Norman Thomas Richardson was born on 4 May 1878 in “Paddy’s Scrub,” Exton, Tasmania. He was the fifth of eleven children born to Isaac Simeon Richardson (1843-1919) and Mary Ann Walker (1849-1910). Norman’s father farmed in the Deloraine-Hagley region for many years. Norman spent most of his childhood at Paddy’s Scrub, which is most likely on Osmaston Road near the present day Deloraine Golf Course.
Nellie Gertrude Ada Ibbott was born on 4 Dec 1883 in Campania, Tasmania (registered in Richmond). She was the fourth of six children born to Edward Henry Amos Ibbott (1857-1926) and Mary Ann Margarite Goodwin (1861-1950). Nellie grew up on her father’s farm in Lower Jerusalem which is in the Midlands near Campania by the Coal River. Due to the droughts in the region, they moved in 1899 to “Lincoln Grove” in Exton. Nellie was 15 years old at this time.
Norman and Nellie would have met sometime between 1899-1900 while Nellie lived at Lincoln Grove. Norman (22) and Nellie (16) were married in Launceston on 22 Sep 1900. Norman’s brother, Clarence, also married Nellie’s sister, Myntie, in Westbury on 17 Apr 1901. The two families remained close with each other.
Norman and Nellie’s first four chlidren were born while they lived at Exton. These children were: Earle Edward born on 27 Feb 1901, Mervyn Charles “Merv” born on 21 Oct 1902, Lillian May “Lil” born on 31 Oct 1903 and Clifford Isaac born on 14 Feb 1905.
Sometime between 1906-1907, Norman, Nellie and their family relocated to Somerset. They purchased a farm property on the Cam Road (Now Murchison Highway) from T.D. Lewis. At the time, the farm was covered with blackberries and logs. These were cleared after many long hours of piling them and burning them off. The family lived in a four-room cottage on the property. Because of this, the farm was known as “Blackberry Farm.”
Norman and Nellie’s children born while they lived in Somerset, were: Arthur Henry “Art” born in 1908, Lorna Nella born in 1910, Hector “Hec” born in 1914, Leonard Alfred “Len” born in 1916, Florence Evelyn “Floss” born in 1917 and Ernest Frank “Ern” born in 1922. Unfortunately, their son, Clifford, died in 1912 after sustaining injuries from falling off of a fence. His burial location is not yet known.
On the farm, Norman had bees, milking cows and a pigeon loft as well as crops of oats and potatoes, an orchid, and a large vegetable garden, which he prided himself in. He sold vegetables to the Burnie mart as well as flowers, which his daughter, Lil, had picked to sell. Art worked as Norman’s beekeeper and in one particular year, they produced about a tonne of honey.
Norman built a larger family house on the farm in 1928. The house was a featured property in The Advocate when it was for sale in 2002.
In the 1920s, Norman purchased another farm in Henrietta. This property was known as “Egmont.” This farm was used mostly for potato crops in that day, and was maintained by his older sons. Egmont had a house that he let privately and his sons would stay in two self contained rooms on the property, as they would usually stay for several days and return to Somerset on the weekends.
In the late 1920s, Norman bought his first motor car, a 1926 Chevrolet. Previously to this, the primary mode of transportation was via horse drawn carriages. A lot of the roads were merely dirt tracks in the day and a lot of the hills in the area were much steeper than they are today. The hills along the current day Old Cam Road were notoriously known as “Bread and Butter” because off the slippery condition of the mud that was on the surface. The horses were made to rest while traversing this stretch of road and the brakes on the cart were wound tightly to prevent them from slipping back down the hill.
In July, 1929, Norman was logging at his property, Blackberry Farm. He was grubbing out a tall stump using explosives. They had succeeded in dislodging part of the root, which caused the stump to lean, so they placed a support against it. Norman had stooped to pick up something, but at this moment, the root gave way and the heavy falling weight of timber struck him on the back. Norman’s back was broken in two places as a result of the accident and he was told that he would not likely walk again. He was in the hospital for eight weeks, but he made good progress and eventually was able to walk again. He could no longer do heavy farm work after the accident, however, he maintained his vegetable garden and surplus of vegetables for his family and many more to sell at the Burnie mart.
Norman was known as being quiet and reserved. He converted to the Apostolic Church which caused some family concern due to their Methodist heritage, however, he eventually returned to the Methodist church. The old Cam Road Methodist Church building still stands to this day and is located on private property on the Murchison Highway near Hoare’s Lane.
Nellie was known as a strong and energic woman. She would carry 25 pound bags of flour from the road up the driveway to the house at the Cam Road property. She was stickler for truth and Joyce recalls her often discussing scripture with her family that they had read. She demonstrated leadership qualities and confidence not often seen in women at the time. She took it upon herself to take her daughter, Floss, down the aisle in her wedding. This was not the norm in the time as the responsible usually fell onto a brother to give the bride to the groom if the father had passed away or was not capable.
Norman (66) died on 21 Sep 1944 in Wynyard, Tasmania. His death may have been a result of complications from his back injury. He is buried at the Somerset Cemetery on Pelissier/George Street.
Nellie (82) died on 11 Sep 1966 in Somerset and was buried with her husband at the Somerset Cemetery.
The children of Norman and Nellie Richardson went on to have many descendants spanning over five-plus generations.
In 1988, John Walker and a committee of other family members who descended from Michael and Sarah Walker published the book: A goodly heritage : the growth and achievements of a Tasmanian family. which describes the family history as well as some of their descendants.
In 2009, Beverly Richardson (1935-) published the book: A family remembers : the story of Isaac and Matilda Richardson and their descendants. which includes a CD-ROM of the family tree, bibliographical references and index. This book is available to be borrowed at the LINC Library in Hobart, Tasmania.
J. Edwards, I grew up in North-West Tasmania in the 1990s and I have a passion for learning about history and how it ties to my family. Roughly half of my family is from New South Wales, and the other half is from Tasmania, which makes this all the more interesting for me. Stay tuned, as I plan on writing short biographies on all of my known Australian ancestors (Great-Grandparents and beyond).
If you are a relative to me (distant or close), I am interested in hearing from you. You can contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org