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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Goldie, Alexander (1800–1889)

by E. R. Pretyman

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Alexander Goldie (1800?-1889), agriculturist, originally intended to enter the medical profession, but after two years at Edinburgh University became greatly interested in agricultural pursuits and joined his uncle at Haddington. He then undertook the management of Netherby, the estate of Sir James Graham, but later decided to emigrate to one of the new colonies. An offer of a position as agriculturist at £200 a year with the newly formed Van Diemen's Land Co. was accepted, and with a recommendation from Earl Bathurst he reached Hobart Town on 4 February 1826 to take up duties under Edward Curr, agent for the company. Proceeding to Frogmore near the Second Western River (Mersey) on the north coast, he went with Stephen Adey to examine the coast as far as Circular Head. They returned early in July. On 29 July he joined Joseph Fossey, surveyor, and with him in a well-manned whale-boat left again for Circular Head where they began immediately to examine near-by land. An overland journey to Cape Grim and an expedition to Mount Cameron followed, much time being spent in an endeavour to locate suitable pasture land. After an absence of seven weeks they returned to the Mersey.

Goldie, as deputy-superintendent at Circular Head while Adey was in Hobart, wrote to Curr on 26 December 1826 asking for a military detachment to be sent to maintain order, thus revealing that he had insufficient ability to control convict workmen. On Adey's return Goldie was placed in charge of the farm and stock departments. At the end of 1829 he controlled the company's operations at Hampshire and Surrey Hills, but became involved when an Aboriginal woman was killed. After long inquiry he was found guilty because he had not stopped the men from firing at natives. He resigned and went to England, being wrecked en route in New Zealand, to lay his case before his directors. He was offered reinstatement but did not accept. He decided to return to the colony as manager in Van Diemen's Land for Owen and Lord, the owners of Lawrenny and Orielton estates. On arrival he found these properties heavily involved financially, but by careful attention to detail he was soon able to remit profits to England. After his marriage on 13 December 1832 at St David's Church to Louisa Leman, youngest daughter of Leman Thomas Rede of Middle Temple, he spent fourteen years on these estates and then in 1846 bought for himself the Laburnum Park property near Richmond. He became a justice of the peace in May 1848 but retired in November 1851. In 1863 he sold his properties and later moved to Victoria to spend his remaining years near his family. He died at Sale in April 1889, aged 89, and was survived by his widow and eight of their children.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Bischoff, A Sketch of the History of Van Diemen's Land and an Account of the Van Diemen's Land Company (Lond, 1832)
  • A. L. Meston, The Van Diemen's Land Company 1825-42 (Launceston, no date)
  • Parliamentary Papers (Legislative Council, Tasmania), 1861 (16)
  • Hobart Town Courier, 21 Dec 1832, 6 May 1846
  • Hobart Town Gazette, May 1848
  • Gippsland Mercury, 6 Apr 1889
  • Van Diemen's Land Co papers (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

E. R. Pretyman, 'Goldie, Alexander (1800–1889)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 26 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2020

Life Summary [details]




April 1889
Sale, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage