Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

William Bell Carlyle

Convict Ship Surgeon and Settler

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


William Bell Carlyle was employed as a surgeon in the Royal Navy and Surgeon-Superintendent of the following convict ships:

Asia departed England 3 September 1820. Arrived Port Jackson 28 December 1820

Morley departed the Downs 25 September 1822. Arrived Van Diemen's Land 11 January 1823

Henry departed London 12 October 1824. Arrived Port Jackson 27 February 1825

Andromeda departed London 14 October 1826. Arrived Van Diemen's Land 23 February 1827.

Phoenix departed Spithead 7 March 1828. Arrived Port Jackson 14 July 1828.

Marquis of Huntley departed Sheerness 9 April 1830. Arrived Port Jackson 21 August 1830

Elizabeth Gatton

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; in the 1828 census taken in November 1828, Robert, Elizabeth and Jane were residing together, although where is not recorded.

Signature of William Bell Carlyle in the Surgeon's Journal of the voyage of the Henry in 1825
William Bell Carlyle's signature from the medical journal of the Henry.

Land Grant at Burragorang

In correspondence dated September 1822 William Bell Carlyle 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.

Land Grant in the Hunter Valley

In April 1823 William Bell Carlyle 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.

On 4 November 1825 Surveyor-General John Oxley certified that : W.B. Carlyle is in actual occupation and possession of 2,000 acres of land situated in the district of Holdsworthy and County Durham, the same being located by him under authority of a warrant from Sir Thomas Brisbane dated 30 April 1823. The district which Dangar had named Holdsworthy was not yet called Invermein. The County of Brisbane as not yet proclaimed, and Oxley included the west side of the Upper Hunter River in the County Durham[3]. The estate was named Satur after William Carlyle's birth place.

It may be that William Carlyle's nephew Francis Little superintended the convict labour on Satur as William Carlyle was still employed as surgeon on convict ships until 1830.

Map showing the location of Satur (W.B. Carlyle) 1837

....The location of Satur is at the centre of this map (marked Carlyle) Select here to see larger map

Convict Labour

In November 1825 William B. Carlyle was granted permission for his six convict servants to be victualled from the Stores at Newcastle for six months. The first 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.

Select here to find other convicts assigned to the Satur estate.

Satur Estate

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

Satur was acquired by Stephen Coxen. He advertised the estate for either lease or sale with several others in 1841 when he was intending to travel to England. It was described in that advertisement - Four Thousand Acres of land with house, garden and out offices. Two hundred acres of land fenced. Agricultural Pursuits can be followed with advantage on this property as its proximity to the Ton of Scone commands a sale of every description of farm produce. Immediate possession can be given to this delightful residence as it is now only occupied pro tem. by the Police Magistrate of Scone.[4]

Satur was described in 1895 - Satur homestead is within sight of the butter factory, whither I made my way after interviewing Mr. Christenson and was lucky enough to catch Mr. Parbury just starting out for a ride. How dry and parched everything felt and looked as I walked across the paddocks to the house - a comfortable cottage prettily situated on a commanding site embowered in pepper trees. [5]

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

An article in the Scone Advocate in 1922 - 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'.

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 Scone-ites in 1922. [2]

Death of William Bell Carlyle

William Bell Carlyle died on 5th September 1844 at Hamilton, Port Macquarie. A marble Memorial was erected in his memory -

Surgeon In The Royal Navy And For Many Years
A Magistrate Of This Territory,
Who Departed This Life On The 5th Day Of September, 1844, Aged 56 years.
This Tablet Is Erected To His Memory,
By His Friends In This District,
To Whom He Had Endeared Himself By His Numerous Virtues,
As A Mark Of Their Regard,
And An Humble Tribute To Departed Worth. '
In The Way Of Righteousness Is Life, And In The Pathway Thereof There Is No Death'. Prov, 12 Chap. 28 verse. - Monument Australia

Links and 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). The Prickly Pear - Who Introduced it?

Inroduction of Prickly Pear to NSW. Scone Advocate Friday 5 June 1936, page 3


[1] Sydney Morning Herald 6 April 1935

[2] The Scone Advocate 28 April 1922

[3] Wood, W. Allan, Dawn in the Valley, Wentworth Books, Sydney, 1972. p.99

[4] The Sydney Herald 24 Mar 1841

[5] Maitland Weekly Mercury 14 December 1895