Across the Rivulet

The Williams family of Glenorchy

Growing up in the leafy parts of Hobart one quickly learns that crossing the Rivulet may bring cheaper rents but few other socio-economic benefits. Yet as a boy some of my happiest times were spent north of Creek Road with my much loved grandfather Lyndhurst Mervyn (Bill) Williams. Bill was born at the mouth of the Rivulet in 1897 about a kilometre from where his grandfather James Williams drowned almost 50 years before: this is their story.

The head of Newtown Bay. Bill William’s birthplace is in the centre of the picture.

James Williams (1796-1851)

James Williams was said to be 46 on 7 April 1851 when he drowned in the Derwent after suffering a stroke in the shallows at Restdown Point (where the Zinc Works now stands. At the time of his death he was separated from his wife, was out of business and infirmed due to an earlier stroke that partially paralysed his left side. He was in the habit of going down to the river to bathe in the belief that it helped with his infirmity. He was then living with George Rosendale who owned a farm near the Maypole Hotel about 2km from where the drowning took place (adjacent to a paddock owned by the Newtown Commissariat Officer Fletcher). George Rosendale’s 27 year-old son, George jnr, gave evidence of James’ last days.

It seems likely that James Williams drowned in the cove on the left of this picture.