Anne Rushton

Franklin: Settlement in the Huon

Hard Toil and Small Rewards

The problem of isolation was a major difficulty faced by the early settlers. The Sherwin family lived in Franklin for a number of years, where Mr. Sherwin kept a shop. Later he took up a selection at Judbury which he called Forest Home. When moving, all the household goods had to be hauled up the river in a heavy punt, for eight miles, by the family. Each article then had to be carried for five miles through dense bush. It was at Forest Home that the famous Tasmanian singer, Amy Sherwin, was born. 

Like many other pioneers, George Sherwin worked long hours. He often worked in the garden until midnight on moonlit nights, with a few hours sleep before rising early in the morning. He was a great walker, and each week he would start for Hobart early, with a market basket packed with eggs and butter. Climbing spurs and traversing gullies with his awkward load, he walked the twenty seven miles. After reaching Hobart he would unload his goods, repack the baskets with necessary groceries, and set off for home again, the round trip taking sixteen hours.

Another great walker was John Hay I (not to be confused with his son, John Hay II, nor with his grandson, John Hay III). After a frustrating morning with a faulty saw, John Hay I told his son he would walk to Hobart to get a new one. John Hay II, thinking he would get to sleep in the following morning, readily agreed to the idea. After lunch, Hay took his coat and set off for Hobart. Reaching Ironstone Creek he was ferried across the river and arranged with the ferry owner for the ferry to be left ready for him that night. He reached Hobart before dark, and bought his saw, a heavy, eight foot, peg-toothed instrument. He immediately started the return trip with this cumbersome load and reached Franklin in the early hours of the morning, where he snatched three hours sleep. John Hay Jnr. was startled to be awoken at 5am when he heard the usual: "Now my son, it's time to get up!"

A huge bluegum tree being cut into sections prior to hauling to the mill


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Jonathan Sturm 2001