Fremantle Stuff > people > John Weavell

John Weavell

WEAVELL, John, b. 1791, arr. 7.4.1831 per Eagle as supercargo, m. 2nd 7.9.1831 (WA) Sophia LOGAN, dtr. of Capt. of 62nd Buffs & sister of Colonel of 63rd. Merchant. Imported a printing press, sold to Stokes & leased to Shenton & McFaull, publishers of 1st printed newspaper in WA. Leased widow Ferres lime kiln 1831. Selected 500 acres in Avon district 1831. In 1833 he ran a ferry at Preston Pt. leasing it from Robert Thomson. Organised 1st horse races 1833. Visited Tasmania dep. 27.3.1835 per Harriet & 12.1835 per Giraffe. His Frem. Town Lot S400 reverted to Crown 1844.

[part translation:] John Weavell arrived on the Eagle in 1831 as the person employed on board by the owner of cargo carried on the ship.

The first cross-river ferry was located in Fremantle and operated by the former Kent farmer Robert Thompson [Thomson]. By the end of 1832, however, Thompson had left the mainland to take up residence on his Rottnest Island grant. Meanwhile, John Weavell was attempting to start a ferry at Preston Point, although the authorities were reluctant to issue a licence while another service was supposedly in operation further downstream. It was only through his persistence, his preparedness to spend large sums of money on facilities and the convenient departure of Thompson, that the service finally passed into his hands. He immediately constructed jetties at Preston Point and at the head of Rocky Bay, clearing a line of road to John Butler’s grant in present-day Claremont. He also took pains to warn potential rivals of his exclusive rights to operate a ferry along the whole stretch of the Swan between the Narrows and Fremantle. Weavell’s early enthusiasm waned, however, for the service was poorly patronised, difficult to operate and expensive to maintain. In March 1835 he gave up and left the colony for Van Diemen’s Land. (Cooper & McDonald 1989, A City for All Seasons: The Story of Melville, City of Melville: 27-28.)

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