Out on the western end of the Tilligerry Peninsula, (in Port Stephens, NSW) is Tanilba Bay. 'Tanilba' means 'place of white flowers' which is a reference to the flannel flowers which formerly thrived in the area.
The first settler in the area was Lieutenant William Caswell who was granted 50 acres of land at Tanilba in 1831 in recognition of his military service in the Royal Navy.
Using convict labour, William Caswell laid the foundations of Tanilba House in 1837. It was built of quartz porphyry stone which was quarried nearby. The mortar came from the lime produced by burning oysters. Vineyeards, gardens and a dairy were estabishled on the estate. We previously visited the homestead on one of the days when it is open to the public. It is a fantastic place retaining its charm of yesteryear.
Going back to its history, in 1920, Henry F Halloran, surveyor, real estate agent and property developer, purchased Tanilba Estate. He co-ordinated the bulding of a number of intriguing structures in local stone in the streets and parks of Tanilba Bay.
One of these being the stone Centenary Gates, on the Avenue of Allies, which were built in 1931 to commemorate the centenary of Williiam Caswell coming to Tanilba Bay.
History Services NSW has records for 23 convicts who at one time were assigned to William Caswell in the Port Stephens area.
For example, one Ellen Clarke who "in 1843 is recorded as having been apprehended after having absconded from Lieutenant W Caswell R. N." In 1841, Ellen had previously absconded from the Female Factory at Parramatta.
If you are researching a convict ancestor who was assigned to William Caswell, you should go to our website at: http://www.historyservices.com.au/convicts.htm