This is both a history of the early settlement of Tasmania and the intriguing tail of adventure undertaken by a young family when they decided in 1842 to emigrate from England to Van Diemens Land. Please enjoy the story as it unfolds and I hope you find it as fascinating as I have. Please contact me via if you have any information that may help add to the story or if you find any errors, I would appreciate notification so as to correct any misleading facts. Kind regards

Lewis Brickhill


The information contained on this web site has been researched and compiled by myself with the help and assistance of many people and various publications. I will endeavour to compile a comprehensive list of those contributors eventually, however, in the meantime will concentrate my efforts to build the site so it is both informative to my Brickhill clan and have some interest for those who may enjoy the stories of early Australian settlement. I commenced tracing my family tree in 1994. It started out as a project to assist me in coming to grips with the use of a PC and it has grown with the development of the internet. As I spoke with the older generations within my extended family a realisation dawned on me that I had a unique opportunity to build the story of the arrival in Australia of the first Brickhill family in the early 1800’s through to the current generation and more importantly to be able to pass this story down to future generations. I became excited and immediately thought the best place to start was with the arrival of John Brickhill (1817-1900). So little did I know then.

I commenced with current generation information and built from there, soon a small network developed of other members of the family who were also researching our family history and much information was exchanged. One of the great mysteries was trying to establish the arrival details of John Brickhill upon which all else seemed to revolve. Searching various vessel passenger lists proved fruitless and over the intervening years I worked out (via birth records) a window of arrival and concentrated my search on this period. My lack of progress on this detail was quite discouraging so the project lapsed for some years.

Every opportunity was taken when traveling to search records at the National Library in Canberra, the Tasmanian Archives and also the internet with no success. I began to ponder the possibility of John, perhaps, arriving at some other intermediate destination. The thought that he may have travelled to South Africa with his brother (James Brickhill 1809-1889) and subsequently on to Van Demons Land or that maybe he landed in New South Wales, which led to my despair at the task of locating this vital fact.      

In more recent years the development of the Trove website by the National Library of Australia has seen the gradual digitalisation of many old Australian newspapers from the 1800’s and this gave me a new avenue of research. It enabled me to build a better picture of the lives of various Brickhill family members over the years. A new vigour took hold of my research and many family details unknown to the current generation spilled from the pages of the daily press. The fact that many Brickhills have been involved in the production of newspapers over years no doubt meant that they were given good coverage.

Suffice to say that after many, many hours of reading articles on various Brickhills over the years, I eventually located the story of An Old time Voyage. I was ecstatic and spent the next few months with renewed enthusiasm exploring the "Royal Saxon" its history and even locating an image of the vessel in a painting up for auction. The reason it took so long to unearth the vessel was that John’s family was listed on the “Royal Saxon's” passenger list as Brookhill not Brickhill. A much repeated error in those days as quite a few could not read or write.