Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cartledge curiosities

Cartledge the name:
Without doubt a location name, from the village Cartledge, a hamlet in Derbyshire, England. It is 10 kilometres (6 mi) southwest of Sheffield, and just south of the village of Holmesfield.. There are two credible explanations for the derivation:

1. From the OE/ON for a stony bottomed river or creek - cartloch.

2. The earliest settlers were said to build their farm houses on ridges/ledges for security reasons. As the family grew a new stead would be built further along the ridge for the eldest son. These homesteads were joined by cart tracks, hence Cart - ledge.

Cartledge Hall at Holmesfield (right) is a gabled asymmetrical Elizabethan and part Jacobean farmhouse. It was reputedly built in 1492 although the majority of the building is late 16th and early 17th century. The structure is said to retain a portion of the original building on the site, predating the Norman Invasion.

Cartledges in this area were noted in the Doomsday Book and by the 12th century and were aligned with the 4th Earl of Chester, Ranulf le Gernon. It was during that period when, possibly having backed the wrong side in the battle for the crown between Stephen and Maud. Ranulf was Maud’s husband and in the turmoil he lost his lands in the Derbyshire area. When he was forced back to Chester, taking with him at least a few of the Cartledge clan, including Richard de Cartlege (1290 Cheshire).

Some claim the first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Cartelache (witness), which was dated 1290, Assize Rolls, Cheshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272-1307. However the record in the Domesday Bookdates from 1086
There are numerous variants on the spelling of this family name. Some are: Cartlege – Cartelache – Cartlige – Cartlidge - Carledge

"Life's a Bumper"
A painting dating from the early1800s, showing the well known singer Slack, in the centre. At the top left is a man identified as a Mr Cartledge, the keeper of , the alehouse in Tideswell where the singing took place. While it unlike the Cartledge in the painting is directly of our line he does bear a remarkable resemblance to some family members

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The life of James Cartledge (1810 - 1877)

James Cartledge was born in Staffordshire (The Potteries District), 13 Feb 1810, his Brother John was born 13 Jun 1813 in Staffs. The family later moved to Manchester, sometime in the 1820s. Northern England at that time was a cauldron of social change, the nursery of socialism on the one hand, and the benevolent friendly co-operatives on the other.

In 1837 James married Margret shearer – Marriage document James & Margaret 10 Sept. Manchester Cathederal. James Res. 4 Ashton St. Manchester (Schoolmaster/widower) (Father William, gardener.) Margaret Res. 36 Lomax St. Man. (Father, William Shearer, bricklayer. Mother, Margaret.) Witnesses John & Sarah Dumbill (Margaret & Sarah illiterate(?), signed with X) [Margaret was born in Ulster Ireland, 22 Nov 1809.]

Two of the children born in Manchester, James and William George, died in infancy. The surviving sons were; John born March 27 1841 and George August 6 1843.

In the prevailing social conditions, James, a schoolmaster, became an active member of the Chartist Movement, under Feargus O'Connor. Margaret’s father, a bricklayer, and brother were also active Chartists. Though committed to social and political change, by 1843, James was at odds with the often radical and violent leadership of the movement. Following a series of violent riots across the North, many Chartists were arrested and tried for various offences.

James was prevailed on to give evidence against a number of Chartists, including O'Connor. We can only speculate on why he would turn on the movement, but given is later activities I suspect James would now be classed as a social democrat and many of the ‘radical’ ideas he supported are nothing less than basic expectations now.

It seems part of the deal for James’ testimony was relocation, and a government post in Van Diemen's Land. James and his wife Margaret, children John and George and his brother John arrived in Hobart Town in 1844 on the transportation ship ‘The London’. James was employed as secretary to the ship’s commandant. It is said that John was simply on an adventure, and intended to return to England. As the records show, he established himself comfortably in the colony.

Although active in politics in England, James never spoke publicly on political issues after leaving Manchester. In 1843 James appointed Superintendent of the Launceston Treadmill. It was an ironic twist, as some of the convicts in his charge were Chartists.

He is credited, in family oral history, with stopping the lash as a punishment while Superintendent of the Launceston. However, apart from the records showing the lashings stopped during his tenure, there is no proof of his direct involvement. The family story has it that as Magistrate James was sickened at having to sentence the awful punishment.

The legend has it that during one court session James had said something to the effect that he wished the [whipping] triangle would disappear. At least, according to the records, while the lash endured elsewhere in the colony none were recorded in Launceston. It is also said that when the treadmill was finally demolished the dreaded implement of punishment was found in the rafters of the old building.

New Life in the colonies

Needless to say, James found government work odious, and doubtless John saw an opportunity for them both as millers. They acquired a lease on the Supply River Mill, further down the Tamar River. However while John operated the mill James stayed in Launceston to operate another venture, the Union Water Supply.

The Supply River story is covered here. The Union Water Supply enterprise was based at another mill (see right), at the head of the Tamar and confluence with the South Esk River. This mill was powered by water fed by wooden flume, down the gorge from the cataracts. The Tamar at this point was brackish and something of a cesspool, but busy shipping needed fresh water.

The Union Water Supply collected the water used to drive the mill, supplying it to ships plying this river port. This connection with shipping could we answer another conundrum, it has always been a curious point that there had not been any previous history of ships in the family – until James.

Of course they needed and acquired a ship for the Supply River mill. The Tamar Maid was essential to deliver wheat to the mill and flour to the market, essentially contracts with the colonies government. But James went further and had another ship, the Cousins, built at the mill site. Then he went on to become a ‘ships master’.

It is unfair of course to employ the Cromwellian phrase here - right but repulsive, wrong but romantic. However it is clear in their business ventures that James chose a more romantic path while brother John built a close relationship with the growing business class of the colony. John forged ahead with is Supply Mill apprentice Tommy Monds, while James remained close to the dreamer, ‘Philosopher Smith’.

When James followed John to the gold rush (1854), though staying in Melbourne to establish a building supplies business he soon recruited Smith (left) to provide quality timber from the Forth/Mersey area of Tasmania. The tall, straight eucalypts of this region produced a bounty of smooth straight split palings for building needs.

But whatever happened, in 1856 James moved back to Tasmania – to Torquay now known s East Devonport – and the source of his timber business. He had a small store there and also returned to teaching, but he was still shipping out palings.

In 1861 James sold he Cousins to budding shipping magnate, William Holyman, however 1866 his world fell apart when oldest son John died when the Tamar Maid capsized at the rip, the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. That was the end of James’ seafaring, though the tradition lived on in the family.

But ven on the other side of the world it seems James could not altogether escape his Chartist past. It has been a matter of some speculation as to why others write of James' time on the North West Coast, as he was a prominent citizen, James Fenton should totally ignore him.

The discovery that a close friend of James Fenton's, Zephaniah Williams, was an exiled Chartist suggests that James might have been suffering for his past. Although Williams had been transported in 1840, he still appeared to have some knowledge of events in the movement. To him, James would have been a traitor, and the fact that he gave evidence against one James Fenton (certainly not a close relative of Fenton) would be enough to cause bad blood.

James and John were total abstainers throughout their lives. Williams on the other hand had been a publican both in Wales and in Devonport. In the small community of the time it is easy to surmise the two groups being hostile to each other.

Even after his return to Launceston and to his death in 1877 James remained committed to his Primitive Methodist background and remained active in organisations like the Rechabites and other abstinence groups. More than that he remained true to his belief in social reform.

Chartist historians still claim James Cartledge was a traitor, and they might well be right. From his actions James was less interested in the politics of the situation and far more concerned about the reality. He was an ‘ordinary’ businessman, but his involvement is establishing banking, housing and other essentials, within the reach of the common man, was relentless. Perhaps the subject of another post.

Supply River Mill

Supply River Mill was built in 1825 by a Mr. Charlton and leased to George Cathcart. On the Arrowsmith Map of 1832 it was noted as Beverages Mill. Some twenty five kilometres north of Launceston, on the western side of the Tamar River, the mill was located in an isolated spot. In the early days it was subject to attacks by aborigines and bushrangers. Two workers are said to have been killed in such attacks.

By 1842 the mill was owned by Guillan and Syme. They employed two apprentices, James (Philosopher) Smith and Thomas Monds. Smith then sixteen years old, went on to become a dogged mineral fossicker. Besides finding various mineral deposits around the North West, discovered the Mount Bishoff tin deposits.
Monds stayed with milling, purchasing the Carrick Mill with the assistance of John Cartledge, and founding the company that was to become the present Monds and Affleck.

The Supply Mill, as with others of the day, was highly labour intensive. Grain and flour had to be lifted with block and tackle or manhandled within the mill and to and from the ships servicing the mill. There were two pair of four foot six inch (135cm) millstones, and the usual dressing and cleaning equipment. The small building, besides housing the machinery and grain, accommodated up to six people. (Port Dalrymple Story, Bethell)

While there was not sufficient water to operate the mill for four months of the year, working night and day the mill could grind up to forty tons of flour a week. In 1844 the schooner ‘Dusty Miller’, carrying 120 tons of flour worth ₤70 per ton, was wrecked in Portland Bay. The ship and cargo were not insured and Guillam and Syme became bankrupt.

James and John Cartledge then rented the mill. According to the census of 1848 John operated the mill, while James looked after their other enterprise, the Union Water Tanks in Launceston. The census notes that the owner of the mill was Mr Yates, John Cartledge was listed as the person at the head, or in charge. On the night of the census there five people residing at the mill.

An advertisement appeared in the Cornwall Chronicle throughout February of 1848:

Where an industrious man of such means may speedily acquire an independent fortune.
Are instructed by Mr. Yates to sell by auction, at their rooms
in Charles Street, on Wednesday, the 1st March next.
All those powerful WATER CORN MILLS,
Known as
Situate in the improving
Eighteen Miles from Launceston.

On this valuable property there is a never-failing supply of water, rendering the mill capable of grinding and dressing 56,000 bushels of wheat per annum, and might, with a trifling outlay, be made capable of manufacturing double the quantity.
The mill consists of a large three-story wooden building thereto attacked, containing three pairs of the very best 4ft6in. French stones, two very superior 6gt, dressing machines, and one very excellent smutting machine, with going gear, sack tackle& etc., & etc., complete.

There is a weather-boarded residence close to the Mill, containing six rooms, and also a miller’s cottage near the same.
There are ten acres, substantially fenced in, out of which a splendid garden of two acres is enclosed, in which the gardener’s home of two rooms is erected and the garden is stocked with the choicest fruit tress, in full bearing.
On this splendid property there is ample space for two or three Mills or Manufactories in addition to the Mill now erected thereon, and as the water in the Supply River is secured by Grant Deed to the exclusive use of the proprietor, intending purchasers may render the site one of the first importance in point of revenue investment, as the quality of the water is so pure as to be admirably adapted for all the purposes of paper manufactory.
The river Tamar is navigable to the Mill Door, alongside of which vessels of fifty tons burthen may discharge their cargos.
Title- a Grant from the Crown.
Terms – Twenty per cent deposit on the day of sale: £700 may secure the property at 8 per cent: for the residue, bills at 4, 6, 9, and 12 months, bearing bank interest,.
The Mills at present are let to respectable tenants, at £200 per annum.
For further particulars, apply to Messrs. Jennings and Grubb,
Solicitors, Launceston; or to Mr. Yates, Cataract Mill Launceston. Supply River Mill
If nothing else the advertisement shows that Real Estate hyperbole was alive and well last century. Estimates of production failed to recognise that the water flow was consistent for only eight months of the year.

The promised returns seemed to overlook the fact that the same paper was carrying daily reports of poor prices and lack of movement at that time in the grain markets. It is known that besides their rental of £200 pa., and sundry other costs, the Cartledges were paying Smith and Monds £50 each pa. Little wonder, perhaps, that the property was passed in at bidding.

While the brothers operated the mill they were filling Government contracts throughout the north of the state. The brothers had purchased a schooner the ‘Tamar Maid’ to service the mill and James had the schooner ‘Cousins’ built at the site in 1852.

An advertisement in the Cornwall Chronicle (6 Mar. 1852) signalled the brothers’ break with the Supply Mill:
Mr. Richard Clegg, having rented the Supply Mills, West Tamar
will have the Mill ready for grinding and dressing,
Monday next (inst.) 8th March,
and will be happy to be favoured with the patronage of the surrounding settlers and those in Port Sorell and neighbouring districts.
Terms: One shilling per bushel for grinding and dressing.
In the early 1850s Smith and John Cartledge left milling and headed for the Victorian goldfields, a story for another post.

The Port Dalrymple Story Bethell. Collection
Northern Regional Library Launceston
Thomas Wilkes Monds an Autobiography.
Collection NRL Launceston.
Cornwall Chronicle 1848/1852
Collection RRL Launceston.
James (Philosopher) Smith Papers
State Library of Tasmania Hobart
© 1994 Dennis Cartledge.

The Cousins ‘Family’s links with maritime history’

"Unexpected link between his great-great-great-grand-father, James Cartledge and the founder of the Holyman Line, Captain William Holyman."

First published May 1987

With the scheduled departure of the container ship Mary Holyman from the Bass Strait run, an era in Tasmanian shipping history will come to an end after more than a century and a quarter. Many will mourn the loss of the Holyman name in the Bass Strait shipping trade, after so many years, so it perhaps fitting to look back at some little known incidents at the beginning of the Holyman saga.

Pictured is a typical two masted schooner.

While researching his family history in Tasmania, some years ago, Rick Cartledge, discovered an unexpected link between his great great great grand father, James Cartledge and the founder of the Holyman Line, William Holyman.

The link was the 'Cousins', the Cartledge family's two-masted schooner that Captain Holyman sailed across the Bass Strait in the early l860s, trading between Port Phillip and Torquay (East Devonport). William Holyman at first leased the 'Cousins' from James Cartledge for something like £35 per year, the amount James charged earlier when leasing the schooner to Melbourne shippers.

Holyman was so pleased with the way the 'Cousins' handled that in 1862 he bought the schooner from James for "a sum not less than £100." The sale is recorded in beautiful copperplate writing in leather bound Register of Transactions preserved in the Commonwealth Archives, (Hobart).

The Bill of Sale is dated September 5, 1862, to "William Holyman of the Mersey in Tasmania, Master Mariner"; the owner of the vessel being "James Cartledge, of Launceston Tasmania, Master Mariner."

So it was that William Holyman, who had jumped ship in Launceston in 1854, acquired his first ship, the first in what was to become the famous 'White Star' Holyman Line.

To quote the 'Examiner', of December 12, 1955, marking the "centenary" of the Holyman transport empire, "Since 1854, when his first ketch the Cousins sailed Bass Strait, the Holyman fleet has contributed enormously to Tasmanian and in fact Australian expansion ... The development of this great concern from a single Devonport ketch of 18 tons is also the story of one of Tasmania's distinguished families."

This much is probably well known to those interested in Tasmania's maritime history. Less well known is the story behind the ketch 'Cousins'. The 41 foot, 17 ton, 2 two-masted schooner 'Cousins' was built in 1850 at the Supply Creek, near Exeter, for James Cartledge and his younger brother John.

The Cartledge brothers were working a flour mill an the Supply Creek which supplied 40 tons of flour a week to government stores in Deloraine, Cleveland, Campbelltown, Norfolk Plains and Kerry Lodge. The two brothers had bought the mill in 1847, hoping to make new lives for themselves in the new colony.

With James's wife Margaret and children John and George, they had arrived in Hobart Town from England aboard the London in 1844, narrowly escaping conviction and deportation as a political activists with the Chartist Movement. Ironically, James had secured himself a position in the colony as Superintendent of the Treadmill, first in Hobart Town, and then in 1845 at the Launceston Penitentiary.

The treadmill was used to turn a huge wheel which ground wheat into flour. Eighteen men walked up and down on the spot for 18 minutes at a time without a break. Each 60 seconds a bell would ring, allowing the end man to take a minute's break. When the bell rang again, he joined the line at the other end for another 18 minutes labour.

Sentences on the treadmill ranged from a few days to three or four weeks. James and John disliked their part in the penal system, and longed to start new lives for themselves and their families. John and his wife Eliza lived at the Mill at Supply Creek with their children John and Mary Anne. Several men and an apprentice worked the mill with John, and two of these were to mark their mark in the development and growth of colonial Tasmania.

Thomas Monds, later founder of the Monds' Roller Mills in Launceston and Carrick, served as an apprentice with John while learning the trade of mill management. Later he returned to manage the mill for the brothers, living in the miller's cottage with John and Eliza. Another apprentice who was to have a long and close association with the Cartledges was James 'Philosopher' Smith, the future discoverer of the Mount Bischoff tin deposits and other treasure troves of mineral wealth of the West.

James and John had close ties with 'Philosopher' Smith, and he became their associate and confidante in many of their activities. The reference they gave 'Philosopher' on his departure to the goldfields may be seen in the Smith Collection in the State Archives.

Unfortunately, the Cartledge brothers, in Thomas Mond's words "did not understand the (flour milling) business at all", and after struggling with insufficient capital for two or three years, were forced to give up the mill.

However they had one important asset - the Cousins. Completed in 1850, and registered in April 1851, the Cousins enabled James, now a Master Mariner, to broaden his horizons. Soon he would be trading to and from Melbourne.

Taking on cargo at Launceston, James set sail for the Victorian goldfields. With stops at Emu Bay and Circular Head to pick up eight passengers, James joined the exodus of hopefuls to gold rush.

Soon he was to discover there was better gold to be made from commercial transactions than scratching in the Ballarat dirt. A letter addressed to 'Philosopher' Smith, dated November 1852, shows James well established in this business,

However, by July 1854, the depression which followed the boom of the gold rush was already causing a downturn in trade, and James turned his eyes toward Tasmania again.

By September 1855, he had returned to Torquay, taking up some land near to 'Philosopher' Smith's bush blocks. He was still trading, working the Cousins as a 'coaster', on the Launceston to Port Frederick run, shipping shingles, sawn timber, palings, bricks, coal and produce. The run was later extended to Table Cape and Circular Head, and James became a prominent figure in the rapidly growing Torquay community.

Enter William Holyman

Holyman had arrived in Launceston in 1854 as an apprentice on board the barque Elizabeth Ratcliffe outwards bound from England with general cargo. One chilly night, he jumped ship in the River Tamar, hoping to start a new life and gain the affections of one Miss Mary Sayer.

Following his marriage to Mary Sayer in December 1855, the young couple moved to a cottage in Torquay, arriving three months after James' return from Melbourne. William at first was content to confine his sailing skills to working his father-in-law's barges on the

Mersey River, and later to operating a ferry across the river. But in 1861, he went to sea again - as master of the Cousins, leased from James Cartledge. And in September 1862, he took over as the Cousins' new owner. And the rest as they say, is history.


Commonwealth Archives, Hobart.

The 'Examiner' Newspaper, Dec. 12, 1955

This article by Sue Cartledge first appeared in The ADVOCATE' Weekender, [Tasmania] 30 May 1987 © 1987, 1994. S Cartledge. A copy of the original article can be seen at:

From the series ‘A Cartledge Family History’ – written by Dennis Cartledge and Sue Cartledge

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Who Was Circular Head’s First White Child?

Over the century and a half since Circular Head was first settled, the question of who had the 'honour' to be the first white child born in the district has often been a matter of contention. Owing to the absence of records in the period 1827-1841, it has been easy for conflicting claims to be put forward with very little supporting evidence one way or the other.

The [Circular Head] 'Chronicle' of November 1927 carried heated correspondence between John Cartledge of Smithton and Peter Stearne of Stanley, following an interview with Peter Stearne in the 'Chronicle' of 9th November 1927, entitled "Circular Head's first white male child. An octogenarian's reminiscences."

In this article, Stearne stated that he was born in Stanley in 1844, he was the first white male child in the district. The article continued "In the same house, Circular Head's first white child, afterwards Mrs. W Ollington (sic), Peter's sister was born."

John Cartledge replied in the 'Chronicle' of 23 November 1927: "Kindly permit me to give you a very much earlier date. My mother was born there (Stanley) on the 15th January 1829, and an uncle in March 1830. My grandparents, Yorkshire farming people, came out in 1828 by agreement under the seal of the Circular Head company."(sic)

Cartledge goes on to say "I should not have troubled you with the correction, but as there is considerable interest in the early days of the settlement it is advisable to have the date as correct as possible."

From the sources available to us in the 1980s, it seems that by the1920s there were at least five main contenders for the conflicting title of 'first white child', 'first white male child', 'first white child registered in Circular Head', and most confusing of all - 'first native born white children in Stanley'. These contenders are Peter Stearne, his sister Sara Stearne (later Mrs W. Ollington), his niece Jane Ollington (later Mrs. W Poke), John Cartledge's mother Eliza Spence and Eliza's brother.

Others who do not seem to be considered at all are the seven children born to Edward and Elizabeth Curr at 'Highfield' in the Circular Head Settlement of the Van Diemen's Land Coy., between 1830 and 1841.

John Cartledge's claim that his mother Eliza Spence was born in Circular Head in 1829, gained further credence from a report published in the 'Chronicle' 16th January, 1929. Under the heading "Personal", the report celebrated the 100th anniversary of her birth.

"One hundred years ago yesterday, Eliza Spence, the mother of John Cartledge, grandmother of Bert Cartledge of Temma, Edgar Cartledge of Smithton and Trooper Cartledge of Stanley, was born at Circular Head on the 15th January 1829. Her parents, Yorkshire farming people came out under agreement with the Van Diemen's Land Co., and resided at Circular Head for several years. Afterwards they went to the Hampshire Hills with a party engaged by the VDL Co., to commence clearing land with a view to agricultural operations. A few months later Francis Spence (her father) was speared so seriously by the blacks that he had to be sent to Launceston for treatment. He took up some land near that town and never returned to the Coast. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. John Cartledge senr., at the advanced age of ninety-nine (99) years and nine (9) months."

Eliza Spence and John Cartledge senr. were married in Launceston in 1846, and remained in Launceston for the whole of their married life. Most of the claims for the position of 'first white child' etc., are based on interviews with Peter Stearne, who obviously enjoyed talking to journalists.

He was interviewed by the 'Chronicle' reporter in the article already quoted, and among his reminiscences he mentions the house in which he was born "at the rear of St. Paul's Church, and only recently demolished. In the same house, Circular Head's first white child, afterwards the late Mrs W Ollington, Peter's sister was born."

The 'Chronicle's' journalist commented that "Mr. Stearne has a vivid memory, his hearing is very acute, and he is as clear about up-to-date subjects as about ancient history." It seems strange then that Mr. Stearne should consistently confuse his sister, (some 16 years older than himself) with his sister's child, who was born a few days earlier than Peter!

Mrs. Ollington, nee Sarah Stearne, also enjoyed talking with reporters. An article appeared in the 'Weekly Courier' of 13th May, 1909, together with a photographic study of five generations of Mrs. Ollington's family: Mrs. Ollington sen., (now 81), her daughter Mrs. W Poke sen., her granddaughter Mrs. Malley, great-grand-daughter Mrs J Reid jun., and great-great-grand-daughter Mrs. Reid's infant.

At the time of the interview, Mrs. Ollington had lived for 67 years in the Circular Head district, and was much loved and honoured by all who knew her. The reporter rather gushingly remarked that "The dear old lady looked the picture of health, with well rounded cheeks, still girlish in their natural colouring, with kindly eyes bright at all times, and really flashing occasionally even nowadays ... with the intellect still unimpaired as is evidenced by a wondrous memory ... "

Mrs. Ollington told the 'Courier' she was born in Thetford, Norfolk on 12th June 1828. "In 1841, the 3-masted 'Emu", 360 tons burden, landed her with her parents on the foreshore of the Nut, Tasmania (sic). They were 'only' some five and a half months, some one hundred and seventy days making the trip!"

Mr. Stearne sen., was a builder under contract to the Van Diemen's Land Co. Also on board the 'Emu' were the VDL Co. agent, Mr. Gibson (who took over from Edward Curr), Gibson's wife, Parson Greigg, three or four VDL Co. clerks, several artisans and farm hands, " ... and some thirty females, young and old, 18 of whom were unmarried."

''The desolateness of the new home caused an air of despondency to pervade the ship, and in the midst of the crowd of wailing women and little children stood Sarah Stearne, gazing ,with wideopened eyes and mouth at the big rock before her, at the white stone barracks, and at the few shanties which were to take the place of the civilisation they had left behind." She was thirteen years old.

A year later Sarah Stearne married Thomas Ollington; the ceremony being performed by Parson Greigg. Thomas Ollington was evidently a resident of Stanley before the 'Emu' arrived, as Sarah Ollington mentions that her husband's father enjoyed "hunting possum and wallaby on the beach, which at that time was a thicket of honeysuckle."

In January 1844, Sarah Ollington gave birth to her first child Jane (later Mrs. W. Poke) in the house behind St Paul's Church. In the same house a few days later, Sarah's mother (Sarah Stearne nee Thorp) also gave birth to a child - Sarah's younger brother Peter.

The 'Weekly Courier' notes "In the same room with her on a recent Sunday afternoon, was her brother, Mr. Peter Stearne, a much respected Smithton resident ... Mr. Stearne is also historical, for he is believed to be the first white male born in the Circular Head District, perhaps the first one on the North West Coast, but his niece, Mrs. Poke sen., secured the real honour and glory, for she, as a white-born colonial, first breathed the air of Stanley a few days earlier."

There is considerable confusion over this claim that Mrs. William Poke, or "Granny Poke" as she came to be known, was the "first native-born white child". This was another of Mr. Stearne's expressions, as remembered by his daughter, Mrs. W. McInnes, when speaking to a reporter from the 'Advocate'. Mrs. McInnes of Devonport, talked about her father in an article published by the 'Advocate' on January 9th 1971.

In interpreting "native born" as meaning "born of Tasmanian- born parents", Mrs. McInnes suggested Stearne and his sister "two years his senior", (identified by Mrs. McInnes as none other than Mrs. Ollington) "were born at a time when it would have been quite possible for them to be

grand-children of married couples who arrived at Circular Head in 'Tranmere' in 1826." Alternatively, Mrs. McInnes hypothesised that Peter and Sarah's parents - Peter Garner Stearne sen., and his wife Sarah, nee Thorp, "could have been born elsewhere in Tasmania, and moved to Circular Head." However, such conjectures are disproved by Sarah Ollington's own statement to the 'Courier' that she was born in Norfolk and came to Tasmania with her parents in 1841.

Another claim put forward for Jane Ollington ("Grannie Poke") and Peter Stearne, is that they were the "first white children registered in Circular Head." Alas, this too, does not stand up to close scrutiny! The official register of births begun in Stanley in 1841, shows the first boy child registered at Stanley to be the son of John and Ann Goss, who was born at sea on the barque 'Emma', on November 30 1841. The first girl child registered was Margaret, daughter of John and Euphemia Scott, born September 6, 1841. John Scott was VDL Co. overseer at Hampshire Hills.

To Margaret Scott must go the 'honour', then, of being the "first white child registered in Circular Head." Peter Stearne's birth on January 13, 1844, was the sixth to be registered for that year. A lot of the confusion seems to hinge on the definition of 'Circular Head'. It may well be that Stearne considered birth at sea or in the Hampshire Hills towards what is now Burnie as being outside the Circular Head District. Writing in the 'Chronicle' on November 30, 1927, in reply to John Cartledge's letter, he said "I never heard the name Stanley used until I was a big lump of a lad.

About the Nut, and part of the isthmus it was called Circular Head because the shape of it was like a half circle. The back country, like the country back of Table Cape or Emu Bay, had no name resembling Circular Head, or Table Cape or Emu Bay. When I said I was the first male child born at Circular Head, I meant of course on that piece of Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land which in those days was called Circular Head."

Perhaps it was this insistence on Circular Head being only "the Nut and part of the isthmus", that permitted him to 'stretch' the facts a little in order to make his claims for himself and "Grannie Poke". However, as early as 1827, the settlement between Cape Grim and Hampshire Hills was referred to as "the Circular Head settlement of the Van Diemen's Land Coy.", and 'Highfield', home of Edward Curr up on the Green Hills, was considered part of the Circular Head settlement. During Edward Curr's tenure as Chief Agent of the VDL Co., his wife Elizabeth bore seven children at 'Highfield'; the first, Augusta Mary being born on September 24, 1830.

It is believed that the Curr children born in Circular Head would have been registered in Hobart Town, as would the Spence children born in Stanley in 1829 and 1830, as the register of births, deaths and marriages was not kept in Stanley until 1841.

The absence of both the Spence and Curr' families from the Circular Head District by the 1840s, and the lack of records, may well account for Stearne's assumption that the generation of children born around Circular Head in the '40s were the "first native-born" generation. The Spence family moved to Hampshire Hills some time around 1835, and thence to Launceston.

Ignorance about the Curr' family is not so easily understood. On board the same ship that brought the Stearne family was Mr. Gibson, who was to take over the position of Chief Agent for the VDL Co. from Edward Curr'. Curr' then took his family - wife Elizabeth and 13 children, seven of whom had been born at 'Highfield' to Hobart Town.

Despite Stearne's claims to fame having been disproved, it seems that he and his sister Mrs. Ollington eventually made more of an impact on the district than either the Curr's or the Spences. Of Peter Stearne's family, nine were still alive in 1927 and had married around the district. Mrs. Ollington's children were noted in her obituary in the 'Chronicle' April 12, 1915: "The deceased lady leaves a family of five sons and six daughters. The sons are Henry and William of Forest,

James, Thomas and Albert of Scotchtown. The daughters are Mrs. W.J.Poke and Mrs P O'Halloran of Smithton, Mrs. Quilliam of Montagu, Mrs. T.Ling of Smithton, Mrs. R.Blake of Forest and Mrs.S.A.Smith of Smithton.”

As noted in the 'Weekly Courier', when Sarah Stearne married Thomas Ollington in 1842, there was only one Ollington family in Stanley. "Now, all living in the Circular Head District are no less than 146 lineal descendants of that marriage, and here's the mother of the lot of them, alive, hale and hearty and full of smiles, and surrounded by her children, grand-children, great-grand-children and even a couple of great-great-grand children are waiting on Robbins Island for the touch of their great-great-grand-mother's hands."

Peter Stearne and "Grannie Poke" may not indeed have been the first white children born or registered in Circular Head. Chronologically, they cannot be considered for such a claim to fame. However, they have left behind them a legacy that is still growing in the Circular Head District. While it is certainly important "to have the data as correct as possible" in the interests of historical accuracy, all of the Stearne family's descendants can feel justifiable pride that they still live in the district their forebears helped to settle.


15/01/1829 Eliza Spence born Circular Head District.

- /03/1830 Male Spence child born Circular Head District.

24/09/1830 Augusta Mary Curr born 'Highfield', Circular Head.

27/09/1831 Arthur Curr born 'Highfield', Circular Head.

10/07/1835 Marmaduke Curr born 'Highfield', Circular Head.

15/10/1836 Julius Curr born 'Highfield', Circular Head.

09/09/1837 Montagu Curr' born 'Highfield', Circular Head.

12/05/1841 Florence Mary Curr' born 'Highfield', Circular Head.

30/11/1841 Male Goss child born at sea on board barque 'Emma'.

06/09/1844 Margaret Scott born Hampshire Hills

-/01/1844 Jane Ollington ("Grannie Poke") born Stanley.

13/01/1844 Peter Stearne born Stanley.


09/11/1927 Circular Head 'Chronicle'.

23/11/1927 Circular Head 'Chronicle'.

16/01/ 1927 Circular Head 'Chronicle '.

13/05/1909 'Weekly Courier',

09/01/1971 'The Advocate'.

09/01/1971 The register of births at Stanley from 1841, as quoted in 'The Advocate’

Elizabeth Curr's diary, as quoted in 'Historic Stanley' by Meg Close.

© 1984, 1994. S Cartledge.

This article by Sue Cartledge first appeared in the Circular Head Local History Journal; December

1984, ISSN 0814-8708, published by the Circular Head Local History Project.

Eliza Spence married John Cartledge in 1846.

Cartledge Timeline to 1877

James Cartledge arrived in Hobart Town June 1844 on the ship, London, with his wife, Margaret and two children, John and George and his brother John. James had been involved in the Chartist Movement in Manchester & departed England soon after giving evidence against the Movement's leaders at the Lancaster Assizes. The following chart is a directory of events, mainly after arriving in Van Diemens Land.





Margaret Shearer born in Ulster Ireland, 22 Nov 1809.
DNS = Document not sighted


James Cartledge born in Staffordshire, 13 Feb 1810.


John Cartledge born in Staffordshire, 13 Jun 1813.




Francis Spence and family arrive in Circular Head by ship.
Eliza Spence first white child born in Circular Head

Marriage document James & Margaret 10 Sept. Manchester Cathederal. James Res. 4 Ashton St. Manchester (Schoolmaster/widower) (Father William, gardener.) Margaret Res. 36 Lomax St. Man. (Father, William Shearer, bricklayer. Mother, Margaret.) Witnesses John & Sarah Dumbill (Margaret & Sarah illiterate(?), signed with X)
(Private collection RJC)

Children James & William George died in infancy.


Balance Sheet of National Victim Fund Committee 28 Aug 1841 - 2 Feb 1842 Lists James C.
(Chartism & The Chartists David Jones p/85 Private collection RJC.)


Chartist Plan Of Lectures Jan - Feb Mar 1841 Lists J.C. (Man) & William Shearer
IBID p/105


John born to James and Margaret, March 27.
(Private collection RJC.)


Lancaster Trials. J.C. (Man) testimony against O'Connor et al.
History of the Chartist Movement R.G.Gammage pp/233-4-5 and appendix C. 3d2


George born to James and Margaret, Aug. 6.
(Private collection RJC.)


James, Margaret, William and George flee England on ship the London. They were accom-panied by James' brother John.

Documents including ships magazine from the London & Hobart Town Newspapers.
Surgeons Journal from London 1844 Ports- mouth 23.3 to Hobart Town 9.7 AJCP PRO Reel 3201
1844 Shipping arrivals report L'Ton Examiner July.


James C. appointed Superintendent of the Launceston Treadmill.
Wood's Almanac 1845.


William born, to James & Margaret Launceston 22 Dec.



John marries Eliza Spence, Launceston.
John born to John & Eliza. 16 Sept.


James (& family) resident/owner of house in Paterson Street Launceston. Census 1848
John, Eliza & family residing at Supply River Mill, co-leased with James. Census 1848
James (Philosopher) Smith and Thomas Monds employed by the brothers at mill.
Census 1848


James born to James & Margaret L'ton 18 Feb


Robert born to James & Margaret 27 Oct
Mary Ann born to John & Eliza


Thomas Alfred born to James & Margaret 29 Oct.


Schooner 'Cousins' built at Supply Creek, by James.
(Similar to vessel pictured)

Ship's Register, L'ton Customs House 1844-55. No 29 of 1851 Lloyds register no. 31748, 28/5/1851.


John and family move to Melbourne on route to Goldfields. John writes a reference for James Smith, dated 27 July.
Smith's papers - State Library of Tasmania Archives.


James and family move to Melbourne, Starts a building & supplies business. Schooner Cousins arrived at Port Frederick from Circular Head - Cargo and passengers, 17 Feb. J. Cartledge Captain.
The Cousins leased out in Melbourne.
Shipping arrivals and departures in Vic. ports. 1846-55 & Smith's papers


James and family move to Torquay (East Devonport).
Smith's Papers


James on committee to build first Wesleyan Church in Torquay.
With the Pioneers Charles Ramsay.
And Wealth for Toil Kerry Pink


Brother J (John?) Cartledge Rep for Aust Felix Tent International Order of Rechabites Vic. The Brothers were said to have been involved with the Rechabites in Manchester. However this is the earliest reference I have.
Woods Almanac 1857 p/9


James Sen. on (Western Districts - Devonport) Gold Exploration Committee.
With the Pioneers Charles Ramsay 1957 p/137


Margaret Cartledge petitions Govenor Young. This is a remarkable document. The issue was to avoid a charge of failing to properly tether a goat. The document, in Margaret's own hand, showed a literate and articulate woman.
Smith's papers


Sale of Cousins to Wm. Holyman.


Henry George born to John & Eliza, L'ton 25/8/61.


James C. school master Torquay
'With the Pioneers' Charles Ramsay


Rechabites; Records variously J. Cartledge, James C. John C. James C. Sen, John C. Sen, James C. Jnr, John C. Jnr, in various positions and offices of Salford Unity, the Olive Branch Tent, the Juvenile Branch and the Teetotal society in Launceston.
Walsh's Tasmanian Almanac


Ada Eliza born to John & Eliza, 19/1/64


William Cartledge Notice Re. claim of mining swindle
L'ton Examiner 10 Aug. 1865


George C marries Caroline Powell
John Jnr marries Mary Ann Pickerell
George Horace born to to George and Caroline. 9/11/65


Tamar Maid wrecked off Queenscliff, Vic. John Jnr died.

Launceston Examiner 20 April
Melbourne Argus 18 April
With the Pioneers Charles Ramsay


John James born to John & Mary Ann 8 Jun.
Anna (Annie) born to George & Caroline.
Alfred Benjamin born to John & Eliza, 20/8/66.


John C. Director of Launceston Building & Investment Society
Walsh's Tasmanian Almanac.


William marries Mary Jane Sutor 28 May.
William Sutor born L'ton, 22/11/67 to William & Mary Jane (R1613)


John C. Director of Launceston Building & Investment Society. James C. Secretary. also shopkeeper in Launceston.
John C (2) Director of newly formed woolen mill comittee. James secretary.
Cornwall Chronicle 9/6/'68 - 12/9/'68 - 23/9/'68 - 03/9/'68
Walsh's Tasmanian Almanac.


James Jnr marries Eliza Ann Atkinson. 8 Jun.
James born to James & Eliza Ann 26/6/69.


Ida Cartledge born to George & Caroline, 17/10/70.
Elizabeth Jane born to William & Mary Jane, 26/5/70
Eliza May born to James & Eliza Ann, L'to 24/5/70
John Hubert born to John & Annie, 20/10/70.


Robert marries Matilda Louise Boswell, 12 May.
Isabella born to James & Eliza Ann Longford 28/6/72 (R939)
Robert Henry Charles born to Robert Henry & Matilda, Hobart (?) 22/11/1872 (R2963). Died aged 2 yr 10 mths.


Walter James born to George and Caroline (R1219).
George (1.4) listed as owner of the 21 ton shooner 'teazer'*
Walsh's Tasmanian Almanac.


Arthur William James born to Robert Henry & Matilda, L'ton 31/8/74 (R1795).


Thomas Alfred marries Jane Holliday Richards, 23/9.
Robert Charles born to William & Mary Jane, L'ton 17/3/75 (R1974)
Albert Ernest James born to James & Eliza Ann, Longford 2/7/75 (R960)


James Sen. died at his Charles Street home, 14 Oct.
Albert Ernest George born to Robert Henry & Matilda, L'ton 12/5/77 (R2880)
Alfred Henry James born to Thomas Alfred & Jane, 16/11/77
Launceston Examiner 16/8/1877

References: RJC = Reverend Richard Cartledge Hobart.
Tasmanian State Library - Hobart.
Launceston Local Studies (Northern Regional Library)
Tasmanian Information.
Note: While some BD&M's carry document reg. no's, other dates come down from family sources, particularly diaries of Thomas Alfred Cartledge, which are presently lost.