Pitt Water Chronicles

Pitt Water Chronicles is a collection of history articles recording family histories, memories and community interests, edited and published by the Historical Society of the Sorell Municipality in southern Tasmania.

The first people to share stories in our corner of the world were the Mumirimina people, who lived here for 2000 generations until tragically dispossessed of their homeland in the early 1800s. Their long stewardship of the land and coastline continues in the unique heritage and ongoing culture of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

‘Pitt Water’ recalls the name of the Sorell district when first settled by Europeans in the early 1800s. The Chronicles are inspired by the opportunity to document extensive local knowledge, by the archival collection in the Sorell History Room and by the success of the Tasman Peninsula Chronicles, published by the Tasman Historical Society for many years.

All materials submitted to and published in Pitt Water Chronicles remain copyright of the author/creator under free license to the Historical Society of the Municipality of Sorell.

Contributions always welcome

We are always happy to accept contributions for the next Chronicle. Any information or artefacts of historical interest relating to the people and places of the Sorell Municipality will be considered. Personal stories including first hand accounts of historical events or well known people are most welcome.

If you have some local history to share or a theme to suggest, please get in touch with us at info@sorellhistory.org or phone Peta on 0437 588 848 or Graeme on 0418 462 591.

  • Articles are best emailed in plain text or as a Word document (with a note in each place a photo or image is to be added).
  • Photographs and other images are best emailed in jpg format at least 300kb or larger along with a suggested caption and copyright credits for both the original and the digital image. Please do not embed photos in the Word document or use PDF format.

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Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 3 ( June 2021)

In commemorating the 200th anniversary We were delighted to launch PWC Volume 3 on 19 June 2021 at Sorell Memorial Hall and to hear from many of the authors and other contributors, including Grant Lennox who provided the 1888 map of Sorell township for the cover.




Along with an updated timeline and maps of early Sorell, PWC3 includes a broad variety of articles of local historical interest:

  • A Tenacious History by Melinda Reed
  • Who was Samuel Thorne? by Judy Pearson
  • James Gordon of Forcett (1779-1842) by Carmel Torenius OAM
  • Carlton River Congregational Chapel by Chris Wisbey
  • Congregationalists at Carlton 1838-1958 by Professor Stefan Petrow
  • Diary of Donald Blanford Gatehouse by Dawn Gatehouse
  • Back to Sorell – 1933 transcribed by Robert Tanner
  • Cemeteries of Sorell by Sue Wyatt
  • Visiting Great Gran Spaulding by Robert Tanner
  • Round the Rugged Tier by Joan Groetgoed
  • The Doddridge Mill by Graeme Evans and poem by Roy Scrimger Whitehouse
  • Sorell Memorial Hall by Jeanette Goss
  • Sorell Memorial Hall Memories by Graeme Evans
  • Letty Doddridge’s Busy Life by Rosemary Macintyre
  • Doreen Goss by Melinda Reed with Jeanette Goss
  • The remarkable Joy Gough by Glenn Millar
  • Cath Griffiths nee Ibbott by Saakia Itchins
  • Sorell Football and the Dean Trophy by Graeme Evans with George Quinn
  • Midway Memories by Margaret Prestedge
  • Wildlife Encounters 1955-2020 by Margaret Prestedge

Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 3 (June 2021 ISBN 978-0-9943398-3-6) is available for purchase for $25 (plus postage if applicable).

  • Place an order by email to info@sorellhistory.org
  • Also available from the Sorell Newsagency at 19 Gordon Street (open daily), the Sorell Council Offices (weekdays) and at the History Room at Sorell Memorial Hall 10am-12pm on market days (most Sundays or Monday public holidays)
  • Pay by cash or by direct deposit to the Society’s Bendigo Bank Sorell account BSB 633000 Acc 153884309 (with your surname and PWC3 as a reference)

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Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 2 (May 2017)

Launched by Rebecca White MP at the Dunalley Hall, 19th May 2017,  Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 2  celebrates Tasman 375 with an 1896 Haughton Forrest painting of the ships Heemskirk and Zeehan on the cover and an article on Abel Tasman’s 1642 voyage.

The 22 articles offer a diverse selection of historical profiles and delightful personal memoirs:

The Tasman Voyage 1642 by Melinda Reed
John Prestidge 1764-1833 by Margaret Prestedge
Transcribing Alexander Laing by Robert Tanner
The First &the Last – Thomas Wiggins 1803-1884 by Hilary Jones
WIELAND and the Bellette, Woods and Bridges families by Kath Lonergan
Dr Robert Blyth and other relations by Rosemary Kelly
Sorell to Bellerive Railway by John Houghton
A talent sacrificed: Hilda Bridges 1881 – 1971 by Bev Richardson
Dr Walden – Sorell’s Modern Motoring Medico by Peta Kelly
The Rollings Photos by Robert Tanner
Dunalley Hall 1898-2015 by Judy Young with Tim Holmes
Bream Creek War Memorial by Graeme Evans with Lionel Williams
Edith Holmes at Bally Park by Judy Pearson
Gwen Newitt OAM 1913-2013 by Graeme Evans
Busy Line – recollections of Letty Doddridge by Letty Doddridge with Bev Richardson
VDC Bridge Guard at Dunalley 1941 by Roy & George Whitehouse
Eileen Brooker by Lorraine Cotter
Neil Davis – you can’t take Sorell out of the boy by Tim Bowden
‘67 Bushfires Remembered by Elaine Targett
Dell Iles: Childcare Pioneer by Graeme Evans and Melinda Reed
Moya Sharpe’s Pioneer School by Peta Kelly
Maker’s Mark – 40 years of Panogana Pottery by Melinda Reed

There’s also an updated timeline, colour as well as black and white images, a profile of each author and an index of family names, places and local organisations.

Special thanks to the editorial team – Melinda Reed, Peta Kelly, Graeme Evans and Tony Bruce-Mullins – and to all the authors and other contributors who have so generously shared their stories as well as their time, skill and care.

Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 2 (May 2017 ISBN 978-0-9943398-1-2) is available for purchase for $25 (plus postage if applicable).

  • Place an order by email to info@sorellhistory.org or pick up your copy at Sorell Memorial Hall 10am-12pm on market days (most Sundays or public holidays).
  • Pay by cash or by direct deposit to the Society’s Bendigo Bank Sorell account BSB 633000 Acc 153884309 (with your surname and PWC2 as a reference).


“Tasman’s Discovery Ships – Heemskirk and Zeehan” is an 1896 painting by Haughton Forrest (1826-1925), a highly regarded and prolific artist who was court bailiff, ‘inspector of nuisances’ and police superintendent at Sorell from 1877-1880 before dedicating himself to painting. Haughton Forrest paintings are in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and many other museum and private collections around the world. [image: artrecord.com]

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Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 1 (June 2015)

Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 1 was officially launched at the Forcett Hall on Thurs 23rdJuly 2015 and is now available for purchase for $20 (plus postage if applicable).PWC1 front cover

Thanks to the Sorell Council Community Grant Program and to the Lions Club of Sorell for generously contributing to initial publication costs and very special thanks to all the authors, photographers and other contributors who gave so generously of their time, skill and care to record and share their stories and images.

Pitt Water Chronicles Vol 1 (June 2015 ISBN 978-0-9943398-0-5) includes maps, a detailed timeline, a comprehensive index, a song and 16 articles:

  • The Mumirimina at Steele’s Island by Moya Sharpe
  • Norfolk Islanders at Pitt Water by Judy Pearson
  • The Brady Raid at Sorell 1825 by Peter Macfie
  • ‘Princess Royal’ Goes Aground by Thelma McKay
  • Thomas Featherstone – Pitt Water Publican by Peta Kelly
  • The First Hazells in Tasmania by Peter MacFie (with Elaine Roomes neé Hazell)
  • The First Sorell Regatta by Alex Green & Peter MacFie
  • Forcett Hall Centenary 1914-2014 by Peter MacFie
  • Everyone is Dancing At The Forcett Hall (lyrics & guitar tab) by Peter MacFie
  • Grannie Reardon by Judy Pearson
  • Sarah Thornbury (nee White) 1883 -1948 by Irene Barwick (with Dawn Gatehouse)
  • Private A.R. Blackmore 12th Infantry Battalion by Peta Kelly
  • Neil (Mick) Hohne at Nugent by Graeme Evans
  • Days at “The  Shack” by Sue Sargent (nee Wilson)
  • Midway Point Yacht Club by Mac Story
  • Forty Years of Lions by Ken & Dawn Gatehouse and Graeme Evans
  • Dodges Ferry School celebrates 25 years by Melinda Reed

Place an order by email to info@sorellhistory.org or pick up your copy at Sorell Memorial Hall 10am-12pm on market days (most Sundays or public holidays).

$20 ea (plus postage if applicable). Pay by cash or by direct deposit to the Society’s Bendigo Bank Sorell account BSB 633000 Acc 153884309 (with your surname and PWC1 as a reference).

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