By 1850 and less than half a century since British occupation, Hobart (lutruwita / Van Diemen’s Land / Tasmania) was a town abundant in exotic flora, in no small measure due to the importation of every kind of fruit, flower and vegetable by merchant mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) of Chalk, Kent and Rotherhithe, Surrey, UK. The press reported on 19 December 1850 that “Captain Goldsmith … has more than any other skipper, added to our Floral and Horticultural treasures”. The botanical “treasures” originated from the Americas, Europe and South Africa, in addition to carefully chosen specimens from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew (UK) and Sydney (NSW). Several were from Captain Goldsmith’s own plantations and nurseries in Kent (UK). Many varieties were imported at his own expense, others were consignments such as Mammoth strawberries for nurseryman Mr. Lipscombe, hops for Mr. Sharland, and a variety of exotic species selected for the Tasmanian Royal Society’s Botanical Gardens which were expected to thrive in Tasmania’s temperate climate. On return voyages Captain Goldsmith exported Tasmanian varieties of potato to assist Ireland in the grip of famine, and Norfolk Island pines to inhabit the otherwise bare hills of the Falklands Islands. From NSW he also imported animal stock such as merinos to improve Mr. Bethune’s bloodlines, and from the bloodstock of the Duke of Richmond he imported three fillies to improve the racing stock of the Lord brothers. There were also quantities of blue gum (eucalyptus globulus), skins of native animals, and indigenous plants conveyed back to Europe, destined for the great exhibition halls of London and Paris (1851-1855). Captain Edward Goldsmith retired to his estate in 1856 at Gadshill House, Telegraph Lane, Higham, Kent, UK. The large marsupial thylacine known then as the “Tasmanian wolf” and in modern times as the “Tasmanian tiger” may have been among the exports of indigenous animals he carried on one of his return voyages to London up to 1855 but the only export of a live thylacine to survive long enough to be photographed in 1865 by Frank Haes arrived at the London Zoo almost a decade later, in 1863, under the auspices of Tasmanian botantist Ronald Gunn. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith: imports to Tasmania, exports to everywhere, 1840s-1860s
Henry Geeves was an articled seaman, one of twenty-two (22) crew members who sailed from the Downs (UK) on 22nd August 1850 on board the barque Rattler, 522 tons, Captain Edward Goldsmith in command, arriving at Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 14th December 1850. Cabin passengers numbered seven, with four more in steerage. The return voyage of the Rattler to London would commence on 19th March 1851, after three months at Hobart while Captain Goldsmith attended to his construction of the vehicular twin steam ferry SS Kangaroo and the development of a patent slip at his shipyard on the Queen’s Domain. Henry Geeves, however, had no intention of joining the crew on the Rattler’s return voyage to London when he went absent without leave (AWOL) on 31st December 1850. He returned to the ship three days later for his clothes. Appearing as the plaintiff in the Police Magistrate’s Court on January 20th 1851, his complaint against Captain Goldsmith was for wages which he claimed were due to him because he felt he had been discharged by the Rattler’s chief officer, having volunteered as an “old man-of-war’s man” to join the frigate H.M.S. Havannah when an officer from the Havannah boarded the Rattler seeking additional crew … More Captain Goldsmith, AWOL seaman Geeves, and HMS Havannah
The Rattler, Captain Goldsmith, arrived on Saturday, after an average passage of 110 days, having left on the 26th August. She consequently brings no additional items of intelligence, but several intermediate papers. Capt. Goldsmith has on board three very fine blood fillies purchased by Mr. John Lord, from the stock of the Duke of Richmond. The fillies are three years old, and have arrived in first rate condition, sufficiently evidencing the care and attention which have been paid to them on the passage. One was purchased for Mr. James Lord, and the other two for Mr. John Lord’s own stud. They will prove valuable additions to our stock, the Duke of Richmond’s stock comprising the best blood of England. Captain Goldsmith, to whom the colony is much indebted for many choice plants and flowers, has brought out with him seven cases of plants this voyage, all of which are in good order. On coming up the river, the Rattler got into collision with the Derwent, and had her larboard quarter gallery carried away. The Rattler was hove too waiting for the Pilot to come on board, and the Derwent coming down with a fair wind came rather too close, for the purpose of speaking her, and struck her on the larboard gallery, carrying it away. — Advertiser. … More Captain Goldsmith, three bloodstock fillies and a larboard collision
Captain Edward Goldsmith performed the burial rites at sea in the presence of the only other family member on board, younger brother Richard Landale, b. 1831, barely seventeen years old. Presumably the body was disposed of soon after death rather than kept on board until first landfall, which might have been the Falkland Islands where Captain Goldsmith routinely berthed to resupply his crew. On arrival in the Derwent at Hobart ten weeks later, Port Officer Lawrence recorded the names of all passengers at the time he boarded the vessel, but recorded nothing about the death at sea. Although death notices had appeared in the press by the 9th December 1848, the death itself was not listed in official death and burial registers, making it difficult to ascertain both the cause of the teenager’s demise and location of a cemetery memorial. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith, the diarist Annie Baxter and a death at sea 1848
This voyage would be Captain Edward Goldsmith’s last round-trip as master of his fastest and finest barque, the Rattler, 522 tons, from London to the port of Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). The barque was cleared at the Western Dock, London on 3rd July 1850 and sat mid-stream in the Thames while lightermen loaded the cargo until ready to sail from the Downs by 22 August, 1850. Cabin passengers numbered seven, and four in steerage. They arrived at Hobart three and half months later, on 14th December 1850. The return voyage of the Rattler to London would commence on 19th March 1851, after three months at Hobart while Captain Goldsmith attended to his construction of the ferry Kangaroo and the development of a patent slip at his Domain shipyard. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith’s cargo ex London Docks per Rattler 1850
-Upon receiving the cup, Capt. Goldsmith remarked that he would retain the token until death ; and, with reference to some observations made by Mr. Carter, intimated it was not improbable he should next year, by settling in Van Diemen’s Land with Mrs. Goldsmith, become a fellow-colonist.
-The goblet, which was manufactured by Mr. C. Jones, of Liverpool-street, bears the following inscription:-“Presented to Captain Goldsmith, of the ship Rattler, as a slight testimonial for having introduced many rare and valuable plants into Van Diemen’s Land. January, 1849.” The body has a surrounding circlet of vine leaves in relief. The inscription occupies the place of quarterings in a shield supported the emu and kangaroo in bas relief, surmounting a riband scroll with the Tasmanian motto-” Sic fortis Hobartia crevit.” The foot has a richly chased border of fruit and flowers. In the manufacture of this cup, for the first time in this colony, the inside has undergone the process of gilding. … More Testimonial to Captain Edward Goldsmith 1849