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George Cheyne

George Cheyne (8 April 1790 – 5 June 1869) was an early settler in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.
Cheyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1790, the fourteenth of seventeen children. His father, John Cheyne was a doctor and his mother was Margaret Edmonstone.
George Cheyne married Grizzel Melville on 16 December 1830, at the Parish Church, in Clerkenwell, London.
He arrived in Fremantle aboard the Stirling with his wife and daughter, and a cargo of merchandise including a prefabricated house, fourteen merinos, cattle and a pair of rabbits. He intended to settle in the area along the Swan or Canning Rivers as a farmer but found the best land was taken. Undeterred, he pressed on to King George Sound and found business sites around Albany and selected land around the Kalgan River, Moorilup and on Mistaken Island.
Cheyne acquired land in the Kendenup area in 1832 and Cape Riche in 1836.
In 1839 Cheyne sold 20,000 acres (8,094 ha) of his land around Kendenup to John Hassell, who developed it as Kendenup Estate.
Cheyne moved permanently to Cape Riche in 1842 to trade with the crew of whalers in the area. He also introduced the Moir family, relatives of his from Scotland, to the area, with his nephew Andrew Moir arriving in 1841. Moir acquired the property from his uncle in 1858. By 1843 Cheyne was supplying whalers operating in and around from his property at Cape Riche with items such as water, fuel, provisions, and fresh meat and vegetables. In 1837 Cheyne founded his own whaling operation on Doubtful Islands Bay.
His brother, Bruce Cheyne died aged 62, on 7th January 1856 in Albany.
He also acquired more grazing land along the Pallinup River and around Broomehill while establishing himself as a merchant, sandalwooder, whaler and shipchandler. Cheyne built a large granite house in Albany in 1862 then went to England to secure a better deal for his wool from his brokers. He then bought a house in Sussex and sold his Albany house to John Hassell.
Cheyne died in Dumfries, Scotland in 1869.
Several geographical features bear Cheyne's name including:
Cheyne Creek, a tributary of the Kalgan River
Cheyne Ledge and Cheyne Head, near Oyster Harbour on the north western side of King George Sound
Cheyne Island and Cheyne Inlet near Cape Riche
Cheyne Point near Duke of New Orleans Bay
Cheyne Beach
"London Metropolitan Archives, Saint John The Baptist, Clerkenwell, Register of Marriages, P76/JNB, Item 012, Page 110, number 330. London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921."
"Why The Name Of Cheyne Marks Our South Coast". The West Australian. Perth. 28 October 1950. p. 21. Retrieved 7 September 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
"Kendenup 1840-1940". Western Mail. Perth. 23 May 1940. p. 11. Retrieved 7 September 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
"Early Albany". Albany Advertiser. Albany, Western Australia. 27 April 1929. p. 3. Retrieved 6 September 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
"Upgraded and Expanded Biographical Notes - Western Australian Exploration 1826-1835". Western Australian Explorers’ Diaries Project. 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
"Albany's Early Years: 1837 - 1846". Albany Gateway. 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
Donald S. Garden (1977). Albany; A panorama of the Sound. Thomas Nelson Limited. ISBN 0170051676.
"Andrew Moir". Great Southern Pioneers. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
Australian Death Index 1787-1985 Name: Bruce Cheyne Age: 62 Registration Year: 1856 Registration Place: Western Australia Registration Number: 759 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1794.
"George Cheyne". 20 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2015.

The Moir connection with Western Australia would not have eventuated but for George Cheyne, a remarkable enterprising and purposeful man. He married Grizel Melville (known as Grace) in the early 1820s and thus became the uncle of John, Andrew, Alexander and George Moir.
Cheyne was born in Edinburgh on 8th April, 1790, the fourteenth of sixteen children, to Dr John Cheyne and Margaret Edmonstone. Little is known of his early years. However it would appear he was well equipped with business acumen. When he reached Fremantle in 1831 aboard the ship Stirling, he brought with him a cargo of merchandise likely to be wanted by his fellow colonists. As well as a prefabricated house, sheep and cattle, he brought a pair of rabbits.
Cheyne planned to establish as a farmer, but found all the best land adjacent to the Swan and Canning Rivers had already been selected prior to his arrival. He ventured to Albany, where he chose business sites. He selected a large area of land on both sides of the Kalgan River, some near the Upper Kalgan Bridge, another area near Moorilup (now Kendenup) and a lease on Mistaken Island (now Rabbit Island) in King George Sound.
At his Albany base, Cheyne set up as a merchant. He served other settlers as well as the sealers, muttonbirders and whalers then using Albany for refreshment. He also traded with and serviced the small fleet of vessels that used King George Sound. George Cheyne was not the only member of his family resident in Albany in the 1830s. Two of his brothers, Alexander and Bruce, and two nephews, John and George McCartney Cheyne, were also resident there for several years, before moving to the eastern colonies. The name of the latter nephew is often incorrectly ascribed to his dynamic uncle.
George Cheyne pursued many other business enterprises in the 1830s and 1840s. These included the establishment of a bay whaling depot and sealing station at Doubtful Island Bay. He organised the bullock wagon teams of sandalwood cutters, whose perfumed timber booty was sold to Ceylon and China. The most lasting enterprise, however was the establishment of a private port and new whaling station. This was at the small harbour of Cheyne Bay, immediately north east of Cape Riche, in approximately 1839. The Moorilup lands had been sold to John Hassell that year and Cheyne appeared to believe his future lay in the area east of Albany,
The Cape Riche harbour became a very popular shelter for overseas whaling craft, chiefly American, who objected to the port charges levied at Albany. Cheyne provided water, fuel, vegetables and meat at reasonable prices and bought up the whalers cargoes of merchandise. The surrounding land proved to have excellent pasture for stock and a thriving wool producing station, called 'Bonnington Braes', was developed.
Twenty years after his arrival in Albany, George Cheyne was firmly established as a merchant. He was a ships chandler, a master whaler, a grazier, a sandalwooder and the sole proprietor of a busy private port. The enterprises required considerable management and the lack of a family of his own prompted Cheyne to encourage the immigration of relatives from Scotland. Andrew Moir, son of Grace Cheyne's sister Elizabeth, arrived first, in 1842, to become an indentured employee of his uncle. Subsequently Andrew Muir, son of Margaret Melville, who was the eldest sister of Grace, arrived with his wife and family in 1844. Alexander and George Moir, with their parents John and Elizabeth and sisters Isabella and Elizabeth, arrived in 1850. The arrival of William Henry Graham in 1852 completed the Cheyne inheritance. (The eldest Moir nephew, John, came at the instigation of his brother Alexander in 1859). Graham was not related to the Mairs and Muirs, but rather the grandson of Cheyne's sister Cecelia Wilkinson. Cheyne had been keen for Alexander Moir to understudy the merchandising interests in Albany, whilst Andrew and George Moir took care of the pastoral interests at Cape Riche and in the Pallinup watershed.
Preparing to retire in Albany, Cheyne built a substantial granite residence in Stirling Terrace (later called Norman House) in 1858. He returned suddenly to England in 1860. The move may have been calculated to enable more input to the marketing of his wool clip by his English woolbrokers. Whatever the case, he briefly resided in Brighton, in the southern English county of West Sussex before moving up to the small Scottish town of Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire. His final home (Bank House) was set in a pretty location on Kirk Loch and here George Cheyne died on 5th June, 1869, in his 80th year. His headstone set into the wall of the New Churchyard, Lochmaben, records his to be the first grave in the new cemetery - a pioneer to the end.
It could be assumed from the diversity of his business interests that George Cheyne was a ruthless man, driven to material success. Much evidence proves this to be a very incomplete picture, for he was described by his contemporaries as kind, cordial, considerate and helpful. He was the possessor of a soft Fifeshire voice, a pleasant host and a gentle husband. He was also certainly imaginative, shrewd and efficient. Cheyne no doubt possessed a clear realisation of the social and other obligations owed to the small community in which he lived. He was a foundation trustee of the St Johns Anglican Church in Albany in 1841 and commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1838. No evidence exists that he ever found the necessity to seek the aid or protection of the law in any business or private dealing, despite some considerable difficulties with the irascible Resident Magistrate, Sir Richard Spencer.
Moir, Muir and Graham descendants can be proud of their association with the name which literally marks the south coast of Western Australia in such forms as Cheyne Beach, Cheyne Island, Cheyne Point and Cheyne Creek.
Biography provided by Diane Jardine, Dumfriesshire , Scotland, January 2008.

References and  links

Stephens, Robert 1958 , 'Builders of Albany: Alexander Moir, merchant and pastoralist', Early Days, Volume 5, Part 4: 38-51.

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