Reg Wright - Author and descendant of James BELBIN The Emancipist
introduction to this distinguished author's books, particularly those
chapters about his BELBIN ancestors
Reg Wright - a
As a sixth generation
expatriate Tasmanian, who has resided in New South Wales for some 40
plus years, Reg Wright found that an initial excursion into genealogy
led him to a far more interesting discovery of unpublished incidents of life
on Norfolk Island and Van Diemens Land. He found that he has
several ancestors from the
First Settlement on Norfolk Island (1788 -
1814), including the stubborn emancipist James BELBIN, as well as 1,935
ancestor years of residence in Tasmania (and Norfolk Island). The
first ancestors to arrive at the
Derwent came as free settlers with
Lieutenant Governor Collins in 1804, whilst the most recent family
immigrants reached Launceston during 1859.
THE DERWENT IN TASMANIA - PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY WIKIPEDIA
It seems that Reg's
children have now been assimilated, and consider themselves Australians
rather than Tasmanians. When working as a professional Engineer in
private industry, he found the history of the first settlements provided
some interesting comparisons with present day industrial practices.
Before moving to Sydney in the 1960's, he enjoyed four exciting years
working in the Persian Gulf oil industry.
Reg Wright has written
several articles for historical and genealogical journals and in
addition to The Youngs of
Rokeby,, he had previously authored a detailed
history of Norfolk Island and Van Diemens Land entitled The Forgotten
Generation of Norfolk Island and Van Diemens Land which some 20 years
since publication in 1986 has gained him some notoriety as an expert.
Opting out of the workforce in 1996, Reg went back to University to
firstly gain an MA(Hons) and then a PhD on
Norfolk Island history.
All of this has put him in good stead to be the guest speaker at a
conference being held in Hobart in December 2007 to commemorate the
arrival of the Norfolk Islanders when he will be talking about Major
Foveaux, Lieutenant Governor of Norfolk Island 1800-1804. Part of
Reg's discussion is found
FIRST SETTLEMENT NORFOLK ISLAND
The Youngs of Rokeby and their
THE FRONT COVER OF THE YOUNGS OF
||If you are
remotely interested in BELBIN genealogy then do try and
get hold of Reg Wright's book The Youngs of Rokeby and
their Friends for it is positively stuffed with BELBINS.
The problem is that this book was published privately in 1992
with a print run of some 200 copies, so is now difficult to
obtain, unless perhaps you find a copy on
AbeBooks or even perhaps Reg himself may still have a couple of
copies left to sell.
The book outlines the history of the YOUNG family
who settled in the Droughty Point region of Rokeby, Tasmania and
also discusses the families associated with the Youngs including
the BELBIN family. Whilst The Youngs of
Rokeby is neither loaded with references to primary documents,
nor purports to provide the final word as a complete genealogical
record, it does recall incidents in the lives of the various families
that will be unknown to the current generation. This information
has been uncovered through many years of delving by a few descendants
of the Youngs, or their "friends". The reproduction of many
letters sent to the Youngs during the 19th century, from the
United Kingdom, Canada and the Australian goldfields, will be of
particular interest. Additionally some 32 illustrations, a
number of which are photographs taken during the 1870-1890
have been included in the book.
BELBINS need not be too
downhearted if you cannot find a copy of this book, for Reg Wright has
very generously consented to some of the key BELBIN chapters from it to
be reproduced here on BelbinMania. Click on the
links below to view them.
BELBIN LETTERS AND PETITIONS
JAMES BELBIN THE YOUNGER and WILLIAM BELBIN THE POLITICIAN
To compliment these chapters Reg Wright has
also made available the BELBIN-HANSLOW-YOUNG FAMILY TREE which
can be requested as a pdf file by clicking
In addition, an article written by a certain
J. E. CALDER and published in three instalments in the
HOBART MERCURY newspaper on Friday 2nd April, Thursday 8th
April and Friday 9th April 1880 can be found by clicking on the link
below. This article is Calder's report on his interview with
JAMES BELBIN Jnr, the son of JAMES BELBIN the convict and
emancipist, who lived from 29th August 1803 until 10th July 1884.
The article is very long, but is a fascinating insight into the lives of
these BELBIN ancestors.
A TOPOGRAPHICAL & HISTORICAL SKETCH
The Forgotten Generation of
Norfolk Island and Van Diemens Land
THE FORGOTTEN GENERATION OF NORFOLK ISLAND AND
VAN DIEMENS LAND BY REG WRIGHT
This book gives a picture of
the individuals comprising the population of Norfolk Island
during the First Settlement (1788-1814), and covers some aspects
of their lives. It lists the names and occupations of many
who resided there, including James BELBIN; those who were
later moved to the Derwent and Port Dalrymple in Van Diemens
Land are nominated with ships of their departure.
The book arose from a visit to
Norfolk Island in 1982, when the author had hoped to sight the
land farmed by an ancestor between 1796 and 1808. On the
island he was reliably misinformed that there were no maps
showing landholdings during the First Settlement of 1788-1814,
as no land was granted until the arrival of the Pitcairn
Islanders in 1856. A map showing the location of the
settlers' land grants in 1796 will therefore be of interest to
The more sensational aspects
of life during the penitentiary period of the Second Settlement
of 1825-1855 have been rewritten many times, however the long
term residents on Norfolk Island during the 26 year period from
March 1788 have been neglected. Little had been written
about the Norfolk Island settlers who were deported to Van
Diemens Land in 1807 to 1808, the reasons for their
removal or the problems they experienced at the Derwent.
Although these people provided
the base stock for the Van Diemens Land population and a number
of uniquely Tasmanian surnames can be traced back to Norfolk's
First Settlement, there was no published list naming the group
of relocated settlers. The deportees provided Van Diemens
Land with a surprising number of citizens who arrived in
Australia with the First, Second and Third Fleets.
The BELBIN name is part
of this history and a lot about these early BELBIN
settlers can be learnt from this book.