George Wilson and Marian Brock

George Wilson is the tenth and youngest child of James Wilson and Catherine Boak. George's birth is reported to have occurred on 12 December 1803 in Uphall, West Lothian, Scotland.1 This event is not recorded on either Scotland's People or the International Genealogical Index.2 George is however an acknowledged child of James and Catherine Wilson due to the overwhelming evidence of later documentation.

At some point in the early 1830s George began a relationship with Marian Brock. Marian was born on 10 March 1799 in Kirkliston, Scotland, the daughter of Henry Brock and Margaret Marshall.3 Marian's name has been spelt as both Marian and Marion and will be quoted here as it appears in the source documents. When not being quoted, the style Marian is used as accordingly to Helen Brown that is the way Marian wrote it herself. George and Marian had a son, George Wilson (Jnr.), who was born on 28 January 1831 and christened on 17 April 1831 in Muiravonside, Stirling, Scotland. His birth record notes his birth as illegitimate.4 George's brother David married his wife Jean Crawford in Muiravonside so perhaps that was why George was in the area. According to Don Norman:

George made application from Scotland to George Frankland, Esq. Surveyor general, Hobarton on 5 February 1831, asking that His Excellency the Governor, who at which time was Colonel George Arthur, grant him land. He said he was 27 years of age and had 1,200 pounds in goods and cash.5

Don Norman also writes that George migrated to Van Diemen's Land:

On the advice of his brother, Surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson... This he did as a passenger in the Minerva arriving in Hobart Town on 30 September 1832... Also in the Minerva voyaging with George was Marion Brock and her brother Henry. Apparently a shipboard romance developed between George and Marion because they were soon to marry...6

Don's comments about a ship board romance are obviously incorrect given the illegitimate birth of George Wilson Jnr. in Scotland, although he was writing when many of the Scottish records were not so easily available, and much of his history has been handed down the family. Don was correct about Marian and baby George's arrival in the colony, on board the Minerva in late 1832, but George Senior had arrived in the colony two years earlier aboard the convict transport John on 28 January 1831 along with his brother Thomas, who was the Surgeon Superintendant. George Boyes confirms George's arrival along with his brother in a note in his diary:

February 8th.

Dr. Wilson and his brother dined with me.7

and expands upon this entry in a letter to his wife:

Hobart Town - 9th February 1831

Dr. Wilson arrived here on the "John" on the evening of the 28th. Ultimo - while I was at a party at the Chief Justice's and knew nothing of the important event until the next morning - when I received your parcel and letters. Wilson could not call upon me until the 1st instant when he informed me that he had seen you for a few minutes the evening before he quitted England. We dined together on the following Thursday at Moodie's and the day before yesterday he and his brother dined with me after which the Dr. and I proceeded to Govt. House to an evening party given by Mrs. Arthur on the occasion of Captn. & Mrs. Montagu's return to this country - they came out in the "John" with Wilson.

Dr. Wilson's Brother has got his grant of land /he came out to settle/ and will be off to take possession in a few days.8

George had made an application for land four days earlier which reads as follows:

Feb.y. 5 1831
Red.d. 7th


I request that you will be pleased to submit to His Excellency The Governor, through the proper Channel, this my Application for a Grant of Land.

I have to state, for His Excellency's Information, that I arrived in the Colony in the Year 1831, that I am a Native of Scotland, that my Age is 24 years, and that I am possessed of Capital to the Amount of $1220 Sterling, as specified on the other side, all of which I intend to devote to Agricultural Pursuits in this Colony; and, in order to afford satisfactory Proof, with respect to Character, and that I am really possessed of the Capital to the foregoing Amount, I beg leave to refer to the certificates herewith transmitted.

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant;
Geo. Wilson

To George Frankland, Esq.
Surveyor General, &c. &c. &c.

The following page of the submission details the Money, Farming Stock, or Goods, and the Value of those items, which comprised the Capital referred to in the earlier letter:

  • Farming Implements
    Household Furniture
    & Personal effects - £250
  • A flock of sheep (400) - £120
  • One thorough bred mare - £100
  • Two brood mares - £100
  • Six working bullocks - £50
  • Ready monies - £600
  • (Total) - £122010

Another letter is included in the papers from William Johnson certifying that George had deposited money for use in the colony:

Hobart Town
February 8th 1831

I hereby certify that Mr. George Wilson has deposited with me the Sum of $623 - Six Hundred and Twenty three Pounds Stirling which he is at liberty to draw for in such Sums as he requires,

p. per G. Wilson
Wm Johnson11

A further document was included:

We, the undersigned do hereby certify that Mr. George Wilson is of respectable Character ... our knowledge is in possession of Capital to the amount of $1220 ... believe it to be the intention of the said Mr. George Wilson to invest the same in Agricultural Pursuits in ... Colony.12

There are two signatures, the first one of which is indecipherable. The second one is that of Colonial Secretary, John Montagu. Montagu had arrived with his wife and family on the convict transport ship John at the same time as George's older brother, Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson R.N., who was the Surgeon Superintendant supervising the convicts onboard. It is still an enigma how George came to be so well to do, given the modest life he would have had with his birth family, who were agricultural labourers, although his brother Thomas Braidwood Wilson was a Ship's Surgeon with the Royal Navy, and his brother Robert had been ordained a minister in 1828. There is no doubt a significant portion of George's history in Scotland that is still missing from this account.

George's land grant of 1,500 acres in the parish of Bath (later Newick), county of Monmouth, is recorded on 25th February 1831 -

A Situation where a Constables' Hut has been erected & which is at a distance of one mile S.W. of a Conical Hill which bears S.E. by E. from the Officers Quarters at Oatlands from whence it is distant six or seven miles, the grant to include the Constables' Hut & to run to the base of the Conical Hill.13

While George was establishing himself in the colony, back in Scotland his son George Jnr. was born, in late January 1831. Marian, using the name Maria Wilson, along with their toddler George and her father, Henry Brock, left Scotland in mid-1832 to travel to Van Diemen's Land. They travelled on the Minerva, arriving in Hobart Town on September 30, 1832, just as Don Norman had correctly recorded, but mis-interpreted, many years ago.14

(From the Colonist.)
SEPT. 30. [1832] - Arrived the barque Minerva, Captain Robertson, from Leith, with merchandize. Passengers, Messrs. Henry Davidson, William Fairbairn, Mrs. Fairbairn, Robert Hardy, Janet Hardy, James Hardy, Henry Allan, Henry Brock, Maria Wilson, George Wilson, Alex. Scott, John Scott, David Henderson, Thomas Johnstone, Daniel Johnstone, Agnes Johnstone, David Johnstone, Elizabeth Johnstone, John Cleghorn, Janet Cleghorn, Dorothy H. Frazer, George White, Tho. Swan, Ellen Swan, Walter Crow, Mrs. Crow, Euphemia Crow, Agnes Crow, James Robertson, Mrs. Robertson, William Robertson, Mrs. Robertson, James Robertson, Mary Robertson, David Goldie, Mrs. E. Goldie, Peter Hume, William Elliot, Mrs. M. Elliot, Mark Williams, Alexander Dixon, Francis Argo, Mary Argo, George Wood, Mrs. M. Wood, Mary Wood, John Wiseman, Mrs. J. Wiseman, William Wilson, Mrs. W. Wilson, William Scott, Hector McLennan, William Dixon, Margaret Anderson, Margaret Playfair, Mrs. C. Sinclair, Robert Sinclair, Hugh Sinclair, Peter Sinclair, P. Farquhar, James Allan, Isabella Allan, Richard Allan, Robert Aitkin, A. Aitken, John Waters, John Mowett, James Richmond, Ellen McDonald, Alex. Stewart, Eliza Stewart, John Wood, Alex. Stewart No. 2., James Freeland, James Robertson, John Nelson, William McGarvie, Robert Scougal, John Foord, Thomas Cadell, Mrs. Cadell, Thomas Cadell, Mary Cadell, Phillip Cadell, Catherine Cadell, John Cadell, Mary Cadell, Geo. Cadell, Miss Clerke, William Young, Alex. Anderson, George Bell, J. M. Key, John Sanderson, Eliz. Sanderson, Janet Cameron, John Cameron, Margaret Cameron, Thomas Cameron, Jane Cameron, Janet Cameron, Catherine Cameron, Mrs. Wightman, Alex. Wightman, Margaret Wightman, Patrick Wightman, Wm. Wightman, Adam Wightman, William Turner.15

George Wilson and Marian Brock were married on 11 October 1832 in St. David's Cathedral, Hobart, Van Diemen's Land.16 Marian's father, Henry Brock, was one of the witnesses. Once in the colony, George and Marion would have a further five children, but none of their births appear to have been registered: Margaret Wilson was born about 1833, James Wilson was born about 1835, Jane Thompson Wilson was born about 1837, and Marion Brock Wilson was born about 1839, all apparently on the Mount Seymour property in the Oatlands district of Van Diemen's Land.17 For some reason, with the birth of their fifth child, Catherine Mary Wilson, there is an actual birth date reported of 30 January 1842, presumably again in Oatlands, but where this date came from is unknown.18

The year after the birth of his last child, on 11 November 1843, George's brother Thomas Braidwood Wilson died in New South Wales.19 George, who was close to his brother and his children,...

...travelled on the Waterlily from Hobart, arriving in Sydney on 14 December 1843. Although not listed as a passenger on this ship his wife, Marion, also travelled to Braidwood from Oatlands.20

Mary Braidwood Wilson subsequently came and stayed with him at Oatlands, and was joined shortly after by her brother James, both of them now being orphans. Mary had already been promised in engagement to Stewart Marjoribanks Mowle and at the beginning of 1845 he too joined them in Tasmania.21 Within four months Mary and Stewart were married at Oatlands on 12 May 1845 at the home of Dr. Frederick John Park. George Wilson, and Mary's brother James Wilson were witnesses.22 George accompanied the couple, along with Mary's brother, as far as Campbell Town as they made their way back to New South Wales for their honeymoon.23

Life was not all celebrations and dancing however, as George returned to the routine of a harsh life in remote Tasmania. Before leaving Scotland, George would probably not have guessed at the kinds of tribulations that he would have to deal with, as shown by this report in a local newspaper of March 1846.


The PROBATION System. - We have learnt some circumstances which will convey an idea of the working of the system, and the nonchalance with which the lives of the free colonists are treated. At the Eastern Marshes about 90 men from the Oatlands gang are employed to split wood for fences and to carry it to Oatlands - these 90 men employed in the performance of this work are spread over a bush track of seven or eight miles, under the superintendence of one free overseer. As may be supposed, the men do precisely as they please, and may absent themselves from the gang without the possibility of detection for many hours to come. In the beginning of February last, one of these men was taken by Mr. Wilson, of the Blue Hills, in the act of absconding, and kept during that night on the farm in charge of a constable and servant ; during this time he possessed himself of the constable's gun, and attempted to shoot his keepers, but was prevented, and ultimately conveyed to Oatlands. About ten days since Mr.Wilson again met with two absconders from the same gang on his farm, and after a desperate scuffle, with the assistance of his brother and a constable stationed near his house, secured them. They, however, refused to walk, and Mr. Wilson had to send them to Oatlands in a cart. One of these fellows threatened to serve that gentleman out, though it were twenty years hence, but the other expressed a hope to do so within three weeks; moreover they admitted to the constable afterwards, that when Mr. Wilson met them they were on their way to serve out another settler in the neighbourhood who had offended them. The visiting Magistrate at Jericho sentenced the men to nine months hard labour, and recommended their being sent to Port Arthur. But while the confirmation of this sentence was awaited, these two men, instead of being kept in prison, were, as usual, sent out with the gang in custody of a constable, but even he was soon afterwards ordered away from his charge. The consequence was, that on the 18th instant these two desperate characters with another, took again to the bush, and Mr. Wilson and his family are thrown into the greatest state of alarm. This gentleman is constantly losing sheep, and to secure his flock has been obliged to remove it from the neighbourhood of the gang, so that the land there is quite useless to him.24

Also in March 1846, George Wilson advertised in The Courier for a Governess:

Wanted, A GOVERNESS, competent to teach French, Music, and Drawing, and the usual branches of an English education. Apply to Mr. George Wilson, Mount Seymour, near Oatlands.25

Discussion of land acquisitions and family movements. Don Norman relates that George:

...made a great deal of money in selling produce to the miners during the gold rush in Victoria as well as being successful as a farmer and sheepgrower. It seems that George Wilson Senr. was a strong capable man and a valuable settlers in the colony. He thought little about his own health and was a tireless worker. The bushrangers were a great threat to the early settlers and, although in those far off days 'Mt Seymour' was very much isolated, all in the great self-supporting homestead felt safe under the 'Maister's' care.

Most of the early Scotch settlers in the district were better equipped to converse in Gaelic and it was much used. In his love letters to his wife, George's brother, Surgeon Thomas Braidwood, said he wished he could express his feelings to his beloved in his native tongue. This indicated that the whole family were more at home in Gaelic. George was a great porridge eater which he preferred cold with whisky poured on it instead of the usual milk.26

In 1855 George was recorded as the sponsor for the emmigration of a number of Wilson related individuals. Arriving aboard the Chatham on 19 February 1855 were Alexander Wilson, the son of George's brother David, with his wife Margaret and their five children Jane, William, Isabella, Agnes Margaret and David; Catherine Wilson, another of David Wilson's children was also aboard the vessel; George's sister Margaret and her husband William Byers were on the ship with four children, Agnes, Janet, Jane and Wilhelmina; Margaret Byers and her husband John Shaw; James Byers and his wife Janet Gibb who had lost their son William on the journey; Thomas Eadie and Agnes Wilson who gave birth to a son Thomas Eadie Junior on the journey; and Thomas Wilson, the son of George's brother David, his wife Catherine Hay and three children.27

Arriving aboard the Storm Cloud on 29 August 1855 were Agnes Wilson, the wife of George's deceased brother James, with her five children: David (aged 30, ploughman), Robert (aged 28, ploughman), Mary (aged 25, dairy maid, with her illegitimate daughter Agnes), George (aged 23, ploughman), and Thomas (aged 19, ploughman)...28

The earlier reference to George Wilson's involvement in managing the threat of bushrangers is confirmed in the following report from The Courier in late October 1855:


The bushrangers who shot Mr. Overseer Simpson at Antill Ponds, on Monday, have been captured, and lodged in Oatlands gaol, by a party of some soldiers and others detached from that township on the evening of Tuesday, in consequence of intelligence brought to the Police Magistrate by Mr. John Palmer and George Wilson, Esq., of Mount Seymour, who, with the fine spirit which distinguishes that gentleman on all occasions, accompanied the party to the place of capture, at Romney's hut. The miscreants, whose names are Thomas Rushton and John Miller, were armed to the teeth with guns and pistols, but surrendered without resistance when they found the same unavailing.

Rushton, who has been out since July 1854, from the service of W. R. Allison, Esq., was the leader in the outrages commenced by these misguided men, and now so happily cut short.


(From our own Correspondent.)

The bushrangers were gloriously captured under the following circumstances by a detachment of the 99th Regiment, consisting of a corporal and four privates.

It appears that after Mr. Simpson had been shot at, the miscreants made their way back into the bush, apparently towards the westward. Instead, however, of doing so, they took across the main road to the eastward, and about three o'clock on Tuesday a report arrived that they had visited Five Mile Marsh, in the neighbourhood of the Bluff. In consequence of the information all the constables who could be spared, and some volunteers, were told off in parties of three each, and forwarded per spring cart to Jericho, where they parted company. One party took the Jerusalem road, and another took the main road to Spring Hill, to be by, in case the bushrangers should attempt to attack the mail. It was felt quite certain the men were in this neighbourhood. This arrangement was, however, scarcely completed, and the parties dispatched from Oatlands, when Mr. Wilson, of Mount Seymour, came in, full gallop, to state that the men were in the vicinity of the Blue Hills. No assistance being obtainable, the military were applied to, and a corporal and three privates volunteered for the service. They arrived at Mr. Wilson's at about nine o'clock, and requested him to be kind enough to obtain a guide to Mr. Brooks's and Romney's hut. In the most praiseworthy manner he undertook to guide them himself. On arrival at Mr. Brooks's the overseer joined them. They all proceeded to Romney's hut, the property of C. M. Cogle, Esq., when the overseer tapped at the window and called the shepherd by name. On the shepherd coming out, he was asked if any strangers were there? The answer was "Yes! the men you want are inside!" The overseer having reported this to the corporal, he placed his men in position, and called upon the bushrangers to surrender. They refused at first to do so, when the corporal told the hut-keeper (who has a wife and child) to remove his family, and he would soon make the men come out. The men then asked the shepherd to inquire from the corporal whether it might be right if they came out without their arms, and were answered in the affirmative. They came out holding their hands above their head, and were secured and brought into Oatlands at half-past three o'clock this morning (Wednesday). They are not Dido or his mate. Their names are Thomas Rushton, a pass holder, per Mangles and Duke of Richmond, who absconded from the service of W. R. Allison, Esq., on the 28th July, 1854, and John Miller, ticket-of-leave, per William Jardine, 2, who absconded from the service of G. C. Clarke, Esq., of Ellenthorpe Hall, on the 4th June, 1855.

There was no mistake in the way they were armed. Each of them had a double-barrelled gun, and on drawing the charges it was found each had two bullets in them. Rushton had also a belt and four pistols round his waist; the pistols were loaded up to the muzzle. They had about 30 rounds of ball cartridge, plenty of powder and caps, &c &c.

There seems to be little doubt they are the men who shot at Mr. Matherson, at the Shannon, and also at Mr. Simpson.

They will have a hearing in the morning.."29

George Wilson was also involved in providing intelligence regarding another bushranger around the same time which was reported in November of that year:

Dido.-George Wilson, Esq., of Mount Seymour, conveyed a report into Oatlands on Wednesday, that Dido and two other bushrangers had been seen in the vicinity of the Blue Hills. A strong muster of constables and the same military party who captured the others were in a few minutes despatched in pursuit, and it is hoped they will be taken. The chief district constable was despatched to Green Ponds with despatches to the chief police magistrate and chief constable in order that more help may he sent. One of the men was known to be "Dido" by one of the parties who saw him in the morning. The bushrangers Rushton and Millar have had another examination, and the chain of evidence against them is very complete. Mr. Simpson is fast recovering.30

Rushton and Millar were ultimately executed in February 1856 in the first private execution since the establishment of an Act to prohibit public executions. 31

George was also heavily involved in the religious affairs of his local area. According to Colin Campbell, "George Wilson allowed a large room at his home at Mt Seymour to be used for church services." Colin's ancestor Lachlan Campbell had a ministry in Oatlands at the time, having arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 18 May 1853. Colin quotes Lachlan as saying:

A gentleman who was a towering strength to me in my work is George Wilson, living at Mt Seymour, an outlying district. He and his wife Marion (nee Brock) have a large family. On my first visit to the home, Mr Wilson's eldest daughter, Margaret, took my eye. We talked with enthusiasm of the quickening interest in church matters in that year 1854.32

George was very supportive of the Scottish Church and its congregation in the Oatlands and outlying areas, even to the point of providing a Church Manse as a wedding present for his daughter.

Free Church or Scotland. - The new church erected in Oatlands, on the site of the building which fell in August, 1858, was opened for divine worship on 6th May.
The Rev. W. Nicolson, of Chalmers's Free Church, Hobart Town, preached from Ps. 122, v. 1. The site was given by Mr. George Wilson, of Mount Seymour, and the entire cost of the building was borne by his brother, Mr. John Wilson, the congregation paying the balance of debt for the old church. In addition to these magnificent and voluntary gifts, a spacious manse is being erected at the sole cost of Mr. George Wilson.33

Margaret Wilson (24) and Lauchlin McKinnon Campbell (34) ultimately married on 15 July 1857 in Oatlands, Tasmania.34 Lachlan was born on 6 November 1821 at Duntulm on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, the son of John Campbell and Isabel Macrae.35 Margaret and Lauchlin would go on to have nine children.

The following year Lauchlin was advertised as offering a sermon in Hobart to be delivered in Gaelic:

GAELIC SERMON - The Rev. Lachlan Campbell preaches a Gaelic Sermon at Chalmers' Free Church, corner of Harrington and Bathurst Streets, this evening.36

Later that year he was the officiating minister at the marriage of another of George and Marion's children, when Jane Thompson Wilson (21) married Nicholas Hamilton Gerrand (26) on 28 September 1858 in Oatlands, Tasmania.37 Jane was always known as Jeannie. Nicholas was born about 1832 in Kells, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland.38 Nicholas and Jane would go on to have two children, one of whom died in infancy.


On the 28th ult., at Mount Seymour, Oatlands, the residence of the bride's father, by the Rev. Lachlan Campbell, Mr. Nicholas Gerrand to Jane Thompson, second daughter of George Wilson Esq.39

While these official family events were occurring, no doubt the day to day business of farming was as time consuming as ever. John Weeding offers an unusual insight into George Wilson's ingenuity in solving some of the hardships faced in this new landscape, where old English methods of farming were applied to a somewhat differant environment:

George Wilson was the first man in the district to introduce sheep dipping. In 1860 there was a bad outbreak of sheep scale; a minute insect which attacked the skin of the sheep causing intense irritation and death if left unattended. He used a solution of tobacco to dip the sheep with much success. ... prior to 1880 the custom of sheep washing... was a terrible ordeal for both man and sheep. It took two men to hold each sheep and roll them over and over, mostly in a dam, until the grease was washed out. Hence the name 'sheep wash' to some of the waterholes still about.40

In managing these issues the Wilson family obviously kept in close contact with their fellow farmers and graziers, as two of George and Marion's children would marry siblings from the Thirkell family who were well known later as the owners of "Darlington Park", another large sheep and grazing property in the midlands.

George Wilson (Jnr.), aged 30, married Jane Elizabeth Thirkell, aged 16, on 12 June 1862 in St. John's Church, Launceston, Tasmania by Dr. W. D. Browne.41 Jane was born on 3 January 1846 in Launceston, the daughter of Robert Thirkell and Elizabeth Schutte.42 George and Jane would go on to have ten children.

On the 12th inst., at St. John's Church, Launceston, by the Rev. Dr. Browne, GEORGE, eldest son of George Wilson, Esq., of Mount Seymour, to JANE ELIZABETH, eldest daughter of Robert Thirkell, Esq., of Woodstock, Longford.43

Don Norman relates that "When George Junr. and Jane Elizabeth were married the new bride said she wouldn't live at 'Mt. Seymour'. It was much too cold there, she said. George Senr. then bought 'Huntworth' at Jericho for the couple..."44

Marion Brock Wilson (24) married George Frederick Thirkell (28) on 18 August 1864 in Oatlands, Tasmania. 45 George was born on 13 December 1836 in Launceston, also a child of Robert Thirkell and Elizabeth Schutte.46 They would go on to have four children.

THIRKELL-WILSON.-On the 18th August at Mount Seymour, by the Rev. L. Campbell, George Frederick, eldest son of Robert Thirkell, Esq., of Woodstock, Longford, to Marion Brock, third daughter of George Wilson, Esq., Oatlands.47

James Wilson (33) married Maria Salmon (28) on 17 March 1869 in Oatlands, Tasmania.48 James was always known as Jamie. Maria was born on 4 September 1841 in Hollow Tree, Jericho, Tasmania to Thomas Salmon and Mary Bailey.49 James and Maria would have two children but they both died in infancy.

Marion Brock Thirkell (nee Wilson) died on 5 December 1870 in Campbell Town, Tasmania at the reported age of 31.50 Following her death Marion's husband George Frederick Thirkell remarried to Elizabeth Bayles on 15 October 1873 in Campbell Town and went on to have a further eight children.51

George Wilson died on 27 March 1874 in Oatlands, Tasmania. The cause of death was recorded as "Serous Apoplexy", in archaic medical terms, "apoplexy ... accompanied with a feeble pulse and pale countenance, and evidences of serous effusion", or a stroke after which the patient lingers before expiring.52 George's son James Wilson of Ashgrove registered the event the day after.53 George was buried in Oatlands, Tasmania.

WILSON-On the 27th March, after a long illness, George Wilson, Esquire, of Mount Seymour, aged 70 years. The funeral will leave Mount Seymour House at 9 o'clock on Tuesday, and reach Mr. Bacon's gate at half-past 11 a.m. Friends are invited to attend.54

ANOTHER OLD COLONIST GONE.-Our obituary column to-day records the death of one, who though not a public man in the ordinary acceptation of the term, has occupied a prominent place in the industrial history of Tasmania, and did much to secure for the colony its agricultural pre-eminence. At the allotted age of three score years and ten, Mr. George Wilson, senior, whose name has been a household word in Oatlands, and the midland districts of Tasmania, for upwards of forty years, yesterday paid the debt of nature. He was not one of the very earliest pioneers, having landed here in the year 1831; but be was one of the most energetic and persevering, and few have done more to leave their mark on the Colony's progress. He sailed from Portsmouth in the ship John, and brought with him a stock of bees, which he was the first to introduce into Tasmania; indeed, into Australia, for the innumerable hives of bees that are now spread over Australia are the produce of the shipment by the John. Mr. Wilson first settled in the Macquarie River district, where he was the compeer of the founders of the well-known Tasmanian families, the Taylors, the Gatenbys, the Thirkells, and others. He did not, however, long confine himself to his first location, but soon after obtained a Crown grant of 1300 acres, which he retained to the day of his death, and on which he built the mansion-house of Mount Seymour, in which he died. From time to time, by well directed energy, he was enabled to purchase other property in the district of Oatlands, in which he was one of the largest land-owners. His broad acres he did not leave in a state of nature, but spread around him well-cultivated fields and comfortable homesteads. He was prominent in every measure for giving the country good roads. He recognised the value of easy communication, and was famed for the superior cultivation of his farms. To effect this he availed himself of every improvement in implements, and introduced the purest and best breeds of stock. He reaped his reward in being the possessor of one of the largest and best improved properties in the district. Himself a Scotchman, he knew the value of his countrymen as agriculturists, and, perhaps, did more than any other man to introduce emigrants of the proper class; and that he exercised a wise discretion in his selection is evidenced by the fact that nearly all of those he brought out settled in his neighbourhood, and their families now occupy the lands their fathers acquired, and constitute a very valuable class of yeomen. Scotchman like, also, Mr. Wilson did not forget the relatives he had left behind him, but induced many of them to emigrate to the then little known Tasmania. All these he has outlived ; but, besides more distant relatives, upwards of fifty nephews and neices are settled in the neighbourhood of Mount Seymour, who all respected Mr. Wilson as a father. While Mr. Wilson attended so well to his own matters, he did not forget the interests of his neighbours, and was ever ready to lend a helping hand. He was a protection to his neighbours against the then curse of Tasmania. The bushranging fraternity gave him a wide berth. They never molested Mount Seymour, though in the direct road from Port Arthur to the North. They were in awe of him, and not without reason, for he was victor in many a conflict with them. He received the thanks of Government for his gallant seizure of two desperadoes, Rushton and Millar, who had waylaid, with the intention of robbing, the Superintendent of the Public Works, at St. Peter's Pass, who, though shot in the head, escaped with the money he was conveying to pay the men. Mr. Wilson was never mixed up with any attack on the aborigines. Up to a recent date, he retained much of the vigour and strength that had distinguished his youth, and was as able to attend to his affairs as in the vigour of manhood. But even his strong athletic frame and robust health, on which he had never bestowed too much care, had to succumb to a softening of the brain, which first showed its symptoms about five months ago, confining him pretty closely to bed. No immediate danger was apprehended till within 30 hours of his death, when he had a shock of apoplexy, which ended in death yesterday morning. He leaves a widow, aged 72, and two sons and three daughters, one daughter having predeceased him.55

James Wilson died on 18 July 1877 in Oatlands, Tasmania at the reported age of 42. The cause of death was typhoid.56

Margaret Campbell (nee Wilson) died on 9 February 1881 in Oatlands, Tasmania at the reported age of 47. The cause of death was Debility of some months standing and Diarrhoea of 4 days duration.57 After Margaret's death her husband Lachlan Campbell married the widow of her brother James, Maria (nee Salmon) on 6 June 1882 in Launceston, Tasmania.58 They had a daughter, Ina Campbell.

Marion Wilson (nee Brock), the widow of George Wilson, died of paralysis on 22 February 1882 at in Glenorchy, at the reported age of 84 years.59

WlLSON -On Wednesday, February 22, at Seymour Cottage, O'Brien's Bridge, Marion, relict of the late Geo. Wilson, of Mount Seymour, in the 83rd year of her age. The funeral will start from the Oatlands station, at a quarter past 3 o'clock p m. THIS DAY, the 25th inst., for the Free Church burial ground, when friends are invited to attend.60

Nicholas Hamilton Gerrand died of progressive paralysis, on 6 March 1887 in Port Sorell, Tasmania at the reported age of 55.61

In 1902, the Reverend Lachlan McKinnon Campbell celebrated the Jubilee of his ministry.

Rev. L. McKinnon Campbell's Golden Jubilee.
On October 15 the Rev Lachlin McKinnon Campbell celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his ministry, and on Wednesday last his, friends gathered together to offer him congratulations, and wish him every joy and happiness. It does not often happen that a clergyman stays in one place so long, but the reverend gentleman has been spared to spend his time amongst his people here, in Oatlands and district.
The venerable clergyman is the youngest son of Captain John Campbell, of Duntulm, lsle pf Skye and was born on the 6th November, 1821, so that on Thursday next he will be 81 years of age. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, where he spent four years, and read theology at the Theological Hall of the Free Church of Scotland, where he passed another four years. While still a student he spent a couple,of years at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and on the 15th October, 1852, he was ordained by the Presbytery .of Dunoon, and was sent to Oatlands by the colonial committee of the Free Church He sailed for "Van Diemen's Land" in November, 1852, and arrived at Launceston on the 18th May, 1853. At Oatlands he found there was neither church nor congregation of his denomination. He, however, preached regularly in the Wesleyan Church, and in two years he succeeded in getting a church built for himself. The building cost over £2,000, of which sum Mr. Campbell himself collected £1,800. Five years later a storm blew the spire on to the roof and ruined the church, and Mr. Campbell conducted his services in the local courthouse until a new church was built. This is the building which stands to-day, and it was the munificent gift to the congregation of the late Mr. George Wilson, of Mount Seymour. In the early years of his ministry, Mr Campbell had but 14 communicants at his church, but he saw the number increase to 129. He has preached and prayed at Spring Hill, Jerusalem, Ashgrove, Mount Seymour, Tunnack, Parattah, and Oatlands during the five decades of years that be has laboured in the Midlands district of Tasmania, and it was not until 1889 that the pressure upon his powers: and resources was relaxed by the advent of a second minister to Oatlands.
Mr. Campbell has been married twice. His first wife was a daughter of Mr Wilson, by whose munificence the present church was built. He has five daughters:- Mrs. Archer, of Longford Hall, Longford; Mrs. Butler, wife of Dr. Butler, of Zeehan; and three unmarried, who still reside with him at Oatlands. Mr Campbell has two. sons—one manager of the Union Bank at Clunes, Victoria ; the other in the services of the same bank at Newcastle, New South Wales. A number; of visitors, including ministers, elders, and members of the Presbyterian Church ; amongst them being Mr. Geo. Kerr (Mayor of Hobart), the Rev. Dr. Scott (Moderator of the Presbytery of Hobart), Mr. Jas, Murdock (general treasurer). At 2.30 the visitors were entertained at lunch in the school-room, the Rev. D. Scott, presided, about 50 persons sat down, to partake of the good things provided by the ladies, who have worked very hard in fulfilling their part of the programme, and a glance at the repast showed that a lot of labour had been spent to catering for the guests. 62

George Wilson (Jnr.) died on 27 November 1906 in Bellerive, Tasmania.63Don Norman recalls that he died of cancer.64 The Weekly Courier published an obituary of George Jnr. two weeks later which was descriptive of George's life:

Mr. George Wilson passed away at Bellerive recently in his 75th year, and by his death Tasmania lost a stirling colonist, who was esteemed and beloved by all who knew him. Mr Wilson landed in Tasmania with his parents from Scotland when twelve months old. The greater part of his life was spent in the Oatlands district, where he entered largely into pastoral and agricultural pursuits, and did much to improve the breed of stock. To Mr. Wilson Tasmania is indebted for the first importations of the now famous Shropshire sheep which were landed as far back as the fifties. The deceased was elected to the first municipal council of Oatlands, and occupied the position of Warden for some years. For the same district he was elected member of the House of Assembly in 1871, and resigned in 1876, when he was succeeded by the late Hon. A. T. Pillinger. He was placed on the commission of the peace in 1882. Mr. Wilson married the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Robert Thirkell of "Darlington Park", one of Tasmania's oldest and most prosperous colonists. His widow survives him, as do also five sons and five daughters.65

The following year Lachlan McKinnon Campbell died on 17 August 1907 in Oatlands, Tasmania.66

CAMPBELL. - On August 17, 1907, at the Free Church Manse, Oatlands, Rev. Lachlan Mackinnon Campbell, youngest son of late Captain John Campbell, Duntulm, Skye, Scotland, in his 86th year. Funeral will leave the Presbyterian Church, Oatlands, at 3.30-p.m. on Tuesday.67


There passed away on August 17 at the Free Church Manse, Oatlands, the Rev. Lachlan Mackinnon Campbell, of the Presbyterian Church of Tasmania. He was the son of the late Captain John Campbell, of Duntulm, Skye, and was born in the year 1821. His personality bore all evidence of his Scotch extraction; he was bluff and hearty of demeanour, shrewd and acute in judgment, of large powers of body and mind. His disposition was kindly, and his energies in the best years of a long ministry unflagging. In the early days of his ministry he occasionally preached in Gaelic. Amongst the first seceders, he was sent out by the Free Church in 1852, to take up the Oatlands ministry, in which he laboured until within a short time of his decease. He stood at the time of his final illness amongst the last of the Four Hundred, who established the Free Church. His contemporaries had been the Rev. Dr. Nicholson and the Rev. Jas. Lindsay, who so largely shared in building up Chalmers Church in Hobart and in Launceston. He was twice married. His first wife was a Miss Wilson, of Ashgrove, near Oatlands: and his second, the widow of Mr. James Wilson, of the same district. Amongst his children is the wife of Dr. G. Butler, of Zeehan, formerly of Oatlands.68

Jane Thompson Gerrand (nee Wilson) died in 1919 in Cheltenham, Victoria at the reported age of 83.69

Catherine Mary Wilson, who had remained single, died on 15 November 1923 in the Homeopathic Hospital in Hobart, Tasmania.70

George Frederick Thirkell, the husband of Marion Brock Wilson, died on 23 September 1926 in "Darlington Park", Macquarie River, Tasmania.71

OBITUARY MR. GEORGE F. THIRKELL. Mr. George Frederick Thirkell passed peacefully away at "Darlington Park," Epping, on Thursday morning at one o'clock. Mr Thirkell was the eldest son of the late Mr. Robert Thirkell, and was born at "Newsham Park," 89 years ago. He was educated at Hobart under Mr. Wolfe, and afterwards joined his father to take up pastoral pursuits at "Darlington Park." His father also owned the well known properties "Pockthorpe," and "Woodstock," and at his death "Darlington Park" came into the hands of his eldest son, George. The late Mr. George Thirkell served on the Northern Maquarie Road Trust for 22 years. The famous "Darlington Park" stud flock was founded by the late Mr. R. Thirkell in 1837, from an importation of pure Saxon sheep, and was under the care and personal supervision of the late Mr. G. Thirkell since 1840. The "Darlington Park" wool has always been known as one of the best of the Tasmanian wool clips. Mr. Thirkell's knowledge and judgment of sheep and cattle made him a valuable judge at several shows, and he was always ready to impart his knowledge to help others in improving their stock. Mr. Thirkell was married in 1834, to Miss Marion Wilson, the third daughter of the late Mr. George Wilson of "Mount Seymour," and after her death was married in 1873 to Miss Elizabeth Bayles, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Bayles, of Auburn. Mr. Thirkell had a family of twelve, of whom nine survive him. He was a man whose word was his bond, and of a most kindly and hospitable disposition. His many friends are not likely to forget the warm welcome they always received at "Darlington Park".72

Jane Elizabeth Wilson (nee Thirkell) died 30 May 1939 at Battery Point, Tasmania.73

WILSON.-On May 30, 1939, at private hospital, Hobart, Jane Elizabeth, widow of George Wilson, eldest daughter of the late Robert Thirkell, of Darlington Park. In her 94th year. No flowers.74


Member Of Well-Known Tasmanian Family

Mrs. Jane Elizabeth Wilson, who died at Hobart on Tuesday at the advanced age of 93 years, was a member of a well-known Tasmanian family. Her father was the late Robert Thirkell, of Darlington Park, near Cressy. Mrs. Wilson was born at Darlington Park, and lived in the district until her marriage to Mr. George Wilson, a well-known pastoralist of Huntworth, in the Midlands. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson lived at Huntworth for many years, later moving to another part of the district, and finally to Hobart about 40 years ago. There was a family of 10 children, of whom the eldest son, George, died recently at the age of 74 years. The surviving members are Mesdames J. E. Flexmore (Hobart), L. Norman (Hobart), and F. E. Griffiths (Burnie), and Messrs. John Wilson (Claremont), Seymour Wilson (Hobart), and James and Gordon Wilson (New Zealand). Mrs. Wilson's husband died at Bellerive about 30 years ago. There will be a private interment at Cornelian Bay cemetery today.75

  • 1. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 3.
  • 2. Rackham, Margaret, Family Group Sheets, "Wilson Descendants," Book 2, Page 3. Scotland's People is "a partnership between General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon enabled by brightsolid". The International Genealogical Index is "An official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
  • 3. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 4. GROS OPR Births 486/00 0020 0040
  • 5. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 6. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 7. Chapman, Peter (Ed.): The diaries and letters of G. T. W. B. Boyes. Volume 1. 1820-1832; Oxford University Press; Melbourne, 1985. p. 399
  • 8. Chapman, Peter (Ed.): The diaries and letters of G. T. W. B. Boyes. Volume 1. 1820-1832; Oxford University Press; Melbourne, 1985. pp. 400-402
  • 9. AOT LSD1/1/109 p. 819
  • 10. AOT LSD1/1/109 p. 820
  • 11. AOT LSD1/1/109 p. 821 (part 1)
  • 12. AOT LSD1/1/109 p. 821 (part 2)
  • 13. AOT LSD409/1/2 p. 19
  • 14. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW) 1 November 1832
  • 15. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW) 1 November 1832
  • 16. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1832/1883
  • 17. All dates or birth appear to have been calculated from the children's later marriages.
  • 18. Unknown Reference
  • 19. NSW BDM Burial Registration Reg. No. V18431086 103/1843
  • 20. Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman : the Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Boston, 1986 p. 76
  • 21. Patricia Clarke: ibid pp. 78-83
  • 22. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1845/2179D
  • 23. Patricia Clarke: ibid p. 84
  • 24. The Courier 25 March 1846 page 2 - reprint
  • 25. The Courier 7 March 1846
  • 26. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 27. AOT Shipping Arrivals CB7/12/1/3 B6
  • 28. AOT Shipping Arrivals CB7/12/1/5 BK 26
  • 29. The Courier Thursday 25 October 1855
  • 30. The Courier Thursday 1 November 1855 and copied in the Launceston Examiner Saturday 3 November 1855 and The Argus Saturday 10 November 1855 and the South Australian Register Saturday 17 November 1855
  • 31. LOCAL INTELLIGENCE - Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) 20 February 1856: p3
  • 32. Campbell, Colin McDowall: The Colonial Campbells; A Family History; Privately Published; 1984, 1987
  • 33. Launceston Examiner Tuesday 12 June 1860
  • 34. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1857/798
  • 35. Campbell, Colin McDowell: The Colonial Campbells; Privately Published, 1984 (1987)
  • 36. The Courier Wednesday 27 January 1858
  • 37. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1858/685
  • 38. Rackham, Margaret etc.
  • 39. The Hobart Town Daily Mercury Friday 1 October 1858
  • 40. Weeding, J. S.: Mount Seymour and Weeding chronicles: a district and family history; Hobart, O.B.M., 1970
  • 41. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1862/417
  • 42. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1846/2911
  • 43. The Mercury Wednesday 18 June 1862
  • 44. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 45. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1864/616
  • 46. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1837/7844
  • 47. The Mercury Monday 22 August 1864
  • 48. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1869/568
  • 49. AOT Birth Registration RGD 1841/XXXX
  • 50. AOT Death Registration RGD 1870/56
  • 51. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1873/18
  • 52. Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms, quoting Dunglison 1868;
  • 53. AOT Death Registration RGD 1874/517
  • 54. The Mercury Monday 30 March 1874
  • 55. The Mercury Saturday 28 March 1874
  • 56. AOT Death Registration RGD 1877/632
  • 57. AOT Death Registration RGD 1881/471
  • 58. AOT Marriage Registration RGD 1882/604
  • 59. AOT Death Registration RGD 1882/14
  • 60. The Mercury Saturday 25 February 1882
  • 61. AOT Death Registration RGD 1887/1095
  • 62. Rev. L. McKinnon Campbell's Golden Jubilee - The Midland News (Oatlands, Tas. : 1902 - 1904) 1 November 1902: page 3.
  • 63. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1906/721
  • 64. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 65. Weekly Courier 15 December 1906 (p. 26, c. 2)
  • 66. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1907/626
  • 67. The Mercury Tuesday 20 August 1907
  • 68. The Mercury Tuesday 20 August 1907
  • 69. VIC BDM Death Registration Reg. No. 1919/11560
  • 70. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1923/2099
  • 71. Federation Index Death Registration RGD 1926/359
  • 72. Examiner Friday 24 September 1926
  • 73. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr., His Ancestors and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989
  • 74. The Mercury Thursday 1 June 1939
  • 75. The Mercury Thursday 1 June 1939