Samuel Wright and his uncle
When Samuel Wright arrived back in Sydney his uncle had been sent as assistant to Rev.Samuel Marsden and after a few days in Sydney he and his wife and the Ogilvies and Cunninghams had set off for Parramatta. The adults travelled the 15 miles by stagecoach whilst the children and luggage were sent there by river in an open boat. The Ogilvies were given the use of Government House by Governor Brisbane. They found Parramatta a town of some 3000 inhabitants with brick and freestone houses. Whilst Ogilvie and Cunningham set off north and selected land in the Hunter valley at Merton (near the present town of Denman), the new chaplain and the senior cleric appeared to form an immediate friendship. He preached his first sermon at Parramatta on Feb. 13 1825 at the Female Factory there.
 
In July 1825 Wilkinson bought 150 acres on the Parramatta River, probably with a loan from Marsden, but sold it the next year intending to live 'at the vineyard' in the Hunter.
The 'vineyard', referred to as 'Cote d' Or' by Len Evans, was probably on his property in the Hunter he called Martindale. Wilkinson qualifies as a pioneer of the wine industry for the first Australian vineyards were not established until around 1818. Gregory Blaxland planted grape vines from South Africa  near the present Eastwood. John Macarthur planted his first vineyard at Camden in 1820 and that may well have been the source of Wilkinson's vines.  Samuel Wright was also a pioneer of viticulture in the Hunter Valley he established a vineyard at Bengalla and in 1832 sent cuttings of ten grape varieties including Muscatel and Constantia he had propagated to George Wyndham at Dalwood. Wyndham is acknowledged as one of the founders of the Australian wine industry.

However Wilkinson remained in Parramatta and in September agreed to be classics master at a planned grammar school. In the same month Wilkinson assisted Marsden, a 'friend', in another attempt to convict his fellow magistrate, Dr. Douglas, of excessively flogging a convict. Marsden's vendetta against Douglas irreparably damaged his reputation and Scott proposed to dismiss him. He was saved by the intervention of the new Chief Justice Francis Forbes.
 
Scott’s arrival in mid-year signalled a clear loss of influence for Marsden and the new Archdeacon’s very modest ecclesiastical credentials aggravated the slight. Although Marsden’s reputation was already seriously damaged he accepted Scott’s appointment ‘with remarkable grace and served him loyally’['
Samuel Marsden' by A T Yarwood, MUP 1996 p.262.]. One is tempted to conclude that Scott’s persuasion of Wilkinson to take up life in New South Wales indicates a measure of patronage. However later events and his initial good relations with Marsden suggests the opposite. Wilkinson’s association with Marsden probably partly define his early allegiances?
 
Lt Gen Ralph Darling replaced Governor Brisbane in December 1825.

An intemperate move
 
At the beginning of 1826 Wilkinson took up residence at the Maori Seminary in Parramatta established by Marsden. During the previous fifteen years Marsden had worked with the Church Missionary Society to educate and train the natives of New Zealand. The Seminary, on the north bank of the Parramatta River was established in 1815 and schooled the sons of Maori Chiefs, and later a few aborigines, in religion, general education subjects and trades.
 
Wilkinson interest in education also led to his appointment as one of the initial Trustees of the Church and School Corporation. As a Trustee of the Corporation Wilkinson came into association with Francis Forbes, the senior colonial law officer and member of Darling's Executive Council. The Corporation had been set up at the beginning of 1825 partly in response to representations from Scott along similar lines to the Clergy Reserves in Canada[
Fletcher, B H, Oxford Uni Press Melbourne 1984].  It had general control of all schools and had been granted a seventh of the surveyed lands of the colony for the establishment of schools. As each district was opened for settlement land was to be set aside for churches and schools; this gave the Church of England, which then enjoyed a monopoly in this area, considerable influence. Although Scott brought a charter for the Corporation from England it was not legally established until March 1826. Scott then sought approval to raise £30,000 to finance the corporation, Darling supported the proposal but London had to be consulted. Awaiting approval and the lack of surveyors seriously delayed the effective start of the Corporation's work.
 
The delays irked the young minister and Wilkinson forcibly objected to Scott who was the responsible for the administration of the Act and Chairman of Trustees.  When by July 1828 no grants of land had been made for schools and he rather rashly took up the matter with the Governor and the Ecclesiastical Board in London. Wilkinson believed the delay to due to incompetence by the Sydney authorities and he included in the letter a reference to government land at Camden being transferred to the Chief Secretary Alexander MacLeay instead of going to the Corporation, and other 'reserves made by former Governors now laying waste and useless'. The efficient but humourless Governor Darling took offence and referred to Wilkinson as an ignorant pedagogue presuming to censure the Government 'when it is evident that he is totally uniformed on the subject of which he writes'. Darling goes on to demonstrate to Under Secretary Hay in London the 'nature' of Wilkinson's character and 'how he is connected with politically with certain individuals' in opposition to the Government. The association was inferred to be with Judge Francis Forbes and a Captain Robison. By this time relations between the Chief Justice and the Governor had completely broken down. Darling was probably sympathetic to the formation of the Corporation and felt frustrated by London first setting up the body and then baulking at is financing.
 
The Corporation was disliked by the larger landowners who some believed were close to Scott. In fact their pressure finally resulted in its demise. Wilkinson had no doubt blotted his copybook with this highly conservative group as well but Samuel Marsden continued to view him as friend for many years. But Wilkinson was a youthful progressive and perhaps a bit naïve.
 
Whether or not Wilkinson was lured to take on the Governor and Scott by others he had now been marked by both as a troublemaker. Scott was a great admirer of Darling but the feeling was not reciprocated. The Governor referred to him as an alarmist, extremely unpopular and because he lacked judgement would never be respected. When Scott was attacked in the press Darling accused him of morbid sensibility and to ready to take offence at every trifling occurrence. Scott's previous appointment and his continuing close association with John Macarthur seemed to be at the root of the Archdeacon's unpopularity. He upset both the emancipists and his own clergy. Wilkinson now fought with Scott continuously, often over Scott's administration of the Corporation. Had he not also upset Darling the Governor might have otherwise taken his side against the Archdeacon. The squabble with Darling probably also generated tensions with his nephew Samuel Wright.
 
Due to his 'factious nature' Wilkinson was banished to the most distant in the colony, Newcastle in May 1828; a decision of Scott's with which Darling heartily concurred[12]. The 1828 Census recorded him as residing there along with one servant, Sarah Wood aged 23. His new parish included the whole of the Hunter Valley and brought him back in closer contact with his nephew and the Grenada emigrants. Forbes and his family also had estates in the Hunter near the Grenada's former passengers.
 
Scott's displeasure with Wilkinson's arose from a clash of personalities but the Governor's anger stemmed from the minister's associates. Wilkinson's move to Newcastle brought him into contact with the local army garrison commander Captain Robert Robison. Robison had been in the colony since October 1826 and had accumulated a reputation for incompetence and making trouble.[
In addition to the matters Robison was detested by the Governor for emulating his late brother, a Lt. Col. who whilst in India persistently attacked the administration of the Marquis of Hastings.] Robison planned to lodge complaints against Darling in London and refused to give the Governor a copy. The Governor then court martialled Robison for insubordination and a number of other charges. Robison was found guilty and sentenced to be cashiered. He was ordered to return to Newcastle pending confirmation of the sentence from London, but refused to obey and Darling allowed him to stay in Sydney.
 
During Robison's trial it was alleged that the defendant referred Wilkinson as a bosom friend; this alone was surely enough to put on Darling’s black list. Wilkinson was subpoenaed to appear as a witness at Robison's court martial and his attendance led to further trouble with Scott. Robison was married to the daughter of Judge John Stephen, and on good terms with Forbes who had apparently assisted in drafting the complaints against Darling that Robison intended to send to London. This had brought the Captain within the circle of the Governor's opponents. It seems likely that Wilkinson became Robison’s ‘bosom friend’ through the Forbes/Stephen circle. (One of Stephen’s grandsons, Septimus, was educated at Wilkinson’s school at The Meads in Enfield.)
 
The association with Robison must have caused tensions with his nephew Samuel Wright[
HRA 1928 p482]. (A woman with the same name as Frederick’s mother married a Thomas Wright in Notingham in 1797) Before his court martial Robison had lodged counter charges against Darling relating to his time at Newcastle; two of these related to Wright. Wright and the other 'landholders and residents of the lower Hunter Valley were strong supporters of the Governor. Robison alleged that Darling had failed to act on his complaint (in March) that Wright's Supervisor of Works, Mackay, had wrongfully used convicts to work on his dairy farm at Nelson Plains. Further more he alleged that Wright and Mackay were in partnership in the farm. When Darling finally held an enquiry into the matter it found that Mackay had acted improperly and he was dismissed; Wright was fully exonerated. When the Monitor repeated Robison's charges against Wright the Governor initially agreed to sue the editor but later withdrew the offer but pledged to support Wright if he took a private action. Darling saw fit to appoint Wright as one of the three-member board of enquiry hearing Robison's complaint. Robison continued to haunt Darling; he continued his criticisms and eventually was brought to court again in London in 1834 where he was again found guilty and imprisoned. Despite this calls continued for investigations into his complaints.
 
More Trouble
 
Wilkinson's banishment did not solve his fight with Scott who continued to complain of his performance and a visit to the parish seemed to fuel his discontent. By the end of 1828 Darling had told the Colonial Secretary in London that he would dismiss Wilkinson if he had the power. Scott would also have liked to do the same but he was too short of clergy to do without him. Whenever a clergyman wanted to leave his post he needed to get another minister to conduct services. This was not easy for Wilkinson in the Hunter due to the distance and the shortage of clergy. His attendance at the Robison court martial, meetings of the Schools Corporation and on private matters without securing a locum gave Scott grounds for complaint, Eventually Wilkinson was charged with leaving his post on seven occasions in 1828 and 1829, of conducting services in unlicensed premises and of refusing to conduct marriages and baptisms in Maitland. Scott put together a file of eighteen letters to back his charges.[
HRA Ser. 1 Vol XIV p.214-236] Given the size of his parish, difficult transport and a lack of facilities the stated causes were a flimsy camouflage of the real dispute – Wilkinson’s whistle blowing complaint to the Bishop of Calcutta about Scott’s administration.
 
One of the charges related to a visit to Sydney in June 1829 on private business. Wilkinson was owed a considerable sum of money. On this occasion Wilkinson had sought approval and had offers from two colleagues to cover for him. One was Marsden and the other was his brother-in-law Charles Wilton. Frances’ sister, Elizabeth, had married Rev Charles Pleydell Neale WILTON on New Years Day 1823 at Awre in Gloucestershire and in 1827 also emigrated to New South Wales. Wilton also began his service in Parramatta at the Female Orphan School. Elizabeth may have also served as matron of the school. Wilton’s offer to cover in Newcastle was refused by Scott as he was needed ‘to answer some questions as to his accounts’. Scott approved the visit and Wilkinson arrived on 9 July expecting Marsden to relieve him. When Marsden pleaded illness Wilkinson’s post was left unattended; Scott complained to Darling on the day Wilkinson arrived in Sydney.
 
While in Sydney Frederick stayed with and conducted services for, his brother-in-law. Scott’s formal complaint about the visit claimed that Wilkinson stayed 18 days in Sydney staying with Wilton ‘enjoying himself in parties and pleasure’. Scott later heard from James Norton that by 9 July legal negotiations had negated the needed for Frederick to come to Sydney at all. Wilkinson claimed that his extended presence in Sydney was ‘involuntary’ due to the infrequent sailings of the packet to Newcastle. Scott had further complaints about how Wilkinson carried out his duties in the Hunter region.
 
Wilton also clashed with Archdeacon Scott and in December 1828 Darling reported both brothers-in-law for misconduct.[16] Perhaps as a consequence Wilton announced he wanted to return to England. At this point it is perhaps pertinent to remember that Wilkinson was 28 when he arrived in Sydney and Wilton about the same age. Both had little real experience of the professional responsibilities of a clergyman before being given considerable responsibilities.
 
A new superior but similar problems
 
In 1829 Archdeacon Broughton succeeded Scott, but Wilkinson's relationship with his superior did not improve. Broughton was a professional cleric and a protégé of the Cecil family and the Duke of Wellington. Soon after his arrival the new Archdeacon criticised Wilkinson's absence from his clerical duties and threatened to suspend him. Broughton wrote to Darling urging that Wilkinson be forced to resign and be provided with passage back to England. The dispute continued through correspondence with Wilkinson receiving much support from his friends and legal advice from James Norton. Norton was Registrar of the Archdeacon's Court that made his alignment against Broughton in this matter somewhat surprising. Darling disassociated himself from Broughton's attack and the 'landed proprietors of the Hunter' including Ogilvie, Wyndham, Wright and Allman, supported by William White, George Forbes William Bell Carlyle, Emmanuel Hungerford, Thomas Bloomfield, John Palmer and E C Close, tendered an address to the Governor in favour of their former Chaplain.
 
Wilkinson had been granted 1280 acres of land, he called Martindale, after his father’s birth-place in Westmoreland. All clergy were entitled to such a grant at that time. stocked the land with cattle and sheep and arranged for William Ogilvie to manage. It had increased in value to £3500 when he sold it to the Master of the Supreme Court William Carter in October 1829. Carter bought the property on mortgage and paid Wilkinson 7% interest. Freed of the farm he opened a school in Newcastle and was well liked and respected in the community. Charles Boydell wrote:

'How is it that no one has an ill word for Mr Wilkinson in a country like this? And so far from it that I do believe there would be a hundred homes ready to receive him a hundred heads of families happy in the idea of giving assistance and support to a man who united the virtues of pastor with the kindness of a friend.'[17]
When stock prices collapsed and drought forced the import of wheat, school fees were often paid for by produce. The difficult times spelt disaster for Carter.  As Carter's finances collapsed, in December 1828 Wilkinson was forced to hurriedly transfer his sheep that were on agistment with Carter to William Ogilvie at Merton. George Wyndham, Robert Scott and James Glennie, who were all magistrates, rode with him to save his flocks. Wilkinson stayed over night with Wyndham at the vineyard of Dalwood. This proved to another opportunity for his superiors to criticise. The Governor was told ‘The spectacle of a clergyman riding at full speed through the country on such an errand could not but excite disgust.’

 
Late in 1830 the Colonial Secretary's reply to Darling's dispatch re Wilkinson's behaviour was received. Sir George Murray said that if Wilkinson and Wilton had not now ‘been excited’ to more zealously discharge their duties and take a more respectful line of conduct towards their ecclesiastical superiors then the dismissal of the recalcitrant clergy must be considered. Apparently the brothers-in-law were not excited enough for in September 1831 the dispute was referred to the Bishop of Calcutta for resolution.
 
Suspended
 
This delay annoyed Broughton who again advised Darling to suspend the troublesome priest before the Bishop had made a ruling. Although Broughton's actions were questioned in the newspapers Wilkinson was dismissed but retained his salary pending the Bishop's finding. The professed reason was his negligence in paying too much attention to his sheep and too little to his parish flock but the real reason was his criticism of Scott and indirectly of the Governor himself. [Neither Darling nor Broughton wanted to continue to pay him but London had insisted that the dismissal not be finalised until they too had considered the matter.]
 
Wood found that
'like many others  in public life, including Darling and Dumaresqs, the Chaplain found himself ensnared or implicated in the ugly strife which divided the community and left a legacy of misinformation'.


Wilkinson was now clearly in that substantial group that looked forward to the end of Ralph Darling’s governorship.  W C Wentworth had submitted his case for impeaching the Governor in 1829 and relationship with the senior legal figures was poisonous. Broughton kept out of civil affairs but Wilkinson, in trying to cover a very large parish inevitably some t’s uncrossed and i’s undotted. Consequently some parishioners did not get enough attention and Broughton had grounds for complaint. 
 
Wilkinson remained in the Hunter for a few months after his dismissal and returned to teaching. On April 29 1831 he announced that 'he proposed to educate gentlemen in the usual branches of literature at his residence, Hambleton Hall, adjoining the Windsor Road'.[18]   He appears to have rented this property of 1000 acres that was 12 miles from Parramatta and 11 miles from Windsor. On January 1 of that year Wright had also moved to Parramatta when he was transferred from Newcastle to be Superintendent of Police there; later designated as Police Magistrate. There he sat beside Wilkinson's former mentor Samuel Marsden, as a member of the Committee of the Female Factory.
 
The Restoration
 
In January 1831 Broughton was embarrassed to admit to Darling that having dismissed Wilkinson he could find no in the colony to replace him and he was forced to leave ‘this large and populous district destitute of the services of aclergyman.  Darling then wrote to London seeking to absolve himself from the Wilkinson furore.
’I have been no party in that matter. I cannot however avoid repeating that no one can have an idea of the difficulty of conducting public business here without the personal knowledge of the individuals I have had to deal with and the nature of this anomalous community and equally anomalous government’[19].

In May Broughton was forced to swallow a large helping of humble pie and he replaced Wilkinson in the Newcastle parish by his brother-in-law!
 
Darling had now been replaced by the Anglo-Irish General Richard Bourke who quashed moves to make the Church of England the established church and later granted equality of religion through the Church Act of 1836. Clergy of all denominations couldnow be paid from the public purse at a salary based on the number of worshippers. Broughton travelled to London in an attempt to counter Bourke's actions but although he was appointed Australia's first bishop in January 1836, the Church Act stood. When Broughton was installed as bishop in Sydney Bourke found reason to be away from Sydney. Bourke's reforms also extended to the administration of justice and education. He decreed that education follow the Irish National model in which the syllabus was agreed by Anglican, Roman Catholic and other Protestant religions. Wilkinson avidly supported the new initiative. Broughton resisted the change and further fanned the coals of dispute between he and Wilkinson.
 
Soon after Bourke took up the reins he received London's reply to Darling's proposal to dismiss Wilkinson. London decreed that Wilkinson’s complaints were not political but ecclesiastical and that the matter should be decided by the Bishop of Calcutta. Viscount Goderich instructed that the Archdeacon should have ‘pursued this course rather than referring the matter to London’. A rebuke to Broughton. Furthermore if the decision goes against Wilkinson his salary should not cease until March 1832 and he should expect free passage to England.
 
For almost three years Frederick Wilkinson remained under suspension until in August 1833 Broughton received a letter from the Bishop in India ordering the removal of the suspension. Immediately afterwards Wilkinson was gazetted Chaplain of Illawarra. His new parish spread from Helensburg in the north to Shoalhaven on the south coast. Every two months he held services in the southern areas.
 
When appointed the parish had neither a church nor a residence for its minister. Services were conducted in C. T. Smith's barn, a site that Wilkinson shared with the newly appointed catholic priest on alternate Sundays. The book Early Land Settlement in Illawarra 1804-1861  refers to a diary kept by an employee of a Mr Spearing in 1833 - it doesn't give the employee's name.

The entry is
"Went to Wollongong Church.  Wilkinson preached a capital sermon on Scandalising, Slandering and Interfering with our neighbour's affairs.  Very suitable to the Illawarra gentry."

Around this time the Wilkinson's apparently adopted two daughters Alice and Emma the date and circumstances are not clear.
 
Wilkinson was alone among the NSW clergy to support Bourke's Irish National System of education.[
Piggin Faith of Steel] Wollongong was the only town in the colony to build a school based on the new model. After Wilkinson left his position at Wollongong in January 1837 the school was vigorously condemned by his successor and remained vacant for a decade.
 
Wilkinson sought two years leave of absence in January 1837 and when it was granted he sold the cottage in which he had been living to Edward Hancock and lodged with Dr Bartholomew O’Brien.[
Collinson N, A Little Slab Church, St Mathews, The Oaks Historical Society Inc 2004] (O’Brien was a friend with whom he had once rented land on Lake Illawara.) The month before Frederick left Woolongong Frances returned to Newcastle to be with her dying sister Elizabeth Wilton. Perhaps her visit caused some disturbance in the household for Mary Ann Smith, one of the Wilton’s assigned servants was sentenced to 14 days in gaol for disobeying Frances. Elizabeth died a week later.