Tasmanian Families  

and links


“But come with me to the wattle grove,
With its featherley blossoms fair;
For under its shade I love to rove
And breathe the fragrant air”.



Family names;

Holmes with links to; Thorne, Bell, Morrisby, Oldaker, Higgs, Adams, Hughes, Darcy, Kelly. Of course the family is much larger than those listed, but "for the sake of the exercise" should you have an interest in these family names, further details can be obtained by using the email contact, shown below. Most of these families went to Tasmania in the mid 1800's....some from Ireland, others from with a 'believed' convict background.

Holmes: Family of Capt Wm N Holmes and Jane (Donaldson); William, Jane, Georgina, Henry, Richard (my grandfather), Jessica, Osbert, Ida, Harold, George and Beatrix.
The family sailed from India and arrived in Tasmania early in 1881. They settled at "The Falls" near New Norfolk and commenced a small farming operation until land was granted at Scottsdale, N. E. Tas. a few years later.

More Holmes family details can be viewed on

Special News for readers with Northern Eastern Tasmanian ancestry...

The book "DOWN THE SLEDGE TRACK" [A history of families of West Scottsdale and Lietinna]
The launch was introduced by TB Ransom on behalf of Jenny Bicanic and numerous families that still (or have done) farmed in the area.
Proceeds from the profits on book sales are to be for the maintenance of the Lietinna keep this wonderful old weatherboard hall going by ordering a book now from this website or Jenny herself in Scottsdale.

William Nassau Holmes married Lilla Edith Thorne

He was the eldest son of Capt Wm N Holmes of West Scottsdale, in Tasmania's north east. The writer of (1) Tribute to My Sire, which is a very comprehensive story of the early days of the family..... from days in Ireland to India and his fathers involvement in the Indian Mutiny and other wars, to life at Dilkhoosa, West Scottsdale in the 1880's.
(2) A Fool and His Money. This is a story of his arrival in Australia from Ireland and first hand experience with lifestyle in Sydney, about 1880.  (3) Autobiography...his own story. (4) Addendum to My Autobiography, which relates the 'hard times' of being a school teacher in the Tasmanian bush and his 'disagreement's with the Tasmanian Education Dept.

William joined his family at "The Falls" just beyond New Norfolk where the family were living at the time.
His father, Capt. Holmes 'summoned' William to begin the building of Dilkhoosa at West Scottsdale, with assistance of cousin William Donaldson who travelled from Dublin with him.

A short time later William not finding farming to his liking, became a school teacher with the Tasmanian Education Dept. He was a School Headmaster for many years and taught at numerous schools including Native Tier, German Town, Hamilton, East Devonport, Burnie, West Devonport, and Moonah. A teacher for 45 years retiring in 1930, aged 70 years.
William married Lilla Edith Thorne of 'Morriston', Lewisham in 1889 and they had a family, Osbert, Charlotte, Edith, Kenneth and Studley.
His 'favourite' daughter Edith became a well known artist and exhibited in many parts of the world. Her works are now valued by the collectors.
Charlotte married Sydney Morrisby of Jericho. The Morrisby family have links to Norfolk Island and the early settlement of Muddy Plains near Rokeby.; 

Richard Erasmus Holmes (my grandfather) married Emma Maria Oldaker

Richard was the third son of Capt Holmes and was born in Calcutta, India. As with William and Jane, he also joined the Tasmanian Education Dept and was followed by Osbert. He began teaching in 1889 at Central School followed by numerous appointments, including Somerset, Derby, Longford, Waratah and Scottsdale.
In 1896 he began teaching at Coolgardie in the goldfields of Western Aust. Both he and cousin George Petro contracted typhoid fever, George died and is buried at Coolgardie. Richard returned to Tasmania and resumed teaching at Mt Nicholas.
He married Emma Maria Oldaker of Devonport and they had children, Constance, Francis (my father), Terrence, Marguerite, Josephine, Avis, Richard and Ethelwyn. Richard lived in Melbourne, Vic. from 1918 where the younger members of the family were born. He worked as an Insurance salesman and travelled many parts of Victoria.
On one occasion he was visiting the family of the infamous Ned Kelly at Glenrowan in 1923 on business. He spoke to Kate Kelly..... Mrs Kelly Snr. was dying, but he was given a book written about Ned's capture by the has markings made by Kelly family in the book and was said to be the most authentic version of the history of the Kelly gang, at the time.

Harold Bentley Holmes married Eliza Jane Adams

Harold was the fifth son of Capt Holmes, born at Meerut in India. He was eight years of age when the family moved to 'pioneer' and commence farming at West Scottsdale in Tasmania's north east. In 1910 he married Eliza Jane Adams and it was then that he built a house "Bentley" on acreage nearby to "Dilkhoosa". At this time Capt Holmes and son Henry, were farming the property.
Harold became the farmer of the family, assisting Henry, then taking over after Henry's retirement.
In 1919 they sold Bentley and moved to Victoria working in Insurance Industry, as were brothers Richard and Osbert. Harold returned to Tasmania about 1924 to return to farming as brother Henry wished to retire.
He eventually purchased full ownership from Henry and continued farming "Dilkhoosa" until his sudden death in 1938. During his time he farmed at West Scottsdale, Bridport and Pipers River (Saltwood)...a total of about 1489 acres. He was a Justice of the Peace, District and Gov't Land Valuer for N E Tas., member of the N E Harbour Trust and Candidate for Political Honours as well as keen sportsman.

George Donaldson Holmes married Mary Booth of Canada.

George never farmed, but after being educated at the Launceston Grammar School, he entered the banking industry at Derby in NE Tas. He was to leave Australia in 1905 bound for Ireland, and then on to Canada to become a permanent resident. After commencing a sports business in Winipeg, in the early days did good business, but at the outbreak of the 1914-18 war, business and creditors were all in financial trouble.
He was a Champion tennis player representing Canada in the Davis Cup and won many tournaments.
He also wrote his own Biography which is quite detailed revealing his life's experiences including life in Canada, and early recollections of his childhood at New Norfolk and Dilkhoosa. 

Thorne; Descendants of the First Fleet to Tasmania in 1803 at Risdon.

The Thorne family link in Van Diemans Land commenced with Samuel Thorne who was born in 1775 Spaxton, Somerset, Eng.
On 12 July 1796 Samuel married Ann Luckwell at Spaxton. [Their first born was John, who was later to be left behind with Ann's parents, when they sailed for the Antipodes.]
He enlisted in the 26th Company of Marines in Portsmouth on 2nd Feb 1797.
Samuel Thorne and his wife Ann sailed from Spithead, England on 28th April 1803 in His Majesty's Ship Calcutta, with Lt-Col David Collins and 307 convicts on board. They sailed into Port Philip Bay, Victoria on 7th Oct. 1803, to commence a settlement and to guard Bass Strait against the French.

The first child born of European descent in what later became the Colony of Victoria, was the son of Samuel Thorne and his wife Ann, at (Hobsons Bay) Sorrento, as it is now known. The child was named William James Hobart Thorne before the settlement of Hobart was settled, and given that name after Lord Hobart, Secretary of State for the colonies at the time.

After several months in Port Philip Bay, Lt-Col Collins decided to abandon the site, due to lack of adequate fresh water supplies and move to Van Diemans Land.
The Thorne family sailed in the HMS Ocean for Van Diemans Land under Lt Col Collins after being re directed to Risdon Cove. Again finding this site not suitable for settlement, they relocated, to then commence a settlement at Sullivan's Cove, now Hobart.
On 7th May 1805 he was, "Serjt Saml Thorne of the 26th to act as Quartermaster Serjeant until further ordered".
Samuel Thorne was granted 200 acres land at Muddy Plains (present day Sandford area) about 1813, later in 1818 he was granted 200 acres of land at Lower Ferry, now Lewisham in the Pittwater district.
In 1819 he had 250 acres producing sheep and cropping but fell into debt....his wife died in Nov 1820.
His home built of local sandstone in 1809 by convict labour is still occupied today near the Lewisham Tavern. Over the years, Samuel and his family obtained further acreages that stretched as far as the River Carlton and was the founder and operator of the Rose and Crown Hotel at Lewisham, which his son Robert eventually took over and managed.
In 1829 Samuel was appointed District Constable at the Lower Settlement, Pittwater. (near Sorell)
Robert (his son) became successful in his own right with farming, hotel and ferry interests.

Samuel Thorne died 28 years after his wife on 6 Aug 1848 and the cause of death was "decay of nature".
The connection;
The property at Carlton was purchased by William Nassau Holmes in 1906 who was the husband of Lilla Edith Thorne and renamed Bally Park.   Lilla was a daughter of William and Charlotte Thorne (nee Morris).
William (Max) Thorne, (Lilla's brother) was then able to commence a mine for 'Red Ochre' hence Red Ochre beach whilst Osbert Holmes, the eldest son of William and Lilla, managed and ran the farming and orcharding operations on Bally Park.
Lilla Thorne was a school teacher at Ouse when she met William Holmes.
She is buried at the cemetery at Forcett, near Carlton.

The Mercury Newspaper, Hobart, 27th Sept 1889 wrote; Robert Thorne was born of English parents, his father, Samuel Thorne, Sergeant of Marines, was one of those who took part in the attempted colonisation of Port Philip more than three quarters of a century ago. When a youngster he ran away from home*, enlisted as a soldier, was afterwards drafted into the marines and obtained the rank of colour-sergeant (after some hard fighting under Nelson).
About the year 1802 he returned to his native village in Somerset, but his father refused to acknowledge the gallant sailor, who, however, wasted no time in fruitless endeavours to regain the old gentleman's esteem, but consoled himself with a wife, hurried up to London, and after a year's waiting, found himself and wife on board the Calcutta, bound for the antipodes… * Not confirmed.

Bell; Sir George John Bell; Boar War, Politician; Farmer from NW Tasmania.

George John Bell, was born on 29 November 1872 at Sale, Victoria, eldest son of George Bell, farmer, and his wife Catherine, née Hussey. His mother died when he was 5 and his father, left with five young children, soon remarried. Bell received his education at local state schools in Moe, Tanjil and Sale and later helped on his father's farm.
In 1892 he joined the Victorian Mounted Rifles, and was one of the Victorian Contingent to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London.
On the outbreak of the South African War in 1899 Bell enlisted as a private in the 1st Victorian Mounted Infantry Company, which joined the Australian Regiment at Cape Town in November. The regiment undertook reconnaissance missions into the Orange Free State and frequently skirmished with the Boers.
George Bell took part in its two most notable engagements—at Bastard's Nek and Pink Hill—and served with the unit until its disbandment in April 1900. The Victorian Mounted Infantry was then attached to the 4th Mounted Corps the Imperial Army and fought at the siege of Mafeking, the relief of Johannesburg and the battle of Diamond Hill.

By December Bell was back in Australia, but when the British called for reinforcements in February 1901 he re-enlisted as a lieutenant in the 5th Victorian (Mounted Rifles) Contingent, He served in operations in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Cape Colony and on 4 January 1902 was severely wounded at Bakkop. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in dispatches.

After the war George Bell settled in north-western Tasmania and in 1904 took up selections of land at Henrietta and Parrawe.
Within three years he had cleared the dense myrtle forests and established two cattle-grazing properties and, though his home and stock were destroyed by bushfire in 1907, his holdings were prospering by 1914.
On 25 August he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a second lieutenant in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and sailed for Egypt in October. He was promoted lieutenant in February 1915 and from May to November served at Gallipoli where his regiment had been sent to fight as infantry. He then served in the Suez Canal zone, was promoted captain on 8 February 1916 and major on 15 April, and took command of the regiment's 'A' squadron.

Attached to the 4th Camel Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps, in October, he saw action during the occupation of El Arish and, after months of patrol work in the western desert. rejoined the light horse at Bir el Abd in March 1917. Promoted Lieut Colonel on 14 June, he was given command of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and soon emerged as 'one of the most aggressive and astute leaders produced by the light horse'.
He demanded from his men the same rigid standard of discipline, which he imposed upon himself, but they respected him for his fairness, his coolness under fire and his almost uncanny knowledge of what the enemy was going to do next.
George Bell's chief contribution to the main Palestine offensive was made during the advance on Amman when he led his horsemen in an attack on Es Salt. The later, successful evacuation British troops from Es Salt was largely due to Bell's initiative and tactical astuteness. He was mentioned in dispatches by General Allenby and was appointed C.M.G.
Two of his brothers, Gunners Frederick (killed in action) and Alexander, served with the Australian artillery at Gallipoli, and another, Trooper Arthur, with the 3rd Light Horse Regiment in Palestine.

Bell was demobilized in September 1919 and resumed work on his Tasmanian pastoral properties. On 5th November he married Ellen Rothwell at Yolla. In the Federal elections that year, as the National Party candidate for Darwin, he won by 1000 votes and, except for one term in 1922-25, he held the seat until 1943.
In 1925 he was awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration and in 1927 was appointed aide de camp to the governor general; in March of that year he relinquished command of the 26th Light Horse Regiment, a post which he had held since 1920.

Bell suffered a personal tragedy in October 1927 when his brother William Robert, a district officer in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, was assassinated.

He was elected chairman of committees in the House of Representatives in 1932 and in 1934-40 was Speaker. At the time of his death Prime Minister Curtin was to praise his wide knowledge of standing orders and the dignity and poise with which he had carried nut his office. His rulings were sometimes disputed and his authority was often put to severe test but, as (Sir) Robert Menzies said of him, he always gave his judgments 'with conspicuous fairness'. During his final term in parliament (1940-43), he served on a parliamentary committee inquiring into the operations of the Apple and Pear Marketing Board; in 1941 he was appointed KCMG.
George was troubled by poor health and in 1943 retired from politics.
Survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters, he died of coronary vascular disease on 5 March 1944 and was buried in Burnie Anglican cemetery after a state funeral.
In the official war history he was described as 'a sound soldier of wide vision'; as a politician he was recognised as 'a man of irreproachable character, upright and fearless in every respect'.
His portrait by Max Meldrum hangs in King's Hall, Parliament House.

The connection;
His son, William Gorton Bell was the second son of Col Sir George and Lady Bell. William was a Private in the Aust. Infantry Forces during WW2 and married Margaret Lilla Holmes (Dau. of Osbert Wm Nassau Holmes) .
William with support of Enid Lyons (wife of Prime Minister Joseph Lyons) was able to leave the Army and return to run the family properties at Henrietta, near Burnie. His wife Margaret was then teaching at Burnie Primary School in 1945. William then became an Industrial Chemist with Assoc. Pulp and Paper Mills until his retirement in 1981.

Morrisby; James Morrisby was a Constable and 1st Fleeter.

He married Ann (Lavender) Brooks (2nd Fleeter). They lived on Norfolk Island in the early 1800's then sailed for the Derwent River, Van Diemans Land on the 'Porpoise', 26th Dec 1807, with a family of five children. Siblings were, Grace, George, Dinah, Henry b1803, and John b1806, all born on Norfolk Island.

In 1863 James Morrisby, "The old Guardsman and Norfolk Island settler", was variously described as "settler/landowner and proprietor of allotment" and at age 66 years, took his third wife, 40 year old Eleanor Murphy." The sons of James and first wife Ann were;
George, b 1795 d 1826 at 31 years. Married ?? Henry, b1803 and at age 21 years married Elizabeth Mary Mack aged 17 years on the 20 Oct 1824 (Elizabeth was a very close friend to Rev Robt. Knopwood).
John who was the third son of James.... and was b1806 (d 25 Oct 1852 aged 46) married on 9 Sept 1828 to Emmaline Alomes.
George James Morrisby was a son of John and Emmaline and was born in Clarence 16 Jan 1829 and married Sarah Ann Woods in 1853 at Spring Bay.

Sydney, was one of nine children to George and Sarah Morrisby.
Siblings included, Sydney, Orlando and others. Sarah died when Sydney was a child.
George then married Hannah Winspear on 21 July 1877. He was aged 48 and she was 27 years...they had a further eight children.

Sydney, son of George and Sarah, as a young man travelled to Queenstown (where his brother in law Lewis Snowdon was an Engineer) and found work mining for Osmiridium.
After some time he then returned to Hobart and became manager of midlands property "Rose Hill" at Jericho, then owned by John Jones. He remained at "Rose Hill" for about 30 years.

In the early 1920's "Rose Hill" was sold to Headlam family. Both John Jones and Sydney were batchelors and when "Rose Hill" was sold they and faithfull housekeeper, Dorothy Neylon moved to Glenorchy, where John Jones bought "Glen View" a stately home and Sydney bought several acres of land in Elwick Road and built his home "Belmont House".

The connection;
Whilst living at "Belmont House" (close to the Elwick Racecourse) it was here that he met Charlotte Holmes and they became married. Charlotte was a daughter of Willian N Holmes and Lilla nee Thorne. Another daughter and sibling was Edith Holmes n.m. a renowned Tasmanian artist.

They had only one child, Joan who was born in 1929 but was only 4 years of age when her mother died in 1933.
Sydney was the brother of Orlando George Morrisby who in turn was the father of Hamilton George Morrisby, farmer of "Moorpark" Cremorne. Hamilton George Morrisby was the father of Robert, Terry and Barry Morrisby, also farmers at Sandford, Tas.
Sydney was cremated at Cornelian Bay Cemetery on 12 Aug 1950, aged 85 years.
Morrisby family had established links to Farming/Orcharding at Muddy Plains, now called Sandford, near Hobart, Tas.

Oldaker; Originally from Cleve Prior, Co Worcester and Stratford on Avon, to Tasmania.

The Oldaker family line goes back to William Oldaker of Staunton Co. Worcester and Corse, Gloucester and his burial date is shown as 25 Nov 1619 at Corse. Presumably he lived 50-60 years and that would give an estimated birth date of mid 1500's.
He married Elinor Snead who was alive in 1587 but was buried in ?1623 at Corse.
They had a family of five children. The eldest child Richard b1581 married Elizabeth ? and they had 4 and possibly 9 children. (Ref Ped 28).
The family is too large and very broad to go into details here, but Charles Oldaker b 1800 ("The Immigrant") was an Attorney of Pershore and farmer of Upper Hardies Co Kent, who married Emma Foster.

Early in October 1850 he left England for Van Diemans Land in the ship 'Philip Oakden' .
He was accompanied by his second wife Emma, sons Charles Ford and William Henry (children of the first marriage to Henrietta Shepherd) and his youngest son Francis who born at Inverness, Scotland
The ship 'Philip Oakden' struck the Hebe Reef at the Tamar Heads with seas breaking over her.
Most of the cargo was saved, some of it was looted and some was sold by raffle in Launceston at a later date.
He was the first settler at Torquay on the Mersey River, now Devonport. A second daughter Martha was born at Torquay.
William Henry Oldaker the eldest son went on to work for Sir Richard Dry at Quamby Estate, Hagley. He married Mary Turnbull of Glenore in 1857.  In 1876 he sold his share at Quamby and moved to Burnie district and became a prominent citizen with a considerable acreage of land which he named 'Avon'. After his death, the property was bought by the Municipality for use as a park.
The second son, Charles Ford Oldaker lived in New Zealand for many years, returning to farm at Native Rock, Railton, near Devonport. He married Sarah Boyd and had a family of one son and two daughters.

The third and youngest son, Francis Frederick Orson Oldaker lived with his parents at Avondale. He married Ella Thomas the daughter of B W Thomas of Appledore. Ella died young and was buried in the garden attached to the old homestead, near the river.
His second wife was Maria Anne Higgs, a daughter of Joshua Higgs an English architect and civil engineer of Launceston.

The connection;
This marriage produced four children, Charles Edmund Wells, Ella Jane May, Emma Maria (my grand mother), and Mary Maria.
The other children, Emma married George Bishton, the son of Rev John Bishton. Martha married Albert Greenhill who was a farmer at Northdown. They later moved to Victoria.

Charles Ramsey the historian wrote;
"Charles Oldaker, Torquay's first settler died at his residence, "Avondale" in July 1883 at the age of 83". Of him, the "Devon Herald" said; 'The deceased was a true type of the old English gentleman, kind, affable and always pleasant in manner, one with whom it was a pleasure to converse and who would do anything to oblige his neighbour'.

Click on... Charles Oldaker of Torquay.

Higgs;...the connection and link to Trevallyn, Launceston, Tasmania

Joshua Higgs "The emigrant" 1820 - 1897
Joshua Higgs was born in London on the 17th April 1820.
He was the eldest son of Joshua Higgs, a successful builder of Davies Street, Berkeley Square, London W. and of Sunnyside Cold Ash, in the parish of Thatcham, Berkshire.

The Family History gives details of ancestry back to 1539.
Coat of Arms; "Argent: A; Chevron between 3 Bucks, Lodged Gules". Motto; Fide et Fortitude)

Joshua Higgins married Ann, daughter of William White of Oxford Street, London on the 20th of January 1843 at Mary-le-bone Parish Church.

As an Architect and Surveyor he practised in London, Manchester and Altrincham in Cheshire. He was also engaged as an Architect on renovations to the historic Tudor residence "Compton Wynyates" home of the Marquess of Northampton near Banbury, Warwickshire.
Begun in the 15th century, it was partly destroyed by the Parliamentarians in 1644, remaining in disrepair until the 19th century. (Henry V111 and Queen Elizabeth 1 stayed there).
Before coming to Australia, Joshua Higgs, a gifted artist, painted a picture of this building showing the new work on the corner tower. The present lovely topiary and rose gardens etc. were constructed later.

After first visiting Canada, Joshua decided to emigrate to Australia with his wife and family of six children, and a "companion" or servant.
They sailed from Liverpool on the July 22nd 1852 on the passenger ship "Delta" of 971 tons under the command of Capt. John Dennis. It was "Delta's" first voyage arriving in Melbourne on 15th October 1852 after a pleasant pleasant voyage. Onboard were 193 passengers. (Melbourne Public Library, Archives Division, have the original shipping list)

Details of family from Shipping list, are as follows;
Joshua Higgs (spelt Heiggs) aged 32 years.
Ann Higgs " 31 "
Joshua Higgs 9 "
Fanny Higgs 6 "
Mary Higgs 5 "
Edward Higgs* 4 "
Sydney Higgs 2 "
Walter Higgs 1 month
Ellen Wright (servant) 26 years.

A further six children were born in Australia.
As follows;
Ernest Corderoy Higgs b 20th July 1854 at River Plenty, Yarra Yarra, Vic.
Joseph Hubert Higgs b 1st June 1856 at Longford, Tasmania.
Maria Anne Higgs b 5th May 1858 at Launceston, Tasmania.
Kate Higgs b 31st March 1861 at Glenora, Tasmania.
Edith Alice Higgs b 11th October 1863 at Deloraine, Tasmania.
Ruth Corderoy Higgs b 7th July 1866 at Deloraine, Tasmania.

On arriving in Melbourne, Joshua Higgs followed his profession as an Architect and Surveyor in the City of Melbourne, supervising many public works under a Governor Latrobe.
Melbourne City Council directories list 1854-55, also 1855-56 Fitzroy Ward.

Joshua Higgs: House in Gertrude Street.

While in Melbourne, Joshua was surveying the road to Kinglake, the family living in tents at Eltham. He had gone back for supplies during the building of a bridge across Diamond Creek, when aborigines came down from the hills and held a corroboree nearby.
Mrs Higgs, her children and the companion were frightened and hurried back to Eltham.
Two paintings of this spot have been handed down to descendants, the work of Kate Higgs who was born a few years after this incident, but must have been shown the spot by her parents.

In 1856 Joshua Higgs and his family went to Tasmania at the instance of Capt. Edward Dumeresq to build a residence at Illawarra, near Longford.
On completion of work at "Mt Ireh" Illawarra, Joshua Higgs turned his attention to farming at Glenore and Bentley.
At Glenore he built a homestead later called Cluan Homestead. This district is now Whitemore.
Department of Lands and Surveys records shows Joshua Higgs as purchasing land in this area skirted by Cubits Creek in 1888 and 1872.
The area purchased in 1872 was apparently a subdivision of Alex. Cameron's land. (Mary Higgs married an Alex. Cameron.) Subdivision survey of both areas was by J. Higgs.
He then purchased 220 acres on the Dale Brook, near Caveside, where with the help of his elder sons, he built a log house similar to those he had seen in Canada.
This log house was then let and they moved on, later belonging to Joshua's son Sydney, then his son Caleb. When about 100 years old it was thought unsafe, but proved to be very solid construction.

With the help of his three younger sons in about 1890, one of which included Edward Higgs, who was a boat builder by profession, they constructed a race to bring the water from higher up, to a huge water wheel to drive a saw mill.

The Winsor family emigrated to Victoria in about 1860 and moved to Tasmania. Ellen Grace Winsor married Ernest Higgs the eldest son of Edward Higgs, the boat builder.

The Winsor's did a lot of entertaining while there, collecting their guests in a horse drawn vehicle from Chudleigh Station about twelve miles away.
With one or two others, one probably Jim Lee, a meeting was held at their house. It is difficult to imagine the sound of the singing of hymns in this area now! They were joined by a number of people from Western Creek who walked two and a half miles along a bush track to the Winsor's. My grandmother and grandfather Edward Higgs and their large family were among them. There were the Lees, the Cunningham's who had the Post Office, and others.

Eventually Edward Higgs donated land at Western Creek and 'Grandfather' Winsor built a Hall on it, for the use of Exclusive Brethren. The following is a quotation from a letter written in 1944.

"I wonder who owns the old Winsor acres now, and does any member of the Higgs family run their old sawmill? One thing I learned there, was to do without luxuries, and do things for myself - self reliance - also I haven't forgotten "swiping" Lizzie's peppermints; and putting my fingers carefully into the cream pans, so as not to leave any trace, but to no avail as it always left a thin spot which showed.
Darkie and his 'snails pace' and the lump on his side are indelibly impressed on my mind, how I used to tease and torment him, and he would get even finally, by biting or kicking me.
Joe Lee used to come over after a hard day's work picking up to the burnt scrub, he would come to see you girls, but fall asleep in his chair. That was a time and place when we worked too hard".

It had not been all work back in Tasmania. There were caves, some of which contained water, and they walked through carrying candles.
There was a small hall at Western Creek used for concerts, in which all joined in. After one of these concerts 'Chat' Cunningham was taking some of the young ones home in his bullock dray. As his passengers were getting in the bullocks bolted, spilling the occupants of the dray out, one by one. There was only minor damage.
My father, Ernest Higgs wrote a piece of poetry about this, entitled "The Bullock Dray Ride", he used to quote this laughing in between verses. There were expeditions up the mountain. Higgs Track went up past Winsor's and Wood's.

The Higgs Track was constructed by Sydney and Joshua Jnr. Higgs. This foot track passes through Man fern glades, Sassafrass, Myrtle etc. so thick the sunlight is obscured near the top of the mountain, well up under the towering cliffs of 'Nell's Lookout', named after a relative Nell Symonds who used to sit there, with Sydney Higgs.
It is possible to walk over grassy plains up on top, for about six miles.
There are about 14 lakes with native pine trees growing along the edges - Pencil Pines, some of which are said to be up to 2000 - 3000 years old.
There is a Lady Lake and Nameless Lake, five miles back.
Sydney Higgs built a hut at each of these lakes, his nephew Arthur helping him for two weeks, camping up there.
Sydney could name any of the countless variety of shrubs that grew on the mountains.

My grandmother Ellen Windsor loved the mountains and often walked up to Nameless Lake.
The Winsor's lived at Dale Brook until Grandfather's money began to run out, then returned to building at Invermay and Devonport, he passed away at Devonport in 1910, and was buried in the old Bluff Cemetery.
Grandma Winsor went to live with her daughter Alice, in Launceston. Alice Winsor is still remembered by some, as a beautiful woman and a gifted one. She was head dressmaker at McKinley's.
Katie had married Percy Knight of Launceston, they had two girls and a boy.
Marion the eldest, is the only descendant of the Winsor's left in Tasmania.

Edward Higgs the second son of Joshua Snr, married Mary Graham and they had a large family.

Quote from “The Australians” 1943 by Arnold Haskell as a tribute our forebears.

“ It is the little man, his wife and children who never get into history, who made Tasmania out of Van Diemans Land, who suffered from the stupidity of officials, who broke the first soil and planted their crops, who defended themselves against bushranger and black and whose sturdy commonsense won the day. With grit and determination they carved out a life for their families and descendants, homesick for their families, friends and homeland, bringing with them a limited supply of their treasures.” Etc.

The connection;
Maria Ann Higgs was the second wife of Francis F O Oldaker of Avondale, Torquay (Devonport). They had a family who included Charles Edmund Wells Oldaker, Ella Jane May Oldaker,Emma Maria Oldaker (my grandmother) and Mary Maria Oldaker.

Click on... The History of "Dalebrook Farm" Caveside and Western Creek

Adams; The Adams family goes back to John, born 1502 who married Elizabeth Squire then to William Adams born 1555 who married Miss Borrington in Trent, Somersetshire, England. They had four children; Henry moving to Braintree in the USA and his descendants renowned in American political life.

The confirmed record starts with William Adams born in 1631 and he married Martha Crawley in 1659.
William Adams born 1670 who married Eliz. Bullen had a family of four children.
John born 1715 who married Thomasin Maynard they had a family of eight children.
Followed by Charles born 1765 who married Cathrine Buse and they had seven children.
The second born from this marriage was John born 1794 at Collacott, Cornwall, England and he married Sussana Buse Edgecumbe, daughter of Thomas Edgecumbe
Susanna was the youngest daughter of the Earl of Edgecumbe, from the Edgecumbe Tudor Manor at Cornwall, England.
Thomas Edgecumbe owned a farm, Cargentyle, Merrington, close to Adams properties, Collacott and Leat. He is a descendant of the Earls of Mount Edgecumbe and their ancestry can be traced back to Richard Edgecumbe who died 1349.

John and Susannah emigrated to Perth, Western Australia with three of their children and his brother Oliver in the 362 ton 'Nancy' on 9th Sept 1830, which carried a total of 53 passengers out from England.
They brought with them plants, bulbs and animals and took up Government land on the Canning River, but finding conditions for farming too harsh, compared to England, they sailed aboard the 'Eagle' in 1831 to Van Diemans Land (Tasmania) and settled on farmland at Paterson Plains, near Launceston.
In 1831 they took the ownership of the Globe Inn at St Leonards, near Launceston.
John Adams became the proprietor of the 'Bird in Hand' hotel at Pateena, near Longford. He lost the license for "having on the evening of Sunday the 15th Jan. 1832, knowingly suffered Samuel Holden and others forevering on his licensed premises supplying and drinking". He was also fined 10 shillings.
John Adams is listed as being a "Publican" in 1831. 1832. 1835 and his brother Oliver is listed in 1834.
Oliver, who came with John to Van Diemans Land, took over the 'Bird in Hand' and ran it for twenty years before he moved to Victoria.

In 1834 or earlier, John aquired several properties, Patersons Plains (Cargentyle) now known as the suburb Norwood, Launceston, also at Bullocks Hunting Ground, near Nunamara and land Pipers River.
One property, 'Mt Edgecumbe' was rented in 1844.... purchased by his son John in 1847, and then named after the ancestral home of his mother's family.
This property is about 650 acres is still held by descendants today, and it is situated about 12 miles from Launceston, near Nunamara on the road to Scottsdale.
This is a very fine property with stone fences of stone, which were collected and placed by convict 'ticket of leave' labour.

The 1848 census shows John living at Pipers River in 1848. John died on the 3 Oct 1859 at 'Cargentyle' Launceston, Susannah died the following year on 6th Aug 1860 also at their residence Patersons Plains.

John and Susannah had a family of seven children with the youngest Charles born 1834, marrying Elizabeth Ann Chamberlen.
This family farmed at Idlewild, Pipers River, near George Town, Northern Tasmania. The name 'Idlewild' gained it's name from two convicts who were termed "Idle" and "Wild".

Charles and Elizabeth had a family of 13 children......

Edward Buse Adams born 1874 was the 6th child born.
In 1901 Lieutenant Edward B Adams was "Mentioned in Despatches" whilst serving under Gen Lord Kitchener in the South African Boer Wars. He was a trooper in the Tasmanian Bushmans Contingent, receiving a commission soon after his arrival.
In 1909 he moved to Bridport and lived in the old Police station.

Edward Buse Adams married Gwendoline Stella Flexmore in 1919. She was a descendant of Francis Flexmore (convict) who arrived on the Second Fleet to Botany Bay in 1788.
Edward farmed at Bridport, near Scottsdale and had large holdings of land which included Umtali, Bridale, Barnbougle, Wonder Valley and lived at Malmani, on the Forester River at Bridport. It was Edward with his brother Oliver that constructed "The Cut" which drains the land between Barnbougle and the coast of Anderson Bay.
They had six children 3 sons, 3 daughters. Keith the 5th child born left Tasmania for mainland Australia...he went on to become successful in making an original Australian wildlife film called Northern Safari. This has been shown in many parts of the world and has now been put into video. His autobiography 'Crocodile Safari Man'....a very original and exciting adventure story.

The connection;
Edward's sister, Eliza (Dolly) Jane Adams married Harold Bentley Holmes who was a farmer at Dilkhoosa, West Scottsdale. Harold Holmes was a son of Capt Wm N Holmes and the history of this family is mentioned in other documents.

To read/order the book, Click...Crocodile Safari Man

Hughes & Darcy;

Thomas Hughes was thought to have come from Ireland (not Welsh descent) and may have been a convict. It is said that he was transported for stealing a hankerchief....this has yet to be verified!
The copy of Death Notice in The Examiner of 1896 shows.....Born Ireland.

Records from the National Archives in Ireland shows; Thomas Hughes went on trial in Dublin in 1849 at 17 years.
The crime was "Obtaining support by confessing himself deserted"......Transported 7 years.
He was transported from Cork, Ireland in the "Rodney" on 24th November 1852 at age 20 years.
He married Sarah Beck on 24th May 1855 at St Johns Church in Launceston. He was aged 23 years...she was 17 years.
The parents of Sarah were John Beck and Elizabeth (Holder).....(they were married in 1833 at Hobart town).
Thomas Hughes was a "free" watchmaker and his house/shop was situated in Elizabeth St. Launceston in 1856. He paid a rent of 50/- (shillings) for the "juror" house and shop.

They had a family of 12 children...a lot for 'any' times!...
(1) male born 1856
(2) Thomas born 1857 married Ann Pearson
(3) Kate born 1859 married Arthur Croft
(4) William Mathew born 1861 married Margaret Jane Darcy
(5) Sarah b 1863 married George Charlesworth
(6) Liz b 1865 married 'unknown' Chapman
(7) female b 1867
(8) Mary Theresa b 1869
(9) Catherine Alice b 1871
(10) George b 1874
(11) Charles Patrick b 1876 married Mary Quill
(12) male b 1877

The connection;
My grandfather was William Mathew Hughes who married Margaret Jane Darcy, the daughter of William Darcy, Hotel Keeper of Franklin Village, near Launceston.
William was a storeman and earlier worked searching for gold and minerals on Tasmania's West Coast. His family were catholic and educated at St Columbia's Convent school which was in Eardley St., Launceston.
They lived at Cambridge St in West Launceston also at 84 Canning St.
His children were; William Ray, Arthur Vincent, Gwen, Kathleen, Vera, and Katie Beryl.

His brother, Charles Patrick Hughes lived at and was caretaker of Duck Reach Power Station, which was located above The Basin in the Gorge at Trevallyn. His house was the 2nd to have power supplied in the area.
"He took over the property in 1918" and is shown in the list of Tasmanian Dairyman about this time.

Kelly;...the connection (Port Sorell, near Devonport, Tas.)

The history of Kelly/Kelley requires a lot more research, but what is currently known (presumed accurate) is as follows.

Patrick Kelley was from Tipperary, Ireland and came to Australia with his brothers, Thomas and Walter.
It is confirmed that Patrick (born 1840) married on the 4th November 1863 to Mary Smith at Westbury, Tas. The marriage was witnessed by William Whisker.

[William Whisker and Bridget Tyler (often given as Taylor) were related. Bridget was his sister in law, sister of his wife, Mary Halpin. William and Mary were married in Westbury Catholic Church on 25/10/1855 and Bridget married John Tyler in the same church on 21/06/1855. Both William and John were convicts. John arrived on the "Moffatt" on 30/11/1842 together with his brother, Isaac, both convicted of the same crime in Suffolk, Eng.
Mary arrived on the "Panama" in 1853 and Bridget on the "Northumberland" in 1854 as 'assisted immigrants from Ireland'.
The families are considered to have be close, both emotionally and literally. From 1863 to 1874 both families lived at Exton, near Westbury, possbly 'Paddys Scrub'.]

Patrick was a 'free' labourer and aged 23 at the time of his marriage. The Minister was James Houlohan and witnessed by William Whisker and Bridget Tyler.
Patrick was working on "Seaview Farm" at Don Heads, near Devonport in 1876 with his two brothers, Thomas and Walter. The Henry family had the property at the time (1887) when records showed that they were paid 1 pound 16 shillings for the three of them, for one weeks work.

Dr Cornelius Casey apparently brought out quite a few Irish catholics to work on farms, he owned**property at Forthside. **More likely on behalf of John Henry who arrived from Melbourne in 1872.

The family of Patrick and Margaret (Smith) Kelly numbered 11 children. most of whom were born at Port Sorell and Elizabeth b1864 at Westbury.
Other siblings were, Elizabeth,Thomas, Margaret, Robert, Michael, Edward, Daniel, "un named" m, Walter, Alice and Lionel the last born.

It is known that after the death of Patrick some of the family moved to Victoria....Elizabeth, Michael, and Lionel, at least!
Lionel died at Wonthaggi after "being hit by a train" at age of 24 years.

The connection is that my wife is a Kelly's that?


For the moment...this is as much as I know...times change, and we get more knowledgable?

All families shown above are linked to a Holmes connection, some may be distant, however it shows how time has eroded many memories and this website is designed to "relive" some of the early days in Tasmania.

This site was constructed and is maintained by Richard D Holmes, born in Launceston, but now of Western Australia.

Click here to Email me ?

Acknowledgements for contributions, K F Adams, John Hammond, Malcolm Ward, George Bell, Rema Jago and others.....many thanks!

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