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Orphan Number: 5655
Orphan: Robert WIGGINS
Mother:WIGGINS, Mary
Father:WIGGINS, James Barter
Mother's ship:Strathfieldsaye
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:8yrs
Date admitted:29 Aug 1834
Date discharged:23 Apr 1835
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: parents
Remarks: SWD28 states `that parents free', but research shows the father, James Barter Wiggins, was already in VDL being convicted per `Argyle'in 1831. The mother, Mary Wiggins, arrived free on the `Strathfieldsaye' with 4 children. Research by Michele Benson on Claim an Orphan.
References: SWD28


This orphan has been claimed by: Michele Benson

In claiming this orphan,  Robert Wiggins I just wanted to let you know that the name of the Father's ship listed is incorrect. It was not the Strathfieldsaye.
Arriving on the ship Strathfieldsaye 16 Aug 1834 were Mary Wiggins (mother) & 4 children Jane Wiggins, Robert Wiggins, James Wiggins, Martha Wiggins. Robert's father's name was James Barter Wiggins and his ship was the (convict) Argyle.

Robert Barter Wiggins was born in Brighton, Sussex England on the 14th July 1826. At the age of 8 years he boarded the ship Strathfieldsaye with his mother, Mary Wiggins (Bishop) and his two sisters, Jane (15yrs), Martha and brother James and left England for Australia, to be with his father James who had been transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1831. Robert and his family arrived in Van Diemen's Land in August 1834.

Shortly after his arrival, on the 29th August 1834 Robert was placed at the Queens Orphan School at New Town (St John's Park Precinct) for 8 months, and discharged to his parents on 23 April 1835. By this time his father had his TOL. At 21 he married Mary Ann Elizabeth Adams on 29th June 1847 in the Bethesda Chapel South Hobart.
Robert held his 1st publican's license aged 27 Bricklayer's Arms from 1853-1862 (later known as Sir William Don). 1866-1869 Steam Navigation Hotel cnr Bathurst & Eliz Sts (now Mountain Designs). 1869-1876 Builder's Hotel Bathurst St (now New Sydney Hotel) 1881-1898 Ocean Child Hotel. A photo of Robert & his family is on the wall of the Ocean Child to this day.

Robert was also a builder and contractor and built many public and private buildings in & around Hobart. Some include New Town Public School (1860) Wesleyan Church-New Town (now Uniting church cnr Main Rd & Cross Sts) Molle St Bridge, Elwick grandstand, Macquarie River Bridge at Campbell Town, parts of the Lton Gaol, additions to convent now attached to St Joseph's Catholic Church. In 1861 he also built the Infants Orphan School and erected new cells at the Hobart Gaol. Robert built & owned Georgina Cottage, still standing opposite Hobart College at 68 Warwick St.
Robert & Mary Ann Eliza had 12 children. Robert died in Hobart 1899. He was buried at old St John's Cemetery, New Town with his wife, his eldest son, George William, their young daughter Eliza. The head stones were later moved to Cornelian Bay cemetery.

Interestingly, when John Fox died in 1861 and left the sum of 500 pounds for the children of the Queen's Asylum, Robert's father, James Barter Wiggins and a Mr H Whitely were named in his will as the trustees of this money. They invested the money wisely and the interest earned enabled the picnic to continue from 1863-1879. James Wiggins would organise for the children to stop off outside his hotel (Wiggins' Hotel cnr Murray & Collins sts) to hear the bands play on their way to their picnics. James would then accompany the children and rally others to provide transport for them (horse & carts).



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Site last updated January 2017