1854: a year onshore at Hobart Tasmania for Captain Edward Goldsmith

CAPTAIN EDWARD GOLDSMITH master mariner and merchant
HOBART, TASMANIA (Van Diemen’s Land) 1854

[Hobart Town from the Domain]
Author/Creator: Bull, Knud Geelmuyden, 1811-1889
Publication Information: [ca. 1854]
Physical description: 1 painting : oil on paper laid on canvas ; 34 x 51 cm.
Digitised item from: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

The year 1854 was significant in the life of Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) because he spent it ashore at his antipodean residence, 19 Davey Street, Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) with his immediate family: his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day and his two sons Richard Sydney Goldsmith and Edward Goldsmith jnr, unlike the two preceding decades from 1830 to 1852 when he was at sea for eight months of every year as commander of merchant vessels plying the wool trade routes from London via the Americas, the Falklands and South Africa to Port Jackson (Sydney) NSW and Hobart, VDL. The following year, however, Captain Goldsmith put to auction the household contents of his residence at 19 Davey St Hobart (on August 8th and 9th, 1855), plus the contents of his store and yard, and by February 1856 he had departed Tasmania with his wife Elizabeth and son Edward jnr, having lost his eldest son Richard to typhoid in 1854. He retired to his estate, Gad’s Hill House in the village of Higham, Kent as a neighbour of Charles Dickens, never to return to the Antipodes, although it would take another decade before he brought his business interests in the colonies to a close.

In brief, the year 1854 ashore at Hobart saw Captain Goldsmith’s participation in these events, and probably several more not noted in the press:

  • Licensed as wholesale liquor merchant
  • Attendance at banquet to celebrate the opening of the New Market
  • Death of eldest son Richard Sydney Goldsmith from fever
  • Committee member for Royal Society dinner to honour Sir William Denison
  • Committee member for farewell dinner for John Dunn
  • Construction and sale of a schooner, 25 tons, at his Domain slipyard
  • Construction of the twin steamer ferry SS Kangaroo at his Domain slipyard
  • Director of the Hobart Town & Launceston Marine insurance company
  • Shareholder in the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation company
  • Planned defence battery next to Goldsmith’s Yard on the Domain
  • Committee member on the Gold Exploration Committee
  • Construction of the patent slip at the Domain and personal illness
  • Regatta Judge 9 December 1854
  • Petitioner to the HCC for sewage and water pipes to be laid in Davey St.

The year 1854 saw Captain Edward Goldsmith, his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day, and his two two sons almost continually resident in Hobart. He had not undertaken his annual return voyages from London to Sydney and Hobart since handing over the very fine wool trader the Rattler, built for him by London merchant Robert Brooks to Captain Wardell, his neighbour in Davey St. Hobart, in 1853. When not at home at 19 Davey Street (the street numbers have since changed – 19 Davey St. in the 1850s was opposite St David’s Park whereas now it is the address of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery way down the hill, opposite Constitution Dock) or at his shipyard on the Queen’s Domain, he was travelling around the island visiting his many friends who had greatly benefited from his success in exporting their whale oil, their wool and gold, year in, year out, from the early 1830s and whose lives were made more comfortably “English” through his importation of luxury goods, exotic flora, merino sheep and horse bloodstock lines, some even at his own expense. There would have been short trips across Bass Strait to Ballarat, Victoria to visit his sister Mary Tolhurst nee Goldsmith, her husband Jeremiah Tolhurst, and the surviving children of a total of fifteen born to Mary Tolhurst nee Goldsmith.

Two events of note took place in January:

  • Captain Goldsmith was granted a license as a wholesale dealer in wines and spirits for the year ending 31st January;
  • Captain Goldsmith attended the banquet and opening of new commercial premises at the New Market (later known as the Hobart City Hall, not to be confused with the Hobart Town Hall in Macquarie St.).

Licensed wholesale dealer of wines and spirits
On 1st April 1853, Captain Edward Goldsmith registered a mortgage with brewery owner John Leslie Stewart (and others) on several premises along lower Davey St, including 19 Davey St, the house next door, and Stewart’s brewery. In late January 1854, he received a license to sell wines and spirits from the Davey St. premises and from his stores at the Old Wharf.

Captain Edward Goldsmith, licensed wholesaler in wines and liquors
Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Tue 24 Jan 1854 Page 2 General Intelligence.


LICENCES. – The following merchants and traders have received licences as wholesale dealers in wines and spirituous liquors for the period ending 31st December, 1854, viz. :-Richard Helen McKenzie, Launceston, Henry Berkely Nichols, Longford, Edward Goldsmith, Hobart Town, James Peters, Launceston, Flexander Graham, Swansea, Charles Toby and James Park, Hobart Town, Louis Phillips, ditto

Opening of the New Market
The construction of the New Market on the Hobart Wharves, and the banquet held to celebrate its opening in January 1854, was another of Captain Goldsmith’s interests and an event he attended in the company of Hobart’s most illustrious officers and the colony’s most modest traders alike.

Captain Goldsmith at the New Market banquet
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Tue 24 Jan 1854 Page 2 NEW MARKET BANQUET.


… At the centre table, and immediately near the upper table, we observed the honorable members for Oatlands, Brighton, and Campbell Town, together with Captain Langdon, Mr. Bisdee, Mr. Hone, Lieut.-Col. Jackson, D. C. G. Bishop ; Aldermen Elliston, Bonney, Worley, and Thomson. The Revs. Dr. Lillie, Buckland. Messrs. W. Robertson, Roope, Harris, Roberts, J.C.Walker, Capt. Goldsmith, Dr. Huxtable. Mr. Frederick Lipscombe as representative of the Market interest occupied the Vice-chair, assisted by Mr. Coote, in consequence of Mr. Lipscombe laboring under a severe cold. The band of Her Majesty’s 99th regiment struck up ” God save the Queen,” when the Governor entered the hall ; and, during dinner and throughout the evening performed a variety of favourite pieces in their usual excellent style.
Grace having been said by the Archdeacon, the company proceeded to test ,the quality of the viands (provided by Webb) … Read more in this extended post here.

State Library of NSW
Samuel Clifford, photographer
19. The New Market, Hobart Town
Digital Order Number: c025370019
Stereographs of Tasmania, Sydney and Scone, N.S.W., collected by George Wigram Allen, 1852-1870
Date of Work 1852-1870
Call Number PXB 199

Three events of note kept Captain Goldsmith busy in February:

  • Outlays for repair of boats reclaimed from Treasury
  • Auction of a 25 tons schooner, a launch and pine spars at Captain Goldsmith’s shipyard, plus auction of barley etc from his stores at the Old Wharf
  • Meeting of the directors of the Hobart Town and Launceston Marine Insurance Company

Audit Office
Between 20th and 28th January, Captain Goldsmith submitted claims for reimbursement of expenses to the Colonial Treasury’s Audit Office: “E. Goldsmith, repairing boats etc

Captain Goldsmith’s claim for reimbursement of expenses to the Audit Office
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Sat 4 Feb 1854 Page 3 Local Intelligence.


AUDIT OFFICE. – Accounts for contingent expenses sent to the Colonial Treasury for payment between the 20th and 28th January: – …E. Goldsmith, repairing boats etc; …

The Paddock, at the shoreline of the Queen’s Domain below the Royal Botanical Gardens, was the location of Captain Goldsmith’s patent slip and ship yard by 1854. He built several vessels there, including the twin vehicle ferry SS Kangaroo and commenced driving piles there for the construction of a patent slip.

Title Patent slip, Hobarton, Tasmania [picture]
Call Number PIC Drawer 3161 #T600 NK1206
Created/Published [ca. 1850]
Extent 1 watercolour ; 25.2 x 35.1 cm.
National Library of Australia Canberra

Read more about Captain Edward Goldsmith’s patent slipyards –

Sale of colonial schooner, launch and pine spars
Auctioneer Mr. W. A. Guesdon had a busy day conducting auctions on Thursday, 23rd February 1854. At 1.00am he auctioned 200,00 feet of timber and a quantity of American flour, presumably on board the Drover at the wharves; at 11.30am at Mr Butler’s Bazaar in Collins St. he auctioned six milk cows; and at 12.30pm he was at Captain Goldsmith’s shipyard auctioning the newly-built 25 tons colonial schooner, the seven tons launch and a small quantity of pine spars. After lunch, at 2.30pm he was auctioning Cape barley where the Emma was moored at Constitution Dock.

Auction of 25 tons schooner etc at Captain Goldsmith’s shipyard
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Tue 21 Feb 1854 Page 1


New Schooner of Twenty-five Tons.
Launch of Seven Tons, and Baltic Pine Spars.
In instructed to Sell by Public Auction, at the Yards of Captain Goldsmith, Government Domain, on Thursday, the 23rd February, at 12 for half-past 12 o’clock,
A MOST faithfully built Colonial Schooner of twenty-five Tons, with all her standing and running rigging, masts, sails, iron pumps, &c. &c.
The above vessel has been built under the inspection of Captain Goldsmith, on the most faithful manner, has large carrying capacity,and is in all respects a first-class colonial craft.
A seven ton launch
A quantity of small pine spars.
Terms at sale. 541

Who bought the schooner? Perhaps Douglas Kilburn, photographer, yachting enthusiast and also a neighbour of Captain Goldsmith’s in lower Davey St. Hobart, bought it and named it Zephyr, which he entered in the Regatta, December 1854, with Askin Morrison, master.

Advertisement on right: A day in the life of auctioneer W. A. Guesdon
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Thu 23 Feb 1854 Page 3 Local Intelligence.
Photograph on left: auctioneer and later MP, William A. Guesdon
TAHO Ref: https://stors.tas.gov.au/AUTAS001136192226


At half-past 12, at Captain Goldsmith’s Yards – New schooner, 25 tons, launch, and pine spars. And at half-past 2 o’clock – Cape barley, alongside the Emma, Constitution Dock. Also, tomorrow, at his stores, Old Wharf, – merchandise, full particulars of which will be found in our advertising columns.

Meeting with Insurance Company Directors
Captain Goldsmith was one of five directors of the Hobart Town and Launceston Marine Insurance Company, established in 1836. He was also a shareholder of The Tasmanian Fire and Life Insurance Company, and a trustee and creditor of Reeves & Co. shipbrokers etc, which was liquidated in 1862.


Hobart Town and Launceston Marine Insurance Company.
Captial – £63, 800
Office, Stone Buildings, Hobart.

Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Sat 25 Feb 1854 Page 4

MARCH 1854
This month saw Captain Goldsmith involved in the sale of property next door in Davey St. and a night out at John Dunn’s farewell dinner.

  • Sale of premises next door to 19 Davey St. Hobart
  • Imports of alcohol
  • Farewell dinner to Mr John Dunn

Sale of premises next door in Davey St
The cottage and premises which sat between Stewart’s Brewery and Captain Goldsmith’s house at 19 Davey were advertised and sold to Mr Lee of Victoria in 1854.

Sale of cottage and premises next door to Captain Goldsmith’s house, Davey st.
Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Sat 18 Mar 1854 Page 3 Classified Advertising


Cottage and Extensive Premises, Davey-street, opposite St. David’s Burial Ground.
On FRIDAY, the 24th March, at 12 o’clock,
On the premises
With positive instructions to be sold without any reserve
and Extensive Premises with a frontage of 85½ links on Davey-street and about 200 in depth, between Mr. Stewart’s brewery and Captain Goldsmith’s residence.
Good property being as attractive as ” Good Wine” that “Needs no Bush.”
Terms liberal, which will appear in next adverisement. 1268

See these posts for more detail:

Imports per the “Anne Brisdon”
Captain Goldsmith imported 16 hogheads per the Anne Brisdon from London. Hogsheads were large casks with a capacity for wine, equal to 52.5 imperial gallons or 63 US gallons (238.7 litres) or a capacity for beer, equal to 54 imperial gallons or 64 US gallons (245.5 litres).

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Tue 28 Mar 1854 Page 2 SHIPPING NEWS.

Farewell Dinner to Mr. John Dunn
The various speeches given at this dinner all made reference to the end of convict transportation to the colony of Van Diemen’s Land a year earlier; to the need for land grants as enticement to immigrants; and to the question of labourers acquiring agricultural land. In his own speech, John Dunn made reference to his support for the Dock Bill which would have had an impact on Captain Goldsmith’s shipwright and patent slip construction. The comments regarding a “little foreign gentleman” which raised laughter were possibly directed at Monsieur Camille Del Sarte, a recently arrived musician from Paris. John Dunn (1790–1861), elected member of the City Council, was returning temporarily to England by reason of his wife’s ill health. He died in Hobart. Read more of his biography online at the ADB:

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Mon 20 Mar 1854 Page 2 FAREWELL DINNER TO MR. DUNN.


One hundred and four gentlemen, who, if all electors, would form the proportion of about 8 per cent, of those who profess to be Mr. Dunn’s solo constituents, or not one-twentieth of the whole body of city electors, attended a dinner given to him on Friday evening last, at the Legislative Council Chamber, previous to his departure for England by the Antipodes. The dinner was conducted in excellent style, and the whole company appeared to enjoy the delicacies provided, and the abundance of champagne and other wines by which they were accompanied, with the utmost zest. At each end of the room and at the entrance were placed inscriptions in honour of Mr. Dunn; while a large banner, bearing the Tasmanian Arms, floated over the Chair, which was occupied by Alexander Orr, Esq.
The chamber-band of the 99th was in attendance, and accompanied the several toasts with appropriate airs. The health of Mr. John Dunn was followed by a piece of music, composed, at two-hours’ notice, expressly for the occasion by Mr. Martin, the band-master. The new service of place, used for the first time at the dinner given to Mr, Hathaway, was also placed in requisition; and nothing in short was omitted that could contribute to the success of the proceedings and the satisfaction of all parties, officially or otherwise, connected with them. Among the guests of the evening, R Dry, Esq., Speaker of the Legislative Council, had been invited, but in consequence of indisposition was compelled to decline. Among the gentlemen present were Colonel Last, Drs. Bedford, Hadley, Brock, Crooke, and Rev. Dr. Fry ; the Attorney and Solicitor-General, Mr. Justice Horne, Robert Power, Esq., His Worship the Mayor, C. B. Brewer, Esq., R. Lewis, Esq., Rev. Mr. Buckland, Edward Macdowell, Esq., Captain Goldsmith, Messrs. Worley, Reeves, Guesdon, Meikle, Harbottle, Champion, Hamilton, Basstian, &e.
During the evening a letter was read by the Chairman from Colonel Despard, also an invited guest, in which that gentleman expressed his regret at being prevented by illness attending the occasion.
After the customary loyal toasts had been given and duly honoured, the Chairman gave “Our guest, John Dunn, Jun. Esq.,” and observed that he did so with mingled feelings of pain mid pleasure; of pain, on account of the domestic affliction which compelled his absence; of pleasure, because those who supported him in his election, and who represented the wealth, influence, and respectability of the colony were there. assembled to do him honour. He felt but too happy to notice that scarcely a single individual had expressed disapprobation at Mr. Dunn’s leaving for a short time. In order to ensure his return as soon as possible, he had taken his passage by the overland route; but should any unforeseen cause of delay occur, he ( Mr. Orr) felt assured that the kind feeling shown would induce him to rejoin them as soon as possible. He had observed that about 800 persons had signed an address to Mr. McNaughtan, expressing the opinion that if Mr. Dunn should retire, Mr. McNaughtan was a fit person to represent the city. He (Mr. Orr) had been made the subject of some remarks in one of the colonial papers, which remarks he could afford to pass over with supreme contempt. There was in the community a little foreign gentleman, who exercised a greater degree of liberty than the inhabitants themselves; if it were not for that little firebrand, all would be united into a happy family. (Great laughter.) In his own country he had observed, no doubt, a small combustible called an ” allumette ;” and although himself a very small spark, if he could only get any one to blow the bellows, he would blow them all up. (Continued laughter.) He did not believe there was one man in Hobart Town who really would desire Mr. Dunn’s retirement; but even if Mr. Dunn were to resign, he (Mr. Orr) was quite convinced that his re-election would be certain. After making some further allusions to Mr. Dunn’s public and private character, and many hopes for his safe passage to England and the restoration to health of Mrs.Dunn, the toast was given and responded to with great and general acclamation,’ an additional cheer’ being elicited by the sentiment, ” A happy”and a quick return.”
Mr. Dunn, when some degree of silence was obtained, acknowledged the compliment with much apparent emotion. On the eve of departure, he had had to transact business with more than 300 people. The manner in which his health had been proposed and received was highly gratifying ; and equally so was it to meet so many of his constituents, and to receive such proofs of their approbation. For more than two years he had had the honour of being their representative, and had ever endeavoured, concientiously and honestly, to do his duty. When he entered the Council, he did so free, unfettered, and untrammelled, excepting only on the question of transportation. In redeeming his pledge on that question, he did not deem it his duty to infuse it with every other question that might emanate from the Government. In supporting the Dock Bill, he did so in behalf of the public at large, and therefore he supported it at the best of his ability ; and he believed that many who formerly opposed that measure were now fully convinced that it ought to have been carried; the principal merchants, the majority of the shipowners, the most influential inhabitants, in short, of Hobart Town, were in favour of it, and it was rejected as being some way connected with the transportation question! Respecting the vote of want of confidence in Sir Wm. Denison, while he deprecated his conduct on the subject of transportation, he could not ” go the whole hog” in abusing him…. etc etc

One piece of land held by John Dunn was the area in New Town later known as the Old Race Course and including Sunderland St, Derwent Park Rd, Main Rd and Main Line railway.

Title: Map – Buckingham 33 – plan of an estate belonging to John Dunn, New Town, New Town Rvt, Hobart to Launceston road, race course
ADRI: AF396-1-36
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Series: County Maps, 1810 – 1959 (AF396)

Map – Buckingham 145 – plan of New Town race course and various landholders
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Series: County Maps, 1810 – 1959 (AF396)

Title: Map – Buckingham 99 – parish of New Town, plan of property for sale at New Town later known as the Old Race Course and including Sunderland St, Derwent Park Rd, Main Rd and Main Line railway landholders LORD J AND BUTLER F, BENJAFIELD H
ADRI: AF396-1-106
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Series: County Maps, 1810 – 1959 (AF396)

MAY 1854
These events occupied Captain Goldsmith’s time in May:

  • Meeting to establish defences battery next to Captain Goldsmith’s shipyard
  • Imports of alcohol as a licensed wholesale dealer in spirits etc
  • Imports of timber &

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Tue 9 May 1854 Page 2 COUNCIL PAPERS.


SIR,- In compliance with the desire conveyed in His Excellency’s Minute of 8th instant, for me to report upon the Defences of the Harbours of Hobart Town and Launceston, as also to furnish Plans and Estimates for the necessary works, I have the honour to report that to command the whole anchorage of the Harbour of Hobart Town would entail works of magnitude involving the establishments of enclosed Works and Batteries for guns of large calibre at the undermentioned points: – Sandy Bay (on land immediately adjoining Mr. Perry’s property); Mulgrave Battery and Flag-staff Hill; Paddocks adjoining Government House, Macquarie Point, and in the Government Domain, on some commanding position in the vicinity of Captain Goldsmith’s yard, on the right bank of the river; and Kangaroo Point and Kangaroo Bluff on the left bank….

Imports of alcohol etc

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Tue 30 May 1854 Page 2 SHIPPING NEWS.
“8 csks, 47 cas, Captain Goldsmith”

Imports of 360 deal timber etc

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Mon 22 May 1854 Page 2 SHIPPING NEWS.
“50 cas, 360 deals, 41 pkgs, E. Goldsmith”

JUNE 1854
Captain Goldsmith’s routines in June were divided between his wholesale licensed business importing and exporting wines and liquors, and finalising the launch of  the Twin Ferry SS Kangaroo from Goldsmith’s Yard, at the Queen’s Domain in Hobart.

  • Imports per the Duke of Roxburgh
  • Exports of wine to Victoria
  • Launch of the Twin Ferry SS Kangaroo

Imports per the “Duke of Roxburgh”
“6 casks, 47 cases, Captain Goldsmith”

The Tasmanian Colonist (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1851 – 1855) Thursday 1 June 1854 p 3
Imports per the Duke of Roxburgh: 6 casks, 47 cases, Captain Goldsmith

Export of wine to Victoria
“Per Macquarie. for Port Albert: 1 quarter cask wine, E. Goldsmith”

Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Thu 22 Jun 1854 Page 2 Shipping Intelligence.

Launch of the Twin Ferry “SS Kangaroo”
Without doubt, the major factor in Captain Goldsmith’s decision to leave Tasmania permanently was considerable monies owing to him by the Government for the construction of the twin ferry, the Kangaroo and the reneging of agreements concerning the site location and lease, the supply of timber and driving of piles for the patent slip on the Domain. From late December through to February 1856, the colonial newspapers in Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane made it known that the contractor, Captain Goldsmith, was paid in small amounts totalling less than £1000 in cash, plus £256 in timber, while his own outlay exceeded £6000 “without any charge for his own time, interest of money, use of yard etc“. The real costs to him personally, he claimed, were higher than £9400. The Colonial Secretary offered just £5000 to Captain Goldsmith and no more. The initial unrealistic estimate of £4000 by Sir William Denison, which paid a deposit on the machinery, the engineer’s dues and little else, was further compounded by inadequate supplies of timber from Port Arthur and Cascade due to scarcity of prison labor, a matter put to a Select Committee inquiry into corruption within the Convict Department. In total, the whole cost of this little ferry amounted to more than £17,629 (Sydney Morning Herald, 6 January, 1856). Captain Goldsmith left Tasmania grossly out of pocket and undoubtedly soured by memories of functionaries who had taken advantage of his generosity and good will.

Debts owing to Captain Goldsmith
Colonial Times, 21 December 1855


And indeed in the statement of the cost of the twin ferry boat “Kangaroo”, we find that the contractor has only received timber to the value of £256.10s.2d, and cash to the amount of £1000. The reply is that the Government will not object to submit the matter to arbitration, Mr. Goldsmith replied that he finds his outlay exceeds £6000, without any charge for his own time, interest of money, use of yard &c., and suggests the Government shall give him £5000 at once, when he will leave to arbitration the amount to which he is entitled beyond that sum. To this the Colonial Secretary demurs, but offers the sum of £5000 in full of all demands, and there the correspondence concludes. After reading the whole of it, we are very painfully impressed with the consciousness that the whole of our functionaries, from the highest to the lowest, have proved themselves grossly incompetent to the conduct of such a trifling affair as the building of a ferry-boat.

SS Kangaroo, ca. 1900 W. J. Little, Photo
TAHO Archives Tasmania
Refs: PH3015623

This ferry carrying horses and carriages was most likely the Kangaroo ca. 1900
University of Tasmania Special Collections.

In an article published in the Mercury 23rd June 1882, the writer described the plant for a patent slip imported and built with prison labour in the early 1850s by Captain Goldsmith: the intention was to build a reliable means of transport for passengers and horse-drawn vehicles between Hobart and Kangaroo Point (Bellerive).

Credit to Captain Goldsmith
To Captain Goldsmith, who came to the colonies in charge of one of the London traders, the credit of introducing patent slips into Hobart is due …

The Kangaroo and Captain Goldsmith were mentioned again in this excerpt from the Shipping News, Launceston Examiner, 21 January 1881:

The Kangaroo built by Captain Goldsmith 1854
Launceston Examiner 21 January 1881


The twin steamer Kangaroo was built in the year 1854, under the immediate supervision of the late Governor Sir William Denison, R. E., by the late Captain Goldsmith, formerly of the London traders Waverley and John Izat, at the Imperial expenditure, regardless of cost. Her timbers, which (says the Mercury) are still as sound as ever, were the pick of the forests of Tasman’s Peninsula, and her machinery was the best of the day. She was designed for the purpose she still serves, as a huge floating bridge between Hobart and Kangaroo Point, and was built on that portion of the Queen’s Domain known as McGregor’s patent slip. During the progress of her building a long lease of the site was granted to Captain Goldsmith by Sir William Denison, on condition that he laid down what was then much needed – a patent slip. The conditions of the lease were, however, unfulfilled by him, but the hon. Alexander McGregor purchased Captain Goldsmith’s interest in the lease, and forthwith carried out its conditions by laying down the slip, now carried on by his brother, Mr. John McGregor, on the Queen’s Domain.

More about (the late) Captain Goldsmith and the Kangaroo appeared in this article titled SHIPBUILDING IN TASMANIA, published in the Mercury 23 June 1882. Read the article here.

The Famous Twins or SS Kangaroo ca. 1900, built by Captain Edward Goldsmith 1855, for the Hobart-Bellerive service
Source: Pictorial Portrayal of Tasmania’s Past, Beatties Studios, Winnings Newsagency 2011.
Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014

JULY 1854
Captain Edward Goldsmith’s generosity in mounting appeals for public subscriptions to help women and their families to return to England when their husbands were terminally incapacitated or deceased was widely appreciated. In 1842 he raised a public subscription for charitable donations to aid Captain John Biscoe and family to return with him on board the Janet Izzat. There were probably many more instances of offers of a subsided passage on board his return voyages to London.

Appeal for Mrs Baily
In June and July 1854, in conjunction with the offertory funds of St Davids’ and Trinity Churches, Captain Goldsmith launched an appeal to aid Mrs Baily and her six children to return to England. According to this record, her husband J. A. Baily had departed Hobart on 16th October 1852, never to be heard from again.

Archives Office Tasmania
Name: Baily, J A
Record Type: Departures
Rank: Cabin
Departure date: 16 Oct 1852
Departure port: Hobart
Ship: Dart
Bound to: Geelong
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:519302
Resource: CUS36/1/141

So, in June and July, 1854, this appeal to assist Mrs Baily and her six children return to England appeared in the Hobart Courier. It concerned the disappearance of her husband, Mr J. A. Baily “for sixteen years a Clerk in the Probation Department” (i.e. in VDL/Tasmania) who had departed Hobart on board the Dart for Geelong in October 1852, bound for the Californian goldfields. The notice stated that it was almost certain he had perished with “a party of Mexicans whom he joined in a mining expedition“.

Captain Goldsmith’s appeal for Mrs Baily
Source: Hobart Courier 14th July 1854

It was at Captain Edward Goldsmith’s suggestion that a public subscription be raised to aid Mrs Baily and family. He had donated £5 to the subscription fund and organised the passage for them on board the barque Cornhill. If they did depart on the Cornhill, which cleared out on 7th July 1854, they must have been the eight persons sailing in steerage, as only cabin passengers were named in this notice of 7th July):

Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Fri 7 Jul 1854 Page 2 Shipping Intelligence.

AUGUST 1854 death of son Richard
Tragedy struck the family of Captain Edward Goldsmith in August 1854. When elder son Richard Sydney Goldsmith fell gravely ill with fever in August, he was attended by Dr Edward Samuel Pickard Bedford (1809-1876) at St Mary’s Hospital, erected in 1847.Edward Bedford was the medical officer for the City in 1852, on whose committee Captain Goldsmith served when Bedford campaigned for election in February 1855. But on 15 August 1854, at his father’s house, Richard Sydney Goldsmith died, aged just 24 yrs old. He was born to Elizabeth Goldsmith only days after her arrival at the Swan River, Fremantle, Western Australia in May 1830, on board the ill-fated brig the James alongside her very young husband Captain Edward Goldsmith on his first command following their marriage in 1829. They were stranded at Swan River when the James was wrecked by storms. They proceeded to Hobart aboard the Bombay and thence to Sydney where Captain Goldsmith took command of the Norval bound for London. While in Sydney, they christened new-born Richard Sydney Goldsmith at St. Philips on 11th November 1830. Once back in London, they registered his birth and baptism again at St. Mary Rotherhithe where later, in 1847, Captain James Day, brother of Elizabeth Goldsmith and navigator on Captain Goldsmith’s early voyages would register the birth and baptism of their eldest daughter Elizabeth Rachel Day born to Rachel Day nee Pocock. Elizabeth Rachel Day, Richard Goldsmith jnr’s first cousin, would later become the wife of photographer Thomas J. Nevin (Hobart 1871). At the time of his death, Richard Sydney Goldsmith was a cashier of the Union Bank of Van Diemen’s Land, located in Macquarie Street, Hobart.

Richard Sydney Goldsmith christening record (1830-1854)
Source: NSW Registry of BDM

Death of Richard Sidney Goldsmith
Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899) Thu 17 Aug 1854 Page 2 Family Notices

Goldsmith, Richard Sidney
Record Type: Deaths
Gender: Male
Date of death:15 Aug 1854
Registration year:1854
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1192493
Resource:RGD35/1/4 no 1429

Richard Sidney Goldsmith’s death was registered on 15th August 1854 by Captain James Duff Mackay, and not by Richard’s parents Captain and Elizabeth Goldsmith, which may suggest they were not ashore in Hobart in mid August 1854. Captain James Duff Mackay’s residence was directly opposite the Anglesea Barracks gate in Davey Street where he was the Barrack Master and paymaster for the 50th Regiment of Foot until departure for London where died on 24th January, 1879, aged 96 years old. His extraordinary longevity he may have credited in no small part to Mr. Weaver’s Antibilious Pills which he endorsed in advertisements for chemists Weaver & Co.

“I have no hesitation in pronouncing them the best and SAFEST MEDICINES in the world”

Advertisement for antibilious pills endorsed by Captain James Duff Mackay,  
Source: The Mercury 12 November 1877

Obituary for James Duff Mackay 29 March 1879
Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Sat 29 Mar 1879 Page 2 DEATH OF CAPTAIN DUFF MACKAY.

A subscription in aid of Jews in Jerusalem was published in the Courier on 25th August 1854. Richard Goldsmith had contributed £1.1.0 (one pound one shilling).

The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Fri 25 Aug 1854 Page 3 SUBSCRIPTIONS. IN AID OF THE JEWS IN JERUSALEM And other parts of the Holy Land.

In the north arcade of the Nave of St Mary the Virgin Church, Chalk Kent UK, is a black and white marble plaque in memory of Captain Edward Goldsmith and family. Included on the plaque but not on the gravestone outside in the church graveyard is Richard Sydney Goldsmith (1830-1854), first child of Elizabeth Goldsmith who was born days after their arrival on the James (Captain Goldsmith in command) at Western Australia in 1830 and died of fever in 1854 at Hobart Tasmania where he was buried at St. David’s Cemetery opposite Captain Goldsmith’s house at 19 Davey St.Hobart.

Memorial plaque for Captain Edward Goldsmith and family
Nave of St Mary the Virgin Church, Chalk Kent UK
Photos copyright © Carole Turner March 2016


Although not in optimal health, Captain Goldsmith continued to serve on committees and may have visited family members in Victoria.

  • News of the Rattler
  • Return from Melbourne
  • Committee member for Sir W. T. Denison’s Royal Society dinner

The Rattler
News of the barque Rattler caught in dangerous weather off Valparaiso (Chile) amidst skirmishes between English men-of-war and Russian vessels in June reached Captain Goldsmith in September. The Rattler was built and commissioned for him by London Docks shipowner Robert Brooks for the London-Australian colonies wool trade. Captain and Elizabeth Goldsmith sailed the Rattler on the barque’s maiden voyage from London to Hobart in 1846 and returned annually until 1852 when Captain Wardell, one of the Goldsmiths’ neighbours in Davey St. took command but died after returning to London on the Rattler in May 1854. By June 1854 Captain Milne was in command of the Rattler when this report was released:

The Rattler, Shipping News Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), Friday 1 September 1854, page 2


Captain D. Milne, of the barque Rattler, reports that on the 13th of June, at Rio, a Swedish ship arrived at that port from Valparaiso, and reported a severe action having taken place outside of Valparaiso with the Russian frigates Aurora and Diana, and two English vessels, names not mentioned. The Russians were said to have been defeated after a well-contested action, and one of them, dismasted, was towed into Valparaiso. The report he considers should be received ” with caution.” The English men-of-war Rifleman, Madagascar, and Sharp-shooter, the Russian schooner Requida, and the American frigate Savannah, are also stated to have been there. Admiral Henderson had gone home in -the Severn mail packet, and on the 12 lb the French frigate Alceste had sailed for the west coast of America. The Rattler spoke, on the 22nd April, the ship Peruna, in lat. 38’20 N., long. 15-16W., bound to Valparaiso, and on the 2nd May signalled the Windermere from Port Phillip to London. On the 3rd July, the barque Severn, from Gloucester to Geelong, was spoken in lat. 35*32 S., long. 7*50 W. The Rattler had met with such severe weather as to be compelled to cast a portion of her cargo overboard.

Arrival ex Melbourne per the “Emma Prescott”
Although not clearly documented, it is more than likely Captain Goldsmith crossed Bass Strait on several occasions as a passenger to oversee his mercantile interests in Melbourne and to visit his two nephews Edward and Richard Tolhurst (sons of his sister Mary Tolhurst nee Goldsmith) in Ballarat where they had established profitable gold and mineral mining ventures. Both would later be named as beneficiaries to Captain Goldsmith’s estate on his death in 1869. This notice and may or may not be a record of one of those voyages:

The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Mon 25 Sep 1854 Page 2 [?]

24th – Emma Prescott, brig, 160, Harburgh, Melbourne. Cabin – Messrs. Sheehy, Goldsmith or Goldsmid?, and Miss Marks; 7 steerage, 9 Government emigrants.

On right: arrival of the Emma Prescott 23 Sept 1854
Source: Archives Office Tasmania
Ref: MB2-39-1-18 Image 159

Captain Edward Goldsmith’s father, Richard Goldsmith (1769-1839) expressed in both his Will of 1836 and the Codicil in 1839 his concern for his daughter Mary Tolhurst nee Goldsmith, younger sister of Edward, who had given birth to fifteen children, six of whom were still living by 1856. He used the strongest wording as a warning that her husband Jeremiah Tolhurst should have no control of what monies her father Richard might leave her:

… to my daughter Mary Tolhurst for her own use and that of her children I desire that my request be complied with that Mr Jeremiah Tolhurst may have no control over one shilling of her money left by me to her [Will 1836]… I am desirous that the property bequeathed to my daughter Mary in my will dated August 28th 1836 shall be entirely for the benefit of herself and her children and I therefore appoint my Executors named in the Will above mentioned Trustees to the said property that they may see my intention fulfilled [Codicil 1839].

His concern extended to a daughter of that marriage, his granddaughter Caroline Tolhurst. Richard Goldsmith was unequivocal in wishing to trust the future of his daughter Mary Tolhurst and her daughter Caroline to his sons John Goldsmith in London and Captain Edward Goldsmith, and to heir older sister Deborah Meopham Goldsmith to see that “Jeremiah Tolhurst may have no control over one shilling of her money left by me to her“.

Royal Society Dinner for Sir W. T. Denison
The Royal Society of Van Diemen’s Land admitted Captain Edward Goldsmith as a member in 1851. As a Committee member, he was called on to contribute to the preparations of a Royal Society dinner in honour of their departing president,Sir William T. Denison which was to be held in late December 1854. He seconded a motion by his good friend Captain Langdon to call Mr Leake to chair the meeting reported on 27th September 1854. Both men had an interest in the development of the Falkland Islands. The suggestion that the Falklands become a penal colony similar to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) was put forward to the Colonial Office by Captain William Langdon R.N. as early as 1830, a suggestion which Captain Goldsmith fully endorsed in his letter to The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, NSW Saturday 27 July 1839 (p 2 Article ADVANCE AUSTRALIA). For merchant traders such as Captain Edward Goldsmith, the Falkland islands were of primary importance as a naval depot and resort for merchantmen needing supplies.

The dinner preparations for departing president Sr W. T. Denison
The Hobarton Mercury (Tas. : 1854 – 1857) Wed 27 Sep 1854 Page 3 Classified Advertising

By October, Captain Goldsmith’s health was suffering. Within a few weeks he would experience two severe attacks, possibly because of the stress of losing his eldest son Richard  coupled with the delays involved in completing the construction of his patent slip at his yard on the Queen’s Domain.

  • Imports from London
  • Meeting of the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co

Imports per “Derwent”

Imports per Derwent from London for Captain Goldsmith
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Tue 10 Oct 1854 Page 2 IMPORTS.

Per Derwent from London — ; 2 cases. Tasmanian Public Library; …;1 case Captain Goldsmith ; .5 cases, J. Walch & Sons, 120 packages, G. and J. Salier ; etc etc ….

Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

The Tasmania, S. Prout Hill 1854
Courtesy of the Archives Office of Tasmania
[The Tasmanian steam navigation company boat “Tasmania” running for Hobart] / S. Prout Hill.
Author: Hill, Samuel Prout, 1821-1861, artist.
Production: [Tasmania?] : S. Prout Hill, 1854.
Physical description: 1 painting : graphite and watercolour on coloured paper ; 52 x 69 cm (work) ; 69.5 x 85.5 cm (frame).
Signed on lower left recto: ‘S. Prout Hill, 1854’.
Framed in Huon pine wood frame with glass and slip.
Summary: The image depicts the steamship “Tasmania”, one of two vessels operating between Hobart and Melbourne, from the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, founded in 1853. The steamship is exiting Port Philip Bay, Victoria, outracing an old sailing ship, with full steam blast, flying pennant flags of the company.

Captain John Clinch (1808-1875) was a contemporary of Captain Edward Goldsmith, both sharing common ground at Rotherhithe, Surrey, where John Clinch was born in 1808, and Edward Goldsmith, born in 1804, trained as a merchant mariner at East India House before taking command of Robert Brook’s privately-owned vessels on the Australian wool trade route. Both mariners shared a concern to assist in the development of the colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) through expansion of intercolonial shipping. Captain Edward Goldsmith regularly attended shareholder meetings of the TSN Co. during 1853-1854 in Hobart which Captain John Clinch joined in 1854, taking command of their iron Tasmania on direct voyages to Sydney. He also commanded the TSN’s City of Hobart, and Southern Cross.

Thomas J. Nevin photographed Captain John Clinch on board the TSN’s City of Hobart on a day trip to Adventure Bay, Bruny Island, south of Hobart, on 31st January, 1872. Captain John Clinch, whom Nevin positioned at the centre of the image, is flanked on his right (viewers’ left), by former Premier of Victoria Sir John O’Shanassy (seated), and standing next to him by townsman John Woodcock Graves jnr; and on his left (viewers’ right), by Hobart Mayor Hon. Alfred Kennerley and the Hon. James Erskine Calder, former Surveyor-General (seated). Standing behind Captain Clinch and Alfred Kennerley is barrister R. Byron Miller.

Verso with rare Nevin label of The Colonists’ Trip to Adventure Bay
VIPs on board The City of Hobart, 31st January 1872
Stereograph in buff arched mount by Thomas J. Nevin
Private Collection KLW NFC Group copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015

TSN Co. shareholders’ meeting 1854

Shareholder William A. Guesdon
TAHO Ref: https://stors.tas.gov.au/AUTAS001136192226

Source: The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (NSW : 1844 – 1860) Mon 23 Oct 1854 Page 204 NEWCASTLE.


Colonial Times, October 10.
Pursuant to advertisement a special general meeting of the share holders of the above company was held yesterday, at the Royal Exchange, Macquarie-place, at twelve o’clock, for the purpose of giving authority to the directors to employ the vessels of the company in the conveyance of goods and passengers to such ports in the Australian colonies as the shareholders might deem fit. There was a full meeting, notwithstanding several of the prominent shareholders had left town to attend the steeple chase at Campbell Town. Among the gentlemen present — we noticed Captain Bentley, Messrs. Macnaughton, Cleburne, M.L.C., Ross, Hedburg, Guesdon, Facey, Captain Goldsmith, Laing, Toby, Watkins, Reeves, Graham, Captain Fisher, Alderman O’Reilly, Champion, Corry, Fitzgerald, Rout, Lipscombe, &c. Mr. Macnaughton (by unanimous desire) took the chair, and stated the object of the meeting. The directors had found that they had not, under the Act, power to send the steamer to Launceston -with government emigrants, the second clause only applying to tbe line between Hobart Town and Melbourne, and such other places as might be agreed on by a majority of the share holders present at a special meeting. The directors had taken the responsibly on themselves of sending the iron Tasmania to Launceston last week, and thence to Melbourne, relying on obtaining the sanction of the proprietary. The directors now came to them for such sanction, and also asked them to give power to act in future for the interest of the company, as circumstances might require. The government might wish to forward troops to Sydney, or elsewhere, as they had done on a previous occasion, and without such a power, the directors might lose the opportunity of profitably employing the vessels. He then read the minute of the meeting of directors of the 30th September, deciding to call the present meeting.
Mr. Guesdon inquired if it was contemplated to send one of the vessels into any other trade, which was answered by the Chairman in the negative.
The immediate object of the meeting was Then discussed, and Mr. Corry proposed the following resolution, which, being seconded by Mr. Graham, was passed unanimously : —
‘Resolved that, the directors, in the opinion of this meeting, exercised a sound discretion in sending the Tasmania to Launceston,and that the meeting do authorise the directors, at their discretion, to send the vessels of the company to all or any of tbe following ports, (that is to say), Launceston, Geelong, Sydney, Adelaide, Port Albert, New Zealand, Twofold Bay, and Swan River.’
Mr. J. G, Reeves called attention to what he considered a defect in the deed of co-partnership, there being no power to sell any one of the vessels except on winding up. A discussion ensued, and several clauses were referred to but nothing decisive could be found.
Mr. Guesdon renewed the subject of altering the line, and intimated his opinion that this company should attempt the Sydney line. He therefore proposed that the directors be requested to take the matter into consideration.
The Chairman referred to the opinion be at first entertained … etc etc

Source: The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (NSW : 1844 – 1860) Mon 23 Oct 1854 Page 204 NEWCASTLE.

Dinnerware (egg cup?) of the TSN Co.
Allport Museum and Library, Hobart

Captain Goldsmith, Captain Bentley and Captain Clinch were all three residents in Davey Street, Hobart, listed in the Hobart Gazette of 1855, p. 471.  Two photographers also resided in Davey St. – William Paul Dowling, an Irish chartist, who moved his portrait studio from Macquarie St Hobart, located opposite the Hutchins School, to Number 24 Davey Street, “nearly opposite the Hampden-road” on the Harrington street side of photographer Douglas Kilburn’s house at Number 22 Davey St. A little further down in the direction of Murray St and opposite St David’s Cemetery was Stewart’s Brewery, separated by a small house from Captain Edward Goldsmith’s house at Number 19 Davey St.

Hobart Town Gazette 27 March 1855
Page 470-471: Davey St residents (far right column)
Click on for large view


Source: THE COURIER. (1854, November 9). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2242479


D. T. Kilburn, Esq., of Davey-street, exhibits five calotype views of different localities in Hobart Town. (1.) A view of Macquarie-street, from above Mr. Crisp’s residence, looking down towards the Domain, and including within range St. Joseph’s (R. C.) Church, the Cathedral of St. David’s. &c. (2.) The New Market Place, Hobart Town. (3.) St. David’s Cathedral. (4.) View of Macquarie-street, including the Bank of Australasia, Macquarie Hotel, &o. &c. (5.) View of the houses in Davey-street, opposite St. David’s Cemetery.

Douglas Kilburn’s views of the houses in Davey St. opposite the Cemetery were either retained and sold at the Paris Exposition of 1855, or misattributed to another photographer, if copies are extant, since they seem not to have surfaced in Australian public collections.

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Fri 6 Oct 1854 Page 1 Classified Advertising


Portrait Painter,
Begs to inform his Friends and Pupils that he has removed his Studio to No. 24, Davey-street, nearly opposite the Hampden-road.

Davey Street Hobart, 1870s: on the left where three men are standing, is St. Mary’s Hospital; on the right, Captain Goldsmith’s two-storey house – bearing the Collegiate School name by the 1870s – facing St. David’s Cemetery (Burial Ground). Image courtesy ePrints, University of Tasmania

Read more here:

Captain Goldsmith applied for the lease of land from the colonial government at the Queen’s Domain to construct a patent slip on several occasions between January 1851 and October 1853. Sir John Franklin’s nephew, William Porden Kay, was the Director of Public Works in 1855 when he wrote the Report on Captain Goldsmith’s Patent Slip. The Report covers the years 1849 to 1855, from the first date of Captain Goldsmith’s proposal of a patent slip, to Captain Goldsmith’s receipt of timber in November 1854 on condition work started on the slip within six months. The report details the frustrations, delays, obstacles, objections and unreasonable conditions placed on Captain Goldsmith prior to his sale of his interest to the McGregor brothers. It also mentions that Captain Goldsmith experienced further afflictions within the family, including two attacks of illness.

Pages 1-11 of the Report 1855 on Captain Goldsmith’s patent slip by Wm Porden KAY:


Patent Slip
In 1849 Capt Goldsmith proposed the importation of a patent slip, and requested that a piece of ground might be allotted to him on which to place it. Sir Wm Denison in reply expressed himself so fully committed of the advantage that could accrue to the Colony by the erection of a patent slip for repairing vessels trading to the port, as to be willing to do every thing in his power to further so desirable an object, and suggested a site at the back of the Commissariat Treasury, to which Capt Goldsmith agreed.
The terms on which this was to be granted were, 1st the ground to be leased to Capt Goldsmith for 66 or 99 years at a nominal unit of 1/- per annum; 2nd that the patent slip should be erected thereon of sufficient dimensions for vessels between 600 and 700 tons; 3rd the Governor furthermore offered to fill in the ground to the required height, provide and drive the necessary piles and grant the loan of a diving Bell on Capt Goldsmith’s undertaking that all vessels belonging to the British Navy, to the Local Government or the Convict Dept., should be allowed the use of the Slip, at one half the charge to other vessels of equal tonnage.
In February 1849 Capt Goldsmith expressed his acquiescence in these terms and, in December 1849 reported the arrival of the Slip,and again acquiesced on the conditions above mentioned, requesting that the Land fixed upon might be at once leased to him.
In January 1850 the Director of Public Works furnished a list of the piles required, with a statement of what their cost would be to the Government, including driving them and the filling in required, as previously agreed to be done by the Government, amounting to £1016.19.0. and in the same month a plan for the piling was arranged between the Director of Public Works and Capt Goldsmith, and submitted to the Lieut. Governor.
This having been approved, Capt Goldsmith was informed /in Feby 1850/ that the Government would at once commence driving the piles, but would not be bound to do so within a specified time.
The Director of Public Works was shortly afterwards /in May 1850/ directed to remove a portion of the Commissariat Wharf to make room for the Slip, and the Deputy Commissiary General was apprised that such had been done.
Between this period and January 1851, some negotiation took place as to a change of site considered necessary by the objections made by the Commissariat to their wharf being interfered with and by the works which His Excellency at that time contemplated for the formation of a dock behind the Commissariat. Capt Goldsmith was consequently compelled to seek elsewhere for a suitable site, and in January 1851 submitted a plan of one in the Domain which the Lieut Govenor agreed should be given up for the purpose, and ordered to be marked out, authorising Capt Goldsmith to occupy it until a Lease could be prepared.
On this being reported performed [sic ?] by the Director of Public Works, in February 1851, Capt Goldsmith stated his readiness at once to commence the work and submitted a tender which he had received for driving the piles, and as the Government, on a former occasion had agreed to perform this work for him, he requested that timber to the amount of the tender £325 might be given to him in lieu of such assistance. This proposition His Excellency would not at first entertain on the grounds that the stipulated assistance could be given to Capt Goldsmith at a much cheaper rate by the Government driving the piles themselves.
It however appeared on further consideration that the quantity of timber required by Capt Goldsmith would cost the Government only about £120, and they would be relieved from all responsibility as to the stability of work work executed by them. It was therefore on the 26. March 1851, agreed that the piles and timber, about 5000 cubic feet, should be given to Capt Goldsmith, as an equivalent for the non performance of every condition promised by the Government except the loan of the Diving Bell.
About this time also Capt Goldsmith again applied for a lease of the ground and in June 1851 submitted a draft lease of the allotment in question, which was referred for the opinion of the Director of Public Works and the Law Officers of the Crown. From the latter it appeared that various legal difficulties stood in the way of the execution of the lease, and here the subject appears to have dropped until October 1852, when Capt Goldsmith again applied for his lease, on which it was determined to nominate by Act of Council, some person as the Lessor of Crown Lands, who would then be in a position to grant the Lease in question.
This decision was communicated to Capt Goldsmith in November 1852, informing him that in the mean time, he would be undisturbed in his possession as heretofore.
In October 1853 intimation was given to Capt Goldsmith that the Officers above named had been appointed and that the Lease could be at once executed, and on the 20 January 1854, the Crown Solicitor forwarded a counterpart of a lease which had been executed, and on which Capt Goldsmith was bound to complete the work by a certain period.
On the 9th November Capt Goldsmith applied for 12 months’ extension of this time on the following grounds. 1st that had His Excellency’s intention to drive the piles for the Slip at the back of the Commissariat without delay as stated in the Col Scys letter of February 1850 been carried out, Capt Goldsmith’s part of the agreement could have been then at once commenced and completed before the discovery of gold in the adjacent Colonies had caused the enormous rise in the price of wages and materials which then took place.
2ndly the unavoidable delay which took place in the supply of the timber stipulated to be contributed by the Govt. 3rdly the failure of the parties with whom Capt Goldsmith had entered into the Contract for driving the piles, to complete such Contract, on the ground of the delay in supplying the timber and the consequent measured rate of wages. And lastly the long period of uncertainty as to the lease of the site which to a certain extent prevented his entering into an other contract. Two very severe attacks of illness and family afflictions further contributed to retard Capt Goldsmith’s operation, and under the circumstances, his request was acceded to, on the Condition that the work should be commenced within six months of that date by Nov. 14th 1854.
The stipulated quantity of timber has now been supplied to Capt Goldsmith and his receipt for the same filed in the Office of Public Works

State Library of NSW
Title: Report on Captain Goldsmith’s patent slip by the Director of Public Works, 1855
Creator: Kay, William Porden
Date of Work: 1855
TRANSCRIPTS and Photos Copyright © KLW NFC 2014 Arr

Captain Butler Stoney’s account
On February 21, 1856 Captain Edward Goldsmith boarded one of the Black Ball Line clippers, the Indian Queen, in Hobart as a passenger, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and son Edward Goldsmith jnr, bound for Liverpool, England, on his final voyage from the colony re-named Tasmania (formerly Van Diemen’s Land) just months prior, in July 1855. Also on board was passenger Captain H. Butler Stoney of the 99th Regiment, author of A residence in Tasmania: with a descriptive tour through the island, from Macquarie Harbour to Circular Head (London, Smith, Elder & co., Sept. 1856). When he published his book on Tasmania in 1856, he mentioned Captain Goldsmith’s difficulties with the Hobart Legislature in construction costs etc of the patent slip and Twin Steam ferry Kangaroo (pp 26-27). The passage below hints at the very real obstacles Captain Goldsmith experienced with the colonial government, which no doubt formed his decision to finally leave for good:

Above: Capt Butler Stoney on Captain Goldsmith, pp.26-27
A residence in Tasmania … etc 1856


Joining the Cricket Ground, on the bank of the Derwent, is a piece of land leased to Mr. Goldsmith by the Colonial Government, for the erection of a patent Slip, which was brought to the Colony by him in the year 1848, but was not erected until 1856, in consequence of delay in getting a proper lease of the ground. It is now erected, and capable of taking up sailing vessels or steamers of 1,000 tons at high water, and one of 500 to 600 at low water, with every capability of repairing any description of vessel. The Slip is worked by steam power.
In 1848 the Twin Ferry Boat was laid down by Mr. Goldsmith, of 480 tons, capable of taking four loaded drays on her deck, besides her passengers …
The Twin Ferry Boat was completed about twelve months since, but not delivered to the Government until January last; the reason of this the Government is fully aware of…

Read more here:

Captain Goldsmith was preoccupied with these events and issues in December:

  • Judge at the Regatta
  • Voting for his neighbour D. Kilburn in Aldermen elections
  • Preparations for the farewell of Sir W. T. Denison
  • Laying of water pipes for residences in Davey St.

Regatta Judge

Captain Goldsmith, Regatta judge 1854
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Thu 21 Dec 1854 Page 4 Advertising


Captain King, R.N.
Captain Goldsmith and Captain Cotterell
Amateur Scullers’ Race for a Silver Cup;
to pull round flag-boat moored off Cornelian Bay and back to place of starting.
First boat to receive a Silver Cup.

Hill, Samuel Prout, 1821-1861
Regatta at Hobart Town 1854
Watercolour heightened with bodycolour, signed lower left ‘S. Prout Hill’, 31 x 40 cm
Courtesy of Christies © Samuel Prout Hill or assignee
Biography online at Australian Dictionary of Biography

Vote for D. Kilburn in the Aldermen election
Conundrums were a hugely popular form of word-play in 1850s Hobart. Audiences delighted by the visit to the colonies of the Ethiopian Serenaders responded to a request by the Hobarton Guardian in 1850 for their readers to submit their own conundrums. On the evening of Friday 14th February, 1851, Captain Edward Goldsmith was in the audience for a performance of the Ethiopian Serenaders at the Royal Victoria Theatre, Hobart, a celebrity among other local notables – those “sparkling orbs” of Hobart colonial society – whose names and deeds the American blackface minstrels up there on stage cleverly wove into their shtick of conundrums, songs and dances. Captain Goldsmith got top billing – well, after the Monarchy and the Supreme Court Judiciary- in their first conundrum:

How did Capt. Goldsmith of de “Rattler” show more good sense dan one ob our earliest and proudest monarchs?
‘Cos Canute commanded de wave to retire, but Goldsmith retired from de wave [barque Wave]
Why am de Theatre dis evening like de milky way?
‘Cos it contains a cluster ob sparkling orbs.

Given credit to have more sense than the Anglo-Saxon king Canute who failed in his efforts against the elements to hold back the tide swamping his throne, the pun on the word “wave” referred to Captain Goldsmith’s voyages in command of the barque Wave from the 1830s until the early 1840s when he retired from its command in favour of the fast Rattler, a superior merchant vessel commissioned for him by ship owner Robert Brooks which ensured his second wind, i.e. non-retirement.

Douglas Kilburn wrote his own conundrum which was published in the Courier on January 23, 1856, during a bid for election as Alderman to the Municipal Council. The play on the word “dagger-o-type” i.e. daguerreotype, a photographic item, and dagger, a wounding weapon, tells simultaneously of his move away from photography as a vocation (at which he was highly successful) to his recent heated “effusions” as a political aspirant.

CONUNDRUM by Mr. Douglas T. Kilburn. – Why should I publish my malicious effusions in the Daily News ? Answer.-Because it is returning to my old vocation of the dagger-o-type. (N. B.-Mr. Kilburn’s French pronunciation is imperfect)

GENERAL INTELLIGENCE. (1856, January 23). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), p. 3. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2497566


Hobart Town, 14th December, 1854.
J. L. STEWART, Esq.,

WE, the undersigned, hereby request yon will allow
yourselves to be nominated as Aldermen for
the City of Hobart Town at the forthcoming Munici-
pal Election ; and we pledge ourselves to use every
exertion for securing your return….
Askin Morrison, M L.C.
Alexander McNaughtan
Henry Hopkins, J.P.
Isaac Wright
Duncan McPherson
T. J. Knight
T. P. Cowle
Alfred Garrett, J.P.
W. Rout
Thomas Young
John Bilton Neil Lewis
Judah Solomon
R. Westbrook
P. Nichol
Joseph Allport
E. Goldsmith
H. Ashton
J. R. Bateman, J.P
Thomas Freeman
George Morton etc etc

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Thu 28 Dec 1854 Page 4 Classified Advertising

Sir W. Denison address from Royal Society
Captain Goldsmith became a member of the Royal Society of Van Diemen’s Land in 1851 for his contributions to the development of the colony.

Royal Society farewell address to Sir W. Denison
Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) Fri 22 Dec 1854 Page 2 THE COURIER.


AT the special general meeting of the Society, held on Wednesday last for the purpose of considering an Address to His Excellency the President, prepared by the Council in compliance with the resolution of a previous general meeting – the Rev. J. Lillie, DD., senior Vice-President, occupied the Chair.
Amongst the members present we observed the following: – Dr. Butler, M.L.C., Dr. Agnew, Dr. Hoelzel, Mr. Barnard, Mr. Champ, Mr. D’Arch, Mr. Fraser, Mr. Kilburn, Mr. Hall, Mr. Henslowe, Mr. Hone, Captain Hawkins, R.E., Captain Goldsmith, Captain King, R.N., Mr Matson, Mr. T. McDowell, Mr. Loch, Mr. Moss, Mr. Manley, Mr. J. C. Walker, Mr. R. Walker, Mr Whitcomb etc

Water pipes needed in Davey Street

Captain Goldsmith petitions the HCC for water pipes in Davey St.
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Sat 30 Dec 1854 Page 3 MUNICIPAL COUNCIL.


The Council held a meeting at three o’clock. PRESENT – His Worshipful the Mayor, Aldermen Elliston, Worley, Thomas, O’Reilly, and Sims.
The Minutes of the previous meeting read and confirmed.
The Mayor made an enquiry as to how a petition from certain gentlemen resident in Davey street came to be presented by an Alderman as he had been informed it had been handed to the Town Clerk for presentation.
The Town Clerk admitted he had received it, and given it to Ald. O’Reilly, the rule requiring that it should be presented by an Alderman.
Some conversation ensued, during which the Mayor observed that there was an irregularity, and some offence had been taken by certain of the petitioners. Alderman O’Reilly (who had presented the petition) contended it was the usual course, and he wished to know how many of the seven petitioners had complained. His Worship – One. Alderman O’Reilly – May I ask which of them? His Worship – Captain Goldsmith. The petition (which prayed that water pipes might be laid down in Davey-street) was read, and after discussion, the Council ordered that the work might be done, the Corporation finding materials, the petitioners defraying the cost of labour.

The Hobart Rivulet which supplied water to the Davey Street residences in its course from the foothills of kunanyi/Mt. Wellington to the River Derwent was used a sewerage channel in 1854. After extensive rainfall and flooding throughout March, Captain Goldsmith petitioned the Hobart City Corporation on behalf of residents to lay down water pipes to contain the sewerage on the one hand, and provide clean water for household use.The death of his 24 yr old son Richard Sydney Goldsmith in August 1854 of typhoid may have been as a result of sewerage contaminating the water supply.

Frankland’s Map of Hobart 1854

Hobart Van Diemen’s Land 1854
Frankland’s Map, dedicated to Sir Wm Denison (TAHO Collection)

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More newspaper articles about Captain Edward Goldsmith can be viewed online at TROVE, National Library of Australia in this list: click here.

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