Duthie Updates

Ships in the Port of Morpeth 1860
Cultural Collections, Auchmuty Library, the University of Newcastle, Australia

In 1854 William Duthie sold his schooner ‘Gem’ to William Heugh, a West Maitland merchant. In 1856 he married Agnes Scobie, a niece of the Maitland merchant, not his cousin, as stated on page 44 of ‘The Duthie Saga’. Agnes’ mother Elizabeth was William Heugh’s sister. As well as being a successful merchant and ship owner, William Heugh owned a flour mill, a bacon factory, a tobacco factory, a timber depot and soap and candle factories at Stockton, Morpeth and West Maitland. That same produce was shipped in ‘Gem’ to Melbourne under the command of William and his brother Findlay Duthie as was red cedar from the Richmond River. Trading in cedar led Heugh to establish a hardware store at Ballina and a timber camp at Emigrant Creek.  From 1857, the new railway line from Newcastle to Maitland took business away from the Morpeth merchants at the head of navigation on the Hunter River. Coupled with the disastrous Hunter River floods of 1857 and 1863, William suffered heavy financial losses, leading to the sale of his property and ships including the Duthie’s ‘Gem’. He relocated his family to 600 acres at Pimlico on the Richmond River in 1864.