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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Headlam, Charles (1816–1898)

by A. W. Taylor

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

Charles Headlam (1816-1898), pastoralist, was born on 22 November 1816 at Eggleston, County Durham, England, youngest of the six children of John Headlam and his wife Ann, née Slade. The family arrived at Hobart Town in the Skelton (Captain Dixon) on 22 November 1820. They lived at first in Hobart where John Headlam ran a school; he was granted 775 acres (314 ha) on the Macquarie River in 1823 but appointed a manager to look after his land which he called Egleston. He continued teaching in Hobart and later in Launceston till 1830 when he took his family to Egleston; aged 67 he died on 11 March 1843.

Charles took over the management of Egleston. His skill with stock and his business ability enabled him to expand the original holding of 775 acres (314 ha) until he became the largest landholder in Tasmania, his properties covering 80,000 acres (32,375 ha). In addition to Egleston which had grown to 8600 acres (3480 ha), he occupied the well-known estates of Charlton, Lemont, Woodbury and Nant, and several large properties in the lake district. His sheep numbered up to 60,000, and to cope with them he was the first in Tasmania to introduce shearing machines which were installed in the Egleston woolshed in the early 1890s. He was appointed a territorial magistrate on 11 May 1847 and later district coroner. In September 1852 he wrote to the Colonial Secretary advocating the continuation of transportation of convicts for he was then finding difficulty in obtaining sufficient men to work his properties. He served for many years on the Campbell Town Municipal Council and on the Water and Road Trusts. On 14 June 1842 he had married Eleanor, only daughter of John Bayles of Rokeby on the Macquarie River. Headlam died at Egleston on 14 October 1898 and was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery at Kirklands. He was survived by six sons, who inherited his properties, by four daughters and by some fifty grandchildren.

Select Bibliography

  • Examiner (Launceston), 17 Oct 1898
  • GO 33/77/696 (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • Headlam family records (privately held).

Citation details

A. W. Taylor, 'Headlam, Charles (1816–1898)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 25 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

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