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Diaries, photographs and scrapbooks of the Mitchell Family of Lisdillon Index: Royal Society Collection


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Mitchell, John and Mitchell, Sarah (2011) Diaries, photographs and scrapbooks of the Mitchell Family of Lisdillon Index: Royal Society Collection. Royal Society of Tasmania, University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Sarah Mitchell, daughter of John Mitchell of Lisdillon, between Little Swanport and Mayfield on the East Coast of Tasmania, was born in 1853, and kept a diary from the age of 13 until she died at ninety three in 1946. In her later years, too, she kept scrapbooks in which she stuck, indiscriminately, early letters and memoranda of her family, photographs, newspaper clippings etc., which form an additional record, not only of her own life but of her parents and brothers and sisters. Her father, John Mitchell, was the son of James Mitchell of St. German's, Cornwall, England, and came to Tasmania as a surveyor in 1837. He took a government post, and later became superintendent of boys at. Port Puer, where he wrote a report on the health of the boy convicts in 1846 . His Cornish fiancée, Catherine Augusta Keast, followed out in 1839, remembering her voyage Tasmania as particularly unpleasant, through storms, a drunken captain and shortage of food. The couple were married at Old Trinity Church, Hobart, before settling at Port Puer', where several children were born. Mitchell bought a farm at South Arm, but in 1852 he left his government~ post and moved to Lisdillon with hi s wife and five surviving children. There they remained, acquiring an extensive property for raising sheep, cattle, some arable crops and hops. Mitchell also served on Swansea Council and held a government post in the Post Office. He had charge of the Swansea mails, which gave him the privilege of franking his own mail. the two eldest sons, Frederick Keast and Frank,William Drew, were sent to "England to complete their education in 1858. Both boys kept, brief diaries of their voyage on the “Derwentwater” via Cape Horn, and their first days in England, where they were met by their Keast relatives. At first they boarded at Sydenham School, near London, but later they moved to a grammar school near their relatives in Cornwall. Here Fred's delicate health became worse through the bullying (a letter from a schoolmate is reminiscent of Tom Brown’s School Days (B.S.32/85 p.37) and he died in,1861 at the age of 18. Frank, however, went to Mannamead School in Plymouth, Devon, and did well in the British Civil 5ervice examinations, being appointed to a post in Dublin, Ireland. In 1922 he built a house in Sussex, England, naming it Lisdillon after his childhood home. The other two sons, Edwin and Mark, attended Horton College, Tasmania. Mark remained at home and worked Lisdillon, which he inherited. after his marriage to Mabel Giblin he lived at the Wattles, a cottage on the property, as his mother remained at Lisdillon during her lifetime. Mark died in 1897, before his mother, leaving Lisdillon to his children It was advertised for sale, under the terms of his will, when the children were grown up, in 1913. His widow purchased it and remained there for a while, but the property was eventually split up. Edwin, after a spell in a job in New South Wales, settled at Mayfield, formerly part of his father's property. The eldest daughter, Catherine Penwarne (Kate) married the Reverend John Aubrey Ball of Bright, Victoria, at St. John's Chuch, Buckland, in 1877 but died the following year and is buried at Buckland. Of the two daughters born after the family moved to Lisdillon, the youngest, Amy Mary Jane, took a trip to England about 1872 and after her return married Herbert Giblin in 1877. Sarah Elizabeth Emma remained at home, apart from brief holiday visits to Hobart. Her father died in 1880 and Sarah looked after her mother at Lisdillon until Mrs ~Mitchell’s death in 1899. Sarah then took a holiday to stay with her brother, Frank, in Ireland and to see something of England and Europe, before she settled at Tirrzah, near Lisdillon, left to her by her father. In her later years she moved to Schouten House in Swansea with her neice, Grace Catherine, who took care of her. In 1937 she moved into the Westminster Rest Home, North Hobart, where she stayed until she died in 1946. Sarah started keeping a diary at the age of thirteen and continued until she was ninety-two, although for the last few years she had to dictate them to her niece, Grace. In her diaries she noted, daily the state of the weather and a record of the day’s activities, such as helping with routine tasks about the house and property, planting or picking vegetables and fruit from the gardens (peas, lettuces, rhubarb, gooseberries, etc.) or visits to or from neighbours. RS. 32

Item Type: Other
Keywords: Tasmania, Royal Society of Tasmania, science, natural science, social history, Australia, indexes, University of Tasmania, Library, private deposits, archives, Collections, catalogue, Special, Van Diemen's Land,
Publisher: Royal Society of Tasmania, University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection
Collections: Mitchell Collection
Royal Society Collection
Additional Information: RS.32
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2011 06:27
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2016 02:47
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