The Campbells of Cromla

Copyright Carol Baxter 2012
Prepared for Campbell descendant Jeanette Bradley

Donald Campbell and Mary Bethune

Donald Campbell was born around the year 1802 in the Isle of Skye, County Inverness, Scotland. In the 1820s he married Mary Bethune who was born around 1804 in the same place.[1] They had three known children: Robert (c1827), Mary (c1832) and John (c1835 – see John Campbell below).[2]

In 1837 the Campbell family emigrated to Australia. Shipping records reveal that Donald was 35 years of age and was a farmer or a farm servant while Mary was 33 and a housemaid. Their three children – Robert aged 10, Mary aged 5 and John aged 2½ – travelled with them, along with Donald’s sister Ann aged 13. They were brought out by the Government, sailing on board the Midlothian which left the Isle of Skye on 8 August 1837 and reached Sydney on 12 December 1837.[3] The vessel also carried a family named Bethune, who were perhaps relatives of Mary’s.

Upon their arrival Donald found work as a tenant for Mr A Lang[4] - evidently Andrew Lang, the brother of the first Presbyterian Minister in Australia, Rev. John Dunmore Lang. Andrew Lang had arrived free on the Greenock in 1824 with his parents and other members of the Lang family. By 1828 he was a landholder at “Dunmore” in the district of Patrick Plains, holding 2330 acres of which 100 were cleared and 50 cultivated. He also had 5 horses and 90 head of cattle.[5] It seems likely that they went to work at his property in the Hunter Valley district as they were later residing at Morpeth.

Donald and Mary had another two children born in the years following their arrival: Norman (1841) and Alexander (1844). By the time the children were baptised in December 1852, the Campbells were small farmers at Morpeth.[6]

Donald and Mary Campbell had common names making it difficult to trace them further. As a result, their death details have not been determined to date. Donald was described as a grazier in his son John’s death certificate in 1907, an occupation perhaps reflecting his son’s advanced social status rather than Donald’s own.[7]