Early Hunter Valley Settlers


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The Hunter River Valley was the largest of the lowland plains on the New South Wales coast. It was the first area outside the Cumberland Plains to be permanently occupied by white settlers, however these first settlers were small farmers, allowed the indulgence by Governor Macquarie. After the Governor's first visit to Newcastle in January 1812, well behaved convicts John Reynolds, Benjamin Davis, George Pell and Richard Binder and son of convict storekeeper John Tucker (John junior) were permitted to take up land on Patterson's Plains.

In 1817 and 1818 more settlers were allowed farms as well, including John Tucker senior who had retired from his government position at Newcastle; John Powell, John Swan, William Evans, Robert Whitmore Thomas Addison, John Reynolds, Anthony Dwyer and John Reeves.  The conditions under which the farms were held were mentioned in an order published in March 1818 warning the farmers that: they were not to regard the land so given them their own property, the right being exclusively vested in the Governor and that they were only allowed to cultivate and to reside on their Farms so granted during their good conduct and the pleasure of His Excellency the Governor.

Governor Macquarie described the country in his Journal on 30th July 1818 :-

'Thursday 30th. July. Got up at Day-break and Breakfasted immediately so as to prosecute our Journey up the River.  At 10 a.m. we arrived in the Gig at Point Reception, and at the confluence of the 2d. & 3d. Branches of the River. -- We proceeded up this Branch to the Farms some time since permitted by me to be occupied by 6 well behaved Convicts and two Free men. Arrived at the first Farm (young Tucker's) at 1/2 past 11 o'clock, distant about 9 miles from Point Reception, where we landed and walked about for some little time examining the improvements and nature of the Soil, which last is most excellent. We then proceeded to view the rest of the Farms on both sides of this beautiful River -- finding the soil of all of them very good -- and much more ground cleared & cultivated than I had any idea of. -- After we had explored most of the Farms, we quitted the Boat entirely and walked across the Country to the 3d. Branch -- leaving orders with the Gig to meet us next day at Reception Point on our way back. -- The Country between the two Rivers thro' which we travelled was principally fine open Forest Land, very fit for grazing but not for cultivation but we also passed through some very close thick Brush Country and indifferent land. '

In the early 1820's there were other trusted ex - prisoners who were allowed to settle near Maitland also - George Mitchell, Molly Morgan, Richard Martin, Patrick Riley, John Allen, John Smith, Thomas Boardman, Patrick Maloney and John Cahill and William Jones.  William Eckford and William O'Donnell were also early small settlers.

Because of the Newcastle Penal settlement there was a deliberate refusal to allow any large scale settlement of the Hunter Valley. Other than the indulgences to the small farmers mentioned above, the granting of acreages in the Hunter Valley was delayed until after the penal settlement closed and convicts were transferred to Port Macquarie. Consequently the majority of the valley's settlers were new immigrants whose enterprise, together with the natural resources of the valley produced a rapid development of both agriculture and stock raising.

After Commissioner Bigge recommended closure of Newcastle penal settlement and relinquishment of the land of the Hunter Valley for free settlement these new settlers began pouring into the area. The river banks of the lower Hunter and their surrounds had been denuded of timber in the preceding years and the land was now seen as a resource for wealth and revenue via agriculture.

The new settlers included merchants and military men, agriculturalists, doctors and sea captains. They sailed sixty miles up the coast from Sydney in little colonial vessels and disembarked at the stone wharf at Newcastle. They then transferred to smaller vessels to make the voyage up the river.

Many came with wealth and privilege and under the new laws in NSW had great potential to extend this wealth. They were granted land according to their resources and allocated a convict for every 100 acres able to be effectively developed. Some were also allocated allotments in the township of Newcastle.

Many of these early settlers were still on their land when Robert Dixon surveyed the district in 1832. Dixon returned to England in 1836 and while there published a map in dated 1837.  Select here to find out more about Robert Dixon

As well as the 1837 maps, there are Wikimapia maps on each page. Use the controls in the top left hand corner of the map to zoom in and out and to move the map left to right etc. Or click and drag the map.

Map 1

 Ash Island - Alexander Walker ScottJohn Laurio PlattAustralian Agricultural CompanyJoseph WellerGeorge WellerWilliam BrooksJonathon WarnerGeorge BrooksRichard Windeyer & Adam BeveridgeWilliam PeppercornRichard SiddonsJohn MacleanG.T. GrahamWilliam SparkeHenry RaeVicars JacobFrancis ShorttFrancis MoranJohn EalesWilliam BradridgeNobbys Island c. 1910Black Swan from the Skottowe Collecion. Artist R. BrowneIron Bark Creek 1907Escape of Convicts - Bushrangers

Australian Agricultural Company    Adam Beveridge   William Bradridge   George Brooks    William Brooks (Lochend)   John Eales  (Duckinfield House)    John Field    George Thomas Graham    Vicars Jacob    James Thomas Lamb    John MacLean    Francis Moran  (Duck River Farm)    William Peppercorn(Eyeball Reach)   John Laurio Platt     Henry Rae    Alexander Walker Scott (Ash Island)    Francis Shortt    Richard Siddons    William Sparke    Jonathon Warner    Joseph Weller    George Weller    Richard Windeyer  Australian Agricultural company   John Field,  Simeon Lord, Iron Bark Creek, Nobbys Island


Map 2

James Adair John Boughton Edward Collison Close  - Green Hills George Cobb Edward Gostsyck Cory Gilbert Cory John Cory william cummings Robert Corum Dillon Leslie Duguid William Dun William Evans George Frankland William Hicks Beresford Hudson William Innes Richard Jones James Kelly Andrew Lang - Dunmore Robert Lethbridge Alexander Livingstone James McClymont Thomas McDougall George Muir Find out more about Maitland Timothy Nowlan Henry Dixon Owen Richard Pritchett James Phillips James Read (Reid) George Shaw Rutherford Walter Scott Gentleman John Smith John Galt Smith John Tucker Susannah Matilda Ward Susannah Matilda Ward William Charles Wentworth Gorge Williams Caleb and Felix Wilson Marie Steamer at Paterson

James Adair    Samuel Adair, George Adair   Edward Cory    Gilbert Cory    John Cory    William Cummings  Andrew Dixon  Robert Corum Dillon  Leslie Duguid William Dun William Evans George Frankland Standish Lawrence Harris  William Hicks   Beresford Hudson   Richard Jones   James Kelly     Andrew Lang Robert Lethbridge  Alexander Livingstone  James McGillivray  George Muir   Thomas McDougall       James McClymont  Timothy Nowlan    Henry Dixon Owen    James Phillips  Richard Charles Pritchett     James Read George Shaw Rutherford   Walter Scott   Gentleman John Smith    John Galt Smith   Hugh Torrence  John Tucker Susannah Matilda Ward   William Charles Wentworth   John Wighton George Williams   Caleb & Felix Wilson   Thomas White Melville Winder

Map 3

 Henry John Lindeman - Cawarra

Ferdinand Anley   Alexander Park   Alexander MacDuff Baxter   Charles Boydell    Crawford Logan Brown    Matthew Chapman     James Dowling   Francis Gibbes   Grayson Hartley    John Hooke John Lord  John Mann    Duncan Forbes Mackay    John McInytre   Joseph Rookin    Major Smeathman  Benjamin Sullivan    George Townshend    John Verge   Charles Windeyer 


Map 4


Archibald Bell junior (Corinda)    James Black     William Brooks    James Busby    John Cobb (Minimbah / Rusholine)      Henry Dangar      John Earl      John Gaggin      William Harper (Oswald)      William Kelman      John Larnach (Rosemount, Castle Forbes)  David Maziere  Alexander McLeod   James Mitchell   James Mudie    Robert and Helenus Scott (Glendon)  Alexander Shand     Benjamn Singleton     Alexander Brodie Sparke   Thomas Steele   Joseph Underwood     George Wyndham (Dalwood)   George Boyle White (Greenwood Estate)


Map 5

William Simms Bell (Cheshunt)    George Bowman    James Bowman (Ravensworth

David Brown

   John Martin Davis    Robert Dawson (Goorangula)    George Dight    John Gaggin    James Glennie (Dulwich

James Hale

  Rev. Richard Hill    Richard Hobden (Great Lodge)    Robert Hoddle   John Howe (Mibrodale)    Sampson Marshall  

James Mein

  George Galway Mills     Archibald Mossman    Joseph Onus    Thomas Parmeter    Robert Pringle    Robert Adamson Rodd

Map 6


Alexander Anderson    James Arndell (Woodlands)    Thomas Arndell    James Brindley Bettington     John Henshall Bettington     George Blaxland (Wollun)     Charles Cameron    Peter Cunningham  (Dalswinton)    Cyrus Matthew Doyle (Lucan Park)   John Hoskings    Rev. John McGarvie

William Ogilvie (Merton)  James Robertson


Map 7

Francis Allman (Overton)    Joseph Horton Bettington     William Buchanan - Belltrees - Hunter Valley Settlers (Marsheen)   William Cox  (Negoa)   Henry Dumaresq (St. Heliers)  Francis Forbes (Skellator)    George Forbes  (Edinglassie)    Captain John Pike (Pickering)   Samuel Wright  (Bengalla)   Muswellbrook



Map 8

Hugh Cameron   William Dangar  William Dumaresq - St. Aubins   Thomas Potter Macqueen  - Segenhoe   Peter McIntyre 



Map 9

Stephen Coxen Puen Buen - the Estate of John Bingle Alexander Livingstone Stephen Coxen


John Bingle (Puen Buen)    William Bell Carlyle (Satur) Stephen Coxen  Stephen Coxen Joseph Docker (Thornwaite)   John Dow ( Arden Hall)   Mary Ann Fennell   George Hall   Archibald Little (Cressfield)   Francis Little (Invermein)   Alexander Livingstone ( near Mt. Wingen)   Donald McIntyre (Kayuga)   Peter McIntyre  Hamilton Collins Sempill     James White ( Broomfield)

Map 10

Joseph Pennington Thomas Gill Jacob Newton Francis Allman William Fisher Hugh Torrence John Wighton Joseph Thew James King - Irrawang Thomas Bartie Go to Map 2 Go to Map 2 Go to Map 1

Joseph PenningtonThomas GillJacob Newton D. McLeodGeorge Mossman | Duncan Sinclair | William Caswell | Francis Allman | William Fisher | Hugh Torrence | Andrew Dixon | John Wighton | Thomas Bartie | Joseph Thew





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2. Backhouse, James., A Narrative of a visit to the Australian Colonies in 1843

3. Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships 1787 - 1868, Library of Australian History, 1983

4. Boyle, H.F., Lieutenant Commander Frederick Bedwell R.N, Paterson Historical Society

5. Census of New South Wales. 1828

6. Clouten, Keith H., Reid's Mistake; the story of Lake Macquarie from its discovery until 1890. Boolaroo NSW; Lake Macquarie Shire Council, 1967

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9. Early Days of Port Stephens - Extracts from Sir Edward Parry's Diary. Dungog Chronicle

10. Hainsworth, D.R. The Sydney Traders, Simeon Lord and his Contemporaries, Cassell Australian, Melbourne, 1872.

11. Hunter, Cynthia., The Settlers of Paterson's Plains, Paterson Historical Society, 1997

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13. Index to the Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788 - 1825

14. Maitland Mercury

15. Mitchell, C., Hunter's River, Estate of Cecily Joan Mitchell, 1984

16. Newcastle Coal Report: History of Newcastle Mines under Crown and Australian Agricultural Company

17. New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages

18. Proceedings of the Old Bailey

19. Sydney Gazette

20. Sydney Morning Herald

21. The narrative of a voyage of discovery performed in his majesty's vessel the Lady Nelson of sixty tons burthen, with sliding keels; in the years 1800, 1801, and 1802, to New South Wales

22. Turner, J.W., Manufacturing in Newcastle, 1801 - 1900. Newcastle History Monographs No 8., Newcastle Public Library 1980

23. Uebel , L., The Port Jackson Convicts Anthology, 2001

24. 1832 Directory

25. General Return of Convicts to New South Wales 1837

(26)Roope, C., Gregson, P., 'An Organised Banditti,The Story behind the Jewboy Bushranger Gang.,Lake Macquarie, 2002

(27) Sydney Herald,December 10th 1840.

(28) 1832 Directory

(29) Sydney Gazette12 May 1835

(30) Sydney Gazette 4 October1834

(31) AO 1046 6/6007 CSOL 1832 -1833, 32/972

(32) Commercial Journal 4 September 1839

(33)Maitland Mercury 24 May 1845

(34) Sydney Gazette 4 June 1831

35. Sydney Gazette 9 April 1835

36 Maitland Mercury 17 October 1849

(37) Maitland Mercury 10 November 1849

38Wood, Allan, Dawn in the Valley, Wentworth Books, Sydney, 1972. p131.

39 Turner, J.W. Newcastle as a Convict Settlement: The Evidence before J.T. Bigge in 1819 - 1821, p.128