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Malcolm Ward - The papers of Colonel Andrew Geils

Published: Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Andrew Geils was appointed Commandant of Hobart Town in 1812 and while at that post, played fast and loose with his authority, especially in relation to the acquisition of land. Although he was replaced after Thomas Davey arrived as Lieutenant-Governor in 1813 he remained in contact with Hobart Town well into the 1820s. The 'Geils Papers' are part of the yet to be catalogued 'Dobson Papers' in the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts. They seem to have survived initially via his lawyers, George Cartwright and Hugh Ross.  The papers, which contain inventories of Geils' farm stock and belongings and those of his wife (Mary, nee Noble), seem to have been complied on or after Geils' departure. They appear to be reports by agents concerning his on-going farm holdings. Numerous Supreme Court files document Geils' subsequent discontent with those agents with proceedings stretching over a number of years. Letters from friends and allies describe the comings and goings of the town, even past William Sorell's arrival in 1817.

After retiring as a geologist, Malcolm Ward undertook a PhD at UTAS on the life of colonial settler George Meredith. He now researches and writes on aspects of Van Diemen's Land history in the colonial period.

To view Malcolm's slide presentation while listening to his talk, click here.