(1757-1841) born in Prestbury, Gloucester, was sentenced to death at Gloucester Lenten Assizes on 24 March 1784 on two counts of theft for stealing ten live pigs and a chestnut mare. The sentence was reduced to seven years transportation to America. Initially the 17 year old was taken to the hulk Censor where he stayed for 3 years and at the end of February 1787 transferred to the Alexander to leave for New South Wales with the First Fleet. After almost a year at Sydney Cove, George Guest was aboard the Supply on 7 January 1790 bound for Norfolk Island where he completed his sentence. By July 1791 he was supporting two persons on a one acre lot, with 10 rods cleared.
Mary Bateman (1773-1829) born in London, and as a 15 year old was tried at the Old Bailey on 7 May 1788 for the theft of a silver watch. She was sentenced to 7 years transportation to New South Wales and travelled with the Second Fleet on Lady Juliana arriving in Sydney Cove on 3 June 1790 and later sent with other female convicts to Norfolk Island on 7 August 1790 aboard Surprise. On 5 November 1791 George and Mary were married by the Reverend Richard Johnson and had five children by 1804. George and Mary with Edward Risby were independent of stores of meat by September 1792 because a sow he provided for 4 pounds produced a litter of ten. By October George was settled on 12 acres, six of which was plough-able and sold his lot in November 1794 for 22 pounds. Over the next few years he bought and sold leases and grants, sold stores to government and increased his stock of animals. In earlier years he had suffered floggings for a variety of small crimes, neglect of duty, once for employing two convicts without leave, an early sign of his developing entrepreneurial skills. When plans for the transfer of Norfolk Island settlers to Van Diemen’s Land were announced George was the largest land owner on the Island, grazing 600 sheep on 242 acres. He was recommended by Major Foveaux as a most industrious settler, and a successful sheep farmer. In 1805 with his wife Mary Bateman, four children, Sarah b 1792, George b 1794, John born 1799, William b1804 (baby Mary died in 1804) and 300 ewes, George went to Port Dalrymple (Launceston Tasmania), but not wishing to join the five Norfolk Islanders already at Norfolk Plains (Longford), they continued to the Derwent on the Sydney with Lt Lord and landed there in November 1805. So George was the first Norfolk Islander to settle in the south and the first to introduce sheep into Van Diemen’s Land. However George felt he never received his just entitlements in the transfer of land from Norfolk Island to Tasmania and spent much of his life including several trips by ship to Sydney, disputing this and other decisions with government officials. The resettlement of George Guest’s family and other families at New Norfolk in Tasmania helped establish the sheep industry in that part, as the sheep from Norfolk Island flourished in their new environment. Tasmanian sheep were later used to establish the sheep industry in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. George Guest also undertook a number of business enterprises including opening the Seven Stars Inn in Campbell Street Hobart. He owned a number of houses in Hobart as well as property near Macquarie Point, 24 acres of land from the site of the City Hall up Campbell Street and 300 acres at Risdon Cove, a quiet farming area which grew into a small village where George grew wheat.
Eventually his property at Risdon Cove became part of Restdown which was owned by William L’Anson, then Dr T.W. Birch (son-in-law of George Guest) before Col A Geils purchased it. Restdown was a weekend retreat for Sarah Guest/Birch and her growing family. The property produced wheat and fruit. A European Pear Tree introduced to the new colony still survives today. Mary Bateman/Guest spent the last 10 years of her life in Liverpool Asylum, NSW before dying in 1839. George and his children remained in Hobart. He children all married and had children. Their stories were passed on to the many descendants. George Guest died on 23 March 1841 in Hobart, the day before the 57th anniversary of his trial, aged 74 years. He as buried at St David’s Burial Ground and his headstone is now on the memorial wall in St David’s Park.
Daughter Sarah Guest lived the longest. She married Dr Thomas W Birch on 12 September 1808 aged 16 years, while Thomas, a surgeon on the Dubuc arriving in 1808, a pioneer of the whaling industry and cutting of Huon pine, a merchant involved in wheat, a ship builder (Henrietta Packet) and owner, assisting James Kelly in his explorations, was 34 years old. He and Sarah built a new and imposing house in Macquarie Street, seen in early paintings of Hobart. James Kelly captained the brig owned by Birch, Sophia for six years, named Birch’s Inlet and Sarah Island after Mrs Birch in Macquarie Harbour as well as other spots. Of the six surviving children, daughter Sarah Birch married Simeon Lord Junior and they managed Bona Vista in Avoca. T.W. Birch died suddenly in 1821, aged 47. Reverend R Knopwood took the service describing him as a man of unblemished character who led a good life and had tender care and concern for his wife and family. Sarah remarried in 1823 and she and Edmund Hodgson from Hawkshead in the Lakes District, England had six children. They lived in Glen House in Davey Street Hobart and Edmund grew hops on 6 acres. Edmund opened a tannery on Birch’s Farm near Cascade and was a proprietor and store taker. They turned the Macquarie Street house into the Macquarie Hotel of which the roofline can still be seen today above the additions now used as office accommodation. Islington was built by Sarah Birch/Hodgson and after Sarah’s death Edmund sold it.
Compiled by Pat Crothers, 26 June 2007 – A sixth generation Australian