Wednesday, August 8, 2018
H4 In The Beginning - By One Who Was There John Pascoe Fawkner
REMINISCENCES OF THE COLONY OF VICTORIA. LECTURE BY THE HON. J. P. FAWKNER.
(From the Melbourne Age.) 'Twas sixty years ago, or in the year of grace 1802, the first attempt was made to settle at Port Phillip. The project was sanctioned by the British Ministry of the day, and was commenced and carried on under their auspices, but at the public cost of somewhere about £150,000, and all this money ex pended on a miserable failure. The second attempt was made by six individuals not Government officers, carried out at their own cost, they not drawing one shilling from the public treasury. I was one of that six, and the success of our efforts can be seen by every colonist present this day. The first attempt to settle at Port Phillip originated in the Secretary of State's office, in London, sometime in the first half of the year of grace 1802.
The projector was a Mr. Capper, chief clerk to Lord Hobart, the then Secretary of State. It was in this wise Lord Hobart was in want of something to excite him to action, and Mr. Capper proposed that the Lord Hobart should "found" a colony, the chief city of which should continue his title to future times as the metropolis of a Crown colony, founded under his auspices, and at the expense of the State. Lord Hobart coincided with the proposition, and at once set to work to carry out the idea thus suggested.
A Governor was wanted Capt. David Collins, R.N., who had held office in Sydney as Judge Advocate, and had lately returned from Sydney, New South Wales, was applied to, and he accepted office as Lieut. Governor of the incipient Crown colony, and Port Phillip, Bass' Straits, having been lately reported to the department as an eligible site whereon to form a now State, Port Phillip was fixed upon by Lord Hobart, and assented to by Brevet Lieut.-Colonel D. Collins.
The Governor in embryo was deputed to fix the number of officers, civil and military, that he would consent to carry out the undertaking with, and also the number of marines required to maintain order and ensure safety to the free population, and duly enforce order upon the prison population. The labourers were to be taken from the prison population of England. and no provision of animal labour other than manual was made. Governor Collins selected one commissary, Leonard Fosbrooke, Esq.; one surveyor, Geo. Prideaux Harris, Esq.; one mineralogist, W. H. Humphries, Esq.; one chaplain, Rev. Robert Knopwood (formerly chaplain of a ship of war); three surgeons, Messrs Robert J. Anson (chief), Matthew Bowden and John Hopley (subs).
The military officers were— First Lieut. Sladen Brevet Captain, and Messrs. Anderson, Johnson, and Edward Lord, of subalterns, with some forty odd marines. On Edward Lord subsequently devolved the Governorship, on the death of Lieut.-Governor D. Collins, in 1809. Several of the marines were married men with families. One sergeant was married at Portsmouth just before we left, and brought his wife with him. She made herself very notorious for immorality, both on ship board and subsequently at Hobart Town; but as she has children now living I will withhold the name.
The rest of the lower civil officers were Messrs. Robert Collins, superintendent (he had been in the mercantile navy); Thomas Clark, agricultural superintend tent; James Paterson, town overseer; John Ingle, overseer; and Richard Parish, as assistant overseer.
There were also twelve male settlers, free men, with eight female settlers (six wives and one widow, and a sister of one of the married settlers), making eight females, with eight boys and seven girls, and at the prisons there were between 350 and 360, of which number there were 15 men whose wives came on board, having with them four boys and two girls, who volunteered to go with their husbands and fathers into banishment to the new colony.
We had also one missionary (Mr. Croke) to visit the aborigines. He had a wife and one son (Mr. Croke, late of Melbourne, undertaker, now at Sydney), making a total of nearly 480 souls. To take these people to the new country, Lord Hobart provided one of H.B.M. ships of war, the Calcutta, of 1200 tons burthen, and carrying 50 guns; she had been an East India ship, and purchased for the Royal Navy. The Ocean, store ship, of 600 tons, commanded by Capt. Matthews, was hired to carry stores and passengers.
The Calcutta was commended by Captain Woodruffe, with a sloop of war's crew of sailors and marines. This, you will bear in mind, was in the time of the short peace of Amiens, made in October, 1801; and the war broke out again 14th May, 1803. The authorities provided provisions for all the people, free settlers, officers, marines, and prisoners, for three years, after which time, it was computed that we could, in part, support our selves. The stores failed, and we suffered great privations. Stores of all kinds (at that time thought necessary for founding a new settlement) were provided under the direction we of Lieutenant-Colonel Collins, who it was supposed would know what was required, he having been some years at the then newly-formed settlement at Sydney, but known better as Botany Bay.
The Calcutta was at the Nore, and shortly before Christmas, 1802, she took in part of her prisoner passengers at that place, and then passed round to Portsmouth to fill up her complement of men, and received on board such officers and passengers as were to benefit by her large and superior accommodations. She lost a midshipman on this passage. He fell from the mizen top to the deck, and was taken to Hadar hospital, where he died in a few days. Our friends being well acquainted with the office of Lord Hobart, applied to know when it would be necessary to embark on board the Calcutta, and were told early in January, 1803, "You must proceed to Portsmouth immediately".
My mother, in reply, said, a letter she had just received stated the Calcutta in passing from the Nore, had turned down the wrong street and found herself in Plymouth. The clerks in the secretary's office enjoyed a hearty laugh at the idea of a ship turning down a wrong street. Being present with my mother at the time, I recollect this very well, being then turned of ten years old.
I came to the colony with my father, mother, and sister, and we came on board the Calcutta, from London, on the 10th day of February, 1803, although hurried on board from the office. We left Spithead on the 23rd April, and St. Helen's on the 25th April. We finally left England on the 25th April 1803, a period of ten weeks and up wards was thus wasted on shipboard. We were told that no feather beds would be allowed on board, and thus were sadly distressed and needlessly inconvenienced on the passage and afterwards for there was no such order on shipboard to prevent bringing them.
By the middle of April all the stores were on board. The prisoners, their wives and families, the settlers, also were all on board, only waiting for the Ocean storeship. I may here remark that the Ocean was a very dull sailing craft . But at length all arrangements were completed, and to sea we put on the 25th April, 1803. We had scarcely got into blue water, before gross immorality in high places broke out, the which conduct had very injurious after effect in Van Diemen's Land. The Governor had a wife and family in England. He left them behind again, as he did when he first went to Sydney, and the ship was not out of sight of land before he took for his paramour, one of the prisoner's wives, a Mrs. P—r, and we found some years after his Sydney wife sent to him a son and daughter.
Thus the polygamist Governor had three wives, eventually a fourth, and three families. His example was followed by others, and even the parson was compromised. But these things will be given more at large in my written reminiscences of the founding of Hobart Town.
We steered for Teneriffe and refreshed there, and also at Rio Janeiro, and then finding, that the Calcutta, with topsails lying on the caps, could outsail the Ocean with all her sails set, it was resolved to part company, and Capt. Mathews, of the Ocean, was directed, if he lost sight of the Calcutta, to make the best of his way, as direct as possible, to Port Phillip. The Calcutta then pushed on for the Cape, and we anchored in due time in Simon's or False Bay. We were much amused by the Dutchmen taking our penny pieces for twopence each.
Very cheap goods we found here, and were quite surprised to find sheep with tails weighing twelve pounds and upwards, which tails were almost one lump of solid fat. The meat here generally was very lean (at both ports). News of the war arrived whilst we were in port, and the Dutch Port Admiral demanded of Captain Woodruffe to surrender himself, crew, and his ship. He (Captain Woodrufle) sent a true Jack Tar's answer. It was simply—" Come and take me."
Our fifty guns were chiefly in the hold, as we left England during the peace of Amiens, but all hands were piped up, and the two master's mates, Messrs. Gammon and Buick, were sent down amongst the prisoners, to invite such of them as knew anything of fighting, to join the sailors and marines, and all those who had been either sailors or soldiers, volunteered. By the time that the ship had got into fighting order, the Dutch Admiral had changed his mind, and sent word, that as the ship was loaded with prisoners, he would not capture them to burden his country. We then pushed on for Port Phillip, Bass's Straits.
I use these terms because all cases and packages on board that were intended for the new colony, bore these marks or words at full length. On the 9th or 10th October, 1803, we entered Port Phillip, and found the Ocean, storeship, at anchor. The Lieutenant- Governor, a marine officer, being of the nature of a square peg to a round hole, instead of causing a survey of the whole bay, in order to find the most eligible site for a town, sent a gang of men ashore to clear a place to erect tents for the whole population, on a narrow neck of sandy land, some four or five miles within the heads, on the Nepean Point side, where the sea was constantly breaking on the west beach about one and a quarter mile across, from the bay, the roar of the surf was a constant annoyance.
No fresh water, except what was obtained by sinking casks with holes in the bottom of them in the sand, just above high water mark, and thus the water was soon filtered through the sand, half salt or brackish. Six casks were sunk for the supply of the whole of the people—one of the officers only —padlocked, the other five for the commonalty. The people were landed as fast as room could be made for them, by the erection of tents, and on the 19th October, 1803, I first landed on the shores of Port Phillip.
I became 11 years of age the next day, October the 20th, 1803. The folly of Great Britain in entrusting a marine officer to form a settlement in a wild and distant country, was eminently shown were. The Governor would not send round the bay to search for a more eligible site. He would not look for water or useful timber (and boards and other sawn timbers were in great request. Our sawn timber we had to go fourteen miles for, namely, to Arthur's Seat); although the bad water was fast sending into Isva the hospital, our largest and ablest men. The officers of the Calcutta found water at Arthur's Seat, and took the vessel opposite the spring and watered, and then pushed off to Sydney.
Many prisoners ran away from the settlement. Some (Irishmen) professing to be bound over land to China ; others (runaways) started for Sydney. Only one, that I can remember, came back. He settled at Launceston, reared a large family, and became a good citizen.
He reported having found the Yarra River, but the Governor would not send to examine it, for he had made up his mind to leave this country: and having communicated with the Sydney Government, through the Calcutta, the sloop, Lady Nelson, was sent round to in form him, that he might go to Van Diemen's Land, a small party, under Lieut. Bowen, then having been sent there in the August of that year (1803).
A strange fatality accompanied most of these military Governors. He, too, had a paramour. He was living in adultery with the daughter of one of the free settlers, whose wife was a prisoner at Port Jackson, whence he brought her. She afterwards married, and lived near Hobart Town many years. Before this news arrived, Governor Collins had sent over to Port Dalrymple a boat's crew, under charge of Superintendent Collins, with Uriah Allender (well known at Kangaroo Point, River Derwent, as a boatman) as the coxswain of the cutter—an open six-oared boat.
They also took Mr. Clarke, the agriculturalist, with them to examine the land. The report made by them on their return was, "a most difficult river, and very poor land." The banks of the Tamar were not very tempting as farm land, nor are they at this day. And the tide made the river seem dangerous, causing whirlpools to rise fifteen to seventeen feet. The Governor then engaged Captain Matthews, at a certain sum per month, to take the people and the various stores to the River Derwent, V.D. Land, and the first trip left Port Philip about the middle of January, 1804. This man made the two trips to occupy five months, 15th January to 16th June, 1804.
Only fancy two trips to Hobart Town, which now occupies a period of three days only to each trip. The Governor and half of the prisoners, some marines, and most of the settlers were in the first trip; amongst others our family went, and we suffered dreadfully on this trip from the want of cooked food. We were told that it was forty-eight to fifty hours passage, and accordingly we baked bread for three days; our stores of biscuit were exhausted, and flour was issued to all classes; there were no settlers nor bakers from whom to purchase supplies, and after our bread was done, there being far more persons on board than the cook had means of supplying food to, and we, in common with others suffered very severely, for we were on board till 16th February, when we (at Sullivan's cove) landed to form Hobart Town.
No idea can be formed of the hard ships suffered by the common settlers, in order to get eatable bread, they were compelled to make thin cakes, which they plastered up against the hot sides of the coppers (if they could get near enough to them), and when they fell off partially cooked on the one side, they were plastered up again on the other (applause and laughter). Here, let me oberve, the Home Government found men, stores, clothing, tools, and goods, and cash to a large amount, for we had three years provision for all persons; three years clothing for prisoners and marines, and three years pay for those receiving pay; in all, reckoning the Calcutta's expenses, some £150,000, and yet Governor D. Collins could not form a colony at Port Phillip; but, on the contrary, pronounced the place totally unfit to form a settlement upon.
One reason may have had some weight with him. He was promised 500 guineas extra (guineas were then the correct coin), if he was forced to leave the first place he settled at and form a new settlement. Myself and some five humble individuals, without the aid of one penny from the Government, formed a settlement here. The city of Melbourne I founded : now in 27 years from my landing in 1835, contains upwards of 100,000 souls.
The colony contains and maintains upwards of half a million of people, a free colony formed by free men, and without cost to the parent state, or to the sister colonies. After a lapse of 31 years, namely, from February, 1804, to March, 1835, I formed an association to try and settle at Port Phillip. I had for some time been engaged collecting information about this country. My own recollections of 1804 were strong.
I had read Captain Stuart's journey, through the country, and down the Murray and the Murrumbidgee, and had traced the line of country given in his map to Lake Alexandriana. I collected information from the sealers and from the mimosa bark gatherers at Western Port; from the whalers and stockman at the Messrs. Henty's, then engaged at Portland Bay; and, also, I and others were stimulated to pass away from V. D. Land, by the tyranny of Governor Arthur—a despot whose iron will was the law of the land.
He employed some thousands of the inhabitants of V. D. Land to form a cordon across the island to drive the whole of the black aborigines to a Peninsula, and thus catch them. The Governor compelled ticket-of-leave men to go, and morally forced all who expected favours from him. I then foretold in my journal— Launceston Advertiser—that it would prove a failure; and it did; the blacks passed through the line wherever they chose. But the cold weather, the snow on the mountains, and loosing their way occasionally cost the lives of many of the line men, and some £30,000 or upwards in money was spent, and for all this outlay one black man was caught —a dear bargain ! (Laughter.)
The Governor and his Council—then nominated by himself, removed, and others appointed at his pleasure—passed in 1833 or '34 an Impounding Law, which forbid any but his friends and the friends of his councillors to graze stock on the waste lands, and the Government toadies, who were the holders of the bulk of the land then around the two principal ports—Hobart Town and Launceston, the Derwent and the Tamar rivers. There were large portions of land unsold around all the then towns and villages throughout the country, and many industrious families of limited capital kept their two or three, or ten or a dozen cows on those lands and supplied milk and butter to the public.
The Governors select Council, their relatives and friends, held all the lands in the best portions of the habitable country for a considereble distance, and they found that the poorer people could supply butter, milk, &c., &c., cheaper than they considered they ought to sell consequently they got an Impounding Law passed in 1833 or 1834. In fact the Messrs. Willis, the Archers, Ash burners, Swanstons, &c., passed this law. The consequence they wished followed. The poundkeepers hunted up all cattle of the poorer classes. (There were no less than seventy poundkeepers—I have all their names: seven of them are here now, I believe.)
The favoured men's brands were known, and were, no doubt, sent to those harpies (all these poundkeepers were not alike malicious), and none of their cattle were meddled with. The others were all impounded, and good milch cows, worth (before this vile Act was passed) from £8 to £10 or £12, fell to from 10s. to 18s. or 20s. each; and before I left Tasmania to proceed to Port Phillip, namely, in 1835, I had to pay for milch cows of ordinary quality, £15 each. I should not enter into this explanation, which belongs to my written account of Tasmania, but that the Act was so very ruinous to hundreds of industrious people, and acted so strongly upon my mind that I think it quite applicable to the point of how and why we left Tasmania to form a new settlement on the shores of New Holland.
In March, 1835, I made up my mind to venture across the Straits and commence the world again, and by subdividing an orchard of nine acres that I had in the town of Launceston, and selling it, I provided, together with other monies, a few thousands of pounds to enable me to proceed. During March and April, I searched out and found five persons in Launceston willing to venture across with me as their guide.
Their names and occupations were us follows.—Ist, John Lancey (dead ), pilot, had commanded one of the colonial vessels. 2nd, Robert Hay Marr (left the colony), carpenter and builder. 3rd, Samuel Jackson, architect and builder (he is a squatter of large means, and is with his brother). 4th, William Jackson, also a carpenter (now in England, as I am informed on a visit). their stock is somewhere near Portland, I am told; and 5th, George Evans, plasterer, now residing at Melbourne.
As soon as these men had agreed to join me, I desired my broker, Mr. John Charles Underwood, of Launceston, to purchase for me a vessel, not to exceed a fixed sum wherewith to transport over the Straits, our goods, persons, and stock, and all things required by us to form a new colony. The broker did contract for a schooner of fifty-five tons, with a Mr. John Anderson Brown, of Launceston. The vessel was then at Sydney, employed carrying coals from Newcastle to Sydney, and Mr. J. A. Brown directed the vessel to be sent immediately to Launceston. But his Sydney agent had, before the order arrived, entered into a contract to deliver a certain quantity of coal at Sydney, and thus the vessel was delayed of delivery until July 18th, 1835.
Thus our voyage was delayed, and in the latter end of April it was rumored that Messrs. Joseph Tice Gellibrand, ex Attorney-General of Van Diemen's Land, and thirteen others, had agreed to seize upon a a large portion of land in the neighbourhood of Port Phillip, and on the bay side, on the plan that had before this been adopted in New Zealand, by Messrs. Wentworth and others, namely, to buy the land nominally from the sable aborigines, and to get them to sign a deed of grant—in a language they were entirely ignorant of—and for a paltry consideration, such as is set forth in a deed of grant.
A deed of grant was prepared by Mr. J. T. Gellibrand—one deed—but after the return of Mr. Batman, a second was produced, taking in the whole of Indented Head. I obtained copies of both these deeds, but unfortunately one of the copies is lost. The names of these fourteen partners should by right be handed down to posterity, and, I therefore give them with their additions in the course of my remarks. Upon my party finding that Mr J. Batman had chartered the Rebecca, of fifteen tons, to carry him from Launceston to Port Phillip, they agreed that I should ask him to let me, at least, if not three of our party, pass over with him to explore the land.
I went out, forty-five miles, to Ben Lomond, Mr. B.'s residence, on this errand, but he peremptorily refused to let any go with him except the men in his own employ, giving me to understand that he and his party were countenanced or patronised by the Lieutenant-Governor, George Arthur, Esq., then, and openly stating that he would take care to secure all the best land, and that the refuse of his company's purchase would not be worth anyone's acceptance. Immediately on receiving this answer I applied to the captain of the Sally Anne schooner, then about to convey stores to Portland Bay—the whaling and stock station of the Messrs. Henty Brothers.
The captain of the Sally Anne agreed to take me and four of our party over for a certain sum, and leave us within the harbor, and sold me one of the whaleboats, with oars, sails, &c., to enable us to carry our provisions and water with us whilst exploring the bay to fix upon the site of the new township. To this the Messrs. Henty objected, as the deviation from the course of the voyage would be fatal to their insurance should any accident happen to the vessel or the cargo embarked, but offered on our paying certain monies as insurance, &c., for loss of time, to permit the transit. But the adventurers, when consulted upon by me, preferred the cheap passage they would get from, and agreed to wait for the schooner Enterprise, which I had bought. I fancied the name was symptomatic of our undertaking.
We (the six) could have been put across by Captain Cain, whose vessel lay in the Tamar, but the expense the five would not agree to make, and we had to wait. May 12th, I think, the Rebecca, under the command of Captain Harwood, took on board Mr. J. Batman and his five or six sable Sydney aborigines, and prepared to pass over the Straits. Mr. J. Batman had with him, besides the Sydney blacks, three Europeans, Gumm, Todd, and Thompson.
But a foul wind rising when they got to sea, they put into Port Sorell, and I saw a letter from Captain Harwood which he wrote to his wife, then living with my family, dated Port Sorell, May 26th or 28th, and this is very important because, even if it was the 26th, there were only ten days between the time of leaving Port Sorell and the day the deeds offered to have been signed, and the one passage across was to be made; and then time was lost at Indented Head, and also loading at several places on the west side of Port Phillip Bay, and one day spent with some of the native women, who were met with by Batman and his party at or near the Exor Weribee, where some beads and looking-glasses were given to those sable beauties, and a day passed in their company.
On the 5th June, the Rebecca was lying off the point of Williamstown that now is, and Mr. Batman, together with his Sydney blacks and the men Gumm, Todd, and Thompson, started by land to take a view of the country; the Sydney men saw the smoke of the aborigines' fires, somewhere about the Morri Creek, near what is now called Northcote; they then at once pushed on towards the smoke, and found the (so called) Saltwater River in their way.
The Sydney blacks swam across it with the food and clothes of the whites, and also assisted to take the Europeans over. They made for the fires and found a few of the aborigines of Port Phillip, opened a communication with them, gave them some presents, and prevailed upon them to take pen in hand, and make sundry marks upon one of the deeds prepared by Joseph Tice Gellibrand, Esq., ex-Attorney. General of Van Diemen's Land; and the next day Mr. J. B. and his men returned to the Rebecca.
Grog was produced, a good quantity imbibed, and Mr. John Batman was proclaimed King John the First, of Port Phillip, the largest landed proprietor in the world. This I can vouch for, as a correct version, for I had it from more than one of the actors therein, and I also obtained a copy of the deed. This copy, I believe, was abstracted or stolen from me. But as I copied it myself I can state the boundaries, and some of the names of the sable vendors. It set out that the land bought was bounded by the Yarra Yarra, from its mouth to three miles above the falls (not stated where, but supposed to be where Dight's mill now stands), then by a line north-west fifty miles, thence west fifty miles, thence by line drawn direct from that point to Geelong, some eighty miles, and thence by the waters of the Port Phillip Bay to the mouth of the Yarra Yarra ; and the deed set out that the trees along these lines were marked by the black vendors, according to the custom of their tribe, the whole distance.
The length of this line was six miles at least from the mouth of the Yarra Yarra to the point three miles above the fall, then fifty miles north-west, then fifty miles due west, then eighty miles more to Geelong, to the Barwon one hundred and eighty-six miles, and for Mr. J. B. to return to his vessel off Williamstown, another thirty-four miles at least. Thus, if J. B. had really done as the deed of grant stated, he and his party and the sable vendors must have travelled two hundred and twenty miles between the time they left the Rebecca, on the 5th of June, and the evening of the 6th of June, when the whole party returned to the Rebecca and boasted of their great achievement,—the buying from the poor simple aborigines of nearly 1,000,000 acres of land for a few paltry knives, slops, scissors, looking-glasses, &c., &c., &c. Messrs. Batman and party did not go into Geelong harbor, nor make any bargain with the black aborigines there; yet, some days after his return to Launceston he produced a second deed, claiming thereby to have bought the whole of the Indented Head.
But, foolishly, he put most of the names of those blacks he had met with at the Morri Creek, and who never travel to the Geelong district but by special agreement, the tribes being separate tribes, and frequently at war. And as a plain proof that they had not seen the land, but only the description from the maps, their deed of which I obtained a true copy (for I copied it myself) never mentions the Barwon River, or the wide lake-like waters it forms, but describes the marking of the trees by the natives (according to the custom of their tribes) along this line, said to be forth from the bay of Geelong to the head of Port Phillip, about ten miles. The copy of the deed is here, and the map drawn and divided into shares by a Mr. Ferguson, the surveyor of the company.
I think it is right here to mention that I intend to write out the whole of my reminiscences, and print them, if the friends I consult on the occasion think it right to do so; therefore I shall not give anything like a complete consecutive account of what took place, or my whole tale would be forestalled. I may premise that the shareholders were fourteen in number, and that three shares were reserved by these honest wise-like men to be presented to the British Ministers, to induce them, by a share of the spoil, to legalise the so-called sale of land, from the so called chiefs to the Messrs. of the company, through their travelling agent, Mr. John Bat man, himself Sydney born.
Land had been bought off the New Zealand aborigines by Messrs. Wentworth and others, and this company inaugurated under, if not by, Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur, Lieutenant- Governor of Van Diemen's Land: and it is thought the plan originated with Governor Arthur, and that one share, which stood in the name of Henry Arthur, Esq., was really the property of the Lieutenant-Governor. The company formed a strange medley,— Government officers under Colonel Arthur, one or two members of his select Council, his postmaster, the sheriff, deputy-sheriff, chief constable of Launceston, overseer of convicts of Launceston, one of Lieutenant-Governor Arthur's police magistrates, and home traders or shop-keepers.
Their names were:-Chas. Swanstan, Esq., member of Governor Arthur's Council; — Bannister, Esq., sheriff of Van Dieemen's Land; James Simpson, Esq., (deceased), Police Magistrate, Van Diemen's Land, Jos. Tice Gelliband, Esq. (deceased), ex-Attorney-General of Van Diemen's Land; Henry Arthur, Esq., collector of customs Launceston, nephew of the Governor; J. and W. Robertson, one share, drapers, Hobart Town; John Hilder Wedge, Esq., surveyor under Governor Arthur's rule; John Thomas Chillcott, post master, Hobart Town; Anthony Cottrell, chief constable, Launceston; W. G. Sams, under sheriff, Launceston; Michael Connolly, shop-keeper, Launceston; Major George Mercer, of the Indian Army; John Sinclair, overseer of convicts Launceston; and John Batman, settler, protégé of Lieutenant-Governor Arthur.
Of these fourteen, nine were receiving pay under the rule of Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, and the tenth was one of his protégés, who furnished him with reports of all matters coming under their cognisance in the neighbourhood where they resided or wherever they visited—a kind of spy.
Painting From Trove Creator
Three daughters of Lt William Hobbs, married other first settlers. Judith married Dr William Hopley, Ann married George Prideaux Harris, Charity married William Collins. His son William married the daughter of Joseph Hone, the Attorney General of Tasmania.
July 1, 1804
The Reverend Robert Knopwood's first duty of the day is the marriage of overseer John Ingle to Miss Rebecca Hobbs.
Soon after their departure from England, Rebecca Hobbs had become pregnant and her child with John Ingle was born in Port Phillip while waiting for their turn for passage to the Derwent. They did not arrive at Hobart Town until last Monday.
Rebecca's (American) mother, the widow of a naval lieutenant and the mother-in-law of Dr Hopley, one of the settlement's medical officers, would have insisted on the proper formalities to legalise this new situation, and so a wedding was hurriedly arranged for the very first opportunity which offered itself.
The witnesses were Dr Hopley and magistrate G.P. Harris, the latter soon to fall in love himself with the youngest daughter of Mrs. Hobbs, Anne Jane (they married some time later).
Virtually nothing is known of Ingle's earlier social contacts, but we may assume that a fair few of his daily friends (at that time he was in charge of prisoners) such as Richard Clarke and others, would also have attended. Ingle would soon become a major player on the commercial scene of Hobart Town, and only 10 years later was able to erect his Ingle Hall, a large brick house on the corner of Macquarie and Argyle Streets, still in existence today opposite the Town Hall. And thus the first foundations were laid for the development of a Hobart society.
(JOHN INGLE 1781?-1872 sailed with Governor Collins in 1803, and a short time after the arrival of the expedition at Hobart Town he became a settler and trader. In 1818 he returned to England with the reputation of being a rich but vulgar man, which did not stop him from marrying again and having many more children. Still wealthy, he died in 1872.
In Hobart he is mainly remembered in the form of Ingle Hall, a fine early colonial residence which he erected in 1814 on the corner of Macquarie and Argyle streets.)
He sailed in 1818, onboard his boat, Spring and he held a mortgage over Thomas Davey's lands.
William Collins (1760?-1819), naval officer, explorer and shipowner, the son of a seaman, was admitted to the Royal Hospital School, Greenwich, England, on 25 July 1768. In June 1771 he was bound for seven years to Thomas Hall, commander of the Diligent, a 70-ton coasting vessel from Dover. His apprenticeship completed, he entered the navy, served in the Monmouth and was made boatswain in the Arethusa on 4 April 1778. Later he was master of the Nereide, and served from December 1800 in the West Indies, but was paid off with other members of the crew in September 1802.
He was interested in whale-fishery prospects, and with a recommendation from Charles Dundas, he joined David Collins on the expedition to establish a settlement at Port Phillip. He sailed as a settler in the Ocean, which accompanied H.M.S. Calcutta. After arriving in October 1803, he helped Lieutenant Tuckey to survey Port Phillip Bay, and offered to take dispatches, including an adverse report on the locality, by an open six-oared cutter to Governor Philip Gidley King at Sydney. Nine days out and within sixty miles (97 km) of their destination they were overtaken by the Ocean and conveyed to Sydney. William Collins then returned to Port Phillip in the Lady Nelson, and went to survey Port Dalrymple. In January he reported that it was suitable for settlement, but by then Lieutenant-Governor Collins had decided to move to the Derwent.
The day after they arrived there William Collins with Deputy-Surveyor George Harris sought a site more suitable than that at Risdon for a township; they recommended the cove on which Hobart now stands, and the lieutenant-governor approved. He wanted to retain the energetic, efficient and highly appreciated services of William, so he appointed him harbour-master from 2 April 1804 at 15s. a day.
William Collins then made a further examination of the River Derwent, reported on the Huon River, set up a look-out on Betsy Island, supervised the construction of a wharf on Hunter's Island and submitted a scheme for making Hobart Town the centre of a South Sea sperm whale fishery. In August he resigned as harbour-master, and with Edward Lord began to build the first water-mill on the Hobart rivulet and commenced commercial pursuits. By March 1806 he had set up at Ralph's Bay the first bay-whaling station on the Derwent. It was not the success expected and on 11 May 1807 he returned to official duties as Naval Officer and inspector of public works. In this capacity he was one of those to receive the deposed Governor William Bligh when he arrived in the Derwent in 1809, but joined the lieutenant-governor in opposing Bligh's attempt to rally the settlement against Colonel William Paterson's administration at Sydney. However, he apparently had no love for his official duties, and by the end of the year had been replaced.
On 8 October 1808 he had married Charity, sister of James Hobbs, R.N., and during the next ten years engaged in shipping, the seal fisheries, export of timber, import of spirits and other commercial affairs in conjunction with James Kelly and Palmer & Co. He was amongst those who thanked Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Davey for declaring martial law to suppress the bushrangers, and amongst those against whose evil ways Macquarie warned Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell. In 1817 he was a member of the Lieutenant-Governor's Court. His debts increased as time went on, and when he died of cholera in July 1819 while sailing the Duke of Wellington to Calcutta, he left his wife and three children destitute in Hobart.
Samuel Wiggins' daughter was Sarah Elizabeth Wiggins and she married a convict, Joseph Little. He died in 1853, however she had children to Edmund Vimpany before he died. She married Edmund in 1854.
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: 1860-1954) Thursday 12 October 1899 OBITUARY: Another old Tasmanian in the person of Sarah Vimpany passed peacefully away at her residence, Brisbane-street, on October 10, at the ripe age of 90 years. Deceased was one of the oldest Tasmanian natives, having been born in camp where old St. David’s Church stood. She lived to see the Church built and pulled down, and the Cathedral erected on the spot where she was born. Her sister, Mrs. John Walker, sen., of Wattle Hill, was the first female child born of European parents in Tasmania. Her brother, Thos. Wiggins, was the first child carried into Port Phillip, having been born on board the ship Calcutta in the year 1803. Their father was Sergeant Bandmaster Samuel Wiggins, of the 73rd regiment. Mrs. E. Vimpany leaves a large family—11 children, 53 grandchildren, and 71 great-grandchildren. She was greatly respected by a large circle of friends. Her husband died in Jublilee year, aged 75.
Her daughter was Amelia Little and she married Edward James Pillinger. He was the cousin of Mary Ann Shone. He was the son of James Pillinger and Elizabeth Ann Wood Westlake. His nephew was Alfred Pillinger a Politician, in Oatlands.
Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Wednesday 12 June 1878, page 2 DEATH IN THE BUSH.
An inquest was held yesterday afternoon at the Horse Shoe Inn, Cambridge, on the body of Edward Pillinger, who was found lying dead on Mr. Neil Lewis' run, at Milford, on Sunday last. Mr. R. Strachan, Coroner, presided.
The following jury were sworn: Charles McRorie (foreman), Charles Atkins, John McDermott, John Garlick, John King, David Dunkley, Robert Bruce Murdock. They proceeded to view the body in the outhouse of the hotel.
Henry Charles Vimpany deposed: I reside in Hobart Town, and the deceased, Edward Pillinger, was my brother-in-law. I last saw the deceased in Hobart Town on Thursday, April 25. Deceased had been staying at my place, off and on, for about a fortnight. He did not go to bed on the night of the 24th, but slept in an arm chair, by the fire. He was not, to my knowledge, in a bad state of health, and was not strange in any way. He was about 50 years of age. He left on the morning of the 25th by O'May's steamer for Kangarooo Point. He stated his intention of going to Richmond for a fortnight, and then proceeding to his brother's at Oatlands. I have seen nothing of him since then. I recognised a hat, flask, spectacle-case, and other articles which were found on the body as having belonged to the deceased, and which he had on him when he left Hobart Town. From all I have seen I have no doubt of the body being that of Edward Pillinger. I have never heard him speak of destroying himself, and I know of nothing to suppose that he has done so now! He was in bad circumstances of late, and was addicted to excessive drinking.
To the Coronor: He said that if he could not get light employment at his brother's he would go on to New Zealand, and promised to write to me when he got there. That was the reason no enquiries were made concerning him, though I was expecting a letter in accordance with his promise.
Eliza Garlick deposed that the deceased came to the Horse Shoe Hotel about 2 o'clock on the 25th April, and remained until 8 o'clock the following morning. He was sober when he left before break-fast time, but did not state where he was going. He did not complain of any trouble or illness. Could not say if he took any spirits away with him.
Henry Alleine Perkins deposed that he was a legally qualified medical practitioner residing in Hobart Town, and had made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased on that morning. It was in an advanced state of decomposition, the features undistinguishable, and it was impossible from this reason to state the immediate cause of death, or what disease, if any, he was suffering from. The evidence described the appearance of the body in detail. There was no fracture of the skull. Death must have occurred at least a month since. The appearance was compatible with death, having occurred shortly after his having been last seen as given in evidence by the witnesses.
George Stanley, living at Milford, deposed to accompanying Mr. Lamb and Mr. Superintendent Pedder, to the place where the body was lying, on Sunday last and recognising it as that of Edward Pillinger, from the clothing it had on. Know him personally, but had not seen him since the early part of March.
David Garlick stated that on Saturday, June 8, he was passing through Mr. Neil Lewis' run at Mil-ford, when he saw the body of a man lying under a tree on the ground in the bush, about 100 yards from the road leading to the Lower Kerry. The body was lying face downwards on the coat, which had been taken off. The bottle, hat, spectacle case, and other articles produced were on the ground close to the body. There were no marks of a struggle having taken place. Reported the matter to the police. This was all the evidence, and after a few remarks from the coroner upon it, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased Edward Pillinger was found dead in the bush, but that how he came by his death there was no evidence to show.
David Collins (1756-1810), deputy judge advocate and lieutenant-governor, was born on 3 March 1756 in London, the third child of Arthur Tooker Collins, an officer of marines and later major-general commanding the Plymouth Division, and his wife Henrietta Caroline, née Fraser, of Park, King's County, Ireland. His grandfather, Arthur Collins (1684-1760), with Abel Roper, in 1709 issued the first edition of Collins's Peerage of England. David probably attended the Exeter Grammar School under John Marshall, and at 14 joined his father's division as an ensign. He was promoted second lieutenant on 20 February 1771, and next year served in H.M.S. Southhampton when Queen Matilda of Denmark was rescued. About March 1775 he left for North America and was at the battle of Bunker's Hill on 17 June when the British suffered heavy losses, especially of commissioned officers, but occupied the heights of Charlestown. A week later he was promoted first lieutenant and by November 1776 was stationed at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here at the Church of St Paul on 13 June 1777 he married Mary (Maria Stuart), daughter of Captain Charles Proctor. By that time Collins had become adjutant in the Chatham Division. He was promoted captain-lieutenant in August 1779, captain in July 1780, and in February 1781 joined the Courageux in the Channel Squadron. He hated 'the salt sea ocean' and with relief returned to Chatham in January 1783; in September he was placed on half-pay.
In 1786 with the prospect of a long peace, Collins was influenced by his father to accept appointment to the expedition to Botany Bay. On 24 October he was commissioned deputy judge advocate of the new colony and likewise, by Admiralty warrant, of the marine detachment. His half-pay ended in December and in the new year he received 10s. a day for each legal office and was allowed a year's pay in advance. He sailed without Maria in the Sirius with the First Fleet, arriving at Botany Bay on 20 January 1788. Next day he went with Governor Arthur Phillip's party to examine Port Jackson. Six days later the fleet's transfer to Sydney Cove was completed and the business of settlement began. On 7 February the government was formally inaugurated, Collins reading the relevant Act, commissions and letters patent.
Collins was responsible, under the governor, for the colony's entire legal establishment. He issued all writs, summonses and processes, retained certain fees, and with one other justice of the peace formed the bench of magistrates. His small knowledge of the law was of little import, for at first few cases came before the Civil Court over which he presided, assisted by two nominees. With him in the Criminal Court, over which he also presided, sat six naval or military officers, and it met more frequently. Collins was necessarily involved in the disputes between Phillip and Major Robert Ross, the commanding officer of the marines, especially when they concerned the Criminal Court. Collins always sympathized with the governor. He felt that the officers should not always remain sticklers for their rights, and that if they acted without authorization, they should throw themselves 'with the strong plea of necessity' on the Admiralty to secure indemnification. In March 1790 after Ross had been appointed lieutenant-governor at Norfolk Island, Collins could write to his father, 'Since Major Ross went from here, tranquillity may be said to have been our guest. Oh! that the Sirius when she was lost, had proved his—but no more of that. While here he made me the object of his persecution—if a day will come—a day of retribution'.
Early in 1789, after Captain Shea's death, Ross had invited Collins to take the vacancy. Acceptance would certainly have bettered his advancement in the marines, but he refused, to the great satisfaction of Phillip who in June 1788 had appointed him secretary to the governor, or as Collins preferred, to the colony, at an additional 5s. a day. With his multiple duties he was deeply involved in questions of crime and punishment, convict labour, health, rations and stores. He organized the celebration of each new year and royal birthday, and on occasions accompanied expeditions to outlying areas proposed for new settlements and places of secondary punishment.
Like Phillip he had a compassionate interest in the Aboriginals, and deplored each racial clash, tending always to blame the convicts for disobedience of the governor's orders.
The Second Fleet brought news that the New South Wales Corps was to relieve the marines, who were to choose between returning to England or joining the corps. Most of the marines left in the Gorgon in December 1791, Collins watching them go with mixed feelings. Nothing would induce him to sail in the same ship as Ross, but it is clear from his letters that he was eager to escape 'from a country that is nothing better than a Place of Banishment for the Outcasts of Society'. Maria was insisting that he had already stayed too long in 'that Infernal place', and offering to accompany him to some other country where they could live contentedly on his half-pay. His father was urging his return, and reported that, although the Admiralty had passed him over when his turn came to be put on full pay, his presence in England would ensure his advancement. His prospects in the colony were not encouraging. Phillip had twice offered him a company in the New South Wales Corps, but Collins disliked its officers and the thought of serving under men younger than himself. Nevertheless he decided to stay, at least until his father could find him a civil appointment in England.
It was a costly decision. When the marines detachment departed, Collins ceased to be its judge-advocate and thereby lost £100 a year, yet he could not reconcile his mind 'to leave Governor Phillip, with whom I have now lived so long, that I am blended in every concern of his'. Certainly Collins was no longer attracted by soldiering and, perhaps unconsciously, his taste of civil authority had whetted his appetite, seasoned by the opiate of being thought, and thinking himself, indispensable. He was also encouraged to stay by Phillip, and did not write to London for permission to leave until the eve of Phillip's departure in December 1792. In his application he pleaded 'some very urgent private and family affairs', but before it was approved next June he had yielded to persuasion and stayed on to help Lieutenant-Governor Francis Grose, although he knew that his father was ill, and that he had agreed to hold a general court martial, demanded by Ross, on the misdeeds allegedly committed by Captain Meredith while in the colony. In October 1793 he heard from Maria that his father had died, his last days troubled by a prosecution which the court hearing it thought 'groundless and malicious', and in which 'that Devil Ross … had spoke disrespectfully of your conduct'. She pleaded again for his return, but next year he reported that Grose had asked him to stay to help his successor as acting-governor, William Paterson: 'he put it on such a footing that I could not but comply … he declared that he could not think of going unless I would stay'.
In October 1795, a month after Governor John Hunter's arrival, Collins sought a salary increase for the first time, claiming that his duties had become disproportionate to the reward. Hunter who had 'long been acquainted with his zeal and very great ability' strongly supported the claim which he thought 'but a justice due to his meritorious exertions and diligence'; probably because Collins had been given leave of absence two years before, no reply was sent. When Collins did sail for England in the Britannia in August 1796, Hunter apparently expected him to return and told the Duke of Portland that 'the colony, my Lord, will suffer exceedingly in the department of law during his absence'.
Collins reached London in June 1797, to find Maria 'ill and weakened beyond anything I could have imagined'. At the Admiralty he was told 'to his infinite distress' that he could only return to service in the marines as the youngest captain. Left with his half-pay of 5s. a day, he wrote to his mother, 'is not this charming, are not my employers, just, equitable, delightful rascals?' Interviews with Portland and Sydney were no more fruitful, although on 1 January 1798 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel, without pay or command, in recognition of his services in New South Wales. Since his return people had flocked to his home for information about friends and relations in the colony. From his own records he completed in May 1798 the first volume of An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, illustrated from engravings by Edward Dayes, some of them after drawings by Thomas Watling. It was more complete in detail than earlier works on the colony, and claimed as its object the dissuasion of his countrymen from regarding New South Wales with 'odium and disgust'.
Earlier he had told his father that 'nature intended and fashioned me to ascend the pulpit', and now his sombre annals of crime and calamity seemed to have the homiletic aims of promoting tranquillity and preserving conventional decorum. The book received deserved praise and sold reasonably well, and a German edition followed in 1799. After the second volume, which was largely based on Hunter's reports, was published in 1802, Maria helped to abridge and edit his work in a single volume in 1804. She also appears to have written at least one novel of her own.
In 1800 while the colonies were controlled by various departments in London, Collins wrote to the under-secretary of war, John Sullivan, offering to act as liaison officer for New South Wales. Nothing came of it, but his exceptional knowledge of the colony's affairs was recognized and in 1802 he was chosen to form a new settlement in Bass Strait. Although grieved by another separation from Maria, he predicted a bright future and hoped that persecution by his 'evil genius' had ended. On 4 January 1803 he was commissioned lieutenant governor of the proposed new dependency under the governor of New South Wales. His salary was £450 and, to equip himself, he mortgaged his patrimony and ran up a large debt. He sailed in April in H.M.S. Calcutta. When he arrived at Port Phillip Bay on 9 October, two days after the storeship Ocean, Collins was dismayed by the lack of timber and water, but he began unloading his convicts, settlers and stores at Sullivan Bay (near Sorrento), while Lieutenant Tuckey and George Prideaux Harris explored. Their reports were not encouraging, so he wrote to Governor Philip Gidley King suggesting removal of the settlement. King agreed, and Collins decided to move to the Derwent where Lieutenant John Bowen had already established a settlement at Risdon.
After reaching the Derwent, Collins landed at Risdon on 16 February, but he disapproved the place and soon chose and named Sullivan Cove as a better harbour and site for Hobart Town. By July he had his own house built, over 400 people hutted, his stores temporarily covered, timber cleared and a government farm started at Cornelian Bay. In this repetition of his experience at Sydney Cove, Collins's task was not easy. Although his convicts were fewer than those of Phillip, they were not skilled pioneers; his marines were no less troublesome, his free settlers either apathetic or aggressively demanding, and his tools and equipment from England poor in quality, incomplete and often unusable. Although he had brought enough provisions for a year, they were much damaged by many loadings and exposure, and had to be supplemented with kangaroos and other game, and this hunting led to much trouble with absconders and Aboriginals. Supplies came from Sydney irregularly and often had to be condemned; many of the cattle and sheep he asked for died in transit.
By carefully husbanding his stores and buying what he could from occasional whalers and trading ships, he struggled along, often reducing rations and never far from starvation. In 1805 his dispatches to London became vehement, and next year he appealed to the commander-in-chief at the Cape of Good Hope, but no relief came. Later he risked his reputation in trying to obtain Bengal cattle for the colony, and his contract for their import was censured by Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Foveaux, Paterson and Governor William Bligh.
Collins had just cause to complain of neglect. Although he wrote frequently to London and to Sydney, no dispatch reached him direct from Downing Street while he was in Van Diemen's Land; even rebukes for excessive demands came through the governor in Sydney. According to the Colonial Office, he seemed 'desirous of withdrawing himself upon every occasion from the superintendence of the government of New South Wales'. He was also thought 'inattentive in the article of expenditure' and warned that he would be held responsible for all accounts not sanctioned in Sydney. Disheartened by this censure, he confided in his brother: 'my gratification will be, when I resign my office, to lay my hand on my heart and say I never misappropriated a sixpence of the Government money to my own use'.
In April 1808 Collins was given brevet rank of colonel in the army, but this did nothing to dispel his loneliness. Maria had spoken of joining him, but could not leave her ailing mother. He had little intellectual company and few of his officers were reliable.
They quarrelled among themselves, ignored regulations that prohibited them to trade, and often paid more for kangaroo meat and grain than the prices fixed by Collins. His deputy judge advocate had no patent for a criminal court, so those accused of crimes too serious to be tried by the magistrates had to be escorted to Sydney for trial. He was not consulted when the British government decided to send most of the settlers on Norfolk Island to Van Diemen's Land. By October 1808 more than 550 had arrived, doubling the population. Some were able and energetic, others listless, and nearly all had to be clothed and fed from scanty resources. Also to compensate for their removal, the settlers had been promised cleared land, convict servants, buildings and livestock. Collins placed many of them at New Norfolk, but his inability to fulfil all the promises created a large discontented group in the colony. On the other hand he achieved some success in the measures he took to promote and encourage whale fishing based on the Derwent.
More trouble came when Bligh arrived at Hobart in the Porpoise on 30 March 1809. Collins received him with courtesy and vacated Government House. Bligh assured Collins that he would not interfere with his administration, but he did. After learning that Bligh had pledged himself to go direct to England, Collins decided to recognize Paterson's government in Sydney. Bligh then moved the Porpoise into midstream and later to Storm Bay passage, where he levied toll on incoming ships and fired on boats that refused to come within hail. This virtual blockade lasted until 4 January 1810 when Bligh sailed to seek news of Governor Lachlan Macquarie's arrival in Sydney.
Bligh was not alone in his unkind criticism of Collins's morals and administration. Joseph Foveaux, who acted as lieutenant governor at Sydney before Paterson and coveted Collins's post, had reported to London that at the Derwent 'a system of the most unexampled profusion, waste and fraud, with respect to money, and stores, had been carried on, almost without the affectation of concealment and sense of shame'. Many of Collins's difficulties were due to neglect in London and Sydney and to his subordinates' incompetence, but he seems to have shown some lack of energy in his management of affairs. For all that, Joseph Holt testified that he 'had the good wishes and good word of everyone in the settlement. His conduct was exemplary and his disposition most humane'. A generation later John West added that 'to a cultivated understanding' he 'joined a most cheerful and social disposition'.
Collins died suddenly on 24 March 1810. He was buried with full military honours on the spot intended for a church, and St David's Cathedral in Hobart now bears his name.
By Maria, Collins had a daughter who died in infancy. In Sydney he had a daughter and a son, George (b.1794) by Ann Yeates, and in Hobart two children by Margaret Eddington in 1808-09. George became a midshipman in the navy and had served five years by March 1812 when he petitioned the Colonial Office for a free passage to Hobart to rejoin his family and adjust his father's affairs.
According to Maria, Collins died insolvent, leaving her with only £36, the pension of a captain's widow. Again and again she appealed to the Colonial Office, until a letter was found from Lord Hobart, dated 4 February 1803, promising to support her application for aid should any accident happen to her husband while in public service. In 1813 she was granted an allowance of £120 a year, retrospective to January 1812 in 'Consideration of her husband's services in superintending the Commencement of the Settlement at Hobart's Town'. She died at Plymouth on 13 April 1830, but her name and pension appeared yearly on Tasmanian estimates until 1842.
Dr William Hopley
William Hopley (d.1815), surgeon, joined the navy and as surgeon's mate served in H.M.S. Stag from April 1795 to February 1800, and then in the Forester and the Insolent until the peace of Amiens. In 1801 he married Judith Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Lieutenant William Hobbs, R.N., who was killed on active service.
Hopley was appointed second assistant surgeon in New South Wales, and with his wife and daughter sailed in the Calcutta with Lieutenant-Governor David Collins's expedition to Port Phillip Bay. At his own expense Hopley also brought out his widowed mother-in-law and her children. In 1804 he moved to Hobart Town, where he leased two acres (0.8 ha) and lived under canvas for three months encumbered by his large family.
In 1807 he was suspended from duty by Collins, but after reprimand was reinstated by Governor William Bligh. Hopley continued as second assistant surgeon until September 1808, when because of ill health he sought to return to England. He went to Sydney, but the government would not provide passages for his large family and he could not pay their fares. After eighteen months leave on half-pay his health had not improved, but he applied for the position of first assistant surgeon at Port Dalrymple.
When this was refused he returned to duty at Hobart and asked for a land grant, intending to become a settler because his salary of 7s. 6d. a day was too small to support his family. He was promised 300 acres (121 ha) but did not receive it, so he leased Hangan's farm at Government House Point.
After Matthew Bowden died in October 1814, Governor Lachlan Macquarie promoted Hopley principal surgeon at the Derwent at twice the salary he had formerly received. He died on 24 August 1815 and was buried in St David's cemetery, Hobart. He was survived by his wife and by a daughter and two sons who had to be admitted to the orphan institution. Three of his sisters-in-law married officers at the Derwent.
William and Elizabeth Cockerill - Fee Settlers - Ocean
William Cockerill migrated for green grass. He and his wife Elizabeth and their children William, Arabella and Ann. He became a successful farmer.
Not to be confused with The Cockerell Family
John Pascoe Fawkner (1792-1869), pioneer, was born on 20 October 1792 at Cripplegate, London, the son of John Fawkner, a metal refiner, and Hannah, née Pascoe. His father was convicted of receiving stolen goods and in 1801 was sentenced to fourteen years transportation. With his mother and younger sister, Elizabeth, John accompanied his father to the new settlement to be formed in Bass Strait. They joined H.M.S. Calcutta at Portsmouth and sailed on 29 April 1803 in company with the Ocean, carrying a number of free settlers and stores.
After Port Phillip was abandoned and the convicts and settlers were moved to Van Diemen's Land, the Fawkners lived in a primitive hut at the new settlement on Sullivan's Cove, suffering great hardship and continuing shortages of food. During one period when scurvy was rife, young Fawkner lost the use of his right leg for some months.
However, by 1806 the family held a 50-acre (20 ha) land grant some seven miles (11 km) from Hobart Town, and John, as the shepherd boy, often lived alone for weeks at a time in a sod hut while his sister kept house for their father in the town. In August of that year Hannah Fawkner sailed for England to claim a legacy and did not return to Hobart until June 1809. Nevertheless the family prospered. The father was recorded as owning several cows and sheep, and within a year had two acres (0.8 ha) under wheat. From 5 acres (2 ha) of land, the Fawkners reaped 150 bushels of wheat in 1808, and their livestock soon increased to 66 sheep and 72 goats. When Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited the island in 1811, John was granted 50 acres (20 ha) adjoining his father's farm.
The year 1814 was a turning point in Fawkner's career. Some time before, he had taken charge of the shop and house of his father in Macquarie Street and become a baker. Among his associates were several convicts and with them he devised a plan to escape, supposedly to South America. Fawkner supplied a whale-boat and tools to build a sea-going vessel, and entrusted a blacksmith with the task of making the nails and ironwork. Eight men, including Fawkner, stole away to Recherche Bay and began felling trees and sawing them into planks. When the lugger was completed and ready for sea, Fawkner was put ashore to make his way secretly to his farm.
The Van Diemen's Land Gazette, 21 May 1814, listed John Fawkner as aiding and abetting the escape of seven prisoners. At the same time the lugger returned to Hobart because of leaks in the wooden water tanks, was sighted near the entrance to the Derwent by the government schooner, and because of her 'singular appearance' was taken in charge. Fawkner and Santos, who was apparently the convicts' leader, were tried before three magistrates in August and each sentenced to 500 lashes and three years labour. Fawkner was later sent to Newcastle by Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Davey as one who had been 'committing some atrocious Robberies and Depredations'. He sailed from Port Dalrymple in the Kangaroo on 26 January 1815, and worked at cedar cutting on the Hunter River.
After he was freed in 1816 Fawkner returned to Hobart and took up the bakery again. He also sold liquor without the benefit of licence and carried firewood and sawn timber. He claimed to have made £1000 within seventeen months of his return to Tasmania. In 1817, however, Fawkner began another period of personal and financial difficulty that culminated in his moving north to Launceston. First, he was fined for selling shortweight loaves of bread and using illegal weights. Next he lost £160 on a contract to supply soldiers with bread by using his own wheat and accepting Commissary Patrick Hogan's store receipts for the cost. Hogan was court-martialled for misapplication of public funds. In July 1819, for robbing His Majesty's store, Fawkner's father and four others received 200 lashes apiece and three years at Newcastle, while the son was bound over for his part in the robbery.
In the company of Eliza Cobb, Fawkner moved to Launceston to begin afresh as a builder and sawyer. They were married on 5 December 1822. Although he claimed in later years that he had chosen his wife from an immigrant ship, Eliza actually arrived late in 1818, aged 17, as a convict whose crime was stealing a baby. Beside building, Fawkner also followed his old trade of baker. In 1824 he built a two-storied brick house of thirteen rooms at a total cost of £2500 and attempted to open this as an hotel. A licence was refused on the first application as his wife was still a Crown prisoner, but it was granted a few months later. It was not long before the Cornwall Hotel, as he named his premises, enabled Fawkner to improve his financial position and clear the debts incurred, particularly those to Maria Lord. However, renewal of the licence was refused in 1829 because Fawkner was considered 'not a proper person to keep an hotel', although many of the leading settlers and merchants testified to the orderliness of the house. The licence was restored in September 1830.
Fawkner possessed, as James Bonwick stated, 'a native energy that made him rise superior to all assaults, endure all sneers, quail at no difficulty, and that thrust him ever foremost in the strife, happy in the war of words and the clash of tongues'. He had engaged in a strenuous programme of self-education and to his many activities he added that of 'bush lawyer' appearing in the lower courts for a minimum fee of 6s. He also managed a horticultural nursery and conducted a coaching service, independent in both name and nature, between Launceston and Longford. In 1828 he started the Launceston Advertiser, acting as editor for two years, and using the paper as 'the active and avowed friend of the emancipist class in Van Diemen's Land, dealing heavy and repeated blows upon officialdom and the reputed respectable class in the island'. He attacked capital punishment in a colony that valued 'a man's life at less than a sheep', and made forceful remarks on cruelty to assigned servants.
Fawkner was interested in the reports of the southern coast of the mainland made by sealers, whalers, and bark cutters. In April 1835 he sought a vessel to take an expedition to Western Port. Although a 55-ton schooner was acquired and renamed Enterprise, several contracted voyages had to be completed before it changed hands. The day Rebecca, hired by John Batman, anchored off Indented Head, Fawkner was bound over to appear at the next General Sessions for having assaulted William Bransgrove, and was thus prevented from leaving the colony for two months.
Despairing of receiving the Enterprise, Fawkner engaged the Dolphin and stores were loaded by 13 July. Years later, George Evans, one of the party, remembered the Hentys' refusal to allow their chartered ship to deviate from its course for Portland Bay as the reason why the members of Fawkner's party were ordered to quit the Dolphin. Two days later Enterprise tied up at Launceston wharf, and after two more days of hurried loading slipped its moorings for George Town. Early next morning the vessel was boarded by the sheriff's representative to present a restraining order on Fawkner because of debt. Fawkner returned to Launceston to make an adjustment of claims, but was told he must pay in full or remain. As he had some horses he wished to see loaded, Fawkner entered into a bond to return to the town on completing this business, but did not confide in his captain, John Lancey, until the Enterprise was at sea, while still within sight of George Town. After a long argument it was decided that Fawkner should return to port pleading violent sea sickness to deceive the remainder of the expedition.
Having visited Western Port, the expedition agreed to try Port Phillip Bay, and the Enterprise anchored in the southern part of the bay on Sunday, 16 August 1835. A search was made along the southern shore to the north until, four days later, well-grassed land was discovered some distance up the eastern branch of the Freshwater River. 'Here we made up our minds to settle and share the land in the most satisfactory manner to all parties', wrote John Lancey. A camp was made at the place where the Yarra River flowed over a low rock ledge.
Fawkner himself landed at Hobson's Bay in October 1835 and at once began to lay the foundations of a fortune that grew to £20,000 in his first four years on the mainland. In January 1838 he added to his trade of hotel-keeping that of newspaper proprietor. His Melbourne Advertiser was handwritten on four pages of foolscap for nine numbers until a press and type arrived from Tasmania, and it was then printed weekly until suppressed because Fawkner had no licence. In February 1839, with a licence, he began the Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser; this later became a daily, and he ran it in conjunction with a bookselling and stationery business. In 1839 Fawkner also added to his already considerable land holdings a 780-acre (316 ha) property known as Pascoe Vale.
Because of a complex of causes, including land and livestock speculation, a crazy financial structure with bank loans on little security, and a three-year drought, prices plummeted and land revenue fell by three-quarters in 1842. Although not a speculator himself, Fawkner was forced to sell many of his properties in an attempt to weather the worst of the depression. A fortunate and substantial settlement in favour of his wife enabled him to retain a large portion of the Pascoe Vale estate, and by signing over the Patriot to his father he kept control of the newspaper. His financial affairs were further complicated by his part in guaranteeing a bond of W. Rucker to the Union Bank for £10,000. Fawkner was declared insolvent and filed his schedule in March 1845, listing liabilities of £8898 and assets of £3184. He claimed at the time to have been stripped of £12,000 in cash and ten houses, but such was his soundness that within a year he had not only paid his debts in full but had £1000 to his bank credit.
As a man of property and influence, Fawkner took an active and leading part in the political and social struggles of the time. First, as one of seven market commissioners and, when this work was taken over by the municipality, as a councillor, Fawkner held office for many years. He represented Talbot in the first Legislative Council in 1851, and on the introduction of responsible government was returned for the Central Province of Victoria holding the seat until his death. During his eighteen years in the Legislative Council Fawkner spoke regularly and often (one member said he made the same speech for fifteen years) on all matters before the House, but was best known for his 'monomania' on squatters and the disposal of land. Markedly liberal in his views, Fawkner considered that squatters had obtained their rights by a system of robbery and that parliament enacted class legislation aimed at protecting the 700 privileged sheep-farmers in Victoria and grinding 'the bulk of the people to the very dust'. Fawkner was referred to as 'the tribune of the people' and was perhaps the best, and certainly the most out-spoken, advocate of a strong class of yeomen farmers. One of his published pamphlets, printed in 1854, was Squatting Orders … Orders in Council … Locking Up the Lands of the Colony in the Hands of a Small Minority, Giving Them, Without Any Real Reason, the Right to Buy the Whole or Any Part of the Sixty Million Acres of This Fine Colony, at Their Own Price …
After the opening of the goldfields of Victoria in 1851, Fawkner devoted much of his time to the legislative aspects of gold-mining problems. He sat on some ninety-six select committees between 1852 and 1869, the most far-reaching in its effect being the Commission of Inquiry into the goldfields in 1854-55. He was alarmed by the Chinese and American immigrants, and saw both groups as potential sources of disorder. The presence of the Chinese might lead to civil war, he considered; he would have liked to expel them all. In September 1855 he wrote of 'wild Americans—who know no law but the Bowie Knife, the Rifle or Lynch practice'.
With advancing years Fawkner's health declined but he continued to attend every session, wearing always a velvet smoking cap and wrapped in an old-fashioned cloak. He had grown to be regarded as an institution, and became more conservative in his views. In his last parliamentary sessions he opposed manhood suffrage, the secret ballot, and payment for members, yet retained very advanced notions on the rights of married women and deserted wives, and the divorce laws. He disliked sectarian rivalry and was bitterly critical of Roman Catholic leaders such as (Sir) John O'Shanassy, yet at the same time he opposed moves for Anglican supremacy. Asthma made his voice weak and husky, and he admitted at the end that age and infirmity weighed heavily upon him, but while there was work to be done, he wanted to share in it. Though cantankerous and dogmatic, he was a selfless patriot, honest and, in his way, idealistic. His last words to parliament declared his faith: 'I believe the Colony requires new blood, and that, unless we get more working men here, the work of improvement must stand still, if it does not retrograde'.
In his middle years he had been spoken of as 'half-froth, half-venom', and in many ways was not a very pleasant character, but behind his almost violent aggressiveness lay the pursuit of worthy motives, and a freedom from immorality and corruption that was sufficiently rare in that generation to inspire the confidence of his less fortunate fellows. His triumph over heredity and early experiences and his struggles with autocracy, convictism and corruption, demonstrated the strength of his purpose, and his rehabilitation and later career were remarkable. Fawkner died on 4 September 1869 at his home in Smith Street, Collingwood, the grand old man of contemporary Victoria.