Alexander Davidson was born circa 1801 in Alvie, Inverness-shire, Scotland to John Davidson and Ann Fraser and died 17 August 1874 "Wando Villa", 89 Wellington Rd, Portland, Victoria, Australia of unspecified causes. He married Ann Robertson (c1796-1898) in Inverness-shire, Scotland.


Arrived at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on the "St George" with his wife on 15 Nov 1838. The records of the voyage show that they were assisted immigrants, name their parents, their occupations (he was a mason), their place of birth, but understate their ages. (He was shown as 33, but if his age at death of 72 in 1874 is correct he was 36.)

Also aboard the "St George" was his wife's brother Duncan Robertson, his wife Ann (nee Fraser), and their then 3 children.

Both families moved to the Portland District of Victoria about 1840 (per wife's obituary). His brother-in-law had a child born in NSW in 1839, and another child born at Wannon Rover, Portland District in 1842.

His brother-in-law Duncan became a part-owner of the Satimer Pastoral Lease on the Wando River in the Portland District of Victoria together with her husband in 1848. The Satimer Pastoral Lease was owned jointly until 1860 when he bought out his brother-in-law's share and became sole owner.

Government-assisted immigrant makes good

Arriving in Australia in 1838 as a poor Scotsman, a mason by trade, Alexander was to work hard and amass enough savings to allow him to invest in an established Squatting Run in 1848. As stated in his obituary "by patient industry and perseverance acquired considerable wealth as a squatter on the Satima station, near Casterton" on the Wando River in Victoria. He was at first a part-owner of the Satimer Run with his brother-in-law Duncan Robertson, but was able to buy out his brother-in-law's share in 1860.

In 1864, with proceeds of his squatting income, he built a two storey stucco rendered bluestone house in Portland which he called "Wando Villa", which is today a Heritage Listed Building.

Not to be confused with Major Alexander Davidson (c1792-1856)

Many web-sites refer to the man who built "Wando Villa" at Portland as "Major Alexander Davidson". However, Alexander Davidson who built "Wando Villa" in 1864 was never a Major, and was never in the army. There was a Major Alexander Davidson who lived in Victoria at the same time and who was also a squatter owning the Acheron Squatting Lease on the Acheron River, a tributory of the Goulburn River, from 1845-1849. These two men have been confused. Major Alexander Davidson (c1792-1856) died at his residence at South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1856. There is much found about him in the newspapers in the period he lived in Victoria from 1843-1856. He is famous for having brought workers from India to Melbourne when he arrived in 1843. He was a colourful, eccentric character, who was nothing like the unassuming man of quiet manners described in the obituary of this Alexander Davidson who built "Wando Villa" in 1864.


Mr Alexander Davidson.---The name of another old colonist appears in our obituary columns of this day--Mr Alexander Davidson, of Wando Villa, South Portland, who died on the 17th inst. at the ripe age of 72 years.

The deceased had by patient industry and perseverance acquired considerable wealth as a squatter on the Satima station, near Casterton, a portion of which was expended, in a villa residence at South Portland, to which the deceased retired about 1865, where he has lived since, without much ostentation, on the fruits of his industry.

The deceased was for many years past a member and a patron of the Wesley Church here, and it is not long since he gave £100 as a donation to free the church from a debt contracted during the lifetime of the late Rev. F. Tuckfield.

The deceased was a man of quiet manners, unassuming, charitable in his own way, and disposed to do some good amongst his neighbours, many of whom will deeply lament his loss.

Mr Davidson leaves a widow but no family to deplore his loss. Some years since the deceased had selected his burial ground in the South cemetry; the ground is suitably enclosed with an iron railing, and a headstone ready for the name, and date of his death. We learn that his widow is to enjoy his real estate and chattel property during life, at her death the whole to be sold and divided amongst his relatives, in accordance with minute directions set down in his will.

The funeral leaves at 2 p.m. on Thursday the 20th inst.

(Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, 18 Aug 1874, p2)


He had a sister Margaret DAVIDSON (c1812-1875), married to Andrew McDONALD (c1810) and they were the parents of three daughters including Ann McDONALD (1834-1914), wife of Angus McEACHERN (1816-1875) of Kangaroo Station near Digby, Victoria, Australia.

Other siblings are unknown.


Footnotes (including sources)