John Ibbett (1765-1841) and Hannah Pirkis (Immigrants to Van Dieman’s Land)

John Ibbett (Also spelt Ibbert and Ibbott) was born in Jun, 1765 in the County of York, England. He was baptised on 14 Jun 1765 in Ecclesfield, York, England. This record spells his surname as “Ibbert” and lists his father as John, however, older records exist for John “Ibbott” indicating that the name as likely misspelled for two generations before being spelled correctly by John’s children in Tasmania.Ibbott Coat of Arms - 2016

The Ibbott family name origins are well documented on the house of names website:

John had been previously widowed before meeting Hannah Pirkis. I am uncertain of Hannah’s origins at this time.

John and Hannah were living in the Capital City of London, where she gave birth to their first son, John Mears Ibbott on 03/03/1813 at Aldersgate, London, England.

(Ref: FHL microfilm 816,009)

John (50) and Hannah were married at the St. Botolph Church, Aldgate, London on 28 Jan 1816. The Church is of of the Church of England Denomination and still stands to this day on the junction of Houndsditch and Aldgate High Streets. The church history has been discussed on this website:

(Ref p29 #86; FHL microfilm 380,125   &   p 247 n 1221; FHL microfilm 380,130)

Hannah gave birth to their second son, George Pirkis Ibbott on 03/04/1817 at the Old Artillary Ground, Spitalfields, London and their third son, James Ahern Ibbott in 1823 in England.

Ref: FHL film 816009

John also had a daughter in England, but her full name is not yet known from the official records other than that it has the initial “I”. She may have been the daughter of John’s first wife.

In 1825, the family of four set sail aboard “The Elizabeth” arriving in Van Dieman’s Land after an 100 day journey.

The family initially settled in the Old Beach region, just north of the Derwent River and Hobart. John became the Licensee of the “Three Archers Hotel” at Old Beach and was also listed as the Victualler of “The Old Black Boy” at Cove Hill near Bridgewater.

John and his family moved north to the country side in late 1832- early 1833 where John and his sons became farmers.

John was granted land at Bothwell, Van Dieman’s Land in Feb-March 1839, which he appropriately named “Ibbott Vale.”

John died from ‘a complicated disease’ on 20 Jan 1841. His death record is for the Brighton district but it is likely that he was further north, and possibly at his home when he died due to rural areas not having available registrars.

1841 John Ibbett Death (short).jpg

Ibbott-Vale was left to John senior’s eldest son, John Mears Ibbott after his death and remained in the family for several generations.

At this time, the cemetery location for John Ibbott and the death of Hannah Ibbott is not known.


Notable Descendants:


See Also:

John & Hannah Ibbett’s son: George Pirkis Ibbott


About me:

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:

George Pirkis Ibbott (1817-1894) and Sarah Devine (1823-1896)

George Pirkis Ibbott (Sometimes called Purkiss) was born on 30 Apr 1817 at the Old Artillary Ground, Spitalfields, in the city of London, England. His parents were John Ibbott (1765-1841) and Hannah Pirkis. When the family left England and sailed for Van Dieman’s Land in 1825, George was 7 years old, having his 8th birthday at sea. At this time, he had two brothers: John ( 12) and James (2) and one sister. It is currently unknown whether there were further siblings born in Van Dieman’s Land.

George grew up in the Bridgewater-Old Beach Region, where his father worked as the Victualler of a local pub.

When George was 15, the family moved north into the country, most likely in the Bothwell region to try their hand at farming. George’s father, John was well into his sixties by this time, but he had mature sons that would have surely been a great help.

Sarah Devine was born on 05 Sep 1823 in Van Dieman’s Land. Her parents were Thomas Devine (1798-1884) and Anne Jane Easton (1802-1873). She was a rare case of a third generation Tasmanian to be born at such an early time in Australia since the European settlement. Three of her grandparents had been sent to Australia as some of the earliest convicts and the other Grandparent’s origin is currently unknown. Sarah grew up with many brothers and sisters.

George and Sarah were married at the registrar’s office in Brighton, Van Diemon’s Land on 16 Oct 1839. Prior to their wedding, Sarah was listed as living with her father and George was listed as living at the house of Mr Broadditch at the Hunting Grounds for the previous fortnight.

George and Sarah settled in the Bothwell district where they farmed just over a decade. Six of their children were born during this time: (George 1840-1840), John Thomas (1842-), William Pirkis (1844-), Phillip Edward (1846-1916), Frederick George (1848-1890), and Charlotte Lavinia (1850-1879). The family relocated south to to Green Ponds (Now Kempton) circa 1850. Another son, George Reiby (1854-1904) was born at this time. The family relocated again soon later to Lower Jerusalem in the Campania Region north of Richmond where George farmed with his sons. Another three sons were born: Edward Henry Amos (1857-1926), Walter Valentine Francis (1859-1935) and Alfred Ernest (1868-1951).

George purchased over 2000 acres of land north of the Coal River in Lower Jerusalem which was called “Colebrookdale.” The date that he moved there is not yet known but it was listed for sale in 1855 so it is possible that he moved there as early as then. While farming, George also took up breeding of horses including prize horses. (MORE TO ADD HERE)

In late 1886, George (71) had listed Colebrookdale for sale or let, indicating that he was wanting to retire from farm work at this time. It is uncertain at this time whether the property was sold or let and then passed down to his children. George and Sarah moved to Old Beach in 1887 where George lived the remainder of his life.

George died at his residence in Old Beach on 11 Nov 1894, although there is a conflicting notice in the newspaper stating that he died at his residence in Brighton. The actual place is yet to be determined.

George was buried at St Marks Church of England, Pontville, Tas in a plot adjacent to Sarah ‘s parents just behind the church building. Sarah died on 07 Aug 1896 and was buried with her late husband.

George & Sarah Ibbott’s Headstone at St Mark’s Church, Pontville (Photo taken Feb 2017)


Notable Descendants:

Their Grandson, Sgt Walter Gordon Dagleish Ibbott (1885-1916) served in the Great War (Service Number 6570). He contracted coxemia at sea while en route. He has a Tasmanian memorial at the Solder’s Walk in Queen’s Domain, Hobart.

Their Grandson, George John Ibbott (1887-1961) served in the 46th Battalion in the Great War (Service Number 1609)



See Also:

George P Ibbott’s Parents: John Ibbett and Hannah Pirkis
George and Sarah’s son: Edward Henry Amos Ibbott


About me:

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:


Edward Henry Amos Ibbott (1857-1926) and Mary Ann Margarite Goodwin (1861-1950)

My third-generation great grandparents of the Richardson-Ibbott family

Mary Anne and Edward Ibbott (2).jpg
From Left to Right: Edwin James Watson (Grandson), Mary Ann Ibbott nee Goodwin, Florence Lillian May Watson nee Ibbott (Daughter) and Edward Henry Amos Ibbott

Edward Henry Amos Ibbott was born in Campania, Tasmania on 17 Aug 1857. His birth was registered in Richmond as there is no registrar in the Midlands. Edward was the eighth of ten children born to George Pirkiss Ibbott (1817-1894) and Sarah Devine (1823-1896). He grew up on his father’s property, “Colebrookdale,” in Lower Jerusalem, north of the Coal River. His father farmed and bred horses including racing horses. His ancestors originated from England (87.5%) and the remaining 12.5% is currently unknown.

George and Sarah Ibbott’s children were: George (1840-1840), John Thomas (1842-), William Pirkis (1844-), Phillip Edward (1846-1916), Frederick George (1848-1890), Charlotte Lavina (1850-1879), George Reiby (1854-1904), Edward Henry Amos (1857-1926), Walter Valentine Francis (1859-1935), and Alfred Ernest (1868-1951). (Nine sons and one daughter).

Mary Ann Margarite Goodwin was born on 4 Sep 1861 at her parent’s property, “Mangaton” in Black Brush, Van Dieman’s Land. Black Brush was a small town situated between Brighton and Baghdad. Sometime later, Black Brush was later renamed to Mangalore after an Indian city. It currently has a population of about 1000 residents. Mary Ann was the first of  thirteen children born to Edwin Walter Goodwin  (1839-1923) and Margaret Isabel Chaplin (1845-1900). Her ancestors originated from England (75%) and Scotland (25%).

Edwin and Margaret’s children were: Mary Ann Margarite (1861-1950), Walter Edwin (1863-1930), Ada Alice (1864-1864), Rosa Anne Emily (1866-1914), Richard Charles (1867-1904), Arthur Frederick (1871-), Ernest Edwin (1873-1899), Minnie Clara (1876-1901), Clifford Percy (1878-1901), Percival William (1882-1945), Hedley Victor (1884-1949) and Hilda Gertrude (1889-1975).

Edward (21) and Mary Ann (17) were married at “Rose Bank” on 11 June 1879 by their long-time friend, Rev R.B. Tinning. The marriage was of the Congregational Church denomination and Rev Tinning was a minister for the Church in Richmond. This is most likely where Mary Ann’s family had gone to church when she was growing up.

Edward and Mary Ann remained in Lower Jerusalem for over a decade and all of their children were born in the Campania region. Their children were registered in Richmond, and Rev Tinning acted as the informant of the births on the parents behalf in most cases, however, this may have attributed to discrepancies in the spelling of the children’s names, as the official birth records for most of their children are different to how they spelt their names later in life.

The six children of Edward and Mary Ann Ibbott were: Leyland Edward “Bertram” (1880-1943), Myntie Evelyn Mary (1881-1958), Florence Lilian May (1882-1973), Nellie Gertrude Ada (1883-1966), Edward Alphonso “Arthur” (1885-) and Rosa May “May” (1887-).

Edward spent his early adult years farming in Lower Jerusalem. He suffered from a major back injury at the age of 23. This occurred while he was unloading his produce at the Main Line Railway Station at Jerusalem, which was to be delivered to Hobart. While unloading grain, a truck struck the door of the goods shed, which caused it to fall upon him. The impact almost knocked him unconscious, and he became confined to his bed for nine days. He gradually began to walk and ride again while recovering but could not return to work for another six months, however, he did not make a full recovery as his injury caused spinal damage. This weakened his limbs as well as reducing his strength and mobility and it caused him to endure great pain.

When seeking compensation for his injury in June, 1884, Edward wanted £2,000 (Approximately worth $240,000 in 2016). After a three day trial, Edward received £450 (Approximately worth $54,000) in damages from the M.L.R. Company.

Edward and Mary Ann Ibbott hq2.png

Long draughts set into the region in the late 1880s. The land was described as having the appearance of being burned and ploughed. River levels were low, and water had to be carted around to farms over distances of up to four miles (6.5 km) for domestic use. Crops were stalled and livestock were thin.

Most likely fed up by the droughts, and possibly keen for a sea-change, Edward and his family sold up and departed the region in early 1899. They headed north and settled in “Lincoln Grove,” Exton, where Edward continued to farm in the greener pastures.

Edward enjoyed cultural shows and won second prize for his yearling stallion draught horse in the Western Agricultural Association Annual Show in November, 1899.

Sometime between 1901 and 1914, Edward, his wife and unmarried children relocated to Reedy Marsh, which is located just North of Deloraine via River Road.

Edward (68) died on 06 Jun 1926 in Launceston. He was buried in the Deloraine general cemetery.

After her husband’s death, Mary Ann stayed at the Reedy Marsh property for a couple of years, where her son, Arthur, continued to farm. She later moved with Arthur and his family to Thurseton, where she lived in the 1930s. Sometime in either the late 1930s or the early 1940s, Mary Ann moved to “Blackberry Farm,” Cam Road, Somerset to live with her daughter, Nellie Richardson, her husband, Norman and their family. Norman died in 1944 but his sons, Hec and Ern, continued to maintain the farm.

Grandma Ibbott2
Mary Ann Ibbott nee Goodwin. She had given this photo as a gift to her daughter, Nellie Richardson (her writing is scanned at the bottom of the photo).

Mary Ann was known as “Grandma Ibbott” to her great-grandchildren. Joyce recalls that Grandma Ibbott kept busy and would often be sitting in the large kitchen on her “Easy Chair” either crocheting or tatting. She was cared for on the Cam Road property for the rest of her life.

Nellie Rich and mother
Mary Ann Ibbott and Nellie Richardson at the Cam Road property circa 1945.

Mary Ann (89) died on 06 Sep 1950 at the Cam Road residence after a short illness. At this time, she was recorded as having 30 grand-children, 71 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren. She was buried in the Somerset General Cemetery not far off the George St boundary near her son-in-law, Norman Richardson.


See Also:

Edward and Mary Ann’s daughter: Nellie Ibbott and Norman Richardson

Other Media:


Australia, Birth Index, 1788-1922
Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 



About me:

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:

Michael Walker (1813-1901) and Sarah Goss (1814-1888)

My Fourth-Generation Great Grandparents of the Richardson-Walker Family


Michael Walker was born on 24 Apr 1813 in Sturston, Norfolk, England. Michael was the sixth of ten children born to John Walker III (1778-1870) and Mary Ann Clark (1785-1872). John (25) and Mary Ann (18) were married 29 Mar 1803 in St. Michael’s Church, Great Cressingham, Norfolk, England, which is about 10km North or Tottington. Mary Ann was about six months pregnant with their first child, Martha, when they were married.

The ten children of John III and Mary Ann Walker were: Martha (1803-), Robert (1804-), Ann (1806-1846), William (1809-1833), Jonathan (1811-1835), Michael (1813-1900), William (1815-1835), Sarah (1817-1817), Maria (1817-1817) and Elizabeth (1819-1908).

Accoring to census information, John Walker III worked as an agricultural labourer (farmer) in Tottington, Norfolk, England which neighbors Sturston on its East side.

St Michaels Church.jpg
St. Michael’s Church where John Walker III and Mary Ann Clark were married.

Sarah Goss was born on 14 Jan 1814 in Tottington, Norfolk, England. Sarah was the eighth of twelve children born to Thomas Goss I (c1771-1856) and Hannah Burroughs (1777-1852).Thomas (24) and Hannah (23) were married 16 Jan 1798 in Tottington, eight months before their first child, Mary Ann, was born.

The twelve children of Thomas I and Hannah Goss were: Mary Ann (1798-1812), Makum (1800-1834), William (1802-1876), John (1804-1885), Thomas (1807-1872), Elizabeth (1809-1835), Flora (1811-), Sarah (1814-1888), Anne (1816-1884), Robert (1818-1894), Samuel (1820-1894) and Henry (1823-1894).

Accoring to census information, Thomas Goss I worked as an agricultural labourer (farmer) in Tottington.


Tottington and Sturston along with  have been deserted since World War II, when they were taken over by the British Army and incorporated into the Stanford Battle Area. Though the inhabitants were told that they could return to their homes after the War, the British Government went back on their word and purchased the land resulting in many of these people to lose their livelihoods and be forced to live in council housing. The villages remain to this day, a dedicated military training area, where civilian access is forbidden. In 1974, the Breckland District in Norfolk was formed, which encompasses these two deserted villages.


Michael (21) and Sarah (20) were married on 1 Dec 1834 in Tottington, where Michael worked as a farm labourer. Their first three children were born while they lived in England. They went on to have another ten children after emigrating to Tasmania.

The thirteen children of Michael and Sarah Walker were: William (1835-1849), John (1839-1841), Samuel George (1841-1912), John (1842-1909), Robert Wilson (1844-1916), Eleanor (1845-1907), Thomas (1848-1926), Mary Ann (1849-1910), William (1850-1904), Sarah Ann (1852-1926), Elizabeth (1853-1917), Martha (1854-1939), Michael II (1856-1945).


Michael (28) and Sarah (27) emigrated to Van Dieman’s Land in 1841 aboard the ship “Arab.” Their second son, John (2), died at sea and his body was committed to the sea near France. The third son, Samuel, was born during the voyage.

Three of Sarah’s brothers would also emigrate to Tasmania, and raise their families there:

John Goss and his wife, Ann and children emigrated to Van Dieman’s Land aboard the “Emma” in 1841, arriving in March 1842.

Thomas Goss and his wife, Martha, and children emigrated to Van Dieman’s Land aboard the “America” in 1854.

Robert Goss (1818-1886) and his wife, Susannah and three eldest children emigrated to Van Dieman’s Land aboard the “Blanche Moore” in 1855. His children did not survive the journey.

Michael and Sarah’s daughter, Elizabeth, would later marry her first cousin, Samuel Goss, son of John Goss and Ann Ayers.


Michael and Sarah settled on “Annandale,” which was a 1000 acre farm property in the in the Perth region. The farm was located on the Western side of the Midlands Highway between Gibbet Hill and Breadalbane, extending as far West as “Jessiefield.”

Michael began teaching at the Sunday School at the Wesleyan chapel on Pateena Road, Salem.

In 1846, Michael (33), Sarah (32) and the family relocated to “Greenhills,” which was a 500 acre farm property in Hagley that they rented from the Lyttleton Estate. During their time there, Michael had charge of the adjoining property “Hagley House,” owned by Isaac Noake.

While leaving at Hagley, their eldest son, William (15) died in 1849 in an accident at Exton. Michael and Sarah named their next son, William, after him.

In late 1854, Michael (41) and Sarah (40) and the family relocated to “Ti-Tree Farm” in Exton, where they rented the property from Reverend Samuel Martin.

In 1888, Michael (75), had a bad accident when his horse fell. He subsequently retired as the Sunday School superintendent, possibly, also to care for his Sarah, whom had been bedridden, and required the assistance of their housekeeper, Mary Patfield.

On 3 Dec 1888, Sarah (74) passed away. She was buried at Westbury, Tasmania.

On 8 Jan 1890, Michael (76) married his late wife’s housekeeper, Mary Patfield (74).







William Walker (1825-1905) and Mary Ann Bessant (1830-1915)

My Third-Generation Great Grandparents of the Stewart-Walker Family

Portishead, England.jpg
United Kingdom of the mid 1800s highlighting the origins of William and Mary Anne

William Walker was born on 25 May 1825 in Portishead, Somerset, England. His parents were Charles Walker and Eliza Fry, both of England. Their marriage date, work and other children are currently unknown.

Mary Ann Bessant was born on 16 Jan 1830 in Portishead, Somerset, England. Her parents were William Bessant (1802-1834) and Jane Atwell (1808-1836), both of  Gordano, Somerset, England. The Gordano region borders Portishead.

The Bessant family tree extends back a long way on more than one line. Mary Ann’s third generation great-grandparents, John Bessant (1650-1700) and Lydia Edwards (1655-1698), were both born in Barbados and died in North Carolina, United States.

John’s family originated from Wiltshire, England. and also went by the family name, “Beasant.” Lydia’s family originated from Somerset and London, England. The Edwards line can be traced back to Robert Hywel Ap Ievan Fychan Edwardes (1398-) and Gwenllian Verch Ieuan (1392-1460). Robert descended from Welsh noble families, including Welsh Kings and Lords.

William and Mary Ann Walker

William (23) and Mary Ann (18) were married on 26 Dec 1848 in St Peters Church of England in Portishead. They had their first three of fourteen children while living in England:  Ann “Annie” born 1849, Jane born 1852 and William John born 1854.

St Peters Church, Portishead

They had their first three of fourteen children while living in England.

William (30), Mary Ann (24) and their children emigrated to Van Dieman’s Land, arriving in Hobart on 25 Mar 1855 aboard the ‘Ocean Chief’ after a seventy day voyage. They were sponsored by Mr. John Atwell of Spring Valley, Tasmania (In the Westbury District). The Atwell`s are related to the Walker family through Mary Ann’s mother. The Walker family travelled north to Spring Valley, where William worked for Mr. Atwell as a farm labourer. Mary Ann gave birth to their fourth child, Emma Jane, at Spring Valley in 1856.

Painting of the “Ocean Chief.” This painting is found in the Australian National Maritime Museum at 2 Murray St, Sydney, NSW

The family moved to the Deloraine region sometime in the mid 1850s where William continued to work as a farm labourer. Another four children were born in this region: George in 1857, Sarah in 1859, Cordelia in 1861 and Amelia in 1863.

In the mid 1860s, the family moved to “Green’s Creek” near Sassafras. Another five children were born here: John in 1865, Charles in 1867, Ada Ann Elizabeth in 1869, Charlotte in 1870 and Frank in 1872. William also leased some land at the nearby “Christmas Hills.” He and his sons would walk here daily to harvest wheat.

William purchased property in Parkham. On their property, they opened the first post office and store in the region. Some of their descendants would later operate their own post offices around the state of Tasmania. In those days, the post office was responsible for directing phone calls and delivering telegrams as well as handling the mail. There was no power connected in those days.

The fourteen children of William and Mary Ann Walker were: Ann “Annie” (1849-1926), Jane (1852-1922), William John (1854-1942), Emma Jane (1856-1952), George (1857-1926), Sarah (1859-1938), Cordelia (1861 -1947), Amelia (1863-1933), John “Jack” (1865-1944), Charles (1867-1955), Ada Ann Elizabeth (1869-1955), Charlotte (1870-1959), Frank (1872-1899), and Henry Edward (1874-1928).

Walker, William 1825-1904 2.png
William Walker
Walker, Mary Ann (Nee Bessant).png
Mary Ann Walker

William (79) died on 15 May 1905. He was buried in the Deloraine General Cemetery. Mary Ann (85) died on 25 Nov 1915. She was buried at the Deloraine General Cemetery with her late husband.

Walker, Mary Ann (Nee Bessant).jpg
The Grave of William and Mary Ann at the Deloraine General Cemetery

The children of William and Mary Ann Walker went on to have many descendants spanning over six-plus generations.

Other Media:

Portishead to Parkham

In 2000, Arthur Ray Rowland, authored the book on Mary Ann’s heritage: 

Bessent Family: (Bezant, Bessant, Beasant, Basnet, Etc.) : Including Edwards and Meredith Family Origins with Connection to the Rowland Family, from England, Barbados, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Beyond

I cannot find a copy of this book but its existence is shown in Google Books in the link below:

See Also:

William and Mary Anne’s Daughter: Charlotte Stewart nee Walker
Bessant-Edwards Historical Welsh Noble Family

John Stewart (1868-1955) and Charlotte Walker (1870-1959)

My Second-Generation Great Grandparents of the Stewart Family

John Stewart...jpg

John Stewart was born in Elizabeth Town, Tasmania on 13 Aug 1867. He was a second generation Tasmanian, the third of four surviving children born to Robert Stewart and Margaret Smith. Robert and Margaret Stewart had emigrated from Lanarkshire, Scotland five years before John’s birth.

Charlotte Walker was born in 1870 in Parkham, Tasmania. She was also a second generation Tasmanian, the twelfth of fourteen children born to William Walker and Mary Anne Bessant. William and Mary Anne had emigrated from Portishead, Somerset, England some fifteen years earlier. Parkham is located approximately 10 kilometres north-east of Elizabeth Town near the current day Reedy Marsh Forest Reserve.

John (27) and Charlotte (25) were married on June 6, 1895 at the St. Mark’s Church of England in Deloraine, Tasmania. The church building still stands to this day and is located at 7 E Westbury Place, Deloraine.

St Marks Church (Marriage loc)2
An old photograph of St Mark’s Church in Deloraine, which was built in circa 1859.                    Photo courtesy: National Trust of Australia (Tasmania)

When they were married, John had been working for the railway at Dunorlan. His job title was listed as a “Railway Repairer.” While they were living at Dunorlan, their first two children were born: Arthur was born on 27 Mar 1896 in Dunorlan and Marion Martha was born on 22 Nov 1897 at the “Keanfield” homestead in Deloraine.

The family later moved back to Parkham, and worked a small farm which included a couple of milking cows and chickens. Charlotte would churn butter from their milk, which she would carry along with their eggs about three miles (4.8 km) along the unsealed road (mud track) to the shop. By trading the butter and eggs, Charlotte used the revenue to purchase groceries for the family.

Four more children were born to them while living at Parkham: Ada May was born in on 29 Mar 1900 at Dunorlan, Albert Robert was born on 14 Nov 1902 at Dunorlan, William John “Bill” was born on 21 Sep 1904 at Parkham, and Grace Maud was born on 13 Dec 1906. The first five children attended school in Parkham, which required them to traverse the three mile unsealed road (mud track) as well through all types of weather.

House at Parkham c1992.jpg
The Stewart’s house at Parkham. Photos taken in 1992 by Grace Richardson after the Walker family reunion.

In 1912, John’s asthma caused him to consider a sea-change and the family relocated to Henrietta. According to Grace’s memoirs, the journey to Henrietta took three days to complete. The eldest son, Arthur (16), had already moved from Parkham and was working in Henrietta and living in a hut. The rest of the family travelled via horse and buggy, which consisted of a hood and two seats. On the first day, they travelled from Parkham to Elizabeth Town and stayed with John’s sister, “Aunt Maggie” Lunson and her family. It is most likely that they spent most of this day packing and putting the state of the house in order for the new occupants. On the second day, they were very weary from the travel and stayed at the Penguin Coffee Palace. When they arrived in Henrietta on the third day, the boys, Albert and Bill, stayed in the hut with Arthur, while John, Charlotte and the girls, Marion, Ada and Grace stayed at a boarding house, which was managed by a German woman, Mrs. Graue.

At Henrietta, the family settled on Mr. Harnett’s farm house on the Waratah Highway (Now Murchison Highway) while John worked on the farm. At the farm, there were about 30 milking cows, which were milked by hand, as well as potato crops and hay. John’s health improved as the family had hoped. Four of John and Charlotte’s children were at school attending age at this time, however, they were delayed to commence schooling because the school building was not yet complete. The Henrietta school finally commenced midway through 1913.

Charlotte feeding chooks.png

John purchased the property across the road from Mr. Harnett’s farm, which he cleared himself. The property was known as “Spring Vale” due to the presence of many springs. The family remained at Mr. Harnett’s farm house for a just a few weeks more four years until they moved into a house that had been constructed by Mr. J.C. Diprose on John’s property.

John on horse.jpg

John and Charlotte’s daughter, Ada, worked for Mrs. Ibbott at the Henrietta Post Office which was then about one mile down the highway towards Yolla. When the Ibbotts left Henrietta in 1919, the Post Office business was moved to John and Charlotte’s residence. The post office was operated from the back veranda of the house, which had been converted into a room and sanctioned off from the home. Ada took over as postmistress, but the business remained in John’s name for security reasons.

When Ada was married in 1925, her sister, Grace, took over as post-mistress. On 4 Apr 1934, Grace married Mervyn Richardson. Grace continued as post mistress and Mervyn purchased the “Spring Vale” property from John and Charlotte, which he paid off over twelve months by working long hours at various farms in the region. John and Charlotte remained at Spring Vale for twelve months, before relocating to 78 Nicholls St, Devonport in mid 1935.

John and Charlotte golden wed.jpg

John and Charlotte remained at the Nicholls St property until their deaths. John and Charlotte owned a few blocks in this part of the street and had one of the blocks dedicated to their vegetable garden and also maintained a milking cow on the property. Many Christmas gatherings were held at the property with their children and grand-children. Mavis and Arthur Gracie and Marion and Bill Gracie each lived nearby on 54 & 56 Nicholls St which was good company for them.Stewart family and inlaws.jpg

John (87) died on 22 Jan 1955 and was buried in the Devonport General Cemetery. Charlotte (88) died on 20 Jan 1959 and was buried with her late husband.157b4d7d-8135-4072-8744-fabc6d59bf67

Notable Descendants:

Arthur Stewart (1896-1986). Their son, fought in World War I as a private of the 12th Infantry Battalion. Service No. 7337.

See Also:

John and Charlotte’s Daughter: Grace Maud Stewart
Charlotte’s Parents: William Walker and Mary Anne Bessant


About me:

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:

Mervyn Charles Richardson (1902-1982) and Grace Maud Stewart (1906-1993)

My Great Grandparents of the Richardson Family


Mervyn Charles Richardson was born on 21 Oct 1902 in Exton, Tasmania. “Merv” was the second of ten children born to Norman and Nellie Richardson. Merv’ family relocated to Somerset when he was about four years old. He grew up living in the four-room cottage that his father built on Cam Road (Now Murchison Highway), Somerset. Merv attended both the old school on Village Lane, Somerset and the old Somerset Primary School on Simpson-Athol-Wragg Streets (Currently being demolished in 2017). In these days, the school building only consisted of two rooms. Merv used to walk from his home to school with his siblings each day. At this time, the highway through Somerset crossed the Cam River from Scarfe St, Camdale over to Wragg St, Somerset and through the town centre, re-joining the current day highway at the culd-dee-sac end of present day Wragg St (Near the old hardware store). The school taught until Grade 6, so after achieving this, Merv and his siblings worked on the farm for their father, Norman.


Grace Maud Stewart was born on 13 Dec 1906 in Parkham, Tasmania. Her family relocated to Henrietta in 1912. The family eventually settled on a property “Spring Vale” on the Waratah Highway. The house was constructed by J.C. Diprose. Grace commenced studying at the old Henrietta school under the tutelage of Miss Atkinson when she was six and a half. The school was under construction when the family had arrived, and was not completed until mid-way through 1913, which caused her to commence study a few months later than was the norm. In 1919, the house was altered to accommodate the Henrietta Post Office. Grace’s sister, Ada, was the postmistress and Grace worked under her and eventually took over as postmistress when Ada married in 1925.

During the 1920s, Norman Richardson purchased a property “Egmont,” in Henrietta. The property was located approximately one mile southward from the Stewart’s property “Spring Vale.” Merv would leave early on Monday morning, often on his bike, and travel to Egmont, where he and his brothers maintained the farm and grew crops, primarily potatoes. The potato crops and later, swedes, were delivered to the Burnie port, where they were exported to Sydney, NSW.

While working at Egmont, the Richardson brothers would stay in a two room extension of the original house of the property, as the original house was let to tenants. Merv would return to Cam Road on the weekends and attend the Cam Road Methodist Church, where he also volunteered as a Sunday School teacher.

Mervyn met Grace to while working in Henrietta. They were married on 4 Apr 1934 in the Yolla Baptist Church by Rev. Heaven.

Merv and Grace wedding.png

Mervyn and Grace Richardson wedding.jpg

Merv purchased the Spring Vale property from his father-in-law, John Stewart, and paid it off in only twelve months, which is a testament to his work ethic and integrity. He made the extra money by working on other farms in the region, and worked long hours, rising at 4am to milk his own cows before leaving to work on other farms.

Merv and horse.png

While maintaining the two farms of Spring Vale and Egmont, Merv found time to develop his skills as a blacksmith. In his blacksmith shop on Spring Vale, he designed and manufactured many tools and various household items. Some of these included: A gardening hoe for his wife, pokers and tongs for the open fire place, horse shoes for the local drovers and his own unique toasting apparatus which consisted of a slot for the toast and a long handle and a hinge to flip the toast to cook the other side. Merv also repaired other people’s farming equipment and machinery.

Merv on horse at blacksmith shop.jpg

Grace maintained the post office during the hours from 9am to 5pm and also the telephone from 9am to 8pm. She had an assistant work for her during day hours, which allowed her to successfully maintain a large vegetable garden and flower patch. From the house to the road, there was a patch of flowers and the remainder was all kinds of available vegetables except for potatoes, swedes, pumpkins and tomatoes. Potatoes and swedes were grown out in the paddock and the summer wasn’t long enough to produce good enough pumpkins or tomatoes. Merv’s brother, Earle Richardson produced enough tomatoes for the family on his Cam Road farm.

Merv used to ride his motorbike in the early days, but he purchased a brand-new utility to allow him to transport his young family to places and also to cart produce to and from the farm. This was claimed by the government to assist the War efforts, however, and Merv used the compensation money to purchase a second-hand International utility. Later, Merv purchased a truck to better his capacity in his work. No longer required on the farm, the utility became less desirable for transport as opposed to an automobile. Merv initially sought a Holden, but was not impressed was the lack of size in the vehicle. Merv initially purchased a second-hand Wolseley, but soon found out after a trip to Hobart, that the car was faulty. The steering locked on a corner on the Mersey Main Road in Tarleton and they were fortunate to not be involved in an accident. Merv returned the vehicle to the salesman as he realized that the car had been previously damaged in an accident. Merv finally decided to order a brand-new ’54 Ford Custom-Line. The car was pale-green and spacious. He was quite pleased with his purchase and kept the car for a long time.

Merv and Grace remained at Spring Valley and maintained the post office and phone line for many years. The phone eventually became automatic and after this, mail was the only responsibility in the post office. In 1972, Merv and Grace sold the farms and relocated to 75 Murchison Highway, Somerset. Merv (79) died on 15 Mar 1982. He was buried in the Wynyard Lawn Cemetery.

Merv Coffin3.jpg

Grace later moved into Unit 2 at the Myrtle Park Retirement Village in Yolla. Grace lived to see the births of her first eight great-grandchildren, to whom she was known as “Nan Rich.” The older children believed that she was “Rich” because she often gave them lollies when they came to visit.

Grace (86) died 10 Aug 1993 in the Burnie Hospital after a short illness. She was buried with her late husband at the Wynyard Cemetery.


The children of Merv and Grace Richardson went on to have many descendants spanning over four-plus generations.

Other Media:

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.$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:272079/one

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.$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:966335/one

See Also:

Mervyn’s parents: Norman Richardson and Nellie Ibbott
Grace’s parents: John Stewart and Charlotte Walker
Reference websites:


About me:

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: