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Margaret Mickle Memoirs

Extract from Margaret Mickle's Memoirs

Recollections of early days in Van Diemen's Land c. 1836 - 1846, written April 1892.

........For the first time I began to consider my own pedigree and that of my Husband, so far as I know about it and was thankful to reflect that although our origin was rather humble there had been no crime or disgrace to cast a shadow, so far as we know. My own ancestors for generations on both sides had belonged to the Farming Community of the Old Country and I had heard my Mother say that for five generations (I think it was) the name of John LYALL (my Father's) had been on the same farm near Inverkeilor in Forfarshire, Scotland.

My Grandfather had married late in life and when he died the new lease of the farm was treacherously obtained by a near neighbour of the widow's - the man conveying the news to her himself. "Oh man," the poor soul said, "you might as well have taken my life" and though a great strong masculine woman, she fainted - or fell dead, as the Scotch say. She had a daughter, Margaret, and I think four sons. I don't know where my own father came in but at this time he was only five years old. Henceforth the widow toiled like a man upon a small farm, all honour to her - and my Father had made sufficient means to marry (March 2nd 1811) when he was only 25, his bride Nelly WEBSTER (the Maiden of Methie as she was called) being 20. Humbly enough they must have begun their housekeeping and presently my Father was required to serve in the Militia, which was called out in that old time to protect the Fatherland from the 1st Napoleon, who was expected to make an inroad some day and my Mother used to chant to me a song that was popular at the time:-

Oh Bonaparte says he is coming,
To learn us a new country dance,
And he'll pick up our bit island
And carry it over to France.
But when he does come he'll be cheated,
And that he will find to his cost...
etc., etc. (I forget the rest.)

Of course he never did come but the Scotch Militia was stationed at Manchester for a number of months, seven, I think my Father had to go with them as he couldn't afford a substitute and my Mother with her first born son, was there also for a short time. Her Father held a commission as Lieutenant then - signed by George the 4th. Most of our family of 10 (8 sons and 2 daughters - 3 sons died in infancy) were born in Aberdeenshire where my Father had first one farm then another and being annoyed by some action of his landlord he suddenly resolved to go off to Tasmania and prepare a home for his family there.¹ In 16 months he was in a position to send home for them - I being the youngest and about 5 years old.

My recollections of the voyage are rather dim, although it occupied, I believe, about 5 months - the good ship being the Adelaide,² commanded by Captain CLARK. Faintly, I remember seeing a Whale spout - also that I got possession of a Cape Pigeon and one of the mates had the cruelty to throw it overboard, also that I had a longing to be within touch of the beautiful white Albatrosses that soared about the ship sometimes, also that I found my way to a large boat where patient looking sheep were kept. These amusements were varied by reading a large Missionary book about the Wesleyans and trying to commit to memory the (to a child) dreadful questions of the Shorter Catechism! (But so valued in after years.)

There was much to delight me when we landed at Hobart, Mount Wellington and in town so many little houses covered with vines. I remember still my delight when my brothers brought me from the mountain some of the grotesque looking cones of the Honeysuckle Tree - ripe ones and the ones with fresh yellow bloom. Then began our slow journey towards our new home which was situated near the township of Ross on the river, half way (I think) between Hobart and Launceston.

The journey was tedious, I thought, but that was all the discomfort we had to endure so early as some time in 1834. Our house was a most comfortable one of 7 rooms and a large kitchen and well furnished with all we required and there were two large gardens well stocked with fruit trees and flowers. My Father was only Manager there - for an old Gentleman named HILL - "Williamswood" was the name of the place but Mr HILL lived at some other places he had a long way off so that during the few years we remained there the place was like our own and my Father did as he thought best. I remember a good deal went on in the way of breaking in young horses and in clearing land of the heavy timber.

I used to rejoice in the great heaps of wood that had to be burnt off and which shone at night like the fiery pillar we read about in the Scripture. There were many sheep on the place too and at certain seasons men were sent away with these to the distant mountains called the "Tiers" - under the care of my brother William who had been little more than 14 at the time, though he seemed grown up to me. He had much to tell always when he returned from these expeditions - mostly tales he had heard in the evenings from his men.

These were all prisoners - "assigned servants" - whose services were given free to the early settlers. They merely had to supply them with food and a certain quantity of slop clothing - at that time - but some years afterwards their condition was improved by what was called the "Probation System" when a small yearly sum was paid to them instead, I think of clothing being given - also. I think they were at liberty to change to another situation without having to be taken to the Stockade each time a master wished to change.

They had to report themselves at stated times and could only leave the Colony when the term of banishment had expired. If I remember rightly those banished for life were free in 21 years, if their record had been good at that time. Many of them were well behaved and industrious and became even wealthy men. No one could leave Tasmania in those days without giving a satisfactory account of themselves, however well they might be known, they had to prove to the officials that were free subjects.

A Penal Settlement seemed a dangerous place to take a young family to, but in reality, it was not so. Government held out great inducement to respectable people by promising them grants of land wherever they chose to select and I think these were perfectly free. Most of the respectable old families in Tasmania began their independence in that way but my Father unfortunately, was just too late to reap the benefit as the "Grants" had come to an end just before he landed.

I have no disagreeable recollections of our Prisoner Servants - they were one and all very kind to the little child who roamed about in perfect freedom and often rambled alone long distances into the "Bush" only sometimes getting frights from the whirlwinds which arose with great suddenness, carrying in their wild whirl sticks and even stones and woe to the washing green if one of them passed across there. Once when riding on a horse a great swinging branch of a tree near a steep rocky hill not far from my home came down and I had to dismount hurriedly and make all the haste my very active limbs permitted to escape from the great stones brought hurling down the face of the hill by a whirlwind.

Another time I was caught by one before I was aware and lifted with tarpaulin and bags off the top of a round wheat stack - possibly 20 feet high, with a tempting ladder reaching to its unfinished top - and landed safely on terra firma but my fright was great - I couldn't draw a breath but fled home and sat there unable to answer alarmed questions for some time. This was not the only hair-breadth escape. Another time, in our dining room I pushed my chair back and tilted into a wine cellar that was there, deep enough for the largest sized wine casks and yet I escaped unhurt. The trap-door had been left open and I forgot about it.

Another rather dangerous adventure was this - a large lofty brick barn had been built and a platform across from the eaves covered in the one half - a long narrow ladder was set up against this which I readily ascended and stepped upon the platform. The thing was to get safely down again and I still remember the terror I felt when I found myself looking over the ledge and I had by some means to get on that ladder without anything to hold on by. I have no recollection now of the way I escaped that time.

My Mother was very compassionate towards the prisoner servants and often sent me with kindly presents of little luxuries to them which were gratefully received and appreciated. But the task was always a trying one for my shy nature - only when any of them chanced (very rarely) to be invalided I went without any feeling of hesitation and read and chatted to them. There were a few among them I felt at home with - one named WALTON who was a groom I can still remember - a thoughtful nice looking lad who had a wonderful dream about his Mother the night before he heard she was dead. There was a warm-hearted wild excitable fellow too, named Jim PRICE who used to amuse us by his ways. The gardener was rather a dark gloomy looking man named LOCKET who was said by the others to be Jack KETCH at home. I had only a dim notion of what that meant but always felt inclined to avoid that one. The only other ones who were out of the common were Billie BLUE, and John WILSON and a very tall strong Irishman called Paddy.

The men stood in great awe of their master, whose manner was very quiet and commanding but at all times they could approach their genial kindly Mistress and every request they had to make was brought to her, - so ready was she to sympathise, so out-spoken too in rebuke - and the ones most frequently rebuked came back the oftenest to see her, after they went to other Masters.

My Mother was singularly fearless amongst them - she had them all so entirely under her control. I remember very distinctly one evening when my Father was absent that some cause for dispute had airsen at the men's hut - some distance down the hill from our house and that presently Jim PRICE rushed into our sittingroom stripped to the waist and bleeding and excitedly exclaiming - "For God's sake come down Missus, they are murdering one another in cold blood!" Away went my Mother at once to see what she could do and I followed in fear and trembling but stopped within sight at the garden fence. My Mother found big Paddy standing in a ring, like a huge mastiff attacked by all the others and swinging a big stick around with all his great strength. "Bless me Paddy, what's this you're after" the Mistress called out cheerily and in a moment there was a lull in the angry voices and explanations and apologies made though we were quite at their mercy and a long way from help.

Usually when my Father had to be away all night my Mother kept a light burning but one night when she had some cause to suspect her fowls were disappearing she put out the light about 11 o'clock and then kept her eye on the men's quarters. After some time she saw a light leave the hut and move up the hill towards where the fowls were kept and without the slightest fear of hesitation went to see who was the bearer of it - Jim PRICE again. "What brings you up here at this time of night?" "Oh Mam," he answered readily, "I thought I heard horses' feet and that the Master had returned." But my Mother always suspected he had less honourable intentions as he looked so taken by surprise when she suddenly appeared.

Let me try to describe her - a little above medium height and very slender - very fair, pale clear complexion, bright lively blue eyes, large slightly Roman nose and large laughing mouth showing big regular white teeth - her face delicate and oval and her hair fine as silk. My Father was tall also - perhaps six feet - very handsome and carried himself well from the effects of early drill. I cannot so well remember his thoughtful face as he died when I was 15, but I know he had beautiful hazel eyes and regular fine features and curly dark brown hair. They had been remarkable when a young couple for their beauty and equally so to the end. My Father was held in great respect by all who knew him and was consulting friend to them all - his love for reading having given him a thorough knowledge of most things. His farming was carried on upon scientific principles and not in the clod-hopping way so prevalent in those days. When he died our landlord, Dr GRANT, said: "Well, we have lost the best farmer in Tasmania."

My brothers, John, James and Alexander were all away by this time - John being in business in Launceston and the other two at sea. The only ones at home were my sister Julia, brothers William and Andrew and my small self. Our intimate friends were Mr Andrew MITCHELL and his young brother John, Mr. John GALVERT, Mr. John BELL, Mr. J.G. FRANCIS, Mr. HILL's stepdaughter and her husband Mr. JACKSON and after a time, Mr. and Mrs. GRAY. Mr. MITCHELL's father and mother had been our near neighbours and very intimiate friends in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and many friendly relations existed between the two MITCHELLs and our family, the eldest being a kind and helpful friend to my young brothers. There was a young Mr. RIMMER too, who was a frequent visitor, The KERMODEs, GATENBYs, CLARKEs (of Ellenthorpe Hall) and McCLANNIGANs were all familiar names as neighbours not very far distant. HORTON too was another and we knew slightly the two brothers HAMILTON at Cambeltown (sic) about 7 miles distant.

Our only Presbyterian Church was there or somewhere on the Macquarie (sic) River and I remember once going that long distance with my Mother and Sister at the Communion Season and that I was near being left behind when the conveyance started for home - also my extreme weariness before we reached there. I think the clergyman's name was MACKERSEY and that he had a brother named James who was a settler in his neighbourhood - "Aye, aye", said an old woman in the Home Country, "an' ye ken Jimmy Mackersey who lives among the Sun!"

Our nearest township was Ross and we all attended the English Church there. I can barely remember seeing it draped in black as mourning for King William the fourth. The only other place of worship was a Wesleyan Chapel. In those days the Wesleyans were the only Missionaries and my Mother was careful to have as many of our men assembled as possible when any of their Missionaries came our way. But few people thought of doing anything for the poor men in the way of religious teaching.

There was a fine river - Jordan - between us and the village of Ross and a handsome free-stone bridge crossed over into the little town. My brother Andrew and I had to cross this bridge on our way to school and to our great discomfort often had to pass prisoner men sitting in the "Stocks" as punishment for their trifling misdeeds. They sat on a narrow bench with both their feet through holes in a board in front of them and on a level with their bench-hours, some of them had to sit like that exposed to all sorts of weather and to public view. We always felt sorry for them and couldn't bear to look towards them as we passed.

At other times we had to pass the "Chain Gang" - a large number of men at work on the road and all chained two and two together. These were the desperate characters and were never sent out to the Settlers whilst they were in that "Gang". Having been there was the next worst thing to having been at "Port Arthur" or at "Norfolk Island". The poor fellows considered themselves very respectable sort of men if they had never been committed to any of these three.

When they misconducted themselves in their situation they were sent to the nearest Police Station or officials were sent for to take them away and the Master could suggest their punishment - usually solitary confinement on the bread and water for a longer or shorter time according to the nature of their offence or they could be ordered lashes - the marks of which degrade them for all time. My Father never had one of his men punished in this way but found the solitary system had a very quietening infuence upon the wildest of them.

Sometimes from fear of cruel punishment the wretched fellows would break away from the Constables and form a gang of "Bushrangers", "sticking up" the Settlers and their families and helping themselves to everything they needed. There was a fearful "gang" of this kind in our neighbourhood for a long time and many terrible tales came to our ears about them. Nightly we expected a visit and I foolishly longed for the wild escitement of such an event. But the miserable fellow at the head of them had often been kindly treated at our place and this was supposed to be the reason for our good fortune in escaping a visit from the desperate fellows who committed murder sometimes. Their leader was captured presently and hanged, poor wretch, and the others dispersed.

Old Mr. CLARKE of "Ellenthorpe Hall" had a lively time while the leader of his "Gang" was at large - the man having expressed his determination to take his late Master's life for some real or supposed act of injustice. Mrs. CLARKE kept a first class boarding school for young ladies and the excitement amongst them was extreme every time the Bushrangers appeared with the express intention of killing old Mr. CLARKE and helping themselves to his goods. Mr. CLARKE had the good fortune to be from home at such times but upon one occasion one of the marauders was shot.

Our Schoolmaster, Mr. HALL, was also Postmaster General Storekeeper (of small goods) and Clerk at the English Church. In this latter capacity his sonorous Amen used to impress me very deeply. He was a singular looking man with very bushy dark eyebrows which met. My brother was always making desperate efforts to sketch his appearance on the slate instead of doing his sums. My own dread was that my own eyebrows might grow to be like those and when opportunity offered I carefully clipped mine with scissors!

His wife, a gentle Englishwoman with a large young family, took charge of the girls. There couldn't have been more than nine or ten pupils altogether and we got along very quietly, perhaps in dread of a long black ruler the Schoolmaster used to prop his nose upon while he kept an eye upon us all: this was the position my brother so often vainly tried to portray.

During the play hour, at luncheon time, the girls frequented some tiny freestone caves which were in the side of a small eminence close to the township. These we would ornament tastefully with brown and bronze beetles which would all be off on their own business before the next day. At other times, hand in hand, we would wade into the river until we found ourselves all but carried away by the current. And more dangerous exploit still, we would dare each other to go distances round the curves of the bridge, close to the deep water with only a very narrow ledge for foothold and the smooth wall to cling to - getting back again was always the most unconfortable part of the feat.

Once when alone I thought proper to go along to my friend Mrs. JACKSON's at Cashmere instead of going home. And not one word of reproof did the thoughtless brat receive. Accordingly I went home with schoolmates another time and can still remember the joy I felt in my freedom and the novelty of the thing, for their home was new to me and their ways were different but they were good, though homely people, and held family worship at night.

I think my dear sister did expostulate that time and I gave up these escapades. Someone had seen me go off with the other children otherwise the anxiety in my home would have been very great. I was such a lonely child with no girls of my own age to play with and very dependent upon the live creatures about the place for company. My brother would perch me upon the back of a big old brown mare named "Dolly" who would meander about with me at her own sweet will and finally seek the shade of a large Wattle tree and there close her eyes in sleep despite my kicks and shouts but the first effort to reach a branch and break it off aroused the sly old thing to action again.

The sheep dogs proved rather companionable too and the great fat puppies were, in my opinion, quite too sweet, but the petting of them was a forbidden luxury and I well remember rushing off down hill with one under each arm, finally pitching them into the sand when I found my brother William gaining upon me with many terrific shouts of disapproval.

The men servants brought me little creatures of all kinds for pets - tiny Opossums and Kangaroos and Kangaroo Rats but usually they came to some tragic end and my sister decidedly objected to having the baby Opossums in our bedroom as they take their excercise in the night time. The little Paraqueets and Rosella Parrots weren't a success either as I couldn't bear to have them put in cages as my sister had hers.

I think my dear Mother suffered from home sickness in those days. We would go a little way into the "Bush" together and in her sweet musical voice she would sing to me sad little songs about people far from home in foreign lands and when I saw her weep I would try to feel melancholy also and quite wonder at the difficulty I had sharing her sorrow. Her health I think must have suffered at that time. She went about drooping so I fear I was little comfort to her in those days though in after years I seemed all she needed. I am glad now to remember that for she had a truly loving and sensitive nature and felt many things too deeply.

The locality must have been a very healthy one, I cannot remember hearing of a death all the four years we were there nor can I recall the name of a medical man. There must have been a doctor at Oatlands and also at Cambletown (sic).

The Governor of the Colony at that time was Sir John FRANKLIN - afterwards lost in an expedition to the North Pole, of which he was the principle. He and his lady travelled about the island very frequently and were very much liked by the settlers. We had a very quite uneventful life in those years; the quiet would be broken sometimes by a short visit from Mr. and Mrs. HILL. I loved much to roam about with the latter and help her to plant sweet briar seeds where she would like to see them grow, but presently she died at their own home, to my great grief.

Andrew and John MITCHELL frequently spent a night or two at our place and enlivened us much and the other intimate friends I have mentioned were frequent visitors. My sister Julia was the only grown-up lady in the district and her beauty was much admired. Mr. FRANCIS was the favoured one (who, in after years, became Premier of Victoria) but he had no means and held only the humble position of a clerk at that time and as a matter of course my father would permit no engagement. I felt as deeply as a child of nine could for my sister's sorrow - so quietly borne that none knew how deep it was but myself. She was a lovely girl - so fair and (blush) rosy-pretty fair sunburn curls, lovely hazel eyes and pretty teeth which showed a good deal when she was excited to merry laughter - a frequent and ready occurrence which delighted us. She was considered tall, though slightly above medium height and she had neat small hands and feet and a slightly full well-formed figure.

Our brother William was equally nice looking - a tall handsome youth with fine features, fine blue grey eyes and fine glossy curly brown hair. I thought him like the pictures I had seen of the poet Byron - perhaps because he affected the "turndown" collar. Frequently we three spent an evening with the GRAY's who had an only child, some two or more years younger than myself and on those occasions, as we crossed the bridge on our return home we were sure to see the light our mother had placed in the window, shining for us like a star, the whole distance of two or more miles.

Our house stood halfway up a pretty wooded hill and the ground was level between the base of it and the township. Mr. JACKSON's "Cashmere" was on this level part and not far from the river - the rocky hill I have already mentioned lay between his place and our hill and there was a pretty wooded valley and rivulet between. The ground was very sandy where our house stood and all the way down the hill to where the men's large brick hut and where the stables were. Perhaps that was why another large garden had been formed on the flat for fruit and vegetables. There was very little planted in the one around the house except flowers and in the centre there was a dial in which I felt much interest and soon learnt to understand.

When we left "Williamwood" the property was rented from Mr. HILL by a Mr. William LEARMONTH who had a nice wife and very young family.

Our next home was about seven miles from Launceston and we were again fortunate in having a large comfortable house in an elevated situation. The farm of "Corra Lynn" was rented from Mr. ROSE and we must have lived there about five years. Meanwhile my sister had gone to Victoria to visit the GRAY's who had settled in Geelong and while with them she, with her father's consent, married a squatter named Henry ANDERSON and presently also, my brother William settled in Melbourne and employed himself in purchasing fat stock and shipping them to the older colony in Tasmania. By this means he became acquainted with my future husband, John MICKLE, who was a stock and station agent, and they soon after set up house together. It was a common arrangement about Melbourne in the early days for the young men to "chum" together and a very lively, happy home they often had.

While at "Corra Lynn" I had the advantage of being sent to good schools in Launceston six months as day scholar the first time and living with my brother John, who was married to a funny Irish wife. The school I went to was kept by a Mrs. HAYNES who had a number of superior girls as boarders. I liked going there but possibly the "Terms" had been beyond my father's means. Afterwards I went as a boarder to a Mrs. HUDSON's but the girls were a different class and I didn't enjoy being there. The teaching was inferior too, although 80 pounds a year must have been charges. When I had been there about six months Scarlet Fever broke out and I was one of its victims. I was 14 then and my school days came to an untimely end.

Times changed sadly in Tasmania for the farming interests and my dear father lost heavily by the failure of others. At this time also my brother James arrived with his wife and child, quite invalided with Rheumatic Fever and without means - had lost his hearing too from accident and shipwreck. Then the landlord insisted upon raising our rent from 700 pounds a year to 900 pounds - my father having cleared and improved the farm to such an extent - but as yet having reaped no profit. Of course he gave up the fine farm and Mr. ROSE took possession himself. It was a pretty country about there, all hills, valleys and the Corra Lynn Falls and Cataract on the North Esk River were on another part of the property.

We removed to a place that charmed us much - "Windermere" on the banks of the River Tamar. The property belonged to Dr. GAUNT, who with his family, had been fellow passengers of the ANDERSONs on the way to Tasmania and his daughters were at Mrs. HAYNES' School when I was there. The Doctor's home was only a few miles from "Windermere" and our relations were very friendly. During the time we were there my sister and her husband and three children arrived on a visit. But this, I remember now was soon after my dear father died (my father died after a short illness - July 9, 1845 - aged 59).

He loved our new home greatly and hoped to do great things there - began at once reclaiming land but could only, I think, have reaped one harvest from the place when he was seized with inflammation and died after three weeks illness. My brother Andrew tried for a time to keep on the farm but he was too young to manage so large a place and the prisoner servants and we then decided to join my brother William in Melbourne. Our home at "Windermere" was a very desirable one.

The house stood upon rising ground, gradually ascending about half a mile from the river and we had an excellent view of all the vessels going to and fro to Launceston - specially romantic and pretty on moonlight nights when a ship was being towed up the river by the seamen who cheered each other with their sea-songs, one voice singing the verse solo and all the others joining heartily in the chorus. From our home we could hear the words quite distinctly. The house was not a large one, six rooms and a kitchen, but it looked a very cosy little nest, the trellised porch at one side of it embowered in "Multi Flora" roses and Jasmine and another entirely covered by Grape Vines. The grapes grow best that way in Tasmania and in the season at "Windermere" one had only to open a window and draw in the great ripe bunches of fruit.

We had all kinds of fruit so abundant in the garden that the fallen peaches, plums, apples, etc., were taken to the pigs - the men servants having good gardens at their huts. While there we had a curious experience one harvest time just when the wheat was nearly ready for cutting, the whole land was covered with caterpillars, everywhere, crawling in myriads and very destructive they proved to the wheat, cutting off the heads as if it had been done with a knife - one could hear the click, click of their destructive work in passing the fields. We had the greatest difficulty in keeping the loathsome creatures out of the house and even out of the beds. I cannot remember now how they were got rid of, or how long we had to contend with them, but when they first came I believe they were seen in heaps.

We had rather a lonely life at "Windermere" also - the GAUNTS being our only neighbours, the other families near us being small farmers and old prisoners. But on one part of the river nearer town, there were some handsome residences of white freestone. Captain NEILLYS and some others who came sometimes the long distance to our little English Church. We always went the 15 miles by water to town - a tedious voyage generally, as little vessels had to "tack" from side to side all the way up the river. I think when my dear father's remains were conveyed to Launceston for interment in the Scot's Burying Ground there, we were conveyed in rowing boats.

My brother James had a farm about seven miles further down the river than ours and he had a sailing craft which he used for conveying wood to Launceston when clearing his land of the heavy timber. By this time he had happily recovered his health and the use of his limbs but there was no improvement in his hearing and he had to give up all idea of going to sea again, though quite capable by this time of taking command of a vessel. But he was a clever man and soon became expert at clearing land and farming. We usually rode on horseback when we paid him a visit, choosing our way through the primeval forest. But his own mode of transit was a tiny boat he called "The Commodore", which barely held his stalwart person. There was quite a knack in getting into it and then he would paddle along most jovially. He had a good voice and a good ear for music and would thunder out his sea songs in grand style. Very fearless too with snakes that came across his path - would rush after them, drag them out of their holes and dash them against a tree.

My only experience of being "bushed", was with brother James. He had undertaken to drive me in his conveyance from town and we must have been too late in starting, and after a few miles a sudden storm of thunder and lightenning (sic) and rain came on and presently pitchy darkness so that we couldn't see the slight track of road through the forest. My brother drove on in his fearless way for some time, but presently we could get no further and the horse had to be unharnessed and we had to resign ourselves to the awkward circumstance until morning. All night long the rain poured softly down upon us and at daybreak we found we hadn't wandered far from the track which, however, was so bad that the conveyance had to be left. I was mounted on the horse and we arrived at "Windermere" about six in the morning very forlorn looking creatures.

Our female servants in the Colony were prisoners, the same as the men. Once about this time I was sent to "The Factory" to choose one and felt terribly startled when about a dozen ranged up before me to choose from. I daren't look at them and decided upon the nearest at hand, who proved so very plain looking that I believe there was a good deal of joking amongst our men about my choice. Eventually, however, our gardener married her.

Our happiest time and freedom from care had come to an end now, but fortunately for myself I was too young to understand this and rather enjoyed the proposed change from Tasmania to Victoria. We would leave behind us my brothers John and James with their families but in Victoria we would have my sister and her family and my brothers William and Andrew. The latter sailed from Launceston to Melbourne as soon as he had given up our farm and a few weeks afterwards my mother and myself "set sail" in a new vessel named the Raven³ after the owner - commanded by Captail BELL. There was quite a demonstration when the new ship got under sail - much cheering and gun firing and no doubt many good wishes which were scarcely verified during that particular trip. The voyage in a sailing ship was usually made in seven or eight days, but quite three weeks elapsed before we anchored safely in "Hobson's Bay"...........

Additional Notes:
¹ On 6 July 1833 the Vibilia (360 tons) sailed from London and arrived in Hobart 21 October.
Steerage passengers were : David Best, wife and 2 children, George Best, wife and 4 children, Henry Jenkins and wife, George Shelverton and wife, Richard Ockesley and wife, Mr. Grant and wife, Mr. Wilmot, wife and 3 children, Mr. Thompson, wife and 3 children, John Lyall, George Gregg and wife, John Martin, (-?-) Best, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Boot, wife and sister, Mr. Williams, Mr. Harriatt, Mr. Baneanhan (?), wife and 3 children, Mr. Chamber, Mr. I. Cole, Mrs. Jolley, William Shelverton and son. Richard Evans was a cabin passenger.

² The brig Adelaide (258 tons) sailed from Dundee on 1st February 1836 and arrived Hobart 19 May 1836.
The passengers listed were : John Lyall, William Lyall, Andrew Lyall, Julia Lyall, Margaret Lyall, Helen Lyall, T. Campbell. Also four cabin passengers.

³ From the "Launceston Examiner" of 2 May 1846 an advert read "LAUNCESTON AND MELBOURNE TRADERS - The well-known passenger brig SWAN, 150 tons register, Wm. Carder, commander, will leave Launceston for Melbourne on Saturday, 9th May. The fine new, clipper brig RAVEN, 200 tons register, William Bell, commander, will succeed the above, and sail on 20th May. The utmost punctuality may be relied upon. For freight or passage apply to JAMES RAVEN, Sydney-place, Launceston, April 29. Rates of fares. Cabin passage 4 pounds. Steerage 1 pound 5 shillings (provisions included.)

Submitted to this site by Ken Lyall
Transcription Ken Lyall 2002. All rights reserved

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Updated 23-May-2011