1821 Info 1: Caleb Crompton, a free settler
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My family has long treasured an original letter, sent from Van Diemen's
Land, in which my ancestor, Caleb Crompton, extols the virtue of his Garden of
Eden and announces the birth of his first daughter, named Maralena
Louisa in his letter but Madalena in all other census data.
Caleb's punctuation hindered early attempts to locate his 'paradise' in modern Tasmania. Launceston Library that narrowed the location to the Longford/Lyttleton (now Cressy) area of Lake River south of Launceston. The settlement, perhaps once a police post, is no longer recorded on the map. Lake River joins the Macquarie River before flowing to the sea at Launceston.
From this single letter, and with thanks to the Internet, much of Caleb's life has unfolded.
I have got about 100 Busheals by me we cannot make much monny for
everything is so low but we have a fine Colony and want for nothing as
we can injoy more riches than you can at home it is a fine country for
a poor man with a large family for he can get thare Belles fill with the
best of species as for sheep heads and plucks thay are not heat but by
dogs for meat is to pence per lb and wheat 2s..6d per Busheal and potatoes
2 Shillings per 100lbs greene peas six pence per peck fruit you can have
it given a man may start one a large Farm with 100 pounds
I made more money with sheep and Cattle feeding on turnips last year but there is more trying that plan this year and these rain‘s is good for turnips my
Macquarie River area - 1874-76. Edward Paxman 1819-1898
|we think of sowing 60 acres down with English grass for to keep Cow to make butter for the Winter as its to shillings per lb. we heard Mr and Mrs Carns geting home and wish we made more money with sheep and Cattle feeding on turnips last year but there is more trying that plan this year and these rain‘s is good for turnips my turnips are looking well I have 30 acres in this year and I have bought large Bullocks at £2.10s each and when fat thay will fetch from 8 to 12 pounds each we have 200 acres of corn 50 of turnips 2 of Potatoes three of Tobacco and better than 1/2 acre of Onons thare is nothing but what I try I shall plant a bed of Licorice and a bed of Hops we think of sowing 60 acres down with English grass for to keep Cow to make butter for the Winter as its to shillings per lb. we heard Mr and Mrs Carns geting home and wish we ____ with them but I think we are better her for we can get a good living easeher than in England. but we should like to pay you a visit some morning to Breakfast and take some hot cakes|
Above:' Their Little Home' - JA Turner, 1894, painting at the time of the Heidelberg School, perhaps of a settlement in Gippsland, NSW, which creates images of Caleb's Spring Dale.
Fanny has good look
with her Poultry she as 82 chicks with 6 hen‘s Turkes Guinea Hens Geese Ducks Moscovy Ducks
and all species of Poultry
I now think I have informed you of all as I Fanny and the Childe are well and we are out of det and ____ you all well and comfortable blef (bless) God for it and hope these fue lines will find you all in good health and happy you will please to remember me to Father Brothers and Sisters and all inquiring Friends. Fanny joins with me in kind Love to all so no more at present
from your ever
Longford and Norfolk Plain - 1844. John Skinner 1805-76
Source of prints:
Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania
JA Turner printed in the Dalesman July 2003
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This page was created by Richard Crompton
and maintained by Chris Glass
Updated 12 August 2003