top of page

Bromptonians in the New World (part 7)

Boats and Bushrangers

In the previous article we looked at George Barras - the young blacksmith and one of the passengers on the ship "Caroline" who left Brompton-on-Swale in 1827 bound for Van Diemen's Land (modern day Tasmania). One of George's fellow passengers was another native of Brompton-on-Swale - Joseph Hind.

Unlike 19 year-old George Barras, who was single and travelled alone, Joseph was a few years older at 26 and was married with children. His wife, Barbara (22) and their two sons, James (3) and Joseph junior (2) travelled with him on the Caroline and endured the long six month journey that we covered in detail in part 3 and part 4.

Joseph was listed as a farm servant and must have decided that, despite the risks for himself and his young family, the chance of a better life at the other side of the world was worth the gamble.

The 1841 census records don't show any Hind family members living in Brompton, but there are many Hind's in the village of Kirby Ravensworth (about 6 miles from Brompton). Research shows a Joseph Hind born in Kirby Ravensworth in 1801 who would have been the correct age for our Joseph, so it seems a likely match.

Like many of the passengers, we have to assume that Joseph served out his indentured service and then tried to establish their new lives.

Like all of the indentured servants that arrived on the Caroline, Joseph would have served out his indentured service and then tried to establish a new life for himself and his family.

In Joseph's case, what the evidence apparently shows is quite a remarkable change of career. Joseph seems to have become a builder of boats. Whether he had some carpentry skills already, or learnt them during his service with the Van Diemen's Land Company we simply don't know for sure, but we do know that convicts were used to build ships in Van Diemen's Land and the indentured servants worked alongside convicts.

Remarkably, this recent article from ABC News in Australia that tells of the discovery of the wreck of a boat which we think was built by our Joseph Hind. How do we know it's our Joseph Hind? Well, we think there is a very good chance, because he'd called the ship the "Barbara", after his wife.

The Barbara was a 12m (39ft) long schooner which is not a small boat by any means! Schooner's were typically one or two masted trading ships and the Barbara was built by Joseph on the Tamar river in 1841 near Exeter.

On Friday 23rd Sep 1836, the Hobart Town Courier mentions a land assignment to a Joseph Hind and on Saturday the 14th Dec 1839, the "Cornwall Chronicle" mentions the land Joseph owns near the township of Exeter (in relation to it bounding other lots of land), so its clear that with a decade of arriving Joseph owns land - and presumably has or soon starts, building boats.

Importantly, Australia really didn't start building ships until 1820, making Barbara one of Australia's earliest boats. She had an excessively thick hull and unusually, was built with non-local woods - the hull from jarrah wood from Western Australia, the frame was made of tea tree, and there was eucalypti from New South Wales and Victoria.

Records of shipping movements show Barbara transported livestock and wool up the Tamar river, before being registered in Victoria, on the mainland of Australia from 1846 and being employed in the (quick) lime trade.

The Barbara was wrecked in 1852 when a northerly force 10 gale hit, making her drag her anchors and be run aground in shallow waters about 100m offshore near Rye Pier, Melbourne. The exact whereabouts seemed lost for almost 170 years, until a wreck was discovered by wreck explorer Peter Taylor, who had been researching the lime trade in the area. Maritime archaeologists confirmed the identity of the wreck several years ago as the Barbara.

Sometime before 1837 records in Tasmania record that Joseph Hind received an award "for an allotment (11063) for land as a reward for capturing bushrangers (11562)"

Bushrangers were typically escaped convicts who lived off the land (the bush) and were often forced to commit crimes to survive. They knew that being recaptured often meant death, so they were typically desperate men. Capturing several of them no doubt deserved a good reward. There were many bushrangers in Tasmania but a contemporary of Joseph's time was perhaps the most famous bushranger in Van Diemen's Land - Martin Cash.

In the 1843 Census, Joseph and his family were living in the Launceston area in a wooden

house – eight were ‘free’, one a convict.

Joseph and Barbara had a number of children in Tasmania. adding to their Yorkshire born sons James and Joseph. Elizabeth born in 24th February 1828 - less than a week after their arrival in Van Diemen's Land (on the 19th). Mary was born in 1830, Jane in 1833, William in 1836, Barbara in 1838 and John in 1842. On the 19th May 1844 Barbara gave

birth to their ninth child William Stewart Hind, and sadly she died the next day.

Born 1807, Died 1844 Wife of Joseph Hind

Barbara is buried in the graveyard of St Matthias Church, Windermere, Tasmania - overlooking the Tamar River, a long way from another river she would have known - the Swale.

Joseph re-married on 14 October 1848, this time to his then housekeeper Catherine Scott. His son, Joseph Hind Jr married the same day to Catherine’s young daughter Ann!

Sadly, it seems that Joseph Sr had become a resident of the "Invalid Depot" (an institution largely for destitute and chronically ill men, and run much like a prison). A report in the 24 Feb 1872 Launceston Examiner reported:

It seems that Joseph spent over 25 years in the Invalid Depot and aged 94, he died on 2 April 1889

Unfortunately, it seems he was suffering from senility and his passing was noted, without much ceremony in the local paper.

Hind Family Tree

NOTE: If any Barras or Hinds descendent wants to get in touch with Sharon, please email her at

Links to Previous Articles in this Series

NOTE: Please feel free to add your comments and questions to the blog - scroll down to the comments section at the bottom of the page.

[Source: Original research by Sharon Burnell and Peter Hodgson] [Source: The Voyage of the Caroline by Rosalie Hare 1827-1828]

[Source: National Library of Australia]

{Source: Library of Tasmania]


79 views0 comments


bottom of page