Text of the “Families of Kingborough” display January 2021

Emanuel Sward (Swards, Suarez)

  • Born : May 16 1852, Portugal
  • Death : January 12 1918 –Simpson’s Bay, South Bruny, Tasmania,
  • Buried : Alonnah Cemetery
  • Arrived Tasmania : 1871
  • Married : 1875 Mary Ann Lovegrove
  • Family : Seven sons and four daughters.

      Sons:   John Emanuel ( Jack)         Daughters :    Frances

                 William Joseph ( Joe)                              Laura

                 Arthur Albert ( Ab )                                Florence

                 Henry George ( George )                      Elsie

                 Herbert Huon ( Herb )

                 Louis Harold ( Lou )

                 Ernest Leslie ( Ernie )

  • Professions:

         Master Mariner        Ship Master

         Farmer                       Seaman              Labourer

  • Jumped the whaling ship “Matilda Sears” into Hobart 1871.
  • Worked on Hobart waterfront and on the whaling barque “Runnymede”.
  • Lived at Long Bay – 4 years (Middleton) and then later at Simpsons Bay on Bruni (Bruny) Island
  • Captain of barges ( eg Lurline ) carrying timber and firewood.
  • Purchased 129 acre property at Simpsons Bay and began orcharding. In later years cut and sold firewood.
  • Suffered with significant ill health in the last years of his life.
  • All of his sons except Ernest Leslie became well known seafarers.

Alexander McKay

Alexander McKay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1802. He was convicted in Glasgow on 25 April 1823 for stealing a gold watch and consequently was sentence to transportation for life.

McKay joined the party led by George Augustus Robinson to assist in rounding up the Aborigines. He received a free pardon in 1831 after years of work in the bush surveying land, roads, rivers and mountains under such people as Calder and Hellyer. There wasn’t much of early Tasmania he hadn’t travelled through.

In 1839 Alexander married Catherine Hands and together they had 8 children. After living in varying parts of Tasmania McKay acquired forty-six acres of land under the Waste Lands Act in 1864 at Peppermint Bay (now Woodbridge) where he settled and raised a family.

 Two of their sons, Donald and Alexander Junior, continued in their father’s footsteps sailing barges delivering timber and other produce. More descendants became boat builders, bargemen, fishermen and bush workers travelling the Channel and other Tasmanian waters.

Murray Steele

The William Leitch Medal was awarded to the best and fairest footballer in the Tasmanian Football League. Murray Steele, born and raised in Margate and considered by most to be one of the best footballers to come out of the Channel, was the joint winner of the medal in 1959.  Murray received the same number of votes as Mal Pascoe, the coach and captain of the Hobart Football Club. However, at the time, a count-back system was in place, and Pascoe was originally considered to be the sole winner of the medal.  However, in the mid 1990’s, the count-back system was scrapped and medals awarded retrospectively.

Murray played for Margate, then Sandy Bay, then tried out with St Kilda, returned to Margate when he was only 21 and later coached the Channel Football Club.

Murray donated his medal to the Museum in 2017.

Reinee Yates

Born at Woodbridge in late 1914 to Bert (orchardist and shopkeeper) and Lyla Mason, Reinee has lived most of her 104 years in the south Channel and is a gold mine of local knowledge.

After primary school at Middleton and a scholarship to Hobart High School, Reinee worked in the family shop at Woodbridge, enjoyed local dances, played competitive badminton and attended church (Methodist in the morning and Anglican in the evening: “That’s where the boys were!”)

After wartime service in Signals (in Victoria and at Anglesea Barracks) Reinee married Bill Yates. Between them they managed the family’s shops at Gordon and Middleton until both shops and their Middleton home were lost in the ’67 bushfires.

Post the fires they sold basics such as tea, butter, milk, bread and comics out of the lounge and hallway of her mother’s Middleton home. With their home rebuilt by April 1968, they soon had their Middleton shop operating as usual. They sold to the Van Loons but continued an active community life, with Reinee only reluctantly leaving her beloved Middleton home a couple of years ago.

Roy Bowerman

Roy arrived at Oyster Cove as a 12 year old stable hand, to care for the Crowther family’s horses and traps. (The Crowthers were a wealthy, influential Hobart family of doctors, businessmen and politicians who owned a holiday home, Whyambah, at Oyster Cove.)

Born in 1910, the second eldest of 17 children, Roy lived first at Abels Bay and then in various other places as the family moved about. Eventually the family put the two older boys in care at the Kennerly Boys Home, which was where Crowther found him.  

Roy lived at Manuka where Crowther spent time educating him and reading him the Bible. He really appreciated the interest and all his life doted on the Crowther children.

Roy maintained a life-long interest in reading and self-education. As an adult Roy lived in the original school house, but refused to have electricity. He read by the light of a kerosene lamp and the fire on which he also cooked.

A bachelor, he lived alone but was no recluse. He split scallops and picked fruit in season. He market gardened on the former aboriginal station site, where he dug up a number of their clay pipes. He would walk over the hill “to the port” to the Kettering Post Office, nearly always with a sack of vegetables for friends. He’d stop for a cuppa and a chat and then it was back home “up the Cove”, always on foot. He would only accept a lift with one of his nieces, no-one else. He did briefly have a car but caught buses to visit family in Blackmans Bay and Hobart.

His Boxing Day ritual was to walk to Bill Perkins’ house on Shepherds Point, taking him a bucket of raspberries.

He played the melodeon, and provided music at various local functions. He played in the local cricket team and taught Sunday School. He joined up in WW2 and made it as far as Darwin.

He died in 1995, aged 85, remembered affectionately as a “gentle man and a thorough gentleman.”

James and Mary Thomson

James and Mary Thomson were early settlers at Allen’s Rivulet near Sandfly.  They have many, many descendants still living in the Channel area.

We do know exactly when James came to Van Diemen’s Land.  More than likely he was born in Scotland and came out as a free settler.

Mary was born near Hollow Tree (between Hamilton and Bothwell) and was the daughter of convicts, Patrick and Mary McCarthy.

James and Mary were married at New Norfolk in 1840 and established a farm at Black Brush, near Broadmarsh.

In the mid 1850’s, they moved to Allen’s Rivulet.  This included droving their livestock to Allen’s Rivulet.  We don’t know which route they took, but, regardless, it would have been a difficult and challenging journey.

Their direct descendants in include families such as: Thomson, Crane, Street, Lindsay, Mackey, Clayton, Loveluck, Beadle, Vince, Worsley, Avery – and the list goes on. 

The Torpy Family of Snug

Michael Torpy emigrated from Ireland in 1854 aged 18, and married Julia Theresa Denehey in Launceston in 1858. They moved to North West Bay, Julia’s home district, and had 12 children. Michael had purchased 1,000 acres in the centre of Snug, donating land for a Catholic Church (which doubled as a school) and an all-denominations cemetery in 1859. In 1904 he donated land for a hall and recreation ground on Falls Road.

Michael and his children bought up more land resulting in Torpy orchards covering almost all of what is now central Snug. The 1910 roll showed Michael and sons Arthur, Ernest, Michael (jnr) and Philip as fruit growers and Sylvester as a farmer. Eldest daughter Kate (Catherine) was a shopkeeper, and Lena (Helena) and Annie were not listed. Mary and Teresa had died in infancy and William and Edward had both died aged 28 of consumption. Philip was elected to the first Kingborough Council in 1907 and donated part of his land for the current Snug Park oval in 1926. The Torpy men were prominent in Snug Excelsior Cricket Club and Sylvester also in the rifle club.

Michael (sen) died in 1916 in his 81st year and Julia in 1919 aged 83.  Lena cared for her mother for several years and lived out her life in the original family home. While descendants of Michael and Julia Torpy still live in the area the Torpy surname has now vanished from Snug, along with the orchards, but their legacy lives on in a street name and their generous donations of land to the community.

The Wolfe Family

Johann and Marie Wolfe arrived in Tasmania in 1855 and moved to Leslie in 1870.

Their son George played violin and met his wife Ruth (Bradburn) when performing at Fern Tree Bower.

Ernest was the youngest of their 5 children. He was known as Curly, and married Barbara (Banks). He formed “Curly Wolfe’s Orchestra” which played at dances all over southern Tasmania until the 1960s. Ernie mostly played saxophone.

Ernie’s two sons, Tony and Malcolm, started playing drums in their father’s band but later formed their own. Tony’s was called “Penny Lane” and Malcolm’s “Midnight Revival” (with Shane Deayton), formed in 1972.

Malcolm (known as “Mildoo” after a 1970s cartoon wolf) played with “Midnight Revival” for over 40 years. He could play piano and accordion as well as the drums. He died in 2016.

Malcolm and wife Lee (Price) had two sons, Nick and Tom, who with Brodie Rainbird tour the world playing country rock as “The Wolfe Brothers.”

Tony and wife Topsy Annie have two musical children also, Emily Lygin-Wolfe, who plays and teaches violin, and Gavin, who plays Curly’s saxophone.

J. T. Tanner & Son   Grocer & Baker

This was the sign on the shop that for many years was the central hub of Margate. Built with attached dwelling by William Worsley, it was taken over by John Ralph Worsley and his second wife Annie in about 1880 and used as a general store and post & telegraph office for 34 years. It was then sold to Mr. Charlie Fuller, and bought by John (Tas) Tanner in 1932. Tas Tanner already had a grocery shop and bakery at Kingston, so his son John took over at Margate.

Mr. Leo Griffiths, who had worked for Mr. Fuller, stayed working for John Tanner and lived with his family in the attached house. While John was serving in WW2 and became a P.O.W. Leo managed the shop. John’s sister June Morgan did the office work and served in the shop.

When John came home and married his wife Zelda (Worsley) in 1946 they shifted into the house and the Griffiths family moved to Sandfly. Leo still worked for them, delivering groceries firstly in an old Whippet van, then in an ex-army Blitz wagon.

The bakery was built in the early 1950s after John came home but before that the bread was baked at Kingston.

For many years Mr. Stan Nichols worked for the Tanner family, delivering groceries in the old Blitz wagon to the surrounding district. Mr. Frank Suckling delivered bread and The Mercury newspaper.

Mr. Jack Kelleher worked in the bakery for many years, and Mrs. Eva Roland served in the shop for 25 years.

John’s wife Zelda had a large garden, and people would stop to admire her beautiful roses. John Jnr. started working in the bakehouse with his father in 1964. John’s sister Georgina used to ice the cream buns – but she wouldn’t say how many she used to eat! Genevieve also helped in the bakery (see photo).

All three still live in Margate. John Jnr. has a wood craft business and his son, also John, helps him. Georgina worked in the office and shop from 1971-1980 and is now a receptionist at the Snug Medical Centre. Genevieve became our “Miss Tasmania” in 1975. As part of her fundraising campaign John pushed her from Margate to Woodbridge in a wheelbarrow! She never worked in the shop but was in administration jobs for a number of companies in Hobart including the CCAMLR.

John stopped baking in 1979 and the bread for the shop was bought from Cripps. The shop was sold in 1980 and became a hardware store. It was re-sold, only to be demolished in 2016. The end of an era!