visitor to his homestead in 1834, after crossing by boat
found a pretty house with a fine black swan, newly shot
by the overseer, hanging above the entrance to the
house. The house was surrounded by dense bush and
Scott was visited here by explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1842 and offered to
clear 10 acres in the district, construct a cottage and establish a vineyard
had a keen interest in natural sciences and was a supporter of the
Australian Museum. Later his daughters Harriett and Helena, would prepare outstanding drawings of the flora and
fauna on Ash Island.
Their life on Ash
Island was not without excitement. In 1834
Lieutenant Zouch from Newcastle township was required to visit the
area to quell natives who had gathered after one of
their tribe had been shot by a constable.
In 1842 settlers in the vicinity of Newcastle were
warned to be prepared for a nocturnal attack after
four prisoners and a soldier absconded from Newcastle,
stealing a boat belonging to Mr. Scott at Ash Island.
The men were said to be desperate and a 'strong party of
gentlemen with some soldiery' were in pursuit of them. Select here to find
out more about these bushrangers
In 1834 Scott
purchased 50 acres on Stockton Peninsular. It was very
sandy and unable to be used for agricultural purposes.
In partnership with his brother in law, James Mitchell,
he began a salt making industry on the peninsular and
later an iron foundry which in 1842 provided castings
for the Australian Agricultural Company's pit engine.
Pots were made for the boiling down of sheep and a
boiler for the Hunter Brewery was being made by 1843. However this was a time of great economic downturn and
Scott's iron foundry business did not survive. He
continued his salt making venture and was advertising 70
tons of Stockton Salt for sale in 1847.
In 1848 James Mitchell bought
out Scott for £8320.
Alexander Scott was instrumental in establishing a copper
smelter, firebrick works and textile factory in the area. Early in
1843 artisans and labourers had arrived at Stockton to begin constructing
the textile works. He canvassed to represent in the Legislative
Council in 1843 and stated then that he was 'an employer to a large extent
of free labour - and had a constant desire for the advancement of the
district and discouragement of foreign imports. At his own expense a line
had been already surveyed and accurate levels taken for a railroad between
Newcastle and Maitland'.
He had foreseen the advantages of steam and attempted to purchase a steam
vessel for the Hunter before the first steamer 'Sophia
Jane' arrived. This did not eventuate although later he was to
contribute to the building of the steamer 'Ceres'.
In 1847 he was offering for sale from Ash Island 100 tons of prime Lucerne
hay (hydraulic pressed and bound with iron or lashing), as well as 8000
large well flavoured oranges and 10 tons of pumpkins. During these years Scott played an active part in Newcastle life. In 1836 he
was treasurer of the newly formed Mechanics institute. In the 1840's he
attended meetings at Christ Church and, raced his boat at the Newcastle
In 1848 he advertised
'Deega Estate' and his Pacific Street, Newcastle
property for sale. Deega estate was 2560 acres
within two miles of Lake Macquarie. Abundantly watered
with several flats of rich land suitable for
agricultural purposes with an unlimited back run; The
city property consisted of almost a quarter of an acre
with a five roomed cottage
By the 1860's he was again experiencing financial
difficulties and was declared bankrupt in 1866.