BHS logo Bothwell and its Chronology

Location of the Town

Latitude 42° 23’ S    Longitude 147° 01’ E

 

Population

391 at 2011Census.

 

Situated on the Highland Lakes Road (A5), still called the Lake Highway by the locals, it is the last major town on the way North before crossing the Great Western Tiers.  It is an hour’s drive from Hobart and two hours from Launceston.  The town was developed on the banks of the Clyde River, occupying the one location that was not taken up amongst those marked out along the broad river valley.

Bothwell was the administrative centre of the formerBothwell Municipality, and is now a major town in the Central Highlands Municipality.

 

The Historical Development

For thousands of years this area was part of the lands of the Mairremmener people who moved seasonally between the central highlands and the coast.

 

The updated time line, below, is based on an earlier one prepared by an unknown Bothwell resident.

1807

Thomas Laycock, a Lieutenant in the NSW Corps, was sent by Lieut. Governor Paterson to walk with a party of men from Launceston to Hobart for food.  They camped on the banks of the Clyde River, somewhere near Bothwell on 8th February 1807.  After this, kangaroo hunters visited the area.  Grazing licences were issued, and stock keepers and stock huts occupied the area.

Thomas Laycock http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/laycock-thomas-2340

1818

Michael Howe, reputed to be the worst of the Bushrangers, was killed on the banks of the Shannon River near Hunterston.  His body was buried on site but his head was taken to Hobart for the reward.

Michael Howe http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/howe-michael-2206

1820

In the December, Lt. Governor Sorell accompanied by Surveyor G. W. Evans visited the area and found land suitable for sheep farming.

1821

The first two settler families arrived per Grace in August 1821.  They were Charles and Horace Rowcroft who at settled at Norwood and Grassy Hut and Edward Nicholas and family who settled at Nant.

Charles and Horace Rowcroft http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rowcroft-charles-2613

1821

The Clyde River acquired its official name about this time. It had previously been called the Fat Doe River, named probably by kangaroo hunters.  (For some years in the 1990s, there was a bakery called The Fat Doe Bakery.)

1822

The ship the Castle Forbes brought the following to the area –

   Captain Patrick Wood, a retired officer of the East Indian Army – who settled at Dennistoun

   Myles Patterson and his family who later settled at Hunterston.

   Captain and Mrs Sockett, who settled at Logan.

   Phillip Russell, who later established Strathbarton.

   Alexander Reid and family who settled at Ratho.

   Adam Smith who established part of Meadsfield.

Captain Patrick Wood http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wood-john-dennistoun-4883.

Phillip Russell http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/russell-george-2850

Alexander Reid http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/reid-alexander-2584

1822-3

Thomas Axford built a water mill at Thorpe.  It had a brick mill-house with an undershot water wheel deriving its energy from the Clyde River.  He met an untimely death in 1855 at Bagdad at the hands of a bushranger called John, alias Rocky, Whelan.

1823

Dr James Ross LL.D was granted the Hermitage on the Shannon River.  He called this property, which was a great distance from Bothwell, after Hermitage Castle in Scotland which was a far distant property of the Earl of Bothwell.  (Ross later sold it to Walter and Frederic Synnott).  Ross soon moved to Hobart and became Government Printer and a publisher.

James Ross http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ross-james-2607

1823

Hon. Capt. William Langdon RN received a grant of 1,500 acres on the Clyde River, which he called Montacute after his village in Somerset, England.  He settled permanently in Tasmania in 1834.  He later became a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council.  To him also belongs the dubious honour of having introduced the blackbird to Tasmania.

William Langdon http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/langdon-william-2327

1824

Archibald McDowall and family arrived in the Portland.  He had been injured at sea and took over the property Logan close to the Bothwell settlement on the invitation of Captain Wood who had bought it from Captain Francis Sockett.  Sockett had left the colony but died at Cape Town on his return home.

1824

The Triton arrived with a Fifeshire bull in the charge of James Foster.  This was the start of a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle at Dennistoun, which was destined to become the oldest in Australia.

1824

Captain William Clark settled at Cluny.  Augustus Earle’s painting of his original cottage is held by the National Library of Australia.

1825

Dr William Crowther was granted 800 acres on the banks of the Clyde at Hollow Tree (not far from Montacute).  From his family came two Premiers of the State of Tasmania.  The Crowthers did not live on the grant.

William Crowther http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/crowther-william-lodewyk-3297

1826

During this year Bothwell received a visit from an extremely colourful character by the name of Jorgen Jorgensen who was to become known as the ‘Viking of Van Diemen’s Land’.

Jorgen Jorgensen, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jorgenson-jorgen-2282

1828

Governor Arthur, on the recommendation of Archdeacon Scott (the first Archdeacon of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land), appointed Archibald McDowall catechist for the district at £50 a year.  The position of Commissariat Clerk was added soon afterwards.  Sunday services were held in the barn or house at Logan.

1828

Archdeacon Scott, during a visit to Bothwell to conduct a service, chose the site for a church.

1829

The first mail service was commenced, the postman usually being a ticket-of-leave man.

1829

The first resident minister, the Rev. James Garrett was appointed.

James Garrett http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/garrett-james-2081

1830

In the May, the foundation stone of the Church of St Luke, was laid by Alexander Reid.  The church cost £1,000 to build and was opened in 1831 as a combined Church of England and Presbyterian Church.  The Rev. Dr Drought, Rector of Green Ponds (now Kempton), alternated with Rev. Garrett in holding services in the Church.

In October, what was to be known as the “Black Line” was formed by Governor Arthur with the intention of rounding up the aborigines and placing them under the control of a competent establishment.  It cost the government at least £30,000 and was a failure.

1830s

During this period, the following persons were recorded against the respective positions –

      Mr E. A. Wheatley, Chief District Constable

      Mr Phineas Moss, Chief Constable’s Clerk

      Mr N. S. Quick, Postmaster

      Major C. Schaw of 21st Regiment, Police Magistrate

It is of interest to note that it costfive pence to send a letter from Bothwell to Hobart at this time.

Probably the first golf in Australia was played by Mr. Alexander Reid.  Golf was played on many farms about Bothwell.  When a club was formed it played on both Logan and Ratho but eventually played only on Ratho and continues to do so.

1831

The Church of St Luke was opened.  Also in November of this year the Hobart Town Courier reported that during the winter months, 100,000 kangaroo skins were taken around Bothwell.

1832

George Augustus Robinson passed through Bothwell with the remaining members of the Big River and Oyster Bay bands.  They danced a corroboree in front of the Castle Hotel in Bothwell.

The inhabitants offered to contribute 100 guineas towards making good the Melton Mowbray to Bothwell road.  During this year, the Cape of Good Hope Inn was opened at Black Marsh (now known as Apsley).

1833

Wentworth House, known at various times as Bothwell House, Inverhall, the Parsonage, Schawfield, and the old Rectory, was built for Captain (later Major) D’Arcy Wentworth.  The house was bought shortly afterwards by his successor, Major Charles Schaw, who altered it.

Charles Schaw http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/schaw-charles-2634

1834

In the June, Alexander Reid introduced clover to the district for fodder.

This year also saw the formation of the first country library in Tasmania through the inauguration of the Bothwell Literary Society.  The foundation members included Alexander Reid, Archibald McDowall, Dr Sharland, Capt. Wood, Rev. James Garrett, and Messrs. Barr, Russell, Axford, G. Nicholas, Patterson, Allardyce, G. Russell, Tod, Howell and Thompson

http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/B/Bothwell Literary Society.htm

1835

Dr. E. Swarbreck Hall, M.R.C.S., L.S.A., the pioneer epidemiologist of the Australian colonies, gave a lecture to the Bothwell Literary Society while he was stationed in Bothwell.

E. Swarbreck Hall, M.R.C.S., L.S.A., http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hall-edward-swarbreck-2144

1835

Bothwell inhabitants presented George Augustus Robinson with a silver cup made in Hobart.  This was in gratitude for removing the local aborigines.  This cup is one of Australia’s colonial treasures.

1837

In March of this year, the governor Sir John Franklin became Patron of the Bothwell Literary Society.

Later in the year Sir John and Lady Franklin visited Bothwell and were entertained to dinner and a grand ball by Major Charles Schaw, the police magistrate.

Charles Schaw http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/schaw-charles-2634

1840

About this time moves were made to declare the Church of St. Luke the property of the Church of England.  Rev. James Garrett resigned as minister for the district.

James Garrett http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/garrett-james-2081

1841

To show their appreciation of the efforts of Rev. James Garrett, the members of the Bothwell Literary Society presented to him a silver tray made in Hobart Town.  This tray is one of Australia’s colonial treasures.

The Thomas Wigmore S.P.C.K. was appointed the first resident Chaplain of the Church of England on 23rd. March 1841.

James Garrett http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/garrett-james-2081

1842

A petition was lodged, by the inhabitants of the district before the Governor, Sir John Franklin, complaining about the state of the Bothwell/Melton Mowbray road.  The petitioners asserted that very little money had been spent so far by the government on their roads.

John Franklin http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/franklin-sir-john-2066

1843

A second petition was lodged in the May, complaining about “the wretched state of the road between Bothwell Township and the main road”.  A toll-gate was even suggested to help pay for road gang.

1845

Thomas Wilkinson opened Wentworth House as a private boarding school for boys and girls.

1847

Clifton Priory was built by the second Anglican chaplain, the Reverend Robert Wilson.  He hoped it would become the rectory, but the Bishop and governor would not fund it.  The house became the property of the enterprising Maria Lord.

1849

An Act of Parliament was passed for the making, repairing and maintaining the road leading from the Township of Bothwell to the main road and for making, repairing and maintaining other roads in the district of Bothwell  (13 Victoria No 5 1849).

At dawn on the 27th day of July 1849, a pistol duel was fought between the son of Captain William Clark and the brother of Archibald McDowall II in the old cemetery behind the church.  The duel was over the daughter of Captain King, the officer in charge of the military guard on Barrack Hill.  No one was hurt as the seconds had loaded the pistols with raspberry jam.

1850

Two “Irish Exiles” – John Martin and John Mitchel – lived in Bothwell.  For some time they were in a cottage at Nant.  Later Mitchel’s family joined him there.  An account of his life was written by John Mitchel, and subsequently published in book form as the “Jail Journal”.

Writing in his journal in the April, John Mitchel mentions that at this time Bothwell contained 60-70 houses, a church, four large public houses (“establishments which are much better supported on the voluntary system and have much larger congregations than the church”), a post office, several carpenters’ shops and blacksmiths’ shops, a police office, police barracks and a police magistrate.  There were also two mills on the Clyde.

John Mitchel http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mitchel-john-2461

1851

A “well-horsed conveyance” belonging to a Mr Blackwell of the Royal Oak Inn at Cross Marsh was running three times a week to and from Bothwell to connect with the fast mail coaches on the main road.

1856

Wentworth House was purchased by Reverend Wickham Hesketh as the Rectory.  It remained so until 1956.

The building in Alexander Street known as the Literary Society Building was opened as a school, headmaster’s residence and home for the Literary Society’s library.  It is now part of the local government offices.

1856

The Hon. Captain William Langdon built the Church of St James at Montacute.  It was consecrated by the first Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend Russell Nixon.

1859

The Wesleyan Chapel was opened in Dennistoun Road.  This has now been demolished and the sandstone used elsewhere.

1862

Bothwell was proclaimed a rural Municipality on 22nd October, 1862.  Also in this year the Bothwell Cricket Club was recorded as having forty members with Mr. W. Bedford as Captain of the Team and Mr. S. Arnett as Secretary.

1863

On the 30th January, 1863 the first Municipal Council was elected comprising Archibald McDowall (Warden), Thomas Axford, Edward Nicholas, Alexander Reid, Frederick Synott and William Blackburn Wood, Councillors.  The first Council Clerk appointed was Matthew Robinson, at an annual salary of £170.  He held the position for eighteen years.

1864

James Wilson was appointed as Superintendent of Police for the district from south of Longford to the Shannon Tier.  He named the property Steppes after the Scottish place of that name.  His pioneer home is now a state reserve.

St. Andrews Catholic Church, designed by Henry Hunter, was opened in Bothwell.  It was demolished in the twentieth century.

1866

On the 3rd. July, 1866, Bothwell was proclaimed a Town.

1868

The first English trout, trwenty-five in number, bred at Salmon Ponds from ova brought from England, were released in the Clyde River at Logan by Archibald McDowall.  Eleven trout were also released in Lake Crescent.

1871

Reports on the irrigation of lands in the Bothwell district said that it was being carried out there to a greater extent than in any other part of Tasmania.  An irrigation tunnel was constructed to lead water to Sherwood that was about 150 yards long, by about 5-7 feet high and 2 feet wide.  At Dennistoun, about 11 miles of waterways were constructed to lead water from the Clyde.

1880

The Bothwell Football Club was formed with Mr. A.A. Reid as Captain.

1887

Bothwell State School opened in Market Place.  This was the third public school building.  It is now the Australasian Golf Museum.

1888

The first sod was turned on the proposed Brighton-Apsley Branch Railway Line.

1891

The Branch was opened, providing a comfortable and easy means of communication between Apsley and Hobart, serving what was known as the Bagdad Valley.

Bishop Henry Montgomery consecrated the Anglican Church of St Michael and All Angels.  Funds had come mostly from the Nicholas family of Nant.

Henry Montgomery http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/montgomery-henry-hutchinson-7629

1898

The Clyde Water Trust was constituted to ensure that, at all times, there was an adequate quantity of water for domestic purposes for the Towns of Bothwell and Hamilton, and to control irrigation.  The Trust comprised the Wardens and one Councillor from each of the Municipalities of Bothwell and Hamilton, and the Council Clerk of Bothwell.

1898

Mr A.C. Hirst, who was to create a near-record for length of service, was appointed Council Clerk.  His residence was the house known as Clifton Priory, situated on Barrack Hill.

1903

The district of Black Marsh was proclaimed as the Town of Apsley on the 3rd. October, 1902.

1904

The Bothwell Freemason Lodge was formed on 6th. December, 1904.

1910

The Church of St Bartholomew at Strathbarton was consecrated on August 24th. 1910.

1911

The Church of St. Luke at the Steppes was dedicated on 18th October 1911.

1913

In partnership with Sir Philip Oakley Fysh, Mr Bayard Edgell rented the Estate of Dennistoun, buying the property in 1918.

Philip Oakley Fysh, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/fysh-sir-philip-oakley-6262

1914–1918

Bothwell sent 110 men to the First World War.  Five received Military Medals.  Twenty-nine were killed.  A memorial in the shape of a vertical sundial was erected in the park.  Designed by Alan Cameron Walker, it is the only one of its kind in Australia.

Alan Cameron Walker http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/walker-alan-cameron-1099

1916

Waddamana ‘A’ Power Station was put into commission comprising two 5,000 hp units.  It was extended to 65,800 hp in 1922.

1920

The Miena multiple-arch Dam was commenced.  It was intended to raise the level of Great Lake by 40 feet to provide a greater storage capacity to feed the Waddamana ‘A’ and ‘B’ stations, and the Shannon Power Station.

1929

Construction of the Shannon Power Station was commenced.

1934

The Shannon Power Station was put into commission with a capacity of 14,500 hp.

1947

The Brighton-Apsley Branch Railway Line was closed on 30th June, 1947.

1949

Waddamana ‘B’ Power Station was put into commission with a capacity of 66,800 hp.

1950

The Church of St Michael and All Angels was visited by His Grace, the Lord Bishop of Canterbury during his tour of Australia.

1956

A new Church of England Rectory in Patrick Street was purchased.  It was formerly the house and surgery of Dr. John Brennan.

The Bothwell Area School moved into new premises in Patrick Street.

1962

Dr Grote Reber of Wheaton, Illinois, USA, “the father of radio astronomy”, moved to Bothwell and set up an instrument to record radio waves at Dennistoun, Bothwell.

Grote Reber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_Reber

1969

Bothwell sale yards were moved from within the town boundary to a site on the Hollow Tree Road.

1977

Formation of the Bothwell Historical Society.

1978

International Highland Spin-In began at Bothwell.

1984

New concrete bridge built across the Clyde River.

1993

The Bothwell and the Hamilton Municipal Councils were amalgamated to form the Central Highlands Council.

1996

Establishment of the Australasian Golf Museum in the former school building in Market Place.

1999

Farm practices changed with the advent of pivot irrigators and the growth of cropping in the district, especially crops of opium poppies.

2001

Bothwell Historical Society published its history, “Bothwell Revisited: a History – Foundation, Federation and the Millennium”.  In 2014, when this timeline was prepared, a second edition is still in print.