Saturday, March 22, 2014


Joseph Tice Gellibrand

Joseph Gellibrand, known to his pals as ‘Aeroplane’, was born in 1786 and lived until 1837. He was made attorney-general of Tasmania in 1823, no doubt a 14-year appointment. He established the first supreme court of Tasmania in 1824, expressing the hope that ‘its first thirteen years will be very interesting’. Then, on a whim no doubt based on fancy, allied himself with John Batman in a plan to explore the ocean north of the colony, where, they were convinced, a large land-mass existed.
            Gellibrand’s irritating habit of joking with Batman that ‘if you’re Batman, I must be Robin’ or ‘from a big Aeroplane to your wee Robin’ notwithstanding, the two set out by punt across the Straits on 11 January 1827, arriving at Westernport in the afternoon. Gellibrand’s first words on landing were that he really was going to pack a lot into the next decade.

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