Monday, August 11, 2014

Captain Goldsmith dines with the Franklins at Govt House

Quinces. Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Captain Edward Goldsmith (Elizabeth Nevin's uncle) was invited at least three times to dine with the Lieutenant-Governor of the colony, Captain Sir John Franklin  and his wife Jane, Lady Franklin at Government House, Davey St, between 1839 and 1842.

These pages listing guests and booking dates are from Franklin, Jane Dinner Engagement book, Tasmania, 1837-1843 (University of Tasmania ):


Page 70: Dinner invitation sent to Captain Edward Goldsmith (Wave), 23rd October 1839 to dine at Government House. He had arrived as master of the Wave in late September 1839, and was ready to depart by mid October.

Sept. 26.-Arrived the barque Wave 345 tons, Goldsmith, master, from London, with a general cargo.-Passengers, Messrs. Barnard, Roap, Herring, Walker, W.M.Cook, Davis, Bennett, Leftwick, Roworzing, and Mrs. Bennett.
Source: HOBART TOWN SHIP NEWS. (1839, September 28). The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880), p. 2. Retrieved August 11, 2014, from

Source: Archives Office Tasmania
Arrived in Hobart Goldsmith Ship's Master on the Wave 25 Sep 1839 
Ref: MB2/39/1/4 P351

For London direct.
THE fast sailing bark Wave, 400 tons, E. Goldsmith, commander, having all her dead weight engaged, will meet with quick dispatch. For freight of wool or passage (having superior accommodations) apply to the Captain on board, or to Bilton & Meaburn
Old Wharf, October 10.
Source: Advertising. (1839, October 11). The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen’s Land Gazette (Tas. : 1839 - 1840), p. 3. Retrieved August 11, 2014, from

Captain Goldsmith's wife, Mrs Elizabeth Goldsmith (nee Day), does not appear by name or title on these invitations for her husband to attend Jane Franklin's dinners, although other invitees' wives were included. Pregnant with their third child, she had remained in London, but before her husband's departure in command of the Wave for Hobart on 2nd June 1839, she had supervised a cargo of fashionable items to be sent on consignment to Hobart merchants. John Johnson, of 59 Liverpool-street, for example, who appeared delighted with his acquisition of the newest fashions chosen by "Mrs Captain Goldsmith", ran this advertisement for bonnets in The Colonial Times, 15 October 1839:

The deference to women of status in 1830s Tasmania precluded publication of their Christian names, it seems. Captain Goldsmith's wife, Elizabeth Goldsmith , was to be called "Mrs Captain Goldsmith", if John Johnson's advertisement for his sale of her cargo of bonnets was to be a guide:

The undersigned has now ready for Sale, an assortment of Dunstable, Tuscan, and fancy Silk Bonnets
THE GIRL'S and LADIES' Silk Bonnets were selected under the immediate superintendence of Mrs. Captain Goldsmith, shortly before the Wave left England. A Guarantee of the latest and newest fashion! John Johnson, 59, Liverpool-street, Oct. 11, 1839.
Source: The Colonial Times, 15 October 1839.

The ladies of Hobart Town were wearing these styles ca. 1838

Creator: Bock, Thomas, 1793-1855
ADRI: AUTAS001124066499
ADRI: AUTAS001124066606
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Note: DUNSTABLE BONNET, THE. English, Jig. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody is unique to London publishers Charles and Samuel Thompson's 1765 country dance collection. The first straw bonnet was said to have been made in Dunstable, a market town in Bedfordshire, England, which in any case became associated in the 18th century with finely made straw bonnets. Source: for notated version: Printed sources: Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 157.


Page 103: Dinner invitation sent to Captain Edward Goldsmith, 4th December 1840 which was not filled. He arrived at Hobart a week later, 10 December 1840, in command of the Wave, and departed for London on 16th March, 1841:

Sailed the barque Wave,343 tons, Edward Goldsmith, master,  for London, with oil, wool etc, 16 March 1841
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) Tue 16 Mar 1841 Page 2 SHIP NEWS.

Captain Goldsmith arrived back in Hobart from London as master of the Janet Izat on 26 October 1842 (Ref: TAHO MB2/39/1/6 P355). He was invited to join a small company of seven to dine with the Franklins, including Dr. Joseph Milligan, superintendent of the Aboriginal group at Oyster Cove, and the auditor George Boyes, appointed acting Colonial Secretary (2 February 1842–20 April 1843) on John Franklin's recommendation after dismissing the previous Colonial Secretary, John Montagu, who had alleged interference in government by Jane Franklin. The discussions at dinner might well have centred on John Franklin's difficulties with Montagu and other senior officials (Solicitor-General Jones and Matthew Forster, chief police magistrate) but of immediate concern to Captain Goldsmith was Sir John Franklin's arrangements for the safe return passage of gravely ill Antarctic circumnavigator Captain John Biscoe with his family on board the Janet Izat. Captain Biscoe died at sea on the Janet Izat on the return voyage for London departing 15th February 1843. On the topic of polar exploration Sir John Franklin may have foreshadowed in this company at dinner his desire to reprise a commission from the Admiralty to lead a naval expedition to the Arctic, an ambition which cost him his life in June 1847. The Franklins departed Hobart, VDL for Port Phillip, Victoria on board the Flying Fish, in November 1843.

Page 148: Top billing. Dinner invitation sent to Captain Edward Goldsmith, 1st November 1842.

Source of originals.
Franklin, Jane Dinner Engagement book, Tasmania, 1837-1843. University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection, Australia. (Unpublished);

Plate from the dinner service used at Government House, bearing Governor Sir John Franklin's insignia.
Source: Gowans Auctions, Moonah, Tasmania: June 2016, Ref: PR39-1462326394

The Hobart Regatta
The more immediate concern for John Franklin was the appointment of Captain Goldsmith as umpire of the four oars gigs race at the upcoming Hobart Regatta to be held at Sandy Bay on 1st December, 1842. The event was marked by a protest from Mr. Hefford:

The second was that of gigs pulling four oars ; the first boat to receive fifteen sovereigns, and the second seven sovereigns. Five boats started: the " Cater- pillar," "Centipede,""Chase-all," "Gaxelle," and the "Son of the Thames." At first each seemed to maintain its place, continuing to do so as far as the outward ' buoy, when the " Gaxelle" began to creep away, and continued gradually to gain apace until she arrived at the goal, closely followed by the "Centipede." The pull was, altogether, a heavy one, and, we should say, bespoke rather the energy of muscle than a decision as to the speed of the rival crafts. The winners were- of the first prise, Mr. Bayley, owner of the" Gaxelle," and of the second, Mr. C. Lovett, by the " Centipede ;" these received their prizes, accompanied by the usual honours, at the hands of M. T. Chapman, though not without a protest on the part of Mr. J. Hefford against the bestowal of the second prize, on the ground that the " Centipede" had not properly rounded one of the buoys. The objection was done away with, as well by Mr. Kelly as by Captain Goldsmith, who had been appointed umpire, under the Impression that Mr. Hefford had publicly withdrawn his boat.
Source: LOCAL. (1842, December 2). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 2. Retrieved August 18, 2014, from

Captain Goldsmith, committee member at the Regatta 1847
Silk program, from TAHO at Flickr

Where have all the cabbages gone?
What did Jane Franklin serve her guests at these more intimate dinners? Theft of fruits and vegetables from the gardens which supplied Government House was proving evermore difficult to curtail. Discontent among the populace at "food rotting on the ground" was reported in the press. Even colonists caught sampling plants were threatened with police investigation.

The Colonial Times, Sept 18, 1834
Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

A display board in the Gardener's Cottage, Royal Botanical Gardens informs visitors that:-

The Govt garden is an area of 15 acres & has about as many gardeners or labouring men (for they are all London pickpockets) under a chief who has a good salary ...Lady Jane Franklin, wife of the Governor Sir John Franklin, letter to her sister - 1842 
Cabbages claim second scalp
The first superintendent of the Gardens was dismissed by Governor Arthur for supplying cabbages to the wrong people. But cabbages continued to cause controversy into Sir John Franklin's tenure.
Lady Jane Franklin had started to notice a gradual decline in the amount of produce that arrived at her table. She noted that there were many people better supplied than they were. The housekeeper later warned her of growing discontent in the servants quarters because they had nearly no vegetables at all. Lady Franklin was convinced that either theft or bribery was to blame, so she came down to the Gardens to complain to the gardener.
At first he tried to blame drought, but soon admitted that certain men of rank and privilege were increasingly sending ...
Sir John Franklin's nephew, William Porden Kay, was appointed to redesign the Gardens in 1842. The intention was to include areas for public enjoyment beyond the purely economic and scientific purposes the gardens already served.

William Porden Kay1842
Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Imported Fruits

Apples and Pears
Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Government House Hobart 1847
Lantern slide reproduced by J. W. Beattie Tasmanian Series from an unattributed early photograph
University of Tasmania eprints Special Collections

Jane, Lady Franklin ca. 1838, by Thomas Bock
Sir John Franklin ca. 1845 by E. P. Hardy
National Portrait Gallery of Australia collection

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