Appendices to FOSTER of Launceston, Australia.
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The appendices are arranged as follows:
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Appendix 1: Meetings of the Launceston Marine Board,1879.
Appendix 2: George FOSTER’s Testimonial at his Retirement.
Appendix 3: Poem: Sorrow on the Sea.
Appendix 4: George FOSTER’s Property
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Appendix 5: Descendancy Reports: Jane FRANCIS (née FOSTER), Thomas FOSTER, Catherine McCLURE (née FOSTER), Annie STEVENS (née FOSTER),Roderick McLEAN.
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Appendix 6: Descendancy of McLEANs & associated Mull Families.
Appendix 7: Sydney STEVENS & the annual smoke concert.
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Appendix 8. Additional material relating to Chapter 13: List of Australian POWs; Photo of Albie & Ivan RUSH on release from Pakan Baroe POW camp.
This page contains appendices 1 - 4.
Appendix 1: Meetings of the Launceston Marine Board, January to April 1879. Matters relating to George FOSTER’s retirement.
Correspondence. To Mr Foster, senior pilot at Low Head, requesting him to make inventory of all stores, etc., at Low head, and hand them over to Captain Croucher, and also to point out to the latter all buoys, beacons, etc., and afford him every information on taking charge.
Motion. Mr Dowling obtained leave to make a motion without notice. He said he thought it a favourable opportunity for giving the motion, which he had in view for a long time as desirable, now that changes were being made, as it removed it from the imputation of there being any personal feeling in the matter. He moved, “That the Master Warden and Captain Gilmore be a committee to inquire into the present strength and effectiveness of the pilot staff at the Low Head Station, and report generally thereon at the next meeting of the Board. The present was a capital opportunity, as a change was being made, when there would be a thorough overhaul and full inventory made of everything. It was a long time since such a report was made and he thought it would be a valuable document. Captain Ditcham agreed with the motion, and said it just bore out an old suggestion of his that there should be a sub-committee to look after all departments. He suggested to the committee that with the largely increased river traffic, and two steamers running every day, there was now no necessity for pilot boats and their crews coming up and down with vessels. The motion was carried and the Board rose at 4:30 p.m.
Source: Marine Board. Launceston Examiner, Jan 8, 1879: 2-3.
THE LOW HEAD STATION. The sub-committee appointed to visit and report upon the Low Head Station brought up the following report:—
In accordance with the resolution passed at a meeting of the Launceston Marine Board, held on the 7th January, 1879, your committee have visited the Low Head Pilot Station, and now submit for the information of the Board the following report:—
The staff employed at the Low Head station consists of the Master Pilot in charge, two river pilots, one coxswain, and six boatmen. The pilots and men are provided with quarters, which are of a substantial character, and well adapted for the service. A small octagon shaped building is used as the look-out house, and in it is kept the log slate, time-piece, signal flags, and weather glasses. There is a suitable flagstaff near the look-out house, for exchanging signals with the lighthouse keeper, or the telegraph station, or with vessels in the river. There is also a belfry, with large bell, used for mustering the men.
The station is supplied with two boarding boats, one a large class whale-boat, and the other of similar shape but smaller, and also with two whale-boats for the use of the river pilots. The buildings of the station are now undergoing repairs, and the boats, with their gear, are in good working order. Your Committee suggest that in addition to the present buildings a boat-house is required, fitted with skids and ways for hauling up and launching the boats. This is necessary for the protection of the boats and the gear, as well as for painting the spare buoys and beacons and keeping them under cover. A small class life-boat is also requisite for this station.
Your Committee having given their attention to the efficiency and working of the Low Head Pilot Station, have taken into their consideration whether it is advisable to make any reduction in the staff now employed there. From the evidence which has been placed before them and from their own observation, they are aware that it is absolutely necessary to have at all times in readiness well found boats and an efficient crew to communicate with vessels when entering or leaving the port, and in the event of a wreck, stranding, or accident to any vessel, to enable the pilots and men to render assistance. In boisterous weather and under the influence of strong tidal currents it requires the full complement of six men and the coxswain to man the large boarding boat, and under such circumstances if any accident did happen to the boat there is little help to be obtained from the station. This contingency makes it necessary for the pilot in charge to exercise great caution in communicating or boarding vessels in bad weather. But notwithstanding every precaution incidents are frequently occurring when some effort as well as risk must be run to give assistance, and in exemplification of this your Committee submit to the Board some striking facts, which have been represented to them by the late Senior Pilot in charge of the station (Mr George Foster).
Mr Foster states—"On the 21st December, 1847—Mr Waterland’s boat was swamped while boarding the brig ‘Elizabeth Buchan’, from London. The vessel was then boarded by the river pilot, who sent his boat manned with the crew of the brig to pick them up, who succeeded in doing so. The men were much exhausted when the boat reached them, and there is no doubt that if it had been ebb tide they would all have been drowned".
On Wednesday, 24th June, 1863—“Mr Foster after boarding the brig ‘Fawn’, from London, outside the Heads with a strong N.W. wind, ordered the coxswain to run in with the boarding boat. After passing Low Head Point the boarding boat got into some heavy rollers which swamped her. The men after a severe struggle and the assistance of the women from the station got on shore. The boat was smashed to atoms.”
On Friday, June 26th 1868—“The wind north, blowing fresh, with thick rain and squalls, saw a brig anchored north of the lighthouse, distant about two miles. Mr Foster after two hours’ heavy pull got alongside, and found her to be the brig ‘Victory’, from the Mauritius. The captain informed Mr Foster he had the Mauritius fever on board, and that two men had died, and several were sick. Mr Foster ordered the coxswain to return with the boarding boat and to inform the health officer. Mr Foster went on board and found that only the captain, one man and the cook were able to work. He found that the vessel was dragging her anchor, so he slipped the cable with 45 fathoms of chain, and set the fore and aft sails. Proceeded into quarantine. As a heavy gale came on, Mr Foster stated if he had not been able to board the vessel she would in all probability have gone on shore in East Bay.”
31st August, 1878—"The coaster ketch ‘Ruby’ got on shore on the N.W. end of the West Reef, and hoisted the ensign half-mast high, with the union down. Mr Foster manned the large boarding boat with six men and the coxswain. When they had proceeded close to the vessel she drove over the reef, having received considerable damage, with loss of rudder, and making water. Mr Foster laid the boarding boat alongside and made her fast at the bow and stern, and with the assistance of the large steer oar of the boarding boat brought her into safety. Mr Foster considers but for this assistance promptly rendered the vessel must have been wrecked."
Your Committee, from the evidence placed before them, and also from their own knowledge of the arduous nature of the duties to be performed in the boats at particular times, combined with the liability there exists of one or more of the men being invalided, consider that the strength of the boat’s crew employed at the Low Head Station is rather under than in excess of the complement required for the safety of the public service, and therefore they recommend that no reduction be made.
Your Committee have had under its notice that the regulation now adopted is for the pilot in charge of the station to communicate with or board vessels when entering the port, and to conduct them abreast of the station, and then place them in charge of the river pilots. When the Marine Department was under the control of the government the pilots received the money for pilotage and provided themselves each with a whaleboat and as man, but when the Marine Board took charge the pilots were placed on salaries and their boats were purchased by the Board. From that period it has been customary for the river pilots when in charge of vessels in the river to take with them from the station a whaleboat and a man each. The whaleboats are considered necessary to enable the pilots to return quickly to the Low Head station from Launceston, or it may occur to change vessels with another pilot in the river. It has also been suggested that the whaleboats are useful and ready for towing vessels under sail in baffling winds or calms when drifting in a strong tide-way. On the other hand, your Committee observe that as most of the larger class sailing vessels are now towed by steamer, and there are so many facilities by steamers trading on the river to enable the river pilots to return to their station, that it is not now necessary in all cases to take with them a whaleboat and man from the station.
Your Committee recommend that this is a matter that can be left to the discretion of the master pilot in charge, whose duty it will be to reduce as little as possible the strength of the boats’ crew at the station.
Your Committee desire to call the attention of the Board to the fact that some of the boatmen now employed at the Low Head station are from advanced age and long service becoming unfit for arduous duties afloat. The names and ages and date of the year each man joining the service are as follows:—
Names Age Year John Hewett, coxswain 57 1858 C.W. Kidd, boatman 64 1860 Thomas Fox, ditto 54 1860 Ralph Place, ditto 46 1860 William Stevens, ditto 40 1863 Peter Mullay, ditto 39 1864 William Moncur, ditto 38 1863
Many of these boatmen when physically unfit for boat work are still quite capable of doing duty on shore as attendants in lighthouses.
Your Committee suggest that as the control of lighthouses is under the Hobart Town Marine Board, it will be well to ask for their assistance in order to provide some employment for these men. It is only reasonable to expect that in those lighthouses which are situated on the northern side of Tasmania, an application of this description from the Launceston Board will meet with favorable consideration.
Your Committee desire to bring under the notice of the Board that in order to make some provision for their employees who from age and long service have become unfit for work the initiation of a superannuation fund is requisite and worthy of their attention.
Your Committee have under their notice the general management and order of the Low Head pilot station, and they consider that the instructions and regulations issued upon the first formation of the Board, with some few alterations in detail to meet the requirements of the service at the present time, and all that is requisite. Much depends upon the vigilance and conduct of the Master Pilot in charge, while a frequent inspection and supervision of the station by the head of the Marine Department is necessary.
Your Committee in concluding their report desire to express their unqualified approval of the late Senior Pilot, Mr Geo. Foster, why has been in charge of the Low Head Station for many years, and is now retiring on his pension after as service of nearly forty years. As far back as the year 1862 the following letter of the Senior Naval Officer on the Australian Station to Mr Foster will bear testimony to his good conduct and also the efficiency of the department under his charge:—
“H.M.S. Orpheus, Lagoon Bay, River Tamar. Tasmania, 23rd Nov, 1862
—Dear Sir,—Having arrived off this port about 4 a.m. this day, and having found you in the pilot boat off the port at that early hour ready to take my ship in without delay, I take the liberty of expressing to you my thanks for the ready attention her Majesty’s service has met with at the pilot station under your charge, where everything appears to be in such good working order. I also take the liberty of thanking you for the assistance you have been pleased to afford me in forwarding my mails on this occasion. Should you deem this testimony to the efficiency of your pilot station of any value with those at the head of your department in Tasmania, I trust you will please to make use of it.
(Signed) W.T. Burnett, Commodore and Senior Naval Officer, Australia.”
Launceston, February 4th,
ALFRED HARRAP, Master Warden.
GEORGE GILMORE, Warden.
Source: Marine Board. Launceston Examiner, Feb 5, 1879: 2-3. Note: The microfilm was partly obscured. I was fortunate to have a copy of the original clipping from Jill Gooden.
Note: the delay in considering the report was due to the absence of one of its authors, Captain Gilmore, from 3 consecutive meetings.
REPORT ON THE PILOT STATION. The report of the sub-committee, Messrs Gilmore and Harrap, upon the Pilot Station at Low Head, was brought up for consideration. Amongst other things it suggested the formation of a superannuation fund. Mr Dowling moved and Mr Fisher seconded the adoption of the report. Capt. Ditcham agreed with the report in stating it was necessary to keep a full boat’s crew for cases of necessity, but did not think it necessary for men and boats to come to town. They should have every efficiency for every emergency, but now that there were from one to three steamers every day upon the river they did not require the small pilot boats, but the men might be kept on and profitable employment found for them. He mentioned an instance recently in which a pilot came up in a steamer bringing his boat and crew, leaving only one man at the station, and thought a pilot could use a ship’s boat if needed. He advised them to sell the old boats and buy new ones.
Captain Gilmore said it was the opinion of the pilots themselves and the senior pilot, that where a vessel was not a steamer or towed, the pilot’s vessel was useful and handy, but not otherwise, and he thought the recommendation in the report that the matter be left to the discretion of the senior pilot would be sufficient; for as they had the boats it was useless to sell them at a sacrifice. A boat shed was much required, and also a small lifeboat for cases of emergency. With reference to some when they got too old for boat work were still useful on shore, and would do for situations in Lighthouses and other light work; and he hoped the Board would endeavour to obtain them such places. He agreed with the proposal for a superannuation fund, and regretted a suggestion for it some years back had not been acted upon. He suggested that the Board should now that Mr Foster, the late senior pilot, had retired, the Board should convey to him their appreciation of his long and faithful service. The Master Warden referred to the successful establishment of a provident fund for the municipal police, and offered to get all pamphlets and information about it to guide them in forming a superannuation fund. This offer was accepted, and the motion was then put and carried.
Source: Marine Board. Launceston Examiner, Apr 2, 1879: 2-3.
Appendix 2: George FOSTER’s Testimonial at his Retirement
TESTIMONIAL.—Mr George Foster having just retired from the pilot service of the Tamar, his old friends at Low Head and George Town have presented him with a souvenir of their esteem and an address which will be found in our advertising columns. Mr Foster has been in the service forty-four years, and for the last eighteen years he has been in charge of the Heads Station, during the whole of which period he has been unremitting in the discharge of his onerous duties. No one will deny that Mr Foster has earned his pension, and we trust he may be spared many years in its quiet enjoyment.
Source: Testimonial. Launceston Examiner, Feb 8, 1879: 2.
TO GEORGE FOSTER, ESQUIRE. In tendering our congratulations on your retirement after 44 years of active service in the marine department, upon a well-earned pension, we, the undersigned inhabitants of Low Head and George Town, desire to express our appreciation of the kindness and readiness to oblige us which you have always shown during the past 18 years in which you have filled the office of senior pilot at Low Head.
We can also bear testimony to your readiness in contributing by your influence and purse to every movement for the benefit or amusement of our little community. We regret not only your departure, but also that of your amiable wife, whose many good qualities have long endeared her to us, and who, though absent, will live in our remembrance.
We trust that you will both enjoy many years of health and peace in quiet retirement, free from care and anxiety. In bidding farewell to yourself, Mrs Foster and family, we request you to accept the accompanying slight testimonial as a memento of the esteem in which you are held by us,
- Low Head
- A.C. Rockwell, M. Long, James Long, Robert Darby, F. Huxtable, F.S.A. Huxtable, John James, John Hewitt, William Moncur, P.S.A. Mullay, Wm. Stevens, Thos. Fox, Ralph Place, C. Wm. Kidd, W.P. Rockwell.
- George Town
- W. Warren, William Lawton, James Richardson, Thos. McDowell, E.R., T. Jones, C. Henry, Ferd. W.A. Reisz, Jas. Hacket.
Launceston, Tasmania, February, 1879.
GENTLEMEN,—I have much pleasure in acknowledging the very kind address and testimonial that was presented to me on my leaving Low Head Pilot Station.
It is very gratifying to me at being able to look back at the very long period I have resided amongst you, and I take this opportunity of thanking you most sincerely for the many kindnesses that I have received at your hands from time to time.
It has always been my aim to try to conduce happiness and promote a friendly feeling amongst the residents, and it is a great satisfaction to Mrs Foster and myself that our small endeavours have been appreciated.
Trusting you may all be spared many years to enjoy good health and happiness, I am, gentlemen,
Yours very sincerely,
A.C. Rockwell, Esq., and others signing the address, Low Head.
Source: To George Foster, Esquire. Launceston Examiner, Feb 8, 1879:4.
Appendix 3: Poem: Sorrow on the Sea.
The below poem should be read in the context of the accidental drowning of George FOSTER’s sons William and George as well as his own dangerous job and his daily risk of drowning. Note the account of George’s near drowning in 1863 where the women of Low Head Station had to help in the rescue. Small wonder that a hand written excerpt from this poem was kept in the family records! The poem was initially published in the Naval and Military Gazette, and as such would have possibly been routinely sent to the Low Head Pilot Station, and read by the FOSTER family.
Sorrow on the Sea
"There is sorrow on the sea—it cannot he quiet." Jer. xlix. 23.
The following fine poem, written by the late Captain M. A. S. Hare, of the "Eurydice", in a friend’s album some years since, will be read with mournful interest.Why are thy billows still rolling on, With their wild and sad and musical tone? Why is there never repose for thee? Why slumberest thou not, O mighty sea? Then the ocean’s voice I seemed to hear, Mournfully, solemnly-sounding near, Like a wail sent up from the caves below, Fraught with dark memories of human woe, Telling of loved ones buried there, Of the dying shriek and the dying prayer; Telling of hearts still watching in vain For those who shall never come again; Of the widow’s groan, the orphan’s cry, And the mother’s speechless agony. Oh, no, the ocean can never rest With such secrets hidden within its breast. There is sorrow written upon the sea, And dark and stormy its waves must be; It cannot be quiet, it cannot sleep, That dark, relentless, and stormy deep. But a day will come, a blessed day, When earthly sorrow shall pass away, When the hour of anguish shall turn to peace, And even the roar of the waves shall cease. Then out from its deepest and darkest bed Old Ocean shall render up her dead, And, freed from the weight of human woes, Shall quietly sink in her last repose. No sorrow shall ever be written then On the depths of the sea or the hearts of men, But heaven and earth renewed shall shine, Still clothed in glory and light divine. Then where shall the billows of ocean be? Gone! for in heaven shall be “no more sea”. Tis a bright and beautiful thing of earth, That cannot share in the soul’s “new birth;” ‘Tis a life of murmur and tossing and spray And at resting-time it must pass away. But, oh! thou glorious and beautiful sea, There is health and joy and blessing in thee: Solemnly, sweetly, I hear thy voice, Bidding me weep and yet rejoice— Weep for the loved ones buried beneath, Rejoice in Him who has conquered death; Weep for the sorrowing and tempest-tossed, Rejoice in Him who has saved the lost; Weep for the sin, the sorrow, and strife And rejoice in the hope of eternal life. Naval and Military Gazette
Source: Hare MAS. Sorrow on the sea. Boston USA: Littell’s living age: Littell & Gay; May 25, 1878; 5:22:1771:450.
NOTE: Captain Marcus A.S. Hare died on 24 Mar 1878 when his ship the ‘Eurydice’ sank of the Isle of Wight. 366 men died, and two survived. The ship was a training ship for young ordinary seamen, and was bringing home a number of military officers, supernumeraries and invalids from the West Indies.
Appendix 4: George FOSTER’s Property
This appendix details a search for details of George FOSTER’s property. A story about George FOSTER’s property has been developed from a paper trail of documents in various Tasmanian archives. These documents include:
- Returns of Grant Deeds to the Collector of Internal Revenue Tas Archives: LSD 1/75 p195 LSD 1/75 p205
- Transfer of Grant from Joseph CORDELL to George FOSTER. Hobart Town Gazette. 15 Oct 1844; 1315.
- Launceston Assessment Rolls. Launceston Library, State Library of Tasmania
- Memorial of an Indenture of Release dated 23 Aug 1845. Deeds Library of the Titles Registry in Hobart
- Memorial of an Indenture dated 10 Apr 1863 . Deeds Library of the Titles Registry in Hobart
- Probate of the Last Will and Testament and related documents for George FOSTER. Tas Archives: Probate file# AD 960/22 No 5534.
I have only placed summary tables of information from the Returns of Grant Deeds as well as the Launceston Assessment Rolls.
|Date of document||June 1845||20 Feb 1845|
|Tas Archives reference||LSD 1/75 p195||LSD 1/75 p205|
|i) Name of Grantee||G. FOSTER||G. FOSTER & Wm Abbott|
|ii) Area (Acre/Rood/perch)||-/1/11||290/-/-|
|iv) Annual Quit Rent||£1/5/6||£-/5/10|
|v) Commencing||Jan 1844||Jan 1844|
|vi) Quit Rent Due||£1/5/6||£-/5/10|
|viii) Fee for Grant||£2/5/-||£2/5/-|
|ix) Cost of Survey|
|x) Office Fees|
The Story Continues
- Appendices to the FOSTER Web Site A final set of appendices in Appendix 5 to the FOSTER Web site… Descendancy Reports.