|Invermein Station, near the present-day town of Scone in the Hunter River region of New South Wales, was first taken up by Francis Little in 1825. Little was the nephew of Dr William Bell Carlyle, the surgeon in charge of transports, whose own success in the colony had made him enthusiastic about its future prospects. In the early-1820s, Carlyle persuaded Francis Little to apply for a land grant in New South Wales. He did so and in 1823 received a property of 2,000 acres in the Hunter Valley. The estate, which he named Invermein for the stream that flowed by his father’s house in Scotland, was occupied by Francis Little in June 1825.
There he built a homestead and continued to purchase nearby land, including Carlyle’s Hunter Valley property, Satur, in 1844. Though a quiet, uncontroversial and highly-respected citizen, Little shares with Carlyle the unfortunate distinction of having introduced one of the worst pests to ravage eastern Australia. On one of his visits to Satur, in about 1833, Carlyle brought the leaf of a cactus plant from India which he felt would thrive in Mrs Little’s garden at Invermein. With infinite care Mrs Little propogated this exotic plant, known commonly as the prickly pear, but its extraordinary growth was soon the bane of pastoralists across the region. It was not until 1925 that some success was achieved in eradicating the dreadful plant.
When Francis Little died in 1860, his eldest son, William, inherited Invermein Station. William Little retired in 1877, selling the estate to the brothers Frederick and Edward Parbury. Four years later, the property was subdivided after Edward Parbury’s death. The homestead and 2,000 acres of land were purchased by James Doyle, a member of an old colonial family with branches throughout the Hunter Valley and with interests extending far into Queensland. For more than a hundred years, Invermein (or Invermien, as the Doyles increasingly referred to it) remained the home of the Doyle family, but in 1994, when Geoff and Beryl White purchased nearby Bhima Stud (developed as a horse property by Vivian Bath in the second half of the twentieth century) they also acquired the historic property of Invermien.
The Whites rejuvenated and merged the two properties into the professionally run broadmare farm of today. In 2002, the combined property was renamed Invermien to reflect the convergence of history and innovation. ‘[Invermien] has history and meaning’, explained the Whites, ‘and the fact that it has not run thoroughbreds before gives the White Family an opportunity to create their own history in the thoroughbred industry under the new identity’.
Latterly ‘Invermien’ has been acquired by Duncan and Jill Macintyre. Duncan is direct descendant of Peter Macintyre of Blairmore/Kayuga.
|Francis Little was born 8 January 1798 in Ecclefechan, Dumfrieshire, Scotland son of Dr. William Little and Sarah nee Carlyle.
He arrived in Australia on the Morley in January 1823. The Morley was a convict ship bringing prisoners to Van Diemen’s Land and William Bell Carlyle who was Francis Little’s uncle, was Surgeon Superintendent on the vessel.
Francis Little first resided at Minto, however eventually established his estate on land granted in 1825 naming it Invermien. The estate was situated next to Satur which was the land selected for his uncle William Bell Carlyle. The estates were situated on the Dartbrook and near Kingdon Ponds. In the 1832 Directory the country in the district is described as undulating with soil similar to Twickenham Meadows.
A mile from Francis Little’s land the burning hill of Wingen could be found. The whole of the surrounding country was strewn with petrifactions and interesting geological specimens. Read Rev. Wilton’s description of Mt. Wingen in 1831
Francis Little’s younger brother Archibald Little arrived on the Triton in October 1825. He established Cressfield.
Francis Little married widow Mary Ann Fennell Bell, the 4th daughter of Archibald Bell of ‘Belmont’, at Windsor on 3rd August 1831. Mary Ann was sister of Archibald Bell junior of Corinda. A son William was born in 1832 and a daughter Sarah in 1833 followed by Archibald in 1835. Mary Ann died on 14th April 1835 after giving birth to Archibald.
A homestead was built at Invermien and in 1844 Francis Little purchased his uncle’s estate Satur. Francis Little died 14th June 1860 aged 62, twenty-five years after his wife Mary Ann. He was buried in the graveyard at St. Luke’s Church, Scone.
When Francis Little died, his eldest son, William, inherited the estate. William Little retired in 1877, selling the estate to the brothers Frederick and Edward Parbury. Four years later, the property was subdivided after Edward Parbury’s death. The homestead and 2,000 acres of land were purchased by James Doyle.
Frederick Parbury’s obituary in 1915: The late Mr. Parbury although a native of Sydney where he was born 70 years ago spent all his early life and had his education in England. It was not very long after his return from England in 1880 that he purchased Invermien which then included Satur, and came to reside there. The Invermien portion of the property was subsequently sold to James H. Doyle and Mr. Parbury thereafter up till the time of his death lived at Satur on which he raised cattle and sheep.
Convicts assigned to Francis Little in the 1820’s and 1830’s included –
Thomas Delmore per ‘Phoenix’
Edward Stewart per ‘Phoenix’
Patrick Creighton per ‘Phoenix’
William Brooke per ‘Marquis of Hastings’
Darby Carey per ‘Hooghley’
William Burnes per ‘Countess of Harcourt’
James Worthing per ‘Surry’
William Downes per ‘Lady Harewood’
James Osborne per ‘Lady Harewood’
Mary Collier per ‘Pyramus’
John Kelly per ‘Dunvegan Castle’
Charles Bankes per ‘Dunvegan Castle’
John Baugh per ‘Asia’
Robert Baker per ‘Eleanor’