SUNDAY 24 OCTOBER DEVONPORT
It was another lovely, blue sky, sunny day.
We arrived at my aunt and uncle’s place at the arranged 10.30am. It was great to see my uncle – Dad’s brother – again. Last saw them in 1992.
We followed their car on the Bass Highway, to Hagley, where we met up with cousin S. Then we followed them to Rosevale – taking a very round-about route, it seemed.
There were about sixty people in the hall we met at. It seemed quite strange to know that most of these people are relatives I have never met – and mostly never even heard of! They were busy comparing notes and discussing book progress.
The family in Tasmania dates from the 1840’s, when three brothers and their families came as assisted immigrants, from Somerset in England. A lot of surplus agricultural workers from Somerset fetched up in Van Diemans Land. As those early ancestors bred prolifically, over five or six generations, there are now many, many descendents! Apparently, a committee has been compiling a record of family members and a book is to be launched next April. The launch function will be somewhere in the Nile/Clarendon area, where the family first settled. We will still be on the island then, so I am interested in going to that.
I ordered a copy of the book. Also bought a photo of the property “Fern Hill”, originally called “Pretty Plains” – an early family home. Cousin S had some photos and research notes, and we talked for a while about her knowledge of the family. Apparently our branch of the family will not get much coverage in the book. The man who was doing the research and collating that information, has spat the dummy because the committee decided that marriage dates after 1900 are not going to be published, because some people will be embarrassed! He is a genealogical purist, it seems, and so has withheld all his information. So S is trying to provide what she can.
There has been a recent resurgence of interest in tracing family history in Tasmania. For a very long time, because of its convict history, Tasmanians seemed reluctant to delve back into the past. I am pleased to know that this is changing, as I think I am suddenly quite interested in researching the “roots” – of both the Tasmanian sides of my family.
We returned to Devonport the way we’d come – following the others as far as the Bass Highway, and then taking our time, looking at the scenery. The drive was lovely – superb views of the Western Tiers, and all greens and blues. John said it was very “English”.
John arranged with my uncle to play bowls with him at East Devonport, on Wednesday.
We got back to the van at 5pm, having driven 200kms. That’s quite a way in Tassie!