Women of the district

The topic for the one place study this month is looking at women in your study. So I sent out a post on Sorell Historical Society Facebook page asking for women you think I should write about and why. One person replied and I have her permission to copy direct from her:

Elizabeth ALLANBY nee CUMMING arrived in VDL with her husband and two day old daughter on 2 July 1824. Shortly after arrival the family purchased land on the Iron Creek at Pittwater and named it Flimby Park, after the town John ALLANBY grew up in. John and Elizabeth had 10 more children before John passed away in 1847.

John’s will gave Elizabeth the choice to sell everything and return to England or to remain in Tasmania. She decided to stay and raised the children on her own. The youngest was only 4 when John died.

Elizabeth completed a claim for the land grant that had been given to John, she ran both the Flimby Park farm and the Clifton Hill farm, the land grant, at Bream Creek and ensured all the children were well educated.

While Elizabeth did not make a mark directly on the world, her children did make an impact, a solicitor, bank manager, Arch Deacon of the Church of England, several JPs. All the ALLANBYs I know of in Tasmania can trace their line back to this strong caring woman.

Karlena Nagle – Elizabeth was my 2xgreat grandmother.

Here are a few links to things mentioned by Karlena – arrival in 1824, birth of daughter at sea, John’s will, John’s death, land grant gained in 1858

At the time of her husband’s death, Elizabeth was about 45 years old. She had given birth to the following children I could find using the Tasmanian Names Index:
1824 – Jane Georgina – born at sea on voyage to Van Diemens Land
1826 – John Walker – died at 5 days old
1827 – Mary Anne – died aged 4 months
1828 – John Walker
1830 – Thomas Walker
1834 – William Smeeton
1836 – Christopher Gibson
1838 – Alfred Wilkins
1839 – Barbara Elizabeth
1843 – Llewellyn Robert

At the 1842 census, the family were living at Clifton Hill property. The building was unfinished but built of both wood and stone. There were seventeen people on the property of which thirteen were free. One visitor was there that night Mr F Spotswood. Of the people there that night: 6 single males born in the colony, one single female born in the colony, 1 married male arrived free, 1 married and 1 single female arrived free as well as some convicts and servants. So according to the census, in my list above I am missing the birth of another male child prior to 1842.

The eldest daughter Jane married George Spotswood in 1846 so was not living at home when her father died in 1847.

So I then decided to check out how Elizabeth was represented in the newspapers of the day.
Looks like the local thieves or bushrangers decided to enter her house shortly after her husband had died.

In May 1855, she was seen donating one pound and one shilling to the Patriotic Fund.

In April 1864, Elizabeth was present with one of her sons, at the laying of the cornerstone of St Thomas’s Church in Sorell.

There was a lot of discussion in 1868 about a bridge or causeway to be built across the Iron Creek relating to part of Elizabeth’s property.

Also in 1868, Elizabeth closed the dairy at her farm.

In November 1868, Elizabeth and many of her children and their spouses attended a tea meeting regarding Reverend Brammall now becoming the incumbent at St Georges Church in Sorell. There was a very large writeup in the local paper.

Elizabeth and her daughter Barbara (Mrs Marshall) were often noted in the papers as travelling to and from Melbourne.

She was often in the advertising section whenever land grants were mentioned as she owned a lot of property that would border other land grants being settled.

At the time of her death in 1878, Elizabeth had at least 6 of her children married, and at least 33 grandchildren mainly living in Sorell. Her son William had married and moved to Launceston and her son Alfred had moved to New Zealand but had died five years before Elizabeth. Her son Thomas had also pre-deceased her in 1872. In her will she left her goods and chattels to both of her youngest children Barbara and Llewellyn. The properties had already been handed over to her sons.

Elizabeth was buried with her husband John William Allanby in the Henry Street Cemetery in Sorell.

 

Judy Hurst (3xg granddaughter of Elizabeth) on the Sorell Historical Society Facebook page  mentioned there was also quite a bit about Flimby Park and the Allanbys in “Home and a Range” by Leonard Dimmick which covered the Hean family who were related by marriage to the Allanbys. ISBN 0646338099  Dewey Number 929.209946

Readers: Have you any more stories about Elizabeth Allanby that you could share in the comments below?

Fire in the district

Here in Tasmania, our worst disaster is caused by bushfires or fires that have got out of control. When we have a wet winter and spring, then a dry summer and the lush grasses and undergrowth start dying and going brown, then we know we could be in for a terrible fire season. Much of our land is protected forest or used as farmland with crops and animals. Our forests are predominantly Eucalyptus species which catch alight quickly and the burning leaves and bark leap ahead of the main fire front especially if backed by heavy winds. This will cause lots of spot fires which then develop into larger fires.

pinterastudio / Pixabay

When I was 11 years old, I lived in Glenorchy on the western shore of Hobart and saw the effects of the 7 February 1967 bushfires on the slopes of Mt Wellington. In total, 64 people lost their lives, 900 were injured and about 7000 left homeless across the state. About 1400 homes were destroyed and a further 128 buildings included schools, halls, churches. There were 110 fire fronts burning over 652,000 acres of land within a five hour period. The local paper The Mercury put together a 50th anniversary booklet including memories from the south east of Tasmania. Just today I was shown a link to a Facebook post celebrating the 54th anniversary of the Black Tuesday bushfires. These fires also affected the municipality of Sorell. Read about some memories further down this post.

Another disastrous fire season was in January 2013 when the township of Dunalley in the southern section of the municipality was virtually burnt to the ground. There were 40 fires burning across the state and more than 49000 acres of bushland were burnt out. Dunalley had 65 buildings lost to the fire including the police station, primary school and bakery. People from the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas had to evacuate as the fire was bearing down on them from the north.

History of bush fires in the district

Researching this topic, I found as early as 1804 (the year after Van Diemens Land was first settled) the Lieutenant Governor was warning people about burning the stubble on their land.

In 1841, one fire was thought to be started by a convict road party but when requested verbally to help fight the fire, the overseer refused as it was not a requisition in writing.

By 1844 many settlers were taking out fire insurance for their houses and property.

In March 1850, a fire in the district affected property owned by the following families: Kearney, Blyth, Glover and Zelly.

January 1854 another conflagration was mentioned in the local paper. Some of the surnames mentioned were: Morrison, Phipps, Wicks, Wright, White, Burslem, Bellett, Grimes and Blyth.

In March 1856, a fire at Carlton mentioned the extra undergrowth that caused the bushfire to burn quickly onto the local property.

 

Some people lost their lives while helping to fight fires. Mentioned in March 1886 is that of Mr B Reardon, an old resident of Forcett, who while fixing a fence, must have been overcome with smoke and heat, fainted and the fire then went over the body.

In February 1914, there must have been many fires in southern Tasmania, including around Kellevie and Carlton River. Many buildings destroyed and this was the second bushfire that season.

Council meetings such as this one in 1925, often mentioned the role council had in keeping drains, culverts and blocks of land clear in case of bushfires. Another meeting in 1930, discussed the availability of fire plugs in the town of Sorell. Councillor McDermott made an objection and a few comments from other members came straight to the point.

With the temperature reaching 98 degrees in Sorell in March 1940, some buildings on properties were again affected by bush fires.

 

By 1952, Sorell had its own fire brigade and only one day after being approved by the Rural Fires Board, it was out protecting property from a large fire in the Forcett area.

Memories about Black Tuesday around the Sorell district from members of the Sorell Historical Society

RN: people say the old man (Trakka Newitt) saved Sorell…he back burnt the racecourse before the fire front hit….well before back burning was in vogue…..he learned it from his time on Bathurst Island with an Aboriginal tribe….now that’s a story in itself…… I remember a lot about the ’67 fires……..

LR: my mum told me the circus was in town and the kids from the school were ushered down to the causeway to stand in the water with the circus animals

RN: I remember they took us out of school, we were put onto buses in Forcett street and taken down to the causeway…we got off the bus and sat on the rocks….it was like a movie scene right in front of us…..the smell of burning sheep I remember

LD: The smell is what lingers in my memory too and the mounds in the paddocks that lingered for years

  • LD: My dad was one of the Sorell residents that perished in the 67 fires . Fred Weil aged 39, he would have been 93 this month.
  • GB: Yes, Fred and Geoff Davis(father of Neil Davis) both perished together fighting the fires out Shark Point Road, Penna.
  • LD: I remember being told that dad and Geoff were found together dad facing the flames and Geoff facing away. Apparently dad went back to get Geoff after he had collapsed.
  • LL: Think you will find that Geoff Davis and Manfred Weil died fighting the fires on my father’s property at Penna which was called Preston

LR: My mum was in Hobart and on the bus on the way back, they were stopped at Mount Rumney and told that Sorell and Midway Point was gone. I was 2 months old, my sister was one and learnt to walk that day

KC: I remember the 67 fires like it was yesterday. From being down at Park Beach swimming and getting home at lunch time. After going to the causeway because it was so hot, my friend and I noticed ash falling from the sky, we decided to go to our homes. When I got to the Blue Bell Inn (which was our home, my father was Allan Newitt) I went up stairs to the kitchen and Dad had been eating lunch. You can see Reynolds Hill from the window and dad had seen the fire coming from that direction. So he and Len Tapp who was staying with us went down and lit the race course because the fire would have jumped Arthur St and the whole of Sorell would have gone. I went up to the primary school and found Dad, he could hardly see out of his eyes for the smoke. The fire had come up behind the primary school. Dad asked me to drive him and the local police man back near where the sale yards used to be. We went down Pelham St to the Arthur Highway. I was scared because I didn’t have a licence but when I said this to the policeman he just said that I had done a good job girlie. Then Dad wanted to go to Penna and when we got there, there was all these poor sheep all charred and burnt. There were some local lads hanging about so Dad got them to help him to put the sheep down. The only thing that Dad found was an old railway spike to use to put them down with. It was an awful sight but Dad did the only thing he could to put them out of their misery. That’s what I remember about the 67 fires.

Readers: What has been your memory of bushfires or a disaster in your area of the world?

Oldest headstones

After reading my post summarising the information about cemeteries in the district, Melinda who is a member of the Sorell Historical Society, asked if she could use the post in the Pitt Water Chronicles Book 3 which is being organized at the moment. Of course I said yes but said I would try to get some photos to go with the post.

So on Sunday I headed out to take photos of the headstones and learn a bit more about the person buried there.

Carlton River Congregational has very few headstones still visible. But checking on the Libraries Tasmania Family History Portal, then going to the Tasmanian Names Index I looked for the death of Henry Morriss in 1838. From research I know the first public service of worship at the church was in 1841 so maybe this burial was somewhere else. But the minister James Norman specifically mentions the corpse being the first to be interred at the Carlton burial ground. Click on the images or blue links to see original digitized records.

Henry and his older brother Robert were orphaned when he turned 14. Their father had been a constable at the Carlton but hanged himself.  Henry was not at school at age 14 but his brother could read and write. The boys were Protestants.

Copping General Cemetery has a lot of headstones still in good condition. Sarah Copping was the widow of a mariner and lived a very healthy 98 years before her death in 1884. The cause of death was old age and debility. The informant was C Brammall the incumbent of Sorell. A short biography of her life is mentioned in the newspaper of the day.

Dunalley General Cemetery has two old headstones from 1870. Just inside the cemetery gate, John Clark is mentioned on a huge grave along with many other members of the family while Emma Lester is in a child’s grave at the furthest corner of the cemetery.

John Clark was a farmer who died aged 70. The reason given on the death certificate was disease of the heart accelerated by excessive drinking. Some words in brackets underneath that but I could not read them. From my research I found that John had purchased the land where the Denison Canal is now and John and his son-in-law George Scrimger eventually built a small pub where the Dunalley Hotel is now.

Emma Lester at age 6, died of cachexia which is the weakness and wasting of the body often due to chronic illness. It can also be caused through lack of food. She was the only daughter of William Lester of Fulham, East Bay Neck.

Forcett-Lewisham cemetery has many headstones, the oldest of which is Charlotte Jones. She was the wife of James Jones, a licensed victualler, and she died of erysipelas which is a swelling of the limbs. Charlotte was only 42 years old when this happened. She had given birth to at least seven daughters. Some members of the family must have moved to New Zealand as this was mentioned in the death notice in the paper.

Marion Bay at Bream Creek has two headstones for 1852. They are about three headstones apart.

Ann Dunbabin’s death was not found in the Tasmanian Names Index until I searched with just the surname and there she was as Nancy Dunbabin. She was 33 years old, the wife of a farmer and the informant was Charles Kingston from Bream Creek.  There was no mention of her death on Trove newspapers. But searching for the Dunbabin family at Bream Creek, I find she was the wife of John Dunbabin; they had both been convicts and married in 1839. She was Ann Eccles and the couple had six children.

Louisa Ann Kingston died 7 April 1853 according to the death certificate on Tasmanian Names Index. The informant was Rev James Norman. Louisa was only 12 months old and the daughter of a farmer. She died of dysentery. Yet when we look at the headstone, it says she was 2 years old and died September 1852. There was a female child born to Charles and Elizabeth Kingston on 27 January 1851 – is this Louisa Ann mentioned on the headstone?

Henry Street, Sorell is the oldest cemetery in the district and many of the original settlers are buried here. The oldest is that of Charlotte McGinniss who died in 1828, of an unknown cause. She was the wife of Hugh McGinniss senior who donated the land for the Carlton Congregational Chapel in 1838.  From research of other family trees, it is noted that Charlotte was born Hall, married George Simpson, was then transported to Norfolk Island as a convict. While on the island had a relationship with William Dodge and had three children by him.  She then had a relationship with Hugh McGinniss. Hugh and his partner, with six children, arrived in Hobart Town aboard the ship Estramina from Norfolk Island in June 1808. Their daughter Elizabeth was born a month later. In 1810 Hugh and Charlotte Hall were married by Reverend Knopwood.

Scots Uniting, Sorell has the headstone of Hugh Taylor Denholm who died in 1847. Born in 1845, he was the 5th child of Alexander Denholm the Younger and Clementina Elizabeth Taylor who married in 1836. Hugh died of convulsions but I have not seen his death certificate in the Tasmanian Names Index. This information was found online on page 86 of a book written by Bernard Denholm.

St Thomas, Sorell is the burial place of Thomas Wright in 1865. I could find nothing about this family other than the death notice of his daughter Margaret in 1929. This might be because they were Catholic and those records are not openly available online. His wife was Julia Kennar Wright and she is also mentioned on her daughter’s death notice. There is mention though of a Julia Kennar having 21 acres of land at Bagot, Buckinghamshire in Tasmania in 1872. Is this the same Julia and where is Bagot located?

St Georges, Sorell has the burial of two Walker sisters in 1829, Susannah and Elizabeth. Susannah buried on 1st February aged 20 months, then less than three weeks later Elizabeth buried on 19 February aged 22 days. How the parents John and Nancy Walker (nee Ann Wiggins) must have suffered over those three short weeks with the deaths of their first two daughters.

Readers: Do you have any more information about these people buried in the district of Sorell? Please leave information in the comments area of this post.

 

 

Carlton Congregational Chapel

After writing the post about the Joseph brothers, Moya Sharpe, a member of the Sorell Historical Society, asked if I could find any more information about the chapel I had written about in my post. Chris Wisbey and Sally Dakis now have the Carlton Congregational Chapel on their private property and on 10 January 2021, the chapel celebrated 180 years. Chris and Sally decided to hold a high tea on that date and invited members of the public to visit and join in the cucumber sandwiches and cup of tea in the afternoon. Thanks to Moya for the photo of her and Shirley Scott who can remember when the chapel was actually in use.

Here is my post from what I have learned. It will also be great as part of the One Place Studies #JanuaryLandmarks posts. Clicking on images or blue links will take you directly to the newspaper articles found in Trove digitized newspapers.

While researching for my post on the oldest gravestones in the district, I found that Rev Norman presided over the burial of Henry Morriss in 1838 at the Carlton Burial Ground. I am assuming this is the cemetery attached to the Carlton Congregational Chapel.

The first meeting to be held was advertised in January 1841 in The Courier newspaper in Hobart.

The Fourth Report of the Van Diemen’s Land Home Missionary and Christian Instruction Society mentions the chapel work was still in progress in February 1841. Reverend Alexander Morrison, who had been appointed to the District of Richmond, would preach in Carlton every fortnight. To read more about the report, click on the image below.

Many marriages in the 1850s and 1860s are mentioned as being at the Carlton, some at homes of  the bride’s father but not necessarily at the chapel. Upon more research Rev J Norman was a chaplain in Sorell district from 1832-1867, mainly Anglican churches rather than the Congregational.
MARRIAGES.
At the Carlton, on the 19th instant, by the Rev. J. Norman, Mr. A. Wyke Steele, third son of the late Lieutenant Steele, R.N., to Mary, second daughter of Thomas Manley, Esq. (19 May 1852)

The return of Ecclesiastical Endowments in Tasmania for the Church of England mentions in 1857 that a grant of 10 acres of land had been given in 1836 in Carlton for a church and it was also used for a school and burial ground. Does this relate to the congregational church or was there another church in Carlton?

The Home Missionary Society celebrated its 23rd anniversary and a report was read out. In 1858 a deputation of the committee had visited Bream Creek and Carlton, mentioning

it was with feelings of gratitude that the Committee were able to state that a new chapel was erecting at Bream Creek and the Carlton Chapel had been reopened.

MARRIAGES.
On the 17th instant, at Carlton, by the Rev. Mr. Miller, of Hobart Town, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Blackwood, of Cambridge, William Henry Thorne, to Charlotte, youngest daughter of Mr. William Morris. (17 May 1860)
MARRIAGES.
By special license, by the Rev. J. Norman, at Mr. Hazell’s, Carlton, on 17th October, Miss S. L Smith, youngest daughter of the late Dr. Smith, England, to James G Steele, Esq., seventh son of the late Lieutenant Steele, R. N., of the Carlton. (17 Oct 1860)
MARRIAGES.
On the 9th instant, at the residence of the bride’s father, Carlton, by the Rev. James Norman, Sorell, PHILIP, second son of the late Rev. Philip Palmer, M.A., to MARY ANN, fourth daughter of Mr. Ralph Dodge, Carlton, Pittwater. (9 Jan 1862)
MARRIAGES.
By Special license, at the Carlton, on the 12th November, by the Rev. J. Norman, Joseph, fifth son of Joseph Hayton, Esq., of Wood Brook, Sorell, to Anna Jane, seventh daughter of William Paterson, Esq., of Bream Creek, Tasmania. (12 Nov 1862)

In 1866, Reverend JP Sunderland, agent for the London Missionary Society in the colonies, visited the Carlton Chapel as well as many others while he was touring Tasmania.

In August 1867, five churches including Bream Creek and Carlton were formally received into the Congregational union and Mission of Tasmania. But by 1869, public meetings were being held  about the union and ministers from Hobart Town would attend to address the meetings.

ROLLINGS—DODGE.—On Thursday, 11th February, by Rev. C. J. Brammall, at the residence of the bride’s father, Carlton, Robert W., eldest son of Mr. J. J. Rollings, Forcett, to Elizabeth, fifth surviving daughter of Mr. Ralph Dodge. (11 Feb 1869)
DODGE—KINGSTON.—On the 25th February, by Rev. R. E. Dear, at the residence of the bride’s father, William Thomas, third son of Mr. Ralph Dodge, of the Carlton, to Eliza, eldest daughter of Mr. Charles Kingston, of Sedbury, Bream Creek. (25 Feb 1869)

Some deaths were also mentioned about moving to the Carlton Burial Ground.

DEATHS
ROGERS.—On the 10th May, at Carlton, Emily Cockborne, the beloved wife of Mr. A. Rogers, in the 49th year of her age. The funeral will leave her husband’s residence, on Saturday next, the 15th inst., at one o’clock, for the Carlton Burial Ground. Sydney and Melbourne papers please copy. (10 May 1869)

There was a very descriptive write up of the 1870 anniversaries of the Carlton and Bream Creek chapels – looks like the ladies of the area were rivals in who could make the best spread for the visitors to their district. Also mentioned the danger of travelling on Dodge’s ferry with horses and carts. At the 1871 anniversary, over 150 people attended enjoying a meal, a service by Rev Dear and making connections with other locals, some from remote areas of the district.

In 1871 Reverend R.E. Dear preached at the chapel and gave great discourse on the origins of the Bible Society and how the money it gathers is dispersed. There was also a great description of the chapel and its surroundings. Click on the image to read more about the Bible Society.

According to the Mercury of 29 February 1872, Carlton Chapel was celebrating its anniversary on Tuesday, 5 March 1872, when a deputation from Hobart Town would be attending.

DEATH

In May 1872, there was an inquest into the death of Mr JA Luttrell. After the inquest was finished the body was removed to the Carlton Burial Ground.

By 1874, a public meeting about total abstinence was held at the chapel. This was then followed by a meeting of those wishing to join the GWCT – Grand Lodge of the Good Templars.

In the annual meeting of the Congregational Union and Mission of 1876, it is mentioned that the chapels in Carlton and Bream Creek are thriving often with attendance of 50-80 worshippers.

The 23rd anniversary tea for the Congregational Chapel, Carlton  was to be held on 13 November 1882.

The Carlton chapel was often used as meeting rooms as in July 1883 when a Bill to be brought before Parliament was discussed and voters were asked to collect signatures.

July 1888, Rev Mr Moorehouse becomes the new Congregational pastor for the Carlton and Bream Creek chapels but in May 1890 he is farewelled. At the November anniversary in 1888, the newspaper reports there are coaches available for visitors wanting to attend and they would leave Hobart at 8am.

The 1889 celebrations had lower number of attendees due to inclement weather.

A letter to the editor of the local paper appeared in December 1890, asking horse owners to think about their relatives who might be buried at the Carlton Burial Ground.

A church social was organized in August 1895, by Mrs McGuinness to help raise funds for re-shingling the church roof.

In May 1898, Mr Hebblethwaite takes over the ministerial duties in the district and a meeting was held where it was discussed about taking up a collection for the new preacher. Apparently, the new preacher was a great salesman as mentioned in the harvest service article in the paper in 1899.

November 1900 the members of the chapel were planning to welcome back the Tasmanian contingent from the Boer War which included two of the McGuinniss boys. The service was held on December 16 with Rev Crocker giving the service.

A concert was held at Carlton school in April 1903 in aid of funding the repairs for the chapel. It was well patronised mainly due to the efforts of Mrs Morris Joseph. December 1904 another concert held for repairs to the chapel, the main organizer this time being Mr McGuinniss sen.

In 1905, a silver wedding anniversary was mentioned. The golden wedding anniversary and the diamond wedding anniversary as well.

Transport to the annual tea meeting at Carlton now included the S.S. Seabird from Hobart in 1905.

In January 1910, a farewell social was held for Mr Albiston and a gift of sovereigns was given to him for his hard work in the district especially for starting the M.I.A in Carlton. Not sure if this is missing in action or another group.

In August 1919, the Chapel was used for a Welcome Home event for returned soldier Corporal C McGinnis A.I.F.

 

In 1938, the centenary of congregationalism in the district was celebrated and there was a very interesting write up in the local paper. This included photo of the church, a history of the church including preachers but also information on the local supporters and workers in the church.

Local pioneer, Mrs Joseph, mentioned often in the anniversary tea articles, celebrated her 80th birthday in June 1938.

But on 10 January 1941, the centenary of the actual church was celebrated and articles in the paper mentioned that land was given by Mr Hugh McGuinniss to erect the church and that Reverend Dear was the first resident pastor.

Readers: Have you or a family member had something to do with the chapel? Did you attend the high tea last week?

Cemeteries in the district

The Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. has transcribed and photographed headstones of 800+ cemeteries in Tasmania and much of this information can be found in TAMIOT. Here is a list of the CDROMs available for purchase – I use mine on my desktop using Windows 10 without any problems.

Hobart Branch put together the series of three CDROMs of all the cemeteries in the Sorell District in 2004. The information on the CDROMs is not necessarily found on the internet. For each cemetery, they include a description, plan of the graves as well as names on the graves. Most also have images of the gravestones with a transcription and plot number. Many of these cemeteries have had further burials since 2004 when the CDROMs were created.

The One-Place Studies group often do statistical posts so I thought I might do one today about the local cemeteries with information gained from the CDROMs.

Name of Cemetery No. of graves Earliest grave Most common surnames
Carlton River Congregational 20 1838 Henry Morriss Dodge, Steele, Thorne
Copping General 359 1884 Sarah Copping Allanby, Alomes, Brown, Burdon, Copping, Dransfield, Franklin, Gillie, Jacobson, Kingston, Richardson, Swan, White, Woolley
Dunalley General 264

1870 John Clark

1870 Emma Lester

Bird, Button, Fazackerley, Hildyard, Hyatt, Murphy, Rattenbury, Spaulding, Wiggins
Forcett – Lewisham 199 1876 Charlotte Jones Alomes, Clark, Dodge, Gangell, Long, Reardon, Rollings, Young
Marion Bay at Bream Creek 55 1852 Ann Dunbabin  1852 Louisa Ann Kingston Dunbabin, Kingston
Henry Street, Sorell 446 ** 1828 Charlotte McGinniss Allanby, Bellette, Duncombe, Featherstone, Gatehouse, Hayton, Newitt
Scots Uniting, Sorell 89 ** 1847 Hugh Taylor Denholm Denholm, Hean
St Thomas, Sorell 124 ** 1865 Thomas Wright Bresnehan, Butterworth, French, Montgomery, Wells
St Georges, Sorell 718**  ## 1829 Elizabeth and Susannah Walker – sisters Bellette, Bidgood, Braithwaite, Davis, Featherstone, Jones, Kean, Newitt, Peacock, Phillips, Reardon, Schofield, Walker, Wiggins

** Some women mentioned twice with both maiden and married name.

## Also includes memorials

Many of the cemeteries also had plots with unknown names and dates due to deterioration of headstones.

Readers: Do you know of a relative buried in one of these cemeteries earlier than that mentioned on the CDROMs?

Early properties

Pezibear / Pixabay

By 1806 the first farms were under cultivation in Gloucester as Sorell district was then known. Early land grants were given in 1812 to the following:

Robert Alloms or Allomes Charles Anthony William Baxter Jacob Billett or Bellette
John or James Birchall Richard Buckingham James Davies Frederick Dawes
J. Duncombe William Fenner Arnold Fisk Mary Fogarty
Silas Gatehouse James Grimes William Hambly James Hannaway
Jane Hobbs William Hopley Jane Horton (Gill), A.W.H.Humphrey
John Ingle Charles Jeffries Thomas Kent John Knox
Alexander Laing I. Larsome John Liddle David Lord
Edward Lord R. W. Loane William McDowall John Miles
George Morrisby Robert Nash Thomas Pennington J. Prestage
Bartholomew Reardon Walter Redpath Mary Richardson Thomas Riley
S. Sederick James Turnbull John Wade M. Wicks
Charles Willis J. Wilson William Wilson W. Wood
Thomas Richardson Thomas Solly?

Sorell was a big farming community.  They transported crops and vegetables to neighbouring parishes to sell at markets. There were two wind mills called Nash windmill and Downwards windmill. Farming was an important part of Sorell history and the main thing that Sorell farmed was wheat and most of the wheat was transported to Sydney.

In 1815, so much wheat was being produced that a flour mill was built by Robert Nash.

John Birchall of Marsh Farm, began in 1816 a wheat delivery service from Pittwater to Kangaroo Point on his new schooner ‘Young William‘ at a rate of 1/6 a bushell.

In south, sheep dominated the Bream Creek area around the coastal flats with dairying the preferred industry on the rich basalt soils of the Ragged tier and at Nugent. Dairy properties were generally small family’s properties with produce being sold to the Bream Creek butter factory from 1899. Pigs were also raised at Bream Creek and sold at the Sorell sale yards.

Sorell School

The Sorell School Motto:  “Respecting our past, creating our future.”

In 1821 Governor Macquarie chose the site to build Sorell School.

The first building at Sorell School was made of stone and was built where the secondary school library currently is. In November 1888 it was made into a school residence when the original part of the school was completed. The original stone building was used up until 1921 when it got demolished. The school had two rooms and in 1926 whilst the school was being reconstructed an iron roof was put on to replace the old one which was made of shingle.

When Sorell School first opened a total of 57 students were enrolled. Sorell School’s first Headmaster was Charles Edward Hippesley Cox. He was paid £20 a year along with a convict for a servant and he was fed a ration and a half of food. Throughout the years Sorell School has had a total of twenty-nine headmasters and principals.

Now we have so many students I am unsure on the number. We also have both a primary and secondary side. But a long time ago they would put all the people in the one class. They would give you different work depending on your age, but that’s all different now. Our school goes from Kinder – Gr 10 and then you can go on to college.

Fun Fact:
Before Sorell School’s bell was burnt in a fire, it was rang when a convict was escaping.

Interviews with teachers about memories of Sorell School

Mrs Hansen has been going to Sorell all her life and she has been teaching for 14 years so since 1994! She began in kinder at age 5. She lived in the area she was in Lewisham until she turned 11 and then they moved house. There was no school at all seeing that Dodges did not exist yet so Sorell School was built. They used the cane until Mrs Hansen was in grade six! She said that it hurt. Mrs Hansen loved school and her favourite subjects consist of Music, Cooking and Social Studies. She loved helping other people and that’s why she became a teacher but she didn’t decide on this career until uni. Before then she always wanted to become a journalist and wondered what her life might have been like if she had done that! She began by teaching grade 3 but as the years went on she progressed her way up to grade 12 before stopping and teaching grade 6/7. She is very proud of where she is today but she could have never done it without the help of her fellow teachers and family.

From Mr Morley we got some old yearbooks and we read through them and they were very interesting; how much it has changed in so many years. Fashion was a big difference since when we went to school. In the yearbooks they didn’t have much colour because of the cost, but there was a double page of the day that they had the sports carnival, similar to what we have today. Ye old shotput and tugga war all the things that make the day. The clothes so different to what people wear now, like as we call them ” Harry high pants ” being worn it made us laugh. Sorry if you used to wear them but i know you probably think the same. Also looking back to the leavers dinners, we still have them but they are just so different. But I must say some of the dresses they wore back then were beautiful! with the puffy sleeves and everything. The school back then was just one small house type building located where the school library is located now. It was white in colour and very small, but as the years went on we built and eventually this building became what we know it as today!

This report was made by two groups of students: Maddi and Emily, Jenna and Shannan

St George’s Church

Building the church:
St George’s Church provide a link with the past that we cannot ignore. British settlers began to farm in the area (originally know as Pittwater) in 1808. The first service at Sorell is recorded that the famous Reverend Robert Knopwood nicknamed Bobby at an enquiry conducted by Thomas Bigge. The first headquarters meeting was held in a barn. Many people attended, both free and convict as well as a few children. This was in 1820 in the following year the church was completed they decided to use it as a school house.  But in 1823 when the report was submitted it was found that the recommendation had been omitted.

Everyone who died at Sorell prior to 1823 were taken to the St Davids cemetery in Hobart. On the 7th of March 1823 the Reverend Samuel Marsden under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury  consecrated a parcel of land and set it aside for ever as a cemetery.
In the month of April of that year the Reverend Knopwood had retired after 19 years to live on his farm at Clarence Plains but he also continued to serve faithfully the church.

The St Georges Church commenced in 1826 at the request of the Reverend William Garrard to rebuild the Church because of its dangers. The builders were set off to do this job and the cost of it all amounted to 800 shillings and 108 shillings for the carpentry work. In 1827 the church was completed all the masonry and materials being furnished by convict labour. The ultimate price of the building was £1,450. The church was built for 600 people, having galleries on three sides to accommodate convicts on muster days.

The first churchwardens were Mr James Gordon P.M of Forcett House and Captain W.H Glover J.P of Horsecroft, Sorell. Mr Gordon and his wife are buried at St Georges cemetery. The year 1832 saw the departure of the Reverend Garrard and the arrival of the Reverend James Norman who served the parish faithfully and well for 35 years. A letter written to J.Morgan, Esq police magistrate dated 9th of April 1835 is continued in the parish file and is in a good site of preservation.

In 1879 the church was pronounced unsafe and the Presbyterians most graciously offered the use of their church in which Anglicans worshipped until 1884 when the new one was built on the same site. It was built to accommodate 215 people at the same time.  Reverend C.J Brammel was in charge of the parish. Services were held at Orielton, Wattle hill, Nugent, Kellevie, Bream Creek, Dunalley, Carlton, Forcett, Green Hill, Port Arthur,  Cascades, Impression Bay and Wedge bay. Mr Brammell resigned in 1894 after 26 years of service.

On Tuesday 23rd of October 1883 the foundation stone of the new church of St George at Sorell was laid by Bishop Sandford. The bishop celebrated assisted by the Reverend C.J Brammell and Canon Mason and Mr Woolnough who walked from Bellerive and arrived a little after 12:30pm. The proceedings commenced with the 100th psalm, the bishop then standing on the stone delivered an impressive address founded on the words (Do all in the name of lord Jesus). The sum of forty pounds was laid on the stone.

The land and its rectors:
The land grant for the Church consisted of four acres, three roods relating to the area generally know as St George’s Square. The Church is surrounded by Gordon Street, Fitzroy Place, Parsonage Place and Sorell Rivulet. There was also a further eight acres and eight perches surrounded by Pelham Street, Cole Street and the Sorell Rivulet. From speaking to a man with a lot of information, we found out that the Church used to own from the creek near Coles to the hall in Gordon Street.

The original parish took into Coal Valley and the East Coast as far as Bicheno. It was reduced by the formation of the Parishes of Richmond in 1835 and Buckland in 1846. From 1950 the rector also looked after the Parish of Richmond. The Longest serving Rector was the Reverend James Norman from 1832 until 1867.

Conserving the church:

The Church is made out of Stone, corrugated iron and has a gothic style according to some. In the last five years it has had conservation work done with the foundations, and replastering costing around $44,000. The condition is fair and the integrity is intact. The dimensions of the church are 34ft with a depth of 64ft and a height of 18ft.

St.Georges church has a high pitched roof, the windows are tall and multi-paned.  There are some structural difficulty and has bad stone deterioration around the base.

Interviewing Andrew Lake

At the moment there is one minister by the name of Andrew Lake. We interviewed Andrew Lake and found out this information:the busiest days of the year are Christmas and Easter, the church is always open on Christmas and Easter day. They have one church bell, which is rang so people know church is starting. The church has about two weddings and seven funerals a year. The decision to build a church probably came from Governor Arthur. He designed it to be big enough to fit everyone in the area including the convicts. The main feature of the church is probably the large Amber windows. There is more than one St. Georges church in Tasmania. Roughly 100 people are buried in the cemetery and about 100 in the columbarium. A Columbarium is place where ashes are placed. Andrew Lake has been the minister for four years.

This report was by two different groups of students: Maddi and Sam, Nicola and Bronte.

SOURCES:
Andrew Lake – Phone Interview- 9/7/08

I found the information in a book called ‘Sorell Heritage Study Site Inventory Volume 5’

There is a book called The Shocking history of Sorell by Robert Cox, Sorell Library has a copy for reference but no borrowing.