Free Settler or Felon?

Hunter Valley Settlers
James Mitchell
Map 4

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Hunter River, Glendon, Darlington, Singleton, Patrick Plains

James Mitchell joined the Army Medical Corps in 1810 and served in the Napoleonic wars.

He joined the 48th Regiment in 1821 and arrived in New South Wales as assistant surgeon to the 48th on the John Barry on 7th November 1821.

In October 1822 he was given permission to travel to Newcastle on the Elizabeth Henrietta. In March 1823 he again made the 60 miles voyage up the coast, this time on the Eclipse and accompanied by Helenus and Robert Scott, his future brothers-in-law and John Cheers. (1)   In 1823 the Eclipse made regular weekly voyages up and down the coast. She was seized by convict pirates and disappeared from Newcastle forever in 1825. Find out more at here.

James Mitchell was granted 2000 acres of land which he selected at Glendon Brook near Singleton although he did not settle on this land. His property adjoined that of Helenus and Robert Scott.

In June 1823 he was appointed assistant surgeon in the Colonial Medical Department and was employed at Sydney Hospital. He acquired large portions of land by both grant and purchase and he invested in industry around the Newcastle area including the Stockton Tweed Factory and the Burwood Copper Smelting Works and Newcastle Coal and Copper Co.

Augusta Maria Scott, sister of Robert, Helenus and Alexander Walker Scott, accompanied her mother to Australia in 1832 and in 1833 she married James Mitchell. Their son, David Scott Mitchell, founder of the Mitchell library, was born in 1836.

James Mitchell died on 1st February 1869.  

Notes & Links:

1). Australian Dictionary of Biography Elizabeth Guilford, ‘James Mitchell, (1792–1869)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian National University, 2462/text3295.

2). Australian Pioneer Medical Index

3). Harbeck Rare Books - A group of important items from the Scott, Mitchell and Merewether families in New South Wales

4). Historic Houses Trust - Dr. Mitchell's House at Cumberland Place by Contrad Martens

5). Glenrock Lagoon overview    

6). Burwood Copper Smelting Works, Merewether, c.1852. - University of Newcastle Cultural Collections. Click to enlarge

C918-0154 Burwood Copper Smelting Works, Merewether, c.1852.

7). A correspondent to the Maitland Mercury in 1851 gives an account of the Copper Smelting Works.......

About three miles from Newcastle, on Dr. Mitchell's Burwood Estate, there is a small glen, so surrounded with hills as to form a natural amphitheatre, the area of which abuts on that portion of the sea shore known as the Long Beach. On this area, as near as convenient to the water'» edge, the company's works have been erected, under the superintendence and direction of Mr. Morgan. To this place there is a carriage road from the town. Diverging from the highway to Lake Macquarie, at the commencement of the Burwood estate, it passes over a portion of it, and finally (on its near approach to the works) through a tunnel excavated in a seam of coal eight feet thick, which lies embedded nearly horizontally in the high ridge forming the northern side or wall of the glen. During the last session of Council an act was passed to authorise the formation of a tram-road from this tunnel to the port. Should the design be carried into effect, it will afford the utmost facility of access to the works. The works consist of a spacious and well-built brick building, 150 feet x 30 feet; two calcining, two melting, and two roasting furnaces, a refinery, smiths' and carpenters' shops, &c. A space at one end of the main building has been set apart for a counting-house and stores, and in the side wails of the same building large arches have been formed to permit approach to the furnaces, which are ranged under detached roofs, running parallel therewith. By this arrangement the interior of the works in which the workmen are chiefly employed can be kept comparatively cool.n With the exception of the manager's residence, and the cottages for the work people now in course of erection, te the buildings are compactly enclosed within a high and closely paled fence, the whole forming it is to be hoped the germ of a great and prosperous establishment. (Maitland Mercury 6 September 1851)  


(1) (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3507 Page: 408 New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825



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