Saturday, August 25, 2018

HP6 Oatlands Home of the Jilletts A 200 Year Association

Oatlands  Tasmania

A 200 Year

Historical Association

With the Jillett Family


Governor Macquarie first passed through the district in 1811.  However it was not until ten years later on June 3, 1821, that Macquarie named the site “Oatlands” as he considered it “a very eligible situation for a town, being well watered and in the midst of rich fertile country.”

Until 1827 Oatlands remained little more than a site with a board bearing the name given by Macquarie.  There were some early settlements, including a military detachment station in 1825.

Under the eye of Governor Arthur, streets were marked out, trees and scrub cleared away and a detachment of troops was sent to guard the farmers and tradespeople who were beginning to settle the area.  The troop’s main duty was to guard the 35 skilled tradesmen, who had been sent to lay the foundations of the new village, against the natives.  When the threat passed, the troop was disbanded.  Later some of these men returned to make Oatlands their home, and of those who did return some were skilled stonemasons and carpenters, whose work is still admired in the old buildings today.

The goal and houses for the staff, as well as accommodation for the chain gang working on the main road had been constructed before the soldiers departed.

Governor Macquarie saw the need for a road to join the northern and southern settlements during his first visit in 1811.  The next year he sent James Meehan, his surveyor general to peg out and chain the road from Port Dalrymple (now George Town) to Hobart, marking four sites along the road which he had chosen to be military posts.  These included Launceston, Perth, Oatlands and Brighton.  This road was not completed until 1837, but was used well before that time.

By 1829, several very respectable” people had applied to the government for building blocks, and a local brewery was under construction.  With the abundance of good cheap building material close at hand, buildings took shape at great speed.

In 1832 a survey of the town was undertaken by Surveyor Sharland, who marked out over 50 miles and 400 acres of streets, as he had visualised Oatlands to be the capital city of Tasmania.

Much of Oatlands development took place in the 1830’s and today many residents still live in these historic buildings.  Stone for building was available in almost unlimited quantities, and was quarried near the edge of Lake Dulverton at Mill Point, and clay for brick making was discovered in land later to be named Burbury’s Hill.  Oatlands remains one of the finest examples of an historic village in Australia.

The Municipality of Oatlands was proclaimed in 1861, and remained until 1993 when it was absorbed into the Southern Midlands Council. 

In 1877, Oatlands boasted seven hotels, three breweries and an aerated water factory

The above information from Heritage Highway Visitor Centre, High Street Oatlands.

Further information from Heritage Tasmania reveals that “It is believed that the town has the largest number of intact examples of Georgian sandstone architecture in any village in the southern hemisphere.  The military precinct buildings – the jail, courthouse, watch house, superintendent’s quarters cottage and commissariat are examples of this.”  Built in 1834 the jail was built to house 200 offenders but never held more than 70 prisoners.  It was the largest regional colonial jail in Van Diemen’s Land and 18 inmates were hanged before the facility was downgraded.  It was demolished in 1937 – and the town pool was built over the site in 1954!

Most of the buildings in the High Street are Heritage Listed, and it is a fine example of a heritage town, where one feels as though they have just stepped back in time.  It really is a delightful place to visit.

Thomas Jillett owned the Callington Mil and numerous buildings in the town in the mid 1800’s

Thomas petitioned for the commencement of the Council, and was a councillor.  He was also an influential member of the Turf Club, and owned and raced many horses.  In 1842 he won this Silver Cup for racing at New Town.  (Adam Jillett is caretaker)

The photograph of a painting shows his pride in his horse Black Bess in 1868, with his family


Springfield Home of Thomas and Mary Ann Jillett, only half the house was constructed by Thomas.

Albert Jillett, grandson of John Jillett lived at 90 High Street Oatlands.  The building had been known as the Midland Hotel.  It was last used in 1895/6.  Albert was a skin and hide buyer, and together with his sister Alice, they lived in the house.  There is a sign outside which is a little ambiguous.

The commemoration of the centenary of the Oatlands Municipality, fifth oldest of Tasmania's rural municipalities, is an event of unique importance.  The Oatlands Story dates back to the very first years of the settlement of the colony, and its growth has been influenced by pioneers and settlers, who have in their turn played a major role in the story of Tasmania.

Oatlands was proclaimed a rural municipality on November 29th, 1861, and by a strange coincidence the Warden of the centenary year, Mr. W. A. Webster, is a kinsman of the first Warden, Mr. J.L.B. Tabart, elected 100 years ago.  By an even stranger coincidence Mr Webster's ancestor was the first person in Tasmania to give hospitality to Governor Lachlan Macquarie of New South Wales, on his historic visit in 1811.

The first election of Councillors took place on January 9th 1862, and Messrs J.R. Roe, J.L.B. Tabart, T. Burbury, J. Lord, G. Wilson, Jnr, and W. Barwick, were elected the first Council.  Mr. J.L.V. Tabart was elected Warden at £100 per annum, and Mr. Z.W. Davis was appointed Council Clerk.

Since that time the successive Wardens have been:  Messrs.  J.L.B. Tabart (1861 - 68); J.R.Roe (1868 - 70); T.Littlechild (1870 - 71); J.R. Roe (1871 - 73); A.T. Pillinger (1873 -75); J.R.Roe (1875 - 1877); G. Wilson (1877 - 78); R.D. Lord (1878 - 79); A.T. Pillinger (1879 - 80); J.C. Lord (1880 - 83_; T. Littlechild (1883 - 86) E. Archer (1886 - 87); W. Burbury (1887 - 93); G.E. Butler (1893 - 95); G. Nettlefold (1895 - 97); W. Jones (1897 - 1903); A.T. Gibson (1903 - 05); R. Harrison (1905 - 07); G. Nettlefold (1907 - 1910); J.N. Propsting (1910 - 13); T.J. Burbury (1913 -15); H. Fisher (1915 - 17); W.M. Lester (1917 -19); A.J. O'Connor (1919 - 21); T.J. Burbury (1921 -23); W.M.  Lester (1923 - 27); J. Weeding (1927 - 31); W. M. Lester (1931 - 2); A.R. Fisher (1942 - 58); D. L. Burbury (1959 - 60) and W. A Webster, the present occupant of the office.

Successive Council Clerks have been:  Messrs.  Z.W. Davis (1861 - 1865); W. Gerrard (1865 - 1873); D. McPherson Jnr. (1873  - 80); F.L. T. Bowden (1880 - 83); J.L.B. Tabart (1883 - 91); L.E. Chambers (1891 - 99); G. Burbury (1899 - 1913); W. Rust (1913 - 1931); W.J.B. Temple (1931 - 1937); D.G. Dudgeon (1937 - 41); (On War Service); G.H. Waterworth (Acting) 1941 -44; D.G. Dudgeon (1944 - 48); G.H. Waterworth, the present Council Clerk, who was appointed in 1948.

Today, Oatlands is presided over by a Council consisting of Messrs. R.C. Nettlefold, J.V. Early, W. Dunbabin (Tunnack), W.A. Webster, D.R. Gregg,, D.L. Burbury Tunbridge) Mr K.H. Taylor, A.R. Harris, R.J. Fish (Dulverton). Mr G.H. Waterworth is Council Clerk, having held the position since 1948.  Altogether, he has served local government for almost a quarter of a century.

The Council of 1861 had a heavy responsibility.  The Police Force of the district was placed under it.  Mr Edward Cole was the Superintendent of Police, and he also was Watch House Keeper.  At the outset the police were under the direct control of the Warden.

The Council had to assume responsibility for such properties as the Police Stations at Tunbridge, Melton Mowbray, Spring Hill and Antill Ponds.  Other properties, which came under control of the Council were the racecourse and the Bluff Watch House.

So from this nucleus Local Government developed.  Space does not permit of adequate reference for tributes to the many men who, without thought of reward, have given their services voluntarily to the Council.

Oatlands Beginning

The real beginning of Oatlands has been lost in obscurity, and the Council hopes that a search can be made for the early records of the settlement.

One of the first white men to penetrate the area was a Hugh Germaine, a Marine of the days of Lieut. Governor David Collins.  He went exploring with a copy of the Bible and the Arabian Nights and names the places discovered alternatively out of each book.  Hence, such names as Jericho, Bagdad, River Jordan and Jerusalem, now Colebrook.  His grave may still be seen in St. David's Park in Hobart, and it would make a worthy addition to Jericho's landmarks if it was placed at that township.

In 1807 Lieut Thomas Laycock, of the New South Wales Corps, made the first journey overland between Port Dalrymple and Hobart Town, as it was then, and he would have crossed through the Oatlands district.

The first of the notorious bushrangers, Richard Lemon, roamed the area between 1806 and 1808, that is why Lemon Springs is so called.  Lake Tiberias was once known as Lemon's Lagoon, and Lemon Hill was another place name recalling the desperado.

Lemon was taken in 1808 and his head was brought to Hobart Town.  Scantling was another escaped convict, an associate of Lemon.  His name was perpetuated in Scantling Plains, re-named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1811, 150 years ago this month, as York Plains, in honour of the then Duke of York.
When Macquarie came to Tasmania in November 1811, the settlements were just beginning to spread out.  There had been earlier visitors to the district, but as yet not a great deal has been discovered to give a lead to the origin of some of early place names.

"Spring Hill', mentioned in Macquarie's Journal, was named very early, possibly after a colonist of that name,. "Constitution Hill" is also of early origin.

Macquarie, the real funder of Oatlands, arrived at Hobart Town on November 23rd 1811, and began his journey north early in December.

On December 3rd, he stopped at a place he called "Governor Macquarie's Resting Place," 4.5 miles from Spring Hill.  His Journal mentioned the naming of "Prospect Hill" and the entries for December 5th, record the naming of "York Plains," "Antill Ponds" after Capt. Antill, of the 73rd Regiment, "MT Henrietta", after his wife, and "Macquarie's Springs" or "Governor Macquarie's Second Resting Place."  On December 6th, "Epping Forest" was named.

This same year saw the first journey overland from Hobart Town of Port Dalrymple of the pioneer Chaplain, the Rev Robert Knopwood.

Mosquito, a New South Wales aborigine, was transported to Tasmania in 1813, and he was assigned to a Mr Kimberley at Antill Ponds, from where he broke away on a wild rampage which ended up on the gallows.

In 1814, the Rev. Robert Knopwood made a second journey to the North, this time with a cart.

After Macquarie's visit in 1811, James Meehan, the Surveyor, who had accompanied him, was sent to Tasmania to survey a line of road between the two settlements of Hobart Town and Port Dalrymple.  It is to his credit that except for some deviations, including the Bridgewater Causeway in place of the ferry at Austin's Ferry, his original route has been closely followed.
Lieut. Edward Lord, second in command at the founding of Hobart Town, had stockmen in the Oatlands area as early as 1813.  This borne out by evidence taken before the Rev. R, Knopwood, J.P. from Cpl. T. Feutrill, of the 73rd Regiment, and Pte. W. Marry, of the same Regiment, in August, 1814.  This told of a journey from Launceston to Hobart Town, and of clashes with bushrangers at Epping Forest.

Blackman's River, on which Tunbridge now stands, was mentioned, as also a meeting with Lieut. Edward Lord's stockmen at York Plains, where two tents had been erected.  His overseer was named Yorke.  It was at the Ovens in the Oatlands area that an encounter took place with bushrangers under the notorious Michael Howe.  It is interesting to note that this bushranger sent his famous message to the Lieut-Governor as "Governor of the Ranges" from Scantling Plains in 1817.  He was taken in 1818.

The Main Road was completed as far as Bridgewater or Black Snake in 1819 but another 13 years were to pass before a coach could run to Launceston.

1821 was the year of the naming of Oatlands.  Governor Lachlan Macquarie came on his second visit in April 1821.  On the way North by carriage, which he had brought from Sydney, he stopped at a hut at Jericho Plains on the first stage of the journey.  It was on the occasion of this second visit that he named "Tin Fish Holes" Sorrell Springs, Mount Stewart, Roebeck and Wylde's Hill.  Wright's Farm, where he stayed on his return journey at the beginning of June was renamed "Meadow Bank" at his suggestion.

Oatlands was named on June 3rd, 1831`.  In his journal Macquarie wrote:-

"This is a very eligible situation for a town, being well watered and in the midst of a rich fertile country.  I afterwards named a pretty valley, connecting Westmorland with Woodford Plains, Gordon Valley in honour of the late Countess of Westmorland's maiden name."

He also spoke of the appalling road down Sprung Hill.

Oatlands was so called because the fine open plain reminded Macquarie of his native Scotland and the grain, which grey there.  Some years were to elapse before any attempt was made to found the town, although Bent's Almanac of 1825 mentioned a military detachment being stationed there.

As late as 1827 Oatlands was still a site, with a board bearing the name given by Macquarie.  In the meantime, Jericho had developed, and it is known that by the early twenties pioneer grants included Meredith, Pike, Hudspeth, Gregson, Cogle and Page.

Three early grants were listed for the Oatlands district.  These were those of Messrs. Weeding, Salmon and Mackersey.  The William Pike referred to came to Jericho soon after his arrival in 1823, and he became the local Catechist.  The Church had developed sufficiently for the Rev Samuel Marsden to hold a service at Jericho on February 23, 1823.

Mr George Lindley, who was tutor attached to Mr. Pike's family, became the teacher of one of Oatlands' first private schools.

Mr J.H. Hudspeth, an ancestor of Canon F. Hudspeth and the late Mr Wilfred Hudspeth, of Hobart, also came to Jericho to found Bowsden about 1823.   Mr. T.G. Gregson, who was destined to become one of the first Premiers of Tasmania, had already taken up his grant at Northumbria.

Much could be written of these early settlers, but this is the story of Oatlands Municipality, and the emphasis must be kept on that aspect.

Dr Francis Desailly, an early Medical Officer in the district, arrived from England in 1821.  He was granted 300 acres at Jericho, which he later exchanged for land at Bagdad.  Returning in 1824, he entered into partnership with Mr Peter Harrison, and they had a public licence granted to them in 1824.  They separated after two years, and doctor turned his attention to the Eastern Marshes.

Mr Peter Harrison arrived from England in 1822.  He was one of the first hotel pioneers in the Municipality.  He was surpassed possibly by Mr. William Presnell, who had an inn at Sorell Springs as early as 1820, and it was the by-passing of this by alterations to the road, that he was led to build the White Hart at Antill Ponds in 1830.  This is better known as the Halfway House.  This historic Georgian building has been ravaged by vandalism.  It was raided by bushrangers five times.

At the time when Lieut-Governor Arthur began to take an interest in the future of Oatlands, there were a number of settlers in the area.  Mr. James Weeding, of Surrey, England, arrived in Tasmania in 1823, and he obtained his grant known as "Weedington" soon afterwards, and it is claimed that his family is the only pioneer family still occupying the original grant.

Mr Thomas Anstey, who landed at Hobart Town in 1823, was given a grant of 2,000 acres on a tributary of the River Jordan, about three miles from the lagoon, known as Lake Dulverton.  Stones from his original homestead are being used to build the Centenary Gates and Wall for the Recreation Ground.  One of his servants, and afterwards a field policeman, was the celebrated Jorgen Jorgenson, ex-convict king, who made himself Lord Protector of Iceland.

In 1826, hen Arthur divided Tasmania into Police Districts, he resolved on the founding of Oatlands, and appointed Mr Thomas Anstey as the first Police Magistrate.

Under Arthur's orders men were sent to mark out streets and generally clear the site.  For their protection he sent along a detachment  of the Royal Staff Corps, under Lieut Wilford, to protect road parties and the farmers from attacks by roving bushrangers and blacks.  The military tents were situated close to where the old flour mill now stands.

Under the supervision of the military the early buildings were erected.  After the completion of these works the military were withdrawn, and the corps was disbanded.  Many of the soldiers returned to live at Oatlands.
An account of a visit to Van Diemen's Land by Widowson, published in 1828, contains interesting references to Jericho and Oatlands.  In regard to Jericho he referred to the prison built before 1825, and the fact that the guard of soldiers occupied huts with the Commanding Officer in a  weatherboard cottage. 

References were made to the homes of Dr. Desailly, Messrs. T.G. Gregson, J. and E. Bryant and grove House, an inn.  The famous Mudwalls of Jericho are the remains of the old Probation station, which once adorned the roadside.

Behind the tier of hills, Widowson mentioned the grant of Thomas Anstey. 

In regard to Oatlands, he wrote -
"The original road runs through the township of Oatlands, a few sod huts mark the site of the palace.  Only a few soldiers are to be seen, and a miserable gang of prisoners working in chains."

"To the right of this place is an extensive country called Blue Hills, where the cattle of Mr David Lord principally browse.  Eleven miles from the township, passing for a few miles over short stony hills and an immense plain, you arrive at Tin Dish Holes; the plain is known as York the right of these plains are the grants of Mr. Russell, Mr. J. Lord and others."

Widowson also spoke of "Presenell's Inn".  This was the White Hart at Antill Ponds.  Mr. J.H. Wedge, the surveyor, mentioned a visit thee in 1824, but this was possibly on the earlier site.

By the time Mr Robert Harrison was occupying his grant at Woodbury, and a Mr Kimberley still had a property on the road to Tunbridge at Blackmann's Bridge.  By this time there were several houses at Tunbridge, and a bridge, 100 feet long.

In 1829, Dr. James Ross, the pioneer printer, wrote of a journey to the North.  Of Oatlands he said:-
"Oatlands is 52 miles from Hobart Town.  It is on the borders of a fine lagoon now called Lake Frederick, which is about four miles round with a small island in the centre.  But the water, although deep, is overgrown with rushes, giving it the appearance of a verdant plain.  Several cottages are already erected, also an excellent soldiers' barracks and officers' quarters.  These were built by the Royal Staff Corps, and a church and gaol are in progress.

"Mr Anstey is the Police Magistrate of this district.  His residence, Anstey Barton, is about three miles to the west of the township.  Near it are the stock farms of Mr Mackersey, Mr Weeding and Mr Salmon.
"To the east of Oatlands, is a rough road leading to a large extent of open country, called the Eastern Marshes and Blue Hills.  However, the distance of the fine tract of country is too far from the Hobart Town Market for it to be used for anything but grazing.  Mr David Lord, Mr Bisdee, Mr Earle, Mr. R.W. Loane, Mr Bryant and Mr Hobbs all have huts for stockmen at this place.

"From Oatlands the traveller has the choice of two roads to Launceston.  The new road through St. Peter's Pass and the old original road that goes to the right and for two miles is very hilly.  The dividing range between Hobart Town and Launceston crosses the island at this point, the waters running North and South from this same hill.  A few miles to the right are the sources of several streams that find their way into the eastern seat at Oyster Bay.  Two miles from Oatlands the beautiful tract of country called York Plains is entered.  This is thinly wooded country with picturesque groups of trees in the midst of verdant lawns.  Conical shaped hills covered with grass to the summit may be seen, the principal one being called the Handsome Sugarloaf.  Mr Murdoch has a grazing farm at the foot of the hill, and Mr Benjamin Stokes has an inn at the Northern end of the plain.

Meehan's road left Oatlands at the Red Rocks, and passed through Weedington and Springfield, now part of the St. Peter's Pass Estate to the Big Hill then to Sorell Springs and Antill Ponds.  To the west the old road from Jericho and the Lemon Springs Hotel passed to Anstey Barton.  The present St. Peter's Pass deviation was the last undertaken.

By 1829, a brewery was being built in Oatlands.  The Military buildings were almost completed, and a hotel was being built.  Weedington was in course of construction.  Applications were coming in for household sites and for shops.

The year in which the first coach ran to Launceston, 1832, saw the first proper survey of Oatlands undertaken by Surveyor W. Sharland.  He was certainly an optimist for he predicted a brilliant future, visualising Oatlands growing into a city. 
He had an extensive acreage marked out with many miles of streets.  Sharland's map indicated the Gaol, Court House, Church and Inn at the corner of High and Church Streets.  The latter was called the Kentish Hotel.

By 1841, when Surveyor Sprent came, Oatlands had a Police Office, Officers' Quarters, Superintendent's Quarters, Sentry Box, Stocks and a sundial all in the one block between High Street and the Lake.

Most of the major development of Oatlands took place during the thirties.  The gaol was built in 1834.  The old flour mill, known as "Callington Mill" was built by John Vincent, and the first school, "The Albany Academy," was opened by George Lindley in 1833.  Courts of Quarter Sessions were being held in 1836.  A post office was operating under Mr Edward Antice, at a salary of £26 per annum and Mr Thomas Salmon was Chief Constable at £75 per annum, with two Div-Constables, 11 Special Constables and 22 ordinary Constables under him.

Dr F.J. Park was listed as Assistant Surgeon at £4/15/- per annum.  An Agricultural Society was formed in 1839.  The churches had begun to grow.

St. Peter's Church of England was begun in 1838 and was completed in 1839.  The plans were drawn by Mr. John Lee Archer, but the church was not officially dedicated until 1844, when the ceremony was performed by the first Bishop of Tasmania (Dr. F.R. Nixon).

The first Rector was the Rev. George Morris.  He was appointed by Archdeacon W.G. Broughton, of New South Wales, at a time when the church was still a part of the Diocese of Calcutta.

The committee for the building of the church included many well-known pioneers - Messrs. Thomas Anstey, James Weeding, Robert Harrison, James Maclanachan, Peter Murdoch, W. Berthon, Daniel O'Connor, of St Peter's Pass, Thomas Browne and William Nicholls.

The first Presbyterian Minister was the Rev. Thomas Dove, who arrived in 1837.  The first church "Campbell's Free Church," was opened in 1856.  Subsequent faults in construction led to the rebuilding in 1859.

The first Catholic Church of St. Paul's was begun in 1850, the foundation stone being laid on April 10th of that year.  A Methodist Chapel was built at Oatlands in 1841, and another at Tunbridge in 1865.

Such in brief are highlights of Oatlands early years.

The town was well served by a Road Trust and the Council until the establishment of Local Government in 1908.

In sport, Oatlands had the distinction of being the venue for the first North v South cricket match in 1850, when the North won by 12 runs.  A Victorian eleven played at Oatlands in 1851.

On the Waverley Estate may be seen the grave of "Assyrian", winner of the 1882 Melbourne Coup, who was bought by Mr. C.S. Agnew.

It is not well known but the Tasmanian Turf Club was formed at Jericho in 1826.  Mr James Cox presided, and it was the first official use of the name "Tasmanian" to a colonial society.

Colourful events and historic happenings have highlighted Oatlands' hundred years.

One of the strange identities of the early town was Solomon Blay, the public hangman, whose services were used both in Hobart Town and Launceston.

Two of the early Canadian rebels transported to Tasmania in 1838, were located at Oatlands, as was Mr. Kevin O'Doherty, the Irish exile.  Meetings between the exiles took place under the bridge at Tunbridge.

Of Oatlands; many public benefactors, space does not permit of adequate reference so an early opportunity will be taken to refer to the pioneers of the school, the Area School, the Hospital, the Country Women's Association, and other bodies through the medium of the local press.

Oatlands has been represented in three wars, and many of her sons have risen to fame and distinction.

The late Sit Thomas Nettlefold, former Lord May of Melbourne, gave the Municipality a wading pool in memory of Mary Fisher's devotion to his mother.

Mr. A.T. Pillinger served in two Ministries as Minister for Lands and Works, and his name is perpetuated in the Pillinger Drive on Mt. Wellington.

Mr. James Maclanachan, who died in 1882, had a distinguished political career.

Messrs. John and James Lord also became stalwarts of the political arena.

Oatlands has many historic landmarks worthy of being listed as Tourist attractions, and the colourful story of Samuel Page, who ran the coaches between Hobart and Launceston in competition with Mr. Thomas Burbury, is one, which could be given great prominence, particularly if one of the old coaches could be returned to Oatlands.

Samuel Page was the owner of the Oatlands Hotel in 1839, and he started his coach service from Oatlands in 1845, and in 1848 took over Mrs. J.E. Cox's service to Launceston.  At one stage he owned Northumbria, Stonehenge, Anstey Barton, Trefusis, Kelvin Grove, Forton, Woodlands, Ellenthorpe and Fonthill.  His flocks were estimated at about 63,000 sheep.

He is said to have employed 300 horses for his coaching service, each coach being driven by six and the journey is said to have been made twice daily between Hobart and Launceston.  The rivalry between the two coaching services brought the fare down to £1 between the two main centres of Hobart Town and Launceston.

Let us on the occasion of the centenary pause for a moment to reflect on the achievements of the past and take stock as we plan anew for a new centenary, confident in the knowledge that Oatlands' future is safe in the hands of good men and true.

Lake Dulverton

Oatlands stands on the shore of Lake Dulverton, previously known as The Big Lagoon, Stinking Lagoon and later Lake Frederick.  Once a popular fishing area and host to many aquatic  events it was dry from 1994 to 2001 due to the drought.  It covers 233 hectares, and approximately 1 hectare of the lake has been filled using bore water and contained by a bund wall.  The area has been re-stocked for fishing and to encourage the return of native birds back to the sanctuary.  The island in the centre is known as Mary’s Island, as it was named after Mary Anstey (wife of Thomas Anstey, the Police Magistrate).

A Pictorial look at Oatlands, from images at Tasmania Linc

Oatlands Racecourse

Oatlands School c 1872
Oatlands Hunt
The Oatlands Court House

The Oatlands Hotel 

General View of the Town

The Pharmacy

The School
Oatlands Town Hall

The Oatlands Train

The Town, when the Midland Hotel was operating 1872

Martin Cash at St Peter's Pass

St Peter's Anglican Church
The Old Goal



St. Peter’s commenced services in 1827, when the catechist, William Pike came from Park Farm near Jericho to conduct services.  The Rev. Drought also drove up from Green Ponds (Kempton) whenever necessary.

In those times between 100 and 130 people used to attend the services either under a shady tree or any other likely spot.  It was not a good place to be when the cold piercing southerly winds raced over the high plains.  So William tried to obtain government aid in putting up some sort of shelter for the shivering congregation.  Governor Arthur’s reaction was very satisfactory, and he ordered on 30th April 1827 a little stone and clay chapel to  be built, but when more space was used for larger congregations, the Court House was used.

Six years later 100 people,  met at the Court House to discuss the matter of building a worthy chuch and between them they agreed to give 350 pounds for that purpose.  The population of Oatlands was increasing with the new road making Oatlands an important centre.  The first minister was Rev. George Morris.  With the rush of building at that time in the colony, the tenders for the church and the manse were not called until September 1838.  Rev Morris left for England before the church was finished in November 1839.

The governor instructed the architect John Archer to draw the necessary plans and Cleghorn and Anderston the contractors, began work with Mr Aitcheson in charge of the stonemasons.

A report in the Hobart Town Crier of 1841 reported that St. Peter’s had been completed.  It sat within six acres of land.  In September 1844, Tasmania’s first Bishop, Dr Russell Nixon blessed the church and opened it officially, with a packed congregation of over 300 at that time.

Information written about St Peter’s indicates that among the graves of well-remembered pioneers of the district  are those of Robert Jillett and Elizabeth Jillett. 

It is necessary now to correct some historical notes previously sourced by the Jillett family researchers, and indeed other contributors to the stories of early Tasmania, because Robert Jillett died in 1832, and Elizabeth died in 1842.  Neither were buried in the cemetery.  It is thought that they both lie in the cemetery at Back River, where they lived and worked.  There are no markers at all visible to indicate where the graves are located.

However, many of their descendents are buried in the cemetery.  In 1859, when Thomas and Mary Anne lost 3 of their young children to the scarlet fever epidemic which spread across Tasmania, Thomas erected a crypt and monument to his children, and he had inscribed on the side panels of the crypt, the names of both his parents, who had died before the cemetery began.

The Cemetery is now Heritage Listed with Heritage Tasmania

St Peter's Church of England Oatlands.

From Notes from Joan Jillett - from a Book regarding Oatlands.
As soon as the first town buildings were erected in 1827William Pike the catechist, started coming up from Park Farm near Jericho to conduct services, the Rev. Dr. Drought driving up from Green Ponds (Kempton) whenever necessary.
The verandah of the barracks, a shady tree, or any likely spot served as a meeting place for the 100 to 130 people who used to attend these services.  The fervour of their devotions however, was chilled at times by piercing southerly winds that in season came racing over the high plains.  So the catechist invoked the help of Mr Anstey to obtain government aid in putting up some sort of shelter for his shivering flock.  Nothing elaborate was expected, perhaps a rough little chapel of split logs, say thirty feet by twenty feet would be enough, and the chain working in the neighbourhood could be expected to put it up in no time.  Governor Arthur's reaction to Anstey's plea when he presented it way very satisfactory, and he ordered (30/4/1827) a little stone and clay chapel to be built which was used until St. Peter's was finished, but at times when a large congregation could be expected, marriages, Christmas, Easter, and so forth the Court House was used, and we hear no more of Mr. Pike's troubles with the weather.
Nearly six years later one hundred and ten interested people met at the Court House (6th July, 1833) to discuss the matter of building a worthy church, and between them agreed to give £350 for that purpose, knowing that almost certainly the government would back it poind for pound.  The population was increasing rapidly now and the new road was making Oatlands so important a centre that everyone concerned felt optimistic.  The committee consisted of nearly everyone of importance in the district; Thomas Anstey, James Weeding, Robert Harrison, Dr Hudspeth; Peter Harrison, James MacLanachan, Peter Murdoch, W. Berthon, Daniel O'Connor of St. Peter's Pass, Thomas Browne, William Nicholls and others; Thomas Browne being secretary and Robert Harrison treasurer.
Another meeting (17th April, 1834) agreed to ask Governor Arthur to send up a fully ordained man as soon as the foundations were laid.  Arthur very sensibly handed over this petition to Archdeacon Brughton who sent the Rev George Morris to get the parish in running order.  There was such a rush of building going on in the colony at that time that tenders were not called for building the cHurch and parsonage until 21st September, 1838, but Mr Morris had arrived in December, 1836, and left for England before the church was finished in November, 1839.  Another cause of dely was the Legislative Council's inability to vote the necessary £350 towards the work until this time.
The governor had instructed the excellent architect, John Lee Archer, to draw the necessary plans, and with these in hand Cleghorn and Anderson, the contractors, who had already built several other satisfactory churches in the island got to work, with G. Aitcheson in charge of the stonemasons.
Then in 1841, the Hobart Town Courier was able to speak of St. Peter's as having been completed.  Six acres for the church and its parsonage had been allotted by order of St John Franklin in 1838, on the application of Archdeacon Hutchins.

It was September 1844, when Tasmania's first Bishop, Dr Russell Nixon blessed St Peters and opened it officially, with a packed congregation of over 300 people.  The Rev. Gregory Bateman was the rector at that time, and he was followed in September two years later by Sir Richard Dry's brother William. 
The Rev. Mr Dry had money of his own, an d, being generous added (in conjunction with other church members) many finishing touches to the church, including pews in place of benches, an organ, and floor covering, towards which he gave £65 out of his own pocket.

In 1853, the Rev J.L. Ison, B.A. (C. of E.) had an average congregation of 16 at each of the three Sunday services.  £200 was contributed towards his stipend annually by the Colonial Treasury.  Annual offertory £42.  Pew rents £12,  37 baptisms, 23 marriages, 27 burials.

The Cemetery

St Peter's cemetery is one of the best kept and most pleasant in Tasmania with carefully trimmed grass right up to the headstones that come close to the Church walls.  Among the graves of well-remembered pioneers are those of:-
"Robert Harrison, Esq, JP formerly of Rockford Hall, England, and for the last 37 years a resident at Woodbury in this Colony.  He died at the advanced age of 91 years, 14th July 1860.
Elizabeth, beloved wife of the above, died 21st July 1860, in the 88th year of her age."
"Frederick John Park, assistant colonial surgeon, and for 13 years medical officer at Oatlands.  Died, aged 42, 31st August 1847, to the regret of a numerous circle of friends."
"Robert Jones, died 14th February 1888, aged 97."
The most important man of his day also rests here:
"Thomas Anstey, of Anstey Barton, a loving father beside a loving daughter.  He was born at Highercombe, near Dulverton, Somersetshire, England, 31st December, 1777.  Died at Anstey Barton in this parish, 23rd March, 1851."  
A tablet in the church in memory of him reads:
"His friends recall with affectionate memory his acute intellect, his well-stored mind, his manly independence, his genial kindness.  His sons would here fondly trace a record (alas too brief!) of their heavy debt to his paternal love and of their grateful reverence for the memory of their beloved father and friend".                                           His memorial was erected by the citizens of Oatlands
"Robert Jillett d. 3rd November, 1852, aged 72, also Elizabeth Jillett d. 9th March, 1842, aged 67.  (1832 not 1852)
(There are several Jillett graves).  Among the many other names in the cemetery are those of:
John Davidson d. 23rd September, 1854, aged 56.  John Riching Adams d 1886.  Edward Francis Sanderson  d 18/1/63, aged 39.  Virtue Maria Sanderson d. 11/1/52.  Sixteen or more grave stones commemorate members of the Barwick family; that of Joseph Barwick d 3/7/1863, seeming to be the oldest.  The names of Hawkins, Sturgeon, Fleming, Maher, Nathaniel Williat d 20/7/75.  Cuppaidge (formerly of Athlone d. 11/11/69, aged 62 and Headlam also appear.
In the church are the following other memorials:
A window of stained glass to Christopher Salmon.
Tablet to Sidney Nelson d. at Waratah 2011/97 given by his Bischoff comrades.
Window, Rex Thorpe Gregg, Sgt. 2/12th Battn. AIF aged 22 died of wounds at Tobruk.
Tablet. William Fielder Mitchell, rector of this parish for 17 years.  Bible given for Myrtle Elizabeth Undy, d 8/8/1952, by her husband and two sons, and her parents R.S. and Amy Eliza Jones.
Triptych windows over the alter showing the Resurrection.
The centre window in loving memory of Margaret Ellen Isles.  The one on the right is for Thomas and Susan Nettlefold.  The other to the pioneers of Oatlands.
Window  William and Mary Nelson and family.
Brass tablet to Edith Noamah Tapp, organist for many years d 22/10/1942.
Window3 for William and Mary Fisher
Window Hercules Bradshaw Moorhead, MD
Tablet, William Henry Harrison, killed by a fall from a horse, 5/2/1868.
The Rev. H.H. Butler is the present rector and his lying centres include Jericho, Rose Hill (on the Lower Marshes road) that follows the Jordan towards Strathbarton where th wooden church of St John was built chiefly through the interest of John Jones, who gave the necessary land).  Stoner, (no church) Baden (no church) Pawtella (no church), Parattah (St George - a wooden building). Tuinbridge is in the parish of Ross.
The Old Cemetery Beside Lake Dulverton.   96 Stanley Street Oatlands.
Here is a fine vault near the entrance in memory of Samuel Page who died 31swt March, 1878, at the age of 68, his wife who died at Hobart, aged 66 in 1882.
A number of grave stones have been taken away or broght up and crops are grown between most of those that remain.  Still legible, are a vault for the Kimberleys 1848.  James Salmon  son of Thomas and Mary.  Five stones for members of the Sawford family (Henry William Sawford d 24th Dec. 1844) and the following cheering lines appear:
Farewell my friends and parents dear,
I little thought my time was near;
To weep for me is all in vain,
I hope in Heaven we'll meet again.
Other names are:  Newry, Michael Hyland and his wife Sutton, Powell and Palmer
Bevan Evan's tomb of 18235 quote the old favourite:
Stop my friends
As you pass by
As you are now so once was I
Prepare for death and follow me.

Another Evans tombstone reads
How frail the bloom
How short the stay
That terminates us all.
Today we flourish
Fresh and gay,
Like leaves tomorrow tall.

Others are Fisher, Easton, Littlechild, Madden, Barlow and Aitcheson, who apparently was a member of the family that helped to build Oatlands.

Tasmanian  Records at   List of cemeteries.

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
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.

The Callington Mill

The mill is situated on a rise in Oatlands.  The land is on two blocks, one facing High Street, owned by Charles Mc Donald and the other fronting Lake Dulverton, on the Esplanade, previously owned by Samuel Richards.  In 1836 John Vincent acquired the land and commenced construction of the mill.  It began operating in 1837.

John Vincent and his wife and seven children arrived at Hobart Town on the “Elizabeth”.  He came to the colony quite a wealthy man.  Later when his family increased to nine, he hard cleared part of his five hundred land grant at Sorell Springs.  Three years later he was the licensee of the Norwood Inn at Bothwell and by 1831 he had erected the Bothwell Castle Inn as well as a stone house at York Plains.

During 1839 John tried to sell or let his mill, without success.  In 1840 he transferred the holding to his son John Vincent.  At that time the mill was producing twenty to thirty bushels of flour an hour.

A few years later his son mortgaged the mill to his father, and went to live in Glenorchy.  The mill was then let to Henry Fox for some time.  In March 1850 thomas Jillett purchased the mill, and in order to boost production, Thomas built a steam mill, fitted with a fourteen horse-power engine which it claimed could turn out from five to seven tons of flour daily.

Water to supply the steam mill was drawn for a well, sunk to a depth of 72 feet, only a few feet from a newly erected two storied building.

The following description of the mill and the outbuildings can be found in “The Mercury ” of 17th January 1862  .. “Steam and wind flour mills consisting of a two story built flour mill with steam and wind power for deriving two pairs of stones, dressing and smut machines, hoisting gear and every necessary convenience on the most approved principle.  Two roomed cottage for the residence of the miller with large store over, three stall stable, dwelling house, baker’s shop and two cottages fronting the main street with stable and coach house adjoining, a large and well arranged dwelling house of twelve well proportioned rooms, four stall stable with hay loft, cow shed, piggeries and yard.”

Thomas kept the mill a little over ten years, disposing of them on 31st December 1863 to John Bradshaw, a licensed victualler of Oatlands.  The mill was on sold four more times until it was damaged during a violent wind storm in 1909, when the sails were torn from the dome and were deposited in the nearby Lake Dulverton.

The interior of the building was gutted by fire in 1912.  It then sat unused and a daily reminder to visitors and locals alike, of the history that surrounded the unique structure.  Since 1960’s attempts have been made to restore the mill, and various grants have been won and used to enhance some of the features.

However the current $2m+ restoration project will ensure that this remarkable building will be retained for the enjoyment of future generations.

The mill is the only remaining mill still located within its surroundings in the whole of Australia

Extract from "A History of the Lower Midlands" by J.S. Weeding

"During March 1850, John Vincent sold the Mill to Thomas Jillett of "Springfield", and in order to boost production, the new owner erected on the same location a steam mill fitted with a fourteen horse-power engine which it was claimed could turn out from five to seven tons of flour daily.  Water to supply the steam mill was drawn from a well which was sunk to a depth of 72 ft, only a few yards from the imposing two storey building which contained the grinding mechanism, dressing and smut machines in addition to storage space for wheat and flour.

One interesting feature associated with the steam mill was that the top floor in the building was movable.  By removing or adding wooden wedges the floor could be lowered or raised in order to obtain correct working pressure for the wooden driving clgs.

The following description of the flour mills is taken from The Mercury of 17th January 1862 -

"Steam and Wind Flour Mills .. consisting of a two storey built flour mill, with steam and wind power for driving two pairs of stones, dressing and smut machines, hoisting gear and every necessary convenience on the most approved principle, two roomed cottage for the residence of the miller, with large store over, three stall stable, dwelling house, baker's shop and two cottages fronting the main street with stable and coach house adjoining, a large and well arranged dwelling house of 12 well proportioned rooms, four stall stable with hay loft, cow shed piggeries and yard"

Thomas Jillett kept the mills a little over ten years, and disposed of them on 31st December 1863 to his nephew John Bradshaw of Oatlands.

The Callington Mill has been owned by two members of the Jillett Family.

Thomas's nephew John Bradshaw operated the Mill for some time, and in 1857 he advertised the mill for sale in the local papers.  The advertisement stated that the mill had a lease of 3 years and 4 months.

John Bradshaw married Maria Bacon, and their eldest son George became a millwright at the mills.

After being in the Jillett Family for 17 years the mill was sold again in 1881 for only £1040

Research indicates that when Thomas bought the complex for £2400, that included several homes.

The Mill A Pictorial Look over the years.



The Oatlands Researchers

Original research on the family was carried out by Joan Jillett, she was a teacher and they lived in Oatlands.  Over the years Joan did an incredible amount of work.


There were two houses erected on the York Plains property owned by the Jillett family.  The property extended to what is now known as St Peter’s Pass.

The first house built was "Springfield" in 1837 by Thomas Jillett, his children who were born there were registered as being born at York Plains.  Thomas only built half of the home known as Springfield in 1837, the later owner Askin Morrison built the remainder.

Thomas and his family would have been living at Springfield in the years 1845, 1847, 1848 and 1850.  In 1850 he purchased the Callington Mill in Oatlands.  There are births recorded in Oatlands for 1854, 1856, 1858 and 1860.  There was also a birth recorded at Cathrine Vale in 1852, presumably at the home of Grandfather Triffitts as he had a property of that name.

John Jillett (Thomas’s brother) built Eldergrove in 1867.  John died in November 1868, and left his home to his wife, Phoebe, however she died one month later. 

In 1880 when Eldergrove was put up for sale, the property consisted of 1200 acres.  The Main Line Railway passed through it and the York Plains siding was immediately opposite the Inn.

The homestead comprised a comfortable dwelling, with the Inn, which was doing a good business.
                                     (So the newspapers revealed in the Properties for Sale April 1880)

Eldergrove was auctioned and a Mr Jones bought the property however Thomas Jillett, (John’s uncle) placed a notice in the paper saying that Eldergrove could not be sold as it was left to them by Robert Jillett (his  father).  It was revealed that the estate owed Thomas Three hundred and twelve pounds 8 shillings and 10 pence.  

 (This was the subject of a long court case which the original researchers were not aware of the full details)

Springfield was a fairly large property and ran right through to the York Plains Station (or where it was going to be).

Robert Jillett had leased property and some had been granted to him at York Plains.  However all grants of that period were incorrect as they had been issued in the name of Lord Brisbane, Governor of Australia, and they should have been granted in the name of the King.  Everyone had to return his or her grants for re-issue.[1]

It took a number of years for this to be done and a lot of people never followed it up and they were not re-issued with the grants.  Robert died before the re-issue and it would seem that the family never was re-granted the land.  John Jillett purchased 1200 acres at a later stage and built Eldergrove.

Thomas and John Jillett had a falling out, and it would seem that it was to do with the lands[2].

The Governor of Tasmania (Sir Henry Young 1856 – 1861) had morning tea at Eldergrove in 1876,[3] and this may have been when the first train ran to the north of Tasmania.  Tasmania had its own Governor by then, as opposed to the former Lt. Governors

Research reveals that in 1865 Askin Morrison bought the house and property known as St Peter’s Pass from Thomas Jillett.   The family lived there for many years.  He may have purchased 160 acres of the original portion. 

Mercury, Saturday 31 October, 1891

OBITURYThe death is announced of Mr Thomas Jillett, after a long illness.  He was born at New Norfolk on September 24, 1817, and commenced sheep farming at an early age and was very successful in that industry.

In 1866 he moved to Victoria with his family, and purchased a sheep station on the Wimmera River.  This property he sold, and bought two large runs in New South Wales; these he also disposed of, and in 1880 he purchased Greendale Sataion, on the Barcoo River, Queensland, his sons assuming the management.

Three years ago he returned to his native land, and has passed his last days in a life of ease and contentment.

When a young man he was passionately fond of horse racing and possessed a large silver cup that he won at the New Town races in 1843.  He leaves a widow, and nine children to mourn their loss.
His sons are the owners of two valuable sheep stations in Queensland
These few lines in the newspaper in 1891, summarised the life of Thomas Jillett.  For his descendants, this is not the end, but merely the beginning of a story rich in history, and strongly woven into the fabric of Tasmania.   From hardships encountered in the 1820’s until his death in 1891, Thomas, together with his wife and children played a very significant and important part in the history of Australia.

Thomas was born 24th September 1817 at New Norfolk, probably at Back River.  He died in Hobart on 20th October, 1891, aged 74.

Mary Ann Shone was born 1 November 1821 at New Norfolk, at Back River.  Her parents owned Stanton.  She died in 1911.  Records in the newspapers of the early 1900’s state that she was one of the oldest Tasmanians alive at that time.

Alfred Charles              B          1845          D         1921
George                         B           1847  -                   1935
Henric Thomas             B          1848  -                   1917
Thomas Shone              B          1850   -                  1897
Frank Powell                B          1852                   11 Feb 1859
Amelia Mary                B          1854                   26 Feb 1859
Louisa Susanna            B           1856                  16 Feb 1859
Arthur James                B          1858                   25 June 1929
Fanny Ellen                  B          1860                       1948
Edward Frank               B          1862               Sept 1947
Amy                             B           1864                        1954
Tasman                        B           1867  Melb              1937

In 1859 three of their young children died within three weeks of each other.  Thomas and Mary Ann built a crypt in memory of the children. 

That crypt is in the St Peters Anglican Cemetery in Oatlands, Tasmania

They were married June 1st 1844 in St Matthew's Church, New Norfolk.  

[1] Not quite what current research has revealed, as it was more to do with Administration and backlogs.
[2] Again incorrect there was no falling out, however this story remained until 2010
[3] The date was later

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