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1 September 1840 * 13 October 1840 * 17 November 1840


Tasmania had a severe recession in the 1840’s


 Friday 11 September 1840 /  Friday 25 September 1840

Friday 30 October 1840 * Friday 6 November 1840



Friday 10 December 1841


James Snr found himself embroiled in the courts once more. The old bugger was seventy-two by now, but that doesn’t stop Judah Solomon from testing his hand in the legal system over, I think, a land deal. The local rag contains the following mention



A few months later one of them is in court again – I just can’t tell which Triffitt/ett/et/it/ith:




Hobart Gazette news index 1842

Apart from spelling his name three different ways in as many lines the Gazette offers no clue as to what all this was about.


1840: A birth – 4th April JONAS URBIN to ANN & WILLIAM

1840: A Birth – 14th July SUSANNA to MARY & JAMES

1840: A Wedding – 4th August PHOEBE marries JOHN JILLETT

1840: A Birth – ?? ROBERT ALFRED to PHOEBE & JOHN

1841: A Birth – 23rd November ELIJAH to ANN & WILLIAM

1841: A Wedding – 30th July MARY marries JAMES

1842: A Wedding – 17th March CHRISTINA marries FREDERICK WASS

1842: A birth – 26th April JOHN THOMAS to PHOEBE & JOHN

1842: A Birth – 27th June FREDERICK JOHN to CHRISTINA & FRED

1842: A Birth – 22nd August MATILDA to MARY & JAMES

1842: A Death – JOHN THOMAS JILLET age 6 months


Colonial Times: Tuesday 14 March 1843


The Courier: Friday 17 March 1843

Colonial Times: Tuesday 21 March 1843

Things were slowly turning pear-shaped for James the Elder. Being bailed up by Martin Cash in 1843, albeit in a most gentlemanly fashion, added insult to indignity, but Cash reports in his autobiography that James was very pleasant about handing over the Twenty gold guineas. Not that he had much option.

 *.. we once more took to the field in search of fresh adventures, the first of which took place at Mr. Triffitt’s at the Ouse River. His establishment having rather an imposing appearance suggested the idea of laying him under construction, and resorting to our usual practice of reconnoitring for a few minutes, we summoned the garrison, which soon capitulated. We then directed our attention to the care of the working hands, whom we placed in better company, viz., that of two pretty young ladies, who, together with their brother, constituted the family.

We placed the working hands on the other side of the room to the aristocracy, it being our usual custom, and bye-and-bye I was of the opinion that our fame had gone before us in this locality, as they did not evince the slightest apprehension with regard to their personal safety, which gratified me so much. The old gentleman offered up a prayer for our conversion, and while doing so Jones stripped him of his watch. We found a plentiful supply of everything needful, together with a considerable amount of (coin).

When all was in readiness for transport we took leave of this very interesting family..

Martin Cash: The Bushranger of Van Diemen’s Land


The two ‘pretty young ladies’ in Cash’s hazy recollection were Sophia, just turned fourteen and Mary Ann, nearly twelve. The brother was Richard, fifteen years old. The ‘old man’ James Sr., was seventy-four years old. Hysterical Sophia was thirty-five.

Christopher is eighteen and probably already left home – or just  not mentioned.

This is the last – and only- glimpse of James Triffitt the Elder at home – trying to enjoy a bucholic old age. He sat surrounded by his young family, full of kind piety – ready to offer a prayer for the soul of his latest bushranger. Poor old guy, he’d probably given up by now – he must have known what was coming…

Within three months Catrine Vale was on the market, the ‘old man’ bankrupt.





I have no idea hy he declared his insolvency in Lunceston instead of Hobart.

Launceston Examiner: Saturday 15 July 1843


The Courier: Friday 28 July 1843


The Courier: Friday 4 August 1843 & Friday 11 August 1843


On Friday August 18 1843 it was all gone – and so, to all intents and purposes, was James the Elder.  All available research man dries up after this… well, not so much dries up as simply stops. In one king hit, James Triffitt disappears.

James still had another decade of life but, at a bankrupt seventy-five, he’s hardly a major player. Quite the reverse. At the age of seventy-four he’s effectively wiped out. It’s a shame that this is the last picture that remains – bankrupt, homeless, old, beaten, used up, discarded. I don’t know what happened next – where they lived, where the money came from – let’s hope he just took it easy. He certainly deserved a retirement, enforced or no.

Our hero went out with a whimper, not a roar.


1843: A Death – ELIJAH dies in New Norfolk age 1

1843: A Wedding – 31st May CHARLES marries MATILDA (Hamilton C of E)

1843: A Birth – 1st October JOHN to PHOEBE & JOHN

1843: A Birth – 13th December NATHANIELBETHEL to Wm & ANN

1844: A Birth – 17th July EMMA AMELIA to MARY & JAMES

1844: A Birth – 4th NovemberELIZABETH to CHRISTINA & FRED

1844: A Death – 11th NovemberELIZABETH WASS 7 days old

1845: A Wedding – 9th May LOUISA marries THOMAS

1845: A Birth – 11th October ROSINA to CHRISTINA & FRED

1845: A Wedding – 24th December MATILDA marries GEORGE

1845: A Birth – 29th December REBECCA RUTH to MARY & JAMES

1846: A Birth – ?? ISAAC ELISHA to ANN & WILLIAM

1846: A Birth – 2nd FebruaryELIZABETH to PHOEBE & JOHN

1846: A Wedding – 25th July SOPHIA MURIEL TO JOHN ABEL

1847: A birth – 3rd April Twins: JACOB & ESAU to ANN & WILLIAM


1847: A Wedding – 3rd November MARY ANN TO ALFRED MILLAR

1848: A Birth – 25th May WILLIAM HENRY to PHOEBE & JOHN

1848: A Birth – ?? ANN ELIZABETH to ANN & WILLIAM

1848: A Birth – 24th September LAVINIA ELIZABETH to JOHN & ELIZABETH

1849: A Birth – 30th May  MARY to ELLEN & SOLOMON

1849: A Birth – 30th June HARRIET ELIZABETH to ANN & WILLIAM

1849: A Birth – 4th July EDWARD to CHRISTINA & FRED

1849: A Death – 14th July ANN ELIZABETH dies inBack River age 1

1850: A Birth – 27th June EMMA LOUISA to PHOEBE & JOHN in Oatlands

1850: A Birth – September EMILY AMELIA to ELLEN & SOLOMON

1850: A Birth – 24th December JOHN THOMAS

1851: A Wedding – 18th February JOHN & HARRIET MORGAN

1851: A Birth – 9th April ARTHUR WILLIAM to MARY & JAMES

1851: A Birth – 26th June Twins: MARTHA & JOHANNA to ANN & WILLIAM

1851: A Wedding -23rd August ELLEN & SOLOMON TRIFFITT

1851: A Birth – 3rd October SARAH ANN to EDWARD & MARY

1851: A Birth – 8th November AMELIA ANN to CHRISTINA & FRED

1852: A Birth – 5th January FREDERICK JAMES to JOHN & HARRIET

1852: A Birth – 21st April MARIA AGNES to JOHN & ELIZABETH

1852: A Birth – 25th November ARTHUR JAMES to EDWARD & MARY


We’ll just cut to the chase.

In 1853 the James Triffitt/ett/it/et/eth saga finally comes to an end. The old man finally points his toes to the sky and, suffering from ‘old age and infirmity’, goes to his final rest on the second day in April, in New Norfolk and is buried in St. Matthews churchyard.

His last official reference is this lonely set of figures: 35/1853/160 – but he left behind a great deal more than that. Two wives, six or seven children and over two hundred grandchildren – and the echoes of a most remarkable life. I hope he’s chuckling in his grave as he watches this document take shape. Eighty three years on this earth and still being remembered one hundred and fifty years later. There’s even a Triffett Road in New Norfolk – he’d have liked that.

I don’t know what he looked like. A big, sandy haired boof of a man, I imagine, even tempered – a simple, good man at heart. He had a hard life – and kept living it right to the end. From the first moments of his life times were tough. Orphaned at the age of three, raised by sisters in a dank corner of Yorkshire, propelled by fate down that road to Beverly… his only mistake was to get drunk and go crazy. He only did it once. Once was enough. That single youthful act of madness was the turning point of his life – and ours. If James hadn’t nicked that rum, none of us would be here.

Which is quite a large concept to take in.


10 August – A Jubilee Festival was held in Hobart to mark the cessation of convict transportation to the colony.

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