William Calvert

In 1800 William Calvert married Hannah Farnaby at St. Johns, Leeds. They had eight children, Hannah (1802–dec), William (1805-1812), James (dec.), Mary Farrar? (1807-1809), Christopher (1809-1876), Mary Ann (1813-1877), Sarah (1815-c. 1880) and Albina Louisa (1820-1908), three of whom died young, with Christopher the only known surviving son. Their oldest daughter, Hannah married Samuel Heal in Leeds, England in 1829 and did not accompany the rest of the family when they set out for Tasmania.

In 1831 William, his wife Hannah, son Christopher aged 22 and three daughters Mary Anne (18), Sarah (16) and Albina (11) embarked from London as steerage passengers on the barque ‘John Woodall’ under the Captaincy of William Thomson. The voyage took 142 days in very cramped conditions before the vessel reached the River Derwent on the 17th February 1832. Tragically William’s wife Hannah died on the voyage and was buried at sea.

After arriving in Hobart Town in 1832 the family rented rooms in Murray Street, with William commencing a business as a gunsmith.
By 1836 he had moved his business to 40 Murray Street, next door to the now Hadley’s Hotel. After this there appears no further reference to William in Tasmania, whether he returned to England or went to the mainland; however it is thought that he died in Sydney, NSW in 1863.

In the mid 1830’s Christopher Calvert met Hannah Watson. Hannah was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Watson from Yorkshire. The Watson family arrived in Hobart town as steerage passengers on the “Harvey” in May 1825, after an 11 month journey and took up a land grant at Muddy Plains, which they called ‘York Grove.’ William Watson’s family originally came from Bishop Briggs near Glasgow, Scotland and parents John and Elizabeth were farmers near Whitby in North Yorkshire.

Mary Ann Calvert married Thomas Wellard, the son of a builder, at Old Trinity Church in February 1836, and later moved to Melbourne.

Sarah Calvert married Archibald MacDougal at St. David’s Church in 1837. They later went to Adelaide where he was a book and newspaper publisher.

The youngest of William’s daughters, Albina married Thomas Martyn at St. John’s, New Town in 1838. There is little known about them except that later in life they went to the South Sea Islands.

Christopher Calvert married Hannah Watson in January 1837 at Old Trinity, Brisbane Street, Hobart.

Soon after their marriage Christopher and Hannah moved to Geelong in Victoria, with Christopher being listed there as gunsmith. Here they had three children, Hannah in 1838, William Thomas in 1840 and John 1843. Hannah and the children made visits back to Hobart Town in 1841 and 1843.

The family eventually returned to Van Diemens Land in 1845, probably staying at ‘York Grove’, where a further son Christopher was born.

In 1847 they leased a farm at Cambridge and grew vegetables to sell in Hobart Town. The house is thought to be that still existing at 770 Cambridge Road. Here another son David was born in 1848.

In 1851 Christopher leased a farm at South Arm from George Gellibrand this was known as ‘Seacroft’. Here another son Thomas was born in 1851 and Watson in 1853. It was here that Hannah tragically died in 1855 aged 17 and was buried at St Mathew’s in Rokeby. At the end of 1855 Christopher and Hannah had another daughter who they named Annie, and further children included; Hannah (Ciss) 1858, Robert 1860 and Henry in 1862.

In 1856 Christopher purchased from the George Gellibrand estate, for 600 pounds, the lease that he held of 149 acres, which took in the homestead and outbuildings, and several acres of well established orchard. Over the next ten years he purchased additional land including in 1866 a further 150 acres adjoining ‘Seacroft’ toward the north and joining the Churchyard and extending down toward Half Moon Bay, which was purchased for 225 pounds. At that time the main road ran along the waterfront. For some time ‘Seacroft’ provided work for the older of Christopher’s sons until several established their own farms in the area.

Bad seasons in the area caught up with several farmers including Christopher, who in 1874 mortgaged his properties to the Tasmanian Permanent Building and Investment Society with these not being discharged until after his death in 1876.

Grain from farms in the South Arm area were taken by boat to Rokeby for milling and it was on one such trip that an unfortunate incident lead to Christopher’s death. To quote Elizabeth Robb in her book “Christopher Calvert and his Descendants,”
“He (Christopher) was said to be rather fond of the ‘amber liquid’ and it is presumed that he had had an ‘elegant sufficiency’ while waiting for his grain one day early in July 1876. When the boat returned across Ralphs Bay to ‘Seacroft’, it is thought that because of the presence of women and children on board and his need to relieve himself, he jumped over into the shallow water. The result was a burst bladder, which was the cause of his death ‘after a short and painful illness’ a few days later and he was laid to rest with his daughter Hannah, in the Rokeby cemetery.”

Christopher died without a will, on the 17th July 1876, Letters of Administration were granted to Hannah, the estate being valued at £650.

Christopher’s wife Hannah lived on until 1911 when she died at the age of 91, the farm eventually being run by his younger sons Robert and Henry.