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In 1817, when Governor Davey grew tired of his position and resigned, to retire on his estate near Hobart Town, the position was filled by Colonel Sorrell. Colonel Sorrell, the new Governor, set himself the task of stopping these ruthless marauders. He was to some extent successful and the young colony enjoyed an interval of peace. Farming was profitable and the export of wheat began to assume large quantities.
Van Diemen’s Land wool
The best breeds of sheep were brought to the island and Van Diemen’s Land wool, which at first had been despised in England (used only for stuffing mattresses), grew into favour, and was bought from the manufacturers at high prices. Thus many of the settlers soon became wealthy and the estates began to have a correspondingly high value. So the colony was assured prosperity, which was remarkable in only the 16th year from its foundation.
Another industry was added , which indirectly contributed to the wealth of Tasmania. The captain of a merchant vessel, on his way to Sydney, had seen a great shoal of whales off the south coast of Tasmania and along with the Governor of New South Wales, secretly formed a scheme to fit out a whaling expedition. But his crew had also seen the whales and soon made the fact widely known. So by the time that the captain’s party were ready to sail, there were several other whaling vessels on their way. They were all successful and very soon a large number of ships were engaged in whale fishing. As Hobart Town was the nearest port, the whalers found that it saved time to go there with their oil and to purchase their provisions and refit their boats. So the whaling trade was important to Hobart Town and helped the city prosper even more.
Sorrell’s Term Ends
Much of the progress was due to sensible management of Governor Sorrell, who spared no effort in reforming the convicts, as well as encourage and refine the free settlers. Hence it was with great regret Governor Sorrell’s term of office expired in 1824. They petitioned the English Government to allow him to stay for another six years but it was refused because Sorrell was required elsewhere. On his departure, he was presented with a handsome testimonial and given an income of £500 a year from the settler’s revenue.
(continues … Governor George Arthur)