Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Crawford Logan Brown - Settler

Cairnsmore - Map 3

Crawford Logan Brown was born in Creetown, Scotland c. 1805, son of Peter and Elizabeth Brown.

Land Grant

He was granted 1280 acres at Dungog which had been promised by Sir Ralph Darling on 2 May 1829 as an additional grant; possession was authorised on 5th October 1829.

The estate was named Cairnsmore. In 1836 he added to his grant with a purchase of 640 acres at a cost of £160. [2] In addition to Cairnsmore at Williams river, Crawford L. Brown also owned land at Patrick Plains known as Blackford.

Ferdinand Anley Matthew Chapman John Hooke John Mann Benjamin Sullivan Alexander McDuff Baxter James Dowling John Lord Alexander Park Charles Boydell Francis Gibbes John McIntyre Joseph Rookin John Verge Crawford Brown Grayson Hartley Duncan Mackay Major Smeathman Charles Windeyer Henry John Lindeman George Townshend Lawrence Myles Early Hunter Valley Settler Map 3


He married Sarah, the youngest daughter of Lieut. Ward, of the 1st regiment or Royals and Susannah Matilda Ward, niece to the late General Hawkshaw, H.E.I.C. Service., on 6th October 1838. [5]


Brown's estate Cairnsmore was robbed by the Jew Boy Gang in 1839. Some of the stolen goods were found hidden under a rock in a cave when bushranger Thomas Buckingham, an associate of the gang was apprehended. [3]

Read more about the robbery and that of Ellar Mackellar Mackinley in Grim Reward of Treachery in the Dungog Chronicle

Life as a Settler

Crawford Logan Brown served as a Magistrate at Dungog having been sworn in at Maitland Quarter Sessions in 1845. In January of 1846 he was serving as Magistrate the day his assigned servant Thomas Fry was sentenced to two years in irons after he assaulted Brown.

In 1850 he wrote a letter to Edwin Hickey which was presented at a meeting of the Australian Society regarding the extent of cedar remaining in his district :

Cairnsmore, 17th July 1850
My Dear Sir,
I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 7th instant, and in reply beg to say that I perfectly recollect the conversation you allude to respecting the cedar ranges of the Upper William and Chichester Rivers. You will also remember my showing you one of the largest cedar trees growing in my heifer paddock that I ever saw, even in this district of cedar trees. It still stands untouched as you saw it that day. I believe I could find on my farm 50,000 feet of sound marketable timber, equal to any cedar ever sent to market. As to the flats on the banks of the River William, I believe it is nearly all cut that is easy of access; but the mountain ranges, I am credibly informed, are inexhaustible.

That talented surveyor, Mr. G. B. White who surveyed those mountain ranges at the request of the Surveyor General, told me that cedar was the principal timber on these ranges; and from what I have seen of them in collecting my stray cattle on some of these ranges, above Mr. Foster's farm, on the east bank of the William River, I must add that Mr. White's remarks to me appear to be fully borne out. The reason why these fine forests of cedar are still growing is, that they are at present inaccessible to the cedar trade, from their great distance from water carriage, and consequent expense in conveying to market. But it is not difficult to see that all obstacles of that sort will be removed as the colony advances, from railways etc

Rev. John Dunmore Lang mentioned Crawford Logan Brown in An historical and statistical account of New South Wales -

Much of the available land in the district of Dungog is still in a state of nature, and the rich brushes on the river banks still abound with cedar of superior quality. C. L. Brown, Esq., J. P., one of the oldest colonists in the district, with whom I had long been acquainted, and whose hospitality I experienced during my short stay, rode out with me to one of these brushes on his estate, to see the process of cedar-cutting, and in particular, to see a remarkable tree of that description, the largest Mr. B. had ever seen. It was 9 feet in diameter, where it had been cut through with the cross-cut saw, and 29 feet in circumference at the ground. It was perfectly sound throughout, and was estimated to yield 30,000 feet of timber. Mr. Brown sells the timber to a contractor at 1/. per thousand feet, payable on the spot. The big tree was therefore worth not less than 301. The ground on which this noble tree grew had been bought by Mr. B. from the Government at 5s. an acre, and several sections, or square miles, which he had purchased on the same terms, had been entirely paid for from the cedar growing on the land at the time of the purchase.

'The cedar trade gives employment to a considerable number of sawyers, who are principally old hands, and who, I am sorry to add, are by no means patterns of virtue, either in regard to temperance, or to anything else at all creditable to the individual. On the contrary, they too frequently spend the high wages they earn in scenes of beastly intemperance - setting all the decencies and proprieties of civilised life at defiance.

I rode up with Mr. Brown to the miserable bark-hut in the bush where a pair of sawyers and their families were domiciled. One of them was an old hand, a relict of the olden times of the colony, who, I understood, had exhibited in his whole character and conduct a perfect disregard of everything reputable and virtuous. His mate, who, I was sorry to find, had been following his bad example, although but a recently arrived free immigrant from England, was a remarkably good-looking young man. I was surprised to find that both he and his wife, a tidy little English woman, recognised me as an old acquaintance, having both been present at a lecture I delivered on the capabilities of the colony as a field for emigration, in the town of Leeds, in England. It was one of the largest meetings I had addressed on the subject in England, and was most enthusiastic.

The young man had been a cloth worker at home, and his father, who had died young, and left his affairs in questionable hands, had had a cloth factory of his own. He had taken up his present occupation at his own hand, allured by the high wages which it offered; but it was evident he had been going fast down hill, from the bad company into which he had fallen. I asked his wife whether I had told any stories about the colony at Leeds? She acknowledged that I had not, but observed that it was a much rougher sort of life they were leading than she had anticipated. I told her that that was entirely their own fault; for even in their present occupation they might easily make themselves very comfortable if they chose, especially with the high wages they were earning. But if they spent their money in drunkenness, as the husband acknowledged they had been doing, what could they expect but misery and ruin? Mr. Brown and I gave the two sawyers a joint lecture on temperance and the other Christian virtues; the old hand professed to be very penitent, and both promised, at least, to reform for the future.

Assigned Convict Servants

Convicts assigned to Crawford Logan Brown at Cairnsmore included:

William Branson arrived per Lady Kennaway 1836
Michael Martin per Governor Ready 1829
Thomas Fry per Norfolk 1837
John Barry per Calcutta 1837
John Harvey
John Canham per Asia 1832
James Gray per Planter 1832
John Littlehales per Clyde 1832
Thomas Page per Strathfieldsaye 1836
Henry Montague per Lord Lyndoch 1833
John Power per Royal Admiral 1835
Patrick Cavanagh per Hive 1835
George Archer per Waterloo 1829
William Hill per Isabella 1832
David Wootten per Prince George 1837
Andrew Reilly per Countess of Harcourt 1827
John Green per Mary Ann
William Hayes per Calcutta 1837
James Burrows per Asia 1832
William Harris per Portland 1832


Crawford Logan Brown died on 13th December 1859 at Dungog. His gravestone had a Coat of Arms [4] Executor of his Will was David Logan of Liverpool, Co. Lancaster, Merchant. [1]

Description of Cairnsmore

Cairnsmore was described in the Maitland Weekly Mercury in 1895 (Extract) -

Among the Pastoralists and Producers. Around Dungog by Harold M. Mackenzie. Who would sell a farm and go to sea ?' is an old saying, seemingly inferring that no one short of a lunatic desires to plough the waves instead of the land. On the other hand it is difficult to understand how anyone, knowing no other life from boyhood upwards than that of the blue and boundless ocean, can reconcile himself to the same, every-day, not to say monotonous, existence of a farm. Sailors, as a rule, however, are handy men, whether afloat or ashore ; being able to hang on to a horse without the slightest knowledge of riding, exceedingly active on their feet, and usually easy-going, good-tempered fellows. Riverina squatters that I have met tell me they prefer sailors to any other class of men on the roads, on account of their readiness to adapt themselves to the variety of work usually met with on stations.

The above preface to my article suggested itself when making the acquaintance of Captain Cameron, who resides at 'Cairnsmore,' about a mile and a half from Dungog. Sitting in his company one hot day, on the verandah at Cairnsmore, I was much interested in his account of voyages in the Eastern seas - perhaps from having sailed through them myself - his narrow escape one night of shipwreck on a treacherous reef, his adventures with a piratical horde, whom he rescued adrift in mid-ocean in a rudderless craft, and conveyed to Hong Kong, to the tune of 1500 dols. salvage money, together with other interesting episodes in his nautical career. And after all this life of stir and ad venture, the Captain concerns himself with nothing more exciting than the price of fat cattle, the injustice that a landowner suffers by being rated by a municipality, and the threatened imposition of a land tax. Truly, man is a versatile creature, to wit, military men entering the church, clergymen becoming actors, and market gardeners members of Parliament. Talking of sudden changes in life it, may not be generally known that McNeill, the Evangelist, who lately startled Sydney by his brusque and downright manner of expounding the Gospel, was a railway porter. '

Cairnsmore,' the name of the property under notice, takes its name from a spot in Kircudbrightshire, Captain Cameron's native county, and comprises an area of about 3000 acres, on the main road to Wangat gold-fields, and other places. The cream of the property may be said to be that portion close to the bridge leading north from Dungog, which is composed of some of the finest alluvial flats for agriculture in this district. This portion of the estate is leased to Mr. Walker, owner and proprietor of the local saw and flour mills, formerly cultivating maize, lucerne, and barley upon the area, a practice lately discontinued, however, by order of Capt. Cameron, owing to such quantities of good soil in the last two or three seasons being washed away in the floods. The paddocks are now used by Mr. Walker for fattening cattle, than which 110 better could be wished for.

Cairnsmore' has a prominent feature within its boundaries, in the shape of the Dungog race-course, a very pleasant looking little Champs de Mars ; and from appearances a good going track, with a gentle rise in places to test equine lungs. I think the committee might raise something in the shape of a grand stand, considering that courses of a far less pretentious nature are well provided for in this respect. The ' Racecourse Paddock,' so called, on Cairnsmore, is leased by Mr. Lillyman of the Bank Hotel, who runs stock within its boundary.

The present number of cattle on Cairnsmore - a mixed herd - comprising about 250 head, seems disproportionate to the acreage of the place, which might easily carry more without fear of overstocking ; a beast to ten acres, for the sake of argument, being sufficient for all practical requirements, irrespective of such alluvial portions as Mr. Walker leases for fattening stores. The property is well off as regards a plentiful and useful growth of timber, including different varieties of gum and ironbark - though years ago a very much more valuable tree in the shape of cedar was plentiful in this locality. The remains of a specimen of the class, quite historical in its way, having been mentioned in Dr. Lang's ' History of New South Wales,' are still to be seen at Cairnsmore, the girth, when living, being no less than 27 feet, whilst the diameter measured 9 feet. Showing the value placed upon cedar in those days, it may be mentioned that at ' Auchintorlie,' the one time residence of Mrs. Cameron's uncle, who came to the colony in 1828, that the sum of £900 was obtained for the timber in the paddocks.

To-day presents a very different picture in the matter of cedar, similar to the scarcity of trees on all the North Queensland rivers. where cedar-getters once did a roaring trade. This is due to the fact that none of the estates hereabouts can show a real cedar tree, without perhaps a few of the red variety on the creeks that is worthy the name cedar, as known to the ancients of this colony. The ruthless destruction of valuable trees all over Australia is a thing to be deplored, and in no place more so than that of Riverina, where the vast plains are so scantily furnished with timber. Despite this, however, gum, box, and fodder trees, such as the boree, have been sacrificed in such wholesale fashion that it is hard to say what succeeding generations will do for fuel and boree as a stand-by in case of a prolonged drought. To have used hooks to, strip the boree instead of the axe, would have answered just as well, and have pre served the tree to meet future contingencies. Wilfulness or ignorance are the only reasons I can assign for the action. Grasses of different descriptions, including clover and prairie thrive well in the Cairnsmore paddocks, tho latter quality seeming readily to acclimatise itself, which proves a great boon to stock in winter time, seeing that it does well in a season when, generally speaking, other grasses are in a backward condition.

The improvements on the estate, which is subdivided and well fenced into six paddocks, have nearly all been effected since Captain Cameron's advent in 1878, though the place dates back fifty years before that time, when Mr. Crawford Logan Brown, uncle of Mrs. Cameron, settled on the grant which adjoins the original Miles property, and began to ' lick it into shape' with convict labour. Difficulties in those days were I imagine more easily overcome with a gang of convicts, who for the most part, all knew a trade, than were the same obstacles to crop up to-day. In fact it is a well-known thing that most convict work - Tasmanian roads, bridges, an buildings to wit - is thorough and more lasting in character than the ornate but 'scamped' work of modern times.

For some time past Capt. Cameron has had in contemplation the erection of another house on a more commanding site than where the present edifice stands, though the Cairnsmore house, the oldest in the district, is quite comfortable and in as cool a situation as it possibly can be. The day of my visit was particularly steamy and uncomfortable. Dungog in expressive phraseology being like ? with the lid off, but no sooner had I reached the verandah of Cairnsmore with an easy chair and a cool drink then life once more seemed worth living


[1] England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

[2] State Records Authority of New South Wales; Registers of Land Grants and Leases; Series: NRS 13836; Item: 7/457; Reel: 2548.

[3] Windsor and Richmond Gazette 17 April 1925

[4] 'Australia, Sydney Branch Genealogical Library, Cemetery Inscriptions, 1800-1960,' database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 June 2016), Crawford Logan Brown, 12 Dec 1859; citing Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Sydney Genealogical Library, Greenwich; FHL microfilm 887,476.

[5] Sydney Gazette 9 October 1838