George Meredith

George Meredith (17781856), active settler and landowner, emigrated to Tasmania in 1821. He received land grants on the east coast, where he built a home and imported livestock, and was involved in whaling, sealing and shipbuilding. Keenly interested in the autonomy of free settlers, Meredith promoted independence from New South Wales, and supported the need for a free press and an independent legislature. Persistent activity by settlers and landowners eventually achieved success. The Merediths remained farming on the east coast until about 1915. George's son Charles (husband of Louisa Ann Meredith) entered parliament, became Colonial Treasurer in 1857 and held high public office for the next twenty years; his brother John was also a member of parliament. Charles's sons Owen and George Campbell were persistent explorers and prospectors, and Owen's son David Meredith was general manager of the Electrolytic Zinc Works from 1926 until 1942. Many descendants live in Tasmania and the mainland.

Further reading: E Meredith, Memoir of the late George Meredith, Masterton, NZ, 1897; ADB 2, 5; A McKay (ed), Journals of the Land Commissioners, Hobart, 1962; H Melville, The history of the island of Van Diemen's Land, London, 1835.

David Hodgson