Lt. General Sir Ralph Darling, GCH

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Ralph Darling, GCH

Birthdate: (86)
Death: April 2, 1858 (86)
Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Quarter - Master Christopher Darling
Husband of Elizabeth Darling
Father of Edward Darling; Augustus Darling; Caroline Darling and Cornelia Maria Ford
Brother of Henry Charles Darling and Third Son Darling

Managed by: George J. Homs
Last Updated:

About Lt. General Sir Ralph Darling, GCH

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

"General Sir Ralph Darling, GCH (1772[2] – 2 April 1858) was Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831. He is remembered as a tyrant, accused of torturing prisoners, and he banned theatrical entertainment. He also built new roads and extended the boundaries of the colony. Many local geographical features are named after him[

Early career

Darling entered the British Army as an ensign in 1793 in the 45th Regiment of Foot, and in August 1796 was appointed military secretary to Sir Ralph Abercromby. Having commanded a regiment at the Battle of Corunna, Darling subsequently was promoted to brevet-colonel in 1810, major-general in 1813, deputy adjutant general in 1814 and was on the Royal Horse Guards staff in 1815.

Between February 1819[2] and February 1824, Darling commanded the British troops on Mauritius, before serving as acting Governor of the colony for the last three years of his stay, exhibiting administrative ability. Darling was very unpopular in Mauritius, particularly for allowing a British frigate to breach quarantine and start an epidemic of cholera. He then suspended the island's Conseil de Commune when it protested his actions. Nevertheless, it was largely on account of this service that Darling was appointed the seventh Governor of New South Wales in 1824.

Governor of New South Wales

Darling initiated the construction, from 1826, of the convict-built Great North Road, linking the Hawkesbury settlements around Sydney with those in the Hunter Valley.

When Darling was commissioned as Governor, the Colony’s western boundary – set in 1788 at 135 degrees east longitude – was extended by 6 degrees west to the 129th meridian. This line of longitude subsequently became the border dividing Western Australia and South Australia. To the south, everything beyond Wilsons Promontory, the southeastern ‘corner’ of the Australian continent, ceased to be under the control of New South Wales and was placed under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land. He proclaimed Van Diemen's Land as a separate government.


During his tenure, Darling was accused of tyrannical misrule by, amongst others, newspapers in England and Australia (including the Australian run by William Wentworth and Robert Wardell). Allegations included that he ordered the torture of prisoners Joseph Sudds and Patrick Thompson as an example to others, leading to the death of Sudds.

He is said to have "ruthlessly and implacably countered all attempts to establish a theatre in Sydney". He even introduced a law effectively banning the performance of drama. The law stated that no form of public entertainment could take place without approval from the Colonial Secretary, and Darling ensured that all such applications were rejected. He did permit concerts of music to take place.

His departure for England was greeted by public rejoicing.

Later life

Ralph Darling was knighted for his various services in 1835 and was promoted to general in 1841. He died in Brighton on 2 April 1858, survived by his widow, three sons and several daughters.


On 13 October 1817, Darling married Elizabeth Dumaresq (born Macau 10 November 1798, died 3 September 1868). He was an older brother of Major-General Henry Darling, father of Sir Charles Henry Darling,KCB."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Ralph Darling', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 April 2013, 02:17 UTC, <> [accessed 10 May 2013]

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Lt. General Sir Ralph Darling, GCH's Timeline

Age 54
NSW, Australia
Age 55
NSW, Australia
Age 57
NS, Canada
April 2, 1858
Age 86
Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, England, United Kingdom