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Allan Williams (1810–1896)

by Colin Choat

Allan Williams, colonial official and farmer, was born at Berbice, Guyana, in 1810, the son of William Macpherson, then a sugar planter, and a black slave, "Harriot" as Macpherson called her. Harriot had earlier given birth to two daughters by Macpherson and, in 1810, soon after Allan's birth, Macpherson signed a deed which freed her from slavery. She probably remained in the vicinity of Berbice for the rest of her life.

When about six years old Williams was taken to Blairgowrie, Scotland, to where his father and sisters had already returned. About this time the three children were given the surname Williams as the Macpherson family refused to acknowledge them as Macphersons. Allan was educated in Scotland at Mr Peddie's school, near Perth, and in 1829 went to Australia with his father, his stepmother, Jessie, and halfbrother, Allan Macpherson.

Williams served as a clerk in the colonial treasury from 1830 to 1840 after which he operated a farm near Invermein in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Then, when Allan Macpherson returned to Scotland in 1850, Allan Williams took over the running of "Keera," a property near Bingara, New South Wales, which Macpherson owned. In 1853 he returned to Sydney where he was employed as a clerk in the Surveyor-general's Office, where he remained until 1870, when he retired due to ill health.

In 1837 Williams married Sophia Charlotte Crowther. They had eleven children, including a son, Allan Williams, who went on to acquire substantial pastoral interests in Queensland. Sophia died on November 14, 1891 at Canterbury, New South Wales. Williams died on 18 September 1896 at Ashfield, New South Wales.

Original publication

Citation details

Colin Choat, 'Williams, Allan (1810–1896)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Berbice, Guyana


18 September, 1896 (aged ~ 86)
Ashfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.