Joseph and Ellen Crothers: in Tasmania
3. The Voyage
4. In Tasmania
On 24 January, two days after arriving, according to the Register of the Hiring or Disposal of Immigrants by the Indian Queen, Joseph was engaged as a farm labourer by Mr. A. Finlay of Brighton at 12 shillings per week, for one month, with rations.
In a document found among Joseph’s intestacy papers, Alexander Finlay, a lawyer, claimed he had hired Joseph on board Indian Queen “as a farm labourer and was afterwards instrumental in getting him into the Police Force in Tasmania in the month of April 1856”.
(The Valuation Roll of 1871 shows Alexander Finlay resident on a farm and flourmill called Millford at Bagdad. It also shows Al. Finlay of Jordan Banks owning a paddock of 8 acres at Brighton, occupied by Rev. Jehiel Wm. Shipphard.)
So began the Crothers family’s association with the Brighton area, particularly Pontville. In 1853, an “advertisement described Pontville as scenic, with wonderful views, the meandering Jordan River, an excellent bridge, and ‘solid stone buildings in every direction.’ ” (Alison Alexander, Brighton and Surrounds, Brighton Council, Gagebrook 2006, page 54) But, in his book, A Residence in Tasmania, published in London in 1856, Captain Stoney Butler called Pontville a “poor little village built on a miserable little stream, though even he praised the view from the hill above the ‘hamlet.’ ” (ibid.) Whatever their opinion of the settlement, Joseph and Ellen would live out their days there.
The names on old documents can cause some confusion. Brighton and Pontville were almost interchangeable during much of the nineteenth century. Governor Lachlan Macquarie had named Brighton in 1821, when he fixed on a peninsula formed by the east bank of the Jordan River and the north bank of Strathallen Creek as the site for a town. When the town was surveyed in 1824 and laid out in 1825, it was on the southern side of Strathallen Creek. Governor Arthur suggested Brighton replace Hobart as the capital of the colony, but the idea did not find favour and the town failed to grow. “Brighton was not on the new main road from Bridgewater. Instead, a new centre of population grew on the main road at Pontville, which developed into (the) major town” of the area. (ibid., page 36)
By 1839, a police office had been built in Pontville and, in that year, a watch house and gaol were erected there. A brick house built in Marlborough Street in about 1840 may have been for police or gaol staff.
In the 1858 Valuation Roll, Pontville is shown as having 49 houses, three hotels, two churches, three shops, a post office and a watch house.