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Welcome to Vandemonian Royalty

This website is primarily concerned with the early years of Australian, and in particular Tasmanian history, as described on the About Us page. For the principle families see the Books page. If you're looking for something specific use the Search function, and if you wish to reproduce material from this website see the Copyright Guidelines page for further information. Use the Contact Us form to get in touch, or view our Website Registration, Privacy and Site Updates page for details on how to get more out of this website.

Recent Content

Tales of Horton College

The "Dead" Schools of Tasmania
Tales of Horton College
Vanished Landmark Near Ross - Article 1.

There always have been children, and presumably always will be, and so there always will be schools. Cynics say that people who have no children of their own set out to bring up other people's, and that is how the first school started. How ever that may be, one of the most interesting phases of Tasmanian history would set out the records of schools that have waxed and waned since civilisation arrived to dispossess and exterminate the Stone Age blacks. Big schools and schools not so big have come and gone, forgotten by all but those whose early days were spent in their desks, some of them men now in high office. A few of their memories are to be revived in these articles.

That attempts were made to found colleges in Tasmania before the establishment of responsible government is not generally known, nor that the State possesses two of the three oldest schools in Australia. 1

Peter Campbell and Isabella Byres

Isabella Scott, nee Byers, married for a second time to Peter Campbell on 2 September 1854 in Uphall, West Lothian, Scotland. 1 Peter's date of birth varies widely when based on calculations from his stated age at various events. Gwenda Oxley, in her pamphlet "Peter Campbell and his Descendants", states that Peter was born on 15 December 1818 at Mid Calder, Midlothian, Scotland to Thomas Campbell and Barbara Robertson. Gwenda bases this information on the use of the surname Robertson as one of Peter and Isabella's children's middle name. 2

Isabella and Peter decided to emigrate to Van Diemens Land along with a large number of Isabella's siblings and cousins. They arrived in Launceston aboard the Queen Victoria on 6 June 1855 with Isabella's children from her first marriage. Both Peter and Isabella were described as being aged 28, Mungo age 10, William age 6, James age 4, Joseph age 3, and Margaret age 9; the (Scott) children travelled under the Campbell surname. Peter was recorded as a Farm Servant and Isabella as his wife. The family were sponsored by Henry Anstey at a cost of £99. 3 During the journey they had their first natural child.

  • 1. GROS: OPR Marriage Registration 672/00 0030 0226 Uphall or Strathbrock.
  • 2. Oxley, Gwenda: Peter Campbell and his Descendants; Privately Published
  • 3. AOT: Shipping Arrivals CB7/12/1/5 BK20

Part Sixteen

By the time the year 1819 had arrived, Lieutenant-Governor Sorell had shown Governor-General Macquarie that he was an officer of sterling worth, and the latter showed his appreciation by making him three grants of land in Van Diemens Land, one of 2200 acres, being what is now know as South Arm, one of 90 acres, which is practically the whole of the well-known portion of Hobart called Battery Point, and also 710 acres on the Coal River. All the grants bear the same dates; they were signed by Macquarie on 19th February, 1819, and registered by J. T. Campbell, the Registrar on 4th March, 1819. There is a note signed by Macquarie on each grant which provides that the restrictive clauses in these grants which prohibit the grantee from selling, alienating or transferring, etc., are to be considered as erased and rescinded. 1

Webb v Phipps

Even social outings were problematic due to alcohol consumption ...

The opening of the Bridgewater Bridge, from its short announcement to the public, was done without ceremony, and as a matter of no uncommon character ; indeed, as a thing of course. Preparations, without the due notice to which on such an occasion the public was entitled, were made by Mr. Anson, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Hedger, and with which all who attended to honor the expected ceremony with their presence, were well pleased. The visitors in gigs, carriages, and on horseback, were perhaps about 100. Most of them appeared disappointed at not meeting his Excellency, or finding some excuse for his not being there to commemorate an event which every colonist should have rejoiced at as being one of the most useful, convenient, and necessary accomplished works which Van Diemens Land can boast of. 1

A Parramatta Romance

There was another court case involving an alleged assault of a neighbour and possibly even friends of Henry and Lydia.

Before His Honor the CHIEF JUSTICE, NEW MAGISTRATE, James George, Esq., of Apsley, was sworn in as a magistrate of the territory of New South Wales.
Martin Gill was indicted for that he, on the 21st day of May, did unlawfully, maliciously, and feloniously, shoot at one James Butler Kinchela, with intent to murder the said Kinchela.
A second count charged him with intent to do some grievous bodily harm. The prisoner pleaded not guilty. 1

Transportation (Poem)


Tasmania, the period's at hand
When acquitted thy rulers shall be :
Already they've made the demand.
And the eyes of mankind are all fix'd upon thee :
P'onder well the great question-say, wilt thou be free ?

Patterson's Plains, 23rd April, 1847. 1

  • 1. TRANSPORTATION - Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899) 28 April 1847: page 3 (MORNING)

Mary Braidwood Wilson and Stewart Marjoribanks Mowle

Mary Braidwood Wilson was baptised on 4 August 1827 in Durham, England, the eldest child and daughter of Thomas Braidwood Wilson and Jane Thompson. 1 Mary's life has been extensively reported in the book "A Colonial Woman" by Patricia Clarke. The book, informed by a series of diaries maintained by Mary between 1850 and 1855, as well as a "Journal in Retrospect" by Mary's husband and daughter, and numerous letters between the Wilson, Mowle and related families, far exceeds anything that can be presented here. Readers who wish to know more about Mary's life are encouraged to consult Ms. Clarke's work.2

  • 1. Durham Records Online: (Baptisms, Durham District - Record Number: 721235.0)
  • 2. Patricia Clarke: A Colonial Woman : the Life and Times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Boston, 1986 and Stewart Marjoribanks Mowle (with Agnes Mowle): Journal in Retrospect (Manuscript); National Library of Australia; NLA MS 1042. Typescript copy, ca. 1955

A Song of Van Diemens Land

A Song of Van Diemen's Land

Come all you gallant poachers, that ramble void of care,
That walk out on a moonlight night with your dog, gun and snare,
The hare and lofty pheasant you have at your command,
Not thinking of your last career upon Van Dieman's Land.

Poor Thomas Brown, from Nottingham, Jack Williams and poor Joe,
Were three determin'd poachers as the country well doth know,
At night they were trepann'd by the keepers hid in sand,
and for fourteen years transported were upon Van Dieman’s Land. 1

The First Overland Journey

Tasmania had been occupied nearly four years before the first overland journey was attempted between Hobart and Launceston, or more strictly speaking, between Launceston and Hobart. During this period, the settlements at these two places had made very considerable progress. Both places had been hampered by the want of suitable labour, by the difficulties of communication with other parts of the world, and by what must be recognised as a want of sympathy or attention on the part of the Imperial Government of those days. 1

  • 1. EARLY TASMANIA - Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) 21 May 1921: p5 (DAILY)

Counties Hundreds Parishes Townships

By his Excellency Colonel George Arthur Lieutenant Governor of the Island of Van Diemens Land and its Dependencies, &c.

PROCLAMATION. WHEREAS Letters Patent have been issued under the public Seal of this Government, for erecting certain portions of land within this colony into Counties, Hundreds and Parishes. And whereas it is expedient that the utmost publicity should be given to the contents of those letters patent for the general information and guidance of his Majesty's subjects within this Government, I do therefore hereby notify and proclaim the issue of such letters patent, and that the tenor thereof is as follows:— of which all persons are hereby required to take notice, and to govern themselves accordingly.
Given under my Hand and Seal at Arms, at the Government House, Hobart town, in Van Diemens land, this 6th day of January 1836.
By His Excellency's command,