Norfolk Islanders on-going interests

Extracts from Excursions around Tasmania 1991 1996

Extracts from Excursions around Tasmania 1991-1996.

Stories in Excursion books:  (see book list)

Sorell 1991

Pittwater & Sorell 1800s
History of Sorell
Land & Stock Land Musters Pittwater 1819
Sorell, Journal of Commissioners of Land VDL 1826
Hambley/Duncombe Land Sorell
John Duncombe Land
Cornhill - Sorell


Bothwell. 1991

Bothwell Township
Clifton Priory
Wentworth House
Town Sketch
Gantham farm
John Vincent - Norwood Inn Bothwell. Mill Oatlands
St Lukes Presbyterian Church
St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church
Coffee Palace
Sherwin Family
Andrew Mackie
Trap Hut 1890 


Hamilton 1991

Historical Houses
Watson's Marsh
St. Peters Church of England
Murder at Pelham


Bridges and Early Buildings. Hobart to Broadmarsh. 1992

Hobart Bridges
Hobart Rivulet
New Town Rivulet
Pitt Farm
Humphrey's Rivulet - O'Brien's Bridge
Houghten Bowden House
Chigwell House
John Faulkner
South Bridgewater Cemetery - Granton
Braeside Home Black Brush
Austin's Ferry
William Coventry
Cox home  - Black Brush
William Davis, Sheep stealer
The Bridge Inn
The Crown Inn
Pontville Barracks

Hobart. 1992

Hobart Town
Hunter Island - Hunter Street
New Market - City Hall
Hope and Anchor
James Mitchell - Hobart Hotel (Maloney's)
Ingel Hall
Secretaries Office
David Lord - Post Office
old Barracks Macquarie Street
Government House - Franklin Square
St. Davids Church
Thomas Birch - Macquarie house
William Mitchell Royal Oak
Duke of Wellington Hotel
St Davids Cemetery
George Guest - Barrack Hill
Thomas Priest - Davey Street
John Blundell's Jolly Hatter (Melville Street)
Temple House 

Longford, Evandale. 1992

The Parth of History
Wooden Bridge Longford
Longford Township
Land Grants Norfolk Plains (Longford)
James Jordan - Second Fleeter
Thomas Jordan
Piermount Chapel
Jordan Bridge
Saltmarsh Farm
Christ Church
Floods at Longford 1929
Shipping list for Lady Nelson & Minstrel 1813
Racecourse Hotel

Evandale Tourism and Historical Centre
Kennedy Murray
Police Office
John Ward Gleadow

Pontville, Kempton, Jericho, Colebrook, Richmond. 1993

Early Pontville
Flexmore - Kempton
Children of William Henry and Harriet Ellis - Kempton
James Kennedy - Kempton
William Walker - Kempton
Strethbarton - Black Marsh
Lovely Banks 
Jones Family Jericho
Jerusalem Probation Station - Colebrook
John Petchey - Cambridge


Jericho, Oatlands,Somercotes, Ross. 1993

William Henry Ellis. Kempton
Peter Harrisson. Jericho
Noah Mortimer. Lake Tiberias
Steam and Wind power mill. Oatlands
St. Peters Pass. Jellett's hut
James Pillinger
Thomas Flemming. Tunbridge 
Samuel Horton Sumercotes
Horton College
Phillip Devine
Theatre Royal and Criminal Courts Campbell Street.  1993

Theatre Royal
Criminal Courts
Penitentiary Chapel
Mark Jeffreys Solitary Cell
Solomon Blay Executioner
Campbell Street Goal Executions
Re-Enactment - The Port Arthur Case
Hotels in Campbell Street


Forcett, Tasman Peninsula. 1994

John Rowling - Rosy Vanyan
Haughton Forrest - Artist
Contantini - Convict Artist
Early Times in Forcett
Census in Richmond 1842
Dunalley Hotel & Denison Canal
Cascades - Tasman Peninsula
Cascades and Quarantine Station 
Cascade - Military Station
Convicts at WedgeBay
Edmund Harrold - Coach painter to Coal Miner
Salt Water Creek 1842
Convict Coal Mine
James Thomas Palmer - Palmer's Lookout
The Point Puer Boys
Port Arthur
Semaphore Telegraph System
Tell Tales by Semaphore - from code book
Goasts at Port Arthur
Women and Children headstones on Isle of the Dead
Boys headstones on Isle of the Dead
Shipbuilding in Tasmania
Ships built at Port Arthur, Pittwater, Ralph's Bay, Risdon and Kangaroo Point.


Sandy Bay, Channel, Geeveston, Huon Road - 1994

Norfolk Islanders at Sandy Bay
Land Marks Sandy Bay
Chaffey's Point
Land Grants
Shot Tower
Brown's River Probation Station
Red House Kingston
Convicts who died at Browns River
St Clement's Church Kingston
Cambridge Geeveston
Fairy Inn Huon River
Inlet Farm Huon River
Clifton and Amesbury Ranelagh
Valleyfield Ranelagh
Tom Brown High Peak
Wellington Falls
Neika Look-outs on Watchorne Hill
Neika School
Springs Hotel
Mt. Wellington
Davey Street Houses


Rokeby, Cambridge, Sanford. 1995

Early Transports Routes
Inns & Hotels
Bellerive to Sorell railway
Clarence Plains - Rokeby
Independent Church Rokeby
Elizabeth Thomas - First Fleeter
Edward Kimberley - First Fleeter
Clarence Vale
Clarence House
Township of Cambridge
Horseshoe Inn
Acton Road
Pipe Clay Lagoon
Sandford School
Rifle Range Road
Other Land Grants
St Matthews Church - Rokeby


» view or post reactions

William Hambley & Mary Springham


William Hambley


                                                                                    © Kathy Duncombe 2009



William HAMBLEY was baptised 18th May 1760 St. Clements, Truro, the son of Richard HAMBLY (sic) and Elizabeth TRISTREAL. Bishop's Transcript, a contemporary copy has her name as TRESTRILL.


1787 -William joined the Sirius (photo below) 23rd January 1787 as a carpenter's mate from Long Reach, born Truro, Cornwall, aged 23. (He would actually have been 27)


This ship had a complement of 160 men victualled at Deptford, England 25th October 1786.


1788 - He arrived on the First Fleet - a free man


1789 - On 24th October 1789 the Court of Magistrates sat, with Captain Collins and Captain Hunter on the Bench. William Hambly (sic)  carpenter's mate on the Sirius was accused of giving a bottle of liquor to a convict. David Kilpac gave evidence. He said that he had received a silk handkerchief and a bottle of liquor from Hamly (sic) for a young pig. Hamly said that he didn't know that giving liquor away was an offence. He said that it was so often done. He thought it might be done by him without being wrong. The verdict was: “It being his first offence, he is to remain on board the Sirius without coming on shore in the Cove while she remains in Port.” Signed by Collins


1790 - A son William HAMBLEY Jnr. by Mary SPRINGHAM (see Springham) was baptised at Port Jackson 15th January 1790, and both mother and child went to Norfolk Island by Sirius 4th March 1790. Hambley had worked as a carpenter at Port Jackson from the end of January 1788 and continued his work in the community at Norfolk Island, after Sirius was wrecked receiving payment for his work. After unloading all her passengers, including Mary Springham and her baby, the Sirius sank off shore of Norfolk Island after hitting a reef 19th March 1790. No lives were lost and most of the provisions were saved.  9th July 1790 it is stated that a Thomas Jones stole some clothing from William.


1791 - Deciding to become a settler at Norfolk Island, Hambly was discharged from Sirius 7th March 1791 and by 5th April held a lease of 60 acres. He was recorded as unmarried at this date, and listed alternatively as carpenter and gardener in the community.  James Hugh Donohoe's book 'Norfolk Island 1788 - 1813 The People and Their Families' refers to Hambley and Springham page 45 (married 5th November 1791 - Johnson) Hambley's original grant No. 12 on the south side of the cascade run was cancelled ['The grant given by Governor Philip to be cancelled', torn up on the 5th October 1821] and a new one issued 29th November 1794 for Lot No. 45. Settlers were given 2 breeding sows and 6 hens and 1 cock, and were assigned 2 convicts for 9 weeks to clear an acre of the land, and to erect a hut for shelter. They were given supplies of clothing from the stores and entitled to receive rations for 18 months.


21st March 1791 Captain Collins and Mr. Johnson sat as magistrates. John White was brought before the court, being suspected of having 'stolen a carpenter's tools'. William Hamly and the prisoner gave evidence, and White was discharged.


8th September 1791 - William was returned to Port Jackson aboard Mary Ann as a witness for the trial of Thomas Jones for robbery. On 15th September William Hambley gave evidence, and Thomas Jones was acquitted for want of evidence. He said he had received various articles from Hambley for clearing 80 roods of his land.


1792 - 3rd January 1792 - 60 acres  - Rent 1/- a year commencing after 5 years.  An attempt was made by the Governor to make female convicts independent of the stores by giving them and some of their children, a number of hogs to breed. Mary and her son William received theirs in July 1792.  William received 2 sows from the government for which he paid £5/10/-.


1793 - Hambley was elected a member of the Norfolk Island Settlers Society at the end of 1793, and of his 60 acres (50 of them plough-able, the other 10 hilly) 17 were cultivated, and he was selling grain to government.


1794 - By May 1794 Hambley rented 22 acres in small lots to three settlers and received another grant of 60 acres. (Lot 45)  By June he was recorded with Mary Springham and three children including a daughter Elizabeth born 30th January 1794, not baptised until 3rd May 1802.  During this time Hambley, who had up to now behaved in a very orderly manner, was involved in distilling spirits, which at that time was proving to be a very lucrative business on the island. The surgeon was concerned, as he believed it was contributing to the poor state of health amongst the inhabitants, since they were drinking it hot from the stills. John Chapman Morris was recorded as renting 5 acres from the settler William Hambley in May 1794. 


1795 - Their daughter Mary died 15th July 1795


1796 - By 1796 he was supplying the government with pork. Hambley lost his wife Mary 18th June 1796, leaving him with two of his four children (William and Elizabeth). Mary had given birth their fourth child on the 11th June 1796 and this child died the following month 15th July 1796. Presumably Mary died from complications of childbirth.


1797 - 1st May 1797 he was granted 60 acres as No. 614 (later 652)


1798 - 12th October 1798 it was sold by the grantee to Arthur Robinson. William Mitchell ex fellow marine on the Sirius, sold the land again in several parcels 1st November 1802 viz.


1800 - In August Samuel King sold ten acres to Hambley.


1802 - Their daughter Elizabeth Hambley was baptised 3rd May 1802


1805 - Various land transactions found him classified as a 2nd class settler, with 21 acres cultivated and 16 hogs.


1807 - 2nd August 1807 - 13 of his acres were in grain, 7 in pasture for 16 hogs, 1 acre fallow, and he had 150 bushels of maize in hand. With the children William and Elizabeth, he left Norfolk Island for VDL per Porpoise as a 1st class settler 26th December 1807. His vacated property consisted of a boarded and floored house (18'X12') a log barn, thatched (12'X12') and one log outhouse.


1810 - In Van Diemen's Land Hambley took up 65 acres at Gloucester [Sorell] and in April 1809, 30 acres at Risdon, Clarence Plains. 21st December 1810 he married Jane MOULTON (q.v.) widow of William MOULTON of Hobart.  Jane and William had arrived on the 1st Fleet per Charlotte. Maiden name Jane MEECH. No doubt William would have known Jane's husband William Moulton, both being members of the Norfolk Island Settlers Society.


1810 - On 3rd December 1810 an agreement for the erection of a mill in Hobart Town was executed between Robert Nash one part, and William Hambley and John Duncombe, co-partners and carpenters on the other part. The carpenters agreed to erect a mill house and shingle the same ... to be erected on the rivulet 200 years above Molle Street. It still stands today [2009] nearly 200 years later.


1815 - William and his son William signed the 1815 petition for a Court of Criminal Judicature at VDL.


1817 -  William Hambley Jnr died 23rd April 1817 aged 27 years. William Snr. supplied 700 lbs. of fresh meat and 45 bushels of wheat to the Government Stores.


1818 - He made further contributions of 500 lbs of meat

Lot 45 - 60 acres William Hambley owned on Norfolk Island


1835 - William Hambley Snr. died at Sorell and was buried 22nd October 1835, at St. Lukes Cemetery, Richmond. His age given was 73. There is no headstone visible today [2008] He had lost his second wife Jane, whose burial was registered at St. David's Hobart 25th November 1812. 



1st Fleeter Mary SPRINGHAM [1768 - 1796] a hawker, was tried at the Old Bailey in 1786 for stealing, sentenced to seven years transportation and arrived on the Lady Penrhyn.


Mary was returning by boat from Gravesend to her home where she lived with her mother in Baker's Row, Whitechapel. A woman passenger was taken ill on the boat, and Mary took her home, where she fainted. Mary brought her water and washed her face. Settling her on her mother's bed, she locked the door and put the key in her pocket “for safety”. The victim said that on awaking she found Mary searching her pockets, and “she ran away” and away she went.


Mary's story was different. Coming along Limehouse, the woman had said “Poll, I want to call for something to drink, and she went home with Mary, sending for gin and saying not to leave her. Five weeks later Mary was charged with theft of 30/2d in coins and an iron japanned snuff box (value 1d) She was sentenced at the Old Bailey 25th October 1786 to 7 years transportation and delivered to Lady Penrhyn 6th January 1787, (1st fleet) aged 21. Bowes said she had been a hawker. She is believed to have been the daughter of Robert & Mary Springham baptised 20th March 1768 at St. Leonards, Shoreditch. 


MARY SPRINGHAM, theft: pick pocketing, 25th October 1786.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t17861025-73        Trial Summary:

Crime(s): theft: pick pocketing,

Punishment Type: transportation, _(Punishment details may be provided at the end of the trial.)

Verdict: Part Guilty: convicted of a lesser offence,

Other trials 25 Oct 1786

Crime Location: Baker's-row, Whitechapel


Original Text:

830. MARY SPRINGHAM was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 5th day of March last, two guineas, value 2 l. 2 s. and nine shillings in monies numbered, and an iron japanned snuff box, value 1 d. the property of William Reynolds , privily from the person of Mary Reynolds .


MARY REYNOLDS sworn. - My husband's name is William Reynolds; I live at No. 4, George-street, Spital-fields; the prisoner robbed me on the 5th of March; I never saw her before; I was coming home from Gravesend on the sabbath-day, about eight in the morning; the prisoner came with me in a Gravesend boat; her mother lives in Baker's-row, Whitechapel; I was taken very ill going up the New-road; she asked me to go into her mother's; I went in there, and I fainted away; she brought a little water and washed my face, and brought me too; and asked me to lay down on her mother's bed, in a little back room; I said, I would be glad; and she led me into the room; and I laid down on the bed; she said, nothing should hurt me, till she came to me again, and she would lock the door, and take the key in her pocket; the prisoner locked me in; I had a silk handkerchief about my neck;

I awoke and found the prisoner searching my pockets; she ran away, and away she went; there were two guineas in gold, three silver half crowns, one shilling, and a sixpence; the gold was tied up in my black silk handkerchief, and round my neck in a double knot; the silver was in a japanned iron snuff box in my pocket; the snuff box was taken with the money in it; when she went out of the room, I could not go so quick after her, and there were three turnings; I could not tell which of the turnings she went down.


            Prisoner. She asked me in the lock-up room to make it up with her, she said, she was very poor? - I did not.


THOMAS FORECAST sworn. - I am a weaver by trade; I follow the deal portering now; I am come from the Streights; I went in pursuit of Mary Springham; I met her coming home and three more; it was about five weeks ago; I followed her, and told the prosecutrix to take her into custody.

Court to Mary Reynolds: You knew where this woman lived? - No:   I knew where her mother lived.

            You knew her name also? - I knew the name she went by.

How came it then you did not go before a Justice of the Peace? - I did the next day, and took the mother into custody; I made enquiries after her, but could not find her.


PRISONER'S DEFENCE. -We came from Gravesend together; the prosecutrix borrowed three-pence of me, because she had no money; coming through Limehouse, she says to me Poll, I want to call for something to drink; I went to my brother's and had some breakfast; says I, now Mrs. Forecast, I wish you a good by; she went home with me; she was taken very ill, and sent for a quartern and half of gin, and changed sixpence; my mother asked her to lay down; says she, do not leave me; says I, I am sleepy, I must go home to bed; I left this gentlewoman at my mother's, and saw no more of her till five weeks ago she charged me with this.


GUILTY Of stealing -Transported for seven years. Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice HEATH .


To see the original go to and type in name.


After receiving sentence Mary would either have been kept in gaol or sent to the hulks, old ships at the wharves until she could be put on board the ship to transport her to Australia. The hulks were known to be damp, smelly, and vermin ridden, life would not have been pleasant.


Lady Penrhyn sailed from England 13th May 1787 and arrived in Sydney 20th January 1788. They lost only 32 people on board the ship, during its passage out. It anchored in Sydney Cove until 26th January 1788.


On 15th January 1790 a son William, by William HAMBLEY (ships Carpenter) was baptised at Sydney. Two months later the family went to Norfolk Island, where Hambley, stranded after the Sirius was wrecked, decided to become a settler.




By mid June 1794, William and Mary Hambley had three children living on William's farm. Mary died on 18th June two years later, her son William and daughter Elizabeth surviving. The father took them to VDL in 1807 and married Jane MOULTON widow of William MOULTON. He survived until 1835.


1792 - An attempt was made y the Governor to make female convicts independent of the stores by giving them, and some of their children, a number of hogs to breed. Mary and her son William received theirs in July 1792.


1794 - In May 1794 Hambley rented 22 acres in small lots to three settlers and received another grant of 60 acres. (Lot 45)  By June he was recorded with Mary Springham and three children including a daughter Elizabeth born 30th January 1794, not baptised until 3rd  May 1802


1795 - Their daughter Mary died 15th  July 1795


1796 - By 1796 Mary's husband William was supplying the government with pork.

Mary gave birth to a child 11th June 1796 and this child died the following month 15th July 1796. Mary died 18th June 1796, a week after the birth, leaving William with two of his four children (William & Elizabeth) Presumably Mary died from complications of childbirth.


The search for Mary SPRINGHAM/HAMBLEY'S tombstone:


1970's - The Norfolk Island first cemetery was cleared and tombstones numbered. There is no record of a stone marked M. S. in the book published at the time.


There does appear to be a tombstone M. H. which is possibly Mary Hambley's burial site. They may have been married in 1791 [as assumed by J. H. Donahoe] but there appears to be no surviving record of a marriage between them. Miller stated that in Sydney Cove “ The convicts who are married here, I never alter their names. There would be no end to it. The name they were convicted by in England are the names they should go by here.”


1989 - When the book “Convict and the Carpenter” was written the photo (right) was thought to be possibly that of Mary Hambley.


2003 - After visiting Norfolk Island it would appear that Mary would have been buried in the 1st cemetery, now a grassy area near the foreshore. Maybe this is her headstone and it was moved to the newer cemetery? Photo of the tombstone in question (right) the answer (below)


2008 - The headstone of Mary SPRIEGHAM is located in the flooring of the Surgeon's Kitchen within Kingston - it is part of a headstone or cript lid shifted from the first settlement burial ground at Emily Bay. It is a memorial of Mary SPREIGHAM who died June 1796 and also of her daughter Mary who died July 1796. It is thought that perhaps daughter Mary may have died first in June 1796. The first settlement burial ground has recently been identified and is awaiting development of interpretation signage. Also attached is a photo of the headstone of the two Mary's in its current location.

John DUNCOMBE was born 19th July 1772 in Cripplegate, England; baptised 19th July 1772 in St. Giles Cripplegate, London England. When he was only 15 years of age:


“He was indicted for stealing, 26th September last, 210 yards of everlasting, [cloth] value 10/- the property of Archibald Bryson, a dyer. At the Justice Hall, Old Bailey, Middlesex. 24th October 1787, the watchman, who, on suspecting him, confessed the robbery, took the prisoner; no promises were made to him. He was found guilty and transported for 7 years.”   (Old Bailey original below)


The Arbermarle departed Portsmouth 27th March 1791 with 282 males on board, and arrived at Port Jackson 13th October 1791, after a journey of 200 days. It arrived with 250 males and 6 females on board. There were 32 male deaths, including 2 executions. The Master was George Bowen.


A month after he arrived in Sydney on the Albermarle which was part of the 3rd Fleet in 1791, he was transferred to Norfolk Island on the Atlantic and remained there as a carpenter after his sentence expired. He was victualled from the Government stores until 1805, when his house or hut on the island was valued at £20.  Yet when he left for VDL 26th December 1807 on the Porpoise with the Hambleys', he is listed among those individuals not holding land. John married Elizabeth HAMBLEY 27th June 1808.


“This is to certify that John Duncombe Single man and Elizabeth Hambley Single woman, both of this Town married by Banns at Hobart Town, River Derwent Van Diemen's Land this Twenty Seventh-day of Jun in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred and Eight


                                                                                    By me           Robert Knopwood


            This marriage was solemnised between                             John Duncombe


                                                                                    Elizabeth           X          Hambley



N. B. Elizabeth was unable to read or write at this time, whereas John appears to be literate.


John & Elizabeth had three daughters together Sophia [1811], Mary [1813] and Jane [1815]. See the book “The Convict and the Carpenter” to follow their lives further.


John Duncombe was a carpenter and worked in Hobart Town during his early years in the Colony. He purchased six acres of land from William Mitchell for £100 in 1811. Three and a half years later the family went to Pittwater to live, where they farmed a 60-acre grant of land.


John Duncombe does not appear on the General Muster in 1818, of all the free men in the Derwent settlement. Possibly he was being held in custody. Elizabeth wrote that 'shortly after the sale of the Hobart Town property her husband became deranged' and in the month of September 1819 was sent to a place called Castle Hill in NSW.  He departed VDL per Prince Leopold 12th August 1819 .


Lucy [1817] baptised in 1819, the daughter of Elizabeth Hambley; and George Hambley Duncombe [1819] baptised as Hambley also, appear to be the children of William Steer with whom Elizabeth was living at the time. Elizabeth had two other children Charlotte [1830] and Emmanuel [1834] to Steer before finally marrying him in 1838. (for more information see The Convict & The Carpenter Book)


 John Duncombe became deranged and was sent to an asylum in Sydney in September 1819. He was admitted to the Benevolent Society 24th September 1827 and listed in the 1828 Census aged 57 years.


N. B. Duncombe Bay on Norfolk Island - Named after the member for Yorkshire, not our ancestor.


Castle Hill Lunatic Asylum

The Asylum, in Sydney, where it is assumed Duncombe was sent, was, at the time, situated at Castle Hill, some 6 miles from Parramatta, and within clear sight of he Blue Mountains. This first psychiatric hospital in Australia was located on the site of a former Government Farm, the main building, the stone farm barn of two stories, built about 1804 but fallen into dilapidation since that time. There was also an acre for gardens both for the pleasure and the therapeutic labour of inmates - potatoes and turnips were grown among other vegetables.


Governor Macquarie who, probably influenced by English reformers, had “a surprisingly sympathetic recognition of the problems of insanity” had set up the Lunatic Asylum. He looked for “the cleanliness and comfort of the lunatics” and desired that they be “properly dressed and regularly served” (including a constant supply of vegetables) and that “no unnecessary severity” should be shown toward them. He wanted a garden for therapeutic activity for the inmates.


Weekly food allowances comprised 7 pounds of meat (at one stage even 10 pounds - the so-called 'stockman's allowance'), 10 pounds of flour or bread and fresh vegetables. Tea was provided morning and night and inmates were allowed a quantity of tobacco. The fresh meat was delivered from the Government stores at Parramatta weekly and, especially in summer, would not keep so needed salting for preservation. The bread, too, became stale before the week was up. As a result there was an attempt to bake the bread at Castle Hill but the product was considered to be inedible!


Details about treatments are uncertain but it is known that head shaving, cupping and bleeding; emetics; “Blisters to the Temples”; wine and bark (quinine); and even flogging (with a cat with a sugar bag) were among them.


Unfortunately, the reality appears to have been far from this ideal. Superintendents and medical officers appear to have had a continual struggle to obtain other carers and the most basic of supplies, for example soap and clothing. There were innumerable problems, many of which were revealed when Commissioner Bigge conducted his inquiries into the state of matters in New South Wales.


Even after the Bigge Report, “In contrast to many other recommendations made by Bigge concerning the needs of the Colony, those relating to the asylum failed to bring early action from those in authority, except for the completion of some urgent minor repairs.”


The building had apparently been “makeshift from the beginning” and “dilapidated both internally and externally.” The roof let the rain in and driving rain came in through the windows. There were only 2 rooms, one for males and one for females. There seems to have been a complaint to Commissioner Bigge that when somebody died, their body was laid out in the space between the two rooms, at least until it was prepared for burial. As late as 1817, some inmates still had to sleep in the “hot kitchen.”  Even the Superintendent's quarters appear to have been very unsatisfactory.

The walls of the building were “very dirty, without plaster and abound[ing] in vermin,” but “the infestation of the bedding with vermin was an even greater problem.”  Even as late as 1824, “Some of the men, to avoid being tormented by bed vermin and otherwise distressed, preferr[ed] to sleep in their day clothes on the bare boards rather than alongside 'their Filthy House Mates'.”


The Superintendent pleaded for whitewash so that the walls could be cleaned before new bedding was introduced. For the state of bedding was one of the most serious problems. Quite early on, one superintendent had had to supply the straw for bedding out of his own pocket. By 1820, there were only 60 worn out blankets for the 27 male and 6 female inmates. Moreover, bedding frequently seems to have been destroyed or removed by absconding inmates.


Similarly, inmates often shredded both the bedding and their clothes. So serious was this problem that one superintendent was asking for canvas clothes with tar-dipped seams to discourage shredding. On the other hand, merely having any clothes at all, seems to have been a major problem at times. 


On 3rd March 1819 when Superintendent Bennett took over, and there were 35 male and 10 female inmates, Bennett complained that “Several [of the newcomers] arrived with their clothing and bedding in a filthy state.” The “inadequate and irregular supply of clothing” was “a constant concern.” In September 1821, he pleaded: “I have been necessitated to cause old bags and Petticoats to be wrapped round about several of the men's bodies tom prevent indecent exposure, they being almost in a state of nudity. Every old article of dress about the place has been cut up and made use of in mending their clothing.” He asked to be supplied with “strong and dark-coloured stuff” for men's jackets and trousers and strong check shirts”.


In his submission to Bigge, Bennett had continued: “Their shoes are worn out long ago…” This was no trivial matter when many of the occupants had to go considerable distances into the Bush collecting firewood for fires (presumably for cooking, washing and heating).

The result was that “some poor feet” were “lacerated” and there was “blood marking their steps for want of shoes.”  In December 1821, finally, 40 frocks and trousers were received from Parramatta. There was thought that the reception of an inmate who had been a shoemaker would have relieved the shoe situation but supplies of the leather and tools he would need never seem to have arrived.


Another problem was the violence of some of the inmates. “From March 1819, accounts of violent behaviour increased…Throughout 1821, the violence displayed by some of the inmates created great anxiety for Bennett and his small staff of attendants…This difficult and worrying period continued into 1822.”


It is little wonder that there seem to have been many absconders from Castle Hill, 10 between October 1819 and December 1820, alone. In this latter month, 2 men, “both considered sane by Doctor West, absconded. One was wearing irons but still managed to take off with him his bed tick and blanket.” The “isolation of the locality and the small number of supervisory staff”, the lack of security, the fact that “unsupervised working parties” could “move about and away from the immediate environment” as well as the misery of the conditions in the Asylum must have driven these people away.


Others were officially discharged, Bigge reporting 8 between October 1819 and December 1820; and 25 between 1821 and 1823. This was at a time when Dr Douglas was the visiting surgeon, with “probably stricter and more searching tests to determine whether the degree of mental disturbance shown by some patients justified their retention in an asylum for the insane.”


"Given the tribulations that he had to face (including the possibility that his wife was already involved with another man), it is hardly surprising that he could no longer cope."(Wood) Sad to say, the man who seemed to have worked so hard to put behind him the suffering and ignominy of his young days, was again subjected to forced transportation, incarceration in jail and asylum, and court room appearances.


When the Prince Leopold arrived in Sydney, it carried a dozen convicts  “for trial and sentenced to Newcastle” who had been “transmitted from Van Diemen's Land by His Honour, Lieutenant Governor Sorell” as well as another eleven individuals who, until it was decided what to do with them, were to be held in Sydney Gaol.  Duncombe was the only “Insane” man among them. This was 3rd September 1819.


The Asylum, in Sydney, where it is assumed Duncombe was sent, was, at the time, at Castle Hill. We have no further record of him until towards the end of 1826. But his confinement cannot have been permanent. On 27th September 1826, he was brought before the court in Sydney because he had been found:


asleep in the Government windmill by the Government Domain between 12 and 1 this morning; the prisoner declared he had no place of residence, and being deemed a rogue and a vagabond was sentenced to the jail at the house of correction for one month.

Sleeping out, rough, may account for the fact that Duncombe was not recorded in the censuses of 1823/24/25. A year later, on 22nd September 1827, there was a concerned letter, from the Superintendent of Police to the Colonial Secretary pleading on behalf of John Duncombe and John Brown, both free:


I have the honour to acquaint you that the two unfortunate Men named in the margin were this day brought before the Bench, having been found concealed in Caverns at Wooloomooloo, their intellects are deranged and as they have no settled place of residence and appear objects of compassion, I beg to interest your concern for their miserable condition and pray that they may be admitted into the Benevolent Asylum or some other place of refuge for their calamitous situation.


The two men were admitted to the Asylum that very day. Only a month before, John Duncombe's daughter, Mary, had married Charles Moore, back in Sorell, Tasmania. Had her prayers for her father brought him to a measure of comfort in his last years?


In the following year, the 1828 Census shows Duncombe aged 57, a pensioner at the Benevolent Asylum.



The Asylum “for the aged, infirm, blind and destitute” was “to provide sustenance and shelter for those…who were mentally and socially indigent and pauperised”.


Opened in 1821, it had been erected “at a suitable distance from the town…just outside the tollgate at the south of the city, the building…designed by Frank Lawless, the former bricklayer of the colony's gangs”. The building was brick, pseudo-classical and of two stories with “brick pilasters extending for the whole height and with a gable which projected from the main roof with nothing below to support it”.


It was 97 feet long by 27 feet, 6 inches wide. “Internally the design was simple with women's and men's quarters on separate floors, separated from dining areas by a central corridor with a staircase”.

There was, also, the usual detached kitchen and outhouse. By 1825, there were even water closets installed, with a bath and shower for both the males and the females.


The Asylum was variously funded - from vigorous campaigns for donations in cash or kind, from church collections, from fines associated with drunkenness, from the “King's stores” for former convicts - and from the Police - for the Master and Matron. Mr and Mrs Dalston occupied these positions, respectively between 1820 and 1855!


The inmates were governed by a series of rules laid down to safeguard order, hygiene and morals within the institution. It was anticipated that the Asylum be a House of Industry as well as Asylum…and those fit enough were employed in a variety of labours…increasingly the Asylum strove towards self sufficiency and the able bodied were occupied making clothes and shoes, or growing vegetables and baking bread…Small indulgences were to be allowed for work performed…


o          Early rising and early to bed as well as assembly for divine worship, both           morning and evening were obligatory.       

o          The lodging apartments were to be kept clean and well-aired.  Bedding was to be inspected and folded every morning and taken out into the sun once a week.

o          No one was to lie in bed during the day and there was to be no smoking in the   bedrooms, EVER.

o          If anyone was ill, they were to be put in a separate room.

o          Clothing was to be provided on admission “for the health and comfort of the      residents” and kept clean and repaired. Other necessities were also to be        supplied.

o          Body linen was to be well washed and changed twice a week, and sheets once a fortnight.

o          The  'eating' room was to be kept clean and aired, residents were to assemble   before breakfast, 'dinner' and 'supper' and meals were to be preceded and     followed by grace.

o          All furniture and utensils were to be “rightly used and duly preserved”.

o          Residents who were well conducted might be allowed to attend public worship on the Sabbath, otherwise the relevant permission had to be obtained for going            outside the Asylum.

o          Rations were to consist of 7 pounds of bread, 3_ pounds of meat, 14 ounces of             sugar, 1_ounces of tea, and 3_ pounds of vegetables.

o          Bad behaviour was recorded and penalised by the withdrawal of tea, sugar and             tobacco rations or of rights to go outside the Asylum, even for some months.


The population was largely of former convicts. Many of the residents were quite aged - in 1830, there was one person aged 105 (!), 6 who were over 90, 15 over 80, 35 over 70, 41 over 60, 17 over 50, 14 over 40, 9 who were over 30 and one 24 year-old, making an average age of 65..


There had originally been only 19 pensioners but even by the end of 1821 there were 48 men and 9 women sheltered there, and in June 1825, there were 96 inmates. By this time, the Asylum was “overcrowded and inadequate for providing more than a minimum of medical care …(“The Society's gratuitous Medical Officer, Dr. William Bland, was indefatigable in this work, providing care and free medicines to the needy.” And a Dispensary was added to the building, in 1825.)

Finally, a north wing, intended for hospital facilities, was added to the building in 1831-2 and a south wing, for additional accommodation, was completed in 1839.


After Duncombe was admitted, in 1827, his name does not feature in records of the Benevolent Asylum. It is as if his friend and he quietly disappeared into the shadows of the building. They do not seem to have asked for permission to go outside the refuge that had been provided for them. Perhaps the comfort and certainties of clean clothes, regular meals and cleanliness and order might have been a lovely relief after what they had suffered.


Perhaps the two men were left alone and not unduly hassled by what must sometimes have been the turbulent life around them with an ever-changing population of the destitute. Sometimes there were sudden intakes that stretched the Society to the fullest - when “the eating room and the passage way” were “unavoidably used as sleeping rooms.” Often there were the dramas of disturbed and angry personalities erupting. There were frequent cases of absconding from the institution. And there were the inevitable deaths of inmates. In the next few years, several residents were discharged to “the Lunatic Asylum” but Duncombe was not among them, so one can only presume that over these years, he presented absolutely no threat to his fellow residents in the Asylum.


John Duncombe died, aged 66, 23rd November 1835 (the death being reported in the Minutes of the House Committee in the week ending 27th November 1835).  A note in one of the Asylum's records around these times indicates that the Asylum paid for coffins for those who died in the Asylum. 



The above story follows on from the book “The convict and the Carpenter” by Trish Woods and written by Kathy Duncombe.



For the full story of John & Elizabeth Duncombe's family, read `The Convict & The Carpenter' by Trish Woods










» view or post reactions

Norfolk Islanders Land Grants at Glenorchy

Norfolk Islanders

Land Grants Glenorchy District 1807-1832


George Porter:    Convict {2nd Fleet}     City of Edinburgh 1808


Sarah Manning: Convict {2nd Fleet}     Lady Nelson 1808


James Dodding:   Convict {1st Fleet}      Porpoise 1808


John Berrisford: Marine {1st Fleet}      City of Edinburgh 1808


Joseph Berrisford: Son of John born on Norfolk Island


Thomas O’Brien:  Marine {1st Fleet}    City of Edinburgh 1808


Henry Coan:        Convict {2nd Fleet}     City of Edinburgh 1808


Samuel Pyers:       Convict {3rd Fleet}     City of Edinburgh 1808


Edward Risby:      Convict {1st Fleet}      City of Edinburgh 1808


Henry Hathaway: Convict {1st Fleet}     Lady Nelson 1808


Thomas Martin Hunt: Convict { 3rd Fleet} Estramina 1808


Robert Jillett: Convict   Hillsborough      Lady Nelson 1808


Thomas Priest:     Convict { 2nd Fleet}    Porpoise


Noah Mortimer:   Convict {1st Fleet}      Lady Nelson 1808


Zachariah Sponsford: Convict { 1st Fleet}  Lady Nelson 1807


The earliest settlers in the Glenorchy district, or what was then called New Town, were mostly free settlers with a sprinkling of convicts who had arrived with Lt. Colonel Collins in 1804 on the Lady Nelson and the Ocean. Well known names like: Faulkner, Blinkworth, Bowden, Dacres, Hayes, Littlejohn, Littlefield, Mansfield, Miller, Nichols, and Peters. Most of these men went on to their land in 1806 and were still there in 1832, and even later.

The second group to settle between New Town Rivulet and Austin’s Ferry was the Norfolk Islanders. They arrived on the Lady Nelson in 1807, the Porpoise, then the Lady Nelson, Estramina, and the City of Edinburgh in 1808.  Many of their descendants can still be found in Tasmania today.


Those aboard these ships were the Berrisford, Coan, Hatherway, Jillett, Hunt, Hathaway, Manning, Mortimer, O’Brien, Oakley, Porter, Priest, Pyers, Risby, Spondsford, were amongst those that were granted land in this district.




The City of Edinburgh carried 242 men, women and children. The voyage from Norfolk Island to the River Derwent was a treacherous one, taking almost a month. (The Lady Nelson took 16 days for the same journey a year before) the passengers arriving with their clothes in tatters and hardly any food left on board.  Most of them, both men and women were ex-convicts, who had arrived on the first, second and third fleet to Port Jackson. They later lived on Norfolk Island during and after their sentences expired. Berrisford and O’Brien being the exception, as they had arrived as soldiers. Like the 1804 families many were still on their land up to and well after 1819.


The largest group to settle at New Town arrived on the City of Edinburgh on the 2nd of October 1808 numbered ten men, plus their families (6 wives and 20 children)


George Porter


George Porter was tried in London in 1789 and was transported on the Second Fleet to NSW. He departed NI on the City of Edinburgh in 1808.  George married Susannah O’Brien (daughter of Thomas O’Brien) in 1808 at Hobart Town. His 30 acre grant was along the Roseneath Rivulet, and although he did not report having any crops or beasts on his land he did have by 1819 he had increased his land to 60 acres, and 15 acres of wheat, 1 acre of beans and 3 acres in potatoes,  41 acres in pasture and 25 bushels in hand..  He also had 5 cattle, 151 sheep. He and his wife and 2 of his 4 children as well as his servant were victualled.  George died in 1828 aged 60, leaving a wife and 8 children, the youngest 10 months old.



 Sarah Manning


Sarah Manning was the only woman convict to receive a land grant at this location. Sarah had arrived on the notorious Lady Juliana (Second Fleet) in 1790. Later on NI she married James Paynter but he did not come with her to VDL on the Lady Nelson in 1808. She was granted 30 acres on what is now known as Beedham’s Bay (south of Austin’s Ferry) She does not appear to have stayed on her land and is recorded as dying at Bagdad aged 78 in 1829.



James Dodding



James Dodding and Thomas Priest arrived on the Porpoise in 1808.[1] Dodding land was situated NW of Faulkner’s Rivulet (in the Claremont district) A First fleeter convict who had arrived in NSW on the Friendship in 1788. He later went to NI where he was with Elizabeth Thackery (also a First Fleeter) His land comprised of 100 acres but he did not settle on this land and later moved to Tea Tree where he settled on 30 acres of land. He died in 1834 aged 75 and was buried in St. David’s Cemetery. Elizabeth Thackery later married Samuel King and moved to New Norfolk. She died there in 1856 (as Betty King) aged 75. She was the last woman from the First Fleet to die and was buried at Back River.



 John Berrisford



John Berrisford a Private Marine in His Majesty’s Service arrived on the First Fleet in 1788. He was accompanied by his wife Hannah. Two children were born in NSW before they went to NI, where they had another 3 children.  Departing for VDL on the City of Edinburgh in 1808. Both John and his son Joseph were granted 140 acres each of land in the Glenorchy district (now known as Berriedale Bay) In 1809 John’s land was recorded as 121 acres with 3 acres of wheat, 2 sheep and 4 swine.  All the family were victualled by the government.


Joseph Berrisford still resided on his 140 acres in 1809 having 1 acre of wheat and a ½ of barley, along with 1 sheep, 1 goat and 2 swine. Both he and his wife were on stores. By 1819 John was still on his 100 acres with 15 under wheat, 1 barley, 1 beans, and 1 in potatoes. 25 sheep and 15 bushels of grain in hand. He and his wife were off the stores. Joseph was doing very well he had 151 acres, 8 in wheat, ½ in beans and potatoes. His stock had grown to 30 sheep and 150 sheep and 20 bushels in grain, both had one government servant each. [2]  John died in September 1821 aged 68. Hannah died in December 1842.[3]



Thomas O’Brien

Thomas O’Brien came out on the First Fleet in 1788 as a private marine and served at Port Jackson. Deciding to stay in the colony he later went to Norfolk Island on the Atlantic in 1791, where he became a farmer.


Susannah Mortimer who was later to become Thomas’s wife was convicted for stealing two sheep and sentenced to death. She was later reprieved and transported to NSW for 7 years.  Susannah was one of women that have been referred to as coming on the Floating Brothel. That was the name given to the Second Fleet ship the Lady Juliana, that arrived in 1791. These unfortunate women were on the high seas for nearly twelve months. They were subjected to having men come on board at every port.


Susannah gave birth to a daughter while on the Lady Julian, who was also called Susannah.  With her daughter she was sent to Norfolk Island a few months after her arrival in Sydney.


By the time Susannah arrived on Norfolk Island Thomas had a sixty acre farm at Phillipsburg and here, he and Susannah set up house in 1794.


In 1808 when they departed on the City of Edinburgh they had 8 children. They had to leave behind a buildings valued at $60, a two story house and two log outhouses. This of course was not what he found himself with on arriving in Hobart Town.


Thomas was granted 100 acres of land on Humphrey’s Rivulet, and in 1809 he had 3 acres under wheat and 1 in barley. By 1819 his land was reduced to 60 acres and he had 10 acres of wheat, 1 of beans and 3 in potatoes, and 46 in pastures. He also had 4 cattle and was regarded as a charity case. He and his wife and 2 children were on government stores.[4]


The land that Thomas O’Brien owned was between the bridge and the chapel and continuing back in a north west direction. The rivulet would have been a lot wider and holding much more water than it does today.


It is hard to imagine what this part of the country (then called New Town) would have been like when the O’Brien’s and the others arrived in 1808.  There were about 14 families already settled there that had arrived with Lt. Colonial Collins in 1804, Even so it would still have been very primitive.  Thomas’s son James was only 8 years old and would not been much help with building their house, or with planting the crops. His daughters were older so its possible they did their share.


No decent roads or bridges from Hobart Town, making it a days journey to Humphrey’s Rivulet.


The original bridge was built in 1818 by Dennis McCarthy but was subjected to flooding and was replaces in 1844.


The rivulet appears to have been a meeting place for all sorts of activities, it was used by escaped convicts, bushrangers and cattle thieves. The Hobart papers told of many murders being committee along its banks.


The O’Brien children would have spent their leisure time roaming along the part their father owned, and in 1820 Catherine and Agnes on one of their walks found a slaughtered calf. Someone having slaughtered it had left it hanging in a tree, intending to return later and cut it up. The girls decided to go back that night and see if it was still there, and maybe get some meat to take home. Unfortunately word had got out about it and when they arrived at the place where the calf was, they found Alfred Luttrell, waiting for them. Both girls were charged and appeared in the Lower Court in Hobart and committed for trial.[5]


Their arrest would have upset Susannah as she had been transported all those years ago for stealing sheep, and now here were her daughters up on a very serious charge of stealing a calf and slaughtering it as well.




 Thomas died sometime before 1833 there is no record of his death or burial. Susannah survived until 1846, and was buried at St Matthew’s where her headstone is now kept at the church.




Susannah O’Brien’s headstone. St Matthew’s

Church Glenorchy 2006


To the Memory of

Mrs Susannah O’Brien

Who departed this life

December 31  1846

Aged 86 years


James O’Brien

Died December 1863 aged 63



References to Thomas O’Brien’s land at Humphrey’s Rivulet


Abstract of Title

Gamaliel Butler to twelve acres of land at

            O’Brien’s Bridge District of Glenorchy



30 September 1813     The late Governor in Chief Macquarie by this date gave to Thomas O’Brien and his heirs and the afore said 60 acres of land in the District of Glenorchy.

                                    Thomas O’Brien died intestate leaving James O’Brien his eldest son and heir of land.


16 & 17 January 1833 By indenture of Lease and Release the release being made between the said James O’Brien first part, Susannah O’Brien of the second part and William Reason and wife of the third part the 12 acres of land described in the application herewith enclosed were conveyed by the said Gamaliel Butler. [7]




Sale of part of Thomas O’Brien’s land after his death.                               1836


A grant by the late Governor Macquarie dated 30 September 1813 to Thomas O’Brien of 60 acres of land being situated in the District of Glenorchy Van Diemen’s Land. Bounded on the north-east side by Littlejohns Farm Montrose Estate. Bearing west 25 degrees north 31 chains. On the north-west side by a line south 25 degrees west 20 chains. On the south-west side by Bellingers Farm bearing east 25 degrees south 30 chains 50 links to Humphreys Rivulet. And on the southeast side by the Rivulet.



Henry Coan



 Another man who arrived on the City of Edinburgh was Henry Coan who had arrived on the Second Fleet in 1790. He sailed to Hobart Town in 1808 with his wife Mary Ann and his son Henry and was granted 30 acres of land along the River Derwent north of Prince of Wales Bay.  In 1809 he was recorded as having 2 swine and he and his wife and 2 children were on stores.




Samuel Pyers



Samuel Pyers and Edward Risby arrived on the City of Edinburgh. Samuel was transported on the Active in 1791 on the Third Fleet. He married Sarah Johnson on NI in 1801. Granted 43 acres along the southern side of Humphrey’s Rivulet, where in 1809 he had 8 goats. His lot had improved by 1819 and he increased his land to 45 acres, with 5 acres in wheat, 1 in beans and potatoes and 58 acres in pastures. He also had 1 cow and 40 sheep. He and his wife and 6 children were able to keep themselves and was not on stores from the government.  Sarah died in May 1840 and Samuel in 1850. They were both buried at St. Peters in Hamilton.



Edward Risby



Edward Risby was a First Fleet convict arriving on the Alexander in 1788. On NI he married Ann Gibson (Lady Juliana) They left on the City of Edinburgh for Hobart Town in 1808. with his wife and 5 children.  His grant of 30 acres was situated along side Samuel Pyers on Humphrey’s Rivulet, where in 1809n he had 1 ½ acres in wheat and ½ in barley. By 1819 he managed to improve his farm and had 7 acres in wheat, ½ in beans and 2 ½ in potatoes. He also had 4 cattle and 65 sheep. Along with his wife and 4 children he was able to support them all and was not on stores.[8]



Henry Hathaway



Henry Hathaway another First Fleeter convict went to NI where he was with Eleanor Watson (Lady Juliana) Henry and Eleanor departed for VDL on the Lady Nelson in 1808. He received 30 acres along the Humphrey’s Rivulet where in 1809 he was recorded having 5 acres in wheat and 2 acres in barley. By 1819 he had increased his crops to 9 acres of wheat, 1 barley, ½ beans, and 1 of potatoes, and 30 sheep.[9] Henry died in September 1820 and Eleanor nine days later. Both were recorded as being 78 years old.




Thomas Martin Hunt



Thomas Martin Hunt was a convict who had arrived on the Third Fleet in 1791. He married Ann Rock (Lady Juliana) on NI. They sailed on the Estramina for VDL in 1808. Thomas was granted 30 acres of land on the eastern side of the main road ( later the race course was placed along the west side of this land) Thomas died in 1816 and Ann in 1817, both were buried at St. David’s Cemetery. There were no children to the marriage.



Robert Jillett



Robert Jillett arrived in NSW as a convict on the Hillsborough in 1799 and departed from Norfolk Island on the Lady Nelson in 1808 He married Elizabeth Bradshaw in Hobart Town in 1812.  His 140 acres land grant was situated along the River Derwent and continuing into Prince of Wales Bay. (later known as the Zinc Works) He prospered and as early as 1809 had 10 acres of wheat under cultivation as well as 2 acres of barley. He also had 1 cow, 2 sheep, 3 goats and 8 swine on this now reduced 100 acres. He was also recorded as having a wife and 5 children.


By 1819 he had sold his land on the River Derwent and purchased 120 acres at Elizabeth Town (New Norfolk) where he was recorded as having 20 acres under wheat, 2 acres of barley, 1 acre of peas, and 3 acres in potatoes with the remaining 94 acres in pasture. He also had 30 cattle and 500 sheep. He and his wife and 6 children and 4 government servants were not on government stores[10] 

Robert died at Back River in 1832 aged 70. Elizabeth died in 1842 aged 67.


Thomas Priest



Thomas Priest was the other person to arrive on the Porpoise.[11] He arrived on the Second Fleet and a convict he lived with Catherine Rockford on NI, where they had 3 children.


Thomas settled on 42 acres on the New Town Rivulet, where in 1819 he had 5 acres in wheat, ½ in barley, 1 in potatoes, and the remaining 35 ½ in pasture. He also had 20 sheep. His family had grown to 8 and he was a constable. The family later moved to Queenborough where he had 40 acres on what is now part of the University. Thomas died in 1851 aged 96 and was buried at St David’s Cemetery. Catherine died in 1857 aged 78 and was also buried at St Davids. 


Noah Mortimer



Noah Mortimer was the forth person who arrived on the Lady Nelson in 1808. with his father John Mortimer he had arrived on the First Fleet ship the Charlotte in 1788.

Noah married Mary Cottle (Lady Juliana) on NI in 1805. They sailed with a child on the Lady Nelson in 1808. [12] Noah with his wife and the child farmed his 183½ acres of land SW of what is now known as St John’s Park. He had 5½ acres of wheat, 3½ acres of barley and 37 sheep. [13]


His father died in November 1812 and soon afterwards Noah’s wife Mary died in 1816. In 1819 he is recorded as having 500 sheep on open plains near the Great Lagoon.  Noah went on to become a well known sheep stealer and was known along with his stepson as men of bad characters.[14]


Noah died at Glenorchy in 1846 aged 88.  His father John died in 1812 aged 88.




Zachariah Sponsford



Zachariah Sponsford a convict and a Third Fleeter was the first of the Norfolk Islanders to settle in the area.  He took up his 30 acres SW of what is now known as St. John’s Park. Zachariah arrived on the Lady Nelson in November 1807.[15] He had married Catherine Lewis on NI in 1804, there were no children. By 1809 he was recorded as having 1½ acres of wheat and ¼ acre of barley on this land. He later moved to the Coal River where they both died.





For a complete study of this article with photos see my book Norfolk Islander's Land Grants Glenorchy 1807-1832. 

[1] Schaffer. I, & McKay. T, Exiled Three Times Over

[2] Schaffer. I, Land Musters and Stock Lists 1803-1822 p 131.

[3] Schaffer. I, Historical Homes and Inns in the Nineteenth Century Tasmania.

[4] Schaffer. Land  Musters p142.

[5] LC 247/1 pp 98-103

[6] Missing, a search is being carried out for this name, thought to be James O’Brien’s wife Ann.

[7] SC285/1 No 8. AOT

[8] Schaffer. I., Musters p 133

[9] Schaffer. I, Land Musters and Stock Lists 1803-1822.

[10] Ibid p55, 138

[11] Exiled Three Times Over p64

[12] Schaffer. I, Jericho – Oatlands Excursion pp 8-10.

[13] Schaffer. I, Land Musters and Stock Lists 1803-1822. p 56

[14] Schaffer Jericho Excursion

[15] Schaffer. I, & McKay. T, Exiled Three Times Over p 23.

Part of 1832 map  New Town to Bridgewater

» view or post reactions

The End of a Long Journey NI to VDL




The End of a Long Journey

(C) Irene Schaffer

In June 1803 Lord Hobart in London advised Governor King in NSW, that, because of the expense entailed in the upkeep of Norfolk Island, its distance from Sydney and the lack of a safe anchorage, the British Government had decided to remove part of settlement of convicts and military personal to Port Dalrymple in Van Diemen’s Land.




 This was to be the beginning of the end for those on Norfolk Island who had called the island their home for over twenty years.


Norfolk Island was occupied three weeks after the First Fleet sailed into Port  Jackson in 1788, in an endeavor to prevent the French from landing there.


De La Perouse’s vessels, La Boussole and L’Astrolabe sailed to Norfolk Island on 13 January 1788 en route to Sydney. La Perouse tried to get ashore at about the same spot that Captain Cook did in 1774, but conditions prevented him from doing so and he described the island as ‘only a place fit for angels and eagles to reside in’. [2]



The eleven ships of the first fleet had over 1,500 men and women convicts on board when they arrived at Port Jackson in 1788, forty having died on the voyage.[3]


A large amount of the convicts were tried in London at the Old Bailey for transportation to the Colonies for upward of 5 to 15 years and life. Most of them would never see their homeland or their families ever again.



 On arriving at Port Jackson twenty-five men and women were selected by Lt. King to accompany him to Norfolk Island, and it was hoped that this would not only keep the French from occupying the island, but would also attempt to harvest the flax and the timber on the island.


Of those twenty-three selected to accompany Lt. King to Norfolk Island, (8 officials, 9 male convicts and 6 female convicts) [4] Six of these convicts were later to play a big part on Norfolk Island and in Van Diemen’s Land. They were Edward Garth, John Mortimer, Noah Mortimer, Olive Gascoigue and Susan Gough (Garth).[5]


Norfolk Island was to become a haven away from Sydney Town as Governor Phillip sent more of the First Fleet convicts there, and it was not long before nearly half of those who arrived in 1788 as convicts were living on the island. [6]


When the Sirius was wrecked at Norfolk Island in March 1790 the population on the island escalated from 498 to 718[7] and it was sometime before another ship called at the island and returned the sailors and soldiers from the Sirius back to Sydney. It was from this time that Norfolk Island became the second settlement of NSW. 


As more convicts arrived from England some were sent to Norfolk Island, from both the Second and Third Fleet.  Over the next twenty years many married and had families. Land was granted to them and on receiving their freedom they settled on their land as free men and women, some doing very well.


These pioneers of the settlement were most reluctant when it was known that they were to move and start again in Van Diemen’s Land and leave the island that was now their home.[8]


Governor King in Sydney was also reluctant to close Norfolk Island and he continued to delay the evacuation and to propose measures, which would reduce the numbers on the island slowly rather than remove all the population at once.


Lt. Governor Foveaux commandant of Norfolk Island in 1803, produced a list of those Norfolk Islanders willing to go to Port Dalrymple on the 19 July 1804. Of the 41 free men that put their names forward only 5 were to leave and go to Port Dalrymple, the rest having withdrawn their names. It was not until 1807 that some of the settlers were persuaded to leave Norfolk Island and go to Hobart Town in Van Diemen’s Land.[9]


Although the departing Norfolk Islanders were allowed the option of choosing other locations in NSW they did not avail themselves of this offer mainly because of the lack of available ships, and were finally obliged to sail to VDL until the island was completely cleared of people and stock by 1814. All houses were burnt and the island was left once again, void of all human life.



Finally the time came when the first of the families had to leave their homes and with all their worldly possessions trudge down to the longboats that would carry them out to the Lady Nelson. It would have been sad to farewell their friends and neighbours, not knowing when next they would see them.


It was a small party of 34 persons, 15 men, 6 women and 13 children that were heaved up over the side of the Lady Nelson on the 9 November 1807.[10]


The Lady Nelson would have been known to those who were about to sail on her from Norfolk Island to Hobart Town, as they would have seen her regularly on her visits from Sydney since her arrived from England in 1800. She must have seen small to them and along with their luggage and a few animals that they were   allowed to take, very crowded.


Being only 60 tons and with her flat bottom and three center-boards the Lady Nelson was a very different type of ship that most of them arrived on from England. The center-boards took up a lot of room on the deck and with the crew handling the sails, the passengers would not have had much room to move around. 


Below deck would not have been much better, making their sleeping quarters very sparse. Cooking would have had to be done on the deck, making mealtime a nightmare for the women.


The Lady Nelson left Norfolk Island on the 9 November 1807. She took 20 days to sail the 1,400 miles to the River Derwent and anchor at Hobart Town, arriving there on the 29 November 1807.[11]


It was later recorded that two of the men who came on the Lady Nelson committed suicide after their arrival, Samuel Hussey on the 17 April 1808 and Humphrey Lynch on 28 December 1816. Samuel was regarded as a very industrious man and the reason why he took his own life is not known. The reason why Humphrey Lynch took his own life may have been that his wife had died ten months before, leaving him completely on his own.[12]


It is hard to imagine what the passengers would have been thinking as they sighted the small scattered settlement of Hobart Town.  Only three years old, Hobart Town was still virtually a frontier town with only a few thatched cottages that had been hastily built for the government officials, the settlers and a few convicts and their families, when they arrived in 1804. Houses with a skillions on the back, were built mostly of lath and plaster and could cost up to £150.


The new settlers had been promised two acres of land in return for one acre that they had on Norfolk Island, a house, 2 convicts, plus grain, and free stores.  Not many of these promises were forth coming and though they were given land the soil was not always fertile. Some went to what is now New Town, Sandy Bay, while others later went to, New Norfolk, Clarence Plains, Sorell and later Norfolk Plains (Longford) in 1813.[13]


One month later on the 26 December 1807 the second batch of settlers embarked on board the Porpoise ready to sail to Hobart Town, arriving there on the 17 January 1808.


The Porpoise was a much larger ship than the Lady Nelson, she was owned as most of the ships were at that time, by the Government. A ship of 399 tons she was able to carry 182 passengers. She took 19 days to sail to Hobart Town.


The weather was mostly calm for the duration of the trip for those on the Porpoise.  Even so it was not easy for those on board.  Because of her larger size, many more animals were allowed to accompany the settlers than had come on the Lady Nelson. Cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry, which was in abundance, plus some grain from the last harvest. Unfortunately many of the animals perished. Water was the main problem and rationed to 1 pint a day for the passengers and the small animals. The cattle were allotted 1 gallon each per day.


This information along with other snippets is the only insight on what the conditions were like on any of the ships that made these voyages during 1807-1808. Thankfully it survived in a letter sent to Robert Nash on Norfolk Island from William Maum in Hobart Town.


William Maum was an Irish political prisoner who arrived in NSW in 1800. He made his presence known in NSW by criticizing Governor King. He was sent to Norfolk Island where he continued to write about the problems in the Colony and was kept under the watchful eye of the Commandant.


Maum was sent on board the Porpoise when she left Norfolk Island, but his name was not recorded on the passenger list.[14]  In his letter to Robert Nash he reveals what conditions had been like on board the Porpoise. He also gave instructions on what Nash should take with him on the City of Edinburgh, and who to look for if he needed help.


Robert Nash was a miller on Norfolk Island and Maum advised him to bring his mill stones and mill works with him and he would attempt to assist him in finding sufficient water for him to set up his mill.



Keeping the animals under control on board would have been difficult and must have caused the crew a great deal of trouble. One of the longboats was used to hold 75 sheep. Grain belonging to the passengers was stowed below deck.[15]

Maum writes about the early arrivals on those who came on the Lady Nelson in 1807.



`We found some of the Lady Nelson passengers settled, they have taken

 their farms about two and three miles from the town,[16] and many of those

that came with us (Porpoise) have settled in this vicinity likewise – but the

greatest  portion and those that arrived next, are to settle in the same place

the fertility of which is highly spoken of named Herdsman’s Cove,[17] about 15 miles from hence where there are most extensive plains, on the road direct to Port Dalrymple’.


Some other advise, given to Robert Nash by Maum was.


`Your plough if you settle there (Herdsman’s Cove) will perform much excursion – the last crop here (Hobart Town district) has been most favourable and I declare to you, I never in my life saw such charming wheat as what was produced here – the ear is at least one half longer than those on Norfolk Island wheat, and amazingly full’.



The Lady Nelson sailed again from Norfolk Island, this time with 43 passengers on the 14 February 1808, arriving in Hobart Town on the 1 March 1808. This time taking only 18 days.


Only one person from the Lady Nelson was granted land within Hobart Town, she was Catherine Kearney and her land grant was for 1,677 feet on the Hobart Rivulet, near the hospital. She received this grant even though she was recorded as a seditious character.[18]



The Government Schooner Estramina, 102 tons, was the fourth vessel to evacuate another 62 passengers. She left Norfolk Island about the 15 May 1808, arriving at Hobart Town on the 5 June 1808.


The last group to leave for this period was those who came on the City of Edinburgh, leaving Norfolk Island on the 3 September 1808 and arriving at Hobart Town on 5 October.


The City of Edinburgh was a ship of 500 tons. She carried 226 passengers. This voyage from Norfolk Island took the longest of all the ships, taking 32 days. She sailed after a delay of three months at Norfolk Island. The delay seems to be put down to the passengers being reluctant to leave. Many took to the bush and had to be rounded up by the ship’s crew. The weather was bad and she was driven well out into the Pacific Ocean. When the ship arrived at Hobart Town most of the passengers were in a wretched state, some almost naked. [19]


This brought the number who sailed from Norfolk Island to VDL to between 554-578 men women and children. Governor Collins had been told to expect 100. No wonder he was anxious when he received over five times that amount.  He was short of food, clothes and stores, and had very few convicts in his party who knew anything about building or farming.


As it was on Norfolk Island, when the first of those who arrived in the early years, had faced starvation, the mutton birds had saved them on Norfolk Island and the kangaroos were to do the same in Hobart Town.


After the removal of those who left on the City of Edinburgh, Captain Piper continued as Commandant of Norfolk Island. There were still 250 persons reported on the island in 30 September 1808 as well as 3,000 sheep and a herd of cattle.


Those remaining on Norfolk Island were well supplied with provisions. They   remained there until they were ordered off by instructions from Secretary of State Earl Liverpool, to Governor Macquarie in July 1811.


Finally the remainder of the Norfolk Islanders left in 1813 on the Government brig the Lady Nelson on the 31 January 1813, arriving at Port Dalrymple on the 1 March 1813 with 45 passengers, and the transport ship Minstrel, 351 tons, from Sydney via Norfolk Island on 14 January 1813 with 63 passengers, arriving at Port Dalrymple on the 4 March 1813. These two ships sailed into Port Dalrymple where they received their promised land grants, along the South Esk River.


Piper’s successor as Commandant on Norfolk Island was Lt. Crane, who was a member of Governor Macquarie’s regiment. His role was that of caretaker and it was left to him to complete the evacuation of the remaining settlers.


In February 1814 the principal buildings were demolished and the settlers, convicts, officials and soldiers were removed to Sydney[20] Norfolk Island was to remain uninhabited until reopened as a penal settlement in 1824.


Life in Van Diemen’s Land for the ex Norfolk Islanders would have been very difficult, most of the men were past their prime and they found they had to establish their new homes and grow their wheat and maize in virgin soil as well as fence in their stock.


These families were granted land in various parts of the island. None of these places were of a high quality, as the best of the land was being taken by the officials who came with Collins in 1804 and others that had arrived during the next few years.


New Town saw 17 Norfolk Islanders settled but only a few remained there in the following years. Sandy Bay proved unsuitable for farming and most of the settlers moved to other districts such as Clarence Plains and Sorell.  New Norfolk was better situated and these farms became well established in later years. Norfolk Plains (Longford) was also unfavourably selected. The farms along the river were flooded over the first years and the road and farms moved to higher ground.


Life had been difficult enough for those who had arrived with Lt. Col. Collins only three years earlier, without having to now share what they had with the expected Norfolk Islanders. Kangaroos were the main food supply as their own stocks dwindled, and had become difficult to obtain. The aborigines were making it harder for the white men to hunt the kangaroos as they were pushed further back into the interior and one hunter had been killed.


The settlers bought or begged food from the passing whalers, but it did nor stem their hunger. Meat was 3/6 pound, very small fish was 2/- a dozen. Wheat was not to be had but when it was it was 6 pound a bushel. Barley was 5 pound a bushel, salt pork 2/6 pound, potatoes 1/6 pound, and very coarse sugar 1 pound a pound for those who could afford it.


This was the conditions that the Norfolk Islanders found when they began to arrive in November 1807 at Sullivan’s Cove.


Late in 1807 Governor Bligh had sent 12, 500 pounds of beef, 83,000 pounds of pork and other items a month after he took office in NSW.[21] This certainly relieved some of the food shortage, but not for long.


We know almost nothing about the lives of the women or the children for this period.  The day-to-day living must have been hard indeed. The women having to cope with their large families, there were no schools so the children, who by then would have numbered over 300 would have spent their days roaming around the town, that was mainly full of convicts.


Many of the women who made up this group had arrived on the Lady Juliana in 1790 and who have been the subject of many books and a documentary. The 60 women from the Lady Juliana who came from Norfolk Island between 1807 and 1813 were amongst those who came to VDL. They had survived a very harsh life since leaving England, but they were now wives, mothers and in some cases grandmothers who pioneered this island and are thought very highly of by those who have read about their lives.[22]


By 1809 many of the new settlers were reported in the general muster as having in the short space of two years, growing wheat and barley on their land. Some even had cattle, sheep, goats and pigs by this time.[23]  With the little amount of farm tools they had, they toiled on their land to keep their families from going hungry, some had even come off Government stores and were keeping themselves.



These families were to set the foundations for the future of Van Diemen’s Land. Unlike those who had arrived with Lt. Col. Collins in 1804 they brought with them a large number of children of all ages. In Collin’s party there were 36 families (both free and convicts) with a total of 39 children. The Norfolk Islanders arrived between 1807-8 with 62 women and 219 children. 


With an abundance of young people, many of the marrying age it was not long before the population rapidly increased. This would not have happened as quickly at it did if it was not for the arrival of the Norfolk Islanders.


Early historians covered this period of the history of the arrivals of the Norfolk Islands to VDL with almost indifference, very little was written until the 1980s. Lloyd Robson in his book A History of Tasmania refers to the Norfolk Islanders that settled at Longford ‘as being mainly convicts transported in the first place for theft, many he described as being of a less respectful origins’.  


It was however these people that became the forefathers and mothers of the island we now know as Tasmania and the need for them to be acknowledged is very important and long overdue.


 The Forgotten Generation written by Reg Wright in 1986 revived interest in the early days on Norfolk Island. His research helped so many descendants in their quest in learning more about their ancestors.


The passenger’s list only recorded women if they came on their own (sometimes with children) otherwise it was the males that were named on the passenger lists with reference to a wife and if any children. [24]


The following list has attempted to name the wives who left Norfolk Island on the seven ships or who were married after arriving in VDL.



Passengers on the Lady Nelson from Norfolk Island to VDL 1807.


Name                                 Wife                                    Children on Board   (13)

Briggs  Ben ***                     (Ann McCloud)                   

Buckall  Anthony                                 -

Crips  John ***                                     -

Hand   William **                                (Ann Jones)

Hussey  Samuel *                   Ann Hughes *

Kidner Thomas *                  (Jane Whitting) * 1 child

Linton  Hopton  ***              (Mary Thorpe)

Lynch  Humphrey *              Ann Stokes **

McCloud  John  ***               Mary Potter ***                                  5 children

Mince  William ***                              -

Mitchell  Henry ***                             -

Newhouse  Michael ***                       -

Ronay  Hannah **                                                                           2 children

Wife of the late Bartholomew Reardon *

Sponsford  Zachariah***       (Cath. Lewis) **

Sultan                                                    ?

Walford Barnard ***              Jane Molloy **                                   5 children


*First Fleet  ** Second Fleet  *** Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL




Passengers on the Porpoise  from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808


Name                           Wife                                         Children on board  (76)


Able  William                        Mary Ann Morey                                  3 children

Barnes  John  ***                 Martha Edwards                                    2 children                             

Barry  John  ***                   Abigail Cummings

Browne  Richard *                Mary Pindar *

Burn  Susan                                          -

Chaffey Thomas   **             Maria Israel **                                       6 children

Chambers  Robert  ***                        -

Clark William  *                                  -              

Clark  Charles  *                  (Mary Lemanon)  **

Collins  William                   (Ann Stockwell )

Columbine  Samuel             Servant

Conn  Ram John                  (Christina Cameron)

Cox Robert  ***                    (Susannah Bullock)                             1 child

Crahan  Thomas                   Mary Monks                                        5 children

Cropper  John *                    (Frances William)

Crowder  Thomas *              Mary Christmas **                              2 children

Cullen  Bryan *                    Elizabeth Bartlett                                 3 children

Davis  James                         Rose Dale

Dempsey  William  *            Jane Tyler  **

Dodding  James    *              Elizabeth Thackery *

Duncombe  John  ***           (Elizabeth Hambley)

Fisher  Edward ***               Elizabeth Gregory  **                          5 children

Fletcher  Anthony                 Mary ?                                                2 children

Folly John  *                         Catherine Hyland  **                          2 children

Fowles  Thomas    ***          Ann Coombes  *

Foyle  William  *                  Jane ?

Francis  Thomas                                   ?

Free Samuel ***                   Elizabeth Smith  **                                 5 children

Garth  Edward *                    Susannah Gough  *                               6 children

Goodwin  Andrew *              Lydia Munro *                                      7 children

Hall  John  *                          Elizabeth Farrell **

Hall  Joseph  ***                  Mary Johnson  **

Hambley  William  *            (Mary Springham)                                  2 children

Hawkins  William  ***                        -

Herbert  John                        (Elizabeth Smith)

Hibbins Thomas                   Ann Clark                                              5 children

Kenton  Thomas                   Servant

Levy  Andrew                                         -

Lockley  John  *                                    -

Longford  William                                -

McCarty Harriet                   (John Devereux)

McDonald  William                              -

Mitchell  William  *             Susannah Hunt  **                                 3 children

Morrisby  James  *               Ann Brooks  **                                     5 children

Murphy  Thomas  **            Mary Craig  **

Newby  Thomas    **           (Sarah Jones)  **

Nairn  James                                         -

Peek  Joshua *                      Mary Frost  **                                       6 children

Phillimore  Richard  *         Mary Marshall  *

Priest  Thomas  **               Catherine Rochford                                4 children

Redding  Andrew  ***                          -                                              1 child

Robley  John  **                   Jemina Wasker  ***                               1 child

Warwick  James      ***        Ann Smith  ***

Whittaker Hannah               (Thomas Hopkins)

Windows  Richard                 -


* First Fleet  ** Second Fleet   *** Third Fleet    (   ) Married in VDL




Passengers on the Lady Nelson  from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808.

Name                                      Wife                                            Children on board (11)


Bane  Ben                                              -

Bastian                                                   -

Blondell  John                     (Elizabeth Anderson)

Boswell  James                                     -

Bradshaw  Elizabeth            (Robert Jillett)                                      5 children

Clark  Thomas                                      -

Cockran  Samuel                 -

Coventry  William                                Mary? Martin

Cox  Massey                                          -

Cross  William  *                  Elizabeth Stewart

Gavin  Roger                         (with Catherine Kearney)

Hatherway  Henry *             Eleanor Watson  **

Heath  William                                     -

Jillett  Robert                       (Elizabeth Bradshaw)

Kearney  Catherine             (with Roger Gavin)                               2 children

Knight  John                                         ?

Lowe  James                          Mary Stanley

Manning  Sarah                   (James Paynter)

Messias  Jacob  *                 -

Morrison  Patrick                 -

Mortimes  John *                 (Elizabeth Cotterell)

Mortimes  Noah *                 Mary Cottle                                           1 child

Moulton  William  *             Jane Meech  *                                         1 child

Rock  William                                       -

Repeat  Charles    *              Lucinda Woods  *

Shuttleworth  Ann  **          Joseph Wilcox                                          1 child

Silletto  Joseph                                     -

Simpson  George                  -

Standley  William                 Mary Anster                                            1 child

Vickery  William  *                              -                              

Woodcock  Peter  


* First Fleet  ** Second Fleet  *** Third Fleet  (   ) Married in VDL


Passengers on the Estramina   from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808


Name                           Wife                                         Children on board (22)


Atkins  William                    (Mary Allen Procter)                           

Bedell  Joseph                                       -

Bentley  John                                        -

Boyle  John  *                       Catherine Henry  *

Broughton  John                   (Deborah Davis)

Davis  Deborah                     (John Broughton)

Devereux  John                     (Harriett McCarthy)

Dutton  Henry                       (Catherine Sullivan)

Dyer  Timothy                                      -                                              

Gregary  Thomas                  ?                                                              1 child

Hall  John                                              -

Hamilton  Thomas                               -

Hunt  Thomas Martin          Ann Rock

Jones William                   -

Lee  Michael                                         -

McGinnis  Hugh ***            Charlotte Simpson                               6 children

Martin  Stephen                   (Hannah Peeling)                                 1 child

Mayberry  James                                  -

Mordacai  Jonas                                    -

Proctor  Mary  *                    (William Atkins)                                  3 children

Redfern  William  (Sarah McHenry)

Seals  Thomas                                      -                              

Shirley  James                      Mary ?                                                   

Slater  William                     Mary Smith                                           3 children

Steel  John                                            -                                                                                              

Sullivan  Catherine             (Henry Dutton)                                     3 children

Thomas  Elizabeth *            (James Waterson)                                 5 children

Waterson  James                 (Elizabeth Thomas)

Wood  Matthew                   (Catherine Sponsford)



* First Fleet   ** Second Fleet   ***  Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL






Passengers on the City of Edinburgh  from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808


Name                           Wife                                         Children on board  (97)


Bately  John                          (Mary Ann Martin)

Belbin  James                       Ann Meredith                                       5 children

Bellet  Jacob *                       Ann Harper  **                                     8 children

Berrisford  John  *               Hannah Berrisford  *                           2 children

Berrisford Joseph                 Mary Ann Leviston

Berrisford  Mary                   (Michael Purdon)

Broughton  Mr Wm *           Elizabeth Heathorn ***                       4 children

Brown  George                                          -

Burn  Mary                            (William Roach)                                   2 children

Burrows  Richard                  Elizabeth Cole *                                   4 children

Buzeau  Abraham                 -

Byron  Henry                                        -

Carter  M                                               -

Cassaways                                             -                   

Cham  James                        Margaret Hamilton                              1 child

Chandler  Anthony              Mary Healy                                           1 child

Chipman  Joseph                  Catherine Burn                                                                                   

Clapson  John                                         -

Colly  John                            Elizabeth Chaffey

Cone  Henry                          Mary Ann ?                                           1 child

Conolly  Mary                                         -

Cooper  John                                           -

Cooper  Robert                                        -

Cox  Francis                          Sarah Edge                                            2 children

Douglas  Peter                      Ann ?

Dyers  James                                         -

Edmonds William                 -

Elder  John                                            -

Flexmore  Francis                  (Elizabeth Bruce)    *                              5 children

Fisk  Thomas                                        -

Francis  John                                        -

Gay  Thomas                         Ester Wainwright                                    3 children

Geary  Dennis                       (Ann Carroll)

Genders  Joseph                   Elizabeth Stokes                                       1 child

Gibson  John                                         ?

Gordan  Jano                         (William Scattergood)                             2 children

Haley  William                                       -

Haley  James                         Margaret ?

Hands  Abraham *                                -

Hannaway  James                 -

Harrington  John                  -

Harris  William                                      ?

Hazelwood  John                  (Elizabeth Hopper)                                 1 child

Hoddy  Rachael                     (Isaac Williams)                                    6 children

Holland  Henry                                       -

Hopwood  George                  Ann Sherburd

Howard  John  *                      -

Jenders  William                  Mary Garth                                           2 children

Jenks  John                                           -

Johnson  John                                       -

Kimberley  Edward  *           Maria Cavanough  **                           3 children

Kingston  Robert                  Esther Berrisford

Knight  John                                         -

Knight  William                                    -

King  Samuel *                     (Elizabeth Thatckery) *

King  William                                         -

Lancaster  Robert                   -

Larm  James  *                                        -

Lucas  Thomas  *                  Ann Howard  **                                    4 children

McCarthy  John    *             (Ann Beasley)

McCarthy  Dan                     Jane Bailey ?                                       

McCoy  John                         (Mary Thomas)

Marritt  Thomas                   -

Massey  John                                        -

Maul  John                                            -

Morris  John                                         -

Nash  Robert  ***                 Ann Hannaway **                                  4 children             

Nash  Mary                                            -

Norman  Thomas                  ?                            

 (alias Simmons)

Normington  Luke                                -

O’Brien  Thomas  *             Susannah Mortimer  **                            8 children

Oakley  George                    (Dorothy Berrisford)

Orman  James                                        -

Palmer  Thomas                                     -

Parsons  William                  Ann Doyle                                                3 children

Paul  John                                             ?                                             3 children

Phillips  Richard *                                -

Pillenger  James                   Elizabeth Wood                                        2 children

Plyer  George  *                   

Porter  George                      (Susannah O’Brien)

Presnell  William                 Ann Fowler *                                            3 children

Purden  Michael                   (Mary Berrisford)

Pyers  Samuel                       Sarah Johnson                                        3 children

Quinton  Barnard                 (Rebecca Vallerday)

Risby  Edward  *                    Ann Gibson  **                                     5 children

Rogers  John                                         -

Rougas  John  *                                     -

Scattergood  William           (Jano Gordan)

Scott  John                                            -

Selvy  William                                      -

Shurburd  William               Esther Thornton                                   6 children

Smith  William                                       -

Stanfield  Dan (Sen) *         Alice Warmsworth *                              4 children

Stanfield  Dan (Jnr)             Maria Kimberley

Templeman  James                              -

Thompson  William  *         (Maria Hamilton) *

Tolhurst  Richard                 -

Triffitt  James                       Mary Higgins                                        2 children

Westlake Edward *               Ann Wood  **                                       6 children

Whitehouse  John                                -

Williams  John                                     -

Woods  John  *                    Mary McDonald                                    1 child




* First Fleet    **  Second Fleet   ***  Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL





Passengers on the Lady Nelson  from Norfolk Island to Port Dalrymple VDL 1813


Name                                      Wife                                       Children on board (17)


Blackhall  William *            Ann Yeoman  **

Clayton  William                  -                              

Cox John                               Ann Brooks                                           7 children

Davie  James                         (Catherine Jordan)

Day  Samuel  *                     Mary Bolton  *                                        2 children

Eady  John                                             -

Eggleston  George  *                            -

Fisher  William    *              Mary Randall *                                        2 children

Hassan  John                                         -

Lock  Thomas                                        -

Lowe  Joseph                         Elizabeth Hayward *                              2 children

Moore  John                          (Catherine Wells)

Poare  Anne                                           -

Sparks  Thomas    *                              -

Sydes  Richard                      Ann White  **                                         5 children

Taylor  John                                          -

Trinby James                        Mary Eagan                                          

Trinby  Joseph (Snr)  *        (Elizabeth Scaney)

Trimby Joseph                                      -

Walsh  John                                          -

Wriam  Zimram                                    -


*  First Fleet    **  Second Fleet   ***  Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL





Passengers on the Minstrel from Norfolk Island to Port Dalrymple VDL 1813


Name                           Wife                             Children on board (9)


Baker  Samuel                      (Elizabeth Lewis)

Blow  James                                          -                              

Carter  Samuel                                     -

Clayton  Henry                     Mary ?

Clayton  Sarah                     (Dicky White)                                       2 children

Davies  John                                          -

Dawson  James                                     -

Delany  John                                         -

Edge  Fane                                             -

Edwards  James                                     -

Harrigan  Neal                                      -

Harrison  Joseph  *                              -

Higgins  Richard                   -

Hilton  Thomas                     Prisoner

Hurbart  John                       (Hannah Bolton)                                 2 children             

Jones  William                      prisoner

Jorden  James                       Mary Butler (died NI)                          4 children

Jorden  Richard                    (Sarah Wright)

Knight  William                                   -

Knowland  John  *                (Catherine Murphy)

Mackey  George                    Prisoner

Mahon  Patrick                                     -

Mason  Thomas                    Prisoner

Matthews  Hannah               (Robert Matthews)

Mullins  Henry                     Prisoner

Mosquetto                                      -

Nicholls  Elizabeth               (David Gibson)                                      1 child

Roche  William                     (Mary Burn)

Saltmarsh  William             (Elizabeth Stevens)

Sellick  Thomas                                   -

Sheatch  Thomas   *                             -

Skeene  Patrick                                    -

Smith  John                                          -

Smith  John                                          -

Stevens  John                        (Mary Phillips)  *                                  3 children

Townsand  John                    (Mary Clary)

Tyre  John                                             -

White  John                                           -

Windsor  William[25]              (Mary Ann O’Neil)


*  First Fleet    **  Second Fleet    ***  Third Fleet    (   ) Married in VDL  


Additional reading:

The Norfolk Island Story – Frank Clunes.

Norfolk Island. An Outline of its History 1774-1968 – Merval Hoare.

Norfolk Island – the First Settlement 1788-1814 – R.N. Dalkin.

A History of Tasmania – Lloyd Robson.

The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island & VDL – Reg Wright.

The Norfolk Settlers of Norfolk Island & VDL – Peter C Sims.

Exiled Three Times Over  -  I. Schaffer & T. MCKay.

Land Musters and Stock Lists in VDL 1803 -1822 – I. Schaffer.

The Founders of Australia – Mollie Gillen

The Second Fleet – Michael Flynn

Norfolk Island and its first settlement 1788 – 1814 Raymond Nobbs.

The Convict and the Carpenter – Trish Wood.

Sandy Bay A Social History – Nicola Goc.

David Collins A Colonial Life – John Currey.



Index to Early Land Grants VDL 1804-1823 – Thelma McKay

Register of Land Grants VDL 1824-1832 – Thelma McKay

List of NI who sailed from NI to VDL 1807-1813 – I. Schaffer.

The Link between Port Jackson, NI and VDL 1788-1814 – I. Schaffer.

The Norfolk Islanders and their new life in VDL. – I. Schaffer.

Norfolk Islanders who settled in the Glenorchy District 1807-1832 –I. Schaffer


Excursion Books 1990 – 1996.  I Schaffer                           


Sandy Bay – Geeveston

Rokeby – Sandford

Bridges & Early Buildings Hobart – Broadmash

Longford – Evandale

Forcett – Tasman Peninsula


 The story behind the story.




From the moment I first became aware of the history of the Norfolk Islanders I wanted to know more about them. Twenty-five years on I am still captivated by its history and will properly be so as long as I live.


Discovering that my stepfather was a descendant of James Jordan, Irish convict on the Queen in 1792, sent to Norfolk Island and later came to VDL on the Minstrel in 1813. I found I could not stop looking for more information about those who were on Norfolk Island even after I had written his story. Looking for it was one thing finding it was another.


Up to the early 1980s very little had been written about the first settlement on Norfolk Island 1788-1814 and those that had been written were hard to find.  In 1985 I decided to copy out the passenger list of those who came on the seven ships to VDL between 1807-1814. This was to take over six months because of the difficulty in reading the names of the passengers. When this was completed I had it printed and this became the basis of my future writings about the Norfolk Islanders.


This list only gave the name of the head of the household and in doing this the names of the wives and children was not recorded. Finding this I decided to do profiles of each family starting with those who came on the Lady Nelson in 1807.  This was achieved with the help of my then co-worker Thelma McKay. We began by researching in the Archives and the Lands Department.  The first book Profiles of the Norfolk Islanders to Van Diemen’s Land, Lady Nelson 1807 was printed in 1986, followed by Profiles of Norfolk Islanders to Van Diemen’s Land, Porpoise 1808. Vol. 1 & 11., printed 1989-1990.


In 1991 the three volumes were published into one book and renames Exiled Three Times Over by the Government Printers along with Land Musters & Stock Lists in Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1822.


During this time Reg Wright published his The Forgotten Generations of Norfolk Island and Van Diemen’s Land 1788-1814. This book opened the door for many descendants to discover their Norfolk Island and Van Diemen’s Land family history.


It was my intention to continue on with the profiles of the other ships but soon realized that this would take many years and both Thelma and I were beginning to be involved with other projects.  I became interested in the building of the replica of the Lady Nelson and continuing to search for more records relating to the Norfolk Islanders who settled and became a very large part of Tasmanian history, and Thelma in writing her books.


During those first ten years many Norfolk Island descendants became known to me and I formed the VDL & NI Interest Group, having monthly meetings and taking them on excursions throughout Tasmania and writing a book and making it available on the day, showing the districts where their ancestors first settled. This was great fun and everyone was disappointed when I closed the group after ten years to become the purser on the Lady Nelson.


Being part of the Lady Nelson did not prevent me from continuing with my interest in the Norfolk Islanders and 20 years later I am still receiving mail and requests for help from descendants. 


It gave me great pleasure to watch the replica of the original Lady Nelson being built, if a little disappointing seeing her go to the mainland on completion and not return until 1996.  From then on I became completely involved in her for the next eleven years.


During this time I sailed as the purser and crew member to Stanley, Sydney, Strahan, around Tasmania and Portland, as well as taking part in weekend sails and historical excursions on the River Derwent.


While I sailed on the Lady I was also busy researching and writing books about the original Lady Nelson.


It was surprising to find that very little had been written about her and the other ships involvement in the evacuation of the Norfolk Islands to VDL from 1807-1813 and why over 700 people were sent to VDL. I have spent years trying to discover why this happened the way it did. 


At last I discovered that those on Norfolk Island had been told they could choose where they wanted to go, other than VDL, but I could fine very little written evidence about this.  They were finally herded onto the ships and sent to VDL.[26]


The other question I keep asking myself is why these 700 people were not written about during the past 200 years.  Early historians just left it out of their publications when they wrote about Norfolk Island or Tasmania. When I did find a mention or an episode dealing with these two islands, it left out the period from 1807 to 1814, except to mention that Norfolk Island had been cleared of all human life in 1814.


These pioneer settlers from Norfolk Island were all but forgotten by those in Sydney and seemed of no consequence to our history in VDL.


Three early authors I did find who took an interest was Frank Clune The Norfolk Island Story, published in 1967, and  Merval Hoare in her book  Norfolk Island An Outline of Its History 1774-1967, published in 1969. Frank Clune’s book does not have an index and this was to make it hard to use as a research tool, but it did prove actuate in most of what he wrote.  R. N. Dalkin followed in 1971 with a paper in the Royal Australian Historical Society “Norfolk Island The First Settlement 1788-1814, again a very good account but not much on the subject I have discussed here. None of them wrote in any dept about the departures in 1807-14 or about the ships that brought them to VDL or the hardships they faced in their new surroundings.


Recording the history of these forgotten pioneers had not been completely lost, thanks to many descendants who have for many years painstakingly worked on their family history. I would like to thank them all for their interest in continuing to do this over the years.

I hope what I have written over the past 20 years will at least bring this remarkable part of history out into the open and give those who helped build Tasmania, a place in history.


(c) Irene Schaffer   2007 


[1] Lord Hobart to King 24 June 1803, HRA Series 1 Vol. 4 p304; Hoare. Melval, Norfolk Island.

   An outline of its History 1774-1968. 1969

[2] Dalkin. R. N., Norfolk Island -The First Settlement, 1788-1814. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society Vol 57 Pt. 3 September 1971 pp 189-212

[3] Gillen. Mollie, The Founders of Australia.

[4] Male convicts –John Williams, Charles McLaughlin, Nathaniel Lucas, Noah Mortimer, John Mortimer, Edward Garth, Edward Weslake (sic), Richard Widdicombe and John Rice. Women convicts – Ann Innet, Elizabeth Colley, Elizabeth Lee, Elizabeth Hipsley, Oliver Gascoigne and Susan Gough. Dalkin pp193-4

[5] Schaffer. I, The Link between Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and VDL 1788-1814; Nobbs. Raymond, Norfolk Island and its first settlement 1788-1814, p98.

[6] Nobbs. Raymond, Norfolk Island and its First Settlement 1788-1814. pp 5, 46. notes 29 p175.

[7] Ibid p5

[8] Norfolk Island Embarkations to VDL 1807-1813 (list of head of the families and their wives and  children)

[9] There was confusion by the British Government with the names of the new settlements in VDL and Port Dalrymple was often mentioned in dispatches in mistake for Hobart Town.  Schaffer. I, The Link between Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and VDL 1788-1814, with full list of the 41men names on the petition.

[10] Exiled Three Times Over (Profiles of those on board pp2-26

[11] Dates differ to exact dates that the ships sailed. The shipping records of NSW do not coincide with the

  VDL ones, nor did some of the passenger’s lists.

[12] Exiled Three Times Over. pp14 & 20

[13] Schaffer. I, The Norfolk Islanders and Their New Life in VDL 1807-2007.

[14] It’s possible that there were many others who went to VDL at this time and not recorded. Maum records a Betsy on the Porpoise, it is not known who this woman was. Maum was recorded as being a delinquent, which he found very offensive; Schaffer. I, Norfolk Island Embarkations to VDL 1807-1813, (list of passengers)

[15] The sheep were much small than they are today.

[16] Sandy Bay, New Norfolk, Glenorchy and Clarence Plains

[17] This may have been meant for what was later New Norfolk, Herdsman’s Cove land had been distributed out to the marines who came with Collins in 1804.

[18] Schaffer. Irene, Catherine Kearney, Dairy Farmer, Hobart Town 1808-1830

[19] Hoare. Merval, Norfolk Island an Outline of its History 1774-1968 p35.

[20] Clune. Frank, The Norfolk Island Story. 1967 p107.

[21] Robson. Lloyd, A History of Tasmania.

[22] Schaffer. I, The Lady Juliana Women who came to VDL form NI 1807-1813 (list of women and who they married)

[23] Land Musters, Stock Lists in VDL 1803-1822 pp53-57. When this list was published in the HRA only two pages were printed leaving out well over half of the names.

[24] This was one of the main reasons why I decided to write the book Profiles of Norfolk Islanders To Van Diemen’s Land (Lady Nelson & Porpoise 1807-8) so the women, some of whom were first, second and third fleeters’, could be recorded, and not just be the wife of those who arrived from Norfolk Island at that time.

[25] Exiled Three Times Over (mostly male names, women added)

[26] While David Collins was stationed in NSW between 1788 and 1797 he expressed his idea that the Norfolk Islanders could be sent to VDL. This may have been remembered later on.

A booklet is available complete with maps and photos see my booklist.

» view or post reactions

Index for Profiles of Norfolk Islanders who came to VDL on Lady Nelson and the Porpoise 1807-8

Names of those who came on the Lady Nelson and the Porpoise 1807-1808 and their profiles in "Exiled Three Times Over"

I still receive a lot of inquiries asking for help with Norfolk Islanders and would like to assist new reserchers looking for these people, in the hope it will assist them getting off to a good start.

Lady Nelson 1807

Bernard Walford 
John McCloud
Thomas Kidner
Michael Newhouse
William Mince
Humphrey Lynch
Henry Mitchell
Benjamin Brigs
Hannah Ronay
Samuel Hussey
John Crisp
Zachariah Sponsford
Hopton Linton
Antonio Buckall
William Hand

Porpoise 1808

Edward Fisher
John Cropper
Bryan Cullen
Edward Garth
Thomas Chaffey
John Hall
Thomas R Crowder
Samuel Free
William McDonald
James Nairn
Thomas Priest
William Able
Andrew Goodwin
Joshua Peck
Thomas Murphy
Richard Browne
Thomas Francis 
James Morrisby
John Robley
Charles Clark
John Barry
Thomas Hibbins
William Hambley
John Barnes
William Hawkins
Thomas Newby
Ram John Conn
Anthony Fletcher
William Mitchell
William Foyle
William Dempsey
Thomas Crahan
Robert Cox
Andrew Redding
James Dodding
Thomas Fowles
Joseph Hall
John Folly
Samuel Columbine
Thomas Kenton
James Warwick
Robert Chambers
John Lockley
Richard Phillimore
William Clark
Susan Burn
James Davis
Richard Windows
Andrew Levy
John Duncome
John Herbert
Williams Collins
Hannah Whittaker
Harriett McCarthy
William Longford

A large amount of these men were accompanied by their wives and family. 

It was Thelma's and my intention to cover all those who came from NI in 1808 but the task proved far too much and we had to be content with the first two ships.  


» view or post reactions

Thomas Restell Crowder & Mary Christmas Porpoise 1808

Thomas Restell and Mary Christmas Crowder

                                         (c) Ann Belmont


1. Thomas Restell Crowder, b. 26 Dec 1757 in Bromley, Kent (now part of London), England, (son of Nathaniel Crowder and Susannnah Ward) baptized 20 Jan 1758 in Parish of St Martin in the Field, Westminster, London, England, d. 28 Nov 1824 in Elizabeth Street, Hobart, Tasmania, buried 2 Dec 1824 in St David's, Hobart, Tasmania.  Thomas Restell Crowder was born 26 December,1757 the fourth child of Nathaniel Crowder and Susannah Ward.  He was baptised in the Parish of St Martin's in the Fields, Westminster on 20th January 1758.


    Thomas was first tried on 4th December 1782 in London for breaking into a house with intent to steal; he had claimed he was a grocer and wax chandler in Great Earl Street, Seven Dials, London.  He received the death sentence, this was commuted to transportation for life to America in January 1783.


    On 12 September 1783 Thomas was recorded as being transported for life to America.  It is believed that Thomas was aboard the "Mercury" going to the West Indies when the prisoners mutinied in some twelve leagues beyond  the Scilly Islands, but had had to put back because of bad weather.  Somehow, he escaped punishment for this deed, although some others paid the price.


    Thomas was again tried this time in Bristol on 29 March 1785, along with his friend Aaron Davis.  Once again, this was for burglary.  Davis was sentenced to seven years transportation but Thomas' sentencing was held over because he was being tried for another burglary.  On 22 April 1785 Judge Richard Burke wrote expressing doubts about the evidence given by the accomplice, but recommended transportation for life in view of the earlier robberies.  Thomas was still facing charges of escape from the "Mercury".  On 25th April 1785 Crowder was reprieved and sentenced to life transportation, during that year he was placed on board the "Justitia" Prison Hulk.


    On 6th January, 1786 Thomas was delivered to the convict transport "Alexander".  He arrived in Sydney, New South Wales on the "Alexander"  as part of the First Fleet in January, 1788.


    Thomas married Sarah Davis in Port Jackson, Sydney on 7 June 1788.  This marriage service was performed by the Rev. Richard Johnson - probably under a tree or in a hut - the first church was St Philips, but it was some time before it was built.  Thomas and Sarah sailed to Norfolk Island on "Supply" on 2 March 1789.


    In "The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island and Van Diemen’s Land" written by Reg Wright  - TRC's occupation was recorded in 1894 as Sailor.  In "Occupations in Norfolk Island 1805"  - he said that TRC was a Settler/Landowner.


    On Norfolk Island Thomas and Sarah began farming and by December 1789 they are listed as settling on 14 acres of land, eight of which were cultivated.  They also had a thriving piggery.


    He received a conditional pardon 7 Nov 1792 provided he did not return to England, and on 7th September he was sworn in as a constable for "Grenville Vale".  Thomas purchased 60 acres for 60 pounds on 24th October and by the end of the year he was elected a member of the Norfolk Island Settlers Society.


    Thomas was part of a group who were concerned with the first theatre on Norfolk Island.  He was asked to save some seats for some dignitaries, and Sgt Whittle of the N.S.W. Corps countermanded these orders for his soldiers to attend the performance.  They were intoxicated and a brawl broke out.  This was one of the difficulties of a former convict having authority.  Consequently, Crowder was sent to Sydney for the trial for the altercation with Sgt Whittle.  He asked not to go, as he felt Sarah would not survive and his farm be unattended whilst away.  He did have to go, and received one hundred lashes as punishment, and was sent back to the Island.  When he arrived back on Norfolk Island he found that Sarah had died on the 26th June 1794, and his farm in disarray.


    Thomas settled down to farming his land, and buying and selling as a sideline.  He started a relationship with Mary Christmas


    Thomas held 100 acres in 1796.  Lieutenant-Governor King had quite some say in allocation of land, and TRC was one of the largest.  He had Lots 26 (12 acres), 27 (14 acres), 28 (14 acres) and lots 49 (60 acres).


    Thomas and Mary's first child, Susannah, was born 11th June 1796.  Her fate is unknown except that she died on Norfolk Island.  Their second child Mary Crowder seems to have been born on the day they married 22nd December, 1799.


    Thomas sold some of his acres for 35 pounds in March, 1799 and in April 1800 purchased another 60 acres for 30 pounds.


    27 April 1800 on Norfolk Island one half of an acre of land at the east of the Town at Sydney Bay which was originally leased to William Sherwin on 15 October 1795 for a period of fourteen years (at an annual rental of sixpence) was made over by power of attorney by the lessee to Aaron Davis, and then sold by him for 55 pounds and 12 shillings to Thomas Crowder and the Masonic Lodge of St John, No. 1 on 27 April 1800.  This Lodge was holding meetings without a Warrant and seems to have been situated at Norfolk Island from 1800 to 1807, perhaps even until 1814.    (Information from the Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of South Australia and Northern Territory.)


    By 1805 Thomas had fourteen acres of land cleared with seven sown in grain, two acres of barley, six pigs and 150 bushels of maize stored.   When Thomas and Mary departed Norfolk Island on 26 Dec 1807, they left behind a two storey house, 44 feet by 12 feet, boarded and shingled, a barn 12 feet by 12 feet thatched, boarded and floored and two log outhouses.



    In total the land Thomas held was (supplied by Joan Nichols )


          1796  Book 1A   Grants by Governor Hunter.

          No 538  Sept. 15.  Thomas Restil (sic) Crowder  (also apparently referred to as Thomas Bastil Crowden)

          Granted 14 acres on Norfolk Island.  Rent (blank) per year for 7 years commencing from 11 July 1796.

          "Entered in No. 2 Register of grants and leases given by Governor Hunter in this Register".


             1796  Book 2B  Grants by Governor Hunter

          No 605  Sept. 15.  Thomas Restil (sic) Crowder

          Leased 12 acres at Norfolk Island.  Rent:  (blank) for 7 years commencing after 11 July 1796.

          - "Transferred 29th March, 1799 from James White to Martha Burkett and sold on the same day by her to Dennis Geary.

          - Half of the farm again sold on 22nd May 1799 by John Cullen to Edward Bisbey.

          - Another transfer on 8th July 1799 from Joseph Saunders to James Ormond.

          - Another on the 6th January 1804 from Thomas Murphy to William Able and

          - Another - without any date - from Joseph Mabery to Samuel Pyers.

          - Torn up 4th October, 1821  (Signed) F.  Goulburn


          1796/1797   Book 2B    Grants by Governor Hunter

          No 626     May 1, 1797   Peter Hibbs   (keep reading).

          Granted 60 acres on Norfolk Island.  Rent 1/- per year commencing after 5 years.

          - Sold by Aaron Davis for £30 to Thomas Restil Crowder on 27 April, 1800.

          - Sold by him for £40 on 1 December 1807 to 5 persons viz:

          12½ acres to Robert Chambers;   22 to F. Flaxmore;  12½ to William Clark;  5 to Matthew  Wood and 8 to George


          Also endorsed on this grant is:  This grant given by Governor Phillip (??) to be cancelled".   Torn up this 5th day of October, 1821.  Signed  F. Goulburn.



          1796/97  Book 2B    Grants by Governor Hunter

          No 632    May 1, 1797    Charles Herritage  (keep reading).

          Granted 60 acres on Norfok Island.  Rent 1/- per year commencing from 16 May 1791.

          - Sold by the grantee to Thomas Restil Crowder on 24th October in the 33rd year of George III

          - Sold by him on 1st March, 1799 one half to John Bentley for the sum of £35

          - who sells it with the stock upon it for £80 to Elizabeth Bradshaw on 26 July, 1803

          - she sells 14½ acres of it to William Deppsey on 4 January, 1804..

          This grant also endorsed with a memorandum "the grant given by Governor Phillip (???) to be cancelled.  Torn up this 5th day of October, 1821.  (Signed)  F.           Goulburn




    They arrived in Van Diemen's Land with Mary's daughter Elizabeth and their daughter Mary on the Porpoise on 17 Jan 1808.  They were granted 120 acres of land at Sussex.  Thomas became a successful farmer, and a productive member of his community.


    On 21st May, 1809 when Governor Bligh was deposed Crowder, Belbin and others wrote a supporting document to Bligh.  (James Belbin arrived on Norfolk Island in 1791.  When the N.I. folk were moved to Van Diemen’s Land they were all supposed to have received land.  Belbin did not receive his land and he fought with Lieut. Lord over a petition written asking for justice.)    Governor Collins was furious about the letter to Bligh and had Belbin arrested on a false charge of insolence and ordered 500 lashes.   When Belbin was flogged on the 12th October for sending the letter to Lieutenant Governor Collins, Collins observed that he would rather that the punishment have been administered not to James Belbin but Thomas Restell Crowder.  (In 1811, after various disturbances and lashes, Belbin eventually had to return to England to seek justice and the land he had been promised and Collins had not delivered.  With Bligh's assistance he got his land.  Belbin was Chief Stock Inspector and overseer of all slaughter houses and in 1843 had a pension.)


    Thomas Restell Crowder Junior, the last child of Thomas and Mary, was born on 28 October, 1810.


    Thomas (Senior) was listed in the Blue Book 1822 as Superintendent of carpenters (retired).  He died in Hobart on 28 Nov 1824 in his 67th year.  His death notice stated that he had been 36 years in the colonies, and had been Principal Superintendent of Convicts for several years.


    Thomas Crowder was a respected member of the community, he had held the position of Superintendent of Carpenters before he retired in 1822.  Thomas had also acted as a constable against bushrangers.  After retirement he was made Verger of St David's.


    Further information in the book The Founders (of Australia - Mollie Gillen - page 88 and 89)




       An. Address of Settlers to Governor Bligh


        To His Excellency W. Bligh, Esqre., Govr.-in-Chief, &c.,



    May it Please Your Excellency,


    We, a part of the unfortunate Settlers late of Norfolk Island, Imprest with a due sense of our Duty and earnest to step forward at this momentous period, big with Danger and Difficulty, whilst the wavering Mind fluctuates between hope and fear, we most humbly beg leave to express those Sentiments of Loyalty which are Inherent in our Bosoms by firmly declaring our adherence to your Excell'y as the true and only Representative of our August Sovereign in these his Colonies, and our determined abhorrence of those measures which have been taken by a set of Disloyal and Unprincipled Men, who in the most daring manner have subverted your Government, Prevented those Salutary effects which we are convinced would have resulted there from, Involving the Innocent with the Guilty, and by Specious illegal Acts, drawing aside the Ignorant and Unwary, and, that the enormity of their crimes may be obscur'd, introducing anarchy and confusion.


    These disloyal, base, and unwarrantable proceedings we most solemly deprecate, sincerely lamenting from our hearts that Men whom His Majesty had so highly honour'd should so far forget their Duty in overturning that Government they were bound to support, and so we beg leave to assure your Excell'y of our resolution to adhere to our Loyalty and Duty (in any and every pretext to mislead us whatever) to Our most Gracios Sovereign, and to your Excell'y as his worthy Representative, not doubting that you will ultimately Triumph over all your Enemies of Every description, and be received on your return to your Native Land with that Honour and Distinction with which His Majesty is always pleased to reward the Brave and the Meritorious.  May Your Excellency enjoy ever Blessing that the Almighty is pleased to bestow, and may your Amiable Daughter find that consolation in her present Afflictions which must evidently result from Parental Kindness and filial duty,- Which is the Sincere and Earnest Wish of Your Obedient and Devoted Servants to Command.





                  The Derwent, 21st May, 1809.




                  THOS RESTELL CROWDER                 JOHN HALL


                  JAMES BELBIN                                         GEORGE BROWN


                  JAMES DODDING                                          Wm. SHARDLEY


                  JOHN BERESFORD                                  RICHD.PHILLIMORE


                  THOS. O'BRIEN                                             THOMAS PRIEST


                  Wm.HALEY                                                Wm.BELLAMY


                  THOMAS FRANCIS                                        JNO.MAUL


                  JOSEPH HALL                                          THOS.GUY


                  WILLIAM MITCHELL                                 MICH.LEE




Information from the Edgar Society Newsletter No. 9.






    THOMAS RESTELL [RISDALE] CROWDER, of Bristol, Somerset, England, joined the ship “Alexander” which sailed for New South Wales from the Mother Bank, England, on 13 May 1787. This vessel, one of the ships of the First Fleet, reached Port Jackson, 19 January 1788, and T R Crowder was thus among the original pioneers of this country who came ashore at Sydney Cove.


    On 23 October 1793, he received a grant of fourteen acres of land [lot 28] at Norfolk Island, and he subsequently added considerably to his holding by purchase. On 10 March 1794, he addressed a letter to Governor King [PRO, CO 20/1 – 201/10]. He and his family were among the settlers transferred from the Island to the Derwent on the HMS “Porpoise”, 26 December 1807. His was the first of eighteen signatures appended by the former settlers of Norfolk Island to a letter dated 21 May 1809, addressed from the Derwent to the Governor [Bligh] in which the signatories expressed their loyalty and confidence in him. Before 1810 T R Crowder had acquired property in Hobart Town.


    In August 1812, he was appointed Principal Superintendent of the Convict Settlement at Hobart Town, and he held that post until Lieut. Governor William Sorell placed him on a retired superannuated allowance late in 1820. At that time he and his wife and child, and two convict servants, were provided for out of the Government Rations. In his retirement, T R Crowder became responsible for the materials used in the construction of St David’s Old Church at Hobart Town.


    Thomas Restell Crowder died on 28 November 1824, aged 67 years, at Hobart Town. His widow, Mary [nee Christmas?], died there in 1830. It is believed that she was his second wife, and that the Edward Crowder who, in 1820, had a grant of 30 acres of land in the Kingsborough district, was, a son of the first marriage. T R Crowder had issue, two sons and a daughter.


    He married (1) Sarah Davis, married 7 Jun 1788 in St Phillips, Sydney, N.S.W., (see witness 1, 2) b. 1761 in U K, d. 26 Jun 1794 in Norfolk Island.  Sarah: Sarah Davis was tried in Worcester on 2 Aug 1783 and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.  She was convicted for stealing lace handkerchiefs.  She arrived in the First Fleet ship "Lady Penryhn" at Sydney.  She married TRC I at Port Jackson (St Philip's C of E, Sydney) by Chaplain Richard Johnson on 1 June 1788, and went with him to Norfolk Island on the ship "Supply" on 2 March 1789.



    He married (2) Mary Christmas, married 22 Dec 1799 in Norfolk Island, b. 1768 (c) in London, England, (daughter of Mr Christmas and Sarah Christmas/Chismas) d. May 1830 in Hobart, Tasmania, buried 28 May 1830 in St David's Church of England, Hobart, Tasmania.  Mary: Mary Christmas was born circa 1768 to a Mr and Sarah Christmas (also written Chismas).  In 1785 Sarah married George Cowcher in St Mildred'sChurch, Bread Street, London, U.K.


    Mary Christmas (also known as Cowcher/Crowcher) was tried in London on 24 Oct 1787 for trying to pawn a silver spoon claiming it was her fathers.  Her father was a plasterer who lived in Shoe Lane.  (This is probably her step-father George Cowcher.)


    The pawnbroker had insisted on proof of ownership and refused to let her leave the shop.  Her screams had caused a crowd of onlookers to gather outside the shop, and she eventually confessed to stealing it from her former employer Mr John Hooper.  Mr Hooper, who lived in Fetter Lane, Holborn was told that Mary's mother had found her a better job and that she was leaving the next day - she left with the silver spoon.


    Mary was aged 20 and was tried before Mr Rose at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey at the court sessions.  After calling for a character witness and a defence council Mary was found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation.   Mary was held at Newgate Gaol until 14th March 1789 when she embarked  on the "Lady Juliana" (Second Fleet) convict transport.


    The "Lady Juliana" was a Whitby built 410 ton ship.  She held her contingent of 230 women and five children on the Thames, some for up to six months before leaving Portsmouth on 29th July, 1789.  Most of the women on the ship had been hand picked for various reason, including being good looking, good seamstresses, good cooks  or even just well educated.  The voyage lasted for 309 days before arriving on 3rd June, 1790.  Five women died on the voyage.  The "Lady Juliana"  was the first ship to arrive in New South Wales after the First Fleet, having made the voyage alone.  "Lady Juliana" was known as a free ship - when she entered a port it was open to all men, which is why it was known as "The Floating Brothel".  The women had no choice.


    Mary Christmas was among a group of convicts which included Charles Smith, who had arrived in Port Jackson with the Second Fleet on the convict transport "Scarborough" on the 28th June, 1790, who were sent to Norfolk Island on the "Surprise" and arrived there on 7 Aug 1790.


    On reading "The Floating Brothel" written by Sian Rees I have concluded the following:


    .  In June 1788 Mary and other Newgate prisoners would have been able to hear the hanging of two male forgers and then the burning at the stake of a female forger named Margaret Sullivan.

    .  by December 1788, 151 female convicts were living in three female cells in Newgate which had been built to house 70 women.

    .  the rations allotted to the prisoners were insufficient and they were all in poor health.

    .  Mary probably became pregnant whilst she was in Cape Town between 28 Feb and 31 March, 1990 when the Lady Juliana sailed for Sydney.


    Soon after arrival on Norfolk Island Mary Christmas moved in with Charles Smith.  By July 1791 Charles Smith was living on a small farm in "Charlotte Fields" Norfolk Island, with 40 rods cleared and supporting two other persons.  This would have been Mary Christmas and her first born son Charles who was born 9th January 1791.


    The Reverend Richard Johnson married Mary and Charles on Norfolk Island in November 1791.  Their second child Sarah was born on 16 February 1793.  She also died on Norfolk Island.  Their third child Elizabeth was born 16 January 1794.


    Charles died on Norfolk Island on 2nd February 1795 aged 53.


    Mary moved in with the widower Thomas Restell Crowder whose wife Sarah had died in 1794.  Thomas had become a prosperous farmer and landowner on the Island.


    *Most of this information is widely available but was presented to me by Liz McCoy of Norfolk Island in a written essay.





               i.   Susannah Christmas Crowder, b. 11 June 1796 in Norfolk Island, d. in Norfolk Island (?).


               ii.  Mary Christmas Crowder, b. 22 Dec 1799 in Norfolk Island, d. 15 (20) Mar 1827 in Hobart, Tasmania, buried 20 Mar 1827 in St Davids, Hobart, Tasmania.  Mary Christmas Crowder came to Hobart upon the "Porpoise" with her half sister Elizabeth Smith, her mother Mary and her father Thomas Restall Crowder I.


                   She married (1) Theophilus Mitchell, married 5 Sep 1815 in St Davids, Hobart, Tasmania, b. 1789 (?).  Theophilus: Theophilus was a convict who arrived in  Sydney "General Hewitt" in 1814.  Theophilus absconded and abandoned Mary.

                   She married (2) William Cook, married 21 Aug 1819 in St Davids, Hobart, Tasmania, b. 1793, d. 19 Mar 1832, buried in St David's Hobart, Tasmania.  William: William Cook was an Auctioneer when he died, and was a guardian to Mary's niece Emma Herbert.



       2.    iii. Thomas b. Oct 1810.





Generation Two


2. Thomas Restell Crowder II, b. Oct 1810 in Elizabeth Street, Hobart, Tasmania, baptized 28 Oct 1810 in St Davids, Parish of Campbelltown, Hobart, Tasmania, d. 14 Oct 1851 in Hollyrood House, Murray Street, Hobart, Tasmania.  Thomas Restall Crowder II was said to be a farmer in Yeoman Farm Pittwater.  He died on 14 Oct 1851 at Holyrood House, Murray Street, Hobart Town.


    Information from the Edgar Society Newsletter No. 9:


    THOMAS RESTELL CROWDER, junior, was born in 1810, at his parents’ Elizabeth Street house, He was a licensed victualler, with premises in Liverpool St., Hobart Town, in 1836. He died on 14 October 1851, at Hollyrood House, Murray St., Hobart Town.

There is an earlier profile for Thomas and Mary in my book Exiled Three Times pages 55-57.    


» view or post reactions


Stories written by descendants of the Norfolk Islanders were sent to me when I was organizing the Bicentenary for the Norfolk Islanders in early 2006. I had hoped to publish these profiles in book but because of illness I was unable to do so. It was only when I started working again that I decided to do what I had promised and place them on my website. The profiles have written by the descendants and if they do not wish me to display them could they let me know and I will deleate them. Because they were written in 2006 there maybe some additional information now available.                     

I would like to thank all of those who sent in their profiles and apologize for not being able to place them in a book.                                                                                                                   


» view or post reactions

George Porter City of Edinburgh 1808


                                                                                                                  CITY OF EDINBURGH   1808






                          TRIED:                                              LONDON 25 February 1789

         TRANSPORTED:                                                Scarborough (2nd Fleet)

   NORFOLK ISLAND:                                              September 1791

                         TRADE:                                              Gardener, Farmer, Constable

                   MARRIED:                                                Susannah Mortimore/O’Brien 21
                                                                                     NOV 1808 Hobart

                            DIED:                                              8 September 1828 Blacksnake



                           WIFE:                                               SUSANNAH Mortimore/O’Brien

                          BORN:                                              C1760 
                          NORFOLK  ISLAND:                      AUG 1790

                            DIED:                                              7 May 1835 Glenorchy TAS   





1.    GEORGE              Born                                          c1809 in Hobart

       (PORTER)            Baptized                                   21 August 1809 Hobart

                                    Died                                         14 March 1831 Glenorchy        .


2.   JAMES                  Born                                         Hobart

      (PORTER)             Baptized                                   24 February 1812 Hobart

                                    Died                                         c1836.                                 


3.  CATHERINE         Born                                         c1813 Hobart

      (PORTER)             Bapized                                    4 October 1813 Hobart

                                    Married                                    (1) 17 Sept. 1827 New Norfolk
                                                                                     Thomas Simpson

                                                                                    (2) July 1842 Thomas Blackall New

                                    Died                                         29 April 1851Risdon

                                    Buried                                      3 May 1851 in Clarence

                                    Died                                          (Simpson) ..............

                                    Died                                         (Blackall) 26 June 1880 Melbourne


4.  MARY ANN          Born                                         8 Dec. 1815 Hobart

    (PORTER)               Baptized                                   30 APR 1816 Hobart

                                    Married/with                             (1) Alexander Waddle     

                                                                                     (2) Robert Smith 11 Dec. 1846

                                    Died                                           Mary Ann .............

                                                                                    (Alexander) 7 Dec. 1852

                                                                                    ( Robert) .................


5. SUSANNAH           Born                                        30 June 1817 Hobart

 (PORTER)                  Baptized                                   21 April 1818 Hobart

                                    Married                                    Charles Mansfield 14 June 1833

                                    Died                                         (Susannah) 1 July 1905 Colebrook .

                                                                                     (Charles) 27 Oct. 1876 Ararat


6. WILLIAM               Born                             30 August 1820 Hobart

    (PORTER)               Baptized                                   21 Feb 1821 Hobart

                                    Married                                    Harriet PHIPPS

                                    Died                                         (William) 19 AUG 1895 Elwick

                                                                                    (Harriet)   24 Jun 1895 Glenorchy        


7.  ELIZA                   Born                                         5 January 1823 Glenorchy

   (PORTER)                Baptized                                   10 March 1823Hobart

                                     Married                                   Robert Stonehouse 05 January 1838

                                                                                    Eliza) c1840 Melbourne Victoria

                                    Died                                         (Robert) 27 April 1879 East 
                                                                              Charlton Victoria


8.  ELIZA                     Born                                        9 May 1825 Glenorchy

  (PORTER)                 Baptized                                   9 May 1929 New Norfolk

                                     Married                                   John Richard Lucas 10 April 1841

                                     Died                                        (Eliza) 3 June 1854 Horton

                                                                                     (John) 30 June 1883 Richmond


9. MARGARET           Born                                        27 November 1827 Glenorchy

  (PORTER)                 Baptized                                   1 March 1829 New Norfolk

                                    Married                                     Reuben Lester/Porter 6 Aug. 1849

                                    Died                                          (Margaret) 30 May 1872 White
                                                                              Hills Victoria

                                    Died                                         (Reuben) 30 July 1889 Echuca







George Porter was sentenced, on 25 February 1789, to death at OLD BAILEY, London, for theft of 6 hankerchiefs & a single leather slipper.  After seven months in cells he was offered a pardon on condition of transportation.  He was then sent from Newgate to the Scarborough Transport.


In SEP 1791, just over a year after landing at Sydney Cove, he was sent to NORFOLK ISLAND.  He worked quietly on the island as a gardener & is listed in muster in 1796.


He was a single man when he was among settlers transferred to Van Diemen’s Land on the "City of Edinburgh" in SEP 1808.  He was recommended for the land grant and described as having a "good character".  He arrived in Hobart on 2 OCT 1808.


About a month after arriving in HOBART TOWN he married Susannah Mortimore, (who went under the name of O'Brien), she had sailed with her family from NORFOLK ISLAND also on the "City of Edinburgh".  It must have seemed like a holiday for them all on the voyage after the hard work on Norfolk Island and they only had hard times ahead of them.  Perhaps they met and enjoyed each others company on board as they were soon married by Rev'd Robert Knopwood, with Thomas O'Brien, her step-father, and Francis Barnes as witnesses.  The couple both signed with an X.  It was the 34th marriage to take place in Tasmania.


George farmed near New Norfolk, and for some years was a constable with the Hobart Town Police.

George Porter in 1814 Muster of Hobart as being "free" and "on stores".  The 1814 Muster of Settler's Wives and Free Women as Susan Porter, "on stores"; 3 of their children appear in the corresponding Muster of Children of Free People, George, James and one unnamed Porter child, presumably Catherine who would have only been about 12 months old, the 3 children are listed as "on stores".


In 1817 he was supplying wheat & meat to the government stores.


In 1819 he had a grazing license at "Green Bottom", Broad Valley, Glenorchy.  He was listed as farming 60 acres, of which 15 were in wheat, & 4 in beans & potatoes.  He also had 5 cattle & 151 sheep.  He then had 6 children and employed a government servant.


In the DEC 1821 "Hobart Town Gazette" the following advertisement appeared: "STRAYED, about three weeks ago, from the Black Snake, two working bullocks, branded G P on the near shoulder one has a black mark with a star on the forehead, the other red colour with a white back - Whoever will give information where they are, to George Porter, the owner, as above, will receive 2 pounds for their trouble; but if found in any person's possession after this notice, they will be prosecuted agreeably to the Colonial regulations."


In 1826 he became a Police Department Constable, Black Snake Road, and in May 1826 applied for an increase in salary and that he be able to keep a pound. The Chief Police Magistrate endorsed his application as follows: " George Porter has been fifteen years a Constable and I think his farm, which is about eight miles from New Town on the road to New Norfolk is a good situation for a pound for the District of Glenorchy."  Sworn in as Petty Constable for Glenorchy on 13 November 1827.


In 1828 a "Return of Juvenile Population of the Black Snake, VDL, requiring Education" lists the Porter family, boys & girls separately, with the comment "Parents of good character".  They were Protestants and their father claimed that the school was too far off for his children to attend.


George died on 8 September 1828, at the age of 60, leaving his wife responsible for a family of eight children with the youngest being only 10 months old.


On 13 May 1836 Caveat Board transferred two land grants at Black Snake originally made to George Porter, one 30 acres, one 32 acres, to James Porter (Courier 20 May 1836).  Presumably this was done as George's wife had died earlier in 1835.



                                                                                                     © Barbara Torley 2006



» view or post reactions

Thomas Stevens Minstrel 1813

                                                                                                                                    MINSTREL 1813





                     BORN:                               C 1763 in Derbyshire ENG

                    TRIED:                               Old Bailey, London, 21 FEB 1789

                    TRANSPORTED:              Salamander (3rd Fleet)

                    TO NORFOLK ISLAND:  Pitt, 23 APR 1792

                    DIED:                                 18 AUG 1831 Longford TAS

                    BURIED:                            Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.







                    WIFE:                                  Mary PHILLIPS (no record of marriage has
                                                                   been found)

                     TRIED:                               Somerset, 20 March 1786          

                     TRANSPORTED:              Charlotte (1st Fleet)

                     TO NORFOLK ISLAND:  Sirius 13 March 1790   

                     DIED:                                 22 JAN 1850 Longford TAS

                     BURIED:                           Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.









1.    JOHN                            Born                    19 DEC 1793 NORFOLK ISLAND

        (STEVENS)                Married               4 APR 1825 Mary C. TRIMBY (nee

                                             Died                    20 MAR 1883 Longford TAS

                                             Buried                 23 MAR 1883 Christ Church Cemetery
                                                                          Longford TAS.   


2.  ELIZABETH                 Born                      c1796  NORFOLK ISLAND

      (STEVENS)                  Married                18 JAN 1819 William SALTMARSH

                                             Died                       3 SEP 1840 Norfolk Plains VDL

                                             Buried                   Christ Church Cemetery Longford


3.  MARY                           Born                       C 1809  NORFOLK ISLAND

     (STEVENS)                  Married                  13 NOV 1826 Richard RUFFIN

                                            Died                        SEP 1850 Geelong VIC

                                            Buried                    26 SEP 1850 Eastern Cemetery
                                                                       Geelong VIC









Thomas STEVENS was tried at Old Bailey on 21 FEB 1789 for stealing 90 pounds weight of copper on the 23rd Mar 1788 and was found guilty.  He received seven years transportation.


 He sailed from PLYMOUTH on SALAMANDER on the 27 MAR 1791 arriving at PORT JACKSON on  21  AUG 1791  thus  becoming a THIRD FLEETER.


 On 23 APR 1792 he is a stowaway aboard the "PITT" for NORFOLK ISLAND and soon after this he was living with Mary PHILLIPS, and their first child, John, was born in DEC 1793.


  He is listed over the next few years at NORFOLK ISLAND as a labourer and then as boats crew & his sentence had expired.


 On 12 DEC 1806 he makes his mark (signature) to a memorial addressed to Captain Piper, Commandant of Norfolk Island.


On 2 AUG 1807, he is listed as boats crew, on stores, wife & 3 children off stores and he employed 1 free man; he had  60 acres,11 in maize, 49 pasture: had 65 hogs and 150 bushels of maize in hand.


On 30 AUG 1811 he was admitted to hospital suffering from worms, he was discharged on 10 SEP 1811.  Later in JUN 1812 he was again visiting the doctor with a sprain that lasted for a week.


He is listed in a muster at Norfolk Island in AUG 1812 as leasing 60 acres: 4 1/2 in wheat,1 fallow,47 1/2 pasture; sheep 18, swine 20 , goats 19, wheat 13 bushels, maize 16 bushels.


When being transferred to PORT DALRYMPLE on 13 FEB 1813 he received a certificate of compensation for the possessions left behind and destroyed.  He received £25 (the highest valuation) for his thatched & log dwelling (22ft x 13ft ) & 2 thatched & logged outhouses. He received 3 pounds 14 shillings for 6 stools,3 tables,4 chairs, 1 tray & 1 jar.  His stock was slaughtered & taken into stores, comprising of 15 wethers,14 ewes full grown,5 male 5 female full grown, 2 male,5 female half grown: 1 female kid, 3 pigs weighing 771 lbs, plus  2 acres of wheat, 40 bushels, 3 acres maize 60 bushels. (AONSW 4.6977A)


The family settled at NORFOLK PLAINS and in 1815, he signed a petition for establishment of a Criminal Court at HOBART TOWN.  Also ,along with his son John Stevens, he is listed on Stock returns of Port Dalrymple of 11 - 15 OCT as having a Land Grant,16 acres in wheat: 64 pasture; 80 acres in all; 25 cattle; 110 sheep. Thomas, his wife & 2 children are on victuals & one person is off victuals.


He was appointed District Constable of Norfolk Plains on 30 MAY 1818 (Hobart Town Gazette).


He was on a list of 19 FEB 1820 to be assigned a Government Servant.


In 11 - 15 OCT 1822 muster of PORT DALRYMPLE he is on a Grant given by Gov. Macquarie.  He had 80 acres, 16 in wheat 64 in pasture; had 25 cattle,110 sheep.  He, his wife and 2 children, were on victuals and he had a government servant not victualled.


He died on 18 AUG 1831 and is buried at Christ Church Cemetery, LONGFORD.  His gravestone reads



                                                                   TO THE MEMORY OF

                                                                    THOMAS  STEVENS

                                                                       DIED AUG 18,1831


                                                                     MARY STEVENS

                                                                     DIED JAN 22 1850

                                                                     AGED 84 YEARS
                                                                                                      © Barbara Torley

» view or post reactions

Samuel Baker Minstrel 1813

                                                                                      Minstrel  1813




TRIED:                                    Bedford, 11 March 1789, hanging, commuted to life [1]

TRANSPORTED:                    Matilda (3rd Fleet)

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:       Mary Ann, 8 August 1791

TRADE:                                   Chimney sweep, chair-bottom maker, carpenter

DIED:                                      7 April 1841, Launceston, age 77

BURIED:                                 Launceston

LAND:                                     15 acres Norfolk Island (AONSW 4/6977A, reel 6020), 50

acres (in practice 30) Blackstone Heights, South Esk; Locatee two blocks Brisbane Street, Launceston.




PARTNER:                              ELIZABETH LEWIS

TRANSPORTED:                    Britannia, 1798, 7 yrs


PARTNER:                              MARY (ANN) BRENNAN

BORN:                                    Ireland

TRANSPORTED:                    Catherine

DIED:                                      27 August 1826

BURIED:                                 St John's, Launceston




1.      William Baker (mother Elizabeth Lewis) born 1801 Norfolk Island, died within 3 months


2.      Mary Brennan Baker (mother Mary Ann Brennan), born 10 September 1816, Launceston, baptized 22 August 1825, Launceston, married 6 July 1841 James East, Launceston, died 26 April 1884, Launceston.


3.   Elizabeth Brennan Baker (mother Mary Ann Brennan), born 10 August 1818, Launceston, baptized 22 August 1825, Launceston, married 18 July 1831, John Brown, Launceston, died 27 September 1854.


4    Sarah Ann Brennan Baker (mother Mary Ann Brennan), born 3 November 1820,

      baptised 22 August 1825, Launceston, married 1 June 1840, John Bassett,

Launceston, married 2 November 1854, William Cole, York Street Chapel,   Launceston, died 27 July 1899 Wynyard, buried 29 July Wynyard.




Samuel Baker, as he came to be known, is thought to have come from Chalgrave, Bedfordshire, England. During the night of 7 August 1788 Odkenbaker, with an accomplice George Davis, broke into the Hockcliffe, Bedfordshire, shop of draper Francis Millard. They stole stockings and handkerchiefs to the value of £6 15s, and perhaps also £3 13s 6d cash. Within two days, they were arrested at Harpenden, Hertfordshire on 'very strong suspicion.' Odkenbaker claimed that he had been sold the goods and was on legitimate business.


He was sentenced to hang. This was commuted to life and transportation on 27 April 1789. Odkenbaker was sent first to Portsmouth gaol then on the 23 December 1789 to the hulk 'Ceres' at Langstone Harbour, his base while working at Fort Cumberland on Eastney Common. This was one of the line of defensive structures against the possibility of a French invasion by sea.


On 3 March 1791, Odkenbaker was moved on, ready to embark in the Third Fleet on the Matilda. On 8 August 1791, a week after arrival in Australia, he was embarked on the Mary Ann for Norfolk Island as a convict sawyer.


He was from then on referred to by the surname 'Baker'. In 1801, convict Elizabeth Lewis, transported on the Britannia in 1798 for seven years for theft, gave birth to Baker's short-lived son, William. Lewis returned to Port Jackson in 1809.


By then Samuel an unmarried '3rd class settler', holding 15 acres of land (only 7 farmed), with 14 pigs. He later built a 'small dwelling house'. He was also on record as gardener to the Governor at Queensborough. He was pardoned in January 1813, so entered Van Diemen's Land as a free and pardoned man (Fiche 3292; 4/6974.1 p.79) so was not a convict founder of Tasmania.


He was joined in Port Dalrymple by Mary Brennan in 1814. He was allocated '30' acres at Blackstone Heights, overlooking the South Esk. The land marked out, though, was in fact 50 acres, situated around where Baker's Court now stands. In 1918, he was appointed 'constable' and perhaps also agent to the Hobart Town Gazette for the collection of payments. By then Mary Brennan had given birth to Mary, while Elizabeth was on the way. In 1820 she gave birth to Sarah.


Baker was not long out of trouble. A year after baptizing his three daughters at St John's, he was charged on 15 August 1826 with possessing a stolen blanket. The charge was dismissed. On 19 August he was charged with 'illegally retailing spirituous liquors' and fined £25. Just over a week later, Mary Brennan died of alcohol poisoning. In November 1826, Baker was again fined £25 for retailing illegal grog. Three months later, one of the Brisbane Street blocks was sold for £35. But Baker could not keep out of trouble - over the years he was charged six times with drunkenness, being fined 5s 0d each time.

In July 1831, the two elder daughters married within twelve days of each other: Mary was 14 and Elizabeth ('Betsy') 12. Sarah waited until she was 19.


It is not known whether Baker ever farmed his acreage at Blackstone Heights - there is no record of a dwelling of any kind. It seems unlikely, as there are repeated references to his presence in Port Dalrymple, later Launceston.


                                                                                                © Dr Gwyneth Daniel (2006)

[1] ASSI/94/1317

» view or post reactions

William Saltmarsh Minstrel 1813


                                                                                                                                    MINSTREL 1813




Also known as BUTLER


BORN                        13 AUG 1792 NORFOLK ISLAND


MARRIED:               Elizabeth STEVENS 18 JAN 1819

                                    St Johns Church Launceston TAS


DIED;                         21 NOV 1863 at Norfolk Plains East VDL


BURIED:                   23 NOV 1863 Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.


TRADE:                     Farmer, district constable   






WIFE:                              Elizabeth STEVENS

BORN:                           c1796 Norfolk Island

DIED:                             Sep 1840 Norfolk Plains

BURIED:                        Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS





1.   JAMES JOHN           Born:          20 APR 1816 in Norfolk Plains VDL,

      (SALTMARSH)         Baptized:   29 AUG 1836 in St Johns Church LAUNCESTON TAS

                                           Married:    (1) 20 APR 1843 Alicia 

                                                               (2) 08 NOV 1854 Anne HILLIER

                                                               (3) 13 APR 1858 Mary MORLEY

                                          Died:            5 JUL 1888 in Longford TAS

                                         Buried:         7 JUL 1888 in Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.  


2. MARY                         Born:         18 MAR 1818  Norfolk Plains VDL

   (SALTMARSH)          Married:    10 SEP 1839  Richard WISE

                                         Died:          24 APR 1874 in Longford TAS

                                         Buried:      26 APR 1874 in Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.



3. WILLIAM EDWARD Born:       03 OCT 1819  Norfolk Plains East TAS

     (SALTMARSH)        Baptized :  12 JAN 1820 in St Johns Church
                                                     LAUNCESTON TAS,

                                          Married:  (1) 02 MAR 1841 Maria WEBB      

                                                           (2) 09 APR 1859 Elizabeth BUNTON

                                          Died:       19 MAR 1872 in Longford TAS.       


4.    JOHN                        Born:        21 AUG 1821 Norfolk Plains VDL

      (SALTMARSH)        Baptized:  17 SEP 1821 in St Johns Church
                                                       LAUNCESTON TAS

                                          Married:    14 MAY 1844  Elizabeth Letitia HODGETTS

                                          Died:         06 MAY 1891 Longford TAS

                                          Buried:      08 MAY 1891 Christ Church Cemetery
                                                       Longford TAS     


5.   ELIZABETH             Born:       19 JUN 1823 Norfolk Plains VDL

      (SALTMARSH)        Baptized: 23 OCT 1823 Christ Church LONGFORD TAS

                                          Married:  23 JAN 1845 Samuel HARDMAN

                                          Died:       16 JAN 1897 Launceston TAS

                                          Buried:    18 JAN 1897 Cypress St Cemetery
                                                    LAUNCESTON TAS


6.  THOMAS                   Born:      10 DEC 1824  Norfolk Plains VDL

     (SALTMARSH)         Baptized: 04 APR 1825 Christ Church LONGFORD TAS

                                          Married:  21 SEP 1847 Sarah HODGETTS

                                          Died:       13 DEC 1871  Longford TAS

                                          Buried:    Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.      


7.  RICHARD                  Born:       09 OCT 1828  Norfolk Plains VDL

     (SALTMARSH)         Baptized: 25 JAN 1829 St Johns Church LAUNCESTON 

                                          Married:  08 MAY 1855 Elizabeth DYER

                                          Died:       25 JUN 1906 Cressy TAS

                                          Buried:    Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS.      


8.  SARAH                      Born:       17 OCT 1830 Norfolk Plains VDL

      (SALTMARSH)       Baptized: 25 DEC 1830 Christ Church LONGFORD TAS

                                         Married:  28 NOV 1850 John HYRONS

                                         Buried:    14 AUG 1870 Christ Church Cemetery Longford


9. JOSEPH                      Born:      3 OCT 1832 Norfolk Plains VDL

    (SALTMARSH)         Baptized: 09 DEC 1833 Christ Church LONGFORD TAS

                                         Died:       06 MAR 1861 Longford TAS

                                         Buried:    Christ Church Cemetery Longford TAS. 

                                  (Cohabited with Elizabeth BAYLIS  She is buried at Christ
                            Church Longford,

                                  inscription reads 'Elizabeth m Saltmarsh, age 74, wife of
                            Joseph SALTMARSH

                                  died 20 COT 1957".)


10. ANNIE                     Born:         20 JUN 1835 Norfolk Plains VDL

       (SALTMARSH)      Baptized:  04 OCT 1835 Christ Church LONGFORD TAS

                                        Married:   05 AUG 1856 Douglas McDOWALL

                                        Died:         09 MAR 1866 Circular Head TAS

                                        Buried:      11 MAR 1866  Launceston TAS.      



11.  ELIZA                     Born:        21 DEC 1837 Norfolk Plains VDL

                                        Baptized:   21 JAN 1838 in Christ Church LONGFORD

                                        (Eloped with a married man Robert Chandler in 1858/59 &
                                  she was disinherited

                                        by her father and there is no further known record of her.)






 William Saltmarsh was born at Norfolk Island to William Saltmarsh & Mary Butler (qv)  (1st and 2nd FLEETERS)


  His father was sent back to England via Bengal INDIA per "PITT' on 7 MAY 1792 as Lt. Gov. King described him as "just another scoundrel".


His mother Mary Butler co-habited with James Jordan on Norfolk Island & she had another 5 children.  She died on Norfolk Island before the family moved on to Norfolk Plains VDL in 1813.


William was always listed as William BUTLER in Norfolk's records until 7 DEC 1810 when he is then listed as William SALTMARSH, "labourer, free man, not victualled" & William Butler is now not mentioned.


When the settlement of Norfolk Island was broken up William was one of the settlers who boarded the "Minstrel" on 18 FEB 1813 to sail to PORT DALRYMPLE arriving on 4 MAR 1813.


William received a certificate for stock, wheat & maize, furniture & equipment turned over to the Government when he left Norfolk Island.


He married Elizabeth Stevens, daughter of a FIRST FLEETER,  Mary Phillips & 3rd FLEETER  convict, Thomas STEVENS.  They lived at NORFOLK PLAINS (later renamed LONGFORD) & had a family of 11 children.  He built a commodious 2 storey brick house & substantial outbuildings on his block on the South Esk River.


An accident was reported in the Hobart Town Gazette on 30 NOV 1816 "Lately: at Norfolk Plains, Port Dalrymple, MR WILLIAM SALTMASH met with the following serious accident: -- Being in a wheat-stack, his foot slipped, and he fell on a pitchfork; the prongs of which entered his groin, and wounded him severly; but by the humane attention of JACOB MOUNTGARRETT, esq.' Surgeon of that settlement, he is now in a fair way of recovery."


In the muster of 11-15 OCT 1819 William, his wife Elizabeth & three children, James 3, Mary 2 & William 1, were all living in Port Dalrymple area & off stores.  He was on a grant given by Governor Macquarie of 60 acres, of which 33 were in wheat & 27 in pasture.  He had 36 cattle, 90 sheep, 3 swine & 300 bushels of grain in hand.


In a memorial dated MAR 1828 to the Governor requesting an additional grant of land, he stated that he was a native of Norfolk Island & had resided in V.D.L. for fifteen years.  he owned 110 acres land, 60 was under cultivation & had 200 head of cattle, 500 sheep 75 horses.  His application was successful & he received another 500 acres.


In 1828 he was appointed Division Constable & pound keeper for the South Esk district. (TAO CSO 1/315/7539)


In 1829 he assisted in the capture of 7 bushrangers, and he received a grant of an additional 500 acres land at Western Rivulet on 20 JUL 1829 at 2d. per acre. (TAO G.O. 33/18).


In 1834 he applied to the Governor to have convicts assigned to him to help in the building of his house.  This was to be a large house built of brick.


Supreme court of Tas praised Mr. W. Saltmarsh & others of Police Force for bringing this murder to light of late Mrs. Howells.  Davidson, Hurlock & Street were charged with this.  (Ref. Supreme Court of VDL dated 19/6/1834.  Hobart Town Courier 20/6/1834.)


The Governor decided, in May 1834, that his services as a district constable were no longer required & were discontinued in July 1834. .  (Ref. TAO CSO 22/73/602).


In 1837 it was noted in the press that he had assisted in the capture of McKay, a murderer, at Norfolk Plains.  In a book by Alan Dyer it is quoted "William rose to fame in 1837 by shooting the dangerous bushranger McKay through the window of the "Leather Bottle Inn" at Perth, as the wanted murderer stood drinking at the bar.  Blood splattered the floor where he fell, and in spite of all attempts to remove it, the stain remained for many years."  He received a further 250 acres as his reward.


In Supreme Court of VDL on 7 OCT 1837 James McBean was charged with stealing on the 17 JUN 1836 a box containing money & other articles to the vaule of £5 & a second charge of stealing articles in the dwelling house of William Field.  William Saltmarsh gave evidence saying "I apprehended prisoner about 9 o'clock on Sunday, the 18th JUN; afterwards was this box at Wm. Field's;  I found the articles that I produced in the box;  Charles Wise pointed out a place in a brush-fence where I observed footmarks; on Monday morning, constable Gilmore brought some shoes to me which corresponded exactly;  I traced those marks about 40 yards in the direction of Perth;   I apprehended prisoner in Field's house."   McBean was found guilty of stealing & sentenced to 7 years transportation.  (Ref:"; L'ton Advertiser 12 OCT 1837; True Colonist 13 OCT 1837; HT Courier (Supplement) 20 OCT 1837)


In 1842 census seventeen people inhabited the Saltmarsh Farm & he employed 10 men on his property.


Between 1844-46 William was licensee of the Longford Hotel & later of the Berriedale Hotel, from which he ran a coach service known as the Royal Mail between Launceston & Longford. (Launceston Examiner 2/9/1856).


In Launceston Examiner on 29 NOV 1845 he is mentioned in Quarter Sessions (to be checked) Also on 10 JUL 1847 Supreme Court on 8 JUL for stealing on 23rd instant a cheque for £6-6-6 & 3 £ notes the property of James Fagin -not guilty. (also to be checked).


He gave a site for a church at Norfolk Plains.  Engaged a tutor for his children and offered a cottage on his property for a school. (Tasmanian Church Chronicle dated 3/1/1852).


In 1850's, as part of his Chief Constable's duties, he ordered one of the three constables John MacNamara, who had been living in the Police Barracks in Scone Street to go & live at the "Leather Bottell" as he had been too quarrelsome.  However, one night the other two constables, ex convicts, visited Macnamara & shot him head.  The body was found by Saltmarsh lying in a doorway between two roons--- the murderers, Mullay & Shaw were executed.  (Ref: Story of Leather Bottell Inn).


He later built the Rob Roy Hotel which served both as a school & post office.  These were run by his son James.


In the great floods of 1852 William, who lived in a big brick house on the old road, was rescued from a top window of his house in a boat.


On 7 OCT 1852 was granted a license for Berriedale Hotel at Longford (HTG)


In 1860-61 was on electoral roll at North esk being a Freeholder at Norfolk Plains East.


In 1863 was proprietor of Licensed House, has 300 acres, net annual value £225.  (HTG 13 NOV 1863).


William died in 1863, aged 71 years, & cause of death was given as old age.  His wife Elizabeth had died earlier in 1840.  Both are buried at Christ Church Cemetery, Longford.


Launceston Examiner of 26 NOV 1863 reads 'Longford News: On Saturday last Mr. Saltmarsh expired, after a very protracted illness.  Deceased was one of the oldest inhabitants, and on Monday, the body  was followed to the grave by nearly a hundred & fifty respectable people.  Mr. Benjamin Jun. came from Perth (to attend the ceremony) and put his horse at the stables of Mr. John Saltmarsh.  The horse had not been there more than a few minutes before it suddenly dropped down dead.  On opening the body of the horse, it was found that the animal had ruptured one of the larger vessels of the heart."


Death notice in Mercury 22 DEC 1863 reads 'SALTMARSH On 21st November, 1863 at his residence Norfolk Plains East Mr. William Saltmarsh aged 74 years."


When he died William left numerous farms & acreage to his sons & daughters as well as personal estate in regards to money to his grandsons and an old servant.  He also left 6 bullock & dray, furniture, live stock & proceeds of the crops to various members of his family.  He left nothing to his daughter Eliza, as her conduct was immoral.  (She eloped with a married man).



A large tombstone at Christ Church Cemetery in Longford reads:


                                                                                           S A C R E D

                                                                               TO THE MEMORY OF

                                                                  E L I Z A B E T H           S A L T  M A R S H

                                                                                 DIED  3 SEPT 1840

                                                                                  AGED 45 YEARS

                                                                                            A L S O

                                                                      W  I L L I A M            S  A L T M A R S  H

                                                                             HUSBAND OF THE ABOVE

                                                                              DIED NOVEMBER 21, 1863

                                                                                         aged 74 years.



© Barbara TORLEY 2006

» view or post reactions

Richard Morgan King George 1806

                                                                                                King George

                   RICHARD MORGAN
     Reg Watson   

TRIED                                                 Gloucester 23 March 1785:

TRANSPORTED:                                7 Years to Africa, changed to NSW

SHIP:                                                   Alexander

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:                   8 January 1790

SHIP:                                                   Supply

TRADE:                                               Farmer                                    

TO VDL:                                             6 October 1806

SHIP:                                                   King George

MARRIED:                                          Catherine Clark (no record) (2)

DIED:                                                  26 September 1837

BURIED:                                             September 1837 Kangaroo Point




WIFE: (1)                                            Elizabeth Lock

                                                            30 March 1788




WIFE: (2)                                            Catherine Clark (1770-1828

TRANSPORTED:                                2 May 1789

SHIP:                                                   Lady Juliana (1790)

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:                   August 1790

SHIP:                                                   Surprise

TO VDL:                                             6 October 1806

SHIP:                                                   King George

MARRIED:                                          Norfolk Island 1791

DIED:                                                  July 1828

BURIED:                                             27 July 1828 Clarence Plains




      1                                        Born     1792    NI

Married John Wade

Died     1788


2.                                                                              William Henry

Born 1794 NI

Married Emmeline Busby

                                                Died  1850



3                                                                              Richard

Born 1796 NI

Marrier (1) Elizabeth Thomas

             (2) Elizabeth Dart

Died 1877


        4.                                         Mary   

Born 1799

Married David Smith

Died 1821


         5.                                     Sophia

                                                Born 1801

                                                Married (1) Robert Graves

                                                              (2) Peter Buchanan

                                                Died 1844



Born 1801

Married Alexander Bricheman




Born 1804



Born 1804

Died 1836





RICHARD MORGAN (1761-1837)




Reg. A. Watson



            The old barn at Rosny on the Municipal Golf Course has become a most significant historic building in Tasmania.  Probably the oldest building on the eastern shore, it may have been built for the owner, Richard Morgan, by Richard Clark (c1815) who came with Lt Bowen’s party in 1803. The barn had a multiple purpose other than just storing things.  It could have been a place of worship and where Morgan’s servants slept.





 The original owner, Richard Morgan, arrived with his family on October 7th 1806.  Richard was a First Fleeter and a Norfolk Islander.  Authoress, Colleen McCulloch, who visited the site in August 2000, has released a book called “Morgan’s Run”, a novel based on Richard Morgan’s life.  McCulloch’s book, first and foremost, is a novel, a somewhat romanticised version of the life of Richard Morgan;  nonetheless, “Morgan’s Run” gives a reasonable account of life how it was.

            But who was the real Richard Morgan?  Was he the man of comely appearance of the book? A man who had sensitive New Age qualities?  Was he a strong moralist with a strong sense of the religious?  Was his son, William Henry, almost a mystical child as portrayed?

            As mentioned, Richard Morgan was a first fleeter, arriving in 1788 with Gov. Arthur Phillip.  Alas for Richard, he travelled not in style, but with the other convicts, having been convicted in 1785 at Gloucester on the oaths of “John Trevillian Ceely Trevillian esq and others” The offence was “stealing in the dwelling house of the said Richard Morgan (sic) one metal watch value three pounds and also charged with assaulting the said John Trevillian Ceely Trevillian and threatening to murder him and by force unlawfully obtaining from him a promissory note for the payment of five hundred pounds.”  Morgan was convicted and was sentenced to be transported to Africa for seven years.

            Morgan, however, appealed and his complicated story was rather different. Morgan, asserted among other things, that he found Ceely in bed with his wife and that Ceely offered him the promissory note of five hundred pounds as compensation.  I will quote from the book “The Founders of Australia” by Mollie Green. (P. 250) of the affair.  (to quote)…”His own account of the incident was a little different in the long petition he submitted on 5th April to Lord Sydney.  He said that when working in a Bristol distillery he had noticed a lot of pipes erected to defraud the Revenue, and out of a sense of duty he had reported the fraud to the Collector of Excise, who investigated and ended the practice.  Morgan had been required as a witness to the subsequent prosecution and had been approached with bribes to compromise.  A trial was avoided through delay in bringing it forward and Morgan understood that the case had been settled out of court for 800 pounds and costs, and thought he was entitled to some of this money as informer.  He was then told (he said) that there had been criminal connection between his wife and one Ceely of Bristol, a man of property and to test this he hid with a witness in the house and found Ceely in bed with this wife.  Morgan said Ceely then offered him the promissory note for 500 pounds as compensation, which he accepted so his wife would not be shamed by public infamy.  He said that in his fright Ceely had left a watch in the bedroom and that he had kept it, thinking that he had a right to do so.  He intimated that the present charge against him had been instituted to avoid paying the 500 pounds.  He added, ‘Your Petitioner had no criminal intention in what he did but has always acted as a faithful and honest Subject both towards the Government and his neighbours’.  If no free pardon was offered, he asked for permission to transport him with the money he still believed due to him for his services in disclosing the fraud. (end of quote).

.The appeal, sadly, was rejected and Morgan was transported to the prison hulk, “Ceres”.  McCulloch has him married to the dainty, demure, Margaret nee Biggs at this time and according to her, she was a first cousin.  Records State that he was transferred to the vessel Alexander in January 1787 and it was on this vessel he arrived at Port Jackson as a member of the first fleet, 26th January 1788.  The Alexander was not a happy ship as most of the deaths occurred on this boat and at one time there was a mutiny.

            Two months later, Morgan received permission to marry another convict, Elizabeth Lock, who had been in gaol with him at Gloucester.  Elizabeth had actually received a death sentence for two accounts of breaking into a house and stealing, but the sentenced was reprieved to seven years transportation.

            They were married 30th March 1788 at St Phillip’s Church, Sydney with witnesses, Ann Colpitts and William Whiting.  There was no church building at the time, so they were no doubt married under a large gum tree. On the 8th January 1790 Richard was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply with 21 other male convicts and one female.. Elizabeth followed in Feburary 1790. There appears to have been no further contact between the two.  Morgan had now been given his freedom and was granted two acres on the island, which he called “Morgan’s Run”, Queensboro, the title of McCulloch’s book.

            Morgan was a randy fellow, for he took up with another convict, Catherine Clark arrived later in the colony (1789) aboard the Lady Juliana. He and his second life, Elizabeth Loch, had obviously separated, she finding a protector on Norfolk Island, with Thomas Scully, a marine.

            Richard had actually committed bigamy as he still had a wife back in England.  Now he lived in a de facto relationship with Catherine Clark. Catherine had been charged along with three others, an Elizabeth Riley, Mary Barnes and Ann Bryan, for the theft of muslin. She was convicted in Middlesex in 1788 and was sentenced for seven years

            There does not appear to be any children to his previous two wives.  The first, by records, came in 1792 with the birth of Catherine.  William Henry came second (1794) although McCulloch has him being born to his wife in England, many years before.

            Morgan was a hard-working and energetic man and with the help of Catherine they prospered on Norfolk Island (lot number 80 )– and increased their acreage to 50, eventually supplying pork to the government.  He was also employed as a sawyer and an overseer.  On October 15th 1805, they left Norfolk Island (now with seven children, including one set of twins, (George and James) for Port Jackson. It is interesting to note that “James” was the second child of that name.  An early James was born on Norfolk Island in 1798 and died 1798, parents Richard Morgan and Catherine Clarke.

There has been general belief that for a short period Richard was occupied as a self-employed tree faller at Port land Head, near Windsor NSW.  While falling a tree, he miscalculated its fall, it falling across the man’s house who contracted him, Richard Dunn.  Tragically, two of Dunn’s children were killed, Catherine (10) and James (7).  They were asleep at the time.  For this affair, Richard was sentenced to 500 lashes. According to the Sydney Gazette 21 Sept 1806 P.4, Richard fell the tree “before day-light” with the subsequent tragic results. The Gazette records, “A servant of James Dunn, being employed in falling timber near to his master’s house, a tree of immense size fell upon it, and renting it asunder, killed two fine children as they lay in bed, besides maiming the mother in a most dreadful manner as she sat by the bedside.  Dunn had himself providentially got out of bed an instant before or must have inevitably shared the fate of his unfortunate children, one of whom was a girl of ten years and the other a boy of seven. – An inquest was taken on the bodies and under some peculiar circumstances Richard Morgan the servant, was committed to custody.”

For some time, this was accepted to be ‘our’ Richard Morgan.  Family researcher, Cec Quin from Sydney, however, has disproved that.  The above is another Richard Morgan.  This latter Morgan was a convict assigned to J. Dunn and is shown as arriving on the Coromandel 1. This arrived  in 1802.  Our Richard certainly was not a convict in 1806 and as the newspaper stated, Morgan “the servant”.  Our Richard Morgan was free at the time of the tragedy. Henceforth we can dispense with the story.

 However, it is believed that particular Morgan avoided the flogging.

On October 7 1806 ‘our’ Richard Morgan and family arrived at Hobarton on the King George to take up 130 acres at Kangaroo Point, Clarence Plains.  The Morgans were the first settlers at Kangaroo Point.  Two assigned servants accompanied them.

            The Morgans were part of a number of Norfolk Island families sent to populate Van Diemen’s Land.  They were to be victualled at the expense of the Crown for two years and allowed convict servants for several years.  This influx of arrivals placed an enormous strain on the colonial government of Lt-Gov David Collins.

            Knopwood records:  “At 11 I went over to Morgan’s farm and took refreshment with me.  Came home at 5 pm.  Mr and Mrs McCauley with me.” (January 1808).  Lt Gov Collins also visited his farm “across the water” A year later, (1809) when the notorious Captain Bligh was on his ship on the HMS Porpoise, Morgan who had known Bligh while in New South Wales.  Richard supplied him with fresh provisions. It was a tricky situation supporting Bligh in the light that Collins opposed him. Indeed, Collins sentenced Morgan’s friend, James Belbin to 500 lashes for boarding Bligh’s vessel as it was moored in the River Derwent. I understand the sentenced was not carried out.

            In 1813, Surveyor G.W. Evans plotted 190 acres of Richard’s grant.  In the survey (which was based on original marks left by James Meehan on tree stumps in 1803), reference is made to survey points such as ‘on Morgan’s wheat’; ‘on the other side of the farm’; and ‘Morgan’s cultivated land.’

            Evans also marked out 100 acres for William Morgan and Richard senior’s boundary, but this appears to have been taken up by Richard junior.

            In 1815, he was constable at Kangaroo Point, a post that he was dismissed from on July 26th 1817.  In that year he was commissioner for wheat.

            Both Richard Morgans tendered for wheat and meat contract.  Richard Senior tendered for 15090 lbs of meat every three months and 77-100 bushels of wheat in season.  The farm at Kangaroo Bay was not large enough to carry the number of cattle that supplied meat to the store.  These may have come from the additional lease Richard Morgan Snr. had at Prosser’s Plains (now Buckland).  They may also have come from stolen stock.  They also had sheep at Scantling Plains (York Plains) as Knopwood records in November 1815:  “the natives had killed and destroyed 930 of his sheep, (and) had piled them up together and burnt them.”

            In 1818 Thomas Florance, who first owned Rosny point, ran a scow or open ferry across to Hobart Town from Morgan’s, carrying livestock.  The Hobart Town Gazette (11th Aug 1819. 2c) reports:  “All live animals to be received at the Point adjoining Mr. Mrogan’s land, but all produce and luggage will be received at the command landing places…until two or three weeks have elapsed, when a road will be completed at the said Point, passing to and through Mr Morgan’s Farm, forming a junction with the Pittwater Road, a few rods south of Mr Ballance’s Inn.”

            Richard in supplying the meat to the government had his own slaughtering house, for which he was licenced. The exact location of the enterprise is not known.  Probably close to the water’s edge of Kangaroo Bay.  This would help in the ferrying of produce to Hobart Town situated opposite.  It was a lucrative and demanding business as all the convicts and soldiers were dependent on the government.

            In 1818, Richard Morgan and Rowland W. Loane were jointly charged with slaughtering cattle without a licence.  Morgan stated that he had rented the place to Loane, and that he was not there at the time of the slaughtering. Loane it would appear was not popular and a number of people gave evidence against him, including the owner of the vessel Derwent, William Carr, re illegal slaughtering.  Nonetheless in 1820 both Richard and son William signed a petition in favour of Loane. They year before (1819) both Richard and Loane are on record in donating money (Loane five pounds and Richard one) to the Bible Society of Van Diemen’s Land.

The HTG (22/8/1818) reported: “By Public Auction at the Premises of Mr R Morgan on Monday 24th instant at 12 o’clock, Ten horned cattle.”

It was rumoured that the Morgans were heavily involved in sheep theft and that they co-operated with outlaws.  His son, William was definitely heavily involved. He and brother Richard (see below) lived at Hollow Tree (now Cambridge). William with his brother-in-law, Derwent Hibbens, who was also involved in stock theft, ran some type of crime partnership. Indeed Derwent was sent to Port Arthur for his efforts. It was a touchy situation, as sister Catherine had married John Wade, who pursued offenders with vigour.  It is also believed the situation made it some-what difficult between the Wades and the Morgans. Eventually the evidence was overwhelming and a warranted was issued against William and against Richard Hibbens and his brother, Douglas.    William “took to the hill”, but was pursued by a groups of constables, led by Daniel McKenna.  They found and arrested him at Richard Morgan Junior’s home at Hollow Tree and William was sent to Hobart.  On August 14, 1819, he was committed for trial in Sydney.  Despite a petition to the effect that he was “honest” William was sentenced to death, but fortunately for him and his family, Governor Brisbane pardoned him. He certainly led a charmed life, for it was known that his and brother Richard’s farms at Hollow Tree was a base for illegal transactions involving stolen livestock. This was the era of Michael Howe, perhaps the best of the very early bushrangers and there is evidence that the Morgan boys were associating with the gang, especially George Watts, a member of Howe’s gang. Watts, while no relation, was an interesting fellow, as he married Margaret Eddington, the mistress of the late Lt-Governor of the colony, David Collins.

In 1819 there were 21 acres of wheat, 2 acres of barely, 2 acres of potatoes, half an acre of beans (usually used as feed for horses) and 174 acres of pasture.  The property consisted of 81 cattle, 2 horses and 231 sheep. Three years later he had 22 acres of wheat, 2 acres of barley, half an acre of beans, 2 acres of potatoes, 174 acres of pasture out of a total of 200 acres.  He owned 2 horses and 81 cattle plus 230 sheep.

            In 1822 Richard Morgan Senior was compelled to caution people from grazing stock or cutting timber on his farm at Kangaroo Point. The farm included an additional 200 acres, which Richard Morgan had purchased from Colonel Davey in 1817, when Davey returned to England.

Richard’s son, Richard Junior, (bn.1797) was later granted 50 acres, also at Clarence Plains, later increasing his holding to 80 acres. On this grant consisted, 18 acres of wheat, one of beans, 3 of potatoes and 58 in pasture and was running 28 cattle.

The Muster Lists for 1818-1821 showed a number of prisoners worked on the Morgan farm. Those for Richard Senior were John Brown; John West; James Donovan; James Manton; John Webster; James Johnson; while for Richard Junior were John Snell; Neale Carey; William Cullen; and Samuel James. James Manton was given 50 lashes twice, in 1820 and 1823 for neglect of duty, disobedience of orders and abusing his master, Richard Morgan junior. John West was also given 50 lashes for disobedience of orders and neglect of duty. John Webster was given in 1820, 25 lashes.  He was freed in 1828, but in 1848 was sentenced for life for sheep stealing.

Richard Jnr, being a freeman, became a prominent member of the local community.  He married Elizabeth Thomas 22nd May 1823 at St David’s Church, Hobart. We touched briefly on his early life and his exploits with brother William.  In October 1823 he had to sell his Hollow Tree to clear his debts.  The property was described as: “Right and title to a weatherboard house and farm of 60 acres, with barn and out-houses, etc, at Hollow Tree near Kangaroo Point.” (Hobart Town Gazette 4/10/1823).  However, it would appear it did not sell, for in 1828 his father’s farm at Kangaroo Point was put up for sale, father Richard being forced to sell because of a severe financial depression which hit the colony.  The Hobart Town Courier (22/March 1828) recorded:  “A farm of 130 acres one mile from Kangaroo Point on the Pittwater Road, bordered on one side by the Rivulet, 60 acres of which are in a high state of cultivation and clear of stumps with a good house and most excellent Barn.”

In that same year 1828 both Richard Morgans tendered for more land, which was rejected with it being written on Richard Snr, “This man has always borne a suspicious character and to whom no encouragement should be given as an occupier of land  On Richard Jnr’s it states, “This is the son of the elder Morgan to whom I believe the same suspicions are attached as to the father” (CSO papers, Archives of Hobart.)

            The farm was sold in 1831 to Joseph Hone, Attorney-General.

In 1858 Richard Junior built the “Bellerive Hotel”, which was called The Villa. Originally a two storey structure it faces Kangaroo Bay. In 1939 fire destroyed a major part of the building.  It is now single storey. However, Christopher James Todd was in charge of the hotel in 1860. In 1919 an advertisement declared it having “excellent accommodation”. The author of this work, co-incidentally, worked as a journalist for the community newspaper, Eastern Shore Sun, the early years of the 21st century, which operated from The Villa.

Richard Junior died 11 June 1877. Richard Jnr was to marry a second time, to Elizabeth Dart (1806-1869) on 23rd May 1838 at Trinity Church, Hobart. He, together with sisters, Mary Louise, Elizabeth Sussannah, and Ada Augusta are buried in the grounds of St Matthew’s Rokeby, Tasmania. Their tombstone still can be seen today (2002). His second wife, Elizabeth, is mentioned on the tombstone, but it is believed she is buried in the Risdon (Bellerive) cemetery. With Elizabeth (Dart), he had six sons and six daughters, with his first wife, Eliza, just one son, Charles Morgan.

            A daughter of Richard Snr, Catherine, married an ex-convict, John Wade, who arrived with David Collins to settle Sullivan’s Cove in 1804.

            Richard Morgan Snr died at Clarence Plain and was buried on Sept 26th 1837 at Clarence Plains (Rokeby) aged given as 78 years.  His wife, Catherine, was buried July 27th 1828, also Clarence Plains, age given as 57.  I cannot find their burial site, but they are listed in ‘Burials in the Parish of Clarence Plains and Kangaroo Point’.

William Henry had an interesting career. Emmeline Hibbins married William Henry 23rd April 1814 at Hobart Town. She was daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Bushy.  Thomas was a free settler and another Norfolk Islander. On 16th February 1819,William Henry stole 200 sheep, the property of Edward and William Kimberley, Daniel Stanfield and William Nichols junior, from Tin Dish Holes near York Plains.  Hobart historians, Irene Schaffer and Thelma McKay state, “William escaped from gaol with John Oliver, he was described as 25 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, of stout build with dark hair and eyes and was born on Norfolk Island…A reward of 25 pounds was offered for his capture.

“He was captured and fully committed for trial and sent to Sydney on the ‘Prince Leopold’ on August 12 1819 with 12 men to give evidence, his wife accompanied him…’Mrs Morgan wife of the prisoner and child.’

“On 7 September 1822 their son Thomas was born in Hobart, on his baptism on 3 December 1822 it was noted…’E.M. (Emmeline Morgan) was married to Morgan, but at the time she was pregnant, he was confined in the gaol at Sydney, where he had been two years and she was delivered after his return to Hobart.’

“William was granted 100 acres of land in September 1816, he later sold this to Edward Lord.  No record of Emmeline’s death has been found.  William died in 1850 in Hobart.”

Richard and Catherine’s children included:-

            Catherine (1792-1877), William Henry (1794-1850) married Emmeline Busby/Hibbens, Richard (1796 or 97-1877), Mary (1799-1821), Sophia (1801-1844), Margaret, twin to Sophia. Sophia was grandmother to Emma Gaylor Graves who had a relationship with first cousin, once removed Brereton Rolla Jnr.  Sophia died 15th January 1844 at Kangaroo Point, the same day of her daughter's (Georgina) wedding.  Sophia married twice, firstly to Robert Graves (M.18th Feb 1821) who was a “gauger of spirits in His Majesty’s bonded stores.” and secondly to Peter Buchanan, who died at George Town 27th October 1891. She with sister Margaret owned livestock and gave testimony at a trial of the rape of Catherine McGinnis, a servant of John Wade. (see above section on John Wade)

George* and James (1804-1836), twins thus Richard and Catherine had two sets of twins.


            The stout barn still stands.  It is not exactly known when it was built, but no doubt in the second decade of the nineteenth century. (c1813). In 1831 it was sold to the Attorney-General, Algernon Sidney Montague and it was probably he who built the cottage close to the barn.  Like his son-in-law, Richard Morgan snr was a member of the colony’s earliest racing fraternity.

            As a matter of interest, the colonial government had plans for the erection of a military battery on land belonging to Montagu at Kangaroo Point in 1840. (Colonial Times 1st December).  In the following year, the new battery was commenced further up the hill near the new flagstaff.

*George died in 1815.  The Rev Knopwood reported that he buried Mr  Morgan’s son who fell from a cart and was killed.

Article written by Reg Watson 


Richard Morgan is one of the main subjects in Reg Watson’s book “Tasmania! – a saga of a pioneering family”




» view or post reactions

Catherine Kearney Lady Nelson 1808

                                                                                                Lady Nelson (2) 1808



Catherine Kearney


ALSO KNOWN AS:              McKearnon, Kearnon, Kierman, Kiernan, Kierney


BORN:                                   C1769 Ireland


TRIED:                                  Phillipstone (Kings Country) Ireland March 1791


TRANSPORTED:                 Marquis of Cornwallis 1796


TRADE                                  Dairy Farmer


TO NORFOLK ISLAND:     Reliance 1796[1]


MARRIED/WITH:               Mathew Wilson[2]


DIED:                                     April 1830 Hobart Town


BURIED:                               St. David’s Cemetery


LAND:                                    Allotted 1,677 ft. Hobart Town         

                                                Purchased 100 acres Coal River





CATHERINE/MARY           Born at sea 1796

(Kiernan)                                Died NI




WITH:                                    THOMAS SMITH







WILLIAM                              Born                1 January 1798 NI

(KIERNAN)                           Baptized          7 January 1805 NI

Married          Susan Nash 1 January 1823 Hobart Died                31 July 1870 Richmond

Buried             Richmond Headstone

THOMAS                               Born                23 April 1799 NI                   

(KIERNAN)                           Baptized          7 January 1805 NI

With                Mary Stubbs

                                                Died                23 December 1831 Compton Ferry

                                                Buried             Richmond Headstone




SUSAN                                   Born                1830 Richmond

                                                Married          Henry Newham 25 August 1850

                                                Died                21 August 1921 Richmond                            




WITH:                                    ROGER GAVIN


BORN:                                   c 1772 Ireland                                   


TRIED:                                  March 1798  Life


TRADE:                                 Stone Mason


TRANSPORTED:                 Minorca 1801


TO NORFOLK ISLAND:     Chance (Privateer)[3] 1801


MARRIED                            Bridget Kennedy 15 August 1834 Hobart


DIED:                                     1839 Richmond or Hobart



LAND:                                    Granted 30 acres Coal River





JOHN                                     Born                28 July 1803 NI

(KIERNEY)                            Baptized          31 July 1803 NI


                                                Died                NI


Daughter Mary Ann Gavin, born in Atheague Galway  Ireland

[1]  Reel 2747 AOT NSW; Norfolk Island and its people 1788-1814 Reg Wright shipping p 214

[2] Thought to be a seaman on the Marquis of Cornwallis

[3] He concealed on board the Chanch at Port Jackson. Wright 1788-1814. p 216

                                                                                                                                 (c) Irene Schaffer

Full story on Catherine can be found in my book Catherine Kearney  Dairy Farmer Hobart Town 1808-1830


» view or post reactions

William Stanley Lady Nelson 1808

                                                                                                LADY NELSON  1808






Born:                                       c1752


Enlisted:                                 24 Feb 1887, 5th  Portsmouth Company


SHIP :                                     26th Jan 1788, Sirius


To Norfolk Island :                Supply, 26 October 1789


To VDL :                                Lady Nelson 14 February 1808


Occupation/Rank:                  Marine Private



Married :                                Mary Anstey ( Mary Astey)  5 Nov 1791, NI


Died :                                      20 Feb 1830, Austin’s Ferry, Hobart, Tasmania.  William’s body was never found. 






Wife:                                       Mary Anstey ( Mary Astey)


Born :                                      c1749


Occupation :                           Housemaid


Tried:                                      7 August 1787 at Warwick Assizes, Stole 2 Silk

Handkerchiefs from George  Stubbs shop in



Transported :                         Lady Juliana, 2 Fleet, sailed  4 June 1789, Arrived

3 June 1790


To Norfolk Island :                The Atlantic Nov,  26 Oct 1791


Died:                                       15 Nov 1812, Hobart, Tasmania, aged c70


Buried :                                   St. Davids Church Cemetery, Hobart




1.      Mary                          Born 16 August 1792, NI

(STANDLEY)           Married   James Lowe, 23 Sept 1805

                                          Died c1820


2.      Joseph                         Born NI  c1795 









Upon his arrival in Port Jackson he served as a member of the Sirius Marine Company before being discharged to the Port Jackson Garrison in July 1789. William went to NI on the ship Atlantic on the 26t October 1791 where he was granted 18 acres of land.


By November he had 10 of his 50 plough able acres cultivated. By 1805 he was selling grain to the stores.


William and his family left NI on the 14 February 1808 on the Lady Nelson to VDL.


He left behind his land, a shingled boarded and floored  hut (22 x 12’) and 3 thatched log outhouses valued at 20 pound.


In VDL William held the following land grants. 50 acres at Clarence Plains and 50 acres at Ulva , and farmed in the Tea Tree Brush area in the 1820s to 1830s.  


William was reported to have fallen from a ferry at Austin’s Ferry (Comptons Ferry) near Old Beach on the Derwent River and drowned. He was about 77 years old. Only his hat was recovered  1


  1. Source Colonial Times Newspaper Fri 26 Feb, 1820)


Ref: Wood, Graeme A. As Far as I can Tell: the story of the First Fleet Marine William Standley and some of his descendants. Burnie, Wood, 2005


                                                                                                © Robyn Conway 2006

» view or post reactions

James Lowe Lady Nelson 1808

                                                                                                LADY NELSON  1808





Also Known as :                     James Low


Tried:                                      Surrey, 22 April 1800, 7 yrs


Transported :                         Minorca, April 1801,

Arrived Port Jackson 14 Dec 1801


To Norfolk Island:                 1 May 1802


To VDL :                                Lady Nelson 14 February 1808



Trade :                                    Coxswain on Government Boats


Married :                                Mary Standley, 23 Sept 1805, Norfolk Island

Johanna Conway (de-facto) AKA as Johanna Cobb


Died :                                      9 Oct 1842, Tea Tree, Tasmania


Land :                                     Government Grant, NI, Herdsman’s Cove (some miles from Tea Tree) 50 Acres






Wife:                                       Mary Standley


Born:                                       16 Aug 1792, Norfolk Island (daughter of William

Standley and Mary Anstey)


Died :                                      c1820.






1.  Ann                                    Born   6 Mar 1806, NI

    (Lowe)                                 Died 19 May 1858, Latrobe, Tasmania

Married  Henry Atkins Bonney, 27 Sep 1822, St. Davids Hobart, Tasmania


2.  Sarah                                  Born 6 Mar 1809, NI

   (Lowe )                                 Married  1.John  Henry Jackson, 1828

                                                 2. John Kelsy, 1839

                                                Died 1845


3.  Richard Henry                  Bapt. 2 Dec 1811, Tasmania

    (Lowe)                                 Died  Melbourne, 24 Jan 1897

Married 1. Hannah Flaherty, Norfolk Plains, 1 Feb  1832

                                               2.Sarah Simmons ( nee Wilcox)  c1862



4.  Harriet                               Born 16 Mar 1813, Hobart, Tasmania

   (Lowe)                                  Died  20 Mar 1813, Hobart, Tasmania


5.  William                              Born 9 Mar 1814

    (Lowe)                                 Died  6 May 1835 (murdered) 1.

                                                 Married Hannah Cobb, 8 Dec 1833




Second Family of James Lowe (and Johanna Conway (Cobb)



 6.  John Valentine                 Born  14th February, 1824


                                                Died by  1880

                                                 Married  Margaret Ferguson 1852, Victoria


7.  James Samuel                   Born 14th Dec 1827

    (Cobb)                                  Died 22 Feb 1889

                                                 Married Isabella McLaren, 150, Victoria


Stepchildren of James Lowe, the children of  Johanna Conway (Cobb)


William  (Gullielmus ) Cobb b. abt 1817

Hannah Cobb b.  c1820 married her stepbrother  William Lowe , 8 Dec 1833





James was convicted at a Surrey Court on 22 April 1800 and sentenced to transportation for 7 years. His crime is unknown and is not recorded on the convict Bound  indent. His age at the time of his conviction was given as 26. He must have had a seafaring background for on NI he  became coxswain  of the Norfolk Island boat crew, a responsible and skilled occupation.


James and his wife and their infant daughter Ann departed from NI on the 14th Feb 1808 aboard the “Lady Nelson” . On the same ship were his father and mother-in-law William and Mary Standley and brother-in-law Joseph


Farmed at  Tea Tree, Tasmania.( 40 acres). The land adjoined 50 acres granted to father-in-law William Standley on one side and  50 acres  to brother-in-law Joseph Standley on the other side. After his wife (Mary) had died or left the marriage, James appears to have had a relationship with  a convict woman Johanna (Hannah) Conway. An inquest into the death of James Lowe was held at the home of John Lowe of Tea Tree. It appears James Lowe died in the home of John Lowe.  There is no clear indication of their relationship. There was a John James Lowe, (School Teacher) living in Richmond at that time .




  1. Colonial Times 7th July, 1835 (Full account)


Ref: Wood, Graeme A. As far as I can tell : the story of the First Fleet Marine William Standley and some of his descendants. Burnie, Wood, 2005


                                                                                    © Robyn Conway 2006

» view or post reactions

Susannah Mortimer City of Edinburgh 1808

City of Edinburgh 1808


                                                SUSANNAH  MORTIMORE



TRIED:                                    Exeter, Devon, 27 March 1788

TRANSPORTED:                    Lady Juliana (2nd Fleet)

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:       August 1790, ship unknown

TRADE:                                   Unknown

MARRIED:                              Thomas O'Brien  no record found

DIED                                       31 December 1846, Glenorchy Tasmania, aged 86 

BURIED                                  St. Mathews Church Cemetery, Glenorchy





HUSBAND:                             THOMAS OBRIEN

TRIED                                     Free

SAILED                                   1st Fleet, vessel unknown

TO NORFOLK ISLAND:       Atlantic 26 October 1791

TRADE:                                   Marine Private 32nd Portsmouth  Company of Marines/ Settler Farmer/Yeoman farmer

DIED                                       unknown

BURIED:                                 unknown

LAND                                     60 acres - Lot 86 Cascades Stream, Phillipburg. Norfolk Island

                                                100 acres - Humphreys Rivulet, New Town (Glenorchy).









1.         Susannah          Born 1790                    Presumed at sea onboard Lady Juliana

    (MORTIMORE)      Baptised                       unknown

                                    Married                        George Porter 21 November 1808 Hobart.

                                    Died                             George 6 September 1828, Blacksnake Tasmania aged 46

                                                                        Susannah 5 May 1835, Glenorchy, aged 60


2.         Catherine          Baptised                       27 August 1792, Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Marriage:                      Common Law - Alexander WADDLE abt. 1819


                                    Died                             Catherine 28 Feb 1843 Launceston, aged 50

                                    Died                             Alexander 7 Dec 1852 Launceston, aged  75


3.         Mary Ann         Baptised                       26 February 1794 Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Buried                          21 February 1795 Norfolk Island, aged 1


4.         Agnes               Baptised                       18 Jul 1795 Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Married                        Thomas CRUSE (CREESE) 11 December


                                    Died                             Agnes 21 November 1879, Richmond, aged

                                                                        Thomas 5 August 1877, aged 85


5.         Elizabeth           Baptised                       unknown, about 1799 Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Married                        William PATTERSON 21 April 1818,


                                    Died                             Elizabeth 21 April 1842, aged 43

                                                                        William 1st May 1864, aged 67


6.         James

            (O'BRIEN)      Baptised                       Unknown - About 1800 Norfolk Island

                                    Married                        Ann COWEN (COWAN) 5 March 1832


                                    Died                             James 21 December 1863, aged 63

                                                                        Ann 6 February 1898, aged 83


7.         William Baptised                                  24 February 1802, Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Died                             11 February 1829, Sorell Tasmania


8.         Margaret          Baptised                       unknown, Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Married                        William McDonald 5 February, 1827,


                                    Died                             Margaret, 31 October 1876, Melbourne,



9.         Mary Ann         Baptised                       unknown, about 1804, Norfolk Island

            (O'BRIEN)      Married                        John Smith, 10 March 1823, Hobart

                                    Died                             Mary Ann 31 October, 1887, Castle

                                                                        Forbes Bay aged 83

                                    Died                             John, 31 Oct 1878, Castle Forbes Bay,

                                                                        aged 83





Susannah's birth is not conclusive, indents for the Lady Juliana seem to have been misplaced from the time of early settlement, but it is possible she was the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Betty) Mortimore, formerly Hawkins, baptised on 21 February 1762, with had 4 sisters Ann, Mary, Betty, Sarah, and 1 brother Samuel all born in Bridford, Devon. The Mortimore’s families, seem to have originated from Chagford. •S1


Susannah Mortimore was committed for trial by G. Cooke, Clerk, along with John Rice, for Stealing a sheep and a lamb, the property of Elias Langdon, of Moreton Hampstead. Devon.  She is listed as the last prisoner on the Calendar of Prisoners, She was tried at the  Devon Quarter Sessions, Lent Assizes 1788, at the Castle of Exon, Exeter, Devon on 18 March 1788, before Sir Beaumont Hotham, Knight, and Francis Buller, Esquire, Sir John Chichester Bart, Sherriff. and sentenced to death for the crime. *S2

Before the judges left the city they reprieved 12 people including Susannah and commuted the sentences to transportation. Susannah's sentence was 7 years. *S3 *S4


There is a second Susannah Mortimore listed seventh, on the Calendar of Prisoners,  at the same Lent Assizes 1788 for poisoning her husband,  William Mortimore. Records of this married couple have been difficult to locate, but the newspaper which reported on the convictions and punishments of those found guilty for this Lent Assizes, notes all others were found innocent. She is not mentioned for execution, or transportation, nor is a death located for William Mortimer, and is therefore presumed innocent on the current evidence, unless more information is forthcoming.


She sailed on the Lady Juliana, 2nd Fleet ship, the first all women transport sent to Port Jackson. The vessel left London on 4th June 1789 called in at Plymouth and finally left England, on 29 June 1789, stopping at Teneriffe, St Jago, Rio De Janeiro, Cape Town, and arrived in Sydney, almost a year after leaving England on 3rd June 1790; to a Colony on the verge of starvation. With the arrival of the second fleet with all its convicts, some in extremely poor health and with no supplies, especially food, in desperation almost half of the people were transferred to Norfolk Island in early August 1790, Susannah among them, where it was felt better soil and climate would allow them to grow more food. Susannah had been on Norfolk Island 15 months, when Thomas O’Brien arrived on the Island, having sailed on the Atlantic from Port Jackson on 26 October 1791. Thomas was a Marine Private who discharged his commission in October 1791 and elected to accept a land grant on Norfolk Island, to become a settler/farmer. He was granted land of 60 acres on Norfolk Island, on 4th November 1791, a few days after his arrival on the Island.  It is possible Susannah was assigned to Thomas O'Brien as a servant.


June 1794, Thomas O’Brien is listed with a wife Susannah,  formerly Mortimer, and 3 Children. *S5 

The children would have been Susannah, Susannah, Catherine, and Mary Ann


Mary Ann died in February 1795 and a month later on 15 March 1795, Susannah was free by servitude.


Agnes was born a year later in 1795, then Elizabeth, James, William, Margaret, and lastly Mary Ann. When the settlement on Norfolk Island was closed down by the British Government, Susannah sailed with her husband and 8 children on City Of Edinburgh for Hobart, departing on 3 September, 1808.   After 17 years they left behind a two storey home, and what records indicate to have been a fairly prosperous farm, selling produce to the Government store. At an age of about 46 or 48 Susannah and her husband had to start again with uncleared land, nowhere near as fertile as they had previously owned, in a climate that was much harsher than they were accustomed to.  There was little suitable clothing available in Gov. Stores in Hobart, and conditions would have been very difficult compared to Norfolk Island.


On 2nd October 1808 Susannah's husband was granted 100 acres on the North Bank of Humphrey’s Rivulet, New Town (Glenorchy) by Governor Macquarie.  A year later they had 3 acres under wheat, 1 acre under barley, but were receiving food from the Government Stores, and still had 6 children living at home with them.  On a muster 7th September to 2nd October 1819, Susannah her husband Thomas, and Children Mary Ann, Margaret, Catherine, Agnes, are on their farm which is now 60 acres, comprising 10 of wheat, 1 of barley, 3 of potatoes, and 60 acres of pasture with 4 cattle. On 30 October 1819, The Hobart Town Gazette, reports a burglary at O'Brien’s farm, near Humphrey’s River, where a considerable quantity of linen, which the family had been entrusted to wash was stolen.  So at 57 Susannah was taking in washing to help the family survive.


In October 1820, her daughters Agnes and Catherine were arrested by Alfred Luttrell for slaughtering a calf on the banks of Humprhey’s Rivulet.  Catherine said that she had found the carcass by the rivulet in the afternoon, did not mention it to anyone other than Agnes, and both girls went back that night to see if it was still there.  When they arrived Constable  Alfred Luttrell, together with Mr. Thomas Salmon, his servant George Hewitt, and Mr Broadribbs servant, Robert Rose,  were waiting near the carcass. Both girls were were taken into custody, and made statements, which differed from the statement of Officer Luttrell, and Mr. Salmon, who stated the girls had admitted to killing the calf, but Catherine's  statement said they had only admitted to killing the calf, because they were frightened.  Records show they were to be sent to trial before the Court of Jurisdiction. 


Some 10 weeks later Agnes married Thomas Cruse at St David in Hobart on 11 Dec 1820, Thomas was an Irish convict, transported for highway robbery, who arrived in N.S.W aboard  the Pilot, and was sent to Van Diemen’s Land on the Elizabeth Henrietta. 2 years after they married, in Jan 1822 Agnes gave birth to her first child, daughter Elizabeth, Agnes went on to have further daughters, Mary (always known as Margaret) born 1824, Catherine born 1829,  sons, John born 1827, Thomas 1830, Patrick 1831, and William  about. 1832, and Michael 1841. Michael died nearly 3 years later. Agnes and Thomas lived all their lives at Richmond.  When Agnes died she had 37 grandchildren.


In 1822 Susannah's husband is no longer mentioned on the muster, but was alive in 1823 and is mentioned in a legal document. By 1832 Susannah is listed in legal documents with her son James, as a widow.  In 1837 Susannah now aged 75 is living with her daughter Margaret, and Margaret's 5 children.  She had about 63 grandchildren, although not all survived her, and she died on 31st Dec 1846 and was buried at St Mathews Church Cemetery, Glenorchy, her tombstone recording her age as 86.



*S1      Parish register transcripts, Film 916822, Brendon, Bridford, Devon

            Parish register transcripts, Film 916834, Chagford, Devon

            Parish register transcripts, Film 916868  Moreton Hampstead, Devon

            Parish register transcripts, Film 917206  North Bovey, Devon

*S2      Devon Quarter Sessions, Lent Assizes 1788, DRO-QS34/6627Z/Z/1

*S3      Reprieve List HO 13/6

*S4      Exeter Flying Post (Newspaper) 27 March 1788, West County Studies Library,

 City of Exeter

*S5      Norfolk Island Victualling List 1792-1796 Reel 2747 Archives Office of N.S.W.


                                                                                                       © Lynn Richards 2006

» view or post reactions

Elizabeth Hayward Lady Nelson 1813



                                                                                                            (c) Irene schaffer

Elizabeth Gibson must have been a wonderful person, when she died at age of 78 in 1872. The Launceston Examiner bestowed much praise on her. As the wife of David Gibson she was required to meet and entertain many officials during her fifty years at Pleasant Banks.


She was born to a convict mother and father, and subjected to all  the demoralizing influence that  a child on Norfolk Island would  have been subjected to at that time.  Very little has been recorded on how the children survived on Norfolk Island between 1788 and 1814. Elizabeth's looks seem to have been visible from a very early age, as she caught the eye of Capt Piper, Commandant of that establishment while still in her early teens.  She bore him a son in 1808 on Norfolk Island at the age of fourteen.

was born on Norfolk Island 2nd  March 1794,  the daughter of  Elizabeth Hayward, a  First Fleeter, who had arrived at Port Jackson on the "Lady Penrhyn" in 1788, at the age of thirteen and was later to go to Norfolk Island on the ill fated Sirius.  She had three other children, a son Robert 1795, a daughter Margaret 1796, and George c1802. Elizabeth Hayward lived with Joseph Lowe on Norfolk Island and departed with him on the "Lady Nelson" in 1813 for Port Dalrymple with two children, George and Margaret. (George later used the name Collins). It is not known who was the father of these children as they all went under the mothers name on the Norfolk Island records until 1810. Elizabeth took the name of Nichols, and George was known as Collins, after they arrived in VDL


On the 16th January 1819 at Port Dalrymple the marriage between Elizabeth Nichols  and David  Gibson took  place. Elizabeth and Joseph appear to have lived in Launceston for a short time. He owned a  small allotment  containing 1  acre 1 rood in Wellington  Street Launceston; which he claimed to have been in  possession since 1814. He sold this land to David Gibson (his son-in-law) of "Lovely Banks" for £350 in 1840. He was granted 40 acres at Norfolk Plains in 1817.


Elizabeth was the only women to hold stock on Norfolk Island, 525 sheep, 4 cattle, 15  swine, 40 goats no doubt supplied to her by Captain John Piper for her future security in VDL, she was granted 50 acres of land in 1817.


Elizabeth  later came to Port Dalrymple on the "Minstrel"in 1813


Norfolk Piper lived with his mother and David Gibson at until his death on 10th March 1827, at "Pleasant Banks". The Hobart Town  Gazette  dated the  24  March 1827,  recorded  the



Died on the 10th instant at "Pleasant Banks" the seat of Mr David Gibson, Mr Norfolk Piper,

son of John  Piper Esq.  Sydney,  aged 8 years. Universally beloved & regretted by

all that knew him. His  burial did not state how he came to  his death.


Only a  year before his death. Norfolk had been granted  500 acres across the creek  from Gibson's farm. He attempted to

relocate the 500 acres to a location near Campbell Town. This request was refuses in December 1826.


 After the  death of  Norfolk Piper,  David  Gibson (his stepfather) applied for this 500  acre grant to be granted to him,  or Eliza  Gibson,  his sister,  who succeeds to his



Eliza Nichols  (Holmes) married Wichham Whitechurch  on 3 March 1830, at St. Johns Launceston in 1830  There is no record  of a Eliza Nichols/Holmes/Piper on  the Norfolk

Island Records.


The  only men  on Norfolk Island under the name  Nichols & Holmes, were:  William Nichols from the "Royal Admiral" 1792; John Holmes from the "Gorgon" 1891;  and William Holmes from

the "Scarborough"1790.  Nichols left the  island in  1796. William Holmes in 1792 and John Holmes went to Port  Jackson in 1805.  Its possible that William Nichols was Elizabeth's

father,  but doubtful that Holmes was her  daughter Eliza’s father.


Elizabeth  lived with David Gibson as his wife  until Rev. Youl  could make  the journey from Hobart Town  to conduct marriages and baptisms,  at Port Dalrymple in 1819. They had

ten children.


From the  date of their first child  it would  appear that Gibson arrived in Port Dalrymple about 1814. Very  little has  been recorded about Elizabeth,  she  was however mistress of "Pleasant Banks"  for fifty years,  and having survived David by fourteen years her influence on her

family must  have been very influencial, as her large family continued  to prosper,  and gain general  approval in  the community.


David Gibson had overcame his convict stain and prospered not only as  a farmer but  well respected  for his  religious involvement in the Presbyterian Church at Evandale.  He was

born 26th April 1778  at Aberuthven, Perth England. Of medium height and  ginger hair. (he was later remembered  for his Caledonian voice.)  The son of John and Giles (nee Binning),

he  had three brothers and two sisters, At the age of 24  he was  a  farm labourer  and lived  at Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire.


 Tried at  Yorkshire at the Spring Assizes on 4th March 1802 for  stealing,  with the use of force and arms,  five gold  watches, one French gold watch, capped, two French plain gold watches, (all  valued at 60  pounds), one gold locket for  a lady's miniature with the figure of peace worked in hair (40s 0d), one piece of Portugal coin (27s 0d), three 1 pound Bank of England notes,  five guineas and a half in gold, one pair of   silver knee buckles (3s 0d), one pair of silk stockings

(1s 0d), all the property  of William Cole of  St.  Paul's Churchyard, London, jeweller.  Gibson stole these valuables from a  portmanteau at  the Neptune Inn,  house  of John Mansfield, Holy Trinity, Kingston-upon-Hull.


Sentenced  by Justice Sir Giles Rooke to death. He was later reprieved and sentenced to transportation for life. Gaoled at York  Castle and transferred to the hulks at  Langston,  to

await transportation.


He sailed  on the "Calcutta"  in 1803 to the new Colony  of Port Phillip  with Lt. Gov.  David Collins. On arrival  he escaped into the bush with his friend from the hulks, George

Lee,  Gibson quitted the bush saving  himself  from certain death (Lee perished) and returned to the ship in time to sail to  Van Diemen's Land on the "Ocean".  On arrival in Hobart

Town  he was admitted to the hospital with scurvy. No doubt from his stay in the bush!



In December  1805, while serving as a servant to Mr Hopley, (Surgeon)  in Hobart Town, Gibson again deserted;  receiving 300 lashes  on his captureHe committed a more serious

crime  in December 1807;  he and eight others were sent  to Sydney for trial by Court Martial for piracy of the schooner "Marcia". He was again condemned to death, but Major Johnston pardoned him and sentenced him to  remain a convict for life. Part of this sentence was carried out in Sydney, as he is reported on the 1805-6; 1811 and 1817 [1817 T.L.] musters

as being at that place


[Some early Historians claim that he was  reported to  have been Inspector  of Stock in 1806. This could not have  been possible as he was under sentence at that time. His name does not appear on the 1806 Muster.


A land grant of 30 acres was granted to him in 1817.  ) followed by 100 acres at Bath, (Vol 4 No 174) and 700 acres at Bathurst.


William Martin with two other bushrangers robbed the house of David Gibson at Port Dalrymple in 1815. Articles stolen were,  2 gowns, piece of muslin,  1 silver teaspoon, 2 silver table

spoons,  two sheets,  1 hankerchief containing some tea,  1 musket, 2 pieces of nankeen and i pair of pantaloons


Sending those  under sentence to Sydney was not  only time consuming but also costly, and in 1815 the inhaditants of VDL petitioned  to have a Criminal Court established  in Hobart


Town.  David  Gibson was named as one  of the signatories residing at Port Dalrymple.[1]23 [1]


The  Hobart Town Gazette dated 21  December 1816, shows  Mr Gibson of Launceston on the list as willing to supplying the Government with 2,150  lbs of meat from January to June 1817.

In 1818  some of the sheep belonging to Robert Campbell  of  Sydney were  stolen from  Port Dalrymple while  under the management of David Gibson.   Some of the stock held belonged

jointly to Gibson and Edward Lord of Hobart. (HTG S 11  July 1a-b-c)


Governor Macquarie  visited the Evandale  district on  his journey to Port Dalrymple from Hobart Town in 1811 and 1821. It has been suggested that Gibson was already at, what is now

"Pleasant Banks",  when Macquarie went through there in 1811; this is not so, as Macquarie does not  mention either Gibson or staying  in a house,  he mentioned that,  quote -  "we emcamped for the night".



Sunday 7th Decr.1811.....`At 3pm we followed and pursued our journey  for three miles through Henrietta Plains  to their northern termination in an open wood;  travelled for 2 miles through this wood (which is generally good soil with tolerable pastures)  to the ford on the South Esk where this river was pretty  deep and up to the axel-trees on our carts;  thence

travelled for 2 miles through Gordon Plains (now so names by me  being formerly called Long Plains) to Honey-Suckle-Bank, which terminates a fine reach of the South Esk River,  and on

which bank we halted and encamped for the night; disce. From Macquarie Plains  20 miles'.  (This is the only mention  by Macquarie in  his journal of the area around  what is  now Evandale for the year 1811)


Wednesday May 9th 1821......`We passed through Epping Forest (12  miles long).......To Mr Gibson's farm on the South Esk, where we halted for the night, distance of 21 miles;  putting

up at  Mr Gibson's house,  which is a most comfortable one indeed; where we  found abundance  of everything  that was good'.


Monday 28  May.1821...... `We reached the South Esk  River a little before  dark, which was too full to be  forded,  we crossed in Mr Gibson's boat  immediately under  his house, where we took up  our quarters for the  night.....Mr Gibson attended the ferry,  with his people to convey us and part of

our baggage  across,  and was most  civil and  useful in rendering us every assistance n  his power.  We had a  good dinner of beef stakes,(sic) & we went early to bed.......' A few days later Macquarie refers to having  crossed the  Esk River 3 miles from Gibsons,  where he fixed a place which he

called Perth.  Gibson having promised the Governor he would build an Inn there,  the Governor had named it  Perth, after Gibson's native place in England [1]24 [1]


The  house that Governor and Mrs Macquarie  stayed in  has never been described,  its possible that it was a well built timber home for that time. A second house was built at about

the  same time at "Clarendon" (1838/1840)  and was gutted by fire in  1859. American  pine boards under the slate  roof ignited Christmas  morning when the kitchen chimney  caught fire.  A  great dinner was being cooked at  the time, and everything except  the Christmas pudding was lost. The house was  insured for  a large sum for those days,  said to  be £3,500,  which however  did not cover the great loss.  An earlier fire in 1851 had not been so severe."


A  discription of the house.........No  photos have survived but von Stieglitz gives a very detailed description in  his, "A History  of Evandale". This building was  demolished in 1915.  It would appear that this description fits the  third house that was rebuilt.


"Two storeys  high, and made of pit-sawn boards,  it  has defied storms of many winters. The front door, opening into a passage with a staircase, was protected by from the  weather by the two front rooms which extended out for three or  four feet on each side of it.  the top story, which consists  of

three rooms  with pointed windows, formed the roof  of the porch.  Eight rooms in all, with a kitchen, scully and wash house under a skillion at the back. At each end of the house there was a brick chimney.


The  walls being sound the house was rebuilt, it remained as one of the best know homesteads in the district.  In 1929 the property was bought  by the Foster family, whose stud Merino sheep  are direct  descendants of the Saxon  Marinos their ancestor, John Leake, bought to VDL in 1823.


Regardless of his beginning,  David Gibson showed himself as an excellent farmer,  and by 1820 he had  680 acres of land, of which 631 was in pasture with 2,674  sheep, 265 cattle, 4 horses;  45 acres in wheat, 2 acres in barley, 200 bushels of grain in hand. He and his wife and his four children were not victualled by the Government; Of his Government servants one was the other not victualled,  nor was two his free servants.(10 in all) He later purchased 760 acres of land, this he added many more thousands of acres.  By 1839  he  was amongst the largest landholders in the northern part of the Island.


Cart License  registrations were  recorded in Hobart Town in 1819,  in Launceston in 1826. Gibson was recorded as having two  pole carts from 1828-30, and one shaft cart in  1839 The Colonial Times 17 November 1840  described his property under Agricultural Improvments........"Mr Gibson of "Pleasant Banks" - a title, by no means misplaced.  Mr Gibson has, at the  present time, has  1,000 acres under operation of  the plough, without the intervention of a single stump; 500 acres of this land is under wheat, which promise an extraordinary return-the  average of  last year's wheat  being about  30 bushels per acre......Mr Gibson seems to imbued with the true spirit of  a colonial farmer - many of his  turnips,  last season, weighed 50lbs., without tops or roots. there are now, in his stalls, 7 fat oxen,  fed upon turnips, which average 1,200lbs each..........His horticultural  operations are  in full practice, and his  new house,  which will be ready for occupation by the end of  the present year.  This splendid mansion cannot cost less then 10,000;  and,  in  point of situation,  accommodation, materials, and workmanship,  even that sum would be almost inadequate. We have to apologize for the liberty, for which we have thus taken - entirely without the consent of the  worthy proprietor; but we are so anxious to hold up  to public example, so meritorious an undertaking. that we have deviated from our usual and customary course of

procedure: we hope at least we are pardoned.


Pardoned they probably  were, as  their praise  was justly deserved.  It is interesting to observe however, that on the other hand,  only four years earlier, our  worthy proprietor was,  after  being found guilty of conducting a cart to  be driven in Launceston not bearing his name, and also that his

license was registered  for only 5 miles from this town. Was fined  1. This small breach of the law could be excused  as being not worthy  of mention, but what was of interest  was that after being in the colony for over 32  years this small offence was recorded on his Convict Conduct Record. Was a man not free until death its self freed him.


The death of David Gibson occurred on the 15 April 1858,  ofdebility at his home,  a gentleman.  Buried at St Andrews Presbyterian Church at Evandale four days later aged 82 (80) His  seven sons and three daughters were alive when he died. His widow also survived him. she died 28 January 1872, and is also buried at St Andrews.<27> 18 Convicts unbound p277


Launceston Examiner 1st February 1872  stated in her obituary that she had "arrived in the colony with the first batch  of settlers from Norfolk Island in the year 1808. (1813)


* Natural son of Elizabeth Hayward

# Son of Kennedy Murray & Ann White (later Sydes)


The late Mrs Gibson:  Our obituary on Tuesday recorded  the decease of Mrs Gibson sen.  of "Pleasant Banks" at the ripe old age of 78.  A correspondent has supplied the following:- The deceased lady arrived in the Colony with the first  batch of settlers from Norfolk Island in 1808  [1813] and shortly after  married the late Mr David Gibson of "Pleasant Banks". Together  they fought the battle of life rearing a  numerous family,  and in due time reaping the rewards of perserving industry.  "The liberal soul shall  be made fat" was  truly exemplified in them,  for as riches increased they set  not their hearts  upon them,  but exercised the  most unbound hospitality to all rich and poor. Many a tale of bygone times has  the old lady related to grand  & great-grand  children amongst others of how the Governor-in-Chief (Macquarie)  with his  amiable lady would sojourn  at "Pleasant Banks" on their travels to the north,  and delight the young people by riding their donkey and joining in their other amusements. To "Pleasant Banks" the aged the infirm and helpless  wended their  way,  sure of  relief for  their necessities  for their  suffering. the venerable  lady has finished her work,  gone to her rest. Daughters of her  home come forward and imitate her noble work.


 Examiner 1st February 1872



The book Mistress of Pleasant Banks can be found on my book list on this website. 














» view or post reactions

Edward Westlake City of Edinburgh 1808

                                                                           City of Edinburgh



Edward Westlake arrived on the First Fleet in 1788. He was sent to Norfolk Island where he married Elizabeth Wood. There were eight children to this union. Edward and Elizabeth departed Norfolk Island on the City of Edinburgh in 1808.

Edward Westlake was granted 24 acres of land on Norfolk Island which he was able to later transfer to Van Diemen’s Land, where he was granted 60 acres at Clarence Plains (Rokeby).

The Westlake children married and produced a large number of descendants.

Darren and Suz Westlake are descendants of this family and they own the Westlake Vineyards in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Today being Australia Day they are pleased to announce that they will be launching their 717 Convict label wine.

Many of these first arrivals went on to be successful Australians and it gives me great pleasure to be able to add their news to my website.

717 Convict wine can be seen at

I wish them every success.


» view or post reactions

Lady Nelson Armed Tender

Lady Nelson H.M.

Armed Tender

England and New South Wales


© Irene Schaffer

The Lady Nelson was a very unusual ship, first built as a cutter for survey work in the River Thames in 1798, under instructions of her designer Captain John Schank of the Royal Navy, and later converted to a brig for service in the Colony of N.S.W.

The other unusual feature of the Lady Nelson was that she had three sliding keels designed for sailing close inshore for map making. Being only a 60 tons vessel did not deter Governor King from selecting her to assist Captain Matthew Flinders on the Investigator, with his survey work along the east coast of N.S.W.

The voyage of the Lady Nelson in 1800 reads like one of Jack London’s novels. Recorded by Lt. James Grant commander of the Lady Nelson on his voyage from England, and published on his return to England in 1803.

From her first day on the River Thames the Lady Nelson received unfavourable attention from other passing ships and sailors for her design. She was said to look more like a Spanish pirate ship than one of His Majesty’s Armed Vessels. She was to receive the nickname, His Majesty’s Tinderbox.

From the time she set sail on her voyage of discovery the Lady Nelson sailed exceptionally well, surviving bad weather in both the Thames and in the Channel and Atlantic Ocean. Her ability to hold her own saw her arrive at Capt Town without mishap whereas some of the larger ships did not make it.

Her adventures were many while on her way to Port Jackson in NSW, she was towed by the ship Brunswick after leaving Portsmouth because she could not keep up with the convoy. Sailed through a gale, was shot at by a British ship, leaked because of bad workmanship while converting her to a brig in Deadman’s Dock on the River Thames. The Lady Nelson also had members of her crew steal one of the ship’s boats in an attempt to desert. Encountered what Grant described as two perfect storms one of which had the Lady Nelson sailing perpendicular over a wave.

Lt Grant found his skills were put to many uses on his voyage to N.S.W. As a naturalist he was extremely interested in the fish and birds he observed during the voyage and he kept the crew busy on the look out for them. Grant had no other officers to assist him with navigating or a surgeon to attend any sickness or accidents on his little ship, (as he had a habit of calling her). He looked after his crew in the same manner that Captain Cook had done. He saw to it that the ship and the crew were kept clean and that they had fresh food when possible and lime juice to keep off the scurvy. Cook seemed to be a hero to Grant as he spoke of him a number of times in his journal.

One of the crew took sick in the tropics and Grant rigged up an awning on deck and looked after him himself. He also changed the men’s diet by replacing their breakfast of oatmeal with something cooler and giving them tea during the day. Wine and spirits was replaced with beer that Grant brewed himself from essence of spruce.

After a stay over of three months at the Cape of Good Hope the Lady Nelson sailed for Port Jackson Grant took on board a prisoner of Danish descent who proved to be an excellent sailor. The other passenger was Doctor Brandt, a German surgeon who had been shipwrecked off the east coast of Africa 7 years earlier. Grant’s hope of having the company of a surgeon who was also a noted naturalist with him on this last part of his voyage was short lived as Brandt turned out to be quite eccentric and along with his two companions a dog and a baboon called Jacko, did not enhance life on board.

Before leaving the Cape Lt. Grant received instructions from His Grace the Duke of Portland from Captain Gordon aboard the Wellesley, to search for the strait between Van Diemen’s Land and New Holland and to make his passage through it.

The Wellesley was extremely lucky to have reached the Cape with government stores on board as she was pursued by a much larger French ship and fired on. If the Wellesley had been lost then Grant would not have received his orders and the Lady Nelson would have sailed around the bottom of VDL and she would not have gone down in history as being the first ship through Bass Strait from west to east.

Crossing the Indian Ocean during the Monsoon season would have been daunting even for a much larger ship than the Lady Nelson. In heavy seas, squalls, gales, rain, lighting, hail and sleet the little brig encounted everything the elements could put in her way. At one time a wave as high as her 60 foot mast almost saw the last of her. As they sailed south-west the weather improved and many whales were seen. Soon this changed and heavy rain fell and leaks were discovered below deck, which spoilt much of their bread rations.

Her crew came to know her so well that Grant did not have to give orders, they would all come on deck immediately they sensed any variation in her sailing. Owing to her small draft and flat bottom she rose from these dangerous situations like a piece of cork on the top of every wave.

Not one of the twelve seaman was flogged on the whole voyage. It must have been a very happy ship regardless of the length of time it had taken them to complete the voyage. Three months crossing the Atlantic Ocean and nearly two months crossing the Indian Ocean.

By the middle of October the Lady Nelson neared the southern part of New Holland and sailed east towards Bass Strait. Along the southern part of the Continent Grant named many capes and mountains after officials and friends in England, Cape Banks after Sir Joseph Banks and Nelson after the brig, Mount Schank was named for Captain John Schank plus many more as he neared Wilson’s Promontory, at the eastern end of Bass Strait.

The Lady Nelson had taken 71 days from the Cape of Good Hope. As she made her way up into Port Jackson. Grant found the approach to Sydney Town very picturesque. A small island with a house on it particularly took his eye, it was called Garden Island. Governor King was to give Lt. Grant this island for his own use while he was at Port Jackson. He later placed Dr Brandt and his dog and monkey on the island where the doctor grew vegetables for the crew on the Lady Nelson.

After they arrived at Sydney Cove the brig lost most of her crew, mainly because their wages had been cut (as was Grants) and they decided to transfer onto other ships where they would receive better pay.

Unfortunately from then on the Lady Nelson was crewed mostly by ex-convicts and Grant was not happy to see his little ship crewed by men who did not know how to sail her. For the first time he had a sailor flogged for stealing.

The Lady Nelson was then commissioned by Governor King with Lt Grant in charge to sail her south in the hope of finding the passage into Port Phillip.

On the 6 March the Lady Nelson sailed out of Sydney Cove accompanied by the sloop Bee under Grant’s command with orders to sail south towards Jarvis Bay, where Grant went on shore and spent time with the local aborigines.

Continuing south they made Wilson’s Promontory, and turned west into Bass Strait. Because of the bad weather the expedition could go no further than Western Port where Grant planted vegetables on Churchill Island before returning to Sydney Cove on 14 May 1801.

Returning to Port Jackson Grant was ordered to take Colonial Patterson on board the Lady Nelson and sail to the Hunter River in company with the schooner Francis.

On arriving back in Sydney Grant decided to return to England, leaving on 9 November 1801 on the Anna Josepha. Back in England he continued his career in the Royal Navy. After being made Commander of the Hawk he was wounded. He later retired to France where he died in 1833.

From 1802 to 1824 the Lady Nelson featured in many voyages as she became one of the busiest vessels in the Colony. Her name is associated with many firsts, from VDL to the far north –River Derwent, Port Phillip, Risdon Cove, Hobart Town, Tamar River, Hunter River and Port Dundas.

Under the command of many colourful captains the Lady Nelson was for a time under the supervision of Royal Navy Officers, later she was taken over by private captains and ex-convicts who had their master’s ticket.

In 1806 The Lady Nelson sailed to New Zealand completing her sailing of three of the large oceans, Atlantic, Indian and part of the Pacific. The following year she began her many voyages to V.D.L. transferring many of the Norfolk Islanders to the south and north of the island between 1807 and 1813.

Over the next ten years the Lady Nelson continued to sail between Sydney, Norfolk Island and Newcastle. In 1821 she was driven ashore at Port Macquarie and holed on some rocks. There she stayed until Governor Macquarie ordered her to be hauled up on to the beach and repaired.

In 1824 accompanied by HMS Tamar the Lady Nelson was sent to Melville Island to establish the first white settlement in the north. Because of the shortage of food she was dispatched to the Timor Sea to obtain pigs. On her second voyage she was captured by pirates on the island of Babba, and all the crew were killed and the ship stripped and burnt.

It was not until later