Robert and Helenus Scott, Hunter settlements | State Library of New South Wales

Robert and Helenus Scott, Hunter settlements

On the Paterson River by Conrad Martens 

On the Paterson River, Album of cloud studies, mountain, bush and harbour scenes, ca. 1841-1850, by Conrad Martens, Watercolour, DL PX 28/13

Free settlers arriving in the colony were attracted to the rich, fertile land of the Hunter region. The Scott brothers, 22 year old Robert and 19 year old Helenus Scott were amongst the early Europeans who settled in this region. 

Robert, Helenus and their father, Dr Helenus Scott departed England on the HMS Britomart on 8 August 1821, accompanied by their man servant, John Brown. Dr Scott, already ill when he embarked on the voyage, died after only a few days on board. He was buried at the Cape of Good Hope. His two sons and Brown continued on in their voyage to New South Wales.

On arrival in the colony, Robert and John Brown set out on several exploratory trips through New South Wales. Their first journey took them west of the Blue Mountains as Robert searched for good grazing land. Both men recorded their exploratory journeys in their diaries.

Link to Robert Scott

> Read about Robert Scott's exploratory journeys through New South Wales

John Brown tells a fascinating story of their travels through the bush, with detailed accounts of Aboriginal communities they met, including Bungaree who acted as a guide for the party on their first trip.

The second journey took the men north of Sydney to the Hunter region. Departing Sydney on 24 May 1823, they explored the Hunter River and the quality of the land on its banks. Robert selected a site to establish a homestead which he called Glendon. Brown stayed with Robert and Helenus for several months until he decided to run away. He returned to Sydney and worked his passage back to England, via New Zealand, on the Berwick.

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Anonymous diary by a servant of the Scott family, 8 Aug. 1821-Mar. 1824 (written after 1825), with notes, 1832 (pp. 57-64)

> Read the entire journal via the Library's catalogue

When the diary was purchased by the Library in 2007, the author was unknown and the item was described as 'Anonymous diary by a servant'. Brown's authorship has recently been revealed through searching the Colonial Secretary's papers and the ship's muster for the Berwick.


Anonymous diary by a servant of the Scott family, 8 August 1821 – March 1824 (written after 1825), with notes, 1832, MLMSS 7808 (Safe 1/403)

[Page 1 (57)]
Run of Water, after we had our suppers Ben Davis amused us with the Native Dances and several songs.
In the morning we set of early and reached Patrick Plains by four OClock in the afternoon and encamped by the side of the River, and went fishing and caught several fine fish which we eat for supper and spent a very comfortable evening, the next day Mr Scott and Ben Davis went across the Plains Ashooting and left me to take care of the Tent and get dinner ready after they had been gone about an hour several Blacks made their appearance out of the Woods and when I first see them they were standing peeping among the trees and seemed afraid to come near me and I was half afraid myself, but I thought I had best not to let them know I was afraid of them and I made signs for them to come to me and held up a fish to them and they came up to the fire and set down but never said a word but kept their

[Page 2 (58)]
eyes fixed on me and watched me very closely in everything I done. I gave one of them the Tea Kettle and asked him to go to the River and fill it which he very readily done and I gave him a piece of Biscuit for his trouble, and then he began to talk and we got very good friends he told me his name was Mytie and he belonged to the Womby Tribe, about three OClock Mr Scott and Ben Davis returned with a fine large Kangaroo which they had shot where they found me and my new Acquaintances very busy among the trees diging Yams, we asked Ben Davis if he knew Mytie and he said he did and that he was a very good fellow and we soon got very good friends, we remained here three days and the Blacks supplyed us with plenty of fish from the River, and we spent our time very pleasantly and the Blacks amused us very much with their Spears for we stuck a Biscuit on the top of a stick and made them

[Page 3 (59)]
stand at a distance and throw their Spears at them and them that hit it had it , and in short time they would have got all the Biscuits we had if we had not left off for it was no trouble to them to hit them for they could do it three times out of five at fourty yards distance with ease.
As Mr Scott had fixed on a place to settle on about two miles from Patrick plains we set of early in the Morning back towards Wallis’s Plains where we arrived in two days and then went down the River to the settlement where we found the Eclipse and the next morning we made sail for Sydney, where we arrived on the following morning and went to our old Lodgings in Castlereigh Street.

[Page 4 (60)]
We began to provide ourselves with such things as we thought we should want on our new settlement, for Cooking washing and Baking &c and all sorts of tools for Farming, and three Horses and A Cart and seven Government Men and A Boat
 John Young, A Blacksmith
 George Wilson a Carpenter
 John Beaumont a Wheelwright
 Michael King a harness Maker
 George MacDonald and Thomas Holmes, Sawyers
with myself and Mr Scott , alltogether nine. We left Sydney on the 24th of May 1823 in a small vessel which Mr Scott had engaged on purpose to take us as far up the River as they could and on the 4th of June we got within ten Miles of the place where we was stopped by a large tree that had blown down and laid across the River, and we found it impossible to get any farther with

[Page 5 (61)]
the Vessel we got the Horses ashore where there was plenty of Grass for them, we pitched our Tent on the side of the River and in the Morning we got everything on shore, and the Vessel left us and returned to Sydney after we had got the cart put together and loaded with the Ploughs and Harrows &c Mr Scott and four of the Men set of for the intended farm and left me and the other three to take care of the remainder of the things and in three days we go all the things away to the farm, and we all set to work to build a Hut, for to keep our provisions in, after we had got a little settled, Mr Scott gave all the Men half a Pint of Rum each, for to Christen, the farm which was named Glendon, and we spent a very comfortable afternoon and most of them went to bed drunk, Glendon is on the banks of Hunters River, and is about one hundred and twenty two

[Page 6 (62)]
Miles from the Coal River settlement and nearly two hundred from Sydney.
I remained at Glendon twenty five weeks, and got quite tired of being so far from any other place and people for during the twenty five weeks I was at glendon we never see anyone but the Blacks, and I made up my mind to get away if possible and I spoke to Mr Scott, and told him my intention of leaveing him to return to England but he said that I should not go for he had been at the expence of bringing me out and he thought it not be useing him well, so I said no more for three weeks and then I spoke to him again but he still said I should not go, and I told him if he would not let me go without I would run away, in about a week after I got up as soon as it began to get light and went to the stores hut and told them to tell Mr Scott that I was gone to Sydney to try to get a Ship to go to England

[Page 7 (63)]
And I set of by myself with a pack at my back of Bread and Pork and reached Wallis Plains and went and slept at Morgans one of the settlers, and the next morning I set of again with a Black Man as a Guide and I agreed to give him some Tobacco when I got to the settlement; we kept on until the middle of the day when we came to a small River which we had to cross, I pulled my Trowsers of and tied them round the Black mans head and he carried my Bundle in his hand and my shirt I tied round my on head and we swam over and then set down by the side of the water and had our dinner and then set of again and reached Nelson Plains late the same evening, where we met one of the settlers going down the River for provisions and I got a passage with them down to the Coal River Settlement, where we arrived in two days and I found the Eclipse loding for Sydney and I agreed with the Captain to take me, and paid three

[Page 8 (64)]
Spanish Dollars for my passage, which was all the money I had with me except half a Dollar, and the Vessel was to be three days before it saild so that I was forced to make the most of it for to buy food and at nights I went and slept in the Bush behind the Prison with some of the Blacks for three nights and in the daytime I walked about to see the place but the time seemed very long, for I did not know any one, when the Vessel was ready I went on board the wind being fair we run from the Coal River to Sydney which is sixty miles in nine hours. And I went to lodge at the old Washerwoman in York Street Sydney, when I began to enquire for a ship and I found there was two Ship in Port Jackson fitting out for England, the Tiger, and the Berwick I then went and spoke to Mr Owen the Agent of the Ship Berwick who was a particular acquaintance of Mr Scott and knew me, and he