James Anderson

Fifeshire childhood

One of a small group of my ancestors who actually chose to move to Van Diemen’s Land, my GGG Grandfather James Anderson was born in Kilconquhar in Fife, Scotland, on 18 May 1828.  He was baptised in the parish church on 25 July 1828. James was the eldest of four children born to James Anderson and Ann Kidd.

James Anderson's baptism registration

James Anderson’s baptism registration

When he was twenty five years old, James married Margaret Band from Fife’s Kemback parish. The ceremony, conducted on 28 January 1853 followed proclamations on the previous two Sundays.  Margaret was the youngest of seven children born to John Band, a labourer in Kemback, and his wife Margaret (nee Barclay).  She was baptised on 5 July 1830 and worked in a nearby mill at the time of the 1851 Census.  At the same time, James was working as a miller and living at Kirkton (or Upper Largo) in the parish of Largo.

Almost exactly nine months after they married, James and Margaret’s first child was born.  When young James was just a toddler, the young family boarded the Montmorency, sailing for Launceston.  The ship left Liverpool at the end of March and arrived in the Tamar River on 23 June 1855.


The shipping records tell us that the Andersons were among those assisted in their emigration by Joseph Bonney, a representative of the St Andrew’s Immigration Society.  Joseph Bonney had travelled to Scotland in 1853 to recruit skilled migrants whose services were sorely needed in Tasmania.  Joseph visited farms and factories, promoting the opportunities available in Tasmania to hard working families for work, shelter and fair rates of pay.

To attract labour, particular in the wake of the cessation of convict transportation, the Tasmanian Government had established a bounty scheme whereby all but £5 of the fare was paid on behalf of the immigrants in return for a commitment to work for a set period of time for the landowner who had sponsored them.

The Montmorency carried 349 immigrants, including 137 recruited by Mr Bonney and 168 Germans brought out by Thomas Walker of Longford.  A testimonial, signed by 150 of the passengers, thanked Captain Kiddie for a pleasant and comfortable voyage.

James and Margaret were to have eight more children but, sadly, lost their eldest just a few months after arrival, in January 1856.  The birth registrations give some indication of where the family was likely to be residing at the time.  It seems that they went firstly to Campbell Town, where a daughter, Isabella, was born in November 1856.  In July 1858 another son, Alexander, was born at Fingal, followed by Ann in 1860 and Jessie in 1862.

By 1864 the family had moved to Port Sorell where Jemima was born, followed by William in 1866, Robert in 1869 and Mary in 1871.

James died, on 11 January 1885, at the age of 56, as a result of diabetes.  He was buried at Latrobe Cemetery.

Soon afterwards, in August 1885, Margaret married widower and Ulverstone pioneer settler Andrew Frederick Risby.  They lived at 23 King Edward Street Ulverstone (now the Leven Antiques Centre).  Andrew died in the mid 1890s.

Margaret Anderson (nee Band)

Margaret Anderson (nee Band)

Margaret lived her final years with her youngest daughter Mary Devlin in Patrick Street, Ulverstone.  Margaret died at the age of 94, at Ulverstone on 8 August 1924. Margaret’s obituary noted that she devoted a large amount of her energy to aiding the Methodist Church.  At the time of her death, she left three sons, five daughters, fifty-six grand-children and 70 great-grandchildren.  Quite a legacy!

[Updated 8 October 2013]

Online resources

James Anderson on my Ancestry tree

Margaret Band on my Ancestry tree



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