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BY 1830 JAMES the ELDER & SOPHIE were just one child away from a finished family: Charles is four, Richard is two, Sophia is just six months old and Mary Ann but a glint in her father’s eye. She’ll be born the following year. * THOMAS & MARY had stopped procreating: their first born, FERTILE WILLIAM is nearly thirteen – a dangerous age for a Triffitt lad, Thomas just turned twelve, Mary is ten, Susan eight, Edward six, Louisa is four and John Frederick sweet six months old * JAMES Jr. & LIZZIE were still at it: Ann is fourteen and blossoming, James is eleven, John ten, SAD PHOEBE was seven with a life full of tears ahead of her,* Christiana almost five,  Martha four, Joseph two and little Henry Edward just a month old.




GOVERNMENT ORDER. No. 2. Colonial Secretary’s Office, Feb. 25, 1830.

In the Government Order of the 19th instant, the LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR announced his concern at the continued atrocities of the Aboriginal Natives, and anxiously hoping that one instance of moderation which had been manifested by these savages, might lead to others, His Excellency endeavoured to animate the Settlers to a hearty co-operation with the Government, in the adoption of measures tending, either to conciliate these People, or to expel them from the Settled Districts.

The destruction of the whole of Mr. Sherwin’s Premises in the Clyde District, and the threats and vindictive felling with which the act was perpetrated, together with several other outrages committed during the past week, demand an instant simultaneous and energetic proceeding on the part of the Settlers, who, it is to be regretted, have hitherto been to indifferent to the adoption of those obvious measures of protection which are more or less within the means of almost every individual.

The parties employed in aid of the Police will be augmented, and in order to stimulate them to increased activity, the LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR has directed, that a Reward of FIVE POUNDS shall be given for every adult Aboriginal Native, and TWO POUNDS for every Child, who shall be captured and delivered alive at any one of the Police Stations. It surely is not too much to expect, that in every District, the most respectable Inhabitants will forthwith confer together upon the measures most desirable for their common security, and that they will act up to them with vigour and perservance.

His Excellency will, within a very limited period, make a Tour through the Districts, to ascertain personally, the individual effort which is made to give full effect to the measures which he now expects to be universally adopted.

The repeated Orders which have been put forth by this Government, must convey the idea out of the Colony, that there exists, a horde of Savages in Van Diemen’s Land, whose prowess is equal to their revengeful feelings; whereas, every Settler must be conscious, that his foe consists of an inconsiderable number of a very feeble race; not possessing physical strength, and quite undistinguished by personal courage, but, who are undoubtedly daily more and more formidable from the success which has hitherto attended their unexpected and sudden attacks upon unarmed persons, and dwellings almost defenceless.

The LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR feels assured, that it is not necessary to repeat the strong injunction which the Government has invariably pressed upon the Community generally, as well as upon the parties employed more particularly, that every degree of humanity should be exercised towards the Aboriginal Natives, which is consistent with the overruling necessity of expelling them from the Settled Districts.

By His Excellency’s Command, J. BURNETT

Hobart Town Gazette, 27 February 1830

GOVERNMENT ORDER. No. 11. Colonial Secretary’s Office, Sept. 22, 1830.

1. THE Community being called upon to act en masse on the 7th Oct. next, for the purpose of capturing those hostile Tribes of the Natives which are daily committing renewed atrocities upon the Settlers; the following outline of the arrangements which the Lieutenant Governor has determined upon, is published, in order that every person may know the principle on which he is required to act, and the part which he is to take individually in this important transaction.

2. Active operations will at first be chiefly directed against the Tribes which occupy the country South of a line drawn from Water[l]oo Point East, to Lake Echo, West, including the Hobart, Richmond, New Norfolk, Clyde, and Oatlands Police Districts, — at least, within this country, the Military will be mainly employed, the capture of the Oyster Bay and Big River Tribes, as the most sanguinary, being of the greatest consequence…

10. Capt. Wentworth will also detach the Troops at Hamilton Township under Capt. Vicary, across the Clyde to occupy the Western bank of the Ouse. For this service every possible assistance will be afforded by the Parties formed from the Establishments of Messrs. Triffith, Sharland, Marzetti, Young, Dixon, Austin, Burn, Jamieson, Shone, Risely, and any other settlers in that District, together with any men of the Field Police who may be well acquainted with that part of the country.

11. A small Party of Troops under the command of Lieut. Murray will also be sent up the North bank of the Derwent, to scour the country on the West bank of the Ouse. This Detachment will be strengthened by any Parties of the Police or Volunteers that can be supplied by the Police Magistrate of New Norfolk, and from Hobart Town.


Hobart Town Gazette, 25 September 1830

The above forms just a part of the labyrinthine organization of what came to be known as ‘The Black Line’ – a completely futile exercise that resulted, famously, in the capture of two aborigines, a man and a small boy.  It’s a measure of the nature of the times that this complete waste of time was applauded by the settlers, particularly in the country areas, and won the tight-arsed Governor Arthur increased support. The toads kept jumping to his tune.



Friday 19 November 1830


Saturday 18 June 1831


Wednesday 8 June 1831

HERE’S SOMETHING FROM 1841 about 1830/1

Friday 23 April 1841




Self-interest is a powerful thing. Let’s see if it runs in the family.

In 1831, Thomas was appointed poundkeeper. Theoretically, a poundkeeper is the guy who cares for animals that are impounded by the town. They are responsible for the feed and care for the animals until they are reunited with their owner, adopted, or humanely destroyed – but in Governor Arthur’s Van Diemen’s Land the office had a whole new meaning.

This seemingly harmless occupation is a wonderful window to both the idiocy of the laws and statutes of the time and the ingenuity of the police force. Hand in glove with the constables and following in father’s footsteps I have the distinct feeling that Thomas was making a quiet buck or two, or three, or four – while all the time attending to the letter of the law.

This, while he’s sitting on 2,072 acres of land. Why on earth would you take on a lowly job like poundkeeper unless there was a very good and lucrative reason? Forgive me Thomas, if I’m wrong, but I think you’re on the take.

The police exploited any statute allocating fines to an informer, but some statutes, such as the Dog, Impounding, and Licensing Acts, were particularly lucrative and their vexatious enforcement intensely annoyed citizens. The Dog Act aimed to halt further increases in the numbers of dogs, which roamed the colony ravaging sheep and annoying town residents. Owners who did not pay a duty on all dogs, failed to describe their dogs correctly, or failed to control their dogs, could be heavily fined up to £25, with a moiety of fines going to informers.

In 1831 A Captain Clark of Bothwell claimed a constable provoked a dog to break its chain, laid information against the owner for letting his dog off the chain, and secured part of the fine. A number of landed proprietors, stockholders, and inhabitants of Bothwell petitioned for the repeal of the Dog Act because of its misuse by constables. Colonial Secretary Burnett responded by directing the Bothwell police magistrate to take “strong measures” against “improper and vexatious” proceedings.

In Hobart Town constables allegedly walked down the street, each with a bitch on a lead and a number of ropes with nooses, which they threw around the neck of any dogs that stopped to make acquaintance with the bitches. After thirty minutes, the constables had caught thirteen dogs. Their owners preferred to pay the constables £1 or £2 rather than appear in court, where they could not prove their dogs had been “seduced” by the policemen’s bitches.

Constables also enforced the provision that rewarded them with five shillings for every dog destroyed for indiscriminately killing valuable sheep and cattle dogs. Discovering that a few days elapsed between the expiry of a dog license and the recording of payment for a new one, constables charged owners for holding their dogs without a license. Some policemen, such as Constable Endger, known as “the dog seizing constable,” were renowned for their detailed knowledge of the laws benefiting informers.

The Impounding Act of 1830 also proved a great temptation for constables and others to rob under “the cloak of law.” The legislation was designed to stop cattle and sheep from wandering aimlessly in heavily populated parts of towns and country areas where they destroyed crops, were easy prey for thieves, and provided food for runaways, thus undermining convict discipline. In practice, the police sought out stock left unattended in any location as the penalty for seizing cattle was 5s. each and for sheep 2s. each.

In Launceston the police operated as follows. One on-duty policeman arranged with an off-duty colleague to drive cattle to a prearranged destination. The duty policeman reported the straying cattle to his district constable and drove them to a pound, making a tidy sum. In some areas, such as Westbury, the poundkeeper was the district constable and stock was usually impounded by his petty constables.

In 1835 one Westbury stockowner lost £50 in three weeks from the “legalized plunder” of impounding. To recover their losses, stockowners increased the price of stock sold to butchers, who in turn increased the price of meat to consumers. Neither this unfortunate consequence nor the rare conviction for illegal impounding deterred policemen from exploiting the law.

STEFAN PETROW: Policing in a penal Colony


Well Gosh – what a surprise:


Tuesday 10 July 1832


Friday 1 June 1832


To His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s land. Hamilton, May 8, 1832. Sir,

WE, the landed proprietors of the Sorell. Ouse, Macquarie and neighbouring districts, most re- spectfully beg leave to state to your Excellency, That at the time of our leaving our native land, the general impression upon our minds was that we were quitting a country suffering from the imposition of heavy taxation to essay our fortunes in a WILDERNESS which our labour and enterprize could alone render habitable, and that in Compen- sation of rending asunder all our dearest ties, and risking our persons and means in an upknown, dis- tant and savage portion of the globe ; we were to receive a GRANT. The true meaning whereof we interpret to be a FREE GIFT of land equal in extent lo the amount of capital we’severally imported.

We further beg leave to intimate to your Excel lency, that although we were fully aware of the major part of the island being in a state of nature – yet such were the overcharged statements universally in circulation of its soil, fertility and capability. that we were totally unprepared to meet the uncontrovertible FACT, that NINE-TENTHS OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY ARE UTTERLY INCAPABLE OF IMPROVEMENT. Such portion consisting chiefly of rock, scrub and inaccessible rugged mountains.

That some of us were aware of a quit rent being about to be imposed, we frankly admit – but we had strongly impressed upon us land of a description somewhat similar to that we were leaving – nay SUPERIOR in so far as a finer climate could give it a superiority, and that consequently we might not only be enabled to pay a MODERATE quit rent, but even earn a comfortable subsistence besides, and that too despite the heavy losses sus- tained by the pillage and roguery of convict ser- vants and the enormous wages paid to free labourers, much more than quadruple the highest rate given in Britain all of which circumstances should be taken into account in our favour.

What then, your Excellency, must be our dis appointment – our bitter ‘disappointment — after incurring all the heavy charges of emigration hither – after becoming bound to the soil, beyond the possibility of escape – to find that we are not only subject to a quit rent – which we conceive to be merely a nominal rent – an acknowledgment of the superiority from whioh we hold our land – bul to a severe oppressive, grinding BACK RENT – a rent we are wholly unable to pay – a rent which does not bear upon us equally, and the enforcement whereof will plunge us in difficulty, distress and ruin. Nor can we more forcibly point out the severity of this rent, than by calling your Excel- lency’s attention to the fact, that the unlocated crown lands are leased for the annual sum of 20s. per hundred acres ; whilst taking the estimated value of granted territory, much under the gene- ral average, say 5s. per acre, the annual income of 100 acres, purporting to be a FREE gift, will ex- ceed the rent derivable from that still in the pos- session of the crown in the amount of five shillings!!! 25s. per annum being the quit rent for the said 100 acres of FREE GIFT.

Your Excellency must clearly perceive how dreadfully this bears upon us. After expending our entire substance in fencing, cultivating, build- ing and otherwise improving our possessions, we are placed upon a worse footing – one more disad- vantageous than the lessee of unlocated land.

Having already fully and explicitly stated to your Excellency, that our every shilling has been expended upon the improving of our GRANTS, the alternative of redeeming the quit rents by twenty

years purchase becomes a cruel mockery.

Under such circumstances, we most humbly and earnestly entreat your Excellency to transmit these our sentiments on a subject of such vital im- portance to the Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the colonies, and that your Excellency would further be pleased to strengthen our representa- tions by such support as your Excellency may deem proper, in order that a modification of this ruinous impost may be obtained.


Government House, May 26th, 1832. gentlemen,

The Memorial which yon have this, day presented to rhe, upon ttie subject of the quit rents, imposed upón the lands which have been, granted by His Excellency in this colony shall bee for warded to the Right Honourable the Secretary of State, by the earliest opportunity for England. As thequit rent with “which it has been His Majesty’s pleasure to charge the lands which have been alienated from,the crown in the colony, is a revenue with which there is no power vested in any authority in this Colony to interfère, it would be highly gratifying to pic if it were possible to abstain altogether from offering any remark upon the merits of your mémorial ; but, as it is a question which I find, has attracted very great attention, and upon which meetings have been generally convened throughout the colony, and, as the anticipation that His Majesty’s Government will be disposed to relinquish this rent, or even to modify it, may lead to future extreme disappointment, if not in some cases, to great embarrasment; I feel it a duty-though a most painful and unpleasant one-to intimate to you, that I have no grounds whatever, to entertain the slightest expectation, that the instructions which have been conveyed to this Government, to exact the quit rents will be relaxed – at the same time. I beg you will be assuaged that all the arguments which you have brought forward, as well as those which may be adduced by any others of His Hajesty’s subjects in the colony, shall be most fully and most promptly brought under the review of His Majesty’s Government.


Which, I think, is a ‘no’.


Friday 6 July 1832 & Friday 14 September 1832


Friday 5 October 1832




Friday 23 November 1832


Friday 14 December 1832



Tuesday 5 August 1834



Friday 7 September 1832


So these boring documents mean access, ease of business, social life – an expanded horizon, more people going out, more people coming in – a road meant progress. A road meant money. A road meant the end of the world.


Friday 21 December 1832



Tuesday 25 December 1832


Friday 21 June 1833


Without assignment, there would have been no colony in Van Diemen’s Land. Its economy would have died because… there was no labor but convict labor. Hence, in Arthur’s view, the mere fact of living as a free settler in a penal colony meant that a man must accept the paramount values of penal discipline. Free settlers were as integral a part of Arthur’s machinery of punishment as policemen or government clerks. Assignment was a bargain a man struck with the government, and if he did not play by the government’s rules he lost his convict servants… It made all free settlers into jailers… The settler was expected to shut up about ‘rights’, stay at home on his farm and do exactly what he was told… George Arthur never lost sight of the fact that to control a state’s labor supply was to control its political life. So Arthur’s ‘red list’ of settlers who could not get assigned convicts was, in plan and in detail, a formidable social weapon…  ROBERT HUGHES ‘The Fatal Shore

Friday 7 June 1833


Friday 19 April 1833





Not really. Here, in the next instalment of this fifteen year war is the naming and the shaming. This is a list of the civil disodedients – an almost unique moment when the district united against the ruling class.As we can see, the ruling class was having none of it. A lot of those names look familiar – as a group some of them have been together for thirty years. There’s lot of stuff in this list – but you have to have eyes to see.


Tuesday 25 March 1834

Tuesday 27 May 1834





Launceston Examiner: Saturday 14 March 1846 [about 1834/5/6]





Click on the pic.



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