Tuesday, July 31, 2018

M5. Time to Meet The Rellies - A Golden Opportunity and the Trials of a Grandmother - The Merediths

John Jillett and Phoebe Triffitt were married in 1840, when Phoebe was 18, at St Matthew's Church in New Norfolk.

They had a large family of 14 children, and the joys of the births of the children, were no compensation for the mournful deaths of six of them.

Robert Alfred; John; Elizabeth; William Harry; Alice Charlotte; Kate; Ellen Eliza; and Amelia Susan Jillett were the surviving children.

John Thomas; Emma Louisa; Frederick James; Chester Providence; Edwin Augustus and Emily Henrietta all died as babies or young children.

John, William Harry, Robert Albert, Elizabeth and Ellen photographed

Totally unexpected was the death of both of them in 1868, from the many diseases that flourished, diphtheria and typhoid.  Despite the loss of their parents, the children all paved a way for themselves, in many and varied roles.  A common interest was mining, and community service, very often in the form of representation on the local Councils.

At the time of their parent's death in 1868, there were four young children aged from 11 years to 4 years.  Which raises another of the questions, who raised the children?
Perhaps this time, there is an answer.  Their eldest sister Elizabeth Jillett was 22 years old at the death of her parents.   She had married George Campbell Meredith in July 1868, a few months before her parents died.

From later information, it would be seem that she and her husband undertook the responsibility for the children.
When John Jillett died, he made a will.  The trustees were John Bradshaw and John Ibbolt.
John Bradshaw was his nephew, and the owner of the Oatlands Mill.  He was also a councillor on the Oatlands Council.  John Ibbolt was a constable.
Unlike a normal will, the executors had a long and protracted time before the details of the will were finalised.  Almost 20 years after the death of John and Phoebe.

But included in that lengthy drawn out affair, was Elizabeth's mother in law.
There was a clear case that the solicitors and their agents, had a lot to answer for over the ensuing years, with illegal trading, enormous fees and charges, all to the detriment to the Jillett children.
The information also provide documentary proof of John Jillett's land holdings at Lower Marshes.

The Meredith Family

Elizabeth Catherine Jillett married George Campbell Meredith in January 1868 in Oatlands at the home of her parents, at York Plains.

After the death of her father, in 1868, Elizabeth and her siblings were involved in lengthy legal battles regarding their father's will.

John Jillett was bankrupt, and her siblings "sold" their portion of the estate to her father in law.  He died, and then there were protracted legal battles played out in the courts, as the solicitors had defrauded her.  The matter also involved a deputation from Thomas Jillett and his children, who opposed the sale of the land at York Plains, declaring that in their father's will, it was specifically said that the lands were not to be sold.

Over time, some members of the family have interpreted those facts incorrectly, thereby alienating some of the Jillett descendants..  Things happen in families, sometimes due to handed down unsubstantiated traditional stories. 

Hopefully now, all those incorrect statement are forever in the past. 

Elizabeth and George had a family of 4 sons and 3 daughters.

                                George Glendower Meredith      1868     1957     m         Janet Colquhoun Young d1934 m                                                                                     Nora Gutha Mitchelmore
                                Twamley Owen Meredith          1871 - 1962      m         Jessica Farquhar
                                John Charles Meredith              1871 - 1930      m         Louisa May Stephenson
                   Mervyn Louis Meredith            1873 - 1920      m         Emily Louisa Sturgeon
                   Sarah Louisa Meredith              1876 - 1977      m         John Crammond
                   Phoebe Evangeline Meredith     1878 - 1967      m         Thomas John Paton
                   Gladys Alice Meredith              1884 - 1887

Elizabeth also had a very protective mother-in-law.  Perhaps having, Mrs Meredith  and Elizabeth became close, given that Elizabeth was now an orphan and she did what a lot of grandmothers would do, to protect their family.

George was the son of Charles Meredith 1811 - 1880 and his wife Lousia Anne Twamley 1812 - 1895.  George was born 1840 and died 1917.

The family were
                Caroline Meredith                           1840 - 1912             m  Thomas Rollins  1840 - 1929  
                 George Campbell Meredith   1st July 1840 at Homebush
                 Edward Meredith                          1841 - 1936                m  Eliza Catherine Mulvey 1830 - 1990
                Charles Twamley Meredith           1844 - 1888
                 Owen Meredith                             1847 - 1927                 m  Eliza Jane Windsor  1844- 1908

George was appointed as the Municipal Council of Spring Bay have appointed Mr. George Campbell Meredith Council Clerk and Collector of Road and Police rates for the municipality.

By 1879 he was the Commissioner for Mines for the Western District.

Charles and Louisa had a son Charles Henry Meredith born 1844 and another son Charles Meredith born 1844.  Both recorded in Sydney, and both recorded in the Family notices of the newspapers.
Charles Henry Meredith died in 1842.  She could not have had two children in 3 months in 1840!

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Tuesday 3 June 1879, page 2

WEST COAST GOLD COMMISSIONER.-Mr. George Campbell Meredith, son of Mr. Charles Meredith, M.H.A., of Spring Bay, was appointed a Gold Commissioner for the West Coast ,at a meeting of the Executive yesterday. He will also act as Registrar of Mines, and has been enrolled as a Justice of Peace in connection with the other officers. He will be probably be stationed at the Pieman, and his district will extend from Macquarie Harbour on the south to the Mersey at the north. Mr. Meredith has been prospecting for some time on the West Coast, and is we are informed well acquainted with the whole district, whatever may be the duties of such an office. His first duty will be to report officially on the West Coast and its prospects, as a whole, the want of such a document having been complained of by miners on their arrival in the colony. Ho will thou proceed to settle; disputes that have arisen. The necessity for the appointment has been long insisted on by Mr. Commissioner Shaw, and its permanency will depend upon the prospects of the district.

In 1880 he went to New Zealand, and borrowed some money from his father.  The consequences of which created an amazing court case.

He was the first settler at Strahan, and discovered galena, resulting in tin and gold mining.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Thursday 26 July 1917, page 4

The death occurred at Hobart yesterday of Mr. George Campbell Meredith, one of the earliest prospectors on the West Coast of Tasmania. On November 27, 1873, when the West Coast was practically a terra incognita, the late Mr. Meredith, with his brother Owen, left Emu Bay in the schooner Secret, bound for the Pieman River.

Being unable to enter the Pieman Heads, they landed at Macquarie Harbour on December 3, and set out from there with a week's provisions to make the Pieman overland. They arrived at the river seven days later. having found traces of tin on their way. On December 20 the Secret arrived, and took them up the river.

They prospected till January 29, 1877, but only got small prospects of gold. On January 29 they started to make their way from the river to Heemskirk, and cut out on the open country on February 3.
On February 20 the first samples of tin were put on board the Coral, which had arrived on January 17 with the Great Western party from Hobart. On March 24, they arrived at Emu Bay, ragged and barefoot, having been the first to come from Macquarie Harbour overland. In April, 1877, eight sections of 80 acres were applied for by the two brothers as the result of their discoveries.

 On December 29, 1877, George Meredith and party left the Tamar on a second trip in the cutter North Star, and arrived at the Pieman on the 30th. On March 1, 1878, he started the first sluice-box ever used on the West Coast, making it out of boards which the brothers had taken down the previous year. On March 6 the first miner's right ever granted on the West Coast was issued to him by the late Mr. C. P. Sprent. who was appointed Mining Registrar for the Coast.

The result of this sluicing was only about 25dwt. of gold. This first discovery led to the finding of Brown's Plains and Middleton's Creek, which were the first two gold rushes on the Coast. The tracks leading from Heemskirk to the Pieman, and from the Pieman to Parson's Hood, marked on Lovett's charts as J. R. Scott's track, were both cut by the Merediths, but Scott travelled over them some weeks after they had gone in. The discovery of galena at Zeehan was the out-come of the tin and gold discoveries, as it was in prospecting for them that the galena was found.       Heemskirk Falls (Linc Tasmania)

On March 24, 1883, the brothers Meredith pitched the first tent on the site of what is now Strahan, and cut the Honeysickle Plains track, which opened up the King River country. For some years past Mr. Meredith has resided in Hobart. He was in the 78th year of his age, and leaves four sons and a daughter. His brother Owen survives him.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Wednesday 12 September 1923, page 5

TIN AT HEEMSKIRK  How It Was Discovered  Mr. Owen Meredith's Story

Tasmania owes much to her early mineral prospectors, those sturdy, valiant fellows who, in the face of great hardships, privations, and dangers, went out into the wilds searching for deposits of mineral wealth. Some were successful, others wore not, though all deserved to be. Very few, however, made any great material gain for themselves, and many of those who did failed to retain it. Government rewards for mineral discoveries were not munificent 40 or 50 years ago. To-day they are greater and there is a possibility of a fortunate prospector reaping a very substantial reward.

The Government has, however, not been altogether unmindful of the services of early day prospectors and three of them Messrs Owen Meredith (discoverer of tin at Heemskirk) George Renison Bell who found the first tin on the North East Const and Frank Long whose discovery of galena on the West Coast brought tho towns of Zeehan and Dundas into existence have all benefited to the extent of an annual pension of £50. Both Messrs. Bell and Long are dead but the former's widow is still in receipt of the Government's tangible appreciation of her husband's work for the State.

Mr Owen Meredith though 76 years of age– he was born in Port Sorell in 1847– is still going strong. He is the younger of two brothers who as prospectors have left their names on the maps and in the records of the Mines Department. George Campbell Meredith who died in Hobart about six years ago was seven years the senior of Owen. They were the sons of the late Hon. Charles and Mrs. Meredith.

Both father and mother were people of note in Tasmania the former being at one time Colonial Treasurer and the latter the gifted authoress of "My Bush Friends in Tasmania "and other works.
Mr Owen Meredith, after his strenuous life in the wilds of the West and other parts of Australasia, is now peacefully spending his declining years not literally in the shadow of his vine and fig tree but in the sunshine of his orchard and garden at the salubrious and beautiful little port of Dover. It was there I visited him quite recently to get from his own lips for "Mercury" readers the story of his discovery of tin at Heemskirk. I found him, though a great sufferer from sciatica, still bodily active save for his lameness while his intellect is as keen and discriminating as ever it was.

Having a good knowledge of the localities with which Mr Meredith has been so intimately connected and knowing person-ally some of the men with whom he was associated in his expeditions, I was able to follow closely and appreciate the tale he told.

His interest in the West Coast of Tasmania he said was first aroused when at the age of seven or eight years he listened to a conversation between his father and the late Mr Gordon Burgess, a Government surveyor who was one of Sprent's assistants in the tri- goniometrical survey of Tasmania. The story Burgess told of his experiences in connection with that survey fired young Owen's imagination in regard to the West and no doubt was largely responsible for his visits there in after years At about l8 years of age he went to New Zealand and engaged in sheep station work but like many another young fellow of those days, forsook it for alluvial gold mining.

After two or three years of this he returned to Melbourne where he saw Adam Lindsay Gordon ride in the Autumn Steeple-chase of 1868 at Flemington. Back in Tasmania he followed farming for a time with occasional prospecting trips in the neighbourhood of Wombat (where alluvial tin was discovered) and Magnet. Afterwards he went to live near Burnie and engaged in carting tin from the Mount Bischoff mine to Burnie over between 40 and 45 miles of abominably bad road the return trip taking five days.

About the end of 1876 a small prospecting association was formed at Burnie under the title of the Emu Bay and Pieman Rivers Prospecting Association with the object of sending Mr Meredith to the West Coast to search for further tin deposits. Prominent members of this association were Captain James Patterson (then agent at Burnie for the Mount Bischoff Company who was manager and secretary for the association) Captain W. Jones, Messrs George Patterson (son of Captain James Patterson) G. B. B. Elliott, R. Quiggin T Sullock, C. McKenzie, Alfred Boatwright and his brother in law Tom Wiseman. The agreement between the association and Mr Meredith provided that he was to be the prospector and to take with him another man whom he was to select. His choice fell upon his brother George Campbell Meredith who said Owen "was the best man for the job that I knew. As a mate he was unequalled, he was an excellent bushman and boatman, and you could lay your life on him in a tight place."

All preliminaries being arranged a start was made from Burnie on November 27 1876 in the schooner Secret, a tight little craft of 16½ tons, owned and skippered by Captain Charles Nelson a fine type of seafaring man. The next day the vessel lay in Jacobs Boat Harbor just beyond Table Cape and on the 29th she anchored close to the Petrel Islands and the following day stood out to sea off West Point. On December 1 the captain was off the Pieman mouth, but a look at the bar convinced him that the sea was too heavy to permit him to go in, and he made south to Macquarie Harbour .

Owing to an unfavourable wind he was unable to enter, so he stood out to sea for the night and hove to in a strong southerly blow. "We shipped scarcely a pannikin of water all night", said Mr Meredith, musing on this incident, "but the vessel was leaning and it was by no means pleasant to hear the water sloshing about inside her through the night. We had to pump her every two hours or so. Afterwards it was discovered that the leakage was due to a spike hole which had been bored through her side but had not been filled."

Next day they again made Macquarie Heads, and anchored off the bar, waiting for a favourable slant of wind to get in. It came, and they got safely inside, although some difficulty was experienced owing to the racing current between Entrance Island and the main-land, caused by the outgoing tide accelerated by the heavy fresh from the flooded Gordon and King Rivers. With sweeps assisting the sails, however, they stemmed the current, and won through to the placid waters of Macquarie Harbour. Here they found thousands of black swans and other aquatic birds, which showed very little concern at the vessel's arrival.

On December 4, the brothers made up their swags, and bidding good-bye to Captain Nelson and his crew, set out to tramp through to the Pieman River, there to await the arrival of the Secret, with their stores and equipment. Travelling by the sandy coast, they arrived at the Big Henty River that night, and next morning making a couple of rafts by binding driftwood together with Macquarie Harbour vine, which grows there in great profusion, they got their swags across the stream near where the Government ferry house was after-wards erected. Next night they camped at what is now known as the Little Henty River, but which Mr. Meredith then named the Zeehan River, because of its proximity to Mt. Zeehan. Between Macquarie Harbour and the Little Henty, the country for some distance back from the beach is largely sand dunes, and not favourable for prospecting operations, but once the Little Henty is crossed, mineral-bearing country is struck.

Quicksands near the mouth of the Little Henty gave them some trouble, and once or twice it was necessary to save themselves prostrate, and flounder out for their lives. Eventually they crossed the stream, and still following the coast which had now become rocky, they came to what is now called Trial Harbour, which, however, is far-from being a harbour for vessels in anything I except the calmest weather.


From Trial Harbour they climbed to the granite plateau some 400ft. or more above the sea, and lying to the west of Mt. Agnew. Here they found a peculiar boulder of pink granite perched on a bluff about 450ft. above the sea level, and forming a most conspicuous landmark, both from sea and land for miles around. This boulder the Meredith's named "The Pulpit Rock," which title it still bears. It is about 30ft. high, and from 20ft. to 25ft. in diameter. That night they camped about a couple of miles north of the Pulpit Rock, on the site of what afterwards was the Cornwall Tin Mine.


The button grass and scrub were very thick hereabouts, and to clean it up to facilitate prospecting, they fired it in the evening, and made back to their camp. A westerly wind was then blowing, and carrying the fire rapidly inland. After supper, they spent a little while surveying the magnificent spectacle presented by the broad sheets of flame and the soaring smoke, and then turned in. Sometime during the night they  were awakened from sound slumber by the roar of flames, and the glare of lurid light. A sudden change of wind had turned the bushfire in the direction of their camp, and there was no time to be lost if they were to escape with their belongings and lives.

Hurriedly pulling down their tent, they crammed their various paraphernalia into bundles, and rushed back over the creek where, out of danger, they were able to lace up their boots, which they had been too hurried to do before, and watch the devastating flames lick over the spot that had been their camp.
Plenty of kangaroos and wallaby had been seen, between Macquarie Harbour and Trial, but so far they had not secured any fresh meat. On the Heemskirk plateau, however, luck was in their way. They sighted a badger or wombat out on the open grassy country, and cutting off his escape to the scrub, dashed in and settled him with a half-axe. Badger soup, no mean delicacy followed ad lib.


The next day they reached the scene of the wreck of The George Town Packet, a small vessel owned in Launceston, and sailed by Captain C. Mullins, which had been lost on the West Coast not long before. They found Mullins', camp, made of sails' and oars and wreckage. Among other things that had belonged to the wrecked vessel, they discovered a sailor's chest. Conical Rocks Point, a little to the south of the mouth of the Pieman River, was reached on December 9th, and on the following day they came to the Pieman Heads, and there settled down to await the arrival of the Secret, with their outfit. Food was getting scarce now, and they had to eke out their carefully treasured bacon and biscuits with crayfish, which abound on the rocky coast, and eels from the creeks.

The Secret made her appearance on December 20, and no time was lost by the prospectors in making up the Pieman River. On the second night, they tied their boat up at the Half-Way Tree, situated midway between Nancy Landing, and where the township of Corinna was afterwards established.

Next day their up-stream progress was resumed, and reaching a tributary stream, which after themselves, they named the Meredith River, they there selected a suitable site for a depot for their stores. They had taken with them enough palings to roof the depot building, and thus secure their provisions from the depredations of tiger cats, and other prowling forest folk. They started the construction of their depot on January 1, 1877, and on January 5 they went further up the Pieman, camping for the night at the Broad Rapid. During this time, the Secret's crew were busying themselves lower down the river, getting a loading of pine logs.

The Meredith Bros, now started their prospecting operations in earnest. They sank holes on Promising ground near their Broad Rapids camp, and were delighted to obtain in one a nice coarse speck of gold - the first ever reported on the West Coast. On January 6, they made their way further up the Pieman, till their progress was barred in a gorge, which the little flat-bottomed boat they had brought with them from Burnie, could not navigate. So on January 7 they returned to the depot, and continued prospecting in that neighbourhood.

On January 10, they got colours of gold on the south side of the Pieman, on what was afterwards known to the diggers as Hangman's Creek. As they had agreed to help Captain Nelson get his pine logs out of the bush to the vessel, they now left their depot and went down to the schooner. But they still prospected, and on January 12, obtained good strong colours of gold on the northern side of the river, near Whyte Creek, so named after the late Mr. James Whyte, Recorder of Titles. This discovery proved of importance, as it led to the subsequent working field on Middleton's Creek (which runs into the Savage River), and so to the opening un of the Corinna goldfield. This field, in Mr. Owen Meredith's opinion, will yet come to the front, as there is a lot of gold which can be won by hydraulic sluicing..

On January 17, a whale boat with 5 men in it pulled up alongside the Secret as she lay at the Pieman bank loading logs. These men constituted a party under the leadership of T. Donnelly, who had been sent out from Hobart on a prospecting expedition. They had come down in the ketch Coral, under Captain Lloyd, who had with him his two sons, Frank and Arthur.

The arrival of Donnelly's party, who, in a way, were their rivals, spurred the Meredith Brothers into a rapid departure for Heemskirk, which was their real objective. They had no wish to be forestalled in their investigation of that region, and so as quickly as possible, got away without letting their destination be known.


Climbing Mt. Donaldson, on the northern side of the Pieman, on a clear day, they obtained a splendid view of the lay of the land between them and Heemskirk. Noting what appeared to be a leading ridge running from the Pieman in the direction they wanted to go, they decided to strike this and follow it as far as practicable to the desired locality. They did so, and with success, for Mr. Owen Meredith's notebook contains under date, February 10, 1877, the following entry:-"Tin: Getting small prospects of tin in several places." The next entry Is "February 14. Better prospects; several pounds to the dish," and on February 17, occurs the historic entry, "Pegged first sections on the West Coast." The peggings on this occasion embraced four 80-acre sections in the names of James Patterson, George Patterson, Owen Meredith, and George Meredith.

Returning to the Pieman on February 20, the Merediths found the Coral lying at the Heads, ready to sail for Hobart, and placing their samples of tin and letters in charge of Captain Lloyd, forwarded them to their principals.

About another month was spent in further prospecting, and on March 18 they started on their return to Burnie by way of Mt. Bischoff. In the previous year, Mr. Sprent, then Government Surveyor, had commenced the survey and cutting of a track from Mt. Ramsay across the Yellow Band plain to the open country, at the foot of the Parsons Hood mountain, and being aware of the existence of. this track, the Merediths, broke through from the Pieman to connect with it. On the second day from their start (March 10), they came across a couple of Sprent's men–Frank Long (the subsequent discoverery of galena at Zeehan,), and Walter Lord. These were very much surprised to find anyone out there, but were greatly interested when the Meredith's. told of their success, and produced samples, of the tin they had found. The remaining portion of the return journey was uneventful, 'Burnie being reached safely.

The next trip of Mr. Owen Meredith to the Heemskirk district was made during the following summer, but before chronicling that it is desirable to make reference to another prospecting party who visited Heemskirk in the summer of 1876-7. This party was sent out by a New Norfolk syndicate and comprised the brothers J. A. Moore and T. B. Moore and James Andrew. They went from New Norfolk via Lake St. Clair, and were joined by Mr. J. R. Scott's party of three or four men, who were out on an exploration trip. Arrived at Heemskirk, Moore's party fell in with Donnelly's, and together they did a good bit of prospecting and pegged ground on the Eureka to the east of Meredith's sections. Scott's party continued their journey through to the Pieman, following Merediths' and Donnelly's tracks, and then went back by the same track as the Merediths had used to Bischoff. Donnelly's party subsequently came out by way of Bischoff and Moore's party returned by their outward track back to New Norfolk.

In the following summer, about November, 1877, the Emu Bay and Pieman River Association and the association which was financing the Moores' party mutually arranged for the sending down of men and outfit by the ketch Pauline from Burnie to the Pieman. It was decided that the men and outfit should travel by the ketch while the two leaders Messrs Owen Meredith and T B Moore should make the journey over land and await the arrival of the vessel it the Pieman Heads. They reached the Pieman safely but the Pauline failed to turn up for a couple of months. Other vessels, however, arrived the news of the discoveries having created a stir in the State.

Ultimately news was brought to the waiting prospectors by two men from Whales Head that the Pauline was lying at Whale's Head (now Tamma) and Messrs Meredith and Moore decided to go up to Whale's Head and demand from the captain that he should either come straight away to the Pieman or go to back to Burnie and unload their equipment so that it could be sent down by another vessel. So the two leaders set out next day for Whale s Head and it was on this trip that Mr Meredith met with an unfortunate accident that resulted in the loss of his left eye. As he was breaking through the scrub near the Interview River a splinter of ti-tree entered the eye. Though suffering intense agony he still battled along with his companion there was nothing else to be done.

Going up the coast just beyond the Interview River they came upon the wreck of the Ethel Cuthbert, a ketch which some time be-fore had sailed out of Hobart for Mac-quarie Harbour or Port Davey for pine, and had been wrecked with the loss of all hands. The finding of part of the name board removed any doubt as to the identity of the vessel. When they reached Whale's Head the prospectors found the Pauline still in port, and they were able to induce the captain to leave on the following day for the Pieman. Mr. Owen Meredith's wounded eye was giving him great trouble, and he decided to return to civilisation that it might be surgically examined. He accordingly started to walk back by way of the Parson's Hood to Bischoff, but discovered that he had become so weak that he could not proceed.
He there- fore returned to camp and nursed him self till his strength was sufficiently re-gained to do the journey by way of the coast to Circular Head. He left Pat Harvey in charge of his party at the Pieman, the remainder being L. Harvey, Wm. Thorpe, and Jack Ward. These men proceeded up the Pieman to the eleventh rapid, and thence across country to the association's sections, which they prospected till another man named Allen was appointed to take charge of the mining work.

During that summer Surveyor Sprent went out to survey the sections pegged by the Merediths and also those pegged by Donnelly and Moore. As the latter sections were on the surveyor's road to Meredith's blocks, he surveyed them first, Meredith's party waiving their right to priority to suit the convenience of Mr. Sprent. Accompanying Mr. Sprent on this trip were David Jones, the well-known surveyor, who died at Hobart recently, Walter Lord, and John Burke.

Several other parties arrived at Heemskirk that year, either overland or by water. The Great Western Association (Donnelly's principals) sent down pack-horses to Macquarie Harbour and thence up the coast to the workings. A little later came the Heemskirk tin mining boom. Much money was spent in erecting treatment plants and elaborate buildings, etc., and but very little on systematic and intelligent mining. One company, indeed, is said to have bagged up black tourmaline for tin. Under such circumstances the funds could not last. Shareholders became tired of paying calls for which they got no return, and show after show closed down till the district was practically deserted, though, as is well known, there are a number of promising shows there.

In the meantime Owen Meredith, after receiving in Hobart treatment and advice for his eye, had obtained an engagement to cut a pack track through from the Pieman to the Heemskirk district. This track went through what is now known as tho Granville farm, and is still in use. This work completed, he again followed prospecting till, his eye still troubling him, he went to Melbourne to consult a specialist, and in order to save the other eye submitted to the injured optic being re-moved. It was then found that a portion of the splinter of wood still retained in the eyeball, and that the healing of the wound would have been impossible.

Upon returning from Melbourne he was appointed council clerk at Spring Bay, where he remained for a couple of years, receiving on his departure a nice testimonial from the Warden (Mr. Salmon). Afterwards he went back to the West Coast for some years, and finally came south to spend his remaining years.

The Children of Elizabeth and Charles Meredith

1.  George Glendowan Meredith married  Janet Colquhoun Young lived at Colquhoun 171 Bathurst Street Hobart, and he had a stationery and bookselling business. Janet died in 1934, and he married Nora Mitchelmoore.

2. John Charles Meredith married Louise May Stephenson.  They had a daughter Mabyn Ethel Meredith.  He was a miner at Zeehan.

Mount Lyell Standard and Strahan Gazette (Queenstown, Tas. : 1896 - 1902), Tuesday 8 April 1902, page 2

George Webb and John Meredith, miners working at the stannite tribute at the Oonah mine, met with an accident to-day.

They were stoping when a piece of rock fell on Meredith's leg, pinning him to the ground. Webb tried to release him when another piece fell and struck Webb on the head, cutting his ear and badly bruising him The men were taken out and Webb was found to be badly hurt and had to be taken to the hospital. Meredith, whose injury was confined to his leg, was taken to his own home. Webb is a married man with two children and bails from the East Coast.

Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas. : 1883 - 1928), Tuesday 28 March 1905, page 5
This afternoon a serious accident occurred in the face at the No. 6' level of the Montana mine. At the No. 1 workings, John Meredith and Herbert Ross had drilled three holes, and fired two off, in order to make the third more effective. On going back to fire the third, it exploded. ' Rowe escaped with slight injuries on the face and head besides being considerably shaken ; but Meredith received the full force of the blast.' He was promptly conveyed to the hospital, where Dr. Butler found that the sight of one eye had gone, and probably the other was irretrievably injured. One arm and one leg were broken, and the skull severely cut. But little hope is entertained of his recovery. Rowe was able to walk, but subsequently it was found advisable to place him on a tram and convey him to the hospital, his serious symptoms being bleeding from the ear. He is detained for treatment at the hospital.
John was also a well known Hobart footballer.

3.  Twamley Meredith and Jessica Farquhar lived in Tasmania, where he was a compositor.  The later moved to Victoria.

Their son Llewellyn Meredith served in World War II.  He died near Katherine in NT, 30th August 1942,  from a Vasovagal syncope, possibly brought about by dehydration.  He is buried at Adelaide River Cemetery.

4. Mervyn Louis Meredith and Emily Louisa Hervey nee Sturgeon lived in Hobart, and he held the licence for the Royal Exchange Hotel.

5.  Sarah Louisa Meredith and her husband John Edward Crammond was for 9 years the wharf clerk for the Union Steamships Line, and was transferred to Auckland in 1919.

6.  Phoebe Meredith and her husband Thomas John Paton had two sons. Thomas was an accountant in Hobart.  His father James Craig Paton was a builder, and a very long term member of the Chalmers Presbyterian Church.

 John Glendowan and Kenneth Owen Paton who was in the RAF in WWII and died in a plane crash in Brisbane in 1943

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Saturday 9 October 1937, page 13

LATE MR. J. C. PATON Tribute To Work In Community  Funeral Services

The funeral of Mr. James Craig Paton, whose death occurred at Hobart on Wednesday, took place at Cornelian Bay cemetery yesterday. Prior to the cortege leaving for the burial ground a service was conducted at Chalmers Presbyterian Church, with which de-ceased had been connected throughout his life, by the Rev. H. M Joughin, assisted by the Rev. W. J. Harris. There was a large congregation, which included numbers who had been associated with Mr. Paton in civic, friendly society, philanthropic, and church work.

Mr. Joughln paid an eloquent tribute to the Christian spirit, which, he said, had been so characteristic of the life of Mr. Paton. For 82 years he had been a resident of Hobart and a citizen who had made his contribution to the community life of the city. He was an honourable man In business and a builder whose houses stood. He had been a mayor of the city and a member of the committees of the Board of Management of the Hobart General Hospital and the Hobart Benevolent Society. Above all, he had been a true servant of Jesus Christ. He had been received into membership of the Church on December 3, 1869; for more than 60 years had been a Sunday school teacher, and for many years superintendent of the Sunday school. He had been a deacon and elder and a faithful churchman, who had always been on the side of pence. He had sought to make the world a better place, and his was the contribution of a Christian man to the community.

The Merediths - Tasmanian Settlers

There is no doubt that the Meredith family have been influential as pioneers of Tasmania.
George Campbell Meredith was the son of Charles Meredith and Louisa Twambley.
Charles Meredith was the son of George Meredith 1777 - 1856.

Meredith, George (1777–1856)  by David Hodgson
This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

George Meredith (1777-1856), settler, was born on 13 February 1777 near Birmingham, England, the fourth son of John Meredith and his wife Sally, née Turner; his father was a prominent barrister and solicitor and descended from the ancient Amerydeth family of Devon and Wales.

In 1796 Meredith was commissioned second lieutenant in the marines and later served in the West Indies, at the blockade of Ferrol in Spain and on the Mediterranean Station. At Alexandria in 1803 he made a daring ascent of Pompey's Pillar, a granite column 180 feet (55 m) high, to fasten the Union Jack in place of a French cap-of-liberty placed there by Napoleon's forces. In 1805 when recruiting in Berkshire he met and married Sarah, the daughter of H. W. Hicks.

 Next year he retired on half-pay and commenced farming at Newbury; later the family move to Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and farmed there until 1819 when the post-war rural depression stimulated his interest in emigration. He then had two boys and three girls, the eldest being 13.

Meredith resolved to settle in Van Diemen's Land and applied to the Colonial Office for letters of introduction. In company with several partners he chartered a ship, but early in 1820 his wife died suddenly, thus jeopardizing the whole venture. By good fortune their former governess and companion, Mary Evans, consented to take care of the young family on the voyage. In July official permission was granted and in October the ship was loaded with personal possessions, extensive farm equipment and a small flock of merino sheep. An agreement had already been made to obtain additional stock from Edward Lord's flocks already on the island. The original partners, Meredith, Joseph Archer and Thomas Gregson, were joined by a number of passengers, including the Amos family, John Kerr, Francis Desailly and John Meredith, a cousin of the family. Before embarkation George Meredith and Mary Evans were quietly married and on 8 November the expedition sailed in the Emerald and reached Hobart Town on 13 March 1821.

After settling the family in temporary lodgings Meredith presented his letters of introduction to Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell and began to look for suitable land. He had already experienced the limited market outlets for inland farms in England and Wales, and was determined to secure coastal grants if possible. According to government surveys the most promising land lay at Oyster Bay, about 140 miles (225 km) distant on the eastern coast, and a small party set out in a whale-boat to visit the district. Close examination proved the land to be greatly inferior to the official descriptions, but certain parts capable of development were selected and the party returned to Hobart on 24 April to lodge the formal applications.

Official permission was duly given to the whole scheme, which included the individual grants, and late in September, after the first livestock were dispatched overland, a small schooner was chartered to take the settlers to Oyster Bay.

There they found part of the granted land occupied by William Talbot, an emigrant Irishman who had already unsuccessfully sought inclusion in the group and now claimed that the land had been granted to him. Vigorously protesting he withdrew from the district but the dispute was finally decided in Meredith's favour in 1826.

Meanwhile the grants were developed and improved, both for seasonal crops and grazing stock; a tannery and flour-mill were established at the Meredith River, and bay whaling stations set up on near-by islands to try out whale oil for export. In a shipyard at Waterloo Point were built several trading vessels and also small craft for the use of sealing gangs on their visits to the Bass Strait islands. These enterprises required both skilled labour and special equipment and necessitated repeated visits to Hobart, so Meredith was able to maintain a close interest and participation in the public affairs of the free colonists.
 In 1824, after the declaration of a new Charter of Justice for Van Diemen's Land, Meredith and many other colonists met publicly to express their appreciation and to seek more benefits from the British government. In March 1827, after news that property owners in New South Wales were petitioning for an elective legislature, Meredith and other landowners arranged a public meeting to encourage similar efforts in Van Diemen's Land.

A petition and addresses were prepared for submission to London by Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur. Through misunderstanding the documents were delayed; copies were later sent privately to England but the whole matter lapsed because the Colonial Office disapproved the colonists' attitude toward Arthur. Later that year Meredith and others again came into conflict with the lieutenant-governor over legislation to license the press, with which Meredith had strong connexions. Bitter official opposition toward Meredith continued throughout Arthur's term and constituted a severe restriction to his personal life and public spirit.

In the early 1820s many isolated settlements were under repeated attack from escaped convicts. In October 1825 the homestead at Oyster Bay was raided in Meredith's absence by the bushranger Matthew Brady. None of the family was injured but the house was ransacked and a servant taken hostage was later killed; fortunately the plate and other valuables were found buried near Hobart and returned.

The family had first lived at Redbanks, a turf hut strengthened with timber, on the south bank of the Meredith River. About 1827 they moved into Belmont, a more spacious home lying about one mile (1.6 km) further inland. About 1836 they moved into Cambria, a large dwelling designed by Meredith near the original home and surrounded by gardens which had been steadily developed since their arrival. From that time the management of the property devolved more upon the eldest sons, and they took the entire care of the estate when his wife Mary died unexpectedly in 1842. By his second marriage he had three sons and four daughters, of whom the second son John remained in charge at Oyster Bay until George Meredith died in 1856.

Several of Meredith's children became prominent in later years; his second son, Charles, was appointed colonial treasurer of Van Diemen's Land in 1857 and continued in high public offices for twenty years; the fourth son, John, was appointed a magistrate at Swansea in 1855 and contributed greatly to the welfare of the district; the fifth son, Edwin, migrated to New Zealand as a pioneer colonist in 1851, and the fifth, daughter Clara, married Richard Dry.

George Meredith possessed qualities of endurance and strength which, coupled with his early experience at sea in command of men and subsequent farming life in England, resulted in a character eminently suitable for pioneer colonial life. The enthusiasm and encouragement of his wife Mary also contributed greatly to his successful career in public and private life.

George Meredith (1778–1856), active settler and landowner, emigrated to Tasmania in 1821. He received land grants on the east coast, where he built a home and imported livestock, and was involved in whaling, sealing and shipbuilding. Keenly interested in the autonomy of free settlers, Meredith promoted independence from New South Wales, and supported the need for a free press and an independent legislature. Persistent activity by settlers and landowners eventually achieved success. The Merediths remained farming on the east coast until about 1915. 

George's son Charles (husband of Louisa Ann Meredith) entered parliament, became Colonial Treasurer in 1857 and held high public office for the next twenty years; his brother John was also a member of parliament. Charles's sons Owen and George Campbell were persistent explorers and prospectors, and Owen's son David Meredith was general manager of the Electrolytic Zinc Works from 1926 until 1942. Many descendants live in Tasmania and the mainland.

The Electrolytic Zinc Works were established by the Electrolytic Zinc Company at Risdon beside the Derwent in 1916, due to a number of circumstances: the First World War disrupted the supply from Germany of zinc, vital for munitions; the electrolytic method had been developed to produce zinc cheaply; and the huge amounts of electricity necessary were available through Tasmania's new hydro-electric scheme. Zinc ore came from Broken Hill and Rosebery.

Charles Meredith Monument Meredith resigned his seat on account of ill-health in 1879, and died at Launceston, Tasmania, on 2 March 1880. His wife and children survived him.
Meredith was one of the few Tasmanians whose name has been publicly commemorated; a mountain range in north-east Tasmania is named for him and a fountain in his memory was erected in the Queen's domain, Hobart, in 1885.

John Meredith was born at Great Swanport, Tasmania on 31 October 1822 and he died at Swansea, Tasmania on 13 February 1909. He was elected to the House of Assembly for the first time on 8 June 1861 for Glamorgan, in November 1862 for Deloraine, in June 1865 for Ringwood and in October 1866 for Glamorgan again. His departure from the House of Assembly was March 1871, after nearly 10 years as a M.H.A..

Another aspect of his Public service is recorded in The Courier (Hobart) on 2 November 1855 for he was elected as the President of the Glamorgan Agricultural Association at its inception. He promoted the interests of the district of Greater Swanport respecting the erection of wharves for transport of agricultural products to market (The Courier in 1855). In an advert for tenders for rough-casting the Church at Swansea and replacing the coping stones, the tenders had to be sent to John Meredith (The Courier in 1856). John Meredith’s continuance of the family’s involvement with sheep is seen in an advertisement (The Courier in 1857). The family home at Swansea is shown in a drawing of Cambria

There is an episode recorded in Le Souef, ‘Extinct Tasmanian Emu’ when John Meredith was only 8 years old, as follows: Mr. John Meredith, of Cambria, East Coast, says: “I remember perfectly Emus being caught in this neighbourhood prior to 1830, and for a few years subsequently also between this place and Avoca. I saw a pair at Circular Head on ‘Black Thursday’ (1851). They were full grown, and had with them half a dozen young ones. The old birds had been caught when young near Circular Head and reared and tamed.”

A paper about John Meredith’s brother Charles Meredith is also found at this website in the category ‘Political’. I acknowledge that some of the information on the Meredith family is derived from the Australian Dictionary of Australia.


Swansea is a classified Historic Town and the only historic town in Tasmania situated by the sea. This provides an ambience and relaxed feel to the town. It was first settled in 1821 by Lieutenant George Meredith of the Royal Marines and two of his tenant farmers from Glamorgan in Wales, who sailed up from Hobart Town.

Swansea was originally known as Great Swanport and grew during the 1820s and 1830s. At that time there was a large convict station at Rocky Hills where, at the peak period, 406 prisoners were kept. There was a small regiment of soldiers in barracks at Waterloo Point.

https://eprints.utas.edu.au/22693/1/G4-meredith-papers.pdf  by G Meredith - ‎2010

George Meredith (1777 -1856) of Cambria, Swansea, settled in Tasmania (Van .... Governor Strahan was entertained to lunch at Cambria with roast swan, curry, ... Campbell Town, Fr. Kelsh, visited and he invited daughter Jessie to stay with him .... between mothers and daughters and sisters and record the life of a settler

The family of Thomas and Mary Ann Large

The marriage of Rebecca Jillett's granddaughter and the marriage of one of John and Phoebe's great grandchildren, brought the Large family into the Jillett/Bradshaw tree.

Laura Ellen Young daughter of Samuel Thomas Young and Florence Pybus married Maurice Gerald Large.  Maurice's father was Percy Joseph Large, and his brother Henry Percy Large married Alice Foster.

Their daughter Olive Beatrice Large married John Glendower Paton who was the great grandson of John and Phoebe Jillett.  They later divorced and he remarried.

They were the descendants of Henry Large and Elizabeth Morley. Henry Large's brother was Thomas Large.  In 1850, 6 children died in a shipwreck, while entering Meredith Creek.  They were the children of Thomas Large and Mary Ann Pipler.

The family arrived in Tasmania in 1842, under one of the Immigrant Schemes.

The following is an extract from the newspaper of the time: "Wrecks: we regret to announce a melancholy occurrence, which took place on Monday week at Oyster Bay, near Swansea. The wind was blowing high at the time: and the cutter Resolution, hence from Swan Port, with Mr and Mrs Large and the 6 children, varying in age from 2 - 12 years, and a cargo comprising articles for establishing a brewery at Swansea, on board, was totally wrecked. The whole of the goods and the lives of the six children falling a sacrifice to the elements. 

We hear that, so sudden was the catastrophe, the poor father, who was formerly a publican in Hobart Town, and has now lost all, had barely time to escape himself, and that he was insensible for several hours after being thrown on shore by surf.

How Mrs. Large escaped has not correctly transpired, but a four-oared whaleboat went from town on Monday morning to the scene of the disaster". Of the Large children, all but the body of 8 year old William were recovered and buried in the town's cemetery. Stricken with grief, the parents returned to Hobart Town without taking up residency at Swansea Inn, and Mr. Wellard continued on to develop the brewery.

In the mid 1850's, Swansea Inn was sold to an Alexander Graham and became a Grammar School for boys. This venture failed after 5 years and sold again, this time to a doctor, the house then became a private residence for some 80 years. The owners included the Mitchell sisters from 1897 to the 1940's and then a Bernard Hawkin. 

It is interesting that there is a generational change with the children of the first born of Robert and Elizabeth, who were 20 years older than the youngest two, Thomas and John.  That generational gap is also why there is more information available regarding the younger boys.

Oyster Bay Tragedy (1850)
Oyster Bay Tragedy
5 November, 1850

Children of Thomas and Mary Ann Large drowned when sloop 'Resolution' was wrecked off Waterloo Point (Swansea)
Elizabeth aged 12    Edmund J. aged 10
William aged 8    Hannah aged 6
George aged 4   Frances M. aged 2

The Glamorgan/Spring Bay Historical Society

The Colonial Times reported on the 12 November 1850 of the loss of the family aboard the sloop Resolution that was returning from a charter by Thomas Large. The Resolution ran aground at Waterloo Point near the entrance of the Meredith River at Swansea.

Louisa Anne Twamley

Louisa was born 20 July 1812 and died 21 October 1895, Anglo/Australian writer and illustrator.

Louisa Anne Twamley was born in Birmingham, England, the daughter of Thomas Twamley and Louisa Ann née Meredith. She was educated mainly by her mother, and in 1835 published a volume, Poems, which was reviewed favourably. This was followed by The Romance of Nature (1836, third edition 1839), mostly in verse. Another volume was published in 1839, subtitled An autumn ramble on the Wye an account of a tour on the River Wye from Chepstow to near its source at Plynlimon.
On 18 April 1839, she married her cousin, Charles Meredith at Old Edgbaston Church, Birmingham. Charles had emigrated to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in 1821 with his father George and family. They had been pioneers of grazing, whaling and other activities around Swansea on Tasmania's East Coast. Charles had become a squatter in the Canberra district of New South Wales.
Meredith and her husband sailed for New South Wales in June 1839, and arrived at Sydney on 27 September 1839.

After travelling into the interior as far as Bathurst, Mrs Meredith returned to the coast and lived at Homebush for around a year. By the time of his return to New South Wales, severe economic depression caused by excessive land speculation had destroyed the value of Charles' property, and towards the end of 1840 they relocated to Tasmania. An interesting account of her first 11 years in Australia is given in her two books, Notes and Sketches of New South Wales (1844), reprinted at least twice, and My Home in Tasmania (1852), which was soon republished in the United States under the title Nine Years in Australia.
For most of her life Louisa Meredith lived on properties around Swansea. In 1860 she published Some of My Bush Friends in Tasmania which contained elaborate full-colour plates printed by the new chromolithography process. The illustrations were drawn by herself, and simple descriptions of characteristic native flowers were given. In 1861 an account of a visit to Victoria in 1856, Over the Straits, was published, and in 1880 Tasmanian Friends and Foes, Feathered, Furred and Finned. This went into a second edition in 1881. In 1891, Meredith went to London to supervise the publication of Last Series, Bush Friends in Tasmania.

Published at the beginning of a severe financial depression in the Australian colonies, this project and the collapse of the bank where most of her savings were held ruined her financially. In her final years Meredith suffered from chronic sciatica and became blind in one eye. She died in Collingwood, Victoria (a suburb of Melbourne) on 21 October 1895 and was survived by sons Owen and George.
Meredith was the author of two novels, Phoebe's Mother (1869), which had appeared in the Melbourne weekly The Australasian in 1866 under the title of Ebba, and Nellie, or Seeking Goodly Pearls (1882).

Meredith took great interest in politics, her husband Charles being a Member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council for several terms between the mid-1850s until just before his death in 1881.
She was an early member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and influenced her husband to legislate for preservation of native wildlife and scenery.

Meredith often wrote unsigned articles for the Tasmanian press. This was no new thing for her as in her youth she had written articles in support of the Chartists. When she visited Sydney in 1882, Sir Henry Parkes told her that he had read and appreciated her articles when a youth. After her husband's death she was granted a pension of £100 a year by the Tasmanian government. Many of her books were illustrated by herself. Her volumes on New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria in the 1840s and 1850s, will always retain their historical significance

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Tuesday 22 October 1895, page 7

OBITUARY. MRS CHARLES MEREDITH; One more of the good old school of writers has gone to rest in the person of Louisa Ann Meredith, who passed away in Melbourne yesterday. Deceased crossed the Straits recently, and had been staying in the Victorian capital since. She had reached the advanced age of 83 years, and during her residence in Tasmania had gathered around her numerous friends, to whom the news of her death will come with deep and sincere regret. That sorrow will be shared by the hundreds who though not personally acquainted with her had learned to esteem her through her works. Her name had become a household word throughout the land, and at many hearths have her writings been read. 

Most of her work in literature was done at Orford, on the East Coast. Mrs Meredith was a studious and cultured woman, and held a distinguished position in literature.

Her taste lay chiefly in the direction of natural history and in the tenderness and beneficence which that study always fostered. It is perhaps not too much to say that it was mainly owing to her personal exertion that the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were established in Hobart and Launceston. Though advanced age rendered the hearing of ordinary conversation increasingly difficult she retained a wonderful amount of vivacity and cheerfulness almost to the last. On the occasion of her last visit to Melbourne some months since she passed through Launceston. While waiting at the Coffee Palace for the departure of the steamer a gentleman paid her a friendly call. In bidding her good-bye he wished her a pleasant voyage and lengthened happiness. Mrs Meredith thanked him and said if she lived a few weeks longer she would be 83 years of age.

It seemed almost presumptuous for a woman at that age to see many more days upon earth. And then smiling she said it reminded her of a story told of the late Captain Langdon, "He was just about my present age," said Mrs Meredith, "and was preparing to go to England. A friend enquired how long he contemplated being in the old country, to which he replied with simple earnestness that he thought of staying there a few years and then returning to pass the remainder of his days in Tasmania!"

A brief history of her life and works is told in "The Dictionary of Australian Biography" in the following strain: Louisa Anne Meredith (nee Twamley), daughter of Thomas Twamley, of Hampstead, near Birmingham, where she was born on July 20, 1812, was chiefly educated by her accomplished mother, and at an early age wrote verses and practised art with ardour and success. In 1833 she published an octavo volume of "Poems with Illustrations" (Tilt), the latter being etchings on copper from her own original drawings. The book was most favourably reviewed, and the novelty of a girl-poet being also artist and engraver excised considerable interest.

 Her "Romance of Nature" was a beautiful and costly volume in verse and prose, with hand-coloured. plates from her own drawings-the third edition published in 1889 (Tilt). "Our Wild Flowers" told the story of the year in a narrative form, with many poems introduced, the plates hand-coloured from the author's drawings. "A Tour in South Wales" and " An Autumn on the Wye" (Tilt) were illustrated with engravings after David Cox, Cattermole, etc. On April 18, 1889, Miss Twamley married at Old Edgbaston Church, Birmingham, her cousin, Charles Meredith, and accompanied him on his return to Australia. Her "Notes and Sketches of New South Wales," published in Murray's " Home and Colonial Library," was one of the most popular volumes of that excellent series. It was followed some years after by ''My Home in Tasmania" (Murray), with land scape illustrations by the Bishop of Tasmania (Dr. Nixon) and the author. "Over the Straits" (Chapman and Hall) was the narrative of a visit to Melbourne and the gold-fields in 1856.

" Loved and Lost" was the short life of a pet bird, told in poem and picture. In 1860 appeared "Some of my Bush Friends in Tasmania," published by Day and Sons, a large and elaborate work on the flora of the colony, with numerous coloured plates from the author's drawings, and original poems and prose, "Ebba," a novel, first appeared as a serial in the Australasian, then was published by Tinsley.
"Grandmamma's Verse-Book for Young Australia," poems for children on local subjects, was printed in Hobart for the author. "Tasmanian Friends and Foes, Furred, Feathered, and Finned," is also a book for young people, with coloured plates from the author's drawings (1880: Marcus Ward). 

In recognition of her life of scientific, artistic, and literary work in the colony Mrs Meredith was long since elected an honorary member of the Tasmanian Royal Society, and was granted by the Government a pension of £100 a year. Prize medals have been awarded to her for botanical drawings of Tasmanian subjects, in the Exhibitions of London, 1862; Melbourne, 1866 and 1881; Sydney, 1870 and 1875; and Calcutta, 1884. A second series of " Bush Friends in Tasmania" is now in the press--Mrs Meredith having made the voyage home, after an absence of 51 years, for the purpose of publishing her last book. Mr Owen Meredith, so well and favour able known on the West Coast, and Mr George Meredith are sons of the deceased.

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Thursday 4 March 1880, page 2

THE LATE HON. CHARLES MEREDITH. By the death of the Hon. Charles Meredith, mentioned in our last issue, Tasmania has lost another of those early pioneers, who after en countering all the vicissitudes and hardships incidental to the early settlement of the colony, have then come forward and played a prominent part in her history. A colonist of fifty-nine years standing, Mr Charles Meredith has during that long period witnessed the growth of the colony almost from its infancy, and for 23 years of that period he has taken a part in the management of its affairs.

The deceased gentleman was the second son of the late Mr Geo. Meredith, of Cambria, Swanport, and was born in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, May 29th, 1811. His father, who was Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, arrived here with his family (two sons, the eldest of whom, George, has been dead many years, and four daughters), in the first vessel which brought emigrant families direct from England to this colony-the ship Emerald. She was chartered by Lieut. Geo. Meredith anti the late Mr Jos. Archer, of Panehanger (uncle to the present possessor of that estate), and sailed from Gravesend on November 20, 1820, and arrived at Hobart Town March 18, 1821.

Her passengers, besides Messrs. Meredith and Archer and their families, were Mr John Meredith (a cousin), Messrs. T. G. Gregson, Desailly, John Kerr, Compton Adam and John Amos, Peevor, Thompson, and Watson. Mr Geo. Meredith also brought out six pure Merino rams and ten ewes, which he had obtained from Saxony, being the first pure sheep brought from Saxony to this colony, and from them are descended the finely-bred flocks of the East Coast. Mr George Meredith obtained a large grant of land at Swanport,. where he was one of the first settlers, and entered into farming pursuits, being at one time the largest stockowner in the district, and also speculated in the whaling trade. His son Charles, who was a fine, manly lad, participated in all the hard work and hard ships incident to the settlement of a new country, the natives there being both numerous and savage, and he had several narrow escapes. In 1833, when only 22 years of age. he went across to New South Wales, and, in conjunction with Mr WV. A. Brodribb, took up a station on the Murrumbidgee River.

In 1838 he visited England, and in April, 1839, married his cousin, Miss Louisa Twamley, a native of Birmingham, who was even then known as a poetical and prose 'authoress, and re turned to New South Wales the same year. In 1840 he returned to Tasmania, and settled down on the Spring Vale estate at Swanport, which belonged to him. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace on 26th Sept., 1843, and in 1844, the then Governor, Sir Eardley Wilmot. who was an old friend of the family, appointed him Police Magistrate for the Port Sorell district, which position he filled till 1848, returning then to Swanport and rented his father's property, remaining there for some time after his father's death, but ultimately removing to Malunnah, near Orford, in the Spring Bay district, where he lived till his removal to Launceston last year.

Under the old part nominee, part elective Council system of Government, Mr Chas. Meredith unsuccessfully opposed Mr H. Anstey for the combined electoral district of Glamorgan and Oatlands, but upon the introduction of responsible Government in 1856, when Glamorgan was made a separate constituency, he was returned to the House of Assembly as its first member, defeating Mr Cotton.
In 1857 he was Col. Treasurer in Mr Gregeon's Ministry, which had but a short reign, and some time afterwards he was compelled through ill health to resign his seat, to which his half brother, Mr John Meredith, was elected. When this, the first Parliament of Tasmania under the new constitution, was dissolved in 1861, Mr John Meredith was absent in New Zealand, and Mr Charles Meredith was again returned for Glamorgan. In 1863 he took office as Colonial Treasurer under Mr Whyte's Ministry, which advocated so strongly the "re productive public works policy ;" and it was owing to a tour Mr Meredith made in 1865 from Launceston through Pattersonia, Scottsdale, and Ringarooma, just before commencing a large expenditure in those districts, that the Meredith Range, between Scottsdale and Pattersonia, received its name from the late Mr Falconer, then Director of Public Works.

 In 1866 the Whyte. Meredith Ministry were defeated upon the income tax proposals, and upon the dissolution of Parliament, on an appeal to the country, the Colonial Treasurer was defeated for Glamorgan by Mr John Meredith, but was returned for Kingborough, which constituency he represented till 1871, when he put up for West Devon, defeating Mr Wm. Moore, and this seat he retained till his retirement from Parliament last year. In 1872 he took office as Colonial Treasurer and Minister of Lands under Mr Reiboy, but in August, 1877, the Ministry were forced to retire after an appeal to the country on their taxation proposals, and in the following year ill-health compelled Mr Meredith's absence for some time from his parliamentary duties, and ultimately led to his retirement altogether in the early part of last year.

Mr Meredith was also a member of the Spring Bay Municipal Council for some years, and filled the Warden's chair in 1878, being re-elected for 1879, but re tiring in June of that year, owing to his appointment as Acting-Police Magistrate at Launceston on 1st July, 1879. Some five or six weeks ago Mr Meredith was seized with an acute attack of inflammation of the liver, which, combined with the severe form of heart disease he had suffered under for some years, caused great uneasiness to his relatives and friends. He improved at one time so far as to be able to drive out, but relapses were of frequent occurrence. On Saturday last a relapse took place. and on Tuesday morning he became very much worse, the symptoms being principally referrable to the heart. His medical attendant, Dr. Hardy, Drs. Maddox and Mason were also called in, but the case was plainly beyond the reach of medical skill, for Mr Meredith sank gradually and died about 11'30 p.m. on Tuesday from failure of the heart. Though as public journalists we have frequently been opposed to Mr Meredith's political views, we can, nevertheless, bear testimony to his consistency, honesty of purpose, and unflinching support of. his party through ' good and evil fortune. He was no political trimmer, and though an ardent politician and an outspoken opponent Ins public life, Mr Meredith never carried his political feelings into private life, and therefore retained the warm personal friendship of men who were his steadfast opponents in politics.

In private life he was a genial, warm-hearted, and courteous gentleman; and even during his short residence at this end of the island, both he and Mrs Meredith have made many sincere friends, while amongst the community at large one general feeling of regret for the loss of Charles Meredith has been expressed

The deceased gentleman leaves a widow, to whom the severance of a happy union of 41 years has been a great shock, and three sons, of whom George, the eldest, late Commissioner of Goldfields for the West Coast, is absent in New Zealand, the second son, Owen, was recently Council Clerk at Spring Bay, and Charles Meredith, the youngest, also resides in the Spring Bay district. The funeral will take place this afternoon, leaving the deceased's late residence, in George. street, at 3.30 p.m., and proceed to the Church of England cemetery.


John Jillett's Will

Eldergrove York Plains (Remodelled)

John Jillett's will was probated in 1869. 

In May 1872, the trustees carried out their duties, and placed property on the market.

Then by July 1874, demands were being made for distribution and interest.


In 1877, a second property was placed on the market, this one probably known as Eddyington.  It comprised 1108 acres of land in the area known as Eastern Marshes, which is 12 miles from Oatlands.

In legal terms, the next astounding discovery, was the fact that an unidentified party, lost the will of John Jillett.

In 1880, Thomas Jillett and his family members, ran some advertisements regarding the terms of the will of John Jillett in respect to his property at York Plains, which John Jillett Junior was living.

That brought a response from the solicitors for the estate, Messrs Gill & Ball, and Elliston & Featherstone.


The first mention of the Estate was on Friday 11th May 1883, where the solicitors Gill & Ball called for persons with a claim to be forwarded before 1st July 1883.  From that it may be assumed that properties have been sold.

That advertisement ran for some time.

By 1885 the had been some form of agreement in the estate matters, in relation to Thomas Jillett and family for the sum of £312.
Thomas Jillett's solicitors were Butler, McIntyre, and Butler.  Possibly unknown to his was their family association within the branches of the Jillett/Bradshaw family tree.


A Curious Court Case  -  Meredith against others.

In September 1886, the first of a series of matters was heard in the Supreme Court.  This mentions a case Meredith v Bradshaw and others of 1876.  Those matters were heard in 1876, online records not available.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Wednesday 22 September 1886, page 3
In the Matter of Messrs. Gill and Ball.

Mr. J. A  Jackson appeared in the matter of Messrs. James William Gill and Charles John Ball, barristers, etc., of the Supreme Court, and moved that a rule nisi granted on the 14th inst., calling upon them to show cause why they should not be compelled to pay tho sum of £280 12s. Id. into the Commercial Bank to the credit of Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball instead of into Court, pursuant to a personal undertaking of the said Gill and Ball, dated the 11th of June, 1876, arising out of the case Meredith and others v. Bradshaw and others should be made absolute, ,.

Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Gill and Ball) appeared to show cause against the rule, and stated that there was ,a good deal of irrelevant matter in the affidavit of James Johnstone Henry, submitted in support of the application. The application arose out of a claim for £312 8s. 10d., made by Thomas Jillett against the trustees of the late John Jillett, but which had been barred by the Statute of Limitations, though it had been agreed to pay all claims. Under those circumstances it was arranged to pay the sum into court.

In England such monies were paid into court under the Trustees Relief Act, merely at the peril of the trustees as to costs ; but here it was necessary to have an affidavit approved by a Judge. This not having been done, the money was repaid by the registrar, to Messrs. Gill and Ball on the 11th June, 1886, and in consideration of this being agreed to by Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone, Messrs. GilI and Ball undertook to pay £280 12s. Id., being tho original sum leas the costs, to pay that sum into court if a Judge so decided, and if a Judge did not so decide within 14 days, to pay it into the Commercial Bank to.tho joint credit of the two firms.

But owing to the opposition of Messrs. Butler and Mclntyre on the part of persons interested in the suit, the money was not paid till 17th July, and it was neither paid into court or into tho bank. On the 3rd August a summons was served against Messrs. Gill and Ball, which was heard before tho Acting-Chief Justice, in Chambers, on the 10th August, but His Honour refused to give costs against Messrs. Gill and Ball, as they were, perhaps, not altogether responsible for the delay. The delay had been caused, by several matters not under the control of the firm, in support of which he produced affidavits by Charles John Ball, and Vincent Ellis, a clerk to the firm. '

But action was taken to pay the money into court before the rule nisi was grunted, though it was not paid till the day the rule was granted. He contended that the application was not in form, as it ought to have been made to the Court in which the action arose, and quoted Chitty pg 104 and 105  also that the other side had waived the undertaking. '

Mr. J, A. Jackson contended that the rule should be made absolute, for the money had not been paid into court until after the rule nisi had been granted, long after the expiration of the time stipulated in tho undertaking. 'These personal undertakings between solicitors were usually looked upon as sacred in character and greatly assisted business.

.Notwithstanding many applications, and the long period of time allowed, Messrs. Gill and Ball had done nothing  to fulfil their personal undertaking till those extreme steps had been taken to compel them.
The Chief Justice said he did not see how the rule could possibly be made absolute, believing that although this under-taking in letter-and, perhaps, to some extent in spirit-had been broken, yet the object for which the undertaking, had been given was secured by the money having been paid into court,,

He did not wish to cast any- doubt as to the responsibility of the solicitors making these undertakings, which certainly ought at all times to be rigidly fulfilled. It was not because there was any 'doubt as to the proper course that ought to be pursued in matters of personal under-taking between one solicitor and another that the Court would not make the rule absolute, but because the purpose for which the undertaking had been given was at last accomplished.

It was under those circumstances, and in regard to the surrounding causes as they came before tho Court that the rule would be discharged upon tho payment of all costs by Messrs. Gill and Ball.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Saturday 4 December 1886, page 3


Before Sir LAMBERT DOBSON (Chief Justice) and Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY (Acting Puisne Judge).


The ATTORNEY-GENERAL said, in the matter of James William Gill and Charles John Ball, a rule nisi had been granted and enlarged to that day, calling upon them to answer the subject matter of an affidavit as officers of the court. He would move that the rule be mado absolute.

Mr. H. B. MUGLISTON said he appeared on behalf of the two solicitors to answer the al-legations contained in the affidavit of George Edwards in regard to matters which came out in the hearing of the case of Mather and anr. v. Ball and anr., as contained in a report of The Mercury newspaper, which formed an exhibit to the affidavit. Before proceeding to read an affidavit in answer to the allegations he desired to state that it was owing to the allegations being general instead of specific, as was usual in such cases, that the delay in answering had occurred, as it was necessary to go through the whole of the report to find out such allegations as they thought called for explanation.'

The CHIEF JUSTICE: It is the evidence of one of your own clients which forms the subject of complaint.

Mr. MUGLISTON contended that it was a specific charge, and not a general charge that should be made. He proceeded to read the affidavit sworn to by the two solicitors.

The affidavit set forth that they had been sued by Mather and Co., and that in their opinion the debt was not due to A. Mather and Co., but to the executors of the late R. A. Mather, which appeared by the statutory declaration of T. B. Mather. They had written to J. B. Walker previously to the trial, informing him of the debt due to the executors, and their willingness to pay it less their costs, re proving the claim. They also wrote to Elliston and Featherstone something to the same effect. Subsequently they wrote to Elliston and Featherstone another letter stating that although the debt was due to the executors of R. A. Mather they would pay it to A. Mather and Co. on the authority of the executors.

They had instructed their counsel to move to set aside the verdict on the points reserved, and when counsel was in court to do so Elliston made an offer of settlement, and the action had been settled on these terms :- They gave a cheque in favour of the executors, and paid the jury fees, £5 5s.; but stipulated that no further charges were to be made against them; and received a cheque for their costs against R. A. Mather's estate.

 The affidavit then went on to set forth that they had paid all the debts mentioned in the list referred to at the trial. Referring to Elliston's evidence as to the claim made by Thomas Jillett for £312, and stated that they had received notice from Elliston and Featherstone that the trustees should not pay it to anyone, without their consent, and that Butler, Mclntyre, Butler claimed it for Thomas Jillett, and the amount was subsequently paid into Court, and afterwards paid out of court on the order of Mr. Justice Giblin.  They denied they had paid Watchorn £100 for breach of trust, as alleged in the report.
This money was paid to Watchorn, in respect to compensation for delay in the matter. They paid this money into their general banking account, in the way they paid in all monies received by them, and the ordinary custom, so far as they were aware, in, Hobart. They had paid over all money received to the joint account of Elliston and Featherstone, and Gill and Hall, and since then had no separate control of money. The remaining paragraphs set out in detail the amount of compensation which they had agreed to pay to the beneficiaries.

Mr. MUGLISTON said that was the affidavit which his clients through him offered as an explanation of this matter. It would be seen that every person having a claim against Jillett's estate had been satisfied, and they had in addition been paid out of Messrs. Gill and Ball's private pockets by, way of compensation, and solicitors' costs incurred, £575. He had no explanation to give of the evidence given by Mr. Ball at the hearing of the case. He could not make any attempt to palliate it, and when he ad-dressed the jury in the case, he stated it was not his duty as counsel to do so, and he would refuse to do it.

Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY: You are quite right, Mr. Mugliston, I took a note of it at the time.
Mr. MUGLISTON said he would not make any attempt now to palliate it; but, at the same time he felt called upon to explain that the solicitors had done all in their power to redress the injuries they might have inflicted. Under these circumstance they threw themselves upon the mercy of the court in regard to their proceedings in the matter. He could not explain the delay. It was a long suit in equity between Meredith and others v. Bradshaw and others, which was compromised in 1880, and between then and 1884, several interlocutory applications had been granted by a Judge in Chambers. In 1884 the money connected with the suit had been paid to the joint account of Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball. In April, 1885, £349 was withdrawn from the joint account and paid to Messrs. Gill and Ball for the purpose of paying certain creditors, whose names appeared on a schedule produced at the hearing of the case. During his cross-examination Mr. Ball admitted that some of these creditors had not been paid. With regard to that he would say that every penny of the £349 had been paid now, and every creditors claim satisfied.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: That money was received by Messrs. Gill and Ball, carried to that account and used by them, while it was their duty to make immediate payment to the creditors, They gave no notice, and took no steps to pay some of these creditors. That seems to me the awkward point in the explanation. It is possible to delay the laws proceeding for the personal pecuniary benefit of the solicitors. That was the sting of the matter; because having received this money for the specific object of paying the creditors, they gave no notice, and kept the money in their hands and used it.
Mr. MUGLISTON said he could not offer any explanation in regard to the delay. The only explanation he could give was that they, considered the creditors should come and demand the money, as they had already made declarations that the money was due to them.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: I do not see what right there was to require a declaration to be made, if the money was due. You cannot make a man make a declaration in such a case and charge him two or three guineas. Mr. ELLISTON explained that all these debts were barred by the Statute of Limitation, and Elliston and Featherstone refused to allow the money to be paid without the creditors' declaration that the money, was duo to them.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: I do not consider, that Elliston and Featherstone had any right to do that. It was not necessary, except for the purpose of making costs. Professional men make work that is not necessary.

Mr. MUGLISTON said it was the condition Elliston and Featherstone imposed. It would be seen from the declaration made by Bourne Mather that the debt was due to the estate of the late Andrew Mather, and not to the present firm.

His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLY pointed out that the fact that the special item in the schedule was only the word "Mather" was a point in Mr. Ball's favour; but the evidence of Elliston was clear that the money was to be paid instaster - there was to be no looking about for executors. He did not wish to press Mr. Ball, or to attempt to extract evidence from him, and had suggested that the money should be paid into Court when the Court would take care it should reach the proper creditors.
The CHIEF JUSTICE took it that it was the general creditors not being paid that was the point; and he did not think it should be restricted to Mather.

Mr. MUGLISTON said the majority of them had received notice.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: When was the last payment made?'

Mr MUGLISTON said the last payment had been made since the action. It was in consequence of Henry getting Mather's permission to recover the debt that the case arose. Henry issued a writ at once, without allowing any time for Mr. Ball to be consulted by his partner. Some of the money had been paid before the action, and they had since paid it all, and costs. They simply asked the Court to take these circumstances into consideration. They had been punished by having to pay £575 out of their own pockets for their delay; they had been punished very severely by having these matters exposed in the news-papers, and having these steps taken against them by the Attorney-General.

Whilst they came forward to express their regret for the delay that had taken place, they asked the Court to deal leniently with them, having regard to the fact that they had suffered in reputation and pocket already.

A man in the body of the court here stepped forward and asked to be allowed to speak a few words, as he was one of the beneficiaries in Jillett's estate, and had no one to speak for him. He was one of the sons of the late John Jillett.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: Are you now in possession of your share?
Mr. Jillett: No, your Honour; neither is my brother-in-law here.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: I understand the whole of the beneficiates have been paid.
Mr. MUGLISTON: The whole of the, beneficiaries have been paid, or their assignees. This gentleman has assigned his interest years ago.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: You took a benefit under the will?
Mr. Jillett: Yes.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: And you have not been paid your share.
Mr. MUGLISTON: He has assigned it.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Did you sell your interest to anybody?
Mr. Jillett: If we have received our share let the release be shown.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Did you ever sell, or mortgage your share to anybody?
Mr. Jillett: I drew money from Mr. Henry Dobson, but I never mortgaged or sold it.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: The question is how much did you draw?
Mr. Jillett: £166.
The CHIEF JUSTICE : Then £142 was all that was coming.
Mr. Jillett: There has been an equity suit on for years, and I never could get Gill and Ball to bring it on. The solicitors seemed to oppose it being brought on, and I have been kept out of the money for years. Gill and Ball have offered compensation, but I do not think it right, and the affair being unsettled, I speak for myself. There is no release for me.
The CHIEF JUSTICE (addressing the brother-in-law, Thomas Adelard : Have you ever received your share?
Mr. T. Adelard: Share! I have received nothing.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Did you sell your share?
Mr. T. Adelard: No.
Mr. MUGLISTON: This is one of the claims Henry brought for £50 each.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Did you sell your share to Henry.
Mr. MUGLISTON: It is his wife's share.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Did she sell it to Henry? Mr. T. Adelard: No.
Mr. MUGLISTON: We have got his wife's release.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Didj your wife sell it?
Mr. T. Adelard: No.
Mr. MUGLISTON: I have sent for the release.
The CHIEF JUSTICE (to Adelard): You must be careful what you are saying, because if the release has been given it can be obtained. There is one other point in this case upon which I feel strongly. It is this: Messrs. Gill and Ball employed a clerk who was enabled by the information he obtained in their employ to buy up these shares under their price.
Mr. MUGLISTON said he had not dealt with that point, as he did not wish to complicate the case. Henry was their clerk, but left them and then used the knowledge he had obtained.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: That transaction can be set aside against Henry, for he did not give the fullest price. A solicitor's clerk is in the same position as a solicitor, and cannot buy a client's claims unless at a full price.
His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY: The difficulty I was placed in was that your client admitted these facts. I do not suppose ever a judge was placed in such a position. I did not wish to probe into the circumstances, but still I was obliged to deal with the admissions of your client. Mr. Ball admitted that there had been neglect, and went on to volunteer this expression, "If you like it, culpable neglect."
Mr. MUGLISTON said it was Mr. Ball's desire to clear himself which induced him to go into the witness box.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: As far as I under-stand you, every claim has now been paid.
Mr. MUGLISTON: Every debt has been paid, and every beneficiary entitled to a benefit, or the assignee of a benefit has had his claim paid. In addition to that they have had solicitors' costs. This is corroborated by the evidence of Mr. Elliston, who deposed that £100 had been paid to Mr. W. Watchorn as compensation. +
The CHIEF JUSTICE: This share was purchased by Henry for £50?
Mr. MUGLISTON: It was Watchorn who paid for it.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: Well, Watchorn. The share purchased by him for £50 realised £142, and he gets £100 compensation. He makes £100 or nearly so, and then gets £100 compensation. The others got no compensation whatever, except that some got £40,
Mr. MUGLISTON submitted that the others had their legal costs given them, whereas Watchorn had to pay his own law costs. Everybody had been paid - beneficiaries, assignees, and creditors.
His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY: Then the suit is at an end.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: It shows how a Chancery suit can be brought to an end under a little pressure. I find a gentleman here, though, who says he has not been paid.
Mr. MUGLISTON: Here is the release, and the assignee has received his share in June last. It was his wife's, and she assigned her interest to Watchorn. An order was made by a judge in Chambers for this particular parson's interest to I be paid over to Watchorn.
The CHIRF JUSTICE: Have you her assignment?
Mr. MUGLISTON: No, I find we have nothing but Watchorn's release. Henry declared he would not hand over the assignment until he had his share of the £312 paid into court under the Trustees Relief Act. We hold his undertaking that it shall be handed over to us.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL: No question about the assignment had been made.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: But this party (Mrs. Adelard), says she never signed anything,
The ATTORNEY-GRNERAL: Sho assigned it to George Meredith, and Geo. Meredith as-signed it to Mrs. Meredith by whom it was sold to Watchorn.

Mrs. Charles Meredith said: Might I explain the circumstances under which I sold these shares to Messrs. Watchorn and Henry. Two of these shares, one belonging to my son's wife, and the other belonging to that wife's sister, were by their consent made security to my husband, the late Mr. Charles Meredith, for money raised to enable our son to go to New Zealand. That security remained in Mr. Meredith's hands till his death. At his death, on the sale of some estates, I paid Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone £390 to redeem that debt to the bank for which he held these two shares as security. Failing all means to get a settlement from Gill and Ball for years and years, as His Honour the Chief Justice knew long ago, I wished to ascertain what might be the possible or probable value of these two shares which I held, I took pains to ascertain. I wired it Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone, though I cannot recollect the date, and they promised to inform me.

Last December I was in town, and was still anxious to redeem something, as the I whole estate, it seemed to me, was being frittered away, I called upon Mr. Midwood, who heard my inquiries and undertook to speak of it. Next Mr. Henry, clerk to Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone, volunteered "out of kindness to Mrs. Meredith," that he was in a position to' give her a proper estimate of the possible value of the shares. I did not know Henry myself; I did not know either of them. The offer was made through my friend Mr. Newberry, It was said that the utmost that possibly could be received for the share was £60, 'and that I would have difficulty in raising £50 upon it.

Mr. Henry then said that his, fellow clerk, Watohorn, was prepared to pay £50 for a share. I was assured that that was the outside value, and I accepted it. Watchorn's, cheque for £50 was all that I got for my possible benefit in this share. For that payment of £50 he has received all the benefit I ought to have had. and £100 besides for waiting from December to April for a settlement that waited for through long weary years. This is the history of it, I have Henry's acknowledgment in his handwriting. (Applause.)

The CHIEF JUSTICE: That shows Mr. Watchorn got his information from Mr. Henry, who had obtained it in his confidential position as clerk to Messrs. Gill and Ball, and he will stand in the same position as Mr. Henry, and be liable to refund and restore the difference between what he gave and the true price.
Mr. MUGLISTON: I think it right to state, to prevent a misunderstanding, that Mr. Watchorn, of Messrs. Finlay and Watchorn, is not the Mr. Watchorn referred to.
The CHIEF JUSTICE said he could hardly imagine it was.
Mrs. Meredith: I have an acknowledge meant that Mr. Henry was a partner in the possible benefits with Mr. Watchorn. I mean Mr. Watchorn in Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone's office. They were to jointly benefit in the profits.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: That firm should be made to disgorge these profits. (Applause in Court, which was immediately silenced,)
Mrs. Meredith: I am told that Mr. Watchorn is an attorney, and is liable to be called before this Court.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: But it is not the Mr. Watchorn who is an officer of this Court.
Mr. MUGLISTON: He is a solicitor.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: Of course. That is entering upon another question outside the present one before the Court, which is that Messrs. Gill and Ball have paid the full amount, with costs and compensation, to the beneficiaries. If, however, the facts were as stated by Mrs. Meredith, I do not know that there can be any difficulty as to what the result of the proceedings would be in such a case. Addressing Messrs. Jillett and Adelard, he said that they would see from the document produced that their share had been pledged and redeemed.

Mrs. Meredith: I wish to add a point to what I have said. Our solicitors for years have been Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone. Their books were open to Watchorn and Henry, and with the cognisance of Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone, as I have good reason to believe these purchases were made.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: This is hardly the time to make a general charge of that sort.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL said that it appeared to him that the Chief Justice had already directed attention to the points calling for special explanation. His learned friend, Mr. Muglinton, had endeavoured, to give such explanation as there was to give in reference to this matter, and it seemed to him that the most satisfactory part of the statement was that all the beneficiaries had been paid; also, that all the parties interested as creditors had been paid; and that Messrs. Gill and Ball had made such restoration as was in their power, by paying costs, and certain sums by way of compensation. He thought it was due to Messrs. Gill and Ball that he should state that he did not suppose when he brought up this matter that they had been guilty of mal-administration of these sums, but that a large sum had been put into their hands for a specific purpose, and that they had neglected to discharge the duties devolving upon them in connection therewith.

His learned friend had pointed out that the delay was unexplainable, and that he could only in regard to that ask for the consideration of the Court. As the matter now stood every claim was satisfied, and reparation had been made. To his mind, however, that part of the affidavit which called attention to the delay had not been contradicted, and his learned friend had admitted that there was no satisfactory answer for it. He would leave it to the judgment of the court to deal with the parties in such a manner as their Honours thought fit.

Mr. HENRY stepped forward and said that as his name had been freely mentioned in connection with this case he thought it was due to himself, and the firm he lately represented to say that it was entirely false that he used any information obtained in Messrs. Gill and Ball's office in reference to the purchase of property. ln the second place he desired to state that Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone were entirely ignorant of any of the transactions referred to; in the third place the property was thrown at them (Mr. Watchorn and himself) for purchase, and they did not seek to purchase it. In the fourth place, nine months before the purchase was effected he had gone into an estimate of the value of those shares, and there were figures now in Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone's office to show that those shares were estimated at £47. He told Messrs. Dobson and Mitchell and Mr. J. D. Morris that that estimate was made of those shares. That estimate was made without any motives. This was not a time to discuss the value of those shares, but when the case was discussed he ventured to think that their honours would alter the opinion they had already formed that this was an improper sale. He considered that during the late trial he was unfairly treated by counsel, as he was not allowed to be cross-examined, although counsel knew that he knew more about Jillett's estate than anyone else.

Mr. MUGLISTON said that he claimed his right of discretion as counsel in regard to the conduct of examination.
The CHIEF JUSTICE said that of course the Court could not sit in judgment on any matter unless it was before the Court, and at present they had to consider as to whether the explanations given by Messrs. Gill and Ball were sufficient to satisfy the Court.


The CHIEF JUSTICE said: We think it is desirable to dispose of this case at once. It is one in which a charge of negligence, at least, hangs over the heads of two officials of this court, and I have the advantage of having sitting with me one who heard the whole of the evidence, and who, therefore, is better able to weigh and appreciate its value than I can, and he is strongly of opinion that which I am about to express, and in which I concur.

The firm concerned admit that they have been guilty in the conduct of this business. They have, how-ever, done their very best to make reparation so far as possible by paying the whole of those for whom they held money as creditors. They have also done so far as beneficiaries are concerned; they have paid every beneficiary; they have paid the costs of those beneficiaries, who had incurred costs; and they have, in addition, paid compensation to some of those who demanded compensation.
They have out of their own private pocket paid £570 odd, a self-imposed penalty. They have also gone through what cannot but be anything but a very painful ordeal to them as members of an honourable profession. The exposure which has taken place in this case, showing that there has been admitted negligence and delay on their part, all this has come before the public and has been the subject of comment and also of denunciation, from the Bench, justly so, I consider. All this is a very severe penalty, and there is only one other course we could adopt to add to what has been gone through, and that would be to suspend them from practice for some time, or strike them off the rolls.

 If I could see that there was anything like dishonesty, which I do not for one moment suppose, if, for example, they had put this sum of £1,500 into their pocket, or attempted to do so, there I should draw the line, and say there was something more than neglect and dilatoriness, that there was absolute dishonesty which the Court would mark by its penal powers to punish. But here the parties have had money taken out of their pockets by the delay. I think that on the account of this delay the conduct of Messrs. Gill and Ball is to be strongly condemned. It has been the cause of a grievous loss to others although the money had not gone into the pockets of Messrs. Gill and Ball.

On the contrary they had lost heavily by it, but nevertheless the conduct of the firm was to be condemned and regretted. Again, I think that the practice of using clients money is most mischievous, because whenever he had money in his hands for a client for the purpose of lending on mortgage or carrying out other instructions, it became the interest of the solicitor to delay as long as possible over the transaction. The money was at the solicitor's general account, and so long as there was delay, there was so much interest going into the pockets of the solicitor. I think that that is a very unfair practice, and if it be the custom in Hobart, I think the sooner that custom is honoured in the breach the better, because interests and duty clashed when a solicitor had the funds of a client and they were being used by him.

 Certainly, as the evidence went, it looked as if the money had been put to Mr. Ball's account, and he had used it, but the explanation now was that he did not do so, and therefore he was not guilty of personal dishonesty.

 The conclusion we have come to is that, looking at the £570 odd paid by Messrs Gill and Ball, looking to the fact that there appears to be no personal dishonesty on their part, and also subject to the strong expression of opinion of the court as to their conduct, which they themselves do not justify, has been both negligent and dilatory, I think the matter may now be allowed to drop.

I can only express the hope, both to them, and the profession generally, that it will be a warning and a caution, that what the Court looks for in practitioners is not only honesty in their dealings with the Court, but between the profession, and with clients. Dilatoriness and delay amounted to depriving clients of what they were justly entitled to.

 The rule will, therefore, subject to what I have stated, be discharged.

Justice WRENFORDSLEY: I concur.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Saturday 11 December 1886, page 2 SUPREME COURT.



Mr. C. H. ELLISTON said he had a personal explanation to make, and with the consent of the Attorney-General would ask their Honours to hear him. In doing so, he thought he was taking a course which their Honours would approve, so as to clear away any misapprehension which might exist in the matter. In the hearing of the cause re Gill and Ball it had been reported:-- Mr. Mugliston explained that all these debts were barred by the Statute of Limitation, and Elliston and Featherstone had refused to allow the money to be paid without the creditors declaration that the money was due to them.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: l do not consider that Elliston and Featherstone had any right to do that. It was not necessary, except for the purpose of making costs. Professional men make work that is not necessary.

It was with regard to that part of the report he wished to make an explanation. The facts were shortly these. Under the terms of the compromise entered in the suit re Jillett's estate it was ordered that the simple contract debts should be paid. They had a knowledge of the amount of these debts; it was therefore necessary before any of them could be paid that they should be proved in order to protect the interests of the beneficiaries. They accordingly followed the usual practice, not only with regard to creditors in a suit, but also in intestacy claims, and any creditor who proved his claim was allowed to obtain payment of the simple contract debts, though they were barred by the statute upon proof, but the estate was not to be saddled with the cost of these applications. The only means known to the Court of proving a debt was by affidavit or declaration, and it was their duty to require one or the other. By this means they had saved something to the estate; but he hoped it could be defended on higher grounds, and that they were only doing their duty by requiring proof. They had endeavoured to save costs and not to make them. He felt sure their Honours would see that nothing in this tended to injure anyone under the circumstances, and that when His Honour the Chief Justice made that remark, he was not in full possession of the facts of the case. He trusted that this explanation would satisfy their Honours that the course adopted was not only the correct one, but the one that duty had dictated, and one that was followed by benefit to the estate they had to protect.

His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY said there was one matter he could not understand, though he himself willingly lent himself to any explanation that could be given. ln one part of the evidence given by Mr. Ball he had stated that it was arranged that the simple contract creditors should he paid. He could not understand how it came to pass that the two firms of creditors -- Mr. Elliston's and the firm having the carriage of the proceedings -- could come to take upon themselves to agree to admit the simple contract debts and pay them to the prejudice of the beneficiaries. It was a matter that called for explanation.

Mr. ELLISTON said although the debts were barred they felt it a duty not to set up the Statute of Limitations, but to do justice to the creditors who had failed in consequence of a delay, not of their own causing. It was thought as a matter of justice the solicitors should acknowledge them, and pay the simple contract creditors coming in to prove their debts.
His HONOUR Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY said he quite admitted there was evidence of intention on Mr. Ellston's part that the debts should be paid immediately.
Mr. ELLISTON said that was after the claims had been adjudicated upon. His Honour (Sir Henry Wrenfordsley) said he recollected £3 3s. being charged for proof by declaration.
Mr. ELLISTON pointed out that was another matter, and that the beneficiaries had consented to this compromise. The beneficiaries all knew what had been arranged to be done.
The CHIEF JUSTICE felt it was a case of too abundant caution. A Court of Chancery required such proof, but between man and man a less expensive way might have been adopted than a Court of Chancery would demand.
Mr. ELLISTON said he was sitting qua Court in this matter, and really had no guide except the practice of the Court.
The CHIEF JUSTICE did not know what authority they had to make these declarations. It was not a judicial matter, and he thought they could be prosecuted.
Mr. ELLISTON thought it was competent to make declarations in such matters -- they were extra judicial declarations. He thought they were bound to take that course, and it certainly would not lead in any whatever to make costs, but simply protected the estate.
The CHIEF JUSTICE: I think the whole thing is extra judicial and there have been great delays, grievous heart burnings, and loss to all parties. I understand the estate is now practically wound up.
Mr. ELLISTON: That is so.

His Honour Sir HENRY WRENFORDSLEY said he understood from the assurance he got the other day that the case was at an end. He could only say, speaking for himself, if any person beneficially interested in this case made application through any of the solicitors then sitting in Court, he would certainly advise taking away the carriage of the proceedings, and transferring it to the solicitor, making the application ordering the usual accounts and complete statement. He was perfectly prepared to make an order of that kind, following out the English proceedings.

The Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas. : 1881 - 1895) Saturday 26 November 1887

Tuesday, November 22. Before the Full Court. Meredith  v Henry and Watchorn
The plaintiff prayed that a deed of assignment made on the 10th day of December, 1885, whereby the plaintiff assigned her interest in the estate of John Jillett be set aside, and that the defendants be directed to deliver to the plaintiff  the said assignment.

 Mr. Byron Miller and Mr. A. M. Ritchie (instructed by Messrs. Powell, Lethbridge, and Chambers) appeared for the plaintiff.
 Mr. Henry appeared in person, and Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Dobson, Mitchell, and Allport) appeared for Mr, Watchorn.

 Mr. Alfred Dobson said certain evidence taken before the Chief Justice in Chambers had not been filed within the required time, and he would therefore treat it as if it never existed.
The Chief Justice said all evidence had been duly filed except a portion which had been delayed in consequence of Mr. Ball not supplying certain documents. The whole evidence, however, could be seen by defendants on their making proper application. He would therefore make an order admitting the evidence referred to.

The following is a summary of the evidence taken in Chambers : —

Charles Henry Elliston deposed he was solicitor for plaintiffs in the suit of Jillett  and Bradshaw. 'Four of the plaintiffs were infants. All the beneficiaries were before the court. That suit was compromised in accordance with written terms, and that writing he believed to be now in the office of Gill and Ball. The object of the compromise was to get rid of a long lease and to get the property sold.  The Eddystone estate was sold in pursuance of the compromise and the mortgages paid off. The residue of the proceeds  of the estate was paid into the bank from time to time.

There was an account at the Commercial Bank under the compromise, under the ' style of Gill and Ball and Elliston and Featherstone. Mr. Ball and he took proof of all the simple contract debts to protect -the' interest of the beneficiaries. Such. debts as were passed were paid by cheque,. which was handed , to Gill and Ball to pay  the respective creditors. He did not know if the estate had yet been distributed, ' but l knew that a release had been prepared by  Mr. Ball and perused by his (deponent's) ; managing clerk;:and signed .by some of the beneficiaries and handed to ' Gill and Ball held the deed' of-release. It was settled' on behalf of deponent's firm.  Latter paid to  defendant  Watchorn the sums of £100, £284 4s and £58 13s 2d, making in all .£442 17s 8d.

 Deponent's firm received the money, as plaintiffs' solicitors were solicitors for Mr. Watchorn. Originally they were solicitors for Mrs. George Meredith and Mr. George Meredith. They also were solicitors for Mr. Charles Meredith, and after his death they acted for Mrs. Meredith in winding up the estate. Henry was managing equity clerk in deponent's office. He was engaged to wind up Jillett's suit amongst other matters. It was his (Henry's) duty to make himself acquainted with the moneys received, and the debts paid and the shares of the beneficiaries. He had Mr. Featherstone's authority to answer letters written to him by. Newbury direct. Henry knew what debts were passed for payment, and that Mather had not been paid. He knew deponent's firm had passed his claim and signed the cheque.

 Witness believed he (Henry) knew Gill and Ball had not paid the debt. Witness's firm brought an action against Gill and Ball for that very money.

 Henry introduced the case to witness's office. Watchorn had been in witness's office for more than six years. His special duty was conveyancing. He had the same opportunities as the other clerks to obtain information or look at the books.

The evidence of Charles J. Ball, John Thomas Morriss, Thomas B. Mather, Vernon Midwood. J. L. Newbury, and Mrs. Meredith was also produced. That of Mrs Meredith was to' the effect that Elliston and 'Featherstone had been her husband's solicitors, and continued to be her solicitors and her trustees' solicitors, and solicitors to her, executors.  The Bank of Australasia held two shares in 'Meredith v- Bradshaw, as .security for £300. The interest on them. passed to her under her husband's will. . Elliston, and Featherstone were employed in- that matter and under their- advice paid through them .£870 and .took an ? assignment, of those  shares, then paid off the bank with her. moneys. She paid Elliston & Featherstone  all she  owed them on a large bill up to 1885; No other claim had since been made 'against her by them.

In Jillett's Estate, Elliston and Featherstone continued to be her solicitors till after the sale on. December 10, and were so as to keep two shares. These she sold. She had again and again applied to Gill and  Ball and Elliston and Featherstone, for information as. to when the suit would be concluded but could get no satisfactory reply, each firm blaming the . other for. delay. Mr. Morriss called and told her he .doubted if anything would be recovered; or at most some £40 or .£50. He since told her he got the information from Elliston 'and Featherstone Her agent (Newbury ) ascertained from Henry, and told' her that he had an offer from Watchorn to purchase, and that not more than £60 would be recovered, and that amount would be reduced by law costs ; also that Watchorn, being in the profession, could manage the matter with less cost, and on that account would give her £50: for the shares.

This was the only offer. Gill and Ball wrote before then, asking. the price of the shares, but in consequence of Mr. Henry's letter ; to Mr. Newbury, dated October 26, 1885,she did not treat with them.

She had believed Henry was .acting with perfect honesty and friendship. He volunteered his services. She agreed to take .£50: in consequence of the representations made to her. ' She first heard from Mr. Newbury that the sale was at a gross under value in consequence of the communications of Gill and Ball. She was not informed that there was, a probability of two-sevenths of £301 coming to her. She knew :nothing of any claim against Gill and Ball for interests or compensation for  delay. She had no legal adviser on the sale of those shares,' and, would not have sold. them had she known they were worth more than she got; for; them.

'Mr., Henry, made. an application for, adjournment on the ground of surprise'The court' overruled the application and the case proceeded. '

Mr Ritchie .then 'opened the case, quoting from the  Bill of Complaint and next read portions of answers to the bill,' and the' affidavits of Mrs. 'Meredith; Mr.Newbury, etc., etc.
This concluded the opening case for the plaintiff, and the: court adjourned'' till tomorrow.

Tasmanian News (Hobart, Tas. : 1883 - 1911) Tuesday 22 November 1887 p 3 Article

22 November 1887   In Equity     Meredith V Henry and Watchorn

Mr Byron Miller and Mr. A.M. Ritchie (instructed by Messrs Powell, Lethbridge and Chambers) appeared for plaintiff; the Solicitor General for Mr Watchorn, and Mr James Johnstone Henry appeared in person.

The Solicitor-General objected to certain evidence taken in writing in Chambers being used, because it had not been filed.

The Chief Justice said that to make such an order would be a violation of everything that was just and right.  The evidence was in possession of the court, and could have been seen at any time.

Mr Henry also addressed the court on this point, stating that he was prejudiced thereby.

The Chief Justice said that the best way would be to make an order that this evidence be filed.

Mr Henry then said he would apply for an adjournment on the ground of surprise.  This application was also refused.

Mr Ritchie then opened the case for the plaintiff, submitting the bill of complaint, from which it appears that the plaintiff in this case is Louise Ann Meredith, of Orford, widow of the Hon. Charles Meredith, and the defendant's James Johnstone Henry and Walter Evelyn Watchorn, and the bill of complaint sets forth that in the year 1880 an arrangement was entered into for the division of the estate of the late John Jillett among the beneficiaries, whereby all the money was to be paid into the Commercial Bank of Tasmania at Hobart to the credit of Messrs Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball in their joint names in trust to administer the same in a due course of administration and pay over the residue to the beneficiaries under the will of the said Thomas Jillett, deceased, Messrs Gill and Ball, the defendant's solicitors, to have the conduct of the said proceedings. 

The estate of Thomas (should be )John Jillett was realised and got in amounting in all to £7000, or thereabouts, all of which money was paid into the Commercial Bank to the credit of the said two firms, or Messrs Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball.

The defendant, James Johnstone Henry was a clerk for Messrs Gill and Ball, and latterly for some time in Messrs Elliston and Featherstone's.  The defendant, W.E. Watchorn, is a clerk in the service of the latter firm, and it was set forth that they were thereby in the position to acquire information in regard to Jillett's affairs.

Prior to the death of John Jillett, George Campbell Meredith, son of plaintiff, married Elizabeth Jillett, one of his daughters, a beneficiary under the will, and also maintained and educated another daughter, who subsequently assigned £200 of her interest in her father's estate in liquidation of this claim.  In 1880, George Campbell Meredith being about to leave the colony for New Zealand, obtained an advance of £300 from his father, Hon. Charles Meredith, on the security of his wife's shares in the Jillett's estate.

The Hon Charles Meredith obtained this money from the Bank of Australasia, and assigned his son's two interests in security.  On the death of the Hon. Charles Meredith, he assigned his estate to his wife, subject to her repayment of his liability to the bank.

About the end of 1884, the bank pressed for the money which amounted to £370 with interest, and the plaintiff with difficulty paid the money, obtaining a re-assignment from the bank of the two interests held by her husband in Jillett's estate. 

This transaction was carried out by Messrs Elliston and Featherstone, and consequently defendants knew of it.  The plaintiff pressed her solicitors, Messrs Elliston and Featherstone to obtain a settlement, but as that firm made a heavy demand upon her for costs, she, in order to avoid further costs, employed as her agent, John Leslie Newbury, an old an trusted friend.  Mr Newbury had conversations with defendants as to plaintiff's claim and after much negotiation, the defendant Watchorn purchased plaintiff's interest in Jillett's estate for £50, the transaction taking place through Henry. 

Newbury asked Henry if no better price could be got, who said he thought not, considering the risk of delays with Gill and Ball, and that he did not think it possible for the purchaser to make more than £20 or £30 at the outside.  Plaintiff at this time believed Henry was acting out of kindness to her, and was ignorant at the time of the sale, and for a long time afterwards that he was to become a partner in the transaction.  Prior to the purchase the defendant had made out a rough estimate of Jillett's estate estimating it at £1120 10s and that plaintiff's share at about £200.

Plaintiff charged the representatives of defendants as to the value of her interest when she sold it, as being false and untrue, and further that the sum of £50 was a grossly inadequate price.  The defendants have received from Messrs. Gill and Ball  under, and by virtue of, said assignment the sum of £504, or thereabouts, out of which £400 or thereabouts, was clear profit, and have still a further claim of £90 or thereabouts, being a two-seventh share of £312 held in abeyance to meet the said Thomas Jillett's claim if established.

Plaintiff prayed the court to set aside this deed of assignment, and pay her the balance, after deducting the £50 already paid.

The defendants made answer to the Bill of complaint.  The defendant, Henry, in his answer stated that he told Newbury that any information he could give in reference to plaintiff affairs must come through Messrs Elliston and Featherstone, when Newbury said "he did not see why I could not give him information without the knowledge of Messrs Elliston and Featherstone, as what passed between us would be sacred and he would take care it would not injure my position as their managing clerk
He denied being offered advice to plaintiff, and said she was an entire stranger to him.  He denied telling Newbury that £60 was the outside value of plaintiff's interest, but he did tell Newbury , Watchorn, would not give more than £50and if he did not choose to take that sum he did not care to have any further trouble in the matter, as it was the best price he could get.  He denied telling Newbury that he did not think it possible for the purchaser to make more than £20 or £30 at the outside.

He did not know what took place between Newbury and plaintiff, save that he believed the plaintiff did authorise Newbury in writing to sell her shares for £50.

He acted as agent for Watchorn in the purchase of those shares but without any mention being made of any share to him in the profits to be realised.  He denied the statement that in the months of December, 1885, he made out any estimate showing the value of each share in Jillett's estate to be £160 or thereabouts.  He further stated that nearly the whole of the accounts furnished by Messrs Gill and Ball were erroneous and no proper and complete account of the position of Jillett's estate was furnished by them until long after the sale of the said shares to Watchorn.

The only estimate he made of such shares resulted in his estimating such value at about £47 for each share.  He did not know the shares were of the value of £200 when sold, and the purchase was made by Watchorn without any such value being estimated.

He informed Newbury that he considered the value of the shares of plaintiff to be about £70 or £80, and that if he could get anything like that sum, he would advise him to take it, and in making this statement he did so in the full belief that such was the then true value of such shares.

He also advised Newbury to apply to Messrs Gill and Bell, and Messrs Elliston and Featherstone, as to the value of those shares.  He blamed Messrs Gill and Ball for the delay in winding up Jillett's estate.  He had no promise or understanding with Watchorn that he should have an interest in the purchase, but he had received about £138 from Watchorn as a consideration for his extraordinary service in compelling Messrs Gill and Ball to wind up Jillett's estate, but he was unable now to say upon which dates he received the various sums making up that amount.

He contended that Gill and Ball and Elliston and Featherstone were really joint trustees in connection with Jillett's estate.  He quoted from Mr Elliston's evidence to show that his firm had acted as agent for plaintiff until August, 1885, and referred to a business account rendered by Elliston and Featherstone to plaintiff.

The Chief Justice said he had the account, and it was a curiosity.

The Solicitor-General asked to see it, and it was handed down for his inspection.

Two reports one tells a bit more than the other.

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Wednesday 23 November 1887, page 2


 The plaintiff prayed that a deed of assignment made on the 10th day of December, 1885, whereby the plaintiff assigned her interest in the estate of John Jillett be set aside, and that the defendants be directed to deliver to the plaintiff the said assignment. Mr. Byron Miller and Mr. A. M. Ritchie (instructed by Messrs. Powell, Lethbridge, and Chambers) appeared for the plaintiff. Mr. Henry appeared in person, and. Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Dobson, Mitchell, and Allport) appeared for Mr. Watchorn. Mr. Alfred Dobson said certain evidence taken before the Chief Justice in Chambers had not been filed within the required time, and he would therefore treat it as if it never existed. The Chief Justice said all evidence had been duly filed except a portion which had been delayed in consequence of Mr. Ball not supplying certain documents. The whole evidence, however, could be seen by defendants on their making proper application. He would therefore make an order admitting the evidence referred to.

The following is a summary of the evidence taken in Chanmbers:Charles Henry Elliston deposed he was solicitor for plaintiffs in the suit of Jillet and Bradshaw. Four of the plaintiffs were infants. All the beneficiaries were before the court. That suit was compromised in accordance with written terms, and that writing he believed to be now in the office of Gill and Ball. The object of the compromise was to get rid of a long lease and to get the property sold.

The Eddystone estate was sold in pursuance of the compromise and the mortgages paid off. The residue of the proceeds of the estate was paid into the bank from time to time. There was an account at the Commercial Bank under the compromise, under the style of Gill and Ball and Elliston and Featherstone. Mr. Ball and he took proof of all the simple contract debts to protect the interest of the beneficiaries. Such debts as were passed were paid by cheque, which was handed to Gill and Bull to pay the respective creditors. He did not know if the estate had yet been distributed, but knew that a release had been prepared by Mr. Ball and perused by his (deponent's) managing clerk, and signed by some of the beneficiaries and handed to Gill and Ball. . Gill and Ball held the deed of release. It was settled on behalf of deponent's firm. Latter paid to defendant Watchorn the sums of £100, £281 4s 6d, and £58 13s 2d, making in all £442 17s 8d.

Deponent's firm received the money, as plaintiffs' solicitors were solicitors for Mr. Watchorn. Originally they were solicitors for Mrs. George Meredith and Mr. George Meredith. They also were solicitors for Mr. Charles Meredith, and after his death they acted for Mrs. Meredith in winding up the estate. Henry was managing equity clerk in deponent's office. He was engaged to wind up Jillett's suit amongst other matters. It was his (Henry's) duty to make himself acquainted with the moneys received, and the debts paid and the shares of the beneficiaries. He had Mr. Featherstone's authority to answer letters written to him by Newbury direct. Henry knew what debts were passed for payment, and that Mather had not been paid. He knew deponent's firm had passed his claim and signed the cheque. Witness believed le (Henry) knew (hill and Ball had not paid the debt. Witness's firm brought an action against Gill and Ball for that very money. Henry introduced the case to witness's office. Watchorn had been in witness's office for more than six years.

His special duty was conveyancing. He had the same opportunities as the other clerks to obtain information or look at the books. The evidence of Charles J. Ball, John Thomas Morriss, Thomas B. Mather, Vernon Midwood, J. L. Newbury, and Mrs. Meredith was also produced. That of Mrs. Meredith was to the effect that Elliston and Featherstone had been her husband's solicitors, and continued to be her solicitors and her trustees' solicitors, and solicitors to her executors. The Bank of Australasia held two shares in Meredith v. Bradshaw, as security for £300.

The interest on them passed to her under her husband's will. Elliston and Featherstone were employed in that matter and under their advice paid through them £3i0 and took an assignment of those shares, then paid off the bank with her moneys. She paid Elliston and Featherstone all she owed them on a large bill up to 1885. No other claim had since been made against her by them.

In Jillet's estate, Elliston and Featherstone continued to be her solicitors till after the sale on December 10, and were so as to those two shares. These she sold. She had again and again applied to Gill and Ball, and Elliston and Featherstone, for information as to when the suit would be concluded but could get no satisfactory reply, each firm blaming the other for delay. Mr. Morriss called and told her he doubted if anything would be recovered, or at most some £40 or £50. He since told her he got the information from Elliston and Featherstone. Her agent (Newbury) ascertained from Henry, and told her that lie had an offer from Watchorn to purchase, and that not more than £60 would be recovered, and that amount would be reduced by law costs; also that Watchorn, being in the profession, could manage the matter with less cost, and on that account would give her £50 for the shares.

This was the only offer. Gill and Ball wrote before then, asking the price of the shares. but in consequence of Mr. Henry's letter to Mr. Newbury. dated October 20, 1881, she did not treat with them. She had believed Henry was acting with perfect honesty and friendship. Ho volunteered his services. She agreed to take £150 in consequence of the representations made to her. She first heard from Mr. Newbury that the sale was at a gross under value in consequence of the communications of Gill and Ball. She was not informed that there was a probability of two-sevenths of £301 coming to her. She knew nothing of any claim against Gill and Ball for interests or compensation for delay. She had us legal adviser on the sale of these shares, and would not have sold them had she known they were worth more than she got for them. Mr. Henry made an application for adjournment on the ground of surprise. The court overruled the application and the case proceeded. Mr. Rtitchie then opened the case, quoting from the Bill of Complaint, and next read portions of answers to the bill, and this affidavits of Mrs. Meredith, Mr. Newbury, etc., etc. This concluded the opening case for the plaintiff. and the court adjourned till to-morrow.

 Mrs Meredith is better to-day, but still unwell

Wednesday  November 23.


The plaintiff prayed that a deed of assignment made on the 10th day of December,1885, whereby the plaintiff assigned her interest in the estate of John Jillett be set aside, and that the defendants be directed to deliver to the plaintiff the said -assignment. Mr. Byron Miller and Mr. A. M. Ritchie (instructed by Messrs. Powell, Lethbridge, and Chambers) appeared for the  plaintiff.
Mr;-Henry appeared in person, and Mr. Alfred Dobson (instructed by Messrs. Dobson, Mitchell, and Allport) appeared for Mr. Watchorn.

'Tho cross-examination of witnesses by the defendants was opened.

John  Leslie Newbury, solicitor's clerk, cross-examined by Mr. Dobson, said he had had ten years' experience in law in Sydney, Queensland, New Zealand, and Tasmania; he afterwards went into mining, but within the last month had returned to law ; he had known the late Charles Meredith, and after his death acted as friendly adviser to the plaintiff  he acted as Mrs. Meredith's agent in trying to get Jillet's estate wound up; he went to Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone  and other lawyers to ascertain the true state of affairs; ho carried out the sale of shares as her agent through Mr. Henry ; he applied to Messrs.' Gill and Ball, but got no satisfactory reply ; they told him to go to Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone and Messrs. Dobson and Mitchell as the principal men .

 Mrs. Meredith applied to Messrs. Gill and Ball to ascertain the value of those shares ; they replied asking what she would take ; Mr. Henry advised the plaintiff to have nothing to do with Messrs. Gill and Ball ; she accepted that advice ; he knew of the dispute about Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone's bill of costs, but hs had not seen the bill until tho sale of the plaintiff's share ; he did not know Thomas Jillett had refused £100 for his claim ; Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone informed him that they did not take an active part in winding up Jillet's estate, but he did not believe them, as ho considered they failed in their duty if they did not do so ; he did not know if the plaintiff had refused to be liable for costs in endeavouring to get Messrs. Gill and Ball to wind up Jillet's estate ; he was shown the letter written by Mr. Henry to witness, in which he said that there was a claim of £550 against Messrs. Gill and Ball, and advising the plaintiff not to sell to Messrs. Gill and Ball or any nominee of that firm ; witness remembered this statement, and said he believed the reason why Mr. Henry advised not to sell ' to Messrs. Gill, and Ball was. because the plaintiff would be got at; he was aware that Mr. Henry as clerk of Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone took great trouble in settling, his estate, and Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone had got paid for that no professional man perused the plaintiff's assignment of her interest to ' Mr. Watchorn, but tho defendant had done so ; he repeated to Mr. Henry the conversation he had with Mr. Vernon Midwood ; Mr. Henry said to witness that he had gone into the matter and the outside value of the plaintiff's share was £60; witness urgently desired to have the transaction concluded by the 10th December, as the plaintiff was desirous  of leaving  town ; he never told Mr. Henry after the sale of shares that he was a ' mug' and could have got the shares for less; since this case was brought into court he had been threatened with personal violence by the defendants, and exposure of his private affairs.

The Chief Justice said witness would be protected against any such conduct.

Examined by Mr. Miller— He had received no money for his services to the plaintiff, and had no interest in the present, suit except as her friend.

Chas. Ball was called as witness.

 Mr. Dobson asked that the evidence of. this witness be postponed, owing ;, to the absence of Mr. Henry, as that gentleman had arranged to lead in cross-examination.

Mr. Miller said if an adjournment were granted Mr. Henry should be mulcted in costs. .
 After consulting, their Honours decided to adjourn the case till Friday.

 The court then adjourned. '

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Tuesday 29 November 1887, page 3


The full Court sat at 11 o'clock.,
Meredith v Henry and Ano

The hearing of this suit was resumed.

Charles John Ball (cross-examination by the Solicitor-General continued 
The letter of 5th August, 1885, from his firm to. Mrs. Meredith was produced. Of Gill and Ball's costs in the suit £380 and been taxed off. Part of this could not have been properly charged to their own client, but that was usual, a great deal always being struck off in taxing Of the amount taxed off quite £200 would have been properly charged between solicitor and client. . Elliston and Featherstone's costs against their client would have been about £125 in the suit, they acting for all the beneficiaries. Dobson and Mitchell acted for some of the parties afterwards. Witness paid off all the creditors 'in the estate. He paid Mr. John Hamilton personally, Believed Hamilton's account was £53 or £63, and ho paid him £50 or £60.

Did not know whether this was before he received the £3,000 or afterwards. Witness had to get tho sanction of Elliston and Featherstone before he paid these debts, and he paid Hamilton without this sanction on his own responsibility. Gill and Ball had drawn £190 for trustees expenses, and the trustees were informed of this, but Gill and Ball had a claim for costs against them, Did not re-collect telling Mr. Elliston in October, 1883, that part of the balance of the money from the sale of the estate had been placed on fixed deposit, but if it was in the bill of costs be must have told him. No part of that balance was placed at fixed deposit, the only sum placed at fixed deposit was the £1,000, first paid on account of the sale. He was not responsible for the item in the bill of cost, and it would not be correct. Gill and Ball refused to pay Henry or Watchorn anything by way of compensation, because Elliston and Featherstone had part control of the estate. Gill and Ball had the carriage of the proceedings. He had signed an undertaking to pay a sum of £312 into Court if ordered, or into Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone's account if not be ordered.

To Mr. Miller : John Jillett died bankrupt, but the estate grew in value till in December, 1885. There was an estimated sum of £1,185 10s. to be divided. Anybody acquainted with the estate in 1885 would know this sum way likely to be increased, and that each share would be worth not less than £150, and it might be £200. Anybody familiar with the estate could have known that the estate could have been wound up within a short time from this period.

As a fact, it was wound up in June, 1886, and the shares were increased considerably by compensation paid by Gill and Ball for delay. The two shares held by Watchorn were increased £100. The fact of this compensation having to be paid was known to Henry prior to the purchase of Mrs. Meredith's shares.

It was after October 20 when Henry wrote to Newbury stating that he had made a decisive move, and had brought Ball on his marrow bone» to Featherstone ; that the offer of compensation was made. Elliston and Featherstone had made a claim for'£550 for interest, and demanded that it should be included in the balance-sheet prior to this.

This would increase the total value of the estate by £550. Henry was persistent, subsequently. in demanding that the estate should be wound up, but he did not recollect Henry using, as a threat, that he would expose the fact that Gill and Ball had retained money in their own hands instead of paying it into the joint account. Henry demanded £1,000 when he threatened to file a bill against witness.
The balance sheet showing a balance of £2,183, with the last item entered on May 18th, 1883, was compiled by Henry, and included the balance of the money received from the sale of the estate. The gross value of the estate was £0,408 at that time, and it included the £1,000, placed at fixed deposit at the Union Bank, so that fact was known to Henty at that time. Witness had never seen an estimate six months before the sale, making the shares out to be  worth £47. The only estimate he was aware of was in June 1885, made out in Gill and Ball's office for Mr. Morris. Henry 'must have seen this, as there was an item in Elliston and Featherstone's bill of costs in Henry's writing for attending Mr. Morris with reference to this estimate. The estimate showed tho amount to be divided to be £1315. The same bill "of contained an item with reference to attending counsel to get an opinion as to Thomas .Jillett's claim, and ascertaining whether Elliston and Feather-stone, and Gill and Ball us trustees could not distribute this sum.

Mr. Henry objected to this evidence. It was said to be in his hand writing, but he might have been a mere copying machine.

The Chief Justice: Was-that document -made out before or after the sale of Mrs. Meredith's shares?
Witness: After the sale-in February, 1886.

Tho Chief Justice said it would be no new  evidence of Henry's knowledge if made out subsequent to the sale.

Witness continued : He did not of his own knowledge know whether Henry was aware of counsel's opinion as to Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball, the trustees. When he had stated that he could show that Henry could have found out the value of the estate in five minutes, he meant that Henry had entered up the items from May, 1877 to 1883, on copies from the original account. Part of those entries, from August 20,1881, were while Henry had more to do with the work than tho principals, taxed bills of costs, and conducted the correspondence.

The Chief Justice : If there is any correspondence showing Henry's knowledge prior to the purchase it should be before the Court. ,

Witness continued : The costs were all taxed prior to the purchase by Watchorn. The taxation lasted days, weeks, und months, and during that time Henry said

Objection was made to this line of questioning, and the objection was upheld. '
Witness : Gill and Ball had been blamed for the delay in winding up the estate, but all the other solicitors engaged were also to blame, especially Elliston and Featherstone.

To Henry : Could not swear that Henry was present during the whole taxation of Elliston and Featherstone's bill of costs,

John Leslie Newbury recalled and cross examined by Mr. Henry,. Had been Mrs. Meredith's confidential adviser from time to time since Mr. Meredith's death. Had advised her with reference to Jillett's estate since July 1880. Had not seen the whole of the papers then, and had since been shown a letter from Gill and Ball to Mrs. Meredith valuing the estate at £1,315.

When Mr. Andrew showed him this letter since the commencement of this suit, he expressed surprise, and asked Mr. Andrew to make a note of the fact that witness had not seen it.

Defendant  Henry had expressed great esteem for Mrs. Meredith, and he believed Henry must have known her. It was not witness practice to act as agent for nothing, but he thought Henry was doing so on account of his sorrow that Mrs. Meredith should have suffered so much from the delay. Henry had made out that the shares were worth about £47, and that amount would be reduced by expenses.

Henry had advised witness that he should accept £70 for the shares as their outside value. He had not endeavoured to get £70 from anyone except Mr. Elliston and Mr. Henry. Never asked Henry to supply him with private information as to value of these shares. Did not request Henry to purchase the shares when he met him in the train, nor did he ask him to furnish information outside of Elliston and Featherstone, and promise to make it worthwhile for Henry to do so. He had waited upon Mr. Elliston to get Mrs. Meredith's papers on December 5, and asked him if he would purchase the shares. About next day asked Henry if he could get a purchaser. and Henry said the estate was wasted, to he offered to take £60 for the shares.- Witness  had heard of Jillett's claim for maintenance, and something of the claim for compensation against Gill and Ball. He had told Mrs. Meredith of the latter claim.

 An accountant would have been a better adviser for Mrs. Meredith. After , the offer of £00, law Henry next, day, and be stated he had offered the shares to Watchorn for £60. The following day Henry told him he had seen Watchorn, who was prepared to give £50 for the shares.

Had not consulted Mr. Braford before the sale' but consulted him afterwards. Upon witness representation of the affair, Mr. Braford said he was very glad the whole 'affair was off Mrs. Meredith's mind. He was not aware at the time of the sale that Gill and Ball had estimated the value of the shares. When witness told Henry that Ball had said he had been got at, and Henry replied that Watchorn would not make more than £10 or £20 out of it, witness believed Henry, and asked him to treat the conversation as confidential, believing that it was best, Mrs. Meredith should not be worried by it. Mrs. Meredith was furnishing the funds for thin suit at very ,great personal sacrifice.

To Mr. Miller : When he sold the shares or authorised Henry to sell them, the only source» of information he had was Messrs Henry, Elliston, and Morris. Mr. Elliston told witness that the amount coming would be a comparatively small one, and the costs would be heavy, Mr. Elliston consulted Mr. Watchorn for-information upon the point, and discovered .there were, possibly other costs which prevented him giving accurate information.

The only information obtained was from Henry, and previous to going to Henry ho had used his best endeavours to get information elsewhere, and failed. '

Charles Henry Elliston (cross-examined by Mr. Henry) deposed ho was a solicitor, and acted for the plaintiff in the suit of Meredith v. Bradshaw, which  was carried on with despatch until the period of the compromise. Under the compromise all .moneys were to be paid into the joint account of Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball, and there was some trouble in having this carried out, as Gill and Ball detained moneys in their own hands, and in some cases legal proceedings had to be taken to compel them. It was not true, as sworn by Ball, that witness did not give him five minutes before executing the writ of attachment with respect to the money obtained from tho Main Line Railway Co[2]. The writ was lying in the office for 11 days. . Newbury called upon him to get Mrs. Meredith's papers, and asked him if he would purchase the shares. Told Newbury that he would not purchase them under any circumstances. He would not have recommended any client of his to have purchased the shares at that time. The whole thing was in an unsettled state, and if Thos. Jillett's claim had been allowed in a case the estate would have been responsible for the whole costs.

This claim was so doubtful that Dobson and Mitchell had recommended paying £100 to compromise it, and when that was refused they went so far as to recommend paying the whole amount, so as to free the estate from costs. Mr. Geo. Campbell Meredith, the mortgagor of the shares held by Mrs. Meredith, knew of the claim against Gill and Ball for compensation, and did not care to press it. On the date of the sale of Mrs. Meredith's shares witness could not have formed any opinion as to when the estate would be wound up.

 Henry was engaged day after day in pressing for a settlement, and witness thought he was being too harsh against Gill and Ball ; but he had since thought some determined steps were necessary. He would not have felt justified in taking such proceedings on the part of Mrs. Meredith, as his hands were tied by the expenses. After April, 1885, he had not acted for Mrs. Meredith. Mr. Walker had charge of the books in witness office in 1885 as accountant, and would not allow the other clerks to look over the books. As a matter of fact there were no books in the office to show the condition of Jillett's estate.

To the Solicitor-General : After the commencement of the suit against the trustees one of them died[ and witness did not think it wise to go against Bradshaw the survivor. The costs would have had to come out of the estate. Witness in no way acted as solicitor for Mrs. Meredith in the matter of the sale of the shares, and did not hear of that sale till Mr. Newbury told him of it. In his bill of costs £258 had been taxed off. It was nonsense to say that the coats would be only £10 per share. He denied that it was usual to charge between party and party items which could not be charged between solicitor and client. He held a lien on Mrs Meredith's papers for the coats of assignments. Up to just before the sale to Mrs. Meredith Mr. Ball refused to admit any liability for compensation  for delay.
To Mr. Miller : Ball did not admit any liability before the sale to Mrs. Meredith, but there was a claim for compensation in proceedings being taken by Dobson and Mitchell. He had not been advised by counsel that Gill and Ball with Elliston and Featherstone were in the position of trustees.

The point was mooted, but he did not consider they were in the position of trustees. In the bill of costs produced was an item with reference to. counsel's opinion and counsel's recommendation that £312, the amount of Jillett's claim, should be paid into court by the solicitors as being in the position of trustees. The amount was paid into court by Messrs. Gill and Ball.

To the Chief Justice : Did not think there was any means of knowing the value of the shares in his office on the 10th December, without it might be on an account received. The only information accessible to the clerks were for papers in the suit. He had instructed Henry to go through these to get the value, but it was impossible to get tho information without reference to Gill and Ball. Some months before the sale Henry said to witness, " If these proceedings go on much longer the shares will not be worth more than £25."

The Solicitor-General, said before the case proceeded further he was compelled by his duty to his client to make an application for an adjournment till the plaintiff could present herself for cross-examination.

After some argument, the Chief Justice pointed out that after hearing the evidence on both sides the Court was of opinion that the charge of personal fraud could not be made out, und, probably, if that were with-drawn by the plaintiff the other side might be enabled to proceed without requiring to cross-examine her. As to the inadequacy of the pries, the burden was imposed upon the solicitor of showing that he gave a fair price. He suggested that some arrangement might be made if the further hearing were adjourned till Wednesday, as the Court would be otherwise engaged next day, and, if not, the the question of Mrs. Meredith's appearance could be left till the very last.

The case was then adjourned till Wednesday.
The Court rose at 2 p.m.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Saturday 10 December 1887, page 2


The full Court sat at 11 o'clock.

Meredith v. Henry and Anr.

The Chief Justice: I proceed to deliver judgment in the case of Meredith v. Henry and Watchorn :--
This suit is brought to set aside a sale by the plaintiff of her interest in the residue of Jillett's estate to the defendant Watchorn. In August, 1878 the suit of Meredith v. Bradshaw was instituted to administer the estate of one John Jillett, deceased. In March, 1880, an agreement for a compromise was executed by all parties in the suit (except three infants), whereby it was provided that all the estate of Jillett should be realised, and that the proceeds should be paid into the Commercial Bank to the joint account of Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone, and of Messrs. Gill and Ball, respectively, solicitors for the parties, and that after payment of debts, costs, etc., the residue should be paid to the beneficiaries under Jillett's will, and that releases should then be granted to the trustees, and the suit dismissed. Gill and Ball were to have the conduct of the business. The plaintiff became entitled to the shares of two of the beneficiaries, that is to say, to two seventh shares of the residue. The estate was sold, and the proceeds eventually found their way into the Commercial Bank to the credit of the two firms.

Debts were paid, and an apparently extravagant amount of costs was incurred and paid, and the funds rapidly diminished ;and whilst the agreement of compromise provided that the estate should be wound up within three months, that process has been protracted over a period of seven years, and the terms of compromise are not yet completed. In the year 1885 the plaintiff, being of advanced age, and in needy circumstances, desired to press on a final distribution of Jillett's estate, or else to sell her interest in it, and she employed J. L. Newbury to act as her agent for these purposes.

 Newbury called on Mr. Elliston on December 7, 1885, and the latter says, " I promised to look into the matter and estimate the value of the shares, and let Mrs. Meredith know the result, as her solicitor in the suit."

He proceeds--" On December 8, 1885, Newbury informed me that it was necessary that Mrs. Meredith should sell. No one was present then. I called Henry in, and asked him in Newbury's presence to make out an estimate of what the shares were worth. . . I was acting for Mrs. Meredith under Newbury's instruction. The general connection as solicitor to Mrs. Meredith had previously been severed on account of a disputed bill," but Mr Elliston adds, " I was and am solicitor for her on the record in the suit. " That is to say he represented her in the suit in relation to her two sevenths of the residue.

It seems, therefore, beyond question that at this time Elliston and Featherstone were solicitors for Mrs. Meredith as to her shares in Jillett's estate, although they had ceased to be so in other matters. The defendant Henry was a clerk in Gill and Ball's office from 1880 till January,1884 and there, first became familiar with the suit.

He then became a managing clerk in the office of Elliston and Featherstone, and continued so till after the year 1885, having the sole conduct of the matters relating to the suit of Meredith and Bradshaw, and he stated at the hearing that he knew more about the estate of Jillett and the circumstances connected with its administration than any other person. Mr. Elliston also said that one of the chief reasons for employing Henry, was to secure his services in winding up Jillett's estate.

The defendant Watchorn became a clerk to Elliston and Featherstone in 1880, and is now a solicitor and their managing conveyancing clerk. He had only a general know ledge of Jillett's estate, but no special knowledge of its financial position, except such as he derived from Henry Newbury, as agent for Mrs. Meredith, on the suggestion of Mr. Vernon Midwood, placed himself in communication with Henry, in order to obtain information as to the suit, surreptitiously, as affirmed by Henry, but denied by Newbury. Be this as it may, Newbury obtained information from Henry, and it was in part, at any rate, if not wholly, given with the approval of his principals, and on the 20th October, 1885, Henry wrote with their approval, informing Newbury that he had demanded a final balance-sheet from Gill and Ball within 48 hours, he advises the plaintiff not to sell her interest then, especially to them or any nominee of theirs, but to wait a month, or two, and that if anything favourable happened, he would let Newbury know. He adds that Gill and Ball will have to pay £590 out of their own pockets for interest.

On the 8th December, Newbury saw Mr. Elliston about the shares and their value. He informed Mr. Elliston that it was necessary that Mrs. Meredith should sell, and asked him to purchase her interest. Mr. Elliston, as her solicitor in the matter, properly refused to do so. He then called Henry in and instructed him, in Newbury's presence, to make an estimate of what the shares were worth. Newbury saw Henry before and after the interview with Mr. Elliston. The evidence as to what took place between them is somewhat conflicting.

Newbury states that he asked Henry the value of the shares, and he said £60 or £70 was the outside value. Newbury communicated with Mrs. Meredith, and then, with her approval informed Henry that if he could get £60 for the shares Mrs. Meredith would take it. On the 19th December Newbury saw Henry who said he had found a purchaser in Mr. Watchorn, who after going into the matter could not see his way to give more than £50, and that it was the best price he,Henry could get, and asked if Mrs. Meredith accepted the offer, to obtain her authority in writing to sell. Newbury said the matter must be closed next day if Mrs. Meredith accepted it as she was leaving town. Newbury communicated with Mrs. Meredith, who, by writing, authorised him to sell her interest for £50.
On the 10th December Henry called on Newbury and obtained his signature to a memorandum of sale for £50, and an indemnity against costs. In the evening of the same day Henry, attended with Newbury, at Mrs. Meredith's lodgings, and there on Watchorn's behalf, handed to her a cheque for £50, and an indemnity against all costs signed by Watchorn, and he also produced a deed of assignment of her interest to Watchorn which she executed.

The bill seeks to set aside this sale on various grounds, amongst others that the defendants were in a fiduciary position in respect of the property sold, and that the price paid was grossly inadequate. Messrs. Elliston and Featherstone were both trustees of the fund of which Mrs. Meredith was a cestui que trust, and also solicitor for her as to her interest. They thus stood in a double aspect in a fiduciary position towards her, and had they purchased they must have been prepared to satisfy the Court that they had taken no advantage of their client, but had duly and honestly advised her as a disinterested adviser would have done, and had brought to her knowledge everything which they themselves knew necessary to enable her to form a judgment in the matter, and they must in particular have been able to show that a just and fair price had been given. This rule would also apply to a purchase made by Henry.

In the case of Hobday v. Peters, 20 L.J., ch. 780. a Mrs. Joy applied to her solicitor for advice, he referred her to his managing clerk, who examined her title to certain property. Her solicitor would accept no remuneration. The clerk afterwards used the information he thus acquired, and purchased portion of Mrs. Joy's property at an undervalue. The Master of the Rolls in his judgment says--"The cases within which the present cases came were those, where by reason of a relation existing between two parties, one of such parties had obtained information which he had used for his own benefit, and the question was whether the other party was not entitled to stand in his place. Great evil would arise, and the rule of the Court would be made very technical if it were to be held that to bring a case within the kind of relief sought there must be some peculiar relation such as trustee and cestui que trust, guardian and ward, solicitor and client, and the like.

Lord Cottenham considered that the rule ought to be extended to every case where a person obtained information from another confidentially, and used it to the prejudice of that other person and to his own advantage.

See also Macpherson v. Watt, 6 App. Ca. 266. Counsel for Watchorn urged that Elliston and Featherstone were not solicitors for Mrs. Meredith in this transaction. It is true that they did not act as solicitors in effecting the assignment to Watchorn, but they were solicitors for her as to the subject matter of the sale, and stood in a position of confidence to her, and also of advantage in having acquired, by virtue of being her solicitors, a better knowledge than she could have as to the fair value of her shares. But as a fact Mrs. Meredith had through New-bury, on the day but one before the sale, consulted Mr. Elliston as her solicitor in the matter with reference to the value of the share, and he had referred the matter to his managing clerk, Henry, in Newbury's presence, and Henry subsequently advised Newbury as to the value of the shares. It is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that Elliston and Featherstone and Henry all stood in a position of trust and confidence in relation to the plain-tiff in the sale of these shares. It was also contended that the plaintiff had in Newbury 
virtually an independent legal adviser, as he had been a clerk in solicitors' offices for some 13 years.
 It appears clear, however, that so far from relying on Newbury for advice as to a matter about which he had no special knowledge, the plaintiff sent him to seek advice and information from her solicitors and their clerk and Newbury conveyed to her what he heard from them. It is also clear that she relied and acted upon the advice so given. Henry took upon himself when in this position to become the agent of a fellow clerk in the employ of the same firm to purchase the shares for him.

Henry's duty as to Mrs. Meredith was to advise her as to the value of the shares, and he did so, and to secure the best price for her, whilst his duty to Watchorn was to secure the shares as cheaply as possible. Henry thus placed himself in a false position. Watchorn knew of this position, and availed him-self of Henry's services, and, in the purchase, can stand in no better position than Henry would have been in had he purchased for himself. Watchorn was, moreover, clerk in the employ of the solicitors.
 It was also contended that the Court would not set aside the sale, because it could not now place the parties in the same position they were in at the time it was effected. The answer to this is that the plaintiff as early as April, 1886 repudiated the sale, and up to that time no material alteration had taken place in the position of the parties. There can be no doubt that the plaintiff, through Newbury as her agent, sought information and advice from Mr. Elliston and Henry to guide her in the course she should take ; and the information afforded by Henry, who stood in a fiduciary relation to her, as to the value of the shares was intended to guide her, and the plaintiff relied and acted upon this information when she sold her shares.

The next question is whether the defendants have satisfied the Court that the price paid was a fair one. Watchorn gave £50 and an indemnity against costs, for the shares, and has received on account of them £442 17s. 8d.

The latter amount is thus made out. First, £284 4s. 6d. out of the funds in the bank ; second, £100 paid by Gill and Ball as compensation for delay and interest ; and thirdly, £58 13s. 2d., being plaintiff's share in a sum of £312 claimed by Thomas Jillett out of the estate, but which, the Court subsequently decided, belonged to the estate. For the defendants it was urged that Elliston and Featherstone's extra costs amounted to £250 chargeable against the five plaintiffs whom they represented, and that they might at pleasure charge the whole costs against any one of the plaintiffs, and that therefore the indemnity for costs was worth £250 to Mrs. Meredith.

But Elliston and Featherstone had a lien upon the shares of all five plaintiffs whom they represented, and in justice must have deducted from the share of each as they received it, one-fifth only of the costs. Mrs. Meredith's liability for costs, therefore, amounted to £100 or thereabouts. She was thus receiving the equivalent of £150 for £442. Assuming the disputed £58 is deducted, then she would be receiving£150 only for £384 :and if the £100 compensation had not been obtained from Gill and Ball, although from the terms of Henry's letter of 20th October there seemed to be no doubt about compensation being obtained, then £150 would have been given for £284, and this seems to be the aspect most favourable to the defendants, which can be given to the figures.

The deduction of £58 seems to be fair; but the £100 compensation was an amount which was reasonably anticipated as an asset by Henry in his October letter, and undoubtedly augmented the value of the shares. Evidently the full amount of compensation claimed, £510, ,was not paid by Gill and Ball otherwise Watchorn would have received two-sevenths of it, or £142 instead of £100.
 It is true that Mrs. Meredith directly, or through Newbury, knew that about June 1885, £1,300 was the balance to the credit of the estate, and that there was a disputed claim as to £312, and that there was a claim against Gill and Ball for £500 for compensation, but she did not know what amount of costs had been, or was likely to be incurred, or what difficulties surrounded the final distribution of the estate, or the vicissitudes through which the funds might have to pass.
Through Newbury she sought information from Gill and Ball,, but got no satisfactory information. She sought it from Mr. Elliston, who could give no estimate of the value, but directed Henry to make one, and finally by Henry she was advised to sell her share for£50, and an indemnity against costs. The Court is not satisfied that this was a fair price for the shares.

The bill alleges that a partnership existed between Watchorn and Henry in the purchase of these shares. Their evidence contradicts this, but immediately after the sale they agreed that Henry was to be a participator in the profits to be derived from the transaction to the extent of one third of what-ever was obtained beyond the amount paid, in consideration of his taking steps to force Gill and Ball to wind up the suit, and he has received accordingly out of the moneys paid to Watchorn for the shares the sum of £138 15s. This appears to have been paid after Mrs. Meredith had given notice that sho repudiated the sale. Henry also, as agent for Watchorn in purchasing the shares, and preparing the documents to effect the arrangement, must have expected remuneration from Watchorn either by participation in the profits or otherwise. He subsequently urgently pressed Gill and Ball, and no doubt secured an earlier and more advantageous settlement than would have taken place had the shares continued the property of Mrs. Meredith.

Their value was thus enhanced by his exertions, and possibly, but for them, the distribution of the funds would not even now have taken place. The dates of payment of the several sums to Watchorn do not appear, but they were within a year of the filing of the bill, and under these circumstances we make no order as to any interest that may have accrued on either side. The bill charges the defendants with fraud.

 Now fraud is a criminal charge, and its truth must not be assumed, but proved. In June, 1885, Henry is proved to have estimated the value of each share at £47, and some months before the sale of Mrs. Meredith's interest, Mr. Elliston says that Henry stated to him that the shares would soon not be worth more than £25 each. Henry accounted for this low estimate from his knowledge of the large amount of extra costs, and from the anticipation of two equity suits, which were threatened.

But the substantial charge of fraud in the bill is, that early in December, 1885, and before the purchase of Mrs. Meredith's shares was completed, Henry caused to be made out in the office of Gill and Ball a rough estimate, setting forth the value on the 10th December, 1885, of each share, and demonstrating that each share was worth £160, or if Jillett's claim was decided in favour of the estate then at £201, and the bill charges knowledge of this estimate and concealment of it by the defendants from Mrs. Meredith. Mr. Ball produced this estimate in writing, and his evidence went to support what appeared to be a conclusive case of gross fraud and concealment ; but upon cross-examination, and upon being confronted with his own bill of costs, Mr. Ball admitted that this rough estimate of what the shares were worth on 10th December, 1885, was not made out early in December as sworn to by him, but about the 23rd March, 1886, and of this the account on its face bears some evidence. This charge is therefore disproved by the very witness whose testimony was relied on to support it.
It was unnecessary in order to secure the relief sought to charge fraud, and where a direct charge of fraud is made and fails, the general rule of the Court is that the party making it, even if other-wise successful, is not entitled to costs.

The Court is of opinion that the defendants stood in a fiduciary relation towards the plaintiff.
2. That they have not satisfied the Court that a fair price was paid for the shares.
3. The defendants must pay to the plaintiff £442 17. 8d., the amount received in respect of the shares, less £50, the original purchase money, and £8 10s. 6d. paid by the defendant Watchorn for costs in connection with the shares.
 4. That the indemnity for costs be brought into the office of the registrar by the plaintiff and cancelled.
 5. That the assignment of the shares be brought into the registry and cancelled.
 6. That no order be made as to interest.
 7. That fraud having been charged and not proved no order will be made as to costs.
This decree will avoid the expense and delay which would be occasioned by a reference to Chambers to take accounts, and as the accuracy of the figures has not been questioned, but apparently accepted on both sides, the Court has adopted them as correct.

Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas. : 1881 - 1895), Saturday 21 January 1888, page 15

ILLEGAL PERJURY CASE                           (by electronic telegraph.)

HOBART. Jan. 18.
At the, police court to-day, before Mr. W. Tarleton, P.M., Charles John Ball was charged. by James  Johnson Henry with wilful and corrupt perjury; committed on September 12 during, the hearing of the Meredith equity ... suit at the Supreme Court before Chief ' Justice Dobson and Justices Dodds and Adams.

.The prosecutor. conducted his own case, and Mr. W. W. Perkins defended. : The information stated that in the above named Ball, when it was material to the issue to show the value of certain shares, and that such value was known on the 10th December, 1885, Ball had sworn that a certain balance-sheet had been delivered, and the valuation' of the said shares made about December 10, which statement the information alleged to be wilfully false.

The evidence of Ernest Lethbridge, called for the prosecution, showed that on September 12 defendant in examination in chief made the statement referred to, but that in cross-examination he admitted he had made a mistake, that the balance sheet was not delivered till March, 1886.
Sir Lambert Dobson deposed to hearing evidence on oath of Ball in the Meredith equity suit; in his opinion it was material to the issue of that suit to show the value of shares in Jillet's estate on 10th December, 1885, and that such value should be made known to the defendant in that suit, namely, Henry Watchorn; Ball, in cross examination, had admitted that the account was not delivered till 23rd March, 1886, although he had previously sworn it was delivered on 10th December; he (witness) could not say that had Ball's evidence in chief remained uncorrected the judges' decision in the Meredith suit would have been different from what it was, but Ball's correction of his first statement certainly removed a difficulty from the court.

 This concluded the evidence for the prosecution. Mr. Perkins addressed the bench for the defence, contending that the prosecution completely broke down, and quoting authorities that a witness did not commit perjury if upon cross-examination he explained his meaning or corrected a mistake. The Police Magistrate, in giving his decision, said that . had the defendant's statement, as to, date of delivery of the account (been made wilfully and corruptly a correction made in course of cross examination would hardly cure the offence, but he could not see that the charge bad been proved.
 It was scarcely conceivable that defendant could have been so foolish as to falsely swear to a date when he knew the balance-sheet was open to inspection of anyone in, his (Ball's) , office, and had actually been seen by Mr. Lethbridge months before the equity suit, and when it bore on the face of it evidence. that it was not made till some .time subsequent to the 10th of December.

His Worship held there was not sufficient evidence of a reasonable probable presumption of guilt on the part of defendant. He would therefore , be discharged, and the information was dismissed.  The court-then rose.

Summation of the Lengthy Court Hearings

In general, the matters arose due to the lengthy delays that both solicitors took in settling the estate of John Jillett.
Some interesting points emerge:

Mrs Louisa Meredith, the wife of the Hon Charles Meredith, was left in a predicament after her husband died.

In 1883 the bank were pressuring for the payment of outstanding monies.
Mrs Louisa Meredith, employed Elliston & Featherstone as her solicitors.

They were also the solicitors for the Estate of John Jillett, and the question needs to be asked, is that not a conflict of interest?

Mrs Meredith expanded on how she was involved in matters of the Estate of John Jillett.
Her son George Campbell Meredith married John Jillett's daughter, Elizabeth, and as he was, in 1881, travelling to New Zealand, he needed some funds.  He  was lent £300 by his father, on the condition that his wife assign her shares in the Estate to Hon Charles Jillett.

At the time, he also held the shares of Elizabeth's sister Alice who had married Allard.
Mention was made that the children being of minors.

However Hon Charles Meredith died in 1880, so the shares were passed to his beneficiary, his wife.
Being pressed for the outstanding funds, she asked another friend to investigate the sale of her shares. 

That was done, by fraudulent action, by staff of the Solicitors, who were conjunction of the deal, whereby they obtained £200 for £50.

When she found out about this, she took legal steps to void the transaction.  She was successful.

But the newspaper reports indicate another couple of interesting facts,  the matters refer to the estate of Thomas Jillett, being worth £7000.  Clearly this should be John Jillett as Thomas was still alive.
The estate of Thomas Jillett was realised and got in amounting in all to £7000, or thereabouts, all of which money was paid into the Commercial Bank to the credit of the said two firms, or Messrs Elliston and Featherstone and Gill and Ball.

The next item of interest refers to the fact that John Jillett was bankrupt when he died.
There does not seem to be any evidence to support that.

The claim by Thomas Jillett and family for £312, was outside the statute of limitations.  His claim would only be on the funds realised on the York Plains property, as he considered was under the terms of their father's will, (and stated therein) not able to be sold.

But if the estate realised £7000 and in the end it was worth £1400, clearly the ones responsible for the additional costs, and the end result were none other than both solicitors.

Thomas Jillet used, Butler, McIntyre & Butler is a medium sized independent Tasmanian legal firm. Its offices in Hobart are situated in the centre of the city close to the Supreme Court of Tasmania. In Hobart, the name Butler, McIntyre & Butler has been synonymous with high quality legal service for over 185 years. In fact, established in 1824, it is the oldest law firm in Tasmania.  They have historical links to the Jillett/Bradshaw Family.

Extract from Louisa's Book which can be read online.


This simple chronicle of nine years, passed in one of Her Majesty's most remote Colonies, and devoted to the description of scenes and objects familiar to thousands of her faithful subjects is, in the humble hope of Her Royal approval, and with the most respectful and loyal attachment, inscribed by

Her Majesty's
Obedient humble Servant,

My gossiping "Notes and Sketches of New South Wales" met with a reception so cordial and flattering, and so far beyond my own expectations, that a grateful acknowledgment, in the shape of a second series, became the natural and inevitable result. The delay in its appearance has been reluctantly prolonged from year to year, as our erratic life, and the exacting duties of the present, precluded attention to a task which, however congenial, had only reference to the future (for, after the completion of a work here, fully a year must elapse ere any intelligence of its further advancement reaches the writer); and this circumstance, so unfavourable to any literary work, may perhaps excuse the desultory character of the present one. Could any of my readers have marked the fitful and uncertain progress of my notes—sometimes amidst a Babel of busy tongues, loud on the relative merits of humming or peg-tops—or, more often, in brief intervals between lessons in history, geography, or arithmetic—when, turning from the mighty records of Rome and Greece, of Caesar and Lycurgus, I have essayed to continue the memoir of a pet opossum; or, after setting an "ugly" sum in multiplication, have laid down slate and pencil to finish the descriptive portrait of some delicate bush flower—they would less marvel at omissions and discrepancies committed, than that many more probable blunders had been avoided; and would kindly lay aside the severity of criticism in judging so unpretending a work.

The risk of typographical errors in a work which must of necessity go through the press without its author's correction or revision, is unavoidably great; but the comparative rarity of such mistakes in my former volume, published under the same adverse circumstances, encourages me to hope that the present may be as fortunate.

Lest the minute, perhaps trifling, detail, entered into in some parts, may seem inclining towards the egotistical, I should perhaps remark that I have been induced to adopt a more personal narrative, and to identify ourselves with the simple realities around us, just as events truly occurred, instead of generalizing my observations, because I have found, from my own feelings in the perusal of works of somewhat similar character, that the interest of such unvarnished histories is proportionally enhanced, according to the degree of identity preserved by the narrator; and, acting upon this hint from experience, I have unscrupulously practised the plain matter-of-fact candour and "individuality" which we ourselves like to find in the narratives of other dwellers in new countries.

The great amount of misconception and the positive misrepresentations relative to the present social condition of this colony, now prevalent, not in England only, but wherever the name of Van Diemen's Land is known, also determined me to enter more into domestic details than otherwise I might have thought it pleasant or desirable to do. No general descriptions would so well tend to show the truth, as the veritable chronicle of everyday life, in our solitary yet cheerful country homes, that stand all day with open doors, and all night without a shutter or bar or bolt to the windows; as innocent of lawless intrusion as dwellings of a like isolated and lonely character would be in any part of Britain—indeed, much more so; and why our really peaceful lives should be represented at home as invested with such terrors by day and perils by night, as might beseem the heroes of old romance in their most doughty days, I am wholly at a loss to conjecture, and can only hope that my humble efforts in the cause of truth may avail in dispelling at least some portion of the evil clouds that at present sully and overshadow our good name.

I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of here repeating my grateful and sincere thanks to our highly-esteemed friend, the Bishop of Tasmania*, whose kind voluntary offer of his valuable aid, as my illustrator, has enabled me to present some of our lovely scenes to my readers in a form so well worthy of their own beauty, and so immeasurably enhancing the interest of my written descriptions. It is likewise right to remark, that beyond a knowledge of the localities mentioned, his Lordship has no acquaintance whatever with the contents of my MSS.; for my errors, be they few or many, I am alone responsible.

[* Ebook editor's note: Francis Russell Nixon, 1803-1879.]

Of my own trifling sketches, I am perfectly aware that in their accuracy rests their sole merit: that they are rigidly faithful, I can honestly vouch; and as, in weaving a garland, small and insignificant flowers, worthless in themselves, oft times aid the general effect, so I am induced to hope, that my little drawings may peep pleasantly out from nooks and corners of the book, which would otherwise remain unoccupied.

I beseech the august body of British critics to receive my unfeigned thanks for the unmixed meed of approval and praise vouchsafed to my last appearance in print (and many former ones). Not one dissentient voice mingled in the pleasant sounds of kindly welcome which so delightfully echoed even into our far-away solitude here and, like a singing summer breeze, spread over the peaceful current of my tranquil happy life a bright sunny ripple of surprise and joy; for from the generous reviewer of the mighty "Quarterly," to the passing notices of provincial papers, every pen seemed dipped in honey to greet my unpretending little tome of womanly gossip.

Some of the Sydney papers, I have been told, kindly took considerable pains to prove the correctness with which I had formerly estimated their elegance and ability; but as I have never myself met with any of their characteristic effusions, I still remain in blissful unconsciousness of the amount of my obligation to them.

Riversdale, Great Swan Port,
Van Diemen's Land, July 18th, 1850.

Title: My Home in Tasmania during a Residence of Nine Years
Author: Mrs. Charles Meredith (Louisa Anne Meredith)
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1600411h.html
Language: English
Date first posted:  March 2016
Most recent update: March 2016

This eBook was produced by: Colin Choat

[1] These birth records may not be correct..
[2] A claim for damages from the railway lodged by John Jillett Junior
[3] John Ibbolt