Introduction and Acknowledgements


The Wilson family in Tasmania is a complicated story, primarily due to the common nature of the surname. This has led to many spurious associations between various unrelated families and individuals. For that reason alone definative research into the family is overdue, and for that reason we will reference many unrelated families in this section of the site.

Before we deal with the family proper however we must start with the early research that was undertaken into the family, acknowledge their contribution, but also highlight where they've gone wrong. We stress this is not to discredit the individual researchers, but to clear the way for a factual revisiting of all the information available.

The following works were consulted while compiling the information for this discussion of the Wilson family. These are secondary sources but have proved useful in leading the investigation to the primary sources. Note that the moderators of this website cannot provide you with any of the following material, nor can we provide contact details for other Wilson family researchers.


The story of the Wilson family is not the work of one person, but includes the research of a number of people. Researchers who have contributed to the information presented on this site include (not including those unpublished and published sources listed below):

  • Helen Brown
  • Ian Byers
  • Sue Liston
  • Gina McDonald

Unpublished Sources

Margaret Rackham

Margaret Rackham is probably the pre-eminent Wilson family researcher, having privately published hundreds of family group sheets documenting the various branches of the family. The sheets are well constructed and informative but unfortunately do not contain any references to source material. Even so, they have been largely verified by the historical records that have been accessed to date.

The website moderators have arranged these sheets into books by family and pages are then numbered for the purposes of referencing.

  • Book 1: Wilson Related (David Wilson and descendants based on original Wilsontown relationships)
  • Book 2: Wilson Related (Descendants of the first seven children of James Wilson and Catherine Boak)
  • Book 3: Byers Related (Descendants of the children of William Byers and Margaret Wilson - Primarily the Scott and Campbell families)
  • Book 4: Byers Related (Descendants of the children of William Byers and Margaret Wilson - Primarily the Kerr Family)
  • Book 5: Byers Related (Descendants of the children of William Byers and Margaret Wilson - Primarily the Byers, Shaw, Hay and Higgins families)
  • Book 6: Byers Related (Descendants of the children of William Byers and Margaret Wilson - Primarily the Sunderland families)
  • Book 7: Wilson Related (Descendants of the youngest child of James Wilson and Catherine Boak - George Wilson)

Privately Published Sources

Don Norman: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr. of Mount Seymour; His Brothers and Descendants

Compiled by Don Norman in 1989, this privately published volume was the by-product of an even earlier volume titled "So Soon Forgotten" which Mr Norman had produced in 1980. To quote Mr Norman's book:

Much more is known about the Wilsons since I wrote So Soon Forgotten. Mrs Lillian Archbold of Brisbane, a descendant of James Wilson, only surviving son of Surgeon-Superintendant Thomas Braidwood Wilson R. N. has gone a long way in researching the family and, late in 1988, visited Scotland, to obtain further information from the graves of the Wilsons in Lanark and to visit the remains of Wilsontown. Mrs Archbold has kindly allowed me to use her material in compiling this new book and I am indebted to Don Wilson of Mr Seymour, a descendant of Dr. David Wilson, a brother of Surgeon Thomas, for his valuable assistance.1

Don Norman links the Wilsons of Oatlands with the Wilsontown Ironworks family, and bases that as quoted on the research of Lillian Archbold. While as we have stated no information has been found to date to substantiate that arrangement, that does not detract from the wonderful information recorded in Don's book. Don is also the author of other works about his life and family.

Colin McDowall Campbell: The Colonial Campbells; A Family History; Privately Published; 1984, 1987

Colin Campbell's book is primarily concerned with the Rev. Lachlin McKinnon Campbell, and his ancestors and descendants. Lachlin married Margaret Wilson, the daughter of George Wilson, and following her death, he married again to Maria Salmon, the widow of Margaret Wilson's brother James.

Gwenda Oxley

Gwenda was a wonderful assistance when we were gathering information about the Wilson family, and her generosity of spirit was demonstrated when she deposited much of her research with the State Library of Tasmania, see the State Library of Tasmania Entries for Gwenda Oxley.

Published Sources

Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman; The Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle 1827-1857

Mary Braidwood Mowle was the daughter of Thomas Braidwood Wilson and Jane Thompson. Patrica Clarke's book is a fascinating insight into the life of Mary, her father Thomas Wilson, and her husband Stewart Mowle. Largely based on the diaries of Mary, and other writings by members of the family, Mrs. Clarke formally acknowledges:

...descendants of people mentioned in the diaries [and] this category [includes] ...Mr Archie Walker, Wolgan, Vic; Mr Jim Archer, Gracemere, Qld; Mrs Lilian Archbold, Carina Heights, Brisband (a direct descendant of James Wilson); Mr Ian Nicholson, Reid, ACT; and Mr Stephen Gibbes, Dulwich Hill, Sydney.

In the elucidation of the part of the diary set in Tasmania I have been helped greatly by many descendants of George Wilson, a pioneer of Mt Seymour, near Oatlands in the Lower Midlands [including] ...Don and Geraldine Wilson, Mt Seymour; Dennis Wilson, Rosny; Don Norman, Sandy Bay; Colin Campbell, Rothamay and Stuart Wilson.2

Ms. Clarke also links the Wilson family of Oatlands in Tasmania to the Wilsontown Ironworks but as previously noted this is not substantiated in the historical records.

Weeding, John Seymour: Numerous Works

  • A history of Oatlands, Tasmania; Gielston Bay, Tas., I.D. Simpson, 1988
  • A history of the lower midlands; Hobart, Cat & Fiddle Press, 1975
  • The Pinecrest chronicle; New Norfolk, Derwent Printery, 1979
  • Mount Seymour and Weeding chronicles: a district and family history; Hobart, O.B.M., 1970

Other Source Material

See the References and Style Guide page for a complete list of Resources.

  • 1. Norman, Don: Some Notes on George Wilson Snr. of Mount Seymour; His Brothers and Descendants; Privately Published, 1989.
  • 2. Clarke, Patricia: A Colonial Woman; The Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle 1827-1857; Allen and Unwin, North Sydney, 1986 (p. ix)