Eccentrics more 7



Bully Hayes

Adventurer, swindler and blackbirder, best known as ‘BULLY’, is said to have been born in Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America, son of Henry Hayes, innkeeper, to have gained some knowledge of seafaring on the Great Lakes and to have roamed the Pacific engaging in the many trades that ocean offered in ways often not short of piracy. Although he is stated to have made a voyage to Melbourne and Sydney in the American barque Canton in 1853 his first recorded arrival in Australia was at Fremantle in January 1857 as master of the C. W. Bradley which he had acquired at Singapore by devious means. For three years he engaged in several audacious maritime frauds ranging from Fremantle to San Francisco. On 25 August 1857 at Penwortham, South Australia, he married, probably bigamously, Amelia Littleton.

In January 1860 Hayes reappeared in Sydney after his stolen Ellentia foundered, and was charged with indecent assault on a young girl in that ship. The case was dismissed but the Empire printed a scathing account of his character and past activities which was rebutted by forged letters to the Sydney Morning Herald. For debt he was imprisoned in Darlinghurst gaol but released when declared insolvent. After some time in the Hunter Valley with the Glogski and Buckingham minstrel troupe he sailed for New Zealand as a passenger in the Cincinnati with his theatrical companions. There he reputedly ‘married’ Rosa Buckingham who, with her child, brother and a young nursemaid, were drowned near Nelson in August 1864; Hayes alone escaped. For some years he sailed New Zealand waters in various craft which he obtained by fraud and deception until in May 1866 he bought the Rona and with a wife and children on board became a South Sea trader and blackbirder. The Rona was lost off Manihiki, Cook Islands, and in Samoa he joined the American blackbirder, Ben Pease, in the Pioneer which later returned to Samoa as the Leonora with Hayes in command.

Sir Henry Browne Hayes –  1762-1832

He was an Irish convict adventurer. Belonged to a wealthy and respectable family in Cork. Knighted in 1790 then sentenced to death for kidnapping and forcibly marrying (by a man dressed as a priest) his victim, an heiress Mary Pike (22,000 pounds) , refused to accept the marriage. A quaker! (Merrily Danced the Quaker)

After a warrant issued for his arrest in 1801 he agreed to be transported.

Arrived Sydney 1802 and did well – until he sided with Bligh and was sent to the coal mines in Newcastle.

Built Vaucluse House and imported tons of Irish soil to prevent snakes entering the grounds.

Returned to Ireland in 1812

Sir Henry Browne Hayes

From ‘the press gang’ Brodsky 1974

No snakes at Vaucluse House

First owner was Sir Henry Brown Hayes. He was an Irishman and was scared of snakes. He dug a trench around the house and filled it with imported Irish soil.

Sir Henry

From RHS Story of Vaucluse House. 1915.
(Tune: Merrily Kissed The Quaker)

View Words

Sung as a taunt after the case of Sir Henry Brown Hayes who built Vaucluse House.



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