If you were living in the Pitt Water area of the district of Richmond around 1815, you would have seen a windmill. Is this an image of Robert Nash’s original windmill or another built later in the century or maybe his original mill was removed and rebuilt after his death?
Robert Nash was the son of a millwright and born at Edenbridge in Kent, England in 1771. But at age 19 he stole some boots and shoes and was sent out to New South Wales in 1791 on the Albemarle as a convict. Before being sent to Norfolk Island, he married Ann Hannaway, who was also a convict from the Second Fleet. Ann already had three children and bore Robert four daughters while on Norfolk Island. Nash was very well behaved on the island, received a grant of land and an absolute pardon in 1800.
In 1808, Robert Nash and his family was one of many who departed Norfolk Island to settle in Hobart Town. Again he was given a grant of 10 acres near the New Town Rivulet where he built his first flour mill. This unfortunately was swept away in floods in 1809. In 1810 he built a second mill, this time on the Hobart Rivulet. More land was granted as the colony needed more wheat for its growing population. He received 200 acres near Pitt Water. He built a mill at his own expense in 1815. His land was south of the present day school and bounded by Sorell and Pittwater Rivulets.
By 1817 he was supplying the Hobart Town commissariat as one of its largest contractors. Robert also put an ad in the Hobart Town Gazette warning people who lit a fire in his paddocks to summon the ferry at Pitt Water to refrain from doing so until the end of the harvest.
Robert’s health suffered with all this hard work in the early colony and he died in 1819 at age 48.
Did his windmill survive? Or was it sold after his death to pay his debts. Edward Lord and James Lord were the principal creditors of Robert Nash’s estate. The windmill was still standing in February 1820 when Robert’s property went under the hammer at auction.
Robert’s mill in Liverpool Street, Hobart called the Old Mill was still in operation in June 1821 when Mr J A Motton opened it. It was owned by Walter Crammond. Cost for grinding was one shilling and threepence per bushel or 8lbs of wheat. The mill and acreage around it was again sold in 1824.
Update to this post:
Since mentioning this post on the Sorell Historical Society Facebook page, Karina Looby nee Newitt has added a photo of a replica of Nash’s Mill which can now be found in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery TMAG. The replica was built by her father Alan Newitt, who had lived in the Blue Bell Inn.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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?
As this blog is now part of the world wide One Place Studies, I thought I would join in their #oneplaceWednesday activity. Every Wednesday I will write a post relating to something found in the newspapers on Trove. I will try to make it close to the date 200 years ago.
The area now known as Sorell was once called the District of Pitt Water.
When teaching at Sorell School, we told the students the school was opened in 1821. According to this article in the newspaper, tenders were being called for erecting a school house or perhaps a place of confinement or maybe both. Looks like they had very little time to contact Major Bell, the acting engineer, to say they would be interested in getting the tender. I wonder how much red tape they had 200 years ago compared to today?
The present Sorell library opened 17th of December 1988. Before that it was at the Sorell Council Chambers and before that it was at the Sorell Memorial Hall. The piano at the Sorell library was donated by the Rotary Club, Lions Club and the Sorell Council on the 22nd of March 1991. Some of the pictures were donated when it was first opened.
Around 1986-1987 the library was too small for the amount of people using it. Eileen Brooker circulated a petition amongst the community proposing that a library be built to commemorate Australia’s bicentenary. This is the building they’re in now. It was built through funding from the local government and the state library. This year 2008 they celebrate their 20th birthday. It was purposely built for a library. Before it was built on, the land was part of the saleyards.
Every now and again they have authors speak at the library. People who have spoken there are Roy Bridges, Neil Davis and some local authors. For 138 years the Sorell library was moved around until it reached the place it’s in now. Until 1978 the libraries were run by the council or the Red Cross. In 1978, it started being run by the state library.
An early record of another library was where the antiques shop use to be, then it moved to the cottage on the corner where Mitre Ten is, then it moved to the memorial hall in the ladies cloakroom, then it was moved to the old Sorell Council Chambers. The children from Sorell School use to go down to the cottage and pick books. During the second World War the librarian use to take the books up to the school in boxes for the children to choose their books.
Around 1980 the library moved back to the Magistrates Court behind the council chambers.
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.
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
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.
The memorial hall was built in 1952 and opened in 1954 by Governor Sir Ronald Cross. Quite a lot of people visit the memorial hall because there were weddings, balls and dances The St Georges Parish fair and even suppers were held there on all different days and for all different occasions. An advertisement for the laying of the foundation stone is found here
The government paid 5 thousand pounds and the council gave 9 thousand pounds. It was made for all the men and women that fought in the first world war. An article in the local paper mentions the memorials and sports events held on the day of the opening.
The Sorell Memorial Hall contains a kitchen, a stage, a hall, a supper/meeting room and an oval. It is used for the Sorell market, the Pittwater art club and the historical society of Sorell. It is located on Coles Street and is opposite Walker Street. Sorell is North East of Hobart and is about a 20 minute drive away from Hobart.
The Sorell market was opened in 1991. Back then it only had a second hand stall, a gift stall and a plant stall. Today it has about 60 stalls selling fruits and vegetables, antiques and collectables, second hand stuff, furniture, animals, plant, tools and much more. There are children’s activities and plenty of food and drink stalls. It always starts at 9am. It is held every Sunday in summer and every second Sunday in winter.
The hall has two statues in front of it.
This statue is for the Boer War (1880-1902). On it it says: “This stone was erected by the officers and men of E. Squadron 5th Battalion A.C.H in the memory of those men who died at sea during the voyage of HMT Drayton Grange from South Africa to Australia.”
On the the front of the second statue it says:
“Erected by the residents of the municipality of Sorell this stone was laid by Sir William Allardyce, Governor of Tasmania.”
Here are some names that are on one of the statues at the Memorial Hall:
A.R.Blackmoore 2.11- LEST WE FORGET.
We used a book:
Sorell Heritage Study volume 5.
Part of a series of books prepared by Ian Terry for Sorell Council in August 1996.
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