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Keats family

The Keats (aka Keites, Keates) family is probably most notable for the fact that 18-yr-old William Keats Jnr treacherously shot Yagan, the most notable First People countryman at the time of colonisation, for the governor's reward. William's 'reward' was in fact to be speared to death in immediate reprisal. James, his brother, escaped –  and claimed the money!

William Keats Snr was granted Lots 93 (in Henry Street at the South Bay end) and 128 (Leake Street, second from the corner of Market Street). No later than 1831, he opened a hotel called the Australian Inn with his wife Ann on Lot 77, which is in Henry Street in the middle of the northeastern section. He tried to sell it in 1831 (apparently unsuccessfully) because he had moved on to the Union Hotel, which was on Lot 128, on the corner of Short and Market Streets. That was taken over by William Dixon in the same year. The Keatses reappear the following year, 1833, in the King's Arms, on Lot 79 Henry Street, which was adjacent to William Rolfe Steel's Royal Hotel, on Lots 80 and 81, corner of High Street.

Keats was found guilty of plundering the Cumberland wreck in 1835 and was deported to VDL. His wife left the colony in 1836.

KEATS, William, b. 1792, arr. 15.12.1829 per Gilmore with wife Ann b. 1797 & 2 sons, James b. 1820 (India), William b. 1815 d. 1833 killed by Aborigines after the shooting of Yagan. Claimed to be a foreman mason in London. Fremantle publican at "Kings Arms" in 1833. "A character better known than respected", he was transported to Tasmania for plundering the wreck of the Cumberland (31.1.1835 Perth Gazette). His wife dep. 25.1.1836 per Giraffe. (see William KElTES).

References and Links


Graham, Allen 2023, Inns and Outs of Fremantle: a Social History of Fremantle and its Hotels 1829-1856, XLibris.

Hasluck, Alexandra 1961, 'Yagan the patriot', Early Days, vol. 5, part 7: 35-48.

Hasluck, Alexandra 1967, 'Yagan ( - 1833)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, ANU.

Moore, George Fletcher 1884, Diary of Ten Years Eventful Life of an Early Settler in Western Australia, Walbrook, London; facsimile edition, UWAP, 1978. Moore spells the names Keates and Ya-gan.

Tuckfield, Trevor 1971, 'Early colonial taverns and inns' (Part 1), Early Days, vol. 7, part 3: 65-82; 1975 (Part 2), Early Days, vol. 7, part 7: 98-106.

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