William Thomas CRAMP (1849-1935),

coach-builder and sports administrator

Harry Wilfred CRAMP (1875-1962)

George Chatfield CRAMP (1904 —1987)

William Thomas CRAMP was typical of those who managed freshwater fishing in Tasmania during the first half of the twentieth century. Although primarily interested in the development of the sport of angling the Government allowed them to manage all the aquatic environment. They were laymen devoted to the introduced trout and ‘obsessed with the production of fish from hatcheries’. Cramp, and his son Harry and grandson George, were important administrators and financial supporters of the Tasmanian trout fishery.

William Cramp was born in Hobart on 21 March 1849, the second son of Richard James Cramp. His father arrived in Hobart from England as cabin passengers on the barque Derwent on 12 November 1840 accompanied by his mother and sister. Richard was then nineteen and found work as an accountant and collector for William Ladd. In 1851 he set up business on his own account in Elizabeth Street. Richard married Eliza Sadler of Newtown in 1846(?) and their first child, John Tomlin, was born in February 1847. Richard Cramp Snr. died in Hobart in June 1877 aged 56; Eliza died nine months later aged 54.

In early 1853, after the birth of William’s sister, Mary Maria, the family moved to Victoria on returning to Hobart in 1862 sixteen years old William was apprenticed to the coach-builder and wheelwright E.C.A.Nichols. During the following 27 years he progressed to become manager of the firm. William Cramp married Henrietta Jane Ludbey at Brighton on 1 June 1871. They had four sons Harry Wilfred, Harold, George and Esca and one daughter Susan Elizabeth (Mrs.E.J.Laughlin). Around 1880 his youngest brother, Richard James, was taken on as an apprentice. In 1892 William and Richard, established their own business, Cramp Bros. They quickly established an enviable reputation as a manufacturer of first class coaches and carriages. In the 1920s they mastered the transition from carriages to cars, buses and trucks by importing engines and chassis from overseas then building the bodies and finishing the vehicle. Ford, Austin, Studebaker and Fiat where just some of the makes that rolled out of the Harrington Street works. The business still operates at its original site but was sold by the family in the 1940s.

About 1895 William took up trout fishing and ‘no angler rendered greater service to fishing in Tasmania’. Soon after he began to assist Michael Jones at the Salmon Ponds to strip eggs from trout and developed a passion for pisciculture. Richard shared his brother's interest in fishing and this led to his early death. In April 1907 whilst fishing in Lake Crescent he fell into the lake and drowned. William recovered his body. In 1910 William stocked the Hobart Rivulet with trout supplied by Jones and delivered in milk cans. Cramp carried the fish to the stream in his sulky.

Except for a brief period laymen managed Tasmanian fisheries until the 1940s. Most were anglers with a single-minded interest in developing salmonid fishing. After 1895 this honorary body, known as the Fisheries Commissioners, relied on licence fees to finance its activities. Much of the money came from trout anglers and was spent operating trout hatcheries. The original hatchery at Plenty, known as the Salmon Ponds, was established in 1867; a new facility was opened in 1901 at Waverly, near Launceston, and others at Lake Leak and Great Lake followed in the next nine years.

As a member of the Southern Tasmanian Licensed Anglers Association Cramp adopted a close interest in the trout fishery in Lake Sorell. In 1909 the Commission had established a small facility, where Mountain Creek entered the northern side of the lake, to collect ova for use in its hatcheries. In July 1919 Cramp led a deputation from the Association that offered to build and run a hatchery there if the Commission gave its approval and technical support. This was agreed and the Government granted 50 to assist in construction. It produced 100,000 trout fry in 1920 and production grew steadily over the next three years. It was named the W. T. Cramp Hatchery and continued to operate until the 1940s. It was said that he had unrivalled knowledge of the State’s lakes and streams and visited the hatchery every winter for almost twenty to supervise the collection of brown trout eggs. In 1934 his Association erected an obelisk at Interlaken to commemorate his service.

Cramp took an active interest in the administration of his sport. He was Vice-President and later a life member of the Southern Anglers Association. In 1919 he was appointed to board of the Fisheries Commissioners and continued his position after 1927 when the Government amended the Fisheries Act to create a Sea Fisheries Board but left responsibility for inland fisheries with the renamed Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Commission. Cramp retired from this position in 1931 and was replaced by his second son Harold. Harold served under his older brother Harry who was the first chairman of this Commission and also Secretary of the STLAA. Harry Wilfred CRAMP married Lillian Edith Farrell in 1901. His service to the Tasmanian trout fishery is commemorated by memorial gates at the Plenty salmon Ponds. Harry led the Commission for 20 years. In 1953 the chairmanship of the Commission passed to George Chatfield Cramp, a grandson of William and a nephew of Harry. (George Chatfield CRAMP was born in 1904, the same year his parents George CRAMP and Edith Mawle were married.)

As the founder of this dynasty William Thomas Cramp has been called the ‘father of fishing’.. He was an active member of the Memorial Congregational Church in Hobart and for 59 years a prominent member of the Independent Order of Rechabites. His philanthropic interests also included the Friendly Society movement. Cramp died in Hobart in June 1935 aged 86 and is buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery. Harry W Cramp died in Blackburn Victoria in 1962 and George Chatfield Cramp in 1987.)