2012 has started well for us. Our first job has been a beauty. A really interesting task. A Queenslander asked us to find information supporting family folklore that his ancestors had lobbed at
as early as 1842. And we’re pleased to report that the folklore has become fact, for we were able to trace the people he was looking for and validate our research with photos of their burial places. Tasmania
It’s interesting how many Tasmanian pioneers’ births, deaths and marriages are not on the Pioneer Index and this was the case in this instance. Fortunately, however, this gentleman’s predecessors had done a few things worthy of mention in early Tasmanian papers, and from there, with a bit of effort mind you, we were able to trace them to two specific areas –
and Colebrook districts. So, with our camera, we went to Jericho first. Jericho
For those of you who don’t know
Jericho, now days it is a beautiful peaceful spot that time forgot, but, in fact, after being settled.in1816, it became a key stop-over for coaches on their way from to Launceston. It is one of Hobart ’s oldest settlements and was originally known as Jericho Plains. No prizes for deducing where the name came from. Yes, you are absolutely right, it came from the Bible. History has it that right back in the early 1800’s, when food was pretty scarce in Australia , parties of Royal Marines were sent out in search of game such as emu and kangaroo. It is said that during these expeditions, a well-educated Marine Private named Hugh Germain, with the Bible in his pack, started giving places religious and Middle Eastern names. Hence, in an area not too far from Hobart Town Hobart Town, we have Jericho, Jerusalem (now Colebrook), Bagdad, Lake Tiberius, and of course, the Jordan River.
Even today, excellent examples of colonial sandstone architecture are to be seen in the
area; culverts, bridges and walls for instance, that date back to the early 1930’s. Jericho St. James Church of England dominates the tiny town. It was first built in 1838 and served the community well until, 50 years later, cracks appeared in the building and it was decided to build a new church on the same site. In 1888, the new and present church was consecrated. We had our lunch in the shade of the 1838 church’s remaining derelict wall.
Jericho was home to the Probation Station of 1840, which was built to house the 200 convicts who constructed the to Launceston road and the Commandant’s Cottage (1842). The Probation Station has all but disappeared, although the site which contains some of its sandstone walls is there to seen and, we are pleased to report, is well protected now. The Commandant’s Cottage still stands. Hobart
We really enjoyed our visit to
Jericho and of course, the sense of achievement we experienced when, with painstaking patience, we pieced together the badly smashed headstone that belonged to our client’s ancestors. Jericho
Next day, we tootled off to Colebrook, once known as
Jerusalem, on behalf of our client, looking for other ancestors he hoped to find. And, once again he did. It was the same old story, people who came here very early in the island’s settlement and stayed, yet for some reason their births, deaths and marriages don’t appear on the Pioneer Index. Queensland
, Colebrook is an historic settlement. It was first called Jerusalem Plains, as we previously explained, thanks to Private Germain, but by 1834 it was called Colebrook Dale and in 1894 the name Colebrook was officially gazetted. Jericho
was used as a convict probation and hiring station. Convicts stationed there built a sandstone courthouse and gaol which still stands today and they worked in the coalmines and quarries in the area. The probation and hiring station ceased to operate in 1848. Jerusalem
Anyway, we were surely blessed with good fortune on this visit for not only did we find a once again crumbling headstone (not a jigsaw puzzle effort this time) that marked the resting place of our client’s ancestors, but we gained access to the church even though we hadn’t taken the time to prearrange it. An oversight on our part at Jericho and Colebrook, for normally when planning a tour, one of the first things we do if we know the church involved in the baptism, death or marriage, is to find the person able to admit us to the church and organize to be admitted. This time, however, fools that we are, I guess neither of us saw the need. Well, like they say in the classics, we won’t make that mistake again. At any rate, getting into St. Patrick’s was a real bonus for us and believe me, we felt privileged.
Sadly, the town was almost completely destroyed by 1967 bushfires but it has since been rebuilt. People told us that many buildings were lost, in fact we were told that one side of the road was all but wiped out while the other side lost buildings randomly – one here and one there. It was hard for us to imagine this terrible time as we poked around in the cemeteries of both St. Patrick’s and St. James’s, almost, it seemed, in a place whose serenity had been undisturbed for centuries.
Today, Colebrook is a lovely rural community that still contains a number of buildings listed on the register of the National Estate and like
, it’s well worth a visit. Jericho