Scone History

Scone is named after a town in Scotland, the coronation site for Kings and Queens. The name was originally put forward by local farmer Hugh Cameron and in 1837 the government officially gazetted the township as Scone and the parish as Strathearn.1

Early names

Initially the area was commonly known as Invermein, the name of the first property in the area. However, before the property of Invermein was granted, the earliest explorers referred to the area as the Valley of Kingdon Ponds and there is also reference to Holdsworthy Downs.2

The first official settlement was known as Redbank, which was west of Kingdon Ponds. Redbank was abandoned and the population shifted towards the road that became the Great North Road, now known as the New England Highway. The earliest residents along the new road referred to their place of abode as St Aubin’s, which was the name of another large property to the south of Scone.

On September 5, 1837 the township of Scone was officially gazetted by the government. The name of the township did have some variations on spelling including Scoone and Scoon.3

Around the edges of the officially gazetted public town of Scone, was the private town of St Aubins, which initially grew around the Great North Road. The property of St Aubins developed blocks to the east of the Great North Road for housing of employees, some were probably rented and other blocks were sold. Both the public town and the private town are part of the current township of Scone. Early maps of the township show how the streets developed.

Traditional Owners

At the time of white settlement there were two tribes in the Scone district, the Tullong and Murrain,4 which were part of the Geawegal clan5.

To the west near Merriwa and over the Liverpool Ranges is Kamilaroi country and south of the Scone area is Wonnarua country. Some sources claim the Gaewegal clan was part of the Wonnarua, while others indicate they were part of the Kamilaroi nation6. Read more about: local Aboriginal history.

First Europeans

Allan Cunningham was the first European to travel into the Scone area, reaching Dart Brook in 1823, during his exploration from Bathurst to the upper Hunter River and Liverpool Range.

Henry Dangar was the first European to survey the area in 1824. Henry passed through the area on his way across the Liverpool Range, but retreated when he was attacked by Aboriginal people, west of Murrurundi.

In 1825 the first property, Invermein, was selected by Francis Little. Later that same year Dr William Bell Carlyle, Francis’ uncle, established his property known as Satur, George Hall and his sons settled Dartbrook, William Dangar established Turanville and Thomas Potter Macqueen founded Segenhoe.

The Crown had planned a township on the eastern bank of Kingdon Ponds, however the village of Redbank emerged in 1828 to the west of the site. In 1832 a courthouse was built there and 1834 a hospital.

The population of Redbank shifted east, when the Great North Road was built between 1826 and 1834. The Great North Road was the first road into the Hunter Valley and is today known as the New England Highway.

The St Aubins Arms and store were built next to the road in 1836 and formed the birthplace of the current township of Scone. The St Aubins Arms still stands in the township today and is a private residence.

In 1841, when the first Anglican Church was built, the population was only 63. By 1881, when the railway came to Scone, the population was 214 and in 1888 Scone was declared a municipality.

Special thanks to:

 

Footnotes:

  1. N.Gray, ‘The Scottish Influence in the Upper Hunter’, Journal of Hunter Valley History, Vol 2, No 1, 1986, p.174, cited in file P.R.235, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Scone. []
  2. ‘Musclebrook was Right-Now Wrong,’ Scone Advocate, Friday, September 17, 1948, p.1, cited on www.trove.com.au http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/161560823?searchTerm=scone%20gazetted%201837&searchLimits=l-state=New+South+Wales|||l-category=Article|||l-title=657, viewed on June 10, 2015. []
  3. ‘Musclebrook was Right-Now Wrong,’ Scone Advocate, Friday, September 17, 1948, p.1, cited on www.trove.com.au http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/161560823?searchTerm=scone%20gazetted%201837&searchLimits=l-state=New+South+Wales|||l-category=Article|||l-title=657, viewed on June 10, 2015. []
  4. F.Little, Letter to Alexander Macleay, Governor’s Colonial Secretary, June 5, 1828. Copy held at Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Scone. []
  5. H.Brayshaw, Aborigines of the Hunter Valley: a study of Colonial Records, Scone & Upper Hunter Historical Society, Bicentennial Publication 4, Scone, 1987, p.39. []
  6. H.Brayshaw, ‘On revisiting Gundy: a meeting of history and archaeology’. Many exchanges: archaeology, history, community and the work of Isabel McBryde, Section 2, Chapter 20, 2005, p.240. []