Our rich Scottish heritage

PIONEERS: Stonehenge Homestead in 1869. Pictured are Mr and Mrs Colin Fletcher in foreground, and J J R Gibson in the background.

PIONEERS: Stonehenge Homestead in 1869. Pictured are Mr and Mrs Colin Fletcher in foreground, and J J R Gibson in the background.

In 1838 Archibald Boyd, a Scottish emigrant pioneer from Selkirkshire laid the foundation for Glen Innes to become The Celtic Capital of Australia. After the Blue Mountains had been conquered in 1813 explorers investigated the possibilities of further rural settlement.

Worried for the safety of settlers and because of a shortage of surveyors the Government ruled it illegal to take up land outside the 19 Counties, known as the 'Limits of Location', a boundary encircling Bathurst, Sydney and the Coal River ( later Hunter).

Land seekers continued to flock to the colony.

However overseas land seekers on hearing of that land was plentiful in NSW continued to flock to the colony and as it soon became apparent this restriction was futile, the government then allowed settlers to take up an unlimited acreage for a rent of £10 a year.

In the earlier part of the period, in the six years from 1832 to 1837, Scots emigrants of all categories to Australia made up about a tenth of the British total.

The Inverness Courier, on May 30, 1838, reported: "At an early hour on Monday, thousands of enterprising Gaels might be seen ranked around the Caledonian Hotel, anxious to quit the land of their forefathers and to go and possess the unbounded pastures of Australia.

"While we regret that so many active men should feel it necessary to leave their own country, the Highlands will be considerably relieved of its over-plus population."

The newcomers leapfrogged until they reached an unsettled area and there set up their own station - watersheds and tree lines defined the boundaries and this became a source of constant friction as stock often strayed.

In 1838 Archibald Boyd's party sailed up the Hunter River to Morpeth and travelled north overland with bullock wagons covering about eight miles daily until they descended Ben Lomond range to take up what is now known as Stonehenge Station.

'Scottish Pioneers of Glen Innes' includes stories of: Arthur Wellesley Robertson who took up Wellington Vale; Robert Ramsey Mackenzie - Furracabad; James Rogerson -Yarrow Creek; Peter McIntyre - Waterloo; William Vivers - Kings Plains; Hugh Gordon - Strathbogie; George Duff Gill - Glen Elgin; Andrew Wauchope - Moredun; Colin Fletcher, Andrew Ross, John McMaster, and Archibald Clunes Innes, after whom our town was named.