Alexander McNaughtan with junior partners Thomas Brown and John Dunn Jnr founded McNaughtan and Co in Launceston in around 1856/57. In Feb 1859 the firm contracted to lay a Submarine Cable across Bass Strait for 50,000 pounds, a third of which was paid by Victoria. The sections from Cape Otway to King Island and from Circular Head to the River Tamar were successful. Storms and rockbeds south of King Island damaged the cable and it broke down completely in January, 1861. A select committee in Hobart exonerated McNaughtan & Co from any fault and they were paid for their work. In June, 1864, the Cornwall Chronicle announced the failure of McNaughton and Co. following a meeting of creditors on Tuesday, June 21st. The liabilities totalled 29,000 pounds and the assets 27,000 pounds. The article praised Mr. McNaughton and expressed the regrets of the community. William Johnstone, Richard Green and Lewis Cohen were appointed Trustees.