A great deal has been written about Frederick Fisher, of Fisher’s Ghost fame, but there would have been no story if John Farley had not seen the ghost! There is only a little information about John.John Farley arrived in Australia in 1812, having been tried at Old Bailey Second Middlesex Jury in 1810 for stealing a quantity of clothing from a dwelling house. He was found guilty and sentenced to life. Transported to New South Wales, aboard the “Guildford” in 1812, he spent the next five years in the service of Governor Macquarie. He petitioned for mitigation of sentence in 1818. John may have received this mitigation of sentence, as he was on a list of persons to receive land grants in September 1818.
John became a settler, and was described by Rev. Reddall and Major Antill as ‘capable and industrious’. He again appeared on a list of orders for land grants in 1825.
In 1826 John played a role in the mystery of Fred Fisher, being the one to whom the ghost “appeared” thus leading to the finding of the body. Theories abound as to the veracity of this sighting; regardless it has made its way into the history books. It was certainly not enough to scare John Farley away from the district!
By 1828 John and his wife Margaret were prospering on their 325 acre farm on the Appin Road south from Campbelltown. He had also been appointed a Constable.
John Farley was recommended for Absolute Pardon later in November 1837; the same year he built the early colonial home “Denfield”. There is no doubt that John was a respected citizen. He died in 1841, and is buried in St Peter’s Churchyard, Campbelltown. John went to his grave saying he had seen the ghost of Frederick Fisher.
Written by Claire Lynch