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The Nutshell

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The allotment on the way to the Nutshell

"I...hope that...the Honourable Board will be pleased to encourage a young man, 'a Van Diemen’s Land Native' to persevere in industrious pursuits by aiding his exertion by ordering a Grant according to the Gazette."

So wrote a hopeful Edward Maum in February 1834. He was seeking the title to about a quarter of an acre (1,011 sq metres) of land adjoining the rivulet on the western side of Droughty Point Road, between the Nutshell and South Arm Road. There are no buildings there today, but in 1834 a house stood on the site.  It was one of only two houses in the newly established Rokeby village.  


Edward Maum bought the property in good faith from William Woodberry, who in turn, acquired it from John Boyle. John Boyle had sailed into Sydney on the First Fleet, and arrived in naniyilipata / Clarence Plains after living on Norfolk Island for almost twenty years.  By the 1830's, he was an old man, perhaps in his seventies.  He had no family for support and little in the way of assets other than his property on Droughty Point Road.  So he made a deal with William Woodberry.  In return for transferring ownership of his house and land to William Woodberry, he would be allowed to use half the property and receive a weekly pension for the rest of his life.  William Woodberry rented out the other half of the house to cover his costs. 

Complications emerged after John Boyle died.  Dr Desailly apparently claimed the property as payment for money that John Boyle owed him and the tenant held the title documents, an important consideration when a central repository for land sale records was still in its infancy.  Hence Edward Maum’s appeal to the Commissioners of the Land Board, finishing with the plea to encourage a young man, namely himself.

Edward Maum seems to have successfully established his claim to the land, because in his will, he left a whole acre on this part of Droughty Point Road to Edward Joseph, the son of his stepson. This stepson was to become insolvent within a few years and it would be nice to think that Edward Maum intended to use the same piece of land as encouragement for another young man.

Source: Tasmanian Archives; SC289/1/3

Links to more information on other websites


Anne Maxwell (with Lucy Van and Mophia Grondas), ‘Hookey, Mabel Madeleine (1371-1953)’, Australian Women Register

Rokeby House - The home of Mabel Hookey 

‘What would you take’ (2017), published by Clarence City Council.

Directions to next sign

Take the path to the right hand side of the Nutshell and cross Clarence Plains Rivulet and follow the path.  The Norfolk Islanders sign is located to the left of the path.

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