Born in Tasmania

By 1878 Jacob Madsen owned the former Wardlaw property called St Albans in the Apsley Valley and by 1895 it had grown to 215 acres. In December 1892 he bought another 100 acres on the Apsley River from Elizabeth Jessen (nee Wardlaw) for £75; she had apparently owned it before her marriage. The next year Roger Marshall transferred another 7 acres to him on the southern bank of the Apsley west of Bicheno at Rosedale. In 1895 Torie Jessen married Charles Christian Madsen — the only child of Jacob and Ann. Although he was born at Seymour he had gone to school in Swansea and boarded there with the Rapp’s during school time. He and Torie had grown up together at Seymour. They moved in with his parents and in 1898 were recorded as farming independently at Rosedale on a property called Tracoon owned by Alex Robinson. They stayed there until 1904 and the first six of their ten children were born there — Dora, Stanley, Linda, Clara, Harold and Evelyn. (Harold died as an infant in 1902.) Jacob still owned St Albans but this address was often recorded as Rosedale. After his son and daughter-in-law moved to Wattle Hill he and Anna stayed at Rosedale until 1906 they then resided at Beach End near the present Bicheno Golf Club and stayed there until about 1908.

Victoria MadsenMadsen children
Left:Victoria Madsen ( neeJessen) with Dora and Stanley ca 1900
Right: The Madsen children Colin, Dora, Linda, Stanley, Clara, Keith. Front row Evelyn, Hilmer and Gladys.1917


Charlie Madsen and Torie and their five children moved to Harefield at Wattle Hill, 6km from Sorell on the Shrub End Road, in 1904 largely to provide better educational opportunities for the children. Keith, Gladys, Colin and Hilmer were born there.
Jacob, and Anna, moved to Harefield in August 1906. The Mercury reported he had resided in Bicheno for forty-three years. Jacob died at Harefield in February 1922 aged 81. Anna Lived until she was 93 dying at the Millbrook farm at Wattle Hill on 19 May 1936, both aere buried in St. George's Anglican Cemetery in Sorell with their son and daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Clara’s brother Hilmer married Amy Fisher (Betty) Jones in 1912. With a loan of £875 from his father he was able to buy 275 acres of land at Golconda in the north-east near Scottsdale in May 1911 and farmed there for the rest of his life. (His son Max inherited the property in 1945; his daughter Marie was a nurse in Victoria and Tasmania. Later she owned and ran a guesthouse called Jessen Lodge at Longford.)

Jes and Ann Marie Jessen lived at The Douglas with Tas, Flo and their children until 1923 (when he was over seventy) and then moved to Bona Vista, Orielton. With Hilmer gone Tasman had been running the Douglas farm and Bona Vista had been bought in his name in August 1924. The absence of educational opportunities for the four young Jessen children may have been the reason why the family decided to move to Orielton. It also had the advantage of separate houses for each family. The Douglas property was leased to the Wardlaws but returned to the family in 1938 when Charlie Madsen bought it from Amy Allen’s estate. However the 170 acres owned by Jes was sold by his trustees to Sidney Cooper for £210 when his estate was finalised in July 1943. The Jessens also owned another block of nearly 300 acres south of the Douglas River that was known as the Denison.(The diaries make mention of another property he called Fern Grove.)

Hilmer JessenTasman Jessen
Hilmer and Tasman Jessen
Hilmer_familyTasman and Flo
Hilmer and Betty Jessen with Max and Marie Tasman and Florence Jessen; at back three Bonde cousins(?)
Tasman_children
Ina, Lance, Kath and Mollie Jessen in the garden behind the Douglas ca 1918

When Hilmer left home only Tas remained with his parents at The Douglas. He married Florence Mona Gemmell in 1911 and, as both Clara and Torie were quite far away, Ann Marie was probably pleased to have her. Flo was from a Swansea family that had begun fruit growing some sixty years earlier. Her father, John, was born in Ayrshire and arrived as a five year old boy with his parents and four sisters in July 1855. John married Fanny Bell in Campbel Ttown in 1879 and Flo was their youngest child. She and Tas lived at The Douglas after the wedding and had four children there – Lance b 1911, Mary Lily (Mollie) b 1913, Ina Eugenie b 1915 and Doris Kathleen (Kath) b 1917. As the school at Seymour had closed the Jessens hired the former teacher from Rosedale, Miss I M Holmes as governess for the children. The children took some delight in catching small lizards and putting them in Miss Holmes’ drawers.

Sixteen months after moving to Orielton Tas was dead and the farm reverted to his father. The farm consisted of some 350 acres on three titles and a mortgage was needed to complete the sale. The death left Flo with five small children and his elderly parents. The youngest daughter Nan was born in May 1926. When Jes died in Stowell Hospital from appendicitis aged 81 in 1929 his son Hilmer and sons-in-law Jim Wright and Charlie Madsen as executors of his estate were left to resolve the problem. The gross value of his estate was £5628 so they leased out the lands to provide income for Ann Marie and Flo and to pay the interest on the mortgage.

Charles Madsen had prospered and increased his holdings to provide farms for his sons. His parents moved from Bicheno some time before 1909 to Millbrook, a property adjoining the south eastern boundary of Harefield. Jacob died there in February 1922 aged 81. (Ann died aged 93 in May 1936.) Millbrook was also the first home for their eldest grandchild Dora and her husband Viv Hean. Dora and Evelyn married brothers Viv and Stuart Hean. After Viv and Dora left Millbrook in 1936 other family members lived there before it was inherited by Hilmer in 1942. The Banwell property at Little Swanport was bought in 1914 and initially worked by Stanley and Colin. It took until 1935 before Dora finally found in Erica Gatehouse a bride for Stanley, both had grown up on farms at Wattle Hill. After Stanley married Charles bought his wife’s old home The Douglas in 1938 and this became Colin’s home. Keith remained at Harefield. Linda married another farmer Lewis Mitchelmore, a neighbour of the Banwell property. Linda married at 39 in July 1938 and became a neighbour. Clara Madsen married Bob Marshall in September 1925. His grandfather arrived in Tasmania in 1822 from Scotland and obtained a grant of 1000 acres near Sorell he called Noble Farm. Bob’s father was another Sorell farmer at Sunnyside on the banks of Ironstone Creek and married the daughter of Robert Blyth, Sorell’s first doctor. Gladys Madsen had trained as a teacher and from 1929 to 1933 was in charge of the school at Cherry Tree where she and her younger brothers had been students. She resigned to marry orchardist Les Shield and lived at Glen Huon; as a boy Les was tutored by James Wright. (The Shield orchard adjoined the Glen Huon School.) His grandfather Rippon Shield (1822-1901) was the stonemason responsible for building a number of Hobart’s well known sandstone buildings including St Mary’s Cathedral, the Congregational Memorial Church, the original AMP building and the VDL Bank on the opposite corner of Elizabeth and Collins St., the Derwent and Tamar Chambers and Queens College (both in Murray St.). Jim and Clara visited Harefield and Bona Vista at every opportunity and the extended family retained its tight bounds.


Charles and Victoria Madsen, 1945..Four generations l-r Victoria Madsen (nee Jessen), Doreen Hean, Dora Hean (nee Madsen), Ann Marie Jessen.