Who Was William Cape?
We named this aged care residence after Wyong’s founding father, William Cape. Cape was an extraordinary man who succeeded despite adversity. Born in 1773 to a destitute English family living near the Scottish border, he married when he was 32 and had 10 children. His career started as a bank clerk, eventually becoming the manager of the bank. When the bank closed, he reinvented himself as a tea merchant. Unfortunately for Cape, that business failed due to an economic depression.
The government was offering huge inducements to free settlers in Australia – land, convict servants, rations, and cattle. After many mishaps, the Cape family arrived in Australia in 1822. Despite crossing the world and facing many challenges, William Cape and William Cape Jnr flourished and shaped the educational style of early Sydney settlement as successive headmasters of the Sydney Public School, later to become Sydney Grammar School.
In 1827 William Cape occupied hundreds of acres of land granted to him fronting Wyong’s Jilliby Jilliby Creek and Wyong River. He selected a further 500 acres nearby for each of his two eldest sons. William Cape Snr was the first to bring cattle and sheep into the Wyong district. He claimed to be the first white man to enter Tuggerah Lakes from the sea. He had difficulties with his servants and withstood attacks by local indigenous people, who stole crops of potatoes and corn. Permanently lame after a severe accident, he moved back to Sydney and died there in 1847.
William Cape and his eldest son, William Cape Jnr are remembered as pioneers, adventurers and devoted family men who conquered adversity and prospered.