried in St Matthew's Church.
Information extracted from:
1 GILLEN, Mollie. The Founders of Australia.
2 HUGHES, Robert. The Fatal Shore.
In 1798 Henry KABLE, a First Fleet convict, opened a hotel called the Ramping Horse, from which he ran the first stage coach in Australia. In 1968, on the 180th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, more than a hundred descendants of Henry and Susannah Kable met in Sydney to honour them as the heads of one of Australia's founding families. It was the first reunion to acknowledge convict ancestry.
Henry Kable's Timeline
August 26, 1764
Laxfield, Suffolk, England, UK
February 17, 1786
Norwich Castle, Norfolk, England
February 10, 1788
December 15, 1788
Sydney, NSW, Australia
April 24, 1791
October 23, 1796
Sydney, NSW, Australia
September 27, 1797