The next grantee to leave his mark was Thomas Potter Macqueen, MP. In 1825, the surveyor, Henry Dangar, was accompanied to the Upper Hunter by Peter Macintyre who had been sent out from England to establish a grant of land for this gentleman. The acreage ultimately amounted to 20,000 acres, and it took up all the rich river flats between Aberdeen and Lake Glenbawn, and up to Brush Hill. It was named Segenhoe after the Macqueen’s family estates in Bedfordshire. He dispatched two sailing ships laden with merino sheep, shepherds, sheep dogs, cattle and horses, as well as assorted agricultural implements. However, it wasn't until 1834 that Macqueen and his wife arrived to take up residence there.
A story circulated that the eccentric Mrs Macqueen was in the habit of bathing in warm cow's milk, which was later distributed to the convict laborers! Her bath was reputed to be pure carved marble, which had been especially imported from Italy for her exclusive use! At Macqueen’s request, an adjoining village reserve was set aside adjoining Segenhoe to the south, and named in honor of the Earl of Aberdeen. Macqueen was known for his humane treatment of his assigned convicts (some of whose families he brought out from England at his own expense), but this made him very unpopular with his neighbours. As the complaints mounted, Governor Bourke decided to pay Macqueen a visit. He was greeted by the Union Jack flying at full mast over Segenhoe as he rode in, and was also welcomed by a highly unusual guard of honor. This was formed by the neighbouring land-holders on horseback, Macqueen's private army, the convicts in freshly-laundered uniforms, and a tribe of Aborigines in full war-paint. This display, another of Macqueen's extravagances, did not go down particularly well with his creditors in England, when news inevitably reached them. At this point his wife, perhaps seeing some financial difficulties ahead, left for Sydney and another man. In 1837, Potter Macqueen was a broken man, so he sold Segenhoe, and returned alone to England.
The area was given the name Scone, after a Scottish settler named Hugh Cameron petitioned the Surveyor-General, Thomas Mitchell, that the town be named Scone after the Stone of Scone where the old Scottish kings were crowned. Subsequently, the parish became known as Strathearn, and the town became Scone. It was gazetted a village in September 1837, and the reserved Crown Land around it was sold to Captain William Dumaresq, who added it to his adjoining property of St Aubins, portions of which later became part of the town. In 1888, Scone was incorporated as a municipality.
Belltrees also plays an important part in the history of the Upper Hunter. It has been associated with the White family for many years, and a picture of it can be seen here. It comprises land granted in 1831 to Hamilton Collins Sempill and further grants to W.C.Wentworth and James White.
Compiled by Liz Parkinson
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