Edward Braddon, the best-known of the Anglo-Indian immigrants (AOT, PH30/1/296C)

In Tasmania the term 'Anglo-Indians' appears to cover English people who resided in India (at the time part of the British Empire) then in Tasmania, those of English-Indian parentage and those who were born in India of English parents. From the early years of settlement the colony became well known in India through trade contacts and military officers who had served in Tasmania. The first Anglo-Indian to settle in Tasmania was RW Loane in 1809. He was followed by many others, including Edward Dumaresq, Charles Swanston and Michael Fenton.

By the 1820s Tasmania had become well-known in India as a place for the recovery of health and also for investment opportunities. Even though it was a failure, interest was excited in 1824 by the first Anglo-Indian scheme, the Indiana Institution, a proposed sanctuary for Englishmen with Indian wives and their descendants. Books espousing the virtues of the island increased the flow. Other Anglo-Indians came to visit and invested in property managed in absentia by agents.

In 1865 Lt-Colonel Andrew Crawford initiated his scheme for land settlement at Castra in Tasmania's north-west. Fifty Anglo-Indians, including many officers, purchased land, but not many stayed. However, with expansion of agriculture on the north-west coast from the 1870s, many other Anglo-Indian families settled in the area.

Anglo-Indians and their descendants have enriched their local communities and the state as a whole. Andrew Crawford, Edward Braddon, Arthur Young, HA Dumbleton and CJ Mackenzie all held parliamentary seats, and Braddon became premier.

Further reading: S Bennett, 'Braddon in India', THRAPP 26/3, 1979; S Bennett (ed), 'A home in the colonies', THRAPP 27/4, 1980; G Stilwell, 'The Castra Scheme', in G Winter (ed), Tasmanian Insights, Hobart, 1992.

Elizabeth Mercer