Item 3 - Letter : Robert Campbell Gunn to brother William Gunn

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Letter : Robert Campbell Gunn to brother William Gunn


  • 1828 (Creation)

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1 letter

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William Gunn (1800-1868), police magistrate and Superintendent of Prisoners' Barracks, was born in Newry, Ireland, son of Lieut. William Gunn and Margaret (Wilson). After service in the British army, he came to Tasmania in 1822 and received a grant of 400 acres of land in the Sorell district, called by Gunn "Bourbon" after his regiment. He was given occasional command of soldiers searching for bushrangers and in 1825 was wounded by a shot from one of Brady's gang and had to have his right arm amputated. In 1824 he was appointed superintendent of convicts at Birch's Bay (Channel).He served as Superintendent of Prisoners' Barracks in Hobart from 1826 ­1850 and Launceston 1850 - 1859 and remained Police Magistrate in Launceston until his death in 1868. On moving to Launceston he acquired Glen Dhu as his main residence. In 1829 William Gunn married at Sorell, Frances Hannah (Fanny) Arndell. They had three sons, William, Ronald Thomas and James Arndell, and 6 daughters, including Margaret who married Frank Allison in 1852 (see A2) and Frances (Fanny jr.) and Isabel (Issie). Gunn was an elder of St Andrews Church, Hobart, and later of Chalmers Church, Launceston. For more informationsee :

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Brother of William Gunn. Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808-1881), botanist, public servant and politician, was born at Cape Castle, Cape Town, the fourth son of William Gunn of Caithness, Scotland, a lieutenant in the 72nd Regiment, and his wife Margaret, née Wilson; and grandson of William Gunn and Ann, second daughter of Ronald Campbell of Wick, Scotland. Urged by his brother William, Gunn resigned his clerkship in 1829, returned to Edinburgh and sailed for Hobart Town in the Greenock. He arrived in February 1830 with letters from patrons that secured his appointment as overseer of the penitentiary under his brother. He became assistant superintendent of convicts at Launceston in December 1830, justice of the peace in 1833 and police magistrate at Circular Head in 1836. Back in Hobart, he was appointed fourth member of the Assignment Board and assistant police magistrate in 1838, assistant superintendent to the Male House of Correction in 1839, and private secretary to Sir John Franklin and clerk of the Legislative and Executive Councils in 1840. He resigned these appointments next year to become managing agent of the estates of William Lawrence, and two years later of Lady Jane Franklin's estates in Van Diemen's Land, as well as trustee for the Ancanthe botanical reserve and Betsy Island. For more information see:

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Deposited by J. Murphy 1967

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Letter from Robert Campbell Gunn to brother William dated 6 October 1828 from Barbados regarding the want of cash for fare home in spite of economies, appointment as clerk to Royal Engineers Antigua uncertain, thinking of moving to V.D.L., Gunn's father and father-in-law recently died in Antigua

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Open for research

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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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LG 16/8/2018




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