- Bateman, Walter Samuel Grono, Commodore, RANR
- Biographies and personal histories, History - pre-Federation
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Hobart II
- June 1996 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
During HOBART’s visit to Milford Sound, Richard and I presented a plaque to the Manager of the Milford Hotel to commemorate the occasion. I understand the plaque is still displayed in the hotel, having been noted by several visitors in recent years, including members of the Naval Historical Society.
As for the later life of John Grono, he expanded his land and stock holdings greatly through the 1820s. However, he was heavily mortgaged and when the shipbuilding industry collapsed and general recession set in in the early 1840s he was hit badly, selling up most of his assets. He never recovered financially and lived out the rest of his life with his wife, Elizabeth on a small property, Grono Park, on the banks of the Hawkesbury. Altogether, they had twelve children – five sons and seven daughters. Their youngest son, Thomas, was the great-great grandfather of Richard Grono and myself.
John Grono died on the 4th May, 1847, aged eighty years, and was buried in the cemetery of Ebenezer Church near Windsor, where his grave may still be seen today. Elizabeth died fourteen months later, aged seventy years. Their children mostly married the children of emancipists, and this, with the financial losses of the 1840s, meant that the Grono name never made it onto the list of famous colonial families, despite the one-time wealth of John Grono, his landholdings and his extraordinary pioneering labours.
Postscript on the name – GRONO
Grono is an ancient Welsh family name which can be traced back for at least 21 generations and also appears on the Welsh line on the Royal Chart of the Kings and Queens of Great Britain. It is said that Llwyd Grono, a distinguished military leader was instrumental in obtaining the Sovereignty of Wales for Edward I. The great grandfather of King Henry VII was Meredith ap Tudor ap Grono. ‘ap’ is Welsh for “son of”.
The Grono Books Association, Two Hawkesbury Sailors – An Illustrated History of Captain John Grono and Captain Alexander Books, Richmond, NSW, 1984.
Hardy seafarer opened up Southern Ocean’, Sunday Telegraph, November 28, 1993, pg. 108.
‘Grono was shipbuilder, sealer, whaler’, Parade, August 1974, pg.45.