7.12 Tasman Jillett

Tasman Jillett was born 28 June 1867 in Melbourne.  He died November 1957 in Brisbane.

From the Jillett diaries:

" Tasman met, married and divorced within 6 weeks around 1901, an actress who lived with her mother in Sydney.  As she had no domicile he had to pay maintenance.  

He married Margaret Chister (Chester) in the Registry Office pre 1939.

Tasman was a horseman in the Boer War.  He lived at Chatham and Cassilis stations, and later at Myagah Road, Ashgrove.

In 1886 along with Arthur and Henric he went from Greendale to Isisford with 8376 sheep, and then back to Greendale.

In December 1886 he had 4000 acres Greendale 2V and 5329 acres Resumed portion GF No 7

On 26th March 1889 he went with Arthur and Tom and 10624 wethers from Greendale to Cassilis and then back to Greendale."

The truth is a little different, but it depends on who is telling the story to whom!

At the time of his birth, Tasman’s parents had not long since shifted to Victoria, having sold up land, property and business interests at Oatlands, where the Jilletts had associations extending back to a sheep run leased as early as 1817, though they lived at New Norfolk, near Hobart.  In 1842 Thomas lived at Oatlands, in his own brick house, and employing two men.

After marrying in 1844, Thomas accrued a considerable amount of property, including the Callington Mill flour milling business, several shops and houses, besides building a substantial stone house “Springfield” around 1848. 

The family lived on the “Springfield” property, where there is an even older building, “Jillett’s Hut”, dating from 1827 or even earlier.  The house still stands as the present homestead of the neighbouring large and historic St Peter’s Pass property, having been purchased in 1865 by Askin Morrison.

It seems likely that Thomas and Mary Ann cashed up their assets, intending to make a new life for their burgeoning family on mainland Australia, possibly free from the convict stain in both their families.  Both returned to Tasmania in their older age and died in Hobart.

  Tasman presumably grew up in the Lachlan region of NSW. There, in 1872, his father had purchased Buddyana station, moving back to Dundonald, Broadmeadows, Victoria, around 1878 and to Fernhill, Flemington in 1881.  Perhaps the day-to-day operations of Buddyana were in the hands of Tasman’s older brothers.

After the sale of this property these older brothers - George (32), Henric (31), Tom (29) and Arthur (21), contracted to drive 12,500 sheep from Yanga in northern Victoria, to a property on the Warrego River in southern Queensland. Their northward journey took about 160 days with loss of 119 sheep.  Their return south on horseback took 42 days.  Arthur, the youngest brother on this journey kept a diary that allows one to trace their track and contains skeletal details of the trip.

Soon after this epic journey, Thomas Jillett’s family bought two stations in Queensland, Greendale near Tambo, in the Blackall region, and Cassillis near Hughenden, both apparently operated by the brothers.  Arthur continued to keep diaries and his younger brother Tasman, aged nearly 19,  first appears on one of several droving trips between the two properties,  a distance of 389 miles (about 650 km), commencing in May 1886.  Tasman was subsequently associated with various properties in the Tambo district and further afield in Queensland including: Cassilis, Greendale, Gartmore, Withersdane, Oxford Downs, Rosedale, Begonia, Chatham, Horton Green.

Tasman partnered Mary Noral Elizabeth Maitland Cairney, and had a child with her in 1896.

The child was named *Tasman Jillett Maitland Cairney and the parents never married.  (Could this be the person referred to in the Jillett diaries?) 

Tasman served in the South African War (“Boer War”), leaving in 1902 as a private in  the 4th Australian Commonwealth Horse.

He lived for some time in South Africa where,  in December 1913,  aged 46, he briefly married Kathleen Mary (Lola) Wood, aged 26, a vaudeville artist and pianist.  Tasman returned to Australia in January 1914, the couple were separated in the following month, and he lived in Sydney until around 1920.

In  June 1933, aged 66, Tasman was married for a second time,  at Augathella, Queensland, to Margaret Chisler (née Ritchie), aged 48.  He died, aged 90, at Brisbane in November 1957.

*Tasman Jillett (Gillett) Maitland CAIRNEY (1896 - 1953)

His father was Tasman Jillett

Mother                Mary Norah Elizabeth Maitland Cairney          Born 26 Mar 1878  D  13 Dec 1957

* Tasman Jillett Maitland Cairney was born 21 Dec 1896 in Charters Towers  He married Doris Ellen Stocker (b 1904)   on 5 Dec 1925  in Charters Towers
                                         in Queensland.

They had a daughter Beverley Joyce Maitland-Cairney.  She married James Croning (b 1922 - 2008) in 1947.

He enlisted in the WW1 when he was 21 but only got as far as New Guinea when the war ended.

He worked in sugar mills around Innisfail for a while as a youth, then worked as a printer before he became an attendant at Eventide Home in Charters Towers and then Sandgate.   He lived in Kennedy St Sandgate.

He died 2 Aug 1953  aged 56

Children of Thomas & Mary Ann - Tasman Jillett
Return to Thomas Jillett