Book Introduction.

On 27th November 1820 John and Ann Headlam and their family, of Durham England, arrived in what then was Van Diemen’s Land. Some 195 years later, to the day, a committee was formed to begin planning for a Headlam Celebration (Reunion) to be held on and around 27th November 2020.

The committee of three Tasmanians, one West Australian, one Victorian and (now) one from New Zealand have occasionally met over the period of 5 years, using the technological advances of today.  Of the committee four are of generation 6, two from generation 7, I’m one of the older group and when thinking about my heritage am somewhat intrigued that my grandfather was 26 years old when his grandfather Charles died. Charles had come to Tasmania with John on a square rigger, he was a “First Settler” with all that that entailed, and yet he built an empire.  My grandfather lived and worked in a time when horses and cart were the means of travel, ploughing was done with horses and bullocks, food was cooked on a fire, light was provided by candles.  That story of achievement is what needed to be told. Oh what a transition until today!

So the book, The Legacy of John Headlam, of Egleston Macquarie River, Tasmania, was commissioned to be written back in 2015 by a wonderful historian and compiler of anecdotes, Carol Bacon. This book has been compiled from an extensive research of letters, manuscripts, newspaper articles, the archives and more and has resulted in not only an historical record of the Headlam family up to and including the fifth generation (our grandfathers/grandmothers or greats) but recounts the day to day activities of the 19th century with the words and writings of our forefathers.

The Legacy of John Headlam is a book which will fascinate you, it will inform you, sometimes it will shock you and most of all it will entertain you. It is the book that will be seen by my great grandchildren as the reference book of their history when they celebrate the Tricentenary in 2120.

The book is made up of two distinct sections. The first being the chronicle of Headlam people and activities, up until the fifth generation from John. The second section is John Headlam’s Letterbook, transcribed from the original, never before published, collection of the copies of letters kept by John Headlam and other contemporaneous notes. OF major significance and historical importance is the Life of Thomas Jeffery transcribed by John into his letterbook. This letterbook makes up a little more than one third of The Legacy of John Headlam book.

As the stories in the book cover only up to the fifth generation there are no living Headlam descendants featured in the book. The committee felt that, as there are probably in excess of one thousand John Headlam descendants now walking this earth, we would find an alternative medium to include the sixth, seventh and beyond generation descendants, particularly those who might be participants to the Bicentenary Celebration. For this we have implored your help in providing details of yourselves and your families in the website “We reap what we sow.”

I wish to thank Carol Bacon for her dedication to writing the book and her husband Greg Clota for his constant support. Also I wish to thank the committee, Ian Headlam who has been with me from the start, and Nigel Headlam ,who created and maintained the website, along with my daughter Nicole Darcey and Diana Byrne and the New Zealanders Don Ross and Michelle Russell.

Peter Headlam, Convenor