Descendants of Robert John Wills

First Generation


1. Robert John Wills was born in 1834 in England, UK.

Robert arrived in Hobart sometime around 1854 at the age or 20 and was living in New Norfolk by 1855, presumably working as a clerk/book keeper, (maybe for the Salier brothers).

He is listed as being a steward in the Masonic Ancient and Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Tasmanian Grand Lodge in Hobart in 1855 in an advertisement dated 23 October 1855. ‘The second anniversary of the above Lodge will be celebrated by a dinner to be held Wednesday the 31st inst. at Brothers Armstrong and Robertson’s Melville Street. Tickets at 10/6 each can be procured of the under mentioned stewards…NG( al lodge rank) R Wills New Norfolk’.

By April 4 1856 he is listed on the New Norfolk Electoral roll as a leaseholder (farmer) on the Hamilton Road in New Norfolk (age 22). He grew apples.

In 1858 Back River Chapel baptismal records he is listed as a clerk, a book keeper in 1861 and a farmer in 1862. In 1866 he is listed a ‘Farmer, Back River’. He was also a lay preacher in the Congregational Church for 44 years, Sunday school teacher for 39 years and secretary of the Regatta committee. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in New Norfolk and on 24 August 1894, Manager of the Upper Derwent Co operative Threshing Machine Company ltd. He was a ‘Warden’ of New Norfolk (ie a Shire President.)

Robert married Matilda Salier on 28 Apr 1858 in Davey St Congregational Church, Hobart. TAS. Matilda was born in 1839 in England, UK.

Robert John and Matilda leased, and then owned several extensive and beautiful properties near the Derwent River including ‘Denmark Hill’ ( still standing as a B&B ), ‘Rosendale’ (with a beautiful garden now sometimes open to the public) and ‘Ballymoney’ (later called ‘Sunnybank’).

The extensive baptismal records in the Methodist Chapel, Back River, near New Norfolk indicate that they had 13 children

Robert and Matilda had the following children:

  2 F i Matilda Jane Wills was born on 29 Dec 1858. She died in 1946.

Her mother was 19 at her birth. Matilda never married.
  3 M ii William Salier Wills was born on 30 Nov 1860 in New Norfolk, TAS,. He died on 13 Aug 1923 in Werribe, VIC.
  4 F iii Ada Maria Wills was born on 26 Aug 1862 in New Norfolk, TAS,. She died in 1940.

Ada did not marry. She was a teacher in the Back River school by 1886.
Aged 78 at death.
+ 5 M iv Robert Manton Wills
  6 F v Eliza Isabel Johnson Wills was born on 13 May 1866 in New Norfolk, TAS,. She died on 22 Jun 1896 in Queenstown, TAS.

Eliza was aged 30 at the time of her death.
        Eliza married Percy Frederick Hook on 18 Sep 1895 in New Norfolk, TAS,. Percy was born on 22 May 1866 in Hobart, TAS.
+ 7 M vi Frederick Randall Wills
  8 M vii Walter Percy Wills was born on 22 Feb 1870 in New Norfolk, TAS,. He died on 13 Apr 1870 in New Norfolk, TAS,. He was buried in Next to his parents..
+ 9 M viii Ernest Edward Wills
+ 10 M ix Caleb Wills
  11 F x Minnie May Wills was born on 22 Dec 1876 in 'Denmark Hill' property, near New Norfolk, TAS. She died in 1932.

Minnie never married.
Died at age 57.
  12 M xi Alfred Eades Wills was born on 2 Mar 1878 in New Norfolk, TAS,. He died in 1940.

Alfred was 62 at death.
        Alfred married (1) Unknown.
        Alfred married (2) Maud Philp.
+ 13 F xii Elsie Gould Wills
  14 F xiii Cassie Gould Wills was born in 1880.

Elsie Gould Wills and Cassie Gould Wills were twins.
Of the five girls only Cassie raised children to adulthood. Her only child was born in 1924 when Cassie was 44.

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