Stockton Colliery c. 1889
Beginning of Cloth Manufacturing
The North Shore, or as it is termed Stockton, now presents an animated appearance, and will shortly become a populous, and we hope a thriving place. In addition to the number of workmen now employed by Alexander Walker Scott
, Esq., we are glad to learn that a considerable body of artisans and labourers arrived on Sunday morning last, for the purpose of carrying into effect the united plans of the above named gentleman and Dr. James Mitchell
, of Sydney, for the establishment of an extensive cloth manufactory at the above place........ Maitland Mercury 21 January 1843
Some of our storekeepers have during the week received large consignments of various descriptions of merchandise ; and a quantity of colonial tweeds of a very good description from the new manufactory at Stockton has been brought into the market by Messrs. Potts and Co Maitland Mercury 8 July 1843
Morpeth Shipping - November 4.- Spitfire, cutter, Bruce, master, from Newcastle, with a cargo of Stockton salt, 10 tons........ Maitland Mercury 11 November 1843
Amongst other hopeful 'signs of the times' may be mentioned the steady improvement in the manufacture of colonial cloth. We have been shown some very superior tweeds, manufactured lately at Stockton, near Newcastle, and should judge from the style in which they are got up that but a short time will elapse before colonial cloths will supersede all but the best qualities of English manufacture.
The general adoption of these cloths by the colonists, began from a principle of encouraging home manufactures, will be continued now from an actual preference as to quality and price........ Maitland Mercury 17 February 1844
Additional Machinery for Cloth Factory
We are at all times anxious to notice the extension of colonial manufactures, and we have therefore much pleasure in announcing that 'by the St. George Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson, of the Stockton Factory, Newcastle, have received a considerable addition to their machinery, consisting of two complete sets of carding engines, a set of mule jennies, a slubbing billy, and ten tons of dye stuffs ; and that by the July packet they expect still further additions. Instead of confining their attention to tweeds and other coarse descriptions of cloth, Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson will be able to manufacture every kind of woolen cloth, and in quantities that we have no doubt will in a very short time cause the export of cloth to form no inconsiderable item in our custom house returns. As a matter of prudence, however, we would suggest that the more closely the attention of colonial manufacturers is confined to common cloths, the more certain will be their success : first because they will come less into competition with the English manufacturer; and secondly, because the ' times' are likely to render coarse cloths more fashionable than broadcloths..........-
Maitland Mercury 28 September 1844
Description of Industry at Stockton in 1840's
The village of Stockton is becoming a place of considerable importance. The land belongs to Messrs. A. W. Scott and James Mitchell, to whom also we believe belong the buildings.
There is a very complete and extensive salt manufactory belonging to Mr. Scott. The factory is built close upon the sea shore, where the water is pumped by a steam engine to a trough about forty feet high ; from this trough it is allowed to trickle slowly through a sort of fence or hedge of bushes, and the evaporation that takes place as it descends, nearly doubles the strength of the water, which is then pumped by the steam engine into the boiling pans, where heat is applied until crystalization takes place, and the salt is produced. The salt made here appears to be of a very excellent description, and the demand for it is very considerable.
Near the salt works is a large foundry, at which, when we visited it, the men were busily employed casting some large pots for sheep boiling, and in preparing some pans for a soap boiler, who is about to commence business there.
It is the cloth factory of Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson which, however, we consider most important. We have here the commencement of a work which we have no doubt a very few years will make of the utmost importance to the colony : for there can be no doubt that a ready sale can be obtained not only in the neighbouring colonies, but also in China and in the eastern seas for large quantities of colonial cloth. At present, the quantity manufactured is from eight hundred to a thousand yards a week, but additional machinery is expected from England in the course of a few months, which will enable them to double that quantity ; and although the fact of their being manufactured here cannot be extensively known, the demand for colonial tweeds already far exceeds the supply, and Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson are prevented from turning their attention to the manufacture of other cloths which would be almost sure to be equally in demand. Everything connected with the manufacture of the cloth is carried on on the premises. The wool is plucked from the skins (for it is skin wool that is principally used), cleaned, dyed the requisite colour, spun, wove, and made ready for market by the various persons employed, who are about fifty in number. The dye woods are all procured in the neighbourhood, some of them, particularly the fustic, being said to be of a very superior quality, and admirably adapted for the purposes to which they are applied. We think we have shown by these remarks that the mouth of the Hunter is becoming a place of considerable importance, on account of its manufactures, and as there is now a marked and admitted change for the better.
In the state of the colony, we have no doubt that in a very short time these manufactures will be increased, and we have reasons for believing that one of the largest wool merchants in the colony, who is now on a visit to England, is making arrangements for the establishment of a factory on a most extensive scale........... Maitland Mercury 6 July 1844
Rev. Robert Stewart at Stockton
The families employed at the Stockton Factory have presented the Rev. Robert Stewart
, Presbyterian minister, with a present of eleven guineas, collected among themselves, in token of their appreciation of his ministerial labours among them........ Maitland Mercury 16 August 1845
First Church at Stockton
The ceremony of laying the first stone of a new church at Stockton (dedicated to St. Andrew) was on Saturday last performed by the Lord Bishop of Australia, assisted by the Rev. C. P. N. Wilton, M.A
........ Maitland Mercury 13 December 1845
We have been informed by a gentleman who has had a number of machinery castings from the above foundry last week, that the superiority of the articles is such as that nothing hitherto turned out in the colony has been equal to them. This is a matter of the greatest importance to the colony, as it will enable the colonial manufacturer of machinery to compete, in some measure, with the imported articles in his line.
Castings have hitherto been received from the foundries in so rough a state as to require almost as much labour in adjusting them, ns the value of the article itself would amount to. This has been one of the inducements that have turned the attention of Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson to the subject, and have led them to the improvements which have made their foundry so successful, as they have expressed a determination to cast nothing which should not be equal to the model sent to be cast from.
We have only to state that they have our earnest wishes for success to their spirited undertaking........ Maitland Mercury 14 October 1846
Governor's Visit to Stockton in 1847
Maitland Mercury 6 February 1847
Fisher and Donaldson Boring for Coal
On Saturday, the 25th ult., the new steam vessel intended to ply between Morpeth, Clarence Town, and Newcastle, made her experimental trip about the harbour. Since the Australian Agricultural Company has given up their monopoly of coal, the Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson have commenced boring for this mineral at Stockton, and there is little doubt but they will have a most excellent seam.
Copper has been found about seven miles from Stockton, and some competent judges are going to examine it in the course of the week. The Ship Building Company, at Stockton, have leased an acre of ground from A. W. Scott, Esq., and will commence a vessel of 100 tons immediately.-Correspondent of the Sydney Chronicle.......... Maitland Mercury 9 October 1847
Mr. Winship, shipbuilder at Stockton, launched two barges yesterday, about forty tons each. The owner is Mr. Robey, of George-street. They are intended for Lake Macquarie. The barges do great credit, to the builder, and have been inspected by Mr. Robey's marine surveyor, Mr. Korff, who has reported most favorably. They draw only twelve inches of water. In honor of the occasion being the first launch, and the Queen's birthday, Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson fired a royal salute. There was a great concourse of people attended ; the fair sex having the advantage........... Maitland Mercury 27 May 1848
Launching of Vessels
There was great excitement at Stockton to-day, on account of the launch of the first vessel from the above port; she was built at Mr. Winship's yard. She is a schooner, about 50 tons register, and went off the stocks 'beautifully. She was christened by Captain Livingstone, and named the Pilot ; she was generally admired for her model and strength. She belongs to a company at Newcastle, and is intended for the coal trade There was a large concourse of persons present, including the principal part of the ladies of the town. There was a salute of 21 guns fired from Messrs. Fisher and Donaldson's wharf, and a cold collation provided, which the parties present did ample justice to; several loyal toasts were drank on the occasion, and the parties separated highly delighted with the day's entertainment. Maitland Mercury 8 July 1848
Cloth Factory Destroyed by Fire
On the night of yesterday, 2nd instant, Mr. Robert Fisher's
Tweed Cloth Manufactory at Stockton was almost entirely consumed by fire.
The conflagration was apparently occasioned by the flames or the heat of the furnaces of the ' willy-house ' having ignited some of the ad- joining wood work. It was first noticed about midnight by two of Mr. Fisher's servants, by whom the alarm was given. When so discovered the flames were confined within the limits of a short distance from the furnaces, but they spread with such great rapidity, that before the servants of the establishment could make any combined efforts to check them, the whole building was burning furiously. In the course of an incredibly brief space of time, the fire had communicated with the washing-house and carding room, in which with the willy-house were contained two high-pressure steam-engines and much valuable machinery.
It was soon perceived that it was impossible to restrain the progress of the devouring element. Prompt measures were therefore judiciously taken by the superintendent, Mr. Forbes, to save as much as much as possible of the stock in store, and of such other articles as could be most easily removed out of danger. About 160 pieces of cloth, the account books and papers, and many portable items, were thus safely secured. Shortly after the fire broke out, its brilliant light attracted attention, and advertised the disaster amongst the shipping, and on the opposite or Newcastle shore.
Captain Hyde, of the Oriental, with a posse of his crew, were soon at the scene of action and did good service ; indeed it is said that it was mainly owing to their able exertions that the fire was prevented from extending to the residence of Mr. Fisher and the numerous adjoining dwelling-houses, to the utter destruction of the entire premises. Good service was, however, also done by the police and others of this city, as likewise by parties from the Tamar and Thistle steamers, at the wind-bound coasters in port. In the meantime, despite-every effort to pre- vent it, the 'willy-house' (the building in which wool to be manufactured passes through the process commonly called breaking or devilling), the washing-house, carding-room, and all the valuable machinery in each, had been destroyed, or irreparably injured. The roof of an opposite building, in which were situate the muling loft and weaving apartment, became ignited and soon enveloped in flames was in a short time completely consumed, as was directly afterwards a wing of the same building used as an office, press-room, and store.
The conflagration was rendered more expeditious and destructive by the continuance of the strong southerly gale which has prevailed here for three days. In barely one hour from the time it was discovered, it spread through all the factory buildings; within three hours the loft floors and roof had fallen in, and finally were reduced to ashes. On the whole this has been a sad, a very melancholy accident.
This morning, on the spot that but the previous evening teemed with active industry, nothing remained but charred and roofless walls, or the useless debris of machinery and implements so lately in profitable use for the service of man. The actual damage done by the Are can hardly be correctly estimated by one unacquainted with the trade, but it is generally supposed to be between £14,000 and £15,000. But independently of the above, the proprietor will experience a considerable loss even in the waste of time that must occur from his being compelled to send to England for the gear necessary to replace that which has been destroyed. The colony, and this locality in particular, will like-wise experience a considerable loss in being deprived of so extensive and valuable an industrial establishment as the late Stockton Cloth Factory......... Maitland Mercury 5 July 1851
Population of Stockton
96 men; 70 women; total 166........... Maitland Mercury 15 November 1851
Residents at Stockton in 1855
- A list of electors in the police district of Newcastle, who had the right to vote for elections in the county of Northumberland, was prepared in June 1855. It was made up on the 27th of that month by Chief constable Samuel Holt, and handed to Mr. Henry Baker C.P.S. A few people resident on the Stockton side of the river and who were in the county of Gloucester, were included.
Establishing a Patent Slip
Two journeymen shipwrights have obtained a lease upon rather favourable terms, of a piece of land on the estate of Dr. Mitchell, at Stockton, on the North Shore, Newcastle, and intend erecting a slip of sufficient dimensions to receive vessels of 200 tons, and are about to commence operations almost immediately. At present they are making necessary preparations for their undertaking, and there is no denying but even this will be a great boon to the shipping frequenting the port. .........Maitland Mercury 23 September 1856
Stockton Patent Slip
NSW Parliament - Establishing a Break Water
Mr. Scott to move - That there be laid upon the table of this house, the report, plans, and estimates, furnished by Mr. Moriarty, civil engineer, respecting the advisable ness of constructing a small and inexpensive breakwater, to run seawards from the south end of Stockton, in order to secure the entrance of the Harbour of Newcastle from all obstructions, by preventing the continual shifting of the sand at this particular point, and by stopping the heavy drift of the same from the Long Beach, caused by the prevalent north-easterly winds, both tending to the formation of shoals and the narrowing of the channel.......... Maitland Mercury 17 April 1858
Church at Stockton
The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Newcastle, and the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, attended a meeting of the inhabitants of Stockton, on Saturday last, for the purpose of establishing a regular service there on Sunday afternoons. Arrangements were made for the erection of a church, meanwhile the services to be conducted by the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, in the national schoolroom. On Sunday, the bishop and Rev. Fletcher conducted the opening service, when the schoolroom was full. We wish i every success.......... Newcastle Chronicle 23 March 1861
Progress at Stockton
Correspondence On Saturday afternoon, I paid a visit to Stockton, other wise known as the North Shore, situate opposite New. castle, and to which ferry boats ply at intervals during the day. We landed near Mr. Scott's slip, and were agreeably surprised to find the general activity prevailing. Ship wrights, carpenters, blacksmiths, and labourers, all busily employed, gave to the place quite a businesslike appearance. Mr. Scott kindly took us over the slip, engine-house, and workshops, pointing out everything of interest and the capabilities of the slip - showing the importance of such worlds in a port like Newcastle, frequented by so many fine vessels, all necessarily requiring extensive repairs.............(cont.) .......Newcastle Chronicle 20 July 1861
Post Office for Stockton
Post Offices at Tomago and Stockton. - By the Government Gazette, we perceive that a post-office was established at Tomago, near Hexham, on the 1st instant. We also understand that a post-office will be shortly opened at Stockton.......... Newcastle Chronicle 8 January 1862
The Anniversary Regatta
The weather was all that could be desired for the anniversary regatta at Stockton, on Mon- day, a pleasant and indeed rather stiff north- easterly breeze blowing. A large number of persons went across during the day, and so well patronised was the hotel on the North Shore that, we understand, not a drop of liquor was to be obtained for love or money in the later part of the day. The Monarch was the flagship, and was gaily decorated with flags, as were some other of the vessels in the harbour. There were altogether four upsets during the day - one in a pulling match, and the other three in the sailing matches. In one of the latter, the accident was of such a nature as to result in death to the mate of the dredge. Mr. Ritchie acted as starter and judge, and Mr. Magnay also assisted to carry out the arrangements ; Mr. Alexander Spence was referee........(cont).......... Newcastle Chronicle 1 February 1862
Coal at Stockton
Within the last few days the men who have for some time been engaged in boring for coal on this North Shore, in the immediate vicinity of Stockton, have struck a seam on land selected by the Tomago Coal Company. The proximity to the river's bank, with deep water and easy access, will render this a valuable discovery. Until operations are more matured, it is scarcely possible to arrive at a decided estimate of this new acquisition to our mineral resources, but the indications warrant a hope of finding a seam of tolerable thickness, whose quality is yet to be tested.
We hope that it may come up to the expectations of all interested in it, and that we shall, ere long, see the quiet that has for a long time reigned supreme in that neighbourhood, be converted into a bustling scene as active as of late it has been the reverse......... Newcastle Chronicle 7 January 1863
A Description of Stockton
A visit to Stockton would amply repay the antiquarian, as researches amongst the numerous decayed monuments of ancient grandeur would open up a field of conjecture and enquiry of the most interesting and philosophical character.......(cont) Newcastle Chronicle 6 Augusts 1863
Shipwrecks at Stockton
Any person journeying along the beach to the north ward of Stockton must have observed the numerous evidences of wrecks, mementos of lives lest, suffering, hardship, and privation which the sailor once treading the deck of some gallant ship had to undergo in buffeting the waves within a few miles of Newcastle. -......... Newcastle Chronicle 8 October 1864
Department of Lands
28th November 1896 - Validation of Auction Purchases at Stockton Below is a list of purchasers of Crown Land at Stockton in 1896
Ethel Twynam Allworth
Joseph Witter Allworth
Henry Harvey Bennett
Edmund George Beswick
William Henry Boskerville
Edward Peter Capper
Margaret Cragg senior
Thomas Dunstan Cragg
Rev Richard Eroyd David
Tannatt William Edgeworth David
Leslie Henry Davis
Hugh Edward Devereaux
James Frank Ellis
William and Isaac Evans
John Hutchinson Gamack
George Henry Gibson
John Richard Gibson
Harry Edward Gibbs
Philip Henry Hore
Sarah Frances Hunter
Mrs. Elizabeth James
John Moore Limeburner
Alfred Charles Ling
Charley Peter Linstrum
Mary Ann Lonsdale
Herbert William Lowe
William Thomas and Thomas McDonald
Daniel B. McLaren
William Henry Mitchell
John Robert Pearce
George Henry Pepper
Alfred John Potter
John White Prince
Elizabeth Anne Seers
Rev Arthur Edward Selwyn (Canon)
William Hobart Shaw
Alfred Sirr Stanley
James L. Tritton
James Lidgett Varlow
Alfred Edwin Way
Henry O'Sullivan White
Henry Morgan Williams
Henry Robert Williams
Morgan David Williams
Thomas John Williams
- The Steamship Westwater waiting to load at Stockton 1890
Stockton Colliery Disaster
The Stockton calamity proves to be one of the most disastrous of its kind that has ever occurred in the colonies. Four of the men who went to explore the abandoned workings, where the bad air was being generated, with a view to detecting the cause of it, died at their work, and four others, belonging to the volunteer rescue parties, have also succumbed to the poisonous gases issuing from this portion of the ill-fated colliery.
The following is The Death Roll :
JOHN COCKBURN, mining surveyor, widower, three children. SYDNEY SINCLAIR McALPIN, miner, single, aged 21.
THOMAS LAIDLOW McALPINE, miner, married, no family, aged 23.
BENJAMIN BAILEY, surveyor's assistant, single, aged 21.
JOHN CHARLESWORTH, miner, married, aged 26.
JAMES SWEENEY, miner, single, aged 35.
DANIEL FITZPATRICK, miner, single.
WILLIAM GASCOIGNE, miner, single.
The bodies, as they lay at the St. Paul's Mission Hall, Stockton, formed a pitiful sight, but the most distressing part of all is to visit the homes of those who have lost their bread-winners in the awful catastrophe. The man Thomas McAlpin, in the search for whose body five extra lives were sacrificed, leaves a young widow in a delicate state of health. Sydney McAlpin was a single man, much respected by all who know him. Benjamin Bailey was the son of one of the deputies at the colliery, and a promising young surveyor. John Charlesworth was only lately married, and he also leaves a widow in a delicate con- dition. James Sweeney, though single, was the chief support of his sisters. Poor Sweeney worked like a Trojan to save others, and lost his own life in the attempts. Dr. Hester spent an hour trying to restore animation to him, and when he saw he had failed he said, ' You don't deserve this, Sweeney, old man.' Great sympathy is felt for Sweeney's relatives, and the Stockton people feel that they, too, have lost a valuable friend. John Cockburn was a widower, and he leaves three young children to the beneficent care of the people. Daniel Fitzpatrick is a single man hailing from Minmi. William Gascoigne is a native of Wales, having recently come to Stockton from the Helensburgh Colliery. William Sneddon is believed to have a wife in Queensland. This poor fellow was still in an unconscious condition at 2 o'clock this morning.
The whole of the other sufferers are expected to recover. Mr. D. McAuliffe, the colliery manager, who was twice over-come by the noxious gases, was at his office yesterday rendering all possible assistance in the work of extricating the bodies, but he was not at all fit to be out of bed. Mr. W. McDonald, the underground manager, stayed on until the last body was drawn up, and then he collapsed, being evidently in a very weak condition after his awful experiences of the night before. He is now con- fined to his room, but the doctors expect that he will soon pull round. A miner named Croxhall, who was one of the relief party, stood the test well while below, but he, too, collapsed on his way home, and is now laid up in bed. Others have more or less felt the effects of the deadly gas, and while perhaps a dozen or so of the rescuers are prostrated the belief is that all will be able to get about again shortly.
It seems that the reason the exploring party ventured to go and make an exploration of the abandoned workings was to discover if any fire existed to cause the carbonic oxide which the Government inspectors seemed to think had produced the fatalities of Tuesday night. The party descended the pit early in the afternoon, and when they did not return within a reasonable time, the manager began to fear that something had happened. The colliery whistle was blown, and presently there were many volunteers ready to go in search of the missing men. Mr. D. McAuliffe led the party, which consisted of A. Gaut, H. Jones, T. Sampey, and R. Dryley, W. Macdonald, - Ellis, and others. Before going far Mr. Macdonald, the overman, collapsed, and had to be drawn along to a spot where the air was more pure. Then Mr. McAuliffe felt ill. On a call for assistance being given another relief party at once volunteered, and after removing the fatigued men to the surface they continued the search for the explorers, Mr T. Sampey, the engineer, taking charge of the gate leading into the abandoned workings.
A little later a third relief party descended the shaft, and at about 11 p m. on Thursday night there must have been 50 or 60 men down below, all being not only willing but most anxious to risk their lives in what appeared to be a vain endeavour to save those of others. That it was a vain endeavour was soon proved beyond all doubt, for the four unfortunate explorers were almost cold and stiff when discovered. The gallantry displayed by these rescue parties will never be forgotten by those who had the un-pleasant experience of witnessing it. Though men were known to be dropping dead in the fatal workings, Mr. Sampey was continually being appealed to by the rescuers to allow them to go in and search for their comrades. What the position of affairs was below ground will be more readily understood by the following narratives furnished by members of the exploring party and others to our representatives
Newcastle Morning Herald 5 December 1896
- Miners filling a skip, Newcastle 1896
- Stockton Brass Band - 1917 - 1918