Alexander Brand Webster. 1842- 1923


Alexander Brand Webster was born on 31st May 1842 at Academy Sq. Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland.

He was the 8th child of John Webster & Ann Brand who were married at Montrose on 23rd  Jan. 1828- John Webster born 23rd  Sept. 1800 died 10th Sept. 1887.

Ann Shand born 13th Sept. 1806 & died 18th Feb 1878.

As far as I know alexander Brand Webster was educated in Montrose & he ran away from home to fight for Garabaldi.  He was brought back as he was under age & sent to a job in a shipping firm at Liverpool.

William Webster b. 1828 – an  elder brother of alexander Brand Webster was also educated at the Montrose Academy in 1842, which was founded by the late sir Alexander Burnes C.B. of the Bombay army- went to Australia.

A.B. webster wrote to his brother William Webster & asked about an opening for a young man in Australia & W. Webster wrote back—“Yes, if prepared to work.”—A.B. Webster came out.

In 1866 he sailed in the sailing ship “Netherby of 944 tons under the command of captain Owen Owens.  On the 14th July she struck a reef a few miles south of Currie Harbour, on King Island in Bass Straight.  I see Wrecks in Tasmanian Waters by Harry O’May- page 176) All that A.B. Webster saved was a tin of short- bread!

There is a monument on King Island to S.S. Netherby.  When he landed in Melbourne, the Salvation Army gave him a knife, fork,+ spoon,+ a new Testament.  He managed to get a horse & made for the gold fields in Victoria but it did not do any good.

He then made for Gympie, Queensland, just as it broke out & pegged a claim where the Gympie Post Office now stands, but again he did no good.

A.B. Webster opened a store in Gympie & sold tarpaulins, French brandy & miners candles.  I believe there was an advertisement for this in the Gympie Times of 1864-65

On one occasion he was riding to Brisbane & rode down an embankment to cross what was know as the Lang Logging – 2 rows of logs filled in between with earth to make a road across the swamp.  He was challenged by 2 bush rangers & would have been searched but one said to the other- “we have no time to search this man, the mail coach is just behind him.  They covered A.B.W. with rifles- he crossed The Lang Logging – up the bank the other side & entered the bush.  He galloped the 2 or 3 miles into North Pine- now known as Petrie & gave the alarm- a party of armed men, headed by police & the late Tom Petrie went out.  They found the coach had been robbed- the bush rangers had made off taking with them a pound note, got from one of the mail bags- which was all the booty they did take. The two men were caught & convicted some days later. A B.W. was carrying 300 pounds of gold dust in a belt round his waist!!

A.B. Webster went back to England in the year 1874 & married Mary, Ogilby, of ane, Christian, in the same year & returned to Australia in the S.S. Murzapore leaving their eldest child Herbert Francis was born a few days after arriving in Brisbane, 1875 & their first house was in Leichart St Brisbane.  His next home was Kindar on the bank of the Brisbane River at Hamilton at the bottom of Toorak Rd & where “Camden” now stands—here his daughter Mabel Ann was born in 1878, also another son, George Leslie in 1880.

In the year 1881 they went to Hobart where his wife died—she is buried at Hobart.

In the year 1884, in Hobart, at Holy Trinity Church, he married a 2nd time Evangeline Andrew Shoobridge & there were 6 children.

After this 2nd marriage he built Whinstanes further down the river, beyond the Hamilton, in the year 1886.

When Whinstanes was built, A.B.W. & several friends including John Flower & Mr Sword chartered a sailing ship & brought out from England house- house furniture from the firm of Maple, to Tottenham court Rd London.  The man who bought the furniture out was either Mr Beard or Mr Watson & he was so impressed by Australia that he went to Sydney & founded the firm of Beard, Watson & Co 1887

As A.B.W. was walking over the paddocks where Whinstanes was to be built he noticed the whin bushes & stanes – hence the name – hence the name / whin bushes & stanes = stones)

Deception Bay- Boondaar- the Home of the Chief – was taken up in the same year as Whinstanes.

After Gympie A.B.W. came to Brisbane & joined his brother William who was a member of the firm of Webster, Watkin & Co. who were dealing chiefly in wine & spirits A.B.W. obtained the agency from Scotland of Alex. Cowan & Co paper merchants – a firm in which he had served as a boy.  Watkins appeared to drop out of the firm & it became known as Webster & Co- a partnership between William W. & A.B.W.  They had premises in Mary St nearly opposite where Macdonald Hamilton now are.  They became contractors to the Queensland Government for paper & stationary & for many years a long business friendship continued between the firm & government printers & Queensland Government store.

Later William Webster died 7 A.B.W. carried on, in >>>  A.B.W. formed the Brisbane Tug Company with the “Beaver” – he later brought out from Scotland the “Korpa” & “Doomba” A.B.W. was President of the Queensland Club in 1906 & entertained Vice Admiral Poole there. He was Vice President in the years 1894 & 1905. In the year 1929 A.B.W. entertained the Prince of Wales- afterwards Edward V111 & then later Duke of Windsor – at a ball at Whinstanes.

Copy of a letter sent to me by Harold F. Ford, the present owner.

Gordon Slogan – “A Gordon! A Gordon!

Badge:- Tadh – shlat, Eitheann (Tsy).

We are Lowland Scots & the crest is a Wyverns Head with tar – the motto – Vincet Veritas-

Truth Conquers, Wyvern’s head, erased, vert & yellow.

I have always understood from A.B.W. that we are entitled to wear the Gordon Tartan.

I believe there were estates in the family & they were probably in Forfarshire & were lost by John Webster, about 1800-1887?

Murlingden is the name of a property outside Montrose – near Brechin owned by Captain James Carnegy Webster from 1839 – 1850 – it was sold by public auction in Edinburgh for 3,520 pounds to Mr James Cooper, a wood merchant of Arbroath.  It is now owned by Harold F. Ford.

Kingsley Webster had in his possession an old photograph of a newspaper cutting from “The Scotsman” Aug. 1877

– Lt – Colonel James Webster –

“This veteran whose death at the advance age of 80 was recorded yesterday interred the army in 1814 as ensign in the 44th Regiment.  He joined the second battalion at Ostend shortly after & was attached to the guard of honour appointed for Louis XV111, while there after his flight from Paris in the following year. In the campaign after Napoleon’s return from Elba, his regiment formed part of the ninth brigade (42nd – 44th  & 92nd  Regiments) under Pack attached to Pictons division, which suffered so severely at Luatre Bras by the charges of the French cavalry. Ensign Webster was in the command of a company at Waterloo, where he was severely wounded I was in consequence strongly recommended for promotion, thoughowing to the reduction of the army – following the peace – he did not at that time get any step.  He obtained his lieutenancy in 1820 & in 1822 went to India with his regiment, where he saw some service & was successful in quelling a mutiny in a detachment of the 17th Regiment.  He then attained the rank of captain by promotion.  In 1826 he exchanged home on half pay unattached, & was not again in active service, but he was promoted to a majority in 1838 & in 1851 to the rank of “Lieutenant Colonel.”

He was in the 44th ( East Essese) Regiment of foot from date of Commission as Ensign 21st April 1814. Placed on “half pay” 1st Dec. 1827.

Shown in Army lists for 1859 – 61, exchanged from Half Pay to Captaincy of the 18th  ( Royal Irish) Regiment on 16th Aug, 1859 – retired same day with rank Major, from 28th June 1838 & Lieut. Col. From 11th Nov. 1851.

This Lieut. Colonel James Webster was James Carnegie Webster, an elder brother of John Webster, who married Ann Brand in 1828.  He was born 1797 & died 1877, he married Harriet steel & they had several children ( see pedigree) He owned the property “Murlingden” from 1839 to 1850 when it was sold by Public auction in Edinburgh for 3,520 pounds to a Mr James Coopa, a wood merchant of Arbroath.

An examination of the Half Pay & Retired Pay Books ( P.M.G.4/217) has shown that in 1851 Captain Webster was living at 28 Inverleith Row

A brother of A.B.W.’s was Capt. Jack Webster & he was cashiered – I believe – from the Black Watch Regiment but I do not know the reason or date!!!

Another brother was James Webster a sea captain who traded to China.  He lived at Helenborough & on one voyage he passed the ship that was towing Cleopatras needle to the Thames.

Jessie Webster, a sister of A.B.W., lived a 6 Pentland Terrace, near Edinburgh.

Amelia Hardness, another sister, lived at Morningside, Edinburgh

Through his mother – Ann Brand – A.B.W. was connected to the Inglis – see Genealogy of the Andersons about 1680 – 1886.

We have silver which was presented to a William Webster at Montrose in 1817 when he was Inspector of Public Buildings at Montrose 30th Aug 1820

A.B. Webster’s solicitors were

Messrs D.M. Gibb


Baxter – had estates in Forarshire & the same motto – “Vincit Veritas”

Baxter – in Norfork – the same crest – a wyvern but a different motto.

I do not know if there is any connection H.M.P.O.

James Ing-lio of “Craigo,” Strathfield, Sydney was connected with A.B.W. through the Brands – he was a cousin.

>>> life in Tiger Land,& Sport & Work of the Nepal Frontier, were books written by “Marori”- James Ing-lio.

Extracts from Registrations of Births

Montrose, Co, Forfar       Births

1 July  1844               Mr John Webster ship owner &

                                      Mrs Anne Brand his spouse a

                                      daughter bapt. 2 Aug. Clementina.

20 June 1842             Mr John Webster shipowner &

                                      Mrs Anne Brand his spouse a

                                      son bapt, 20 June, alexander Brand

24 April 1840              Mr John Webster shipowner & Mrs

                                      Anne Brand his spouse a daughter

                                      11 May Jessie.

Logie –Pert. Co. Forfar      Births

29 Sept,  1838           James son of John Webster & Ann

                                       Brand at haio of Craigo born

                                                                                              2 curt.

1 Sept.  1836               John, son of above parents, born 12 July

6 Nov.   1832              Ann, daughter of above parents born 5 Oct.

6 Sept.  1834                Emilia, daughter of above parents born 31 Aug.

Dear Madam

                      I received your letter of 1st Nov. I have made further enquiries but with little or no success. I have however, been able to ascertain from our County Clerk who is a friend of Sheriff A. F. Ford, the present occupant of Murlingden House that the Sheriff has a photograph dated 1829, of Murlingden, underneath is the name Captain Webster. I learned from the County Clerk that the Sheriff is of opinion that Captain Webster was responsible for converting Murlingden from a farmhouse into a Mansion House, so that this would seem to bear out your contention about a Webster being at Mulingden early in the nineteenth century.

    I made enquires at Montrose academy, but unfortunately, their records, prior to some sixty years ago, have been disposed of some time ago.

Yours faithfully

(signed) W.W. Valentine


Webster   Alexander Kingsley, of Deception Bay, on Thursday 14th April.  Interment, Toowong Cemetery, Saturaday 16th April. 1960

Daily Telegraph MorningPost. Tuesday July 2 1963. Crofton – ??? , On June 30 peacefully at Tamerton Nursing Home after a long illness, Mary Ann, in her 85th year, beloved wife of the late Dr Reginald Crofton-Atkins of Lancaster Cottage, Weybribge & mother of Jack, cremation ????? at the working crematorium, on Friday July 15. No flowers.

Copy of a letter from the Court of the Lord Lyon, Edinburgh about the crest.

Dear Madam,

Your enquiry as to the crest of Thomas Webster of Montrose has come to me. Webster of Murlingden, Scotland had for a Crest, a wyvern’s head erased Vert. & motto VINCIT VERITAS, – erased – torn off with a ragged edge.    He never recorded the Arms so I have genealogy on record but a searches might get some details if you have some dates or any-thing to go by. Yours faithfully

(signed) H.A. B. Lauson

Rothesay Herald

Lyon Clera


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