Hobart town society, 1855-1895

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Peter Böiger

March 1968 Thesis suomitted

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for the whole of it.

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HOBART TOM SOCIETY 1 8 5 5 - 1 8 9 5

T h i s i s a s t u d y o f t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s i n t h e c a p i t a l c i t y o f a c o l o n y w h i c h h a d b e e n g r a n t e d

s e l f - g o v e r n m e n t . The p e r i o d b e g a n w i t h t h e c i t y t h e

a d m i n i s t r a t i v e c e n t r e f o r a B r i t i s h p e n a l s e t t l e m e n t and e n d e d w i t h i t b e c o m i n g d o m i n a t e d by t h e i n f l u e n c e o f r i v a l l a r g e r c i t i e s , t h e r e b y l o s i n g much o f i t s i n d e p e n d e n t , i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r . The c o n s t i t u t i o n a l e v e n t s by w h i c h t h e t r a n s i t i o n was f o r m a l i z e d w e r e , a t t h e b e g i n n i n g , t h e w i t h d r a w a l o f B r i t i s h I m p e r i a l g o v e r n m e n t , a n d , a t t h e e n d , t h e F e d e r a t i o n o f t h e A u s t r a l i a n c o l o n i e s .

I t i s a s t u d y i n u r b a n h i s t o r y b e c a u s e i t i s c o n c e r n e d o n l y w i t h t h e p e o p l e who o p e r a t e d w i t h i n t h e u r b a n m i l i e u , y e t many o f t h e c i t y i n s t i t u t i o n s s e r v e d i m p o r t a n t c o l o n i a l

f u n c t i o n s s i n c e t h e u r b a n a nd c a p i t a l c i t y r o l e s we re s e l d o m c l e a r l y d i s t i n g u i s h e d by a d m i n i s t r a t o r s .

At f i r s t many p e o p l e we re o b s e s s e d b y t h e n e e d t o l e a v e b e h i n d t h e i d i o s y n c r a s i e s o f t h e p e n a l s e t t l e m e n t b u t , w i t h t h e s u c c e s s i o n o f g e n e r a t i o n s , a t t e n t i o n s w i t c h e d t o a mut ed

c o m p e t i t i o n b e t w e e n t h e p r o s p e r i n g l o w e r m i d d l e c l a s s w o r k e r s

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and the settled interests of the upper middle class elite. The growth of indigenous cultural activity accompanied the emergence of an educated and prosperous native b o m generation.

The direction of social, cultural and economic change was dominated to some extent by external events, but even more by an acute crisis in the population structure caused by the

dwindling of the immigration of both convicts and free settlers, so that there was a serious gap in the population age structure between the adults and the very young. The lack of young

adults accounted for many local deficiencies before the children of the eighteen fifties matured.

Economic changes in Hobart Town from the gold rushes till the great strikes are briefly described as also are: the city’s industrial structure; the nature of the workforce; the

movements in real wages and the distribution of income

throughout the community; the changes in birth and death rates and associated changes in the population structure; the extent of religious affiliation and the role of denominations as social institutions; the penetration of education within the community; and the functions of civic and colonial institutions affecting the quality of life in the city whilst it was a

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C O N T E N T S

Page

Summary iii

Aobreviations vii

Introduction x

I The Prospects of a Community s The Eighteen

Fifties 1

II Transference of Administrative Control s The

Role of Government 47

III Organization within the Community to

Accommodate Social Deficiency 93

IV The Role of the Churches 158

V Education j Provision for the Future 194

VI Pathways of Group Advance 243

VII Arrangements for Individual Improvement 296 VIII The Background for Social Change 356

IX An End to Independence 404

List of Appendices and Tables 438

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F ro n t end p a p er

Back end p a p er

Page

48

B etw een p a g es 355 and 356

ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS

: H o b a r t Town 1879> f ro m t h e

A u s t r a l a s i a n S k e t c h e r ( M e l b o u r n e ) 10 May 1 8 7 9 , p p . 2 4 , 2 5 . PL 8 5 0 /1 N .L . : Map, 3 s t a g e s o f g r o w t h o f t h e c i t y , I

889

s u p e r i m p o s e d u p o n 1811 a n d I

8

O

4

.

House o f A s s e m b l y J o u r n a l I

889

, P a p e r 108. ; P l a n o f t h e c i t y i n I

89

O. S u r v e y

D e p a r t m e n t , H o b a r t .

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The City of Hobart Town became the City of Hobart on 1 January 1881; the appropriate title has been used

throughout except when events under discussion overlap that date.

Where source of documents and unusual publications is not stated they are located in the Archives of the State Library of Tasmania,

Newspapers

A.F. Australian Friend

B.T.A. Britannia and Trades Advocate

C. Clipper

C.N. Church News

C.S. Catholic Standard

C.T. Colonial Times and Tasmanian

C.W. Christian Witness

D.S, Day Star

H.T.A. Hobart Town Advertiser

H.T.D.A. Hobart Town Daily Advertiser

M. Mercury

Hobarton Mercury

P.F. People's Friend

Q. Quadrilateral

S.E.M. Saturday Evening Mercury

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s . s . S o u t h e r n S t a r

T. A. T a s m a n i a n A th en ae u m

T . C . C . T a s m a n i a n C h ur c h C h r o n i c l e T . C . S . T a s m a n i a n C a t h o l i c S t a n d a r d T . I . T a s m a n i a n I n d e p e n d e n t

T . N. T a s m a n i a n News T . T . T a s m a n i a n T r i b u n e

T r i b u n e

T.W.D. T a s m a n i a n Weekly D e s p a t c h T.W.N. T a s m a n i a n Weekly News

O t h e r

A . A . A . S . A u s t r a l a s i a n A s s o c i a t i o n f o r t h e A dvancement o f S c i e n c e .

A . N . Z . A . A . S . A u s t r a l i a n a n d New Z e a l a n d A s s o c i a t i o n f o r t h e A d v a n c e m e n t o f S c i e n c e .

A.A. A s s o c i a t e o f A r t .

A.N.U. A u s t r a l i a n N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y E . C . S . N . C . E a s t C o a s t S t e a m N a v i g a t i o n Company G.W.W. George W a s h i n g t o n W a l k e r

H . S . A . N . Z . H i s t o r i c a l S t u d i e s : A u s t r a l i a a nd New Z e a l a n d H.T. H o b a r t Town.

H . T . B . S . H o b a r t Town B e n e v o l e n t S o c i e t y H.T. C. M. H o b a r t Town C i t y M i s s i o n

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H . o f A . J . H o u s e o f A s s e m b l y J o u r n a l

J . B . W . J a m e s B a c k h o u s e W a l k e r

M . L . M i t c h e l l L i b r a r y

M • L • C . M e m b e r o f t h e L e g i s l a t i v e C o u n c i l

N . L . N a t i o n a l L i b r a r y o f A u s t r a l i a

R . S . T . P . P . R o y a l S o c i e t y o f T a s m a n i a P a p e r s a n d P r o c e e d i n g s

S . L . T . S t a t e L i b r a r y o f T a s m a n i a

S t a t s , o f V . D . L . S t a t i s t i c s o f V a n D i e m e n ’ s L a n d

S t a t s , o f T . S t a t i s t i c s o f T a s m a n i a

T . H . R . A . P . P . T a s m a n i a n H i s t o r i c a l R e s e a r c h A s s o c i a t i o n P a p e r s a n d P r o c e e d i n g s

T . S . N . C . T a s m a n i a n S t e a m N a v i g a t i o n C o m p a n y

U . o f M . U n i v e r s i t y o f M e l b o u r n e

U . o f S . U n i v e r s i t y o f S y d n e y

U . o f T . U n i v e r s i t y o f T a s m a n i a

V . D . L . M . I . V a n D i e m e n ’s L a n d M e c h a n i c s ' I n s t i t u t e

W . M . C . W o r k i n g M e n ' s C l u b

W . T . A . W a l c h ' s T a s m a n i a n A l m a n a c

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This monograph is an attempt to reach a little beyond the confines of local history towards a more cogent use of the information which is becoming available to social historians from increasing knowledge of the methods of the social sciences. It is admitted that it is looser in structure, and hoped that it is at the same time wider in its concepts than the rather formal type of urban history. Certainly it is no neat study with a set of clearly labelled questions meeting with specific answers. Instead it is presented diffidently as a pilot study; a contribution to a field of historical enquiry which is

virtually untouched in Australia, and for which the criteria are still under intense debate in Europe and the United States.^

The original conceptual framework was derived from comments delivered to a Harvard conference by E.E.Lampard:

^"The American debate is represented in a publication of papers presented to a study conference at Harvard in

I96I,

0 . Handlin and John Burchard (eds.) The Historian and the City, (M.I.T. and Harvard, 1963).

That in Britain is contained within the issues of the

Urban History Newsletter, particularly No. 7

?

December

1966 and

No. 8 , June 1967»

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...social historians must begin to explore the underlying movements in community structure and organization that go mucn deeper than the

epiphenomenal patterns of politics or the ferment of ideas. An autonomous social history ought to

begin with a study of population: i is changing ^ composition and distribution in time and space.

These ideas led to a concern for investigaLion of the processes

of social change within a specific urban environment; hy

attempting to see beyond what the people were saying or doing,

towards what they were achieving through the significant

relationships which existed between their value systems and

the total historical context in which they lived.

The fields for enquiry were the demographic and social

composition of the population and the economic, ideological

and Lechnological conditions and changes. The form of

composition was the expression of the interrelationship of all

of the above within the institutional structure of the community

organization. Discussion of institutions offers particular

attractions in the study of Australian cities, for not only

does activity in civic associations, uy revelation of conscious

choice of use of time, provide insighu inoo the motivations of

citizens, but it also presents the opportunity for the analysis

of community structure at a particularly typical point.

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Late-nineteenth-century Australians were inclined to pursue

the gratification of many of their desires through formal

association, and their participations are more than adequately

documented.

But, during the progress of the study, it became obvious

that the task of the historian retains its essential

distinction within the general area of the social sciences.

The historian may never pose the questions he wishes; unlike

the sociologist his overriding limitation is the data arranged

in all its original complexity and incompleteness. A

limitation of historical study to the interpretation and

discussions of the results available from strict data could

yield only a set of conclusions less satisfying than the most

sterile sociological treatises; and even then it would be likely

to lack the tight precision, which is the virtue of much

social-scientific enquiry leading to narrow, specific

conclusions.

The alternative always open to the historian is to place

reliance upon traditional historical method, to allow informed,

and documented, opinion to clothe the topic in the artistry of

historical interpretation. The danger facing the craft of

historians, when they approach the social sciences, is the

risk that too great a precision in every part can lead to a

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the historian's greatest advantage." In what is written in this study precision is often abandoned in an attempt to catch a grain of wider significance and to place the community within its setting.

The historical context of the study, which implies its relevance beyond the limits of a narrow community description, was best expressed by Professor J. Burke:

What has happened in this island can never be repeated; the translation of the western tradition to a primeval wilderness...the

spectacle of pioneers and settlers transmitting this legacy, and themselves making an original contribution to science and the arts, is surely as inspiring as it is moving....

It is not sufficient to consider Australian social development as an isolated phenomenon. The settlement of the second

British Empire was a part of the process of change within

Britain which also produced industrialization and urbanization. Though the Australian city migrants moved 12,000 rather than

120 miles, and because many were committed to Van Diemen's Land instead of being put in the hulks or lost in London slums, they are not immediately different from their relatives and friends affected by the industrial revolution. Many tendencies from

^H.J.Dyos, ’The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century : A Review of Some Recent Writing’, Victorian Studies, March

1966,

Vol.IX, No.3, pp.225-237.

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t h e l a r g e r B r i t i s h and A t l a n t i c c i v i l i z a t i o n s r e m a i n s t r i c t l y a p p l i c a b l e t o t h e e a r l y d a y s o f A u s t r a l i a n c ommunit y d e v e l o p m e n t : t h e g r o w i n g s e n s i t i v i t y o f t h e m i d d l e c l a s s e s t o t h e i r p h y s i c a l , s o c i a l a n d c u l t u r a l e n v i r o n m e n t s ; t h e i n c r e a s e o f s o c i a l p o w e r w i t h i n t h e commun it y t h r o u g h e d u c a t i o n , p r o s p e r i t y an d

f r a n c h i s e ; t h e r e a c t i o n s t o i d e n t i c a l s o c i a l p r o g r e s s

p r o p a g a n d a ; and t h e same i n f l u e n c e o f t e c h n o l o g i c a l c h a n g e . O n l y g r a d u a l l y do d i v e r s i t i e s o f n a t i o n a l i t y a n d l o c a t i o n s e p a r a t e d i s t i n c t i v e s o c i a l c u l t u r e s i n t h e s a t e l l i t e

c o m m u n i t i e s o f B r i t i s h e x p a n s i o n a n d , b e c a u s e t h e r e a r e many c o n s t a n t s i n t h e g e o g r a p h i c a l v a r i a n t s o f t h i s p r o c e s s , i t o u g h t t o be one s u i t e d t o c o m p a r a t i v e s t u d i e s . T h a t l i t t l e c o m p a r i s o n i s made h e r e i s due p a r t l y t o t h e e x i g e n c i e s o f

l i m i t s u po n s p a c e a n d t i m e i m p o s e d by d i s s e r t a t i o n r e q u i r e m e n t s , b u t a l s o t o t h e p a u c i t y o f r e l e v a n t c o m p a r a t i v e m a t e r i a l . T h e r e

a r e v i r t u a l l y no a v a i l a b l e s t u d i e s w i t h i n A u s t r a l i a n o r New Z e a l a n d h i s t o r i c a l l i t e r a t u r e , none i n C a n a d a , a n d m o s t B r i t i s h s t u d i e s r e m a i n d i f f i c u l t t o r e l a t e t o c o l o n i a l q u e s t i o n s o f c u l t u r a l t r a n s p l a n t a t i o n . The mo st p e r t i n e n t c ommu ni t y s t u d y i s s t i l l t h e e a r l y t h e s i s on a c c u l t u r a t i o n i n B o s t o n by

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O s c a r H a n d l i n . "

A m os t v a l i d o b s t a c l e f a c i n g c o m p a r a t i v e s t u d i e s - t h a t p a r t i c u l a r p e c u l i a r i t i e s o f p a r t i c u l a r c o m m u n i t i e s i mpos e

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p a r t i c u l a r a p p r o a c h e s - i s e v e n more o f a p r o b l e m i n h i s t o r i c a l s o c i a l r e s e a r c h t h a n i n s o c i o l o g y , w h e re t h e s t u d y c a n more e a s i l y he d e s i g n e d t o be r e s t r i c t e d t o t h e common f a c t o r s . I n l o o k i n g a t p a s t c o m m u n i t i e s , a t a n y d e p t h b e y o n d t h e

c o m p a r a t i v e l y s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l o f p o p u l a t i o n n um b e r s and e c o n o m i c s t a t i s t i c s , one m u s t s t i l l f o l l o w i n t h e d i r e c t i o n t h e l o c a l i d i o s y n c r a s i e s p o i n t .

T h i s p a r t i c u l a r i z a t i o n b e g i n s t o show when t h e s t u d y o f H o b a r t Town s o c i e t y i s p l a c e d w i t h i n i t s c o n t e x t o f A u s t r a l i a n h i s t o r i c a l e n q u i r y . The f u n d a m e n t a l a x i o m T h a t A u s t r a l i a n s o c i e t y g a i n e d i t s d i s t i n c t i v e n a t u r e f r o m t h e human a c t i v i t y w i t h i n one c i t i e s , r a t h e r t h a n f r o m t h a t on t h e f a r m s an d m i n i n g camps, h a s b e e n s t a t e d b y e n o u g h h i s t o r i a n s f r o m

N . G . B u t l i n t o A. B i r c h f o r i t t o n e e d no r e p e t i t i o n . But v e r y l i t t l e h a s y e t Deen done a b o u t i t . F o r e x a m p l e t h e r e i s n e e d f o r e n q u i r i e s i n t o t h e a l i e n a t i o n a n d d e v e l o p m e n t o f u r b a n p r o p e r t y i n j u s t a s much d e t a i l a s t h e c u r r e n t c r o p o f a n a l y s e s o f t h e o p e r a t i o n o f t h e v a r i o u s r u r a l l a n d a c t s .

S uch a t t e n t i o n t o t h e g e o g r a p h y o f t h e c i t y , t o i t s m o r p h o l o g y a nd e c o l o g y , i s s c a r c e l y a t t e m p t e d h e r e . The

e m p h a s i s r e m a i n s f i r m l y u p o n t h e p e o p l e o f t h e c i t y r a t h e r t h a n u p o n i t s b r i c k s a n d m o r t a r : and f r o m t h e i r p h y s i c a l a n d s o c i a l

c

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The great themes only "become great - just as stepping stones become important - because of the elements which separate them.

Hohart Town was chosen mainly for reasons of size and position. It was the only capital city small enough for some show of comprehensive coverage, yet with sufficient security of establishment to offer regularities of continuous development. As was almost inevitable, with growing familiarity with the

community as research proceeded, particular fascinating themes began to show themselves behind the detail of incidents and statistical data. The acute problems raised by the abrupt restriction of immigration (particularly the problems of an unbalanced population age structure, and the effects of this upon economic prosperity) must occur time and again throughout colonial history, though perhaps they were most extreme in Tasmania. The major task of converting a centralized penal

community to a free-governing liberal-humanist community was an unusual event, if of basic human concern. The later theme of the increase of the opportunity for free choice in personal activity, and the reflection of the operation of this increase on community structure, is suggestive of the mechanism operating behind much Australian social development.

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an d c o u n t r y w er e a l w a y s p a r t o f t h e n a t u r e o f t h e c i t y , an d i n t e r c h a n g e o f p e o p l e was c o n t i n u o u s . B u t , w i t h o u t d e f i n i n g a r e a o r p e r s o n n e l t i g h t l y , i t was p e r f e c t l y p o s s i b l e t o d i s c u s s o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a c t i v i t i e s a nd s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w h i c h we re d e p e n d e n t u p o n t h e e x i s t e n c e o f t h e u r b a n m i l i e u .

I t became e v i d e n t t h a t t h e s t a t e o f t h i s p a r t o f A u s t r a l i a n h i s t o r i c a l r e s e a r c h i s , a s y e t , s c a r c e l y a d e q u a t e f o r a s t u d y o f s o c i a l d e v e l o p m e n t a t much d e p t h o f m e t h o d o l o g i c a l

s o p h i s t i c a t i o n ; t h e b a s i c w o rk r e m a i n s t o be f i l l e d i n . T h e r e was no o r i g i n a l i n t e n t o f d e a l i n g w i t h g e n e r a l T a s m a n i a n

h i s t o r y , i n t h e way t h a t R . M . H a r t w e l l d i d i n h i s w or k c o v e r i n g

g

an e a r l i e r p e r i o d . " But t h e w e a k n e s s o f s p e c i a l i z i n g b e f o r e s i m i l a r w o r k h ad b e e n p e r f o r m e d upon t h e w i d e r a r e a was t h a t t h e o v e r a l l p o s i t i o n h a d f r e q u e n t l y t o b e e s t a b l i s h e d b e f o r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s o f c h a n g e s i n t h e c a p i t a l c i t y h a d a n y m e a n i n g . Though s o m e t i m e s c o l o n i a l , r a t h e r t h a n c i t y , c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a r e d i s c u s s e d i t i s due t o t h e l a c k o f r e f e r a b l e s e c o n d a r y s o u r c e s r a t h e r t h a n t o a l a p s e f r o m xhe s p e c i f i c a i m s .

M o r e o v e r , many c n a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n v o l v e d b o t h c i t y and

c o l o n y . T h e r e i s no i n t e n t i o n o f p o s t u l a t i n g s p e c i a l c o n d i t i o n s f o r t h e c i t y , e x c e p t i n so f a r as i t s c ommunit y was t h e

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initiator of most major institutional developments. A visiting Canadian scholar remarked:

Between the time that Van Diemen's Land became Tasmania and when that colony became a state a way of life developed in the island on the small pastoral stations and among the professional merchant classes in Hobart and Launceston which had a flavour distinct from that on the mainland.

This work merely leaves the way of life on the small pastoral stations to others.

Though very many sides of urban living are covered, even for the smallest community comprehensiveness is impossible. The omissions which will be noticed were selected because they offered less insight into the processes under review, or

because they were covered elsewhere to greater or lesser

degree. In particular the issues rising out of the influences and activities of those institutions connected with religion and education had to be pared drastically, in order to allow some space to be left for less obvious and more widely

neglected aspects of urban community life.

All in all no more can be claimed for the work contained than that here is a portrait in some detail, of a part of the Australian population during the colonial period, with a little

analysis of the directions in which the people believed their

^K.A.MacKirdy, ’Adjustment Problems in Nation Building : Tasmania and the Canadian Maritime Provinces’, Paper read

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description of the way an Imperial gaol camp came to oe partly regressive and partly progressive city community is an attempt to see what produced a city: 'half brick, stone with a superfluity of drapers and solicitors'.'^

^W.M.Bell, Other Countries, (London, 1872) p.301 f.

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THE PROSPECTS OF A COMMUNITY : THE EIGHTEEN FIFTIES

If anyone in 1850 got around to contemplating the prospects

of the community which lived in Hobart Town - tne prospects of

its approaching the standards of benaviour and culture which

might be expected of a British community in an ideal setting

-they would have noticed several self-evident impediments.

Despite the valianx aspirations of greatness^- for the Tasmanian

capital, ix was very far from being an ideal urban milieu from

which to create a m o d e m cixy.

It was deficient, above all, in its social composition, in

the disadvantage of containing the human refuse of Britain and

Ireland, even of mainland Australia, and the very worst of it

at ohat, because There was a decided tendency for The extreme

elements to drift xo xhe city.

It was also deficient, though this was not apparent to

most contemporaries, in its demographic structure. At tne time

of the I8 5 I census nearly half of tne colony’s population were

^’The colonists know their own business best, and it is none of mine: but it appears to me that their aspirations are somewhat premature. The ground-floor of their social edifice has been

(22)

males over the age of 21 whilst their females were less than

a quarter of the whole. There were 170 males for every 100

2

females of all ages.

The situation in the city was not so extreme as in the

country but it was affected, by its function of being the social

centre for tne very peculiar rural districts. In the city

35 P © r cent of tne whole population were adult males and

25 per cent adult females. There were 138 adult males to

every 100 females and one of tue results of this was that the

replacement rate from births was not very favourable. Each

3

hundred males had only 80 children to support; but, though

this created an illusion of prosperity and productivity in

I85I) it boded ill for those days when t n a0 future generation

would have a large aging p opulation to maintain.

The prosperity of the city depended far more than was

healthy upon tne income derived from the Imperial Treasury.

Lieutenant-Governor Sir W.T.Denison and a few other people

foresaw that the cessation of commissariat payments would mean

2

Appendix No. 9»

(23)

t h a t t h e c o l o n y , a n d i t s c i t y , w ou ld ha ve t o f i n d a l t e r n a t i v e s o u r c e s o f w e a l t h , o r l o w e r l i v i n g s t a n d a r d s . ^ '

The m a i n t e n a n c e o f t h e C o m m i s s a r i a t e n s u r e d t h e p r e s e n c e o f a g r e a t d e a l o f v a l u a b l e , a n d o f t e n u n d e r e s t i m a t e d , human

5

c a p i t a l , ' The I m p e r i a l G o v e r n m e n t ’ s s t a k e i n t h e p e n a l

s e t t l e m e n t m e an t t h a t i t h a d a f i r s t i n t e r e s t i n m a i n t a i n i n g b o t h goo d g o v e r n m e n t a nd a d e q u a t e p r o f e s s i o n a l a nd c l e r i c a l s e r v i c e s t o a d m i n i s t e r t h e b a s i c e s s e n t i a l s o f a c o m m u n i t y . I n t h i s s e n s e Van D i e m e n ' s L and was a p a r t o f t h e i n t e l l e c t u a l a n d c u l t u r a l u n i t o f B r i t a i n , d r a w i n g f r o m t h a t d e v e l o p e d s o c i e t y i t s human s k i l l s . The demands o f t h e c o l o n i s t s f o r t h e c o n t r o l o f t h e i r own a f f a i r s l e d t o a w e a k e n i n g o f t h i s s i t u a t i o n , b u t one w h i c h was n o t v i t a l so l o n g a s t h e B r i t i s h G o v e r n m e n t h a d u l t i m a t e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r minimum s t a n d a r d s .

But i t i s t r u e t h a t t h e g e o g r a p h i c a l l i m i t a t i o n o f t h e

h i n t e r l a n d was n o t r e a l i z e d e v e n by 1 8 50 . The D e p u t y S u r v e y o r G e n e r a l r e p o r t e d t h a t t o t h e w e s t o f H o b a r t Town ’ one m i l l i o n a c r e s o f l a n d , i s f i t f o r a l m o s t i m m e d i a t e o c c u p a t i o n o f f l o c k s : a n d a t t h e p r e s e n t moment f l o c k o w n e r s f r o m v a r i o u s p a r t s o f t h e i s l a n d a r e v i s i t i n g t h e c o u n t r y p r e p a r a t o r y t o a p p l y i n g f o r l e a s e s . The t r a c t c o n t a i n s a f u l l p r o p o r t i o n o f f e r t i l e c o u n t r y f i t f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l p u r p o s e s , a n d n e v e r f a i l i n g

r i v e r s ; . . . ' - l e t t e r t o S u r v e y o r - G e n e r a l , 22 March 1 8 50 , q u o t e d by H. M e l v i l l e , A u s t r a l i a a n d P r i s o n D i s c i p l i n e , ( L o n d o n , 1851) P . 3 9 1 .

T h e r e i s d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f c o m m i s s a r i a t income i n : J . W e s t , H i s t o r y o f T a s m a n i a , V o l . 2 ( L a u n c e s . 1 8 5 2 ) p p . 3 2 6 - 3 3 0 . H. M e l v i l l e , o p . c i t . , p . 1 3 5 »

K. D a l l a s , ' T r a n s p o r t a t i o n a n d C o l o n i a l I n c o m e ’ , H . S . A . N . Z . , V o l . I I I ,

1944

-

49

, p . 3 0 8 .

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When the Imperial officers went away after 1856 the colony had

to depend upon its own stock of administrative talent.

Many events of influence took place during the eighteen

fifties. The last convicts arrived during 1853« The first

7

independent parliament met in I856. Municipal government took

g

over local control in two stages, at 1853 and 1857* Within a

very few years the community was left to its own resources.

John West, the intelligent Congregational minister, editor

and author, whose agitation helped to bring about the

constitutional changes, could see that the task of building an

independent society was not to be simple:

To clear away the refuse of a long existing social state, and to build anew, was a formidable

undertaking, however certain of reward.

With his enthusiasm even he underestimated the extent of the

task because he did not completely comprehend the important

structural deficiencies. Nor did he know that, from the year

in which he wrote, the effects of the discovery of gold in the

neighbouring colony of Victoria would so shock the island

community that all the more permanent trends would be concealed

for a decade by population movements and sudden prosperity.

g

See Appendix No.2.

7

W.A.Townsley, The Struggle for Self Government in Tasmania 1842~1856, (Hobart, 1951).

g

M.Roe, 'The Establishment of Local Self-Government in Hobart and Launceston 1845-1858', T.H.R.A.P.P., Vol.l4> No.l, December

1966, pp.21-45»

9

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It is clear that the spectacular changes in the Tasmanian

economy and demography produced hy the gold rushes served only

to delay, magnify or distort more important long-term conditions.

These were to determine much of the direction of development of

the island and the city long after the short-term effects of

gold had passed.

Economic Changes

The ending of transportation caused the dwindling away of

the subsidy from Imperial funds (£309,138 in 1853)1^> which, by

financing public works and social welfare, had enabled the

community to develop without knowing what it meant to pay for

its own survival, just as it had never known how to plan its

social organization as the Imperial authorities had done that

too. The old American cry of the colonists: 'No taxation

without representation’, ^ was an understatement; not only were

they not taxed, they had, since 1803, been subsidized by British

taxpayers. This was the reason for the comparatively advanced

state of maturity of the city within less than

50

years of the

occupation of its site.

The ending of the commissariat market was a blow to

producers who had been spoiled by finding its tendering system

an easy target, despite the attempts to set convicts to food

^ J . Fenton, History of Tasmania, (Hobart, I

884

) p*252.

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growing. When Van Diemonian produce was sent to the mainland

colonies and New Zealand it quickly acquired a had reputation.^

Loads of potatoes were sold complete with earth; flour with

whiting; timber with unseasoned wood. The quick returns and

sharp practices had been learned during a long experience of

trading with an official buyer whose servants did not care

unduly about quality and value.

It was no wonder that Henry Melville could write of his

contemporaries:

The colonists generally do not complain of the lavish waste of British money in the support of convictism; on the contrary.... the more money, say they, that is distributed in the colony, the better it must be for trade; and the more expended, whether wasted or otherwise, matters not, so much more advantageous must it be for the money-making shopkeepers.

Next to the income from the Treasury the most distinctive

source of wealth had come into the port because of its oceanic

position. Whaling had been an exciting and lucrative trade,

for the port was very well placed for its people to build,

repair, supply and man the ships; to make the casks of local

blackwood acacia, and to tranship the whale oil for Europe:

I can remember the time when fully 30 whalers were registered there. There used to be roaring times along the wharves when a number of these came into port about Christmas time. Like returned diggers who had been fortunate, they spent their money freely,

^J.E.Calder, Tasmanian Industries, (H.T.1869) p*ll* 13

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and the industry undoubtedly gave great impetus to trade. In those days Hobart was the New Bedford of the Southern Seas...whaling was a calling for which the young Tasmanians were well fitted...and the result was the existence for many years in Southern Tasmania of as brave and hardy a race of mariners as

ever went to sea. 14

In the early days of bay whaling, an industry which was ending

by

1850

, the many shore establishments around the coastline

had been outports of Hobart Town and had provided much coming

15

and going of small ships. The whalers had set the vigour of

cosmopolitanism upon the port, but, as a hope for the future,

l6

the prospects of whaling were disappointing.

Though most California miners came from the Atlantic ports

17

and sailed by way of Cape Horn into the Pacific, the nearest

provisioning points lay on the East coast of Australia.

Sailing ships could strike out from the south of Tasmania in

18

the latitude of dependable winds. In 1849 seventeen vessels

(with a total of 3*265 tons) were dispatched from Hobart and

19

Launceston ' carrying speculative cargoes for California; in

^E.W.O'Sullivan, Mercury Supplement, 3 February I

89

O. 18

yCalder, op.cit., pp.68-71* Appendix - ’Whaling - Answer to Questions • .

lbM., 29 May 1872.

^W.P.Morrell, The Gold Rushes, (London, 1940) p.

86

. l3

C. Bateson, Gold Fleet for California : Forty-Niners from Australia and New Zealand, (Sydney, 1963) pp.39“40.

19

R.M.Hartwell, Economic Development of Van Diemen’s Land,

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20

1850 no less than 50 vessels left for North America. This

21

trading activity, togetner with an improvement in wool prices,

made living in Hobart Town at mid-century easier than it had

been for a decade. The depression of the early forties had

shaken confidence in the colonial economy, but even before the

mainland gold rush that confidence had built up again. These

years were to become the last of the legendary good times, with

22 plentiful servants, busy public works and gay military life.

Gold temporarily transformed trading patterns in the port

of HoDart Town. The expanding Victorian population needed

copious supplies and could pay readily for them. Tasmanian

exports more than doubled in value within 12 months. Besides

the wool crop little else was sent to other markets during these

intense years. There was a drop in the tunnage of whale oil

23 collected because many men from the crews left for the diggings,

and the whale ships carried cargo instead. Melbourne required

food: potatoes, fruit, Deer. It needed hardware: Hobart Town's

own candles, soap, wagons and pottery.' ^ Firewood was delivered

Of)

Stats, of V.D.L. 1844-1853, Table 19. 21

Fenton, op.cit., p.201. Fenton claims that the San Francisco trade was not profitable.

2 2

C. Du Cane, Tasmania Past and Present, (Colchester, 1877) P«15» 21

Calder, op.cit., p.70.

(29)

a c r o s s B a s s S t r a i t by t h e s m a l l s h i p s w h i c h h a d s u p p l i e d Hobar b Town. Sawn t i m b e r f o r c o n s t r u c t i o n w or k ( £ 8 9 , 0 0 0 w o r t h i n 1852 a n d £ 4 4 3 , 0 0 0 w o r t h a y e a r l a t e r ) J was c a r r i e d a c r o s s by an y s m a l l k e t c h w h i c h w o u ld s t a y a f l o a t . Whole h o u s e s we re e v e n

2 6

s h i p p e d , s i x on one v e s s e l i n 1 8 5 3 . A l u c r a t i v e t r a d e i n t h e p o r t a r e a o f H o o a r t Town was t h e h a n d l i n g o f goods i n

t r a n s h i p m e n t f o r V i c t o r i a , V a l u e o f b u t t e r an d c h e e s e i m p o r t s , f o r e x a m p l e , t r i p l e d b et w e e n I852 and 1853 b u t s o d i d e x p o r t s ;

27

t n e i m p o r t s b a r e l y t o u c h e d t h e w h a r f h o u s e s b e f o r e b e i n g d i s p a t c h e d t o M e l b o u r n e a t a p r o f i t .

The g ood s e l l i n g y e a r s o f ohe m i d - e i g h t e e n - f i f u i e s

c o n t i n u e d i n e x a g g e r a t e d f o r m t h e p r e v i o u s p o r t a c t i v i t y so t h a t i n s t e a d o f i t s e n d i n g b e i n g g r a d u a l i t came a s so mucn more o f a s h o c k . F o r t n e g o l d i nc ome was m e r e l y r e f l e c t e d g l o r y . As M e l b o u r n e ' s p o r t f a c i l i t i e s a n d f i n a n c i a l h o u s e s d e v e l o p e d t o cop e w i t h ohe f l o w o f s p e c i e , l e s s p e r c o l a t e d bhr ough t o t n e f r i n g e p o r t s."'0 1 4 5 ,4 2 0 o u n c e s o f g o l d d u s t w e r e e x p o r t e d f r o m

2 T a s m a n i a i n 1 85 2 ; a y e a r l a t e r t h e amount was o n l y 59>054 o u n c e s . As t h e a l l u v i a l g o l d g o t s c a r c e r d i g g e r s r e t u r n e d i n d e b t

25 T a b l e N o . 10, S t a t s . o f V . D . L . 1 8 4 4 - 1 8 5 3 . 2 6

H i s t o r y o f t h e D e r w e n t a n d Ta ma r A s s u r a n c e G o . , L t d . , 1 8 3 8 - 1 9 3 8 , ( H o o a r t , 1 9 3 8 ) .

~ ^ S t a t s . o f V , D . L . I8 4 4- 1 8 5 3 .

pQ

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r a t h e r t h a n w i t h h e a v y p o c k e t s . The n um b e r o f j o u r n e y s made b e t w e e n T a s m a n i a a nd o t h e r p o r t s d r o p p e d s h a r p l y f r om 1 8 5 6. ^ M a i n l a n d c o n d i t i o n s s t o p p e d b e i n g so a t t r a c t i v e t o s p e c u l a t o r s

f r o m T a s m a n i a : ’ From 1857 i n New S o u t h Wales a n d V i c t o r i a t h e r e was e x t e n s i v e u n e m p l o y m e n t w h i c h p r o b a b l y r e a c h e d a p e a k i n

i

1 8 6 6 , s o d i g g e r s came home a nd l e s s p e o p l e s e t o u t t o t r y t h e i r l u c k on t h e m a i n l a n d .

Wi t h t h e s l a c k e n i n g o f t h e V i c t o r i a n e x p a n s i o n t n e 32

movement o f p e o p l e t o s e t t l e on t h e i s l a n d d e c l i n e d t o one q u a r t e r o f t h e p r e v i o u s r a t e a n d t h e c i t y l o s t t n e b e n e f i t o f

33 t h e i r s a v i n g s w h i c h h a d s u p p l i e d an i m p o r x a n x s o u r c e o f c a p i t a l . Y e t t h e g r e a t e s t d e c l i n e i n i nc ome was e x p e r i e n c e d i n p r o f i t s f r o m t r a d i n g ; n o t o n l y d i d t n e e x c e p t i o n a l t e m p o r a r y m a r k e t s o f t h e m i d - e i g h t e e n - f i f t i e s c l o s e , b u t r e m a i n i n g t r a d i t i o n a l m a r k e t s i n uhe n e i g h b o u r i n g c o l o n i e s a l s o s u f f e r e d . L o c a l m a i n l a n d p r o d u c e r s a n d i m p o r t e r s , who h a d become e s t a b l i s h e d d u r i n g t h e boom y e a r s , c o u l d more a d e q u a t e l y s a t i s f y t h e s l a c k e n i n g demand t h a n c o u l d t h e m e r c h a n t s o f o u t l y i n g p o r t s s u c h a s H o b a r t Town.

^ S t a t i s t i c s p u b l i s h e d a n n u a l l y i n H . o f A . J .

^ R . Go 1 l a n , R a d i c a l a n d W o r k i n g G l a s s P o l i t i c s , ( M e l b .1 9 6 0) p .7 6. N . G . B u t l i n , ' T h e S ha pe o f t h e A u s t r a l i a n Economy, 1 8 6 1 - 1 9 0 0 ' , Ec on o mi c R e c o r d , V o l . 3 4 * 1958* p . l l .

32

F . M a c k i e , J o u r n a l , p . 3 2 1 . A r c h i v e s , U. o f T.

(31)

The v a l u e o f e x p o r t s s t a r t e d oo d e c r e a s e a n d Toy 1859 f e l l below o ne m i l l i o n p o u n d s f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e s i n c e 1 8 5 1 . * * 3^ T i m b e r e x p o r t s wer e q u a r t e r e d i n v a l u e , g r a i n e x p o r t s h a l v e d ;

35 o n l y t h e f r u i t and wool s a l e s r e t a i n e d t h e i r f o r m e r w o r t h . The v a l u e o f i m p o r t s , w h i c h h a d been a l m o s t d o u b l e t h a t o f e x p o r x s i n t h e p e a k y e a r o f 1 8 5 4 , g r a d u a l l y f e l l a s c o n s u m p x i o n f o l l o w e d i n c o m e i n x o d e c l i n e . The h e a v y dehx w h i c h r e m a i n e d o w i n g on i m p o r x s c o u l d no l o n g e r be o f f s e t by t h e c o m m i s s a r i a t income a s i t h a d been f o r many y e a r s , a n d much o f xne c o l o n y ' s c a p i t a l c r e d i t was u s e d up i n s e t t l i n g t h e a c c o u n t s f o r t h e w i l d b u y i n g o f t h e m i d - f i f t i e s . Co in on d e p o s i t i n l o c a l

37 ba nk s f e l l f r o m a l m o s t a m i l l i o n p o u n d s t o bel ow £ 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 .

The d e c a d e e n d e d w i t h t h e economy much a s i t h a d been a t t h e b e g i n n i n g , e x c e p u t h a t t h e r e was a l i t t l e c a p i t a l

38

a p p r e c i a t i o n l e f u o v e r . ' W h a l i n g s h i p s w er e e q u i p p e d o n c e more oo p u r s u e uhe p e l a g i c s p e r m w h a l e s , l e s s p r o f i t a b l y t h a n

b e f o r e ; t h e w o o l income c o n t i n u e d q u i t e s t e a d i l y a n d b u s i n e s s b e g an oo r u n a t t he u n s p e c t a c u l a r l e v e l w h i c h b e f i t t e d t h e p o r t o f a s m a l l p r i m a r y p r o d u c i n g c o m m u n i t y .

^ S t a t i s t i c a l Summary 1 816 - 1 9 0 1 , S t a t s , o f T . 1 9 0 1 . 35I b i d .

3° I b i d . 37I b i d .

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Effects of the Gold Income

39

The depression in spirit; which cnaracterized the autitudes

of many Hobart Town people during the eighteen sixties can only

be understood when the peculiar conditions of the decade before

are considered. The heady wine of the attainment of

self-government was accentuated by the sudden riches accruing

from Victorian gold. This boom was accompanied by inflation

conditions. Coin in the city more than doubled, land revenue

doubled,^ and prices and wages followed suit:

The streets of Hobart and Launceston...began to swarm with lucky diggers and numerous visitors, the former Lent upon enjoying the fruits of their success with their friends, the latter to take up their abode more or less permanently, attracted by aur superior climate, and our more quiet, better protected towns. The demand for dwellings at once exceeded the supply, and soon there was not a house to be had without a scramble, rents rising three ^ hundred or four hundred per cent.

There was such an inflow of wealth from profits, from the

savings brought in by the numerous immigrants from Victoria,

from remittances of successful gold diggers, and from

39

Du Cane, op.cit., p.19. : ‘...it was almost looked upon as a bad compliment to their Colony by many Tasmanians if you did not condole with them on its hopeless depression; and inevitably approaching ruin'.

^°Stats. of V.D.L. 1844-1853.

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c o m m i s s a r i a t f u n d s , t h a t t h e r e was a n a c t u a l e m b a r r a s s m e n t o f r i c h e s . J ame s B o n w i c k ' s H o b a r t i a n , i n t h e n o v e l T a s m a n i a n L i l y , d e s c r i b e d i t by s a y i n g : 'We w e r e , i n s h o r t , d i s g u s t i n g l y r i c h' ! 2 T a l e s w e r e common o f t h e w i l d b e h a v i o u r o f s u c c e s s f u l d i g g e r s i n H o b a r t Town s t r e e t s , a nd t h e r e i s some d i r e c t e v i d e n c e o f t h e e f f e c t o f t h e s p e n d i n g u p o n p r o f i t l e v e l s .

The g r o s s t u r n o v e r o f t h e b i g f l o u r m i l l b e l o n g i n g t o J o h n W a l k e r was a b o u t £ 1 8 , 0 0 0 u n t i l 1 8 5 2 , when i t r o s e t o £ 2 5 , 0 0 0 / ^ The a t t a c h e d b r e w e r y h a d p e a k s a l e s o f £ 6 8 , 0 0 0 i n

1854 b u t , a s i n f l a t i o n a nd b u s i n e s s p r o f i t s r e c e d e d , t h e y f e l l t o £5 6 , 0 0 0 a n d t h e n t o £4 8 , 0 0 0 i n 1 8 5 6, w h i l s t a l l t h e t i m e t h e r e t a i l p r i c e o f b e e r r e m a i n e d t h e same a t two s h i l l i n g s p e r q u a r t. 44 I n 1853 t h e f u n d s h e l d i n l o c a l b a n k s w e r e t h e h i g h e s t

45

f o r t h e e n t i r e c e n t u r y . F r e d e r i c k M a c k i e , a f t e r m e n t i o n i n g i n h i s j o u r n a l t h a t huge p r o f i t s w er e b e i n g made i n w h o l e s a l e a n d r e t a i l b u s i n e s s e s , n o t e s t h a t t h e d i r e c t o r s o f G e o r ge W a s h i n g t o n W a l k e r ' s S a v i n g s Bank we re ' o b l i g e d t o l i m i t t h e

d e p o s i t s . . . t h e y h a v e r e f u s e d a s much a s £2 5 , 0 0 0 o w i n g t o t h e

46

d i f f i c u l t y o f i n v e s t i n g i t ' .

42J . B o n w i c k , T a s m a n i a n L i l y , ( L o n d o n , 1 8 7 3 ) P*55* T . A . , V o l . l , 1 8 5 3 , p p . 1 0 , 1 1 .

^ W a l k e r ' s B a n k i n g Book, NP 3 7 / 2 2 . 4 4W a l k e r ' s B r e w e r y L e d g e r , NP 37/ 44 » 4^S t a t s . o f V . D . L . 1 8 4 4 - 1 8 5 3 .

(34)

With the euphoria of self-government becoming strong, there

was much laying of groundwork in the formation of new companies

for the expected continuance of prosperity. There had been few

companies started in Hobart Town since the eighteen thirties,

Dut the flourish of the eighteen fifties included the starting

of several capital hungry ventures, such as the Permanent

Building and Investment Associationf^and the local Gas Company

Shipping companies were started and otners enlarged their

fleets; the most notable - the Tasmanian Steam Navigation

Company, was alone to prove successful.

The company flotations were locally based and locally

financed, the shares being subscribed for by a narrow group of

people whose names reappear on the lists of shareholders and

directors of all companies. G.W.Walker noted that some of his

neighbours, William Coote, Alexander McNaughton and others,

bought a 500 'to*1 steam vessel to ply between Melbourne and

Hobart - a lucrative trade at that, time.

Expansion and speculation made the small community agog

with excitement. Walker felt That the stimulus was not

completely from local entrepreneurs, writing that:

^ C.T., 20 January 1857«

H.M.Hull, The Royal Kalendar and Guide to Tasmania, (H.T.I

858

)

P.52.

^ Deed of Co-Partnership of the Ho barb Town Gas Company,

30 August 1854*

(35)

. . . s o many o f t h e V i c ü o r i a [ n ] c a p i t a l i s t s f i n d t h e i r way o v e r h e r e a n d , l i k i n g one p l a c e and c l i m a t e , oecome p e r m a n e n t r e s i d e n t s . I t i s t h i s i n some m e a s u r e w h i c h i s g i v i n g s u c h an i m p u l s e g e n e r a l l y t o t r a d e a n d commer ce.

The n ewcome rs may h a v e h e l p e d t o p r o m o t e c h a n g e , b u t t h e names o f s h a r e h o l d e r s a n d o f f i c e r s i n t h e c i t y ' s v a r i o u s s m a l l

c o m p a n i e s s u g g e s t a r e m a r k a b l e c o n t i n u i t y . W i l l i a m C r o s b y a n d Company was f o u n d e d i n 1853 by a l o n g - e s t a b l i s h e d

s h i p o w n i n g c a p t a i n f rom t he H o b a r t Town to London r u n . Hi s 50

company o p e n e d a b r a n c h i n M e l b o u r n e d u r i n g 1859' t o be more a b l e t o c o m pe t e w i t h m a i n l a n d a g e n c i e s . The f i r m owned two w h a l e r s a n d a t e a c l i p p e r , s h i p p e d woo l a n d w h a l e o i l t o E n g l a n d

51 a nd b r o u g h t b a c k s u g a r , w i n e s , s p i r i t s a n d g e n e r a l c a r g o .

The m a i n s u b s c r i b e r s t o a p r o p o s e d S o r e l l S tea m N a v i g a t i o n 52

Company w e r e A s k i n M o r r i s o n , who was a l o c a l b u s i n e s s m a n and a L e g i s l a t i v e C o u n c i l l o r , A l d e r m a n O ' R e i l l y , a nd F. L i p s c o m b e , a s m a l l h o l d e r , s e e d m e r c h a n t a n d m i n o r e n t r e p r e n e u r o f S andy Bay. T h e s e t h r e e w e r e a l l , a t t h e same t i m e , b u s y g e t t i n g i n v o l v e d i n v a r i o u s o t h e r c i t y c o m p a n i e s . L i p s c o m b e , f o r e x a m p l e , was

53 a l s o a s h a r e h o l d e r i n t h e E a s t C o a s t S te a m N a v i g a t i o n Company

54 a n d t h e T a s m a n i a n S te a m N a v i g a t i o n Company.

49L e t t e r G.W.W. t o J . B . W . , 6 March 1 853, W a l k e r A ( i ) 2 . ^ The C y c l o p e d i a o f T a s m a n i a , V o l . l , ( H o b a r t , 19 00 ) p .

7 6

. ^ L . Norman, P i o n e e r S h i p p i n g , ( H o b a r t , 1 9 3 8 ) p . 1 0 1 . 52

^ " T a s m a n i a n T r a d e C i r c u l a r , 2 4 November 1854» ^ 3H . T . D . A . , 19 J u n e

1857

.

(36)

The lists of shareholders of the latter company reveal the

familar surnames of the local business coterie. They included

Joseph and Peter Facy, William Guesdon (an auctioneer) Captain

James Fisher, Richard Clehurne (the local soap maker) William

Rout, Alexander Kissock, Charles Basstian, A.G.Webster, John

Beaumont, Captain John Clinch, Olaf Hedberg (an oil merchant)

and T.D.Chapman. The same names occur in the lists of

subscribers to the Bank of Van Diemen’s Land, and the families

retained possession of their shares through till the closing

56

of the Bank in 1891. The Gas Company reports contain many of

the same names, together with those of George Washington Walker,

Henry Hopkins, George Whitcombe, Henry Hins by, Dr E.S.P.Bedford

and C.M.Maxwell. There is little doubt tnat the capital which

57 was drawn upon during the eighteen fifties was largely local

and was not borrowed from outside. Once investment was made

there was little trafficking in stock for many years.

^Ibid.

-^Annual Register and list of Members 1883, Bank of V.D.L. McGregor papers II (13) Archives, U. of T.

Share Register, Bank of V.D.L., NP 37/51. 57

(37)

The solvency was linked with the whole concept of a new

start. Transportation was ending, self-government was promised

and municipal improvement was under way. The new companies

frequently included the word Tasmanian in their title, and there

was a great sense of arriving. For a year or two Hobart Town

enjoyed mucn of tne zest of Melbourne, without the canvas

shanty towns or the confusion, crowding and squalor which were

part of rapid development.

From the beginning the city’s commercial area, around

Liverpool, Murray and Elizabeth Streets, had consisted of poorly

constructed buildings with occasional better blocks interspersed.

Double storey shops were separated by open fronted shanties,

little more than stalls, in which butchers and greengrocers

s8

laid out their goods. The better shops belonged to the drapers

and clothiers, but even these, like the snacks, doubled as

dwelling houses and it was almost unknown for shop owners and

59 assistants to live away from the premises.'

The central uusiness district was clustered about the creek

banks and was susceptible to flood and fire; there were two of

each calamity during the fifties so that much of the area was

cleared on each of four separate occasions.1^ The rebuilding,

53

59

J.B.W.,

Ibid.

Reminiscences, Walker A II 5(i)*

’A Review of Recent Calamities in Hobart Town and Their Causes’, T.A., Wo. 6, March 1854» pp.l94> 195«

(38)

in a period of increased profit, provided an opportunity for

retail merchants xo move their residences. Many small villas

were started in North Hobart, up Davey Street and in Hampden

Road. George Washington Walker was aole xo move his Savings

Bank oux of his draper's shop and then plan to take his family

away from tne bank house completely to a new home in Battery

Point. Meanwhile work was started on the grand Savings Bank

61

Building in Murray Street.

Government spending was stimulated by the concurrence of

wealth with administrative cnange. The new Government House

was commissioned go a design which made iu the largest, most

pretentious, and most expensive vice-regal palace in xhe

colonies." Plans were laid for municipal buildings,^ and

some old premises were pulled down go allow the construction

of professional chambers and offices, whilst xhe Royal Society,

no longer content wixh erudite but unimpressively housed

meetings, contracxed for a large museum.^ Construction of

1

J.B.W., Reminiscences, Walker A II 5(i)» z'n

’ A. Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, (Melb.1874) p.368.

C •)

JA. C. Walker, ' Henry Hunter and His Work', Report of xhe Nineteenxh Meexing of xhe A.A.A.S., (Hobarx, 1929) P«421. 'Tasmanian Churcn Architecture', T.A., No. 1, October 1853?

p p .17-21.

(39)

e x t e n s i o n s t o t h e w h a r v e s was c a r r i e d o u t t h r o u g h a l l t h e

65

b u s i e s t p o r t a c t i v i t y o f t n e c e n t u r y a n d was c o m p l e t e d j u s c when t h e e x t r a s p a c e was h a r d l y n e e d e d .

I n d u s t r i a l Change

The u n s e t t l e d c o n d i t i o n s w e r e r e f l e c t e d i n much c h o p p i n g a n d c h a n g i n g o f t h e s m a l l w o r k s h o p s a n d b u s i n e s s e s . The t o t a l n u m b e r o f i n d u s t r i a l e s t a b l i s h m e n t s i n t h e c i t y i n c r e a s e d as

66

t h e community grew i n c o m p l e x i t y . T h e r e w er e 775 w o r k s h o p s a n d r e t a i l s h o p s i n 1849 > 8 60 i n 18^7 a n d 940 i n 1 8 6 1 .

B l a c k s m i t h s , i r o n m o n g e r s a n d b o o t m a k e r s s eeme d t o De t h e t r a d e s m os t a f f e c t e d by t h e d i g g i n g s . S m i t h i e s h a l v e d i n n u m b e r o v e r

t h e p e r i o d a n d s o d i d s h o e - m a k i n g s h o p s . T h e r e w e r e c o n s i d e r a b l e c h a n g e s i n o t h e r t r a d e s ; t h e n um be r o f c o o p e r s d e c l i n e d w i t h w h a l i n g , w h i l s t b u i l d e r s w e r e k e p t b u s y by t h e demand f o r new h o u s e s . T w ic e a s many w h e e l w r i g h t ' s s h o p s l o o k e d a f t e r t n e n e w - r i c h c a r r i a g e - f o l k , a s t h e numbe r o f c o a c h b u i l d i n g

e s t a b l i s h m e n t s r o s e D y one q u a r t e r . From V i c t o r i a came a g r e a t demand f o r wagons a n d raucn o f t h i s was s a t i s f i e d f r o m H o b a r t Town w h e r e t h e r e w e r e c r a f t s m e n who w e r e u s e d t o l o c a l t i m b e r s .

6 5

See R . J . S o l o m o n , ' F o u r S t a g e s i n P o r t E v o l u t i o n : The Case o f H o b a r t ' , i n T i j d s c h r i f t V o o r E c o n . e n S o c . G e o g r a f i e , J u n i / J u l i 1 9 6 3? p . 1 6 3 . a nd

A. R o w n t r e e , ' E a r l y Gr owt h o f t h e P o r t o f H o b a r t T o w n ' , T . H . R . A . P . P . , V o l . 3 , 195 4, p p • 1 0 U - 1 0 1 .

66

(40)

There was evidence of The investment; of capital in a few manufacTuring workshops. Eleven of uhe ciby's windmills turned

uo The use of steam and waTer power. Six glue makers’ and two soap boilers' establishmenus were equipped wibh vats, boilers and furnaces, whilst uhe number of sawmills increased five fold. By i860 only Tnese sawmills, flourmills, tallow chandlers, soap boilers, and hide working establishments were showing promise of long-Term development, but none of these trades had any advantages whicn could offset the economies of mainland city establishments. The situation, brought about by the restrictive tariffs introduced during the eighteen sixties in Victoria, was only an intensification of previous trends.

Local manufacturing had always been on a rather primitive level. With few exceptions, it was devoted to the closing of gaps in the supply of local consumer demand rather than to any long-sighted development of natural resources or talents. 'There were in manufactures no opportunities for capitalistic accumulation, and the artisan was able to construct as well as

68

operate most of the necessary equipment'.

The changes after 1850 in the city's industrial structure were, to a large extent, even further away from basic secondary

6 7

See discussion commodity by commodity in Calder, op.cit., also a less critical series of articles on 'Tasmanian Industries' in M . , October 1872.

68

(41)

production and towards service and tertiary industry

establishments. The quick money of the successful diggers was

invested in small, rather frivolous workshops; the number of

pastrycook’s shops rose by seven, tobacconist’s by four and

general dealers (a good line for the poorly skilled) doubled.

Effects upon Living Standards

An inflow of unproductive persons, and an egress of working

mechanics, was described by Governor Sir William Denison in a

booster-pamphlet which was published on several occasions

during the gold disturbances in an attempt to catch emigrant

business from Victoria. He said that the city was prospering

because of the settlement there ofs

...persons who have obtained gold in Australia, or acquired wealth by the rise in the value of property at Victoria, or by other means, with the view of enjoying the climate and quiet of Van Diemen’s Land. Trade has thus been increased at Hobart Town and Launceston, large profits obtained, and a very great demand created for labour, and for houses to

accommodate the increasing population; and yet

neither houses can be built, nor materials prepared, not only on account of the dearness of labour, but because the number of mechanics in the Colony is altogether insignificant with reference to the work to be dones and thus a large amount of capital is lying idle for want of means of investment, which would under more favourable circumstances be ^

expended in building.

The effect upon living conditions was to push prices and

wages up until persons on fixed incomes were in a bad position,

69

(42)

but wage earners were rather better off than They had been. The

editor of the Tasmanian Athenaeum, one of the luxury periodicals

published whilst there was idle money in Hobart Town, claimed

that price rises varied from 25 per cent to 300 per cent but

that, though commodities were nominally dearer, they were

indeed relatively cheaper than before 1852. The rise was more

than covered oy:

...higher rates of labour, by higher prices of all the great staples of commerce, and by a higher cost of living generally;...

Yet many citizens found the price fluctuations quite

alarming. 'Everything in daily consumption is extravagently

high and farming produce is almost at famine prices...wages

are generally up considerably or the middle and lower classes

71 could not exist', wrote G.W.Walker to his son.

One of the most susceptible groups were the fixed income

workers such as the public servants. Teachers and professional

men raised their fees, retailers their prices, artisans their

daily rates, out government clerks on fixed incomes were left

well behind, until they began to resign, not only to run after

gold, but also to take up alternative work at home. In 1853 a

gap-stopping regulation granted them a temporary surcharge:

^°T.A., No. 5 , February 1854? pp.168-171«

Figure

TABLE 1AGES OF PERSONS CONVICTED

TABLE 1AGES

OF PERSONS CONVICTED p.481

References

Updating...

Related subjects : Hobart Town 1895-