EARLY LAUNCESTON HISTORY AN INTERESTING LECT'URE. Mr. E. Whitfeld, P.M., during the course of the farewell social to Canon Kelly, held at St. John's Mission House last evening delivered a short but highly, interesting and instructive lecture on "Early Launceston History." Mr. Whit- feld explained that, having been asked to give a twenty minutes' lecture on that occasion, he had chosen, early history as his subject, and had strung together a number of facts which he had taken from old papers, and others told him by old residents, which he thought his audience would find interesting. The lecturer com- menced by referring to the first settle- ment on the northern side of the island. It was on November 11, 1804, that Colonel Patterson arrived at Port Dalrymple, or, Tamar Heads, in H.M.S. Buffalo, with a party of 146 persons, all told. One of the officers on board was Colonel Anthony Fenn Kemp, father of the late acting Police Magistrate, George Anthony Kemp, who was born at York Town soon after the founding of the colony. Mr. Whitfeld then proceeded:—These, our pioneer settlers, landed first up the West Arm of the Tamar, and formed a settlement called York Town. They afterwards moved to George Town, and in 1806 fixed upon Laun- ceston, as the site of the northern capital, though the Government head-quarters were not finally removed there till 1824. Shortly after the arrival of our first settlers in the Tamar, Captain Winroe, who was one of the party, was sent by Colonel Patter- son on an exploring expedition up the Tamar in a boat, and amongst his party, was Sergeant Dell, who died in Launces- ton not so many years ago at the ripe old age of 102. In relating his first visit to the spot where our city now stands, Dell stated that the banks of the Tamar were covered with tea-tree, and described the scrub over a large portion of the pre- sent site of the city as being almost im- penetrable. The party on that occasion landed on the rocks near where Mr. Ritchie's mill now stands, near the Cata- ract Bridge, and camped there six or seven days. Nothing more was done in the way of exploring these parts till 1807, when Dell was again sent with three privates and some prisoners to build a blockhouse near the junction of the two rivers. He selected a site where the Brisbane Hotel now stands, because it was level, and mostly covered with fern, and but few gum trees. A blockhouse was built with logs, and a track cut down to the river somewhere about where George-street now is, there being a sort of blind creek running down to the river. The next Government build- ing to go up was a "tench" (prisoners' barracks), which was erected where Trinity Church now stands. Launceston, how- ever, did not move ahead much till 1810, when a large number of settlers arrived from Norfolk Island. The first vessel to arrive from there was the Porpoise, and she had a mishap in striking on a rock near George Town, so named the "Por- poise Rock." Most of the Norfolk Islanders went inland, many going out to Norfolk Plains, to which they gave the name, and a town was laid out and called "Latour," which was afterwards changed to Longford. It took the Norfolk Islanders two days to travel to the Plains, and the only sign of civilisation between Launceston and Longford was a house built near the Travellers' Rest at the junc- tion of the Longford and Carrick roads. This house was styled "'Cummins's Folly," after the man who built it, as he was considered to have gone to live "out of the world." The road to Norfolk Plains in those days started from the blockhouse I have mentioned, and passed over where Mr. R. D. Richards's shop now stands, and across the site now occupied by W. Hart and Sons, Charles-street, and so wound along towards the Sandhill. Round the old blockhouse there gradually grew, up a constables' station, unfortunately al- ways a necessary adjunct to a new settle- ment, and officers' quarters. In 1820 came the first public house, "The Black Swan," kept by G. Burgess, corner of Brisbane and Wellington streets. Then came in 1823 the Launceston, the Plough Inn, kept by W. Field, where Hart and Sons are now, and the Hope and Anchor, kept by Nat. Lucas. The Launceston Hotel ,was built by Richard White, familiarly known as "Dicky White." He was a Norfolk Islander, as also was his mate or comrade, Mr. Whittle (afterwards of the White Hills). In those days any free man could mark off a piece of land, settle on it, and procure a title afterwards. White pegged out the present site of the Launceston Hotel, and Whittle squatted alongside of him, and built a "wattle and daub" hut in the centre of what is now St. John- street. White and Whittle owned the land including what is now St. John -street as far as Mr. A. J. Hall's residence, and along Brisbane-street to Wade's right-of way. Where the Bijou Theatre now stands was a large water hole where the bullocks were taken to water. When York-street was surveyed White and Whittle gave the land required to continue St. John-street to York-street. White built the Launces- ton Hotel, and also erected an auction mart on what is now Frank Hart's corner, and carried on business for some years. Another mark of civilisation followed—the erection of a gaol and military barracks (the latter now utilised for an invalid depot). The father of Mr. James French, of this city, was the first person to have a pair of horses at work; they came from Sydney in 1824, and Mr. French received 1s per load for carting the stone to build the gaol walls. It doubtless has struck you we have been taking civilisation in pretty well the usual order it is known to progress, that is public house first, then watchhouse. We now come to the chuch. The first clergyman that visited Northern Tasmannia was the Rev. Robert Knopwood; he made merely a flying visit in 1811, and again in 1814, and married several couples and baptised a number of children. But it was 1819 before the north had a resident clergyman, and he was stationed at George Town. This was the Rev. John Youl, who paid occasional visits to Launceston, and held service in a wooden bullding in Cameron-street, where the Equitable Building Society now stands. It was used as a blacksmith's shop on week days. Our worthy pastor, after first marching round the settlement in his canonicals to announce his arrival, used to attract the people to service by striking an iron barrel wlth a mallet. On the 28th of December, 1824, the foundation-stone of St. John's was laid by Governor Arthur, and the Rev. John Youl was appointed resident chaplain at Launceston. In De- cember of the following year, 1825, the first services were held in the church, the Rev. John Youl officiating. St. John's was built with bricks made from clay taken from Prince's Square opposite, and each
brick has the broad arrow upon it. Mr. Youl only lived about 18 months after moving to Launceston, and was succeeded by the Rev. James Norman, and then in 1828 came the Rev. Dr. Brown, who held the position of incumbent for 40 years. Then came the Rev. Canon Brownrigg, whom you all doubtless remember. He re- tained the incumbency for 18 years, and gave place to ,the Rev. Elias Champion, who remained four years. The Rev. Canon Kelly has now, been with us 5½ years. Six clergymen only in a period of 72 years. During that time St. John's has seen 75 different wardens. Mr. Youl, our first clergyman, came here in very rough times, and met with many strange experiences. It is recorded that on one occasion he married 30 couples, using the same wed- ding ring. His experiences as visiting chaplain to the gaol we will pass over; suffice it to say it was no uncommon occurrence to witness four, five, six, or even seven executions of a morning. Now when St. John's was first commenced the goods folks of the town complained of its ' being placed in the bush. The towsn at that time did not extend further than Bris- bane-street, or, as it was then called, "Dicky White's" street. There is an.amus- ing incident connected with the opening of St. John's. A lady who resided on the north side of the Windmill Hill lost her way when returning from church, and the afternoon was spent by her husband and his servants in scouring the hill in search of her. She was eventually found near the "Devil's Punch Bowl." We will now have another look at the town. In 1825 the old block-house was done away with, and the site of the Brisbane Hotel passed into the possession of Lieutenant Thos. Ritchie, who lived on it for a time, and traded to Sydney in his own vessel. The wooden cottage, in which he lived, was, in 1830, used by the Bank of V.D.L., and after that by the Tamar Bank, which afterwards moved to premises which now form part of Mr. Alfred Green's residence in George-street. The Brisbane Hotel site then passed into the hands of Mr. Joseph Barrett, father of our respected Alderman Abrahamn Barrett, who built a two-storey brick build'ng, and named it the Elphin Arms. It was afterwards closed and leased to a Mrs. Joseph Hudson for a girls' boarding school; when she removed it again became an hotel under the title , of the "Robin Hood and Little John." The portraits of these celebrated outlaws were exhibited outside, and beneath were the words— "Robin Hood is dead and gone, Come and drink with Little John." Mr. J. W. Simmons afterwards bought he property, and named it the Brisbane. About 1825 the Cornwall came into exis- tence, and was kept by Mr. J. P. Fawkner, famous as having been one of the founders of Melbourne. He was a most useful man in the community. He was baker, butcher, general storekeeper, and sawyer. He instituted a circulating library, gave lessons in French, was lawyer, and pleaded for people at the Court of Requests; was also editor and proprietor of a paper, the "Launceston Advertiser;" added to this he was market gardener and coach proprietor. Let us now take Hatton anld Laws's corner at the intersection of Brisbane and Charles streets. It has a little history of its own, and is, in a way, connected with the first discovery of gold in Tasmania. In the year 1824 a man named Cobb, who was working in the road party at George Town, brought in a piece of metal and gave it to the then magistrate, Captain D'Arcy, who pronounced it to be brass. When Gover- nor Arthur visited the north in 1825, Cobb was sent for and interviewed; the result being that Cobb received some indulgence, and this corner block was given him on which he erected a wooden building, and opened it as a butcher's shop. But, unfor- tunately, he was too fond of his beer, and made too frequent visits to the "White Horse," kept by Jonathan Ives, which was close to in fact, alongside where Dr. Holmes now resides in Charles-street. Cobb, somehow, had to leave, and he was reported to have gone home, and he left his affairs in the hands of a Mr. Whit- church, who combined auctioneering with this butchery business. He afterwards gave up possession to a man named Francis Spencer, who, finding Whitchurch had no legal right to the place, disposed of it again to a man named Stubbs. It then got into the hands of "Billy Dixon," a harness maker, and eventually,after going through other hands, passed into the possession of a person named Towers, who was em- ployed by Mr. Michael Bates, who kept a chemist's shop where Birchall Bros. are now. The corner has been a chemist's shop ever since. I am now going to take you back to a few of the hotels. They were the principal landmarks in those days, and, like the old village inns of England, pictures of which we are all familiar with, the early Tasmanian inns had the large painted sign-board either hung over the footway or exhibited over the door. Some were very quaint and costly, but the spelling, in many instances, would not pass with Noel Webster. They could not always be charged to the ignor- ance of the painter, but he, being paid by the letter, often put in extra letters where he could do so, when the publican did not know as much as himself. Let me give you now a sign-board or two. You all know where Mr. R. D. Richards's new building is being erected in Brisbane street. On that spot once stood an hotel; it was called "Help me ,through the World," very appropriate, though they are apt to help one too quickly at times. On one side of the swinging signboard over the footway was depicted the world with a man's head and shoulders apparently com- ing through it, and on the reverse the world again with the heels and hinder part of the man. The words "Help me through the world" were beneath. At the foot of George-street there was a ferry, and near that ferry stood another public house. It was named the "Lame Dog." Poor doggie, as depicted on the signboard, was a deplorable looking object with one leg in a sling, and beneath were the lines: "Step in my friends and rest awhile, And help a lame dog over the stile." The Tamar Hotel, in William-street, was once known as the "Golden Lion," but prior to that it went by the name of the "Sawyers' Arms." Here two able-bodied sawyers were seen working at a pit, and the words beneath were-"Halt, mate, let's drink." Early in the fifties we had the "Gold Digger's Return," corner of Charles and Patterson streets. A true type of the gold digger was depicted, holding a large nugget in his hand. The two we remember of late years are the Scotitish Chief and Elephant and Castle; the latter alone re- mains. A few old pictorial signboards, as we may call them, still remain in Hobart, but they are fast dying out. Now let me tell you something about our
friends, the Wesleyans. They came here first in 1822, but they found us northerners such a bad lot they cleared off to Hobart. To use their own expression, "The wicked- ness of Launceston, exceeds all descrip- tion." They came again in 1826, and built what is now Trinity school-room and verger's cottage; this was their first chapel and parsonage. Even then Launceston was not to their liking, as in 1828 they sold the two buildings to the Government, who used the chapel as a school and the cot- tage as a commissariat store. The money the Wesleyans got for the buildings was placed in the hands of Mr. J. P. Fawkner, of the Cornwall Hotel, as trustee; in 1832 the wily Scot came along. He wanted a church of his own, but had little money. A meeting was called, and the canny Scots appropriated the Wesleyans' money, and built themselves the little church which you all remember to have stood near the old market in Charles-street, lately built over by Mr. Walden. In 1832 our first Sunday school was started, in, what is now Trinity school-room, by Mr. Henry Dow- fing, Mrs. Theodore Bartley being the first lady teacher. In 1833 the first anni- versary took place, and the children were all taken, over to Mr. Fawkner's Cornwall Hotel, and regaled with roast beef and plum pudding. No weak tea and buns in those good old days. The first Roman Catholic place of worship ever built In Launceston is still in existence; it was built in 1837. It is now used as a dwelling house, and stands next Martini's buildings in Cameron-street, and where Martini's buildings stand at the corner opposite the Park gates once stood a wooden building of two storeys, with verandah top and bottom. This was one of the first private schools in Launceston in the twenties, kept by a Mr. Smyth. I will give you the names of some of the old boys, viz., hon. Thomas Reibey, hon. Wil- liam Dodery, James Reibey, Joseph Archer -names all well known to you. Our first post-office was opposite where the Jewish Synagogue now stands—the building that was occupied a few years ago by the Friendly Societies as a dispensary. Then, I believe, it was moved to buildings next where Mr. Alfred Green lives in George street. Where St. Andrew's Church now stands was the wa'chhouse. It was after- wards moved to the spot you all know too well, where the old post-office stood, where you now pay your land and income tax. The police office was in Cameron street, where the A.M.P. offices now stand. The back part of the Criterion Hotel in St. John-street was once the Court House, where the Judges sat. The present front was built afterwards. Now, in conclusion, let me tell you something of the early his- tory of your Mission House. The "Queen's Head"—it has never had any other name —was built in 1846 by Joshua Peck, who opened it as a licensed house, and kept it as such for a number of years. It then, in 1852, got into the hands of Mr. H. D. Parr, a racing man, and a useful man in the community as a veterinary surgeon. The coaches usually pulled up wat this hotel. After this William Atkinson took it, well known as the landlord of the Elephant and Castle; then a Scotchman named Buchanan, and after that it again fell into the hands of Mr. Parr; after that again Mr. Panton had it, the father of our re- spected Alderman, Mr. E. H. Panton; the house then fell into the hands of the former owner, Mr. Joshua Peck. When we look on the large gathering here this evening, and when we look back to the good work that has been carried on here for four years, can we regret the change from the "Queen's Head Hotel" to St. John's Mis- sion House? And we cannot but regret that this evening we gather here together to bid farewell to Canon Kelly, who will always be remembered as the founder of the Mission, and to whose energy and zeal its present success is due. By a strange cincidence Mr. H. D. Parr was the landlord of the Royal Hotel, which, a few years ago, was secured by Mrs. Henry Reed for a mission church. There are still hotels left in every town, which may well stand transforming. Let us hope there may come others to follow in the foot steps of Mrs. Reed and Canon Kelly.