Sunday, March 19, 2017

Captain Goldsmith, James Lucas and Peter Fraser: 500 acre leases 1853

LEASE of CROWN LAND Parish of Pedder Tasmania 1853
JAMES LUCAS River Derwent pilot
PETER GORDON FRASER Colonial Treasurer

Public Domain
File: Knut Bull - The wreck of 'George the Third' - Google Art Project.jpg
Created: 1 January 1850

In order to avoid being blown offshore and thus delaying arriving in Hobart Town, the master decided to enter the torturous D'Entrecasteaux Channel between Bruny Island and the Tasmanian mainland. At about 9.15 pm that evening George III hit a rock and over a period of several hours broke up in the heavy swell. The convicts were kept below to allow the women and children to be safely evacuated by the ship's boats. The guards fired their guns in order to quell rising panic; this gunfire is believed to have killed between one and three of the convicts. Many others drowned below decks, including many of the sick in their beds. In all, 133 lives were lost in the disaster, of whom 128 were convicts.

An inquiry refused to ascribe blame for the disaster. The disaster did, however, result in renewed efforts to accurately prepare nautical charts of the Tasmanian coast so that mariners were warned of its many hazards to shipping, and the tightening up of regulations concerning provisions for the transport of convicts.
Source: Wikipedia, wreck of the ship George III 1835

Lots 195, 196 & 197 in the Parish of Pedder

Parish of Pedder, lot 195,500 acres, Peter Fraser.
Baker's Rivulet, lot 196, 500 acres, James Lucas.
Reef Point, lot 197, 500 acres, Edward Goldsmith.
Source; Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) Sat 23 Jul 1853 Page 3 SURVEYOR-GENERAL'S OFFICE.

Surveyor-General's Office, 13th July, 1853.The description of the following Lots of Crown Land which have been leased for grazing purposes for one year from the 1st of January last, under the Regulations established by the Government Notices No. 66, of the 3rd July, 1848, and No. 114, of the 1st November 1851, are published for general information :
County of Buckingham, Huon River, Lot 182, 500 acres, leased to James S. M'Kay. Parish of Pedder, lot 195, 500 acres, Peter Fraser. Baker's Rivulet, lot 196, 500 acres, James Lucas. Reef Point, lot 197, 500 acres, Edward Goldsmith. Port Cygnet, lot 198, 500 acres, John Thorp, junior. Parish of Bedford, lot 199, 500 acres, Patrick Kenny. County of Cornwall, Parish of Brentwood, lot I0, 2000 acres, K. and W. K. Murray. County of Devon, Vicinity of Reedy Marsh, lot 273, 500 acres, John Thomas. Vicinity Port Frederick, lot 386, 1160 acres, W. Johnson ; lot 386a, 2740 acres, W. Johnson, junior.. River Forth, lot 387, 1600 acres [etc] ,...

Detail of map showing D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Storm Bay, entrance to the River Derwent
Source: Hall, S., A New General Atlas, with the Divisions and Boundaries, 1835. - See more at:

Captain Edward GOLDSMITH (1804-1869)
The exact location of Reef Point in the Parish of Pedder, county of Buckingham, in the south east of Tasmania around the city of Hobart, the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island areas, is not clear from original documentation. Three 500 acre lots - Lot 195, Lot 196 and Lot 197 - were leased to Colonial Treasurer Peter Gordon Fraser; Derwent River pilot James Lucas; and master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith respectively. Being sequentially numbered, these lots must have been adjacent.

The three lots may have been located around the Surveyor's Bay area to the west of the Channel across to Tinderbox Bay on the east where Mt Louis overlooks the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, and by association, near Point Louis, both mountain and point presumably named after the French cartographer-surveyor Louis de Freycinet who first entered the Channel sailing in Le Naturaliste together with Baudin in Le Géographe on 13 January 1802. They surveyed around the Channel for more than a month before sailing north. Port Louis was where James Lucas was posted as a Derwent river pilot from 1829 to June 1853 when his land grant of 500 acres was gazetted. His job as a pilot was to board vessels, assume control, and log details of the ship's arrival, including the ship's date of sailing from the port of departure, the ship's weight, owner and place where built, the ship's master and crew, the cargo, the number and names of passengers, number of cannon, the ship's draught and weather conditions as they entered the narrow passage en route to the port of Hobart.

When Captain Edward Goldsmith leased 500 acres of Crown Land for "grazing purposes" in 1853 at Reef Point in the Parish of Pedder, the lease would have served at least three purposes whereby he profited from his extended stay in Tasmania while ashore during 1853-1854: the felling of blue gum timber (eucalyptus globulus) for ship building; marine salvage of wrecks along the D'Entrecasteaux channel reefs; and grazing of pure merinos and other breeds imported mainly from NSW.

The felling of the native blue gum - Eucalytus globulus - used in shipbuilding, was said to have fetched more than £800,000 in exports from the exploitation of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel coastline by the time Captain Goldsmith contributed a specimen plank to the Paris Exposition in 1855. The Hobart Courier, September 6, 1855 reported;

Blue Gum of Tasmania,- Eucalyptus globulus,
plank 70 + 11 +3 inches. Captain Goldsmith.
This is perhaps the most valuable and important of the timber trees of Tasmania. Its principal habitat is in the south side of the island ; but it is also met with in the valley of the Apsley and at the Douglas River, on the East Coast, and it re-appears upon Flinder's Island, in Bass's Straits: its stronghold, however, is D'Entrecasteaux's Channel and along the south side of the island, whence it has been exported in various shapes within the last three years to the value of about £800.000.

State Library of Tasmania
Blue gum camp and coupe ca. 1870
ADRI: AUTAS001126185776; AUTAS001126185636
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Within months of the lease of the 500 acres lot in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel areaa, Captain Goldsmith commenced the construction of a patent slip at his shipyard, another government lease located on the Derwent below the Queen's Domain, at Hobart. He had built the ferry steamer SS Kangaroo there, which was launched in 1854, but he began to encounter difficulties in procuring labour and timber for progressing the patent slip. He sold the lease of the Domain shipyard to the McGregor brothers in 1855 who built a number of blue gum barques and clippers there from the 1850s through to the 1870s.

Title: HARRIET MCGREGOR [picture]
Author/Creator: Allan C. Green 1878-1954
Date(s): [ca. 1900-ca. 1954]
Description: 2 negatives : glass ; each 12.1 x 16.6 cm. (half plate)
Identifier(s): Accession no(s) H91.250/130; H91.250/131
Subjects: Harriet McGregor (Ship) ; Barks (Sailing ships)
Notes: Copy of earlier negative.
Link to digitised item:

The Harriet McGregor, 332 tons, was built at the Domain shipyard by Alexander McGregor in 1871, and named after his wife, the former Harriet Bayley. It was the most renowned of the blue-gum clippers that made 24 voyages from Hobart to London and back as well as trading on intercolonial and Mauritian routes until sold in 1895 to Danish owners, renamed Water Queen, and destroyed soon after by fire at Rio.

Once felling of native timber on his 500 acre lease had commenced, Captain Goldsmith could use the land, as was required by the regulations of the lease, to set sheep to graze. He had imported pure merino rams and ewes from England and NSW for wool growers such as Mr W. A. Bethune in 1847 to improve the local bloodlines.

Captain Goldsmith's importations, The Courier 17 November 1847
Source; LOCAL. (1847, November 17). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 2. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from

IMPORTATIONS.-We learnt that Captain Goldsmith has brought out in the Rattler, and landed in prime condition, for W. A. Bethune, Esq., a number of pure Merino rams and ewes, as a change of blood in this colony, and for the improvement of the fleece in fine wools. He has also succeeded in bringing into port in a flourishing and healthy state several varieties of new strawberries for T. Horne, Esq.; new kinds of hops for Mr. Sharland; several cases of flowering shrubs and plants for Mr. Newman, of the Royal Botanical Gardens, another for E. P. Butler, Esq., and one, also, for Mr. F. Lipscombe. At his own expense Captain Goldsmith has imported upwards of one hundred varieties of plants and shrubs of the most approved sorts in the English nurseries; and, in accordance with his considerate attention on former visits to our port, has on this occasion not been unmindful of a desire to introduce to the colony additional objects of attention. Of these are white swans, so attractive in the sheets of water in park scenery; and pheasants and partridges, likely to become prolific in the bush of this colony, which is deemed well adapted to their nature and habits: so that, eventually, the " Old English Gentlemen" may once more enjoy their favourite sports, and the native youth become practically acquainted with the game which abounds in the rich domains of England. Examples of this kind are worthy of imitation by captains of colonial traders.
The coastline of Captain Goldsmith's 500 acre lot provided easy access to the myriad reefs in the Channel which posed hazards to shipping. The narrow passage into the Channel on the left of Bruny Island, and the entry into the Derwent on the other side, the right of Bruny Island had caused many a shipwreck. One of the worst shipwrecks in the Channel was the prisoner transport the George III in 1835. Captain Goldsmith imported a diving bell, suit and machinery in January 1855, having made use of equipment for prior salvaging from operators such as Frederick Maning, a neighbour in Davey St.

Source: The True Colonist Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch, and Agricultural and Commercial... (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1834 - 1844) Fri 24 Apr 1835 Page 27

We have received from Captain M'Donald, of the Britomart, (but too late for insertion) a very particular account of the dangers existing in the entrance to D'Entrecasteaux Channel, and pointing out the error by which Mariners are led into the fatal mistake of, supposing what Horsburgh says of the two entrances) of the Strait of D'Eutrecasteaux, (meaning that in the Derwent for the N. and at Partridge Island, which he considers the other entry, for the S.) to refer to the passages on each side of the Aetaeon Islands, the South West of which passages is described by several authorities to be so interspersed with rocks, that no stranger can enter it with safety. Some of these dangers are particularly pointed out by the late Captain Wech. Captain M'Donald also states, that in the passage between the Maatsuyker's Islands and the Coast, which according to Flinder's Chart of 1709, and the sailing directions from the Hydrographical office of 1830 presents a clear passage of six miles) he discovered a rock about twenty feet long, nearly level with the surface of the water, lying N. N. E. by compass, about two miles distant from the largest and nearest Island of the Maatsuyker's Group. This rock is known to the whalers, but not laid down in any chart or book of directions.

Title:[Monument to victims of the wreck of the George III at Southport]
Publication Information:[S.l.] : [s.n.], 1928
Physical description: 1 photographic print : b&w ; 80 x 132 mm.
Format: photograph image (online)
Summary: Monument to the "George III", a convict ship of 393 tons which foundered with considerable loss of life in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, April 1835.
Citation: Digitised item from: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

A memorial plague is dedicated to George III at the Tasmanian Seafarers' Memorial at Triabunna on the east coast of Tasmania, approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) north-east of Hobart. The plaque contains the following text:
George III
Convict ship of 308 tons left England
14/12/1834 with 34 crew, 200 convicts
and 29 soldiers of the 50th Regiment.
After 118 days, 16 dead, 60 had scurvy.
Then 10.4.1835 struck submerged rocks
in D'Entrecasteaux Channel, V.D.L.
resulting in the loss of 134 souls.
Source: Ship George III Wikipedia

James LUCAS (1792?-1853)
According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography's entry on James Lucas, he became a pilot stationed at Point Louis in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel from 1829 to 1853. His application for a land grant on Slopen Island was refused because the Land Board (no date given) considered farming might interfere with his important duties as a river pilot, but he later received 100 acres (40 ha) at Point Louis. When his lease at Port Louis was advertised by the Surveyor's Board in July 1853, however, the grant was much larger - 500 acres - and located next to the leases of 500 acres each granted to Captain Edward Goldsmith and Colonial Secretary Peter Gordon Fraser.

Mt Louis (Tasmania) pinpointed
Google maps March 2017

Slopen Island out in the Channel was a source of seaweed which was made into a jelly and exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1855, along with an example of blue gum timber exhibited by Captain Edward Goldsmith. Many names have undergone changes since colonial surveying. Slopen Island is one example. Mt Louis was sometimes written as Mt Lewis, and Pearson's Point as Pierson's Point.
SLOPEN ISLAND.-It is called Slop-
ing Island on the Admiralty maps, and
was called St. Aignon, after one of his
officers by D'Entrecasteaux, on his map.
Since then it has been variously called
Sloping, Slopen, Sterring, and St. Aig-
Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Sat 16 Sep 1911 Page 10 TASMANIAN NOMENCLATURE.

Slopen Island (Tasmania)
Google maps March 2017

Extract from the Australian Dictionary of Biography
James Lucas (1792?-1853), pilot, was born at Norfolk Island, the son of Lieutenant James Hunt Lucas of the 102nd Regiment. There is a tradition that at an early age he was enlisted as midshipman in the Porpoise under Matthew Flinders and was in that ship when it was wrecked on the east coast of Australia in August 1803. He served for three years in the Buffalo, two years as second officer and chief officer in the Kangaroo and then four years as chief officer in the Elk.

In 1821 he was appointed harbourmaster and pilot at the newly formed penal settlement at Macquarie Harbour, and soon earned the reputation of being attentive to his duty, active, vigilant, bold and resolute and a man with whom prisoners could take no liberty. He was stationed at Cape Sorell and for eight years piloted across the shallow and treacherous entrance most vessels making for Macquarie Harbour. He was occasionally sent along the coast to search for escaping convicts and recaptured a number of them.

At Cape Sorell on 21 July 1828 he was married by Rev. William Schofield, Wesleyan chaplain, to Margaret Keefe. His three children were baptized there. Next December, as he boarded the James Lucas, a small craft used to take supplies to the pilot station, the hatches were suddenly closed over him by convicts attempting to escape. He broke through the bulkhead and later captured two of the absconders near Circular Head. He applied for a less hazardous appointment and in November 1829 became a pilot at the Derwent, and was stationed at Point Louis in D'Entrecasteaux Channel. When he applied for land on Slopen Island he was refused by the Land Board on the ground that farming pursuits would be liable to divert a pilot's attention from his important public duties; later, however, he received 100 acres (40 ha) at Point Louis.

In August 1844 he boarded the Angelina [this ship's arrival was reported in the press as the Angelica, see note below], a ship carrying female convicts, was asked to produce his authority, but was not able to show his pilot's licence, which he seldom carried. Thereupon the captain abused him and, when Lucas showed resentment, lashed him to the rigging, and had the ship taken in by an unlicensed pilot.

In June 1853, after thirty-five years in government service, he applied for a pension. Some weeks later, always ready to help those in distress, he went to the assistance of the Dutch barque Emilie, aground at Halfmoon Bay. Lucas was severely injured when the warp line broke. He was taken to St Mary's hospital, where he died on 5 August 1853. Shops in Hobart closed and shipping in the port flew flags at halfmast when his funeral proceeded to St George's cemetery

Select Bibliography
Historical Records of Australia, series 3, vol 4
Hobart Town Courier, 21 Oct 1842
Colonial Times (Hobart), 27 Aug 1844, 13 Aug 1853
CSO 1/134/3237, 1/216/5209 and GO 33/78/1161 (Archives Office of Tasmania).
Citation details
E. R. Pretyman, 'Lucas, James (1792–1853)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 17 March 2017.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967
The Angelina was a female convict transport ship, and Gray was the captain who tied James Lucas to the mast when he boarded it as the pilot as it entered the River Derwent on 24th August 1844. This article reported the outrage (and called the ship the Angelica) :
Disgraceful Assault. — On Saturday afternoon, as the female prison-ship Angelica [sic - Angelina] was coming up the river, she was boarded by Mr. Lucas, our old and well-known pilot. Upon going on board, he was asked for his licence, the authority by which he acted. Mr. Lucas replied, that he had been in Government employment for thirty years, during twenty-three of which he had acted as pilot, and, with the exception of the present instance, he had only once before been asked such a question: besides, his boat bore the pilot-flag, with Mr. Lucas's name as a pilot; and, under these circumstances,Mr. Lucas did not think it necessary to carry his licence about him. To satisfy the captain, however, Mr. Lucas sent his boat ashore for the purpose of bringing back the 'authority.' During the boat's absence, the captain became impatient, and, refusing to wait, made a signal for another pilot, when Mr. Harburgh— who, we believe, has no licence —came on board, to whom the captain gave the command of the ship. In the meantime, words ensued between the gallant captain and the veteran pilot, which led to some violence on the part of the former, accompanied by the most insolent and opprobious abuse. This, Mr. Lucas very naturally and and properly resisted, when a tussle ensued, which resulted in our old friend being lashed to the rigging by the captain and his crew, in which situation he remained for some time, and, on being liberated, went ashore in Mr. Harburgh's boat. There could be no rational excuse for this unmanly, unseaman-like outrage, as the captain must have known Mr. Lucas,, having formerly visited the colony as mate on the ship John, also a prison-ship, we believe; while Mr. Lucas was also known to several or the crew. We shall, no doubt. have the full particulars in due time, as such an offence against the law, as well as against the person of Mr. Lucas, will not be suffered to pass unnoticed, nor, we hope, unpunished. These particulars, when they transpire, we shall report . Colonial Times, Aug 27th.
Source: The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880) Sat 31 Aug 1844 Page 3 POLICE REPORT.

Convict Indent Record for Angelina
Arrived VDL 25 August 1844
Source: Archives Office Tas: CON15-1-3,360,1,F,37

The female prison transport the Angelina, owned by Joseph Somes (1787-1845) was sold on his death to Robert Brooks for the Australian wool trade. Within weeks of the purchase, Robert Brooks had engaged merchant mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith to command the Angelina to Port Jackson (Sydney NSW) with a cargo of luxury goods and emigrants. On 15th July 1845, Captain Goldsmith set sail from London with his eldest son, 15 yr old Richard Sydney Goldsmith (named after Edward's father Richard Goldsmith snr), indentured as an apprentice on the voyage. The Angelina (434 tons) arrived at Port Jackson via the Cape of Good Hope on 12th December 1845. Passengers numbered twenty-three (23), crew members and "various" which included 15 yr old apprentice Richard Goldsmith, numbered nineteen (19).


Source: Mariners and ships in Australian Waters
State Records Authority of New South Wales: Shipping Master's Office;
Passengers Arriving 1826 - 1900;
Part Colonial Secretary series covering 1845 - 1853, reels 1272 [4/5227] -1280 [4/5244].
Transcribed by Gloria Sheehan.

On Captain Goldsmith's return voyage to London with a cargo of produce and 36 passengers, departing Sydney on 22nd February 1846, the Angelina was struck by an iceberg in the Southern Ocean, sustaining damage to the foredeck and losing the bowsprit. With makeshift repairs, Captain Goldsmith sailed the Angelina safely back past Portsmouth on the 4th July 1846. Barely twenty days back on shore in London, he was ready – and on this voyage so was his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith – to set sail again. Captain Goldsmith took command of the barque Rattler, new off the stocks, which Robert Brooks had commissioned specifically for him, on 24th July 1846, his sights set once more for Van Diemen’s Land. Robert Brooks maintained the Angelina as a trader in the Pacific, carrying passengers and produce, e.g. tea, between Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney. He disposed of the Angelina in 1850 (Broeze, Mr Brooks and the Australian Trade, 1993:150).

Looking south from Dawes Point past ships at Campbell’s wharf to Circular Quay, 1857?
Digital Order Number: a8143022
Stereographs of Sydney scenes, 1850-1870 / by William Hetzer and J. R. Clarke
State Library of NSW

This former female transport and subsequent merchant trader, the Angelina is not to be confused with the French whaler Angelina, built at Le Havre, 445 tons, which visited Hobart on 19th December 1849 with 37 French crew, carrying ballast and stores:

French whaler Angelina, 19 December 1849
Source: Archives Office Tasmania

And at the National Library of New Zealand, a report on the exploration by the crew of the whaler Angelina 1849:

Title: Rapport / de M. Dutaillis.
Author: Dutaillis, M.
Creation Date: 1849
Format: p. [145]-198 ; 23 cm
Language: French
Notes: Caption title.
"Sur sa mission aux îles Mulgraves."
"L'objet de l'exploration est la recherche d'une partie de l'équipage du baleinier l'Angélina."
Detached from: Revue coloniale, mars et avril, 1849.

Peter Gordon FRASER (1808-1888)
Peter Gordon Fraser is remembered more as an artist than as the Colonial Treasurer and Colonial Secretary in 1850s Tasmania. How he profited from his 500 lease of land in the Parish of Pedder, adjacent to the 500 acre lots leased to master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith and Derwent pilot James Lucas is not known.

Title:[River Derwent fron Ancanthe]
Fraser, Peter Gordon, 1808-1888.
Publication Information: [ca. 1850]
Physical description: 1 painting : watercolour on paper ; 28 x 36 cm.
Format: picture
image (online)
Notes: Attributed to Peter Gordon Fraser.
Unsigned and undated.
Exact measurements 273 x 357 mm. within mount.
Framed behind glass. Glass loose in frame.
A painting by P.G. Fraser, titled as above was in the Art Treasures Exhibition 1858, lent by Mr. Allport.
Condition on accession: Dirt. Minor discolouring, foxing. Image support pasted to acidic card, which is staining. Appears to have had some conservation.
Citation: Digitised item from: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

Extract from the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Peter Gordon Fraser (1808-1888), colonial treasurer, was born on 31 March 1808 in Scotland the fourth of thirteen children of Donald Fraser, minister of Kirkhill, and his wife Jane, née Gordon. He joined the staff of the Colonial Office as a clerk about 1835, was appointed sheriff of Van Diemen's Land in 1838, arrived in the colony in May 1839, and took up duty next January. He was promoted colonial treasurer and collector of internal revenue in January 1843, thereby becoming a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils. Apart from acting as colonial secretary in 1851-52, he remained colonial treasurer until responsible government in 1856. On retirement he was given a pension of £600 for life (18 Vic. no. 17). He had also served from time to time as commissioner of the Caveat Board.

He returned to England on leave in 1847, partly to pay court to a lady he had met in the colony: Mary, second daughter of John Bisdee. They were married at Hutton, Somerset, on 11 October 1848, just before their return to the colony; two sons and a daughter were born at Hobart. Fraser finally returned to England with his family in 1860 to settle in Somerset. Though not in robust health, he survived another twenty-eight years, dying at Weston-super-Mare on 27 April 1888. One son was then a medical practitioner at Totnes, Devon.

Three things stand out about Fraser's life in Van Diemen's Land, two of them providing a rather unusual contrast: his unquestioned integrity and solid respectability on the one hand, and his self-abnegation and reluctance to accept responsibility on the other. The third feature of note was his enthusiasm as an amateur landscape painter. That Fraser could enjoy a relatively uneventful occupancy of the Treasury for some fourteen years and retire from it honourably was unusual for a period in which lapses of conduct by self-seeking officials so often led to dismissal. Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Denison praised his methodical and business-like habits, and noted that he had conducted himself to the satisfaction of all the governors under whom he had served. Yet his popularity was to a large extent a product of his retiring nature. He had not even wanted promotion as treasurer, but felt unable to decline without giving offence to Sir John Franklin; he twice unhesitatingly vacated his seat on the Legislative Council to make way for other officials; and he refused the high office of colonial secretary. He did his job well but unimaginatively, and liked nothing better than to associate with the members of Hobart's lively artistic community. He was a frequent companion of John Skinner Prout and later of the colonial auditor, George Boyes, who had at first despised him for his 'want of energy and resolution'. He was a leading member of the committee which organized Australia's first art exhibition in the Tasmanian Legislative Council chambers in January 1845, and he exhibited his own work at this and later exhibitions. Some of his paintings, of historical interest if not artistic brilliance, are preserved at his wife's Tasmanian family seat, Hutton Park, Melton Mowbray.
Select Bibliography
W. A. Townsley, Struggle for Self-Government in Tasmania, 1842-1856 (Hob, 1951)
G. T. W. B. Boyes diary (Royal Society of Tasmania, Hobart)
correspondence file under Fraser (Archives Office of Tasmania).
Citation details
R. L. Wettenhall, 'Fraser, Peter Gordon (1808–1888)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 17 March 2017.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966
Three adults were counted as residents in the house of proprietor [Mrs?] Davidson at El Boden Place, South Hobart. who were between the ages of 21 and 45, and had arrived free to the colony: - a single male, a married male and a married female, plus a daughter under two years of age. Peter Gordon Fraser did not marry Mary Bisdee until 1848, so he may have been the bachelor living with a couple and their child. There is an extensive history of this particular house - click here, devised by William Davidson's descendants.

Census 1843, Archives Office of Tasmania
Name: Fraser, Peter
Record Type:Census
Under 14:No
Census district Hobart
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:475717

Residence of Peter Gordon Fraser 1841-1853
3 & 1 Elboden St, South Hobart
Source: Davidson Family Archives

Peter Gordon Fraser gave his occupation on the birth registration of his son Donald Alexander Fraser on 15th May 1851 as the Colonial Secretary (signed P. Fraser reg, 21st June). The child was born to Mary Bisdee his wife whom he married in 1848. His home address was still El Boden Place, South Hobart where he had resided for nearly a decade, moving his wife and child into the Davidson house before settling finally into Davey St. Hobart. Whether his 500 acres leased from the Surveyor's Office in 1853 for the purpose of grazing remained in the family over many generations is not (yet) recorded by descendants.

Name: Fraser, Donald Alexander
Record Type: Births
Gender: Male
Father: Fraser, Peter Gordon
Mother: Bisdee, Mary
Date of birth: 15 May 1851
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1851
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:955232

Name: Fraser, Graeme Bisdee
Record Type: Births
Gender: Male
Father: Fraser, Peter Gordon
Mother: Bisdee, Mary
Date of birth: 12 May 1853
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1853
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:957512

By 1853, with the birth of his second son Graeme Bisdee Fraser, Peter Gordon Fraser was the Colonial Treasurer, and resident of Davey St. Hobart and by the time his daughter Maude was born, his occupation was listed as "Gentleman". He retired from public service in 1856.

Name: Fraser, Maude Millicent Mary
Record Type: Births
Gender: Female
Father: Fraser, Peter Gordon
Mother: Bisdee, Mary
Date of birth: 31 Dec 1858
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1859
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:963647

1843 Fraser, Peter Colonial Treasurer
1849-50 Fraser, Peter Colonial Treasurer
1851 Fraser, Peter acting Colonial Secretary
1851-2 Fraser, Peter (replaced by Chapman, Henry S and in turn replaced by Champ, W T N) acting Colonial Secretary
1853 Clerke, Alexander (replaced in June by Colonial treasurer Fraser, Peter) Colonial Treasurer
1854 Fraser, Peter Colonial Treasurer
1855-6 Fraser, Peter Colonial Treasurer

Sources:The Legislative Council of Van Diemen’s Land 1825-1856 by Victor Korobacz, University of Tasmania 1971 (MA Thesis)


Title: St. Mary's Pass V.D.L. P. Fraser.
Author/Creator: Fraser, Peter Gordon, 1808-1888.
Publication Information: 1846.
Physical description: 1 painting : watercolour on paper ; 35 x 50 cm.
Format: picture image (online)
Notes: Signed and dated lower right. Title inscribed in ink lower right.
Framed behind glass. Condition on accession: Stains in sky area upper right along edge. Large stain above trees upper right. Frame in good order. Acidic(?) mount.
Online version of this image available.
Citation: Digitised item from: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

Title:[Mount Wellington and waterfall] Peter Fraser.
Author/Creator: Fraser, Peter Gordon, 1808-1888
Publication Information: c1846.
Physical description:1 painting : watercolour on paper ; 33 x 23 cm.
Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

John Nevin senior's land grant 1859 at Port Cygnet


A farmer and friend surveying his sown crop
Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin ca, 1870
Blind stamp on border at right "T. NEVIN PHOTO"
TMAG Collection Ref: Q1994.56.22

John Nevin snr (1808-1887) was born at Grey Abbey, Ireland and served with the Royal Scots 1st Regiment of Foot in the West Indies from 1825 to 1838. He then served at the Canadian Rebellions from 1839 until 1841 when he was invalided out to the hospital at Chelsea, England, and thence to Ireland. He married Mary Ann Dickson, pursued the vocation of gardener in his wife's brother's business, Alexander Dickson's nurseries at Newtonards, taught school, and contributed to journals with surveyor John Hurst, proprietor of the Freeman newspaper. By the time he arrived in Tasmania in 1852 as a free settler, he had become the father of four children. His eldest, Thomas James Nevin (1842-1923) who became a professional photographer in Hobart from the 1860s, survived all members of this immediate family group, including his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day, dying in his 81st year, his beard still red, his eyes still clear, according to his grandchildren.

The House at Kangaroo Valley
Their grandfather John Nevin snr had arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, as a pensioner guard on board the convict transport, Fairlie, in 1852 with his wife Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson and their four children - Thomas James, Mary Ann, Rebecca Jane and William John, all under 12 years old . He was granted a parcel of land in 1859 in the shire of Buckingham, near Cradoc, in the Parish of Bedford, on the Huon River. Although John Nevin snr was able to settle his wife and their four children who had all arrived with him in 1852 on the land grant in the shire of Buckingham, he settled them instead on land granted to Dr. E.S.P. Bedford situated just above the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley, Hobart). He was employed by the Trustees of the Wesleyan Church to teach school at Kangaroo Valley, and granted permission to use the one acre of land on which to establish orchards and build a house. John Nevin snr resided at Kangaroo Valley until his death in 1887, firstly with his wife Mary Ann Dickson and young family, and four years after her death in 1875, with his second wife Martha Nevin nee Genge and his grandchild Minnie Carr.

Detail of map below; location of the Lady Franklin Museum within the 10 acre land grant of E.S.P. Bedford and J. Price. John Nevin snr was granted the lease of the Wesleyan Chapel, the school house and land on which to build his cottage in 1854. By 1872, John Nevin had leased an additional acre of land nearby for gardens and orchards from Maria Nairn, wife of William Edward Nairn (1812-1869), assistant comptroller of the Convict Department in 1843, in charge of prisoners in Tasmania and on Norfolk Island, and sheriff of Hobart in 1857-68. His wife Maria Nairn was a sister of John Swan, Inspector of Police in the 1870s.

Map – Buckingham 116 – parish of Hobart, allotments fronting New Town, Humphry’s (Humphrey), Guy Fauks (Fawkes) and Hobart Town Rivulets and Brushy Creek, landholders HULL GEORGE, BROWN W C, BYE H, CUNNINGHAM, GEE, BRINDLY J, BROWN, MEZGER J and others
Description: 1 photographic print
Source:Archives Office of Tasmania

Source Citation: Nominal registers of the hiring and disposal of immigrants with details of marital state, age, children, trade, employer, wages and term of employment.; Film: SLTX/AO/MB/143; Series: CB7/16/1

The record (above) shows that John Nevin snr, schoolmaster at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart, Tasmania, paid £5 (five pounds) for a family ticket of 2 [?] individuals on 11th July 1854. These tickets may have been issued for any number of purposes: payment for John Nevin's return to Tasmania from his unhappy venture at the Californian gold mines; payment for the arrival or departure of family members to or from intercolonial ports; or payment for the assisted passage of teachers' assistants, servants etc for the school at Kangaroo Valley.

So, by 1854 John Nevin was registered in the Hobart Gazette as resident schoolmaster and leasee of the school house at Kangaroo Valley, and by 1858 he had built a house there, which he called "My Cottage in the Wilderness" in a poem he published in 1868. The house was located inside the boundary just above the Lady Franklin Museum, on land which was sold by the Hobart City Council on it acquisition from the Church Trustees (those originally designated by Lady Jane Franklin) in the 1920s. The area is visible in this Southern Met map of 1973:

Lenah Valley (1973).Ref: 5172-18.
Southern Met maps
Archives Office Tasmania

John Nevin snr remarried in 1879, four years after the death of his wife Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson, to widow Martha Salter nee Genge, daughter of his friend, William Genge,lay preacher at the Wesleyan Church in Melville Street, Hobart . With his second wife Martha Nevin nee Genge, he adopted his grand-daughter, Minnie Carr, daughter of his daughter Mary Ann Carr nee Nevin, who died days after giving birth to her in 1878 at Sandridge, Victoria. and brought her to the house at Kangaroo Valley in 1879 where she resided until his death there in 1887. His widow Martha Nevin and granddaughter Minnie Carr then moved to Patrick Street, North Hobart, where Minnie, just 20 years old, died suddenly of gastric poisoning and haemorrhage in 1898.

The cottage that John Nevin built at Kangaroo Valley
“T.J. Nevin Photo” inscribed on verso, 1868.
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint & The Liam Peters Collection 2010.

The bridge in the foreground crosses the rivulet. The Lady Franklin Museum sits below the site where John Nevin built his cottage (now demolished), next to the house (pictured) above on the rise at 270A Lenah Valley Rd. Photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2012 ARR.

The Land Grant in the Parish of Bedford
In 1859, John Nevin snr was granted ten acres one rood and seventeen perches in the parish of Bedford on the Huon River near Cygnet, about 60 kms south west of Hobart, but it appears he never moved his family from Kangaroo Valley to take up permanent residence on the grant. He may have used the land, however, to cultivate orchards, grow vegetables, and make jam for export. In 1870 he exhibited marrows at the Industrial Bazaar at the Hobart Town Hall. His eldest son Thomas Nevin exhibited photographs as well. In 1873 he presented an exhibit of peat to a meeting of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and in 1877, he exported jam on the Southern Cross to the colony of Victoria. The peat may have been extracted from Kangaroo Valley, known originally as Sassafras Gully in the 1840s, a valley rich with the type of flora that grows as ‘wet’ and/or mixed forest in Tasmania. In 1891, the orchards on the land leased from Maria Nairn at Kangaroo Valley may have produced fruit in quantities large enough that John Nevin's sons Thomas and Jack, may have attempted mechanised packing. Their application for a patent of their fruit packer was tabled by the Hobart Fruit Board in June 1891.

1870: Marrows and Photographs

Vintage Botanical Print Antique PUMPKIN, MARROW, botanical print 1960s
Source: Pinterest Vintage Prints ETSY

The Mercury newspaper recorded the opening of the Bazaar in a detailed report on 31st March, 1870. Exhibited on the same Table 8 as John Nevin's marrows were apples from his neighbour W. R. Giblin, Attorney-General, President of the Working Men's Institute and the Nevin family 's solicitor.

The ceremony of opening the Industrial Bazaar at the Town Hall took place yesterday afternoon with great success. The resolution to have an exposition of local industries and products was come to many months ago, after much consideration by the members of the Working Men's Club, but it being the first of the kind, the difficulties and labour attending it could hardly have been anticipated by the promoters. Indomitable perseverance on the part of Mr. Walker, the Secretary, Mr. Crosby, and the committee generally, has,however, enabled them to achieve the object, and the experience gained cannot fail to be of advantage on future occasions, for after the co-operation and kindly spirit shown by all classes, not excepting the members of the Government, and the city authorities, the Working Men's Club will no doubt be encouraged to have more exhibitions of an industrial character, the benefits of which must be diffused in a variety of ways. The capacity of the club to sustain a bazaar has been favourably tested ; the public have had the opportunity of witnessing for themselves what the artisans and working classes can achieve; industries of which the general community may have heard, but which they had but imperfect conceptions of, have been represented in one grand Exhibition, brought into a focus within the general comprehension, and producing a spirit of emulation, no doubt, on the part of many who have stood aloof, or at all events have not participated in this industrial exposition. It is not easy to say how extensive the influence such a concentration of local products and manufactures will have on tho public mind ; but we may safely predict that the enthusiasm displayed on the occasion will have a salutary effect on producer and consumer, and lead to a more grateful recognition of the dignity of labour, and its bearing on tho enterprise and prosperity of the community. The Bazaar was announced to be under the patronage of a number of distinguished persons, including His Excellency the Governor and the Hon. Mrs. DuCane, Sir Francis and Lady Smith, the Lord Bishop of Tasmania and Mrs. Bromby, Sir Robert and Lady Officer, and the Mayor and Aldermen of Hobart Town, all of whom have directly or more remotely evinced an interest in measures for promoting the solid and social welfare of the industrial classes generally, and the Working Men's Club in particular. The appeal of the committee for exhibits and contributions was cheerfully and generally responded to, as demonstrated by the large and varied samples and specimens with which the Town Hall was crowded yesterday. Cabinet work, agricultural implements, coopers' and turners' work, hats, boots, and clothing, basket anil tin ware, leathers and furs, saddlery, horological and photographic art were all represented ; printing, in letter press, and lithography, and machine work, were in practical operation, which "the million" had the opportunity of seeing for themselves. The committee adopted the idea of one or two of its active members of having a capital centre-piece, in the shape of a trophy of suitable dimensions, to display some of the principal products of the colony. There were also stalls for the exhibition and sale of lighter articles, presided over by ladies ; and the tables, platform, and available ground space were allotted to the different commodities, which were sent in for show. Had the space available been more extensive, the goods would have shown to much greater advantage ; but those who had the arrangement of affairs did their best to give a fair and equal chance to all tho exhibits according to their relative value and importance, and towards the last, it became necessary for Messrs. Crosby, Walker, Ellis, and the other workers to devote night and day to the preparation for the opening. As we intend to subjoin a detailed description of the various features in the Bazaar,this general introductory notice will suffice, and we proceed therefore to record the proceedings at the opening ceremony.,,


No 8 contained a butter tub, sent by Mr. Ivey, bag of flour by W. Green, and a bag of flour by G.Gibson, oatmeal from Ritchie's Perth Mills, contributed by G. R. Napier ; and malt, wheat, oats, and barley, the names of senders not stated. In the vicinity of this compartment were sundry farming implements from Harcourt's, Elizabeth-street, namely, spade, hayrick, patent scythe and reaphook.There were also specimens of stone from the Queen's Park and Ross, and some stone, muskwood and dogwood exhibited by the Royal Society's Museum. In front were collections of vegetable marrows, sent by Nevin, Dobson, Stabb and Lane, a sample of potatoes contributed by James Wardlaw, East Coast, from an early crop which realized 22 tons to an acre; collection of apples, "Court Pender Plat" and " Margal," sent by W. Thomas, Sandy Bay ; and another collection by W. Giblin, Providence Valley.
Source: INDUSTRIAL BAZAAR AT THE TOWN HALL. (1870, March 31). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2.

The Bazaar was something of a family affair: John Nevin's eldest son, Thomas J. Nevin exhibited photographs and stereoscopic views together with portraits by his close friend Henry Hall Baily, noted next day in the Mercury:
There are also photographs and stereoscopic views by Mr. Nevin. A velocipede of approved construction is exhibited near, the platform, but the name of the exhibitor is not given.
Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Fri 1 Apr 1870 Page 2 INDUSTRIAL BAZAAR AT THE TOWN HALL.

1873: Peat

12. From Mr. Nevin - A piece of Turf, or peat, used for fuel in Ireland.
Source: University of Tasmania ePrints

The monthly evening meeting of the Society was held on Tuesday, the 12th August, the Right Rev. Bishop Bromby, D.D., in the chair.
The presentations were as follows :
1. From Mr. J. AVatson, Muddy Plains-A musk duck (ñiz'mra lobato).
2. From Mr. Aldred-A Nankeen night heron (Nyctkorax caledon kits).
3. From Dr. Huston-A " native companion," or Australian crane (Gnu auntralasianvs).
4. From Mr. Hissey-Two shells (Haliotis sp).
A silver pheasant, prepared and mounted.
5. From Mr. T. Askdl, Brighton-A swamp parakeet (Pezoporm forinosns).
6. From Mr. Gregory-Four young native cats
(Dasijurus v'werrimis) from the pouch.
7. From Miss Castray-Alga! and corallincB, from Port Arthur, dried and piessed.
8. From Mr. D. Girdwood-Fossil Ostrea (?) und
Terebratula, from Greymonth, New Zealand. fl. From Mr. F. H. Eckford-Copper ore, from
Yamba, Queensland.
10. From Mr. Nevin-A piece of turf, or peat,used for fuel in Ireland.
11. From Mr. Mason-A fish, from Shipwright's Point, Huon.
12. From Messrs. Cawthorn Bros., Macquarie Plains-A lamb with eight legs. Two mountain thrushes (Oreocincla Ittnulata).
13. From Mr. R. M. Johnston. A collection of fossils, from near Launceston.
14. From Mr. S. H AVintle. A number of mineralogical specimens from various parts of the colony. Accompanying them was an "analysis" of a specimen of mineral incrustation from the inside of a boiler supplied by well- water during a period of three years -from ' the estate of J. Todd, Esq., Blue Hills.
A specimen of coal of a peculiar character from Rostrevor, Spring Bay, was exhibited by the Archdeacon. On testing, it was found to be incombustible. In appearance it resembled lignite,and contained no trace of bitumen. The Bishop brought forward some specimens of iron ore, from Mount Pleasant, Swansea ; and Mr. Allport exhibited a collection of tin ore from Mount Bischoff.
Source: ROYAL SOCIETY OF TASMANIA. (1873, August 21).The Mercury(Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2.

1877: Jam
EXPORTS.-February 19.
Southern Cross, for Melbourne-3 pkgs luggage, 1 es fruit, Murray ; 1 prcl, Count de ¿aba ; 1 prcl, J. Sly ; 1 cs fruit, W. Crosby and Co.; 1 cs fruit, Rev. It. D. Harris ; 1 bx, Lewis and Son ; 1 pkg, Blyth ; 2 bxs birds, Jacobs ; 1 prcl, 1 cs fruit, Walch and Sons ; 2 preis. Rev. W. W. Spicer ; 1 cs jam, J. Latham ; 1 prcl, U. Bank ; 1 cs fruit, Miss Webb ; 12 csks oil, 15 pkgs merchandise, A. McGregor ; 37 bis wool, 1 bg bacon, 1 pc machinery, A. G. Webster ; 12 csks black oil, I. Wright ; 50 ess jam, Geo. Peacock ; 2 csks ale, Degraves ; 1 es, Cole and Co. ; 42 cwt. ' willows, Bridges ; 1 cs bats, Bidencope ; 1 cs jam, J. Nevin ; 1 trnk boots, Blundstone ; 3 pkgs copper, Clarke ; 10,000 palings, T.S.N. Co. ; 1 tra drapery, J. W. Woolley ; 2 csks fruit, Creswell ; 1 ort tish, Barnett ; 2 ess birds, Ray ; 20 ess preserved fruit, C ess fruit, Johnson Bros.; 30 ess fruit, J, Milliken; 27 ess fruit, J. Osborne ; 34 ess fruit, W. Connor ; 40 ess fruit, W. Ikiu ; 9 ess fruit, J. Ikiu ; G ess fruit, 0. E Knight ; 2 ess jam, Hollinsdale ; 4 cages birds, Ornant ; 3 horses, %i'eng;3 horses, Lang; 1 horse, Goyder; 1 horse, JDi$n.
Source: SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. (1877, February 20). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2.

1891: Fruit packer patent

"Nevin's patent fruit packer"
Source: The Mercury, 6th June 1891

HOBART FRUIT BOARD.- This board met last evening, all members being present. Minutes of former meeting were read and confirmed. Correspondence was also read and dealt with. The chairman was instructed to insert notices in the papers, drawing attention of orchardists to the necessity of removing and cleansing all bandages on or before July 1 next. The annual fruit growers' roll, prepared by the chairman, was laid on the table for inspection. Nevin's patent fruit packer was also laid on the table. The business being concluded, the Board then rose.

The Deeds of the Land Grant 1859

John Nevin (1808-1887)
John Nevin's Deed of Land Grant
Ten acres one rood and seventeen perches in the parish of Bedford in the County of Buckingham
Dated 15th September 1859
Item Number: RD1/1/44: page 16
Description: Deeds of land grants
Further Description:
Start Date: 15 Sep 1859
End Date: 29 Oct 1859

In the Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land BE IT REMEMBERED that on the Fifteenth day of September One thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, Henry Hardinge Clerk in the Office of the Inland Revenue Branch of the Colonial Treasury at Hobart Town brought into this Court a certain Deed Poll or Grant under the Public Seal of Tasmania and its Dependencies to be therein enrolled and recorded the tenor of which said Deed Poll or Grant is as follows (that is to say)

Victoria by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting KNOW YE that We of Our especial grace and favour have thought for to give and grant and do by these presents by these presents for Ourself Our Heirs and Successors give and grant unto John Nevin and his heirs ALL Those Ten acres one rood and seventeen perches of Land situate and being in the parish of Bedford in the County of Buckingham in Our Island of Tasmania and bound as follows (that is to say)

On the north west by thirteen chains and eighty five links south westerly along Lot 38 commencing at the east angle thereof on a reserved road on the south west by seven chains and forty eight links south easterly along parts of Lots 37 and 33 on the south east by thirteen chains and eighty five links north easterly along Lot 30 to the aforesaid reserved road and thence on the north east by seven chains and forty eight links north westerly along that road to the point of Connors Road [?]

Together with the Appurtenances TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said Ten acres one rood and seventeen perches of Land with the Appurtenances unto and to the use of the said John Nevin his heirs and assigns for ever the same in free and common socage tenure of Us Our Heirs and Successors to be holden YIELDING AND PAYING therefore yearly unto US Our Heirs and Successors the Quit Rent of one peppercorn if the same shall be demanded IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent and the Seal of Our said Island of Tasmania and its Dependencies to be hereunto affixed WITNESS Our trusty and well-beloved SIR HENRY EDWARD FOX YOUNG KNIGHT Our Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over the Island of Tasmania and its Dependencies at Hobart Town in the said Island the Twelfth day of August in the Twenty-third year of Our reign.

By His Excellency's Command
Wm Henty
Colonial Secretary

Public seal of Van Diemen's Land now called Tasmania and its dependencies affixed

H E K Young

John Nevin (1808-1887)
John Nevin's Deed of Land Grant
Ten acres one rood and seventeen perches in the parish of Bedford in the County of Buckingham
Dated 15th September 1859
Item Number: RD1/1/44: page 16
Description: Deeds of land grants
Further Description:
Start Date: 15 Sep 1859
End Date: 29 Oct 1859

Detail of above: Nevin, John

Thomas Nevin photographed the area around the Huon in the 1860s, and acted as a guide to the Salt Caves near the town of Victoria for surveyors, providing the Lands and Survey Department with photographs of the area on commission.

Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, ca. 1870 at Huon River
Verso stamp with government Royal Arms insignia,
T. J. Nevin Photographic Artist, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town
Pencil inscription verso "A. Pedder".
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q16826.19

Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, ca. 1870 of five men in a cave
Verso stamp with government Royal Arms insignia,
Inscription: "Salt Rock Cave, Victoria, Huon"
T. J. Nevin Photographic Artist, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q16826.14

Did John Nevin's two sons inherit the original land grant at Cradoc and Port Cygnet on his death in 1887? Apparently not. Five years before John Nevin snr died in 1887, he sold the whole ten acres (10 acres, 1 rood, 17 perches) of his land granted in 1859 at Cygnet to Thomas Genge. The sale was registered on the 26th January 1882 for £10 (ten pounds). Thomas Genge was a successor ( a son or nephew perhaps) of John Nevin's close friend and fellow Wesleyan, William Genge (1808-1881),  Chapel keeper, sexton and stonemason who had died aged 73 yrs,on 16th January 1881, one year previously. John Nevin wrote a lament on William Genge's death titled "Lines written on the sudden and much lamented death of Mr William Genge who died at the Wesleyan Chapel, Melville-street, Hobart on the morning of 17th January 1881, in the 73rd year of his age.".

William Genge was also John Nevin's father-in-law, despite both men being born in 1808. He was 71 yrs old in 1879 when he married widow Martha Salter nee Genge, William Genge's daughter, who was 46 years old. They married just four years after the death in 1875 of John Nevin's wife Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson, mother of his two surviving children, photographer Thomas James Nevin and Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin. One reason for the marriage was the desire on John Nevin's part to provide a maternal presence for his grandchild Mary Ann (aka Minnie) Carr, daughter of his own daughter Mary Ann Carr nee Nevin who died in 1878 with weeks of giving birth at Sandridge Victoria. John Nevin brought his grand daughter back to Kangaroo Valley, near Hobart Tasmania, and raised her until his death. She then moved to 76 Patrick Street with her step-grandmother Martha Nevin nee Genge but died of gastric poisoning and haemorrhage in 1898.

John Nevin's deed of sale to Thomas Genge
Tasmania Historic Deeds  Lands and Titles Office

Thomas Genge  from John Nevin *DEALING 06/9071 Bedford January 1882

*DEALING 06/9071 Bedford January 1882

Thomas Genge  from John Nevin *DEALING 06/9071 Bedford January 1882
Tasmania Historic Deeds  Lands and Titles Office

Detail below of above with signature of John Nevin and Thomas Genge

View here:
Or at the LIST

Martha Nevin (1833-1925) was most likely instrumental in suggesting the sale of John Nevin snr's ten acres at Cygnet to her relative Thomas Genge, a farmer and neighbour at Kangaroo Valley. Just months after the death of William Genge in January 1881, Thomas Genge's wife Annie Genge nee Brown (m. 1864) gave birth at Kangaroo Valley to a boy who lived just twelve hours. The informant was the midwife, Sarah Blatherwick, nurse of Kangaroo Valley, who registered the cause of death on 24th September 1881 as  "premature birth". John and Martha Nevin arranged the sale of his ten acrres at Cygnet to the bereaved couple in January 1882, which was probably the wisest decision at the time as neither of John Nevin's sons had shown any propensity for farming. Thomas Nevin's fourth son, George Ernest Nevin (1880-1957), on the other hand, who was born at the Hobart Town Hall during his father's residency as Keeper, purchased land at Penna, 20 kms north east of Hobart, near Richmond, and farmed potatoes, although neither he nor any of his siblings resided there. On the death of their father Thomas James Nevin snr from natural causes at No. 270 Elizabeth St. Hobart in 1923, George Nevin and four of his siblings - May, Thomas, William, and Albert - moved to 23 Newdegate Street, North Hobart. Thomas Nevin's younger brother Constable John Nevin resided at H.M Prison, Campbell Street, Hobart until his untimely death from typhoid in 1891.

George Nevin, son of Thomas Nevin, grandson of John Nevin snr
Sale of potatoes from Penna
Typo error? - 23 Newdegate St. not 63 -
Mercury 10th December 1940

FRESHLY DUG from my Penna Estate, limited quantity of New Potatoes, 10lb. for 1/-. Must bring own bags. Apply quickly, George Nevin, Potato Farmer, 63 [sic] Newdegate Street.

Rabiteers: George Nevin, extreme right, ca 1910
The photograph in its original tattered cardboard frame.
The verso is signed "George Nevn" [sic].
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR.

Addenda 1: Maps
The PARISH of BEDFORD in the county of BUCKINGHAM

Archer, J. (Joshua), active 1833-1866.
Title:Van Diemen's Land or Tasmania [cartographic material] / drawn & engraved by J. Archer, Pentonville, London.
Scale: Scale [ca. 1:1,584,000].
Publisher:London : H. G. Collins, [1855?]
Material Type:Map
Physical Description: 1 map ; 26.7 x 21.4 cm.
Notes:Map showing counties, districts and major land owners in Tasmania with relief shown by hachures.
Probably plate 55 from: College atlas for schools and families. London : H.G. Collins, [1855?.
Prime meridian: Greenwich.
Includes comparative lengths of Ireland and Van Diemen's Land.
Map has imprint: London : Published for the Proprietors by H.G. Collins, 22 Paternoster Row.
Includes insignia of compass rose and sphere.
Phillips, 272.
Also available in an electronic version via the Internet at:
Subjects: Counties -- Tasmania -- Maps.
Tasmania -- Maps.
Call Number: MAP RM 1670
To cite this item use:

Pensioner Allotmentsl Parish of Bedford 1855

Archives Office Tasmania
Item Number: AF396/1/173
Description: Map - Buckingham 163 - parish of Bedford, various landholders including soldier settlement partly bordered by Port Cygnet and town of Cygnet boundary (Field Book 56) landholders INNES E E, THE CLOSER SETTLEMENT BOARD, HALL R H, LAWLER E P,
Further Description: 87049
Start Date: 01 Jan 1917 End Date: 31 Dec 1917

Addenda 2: 
John Nevin snr (1808-1887)

John Nevin 1879

John Nevin senior (1808-1887), aged 71 years, photographed on the occasion of his marriage to his second wife, Martha Genge (aged 46 yrs) by his son Thomas J. Nevin at the New Town studio in 1879. Held at the Archives Office of Tasmania Ref: NS434/1/155, Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2012

John Nevin (1808-1887) died in the gardens of his much beloved cottage at Kangaroo Valley on 9th October 1887. His obituary was published in The Mercury on 11th October:

John Nevin (1808-1887)

DEATH OF AN OLD VETERAN.- There passed away very quietly on Sunday, 9th inst., at the good old age of 79, Mr. John Nevin, who for the last 30 years has lived in the secluded shades of Kangaroo Valley, adjoining Lady Franklin's old Museum. He lived a retired life on his pension and in working his plot of garden ground at the Wesleyan Chapel, enjoying the respect of all in the neighbourhood as a consistent Christian. His latter days were spent in quietness among his family, and he leaves a widow (a second wife) and two sons and several grandchildren in Hobart. Only a fortnight ago two friends of his, who were boys in the Royals, and had known him in Canada 50 years ago, paid him a visit, and a pleasant time was spent with him in recounting feats of valour long since almost forgotten. He was then enjoying good health, but last Wednesday, while working in his garden, he felt tired, and rested awhile on the damp ground, which caused a chill. He took to his bed, and, after three days' sickness, quietly joined the majority. In his day he was a wielder of the pen as well as of the sword, and was some 50 years ago a contributor to the infant Press in London, Canada West, when the present city of that name was a struggling town of rough and rude buildings and log huts. As a soldier of the Royal Scots he served under his colonel, Sir G.A. Wetherall, and the present Sir Daniel Lyons [i.e. Lysons] was his ensign; and he did his duty in very stirring times in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-1838. He was engaged in the storming and capture of St.Charles and St. Eustache and in engagements of St. Dennis, St. Benoit, and many other operations on the Richelieu River and adjacent country of Chambly, and at Terra-Bone [i.e. Terrebonne] he assisted in the capture of a large number of French prisoners during a severe winter campaign, often struggling with his comrades to the waist in snow in following his officers in the work of quelling the rebellion of Papineau. John Nevin's proudest boast was that he had been a soldier of the Royals.
Source: The Mercury, 11 October 1887

John Nevin died of pleurisy on October 8th, 1887: his death certificate recorded that he was a gardener when he died:

Registration of John Nevin's death 1887
Archives Office Tasmania: RGD 35/11 No. 1000

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