Joseph Allport and his family settled in Van Diemen’s Land in 1831. From that time members of the family played an important role in the artistic, cultural and social development of the colony and the state of Tasmania. Henry Allport bequeathed the Allport collection to the people of Tasmania in 1965 as a memorial to the Allport family. The Allport bequest remains one of the most generous in Tasmania’s history.
Allport family images on Flickr, including the Allport family tree
Joseph Allport (1800-1877)
Born at Aldridge near Birmingham, Joseph, a lawyer, married Mary Morton Chapman in 1826 and came to Van Diemen’s Land in 1831. The Allports settled in the Broadmarsh district but soon moved to Hobart, where Joseph joined a legal partnership. He was an enthusiastic gardener, a keen historian and was involved in the Anti-Transportation movement and the Tasmanian Public Library.
Mary Morton Allport (1806-1895)
An accomplished artist and musician, Mary continued her artistic pursuits in Hobart, advertising in 1832 that she could undertake painting and copying of miniatures on request.
She also tried her hand at etching and lithography. The Allports lived at Aldridge Lodge in Elboden Street — the house stayed in the Allport family until it was demolished in 1968 and replaced by Jane Franklin Hall.
View Mary Allport’s artwork.
Morton Allport (1830-1878)
A lawyer like his father, Morton was always more interested in the natural sciences than the law. He was involved in the attempt to introduce salmon to Tasmania and was a member of several European scientific societies. He also took up photography in the late 1850s and is credited with the first wilderness photographs taken in Tasmania, on a trip to Lake St Clair in 1863. Morton was described in his obituary as the great naturalist of Tasmania. However, in common with many other scientists of his day, he was also involved in the trade of bodily remains of Palawa/Tasmanian Aboriginal people, including exporting these remains to England. As a cultural institution Libraries Tasmania respectfully acknowledges the lasting trauma experienced by Palawa/Tasmanian Aboriginal people that has resulted from the actions of Morton Allport and other individuals in the name of scientific research.
Cecil Allport (1858-1926)
Morton John Cecil Allport (usually known as Cecil) was only 19 when his father died suddenly in 1878, leaving him responsible for the family. His grandfather had died one year earlier. For the next twenty years he worked hard at his career while coping with family crises and managing the family investments. About 1900 some shrewd investments of his own gave him the means to indulge his interest in Tasmanian history and collect rare books on exploration and Australian history as well as pictures by Tasmanian colonial artists.
Curzona Allport (1860-1949)
Curzona Frances Louise Allport, known to her family as Lily, was determined to be an artist from an early age. She achieved her ambition but had to leave Tasmania to do so. In 1888 she left for England with her mother and sister Eva to live and work in Europe. Lily’s mother and brother gave her a generous yearly allowance, although she also earned her own money through teaching and sales of her work. In 1933, back in Hobart, she set up the Bolt Press in her studio in Collins Street, and concentrated on printmaking for the rest of her long life.
Henry Allport (1890-1965)
Henry filled his house in Sandy Bay, Cedar Court, with English and European decorative arts, as well as building on his father’s collection of rare books and Tasmanian art. Henry saw his collection as both a family memorial and a dynamic contribution to the cultural resources of Tasmania. He requested the Trustees of his will to endow the Library and Museum of Fine Arts from considerable investments — income from the fund has purchased rare items to enhance the collection, continuing the Allport family’s contribution to Tasmanian history and culture.