Barbara Hay and John Jacobs

Assistance with this article has been provided by Dale Jacobs and Brian Lawrence, both Jacobs descendants. Barbara Hay was born in 1818 and baptised on 16 November 1818 in Saint Nicholas, Aberdeen, Scotland, eldest daughter of James Hay and Ann Barclay.1 Along with the rest of her family, Barbara emigrated to Van Diemen's Land aboard the Forth on 10 June 1833. Barbara was recorded as being 13 years old.2

Barbara married John Jacobs, Master Mariner with the Van Diemen's Land Company, on 1 November 1837 in Launceston.3

Marriage Registration of John Jacobs and Barbara Hay

Marriage Registration of John Jacobs and Barbara Hay
Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

More research is required to acquire greater detail about John Jacobs' origins, but the accepted version is encapsulated in the following article from the Examiner in 1885.

THE late Mr. William Effingham Lawrence came to Tasmania in 1823. Mr. Lawrence was a merchant carrying on an extensive trade with North America, having a house in London, Liverpool, and New York. Failing health compelling him to seek a more genial climate, he relinquished business and determined to proceed to New South Wales or Tasmania. With this object in view he purchased a large cutter named the Lord Liverpool, of 71 tons burthen, which he loaded with merchandise likely to be valuable in a new country, such as ironmongery, furniture, agricultural implements, and mechanics' tools. The vessel was commanded by Captain George Coulson, who afterwards became a pilot on the river Tamar, and still later a settler on the east bank, about ten miles down, which still bears his name. The crew consisted of Samuel Budge, mate; four seamen J. W. Bell, afterwards an auctioneer in Launceston (father of the late W. T. Bell, of Bell & Westbrook); John Jacobs, who entered the service of the Van Diemen's Land Company as a pilot in the vicinity of Circular Head and Woolnorth, and whose name is still perpetuated by a boat harbor near Table Cape; James Raiker, and Andrew Taylor of the last two nothing has since been heard. There was also the carpenter, named William Carpenter, who was subsequently killed by the blacks whilst kangarooing on Dick Sydes's Plains, beyond the Third Basin. As passengers there were Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence and two children; Charles Roberts, a blacksmith; and two apprentices, Effingham Prest and his cousin, James Stone...4

There is much more in the article but as noted the reference requires further investigation. We can be sure however of John Jacob's service to the Van Diemen's Land Company as his earliest pay records survive which are dated 1829.5 John is also noted extensively in the related shipping lists and newspaper announcements of the time. The earliest such entries occur in November 1830 when John was the master of the Cutter Fanny transporting the typical VDL Company requirements, produce such as sheep and wool, and supplies and passengers.6 The entries continue into 1832 and then John reappears in 1835 as the Master of the Schooner Edward. It was around this time that John is associated with Boat Harbour:

Boat Harbour was first settled by Europeans in the 1830s when it became known as Jacob's Boat Harbour. No one is sure exactly who the harbour was named after but it is likely that it took its name from a local sailor, Captain John Jacobs, who sailed the schooner Edward along the north coast from Stanley for the Van Diemen's Land Company. There is a story, probably apocryphal, that Jacobs fell asleep and his boat drifted into the small harbour.7

1837 seems to be a well reported year and John was making on average two sailings a month between Circular Head and Launceston.8 As previously noted John was married to Barbara Hay on 1 November 1837 having arrived from Circular Head the day before as the Master of the Edward.9

The many newspaper announcements continue into 1838, with John Jacobs the Master of the Edward in the employment of the Van Diemen's Land Company.10 In November, a year and six days after their marriage, Anna Jacobs was born on 7 November 1838 in the Launceston district.11

The couples first son and third child, James Jacobs, was baptised on 21 August 1840 in the Launceston district. John was employed as Master Mariner and Railway Gate Keeper.12 In the Tasmanian State Registration Records there is an entry for an Unknown Male (M.) born 28 August 1840 at Launceston to John Jacobs and Barbara Hay but this is an obvious error due to the Christening of James 7 days earlier.

John Jacobs' reported sailings seem to diminish through 1840 to 1842, although this may reflect a lack of exhaustive research. A third daughter and fourth child arrived when Sarah Jacobs was born on 9 September 1842 in the Launceston district.13

In 1843 John is reported in association with a new vessel, the James Gibson, a cutter named after the Van Diemen's Land Company agent.14 The vessels short-lived fate is variously reported. According to one source, they were loading potatoes on the ship when a gale ensued which drove her onto rocks, all hands saved. An attempt at salvage was also thwarted by a gale.15 The other source reports that the vessel "...was on voyage from Emu Bay, Tasmania to Launceston, Tasmania with a cargo of potatoes, when she was lost after running aground off Emu Bay.16 The date was 15 June 1844. John Jacobs was Master at the time.

On 10 September 1844 Barbara Ann Jacobs was born in the Horton district.17 Two more sons followed, John Barclay Jacobs, born on 29 May 1847 in the Horton district,18 and Henry Hay Jacobs, born on 3 December 1849 in the Horton district.19

In 1851 John Jacobs is reported as the Master of the vessel Emu, a Schooner of 36 tons, working between Circular Head, Launceston and Melbourne.20 In February 1852 John skippered the Emu to Melbourne with some notable passengers on board:

Circular Head. February 5. - Sailed the schooner Emu, 36 tons, John Jacobs, master, for Melbourne. Cargo - 1 horse-break, Borradale; 1 keg honey, King; 1 case cheese, 10 ditto apples, 9 tubs butter, 5 kegs jams. Smith; 3 casks apples, Gibson; 1 horse, one cart. Jordan; 1 horse, 21 sacks oats, Boys; 26 bags oats, House; 1 ton potatos, Emmett; 1 tub butter. Jordan; 1 piano, sundry packages luggage, Grigg; 1 tub butter, King. Cabin, passengers - Rev. T. N. Grigg, Mrs. Grigg, Miss Grigg, Miss Mary Grigg, Masters William, Henry, and Edward Grigg, Miss C. Grigg, Miss Cowley, Mr. Emmett, Miss King, Miss S. King, Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Wright and child, Mr. Salisbury, Mr. A. Boys. Steerage - Mrs. Clarke and two children, William White, John Connell, Henry Mills, Francis John Mercer, John Green, William Osborne, William Arrowsmith, James Brock, James Cockerell, James Marsh, Thomas Brown, Robert Hay, James Jacobs, Edward Long.21

Charlotte Mary Jacobs was born on 5 November 1852 in the Horton district.22 The following year in September 1853 it was reported that John Jacobs had been appointed coxwain and district constable:

Police.-Mr. John Jacobs has been appointed coxswain and district constable, water police, at Emu Bay.23

Fanny Jacobs was born on 21 May 1855 in the Horton district.24

Emily Margaret Jacobs was born on 4 July 1858 in the Horton district.25

Anna Jacobs, married Charles Lennox Napier on 6 September 1859 in Victoria.26

On the 6th inst., by the Rev. Irving Hetherington, Mr. Charles Napier, of Hampstead, near Carisbrook, to Anna, daughter of Mr. John Jacobs, master mariner, of Circular Head.27

Charles Jacobs was born on 3 November 1860 in the Horton district.28

Sarah Jacobs married Samuel Brown on 23 July 1861 in the Horton district.29 They had three or four children and ultimately moved to New South Wales.

Arthur Robert Jacobs was born on 1 December 1862 in the Horton district.30

In 1865 and 1866 there are newspaper reports of John Jacobs as the master of the Schooner Petrel sailing between Melbourne and Circular Head. In October 1866 two of the passengers were Mrs. Jacobs and child.31

The following report from a later article recalls John Jacobs efforts in regard to assisting with a ship wreck in May 1867:

The Moyne, of about 92 tons, under Captain John Frederick Booth, set sail from Melbourne in ballast on May 23, 1867, bound for the Pieman River to take on a cargo of pine. The voyage proceeded in favorable weather, and the vessel arrived at the Pieman on the afternoon of May 25. They then stood off until June 1 waiting for a favorable opportunity to enter the river. After they stood in and passed through the breakers and round the rocks off the North point of the entrance of the river in safety, the wind suddenly failed them and a strong current running out carried the vessel on to the spit on the south side. Every thing possible was done to save the vessel, but to no avail.

Part of the crew remained on the wreck all the first night. The boat became a total wreck and filled. The captain and crew then travelled over land to Stanley, leaving one of the crew behind, as he was too footsore to attempt the journey. After a considerable time, and thinking the man would die of starvation, the Stanley people chartered the schooner Pat the Rover, of 79 tons, and under Captain Pallant, proceeded to thc Pieman Heads. Captain John Jacobs was engaged to go in the vessel as pilot, and when the vessel reached the Pieman Heads a heavy gale sprang up from the south-west. Thc vessel had to run back. Rounding Cape Grim the night was very dark and the wind was howling back to the west. There was nothing for it but to take Hell's Gates, a very narrow passage between two reefs, with a terrific tide running. Beeause he knew the coast so well Captain Jacobs was the means of the vessel and crew being saved that night, for if they had struck any of the submerged reefs they would have all been drowned and the vessel smashed to pieces.32

James Jacobs married Elizabeth Alderson on 4 July 1869 in St. Paul's Church in Stanley, Horton.33 Elizabeth was born on 20 December 1846 in Launceston, the daughter of Joseph Alderson and Ann Campbell.34 James and Elizabeth would have 10 children, all in the Horton district.

Around 1870 John Barclay Jacobs was in a relationship with Selena Sarah Evans as they had a son, Robert George Charles Jacobs, born 1 August 1870 in Horton.35 The relationship was never formalised by marriage and doesn't appear to have persisted.

During the 1870s many of the children of Barbara and John Jacobs married in Victoria. Charlotte Mary Jacobs, married John Lloyd, in 1872 in Victoria.36 Henry Hay Jacobs, married Eugenia Rochard, in 1876 in Victoria.37 Barbara Ann Jacobs, married Charles Lawson Davis, in 1878 in Victoria.38

On 7 November 1879, John Jacobs died at Yapeen in Victoria. He was described as aged 62 years and a Gate Keeper. The cause of death was disease of the heart, and this had been determined at a Magisterial Inquest attended by the informant Constable John Molloy, and presided over by Joseph Waterworth, a Justice of the Peace. John's parents were not known, but his children are listed as follows: Anna (41), James (39), Sarah (37), Barbara (35), John (32), Henry (30), Charlotte (27), Fanny (24), Emily (21), Charles (19) and Arthur (17). According to the registration, John had been in Victoria for 10 years, and prior to that had spent 20 years in Tasmania. He was married at age 20 to Barbara Hay. John Jacobs was buried on 9 October 1879 in the Campbell Creek Cemetery and Thomas Odgers was the undertaker.39

The length of time in Tasmania is an obvious error if one looks at the ages of the children. John Molloy probably confused the deceased's age at marriage with the length of time he was in Tasmania (20 years). John's death was reported in a later edition of the Illustrated Australian News:

Jacobs. — On the 7th November, at Yapeen, Victoria, suddenly, Mr. John Jacobs, late master mariner, formerly of Circular Head, Tasmania.40

A much later article talking about ships of the past recalled John Jacobs, and his final days:


(By H. J. Emmett, Stanley.)

...Captain Campbell, who was chief officer of the ship [Prince of Wales], was appointed master; and Captain Samuel Brown, who was before the mast, was appointed chief officer, and he remained on the ship, for nine years. Most of the crew stayed on the ship for long periods.

Later, about 1865, my father sold the vessel to the late Mr. F. W. Ford, of .."Highfield," who carried on business as a produce merchant. However, Mr. Ford did not have the vessel long, for on her first voyage to Melbourne for her new owner she became a total wreck while entering the heads. That was the end of a fine vessel.

Captain Campbell, the master, then went to New Zealand, and Captain Brown shortly afterwards married Miss Sarah Jacobs, daughter of Captain Jacobs, and lived at Pyrmont, near Sydney. He was master of the Storm King, a schooner trading out of Sydney to Richmond River. After this he was appointed master of the schoonor Fanny Wright, trading to the same port for some time. He then took charge of tho three-masted schooner Coquetto, trading to Sydney with produce from Tasmania.

Captain John Jacobs was master of the schooner Edward, owned by the Van Diemen's Land Co., trading along the coast and to Woolnorth, and the manager of the company, Mr. Edward Curr, who resided at "Highfield," used to take a trip to Woolnorth in the summer months in this vessel. He had a nice building erected near tho Woolnorth jetty, where the schooner berthed, and called it the Basil Hall.

Captain Jacobs afterwards took command of the Martha, a schooner belonging to my father, which was wrecked at the Detention River. A new master was appointed for the Edward, and she left Stanley for Launceston one evening with cargo and passengers and was never heard of again. She was supposed to have struck the reef of rocks lying a mile and a half north-east of Rocky Point, for the ship's dog was washed ashore near Detention beach.

Captain Jacobs afterwards sailed the schooner John and Jane, and made some fast trips from Melbourne to New Zealand. He then gave up sea life and retired. He was living in Melbourne when he dropped dead at his home. He was always known as Commodore Jacobs, for in the early days he had a whale boat running up and down the coast, and sometimes used to put into Boat Harbor for shelter. That spot is now called Jacobs' Boat Harbor.41

Charles Jacobs, married Amelia Bakes, on 5 January 1885 in South Melbourne, Victoria.42 Amelia was born on 4 December 1861, the daughter of Henry Bakes and Amelia Ann Rellen.43

Barbara Jacobs (nee Hay), died on 16 January 1886 at 76 Raglan Street in South Melbourne, Victoria. The cause of death was recorded as Cancer of the Breast which she had been suffering from for six months. Barbara was buried on 18 January 1886 in St. Kilda, Victoria.44

Ann Jacob's husband Charles Napier died in 1889 in Carisbrook, Victoria. Charles' parents were recorded as Charles Napier and Mary Dix.45

Death of a mining speculator

Mr Charles Napier, the well-known proprietor of the estate upon which the Napier Freehold Company are in operation, died at his residence this morning after a short illness. Mr Napier was widely esteemed for a benevolent disposition and his death will be deeply regretted throughout the district. The deceased had been a member of the Carisbrook and Majorca Borough Councils, and filled the Mayoral chairs of both municipalities. Mr Napier's case furnished a striking instance of how fortunes have been made in connection with gold-mining. When the mining revival occurred in Majorca a few years ago; he was financially embarrassed, his pursuit of the pastoral and agricultural industries not having been attended with satisfactory results. The success of the New Kong Meng Co., when tracing the lead towards Mr Napier's property, caused the tide of fortune to turn in his favour. The Kong Meng, whose resuscitation was brought about a timely grant of £500 from the Mining Department, proved a continuation of the rich Majorca lead in the direction stated, and purchased the right to mine upon a small area from Mr Napier for £1000, allowing him 6 per cent royalty. In addition, the remainder of the estate was taken up by the Napier Freehold Company, whose splendid success is well known. During the five years that have elapsed since the starting of this company Mr. Napier has realised from it royalty (also. 6 per cent.) not less than £12,000. Beside this he has held a tenth interest in the company, viz. ; 2000 shares, upon which his proportion of dividends periodically declared by the company has ranged from £150 to £300. It is thus safe to compute that his gains by the mining revival at Majorca have aggregated between £30,000 and £40,000 in five years. His family also have been exceptionally fortunate im land selection at Gippsland, so that they will still retain his interest in the Napier mine, and are left well provided for. Mr. Napier was about 61 years of age.46

Emily Margaret Jacobs, married William Henry Barnicott, in 1891 in Gisborne, Victoria.47

Emily Margaret Barnicott, (nee Jacobs) died in 1892 in Narracan, Victoria.48

Barnicott. On the 14th October, at Narracan, Emily Margaret, the beloved wife of W. H. Barnicott, aged 32 years.49

Anna Napier (nee Jacobs) died on 1 January 1895 in Carisbrook, Victoria.50

NAPIER. On the 27 inst., at Hampstead Farm, Carisbrook, Anna, relict of the late Charles Napier. 51

Sarah Brown (nee Jacobs) died on 9 June 1899 in Leichhardt, New South Wales.52

Fanny Jacobs married Edward Robert Henry Osborn in 1903 in Victoria.53

Samuel Brown, the husband of Sarah Jacobs, died on 4 July 1905 in Glebe, New South Wales.54


The death is announced of Captain Samuel Brown; a well-known intercolonial shipmaster, who has just passed away at his residence, Glebe Point, Sydney, at the age of 76 years. The deceased, who, prior to his retirement, spent 55 years at sea, commanded a number of vessels, including the Stormking, trading between the northern rivers of New South Wales and Melbourne. For seventeen years he was master of the barquentine Coquette, then owned by Mr. J. Henderson, of Newcastle, and in that vessel made many voyages to New Zealand. Subsequently he commanded the schooner Whangaroa. He was well known in Newcastle, and was highly respected by a large circle of friends. His son, Captain James Brown, is at present master of the island trading barque Loongana, and secured most of his experience while sailing with his father in the New Zealand trade.55

James Jacobs died on 10 November 1906 in Burnie, Tasmania.56

Jacobs. — On November 10, at his residence, Mount Street, Burnie, James Jacobs, eldest son of the late Captain John Jacobs, dearly beloved husband of Elizabeth Jacobs, aged 64 years. [Melbourne papers please copy].57


Mr James Jacobs, an old identity of Burnie, passed away at his residence, Mount Street, at about 8 a.m. on Saturday. Deceased had been confined to his bed for about a week following upon a sudden seizure, and gradually collapsed. Mr Jacobs was 61 years of age, and he was a native of Launceston. He had been connected with Burnie for more than half a century, having commenced to trade here ia 1851 with his father (Captain John Jacobs), who was in the service of the V.D.L. Co. Deceased was a former resident of Stanley, where he was in the employ of the late Mr W. F. Ford for 25 years, and then came to Burnie, where he lived for 23 years. He leaves a widow, four daughters and five sons, several of whom are married and reside at Burnie. He had several relatives in Victoria. The funeral took place yesterday afternoon.58

It was with regret that residents of Stanley read of tbe death at Burnie of Mr J. Jacobs, an old Stanley resident.59

Barbara Ann Davis (nee Jacobs), died on 31 August 1907 in Carlton, Victoria. Barbara was buried on 1 September 1907 in Coburg, Victoria.60

Fanny Osborn (nee Jacobs), died in 1911 in Myna, Victoria at the reported age of 51.61

Charles Davis, the husband of Barbara Ann Jacobs, died on 21 October 1915 in Carlton, Victoria at the reported age of 60.62

DAVIS. On the 25th October, at his residence, 134 Berkeley-street, Carlton, Charles, the beloved husband of the late Barbara Davis, and beloved father of May, Charles and Daisy, aged 60 years.63

Arthur Robert Jacobs died on 4 November 1915 in East Melbourne, Victoria.64

On Friday last an unfortunate casualty occurred at the Labor Colony, when the groom on the establishment, Arthur Jacobs, had portion of his face blown away by the discharge of a gun. Jacobs, it appears, at times suffered severely from pains in the head, and had that morning complained of so suffering, but remarked that he would be all right in an hour or two. He drove into the township as usual, and in due course made the return journey. Some little time afterwards he was found by Mr Prout lying in a pool of blood upon the floor of his hut, and a gun beside him. The man was conscious, and tried to speak, but was unable to articulate distinctly. He was tended by Dr. Wood, and sent to the Melbourne Hospital by the afternoon train. Jacobs had been at the Colony, off and on, for four years or more, and was well liked by those with whom he came into contact, the manager holding him in high esteem. He was a steady man, not addicted to drink, and was sober at the time of the occurrence.65

Henry Hay Jacobs died on 28 June 1921 in Ashfield, New South Wales at the reported age of 52.66

JACOBS. June 28, 1921, at his residence, 109 Frederick street, Ashfield, Henry Hay, beloved husband of Eugene Jacobs, late of Wagga Wagga, aged 69 years. New Zealand and Tasmanian papers please copy.67

William Henry Barnicott died on 1 July 1922 in Murrumbeena, Victoria.68

BARNICOTT.–On the lst July, 1922, at his residence, Pallion road, Oakleigh, William Henry Barnicott, beloved father of Emily Margaret Barnicott, aged 61 yeara (late of Gisborne and Narracan).69

Charles Jacobs died on 12 November 1924 in South Melbourne, Victoria at the reported age of 64.70 Charles' wife Amelia (nee Bakes) died on 14 August 1935 in Oakleigh, Victoria and was buried on 21 August in the Coburg Cemetery, Victoria.71

Charlotte Mary Lloyd (nee Jacobs), died in 1929 in Murrumbeena, Victoria at the reported age of 76.72

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