Early Hunter Valley Settlers

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William Bell Carlyle - Satur


William Bell Carlyle was born c. 1788 at Satur, Middlebie, Dumfries, Scotland. 

He was employed as a surgeon in the Royal Navy and Surgeon Superintendent of the convict ships Asia in 1820, Morley in 1823, Henry in 1825, Andromeda in 1827, Phoenix in 1828 and Marquis of Huntley  in 1830.

In correspondence dated September 1822 he was recommended by Lord Bathurst for a grant of land in New South Wales in proportion to the means which he possessed to bring it into cultivation. With the use of convict labour, he began building huts on land at Burragorang and was granted permission to pass through Cowpastures with cattle and servants in June 1823 however there was dispute over the location of his grant.

In April 1823 he was granted 2000 acres in any part of the colony already surveyed. He was still employed in the colonial service however and was planning to return to England in June 1823.

He eventually took up his 2000 grant in the Hunter Valley near Kingdon Ponds, naming the estate Satur after his birth place but it wasn't until November 1825 that he was granted permission for his six convict servants to be victualled from the Stores at Newcastle for six months.

All except two female prisoners on the convict ship Henry in 1825 were landed in Hobart. The other two Sarah Haynes and Elizabeth Gatton were sent on to Port Jackson. In February 1825 William Bell Carlyle applied to Government to have Elizabeth Gatton be assigned to Mrs. Douglass in Sydney.  A daughter Jane Carlyle, was born to William Bell Carlyle and Elizabeth Gatton on 28 July 1826. Elizabeth later married ticket of leave holder Robert Clinch in May 1828 and in the 1828 census taken in November 1828, Robert, Elizabeth and Jane were residing together, although where is not recorded.

It may be that William Carlyle's nephew Francis Little superintended the convict labour on Satur as Dr. Carlyle was still employed as surgeon on convict ships until 1830. The first six convict servants assigned to William Bell Carlyle who probably cleared the land and constructed buildings were:

Thomas Tyne or Tyrie per Morley

James Rockall per Mangles 1824

Robert Challons per Surry 1823

James Hewson per Surry 1823

Jonathan Savage per Asia 1820

John Matthews per Asia 1824.

In the 1828 Census, 350 acres were cleared and there were 9 horses, 87 horned cattle and 475 sheep on Satur.

An article in the Scone Advocate in 1922 described Satur in the early days of settlement......William Bell Carlyle took up his headquarters on what must have been its southern most point, and erected his lonely home on the elevated ground where stands (in 1922) the fine residence erected by Mr. G.K. Clift. The flat on the eastern side of the residence served as a family garden and orchard and the tall and spreading fig trees alone stand to remind the present generation of the century old place and to recall as it were 'Goldsmith's oft quoted lines "Where once a garden smiled". (2)

The old homestead at Satur having been taken over by the Little family was party demolished in later years and for a great length of time was utilised as a shearing shed, the frame of which was still remembered by old Sconeites in 1922. (2)

In 1935 the Sydney Morning Herald published 'Memories of Pioneers' written by Mary Graham in which she refers to William Bell Carlyle:

Scone, one of the finest and most progressive towns in the Upper Hunter district is a place with an interesting history, the home of many pioneers who have left memories of good works and noble deeds. One of the earliest settlers was William Bell Carlyle, R.N., a ship's surgeon, who was given a grant of 2000 acres of land at Kingdon Ponds which was called Satur. Last year (1934) the centenary of the Scone Hospital was celebrated, and many interesting facts were brought to light. The first settlement of the Scone district took place during the penal period, and there was a convict establishment at Segenhoe. Governor Hunter was  considered a fine man, and very proud were the old settlers that the river running through the district should be named after him - the Hunter - and proud too, are the descendants of these pioneers living today of the fact that the Hunter Valley has produced so fine a stamp of people. Without digressing the names of McIntyre, Potter Macqueen, the Parburys, Bowman, Dumaresq, Bell, Clark, Rankin, Docker, Robertson, Cox, Brodie and Little are among those with many others always spoken of with respect.

It was when what was called the Queen Caroline trouble was taking place in England in the early twenties of last century that many of the upper classes in England became involved in the trouble and, being considered politically undesirable, were sent overseas and given grants of land; and it was many of these that settled in the Satur or Scone district.

One thing claimed for Dr. Carlyle was that it was he who introduced the prickly pear, and it is said its more extensive growth in Queensland can be traced to this district, it having been taken north and transplanted by one of Queensland's first squatters, Patrick Leslie on one of his journeys. It was in 1820s that nephews of Dr. Carlyle, the Messrs Francis Little and Archibald Little came to the district and the first settlement was formed with a Court and Bench of magistrates for the whole district which was becoming extensive. Dr. Carlyle, Captain Dumaresq and Francis Little were the first trio of magistrates.' (1)

William Bell Carlyle died on 5th September 1844 at Hamilton, Port Macquarie.

Select here to find prisoners assigned to William Bell Carlysle

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
















Links & Notes:

1). Select here to find more about William Bell Carlisle

2). On the Royal Navy List of surgeons fit for service 1845. Date of seniority in the Navy 2 September 1807.....

3). Monument Australia

4). The Prickly Pear - Who Introduced it?




(1) Sydney Morning Herald 6 April 1935

(2) The Scone Advocate 28 April 1922



Settlers on Map 9

John Bingle (Puen Buen)

William Bell Carlyle (Satur)

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)








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