Australian Dictionary of Biography

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William Barnes (1791–1848)

by G. T. Stilwell

This article was published:

William Barnes (1791?-1848), brewer, was born in Cheshire, England. He arrived at Hobart Town in the Triton (Captain Crear) in January 1824 bringing with him a number of letters of introduction to Colonel Sorell and £1428 in goods and cash; he also claimed to have a further £1000 invested in England, and was granted 1000 acres (405 ha), with a reserve of 500 (202 ha) adjoining, on the South Esk River near Cleveland. Captain Crear obtained land next door and appointed Barnes his manager. It is doubtful, however, if Barnes ever resided on this grant. By mid-1824 he was well established in Launceston where he received a town allotment in Paterson Street and a 30-acre (12 ha) grant on the northern bank of the South Esk at its confluence with the Tamar. His Port Dalrymple brewery, the first in Launceston, had also begun. This was to bring him prosperity beyond his expectations and induced his nephews Thomas Manifold and Thomas Wilson to emigrate in 1827; other members of the Manifold family followed in 1831. By 1829 he was growing more than four acres (1.6 ha) of hops. Six years later Barnes let his brewery and henceforth divided his time between his estates, Trevallyn near Launceston and Plaisance at Kelso. In 1844-45 he took his family to Europe.

Barnes was a justice of the peace from July 1828 until December 1837, a foundation director of the Cornwall Bank and later a local director of the Bank of Australasia. He was also a trustee of the Launceston Bank for Savings from 1835 until his death. Barnes was one of many who suggested a scheme for supplying Launceston with water from the Cataract Gorge. He died at Kelso on 10 February 1848 aged 57.

Barnes married on 21 July 1830 Anne Jane, only daughter of John Sharland of Hamilton, and a sister of William Stanley Sharland. She had conducted a girls' school in Hobart. They had an only child, William (1832-98), who represented George Town in the House of Assembly in 1866-69, and in 1880-98 was a member of the Launceston General Hospital Board, where his memory is perpetuated by the Barnes prize for nurses, and donor to the city of Launceston of most of the property now known as the Cataract Gorge.

William Barnes's widow married on 21 August 1854 Captain Edwin Whiting, widower of her former husband's niece, Hannah Manifold.

Select Bibliography

  • W. G. Elliston, The Hobart Town Almanack, and Van Diemen's Land Annual for 1838 (Hob, 1838)
  • Wood's Almanack (Launceston, 1847)
  • 'The Late Mr. William Barnes', The Cyclopedia of Tasmania, vol 2 (Hob, 1900), p 143
  • S. J. Butlin, Australia and New Zealand Bank (Melb, 1961)
  • C. Craig, Launceston General Hospital
  • First Hundred Years, 1863-1963 (Launceston, 1963)
  • Hobart Town Gazette, 12 July 1828
  • Colonial Times (Hobart), 30 July 1830
  • Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston), 10 Oct 1835
  • Hobart Town Courier, 4 Mar 1845, 23 Aug 1854
  • Examiner (Launceston), 12 Feb 1848
  • CSO 1/16/290, 1/40/734, 5/101/2246 (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • correspondence files under Barnes, Manifold, and Launceston Bank for Savings (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Additional Resources

  • death notice, Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas), 12 February 1848, p 2

Citation details

G. T. Stilwell, 'Barnes, William (1791–1848)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 12 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (Melbourne University Press), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Cheshire, England


10 February, 1848 (aged ~ 57)
Kelso, Tasmania, Australia

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