Donald Anderson & Margaret Dunbar

Donald and Margaret Anderson and their children Ann, Samuel, John, Catherine and Margaret arrived in Sydney aboard the ship ‘Asia’ on the 10th May 1839. Donald’s father was a labourer named Alexander ANDERSON and his mother was Catherine McKAY, daughter of Donald McKAY. Donald and Margaret had been married at Croy and Dalcross, Inverness, Scotland on the 13th January 1826, when Donald listed his occupation as a shoemaker.

Croy and Dalcross Church, photo taken and shared by Ted Costello.

Croy and Dalcross Church, photo taken and shared by Ted Costello.

Donald and Margaret had, like many other families, left their native Scotland in search of a better life. ‘Asia’ was a barque ship with a tonnage of 536. She had sailed from Cromarty under the charge of Captain Gorey. The ship had on board a lading of 272 immigrants, as well as two surgeons and their families. The Asia stopped in at Plymouth on the 22nd January 1839, so the last leg of the voyage lasted from January to May, and those on board would have endured many hardships no doubt. Donald listed his occupation as being a sawyer and Margaret was a home servant. As all of the children were aged fewer than 14, none of them had an occupation. Both Donald and Margaret could read and write, which would have been a great asset.

According to The Statistical Accounts of Scotland (1845), the population in the united parishes of Croy and Dalcross in 1831 was 1664. This was further broken down to 351 families, 158 of which were chiefly employed in agriculture, and 63 of whom were employed in trade, manufacturing or handicrafts. Donald, as a shoemaker, would have no doubt been included in the last group. With respect to the manners and circumstance of the people of Croy the above book comments that, “Within the last twenty years, a remarkable change has taken place in the habits and dress of the people; even at so late a period, it was the boast of the housewife to clothe her husband and children, by the work of her own hands. Spindles have vanished, and spinning wheels will soon only be seen in museums. Those who depend on the profits of their farms are generally poor… Be that as it may, that they live on the simplest of fare is an undeniable fact.”

This document goes on to discuss some of the difficulties of the time, which would have perhaps impacted on the decision of families such as Donald and Margaret’s to leave their homeland: Butcher meat, except on very rare occasions, is unknown and small beer a luxury. Poultry, butter and eggs are all for the market. This paints a quite bleak picture of the economic state at the time, and although it relates mainly to the life of farmers, their depressed economic state would have impacted on the lives of others in the community.

The Log of Logs Volume II by Ian Nicholson, in addition to the data already given above about the voyage on the Asia, states that the Asia made eight convict voyages before this migrant voyage and also one after, so that gives rise to thoughts about the conditions on board. He also writes of ‘Regulations on board the Government Emigrant Ship Asia, printed at Devonport on the 6th November 1838, as including, ‘remarks by the surgeon re: divine service, school, health measures and amusements on voyage. This also included reports on deaths and occupations of migrants.’ (AONSW Reel 1299).

A Return of the Disposal of the Immigrants by the ship Asia from Cromarty which arrived at Sydney on the 10th May 1839 under the Superintendent Dr McDonald stated that Donald Anderson, a sawyer from Invernesshire, aged 33, was expelled from the buildings for refusing wages.  His religion was listed as being Presbyterian. An alphabetical list of the Emigrants by the ship Asia from Cromarty to Sydney; 17th September 1838 to 10th May 1839 listed Donald as being aged 34, Margaret (33), Ann (12), Samuel (10), John (7), Catherine (5) and Margaret (3). As stated above, Donald and Margaret were married at Dalcross, in Inverness on the 13th of January 1826, some thirteen years prior to their arrival in the colony. Their family were:

1.1 Ann ANDERSON  b. 20th April 1826 at Inverness, Scotland

1.2 Samuel ANDERSON b. 29th October 1827 at Inverness, Scotland

1.3 John Dunbar ANDERSON b. 1831 at Inverness, Scotland

1.4 Catherine ANDERSON b. 1833 at Inverness, Scotland

1.5 Margaret ANDERSON  b. 24th November 1835 at Inverness, Scotland

1.6 Mary McIntyre ANDERSON  b. 22nd of August 1839 in Sydney, Australia


The Anderson family spent a year in Sydney and their last child a daughter, Mary McIntyre was born there. The decision was made to move to the Illawarra district and shortly after their arrival in Wollongong the Andersons, ” found themselves perched on a bullock wagon surrounded with a load of general merchandise en route for Jamberoo. The first night of this dreary journey was spent at John Terry-Hughes station on the banks of Macquarie Rivulet (now known as Albion Park). Every member of the family hailed the next day the journey was resumed, and concluded, which in all human probability with delight. It is said, no pen could describe, nor the keenest imagination conceive the emigrants feelings of those days, with nothing to see on either side of the rough track but dense bush or gigantic forests of trees, and no idea of any monetary future in front. At the time there was no sign of a house or a home between John Terry-Hughes station and Captain Hart’s brewery at Woodstock, Jamberoo.”

The 1841 Census of Illawarra lists Donald Anderson as residing at Jamberoo, NSW in a house owned by John Ritchie. This was the year before he purchased the farm next to Michael Carberry, his son-in-law.  Ann McLean’s (nee Anderson prev. Carberry, 1st child of Donald and Margaret Anderson) obituary in the Kiama Independent in 1906 said, ” everyone seemed to settle down to the stern realities of bush life and bush habits as was compatible with their surroundings, whilst others drifted away into all sorts of conditions; the few remained steadfast, working to a future”. After settling on John Ritchie’s estate Donald made his home for life at Jerrara Creek. He purchased his farm in about 1842 next to Michael Carberry (his son-in-law).

Margaret passed away on the 28th March 1858, at Jerrara Bank, Jamberoo, NSW. Her cause of death is listed as paralysis, which she had suffered from for four days prior to her passing at the age of 60 years. She was buried on the 30th March 1858 at Jamberoo, NSW, the arrangements were in the hands of Willm Dumbrell (Undertaker), and the service was presided over by David L Waugh. Her death certificate lists Margaret as having been in the colonies 19 years, and that she was born in Inverness Shire.

Donald died at his son Sam’s residence on Kangaroo Mountain on the 9th September 1880. He had been there for two weeks, having arrived on horseback. He was buried on the 11th September 1880, at Broughton Creek, NSW by the local Presbyterian Minister. His birthplace is listed as Montrose, Scotland, and it stated he had been in the colonies for 41 years.


Mr Donald Anderson

This gentleman, an old resident of the district, expired from the effect of natural decay on the 9th instant at the residence of his son Samuel on the Kangaroo Mountain, wither he had gone on a visit a fortnight previously. Notwithstanding his advanced age, for he was in his 77th year, Mr Anderson performed his journey on horseback, but after reaching his destination sunk from day to day till he quietly expired on the date above mentioned. The deceased was a native of Croy, Inverness, Scotland. He left that country in 1839 for this colony. Soon after his arrival, he settled at Jamberoo and at the time of his death was still in possession of his homestead at Jerrara Creek. Mr Anderson bought with him from Scotland, a family of two sons and three daughters, all of whom except one daughter are still living. His remains were interred on the 11th at Broughton Creek Cemetery, the Rev John Dymock officiating and a large number of friends attending.


The Kiama Independent; August 21st 1880.





Probate No 5604 / Series 3 – ANDERSON Donald, Jerrara Bank.

8th November 1870.

This is the last Will and Testament of Donald Anderson of Jerrara Bank near Jamberoo District of Illawarra in the Colony of New South Wales. I hereby give devise and bequeath to my son John Anderson his heirs and executors and administrators for his and their sole use and benefit absolutely and forever all my estate and effects both real and personal whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature and quality soever and I hereby appoint him the said John Anderson sole executor of this my last Will In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 8th day of November 1870.


Signed: Donald Anderson

Witnessed:            John Black JP Jerrara Creek

William Black Jerrara Creek