Garry Gillard > Thick on the Ground

Jeffrey J. Gillard 1978, Thick on the Ground: A Story of Van Diemen's Land and of Free Settler George Gillard, His Ancestors and Descendants 1572-1809-1978 (With brief references to other early Australian Gillard families), privately published, Melbourne.
Chapter 1: What's in a name
Chapter 11: Other Gillards (relevant to my genealogy)

Thick on the Ground

Jeffrey J. Gillard

[titlepage - 1]

Thick on the Ground by Jeffrey J. Gillard
Printed for the Author in Melbourne Victoria
June 1978

[foreword - 3]

This is essentially a family story set within the history of the period.
It briefly covers the family line of descent in Somerset England from the mid 1500s and the probable circumstances surrounding the movement of the family from France to England in even earlier times.
It centres on George Gillard, a free emigrant to Tasmania who arrived in 1842 with a wife and small family as "Bounty Settlers".
They lived initially at Snake Banks, near Perth in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) but spent most of their life, as did the next two generations, at nearby Deloraine.
The background to the life and development of the family in the early days in Van Diemen's Land takes in the exploration of the colony, the convict system, the specific conditions applying to the first assisted emigrants and the general development of the colony and the towns they lived in over this period.
The many descendants of this family are shown in a way that permits a linking through to the earliest known ancestor, a Nicholas Gaylard (Gillard), who married Johanne Newman in Martock Somerset on 23rd June, 1572. From then to the present day covers a span of over four centuries and fifteen generations.
There were several other Gillards who came to the Australian colonies from the West Country during those early years. Reference to some of them are included in the Chapter Other Gillards - see synopsis of this Chapter immediately following the index to family detail.

Contents [5]

List of Illustrations p. 6
Index to Family Detail of Ancestors and Descendants of George Gillard p. 7
Synopsis of Chapter "Other Gillards" pp. 8-9
Preface p. 10
1. What's In A Name
2. England, Somerset and The "First Ten
3. Founding The Colony
4. Free Immigration
5. Arrival Of George and Agnes Gillard
6. The Convicts
7. Settlement of Launceston and Deloraine
8. Early Years 1840 - 1860
9. 1860 - 1890
10. 1890 Onwards
11. Other Gillards [middle part only available on this site]
12. Conclusion
13. A Post Reflection
14. Biographical Note
15. Acknowledgments
16. Appendix: Martock Parish Register - Gillards - Gaylards, 1558-1875


List of Illustrations

Glastonbury Abbey
Sketches of Martock
Photographs of Martock
Countryside and Village
Doone Valley
Farmhouse and Waterwheel
Gillard's Transport
Clyne Vale
Joseph Robert Gillard and Mary Ann (Eade)
Collective Farming
Road Making
Bullock Team and The Harvest
Gillards in France 1916
Arthur Walter William Gillard and Mary Ann (Biddel)
Joseph Thomas Gillard and Amy Rebecca (Hingston)
Selina Jane Lee (Gillard) and Ernest William Lee
Mathew George Gillard and Rachel (Colegrave)
Belinda May Sherriff (Gillard) and Edward Sherriff and Family
Solomon John Gillard
George Gillard
Hedley Roy Gillard and Rita Grace (Copeland)
Thomas Walter Gillard and Sybil Rachel (Butler)
Sir Oliver Gillard, Q.C.
William Henry Gillard (If available at printing)
Sydney Joseph Gillard and Family
Jeffrey Joseph Gillard


Index to family detail of ancestors and descendants of George Gillard of Martock, Somerset

Tree - 1572-1842 - England
List of Births - St. Mark's - Deloraine
Marriages - St. Mark's - Deloraine
Record of Deaths - St. Mark's - Deloraine 
Children of George 8 Agnes Gillard
Children of Surviving Sons of George and Agnes Gillard
Descendants of Arthur Walter William Gillard
Descendants of Joseph Thomas Gillard and The Hingstons
Descendants of Selina Jane Gillard (Lee)
Descendants of Matthew George Gillard
Descendants of Belinda May Gillard (Sherriff)
Descendants of Solomon John Gillard
Descendants of Lily Lavinia Gillard (Crowden) - chart incomplete at time of printing
Descendants of Hedley Roy Gillard
Descendants of Thomas Walter Gillard
Baptisms Martock Somerset
Marriages Martock Somerset
Deaths Martock Somerset


Synopsis of chapter on Other Gillards

PRIVATE JOHN GILLARD, first Gillard to arrive in Australia as a member of the N.S.W. Corps, accompanying Governor Arthur Phillip and the first fleet at the historic landing and proclamation of the Colony of N.S.W. in 1788.
It tells of his part in the mutiny of the army, against the then Governor, Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame.

ROBERT GILLARD, born in England in 1803, arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1816 aged 13 years. Married in Van Diemen's Land, no issue. Lived in Deloraine and died there in 1911, of senility, aged 108 years. No knowledge of English background.

WILLIAM GILLARD, in charge of a gang of lime burners in Hobart in 1821.
No further record.

SAMUEL GILLARD, seaman, aged 19 years, accidentally drowned in Launceston Harbour on the ship Burrell on 24 March, 1831 - buried in St. John's Parish Launceston.

GEORGE GILLARD, aged 22 years, from Devon, sentenced in Devon County Quarterly Sessions in October 1836 for larceny. Arrived Van Diemen's Land on convict ship Sarah on 29 March, 1837. Assigned to a Dr Ilmay, a large property owner around Hobart.
He received a special pardon from the Governor in 1843 for his attempted capture of the famous Tasmanian bushrangers Cash, Kavenagh and Jones.
No further record or knowledge of family in England.

EMILY GILLARD, a Launceston resident 1843. No further record.

EARLIEST GILLARDS on roll in Victoria. Simply lists electoral roll and post office directory extracts from 1839/1881. Since only landowners or members of certain trades/professions had the privilege of voting in those days it is, therefore, an incomplete list of residents.

ROBERT DYER GILLARD, soldier from Somerset, arriving in Victoria around 1854. There is an apparent common ancestry with the pioneer of this book, George Gillard, the free settler from Somerset to Van Diemen's Land in 1842.
It links, provisionally, this family to the common stream in Somerset from 1572 and shows their particular ancestors from around 1700, and


descendants up to the great grandchildren of Robert Dyer Gillard through his son, Eugene Thomas Vincent Gillard.

STEPHEN GILLARD, free settler from Dorsetshire to Van Diemen's Land in 1855, settling on the land in Stowport, Point Sorrell.
It lists his descendants for the early years in the Colony and as far as were easily obtainable. No direct and obvious link to the Somerset lot.

WILLIAM HENRY GILLARD, a free settler from Devon to Northern Victoria in the Gold Rush days of 1854. He founded a fairly large family in Victoria and helped to establish the Methodist Church in the Bright/ Wandiligong area in the late 1850's. Some of his early background and descendants are recorded.

EDWARD GILLARD, bootmaker and landowner, appears in the Hobart index of 1877 as "resident of Hamilton Tasmania". No family detail available.

NOTE: This is not a full listing of the early Gillards in Australia. With one or two exceptions it is restricted to a listing of those people in Victoria and Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) who became important in my early searches, or who I knew existed as significant early families in the states of Tasmania and Victoria.



Having felt the urge to explore and record something of our family background for some time, it is my hope that what has been set down in the following pages may be of some value and interest in providing a link between the past, present and the future. In these pages you will find no record of great accomplishment, rather they reveal the story of an ordinary Colonial family against the historical background and the way of life of those times.

In the beginning, my intentions were modest indeed - simply to establish and record the family history, mostly for my own satisfaction, but also in the hope that it may be of some value to future generations who may, at that time, find the web more difficult to untangle.

The practice wasn't so simple. Not that it was so complex either, it was mainly a problem of "blind alleys" - seemingly a dead-end with no obvious ways of finding the links. But persistence and luck, plus an attitude of enquiry and speculation in most cases, eventually brought up the answer.

In the course of all this I became as fascinated with the early history of Tasmania as that of the family, and in the absence of any great depth of personal information on the early generations that might exist in the case of a family of great historical significance, who have a recorded influence on events, and generally leave a collection of papers; so that it seemed worthwhile to expand the original plan and to cover the colonial history as a relevant background to the life of those early families.

To this extent, the genealogical or strictly family element, although significant, does not represent the major part of the reading in either the English or Tasmanian settings.

My family being "young marriers" provided on-the-spot reference extending back over quite a few generations. But this concentration of generations also had its disadvantage when it came to the task of tabulation as there are now six generations of Australians stemming from the original pioneering family and the descendants are numerous indeed.

The Gillard family, in the main, had not maintained a great interest in these things, consequently most of the early history had to be "discovered" through public reference including the all-important question of who was the pioneering family? - from my standpoint, who was my great-great-grand-father? Presumably someone who came out from England in the 1830s or 1840s, either of his own free will or otherwise.

At one stage, a convict fitted the "vacancy" ideally - a man of the right age, in the right spot, at the right time. Also his crime did not appear to be too heinous. In fact he had already begun to assume the virtues of a legendary character, (a Robin Hood or a Ned Kelly no less!)


In the course of finding out all about him (see Chapter "Other Gillards" the right man turned up, as did a number of other early families that had to be eliminated from the list of potential great-great-grandparents. They had one thing in common though, they all came from the West Country of England - Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

The pioneering family in question, and thus the focal point of this book, is that of George and Agnes Gillard who, with three daughters, Mary (7 years), Louisa (4 years) and Lydia (4 months) left Martock near Yeovil in Somerset as free settlers in July 1842 under one of the Colonial Government sponsored "Bounty" emigration schemes, arriving in Launceston October 6th 1842 on the barque Bolivar.

George was an agricultural labourer and was indentured to work for a Captain Crear, a landowner at Powranna (then Snake Banks), Tasmania, for three years for a salary of 25 per year plus lodgings and rations for himself and family. They then settled in Deloraine and had several sons, one of whom (Joseph Robert) was responsible for most of the present day Gillards in Tasmania and a good number in Victoria.

George and his ancestors came from Martock in Somerset. The Gillards came originally from France. When we are not sure. If they came with the French Huguenots (Protestant exiles), and the indications point this way, they probably came from the French Province in Languedoc, but this at best is speculation.

In any event, when the parish register commenced in Martock in 1558 the first of a long line of Gillards was recorded in 1564.

For the family members interested in following their line through to the present day, they should proceed from the first chart, going to the next one as indicated at the bottom of each page. It seemed appropriate, since they could not all be included on the one chart, that they should be shown within the historical period covered in that section of the book.

Once the family research was complete it would have been a relatively simple matter to have left it at that, but I hope greater interest will be generated, especially outside the family, by setting it within the environment described.

Jeff Gillard, June 23, 1978, Glen Waverley, Victoria.

Go to Chapter [1]: What's in a name?

Garry Gillard | New: 5 April, 2019 | Now: 6 March, 2023