Gravesites Of Tasmania




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Unsung Tasmanians


Thomas Gabriel Read (known as Gabriel) was the eldest of ten children born to Captain George Frederick Read (1788-1860) and his second wife Margaret Terry (1800-1889) who, with his family, settled in Hobart Tasmania in 1816 after receiving a grant of land we believe in the New Norfolk or Sorell areas as he owned property in both places. His father was also a director of the Bank of Van Diemen’s Land.  

Gabriel was well educated, particularly in the Classics and English Literature, and had strong religious convictions and when, at a comparatively early age, he began traveling, it was to take him halfway round the world. At the age of 26 he sailed for the Californian goldfields in his own schooner. He made little money but learnt a lot about gold fossicking, that, when he returned to Australia , he became caught up in the Victorian gold rush,  but dismayed by the violence of the goldfields and the clash between miners and police at Eureka in 1854 he returned to Tasmania .

He wasn’t to stay long, news of gold strikes in Southland around Mataura in New Zealand trickled through to Hobart Town , and in1861 he was off on his travels again. He arrived in Otago in January 1861 on the Don Pedro II  and at once disappeared into the nearby hills and gullies, and on 23 May 1861 struck colour in a gully that has borne his name for a hundred years. (Gabriel’s Gulley)

In an unselfish act he wrote a letter to the Otago Witness declaring that the “Waitahuna and Tuapeka goldfields will before long astound the province”. He now went one better and announced his discovery, giving the location and prospects, holding back nothing.

Prior to the goldrush in New Zealand Dunedin was a little scraggly port struggling to survive and known to the locals as Mud edin! Fifteen tons of gold poured into the town from here....the wonderful old buildings from the university to railway station a testament to this sudden spectacular wealth. For many years Dunedin was the pre-eminent NZ city.

Read returned to Tasmania evidently disillusioned by prospecting and married his cousin Amelia Mitchell in 1864. Unfortunately, due to a hunting accident in his youth he suffered lifelong bouts of depression and was finally admitted to the New Norfolk Mental Insitution.

He died 31st. October 1894 at New Norfolk Tasmania and the cause of death stated was “apoplexy”.  His funeral service was held at St. Mathew’s Church New Norfolk on the 2nd. November 1894 the officiating clergyman being J.O.Harris and he was later buried in the North Circle Public Cemetery (New Norfolk) 






The son of a soldier, John Joseph Woods was born in Tasmania but was working as a school teacher in New Zealand when the ‘New Zealand Saturday Advertiser’ announced a competition to compose an orchestral score for the poem for a prize of 10 guineas.

At the time the competition was announced John Woods was teaching at the Roman Catholic school in the gold-mining town of Lawrence in Otago and the announcement of the competition reached him at 9.00 night.

"I immediately felt like one inspired," he recalled later. He started straight away and stayed up late until he had finished the score.

He was very gifted musically: he could play twelve instruments, but mostly he played the piano and violin. It is this spark of inspiration by a man of middle-class talents that gave the score of God Defend New Zealand its enduring character.

Woods was a man of his community and its institutions. In his own district he was an all-round sportsman of note, a member and office-bearer in clubs and societies, long serving choir master of the Roman Catholic Church — and County Clerk for the Tuapeka County Council for an astounding 55 years. This final achievement alone probably makes him unique in New Zealand 's history and when, on his retirement in 1932 at the age of 83, his services were recognised by creating him a 'freeman of the county', this was the first time that anyone in the British Dominion had been given such an honour.

In 1938 The National Centennial Council recommended that the government adopt 'God Defend New Zealand ' as the national hymn, and in 1940 the government purchased the rights to Bracken's words and Woods's music

John Joseph Woods is buried in Lawrence New Zealand where he spent most of his life.








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