Scone Lagoon Decides Town Location
Acknowledgement: Scone Advocate Supplement 16 June 1975
Acknowledgement: Scone & Upper Hunter Historical Society Newsletter Vol 6. No. 3 September 2018
Featured Image: Early Map of Kingdon Ponds Area Catchment and Land Grants c. 1835. The lagoon was near the confluence of Kingdon Ponds and Parson’s Gully
Scone Lagoon has now vanished – “filled in” – but it was the factor in deciding the precise area on which a settlement would be founded to develop into present day Scone.
In 1823 Allan Cunningham, botanist and explorer, searched for a passage through the range west and north of present day Scone to the fertile Liverpool Plains beyond. Surveyor Henry Dangar one year later probed the reaches of the Hunter River upstream of Singleton (‘Patrick Plains’) and discovered the area where Scone now stands. In June 1825 the first permanent settlers were in residence:
Dr William Bell Carlyle, cousin if historian Thomas Carlyle, and his nephew Francis Little from Dumfriesshire, Scotland took up land grants just west of the town, naming them Satur and Invermein (Invermien).
On the east a grant of 20,000 acres named Segenhoe was made to British MP, Mr Thomas Potter Macqueen. He sent out his superintendent Peter Macintyre, a Scot form Perthshire, in 1825 and with Macintyre came a shipload of skilled artisans, farm labourers, many with their wives and families, and sheep, cattle, horses. They settled where, two years earlier, Cunningham had reported seeing only kangaroos and emus in a fertile valley.
The original track between Invermien and Segenhoe ran beside the Scone Lagoon past the St Aubins Inn and store to follow approximately the line of the present Gundy Road.
To the south lived Hugh Cameron who in 1831, dressed in a kilt with bonnet in hand, presented to fellow Scot Surveyor General Thomas L Mitchell a petition that the area, then but a few huts by the lagoon, he named Scone – in honour of the ancient coronation place of the Kings of Scotland.
The village of Scone in the Parish of Scone was gazetted officially in 1837.
Being adjacent to the Great North Road, Scone took on the characteristics not only of a wayside centre but district centre. In the 1840s a courthouse and lock up were built in Kingdon Street, with the first church and schoolhouse nearby.
Explorers, surveyors, settlers, servants, convicts, mounted police, mailmen, teamsters, all camped beside the lagoon before attempting the mountain climb. They were able to seek the services of storekeepers, publicans, carpenters, masons, stockmen and shepherds and the magistrate with his clerks and constables. That was the scenario for the development of Scone.
Footnote: The Lagoon stretched from the back of SCADS Playhouse to where the Golf Club House is today. In the beginning of Scone this water was also used for domestic purposes. According to the late Archie Shepherd, with the coming of the railway (1871), steam powered locomotives ‘filled up’ with essential water for the journeys ahead from the Kingdon Ponds (Scone) Lagoon.