Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

James McClymont - Innkeeper and Settler

Ahalton Farm - Map 2

James and Nancy McClymont departed Leith on the Andromeda on 14 October 1822 and London on 10th December 1822 [1]. There were a total of 67 passengers on the Andromeda.

The Voyage

One of the passengers on the Andromeda was prolific author Rev. John Dunmore Lang who later informed the public via the Sydney Gazette of the unsatisfactory behaviour of Captain Muddle during the voyage....

In your last number respecting Captain Muddle, of the ship Andromeda, I have written for publication, in London and Edinburgh, copies of the following papers :

First, - A Letter addressed to Captain M. of the ship Andromeda, by six of his cabin-passengers at sea, remonstrating with him on his impudence to threatening to flog his passengers.

Second,- An Extract from a private Journal kept on board the ship Andromeda during her voyage from Leith to Van Diemen's Land, relative to the conduct of Captain M. on the night in which that vessel crossed the line.

Third,- An Extract of a Letter addressed lo Captain M. of the ship Andromeda, by one of his passengers, of date, Rio de Janiero, 31st January, 1823, of which letter the following is also an extract : 'Allow me to add, that your conduct that, on several occasions since our leaving Falmouth, been so totally inconsistent with propriety, and of a character so menacing and dangerous, that for my own part and a considerable number of the passengers, as they have personally assured me, are ready to declare, upon oath, if called on, that we do not consider our lives in safety in prosecuting the voyage under your command, unless, in the mean time, you evince a sincere determination to adopt a totally different line of conduct from that which you have hitherto pursued. I trust, therefore, that a due regard to your own character, and for the happiness and comfort of all on board, will induce you to entertain very different sentiments from those on which you have acted for some time past, and to adopt a course of procedure more consistent with the character of a man of honour, and not calculated to destroy the happiness of those who entrusted their lives and fortunes under your charge. You are well aware, that, under the influence of these violent passions which you have repeatedly displayed, a man may be guilty of actions which shall cost him along life-time of bitter remorse. (signed) 'John D. Lang

Several passengers disembarked in Hobart and the remainder in Sydney.[3]

Hunter Valley

Perhaps James McClymont had been told of the rich opportunities available in the vicinity of the Hunter River by Rev. J.D. Lang. George Lang brother of Andrew Lang and Rev. Lang came to the colony in 1821 and was the recipient of 1000 acre land grant. He had already commenced clearing land and making improvements on the estate that was to become known as Dunmore.

Rev. J.D. Lang in An historical and statistical account of New South Wales, explained the increase of settlers to the colony that occurred around this time.......Towards the close of Governor Macquarie's administration, the capabilities of the colony became somewhat better known in the mother country, and the tide of emigration consequently began to set in towards its shores on the arrival of Sir Thomas Brisbane, and continued to flow with a steadily increasing velocity during the whole period of his government. The great distance of the colony, however, from the mother country, and the consequent expense of the passage-out, almost entirely precluded that class of emigrants, which chiefly abounds in the British colonies of North America, from emigrating to New South Wales; and, as it was chiefly persons who possessed the means of affording employment to the convicts that the Government wished to emigrate to that colony, grants of land in the territory, duly proportioned to the amount of their real and available capital, were held out by the home Government to those only who could produce satisfactory certificates of their possessing a capital of at least £500.

From these circumstances, the numerous free emigrants who arrived in New South Wales during the government of Sir Thomas Brisbane were generally of a higher standing in society than the generality of the free emigrants who have settled in the British provinces of North America: some of them had been gentlemen farmers, others were the sons of respectable landholders in the mother country; some of them had been unfortunate in mercantile speculations, and others had just saved the remains of a property which they found daily diminishing at home, to form the nucleus of a better fortune abroad; some were actuated by the spirit of adventure, while others had been impelled to emigrate by the pressure of the times.

These emigrants, according as each preferred a particular locality, settled, for the most part, either in the pastoral country adjoining the Cow-pastures, or on the open plains of Bathurst, beyond the Blue Mountains; along the thickly-wooded alluvial banks of the Hunter and its two tributary rivers, or in what was then called the New Country, or the district of Argyle. The general extent of their grants was from five hundred to two thousand acres.


Newcastle had been a penal settlement in the years prior to 1822 and those wishing disembark were required to seek permission. This was mostly a formality by 1823 as many of the convicts had been moved to Port Macquarie. There was a steady stream of hopeful settlers sailing up to the Hunter to select land. They would arrive at Newcastle on one of the vessels that regularly made the voyage between Sydney and Newcastle and be obliged to wait in Newcastle until the tide was right before they boarded a boat to be rowed and/or sailed up river to select their land. In correspondence dated 4th September 1823 and addressed from Petersham, James McClymont requested permission to visit Newcastle to select his land.[4]

Captain Morisset commandant at Newcastle, was informed four days later that approval was given for McClymont to proceed to Newcastle on the William Penn.

Land Grant

In correspondence dated 23rd September 1823 James McClymont was informed that he would be granted 2000 acres in any part of the colony already surveyed as well as six convict servants who would be victualled from government stores.[5] The land was granted in two portions - 1470 acres of land in the parish of Seaham and 530 acres in the parish of Butterwick.[6]

James Adair John Boughton Edward Close - Green Hills George Cobb Edward Gostsyck Cory Gilbert Cory John Cory william cummings Andrew Dixon Robert Corum Dillon Leslie Duguid William Dun William Evans George Frankland William Hicks Beresford Hudson William Innes Richard Jones James Kelly Andrew Lang - Dunmore Robert Lethbridge Alexander Livingstone James McClymont Thomas McDougall George Muir Find out more about Maitland Timothy Nowlan Henry Dixon Owen - Aberglasslyn Richard Pritchett James Phillips James Read (Reid) George Shaw Rutherford Walter Scott Gentleman John Smith John Galt Smith Hugh Torrance John Tucker Susannah Matilda Ward Susannah Matilda Ward William Charles Wentworth John Wighton Gorge Williams Caleb and Felix Wilson John Thomas Maughan Early Settler Map 1

Convict Servants

The six convicts who were to accompany James McClymont to the Hunter River in June 1824 were [7]

John Butcher per ship Guildford

Francis Fitzpatrick per ship Guildford

Thomas Allison per ship Guildford

William Fry per ship Henry

Joseph Donnelly per ship Larkins

John Preston per ship Prince of Orange


Just over twelve months later, in July 1825 the McClymont's farm was one of those robbed by bushrangers from Jacob's Mob.

The McClymonts had a young son, John Piper McClymont to consider by this time and in August 1825 the Australian reported that the McClymont family were afraid to remain on their farm and had returned to Sydney.[8]


James McClymont was on a list of fourteen settlers who were granted allotments of land in Newcastle in November 1824, his allotment being 136[9] James and Nancy became early innkeepers at Newcastle when they took over the Ship Inn.

By 1828 the Ship Inn was just one of seven Inns that had sprung up in the township. (Find the others here)


James McClymont died in 1829 aged 30. His youngest child William being only about a year old. He was buried in the Christ Church burial ground at Newcastle.

One thousand acres of his estate Ahalton was advertised to be let for a term of 7 years....

Possession to be given immediately - the farm of Ahalton, consisting of 1000 acres of land, situate on Hunter's River, in the township of Durham, adjoining Nelson's Plains, with from 130 to 150 Head of Cattle, belonging to the Estate of the late Mr. James M'Clymont. The same number of Cattle, of equal quality, to be returned at the end of the Lease, and the Tenant to give security to the amount of £500. -Application to be made to Captain Livingstone, Lord Liverpool: or, Mr. Gavin Ralston.[10]

Rev. Henry Carmichael

James McClymont's wife Nancy re-married six years later to the Reverend Henry Carmichael. Reverend Carmichael established a school on the Williams River - the 'Lyceum' and he and Nancy later had four children together.

Notes and Links

1). [Detail plan of part of area between Paterson, Hunter and William's Rivers,N.S.W.] [cartographic material]. 1830 - 1839. MAP F 401.

2). Australian Cemetery Index

3). Henry Carmichael - Dictionary of Sydney

4). Cross, Joseph. Map of the River Hunter, and its branches [cartographic material]1828


[1] Caledonia Mercury 17 October 1822

[2] Sydney Gazette 21 August 1823

[3] Hobart Town Gazette 10 May 1823

[4] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 897) Main series of letters received, 1788-1825 Item: 4/1809 Page: 95

[5] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3509 Page: 304

[6] Index to map of the country bordering upon the River Hunter... by Henry Dangar (London : Joseph Cross, 1828). p13

[7] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3511 Page: 546:

[8] The Australian 4 August 1825

[9] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Series: (NRS 898) Special bundles, 1794-1825 Item: 9/2652 Page: 76.

[10] Sydney Gazette 10 December 1829