George and Billy Holt

Today the 26 October I thought I would do something a little different. Last year was done thinking it may be of interest to a few – just maybe. The past 6 months have been surreal as the descendants of our old families reconnect. The modern names, never before heard – older names somewhat vague, some with more information, others with photo’s – all waiting to be connected!! These connections… stunning – familiarities here and there, coincidence’s everywhere, pieces of the puzzle starting to make sense! So back to… George Holt and his first cousin Harold Holt both answered the call and joined the AIF and in doing so, take their place in our family history. Harold’s Grandson tells of another important family story that happened in WW2 WW2 William (Billy) Holt and his first cousin Patrick Holt answer the call in joining the army in WW2. They were in the same unit, unfortunately they were captured and became POW’s, toward the end of the war they were split up and Billy perished on the POW ship when destroyed in the South West Pacific. Both George and Billy were known as Holt’s at home on Flinders – that was their surname!! Billy was about 7 when George joined in 1916. What’s interesting is on joining they both had to use their birth names – George as Robinson and Billy as Garrett. How strange it must have been to have always been known as Holt and then on official work be called another… Bless you both!

Flinders Island Butter Factory: the early days…….

Dairy – a lucrative and productive  industry forgotten until I read this article about Mr F Holt and Tas Holt, and their dairy herds.


Uncle Fred Collis and G Uncle Henry Briant note in their diaries post 1920 references to the then early dairy industry – Flinders Island butter was exported to the UK. The Butter Factory Road sign is a few km’s from Whitemark and I vaguely remember going there as a 3 or 4-year-old with Dad, in Uncle Eric’s truck delivering the cream as Uncle Eric and Aunt Edna were away in Launceston.

The factory closed down due to the increased regulations governing the production of butter. The factory didn’t have the financial resource to upgrade as required – at least that’s my understanding. If anyone can elaborate ……… The loss of this industry would have had a devastating impact on the island’s employment. I suppose this caused some families to move away!

I have a clearer memory of Walkers dairy out near the airport as it operated for a longer time.

This is a great link to the modern Flinders 

This is a great link – has some really good clear old photos of Flinders and in particular of several people, for those looking for relatives then a must to check out just in case!! Also good history notes on the butter factory…….

The Island Constabulary 1944 to 1947

How did James and Emily Robinson/Holt end up connected to the police officers of this era??

This story starts at the Tasmanian Police Academy in 1936 – Kenneth Charles Johnson from Oatland’s and Lou Bailey from the North East, join the Tasmanian Police Force around the start of WWII.

Lou and Ken were both married and had young children. Lou and Ken boarded together at a private home in Hobart while they did their Police training.

At the end of training Ken and Lou were transferred to their respective postings. Ken’s postings were Hobart, Hythe (Southport), Cygnet, Whitemark, Cygnet. Launceston would be Ken’s last transfer in 1950.

Lou’s postings were Hobart and Lady Barron.

In 1944 Ken (Senior Constable) was transferred to Whitemark where Lou was based at Lady Barron.

Water policing an important aspect of working in the Straits.

The WWII period also played a large part in policing during this time to make sure the community followed the restrictions enforced across Australia. There were many times they had to investigate possible enemy sightings.

The men work together until Ken was re posted back to Cygnet – his previous post.

Ken was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Launceston where he became head of Traffic. Ken died a few months before his 50th birthday on 18 February 1961.

Lou continued working on Flinders until his retirement. Open this link and go to page 98 re his part in taking a party around the islands.

Lou and Mary Bailey’s only child and son married the daughter of George & Gladys Robinson. George being the son of Tuck and grandson of James and Emily.

Ken’s daughter married the only child and son of Horace and Maud Robinson & and explains how James and Emily’s family are forever connected to the local constabulary on Flinders from 1944  to 1947.

The Bailey and Robinson’s had seven children between them. These cousins grew up together and share a strong bond of friendship and a loved connection with this little piece of history.

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Lunar Eclipse 1923

Fingers crossed that tonight’s sky stays clear, so we can see the spectacular Lunar Eclipse on tonight’s full moon.

The East Coast of Flinders around March/April a magic spot to watch the full moon as it rises across the water – on the beach, Babel in the foreground having a BBQ, fishing with family and friends. The silver light as it comes across the water resembles a bright pathway. It’s easy to see why our old families so loved their home.

Great Uncle Henry Briant’s Diary of 1923: reveals on the 26 August 1923 he saw a Lunar Eclipse – a partial eclipse.

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Launceston 1903

Looking up Brisbane Street toward Cataract Hill in 1903

Archie Holt was born in Sept 1903

Great Grandmother Adeline was hospitalised with complications of pregnancy in Dec 1903

Horse and carriage the mode of transport in this photo

Enlarge and be transported back in time!!


Those who love a cold ‘Boags’ a few snaps of how it was styled in 1903!


J & T Gunn in the early days


Recherché Bay 7109 to Flinders Island 7255

My siblings and I have by coincidence a paternal and maternal family history giving us two connections stretching from the southern tip to the northern tip of Tasmania.

Dad’s great grandparents Henry and Hannah Collis lived at Recherché Bay. They worked for the Education Department as teachers from the late 1860’s until transferring to Bass Strait in 1871.

Mum was 6 months old when her father Trooper Ken Johnson moved to his first country posting at Hythe in 1940. Hythe had a name change to Southport in 1969. Recherché Bay was part of the Hythe district.

Grandfather Ken was involved in the search for Critchley Parker – the search party dropped at Port Davey (in May) where they walked through the Southwestern Wilderness arriving at Maydena near New Norfolk quite a time later. Nan wrote of all her experiences as a young wife and mother of those times – she thought they had perished given the time of year and the area to be covered. Nan was relieved when grandfather returned home. Grandfather was quite ill and took a long time to recover. Grandfather had multiple splinters to both hands causing blood poisoning. Nan had to write all his reports for him.

Grandfather Ken was transferred to Cygnet in 1942 and in April 1944 he arrived on Flinders Island taking he position as Senior Constable. Mum remembers going to school and the end of WWII.scan0004

Robinson or Holt

December 1914: This Telegraph article is about GGM Adeline Briant collecting money for the Christmas fund and articulates the Robinson/Holt’s surname indecision was still occurring.

Uncle Tucks sons Eric 4 & Ronnie 2 are named in this article as Robinson’s, whilst his siblings were still Holt’s. I had wondered if Uncle Eric had ever been known as Holt. Dad didn’t think so. This article answers that question.

James Robinson would be Tuck and Mrs James Holt his mother Emily. I’m guessing Horace had a tough time and met with more than a little resistance in getting the locals to adopt Robinson.

Henry Briant’s 1925 diary, Henry was still calling his next door neighbour, Horace, by Holt.