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A Long, Long Way

Henry Reading (1808–1878)

Little is known about Henry Reading’s convict years. He must have been quite well-behaved, with only two mentions on his convict record.

When he gained his freedom, the by-now young man travelled north to begin his adult life. Family story has it that Henry walked the 190 kilometres from Hobart Town to Launceston, pushing his meagre possessions in a handcart.

In 1831 Henry married sixteen-year-old Ann Williams. Native born, Ann was the granddaughter of First Fleet convicts. Their marriage produced eleven children, the youngest born when Henry was about 50.

Henry’s is a story of ‘rags to riches’. When Mr. Reading died he was well-known as one of the largest, if not the largest, property owner in Launceston, with 120 houses to his name. And his bank balance stood at 26,000 pounds, about $3 million today.

Henry made his journey long before the days of any coach service.  A mailman would walk the distance, leaving Hobart Town and Launceston on alternate Sundays.
Henry made his journey long before the days of any coach service. A mailman would walk the distance, leaving Hobart Town and Launceston on alternate Sundays.

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