EDWARD KIMBERLEY of Clarence Plains.

Convict Scarborough


Edward Kimberley was born in 1762 the youngest of seven children. At 21 he was tried for stealing several parcels of muslin from a shop in Coventry. On being found guilty he was sentenced to seven years transportation. After spending some time in deplorable conditions in prison and on prison hulks moored in the Thames, he eventually departed with the first fleet on the all male prison ship Scarborough arriving in Botany Bay in 1788.


After gaining his freedom, Edward married Mary Cavenaugh in Sydney on 20 October 1791. Mary had been sentenced to seven years transportation in April 1788 also for stealing a piece of material. The trial records gave her age at sentencing as 10 although she was said to be 15 when she embarked on the first all female prison ship Lady Juliana in March 1789. She signed the marriage register with a mark X obviously not being able to read or write at the time. Of the 244 female prisoners on board 114 were sent to Norfolk Island. Many were to marry or live with men on the island.

Edward and Mary sailed to Norfolk Island a week after their marriage and by early December were settled on 12 acres of land allocated to them near the present Norfolk Island airport. Life was extremely tough in the first couple of years with many settlers facing near starvation. It was only the presence of hundreds of thousands of petrels nesting on the island that saved them. For months these life preserving birds were slaughtered in their thousands each night by the island population.


Despite these difficulties Edward was selling grain to stores within a year. By 1793 he had cultivated 10 of his ploughable acres and had hired a labourer to assist him. In 1796 he is recorded as leasing an adjoining 60 acre block. In 1807 Edward was appointed a Chief Constable. Surprisingly, considering he was once a prisoner himself, some of the treatment he inflicted on prisoners at the time was considered quite brutal.


When the decision was made to abandon Norfolk Island Edward and Mary left behind 35 acres of cleared land and 29 acres of uncleared land. On it were three shingle and boarded two storey houses, a large barn and nine log outhouses for which he was reimbursed 90 pounds. As well he received 87 pounds for stock entitlements. This property had been their home for 17 years during which they had raised four children.


Edward and Mary and their three youngest children sailed from Norfolk Island on 8 September 1808 on the City of Edinburg, arriving in the Derwent on 2 October.

Initially, the Norfolk Island settlers were allotted land at various sites around Hobart according to their origin or wealth. Edward (now a well-to-do farmer, who was regarded as a first class settler) was granted 140 acres on Clarence Plains and 300 acres at Methven. The property adjoining Clarence Plains was owned by his son-in-law Daniel Stanfield Jnr. and is now the site of the Rokeby Police Academy. Interestingly, a windmill built for threshing grain on Stanfield’s property was moved to Edward’s property because of lack of wind. The new site was successful and became known as Windmill Point. Several Gardinelle pear trees dating from the time of the mill are still standing and bearing fruit. They were locally known as “Regatta” pears as their fruit ripened at the time of the local regatta.

In 1814 Edward was appointed a District Constable and his house at York Plains was used as a muster point for general musters held at the time.


By 1817 Edward had added another property of 50 acres at York Plains and together with his son William held large contracts with the Government to supply meat and wheat.

Edward died in 1829 at age 77.


His wife Mary died in September 1851 aged 78. In his will Edward left Mary the sum of 50 pounds per year, use of the house and garden where they resided with sufficient land to provide her with wood and water. The remainder of his properties were left to his only son William and son-in-law Daniel Stanfield Junior.


Footnote- Edward Kimberley’s headstone is now in the wall walk at St Matthew’s Church Rokeby Tas.


Author: #8815 Graeme Hays



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