Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Alexander Brodie Spark

Map 4

Alexander Brodie Spark was born on 9th August 1792 in Elgin, Scotland. He arrived in Sydney on the Princess Charlotte in April 1823

Land Grant

He brought with him letters of recommendation and was granted 2000 acres of land. Six convicts were assigned to him as well as an allotment of land in Newcastle.
Archibald Bell James Black William Brooks John Cobb Henry Dangar John Earl John Gaggin William Harper William Kelman John Larnach George Wyndham George White Joseph Underwood A.B. Spark Benjamin Sullivan Alexander Shand Helenus Scott James Mitchell George Wyndham Helenus Scott John Larnach Shaw Stewart
Early Settler Map 4

His 2000 acre grant can be seen on the map above across the river from Shaw Stewart and next to a government reserve.

Convict Servants

On 23rd November he was granted permission to be supplied from the stores at Newcastle together with six convict servants:

James Cotton per Mangles

Joseph Farmer per Minerva 1824

David Ronaldson per Minerva

Thomas Moss per Minerva

Edward Pain per Minerva

Edward McCaffer per Minerva [2]

Business Dealings

A store in George Street, Sydney was taken over by Spark and by 1825 he was chartering ships for the coastal trade. He was also an agent for country settlers and later became the Managing Director of the Bank of Australia. He also owned an estate at Cooks River.

Hunter River

Spark's favourite residence was his farm at Cooks River however in 1829 he was at the Hunter Valley property when it was robbed by bushrangers Richard Brown, Patrick Corcoran, Richard Turnstyle and Andrew Cullen. In an attempt to keep the bushrangers at bay, he fired through the door at them. [1] The bushrangers were later captured and executed at Maitland.

Later A.B. Spark was to increase his holdings in the Hunter region to over 6,000 acres. Many convicts were assigned to him at the Hunter River. One of them was Benjamin Hall the father of one of Australia's most famous bushrangers

Benjamin Hall assigned to Alexander Brodie Spark

Alexander B. Spark was a Magistrate and a friend of James Mudie. Some of the convicts assigned to A.B. Spark at the Hunter River were re-assigned or at least worked on James Mudie's Castle Forbes estate and James Mudie was known to visit A.B. Spark on his farm at Cooks river. Later after James Mudie's returned to England, Spark became a private distributor of Mudie's slanderous The Felonry of New South Wales.

Tempe House

In 1834 he commissioned John Verge to design Tempe House.


In April 1840 Alexander Brodie Spark married Frances Maria (nee Biddulph), the widow of Henry Wyatt Radford of Ravensfield Station a 2000 estate at the Hunter River. Until 1847 Ravensfield was occupied by William Geddes however Spark advertised it for lease in May of that year. There were several buildings on the property including a cottage, houses and a malt kiln and 'every convenience for a dairy farm' all surrounded by strong fences.

Financial Difficulties

In the 1840's financial depression Alexander Brodie Spark came into financial difficulties and was declared insolvent in 1844.


Alexander Brodie Spark died at Tempe on 21 October 1856.

Notes and Links

1) Australian Dictionary of Biography

2) Member of the Presbyterian Church. On list of settlers petitioning Government to support Minister of the Scot's Church at Sydney (Historical Records of Australia)


[1] Sydney Gazette 2 May 1829

[2] Colonial Secretary's Correspondence Reel 6014; 4/3513 p.39

[3] The Newcastle Sun 10 July 1953, Wild Colonial Boys by Frank Clune