He was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1817. A butcher by trade, he arrived in Australia as a prisoner on convict ship Bengal Merchant in 1836. Having been convicted of stealing money at Glasgow Court of Justiciary on 27 April 1836 he was sentenced to 7 years transportation. His description was included in the convict indents - Age 23. Reads. Black hair, dark hazel eyes, dark freckled and pockpitted complexion. Angular scar top of centre forehead, scar left cheek bone.
He was assigned to George Glew, a butcher in Maitland in 1836, however was sent to Newcastle gaol from Maitland for an unknown crime in December 1837. By 1838 he was assigned to Lieut. Henry Lugard at Newcastle. He was punished severely at least twice in Newcastle for indiscretions in company with others. Unlike many prisoners this did not dictate the remainder of his life. Perhaps it was his marriage to Mary Cameron, daughter of Donald Cameron of Hexham in 1844 that turned his life around. They remained married for over fifty years and together raised a large family.
Peter Fleming and Charles B. Ranclaud established a successful butchering business in the heart of Newcastle. He was also instrumental in establishing the suburb of Wickham having purchased 120 acres in the 1850's. He erected the first house in Wickham, named Linwood and later purchased land at Belmont and premises in Newcastle. He was a city alderman for many years.
Peter Fleming died at his residence Linwood, Newcastle in June 1894 and was interred at Sandgate cemetery.
In 1923 three of his sons, Donald, Alexander and Robert reunited at Newcastle taking the opportunity to reminisce about their boyhood growing up in Newcastle -
OLD NEWCASTLE IDENTITIES.
Three brothers, born and reared in
Newcastle, whose combined ages total 222
years, met together in Watt-street yesterday morning. They were Robert,
Donald, and Alexander J. Fleming, whose
respective ages are 78, 74, and 70 years.
Their father was the late Mr. Peter Fleming, and the name of Fleming is indelibly associated with the earliest days
The reunion of the three brothers was
made possible by the return of Mr.
Donald Fleming from West Australia,
where he has been successfully engaged
in pastoral pursuits for over twenty
years. He is back in Newcastle upon a
The Fleming brothers have
each a wide knowledge of the pastoral
Industry, and their experiences in
dealings with cattle, sheep, and horses
would fill a book if they would recount
them. They are, however, men of reticent,
retiring disposition, and would say but
little. Standing in Watt street in front
of a big commercial edifice and facing
another pile beginning to assume massive
proportions, brought back memories to
them of the Newcastle of their boyhood.
Reverting to sixty-five years ago, one was
told that Watt-street was the only bit
of macadamised road in the place. East
ward, known as the Sandhills, there was
a succession of sand dunes. There
were scarcely any buildings in that direction, and the only one defined was the
residence of Captain Allen, on the hill
which carried his name.
The Waters of
the harbour ebbed and flowed where Scott
street now stands, and, in fact, made
their way to parts of Hunter-street, now
occupied by large buildings, In the harbour, between Newcastle and Stockton
there was a big sandbank, to which adventurous youths pulled over in rowing
boats and played upon it at low tide. On
New Year's Days the annual regattas were
held in the channel, and some of the
names of Australia's noted scullers
among them the Hickeys were linked
with the strenuously contested events. In
those days there were no Carrington and
Wickham Basins. A narrow winding
channel ran along between Honeysuckle
Point and Carrington.
The changes to the eyes of the three Newcastle pioneers were very great. It is only such men who can appraise the real progress of Newcastle and its port and district. Mr. Donald Fleming was in his early manhood, in partnership with his brother Robert in the butchery business upon the site where the Husters building now
stands in Hunter-street. Later Mr Donald Fleming joined in partnership with
Mr. Edward Chippindall, under the style
of Chippendall and Fleming. Mr. Sidney
Hewson entered their service as a boy and
stayed with them until manhood, when
the partnership was dissolved, and he entered into the butchery business on his
own behalf. It was a pleasing coincidence that Mr. Hewson was one of the
little coterie of which the three brothers
were the central figures yesterday.
Donald Fleming took a trip to West Australia in 1898 and returned to Newcastle
later after getting into his mind certain
business possibilities. He went back to
West Australia in 1900 and engaged in
pastoral pursuits. About thirteen years
ago he opened cattle trading with Singapore, with which he is still concerned
and his average shipments of sheep,
there are about 3000 head a month. He
has also traded largely in live-stock with
South Africa, and has personally taken
over to that dominion a couple of the
largest shipments despatched from Australia. One shipment consisted of 2000
heifers and another one of 10,000 sheep
and 14 trotting horses. Those shipments
were made shortly after the Boar War,
and the stock were intended for the re
stocking of the farms. Mr. Donald Fleming is staying with his brother Robert at
Islington, and is also spending portion of
his time with Mr. S. Hewson.
Mr. Robert Fleming is well known in
the turf history of Newcastle. He was
secretary to the Newcastle Jockey Club
for many years, and was succeeded in 1900
by Mr, J. Grisdale, the present occupant
of the position. He has also been engaged in the metropolitan area as owner
and trainer of valuable and successful
racehorses, and as starter and measurer
of proprietary racing clubs.
Mr. Alexander Fleming has had extensive dealings in cattle, sheep, and horses,
and has known all the vicissitudes of pastoral life. His Journeyings have taken
him into the great pastoral areas of New South Wales and Queensland. He has
known what It is to suffer from the severest droughts and to have to make a. re
start in life, but overcame the difficulties by persistent and dogged endeavours. He is now taking life comfortably,
and in a well-known and popular figure on
the Newcastle City bowling green. - Newcastle Morning Herald 3 January 1923