[taken from Chapter 9 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

Numerous Manxmen have also emigrated to Canada, to the Cape of Good Hope, and to Australia, where many of them have distinguished themselves. Among those who have passed away the most remarkable career was that of

WILLIAM KERMODE, The Hon. (b. 1775, d. 1852),

A native of Port Erin. He went to sea as a boy, and soon became, a skilful navigator, being distinguished by great ability, energy, and undaunted courage. During the early part of the present century he had command of large ships trading to India and Australia and, in the course of these voyages, he visited the country then known as Van Dieman's Land (now as Tasmania), which was at that time a penal settlement,. The English Government however, wishing to encourage colonists, offered large tracts of land, at a nominal price, to those who would undertake to settle there and cultivate them, with the assistance of convict labour. In 1822, WILLIAM KERMODE accepted a grant of land on these conditions. At first he had what he termed a " rough " time of it with his convict labourers, but he was just the man to manage them, as is shown by the following incident: It is well known that at one time bushrangers were a terror in Tasmania. During one of their outbreaks, WILLIAM KERMODE was being driven to Hobart Town, a distance of 80 miles from his farm, through what was in those days a dense bush, in a closed carriage, when two of the bushrangers suddenly thrust their heads in at the window and demanded his money or his life. His reply was to knock their heads together, which so stunned them that he, with the aid of the driver, was able to tie them up before they recovered their senses. They were then placed in the carriage and driven into town, where they were recognized as two of the most dangerous of their class. For this action he received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. By 1828, he had his land laid out and brought into order. On this land he grazed an enormous number of sheep, and he amassed great wealth by the sale of their wool, which was well known in the London market by its brand, the "Three Legs of Man." He always took pains to get, the best possible stock, whether it was of merino sheep or of the " Suffolk Punch" horse, for the breed of which he was equally famous. A man who knew him, another Manx colonist, writes of him: " He was known to all classes of the community. He introduced some of. the best stock ever brought into Tasmania, notably the Suffolk Punch horse, and also one of the best classes of merino sheep." He was for many years a member of the Upper House of Parliament in the colony, called the Legislative Council, a position which carried with it the right to the title of "The Honourable." All the governors during his time wore on intimate terms with him, especially Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer, who was a frequent visitor at his large and handsome residence, called " Mona Vale," where the subject of this sketch and his wife dispensed a lavish hospitality. He was no doubt one of the ablest, most influential, and popular men who had ever sought a home in the colony.

* In 1810, he married Ann Quayle, daughter of the Rev. John Moore, vicar of Braddan and vicar-general, and his wife Margaret, a daughter of Robert and Catherine Quayle, of West Hill, Castletown.

(Information mainly from Mr. L. Q. Kermode, grandson of W. Kermode; Mrs. Jeffcott, and Mrs. James Watterson, Port Erin.)


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