The Justification of Joseph Tice Gellibrand: A Thesis

A return to the Frontier History of colonial Victoria, with a focus on cultural understanding and relationship.

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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I am a 4th-to-6th generation Australian of Silesian (Prusso-Polish), Welsh, Schwabian-Württemberg German, yeoman English, Scots, & Cornish stock; all free settlers who emigrated between 1848-1893 as colonial pioneers. I am the 2nd of 7 brothers and a sister raised on the income off 23 acres. I therefore belong to an Australian Peasantry which historians claim doesn't exist. I began to have outbreaks of poetry in 1975 when training for a Diploma of Mission Theology in Melbourne. I've since done a BA in Literature and Professional Writing and Post-graduate Honours in Australian History. My poem chapbook 'Compost of Dreams' was published in 1994. I have built a house of trees and mud-bricks, worked forests, lived as a new-pioneer, fathered-n-raised two sons and a daughter, and am now a proud grandfather. I have worked as truck fresh-food farmer, a freelance foliage-provider, been a member of a travelling Christian Arts troupe, worked as duty officer and conflict resolutionist with homeless alcoholic men, been editor/publisher of a Journal of Literature for Christian Pilgrimage, a frontier researcher, done poetry in performance seminars in schools and public events.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Frontier of Romance and Jeopardy!

A Frontier
of Romance
and Jeopardy!

Towards some Principles for the Frontier
of Australian Identity and Reconciliation
as seen within and around the Treaty
of Dutigalla, (Batman) or Port Phillip,
in and with some of its Prequels,
Contexts, Encounters and Aftermaths.


Wayne David Knoll
[ Jupurrula ]

Dedicated to the Old Man
- Walpiri Elder & Artist -
Darby Jampijimpa Ross
who gave me skin (kinship)

A Thesis submitted in September 2001 to the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne as the key research component to a successful Post Graduate Diploma in History/Australian Studies.


Introduction: Robertson~Clemenceau: and not Robinson Crusoe ! - 1.
Principles and Disciples - 4.
Part One: Active Material and Spiritual Freedom - 5.
Historical Potency and Spiritual Hope - 8.
Meetings, Adaptions and Hybrid Cross-fertilisation - 9.
The Legacy of Gellibrand & Company - 12.
Gellibrand: The Judicious Firebrand - 16.
Gellibrand and the Tasmanian Newspaper - 19.
The Parchments of Treaty and other Parchments - 27.
On Historic Castles In The Air and Historic Bridges of Chasms - 28.
The Search for Gellibrand & Hesse - 29.
Gellibrand’s Disappearance and /or Death - 30.
Part Two: The Jaga Jagas and Five others - 31.
Sign Language - 32
Kinship - 37.
Namesake - 38.
Too Much Mainmait - 39.
Part Three: The Opening Crack of Otherness - 40.
Historic Yeast in the Ingredients of ‘Culture’ - 45.
Meetings of Intertexture / Inversion as Goodwill Events or as Badwill Events - 49
Motive Conclusion - 51

Bibliography - 54.

Appendices: I, II, III, IV - from 59.

Introduction: Robertson~Clemenceau: and not Robinson Crusoe !

Introduction: Robertson~Clemenceau: and not Robinson Crusoe !

‘Men pass, but principles remain. A question not settled justly is eternally open.’

Clemenceau, (1841-1929) [1] is appropriately quoted at the end of a profile of the Robertson’s of Colac. [2] This is significant, for the pastoral pioneer, William Robertson, is a key in the easily missed principles of the best-settling of Victoria, (mostly still unsettled), for at least four reasons.

a. He financed the half cost of John Batman’s intrepid ‘treaty trip’ to Port Phillip from Van Diemans Land in the Norval, when the treaties of Dutigalla and Geelong were made with the Aborigines of the Iramoo Plains; presumed Woiwurrung people.

b. Robertson was part of the 1836 exploration trips to Port Phillip, both one overland from Western Port, and one inland from Geelong and up the Barwon, with the leading light and lawman of the Dutigalla and Geelong Association, Joseph Tice Gellibrand. There, they together attempted to meet in goodwill with any Aborigines, to honour the obligations and tributes of that treaty, as they beat the bounds of their ‘treatied’ lands. Robertson was already a member of that association, later the Port Phillip Association (PPA) that attempted to found Victoria on principles that had their genesis in lessons learned from the unsatisfactory land-laws and the experience - in dealings and in problems of law - with the aborigines of Tasmania. This I will attempt to show, and go on to suggest that Gellibrand pioneered to his own grave cost, in great risk, in productive agency towards far-ramifying acts in law towards better new-settlement.

c. Robertson then became and remained a lifetime friend and supporter to the remarkable man who is arguably the most cross-cultural Westerner in human history, William Buckley, often called the Wild White Man. [He out-Crusoed Robinson (not quite Robertson, but the suggestion has a certain ongoing relevance and resonance!) with an even more remarkable story].[3] That Buckley as ‘Murrangurk’[4] lived for thirty two years totally outside European contact, most of that as a tribesman among the Wathawurrung in part of what is now Victoria, and then after re-contact, tried to be translator and go-between, to find himself caught in the violent potentiality of ignorance and misunderstanding that exists in contact on any cross-cultural frontier[5], and, much troubled, then went back to his first culture, though no longer really of his world (or maybe of this world!), should begin to illuminate for us the possible birth identification in an Australian gravitas - and the spiritual and ontological possibilities that meteor out of the seismic sign and cosmic extent of the crossings and changes, of the meetings with otherness towards an expanded, an ‘Australian’ nature. And shows the wider humanity and divinities in the cultural nexus that was the frontier.

Maybe Robertson showed by his commitment to Buckley, and to what was Buckley’s embrace of and by the Aborigines, where his first heart lay: for an Australia that begins to exist at the frontier, in the troubled romance of cross-cultural meeting, and in two-way adaptions and hybridisation that gives us our dimly recognised beginnings in the twin-parents of this - our rubric of either divided or united natures in what is at least a double-dimensioned heritage.

d. Robertson himself settled on Mount Korangamoorah at Colac, where he practised a frontier hospitality that was distinguished by being ‘of all classes and conditions of people’[6], ‘entered into heartily’ as part of an adaptive climate of a pre-aristocratic goodwill[7] (unfortunately short-lived[8]), marked by philanthropy, of an embrace done in ‘open hearted friendship’ where he flourished with his sons. From there he was later able to finance the writing and publication of John Morgan’s ghost-written life of William Buckley, with his kudos and support given for the remarkable cross-cultural record of life among the near pre-contact aborigines of his Western Victoria[9]. Colac was the place where J. T. Gellibrand’s disappearing tracks could last be seen. Likely, Gellibrand went that way with Robertson’s knowledge?

Gellibrand trod in Buckley’s footsteps up to the Kolakgnat-speaking country (Colac), and Gellibrand (along with G.B.L.Hesse) certainly threw down the coin of his life that paved the way for the bounty-hunting mistakes, misconclusions and misreading of most of the search parties that opened the way for squatters. So there, in a spirit of Buckley’s embrace, for long afterwards, Robertson may well have kept poetic vigil over Gellibrand’s spirit and memory, musing on the loss of his first principles of settlement, if not also over the will’o’wisp of his vanishment that was all that was left to trouble post-frontier minds.

[1] Royal Historical Society of Victoria Journal of Dec. 1983, Vol. 56 No. 41 pp 42

[2] Grace Craig ~ When The Robertsons Came to Colac, R.H.S.V. Journal Dec. 1983 Vol.56 No.41 p.39
[3] I refer to Barry Hill’s article ‘ Buckley, Our Imagination, Hope’ in William Buckley: Rediscovered

[4] Buckley became a Wathawurrong man of this name, skin, kinship. Morgan refers to Robinson Crusoe as a inferior parallel to William Buckley - John Morgan - The Life and Adventure of William Buckley.

[5] Mulvaney. D.J, 1989 Encounters in Place. ‘A mutual ignorance of behavioural rules and individual roles produced many unfortunate misunderstandings in stressful early inter-racial contact situations.’ p.1
[6] Grace Craig ~ When The Robertsons Came to Colac. p.38

[7] Grace Craig ~ When The Robertsons Came to Colac. p.38

[8] Grace Craig ~ When The Robertsons Came to Colac. p.39

[9] John Morgan’s Preface of March 22, 1852, Hobart: The Life and Adventures of William Buckley

Principles and Disciples

Principles and Disciples

Though all these men are long dead, the principles of their frontier remain latent for Victoria. These proto-Australian principles survive, like the foundations of the Kingdom of God in the teachings of Christ and His church: 1. a planting of a seminal identity that is made germinal in the more or less distant past; 2. now, a fraught ordeal of nurture, growth and development of that new and living plantation of identity and character in the present; then, 3. finally, hope in a fulfilment of this hybrid being, in our Australian (or Christian) identity in a fuller becoming yet to be. I have never heard a historian speak of ‘Holy Australia’ in the way Russians do of their Slavic Lands, or Jews do of Israel, but, maybe such a way of thinking has a possible validity, at least in poetic spirit[1] -if we are to look towards a more reconciled future in terms of greater being, of better belonging, of embrace and definition in a largesse of truer identities and loves. I use ‘embrace’ in a hermeneutic using Miraslav Volf’s[2] formulation of ‘Exclusion and Embrace’ in analysing the dialectic of polar choices in any frontier event. This adaptive hermeneutic broaches questions of Race, Identity & Otherness in terms of Reconciliation.[3]

That Robertson survived the paradoxes and chasms of the frontier divide, and flourished, is probably an indication that he did not go so far as the other three mentioned, in their going out towards the other on that cross-cultural divide. Possibly Batman and Gellibrand and almost all of the Aborigines went too far! That the early Robertson’s native or ‘pre-aristocratic goodwill’ was short lived tells us enough. I only begin with Robertson because he was a catalyst in our acts and stories of Gellibrand, Batman and Buckley and the Aborigines. It was romance, that special naive quality of frontier that allows a return to the simples and basics of deeper human curiosity. Robertson from then on represents the mixed feelings in the ongoing history of Victoria since the frontier. He, like his wider settler society, often turned back to be more monochrome[4], to be culturally monolithic, attempting, after the baptism of the frontier, to go back to being ‘British’ -and failed, - yet, by exaggeration, seemed so as time increased them.

[1] James McAuley’s ‘Captain Quiros’ sets the South Pacific ‘Australia del Espiritu Santu’ scene for an ‘Australia of the Holy Spirit. Collected Poems.

[2] Miraslav Volf: 1992. Exclusion and Embrace: Theological reflections in The Wake Of Ethnic Cleansing. ‘Liberation theologians taught us to place the themes of oppression and liberation at the center of theological reflection. ... Nothing should make us forget these lessons, for the "preferential option for the poor" is rooted deeply in biblical traditions. But the categories of oppression and liberation are by themselves inadequate to address the Balkan conflict - or, indeed, the problems in the world at large today. ...The categories of oppression and liberation seem ill-suited to bring about the resolution of conflicts between people and people groups. I suggest that the categories of "exclusion and embrace" as two paradigm responses to otherness can do a better job. They need to be placed at the center of a theological reflection on otherness, an endeavor I would like to term a "theology of embrace." p 24

[3] Miraslav Volf: 1996. Exclusion and Embrace: Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation

[4] Miroslav Volf ‘Theological Reflections on the Wake of Ethnic Cleansing.’ ‘An embrace is a "sacrament” of a catholic personality. It mediates and affirms the interiority of the other in me, my complex identity that includes the other, a unity with the other that is both maternal (substantial) and paternal (symbolic) - and still something other than either. ...The others - other persons or cultures - are not filth that we collect as we travel these earthly roads. Filth is rather our own mono-chrome identity, which is nothing else but the sin of exclusion at cognitive and voluntative levels - a refusal to recognize that the others have already broken in through the enclosure of ourselves and unwillingness to make a "movement of effacement by which the self makes itself available to others. In the presence of the divine Trinity, we need to strip down the drab gray of our own self - enclosed selves and cultures and embrace others so that their bright colors, painted on our very selves, will begin to shine.’ pp 22

PART ONE: Active Material and Spiritual Freedom

PART ONE: Active Material and Spiritual Freedom

Gellibrand, with an ecumenical fluidity in his spiritual formation and the vigour of the broad dynamics of his Christian upraising[1]; and Batman, with the faith he personally had under the electric Parramatta influence of journeyman hot-Gospeller and fighting Christian, Samuel Marsden, would likely have known the words of the church father: ‘Love, and do what you will’[2]. This is usually interpreted as, the right to learn by possibly making mistakes, carrying an implied ‘Love God and do what you like’; a statement of the paradox of the Christian law of inner scruples in its freedoms and growths to be achieved by active pilgrim venturing. Bunyan’s well-known ‘Pilgrims Progress’ [which can be seen as source book of the likelihood of tracks right-or-wrong often taken in the paths and border-crossings that lead to where a ‘building’-in goodness, love and the holy- can put down foundations of the ‘Kingdom of God’ (or Celestial City) coming to be on this earth as it is in heaven,[3]] would have been incorporated by that time, (for them both), into their mainly England-sourced Christianity. And then, in the round of books, sermons and advanced Sunday school lessons in their Protestant milieu they would have come across the semi-forbidden excitement of Luther’s: ‘sin boldly’[4], which means a similar and related thing to Augustine - that spiritual deceit (or self-deceit) is at the heart of sin and that no act is beyond the spiritual frontier in God’s forgiveness or abandonment. And, that brings us to the uttermost ends of the earth, in which trans-Englishmen felt they were, whether at Dutigalla or in Van Diemens Land, a place long seen by the Psalmist as a locality beyond and beneath mere monochrome definitions of good and evil.[5] These notions are of an activism taken to be at the heart of a spiritual Christianity evident in Gellibrand’s, as in Batman’s, former history. There is also a surety of them knowing the concept of Abandonment to Providence heard in many a colonial-period tale of venture: whether over the edge of the world, into the unknowns, toward an ultima thule, across the borders, or on a raft of shipwreck. Gellibrand wrote: ‘Taking one bottle of water and trusting to Providence for further supplies’[6] This is an activist (as against a quietist) way of interpreting; the faithful taking of historical and ontological risks in real time and place, that has its definition and epitome in the work of a hundred odd years beforehand, in ‘Self-abandonment to Divine Providence.[7]

The motive courage, faith and hope behind their historical risks, into the cultural out-of-depths and unknowns, which each of them ventured to, come to their end results, in what are tragedies for them both, leaves us with paradoxes that suggest to me that these mostly unasked questions may have answers, not just in the realm of human cupidity and avarice, [just land-grabbing as they are accused], but in realms of the journeying daily mix of human motives: to better themselves yes!, but to better themselves and their aboriginal or other fellows, towards a new foundation in better material and spiritual freedom. Histories of Gellibrand and Batman, as supporters of the culturally-extemporaneous reflex-wits in Buckley, cannot be understood without understanding spiritual brinkmanship in their Christian mindset, out on the borders of becoming-Australian places. Imbued with a Divine humanism, they applied this, the frontier in The Frontiers - an economic, legal, social and political entrepreneurialism.

[1] ‘Whether as Independents, Anglicans, Presbyterians -or in the case of the Gellibrands at an earlier period - as Roman Catholics (denomination seemed to matter little) most members of the Jennings-Gellibrand -Parsons group were informed, believing Christians, brought up in the tradition of religious practice.’ P.L.Brown ~ Commentary, Editor: Clyde Co. Papers Vol. 2. OUP 1952 pp 427

[2] Augustine

[3] Jesus’ words from ‘The Lord’s Prayer” Gospel

[4] Martin Luther

[5] Note: There is a God’s-eye view of human consciousness in the global scope of cosmic depths long-broached as part of Judeo-Christian understanding. Psalm 139:7-12 ‘Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven thou art there: if I make my bed in hell thou art there. If I take wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; [or more pertinently: Earth! (cf. Psalm 33:13-15; Psalm 65:8; Psalm 72:1-8)] Even there thy hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.’ AV ~ Many frontiersmen saw themselves at such an uttermost place, such a Ultima Thule!

[6] p 10 J.T.Gellibrand - in Thomas Francis Bride, Letters to Victoria Pioneers 1898 Melbourne Repub. 1969 South Yarra

[7] Jean-Pierre de Caussade( 1675-1751) S.J., Fontana Library of Theology and Philosophy, Collins, Glasgow 1933 Reprinted 1977 Translation by Fr. P.H. Ramiere, S.J. Ed Fr John Joyce, S.J.

Historical Potency and Spiritual Hope

Historical Potency and Spiritual Hope

Gellibrand and Batman were both vigorous and potent men. Each left behind several children. They took certain stellar possibilities and cosmic opportunities that the old world had stifled. The Port Phillip Association’s settlement made by treaty has more to it, likely to involve points of a finer sensibility, -come from beliefs in hope, love or charity, - and not the whitewash of a mere land grab, is made evident in the public mockery of the more Philistine spirits among their peers was already represented in the glib rejections of the newspapers of the day:
‘...relative to the much-talked of new Settlement, we are able to confirm to our readers the result of the British Government’s decision with regard to the pretended claims of Messrs. Bateman, Gellibrand and Co.[s], claims which were in our eyes preposterous in the extreme, and our wonder was and is that men like these should have built such castles in the air for the whole community to laugh at.’[1]

That Batman and Gellibrand would put themselves in the position of laughing stock shows that they were engaging at a frontier differing from the frontier that others could or would read. Then, these ‘castles in air’ they are accused of building have a certain quixotic ring, and why not? for the Christian knight-errantry[2] of Cervantes may be the only appropriate way to approach the key ideals that are at the base of their madness of risks taken across the borders to reach ‘the other’. Castles in the air might be another name for the Kingdom of God, or of the Southland of the Holy Spirit, all of them delightfully extreme and preposterous as anything Don Quiros, Quixote or Jesus Christ set out for. Anyway, a view to build any ‘Jerusalem’ (the City of God’s Peace), would no longer be in England’s green and pleasant land[3], but in the straw-coloured kangaroo-grassed native footpads and hopeful sheepwalks of Geelong and Dutigalla. Well may historic hacks and cynical historians stumble on that greatness of heart! The paradox of obviously highly regarded and eminent men acting outside their time, by attempting to brink a socio-geographical Everest, even if they failed and suffered as they did, should at least intimate to us that they were somewhere else in their thinking, perhaps far ahead on the scales of community-building needed for a world that would grow more borderless with time.

[1]Bent’s News Hobart Town ST. 24 Sept 1836 in Clyde Company Papers Vol II pp 15 Ed: P.L.Brown

[2] J.T. Gellibrand’s Great War soldier-grandson, `was heir to this ‘knight-errant, champion, or paragon’ ‘personal philosophy based on paladin ideals, by which he lived out his life’. Sadler, Peter S. 2000, The Paladin: A Life of Major-General Sir John Gellibrand. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press p.1

[3] William Blake ~ Poems & Prophecies

The Legacy of Gellibrand & Co

The Legacy of Gellibrand & Co

The question of Gellibrand’s religion is critical to a deeper historical consideration of the treaty frontier. The place of spiritual motivation has been shown as essential to come to cultural understanding. In ‘The Interpretation of Cultures’ Geertz quotes Santayana: ‘Every living and healthy religion has a marked idiosyncrasy. It’s power consists in its special and surprising message and in the bias which that revelation gives life.’ Geertz then states: “religion tunes human actions to an envisaged cosmic order and projects images of cosmic order onto the plane of human experience.’ [1] This analysis applies both to Aboriginals and Evangelicals. Gellibrand was an active man of journeying faith in thought and practice, committed to a deep engagement, both with the issues and questions of his time, and also with the eternal sense of Christian verities as applied with great moment at the frontiers: of geography, law, religion, history, divinity, humanity, and, significantly, of human settlement/s.

Surely Gellibrand did seek the right to own land in Port Phillip. This has to be seen in context. It appears to be much more than the cynical land grab many mockers then and subsequently claim. It is only too easy to debunk a Gellibrand who disappeared down the paths of his own risk-taking. Gellibrand had a long history of protesting land laws in VDL. He often declaimed on the subject of rights to land interest[2], land restriction[3], land loss[4], of land ruin[5], and land jeopardy with all the social effects that go to diminishing the commonweal. This was as early as March 22 1827:
‘For the last three years every man’s property has been in jeopardy, and in some and many instances, not only in part, but the whole of his property. It is impossible to point out how the energies have been paralyzed - the peace and tranquillity of families broken in and destroyed - industry given way to apathy - temperance to drunkenness - prosperity to distress, - in short it makes the settler sick at heart, and when that is the case the result is well known.’ [6]

Gellibrand was often on the prosecution against insecure tenure on land held during Arthur’s administration. He declares outright that citizen’s ‘Crown’ title is null and void.[7] He held property himself, and showed an obvious disquiet in the peace of the frontier in adapting to the security of the women and children on the VDL frontier by swapping lands with his cousin-in-law for the sake of the wife, Gellibrand’s cousin. Gellibrand had been fighting the injustices of the British system of land ‘siezureship’, or ownership and its parcelling out for at least ten years before the 1835 treaty of Dutigalla. He was dissatisfied with the description of land in VDL. And also with his cause there. He expresses early on a belief that self-advancement, linked to the wider good was an essential part of entering into a possible commonweal.
“Of the various feelings which operate upon the human mind, and call its energies into action, self-interest has always been the most powerful. The philosopher and the philanthropist may pretend to act from better motives, and to consider its votaries as objects of compassion, or reformation; but if we strictly analyze the motives and the actions of the best of men, in all ages, we shall find that they have been imperceptibly influenced by this general, we might add, universal principle.” [8]

He also shows that self-interest should be served, even more, by a self-questioning which goes into deep issues of causality and effectuality; to where a real, yet more ideal grasp of life may become evident. Gellibrand seemed to be making the attempt to reconcile the drives, not just of economic self-interest, but of the deeper spiritual and wider social and political interests of the self as well, with the moral drives of an informed and activated conscience.

‘So easily do we accommodate ourselves to circumstances, and mould our opinions by our desires, that it not infrequently happens, we condemn in others the very actions which we are ourselves committing, until the voice of conscience says - “Thou art the man.” ‘ [9]

Gellibrand was indeed the man! and even more so than just in his admission -of what can be seen as selfish desires-, in that he is here attempting to probe the workings of the man’s conscience made bare to the reality of the man’s own motives and actions. In a sense he takes it on the chin! just as he wrote this, he also accepted, as this shows, as his own subsequent and former story demonstrates, that a buck did stop with him. He was the unofficial opposition to Arthur and later leading light of the association to settle Port Phillip on the basis of a treaty, and then ‘abandoned to Providence?’ This early reference by Gellibrand: ‘Thou art the man’ to words of the Old Testament prophet Nathan, which come at the end of Nathan’s parable of the injustice of the rich man with many herds and flocks of sheep, yet choosing to appropriate the single sheep of the poor man so he can entertain in lavish style at no cost to himself, was the key part of the Biblical exposé of the King himself, (after David’s seduction of Bathesheba and his calculatingly-logistical murder of Uriah the Hittite) should alert us in context, to the metaphysical accountability in which Gellibrand took his sheep to Port Phillip. He went by treaty which spoke of paying annual tribute that has no date given for its end![10] and was therefore presumably to be paid in perpetuity, so that neither side would need to behave sheepishly!

Or possibly, were the Aborigines of Port Phillip to be integrated, in this pastoral care, into the pastural frontier, also as a sheepmen?[11] Gellibrand disappeared and his leadership with him. Questions like this cannot be answered with glib denials just because settlement history took over in opportunism, and in the overpowering of these beginnings, by the consciencelessness, by a power seeking, that echoes the parable of Nathan, which implicates them, like that then pastorally rich, former shepherd of great power, King David. That these are Gellibrand’s thoughts and words at least seven years before the event, means there is more to the formulation of the treaty than has been levied by history so far.

[1] Clifford Geertz, 'The Interpretation of Cultures’ Clifford Geertz (quotes Santayana)

[2] The Tasmanian March 22 1827 ‘If this feeling of self-interest is so general, it cannot be a matter of surprise that its influence should be felt in this island; and as subjects to which we this week invite the attention of Readers, most materially affect their interests, as well as all classes of society, we shall at once enter thereon. His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor has held the reigns of Government in this Colony for three years, during which time some hundred thousand acres of land have been located to Emigrants, Large locations have been given to some who brought little capital with them, and, in some instances, smaller locations have been given to those, who brought out large capitals. His Excellency, in every case, impressed upon the emigrant the propriety of immediately settling on his land, and bringing a considerable quantity of it into cultivation.- BUT THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS UPON WHICH THE LAND WAS TO BE GRANTED, WERE NOT COMMUNICATED.

[3] Gellibrand, J.T. Editorial ~ The Tasmanian March 22 1827 ‘We have a few observations to offer upon the subject of the sale of lands. The Lieutenant Governor has in some instances, sold lands free from restrictions; the parties have sold these lands to Gentlemen who are desirous of extending their possession; and after having paid for the land, and taken it upon the terms of the Government Letter, they find it is to be subject to this quit-rent of 4/6 per cent whole value. Whether the words “ free from restrictions will exonerate from quit rent which is a great restriction, we did not determine, nor the distinction which may exist between law and honour; but it is one of the evils arising from the parties not having the grant at the time, and of the conditions not being clearly and accurately defined.’

[4] “We understand that Mr Gellibrand had an allotment given to him whilst he was in office, but that it has been taken away upon the ground of being required for Government purposes, without any equivalent being offered!” pp 2 The Tasmanian Vol.1 No. 15 June 7, 1827

[5] Gellibrand, J.T. Editorial ~ The Tasmanian March 22 1827 ... the Government will impose a quit rent upon it, of such magnitude as to render it valueless, in fact not worth occupying; the effect of which is, that the money is borrowed, not upon the credit of the land alone, but also upon the credit of the settler, and both being precarious, it follows as a necessary consequence that the lender will be paid in proportion to his risk; and the settler, who ought to borrow upon the credit of this experience, at a moderate rate of 10 per cent, is by this injurious operation on the part of the government, obliged to pay 20 or 30 per cent; and, in the end, in many instances, ruined.’

[6] Gellibrand, J.T. Editorial ~ The Tasmanian March 22 1827

[7] The Tasmanian. March 25 1931 - ‘... Mr Gellibrand’s doctrine goes to the effect that the Crown could cheat its constituents, by taking advantage of its own wrong-doing. ... according to Mr Gellibrand’s doctrine there is no valid grant in the Island, the whole Colony is at the disposal of the Government, not only to locate, but to give possession of any estate within the Island, ... p. 93

[8] Gellibrand, J.T. Editorial ~ The Tasmanian March 22 1827

[9] Gellibrand, J.T. Editorial ~ The Tasmanian March 22 1827

[10] Batman, Gellibrand , Swanson, Wedge, 1835. Expedition From Van Diemen’s Land To Port Phillip /John Batman Letter: 25th June 1835 - and I also proposed to pay them an annual tribute in necessaries, as a compensation for the enjoyment of the land. I have proceeded on an equitable principle; that my object has not been possession and the expulsion or, what is worse, extermination, but possession and civilisation; and the reservation of the annual Tribute to those who are the real owners of the soil p.3. Letter: 23rd October 1835 ‘my proceedings at Port Phillip for the purpose of an amicable settlement with the Natives of that part of New Holland and of the Treaty concluded by me for the occupation of a certain tract of country under a certain annual tribute, and to be used for pastoral purposes. p 7

[11] Batman: Ibid. p.3 ‘I also explained my wish to protect them in every way, to employ them the same as my own Natives and also to feed and clothe them... The chiefs appeared most fully to comprehend my proposals, and much delighted with the prospect of having me to live amongst them.’ Many writers of the frontier mention aborigines appropriating whole flocks of sheep and successfully shepherding and enclosing them in sheepfolds - until attacked! See: (A Lady), Randell, Critchet, Robinson, Clark. etc.

Gellibrand: The Judicious Firebrand

Gellibrand: The Judicious Firebrand

‘The Gellibrands, father and son, were an independent pair - uncompromising, downright.’[1] Joseph Tice Gellibrand was a forthright Christian of courage and liberal moment radical for his time.[2] His views were outspoken and clear. Charles Swanston, who ‘was something of a trimmer, an adaptable and capable optimist, who contrived to be friendly both with the Gellibrands and with Arthur’ used to tell Joseph: ‘you are too stiff, you wont compound with the devil - with little George, whom he used to flatter.’[3] Gellibrand stood against the totalitarian sheer force of Arthur’s convict-prison regime.

He evinced a need to capture the common ground of men’s hearts and souls. He was convinced that violence and force did not work, quoting the poet: “He that’s convinced against his will / “Is of the same opinion still.”[4] He spoke his views of social benefit and need for wisdom and humanity for good politics.

‘Wise and liberal Governments will always lean to the side of a discussion, as generally tending to their own improvement, and the common good; and it is under the Government whose animating principle is liberty, that we look for the enjoyment of a spirit of free inquiry. Let the Government be free, and it will elevate and liberalize the public understanding; on the other hand, let the public mind be dignified, and it will liberalize the Government.’[5]

He was also was well aware that liberty required effort on the path of both the citizen and its leadership. ‘History and experience teach us the difficulty which attends efforts to attain and realize the blessings of liberty.’ [6] He showed a bent to the application of mercy towards reconciliation in dealing with wrongdoers.[7] ‘We may be allowed here to express our regret, that these misguided men (The Bushrangers) have not been enabled, since they left the Carlton, to form an opinion whether mercy would have been extended to them, upon their making an unconditional surrender of themselves.’

Not just mercy, but Gellibrand was also committed to non-violence as seen in the passage as it continues: “... as they have now been captured, most providentially, without the spilling of blood, we hope and trust the lives of some may be spared, especially those who have prevented any violence being committed.’

[1] P.L. Brown ~ Clyde Company Papers Vol.1 1941 pp 53

[2] Proceedings of the Meeting ~ The Tasmanian, May 28 1831, pp 164 ‘He concluded a most able and eloquent address, by disclaiming all reference to persons. It was the existing evils which he alone had in view; but he added, that it behoved him and every other man, in times like the present, to speak his mind openly, manfully, and fearlessly, and that he who shrank from doing so, when an occasion such as the present was afforded him, did not deserve to live in a colony calling itself British.’

[3] Brown ~ Clyde Co Papers Vol 2 pp 60

[4] J.T. Gellibrand’s Letter, Published in The Tasmanian July 12 1827

[5]Gellibrand. J.T. ‘POLITICS’ The Tasmanian August 30 1927 (Editorial)

[6] History and experience teach us the difficulty which attends efforts to attain and realize the blessings of liberty. This consideration greatly enhances the obligations of those who live under its benign influence, to value and cherish it. It is not from foes alone that liberty has cause for apprehension, since dangers assail her, on the side of false and pretended - of well meaning, but ignorant and injudicious friends. Wise and liberal Governments will always lean to the side of a discussion, as generally tending to their own improvement, and the common good; and it is under the Government whose animating principle is liberty, that we look for the enjoyment of a spirit of free inquiry. Let the Government be free, and it will elevate and liberalize the public understanding; on the other hand, let the public mind be dignified, and it will liberalize the Government. Hence it will appear, how much the happiness of society is connected with a just liberty of thinking, a liberty however, to be carefully distinguished from the rovings of wild imagination, which delights itself framing new systems and which a perverse opposition to what is already established, a spirit which often proves equally mischievous, to the public and the individual. Let him therefore who is ambitious of being of any real service to himself or the community learn to prefer plain and practical truth to the most plausible theories, and remember to temper his speculations with due regard to the authority of others, since, with this modesty and precaution, he may come to be seditious in politics, and need that control from his superiors, which he is unwilling to exercise upon himself. ~ The Tasmanian, Hobart Town, August 30 1827, Pp 2

[7] The Tasmanian July 12 1827 ~ After the capture of Bushrangers: Birmingham, Davies, Metcalfe, McCallum, Horsefield and, injured, Griffiths & Lee. And Macartey who died at the Hospital
‘We may be allowed here to express our regret, that these misguided men (The Bushrangers) have not been enabled, since they left the Carlton, to form an opinion whether mercy would have been extended to them, upon their making an unconditional surrender of themselves. - We are quite satisfied that it never was their intention to become bushrangers, but that, having failed in their attempt to seize the Emma Kemp, they had no alternative, We do not offer this in extenuation, but as they have now been captured, most providentially, without the spilling of blood, we hope and trust the lives of some may be spared, especially those who have prevented any violence being committed.’