Saturday, May 17, 2014

Captain Goldsmith's land at Lake St Clair

"This part of the country unknown" was printed on the Surveyor-General's map of Van Diemen's Land in 1824. Artists such as John Glover (in 1834) and Skinner Prout (in 1845) had travelled in the region and represented Lake St Clair and surrounding mountains in sketches, but it was not until the 1860s when photographs taken by Morton Allport of his party's excursion to Lake St Clair made the region a better known traveller's destination.

NLA Catalogue
Creator Glover, John, 1767-1849.
Title [Four Tasmanian views] / [picture] / [John Glover].
Extent 4 drawings : pencil and wash ; on sheet 17.8 x 26.5 cm.
Lake St. Clair
View from Mount Olympus
[Figures beside Lake St. Clair]
[Mountain ranges].

By 1840, master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith (Elizabeth Rachel Nevin’s uncle) had acquired 100 acres from Thomas Drew in this area of VDL, now known as the Lincoln Land District of Tasmania.He sold it on to George Bilton in February 1841, whose co-partnership with Edward Goldsmith and others in The Derwent Ship Building Company was dissolved a few weeks later, in March 1841.

Tasmanian Heritage and Archive Office
Title: Chart of Van Diemen's Land from the best authorities and from actual surveys and measurements / by Thomas Scott Assistant Surveyor General ; engraved by Charles Thompson (Cross) Edinburgh
Creator: Scott, Thomas, 1800-1855
Map data: Scale [ca. 1: 545,000]
Publisher: [London : s.n.], 1824
Description: 1 map : col. ; 83.5 x 59 cm
Format: Map
Notes: "from the original survey brought by Captain Dixon of the ship Skelton of Whitby 1824"
Map of Tasmania with land grant, distances from Hobart, comment on topography and settlement. Relief shown by hachures and bathymetric soundings
Table of references with grants and owners

Lincoln Land District is one of the twenty land districts of Tasmania which are part of the cadastral divisions of Tasmania. It was formerly one of the 18 counties of Tasmania. Its south-eastern tip is surrounded by the River Derwent on one side, and the Nive River on the other. It is bounded to the north by the Pieman River. It includes Cradle Mountain, the Overland Track, Lake St Clair and most of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

George Bilton, 100a., Lincoln, originally Thomas Drew, who conveyed to Edward Goldsmith, who conveyed to the applicant; claim dated 20th January, 1841.-Bounded on the east by 40 chains southerly along Lot .'350 located to Thomas Burnett, on the south by 25 chains westerly along Lot 358, on the west by 40 chains northerly along Lot 359, and on the north by 25 chains easterly also along Lot 359 to the point of commence-ment.
Source:Classified Advertising. (1841, February 12). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 1. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from

Memorial to Lieutenant Thomas Burnett
St David’s Park, Hobart, Tasmania
Photo KLW NFC 2014

Captain Goldsmith’s land at Lake St Clair in the county of Lincoln, VDL, was bounded on the south by land allocated to Lieutenant Thomas BURNETT, who had drowned four years earlier, on 21 May 1837 while conducting hydrographic surveys of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel aboard the colonial cutter Vansittart. Lieutenant Burnett had accompanied the newly-appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the colony, Captain Sir John Franklin on the voyage to Hobart on board the Fairlie just months before he (Burnett) drowned, arriving on 6 January 1837. He was buried with full naval honours in St David’s cemetery, where his monument still stands. Designed by John Lee Archer, Colonial Architect, the monument stands on the stone plinth intended as the main stand for an observatory for Burnett.

Detail: Memorial to Lieutenant Thomas Burnett
St David’s Park, Hobart, Tasmania
Photo KLW NFC 2014

GEORGE BILTON acted as proxy for John James Meaburn in the dissolution of the enterprise “The Derwent Ship Building Company”, witnessed by Captain Goldsmith’s neighbour in Davey St, Robert Pitcairn.

NOTICE.- The Copartnership hitherto carried on by the undersigned, under the style or firm of "The Derwent Ship Building Company", has been dissolved as on this date.
George Bilton
  for John James Meaburn
Andrew Haig
E. Goldsmith
Wm. Williamson
Witness- Robert Pitcairn
Hobart Town, March 3. [1841]
Source: Classified Advertising. (1841, March 5). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 3. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from

The company was originally established in 1839 once the acquisition of land at Secheron Bay, Battery Point, was settled, with Captain Goldsmith's expressing his intention of establishing a patent slip there. The local press reported the venture with considerable optimism:
LAND.-The property of Mr H. W. Mortimer,sold on Wednesday last by Mr W.T. Macmichael, realized the following prices, viz.-an allotment fronting the Derwent, 115 feet,£5 5s per foot,£903 12s do do. 115 feet, £9 10s, £1092 10s; and the dwelling house and premises, £625.-Messrs Bilton & Meaburn, and Captain Goldsmith of the Wave were purchasers, and we have been informed it is their intention to lay down a patent slip, which Captain Goldsmith will bring with him next voyage.-

Source: Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844) Wed 6 Nov 1839 Page 3 V. D. LAND EXTRACTS.
SHIP BUILDING. - A Ship Building Company, composed of Messrs. Bilton, Goldsmith, Haig, Meaburn, and Williamson, are just about to commence, on the ground lately purchased from Mr. Mortimer, where an extensive and well sheltered building yard, and patent slip, are to be erected; an enterprise very much required, and deserving of encouragement. The parties are all gentlemen of practical knowledge, a qualification very much calculated to give general satisfaction, and to ensure success, for the attainment of which they have our best wishes.

Source: Colonial Times, Tues 29 October 1839, page 7, Domestic Intelligence

State Library of Victoria
Title: Lake St. Clair, Tasmania [picture] / S. Prout ; J. B. Allen.
Author/Creator: James Baylis Allen 1803-1876, engraver.
Contributor(s): John Skinner Prout 1805-1876, artist.
Publisher: London : Virtue & Co

In: Excursion to Lake St. Clair February 1863 No. 12
Publisher: Hobart : M. Allport, 1863
TAHO at Flickr