Clarence Council 1912  

Thomas Watson

Thomas was born in England on 6 May, 1816.

Thomas showed juvenile spirit.
We have been informed that the runaways when they robbed Mrs Watson at Muddy Plains, took a watch, among other things, which had belonged to the father, and was preserved for the child - the latter (very young) on his return from the bullocks he had been attending, was informed by his mother that his "daddy's watch was taken away by the robbers". The little fellow demanded which way they went, pursued and fell in with the party - "Holloa", says he, "which of you men have got my daddy's watch." One of the gang gave him a gun, and pointing to another man, said "that is him, make him give it to you, or shoot him."
"So I will" said the child, taking the gun, which he could hardly lift and fiercely demanded "his daddy's watch". The men, pleased with his spirit, returned him the watch, for which he thanked them, called them gentlemen, and brought both it and the gun home to his mother in triumph. Ref "Colonial Times" - 29 June 1827.

He married Mary Ann Garlick on 21 January 1851.

They had a family of two sons and two daughters.

Margaret Elizabeth born 22 Feb 1852, died 12 Oct 1936Married James O'May (6 March 1874)
Robert Williamborn 7 December 1856, died Married Annis Ann Garlick (16 July 1884)
Thomasborn June 1861, died 25 April 1864(scarlet fever, aged 2 years and 10 and a half months)
Aliceborn 18 July 1863, died 25 July 1864  

Thomas (sen) died on March 8, 1864, at the age of 42. The funeral took place on March 10, 1864 at 11 o'clock, from Mr. Linton's residence, Cascade Road. Ref The Mercury March 10, 1864.

James O'May who married Margaret Watson was the youngest of three brothers who established O'May Bros ferry service which operated between Hobart Town and Kangaroo Bay. The three brothers Thomas, Robert (died 1900) and James, sons of Thomas O'May, arrived in Hobart with their parents from Scotland in 1856.

The name of O'May first became associated with the ferry services between Hobart Town and Kangaroo Point in 1864, when Thomas and Robert started as boatmen, taking passengers across the river in their open boats. They were joined a few years later by younger brother James, and they began a service that observed a timetable - a new departure and one appreciated by travellers. Their first boats were the Blue Jacket, Perseverance, Star of Tasmania, and Scottish Chief, and the brothers would cross the river at any time in an emergency. If the weather was rough, two of the brothers would go into the Blue Jacket, the largest boat, and their skill and courtesy soon won them the confidence of the public. Read The Mercury article of Friday 5 May 1939. More history here!

Robert O'May and his wife Ann (née Roberts) had two sons Henry (1872-1962) and George Elwin (1876-1956), who were born at Kangaroo Point (Bellerive) and became ferrymasters. More information on Henry (Harry) O'May can be found here. Harry married Frances Cottrell in 1902 and they had three children.

James and Margaret had three children. The first born was Alice. Their two sons Ernest Watson and Oswald Thomas (known as 'Snowy') also became ferrymasters.

Following the deaths of Thomas and Robert O'May, James took over the management of the company; he was joined in partnership by Harry and George who inherited their father's share of the business.

In 1912, the O'Mays company became the Rosny Estates and Ferry Company with James as manager. At this stage, the O'Mays consisted of the last of the three original brothers, James, his sons Ernest and O.T. (Snowy), and Robert's sons Harry and George. James O'May retired in 1921. Harry succeeded him as manager and George became master of the Kangaroo.

Collision on the River
Ernest Watson O'May, master of the s.s. Victory, reported, under date 14 October 1901, that on the 9th inst.. on the 5.30 p.m. trip, his steamer collided with a half decked sailing boat off Rosny. At the time he was collecting the fares, and a deck hand was at the wheel. The boat was close hauled, and standing down the river. His deck hand did not see the boat. The steamer struck the stern of the boat on the port side, splitting the two top planks. He towed the boat to Hobart, and had settled with the owner for the damage done. Ref The Mercury Friday 1 November 1901

James O'May was a member of the Town Board, and a councillor on the Clarence Council for 16 years. He died on Saturday November 30, 1935. At the time of his death, he was president of the Bellerive Regatta Association.

Ernest Watson O'May died after falling from his bicycle on December 18, 1942. His funeral took place on December 22, 1942 at Cornelian Bay and was attended by a large number of people.