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Paterson River history

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Alexander Livingstone


Captain Alexander Livingstone arrived in Australia in 1821 as Chief Officer on the ship Jessie. In 1823 he was granted 1,075 acres of land near Hinton, adjoining James McClymont's 'Bowthorne' estate. Evidently Livingstone did not name his initial grant (or the name has not survived).

When McClymont died in 1829, Livingstone purchased the western half of Bowthorne, bringing his estate on the lower Paterson River to a total of 2,000 acres. It seems he applied the name 'Bowthorne' to the whole of his estate so 'Bowthorne' of the 1830s was a different shape to Bowthorne as granted in 1823 although it included the western half of the original Bowthorne grant.

In 1826 Alexander Livingstone married Mary Dillon. He later built Bowthorne House on the north western part of the original Bowthorne grant. The house has not survived but it stood near the war memorial on the western side of present-day High St Wallalong, before its intersection with Morpeth St. (If you can provide the exact location please contact me).

Bowthorne House was constructed of stone and comprised 10 rooms, a detached kitchen and servants quarters, a stone dairy, wheat silos, a shoemaker's shop, coach-house, farm buildings, men's huts, gardens and orchard.

Livingstone's Bowthorne Estate was put up for auction in 14 lots in 1843 after he became bankrupt.[1] It is not known who purchased the estate but apparently it was not broken up as a result of the sale. Perhaps someone bought the whole estate or it remained the property of the mortgagee for some time. (If you can shed any light on this please contact me).

land grants near Hinton in the 1820s

Above: land grants on the lower Paterson River in the 1820s (view in Google Earth). See also details for indvidual grants: Woodville, Wallalong, Bowthorne.

land grants near Hinton in the 1830s

Above: land holdings on the lower Paterson River in the 1830s.

Bowthorne House, now demolised

Bowthorne House, thought to have been built prior to 1840, now demolished. It was built by Alexander Livingstone on McClymont's original Bowthorne grant. It stood near the war memorial on the western side of present-day High St Wallalong, before its intersection with Morpeth St.

In 1845 Alexander Livingstone gave three allotments of land in Hinton for a Church of England. The church was dedicated in 1856 as the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Hinton.

St. John's, Hinton

St John's Church in Hinton, built on land donated by Alexander Livingstone.

Captain Livingstone had salt water in his veins and played a notable role in the maritime history of the Hunter Valley. In the 1820s he captained several coastal cutters including the Sally and the Eclipse. He then became master of the Lord Liverpool which was a vessel known as a 'packet' (a coastal vessel that plies a regular route), carrying mail, passengers and cargo between Sydney and Newcastle.

In 1828 the Lord Liverpool was made the Royal Mail Packet and conveyed mails once weekly between Sydney and Newcastle. Passengers could travel to Sydney in 12 hours for 26 shillings, enjoying a meal served with wine and spirits (the challenge being to keep it down on the open seas).

In 1830 Captain Livingstone retired to the shore but not from maritime activity. In 1846 he was appointed Harbour Master and Pilot for the port of Newcastle and he held the position until retiring in 1858.

Alexander Livingstone died in 1867.


1. Maitland Mercury, 7 January 1843, 3


Mitchell CJ (1984). Hunters River. Family of Cecily Joan Mitchell, Sydney NSW.

Turner J and Sullivan J (1987). From Nobbys to Paterson. Hunter History Consultants.

'Free Settler or Felon?' -

Maitland Mercury, various issues.

See also

James McClymont.

1830s detailed map of land holdings.

Bowthorne Butter Factory.

Great Northern Broom Factory (Bowthorne).