State Library and Tasmanian Archives Blog

Tasmania Reads: Reading an Account of the Voyage of a Convict Transport (Part One: The Challenge)

A row of old Ledger books on a shelf
Image credit: Tasmanian Archives.

The State Library and Archive Service is issuing a challenge to Tasmanians to read five different examples of nineteenth-century handwriting from our Heritage Collections, each featuring a different set of records held in the State Archives.

The scripts are selected to give you insights into some of the key strengths of our collection and we hope they will pique your interest to explore further.

As the week progresses, the challenge will get a bit more difficult, as you become more familiar with reading script. 

Each challenge will consist of two blogs. The morning blog will contain your transcription challenge, while the afternoon blog will provide the answer, as well as historical background to the events discussed in the challenge task. There will also be recommendations of other resources held in the Libraries Tasmania collections on the topic for you to explore.

Your Transcription Challenge

Your first challenge is to transcribe a passage from the account of the voyage of the Female Transport, Garland Grove (2) in 1842/1843:

A passage from the account of the voyage of the Female Transport, Garland Grove (2) in 1842/1843: The text reads:…in that situation I witnessed many a heart-rending scene, poor old men and women some coming many miles to take a last farewell of their erring daughters, some so old and feeble they had to be lifted in and out of the Ship, they were so overpowered with grief, no doubt their unfortunate children – gave promise – of better things in early life, and now look back with shame and sorrow …
Tasmanian Archives: Abraham Harvey, Reminiscences of a Voyage on the Female Convict Ship Garland Grove, p.4 (1842-43), NS816/1/1.  Abraham Harvey was the 2nd Officer on board the Garland Grove, which left England in August 1842 and arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in January 1843.

The Answer …

will be published in our blog this afternoon. Stay tuned!

91 Stories: Cabinet of Curiosities

A drawer full of small boxes, each filled with a different kind of small sea shell.
One of the 24 drawers of the shell cabinet. These images of the shell cabinet’s drawers and contents were taken by Digitisation Services in 2018 for the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts..

Natural history collections are not only useful to scientists. They also reflect the life of the collector, his or her family, their connections, and the worlds they inhabited – even the state of their digestion! Ruth Mollison’s story about Morton Allport’s shell collection is a piece of detective work, a personal history, and an insightful (and sometimes unnerving) exploration of how one Tasmanian family intertwined art, science, reputation and obsession.   

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Recently Digitised Material: January-June 2022

A painting of Mt Wellington from Bellerive
Mt Wellington from Bellerive

This blog features some of the recently digitised items from the Tasmanian Archives and the State Library of Tasmania heritage collections.

Read on to find out about new additions to our digital collections! To discover even more, you can also search our catalogue and Tasmanian Names Index or visit us on FlickrYouTube and Instagram.

In this blog:

  • Thomas Bock’s notes on photography, including Talbot’s calotype process and daguerreotypes – Ref: ALL34/1/1
  • Star of Tasmanian shipboard journal (1859-60) – Ref: NS7221/1/1
  • Journals of Separate Prison wardens, Tasman Peninsula (1860, 1863) – Ref CON91/1/2-3
  • Descriptive Lists of Male and Female Convicts to Be Embarked for Van Diemen’s Land from Various Prisons in the United Kingdom, (1839-50). Ref: CON114/1/1-8
  • Convict credit and gratuity books, Tasman Peninsula (1865-68). Ref: CON130/1/1-3
  • Register of Convicts for Whom Enquiries were Made (1850-68). Ref: GO121/1/1
  • Tasmanian Birth Registers (1921) – RGD33/2/5 to 8
  • Female Admissions, Royal Derwent Hospital (1898-1903) – Ref: AB365/1/13
  • Copies of Wills Recording Granting of Probate (1868-1874) – Ref: AD960/1/8, AD960/1/9
  • Daguerreotype and ambrotype portraits – Ref: NS5465/1/1-3
  • Launceston Collection of Photographs of Ships – Ref: LMSS761/1/1-490
  • Hobart Town by Ensign Kemp from behind my quarters / W.H. Kemp
  • Artworks by Knud Geelmuyden Bull
  • Mount Wellington from Bellerive, artist unknown
  • Mount Lyell mines map,1896
  • Glass plate negatives from AA Rollings Collection – Ref: NS1553/2/1 to 34
Continue reading “Recently Digitised Material: January-June 2022”

The Art of Mapping Kunanyi/ Mount Wellington

A black and white photo of 2 men stopping to admire the snow next to an old car.
Buick motor car in snow on Mt Wellington, Sharland Box 16. NS4023/1/231

Kunanyi/ Mount Wellington is an integral part of the Hobart landscape. For the Muwinina people it is a place of cultural and spiritual significance, and a place of creation. Since the European settlement of Lutruwita/ Tasmania, the mountain has commonly appeared in visual and written descriptions of Hobart, providing a sweeping backdrop that frames the small town nestled along the river below. However, Kunanyi/ Mount Wellington is more than simply an iconic background; it has long been a source of resources for the town itself, including ice, timber and mining, amongst other things. Moreover, the mountain has long been regarded as a place of recreation and leisure, with picnics at the Springs and walks to its many waterfalls amongst its most popular activities. In 1935, Jack Thwaites (1902-1986) – a renowned Tasmanian photographer and conservationist- provided a wonderful description of Kunanyi/ Mount Wellington watching over Hobart, and alludes to the many ways in which the mountain draws people in…

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The Lanney Pillar – Installation at the Allport Gallery

A banner advertising The lanney pillar Installation at the Allport Gallery. The text reads "The lanney Pillar. Wednesday 6 april - Saturday 25 June 2022 Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

In January 1889 a bronze statue of William Lodewyk Crowther (1817-1885) was erected in Franklin Square where it stands today. Made in England by the sculptor Signor Racci and shipped to Hobart, it was placed on a locally designed plinth in the same civic square as the Franklin statue which commemorates the Governorship of Tasmania by the Arctic navigator Sir John Franklin.

The Hobart Mercury, Thursday morning, January 10, 1889 reported on the ceremony to unveil the Crowther statue. The Chairman of the committee said:

This memorial may remind future generations, that even monuments may perish, but deeds, good or bad, never die.

The Mercury 10/1/1889 p. 3

As it turns out – prescient words.

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‘By Mountain and Sea’: the Model Factory at Cadbury’s Claremont

An old black and white photo of workers inside the Cadbury factory making chocolate
Cadbury’s factory, chocolate manufacturers, Claremont, near Hobart – interior of wrapping room. Tasmanian Archives: PH30/1/3935

It has been stated in Melbourne newspapers that there is a probability of the world-famous English firm of Cadbury’s cocoa and chocolate manufacturers establishing a factory in Melbourne or Sydney to supply Australian requirements. It is understood, however, that there is an equally good chance, if not a better one, because of climatic and other advantages, of the factory being established in Tasmania. … It is understood that the location of the factory will be decided upon very shortly. Should Tasmania be favoured, the State will be given a great lift up.

The Mercury, 25 Mar 1920, p.4

In January 1920, a group of executives from the English firms of Cadbury’s and Fry’s visited Tasmania to examine a possible site for a new factory. The group had already visited several other potential sites in Australia, including along the Paramatta River in Sydney, and the western suburbs of Melbourne (Freestone, Model Communities, p.151). The executives were, however, won over by the cool climate and beautiful scenery of Tasmania that they found to embody the Quaker values of the company. The site that was chosen was unique: a 100-hectare peninsula that extended out into the River Derwent at Claremont in the northern suburbs of Hobart. The site met all practical requirements for production too: the surrounding suburbs offered a ready workforce, and there was strong state government support, excellent infrastructure including an international shipping port, and a good power supply thanks to the Hydro.

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The Tasmanian Archives research files: giving remote researchers access to the same research material as locals.   

A picture of some files inside a manilla folder There is a circular stamp on the front which reads: "Archives office of Tasmania"

Prior to the electronic submission of research enquiries, clients would mail their requests to the Archives Office of Tasmania at 91 Murray Street, Hobart.  When replying, State Archives staff kept their research notes filed in manila folders. Over time, clients occasionally added their research notes to these folders. Known internally as the Correspondence Files, these records are still used daily by Archives staff in response to visitor enquiries and when answering enquiries from remote clients.

Up until now the only way to access these files was to visit us or to submit a research enquiry. These files can now be discovered through a simple search in the Tasmanian Names Index.

Continue reading “The Tasmanian Archives research files: giving remote researchers access to the same research material as locals.   “

The Lady Conductor and the Score of ‘The Toreador’

The first section of a musical score, the title is "The Toreador"
The Toreador / Mrs. Benson, conductress. Libraries Tasmania Archives.

A single item, sitting on a library shelf, can be the thread of a story that weaves through locations and generations. This one is a ‘musical score’ – the sheets of music notes used for a performance – owned by a notable (but little known) Tasmanian woman.

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An International Woman: Emily Dobson (nee Lempriere)

Community Archives recently purchased a studio portrait of Emily Dobson (nee Lempriere) (1842-1934) as a young woman. It provides a rare window on the early life of a woman who entered the public sphere in her 50’s and was a prominent activist until her death at 91.

Emily Dobson was a wealthy, nineteenth-century woman who used her position in society to organise and influence her community into action. Mrs Dobson is known for creating, and being the driving force in at least nineteen philanthropic societies. She was endlessly curious and had a wide range of interests that evolved throughout her life. Her interests ranged from alleviating poverty through health, sanitation, food and housing, and caring for the needs of the sick and people with disabilities, through to social and educational organisations for women and girls, such as the Girl Guides, Victoria League, Alliance Francaise and Lyceum Club. Although Emily did not agitate politically or challenge the establishment, she worked hard to improve society in the ways she felt were proper.

An old black and white photo of a woman, Emily Dobson in a dress. posing for a photo.
Emily Dobson, ca. 1866, Tasmanian Archives: PH40/1/363
Continue reading “An International Woman: Emily Dobson (nee Lempriere)”

Isn’t it good, Taswegian Wood: Experiments in Growing Cricket Bat Willow Trees and a Wooden Cricket Pitch

An old photo of several people playing cricket
‘Cricket Match, Skittleball Plains (date unknown), in Gwen Hardstaff, Cider gums & currawongs : a history of lifestyle, people and places : the Lake Country of Tasmania to the 1950s, p.47.

In the 1930s and 40s cricket bats were a precious thing. Around the world, bats were in short supply, largely due to an increase in demand for English willow (Salix alba var. caerulea) for use in a range of items both during and after the Second World War. As was noted in correspondence between J. M. Crockett and The Commissioner of the Australian Council of Agriculture in July 1940:

every available tree of this type has been taken over in Gt Britain for War Purposes, the chief item being aircraft construction, the timber being the best substitute for spruce, which is all tied up now in countries occupied by the enemy … The other uses for this willow is artificial limbs for which no other timber is suitable, and recently has [been found to have] the quickest, and most powerful detonation as a component in high explosive fuses for shells … So you can see that none of the tree is not of high commercial value.

As a cricket bat manufacturer, J. M. Crockett (Jim) had obvious motives in writing to the Commissioner and highlighting both the current global willow shortages and the value of willow timber more broadly; he wanted to propose the planting of willow trees as a viable and profitable agricultural activity in Australia. As Jim Crockett continues in his letter, ‘in normal times Australia’s requirements alone is 100,000 cricket bats annually, for which 4,500 mature trees would be required to produce the same.’ Kashmiri willow, which today is a major source of cricket bat willow, had not yet been fully developed as an industry outside of India, and so the bat-making industry was having to look further afield to other sources of willow. Australia, and most particularly the cooler and wetter climate of Tasmania, was certainly a strong option worth exploring. Over the next few years Jim Crockett made several visits to Tasmania, noting the ‘climatic conditions ideal’ for willow bat propagation. Indeed, he went so far as to state that ‘not only could Tasmania make Australia self-sufficient, but an export trade to the empire’s cricketing Dominions was extremely likely.’

Continue reading “Isn’t it good, Taswegian Wood: Experiments in Growing Cricket Bat Willow Trees and a Wooden Cricket Pitch”