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AUGUSTUS SIMSON, PLANT & INSECT COLLECTOR, SHARE BROKER

The New South Wales Postcard with the printed red ‘Shield’ stamp was cancelled with the duplex SYDNEY/ MR 5/ 1 P.M/ 00/ 10 with the barred oval N.S.W obliterator. It was addressed to Augustus Simson Esq, Patterson Street, Launceston, Tasmania (Figure 1).

The reverse had a mixed printed and manuscript message: 72 Pitt Street, Sydney 5 3 1900 We have this day forwarded per Parcel Post to Launceston goods as below; should they not arrive within a reasonable time please inform us. (If necessary to pay road cartage kindly do so, advise amount and we will remit immediately - all inked through) WRIGHT, HEATON & CO., Limited, per Library 1 Parcel Printed Books, Ex American Express Co. There was a reception postmark LAUNCESTON/ K/ MR 7/ 1900/ TASMANIA (Figure 2).

Augustus Simson was born in London, England in 1836 to John and Jenny and in 1863 he came to Australia and spent some time in North Queensland, engaged in pastoral and mercantile pursuits, before leaving for Tasmania in 1874. He was involved in tin mining and ore buying on the east coast of Tasmania before starting a business in Launceston in 1879, purchasing and exporting wool and tin. Augustus became a manager, local secretary and agent for a number of mines and was a founding member of the Launceston Stock Exchange in 1881. Augustus was one of the original members of the Australian Association for Advancement of Science, a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and a board member and President of the Mechanics’ Institute.

Augustus had interests in all branches of natural history. He collected extensively in Tasmania, mainly from mining areas, at least in the period May 1875 to January 1893. He collected particularly in north-eastern Tasmania (Goulds Country, Thomas Plain [Weldborough] and Blue Tier) in the 1870s and 1880s, and on the west coast in 1892-93. His help with specimen cllection was acknowledged by Rodway in The Tasmanian Flora. A large number of his collections were sent to Robert Sticht, a mining manager with the Mount Lyell Mining Co.

Augustus was a stock and share broker with a special interest in mining enterprises. He amassed extensive collections of insects, shells and plants, and was a member of the advisory committee to develop a museum in Launceston. His collections have been described as ‘historical’ for there were over 1100 specimens collected. One of his special finds was in 1876 when he found a single specimen of a presumed extinct species of Helichrysum growing on the roadside between Longley and the Sandfly coal seam. He showed the specimen to his friend the Reverend William Spicer and it was included in an addendum to Spicer’s Handbook of the Plants of Tasmania (1878). At the same time, a specimen was forwarded to the world-famous Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in Melbourne who named it Helichrysum spiceri.

He married Jane Eddie at the Holy Trinity Church on 7 October 1881 and they had five children, 3 sons and 2 daughters, their place of residence being 49 High Street, Launceston. Augustus died in Launceston on 21 May 1918. A picture of Augustus Stimson is seen in Figure 3.

Louis Simson was his younger brother, born in London in 1844, and by 1883 he was living in Tasmania where he joined his brother in a large share-broking business in Launceston in 1888. Louis died in 1922, and the family likeness of the brothers is shown by Louis’ photo in Figure 4.

 

 

 
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