As a 13-year-old midshipman, Richard Bunbury fought against the Turks at the Battle of Navarino (1827), an engagement in which he lost his right hand.
Later he sought fortune in Britain's new Australian colonies. His father, Sir Henry Bunbury, wrote of his son:
'He has been seized with this epidemical rage for colonisation, and I find it to my sorrow impossible to divert him from his scheme of settling in Australia.'
Richard and his wife, Susannah, travelled to Australia on the Argyle, a ship on which Georgiana MacCrae was also a passenger. She observed in herjournal :
'. . . we played whist, or looked at some capitol landscapes painted by Captain Bunbury with his left hand, he having parted with his right one, so he said "to feed the Turks at Navarino." '
Initially the Bunburys took up residence at Forest Hall Cottage, Brunswick Street, Newtown (now Fitzroy). Later Richard Bunbury took over the squatting rights and stock of 38 000 acres in the Western District of Victoria, near the head of Mt Emu Creek, which he called Barton Hall, after his family home in Suffolk.
Squatting, despite the huge areas involved, was not always profitable, and Bunbury soon found himself in financial difficulties. Fortunately for him, as a grandson of Lord Holland, he was able to command patronage. Superintendent La Trobe made him superintendent of water police and harbour master at Williamstown.
Bunbury was a member of the Melbourne Club, and one of the first provisional municipal officers of the Incorporated Town of Melbourne. When he died in 1857 his family left Australia for England.
Extracted from: Jennifer Phipps (1986) Artists' Gardens - Flowers and Gardens in Australian Art 1780s-1980s, Bay Books, Sydney. [consult for source references]