Collection of early documents - memoranda, notebooks, receipts, legal papers - relating to Richard Rouse (1774-1852), builder of Rouse Hill House.
The earliest notebook begins with a cryptic reference to Richard Rouse in London in October 1792. This
entry is followed by a list of "book prices" for making various items of furniture. The phrase 'book price' is a reference to the formal price agreements, made between employers and employees, which regulated the London furniture trade at that time. Richard Rouse was the son of a joiner and cabinetmaker in Oxford and this list indicates that he was himself working in the trade in London in the late 1790s, in the years immediately before he emigrated to the convict colony of New South Wales in 1801, with his wife Elizabeth, small daughter Mary and son John, born on the voyage. The notebook also has a page recording births and deaths, including an entry for Mary born 13 January 1799 and another daughter, Jane, born 6 October 1797.
A series of small booklets record the victualling of convicts assigned to Richard Rouse. The entries cover the years 1821 to 1838 - although the arrangement is not strictly chronological - and itemise the supply of rations: usually flour, pork, beef, tea, sugar, tobacco, soap, and salt; less often calico, balls of cotton, cotton shirts, wine by the gallon; and occasional seasonal treats like "2 bottels rum at Christmas". The entries sometimes indicate how an assigned servant has been deployed: fencing at Jericho at South Creek near Windsor; shepherding at Guntawang, near Mudgee; working as a plasterer at Rouse Hill. Some of the entries relate to men who continued to work for Rouse after their sentence had expired.
Several documents in the collection relate to Richard Rouse's business interests in Parramatta: his appointment as an auctioneer in 1814; a set of invoices and receipts for building work carried out by James Houison and Nathaniel Payten from 1839 to 1844; a rent book listing rents received from his tenants from 1844 to 1848.