Emigrants To Australia
of the emigrants from North East Fife made significant contributions
to the development of Australia during the 19th century. Here
are a few examples of these pioneers and their notable achievements.
Berry was born in December 1795 on a farm near Cupar. His parents
were James Berry and Isabel Tod and he was the eighth of their
nine children. He started his education at Cupar Grammar School.
After his father's death in 1827, David managed the family farm.
In 1836, he emigrated to Australia aboard the 'Midlothian',
accompanied by his brothers John and William, and his sisters
Agnes and Janet. They arrived at Sydney in July 1836 and joined
their eldest brother, Alexander, who was a merchant and also
owned farmland at Coolangatta, in the Shoalhaven district.
and John managed the farm until John died in 1848. The property
was worked by several hundred convicts. After John died, David
began leasing land to tenants who were allowed five years without
rent in order to clear timbered land. By 1863, he controlled
300 tenants and he was regarded as a progressive and fair-minded
landlord. The income from his enterprise enabled him to purchase
other properties on the Richmond and Clarence rivers. He also
inherited the estates of his brothers, Alexander and William,
who died in 1873 and 1875 respectively. David's ventures continued
to prosper, and he pioneered scientific methods of agricultural
and estate management.
remained a bachelor until his death in September 1899, by which
time he was a millionaire. Most of his estate went to his cousin,
Sir John Hay, but he also left £100,000 to the University
of St Andrews, £100,000 for a hospital at Shoalhaven and
£30,000 to the Presbyterian Church of N.S.W. During his
lifetime, David Berry was renowned for his generosity, and he
provided schools for the education of children on his estate.
He was also involved in many scientific and engineering projects
which were ahead of their time.
Alexander Berry, David's eldest brother, was born on St Andrews
day 1781, at Hilltarvit Mains, near Cupar. He was educated at
Cupar Burgh School. He then studied medicine at the Universities
of St Andrews and Edinburgh. After serving as a ship's doctor
with the East India Company, he settled in Australia where he
established a colony in New South Wales along with his partner,
Edward Wollstonecraft. His administration of this fledgling
colony made him famous, and he played an important part in the
development of the area until his death in 1873. As detailed
above, he also paved the way for the brothers and sisters who
followed his example by emigrating to Australia.
James Duncan was born in February 1845 at Anstruther. He was
the second son of John Duncan, sea captain, and his first wife,
Joan Hughes. Captain Duncan and his family emigrated to South
Australia in 1854, when John was nine years old. In association
with his brother-in-law, Sir Walter Watson Hughes, (see following
summary), Captain Duncan leased sheep stations at Moonta and
Walleroo. Copper deposits were discovered on these properties
in 1860, after which copper mining became an important local
industry. The first discovery was made by a shepherd named James
was educated at Watervale Grammar School, Bentley, near Gawler,
and the Collegiate School of St Peter. After leaving school,
he worked for three years with Elder, Smith & Co. He then
became accountant in charge of the financial department of the
Walleroo and Moonta mining and Smelting Cormpany. He also managed
the pastoral properties owned by his uncle, from whom he inherited
the stations of Hughes Park and Gun Creek in 1887.
from his farming and mining interests, John became involved
in politics. In 1871 he was elected to the South Australian
House of Assembly as the representative for Adelaide. During
the next eighteen years he pursued an increasingly successful
political career although he refused offers of portfolios made
to him by at least three Premiers. H. was highly respected by
his political friends and foes for his integrity and his extensive
knowledge of agricultural affairs. He still found time to participate
in the development of commerce in South Australia where his
business acumen was beneficial. He yes knighted for his public
services in June 1913, and died in October of the same year.
John Duncan had married Jane Morison, daughter of Arthur Harvey,
in November 1873. His wife died one year later without issue.
In January 1879 he married Jean Gordon, daughter of James Grant
and Mary Todd. His second wife bore him four sons and two daughters.
From his substantial estate he made generous bequests to various
Watson Hughes was born in August 1803 at Pittenweem. His parents
were Thomas Hughes and Eliza Anderson. He attended school in
Grail and was apprenticed to a local cooper. However, he soon
went to sea and for several years he was engaged in whaling
in the Arctic regions. This hazardous lifestyle did not appeal
to him, so he voyaged to Calcutta as first mate on a sailing
ship in 1829. He then bought the brig 'HERO', and traded in
the Indian and China seas until 1840. In that year he sailed
for Adelaide, where he worked for Bunce & Thompson, who
were shipping merchants.
the financial crisis of 1843, Walter lost most of his hard-earned
savings, bet he salvaged enough to commence sheep-farming. Through
careful management he was able to expand his activities, and
in 1854 he leased the large sheep station at Walleroo. He was
joined in this venture by his brother-in-law, Captain John Duncan.
(see previous summary) In 1860, copper was found on the Walleroo
property, followed shortly afterwards by a similar find on Moonta.
Walter formed a company for the commercial development of these
copper deposits. After a few years, this company became tremendously
profitable. Since Walter was the main shareholder, he acquired
considerable wealth, which he utilised to expand his sheep farming
properties, until he owned many thousands of acres.
contributed lavishly to the promotion of further education,
and he was known as the 'Father of Adelaide University' because
of his large donations. In 1880 he was knighted for public services.
Before then, Sir Walter Hughes had retired to England, where
he lived at Fan Court in Surrey. In September 1841, he had married
Sophia, daughter of James Hairy Richman, who was a well-known
Adelaide solicitor. His wife died in June 1885 without issue.
Sir Walter died in January 1887. Both he and his wife were buried
in the churchyard at Lyne, near Chertsey. His statue stands
in front of the Adelaide University and a memorial window was
installed in the Flinders Presbyterian Church to which he was
a generous benefactor.
Graham was born in February 1819 at Ennis in County Clare, Ireland.
He was the son of James Moore Graham, Irish born surgeon to
the Fife Militia, and his first wife, Anna Maria levers. James
was educated at Ennis College initially. However, the family
moved to Cupar in 1832 and his schooling was continued at Madras
Academy there. He commenced work with Pagan & Christie,
bankers and solicitors, but soon decided to emigrate. In September
1838 he sailed for Australia aboard the 'Alfred', and arrived
at Sydney in January 1839.
travelled overland to Melbourne in April 1838 to establish an
agency for S.A. Donaldson, who was a Sydney merchant. His energy
and initiative soon built up a successful business, which included
investments in land and buildings for Donaldson's clients. After
a few years he held many public and private appointments, including
director of the Port Phillip Steam Navigation Company and trustee
of the Government Savings Bank. By the mid--1840s, James had
established his own business and he admitted his brothers Edward
and Charles as partners in 1858. Their business went from strength
to strength and James became one of Victoria's most prominent
men of commerce. He entered politics briefly in 1866 but soon
retired to concentrate on his business and personal affairs.
In September 1845, James had married Mary Alleyne Cobham who
bore him eighteen children. Two of his sons, Francis and Harry,
became partners in the family business in 1876 and 1897 respectively.
He died at South Yarra in July 1898, leaving a substantial fortune.
His outstanding collection of commercial records were left for
the use of historians. His portrait hangs in the Melbourne Club
of which he was a founding member and President in 1865.
Amess was born at Newburgh in 1826. His parents were Samuel
Amess and Elizabeth Fotheringham. On leaving school he was apprenticed
to local stonemason. In 1849 he married Jane Straughan and emigrated
to Australia in 1852. After a few months gold mining at Ballarat,
he returned to Melbourne and set up in business as a building
contractor. His venture prospered and he built many private
and municipal buildings in Melbourne. In 1873, he became the
first President of the Builders and Contractors Association.
He was elected to the Melbourne City Council in 1864 and became
Mayor in 1869. Samuel Amess died in July 1898, by which time
he was a widower.
Lyell was born at Newburgh in 1836. His parents were Jamms Lyelland
Margaret Haggart. He was educated at Abdie Grange School near
his home. After leaving school he joined the Dundee firm of
Moon, Langlands & Co. In January 1853, he emigrated to Australia,
arriving at Melbourne on board the 'Penola'. He worked for two
years with Henry Langlands, iron-founder but left to join Langlands,
Buick & Co., warehousemen. By 1861, the firm had become
Buick, Christie and Lyell, retail drapers and importers. His
business career went from strength to strength and within a
few years Andrew was recognised as an outstanding accountant.
In the 1880s he became known as 'the prince of negotiators',
because of his exceptional skill as a mediator in many bitter
industrial disputes. In 1886 he was a founder, and later President,
of the Incorporated Institute of Accountants. Andrew was twice
married: first to Charlotte Owens and secondly to Janet Hamilton.
Andrew Lyell died in Melbourne in December 1897.
Gosman was born at Crail in February 1829. His parents were
John Gosman and Catherine Auchterlonie. He attended the parish
school and then taught in several schools including Glasgow
High School, where he was assistant English master, and acted
as Chaplain to Glasgow Asylum for the Blind. In 1850 he commenced
studying for the ministry at the University of Glasgow. Alexander
was ordained in June 1855. In September 1857, he married Jane
Buchanan. In response to appeals by the Colonial Missionary
Society, he emigrated to Australia with his wife and baby daughter.
They arrived in Melbourne on board the 'GREAT BRITAIN' in September
1860. His first charge was at Ballarat where he won renown as
a scholar and preacher. In 1864 he was appointed Lecturer, and
later Professor at the Congregational College of Victoria. He
was Principal from 1876 to 1913.
Alexander held many educational and religious appointments and
his reputation as an eminent theologian continued to grow. He
became first Chairman of the Congregational Union of Australia
in 1884. In 1904 he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by the
University of St Andrews. He was also a tireless campaigner
for the under-privileged and became first President of the Anti--Sweating
League. Rev. Alexander Gosman died in January 1913, leaving
a widow and six children.
Normand McLaurin was born in December 1835 at Kilconquhar. His
parents were James McLaurin, who was headmaster of the village
school, and Catherine Brearcliffe. They had five children but
three died in childhood, leaving two Sons, James Brearcliffe
(born 1835), and Henry Normand. The second son was named after
one of his father's close friends. Both boys began their education
at the parish school run by their father, and they also won
scholarships to St Andrews University. James studied for the
Ministry, and Normand graduated M.A. in 1854. By this time both
parents had died. James was appointed to a Church in Edinburgh
and Normand shared cheap lodging with him while studying medicine
at Edinburgh University. By 1857 he had qualified with honours,
but his success was marred by James dying of tuberculosis in
then joined the Royal Navy as Assistant Surgeon later that year.
He served in several warships, including 'ROYAL ALBERT' and
'MALBOROUGH'. In 1867 he sailed to Australia in the training
ship 'NELSON', which anchored in Port Phillip in February 1868.
Normand was then sent to Sydney where he joined 'CHALLENGER',
flag ship of the Australian Squadron. While based in Sydney,
he became friendly with Dr. Charles Nathan, who was Senior Surgeon
to the Sydney Infirmary. Normand married Dr. Nathan's daughter,
Eliza Ann, in October 1871. By this tine he had left the Navy
after refusing to return to Admiralty in London.
and Eliza moved to Parramatta, where he had been appointed Government
Medical Officer. In the following year, Eliza's father died
and Normand took over his house and practice in Sydney. In November
1872, their first son, Charles, was born. His other sons were
Henry Normand, Donald and Hugh. Normand' s career progressed
rapidly and he accepted many prestigious appointments, including
President of the Board of Health, medical officer to the Police
Department, opthalmic surgeon to St Vincent's Hospital and medical
adviser to the Immigration Board. Apart from medical commitments,
he became involved in politics and was nominated to the Legislative
Council in 1889. He also took an active part in commerce and
became chairman of several Insurance Companies and the Bank
his most important achievements stemmed from his long association
with the University of Sydney. He was elected a Fellow of the
Senate in 1883. In 1887 he became Vice-Chancellor and then Chancellor
in 1896. The University had now become his greatest interest
and he devoted most of his time and energy to promoting its
development. His considerable financial skills were employed
to advantage in his battles for adequate funding. Without his
influence, the Medical School would not have been established.
During his Chancellorship, there were inaugurated the Chairs
of Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Engineering and
1902 he was knighted in the Coronation Honours of Edward VII
for his outstanding service to the University of Sydney. He
also received honorary degrees from the Universities of St Andrews
and Edinburgh. Sir Normand McLaurin died in August 1914 and
was buried in Waverley cemetery, beside his wife.
FOWLER AND GEORGE SWAN FOWLER
Fowler and his brother George Swan were born near Kilrenny in
1826 and 1839 respectively. Their father was James Fowler who
was a local grocer and also the Baptist pastor of Anstruther
and Cellardyke. David worked in his father's business initially
but decided to emigrate to Australia with his wife, Janet. They
arrived at Adelaide on board the 'FOP SMIT' in November 1854,
and joined David's eldest brother, James, and sister Margaret,
who had arrived in the 'ANNA MARIA' in November 1850.
and James soon started the grocery business of D. & J. Fowler,
which thrived after early setbacks, and they were able to enter
the import trade by 1857. However, tragedy struck when James
died in 1859 after years of battling against illness. George
then came to Australia in July 1860 on board the 'INDUS'. David
and George pooled their assets and decided to concentrate on
importing. David went back to London to set up a purchasing
office while George ran the Australian enterprise. David died
in London in November 1881, survived by his wife and family.
the time David died, the firm of D. & J. Fowler had expanded
into one of the largest commercial houses in Australia, with
branches in most towns. They also owned factories for producing
preserves and confectionery, as well as running a large shipping
agency for the import of foodstuffs and the export of butter,
meat, wheat, copper and wool. By 1896, they had acquired a group
of flour-mills and become leading packers of dried fruit. Having
also diversified into a major oil agency, the firm had become
established as one of the largest privately owned conglomerates
1864, George had gone back to Scotland to marry Catherine lamb,
who survived him when he died in October 1896. Their daughter,
Laura Margaret, was the first women graduate in medicine at
the University of Adelaide, having qualified in 1891. Their
eldest son, James Richard, born May 1865 married Esther Tinline
Murray in 1892, and became a director of the family firm. James
carried on the Fowler tradition of commercial success. He also
served with distinction in various public appointments in Adelaide.
Richardson was born in Freuchie in 1812. His parents were the
Rev. John Richardson and Grace Pratt. John was educated at the
parish schools in Freuchie and Pitlessie. After working in London
for some years, he emigrated to Australia in 1837. He arrived
at Sydney in April 1837, on board the 'CAROLINE'. For the next
four years he worked with R. BOURNE & Co, but set up as
a storekeeper in Brisbane in 1842.
then expanded into merchant importing direct from England and
built his own wharf and warehouse. By 1857, John had branched
out into sheep farming, which proved to be a mixture of success
and failure. In 1872, he bought over John Moore's general store
in Armidale. He and three of his sons, Alexander, Russell and
William, built up a flourishing business which grew to be one
of the largest firms outside Sydney. They also ran a flour mill
and a furniture factory.
entered politics in 1851 when he was elected to the N.S.W. legislative
Council, where he represented the County of Stanley. During
his political career, he was closely connected with such leading
politicians as Sir William Wentwarth, Sir Stuart Donaldson,
Sir Charles Cowper and Dr. Lang.
In June 1847, at the Scots Church in Sydney, John had married
Janet Russell, who bore him five sons and two daughters. John
Richardson died at Armidale in December 1888, survived by his
wife and children.
Pearson was born at Hilton, Kilmany, in September 1818. His
parents were Captain Hugh Pearson, R. N., and Helen Littlejohn.
William was educated at Edinburgh High School, and had a brief
career at sea. He emigrated to Australia on board the 'JOHN
COOPER', arriving at Adelaide in March 1841. After spending
a few months in Melbourne, he journeyed to the Mitchell River,
where he stocked Lindenow sheep station. William was an ambitious
and determined pioneer, who overcame many daunting obstacles.
His sheep farming interests prospered and he became a wealthy
landowner. He was also a famous horse--breeder and bred over
100 winning racehorses. In August 1859 he married Eliza Laura
Travers, who bore him five sons and two daughters. William Pearson
died in August 1893, survived by his wife, three of his Sons
and both daughters.
Simson was born at Coalfarm near St Monance in October 1819.
His parents were Robert Simson and Elizabeth Carstairs. With
his cousin, Philip Russell of Kincraig, he emigrated to Australia,
arriving in Tasmania in November 1842. Three months later they
crossed to Port Phillip and in April 1843 purchased the sheep
station at Cairngham. In 1851, Robert returned to Tasmania to
marry Catherine Officer. They came back to Cairngham but moved
to Langi Kal Kal which was a larger sheep farm near Beaufort.
Robert concentrated on the breeding of high quality merino sheep.
This venture was successful and he won many awards at championships
all over the world. His contribution to the development of sheep
farming in Australia was of major importance, and Robert also
took an active part in church affairs and gave generously to
the promotion of religious education. He died in November 1896,
predeceased by his wife.
FOOTNOTE - Two of Robert Simson's brothers also became well
known sheep farmers. John (1822 - 1896) and Colin William (1828
- 1905). John married Margaret Luke in 1856 and Colin married
Margaret Madelaine Smith in 1862.
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