William Gellibrand

William Gellibrand was born in 1765 and married Elizabeth Hinds in Middlesex, England on 22 Jan 1788. They raised three children, Sophie Louise, born 6th May 1789, William Clark, born 1st July 1791 in Ringwood, Hampshire and Joseph Tice, born 1792 in Lincolnshire, England.

Joseph Tice married Ann Isabella Kirby on 1st November 1819 at Parish Church Edmonton UK.  They raised nine children, Thomas Lloyd (1820-1874), Elizabeth Tice (1822-1905), William St Paul  (1823-1905), Joseph Tice (1826-1887), later Rev, George Henry Blake born (1827-1904), Annie Isabella (1829-1908), Walter Angus Bethune (1832-1909), Sophia Louisa (1834-1907) and Mary Salina (1837-1903).

In 1824 William Gellibrand and his son Joseph Tice Gellibrand and family arrived in Van Diemen’s Land aboard the Hibernia.

William was a well-connected settler and he received the first land grant on the South Arm peninsula of over 2,000 acres in 1824. This was later increased to 3,900 acres to Collins Springs, now a part of the Gellibrand Drive subdivision.

Shortly after his arrival William built a home on Arm End made of cedar with sandstone brick foundations. It was built in two parts consisting of nine rooms with stables located in the trees nearby. He referred to his property as 'South Arm Park'.

Supply of Water for Arm End?

The supply of water at Arm End has been an ongoing issue since the early days of settlement of the South Arm Peninsula. Back in 1825, William Gellibrand wrote to The Editor of the Hobart Town Gazette encouraging others to follow his example and start digging. Maybe we don't need a pipe from Blackmans Bay. Thank you to Maurice Potter who re-discovered the letter while searching historical documents.

To The Editor, Hobart Town Gazette
Friday 11th February 1825

Sir,-Through the medium of your valuable Paper I wish to communicate a few particulars founded on my own experience relative to the procurement of water, an article so necessary to our existence and comfort, and of which there has been during the late dry season, a great scarcity in many parts of the Colony.

If a given quantity of rain be deposited upon the surface of the earth, that which does not escape by evaporation, or appear to be lost by absorption, must necessarily find a channel either to the river or the ocean. It is the collection of these different currents of water that forms the lake or the river, If upon a large surface of land there be no visible current of water, we are then warranted in concluding that there must be subterraneous channels through which this element is making its escape. Providence, though always bountiful and gracious, does not supply our wants or satisfy the desires of the heart, without requiring on our part labour and exertion. The husbandman must plough and sow before he can receive and increase of that grain which he commits to the bosom of the earth, and if there be no water we must dig and preserve in many places in digging deep, before we can obtain the hidden treasure.

When I first visited the South Arm, I was informed by every one, that there was no water, and that the small spring which was known was not sufficient for the use of a family, much less for the supply of flocks and of herds. I was not however discouraged by this representation, because I relied on upon the certainty of procuring (if the means were used) this necessary element. I have not been disappointed; after sinking five or six wells, I have obtained in great abundance, within an hundred yards of my cottage, water that is pure, palatable, and wholesome. I have dug six ponds in different parts of the Arm, where, during the late dry season, my sheep and my cattle have found a full supply. Just, then, is the conclusion, that if in a situation like the South Arm, during a summer such as we have just experienced, an ample supply of water not only for family purposes, but for 60 head of cattle and 500 sheep, has been obtained by a little trouble, where is the situation in this Colony in which the Settler need despair of success, or suffer the inconvenience of fetching his water from the distance of 5 or 6 miles?

My only object of making this communication is to encourage others to follow my example, and when water is wanting, to resolve as I resolved not to desist until the object be obtained.

Signed Wm. Gellibrand, South Arm Park, Jan.30, 1825.
Reference: Trove, Hobart Town Gazette, Friday 11 February 1825.

More Gellibrand History

William later built his own tomb. A regular visitor, Miss Jane Mortimer, wrote that he went to dig the vault every morning, just below the house at the top of the dunes overlooking Mary Ann Bay. William Gellibrand and his descendants were active in Tasmanian social and Government circles. Joseph Tice Gellibrand became Tasmania’s first Attorney General and three of Joseph’s sons became politicians.

William Gellibrand was a significant figure in Colonial society; he was a merchant and exporter but also served as a Justice of the Peace. He died in 1840 aged 75 and was buried at the Vault. Two of Joseph's sons Walter Angus Bethune (1832-1909) and Thomas Lloyd (1820-1874) are also buried in the vault. On William's death, Arm End passed to his grandson George Henry Blake Gellibrand (1827-1904) who after leasing out some of the land placed it on the market in 1844 describing it as being studded with the tallest trees in the colony and having the very best vinery on the island, covering two acres of fertile ground with full bearing fruit. Fruit trees were grown up until relatively recently, mulberries did very well here. George Gellibrand built the original schoolhouse, Mound Cottage, in 1854, on the corner of Bezzants and South Arm Roads. Mound Cottage was also used as a church until St. Barnabas was built in 1892.

George lived on part of the property known as ‘Terra Linna’ and leased out parts of the estate to other settlers including the Calverts, several of whom eventually bought these farms from the Gellibrands. These included ‘Seacroft’, ‘Arm End’ ‘Clifton Estate’ and ‘Pleasant View’. George's son, also Thomas Lloyd Gellibrand (1878-1937) married Ruby Calvert, daughter of Watson Calvert.
George’s son Albert and Ruby's son Blake farmed at Opossum Bay on part of the original property that William had started.

Joseph’s youngest daughter Mary Selina (1837-1903) played an important role in the Tasmanian Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Thomas Lloyd Gellibrand (1820-1874), as the elected member for the District of Cumberland, introduced the first bill for the Protection of Native Animals in 1860, which later became law. Rev. Joseph Tice Gellibrand, another son of Tasmania's first Attorney-General Joseph Tice Gellibrand, was Omokoroa's (New Zealand) first European settler.

Thomas’ son Sir John Gellibrand (1872-1945) founded the Hobart Remembrance Club in 1923, the inspiration for Legacy in Australia.

Gellibrand Vault
Vault Inscription
Inscription as it appears on the Gellibrand Grave