A LINK WITH THE PAST.
INTERVIEW WITH MR DAVID SCOTT. SON OF ORIGINAL SURVEYOR OF CAMPERDOWN.
The man -who surveyed and laid out the town of Camperdown was a young Scotsman, Robert Dunbar Scott He was a native of Caithness in the north of Scotland; and he completed his education by becoming a fully quali- fied surveyor. Deciding to carve a name for himself in a new world he resolved to come out to Australia, but not alone, for he wedded a lassie from Melrose, the home town of Sir Walter Scott. Some time before the latter passed to his long rest and was buried at Melrose Abbey he honored a little girl of five years by presenting her with a work bag—this little girl later on became Mrs D Scott, and through- out her life she retained this illus- trious Scotchman's gift as one of her most valued possessions. Mr and Mrs Scott came out to the Antipodes in the forties, about 90 years ago, landing at Sydney. He secured im- mediate employment as an officer of the New South Wales Government and was despatched south to Port Phillip to make a survey of the wes- tern portion of the country. The Scotts came round the coast by boat and landed at Geelong. Here their first child was born, and Mrs Scott remained at the Pivot whilst Mr Scott made his first trip into the Western District and gained a slight idea of the stupendous task that lay ahead of him. His mode of transit was by the only means available, that of the bul- lock waggon, and his first camp in Camperdown was somewhere about the Hampden Hotel, where there was a splendid spring of pure fresh water. The country was of course very sparsely populated, a census of the people taken in 1841 showing 11,738 people in Port Phillip, while in 1851, ten years later, when the second cen- sus was taken, it had increased to 77,345. This was the year that Port Phillip separated from N.S.W. and became a distinct colony and was named Victoria, after the good queen who ruled the destinies of the Bri- tish race. This was the year, too, when gold was found in the colony and this very materially helped to bump up the population. It was not, however, until 1855 that a constitu- tion was proclaimed giving respon- sible government to Victoria, and in 1856 and following years a number of changes in the way of democratising the institutions of the colony were brought about, such as vote by ballot, universal suffrage and the abolition of the property qualification; Mr Scott made Camperdown his headquarters, but his work extended right to the South Australian border, across the plains to Lismore, on to Skipton, and as far north as Streatham, a village on Fiery Creek, equidistant between Ararat and Beaufort, and 130 miles from Melbourne; to Dunkeld, Eden- hope and Harrow, down to Casterton, the nearest town to the western bor- der, and all other towns and villages right down to the coast line. Conse- quently with his theodolite and his party of chainmen Mr Scott had a very wide scope of country to cover. What a pity that he never kept a diary of his peregrinations through the primitive bushland and extensive plains, because he must have had many thrilling experiences in a land thickly populated with aborigines, rivers and watercourses to negotiate under flooded conditions, and the hun- dred and one difficulties that were' certain to have confronted him while carrying out his job. The survey of Camperdown, laying out the streets and naming them, was one of his first undertakings, after which the population at Old Timboon gradually transferred to the new loca- tion under the shoulder of Mount Leura. In the naming of the streets, Mr. Scott appropriately gave the main thoroughfare the name of Mani- fold, after the first pioneers, Messrs. Manifold Bros., while for the princi- pal arteries running through the sur- veyed portion he chose the surnames of leading people throughout the dis- trict, such as McNicol street, thus honoring Mr. Donald McNicol, owner of Basin Banks estate on the south- ern banks of Lake Bullen Merri; Cur- die street, after Dr. Daniel Curdie, a pioneer since 1842; Adeney street, after Mr. Wm. Adeney, owner of Chocolyn estate on the banks of Lake Collongulac; Walls street, after the late John Walls, who was the father of the Hampden Council, and Scott street, in memory of himself. Other names chosen from leading families were Henderson, Robinson, McArthur, McKinnon, Fergusson, Thornton, Barkly, Laurence, Wilson, Brooke, etc. The survey of the Public Park cover- ing about 300 acres was also the handiwork of Mr Scott, who was so taken with the picturesqueness and loveliness of the situation, that he was instrumental in having it reserv- ed in perpetuity as a park for the people. He also selected 400 acres for himself adjoining the park lands and adjacent to Lake Gnotuk, which he named Gnotuk Park. Here he built a lovely home and laid out a wonderful garden, which must have been something out of the ordinary because it drew the attention and ad- miration, amongst others, of Baron von Mueller, botanist and curator of the Melbourne Public Gardens. In later years Mr. Scott also leased 630 acres from Messrs. Manifold, running down towards the town, which was
generally known as Scott's paddock, and tho Camperdown Butter Factory is now built on a portion of the land. He went in for grazing cattle, sheep and horses as his family of four boys grew up. There were also five daug- hters. Two children were born at Meningoort, where Mr. and Mrs. Scott made their home when first coming to the district, but the remaining half dozen of the family were born at Gnotuk Park. Mr. Scott went on with the Victor- ian Governnient some years after the colony had its constitution and an- other man well known in the district was a civil engineer named Mr. Chas. Rowand, who amongst his undertak- ings put the road on the map between Geelong and Warrnambool. The Scott family left Camperdown in 1887 and went to reside in Melbourne for a time but the boys then struck out for themselves. David, the youngest, recently returned to Camperdown af- ter an absence of over 46 years, and it is from him the particulars for this article were obtained. His father, R. D. Scott, died in 1898, when 76 years of age, and Mrs. Scott in 1908 at 85 years, and both were buried in the Kew cemetery. Mr. David Scott describes himself as a rolling stone, having done a wander through Vic- toria, New South Wales, South Aus- tralia and Tasmania. During the ten years' drought in New South Wales, he with many other farmers, went un- der to the exigencies of the occasion and practically walked off his proper- ty penniless, and since then he has experienced many ups and downs, but has mostly been blessed with good health. Naturally after such a long absence from Camperdown his first thoughts were with the old homestead where he was born and he took the first available opportunity of making a visit. Mr. T. J. McMahon, J.P., who now occupies Gnotuk Park, fortun- ately was at home when Mr. D. Scott arrived, and the two had a lengthy chat on bygone days, for although Mr. Scott has just passed the allotted span of man, they had a good deal in common to discuss. Of course, after a lapse of 46 years there were many changes, but the most pronounced was the absence of tree life. From a dense bush when Mr. Scott left, he returned to find the place with but little timber on it. The sight of the old property brought to memory many incidents of his boyhood days. From the house on a summer's day the wa- ters of Lake Gnotuk could be seen, scintillating through the heavy tim- ber, and it was no trouble to get fresh clear water within a few feet of this salt lake, simply by taking out a few spadefuls of earth when the water would soak through. Below the cem- etery there was a cave and coming across it one day he, boylike, went in to explore and got lost in the depths. It was with difficulty that he found his way out. At this time there were a number of tiger cats about the lake, and he has often thought since what trouble there might have been had he struck the home of these savage animals. His father was very well acquainted with the Henty brothers of Portland, of whom there were ten. On one visit to Portland he was told of a whale be- ing harpooned in the bay, but it had got the upper hand and to prevent disaster, the rope had to be severed, and the whale got away with the har- poon in its body. The harpoons were locally made and all bore the brand, "Henty Portland." There is a very strange sequel to this incident. Some few years ago Mr. D. Scott came across a paragraph in a Melbourne weekly, stating that a whale had been found stranded on the coast of Siberia and in its body was found a harpoon with "Henty Portland, 1852" stamped on it. The question was whether this was the same whale harpooned in Portland Bay 80 years earlier—if so it had crossed from the Antarctic to the Arctic zone and must have gone through the hot waters of the equator. Mr. Scott also mentioned the incident of a blind bullock they had on Gno- tuk Park. It. had come from Tyson's station in N.S.W. He had received orders from his father to shoot the animal and skin it. He and a friend came across the beast standing on a basaltic rock just alongside Lake Gno- tuk and quite near the homestead. The bullock scented them and turn- ing on the rock fell neck and crop into the lake. It was not injured and swam a long distance into the lake and then evidently smelling the land struck off at right angles and reached the shore. The immersion in salt water evidently cured the bullock of its blindness, for it recovered its sight, became a fat animal, and was subsequently sold in the market for twelve pounds odd. The three brothers of Mr. Scott are all dead, also three sisters, conse- quently only two sisters, one in Syd- ney and the other in Melbourne, re- main of that large family. With the idea of forming a woman's "Rotary club the Melbourne y.w.c.a. j proposes to inhv-dncil a siM'ios of luncheons for business and profes sional inrls in ihc city. j h. 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