Tasmania Regional Meeting
Who we are
From 1770, when Sydney Parkinson, a Quaker artist on James Cook's ship, set foot in Australia, until 1832, when British Quakers James Backhouse and George Walker set foot in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), records of Quakers in Australia were scanty. Backhouse and Walker must be regarded as the pioneers of Australian Quakerism. It is doubtful whether meetings would have been established in Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales had they not spent six years in these two convict colonies (adapted from A Question of Survival by William Nicolle Oats, UQ press, 1985).
By 1878 when a letter appeared in a Hobart newspaper from a gentleman who had recently travelled along the East Coast of Tasmania [and] complained about the lack of places of refreshment â€¦ Tasmanian Quaker Edward Cotton wrote that at his home 'Kelvedon', close by the main road, the 'kettle on the hob' had seldom gone off the boil since 1830, and weary travellers would be welcome to a cup of tea at any time, without charge (adapted from Kettle on the Hob, a family in Van Diemen's Land 1828 - 1885, by Frances Cotton, published by Joan Roberts 1986).
This early development of Quakerism in Tasmania has left a legacy of wonderful material, including costumes, photographs and books, many of which have been collected by the University of Tasmania. For further details, go the University of Tasmania's Quaker collection.
Today,the only Quaker school in Australia is in Hobart, one of the largest Quaker schools in the world, and meetings are held in four locations throughout the state.