The Unissued One Pound Trader’s Note by Scott & Gale

One-pound shinplasters were printed for the proprietors of a general store in Champion Bay (Geraldton) between 1858 and 1874, recent research has confirmed that while a signed, dated and issued note has not yet been sighted, they were definitely valued as a store of value and a medium of exchange in West Australia at that time.

A small number of attractive unissued examples of this note still exist - they remain a direct link to one of the Swan River Colony’s most important men.

Merchants such as Scott & Gale were among the first commercial enterprises established in the most remote areas of WA, they were entrepreneurs resolved to profit from the traffic of hardy prospectors and farmers flowing throughout the colony.

While the population of WA’s outlying areas was, by comparison, tiny and incredibly widely spread, these hardy people did business in just the same way as those in the main population centres - through the exchange of goods and services for money.

Notes such as the shinplasters issued by Scott & Gale were essential to local trade in the early days of commerce in remote West Australia. The specie (coinage) available in remote areas was often limited to that which was brought in by arriving prospectors, once those coins had been traded or had left the area for another commercial centre, there was no other coinage for the settlers to use in their everyday business.

The major banks did not open branches in some areas of regional Western Australia until settlers had been there for some decades (if at all), shinplasters such as this one issued by Scott & Gale provided a much-needed medium of exchange.

An editorial in “The Inquirer and Commercial News” in March 1866 that discussed this, lamented “… the want of specie in the Champion Bay district…” and called “…upon His Excellency the Governor to rectify this evil, in whole or part by causing at least the police and pensioners to be paid in hard cash.” [1] A subsequent letter to the editor criticised “parties engaged in business transactions” for carrying on their “…most profitable course of issuing their pound notes and carrying on the truck-system.”

The Economic Foundations of the Swan River Colony

The establishment of a Colony at the Swan River in 1829 was largely in response to enthusiastic marketing by Captain James Stirling of opportunities for business and profits. It was also the first British Colony in Australia founded exclusively for a private settlement based upon a land grant system. Despite an original perception of opportunity, Western Australia grew very slowly during its first years.

Agriculture and livestock were the colony’s first viable industries. The economy grew and diversified from around 1837 - research lists the most important commodities exported from the Swan River Colony between 1845 and 1850 as being wool, sandalwood, whale products, livestock and timber. It is interesting to note that Captain Daniel Scott had a number of business enterprises that were active in nearly every single one of those industries.

The first convicts to reach the shores of WA arrived in 1850, this increased demand for a wide range of goods and services.[2]

Captain Daniel Scott - A Dynamic Entrepreneur

Captain Daniel Scott was born in Liverpool (England) in 1800, although the exact date of his birth is uncertain. Scott ran away from home to work on the sea[3], in his early maritime career he captained a small ship in the West Indies.[4] On one voyage during this period, Scott was commended by the Royal Humane Society[5] for rescuing three men who were adrift in an open boat.

Scott arrived in Fremantle on August 5th 1829 onboard the ’Calista’[6], the second ship that delivered settlers to the Swan River Colony. This was just 3 months after Captain Fremantle took formal possession of the whole of the west coast (of what was then known as New Holland) on behalf of the British monarch.

Shortly following his arrival, Scott was employed by the colonial government as the Deputy Harbour Master of Fremantle Port, at a salary of a hundred pounds a year. Daniel Scott married Francis Harriet Davis on March 18th 1830 and had 12 children (8 daughters and 3 sons) with her: Julia; Mary Ann; Emma; Louisa Jane; Sophia; Daniel Henry; Jane Frances; Caroline Elizabeth; Katherine; Walter and John Campbell. Interestingly, Scott obtained a special licence to marry Frances Harriet Davis in his office on the wreck of the Marquis of Anglesea, located just off the shore at Fremantle.[7]

Most of Scott’s harbourmaster work would have been carried out on the “South Jetty”, where all inbound ships visiting the Swan River Colony stopped before the “Long Jetty” was built in 1873, and well before Fremantle Harbour was opened in 1897.

Fremantle's South Jetty - "Any man who would come or send a ship a second time is a damned ass"

This simple wooden jetty extended from the shore now known as Bather’s Beach (or close to it), directly into the ocean. Constantly exposed to strong breezes and swells rolling in from the South West, Scott’s “Long Jetty” would have been no workplace for the faint-hearted. Later descriptions of landing at Fremantle before the harbour was built are less than complimentary - one Captain D.B. Shaw described Fremantle as “… a terrible place. No place to put a vessel. No shelter whatever. All the ships have to lay and discharge at the wharf or pay lighterage…. It is blowing a gale from the SW …. She had done considerable damage to herself…. It is certainly the worst place I or anyone else ever saw. No place to send a ship of this size…. Any man who would come or send a ship a second time is a damned ass.[8]

Scott was promoted to the position of Harbour Master on July 1st 1831 when the Swan River Colony’s original Harbour Master became the Swan River Colony’s first Auditor.[9] After a serious injury to his arm, Scott had difficulty performing his pilot duties and was forced to resign from his position as Harbour Master in February 1851.[10] Scott was given a grant of 4,000 acres on the Swan River by the British government in lieu of any pay or pension owing.[11]

The Swan River Colony’s First Postmaster

Brian Pope’s work on the philatelic history of colonial Western Australia states that Captain Scott was appointed as the first postmaster of the Swan River Colony by Colonial Secretary Nicholas Brown on December 4th, 1829.

William Gale - Collector of Customs

William Gale was born in 1829, one newspaper death notice states that he arrived in West Australia in 1850 from England[30]. It is not yet known which port he departed from, or which vessel he arrived on.

In several of his death notices, as well as in biographical records for his sons, William Gale is described as being the “Collector of Customs” at Fremantle. A notice in the Perth Gazette on March 4th, 1853 announced that “Mr Agett, of Fremantle, having ceased to be a clerk in the Customs department at that Port, His Excellency has appointed Mr William Gale to the vacant situation.[31]” Interpreting other newspaper and biographical notes that describe William Gale leads indicates that he worked in Customs at Fremantle until 1858.

Captain Daniel Scott was Harbour Master at Fremantle between 1831 and 1851, so this is most likely where the two men would have met.

Gale married Mary Ann Scott (second daughter of Captain Daniel and Frances Harriet Scott) on January 18th, 1854. Records seem to indicate they had five sons together: William Hebbon, Frank Ernest, Charles Frederic, Walter Augustus and John Scott Gale. John Scott, named as the 5th son of William Gale, passed away at the age of 2 from diptheria on May 18th, 1865. Frank Ernest died at the age of 9 on May 29th 1865.

Gale was 29 years old when he and his young family moved to Geraldton in 1858 to establish the general store in partnership with his father in law. A death notice published for William Gale in a West Australian newspaper stated that “He was … a hard worker for our Parsonage, which without his energy would not now be completed. He may be considered as the founder of our Agricultural Society, who cannot replace his services, and the foundation-stone of our Mechanics Institute…” Geraldton in 1865 - A Diptheria Epidemic The Western Australian Year Book entry for 1865 states that “Diphtheria makes its first appearance in the Colony[33]”. The outbreak of diptheria in the Geraldton region tragically claimed the lives of many in the Scott and Gale families[34] - Daniel and Francis Scott, William Gale, as well as John and Frank Gale. Captain Daniel Scott died at the age of 65 late in February 20th, 1865[35], while William Gale died at the age of 37 late on May 24th, 1865.[36]

Daniel Henry Scott - the Second Generation

Daniel Henry Scott was born in the Swan River Colony on March 3rd, 1834, and was Captain Daniel Scott’s eldest son. Daniel Henry is recorded as buying 20 acres of land at Greenough in 1860, and apparently employed 15 Ticket of Leave convicts at Champion Bay from 1864. At the age of 31, Daniel Henry took over the family businesses after his father’s death.

In 1870, Daniel Henry married Caroline Samson. Caroline was the daughter of Lionel Samson, another prominent merchant in Fremantle. This marriage apparently cemented a strong partnership between the Scott and the Samson families, who had been business partners both in Fremantle and in Geraldton for decades.

Numerous newspaper advertisements in Western Australia printed between 1866 and 1864 refer to “Messrs. Scott and Gale”, in conjunction with cargo travelling to or from Geraldton. There is no mention in any of the records of the careers of William Gale’s 3 sons that they were involved in the business in any way, so it seems that Daniel Henry simply kept the business name the same once both of the original partners had passed away.

Daniel Henry seems to have slightly changed business tack shortly after taking control and is often mentioned as being an auctioneer of goods and property in Geraldton.

Daniel Henry Scott died in 1874, at which time ownership of his business property on lots 51 and 52 Gregory Street reverted briefly to his wife Caroline and then in 1878, to Mary Ann Gale, his oldest sister. Mary Ann sold the property in September 1878, which brought an end to two generations of enterprise by the Scott and Gale families.

The Bread and Butter of Messrs Scott & Gale

Shipping notices in the West Australian print media throughout the early 1860’s give us some indication of the products and materials that Scott & Gale were trading in between Geraldton, Fremantle and parts further afield. The following information is from the “Shipping Intelligence” notice for the Port of Fremantle on Wednesday, January 10th, 1866:[37]

Arrived: January 1. Wild Wave. 28 tons. Cross, master, from Vasse and Bunbury. Passengers-Mrs. Kelley, Mrs Dora Masters Scott and Gale, and 2 others. Cargo— 215 bags potatoes, 35 casks batter. 1 bag cheese, 36 bales wool, l carpet. 6 bags flour, 20 do. bran, 1 bale leather, and sundries.

Sailed: January 4. Lass of Geraldton. 37 tons, H. O’Grady, master, for Champion Bay. Passengers — Mr D. Scott, E. Packingham, and 2 others. Cargo— 28 £-casks brandy (under bond), 6 loads timber, 12 bags onions, 140 bags potatoes, 1 parcel bats, and 5 packages of sundries.

Many of the shipping notices for Fremantle leading up to 1865 include similar references to produce moving between Fremantle and Geraldton, where “Messrs. Scott & Gale” were on the same vessel.

The Scott & Gale One Pound Shinplaster - A Valuable Medium of Exchange

The only published reference discovered to date of one of Scott & Gale’s shinplasters actually being in use comes from a newspaper article outlining the court case in July 1860 against “Charles Janes, charged with stealing from the person of Jonathan Taylor, sundry orders for the payment of money, and other articles, at Champion Bay.”[38]

The victim of the theft, one Jonathan Taylor, stated that before going to sleep, he “… had nine banknotes, six of Mr G. Shenton’s, two of Mr Thomas Burges’s, one of Scott and Gale’s, an order on Battersby, also a sovereign and some silver; the notes and papers were in my pocketbook, and the money loose in my pocket.” When Taylor woke up, he “…heard a footstep as of someone going from me, and upon opening my eyes I saw the prisoner running across the road and into a thicket. I found my pocketbook taken from me, and one of my pockets cut and torn, there was also all the other things I had about me taken away.”

The court case goes on to describe the events that followed in great detail, the final turn being that a policeman retrieved the stolen notes from a thatched roof that Janes had stashed them in. Janes was found guilty by a jury of his peers and was sentenced to 6 years penal servitude for his crime.

The evidence in this court case clearly shows that Scott & Gale’s shinplasters were regarded as being just as valuable a medium of exchange as a sovereign or a silver coin.

One of Australia’s Most Attractive Trader’s Notes

The Scott & Gale shinplaster is an intriguing item of currency and is arguably one of the most attractive colonial shinplasters issued anywhere in Australia.

It measures up at the same size as a pre-federation note from the same period and is far larger than many privately-issued notes from other Australian merchants.

The paper quality is rather light and is very similar in weight to the one-pound notes put out by George Shenton in Perth over the same period of time.

It is perhaps hardly surprising that not one surviving example of an issued Scott & Gale one pound note has yet been discovered - their design seems more concerned with appearance, rather than endurance.

The Scott & Gale one pound note is uniface, that is it is printed on one side only, and the back of the note has been left blank. The designs used are also very similar in style and quality to other pre-federation notes issued by banks from the same period. The business that printed them, Blades, East and Blades, also printed notes for such far-flung locales as British North Borneo, The Merchants Bank of Halifax and several provincial British banks.

A black swan is the main design element in the centre of the note - presumably, a scene inspired by the swans either on the Greenough River near Geraldton, or the Swan River at Fremantle. The sophistication in the fine detail of the border design and other design elements, coupled with the strength of the lettering used to depict the names of the issuers and the region it relates to, lends an air of authority and strength.

It is without a doubt an impressive note, and perhaps is an indication of how Messrs Scott and Gale wanted their business to be seen in the Geraldton community and beyond.


  1. MONETARY AFFAIRS AT CHAMPION BAY. (1866, March 14). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA: 1855 - 1901), p. 3. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  2. Statham-Dew; Pamela, “An Economic History Of Western Australia Since Colonial Settlement”, WA Department of Treasury and Finance, Perth, December 2004, p 8.
  3. ADB listing for Captain Daniel Scott.
  5. ADB listing for Captain Daniel Scott.
  6. P. J. Coles, ‘Scott, Daniel (1800–1865)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 29 July 2014.
  8. John Longley. “The First Mail Steamer”. Fremantle Ports.
  9. Mark John Currie
  10. ADB listing for Captain Daniel Scott.
  11. Kimberly, W.B. (1897). History of West Australia. p. Chapter 6.
  12. Pope, Brian & Western Australian Museum (1991). The philatelic collection of the Western Australian Museum. The Museum, Perth, W.A
  13. Mayor of Fremantle
  14. Roots Web Ancestry
  15. ADB listing for Captain Daniel Scott.
  16. Classified Advertising. (1837, March 4). The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (WA: 1833 - 1847), p. 859. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from
  17. The Shore Whalers of Western Australia: Historical Archaeology of a Maritime … Martin Gibbs, p15
  18. The Shore Whalers of Western Australia: Historical Archaeology of a Maritime … Martin Gibbs, p15
  19. The Shore Whalers of Western Australia: Historical Archaeology of a Maritime … Martin Gibbs, p15
  22. Classified Advertising. (1850, January 11). The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA : 1848 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from
  24. Advertising. (1859, September 7). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 4. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from
  25. Classified Advertising. (1862, October 10). The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA : 1848 - 1864), p. 4. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from
  27. Bain, Sister Mary Albertus, A Life of its own: A social and economic history of the City of Geraldton and the Shire of Greenough, 1846–1988 City of Geraldton, 1996, pp. 59–61
  28. Classified Advertising. (1858, September 10). The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA : 1848 - 1864), p. 1. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from

  30. THE Inquirer & Commercial News. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 1865. (1865, June 7). The Inquirer and Commercial News(Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 2. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from

  31. Domestic Sayings and Doings. (1853, March 4). The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA : 1848 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

  32. Family Notices. (1865, June 2). The Perth Gazette and West Australian Times (WA : 1864 - 1874), p. 2. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from p>


  34. CHAMPION BAY. (1865, June 7). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 2. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from

  35. Local & Domestic Intelligence. (1865, February 22). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from

  36. THE Inquirer & Commercial News. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 1865. (1865, June 7). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from

  37. SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. (1866, January 10). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from

  38. Quarter Sessions. (1860, July 6). The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA : 1848 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from  ↩

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