Major Archibald Innes

Archibald Clunes Innes (1799-1857) was a soldier and cattle farmer from Thrumster, Caithness, Scotland. When he arrived in Australia in 1822 he was a captain in the Third Regiment (Buffs), on the ship "Eliza", in charge of 170 convicts. Innes was a commandant at the Port Macquarie penal settlement from November 1826 to April 1827. He then spent time in Sydney as brigade major before becoming a superintendent of police and magistrate at Parramatta, until 1829. He returned in 1830 and settled on his grant of 2,568 acres (1,039 ha) of land near Port Macquarie where the 22-room Lake Innes house was built, using convict labour, in several stages between 1831 and 1843. In 1837 Innes had 85 convicts working for him at Port Macquarie. His wife Margaret, (daughter of Alexander Macleay), was also an early grantee and received land at Crottys Plains on the Wilson River near Rollands Plains.

Major A.C. Innes owned Innestown on the Manning River and Yarrows (Yarras) on the Hastings River. He was one of the first squatters in the New England district when, in 1836, he held Waterloo Station. Some of his other New England properties included Kentucky Station, Beardy Plains, Dundee Station and Furracabad Station. Furracabad station was subsequently the site of the town of Glen Innes, which was named after him and laid out in 1851. During the 1830s, Innes was one of Australia's richest colonists. However, in the 1840s credit squeeze, he lost just about everything and became bankrupt in 1852. He was later an assistant gold commissioner and magistrate at Nundle and later police magistrate at Newcastle, New South Wales.

Archibald Innes died at Newcastle on 29 August 1857. He was buried in Port Macquarie where his grave can be seen in the town's Pioneer Cemetery. The portrait is interesting from a uniform point of view because the collar and plastron front of his coat show us the shade of buff worn by the regiment. Although the exact date of the portrait is not known the style indicates that it is c1825. The uniform has gold lace edged with black; the regiment changed from silver lace to gold around this time. The shoulder wings indicate that he was was a flank company officer and another portrait shows him wearing the white sword belt over his right shoulder with a light company bugle badge.

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by Stephen Luscombe