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Hobart Town (1804) First Settlers Association Inc

 

Annual Report for 2004

The President's Annual Report for 2004

for the

Hobart Town (1804) First Settlers Association Inc

 

As President, I have much pleasure in presenting the Annual Report for the year 2004.

The year 2004 was without doubt the one that Members had been looking forward to for so long. It was 1992 when Richard Lord" a founding Member, reminded us that it was only twelve years to the Bicentenary. A great deal of research was commenced by Members to establish the number of '1804' Settlers who had descendants that could be found to take part in a gathering on the 20th February 2004. It must be remembered that at this time a 'family tree', was still considered a 'private document'. Today we do not need to leave our homes to find this material. Our Association no longer has a 'closed box' at the Archives. All I need to say in this report is that we certainly succeeded, though the actual number of those present at the First Settler Memorial on Friday, the 20th February 2004, was not possible to establish. It is thought it could have exceeded a thousand people. The Dinner in the evening held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, which overlooks the '1804' landing site was attended by more than 660 people, the largest number catered for to that date.

To place the three plaques on the Monument in Hunters Street containing the names of those who were victualled by Lieutenant Governor Collins in 1804 was thwarted with difficulties. However eventually permission was granted for the project to go ahead. and with financial assistance from the State Government and the Hobart City Council together with donations from Members and their families, the project was completed. Today we say 'we hope it will still be there in 200 years time'.

The old 'Wool Stores', again close by, proved a very welcome place for a light lunch and a chat, especially as the weather was uncertain, though the few light showers did not have a great effect on the 'Floral Tribute'. The City Hall, another historic building close to the landing site, was found to be available, one might say, at the last minute. It was an excellent meeting place for local Members and those visiting for the occasion. A series of tours in conjunction with Walker Buses, was arranged by Kate Carlisle and as these left from outside the City Hall were very much appreciated. So much so that others have been arranged by Kate for local members. A very pleasant reminder of the many trips our now very senior member. Henry Baldwin had taken us, as driver, over the years.

Attending a memorable service at the Cathedral, another old building of great significance. completed the weekend.

We may not be able to say how many attended that week end, but we can say they came from 'near and far'. Our Patron and his wife were not the only ones from England, their Ross friends came too, and had a wonderful time following Ken's forbear around at least some of the areas he had lived in. Janice Hickey came from Ireland, and the 'Patersons' came from the USA, to join other family here, and no doubt those New Zealanders were well represented, as were all mainland states. We can be sure there were many more of our 350 plus family members present. When I became President in 1994, I noted in the Annual Report of that year, that our membership was 104 Full and Associate Members. Today there are at least three times as many. Let us hope the interest continues.

We had located 117 families over those twelve years, from those who came in 1804, as that Bicentenary Year began. We may not find any more, but identifying the folk who followed and their contribution to 1804 families, and others, will keep us, and our descendants, busy for perhaps another two hundred years. The books written during 2004, will continue to tell the story of those who made Tasmania their home. Our Members special contribution being Heritage Stories of Van Diemen's Land'. Very well received indeed. Both the morning and evening meetings for '2004' were well attended by local members. The speakers who contributed to these meetings, were varied indeed and very much appreciated. The quarterly Newsletter keeping those unable to attend in touch.

There is no doubt, the year 2001, was a special one. We were asked not to 'celebrate the arrival', hence 'acknowledged their arrival'. 'Marking special events in history seemed to become the term acceptable to all as the year progressed, and eventually '2004' was acknowledged all over our special island.

We Tasmanians are asked to acknowledge the Original custodians at any special event. such as the Floral Tribute, for us. Perhaps here' as I conclude the Annual Report for 2004, we can be left with a very special though. None of us OWN this special island, we all are only CUSTODIANS for however long we are here. For many of us our First Settlers and their children, (our great-grandparents), saw most of this first century through, our parents and we older Tasmanians, the second, and we would expect many of our grandchildren to see most of this next century through. What stories will they have to tell?

I am very thankful indeed for the privilege of 'presiding over' this Association for the last ten years, especially for 2004. Thank you all.

Freda J. Gray OAM
President/Historian

 
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