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Hardwicke, Charles Browne (1788–1880)

by E. R. Pretyman

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Charles Browne Hardwicke (1788-1880), naval lieutenant and racing enthusiast, was born on 2 August 1788 at Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, England. Through family influence he was placed in the navy and as a lieutenant in H.M.S. Fury was wounded during an engagement with the French. He arrived in Sydney on 7 February 1814 as third officer in the convict transport General Hewitt. Resenting the harsh treatment meted out by the captain, he sought permission from Governor Lachlan Macquarie to remain in New South Wales. This was granted, and he was soon appointed master of the cutter Elizabeth. A visit to Port Dalrymple decided him to settle in Van Diemen's Land, and he took up land at Norfolk Plains (Longford). In 1819 it was alleged that he supplied the government stores with 3700 lbs (1678 kg) of meat obtained from a neighbouring settler. In September, with other northern residents, he asked that the Governor's Court be held at least once a year in Launceston and also wrote to the commandant at Launceston for permission to conduct race meetings. This was referred to Macquarie for approval but it was April 1826 before he joined James Cox, Joseph Archer and others to form the Tasmanian Turf Club at Jericho. On 18 January 1820 he was married to Elizabeth Chapman at St John's Church, Launceston. In April 1823 he was appointed chief constable at Longford, later receiving a grant of 500 acres (202 ha) for his work against bushrangers.

In 1823, with his brother Frederick and a crew of six men he examined the north coast from Port Dalrymple to West Point and the west coast for forty miles (64 km). They were away for nearly five months and suffered much privation. In addition to his official report on the discoveries he wrote privately on 23 January 1824 to the lieutenant-governor stating that the inland country was so poor that he had refrained from saying too much, for 'my remarks might gain publicity and thereby cause some stoppage to emigration to this colony'. The land he referred to is now recognized as one of the best agricultural areas in Tasmania. In 1826 he was convicted, despite his strong protests of innocence, of selling illicit spirits, but was permitted to resign and not be dismissed from the office of district constable. In 1829 he was granted 1000 additional acres (405 ha) for anticipated expansion. He was associated with the Cornwall Turf Club when its first meeting was held in March 1830. He encouraged horse breeding, and was the owner of several valuable mounts which were often successful at New Town, Ross and Launceston. In October 1837 he was appointed a justice of the peace and held office for nearly thirty years. He lived at Tressick, Northcote, Norfolk Plains, and spent twenty years at Piper's River. When his health failed he moved to Launceston in 1873 and died there on 27 September 1880. He left a family of 14 children, 40 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 3, vol 3
  • Parliamentary Papers (House of Assembly, Tasmania), 1881 (16)
  • Hobart Town Gazette, 12 June 1819, 2 June 1821, 14 Dec 1823, 15 July 1826
  • Mercury (Hobart), 29 Sept 1880
  • CSO 1/68/1403, 1/95/2276 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

E. R. Pretyman, 'Hardwicke, Charles Browne (1788–1880)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hardwicke-charles-browne-2154/text2751, published in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 3 September 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

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