Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gellibrand Vault

In 1824 William Gellibrand and his son Joseph arrived in Van Diemen’s Land. William was a well-connected settler and was granted 2000 acres of land at South Arm and assigned ten convicts. Over the years many convicts, men and women, served under him. He was known for the care he showed them, providing them with a comfortable hut and clothing that did not distinguish them as prisoners. William helped some convicts to establish a fresh start giving them the opportunity to raise families and contribute to founding the community of South Arm.

Shortly after his arrival William built a home made of cedar with sandstone brick foundations on Arm End. William also built his own tomb. Miss Jane Mortimer, a regular visitor to the homestead, mentioned that every morning after breakfast William went to dig the vault located just below the house at the top of the dunes beneath she oaks, overlooking Mary Ann Bay. He liked to spend sunny afternoons sitting on it reading. He must have had a strong sense of attachment to this place.

William Gellibrand was a significant figure in Colonial society. He was a merchant and exporter and served as a Justice of Peace. William and his descendants were active in Tasmanian social and government circles. Joseph Gellibrand became Tasmania’s first Attorney General. Three of Joseph’s sons became politicians.

William died in 1840 aged 75 and was buried at the Vault. Two of his grandsons are also buried in the vault.
Arm End then passed to his grandson George Gellibrand who, after leasing out some of the land, placed it on the market in 1844. He described it as being studded with the tallest trees in the colony and having the very best winery on the island, covering two acres of fertile ground with full bearing fruit. Fruit trees were grown and mulberries did very well.

In 1995 it was acquired by the state, on behalf of the people of Tasmania and in 2011 the area was declared a nature reserve and named Gellibrand Point Nature Recreation Area.

Main Text & Information Source – Friends of the Arm website