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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.