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John Hucklebridge (Doc)? Huett

Born East Brent 1820.

Son of John and Eleanor Huett (nee) Hucklebridge.

Died Tasmania 1905

At various times, Physician, Publican, Mail coach proprietor, farmer, landowner......!



By all accounts  John HUETT was a colourful character with an intriguing and mysterious past.

Born in East Brent Somerset, England, in 1820, he is reputed to have trained as a physician (possibly in Glasgow). For some reason he was disqualified from practising, but the nickname 'Doc' stuck to him throughout his life. (John Huett's grand-daughter, Alice Turnbull [nee Viney] recalls that he drank to excess, and also cites a tradition that his medical qualifications were lost in transit from the U.K.)!

John HUETT married Agnes Skinner and they appear to have emigrated to Tasmania in the early 1850's.  The couple settled on the land at or near Westbury, and produced four children before Agnes' death (from tuberculosis) in September 1862. (She was 33 years old).


John HUETT wasted little time finding a second mother for his young family; he married Sarah Ann Atwell at Deloraine in December 1862, and between 1867 and 1884, the couple produced another 8 children: Albert,John, Jesse, Alice, Arthur, Frank, James, George and David.


(By the time David was born in 1884, his father was well into his 60's). Alice Jane Huett (b. Deloraine, 16 May 1874) married Thomas Viney, 28, at Deloraine, July 25 1894, produced 7 children, and died at Launceston, March 3 1908 (aged 33). [Alice and William Viney's elder daughter, Alice Victoria, was born in 1902, and married Stanley Turnbull].


With his marriage to Sarah Atwell (also born in Somerset, c 1844), JohnHUETT settled in the Deloraine area and stayed there the rest of his life.  His house at Elizabeth Town has been classified by the National Trust. HUETT is probably best remembered as the founder and proprietor of Huett's Coaches, which carried passengers and mail between Deloraine and Torquay (or, according to his grand-daughter, between Elizabeth Town and Burnie) prior to the establishment of the north-west rail links. James Fenton once described the less than glamorous coach-travel of that time:


   "Even so late as the year 1879 the road to Deloraine was a dangerous bog in some places. In the spring of that year I was travelling in Hewett's [sic] coach with Mr. Braddon..... when in one spot, where a stump had been grubbed, one of the horses disappeared, all but his head and shoulders. We had all to lend a hand to extricate the poor animal.

The road being a sea of slush, not only there but for miles father, the condition of the coach, horses, driver, and passengers when we arrived at Latrobe can be more easily imagined than described".


On another occasion, and apparently drunk HUETT turned his coach over. He acquired the 'Stone House' on the Deloraine - Latrobe road at Virginstow, for use as an inn and changing place for horses. (The building, which was demolished many years ago, was reputed to be haunted).


John HUETT died at Whitefoord Hills, 5th November 1905. Many of his descendants still live in and around Deloraine, and interestingly, a recent retail development in the town is called Hucklebridge Court.


Courtesy of;

Dr.Malcolm J. Turnbull

51 Gilles Street


Victoria 3078

9481 3924


Sent to me by Kevin Callahan 5/7/2003

BIOGRAPHY: Extracts from a letter from Mrs Maureen Bennett, "Rubicon", ElizabethTown RSD 180, TAS 7304, dated 8 May 1986.

Maureen's husband and his brother owned both "Harbourne" and "Eddington"at the time.


" I am not sure of the year in which John Hucklebridge Huett came to Elizabeth Town but it was in the sixties.  His original pub was on the original road which is to the east of the present one.  I haven't had time to visit the site of this original pub but it was in the clump of trees on the east of the highway.  We are not sure when he built the present house but that was also an inn.  In 1870 the Valuation Roll for Mar 1 claims he was renting 174 acres and a public house from Samuel Henry and that it was called Eddington.  Samuel Henry's original grant of 630 acres took in the 500 acres of the present Harbourne and 130 acres of Eddington.  William Dawson Grubb had 320 acres of the rest of Eddington.


By 1886 John Huett owned and occupied 535 acres of Harbourne and the pub. He also owned the farm of Eddington 247 1/4 acres and leased it to George Burgess.  He also had another block at Elizabeth Town that was probably bush of 30 acres.  Perhaps things went wrong for John Huett because he must have sold all but the 30 acres to James Bennett - perhaps he held the mortgage, as he was very wealthy.  In 1901 he still leased 600 acres of Harbourne from James Bennett's estate.  Michael's (my husband's) grandfather went to live on Eddington not long after this and the family have farmed it ever since.  We bought Harbourne two years ago. The Huett's in Deloraine would know something of the family's history. I know the Skirvings bought Harbourne eventually and then Moores bought it from them."


. "All this information comes from the Hobart Town Gazettes which were and still are published every year. They contained before 1950 complete lists called Valuation or Assessment Rolls of where people owned and/or occupied land.  They have a complete set in the Launceston library.


.The information I have given you is from copies I have made of the years I have quoted but you can check through the sixties to find out when both* men came into the district.  Neither seems to have been here in 1858 the first year these rolls were done."


* Other parts of this letter referred to John Atwell.

BIOGRAPHY: John Hucklebridge HUETT - information from a conversation with Aisla VAUGHAN, nee VINEY, his grandaughter, 9 June 1984


John H Huett's home, "Harbourne" near Elizabeth Town is still standing. The large stand of elm? trees beside it were planted by great grandfather Huett from seeds he brought with him from England on the ship.


He trained as a doctor in Somerset, but did not practice in Tasmania because he 'hated' it.  He preferred to be working with horses.  'He was a very clever man.'  If someone needed a tooth pulling, or needed stitching up they often sought his help, but he never practiced medicine officially here.

DEATH:  "The Advocate-Times", 6 Nov 1905, Page 2, Col 2

Received from Frances Travers, researcher, in letter dated 11 July 1986.Photographic copy included.

"HUEITT. - On November 5, at his late residence, Whitefoord Hills, John Hucklebridge Huett, native of Somersetshire, England, in his 86th year.Home papers please copy."

DEATH: Obituary:  "The Advocate-Times", 6 Nov 1905, Page 2, Col 4

Received from Frances Travers, researcher, in letter dated 11 July 1986. Photographic copy included.



Our obituary columns notify the death of a well-known coastal identity,Mr J. H. Huett, who came to Tasmania from England in 1851, and as the contractor for 10 years for the mail service between Deloraine and TableCape he will be well remembered by many old residents.  He had been ill for some considerable time, and being in his eighty-sixth year the end,which came yesterday morning, was not unexpected.  He leaves a family of nine sons, of whom three are married, and five daughters, who are all married.  They are Mrs William Holyman, sen., and Mrs W. Stroud, of East Devonport, Mrs Woodberry, of Ulverstone, Mrs Viney, of Whitefoord Hills,and Mrs Walsh, Elizabethtown.  The funeral takes place at Deloraine on Wednesday afternoon."

Sandra Huett. Australia.

Quite a character!

My grateful thanks to

Sandra Huett Australia for the following information.