William Cromarty was born in Ronaldsaye, Orkney Islands, Scotland in 1788 . He married Cecilia Brown in 1815.
He arrived in Australia in 1822 and was employed as 1st Officer on the vessel Fame which was owned by merchant Simeon Lord.
Later William Cromarty was engaged as Captain of the Fame and became well known and highly regarded throughout the colony. His wife Cecilia and daughter Elizabeth arrived in 1824 on the Phoenix.
He received a land grant dated 7 July 1824, possession authorised on 15th July 1827 as a primary grant. This was situated at Port Stephens, County of Gloucester, parish of Tomaree; commencing at a marked oak tree at the west extreme of the south boundary line of the Crown Reserve of Soldiers Point. 
J.F. Atchison in an article in the Royal Australian Historical Society Newsletter of April 1978 high-lighted William Cromarty's maritime achievements:
'In February 1827Robert Dawsoncommissioned William Cromarty, an able sailor, to attempt an entry of the Manning River from the sea and to chart its channels. The Barnard-Manning Rivers system had been explored in 1825 byHenry Dangarand named by Dawson in honour of William Manning, Deputy Governor of theAustralian Agricultural Company. Dawson was anxious to establish its course. Cromarty made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Farquhars Inlet (Old Bar). He then walked along the coast to Port Macquarie.
Dawson made another attack on the Manning the following October. He sent John Armstrong and John Guilding, an experienced planter and native of the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies, north by sea from Port Stephens. They established that the Barnard Manning system flowed out to the Pacific Ocean through two outlets: Harrington and Farquahars Inlets, inlets which John Oxley in 1818 had judged to be coastal lagoons.
The tall headstone in the cemetery at Tahlee commemorates William Cromarty, an early settler whose unsuccessful attempt to chart the Manning River paved the way for Armstrong and Guilding's notable contribution to our understanding of Australian topography.';
'Dr. Nisbetwent over to see Mr. Cromarty, a settler, to endeavour to arrange with him to go up the Myall with one of our boats to look for cedar, of which there was a great quantity purchased by the company formerly from Mr. (Simeon) Lord, and of which Mr. Cromarty knows more than anybody else, having been employed by Mr. Lord.
Cromarty is an honest man, a rare avis here, and is desirous of paying us in this way for any services we can render him'.
William Cromarty was seriously injured in an accident at Newcastle port later that year and retired from his position to settle on his land at Soldier's Point, Port Stephens.
It was reported in the Sydney Gazette that the Newcastle port was left without a pilot for some time on Cromarty's resignation, although this was disputed by assistant pilot Charles Hughes who stated that he had performed the duties of pilot at Newcastle, not only from the superannuation of the late Mr. Eckford, which took place in the year 1827, but for ten years prior to that occurrence without imputation or fault'
William Cromarty was apparently appointed to the position of pilot again in October 1834. The Sydney Herald reported of his high fitness for the post, being a man of courage and an excellent seaman .