1821 Info 1c2: Caleb Crompton
His life in Van Diemen's Land - finding 'Springdale'

Early attempts to locate Spring Dale Lake River

For some still unknown reason Caleb's letter of 30 November 1845 was in the possession of my grandfather, Arthur CROMPTON. Grandma Jane then passed it on to my father and eventually it came to me. It was this letter and the availability of the internet, that started my search for Caleb and his descendants.

On 13 April 1966 my uncle, Edmond Thomas CROMPTON of 1660 Russell Road, Ottawa 8, wrote to Mr P Eldershan, the State Archivist in Hobart, enclosing a photocopy of Caleb's letter and asking for the return of the 'three other letters' enclosed. He asked:

By writing 'Spring Dale' in 1966, Uncle Ted didn't know how close he was to the truth. However, without the aid of computer databases, Hobart Archives replied to say they were unable to trace Spring Dale or any land owned by Caleb CROMPTON. They added 'Therefore it seems fairly unlikely that he did not actually own this land but only leased it.' No mention was made of the Spring Vale alternative.

Early sketches of the Evandale country side

Source: Caleb Crompton correspondence file, LINC Tasmania, Hobart

Lake River, Tasmainia 58Kb-jpg
Above: Ben Lomond and the Lake River from Richmond Hill
Creator: Emily Stuart Bowring 1835-ca. 1912 Unsigned and undated. Pencil on paper; 23 x 34cm. Date: c.1856
Source: LINC Tasmania in: Sketchbook of Tasmanian scenes The search facilities access photographs of rivers, mountains, landscapes and history of Tasmania. (Accessed 07 August 2015)
1821info1c2, sheet 2
Lake River, Tasmainia 46Kb-jpg
Above: Lake River Western Tier from Richmond Hill
Creator: Emily Stuart Bowring 1835-ca. 1912 Unsigned and undated. Pencil on paper; 23 x 31cm. Date: c.1856
Source: Opt cit LINC Tasmania in: Sketchbook of Tasmanian scenes (Accessed 07 August 2015)

Later, Launceston Reference Library suggest that the homestead of Spring Dale was along Lake River, south-east of Cressey, but Spring Dale did not appear on modern maps. This information clarified Caleb's home address, written as Spring Dale NO COMMA Lake River, as Spring Dale COMMA Lake River. Additionally they said:

1821info1c2, sheet 3

The geographical location of Lake River, Tasmania

Originally and in Caleb's time, Lake River joined the South Esk River is near Evandale, 12½ miles (20km) south-south-east of Launceston. The Macquarie River was its tributary

Today, Lake River is only so-called from its origins in the south, to its union with the Macquarie River near Longford - a modest stretch of some thirty-odd miles. The first 15 miles (24km) of the southern reaches of Lake River remain to this day, inaccessible by track - there are none. The main centres are Longford, Cressy and Evandale.

Lake River is a meadow stream, flanked by flat pasture, grassy basins and backwater lagoons. Intensive cropping, aided by river irrigation, takes place on the reddish-brown to grey- brown friable clays. Grazing supplies the Longford abattoir.

The region formerly know as Lake River was re-christened to Pisa around 1900. Pisa remains as a southern township, though that is a most flattering description of the outpost.
An early map of Tasmania 25Kb-jpg
Map locating Evandale district in 2015 - 28kB jpg Above: The lake River area within Tasmania

Left: Map locating Evandale district, in relationship to Launceston and Longford, in 2015
1821info1c2, sheet 4
When Tallis drew his map in 1851, the Macquarie River was still a tributary of Lake River. Evandale, 6½ miles (10.4 km) east-north-east of Longford, was not included as it was not incorporated as a town until 1866. It would be located at the settlement marked as Barclay - circled red.

Perth (marked Perm) was the registration district where Caleb's first daughter Maralena was registered and Longford was where his second daughter Elizabeth Emily Milner was registered.

Right: An abstract from John Tallis' 1851 map of Van Diemen's Land showing the Lake River and Launceston areas
Click on the image to open an A4, 2.16mB, Tallis' map of Van Diemen's Land in a new window
John Tallis' 1851 map of Van Diemen's Land - 2.16mB jpg Abstract from John Tallis' 1851 map of Van Diemen's Land - 119kB jpg
1821info1c2, sheet 5

David Young's investigations to find 'Spring Dale' in Hobart LINC, September 2015

David Young was commissioned to clarify Caleb's position in Van Diemen's Land. He reported, with reference to Launceston Archives Office, LINC Tasmania Ref: CS08/1/164 P150 (see 1821info1b):

On arrival Caleb was employed by Mr MANNING of Evandale, which is close to the old confluence of Lake River and South Esk River. This was Mr Thomas MANNING. However, a Mr Frederick MANNING, properly called Mr Frederick MANING, owned a 'bush block' to the south. The investigation was to find whether Caleb worked for Mr Thomas MANNING or Mr Frederick MANING?

When Caleb arrived he was initially employed by Mr MANNING of Evandale. However, J.H. Hughes' 1837 survey map of Tasmanian land grants - see below -shows no Mr Manning (with two 'n's) registered as a land owner in the Evandale area.

However, Hughes shows land belonging to Mr MANNING as a 'bush-block' of between 200 and 300 acres (81-120ha) on the same latitude as Campbell Town and between the western slopes of Mount O'Connor and Lake River. This block actually belonged to Mr Frederick MANING, who, on 17 April 1833, had sold 3060 acres (1240ha) to C Swanston.

Right: The Lake River's drainage basin, settlements, roads and the the location of Evandale and the MANNING bush-block.
Click on the map to open a 64kB A4 image in a new window

Note 1: In Caleb's day the Macquarie River was a tributary of Lake River. Lake River flowed into the South Esk.
Note 2: The location of Trafalgar - see later - is shown in the north-east corner.
Note 3: Frederick MANING's bush-block is located in the south-west corner of the map and below highlighted in purple.
Map locating Lake River - 64kB jpg Map locating Lake River - 39kB jpg
Map showing lands of F Maning - 20kB jpg
1821info1c2, sheet 6

David Young, having researched F MANING, concludes:

Frederick MANING, whose name is more often spelled ‘Manning’, though the man himself seemed to favour a single n, sold 3060 acres to C Swanston on 17 April 1833. He obviously retained some land there, because of the block of somewhere between 200 and 300 acres shown on Hughes’ map [see above left], and the fact he is described in his 1862 Will as being ‘late of Lake River’ (Wills book 8 no. 720). MANING retired to Sandy Bay, then as now an upmarket Hobart suburb, at some time in the 1850s, dying there on 12 June 1864 at the age of 76 (Mercury, 13 June 1864).
MANING had very strong business interests in Hobart, which would have kept him there. I don't think that he would have trusted a distant farm to an unknown young migrant, even if he was a Yorkshireman. [Nor do I] believe that he would ever have been described as 'Mr Manning of Evandale', when he never lived in the town or closer than 35km from it.

David Young was pretty sure that Thomas MANNING, the Evandale farmer, was the man whom Caleb worked for from 1843, and that we can eliminate Frederick MANING from the story. The main reason behind his thinking is that:

Map of the northern located portion of Van Diemen's Land, surveyed by J.H. Hughes 1837 - 194Kb jpg Map of the northern located portion of Van Diemen's Land, surveyed by J.H. Hughes 1837 - 104Kb jpg
Above: Map of the area north of the South Esk, Van Diemen's Land, surveyed by J.H. Hughes 1837
1821info1c2, sheet 7

Click on the map to open an enlarged A4 portrait 194kB map in a new window.
Source: LINC Tasmania (Accessed: 04 August 2015)

He continues:

Thomas MANNING was a tenant farmer on a large Evandale property called Trafalgar. Prior to that, he appears to have been a pound keeper on Norfolk Plains (Launceston Advertiser, 20 September 1832 p298c1). In 1846 he leased two farmlets on Trafalgar, one of 171 acres (69ha) and one of 174 acres (70ha). The leases expired in that year, and it is unclear whether Thomas renewed them (Launceston Advertiser, 15 August 1846 p4c3). He certainly remained at Trafalgar, possibly still on a farm, possibly in a smaller rented cottage, for that is where he lived when he died in 1851 at the age of 64 (Cornwall Chronicle, 8 November 1851 p714c4). His widow, Sarah, was still living on the Trafalgar property when she died two years later. It is this that makes me think that the Mannings might have relocated to a rented cottage on the property rather than a farm (Cornwall Chronicle, 2 November 1853 p2c3).
In David Young's opinion Caleb resided at Trafalgar or on the Trafalgar estate.

On 22 June 1831, the eight year-old [Frances] Louisa LOMBE was 'indentured' to Mr Stuart (sic) at the residence of Major [Donald] McLeod for the amount of £6 (six pounds or £535 in 2018). Major McLeod lived at Talisker, a farm in the valley of the Rose Rivulet, 2.5km across the fields from Trafalgar. Placing Caleb at Trafalgar means that it is easy for him to meet, court and later marry Frances.

Left: A modern map locating Trafalgar and Talisker farms and the town of and Evandale. Note the close proximity of the Trafalgar and Talisker land.
Map locating Trafalgar and Talisker homesteads - 58kB jpg


Other LINC Tasmania sources: to locate Spring Dale

1821info1c2, sheet 8

Trafalgar and Spring Vale - LINC Launceston

On 10 November 2015, in a LINC Launceston interview with archivist Steve Pearsall, it was deemed very possible that Caleb's location was actually Spring Vale, of which Spring Vale Creek is the permanent water supply for the Trafalgar land. It was deemed acceptable, despite the very clear use in the letter of 'Dale', that Caleb had mis-written the name, perhaps using the familiar Yorkshire dialect 'dale' for 'vale', there being only one letter different. Or, it was again acceptable that the name changed between the time of Caleb's letter and the visitation of John Richardson GLOVER.

It was deemed acceptable, at this present time, that Caleb and Frances lived at the Spring Vale settlement on the land of Trafalgar.

Page 46 of John Richardson GLOVER's Sketchbook of Evandale describes Spring Vale as:

'... part of of Andrew Barclay's Trafalgar Estate, became the site of the first tunnel designed to take water from Evandale to Launceston. A convict station with accommodation for convicts, guards and supervisor and engineers were on the property.' Major McLeod, of Talisker, is reported to be commanding convicts.

Caleb's marriage to Frances Lombe

Caleb was married at York Street Baptist Church, Launceston on 14 July 1844 to Frances Louisa LOMBE (Fanny).  Fanny's brother William was a witness.

Right: York Street Baptist Chapel taken in 1995. There was a note attached to the picture saying: "former Baptist Chapel". This is self-evident from the picture. In 2015 this was a Chinese take Away at 113 York Street.
York Street Baptist Chapel, Launceston 46Kb-jpg
Victoria Pioneer Index:
14 Aug 1844 Caleb aged 24 Frances aged 22
1821info1c2, sheet 9
1844 MARRIAGES in the registration district of LAUNCESTON
No. When Married
and where
Name and Surname Age Rank Signature and Description of Parties Name of Clergyman When Registered Signature of Officiating Minister
1054 14th August 1844
Baptist Chapel
York Street
Caleb Crompton 24 Farmer Caleb Crompton
Henry Dowling 14th August
Frances Louisa
22 Spinster Frances Louisa Lombe Spinster
Married in the Baptist Chapel, York Street, Launceston according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Congregational lists, by Henry Dawling, Vicar

This marriage was       {Caleb Crompton 
solomnised between us   {Frances Louisa Lombe 
  In the Presence  { William Lombe
  of us            { Mary Ann Robertson

Caleb's marriage certificate 1844 - kB jpg Caleb's Marriage certificate - 29kB jpg
Above: Caleb's Marriage certificate Ref: LINC Tasmania RGD37/1/3 no 1054
Click on the image to open a full size A4 image in a new window

Source: LINC Tasmania (Accessed: 04 August 2015)

Life at Spring Dale

For sometime after Caleb's letter to his mother the farm must have been successful as . On 19 July 1848 Caleb sailed to Port Adelaide "exporting" his produce on board the brig 'Henry' (107 tons, AF Farley master) and perhaps again on 4 September 1848, this time exporting 17 bags of oats. These trips suggest that Caleb and his family may have been frequent travelers between Launceston and Adelaide.

The Archives Office of Tasmania records Caleb's journey at POL220/1 p10. Here he is also referred to as a 'free passenger'.

Right: The passenger list of the "Henry" showing Caleb listed on the bottom line. Click here for a 296kb gif image.
Small image of Henry passenger list - kB jpg
1821info1c2, sheet 10

Whilst at Spring Dale, Maralena Louisa was born on 06 July 1845 and Elizabeth Milner on 31 June 1847.

Maralena Crompton's birth certificate 1845 - kB jpg Maralena Crompton's birth certificate 1845 - 14kB jpg
Above: A composite image of Maralena Crompton's birth certificate Ref: LincTasmania RGD33/1/27 no 612
Click on the image to open a full size A4 image in a new window

Note: LINC Tasmania record Maralena as Madalena

Elizabeth milner Crompton's birth certificate 1847- kB jpg Elizabeth milner Crompton's birth certificate 1847- 14kB jpg
Above: A composite image of Elizabeth milner Crompton's birth certificate Ref: LincTasmania RGD33/1/27 no 842
Click on the image to open a full size A4 image in a new window

Source: LINC Tasmania (Accessed: 04 August 2015)

Scenes of early Trafalgar and Trafalgar in the 1920s

John Richardson GLOVER (1790-1868), the eldest son of the famous landscape painter John GLOVER, landed in Van Diemen's Land in 1831, with his father. He visited and sketched Trafalgar and Spring Vale. The remaining black and white photographs were taken by the Hart family. With kind permission of the 2015 owner, Trevor Couchman.

Trafalgar is a Permanently Registered Listed building on the Tasmania Heritage Register, number THR:5317. It is an early brick two-roomed cottage built before 1820 as temporary accommodation before the main house was constructed several years later. It characterises the single storey brick Old Colonial Georgian rural domestic building. The main house is now long gone, while the original brick house remains (though weatherboard additions cover three sides of the structure). Barclay continued acquiring land in the surrounding district and by 1828 was considered the largest owner of good land on the island. He died in 1839. Several roads such as Barclay Street, Cambock Lane and Trafalgar Lane mark his influence on the area.

Source: North Esk Irrigation Scheme Dalness Dam Quarry Environmental Effects Report January 2017, Tasmanian Irrigation 30/01/2017 (Accessed 06 June 2019))

1821info1c2, sheet 13
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John Richardson Glover's sketch of the front of Trafalgar circa 1840, showing out buildings

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The front of Trafalgar circa 1920

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A Trafalgar post card

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The Harts standing in front of the kitchen, at the back of the property

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A young member of the Hart family sitting in front of the wool shed (right) and stable/machine shed

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The old man, holding the dog,  worked on the farm and lived in the wooden building across the field from the back of the house

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Two Hart girls opposite farm buildings

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Two of the Hart boys with plough horses, showing the field vegetation and landscape, probably looking west towards Gully Run Hill

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A cereal harvest, probably looking north to Bailey Hill

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The Hart's with a reaper binder with 'grass' crop


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