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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Page, Samuel (1810–1878)

by C. A. S. Page

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

Samuel Page (1810-1878), publican, coach proprietor and pastoralist, was born on 30 March 1810 in London, the second son of George Page of Bermondsey, and his wife Sarah. His father, a Waterloo veteran, arrived in Hobart Town in January 1822 from England in the Tiger, settled at Bagdad and was later granted land at Lemon Springs although he claimed to have migrated without a shilling. His wife and three children, Samuel, John and Louisa, arrived in Van Diemen's Land in the brig Belinda in November 1823.

On 19 September 1833 at Hobart Samuel Page was married to Grace, daughter of Captain Harris, a master mariner. In 1835 he was granted the licence of the Glasgow Wine and Spirits Vaults at the north-east corner of Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets in Hobart, and two years later took over the Lake Dulverton Inn at Oatlands. In 1839 he moved to the Oatlands Hotel. With John Lord he became a coach proprietor in 1848. Next year he bought from the widow of John Edward Cox a coach service that had run between Hobart and Launceston for seventeen years. In 1853 Page took over the mail contract and after six years bought out John Lord for £8750. With three coaches daily each way, the service controlled most of the transport on the main road and required 300 horses and three main fodder stations. Fares ranged from 5s. for outside seats to £5 inside. Each mail coach carried an armed guard, and two when bullion was aboard. Although the service was never held up by bushrangers, Page himself was once stopped in Epping Forest by two of them, Ogden and Sullivan; he refused to take them seriously and was allowed to pass on, chiefly, he claimed, because one of them had worked for him. A more serious challenge came in 1873 when Alfred Burbury started a rival coach service, but within three years Hobart and Launceston were linked by railway.

During his coaching operations Page acquired many pastoral properties, including Northumbria, Anstey Barton, Woodlands, Kelvin Grove, Trefusis, Ellenthorpe, Stonehenge and Mount Vernon. At one time his landholdings and his flocks of 63,000 sheep were said to be the largest ever held by one person in the colony. Page was an enthusiastic breeder of race-horses and, with Sir James Agnew and James Lord, he helped to found the Tasmanian Racing Club in Hobart. He died at Hobart on 31 March 1878, and his widow on 9 August 1882. Of their four sons and six daughters, Alfred ran a stud farm at Melton Mowbray on a portion of Woodlands. Alfred's son, Charles Service Page, followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and served for twenty years on the committee of the Tasmanian Racing Club.

Select Bibliography

  • correspondence file under Samuel Page (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

C. A. S. Page, 'Page, Samuel (1810–1878)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 21 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

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