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grants which prohibit the grantee from selling, alienating or transferring, etc., are to be considered as erased and rescinded.
The South Arm grant very soon became the property of William Gellibrand, who arrived from England in the Hlbernia. He brought a letter from the secretary of Lord Bathurst, dated 24th September, 1823, authorising the Governor to grant him land proportionate to his means, and on 30th March. 1824, he applied for his grant, and in April, 1831, he applied to Governor Arthur for an additional grant, on the grounds that he had made considerable improvements to the original grant.
William Gellibrand was a man of some considerable mark in the colony during his lifetime, but the records show that Governor Arthur had no very great friendship for him, and was not inclined to grant him anything more than the law allowed him to claim. In 1827 Gellibrand applied for a town allotment in Hobart Town. On his application is an endorsement that he already occupies 2000 acre grant in an advantageous position.
Gellibrand settled down at South Arm, and his tomb, which is built on the Arm, is a great attraction to visitors. It is to this day used as the family vault. He appears to have been an adventurous man, because it is recorded in correspondence in January, 1831, that during his absences at Swan River, a location at South Arm had been granted to Mr. Young, to which he objected. It is divicult to know exaclly how Governor Sorell passed out of the ownership. ln one or Governor Arthur's letters, he speaks of the land having been cedeed to Gellibrand by Sorell, at all events, Governor Brisbane granted it over again to William Gellibrand on 13th June, 1823.
The 90 acres at Battery Point passed into the hands of the Kermode funlily, and was a drag in the market until Hobart began to make strides in the early seventies, when it was gradually sold in small building blocks. In the year 1821, Sorell received four more grants of land in Van Diemens Land, but they will be dealt with later.
In this year on the 1st or January, Macquarie signed two grants in favour of Edward Lord, one for 1500 acres at Pitiwater, registered on 16th July. 1819, and a town grant for 28 perches with 60 feet frontage on Macquarie Street, adjoining Ingle Hall, and very near to what is now the "Mercury" office. This was registered on 24/7/1819. Two grants of 300 acres and 400 acres respectively were signed on the same date in favour of James Cox, for land at Clarendon, on the South Esk. These were registered on 18/8/19, and one on the same river of 800 acres, known as Rhodes, near Longford, to Thomas Walker. This was signed on 4/1/19, registered on 19/5/19.
The total area of grants registered in this year was 5000 acres. The grants to Cox were strangely enough acquired compulsorily from his descendants in the year 1914, for the purposes of closer settlement. The large house built as the family home, and known as Clarendon House, was far too large and valuable for any of the small closer settlers, and it was eventually sold back again to the Cox family. This is the only case in this State where land has been taken compulsorily from the existing owners for this purpose.
The following order by Governor Macquarie must have caused consternation among the applicants for land grants in Van Diemens Land in Sorell's reign.
Civil Department. Sydney, 8/5/1819.
"The applications for land made to the Governor at the prescribed time in June last, having been so numerous as to surpass very far what he expected, and consequently requiring his most serious consideration previous to his giving a final answer on the respective claims of the applicants; and there being further much difficulty in accommodating those whose claims to such indulgences may be admitted owing to the present very great scarcity of disposable Crown lands, and many of those persons who were then promised grants of land, not having yet had them measured owing to the scarcity alluded to; his Excellency feels himself compelled to give this public notice that no applications for either land or cattle will be received by him in the ensuing month of June, nor until the first Monday in June In the year 1820. In consequence of this unavoidable determination on the part of his Excellency, the magistrates are required to withhold their signatures of recommendation from all applications for land or cattle for the current year." 1