Anne-Maree Whitaker
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This page probably contains more information on Joseph Foveaux than anyone could ever reasonably hope to learn in a lifetime.

Birth and Parents

Joseph Foveaux was baptised in Millbrook Church, Bedfordshire, England on 6 April 1767. Family tradition indicates that his birth date was 10 April 1766. His parents were Joseph Foveaux and Elizabeth (née Wheeler) who were married in the same church on 1 March 1756. Joseph Foveaux senior was the Steward of the Ampthill Park estate owned by the Earls of Upper Ossory.

Military Career

Joseph Foveaux entered the British Army as an ensign in the 60th Regiment on 10 May 1789. He purchased a lieutenancy in the New South Wales Corps on 5 June 1789, and a captaincy in the same regiment on 6 April 1791. Subsequent promotions by purchase were to major (June 1796) and lieutenant-colonel (29 April 1802). He received a brevet promotion to colonel on 4 June 1811 and was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Greek Light Infantry. He was appointed Inspecting Field Officer in Ireland in November 1811, serving in Cork and Waterford. He was promoted to major-general in June 1814 and to lieutenant-general on his retirement in 1830.

Civilian Career

Joseph Foveaux was appointed commandant at Parramatta, effectively making him the civilian as well as military commander, for twelve months from May 1792. He was Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales from September 1796 to September 1799, and Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island from 1800 to 1804, although he continued to be paid in the post until 1807. He served again as Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales in 1808 to 1809.

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Joseph Foveaux began a relationship with Ann Sherwin in about December 1793. Their only child, Ann Noble Foveaux, was born on Norfolk Island on 19 May 1801. Joseph Foveaux and Ann Sherwin were married in All Saints' Church, Derby, England, on 17 November 1814. Just for good measure they married again at Marylebone, London on 25 January 1825.


Joseph Foveaux died at his home, 21 York Buildings, New Road, Marylebone, London, England on 20 March 1846. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, Paddington, with his wife who had died on 20 January 1840.

Fascinating Foveaux Facts

The first ever biography of Foveaux is Anne-Maree Whitaker's Joseph Foveaux; Power and Patronage in Early NSW. Click here for more information and a link to the publisher.

An interesting article on Foveaux by Reg Wright is 'The Fictions of "Bucky" Jones and the creators of Australian history'.

Foveaux Strait in New Zealand is named after him, as well as Foveaux Streets in Sydney and Canberra, Australia.

Jessie Lee Brown Foveaux's husband was probably a descendant of Joseph's cousin Henry Foveaux.

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Fletcher, Brian, 'Joseph Foveaux', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol 1, Melbourne University Press (1966)

Spencer, Mike, 'Foveaux', Derbyshire Life (November 2000)

Whitaker, Anne-Maree,'From Norfolk Island to Foveaux Strait: Joseph Foveaux's role in the expansion of whaling and sealing in early nineteenth century Australasia', The Great Circle: journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History, vol 26, no 1 (2004)

Whitaker, Anne-Maree, 'Joseph Foveaux: the Genealogy of Patronage', Descent, vol 26, pt 3 (1996)

Whitaker, Anne-Maree, 'Joseph Foveaux: "a Gentleman of High Reputation"', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol 83, pt 1 (1997)

Whitaker, Anne-Maree, Joseph Foveaux: Power and Patronage in Early New South Wales, University of New South Wales Press (2000)

Whitaker, Anne-Maree, '"Primitive construction" or "Sound and stable"?: Joseph Foveaux's Public Buildings', History, no 75, (2003)

Wright, Reg, '"The Most Flourishing Spot out of Old England"', Tasmanian Historical Research Association Papers and Proceedings, vol 46, no 3 (1999)

Wright, Reg, 'Who was "Buckey" Jones?', Descent, vol 28, no 3 (1998)