Collection DX20 - Joseph Benson Mather Correspondence

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Joseph Benson Mather Correspondence


  • 1862-1881 (Creation)

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3 type one boxes

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Joseph Benson Mather (1814-1890) was the eldest son of Robert and Ann Mather who settled in Tasmania in 1822. He joined his father in his drapery and hosiery business in 1836 and later established his own business as a merchant tailor and importer in Liverpool Street, Hobart, taking his son, Joseph Francis, into partnership as J.B. Mather & Son in 1874. One of their contracts was to supply police uniforms. J.B. Mather also managed the East Coast Steam Navigation Co. in Hobart 1854-57. J.B.Mather was for many years Clerk to the Hobart Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. He spent most of the year 1840 in Sydney visiting and helping Sydney Friends on a visit of "concern" and on his return also travelled around
Tasmania visiting country Friends. In 1841 he obtained consent from Francis Cotton of Kelvedon, near Swansea, to "corresponding with his daughter with an intention to an union in marriage" and the following year he married Anna Maria Cotton. They had six children: Joseph Francis (1844-1925), Anna Maria (1846­-1900), Esther Ann (1849-1957) who married C.H. Robey, Maria Louisa (1851­ -1857), Emma Elizabeth (1853-1939) and Frances Josephine (1855-1856) but Joseph's wife and the youngest little daughter died in 1856. Joseph Mather was lonely after her death, as he recorded in his diary, but he cared devotedly for his children, reading to them every night, except when they went to stay with their Cotton grandparents at Kelvedon for country air, and nursing them when they were ill. He nursed little Louisa day and night in 1857 until she died in his arms.
For more information see

Name of creator


Biographical history

Francis Cotton (1801-1883), Quaker and settler, was born on 6 October 1801 in London, where he had some early education before attending Ackworth School. After an apprenticeship to a builder, he set up his own business. When 19 he was disowned for marrying outside the Society of Friends, Anna Maria Tilney, a former Friend from Kelvedon, Essex. Rheumatic fever, London fogs and visions of brighter prospects for a growing family induced him to sail in 1828 for New South Wales in the Mary with an old friend, Dr George Story. The voyage was prolonged by the loss of a mast, and when the ship put in to Hobart Town the party decided to remain. For more information see

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited in the University of Tasmania Archives in 1987 by Frances Cotton who had received the papers from the late Misses E. & M.F. Robey (grandaughters of J.B. Mather). Items 1098-1188 received with Cotton papers

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The bulk of the correspondence consists of Francis Cotton's letters to Joseph Benson Mather, and some other correspondence from members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), family and a few business correspondents also a few letters addressed to Joseph Benson Mather’s children.

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Application form to be signed

Conditions governing reproduction

This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

When reusing this material, please cite the reference number and provide the following acknowledgement:
“Courtesy of the UTAS Library Special & Rare Collections”

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Dates of creation revision deletion

HE May 2018




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