The brig Stirlingshire from Calcutta 1836

The Brig Stirlingshire, 217 tons.


The intriguing thing about this vessel is that it is associated with the same William Abercrombie Esquire who later has built the barque of the same name at Great Barrier Island in the 1840s. John Mackay was also aboard, with whom he has business dealings with in Sydney once he is established there. It is also of great interest that he was in the Bay of Islands, the largest European trading port in New Zealand at that time, for some days prior to departing that place on 5th January, 1837. Abercrombie’s uncle, William Forbes, was England’s biggest copper trader. I cannot imagine that Abercrombie would not have heard of the copper deposits at Great Barrier Island, and having heard of it, visited it, and decided then that he wanted it by whatever means he could bring to bear.


The sequence of ports visited by the Stirlingshire, brig, are as follows:

Liverpool-Calcutta-off Fremantle-Launceston-Sydney-Port Phillip-Georgetown-New Zealand (summer of 1836/7) -Sydney-Hobart-Guam-Sth America-Sydney-Mauritius….

16th April 1836 Stirlingshire departs Calcutta

16th April, 1836 Sterlingshire (sic) Scolly (sic) departs Calcutta for NSW

General Register

Shipping Register


April 16  Sterlingshire W.J.Scolly for New South Wales

Source- The Calcutta Monthly Journal and General Register 1836

20th July 1836       Stirlingshire, brig, arrives Launceston from Calcutta

The brig Stirlingshire, 217 tons, Captain William J. Scollay, departed Calcutta, India on 16th April, 1836 bound for New South Wales[i]. (The Calcutta Monthly Journal and General Register 1836).  It reached Launceston on the northern coast of Van Diemen’s Land on 20th June, 1836, (having unsuccessfully attempted to call in at Fremantle), the same day as the brigs Alice and William from Sydney.[ii]   

On board were 13 crew, including the master, 5 passengers and 6 Indian servants. It is almost certain that Captain Scollay’s wife was also onboard, in which case, the grand total was 25 or thereabouts.


Ship News

By the Marion Watson from Launceston we learn that the Stirlingshire from Liverpool, Calcutta, and Swan River, had arrived at that place

Source: The Sydney Herald ZMonday 25th July 1836 p3  


Since our last, we have received Hobart Town and Launceston papers-the latter to the 21st ult. The brigs Alice and William, from this port, reached Launceston on the 20th ult., with the brig Stirlingshire, from India. There do not appear to be any other late arrivals of consequence, either
at Hobart Town or Launceston.

Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser Tues 2/8/1836 p2/


Stirlingshire, brig, in harbour Launceston 30 Jul 1836

Launceston Ship News.-July 25th, arrived the Brazil Packet, Crow, from New Zealand, with timber.-29th, arrived the Gem, Capt. Douglas, from Port Phillip-passengers, James Simpson,
Esq. and servant, John Guy.-30th, arrived the brig Henry, Capt. Whiting, from Port Phillip, in ballast-passengers, Messrs. W. Roadknight and J. Steiglitz - 29th, cleared at the Custom House, the Gem and Champion, for Hobart-town-30th, arrived the William from Sydney.
-Vessels remaining in harbour, Stirlingshire, Alice, Brazil Packet, Samuel Cunard, Adelaide and
Henry.-Cornwall Chronicle.

The Hobart Town Courier Friday 5 August 1836, page 3.              



3 August, 1836 Stirlingshire, brig, cleared from Launceston

Launceston Ship News.-July 29.-Sailed the Champion, Capt. Hill, for Hobart town, with cargo.-August 3_Cleared the Stirlingshire, for Sydney, with the greater part of her original cargo. Passengers, John Mackay, Esq., Mrs.Mackay, six servants (natives of India), Miss Allen, W. Abercrombie, Esq., Mr. Hewson, Gregory Hewson.- ……

The Hobart Town Courier Friday 12 August 1836, page 3.  STL cleared from Launceston 3 aug 1836


AUGUST 3 -Cleared out at the Custom House-the brig " Stirlingshire” for Sydney, with greater part of import  cargo.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 23 August 1836, page 2. News


From the Tasmanian Archives is the list of passengers and crew for this voyage:


Scollay W.J. (Master), 

Faulkiner S. (Mate),

Radford W. (2nd Mate),

Langley R. (Carpenter),

Rush C. (Cook),

Emerson W. (Steward),


Backhouse H.,

Benson Richard,

Cooper J.,

McLaren G.,

Melville James,

Sampson M.,

Towndale, William.  



Abercrombie William,   

Hewson Mr.,

Hewson Gregory,

MacKay Mrs.,

Mackie (sic) John.,  

[Unmentioned in this list are the six Indian servants and Miss Allen-DJA]




27th August, 1836 Stirlingshire, brig, from Launceston, discharging cargo Sydney. 

Cargo of the Stirlingshire -  principally India goods, 4.000 bushels wheat, 44
trusses hay, from Launceston……

…..-in the stream ; for the Stirlingshire, Messrs. Aspinall, Browne and Co., to discharge at Campbells Wharf….

 The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser...  Saturday 27 August 1836, page 2.




8 Sept 1836  Stirlingshire, brig, robbed in Sydney while alongside wharf  

On Thursday night some persons got on board the brig Stirlingshire, laying alongside Campbell's Wharf, discharging, and committed a very extensive robbery. It appears the Captain had gone on shore,
leaving the Chief Officer on board, and whilst he was asleep, the marauders succeeded in carrying away a large chest belonging to the Captain, containing a quantity of wearing apparel, a writing
desk with the ship's paper, and a great deal of money in notes and specie. The ant in value of the property stolen, estimated at least at £200. Mr. Jilks on hearing of the circumstance immediately went aboard, but as we are informed, no clue has yet been obtained, to lead to the apprehension of the offenders.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser... Saturday 10 September 1836, page 2.



9th September, 1836, Stirlingshire, brig, chartered by Government to carry troops to Port Phillip

Port Phillip

* The following Government Order will set at rest all disputes as to the right of persons settling at this place, without the sandhill of the Crown. The land, it is stated, will be sold as soon as the arrangements which are in progress for the survey of tho Colony can he completed. ' When the survey will be completed, God only knows, as but one.Surveyor is appointed to this duty; in the meantime settlers mav put up with the comfortable reflection that only as squatters, may they at present proceed to the new settlement, build their houses, &c, and then when this survey shall have been completed (!) you may stand a chance if you are snug in pocket of securing (at, of course, a decent price) the little property on which you may have made many improvements, expended much time, labour and expense, and on which you have resided for months. This is the way tho Government here encourage you to emigrate to Port Phillip. With Captain Lonsdale, as Police Magistrate, proceeds Lieutenant Faunce,' with 30 privates of the 4 th Regiment, besides a Custom House Officer, Assistant-,Surveyor and Commissariat Clerk. The Stirlingshire, having been chartered by Government for the conveyance of these officers, will proceed there in a few days-

" Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney,

" New South Wales, Sept. 9, 1836.


" PORT PHILLIP.-His Majesty's Government having authorised the location of settlers on the vacant Crown Lands Adjacent to the shores of Port Phillip, under the same Regulations as are now in force, for the alienation of Crown Lands in other parts of New South Wales, and several persons having already passed over there from Van Diemen's Land, his Excellency the Governor has been pleased
to appoint Captain William Lonsdale, of the 4th, King's Own Regiment, to be Police Magistrate for that District, of which all persons concerned are hereby required to take notice.

" Arrangements are in progress for effecting the survey and measurement of such parts of the Land near Port Phillip as it may be expedient to dispose of, in the first instance, but until the same have been completed, of which due Notice will be given, no applications for purchase can be entertained.

" In the mean time, it is distinctly to be understood by those persons who may be desirous of resorting to Port Phillip from other parts of New South Wales, or from Van Diemen's Land, that no advantage will be obtained by the occupation of any Land at this place, previously to its conveyance by a legal instrument from the Government of New South Wales, as without such title the Land (unless required for public purposes) will be subject to be put up for competition at a public sale, and sold to the best bidder.

By His Excellency's Commands


The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. Tuesday 13 September 1836, page 2.


15 sept 1836 Stirlingshire, brig, entered outward to Port Phillip & New Zealand

Vessels Entered Outwards Since Last Publication

Sept 15 - Stirlingshire, 217tons, Aspinall and Co., agents. Port Phillip and NZ

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser.. Tuesday 20 September 1836, page 2.


24th September, 1836 Stirlingshire chartered by Government to transport goods & passengers from Sydney to Port Phillip.                                                                      

 Captain Lonsdale has just left this place [Sydney] for Port Phillip in His Majesty’s ship Rattlesnake, having sailed on the 21st of September. A vessel called the “Stirlingshire”, Captain Scollay, was chartered by the Government, to convey passengers, stores and troops to the new settlement. This vessel, having completed all her arrangements, sailed on the 24th of September for that destination, taking a custom-house officer, three surveyors and draughtsmen, a Commisariat officer, Ensign King, and a detachment of the 4th regiment, with thirty-six prisoners. The brig Martha is to follow with horses and stores for the same settlement.


Source: The United Service Magazine.  Part 3, by H. Colburn, 1837.


Projected Departures

Stirlingshire, Port Phillip,  This day

…The Stirlingshire proceeds today to Port Phillip with a detachment of the 4th Regiment; Mr.Russel, Mr.D’Arcy and Mr.Darke, of the Survey Department and Mr.Webb and a tidewaiter, of the Customs Department.

Ships in Harbour

Stirlingshire  brig  216  Scotley [sic] Aspinall & Co.  stream  For sea.


Source: Commercial Journal  September 24th 1836.


28 September, 1836  H.M. Rattlesnake, Commander William Hobson, departs Sydney for Port Phillip, Stirlingshire to follow.


For Port Philip, yesterday, H.M.Ship Rattlesnake, Captain Hobson.

Projected Departures                                  

….Stirlingshire for Port Phillip,…

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Thursday 22 September 1836, page 2.


The brig Henry on her passage to Port Philip spoke the Duchess of Northumberland, with free female emigrants, bound for Sydney, on the 25th September, off Cape Otway. The Henry left Gellibrands Point, Port Philip, on the 4th instant, in company with the Rattlesnake sloop-of-war, to survey Geelong harbour and ascertain its facilities for establishing the head quarters of the settlement. On the 5th instant the Henry spoke the brig Stirlingshire, bound for Port Phillip, for Sydney with stores, &c.

The Sydney Gazette and. New South Wales Advertiser.. Thursday 3 November 1836, page 3.



 Private letters have been received in Sydney stating the safe arrival of  the Stirlingshire at Port Phillip, which vessel when last heard of was lying at George Town bound to New Zealand.  Some of the passengers complain of the treatment they received on the passage down which created much annoyance on board. We have heard of several of the particulars, but decline for the present going into detail till we have made further enquiry. Should our information prove to be correct we shall feel it our
duty to lay the particulars fully before the public, as such conduct certainly deserves the notice of the press. His Majesty's ship Rattlesnake, Captain Hobson, had arrived in Port Phillip, and was to leave that settlement shortly for Launceston, preparatory to her return to Sydney, and it is supposed for the purpose of conveying His Excellency the Governor to Port Phillip.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 8 November 1836, page 2.


Launceston Ship News, Oct. 27.-

The Adelaide, from Hobart town to Port Phillip, put in from stress of weather and want of water.

Oct 29, the brig Stirlingshire, from Port Phillip, bound to New Zealand, put in from stress, of weather

The Hobart Town Courier Friday 11 November 1836, page 4.


"These letters were taken to Sydney by Henry Oakes and handed to The Herald. The same issue referred to the arrival of Oakes and his son on the brig Stirlingshire, which left the Bay of Islands on 5th January, 1837."

Source: Footnote #35 on page 157 in the book 'Busby of Waitangi - H.M.'s Resident at New Zealand, 1833-40'


Shipping Intelligence


...From New Zealand same day whence she sailed 5th instant the brig Stirlingshire, 217 tons, Captain Scollay, with timber &c. Passengers Rev Henry Bobart, Henry Oakes Esq., Master H. Oakes, and Mrs Scollay.

Source: The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Tuesday 17th January, 1837 p2


Ship News

The Guide reports the Vestal having put into the Bay of Islands leaky. The Stirlingshire reports the arrival of the Lord Goderich at Hokianga, all well. ……By the Stirlingshire we have received advices of the loss of the schooner Industry, Captain Skelton, belonging to Captain Duke of this port. It appears that the vessel's cargo was discharged at a place called Warnbro, [sic] about 21 miles from Hokianga, to which she was then proceeding in clay ballast, when, about four o'clock in the morning, she encountered a violent hurricane from the W. S. W., which continued with unabated fury for about eight hours; the vessel became leaky, and the pumps were put into requisition, but were soon choked up by the clay ballast and rendered useless. The water gained rapidly upon the vessel, and it soon became apparent that the only way to save the lives of the crew was to run the vessel on shore, which was immediately done. The natives were on the beach in considerable numbers, and soon surrounded and stripped the vessel of everything portable, destroying the sails, rigging, &c. To the master and crew they offered no violence, but gave each of them two figs of tobacco out of the.plunder. They then proceeded in the schooner's boat to West Cape, Bay of Islands. One of tho men has come up by the Guide, another remained in the service of the missionaries, and the third was in attendance upon the master, who had received a severe wound in the leg.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Thursday 19 January 1837, page 2.                         


17th January, 1837  Stirlingshire, brig, arrives in Sydney from New Zealand.


January 17- Stirlingshire, (brig), 217 tons, Scollay, master, from New Zealand.

Aspinall Browne and Co., agents; 583 pieces timber, 100 baskets gum, 100 pair oars, R Jones and Co ; 17 casks pork, W. Scollay.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser  Tuesday 24 January 1837, page 2.



28th January and 7th February 1837 Classified advertising- Stirlingshire advertised \for freight or charter.

For Freight or Charter

The fine brig STIRLINSHIRE, Burther 200 tons Register,

W.S. Scollay Commander now laying in Darling Harbour.

-Apply to the Commander on board, or to ASPINALL, BROWNE & CO.,

Charlotte Place

23rd January, 1837.

Source: The Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser Sat 28th January, 1837  and Tuesday, 7th February, 1837.

Don Armitage October, 2009.


Check out "Busby of Waitangi: H.M.'s Resident at New Zealand, 1833-40 p394 for mention of Stirlingshire, presumably this brig.

By Eric Ramsden 1942, 396 pages.



The Building of the brig Stirlingshire

Vessels              Rig           Tons              Where Built

Stirlingshire       Brig            218                 Maryport            [west of England].


Source: The Nautical Magazine Vol. 1.  Published by Brown Son & Ferguson  1832. 



Captain William Scollay later lived in Auckland, New Zealand at least by 1857. He died there on 3rd May, 1861.

Scollay, May 3rd 1861, at his residence, Kyber Pass Road, Capt. W.J. Scollay, late of Liverpool, aged 53 years.

The funeral will leave the house at 4-30pm this day. Friends will please accept this invitation.

Source: Daily Southern Cross 7th May, 1861, page 2.


Jury List for 1857-8

Scollay, William, Victoria Street, Master Mariner.

Source: Daily Southern Cross 10th February, 1857 p4