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.
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.