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Askin Morrison (1800–1876)

We have to record the decease of Mr Askin Morrison, J.P., an event which occurred on Monday evening at his late residence, New Wharf, Hobart Town. The following has been communicated by a Southern contemporary :—As one of our oldest colonists, a large landowner, and a man who has always taken a most prominent part in our commercial affairs, his name was as well-known as any that we could mention. Though never having been so conspicuous in public affairs as some of those old identities who have lately passed from our midst, he has done perhaps more than any man to advance the commercial interests of the colony, and his career, up to the time of the great failures in Launceston, was marked by singular good fortune, notwithstanding that he has had many losses. He was descended from one of the Scotch settlers under King William III, and in early life lived in Gortmore, Augher, County Tyrone, Ireland. On the 13th December, 1828, he sailed from London in the Orelia, and arrived at Hobart Town on the 9th May, 1829, with a quantity of merchandise, which he sold advantageously. After making a selection of land at St. Peter's Pass, on the 5th September in that year, he sailed to Sydney, and from thence to London, returning again to Tasmania. About 1831 or '32 he chartered the brig Caroline and imported by that vessel a cargo of tea, loaded in China, by which he cleared £10,000. From that time he became identified with the progress of the colony, and never afterwards left Tasmania. He was the first director of the Union Bank at Hobart Town, and was so at his death, having been sole director for some years. He was a promoter of the Hobart Town Gas Company, the Marine and Steam Companies, and acted as director of several up to the time of his death. He also threw his interest into the construction of the Sorell Causeway, and was closely identified with the whaling interests, several vessels having been built expressly for him, and employed in that trade. The ship yard in the Domain was for some time in his hands, and he was the owner, and long after the supporter of the twin steamer Kangaroo, without which there would be no conveyance for wagons or vehicles between Bellerive and Hobart Town. For many years he was one of the largest, if not the largest, buyer of wool for export to London, and he was also a large importer from China and Mauritius. As a landed proprietor he is best known in connection with the Runnymede property, Prosser's Plains, which he acquired about the year 1844, and upon which he spent large sums in buildings, drains, roads, and imrovements. His property has been recently sold. He held at his decease St. Peter's Pass, near Oatlands, Rosny, at Bellerive, and other property. At various periods Mr Morrison has lost large sums of money; his most serious loss, amounting to about £78,000, was caused by the failure of Messrs Peters, Barnard, and Co., of Launceston. As a shareholder and eventual joint proprietor with his late friend Mr John Foster in the Mersey and Deloraine Tramway he sunk a considerable sum of money, but notwithstanding all, his prudent habits and business sagacity have enabled him to preserve a fair competency. Mr Morrison was appointed a Justice of the Peace on the 14th October, 1837, and when the Legislative Council, partly nominal and partly elective, was established he was returned for Sorell on 21st October, 1851, for which place he was again elected, 10th September, 1856, upon the introduction of responsible government. He soon, however, retired in favor of his friend the late member. Out of respect to the deceased, most of the shops of the city had shutters up, and the flags of the various vessels in the harbor were half mast.

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'Morrison, Askin (1800–1876)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

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