Wednesday, August 1, 2018

AA2. A Mournful Day In Oatlands The Death of Innocents 1859

The Death of the Innocents

Almost 160 years ago in the

Summer of 1859
7 Children Died in 6 Weeks

Two families suffered

Thomas and Mary Ann Jillett and John and Phoebe Jillett

The Descendants of John and Phoebe will honour all their ancestors who are buried in their Family Crypt 

with a new Name Plaque October 2018

The year 1859, began as any other summer for the residents in Oatlands.  The Court had scheduled hearings, the cricketers were winning matches against their rivals, and in York Street, the foundation stone was laid for the new Baptist Church.

The weather was a mixture of hot and cold.

Then a series of death notices changed forever the lives of two sets of parents.  A series of mournful events which resulted in two families burying 7 young children, in St Peter's Anglican Church Oatlands in a 6 week period.

They each built a crypt, a simple chest above the burial chamber, which became the burial site for all of them.  When the crypts were completed, another child's name was included, one who died in 1854.  Then 21 years later another 2 young lives were cut short and they are also buried in the crypt.

The crypts were built, from local sandstone sourced around the area, and from Lake Dulvarton
In 1834 a movement was started for the erection of a church. Land was granted by the Government, and, with the assistance of convict labour, the present building, was opened for worship In 1837
St Peter's was opened in 1858.  One hundred years later they had a dedication service for the beautiful stained glass windows. 

Back to St. Peter's day : dedication of the new vestry and stained glass windows, 19th October, 1958.

  St Peter's Oatlands,  1960


The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Thursday 9 February 1854 p 2 Family Notices
    ... of Mr. John Jillett, aged three years and seven months

DEATHS.  At York Plains, on the 8th instant, Emma Louisa, second daughter of Mr. John Jillett, aged three years and seven months.

Seven Deaths

1.  The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Thursday 20 January 1859 p 2 Family Notices
DEATH.   On the 18th instant. at the home of T. Jillett, Esq., Oatlands, FREDERICK JAMES, 5th son of Mr. John Jillett, York Plains, aged 6 years. The funeral will take place on Saturday, at 3 p.m., 22nd instant, when friends are respectfully invited to attend, as no circulars will be issued.

2.  The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (Tas. : 1858 - 1860) Tuesday 25 January 1859 p 2 Family Notices the 26th instant.

On the 22nd instant, at the residence of T. Jillett, Esq., CHESTER PROVIDENCE, sixth son of Mr. John Jillett, York Plains, aged 4 years

3. The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Thursday 3 February 1859 p 2 Family Notices
1st of 2nd mo. (Feb'y) 1859. On the 2nd inst., at York Plains, EMILY HENRIETTA, third daughter of Mr. John Jillett, aged 5 months. The funeral will take place on Friday, the 4th inst., at 2 o'clock, from the residence of T. Jillett, Esq. Oatlands, when friends are respectfully invited to attend, as no circulars will be issued.

4. The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Thursday 17 February 1859 p 2 Family Notices

At her father's residence, Oatlands, on 16th inst, LOUISA SUSANNAH, second daughter of Thomas Jillett, Esq., aged 2 years and 8 months. The funeral will take place on Friday, 18th instant, at 2 o'clock. Friends are invited to attend..

5. The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Wednesday 23 February 1859 p 2 Family Notices

Died, on the 23rd inst., AMELIA MARY, only beloved daughter of Thos. Jillett, Esq., of Oatlands: the funeral will take place on the 24th inst., from her father's residence Oatlands. Friends are invited to attend.
6. The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Wednesday 2 March 1859 p 2 Family Notices

This morning, February 28th, EDWIN AUGUSTUS, seventh son of John Jillett, Esq, aged 2 years and 9 months. Tho funeral will take place at Oatlands on Wednesday, the 2nd March, at 2 o'clock, when friends are respectfully invited to attend.

7 Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899) Saturday 12 March 1859 p 4 Family Notices

February 11, Frank Powell, fifth son of Mr. Thomas Jillett, Oatlands, aged six years and seven months. February 12, at the residence of Mr. Thos. Brown, Macquarie-street, Hobart Town

There were further extended reports in the newspapers.

Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), Wednesday 26 January 1859, page 2

GENERAL INTELLIGENCE.  A MOURNFUL EVENT took place at Oatlands last week, in the bereavement within a few hours of each other of two interesting sons of John Jillett, Esq., of York Plains, from affection of the throat, which entirely baffled medical skill.

The funeral obsequies were performed on Sunday, attended by a large body of mourners, the most conspicuous feature in which was a numerous cortege of Sunday-school scholars, under the superintendence of Mr. Watson, following the remains of the two little departed ones.

Mr. Thomas Jillett (brother of the sorrowing parent), only arrived from his estate upon the township just in time to witness the sad procession nearing the Church, and the shock deeply affected him. After the interment the touching hymn ' O let us be joyful,' was sung.

Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), Saturday 5 February 1859, page 3

NOTES FROM OATLANDS  (From an occasional Correspondent.)

THE weather here has been rather variable of late-heats and colds being the order of the day ; the consequence of which has been the engendering of epidemics, which, like the smoke nuisance in a crowded city, is very frequently intangible. The other day Mr. John Jillett, of York Plains, near this township, lost two fine boys, who died within a few hours of each other, notwithstanding the professional skill of Dr. Macnamara, whose attention to the sufferers was most unremitting. Sad to relate, a third child was carried into eternity on Wednesday from this apparently mysterious malady.

 The newspapers of the day carried stories of the epidemic with the following story appearing in “The Courier” on Saturday 26th February 1859


Oatlands -  Under the heading of “Local Intelligence” in the Mercury of Wednesday last, appeared a paragraph of a very alarming character, and directly calculated to cause a panic, not only in the township of Oatlands, but also throughout the length and breadth of the district itself.  The paragraph was in substance that “great sickness prevailed in the district among the young, from fever and sore throat, that within the past three weeks no less than twelve children had been buried; and that those who could afford it had sent their children to town for medical advice.  We beg to state upon undoubted authority that the paragraph to which we have called attention is erroneous, since as many as twelve children have not died in Oatlands during the last six months, much less in three weeks.

The only deaths among children which have occurred in Oatlands from the malady above have been confined to two families, which have we lament to say, been bereaved of six children.  Four of these died there, but only three were under medical treatment.  The other two died in Hobart Town whence they had been conveyed by their parents.  One other death, that of an infant two years of age took place a fortnight ago, but not from fever or any other contagious disease.

We are informed that there is at present not one serious case of illness among children in this district and as that part of the Mercury’s local which states that those who could afford it have sent their children to town for medical attention would lead to the belief that Oatlands was without the benefit of medical aid, we may observe that there are two gentlemen of the faculty resident on the township, whose treatment of the very few other children who have been attached has been successful and satisfactory. 

We think it highly conservable in any writer, whether from ignorance or any other means to spread consternation in families by such an exaggerated statement as that which we have been called upon to contradict and comment.

The two families in question are no doubt those of Thomas and John Jillett.  While the writer is possibly one of the medical staff in the region who was a bit upset that the Jilletts chose to take their children to Hobart for treatment.

Undoubtedly the death certificates showing "ulcerated throats" were also scarlet fever, as that is exactly what occurs.

However, there was a serious scarlet fever epidemic not only in Oatlands but in Tasmania and the mainland.  The epidemic has been raging for almost 10 years, and in the 1860’s still continued.  It was joined with many other plagues and epidemics, until something was done to address the sewerage problems.

A search through the newspaper archives reveals numerous stories about the scarlet fever epidemic, in fact one elite school in Hobart even placed advertisements in the newspapers advising that they had no students suffer with the sickness, so it would be safe to enrol students.

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Tuesday 29 March 1859, page 3

TO THE EDITOR OF THE LAUNCESTON EXAMINER. DIPHTHERIA. Sir,—I observe by the English papers that a new disease called diphtheria is making great ravages at home. Can your medical correspondents supply any information respecting the symptoms of this disease, the organs at-tacked, and the nature of the morbid action by which life is destroyed (pathology, I believe); whence it came and how introduced ? Also, whether any remedial measures have been discovered, or whether any medical corporation is causing scientific investigation to be made into the matter with the view of preventing the establishment of diphtheria in England as an institution, as the Americans say ? I am, yours truly, Ignoramus

Diphtheria may be described generally as a disease of the throat, but we have not seen any detailed description of its symptoms. Dr. A. Henderson, writing to the Evening Herald of 30th December, says:—"The numerous fatal results seem to show that medical science has at present failed in suggesting any effectual cure. I have had the treatment of several cases, and have uniformly been successful. The remedy is so simple that it is within reach of every inhabitant of these islands—it is the external application of water to the throat, at degrees of temperature alternating from the highest that the human skin will bear down to zero. I am prepared to verify this assertion by proofs."—Ed. L. E.

Hobart Town Daily Mercury (Tas. : 1858 - 1860), Friday 21 October 1859, page 3


To the Editor of The Times.

Sir,-Having seen much of the justly dreaded disease which passes under the above name, and having, moreover, care-fully investigated the literature of this subject, I may perhaps venture without arrogance to reply to the queries of " An Afflicted Father."

1. What are the precautions to be used by way of prevention ?

To this I would reply, those which are known to be efficacious in other epidemic visitations-viz., cleanliness, ventilation, and nutritious diet. When recently summoned in consultation on this subject to a village near this city, I advised the guardians to make a liberal allowance of meat and porter to those who were in need of parish relief, without any discrimination as to families invaded by the disease and those who had up to that time escaped. This advice I believe to be a necessary element in the preventive treatment of diptheria as well as of typhus, scarlatina, and other infectious diseases.

2. What are the surest symptoms of the disease, whether mild or malignant?

The earliest symptoms are indefinite, but the throat is generally soon complained of, though not so urgently as in scarlatina and ordinary ulcerated sore throat. Inspection will, in true diptheria, exhibit very early after the first complaint, the pathognomonic, or special sign of the disease-viz., a patch of false membrane, like wash leather, on one or other tonsil. Without this it is not diptheria ; with it, however minute the patch, let no time be lost.

3. On the appearance of the symptoms what should be done by those who cannot call in a medical man at once ?

Considering the number of surgeons in most towns and distributed within distances of eight or ten miles from each other in rural districts, three or four hours ought in all cases to ensure medical advice; failing that, touch the white patch with diluted muriatic acid two parts, honey one part twice in the 24 hours. Or, with the muriated tincture of iron, by means of a camel's hair brush, give from five to 20 drops of the latter in water every four hours, according to age, and then get your medical adviser as speedily as possible.

4. What steps should be taken to stop infection ?

I can only suggest those in common use in other diseases, and especially free ventilation, separation of the patient from the uninfected, and the free exposure of powdered charcoal in the sick room on plates. '

Having thus briefly answered the queries of an "-Afflicted; Father," I have only mentioned what is to be done till medical aid can be obtained. There are other local applications and other internal medicines useful ; but to promulgate this would be mischievous instead of beneficial if by any chance it induced, any " Afflicted Fathers" to doctor their children themselves, instead of seeking the best medical advice within their reach.

I enclose my card, as I would not willingly incur the charge justly brought against a late correspondent in your paper of indirect puffing.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant. Norwich. MEDICUS.

To the Editor of the Times.

Sir,-In answer to the queries of "An Afflicted Father," in your impression of to-day, first-What precaution should be used by way of prevention? my answer would be to follow strictly those laws of health now so generally understood, hut in too many instances disregarded-viz., perfect cleanliness, light, unstimulating, but nutritious diet, warm but well ventilated rooms, and in children, to whom these remarks more particularly apply, great attention should be paid to the clothing, that great necessary, flannel, to be freely worn next the skin, not alone from its qualities of retaining the animal heat, hut the salutary friction it exercises on the skin.

Secondly-What are the surest symptoms of the disease whether of a mild or of a malignant nature ? The symptoms of the advent of this disease are frequently very obscure, and I may almost say never pathognomonic ; they vary as much as in other zymotics (for assuredly this is one of the family). Generally speaking there is prostration, both mental and physical, alternate flushings and pallor, varying in degree according to the ace and severity of attack. The child appears to be overpowered, as it were, by some mysterious agency, its toys or companions excite no interest, it rejects food, and finds no solace but in its nurse's lap.

 Other symptoms there are, but of too professional a nature for your pages.

Thirdly.-On the appearance of the symptoms what should be done ? This involves the treatment of this disease ; I shall therefore, but briefly, describe the plain I should advise being adopted. A small dose of castor oil should be given, followed by a warm bath, that both the skin and bowels be in an effective state to throw out the poison. This should be followed by the administration of the muriated tincture of iron in small doses, -say five to eight drops,-at the frequent intervals of every three or four hours. This preparation of iron should be also employed as a gargle in distilled water, of the strength of three drachms to six ounces. The back part of the mouth or fauces should be thoroughly sponged with this tincture three times a day. Wine should also be freely given, if possible, before the appearance of the diphtheria membrane is formed ; strong beef-tea to be repeatedly given, remembering this is a disease of the asthénie kind ; the patient should have as much light and air as possible. A fire should be in the room to promote ventilation.

Fourthly.-What steps should be taken to prevent infection ? This involves the question of difference between infection and contagion,-one far too lengthy for your occupied space; but to be brief, this disease is one of infection, that is, tilt offspring of an unhealthy house or district ; therefore when it makes its appearance the rest of the younger members of a family should immediately be removed to healthy situations.

The deep interest of the subject must be my excuse.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, FBL. ENDEMIOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Brighton.

150 Years Ago - Death of John and Phoebe Jillett

Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870), Saturday 21 November 1868, page 2

THE LATE MR. JOHN JILLETT—OBITUARY NOTICE.—One of the earliest-born natives of Tasmania passed away yesterday morning at five o'clock, at the residence of Mrs. Captain Young, his sister, at the corner of Campbell and Liverpool-streets, after a short but severe illness, which he bore with Christian fortitude, at the comparatively early age of 49.

Mr. Jillett was a resident of York Plains near Oatlands, and came into town about ten days ago for medical "advice, but rapidly got worse, and died as above, from enlargement of the liver. He was for upwards of a week before his death perfectly aware of his condition, and having settled all his business affairs, devoted himself to soothing the afflictions of his family, and communing with the Ven. Archdeacon Davies, whom he had sent for. He parted from this life with the utmost resignation, although the last struggle between life and death was a painful one.

Mr. Jillett leaves a widow and seven children, three sons and four daughters. Two of his sons are married ; and his eldest daughter married, about ten months ago, Mr. George Meredith, son of the  Hon. Charles Meredith, M.H.A., the late Colonial Treasurer. Some five or six years ago Mr. Jillett lost four children from diphtheria, and his brother Mr. Thomas Jillett at the same time, lost three children, all within a day or two of one another.

Mr. John Jillett was the son, by the mother's side, of one of the original settlers at Norfolk Island, and when the Government required Norfolk Island for prison discipline purposes the settlers were removed to, and grants of land given them at, New Norfolk —then called Elizabeth Town; but in consequence of the removal of the settlers from Norfolk Island its name was changed to New Norfolk.

Amongst the settlers so removed was a person of the name of Mr. Bradshaw, with his wife and two sons. Mr. Bradshaw died soon afterwards, and after the lapse of a few years his widow married Mr. Robert Jillett, the father of the deceased.

Of this marriage the deceased, his brother Mr. Thomas Jillett, and several daughters were born. The deceased during his youth was noted for his fondness for the Turf, and in the early days of the course, or rather the best days of the New Town Races, was a liberal patron of the Turf, and was one of the pluckiest riders, carrying off many a hard fought race. He married Miss Triffitt, of the Back River, New Norfolk, and finally settled about 23 years ago on his property at York Plains, Oatlands.
By the marriages of the members of his mother's first family, and his own sisters and brother and relatives of his father, Mr. Jillett was connected with many of our principal colonists and citizens, and leaves a large circle to mourn his loss, for he was a kind friend, a warm-hearted companion, and his purse and good will were always open to the appeals of the needy; in fact, in many instances his generosity outran his discretion. Many a citizen will miss the hearty shake of the hand and pleasant joke of John Jillett; but withal he died a Christians death, resigned, and placing his hope where hope is never placed in vain. 'The body will be removed to Oatlands this evening, for interment on Monday in the family vault.

Then  short while after the death of her husband, Phoebe also died.

Phoebe was the daughter of James Triffitt Junior and Elizabeth Holland.  Both were born on Norfolk Island.

The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870) Monday 21 December 1868 p

JILLETT.—On the 19th December, at her late residence, York Plains, Phoebe, relict of the late John Jillett, age 46 years. Melbourne papers please copy.

Extreme Debility but probably typhoid

After John's death, his nephew John Bradshaw was calling for claims against the estate. 

    The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Wednesday 23 December 1868 p 1 Advertising

    ... against ' the estate of the late Mr. John Jillett of York Plains, are requested to forward NOTICE.-All persons having claims against the estate of the late Mr. John Jillett, of York Plains, are requested to forward full particulars thereof to the Executors, under cover, to Mr. JOHN BRADSHAW, miller, Oatlands, on or before the 31st instant.

Quoting from The Triffitt Family written by Nigel Triffett

When her husband fell ill in Hobart, she went to his side.  Typhoid was about, and he died in a "blistering fever".  She caught the disease while nursing him and fell seriously ill when she returned home.  The hated Dr Willis was at her bedside when she died.

Their first son was John Thomas Jillett born in 1843.  He died of scarlet fever, aged 7 months and is buried at New Norfolk.

Scarlett Fever Epidemic

There was a serious scarlet fever epidemic not only in Oatlands but in Tasmania and the mainland.  The epidemic has been raging for almost 10 years, and in the 1860’s still continued.  It was joined with many other plagues and epidemics, until something was done to address the sewerage problems.

A search through the newspaper archives reveals numerous stories about the scarlet fever epidemic, in fact one elite school in Hobart even placed advertisements in the newspapers advising that they had no students suffer with the sickness, so it would be safe to enrol students.

Another newspaper report on Friday 16th December 1853:

Oatlands          The scarlet fever is prevalent in Oatlands; there is scarcely a house in which some of the inmates are not suffering under this fearful visitation.

And a letter to the Editor of the Daily Courier Monday 6th June 1853

Launceston, 31st May 1853

Sir – In your account of deaths I perceive lately many poor children from scarlet fever.  Anxious to point out a remedy of easy access to all, I beg to quote from Dr. Graham’s Domestic Medicine, in his Appendix to the same on Hydropathy.

In Scarlet Fever.

“Clergymen are, unhappily, too frequently called to witness the sufferings of poor children under this dangerous disease, and if they will attend to the following directions, they cannot fail to be the messengers of mercy, to dry many a poor mother’s tears, relieve many a poor child’s agonies, and lesson materially the spread of a virulent infection.

“Give an emetic of one scruple of Ipecacuanha* powder in water every morning (and in the evening also, if the throat is very sore), and wash the whole body twice or thrice a day with cold water.  Nothing more is necessary to cure scarlet fever, - all cases both mild and severe.  The water must be cold, fresh from the pump or spring; and the ablution performed when the skin is hot and dry.  The more ardent the fever, the freer should be the ablution.   Whenever scarlet fever prevails in a parish, it is almost incredible the amount of good a clergyman may do who goes amongst the sick armed simply with one ounce of ipecacuanha powder and a large spoon.”

Trusting you may find room for this quotation from the work of an eminent medical authority in your columns,

I remain, Sir, Your most obedient servant.

Is it any wonder the children died?.  The treatment 100 years later included the use of the powerful drug penicillian.

* Indications: Ipecacuanha is mainly used as an expectorant in bronchitis and conditions such as whooping cough. At higher doses it is a powerful emetic and as such is used in the treatment of poisoning. Care must be taken in the use of this herb. After an effective emetic dose has been given, large amounts of water should be taken as well. In the same way that Ipecac helps expectoration through stimulation of mucous secretion and then its removal, it stimulates the production of saliva. It has been found effective in the treatment of amoebic dysentery.

Scarlatina Maligna, or Malignant Scarlet Fever.

Under this name is designated an affection which oftentimes exhibits none of the features of scarlet fever, but is recognized as such by its occurrence among children during an epidemic of the disease. The patient seems simply overwhelmed by some acute poisoning ; lies prostrate, perhaps unconscious, with cold extremi­ties. There is usually no fever ; death commonly occurs in a few hours, before the appearance of an eruption or other characteristic features of scarlet fever.

Then, again, there are cases in which the throat affection and the general appearance and history of the patient indicate that the disease is scarlet fever, although the characteristic rash may not appear ; and there are­ still others in which the rash may be insig­nificant in quantity, while the skin is reddened in patches by the escape of blood into its structure.

One characteristic feature of scarlet fever, as distinguished from all other eruptive diseases, is the rash after this has been seen a few times it is usually easy of recognition subsequently. Scarlet fever is especially apt to be mistaken for measles ; several points of distinction will be mentioned subsequently, and it will suffice here to call attention to a few items: the brevity of the stage of invasion (one or two days prior to the appearance of the eruption); the intensity of the fever ; the appearance of the throat difficulty before the rash on the skin becomes visible, and the persistence of the fever after the rash has appeared. The difficulties in recognizing the disease occur in those mild cases in which the eruption is very slight without any soreness of the throat; also in those instances (scarlatina anginosa) in which there is little or no eruption, but severe affection of the throat. In some of these cases even the experienced physician maybe compelled to decide by the surroundings of the patient - the prevalence of an epidemic of scarlet fever, for instance.

Treatment.- With our present means we have no power to cut short scarlet fever any more than the other infectious diseases. The remark made as to the treatment of one holds good for the mall : that the object is to support and guard the patient from the ravages of the disease. In ordinary mild cases of scarlet fever no formal treatment is necessary ; the child should be sponged or  immersed in a hot bath several times daily, half a teaspoonful of sweet spirits of nitre may be given every four hours (if the child be three or more years old) ; if there be constipation a saline laxative may be given. One of the troublesome features is the management of the  throat affection. Fortunately, this feature is absent in many cases except in a slight degree ; for these the old remedy of muriatic acid and honey in equal parts as a gargle (diluted with water) may suf­fice. In severe cases it becomes necessary to cleanse the throat several times a day with camel’s hair brushes or similar instruments.

After gargling with water or with a solution of carbolic acid (one part to twenty of water) the brush may be swept over the grayish or brown surfaces, removing any particles that may be easily detached ; after this a clean brush is dipped into a solution of nitrate of silver (twenty grains to the ounce of water) and the ulcerated parts of the throat are pencilled with this. These throat cases, too, are often benefited by the application of cold cloths, fre­quently changed, to the neck.

If the fever be very high and mental symptoms prominent, great advantage will often be derived from the wet pack. For this pur­pose a sheet may be wrung out of water having a temperature of 70 degrees F. The patient, divested of all clothing, is wrapped in this sheet, and covered with several blankets. In the course of half an hour or so, the individual is usually perspiring freely, and feels greatly refreshed, and often enjoys tranquilizing sleep. This measure may be executed two or three times daily ; there is no danger of “ driving in the rash,” according to the popular prejudice.

In the severe cases, whether complicated by affections of the throat or not, an important feature of the treatment is the administra­tion of light and nutritious food. The usual fare milk, eggs and broth -must be in such cases supplemented by alcoholics in some form, Egg nog or milk punch. To the same end it is advisable to administer quinine regularly ; for a child of three years the dose may  be one-half to one grain four times a day.

Another indication for treatment in scarlet fever is the itching which so often annoys the patient. A popular, though not especially desirable, remedy consists in lubricating the skin with lard ; a preferable substitute is a solution of glycerine, either in simple water or in rose or cologne water-one part of glycerine to four of rose water.

In cases of mental disturbance-stupor, delirium and convul­sions-the source of the difficulty is often the failure of the kidneys to discharge their functions properly. In such instances the greatest hope of relief lies in brisk purging and in the wet pack. There are cases, too, in which there is no evidence of inflam­mation of the kidneys until after the peeling off-desquamation-has begun, so that dropsy may become apparent a week or two after the crisis of the disease has passed. This must not, however, be con­sidered as an indication that the patient has taken “ a fresh cold,” for it is usually a portion of the disease itself.

While researching the number of children who died in Tasmania between 1850 to 1860, I was referred to Dr Rebecca Kippen, who is the Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Health and Society at the University of Melbourne. 

Dr Kippen had researched the number of recorded deaths of children aged under 10 years, and there were a staggering 6937.  Seven of those children belong to the Jillett family and they died within 6 weeks between January and February 1849, and are buried at St Peters, in Oatlands.

Other research indicates:

For the late 1840s and early 1850s, infant mortality of those born in the convict nurseries was around 35 to 40 per cent, two to three times the level of infant mortality in the general community. However these rates probably underestimate the true level of mortality, because of under-registration. The officials responsible for registering births and deaths in the nurseries were notoriously lax in their duties. For example, in 1846 and 1847 there were no deaths at all registered in the convict nurseries, although deaths certainly took place in those years. It is likely that the level of mortality was just as high in the 1830s and early 1840s.

For these infants born in the convict nurseries who died in their first year of life, 41 per cent
of their deaths were attributed to diarrhoeal disease, as opposed to 12 per cent of deaths of infants
not born in the convict nurseries, although the age distribution of deaths (in days) were very similar for both populations. When causes of deaths of all children in the convict nurseries are considered, identical percentages emerge. Over the period 1838–1858, 963 deaths of children aged under three years were recorded as occurring in the Van Diemonian convict nurseries.

Forty-one per cent of these deaths were caused by diarrhoeal disease. Over the same period, 6,721 deaths under the age of three years occurring outside the convict nurseries were registered. Of these, 12 per cent were attributed to diarrhoeal disease.

Referenced in the AMA Journal 1872



TASMANIA NOT THE SOURCE OF DIPHTHERIA. To the Editor of the Australian Medical Journal.

SIR,-I have carefully read through the Report of the Royal Commission on Diphtheria in Victoria, together with all the appended evidence. I read with surprise : " It would appear, moreover, from the evidence of Messrs. Crooke and Lempriere, that the disease was in Tasmania at an earlier date than that on which it made its appearance. in this colony. . . . . Judging analogously from this circumstance, and from the other evidence before us, and having had ample proof of the contagious nature of the disease, we are of opinion that it was most probably introduced into this colony from Tasmania." from the vague, general, hearsay, and contradictory evidence of Messrs. Crooke and Lempriere I cannot understand.

In page 7 Mr. Crooke says : " I must say that I never saw diphtheria until I came to Victoria."

In page 9, to the question : " There was no diphtheria in the colony till 1858 or 1859 ? " he replied, "in 1857 I 'had the first case."

In page 12, he says, " I may mention also that they lost also two children in Tasmania of scarlet-fever, and I believe that both of these children died of diphtheria."
In page 10, Mr. Crooke states : " I was the first medical man in Australia to commence the use of quinine in scarlet-fever.

In 1854 we had it in horrible intensity in Hobart Town. There were 900 children lost by scarlet-fever in four months ; I had but three deaths in the largest practice in Hobart Town."

The mistake as to the year 1854 instead of 1853 is of no moment, but the misstatement of other facts in the above citation is of great importance. The registration district of Hobart Town at that time embraced the south-west banks of the Derwent up to eleven miles north of Hobart Town and all the country to the southwest of Hobart Town, including Bruni Island, the Huon River, and the settlements to Recherché Bay. All the deaths from all causes at all ages entered in the registry for 1853 during the scarlatina epidemic alluded to, were 994 ; of these, however, 230 only were registered as from scarlatina, and a considerable portion of these were adults and married persons.

In an article of mine in your Journal, April 1858, I stated :

" From scarlatina three deaths were recorded in 1855. After the great floods in February and March, 1854, only a few scattered cases of the disease arose. In the great epidemic of 1853, long to be remembered by almost every family in Hobart Town, 230 out of the 994 total deaths of the year were caused by this disease ; many of them were adults," &C.

Question 189, in the Diphtheria Report, says : " You think we had diphtheria, but it was not recognised," to which Mr. Crooke answers : "I think so. I know I had cases in Tasmania in a condition which I can now recognise as the diphtheritic condition, from what I have seen in this colony. I never saw diphtheria in its true form until I came here."

In question 307, he was asked : " Have you any idea how it was introduced into the colony ? " (i. e. Victoria) to which he answered " not the slightest."

Mr. Lempriere, in question 1481, page 44, was asked : " Have you formed any idea how it first originated in the country 1" (i. e. of Victoria) to which he replied : " No. I remember when I was practising in Tasmania we had an epidemic, a very severe one, two or three in a family died, and all the dogs died of distemper."

He was then asked : " Was the poison introduced from without or generated in the colony ?" He answered : " I think it must have been generated in the colony, but it is remarkable that the dogs got the distemper at the time the diphtheria came."

The next question was : " Did the distemper come into Tasmania with the first case of diphtherial" to which he answered : "Yes."

Question 1491 asks : " In what year was it that you first observed diphtheria and distemper in Hobart Town ? " Mr. Lempriere replied : " I think it was about twenty years ago ? " on which it was observed by the inquirer : " That was long before it came here ; " to which he answered : " It was in 1851 or 1852, and it raged over there very much in 1856 I think."

In an article of mine on the epidemic diseases of Tasmania, published in the transactions of the Epidemiological Society of London,in 1863, I remark : " In 1851-2, influenza was epidemic throughout " this and the other Australian Colonies, and animals suffered " considerably, particularly dogs, which died in great numbers."

How Mr. Lempriere could have confounded that epidemic with diphtheria, I cannot understand ; there was no epidemic of any disease in 1856 or 1857, but in 1858, in the first four months, there was an epidemic of diarrhoea, on which I contributed a paper to your Journal.

 In 1859, no epidemic of any kind prevailed, but in 1860, in the months of, July, August, September, and October, another epidemic influenza occurred, which I related in your Journal.

Diphtheria never was known in Tasmania until January 1859, when two cases occurred almost simultaneously in two inland districts fifty miles apart, the origin of which was never traced, as I have
stated in my article "On the climate and vital statistics of Tasmania for fifteen years," recently printed by the Tasmanian Government for the Royal Society of Tasmania. The same statement was made
in my paper to the Epidemiological Society before alluded to. Dr. Moore of New Norfolk gave an account of the outbreak of diphtheria in his district in your ,Journal of July, 1859.

It commenced in Hobart Town shortly afterwards, by the introduction of two children from a family near Oatlands.

Since I have read the report of the Victorian Commission, I have enquired from those medical practitioners who were resident in Hobart Town in 1851-2-3 and since, whether they ever saw
diphtheria until 1859, and they agree with me that it was never known here until 1859.

We all know that it had been existing previously in Victoria, and the general impression amongst us is, that it was imported into this colony from Victoria, but certainly not exported from this island to Victoria.

While I was enabled to trace communication in all the cases which subsequently occurred to those brought from Oatlands, I have never been able to trace from whence it came to Oatlands and New Norfolk. I believe it to be a strictly contagious disease, communicated by germs from the persons
or clothing of the sufferers.

Mr. Thomson's article was written before the commission's report was published, but I think the following passage in it, " it is well " known that an epidemic of diphtheria was at its height in England

"during 1857-8, and that passengers were arriving in ships from " British ports almost every week, dm," indicates the most probable source of the introduction of the disease into Victoria.

Except in 1859, diphtheria has never prevailed epidemically in any part of Tasmania, though in every year since, some cases have occurred, with occasional deaths. It will be seen in Table D of my paper on the " Climate and Vital Statistics of Tasmania," that in the years 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, there occurred respectively, 11, 14, 15, and 5 deaths.

Taking the average of the first three years, and comparing it with the diphtheria mortality in the same years in Victoria in proportion to population, the Victorian death-rate from this disease was nearly five times as much as the Tasmanian deathrate.

From what I have stated, it is evident that the falling off in the deaths last year was remarkably great, being only one-third of the previous year, 1870.

I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,
Hobart Town, Tasmania, E. SWARBRECK HALL.
September 18th, 1872.

Edward Swarbreck Hall


This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966
Edward Swarbreck Hall (1805-1881), medical practitioner, came of English North Country stock. About 1824 he lost the heirship to a cotton plantation in Georgia, United States, because he promised to free his slaves, so he studied medicine in Dublin and London and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. He then practised in Liverpool, acting also as honorary surgeon to a large children's charity. On 8 June 1831 he married Mary (1807-1887), eldest daughter of Dr Latham of Lancashire.

Hall's hearing was impaired by injuries when he was robbed by highwaymen. His wife also found Liverpool unhealthy, so they decided to emigrate to a more favourable climate. In November 1832 they arrived at Hobart Town. There Hall took up duty as medical officer, but within a year moved to Brighton. Although he applied without success for a vacancy in the medical department at New Norfolk in 1838, he was appointed next year to Spring Bay. He could not find a suitable house there and was sent to Bothwell as assistant district surgeon.

His zealous discharge of duties at the convict station led to complaints that he was neglecting private patients, and his election as librarian led to a sectarian rumpus that involved him with a Protestant clergyman and the local police magistrate.  In June 1843 twenty Bothwell families petitioned for Hall's removal. Next year he was appointed to the Westbury district and later to midland towns, where he was better appreciated, especially by the Irish exiles he befriended. One regular visitor to his home was 'Saint' K. I. O'Dogherty, who helped him to build a Roman Catholic church at Oatlands. Another was Thomas Meagher, who at Ross on 22 February 1851 married Catherine Bennett, the governess of Hall's children.

Early in 1853 Hall was appointed to the Hobart Hospital as house surgeon at 10s. a day with annual allowances of £140. Although his duties were heavy, he found time to make severe criticisms in the press of the heavy infant mortality at the Cascades female prison. His charges led to beneficial reform, but they caused much official heart-burning and he was ordered to Norfolk Island in 1855. He promptly resigned.

With a pension of £58 he resumed private practice and had a hard struggle until he was given government and municipal appointments. His first position was medical officer to the Hobart police station at £50 a year. In 1861 he became chairman of the executive committee of the new Benevolent Society and in the next years won grudging government support for deserted families, indigent nursing mothers and orphan children. In the press he published long articles on such subjects as snakebites, but his great concern was 'the unprotected state of the great majority of the inhabitants of Tasmania against the possible invasion of smallpox'.

In 1863 he was appointed superintendent of vaccination for the colony and public vaccinator for Hobart at £150. The offices were abolished in 1866 because his annual demands for compulsive legislation on public health and sanitation aroused indignant opposition. In 1875 the press became alarmed by the growing number of diphtheria cases and next year Hall was appointed municipal officer of health for Hobart. His outspoken annual reports stressed the danger of polluted streams supplying water to the villages north and east of Hobart, but no compulsive sanitation was attempted until diphtheria spread to schools at Sorell and Bellerive.

Hall's last public office was the dispersal of charitable aid in March 1880. Two months later when he visited the family of a workman killed by a landslip on Mount Wellington, he was thrown from his dogcart and lost the use of his right arm. Sympathetic friends subscribed a purse of £139 and an illuminated address, which were presented to him at the Hobart Town Hall on his golden wedding. Seven weeks later, on 30 July 1881 he died at his home in Campbell Street, aged 76, and was buried from St Joseph's Church. He was survived by his wife, one son and six daughters, one of whom was a Sister of Charity and lived to the age of 100.

Hall's many enthusiasms were not dimmed by his deafness or by age. In 1878 he installed a telephone from his home to a colleague across the street, shortly after Bell's discovery. As a prominent Catholic layman, he helped to build many churches and 'regularly walked to Mass at the head of his numerous family'. He was a scriptural scholar and no Protestant Bible movement was started in the colony without Hall joining issue 'with the spirit of a Templar', not only in public meetings, but also in the press and in his pamphlet Who Translated the Bible? (Hobart, 1875).

He loved to fight, but his untiring advocacy of public health reforms was chiefly aimed at assisting helpless children, and he was largely responsible for the compulsory Vaccination Act that was being rushed through parliament at his death.

John and Phoebe Jillett's Grandchildren

Another two young children died in 1879. Both the daughters of John Jillett and his wife Ellen.


   Their parents are also buried in St Peter's at Oatlands.

Anglican Church Oatlands: In loving memory of John Jillett Died at Oatlands July 22 1907 aged 73 years also Ellen. Beloved wife of the above Died at Oatlands Novr 14 1909 Aged 60 years

            Sleep ....on dear ones, thy rest is peace

Cure for Diphtheria  - 1880  by Thomas Jillett

In 1880, Thomas Jillett wrote an article directed to the Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1918) Saturday 24 April 1880
The following letter has been received by His Worship the Mayor, and by him, kindly
placed at our disposal :—

To W. Thomson, Esq., Mayor of Hamilton

Sir.— I beg to enclose a prescription for diphtheria, and a few remarks respecting that disease
as follows, viz. :— Unfortunately my brother's family was the first attacked in in Tasmania, February, 1859. 

He and I lost seven children in seven weeks.  I lost my children in 23 days.  The doctor (Dr. Willis) did not know what the complaint really was, and I believe treated it for scarlet fever, with an ulcerated throat, through which many lives were lost.

The late Dr. Moore of New Norfolk, Tasmania, had cases, and lost two patients, on one of which he held a post mortem examination, and discovered it was diphtheria.  He had 276 cases at that time, and only lost six.  The remainder of my time in Tasmania after 1859, I always kept the remedy in the house, and saved the lives of many children. One of my daughters had a very bad attack some time after this  I called on Dr. Willis of Oatlands, who merely saw me apply the remedy, and she made a speedy cure. 

Since living in Victoria, my second daughter also has had diphtheria, whilst residing on the Wimmera; I got the medicine from a chemist at Pleasant Creek, and made a cure in three days.
The enclosed prescription is a true copy of the one I received from Dr. Moore personally. Fumigate the house with sulphur three or four times a week.’ 
Yours faithfully, Thomas Jillett,

Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, April 21. 1880     

 Amy and  Fanny Ellen, his two daughters, her descendants have followed in the Medical  Profession.

  Thomas Shone Jillett, the son of Thomas died of typhoid fever in 1897.


The Crypt and some Church History

Previous attempts to reveal some information regarding the date of the erections of the crypts proved quite difficult.  However, while researching the crypt of Mr Anstey, also buried at St Peter's and starting to become in a worrying condition, it was noted that his crypt was called a sarcophagus.
During the restoration of the crypt, the "chest" as it was described in contemporary terms was removed.  There were no bodies in the chest, rather they were buried underneath.

Thomas Jillett moved to Victoria in 1866, and it was always assumed that he had the crypt erected prior to relocating.  An interesting find in relation to the Anstey research, might provide a suitable clue, as to who the stonemason was who erected the chest.

A sarcophagus (plural, sarcophagi) is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried.

Not only was it described as a sarcophagus, but the community of Oatlands raised the money to have it erected.  The stone mason was Mr John Gillon from Harrington Street Hobart Town.

TASMANIA STONE AND MARBLE. Some excellent specimens of granite, freestone, and marble are to be seen at the yards of Mr. John Gillon, stonemason, Macquarie-Street, The granite was brought by Mr. Hedberg from the neighbourhood of the Seymour Coal Mines, where such granite is to be obtained In any quantity. It is said to be hard to work, but is much like the celebrated Aberdeen granite. A capital block of marble has been carefully polished, and is a good specimen of a material for chimney pieces, for which it is well adapted.

This marble abounds at Florentine Valley, in the new country, whence it was brought. There is also a small block of Sorell marble. Several specimens of freestone are in the collection, a large grindstone, included, and two blocks, to show the character of the Kangaroo Point flagging. The collection is intended to be forwarded to the Intercolonial exhibition at Otago, and we should think many persons will be astonished at the fine specimens of Tasmania's geological resources, for very few have any idea of this colony containing such marble and granite.

Some Church History    From a colleague of Rev Wigmore!

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Wednesday 24 November 1852, page 5

To the Editor of the " Courier" Newspaper. Observing  in your journal of the 28th January last, that a public meeting was held for some tribute of esteem to the late Thomas Anstey, Esq,, and that a resolution was passed at the said meeting, to place a memorial in St. Peter's Church, Oatlands, I beg to state that the church at Outlands, of which I am lawful incumbent, is dedicated to St. Matthias, and was so designated in documents during the Venerable Archdeacon Hutchins' life

The churches of St. Matthias, Oatlands, and St. James, Jericho, I was legally appointed to by license in April, 1840 ; and under the 15th section of the Church Act of Van Diemen's Land (1 Vict., No. 16) I am still the only legal chaplain. As Mr. Anstey was a liberal contributor to Oatlands Church, I am quite agreeable that a memorial of him maybe placed therein, and the meeting above named can have my sanction towards doing so, without paying the fees usual in such cases.

In a letter also in your journal of February 7th last, I perceive the Rev. John L. Ison, in commenting upon this proposed measure, publicly states that he (r. Ison) was Mr. Anstey's legitimate pastor. With all deference and good will to Mr. Ison, I beg leave to say that I alone am the legitimate chaplain of Oatlands and Jericho in Van Diemen's Land. This opinion I always entertained, as being acquainted with law; but it is much more confirmed to the public by the observations made by the Attorney-General in the House of Commons, on the May 19th, 1852, in a debate upon Mr. Gladstone's Colonial Bishops' bill.

These are the lion and learned member's words : "But the attention of the government having in 1847 been turned to that subject, the law officers of the crown were of opinion that the power so conferred by the patent (meaning the bishop of Tasmania's) was unlawful, and that the crown had no power by patent to establish ecclesiastical courts in the colonies. An illustration of this difficulty had been stated in the cases of Mr. Bateman and Mr. Wigmore.

The licenses of both those persons were withdrawn by the bishop-with respect to one, on account of some misconduct which was alleged against him, and with respect to the other on account of his insolvency. But the stipends possessed by those persons were given to them by government ; and they being chaplains, and not holding rectories or curates, the bishop could exercise over them no power at all.

All the effect of withdrawing their licenses was to produce an ecclesiastical disability, but it accomplished no secular deprivation." These words are sufficient to show to you that I am still chaplain of Oatlands and Jericho, that the stipend under the act (1 Vict., No. 16) is mine, and I shall in due time compel its payment in full.-

I remain, Sir, yours faithfully, Gregory Bateman, AM. A., Trin. Coll. Cambridge, Chaplain of Oatlands and Jericho, V. 1). Land, and Curate of Tansor, Northamptonshire. Tensor Rectory, near Rundle, Northamptonshire, January 15, 1852.

Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), Saturday 31 January 1852, page 3

Tablet to the Late Mr Anstey.-A Meeting was held at Oatlands on Wednesday last, for the purpose or taking measures to erect nine public tribute of esteem in memory of the late Thomas Anstey, Esq , of Anstey Harton, in the district of Oatlands, John Whitefoord, Esq, in the chair when it was unanimously resolved that a marble tablet should be erected in memory of the deceased gentleman, with inscription, in St. Peter's Church, Oatlands; that a subscription, limited in the maximum to one guinea, by any single subscriber should be entered into or defraying the expense and incidental charges incurred thereby; that the following gentlemen should be a committee for that purpose, namely, John Whitefoord, James Maclauachan, J. R. Roe, J. Mackersey, E. Bisdee,und Geo. Scott, Esquires, and that they be requested to invite the co-operation of H. Pitcairn, W S Sharland, and Alexander Reid, Esquires, and that James Maclauchan, Esq  be Secretary and Treasurer to the Committee. It was announced to the Meeting by one of the Churchwardens in the names of himself and another, that the usual fees would not be charged for erecting the tablet. 'He thanks of the Meeting were given lo the Chairman, and thee meeting dissolved

Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), Wednesday 5 October 1853, page 2

The Late T. Anstey, Esq.-The tablet to the memory of the late Mr. Anstey, received in the colony by the Ken, has been safely erected at St. Peter's Church, Oatlands, by Mr. Gillon, of this city. It is a most tasteful piece of monumental sculpture, far excelling anything of the kind at present existing in the colony, and reflects highly upon the care and judgment of Mr White, of the firm of Burns and White, under whose superintendence it was executed.

It consists of a sarcophagus in polished white marble, exhibited upon a ground of dove-coloured marble, and surmounted by a chastely carved figure in white marble, seated by an urn, emblematical of grief. Upon the sarcophagus is the following inscription-

" To the memory of Thomas Anstey, Esquire, of Anstey Barton, who was born at Highercombe, in Somerset-shire, 31st December, 1777, and died at Anstey Barton, in this district, 23rd March, 1851, in the 74th year of his age." He was Police Magistrate of Oatlands from 1827 to 1833, and rendered signal service to the community by the energy and success with which he discharged the duties of that important office. He was seventeen years a member of the Legislative Council of the Colony, and in this, as in every other part of his public life, he was distinguished for intelligence and probity, liberality of sentiment, independence of character, and zeal for the public good while his private virtues endeared him to a large circle of friends, who have dedicated this tablet to his memory.


The design and construction of the three crypts is very similar, and it was always an assumption that the brothers would have wanted their crypts to be suitably impressive.  The only difference was that John Jillett's crypt base was concreted after 1890, perhaps when the church was restored, or later, as his relatives were still living in Oatlands. 

Thomas's crypt was not concreted on the base.  All his family were interstate.

Thomas Anstey  -  Town Pioneer

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966
Thomas Anstey (1777-1851), pastoralist, was born on 31 December 1777 at Highercombe near Dulverton, Somerset, England, the son of John Anstey and his wife Elizabeth, née Branscombe. Although bred to the law, he was not attracted to it. He married Mary Turnbull at Edinburgh on 12 March 1811, and then became a partner in a Bond Street house for the sale of printed calicoes. When the firm dissolved, he decided to emigrate and practise agriculture on a large scale. With letters of recommendation from the Colonial Office and influential friends, and with implements, furniture and goods worth more than £8000, he sailed in the Berwick with his wife and three children, arriving at Hobart Town in June 1823. He was given a maximum grant of 2560 acres (1036 ha) which he selected on a tributary of the River Jordan near Oatlands and called Anstey Park.

Next year he imported fifty pure bred merinos from the flock of Sir Thomas Seabright, and claimed another maximum grant. He also bought much land and by 1836 had more than 20,000 acres (8094 ha), including some choice pastures that he later planned to irrigate. His fine hospitable home, Anstey Barton, knew no want, but he had much trouble with sheep stealers, Aboriginals and convict servants.
Appointed a justice of the peace in 1824, Anstey shared in the ambush and capture of the bushranger William Priest. In 1826 he became coroner and next year police magistrate at Oatlands where he was largely responsible for building a township. To complaints that he used his office as a cloak for malice, he retorted that he had only contempt for ne'er-do-wells and always sought to suit punishment to the crime. Anguish came to his own home when his six-year-old daughter was debauched by assigned servants; in great distress, he and his wife had to give evidence at the trial in Launceston, where the three guilty men were sentenced to death.

In 1829 Anstey proposed to Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur that civilian parties be organized for the pursuit and capture of stock thieves and other marauders. The plan was successful, the parties being placed under Anstey's command, four of them based on Oatlands under his constable and clerk, Jorgen Jorgenson. In 1825 Anstey had suggested to Arthur that the Aboriginals be transported to the southern coast of New Holland, somewhere near the present Fowler's Bay, where there was little chance of contact with Europeans; if left to their own operations in Van Diemen's Land, he predicted 'something like a maroon war'. When it came in 1831 Anstey Barton was the headquarters for the central districts. After he resigned as police magistrate in 1833 Anstey offered to raise a public subscription for George Augustus Robinson for 'unparalleled and successful exertions' in conciliating the Aboriginals.

Anstey was prominent in petitioning for the continuance of William Sorell's administration in 1824, and was nominated to the Legislative Council in 1827, with one short break through ill health continuing as a member until 1844. He sometimes complained that land was granted to doubtful characters, but usually acquiesced in Arthur's policy. Under Sir John Franklin he supported the introduction of undenominational education in the British and Foreign Schools system, and deplored the 'cumbrous machinery' of alternative proposals. His dislike of sectarian rivalry for state aid never weakened, but he was never averse to state aid for rural employers. When the supply of assigned labour was reduced by the probation system he declared that masters were paralysed by the loss of their convict servants and merited compensation 'like the slave-owners'. He also spoke darkly of resisting the 'fearful doings of the Colonial Office'.

After retirement from the Legislative Council, in 1845-46 Anstey visited South Australia, whence in 1849 Judge (Sir) Charles Cooper came to recuperate for three months at Anstey Barton. As a leading settler Anstey espoused many good causes and helped to promote agricultural associations and country fairs with vice-regal support. He was a founding shareholder of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land and a director of the Derwent Bank.

As a devout Anglican he subscribed to the first church at Jericho in 1831 and, because no ordained clergyman was available, he succeeded in having William Pike appointed as stipendiary catechist. Later he was largely responsible for obtaining Rev. George Morris for Oatlands, and for the building there of St Peter's Church; tradition credits him with donating the site and much of the funds on condition that the tower was visible from Anstey Barton.

His declining years were saddened by the dispersion of his family, but he remained widely respected and an acknowledged leader, outstanding among the enterprising private settlers for his livestock and efficient management as well as for his urbanity, humour and wise counsels. He died at Anstey Barton on 23 March 1851 and was buried in the family vault in the Anglican churchyard at Oatlands. His wife returned to England where she died in 1862, aged 85. In 1860 Anstey Park had been subdivided and sold, and its hospitable homestead passed from the family's hands.

Of Anstey's three daughters, the eldest, Ellen Lucy, was born in 1812 in London and died in Paris; the second, Clara, was born in 1817 in London and died in 1836; the youngest, Julia Capper, was born in 1824 at Anstey Barton, married Dr John Doughty on 19 November 1842 and had three children; after her death at Oatlands on 3 June 1850, aged 25, she was buried in the family vault in St Peter's churchyard.

The eldest son, George Alexander (1814-1895), was born at Kentish Town, London, and arrived at Hobart with his next brother in the Admiral Cockburn in February 1827. At 16 he led one of his father's roving parties and captured a small tribe of Aboriginals, winning a 500-acre (202 ha) land grant and official praise for his 'humanity and kindness'.

He took his sister to England in 1834 and on his return was shipwrecked in D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Early in 1837 he took sheep to Port Phillip, sold them to the Learmonths and returned to Oatlands. He then took sheep to South Australia, but could not sell them and had to pay dearly for having them shepherded in places unlikely to be selected for special surveys. By 1840 he had 150 acres (61 ha) at Highercombe and, with 9000 sheep, was one of the colony's biggest stock-holders. His flocks grew and by 1851 he had extensive pastoral leases. The produce of his orchard and vineyard at Highercombe was also winning a wide reputation. Although a 'true liberal' he was defeated in two successive polls at Yatala in the first elections for the Legislative Council. Nominated to the first vacancy, he soon resigned, despairing of 'a reasonable constitution for the people'. On 12 September 1837 he had married Harriet Kingham, daughter of W. J. Ruffy, sometime editor of the Farmers' Journal in London; they had nine children. After his father's death he returned to Van Diemen's Land with his wife and two sons, but soon went to England where, after years of constant travel, he died in 1895.

Anstey's second son, Thomas Chisholm (1816-1873), was born in Kentish Town, London, and arrived in Hobart with his elder brother in 1827. 'A singular creature', he studied Hebrew under a tutor Rev. James Garrett at Bothwell and was said to have learnt shorthand from Jorgenson. After some uncertainty, 'Chiz' decided to make law his profession, returned to London, entered University College and in 1839 was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple. Influenced by the Oxford Movement he became a Roman Catholic, and on 25 September 1839 he married Harriet, daughter of J. E. Strickland of Loughlinn, County Roscommon, Ireland. He returned with her next year to Hobart where they made their home at Loyola and their first child was born.

 He also assumed political leadership of the Catholics. In his successful defence of John Espie on an assault charge he was eulogized for brilliant oratory. After three months as commissioner of insolvent estates he was dismissed for eccentric conduct. He returned to England to become professor of law and jurisprudence in the Catholic College at Prior Park, near Bath.

Among his many legal tracts, one of the most important was A Guide to the Laws of England Affecting Roman Catholics (London, 1842). He was made a knight of St Gregory by Pius IX. In 1847-52 he was member for Youghal in the House of Commons, 'a malcontent of the highest bore-power', often caricatured by Punch. In 1854-59 as attorney-general at Hong Kong he again failed to control his restlessness. He settled at last in a successful practice at Bombay, where he died on 12 August 1873.

The third son, Arthur Oliphant (1819-1838), born at Lympton, Devon, was his mother's favourite. As a boy his head was injured by an exploding powder flask. In 1834 he was sent to Robert Walond's school in Hobart and three years later to London for further study. After serious illness in Edinburgh, he died on 21 October 1838, and was buried with Roman Catholic rites.

The youngest son, Henry Frampton (1822-1862), was born at Lympton, Devon, and educated at Longford Hall Academy in Tasmania. He visited England in 1845 and returned to Anstey Barton. He became a justice of the peace and was elected to the Legislative Council for the Oatlands district in 1851. After responsible government he represented Oatlands in the House of Assembly in 1856-59 and was secretary for lands and works in the Champ ministry in 1856-57.

 On 19 November 1853 at St Joseph's Catholic Church and afterwards at St David's Cathedral he married Adelaide, the second daughter of Peter Roberts, deputy commissary general, of Ashgrove, Oatlands. He died a papal knight at Rome in 1862.

1 comment:

  1. I recently visited the Church and cemetery in Oatlands and the crypt of John Jillett’s family drew me to it. I researched the family and came upon your blog. So very sad for this most terrible loss. Congratulations on one of the most detailed pieces of research I have seen on a family. Keep up the great work and I pray you break down all your brick walls. Cheers Rosie