LIFE IN ENGLAND
By Marion Sargent
George Hewlett was the fourth child and second son of George Eliel Sargent and Emma (nee Hewlett). As his elder brother Daniel George died young, the name George was carried down through the family by George Hewlett's descendants.
George Hewlett was born in Eythorne, Kent, on 27 May 1844. His childhood seemed to be rather idyllic, rambling around the countryside of his village home, and attending his uncle Theophilus' private school with his brothers.
He moved to Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire to work as a brewer's clerk for his cousin and brother-in-law
Peter Beuzeville Byles at Gray's Brewery, Friday Street. He attended the old
Independant Chapel, now Christ Church, United Reformed Church, in Reading Road, where he may have met his
future wife, a genteel young lady, Elizabeth Dodd,
who was known as Bessie. She was born in Iver Heath,
Buckinghamshire, on 19 December 1849,
the daughter of John Dodd and Hannah Elizabeth (nee Knight).
The marriage took place on 20 December 1873 at St Margaret's Church, Iver Heath.
Their three children, George Newton (1875-1955), Amy Ruth (1877-1950) and Myra Bessie (1878-1940), were all born in Friday Street, Henley-on-Thames. George Hewlett's mother's family had had a long association with this town. The Beuzeville family had a silk factory in Friday Street,and the Byles family had lived there for some time. George Hewlett lived with his cousin Martha Byles in a house which was located between the Anchor Hotel and Peter Beuzeville Byles' home. Gray's Brewery was behind the houses.
By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved to Enfield, Middlesex, where George Hewlett worked as a mailer of periodicals. They later moved to Birmingham where George Hewlett took up a position as a clerk at Cadbury's. They lived in Camp Villas on Cadbury's Estate, King's Norton.
In1886 the family left their familiar surroundings and sailed for a new life in Tasmania, on the other side of the world. We can only speculate as to why they took this adventurous step. One reason is that they were attracted by the advertisements which they had seen describing Tasmania as a paradise where money could be made growing apples.
I believe the catalyst which drove them from their home was the shame and humiliation they felt when a family member misappropriated a sum of money from a client. All the money was refunded by the extended family before their depature.
Their last night was spent in Whitfield, Kent, at the home of George Hewlett's elder sister Emma Davison, where Bessie was overheard telling Emma that "You could have knocked me down with a feather" when she was told of her husband's decision to emigrate. They sailed from London on the Orient Line ship SS Sorata on 29 April 1886, the last voyage this ship made to Australia. A cousin, Obeithio Sargent, his wife Mary Ann and children, who also lived at Kings Norton near Birmingham, left England on the Elderslie just a few days later. They were all bound for Tasmania, but as Mary Ann was about to give birth, Obeithio's family disembarked in Perth, Western Australia, and did not reach Tasmania. For details of their voyage and life in Western Australia see the section on Ebenezer Sargent and Esther Hewlett.
LIFE IN TASMANIA
George Hewlett Sargent applied for a grant land on 2 July 1886. He received 80 acres and bought a further 20 acres at Glengarry, in the West Tamar area of northern Tasmania. We believe that he had an orchard there, but it was not profitable. By October 1888 the family had moved to a property called "Fairbanks" in Rosevears on the Tamar River. They rented 320 acres and had a pickle manufacturing business for a short while. The children attended St Michael's State School three days a week. On Sundays they went by boat across the river to St Matthias' Church at Windermere.
In 1890 the family moved to Launceston where George worked as a fruiterer and a grocer. They moved frequently in those early years. A letter George wrote to his cousin Obeithio in 1906 gives us the reason. They were renting houses which George spent time and trouble renovating with good quality materials "...and just as we were reaping the reward of my toil the landlord[s] sold [them]". The section on Launceston has a list of addresses of the homes and shops where they lived and worked. They attended the Baptist Tabernacle in Cimitiere Street.
In 1910 all the family, except for Amy who was in England, moved to Wynyard on the north-west coast of Tasmania. They did this at the urging of a friend, Ralph Margetts, who insisted that Wynyard was about to develop considerably and that the Sargents should take advantage of its future prosperity.
They took up land at Flowerdale, a beautiful rural area not far from Wynyard, but in 1912 moved into the town. After only three years George Hewlett died on the 22 October 1914, at 70 years of age. At the time of his death he was a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Table Cape Licensing Bench and a prominent church warden of the Wynyard Baptist Church.
George Hewlett Sargent also wrote a few novels. The ones I know about are: Adventures of Two Brothers, Joe Harman's Experiences, Ned the Barge-Boy and the same book in French, Le Petit Batelier.
Not much is known about Bessie. Apart from quietly attending to her duties caring for her husband and children, she was the president of the Women's Christian Temperance Movement in Launceston in 1904. Bessie died suddenly nearly 10 years after her husband on 3 March 1924 at her son's residence in Hogg Street. She was 75 years of age. This was just 10 weeks before her son Newton was to be married.
The children of George Hewlett Sargent and Bessie
1. George Newton Sargent, Born 2 Jan 1875, Henley-on-Thames, England
Died 15 July 1955, Wynyard, Tasmania
Married 14 May 1924, Surrey Hills, Melbourne, Victoria
Ruth Dodgshun, Born 3 Jan 1891, Launceston, Tasmania
Died 30 Oct 1986, Latrobe, buried Wynyard, Tasmania
Amy Ruth Sargent, Born 25 March 1877, Henley-on-Thames
Died 19 July 1950, New Norfolk, buried Wynyard, Tasmania
Trained as a nurse at the Launceston Homoeopathic Hospital
Served with QAIMNSR in France and England during WWI
School nurse in NW Tasmania for 21 years
Myra Bessie Sargent, Born 3 Feb 1878, Henley-on-Thames
Died 31 Aug 1940, Wynyard, Tasmania
School teacher, Lady Help, Photographer