We are quite often asked about the origin of our business name. We can understand why this issue is raised because it is not your average run of the mill business name such as Plants R Us or XYZ Rare Plants Nursery.
The name comes from James Andrew Raithby Hoodless who immigrated to Auzz from Lincolnshire in the mid 1800s. The inclusion of Raithby in the Hoodless name started in the 1700s when James Hoodless (1744-1831) married Naomi Raithby (1772-1815). Raithby is also the name of a town and parish in Lincolnshire. Research shows that the surname Hoodless was anglicised in the 1500s. Prior to this church, death and court records show that the surname was recorded as either Howdeles or Hoodlesse. This is the only pic we have of J.A.R Hoodless.
How did he end up in Tassie? – In late 1860 J.A.R Hoodless, his wife Helen (30 yrs) (Wills/Wells?) and their two children Joseph (2 yrs) and Elizabeth (3 months) boarded the ship Empress of the Sea to begin their journey to Melbourne Australia. The Hoodless family were emmigrating to Australia at the request and sponsorship of Captain Samuel Horton. Captain Horton owned a 2000 acre property called Somercotes just south of the Ross township and was seeking experienced people to help in the running of his farm.
Captain Horton’s wife accompanied him on the voyage and unfortunately became ill with typhoid and died. Helen Hoodless nursed Mrs Horton during her illness and unfortunately in doing so also contracted the disease and died. Daughter Elizabeth also died during the voyage. The ship landed in Melbourne in August 1861 and JAR Hoodless and son Joseph transferred to the ship Havilish and travelled to Launceston where they took the coach to Somercotes. It is noted in the Somercotes farm’s diary that JAR was observed as “dismounting from the coach, walking forlornly down the drive, bag in hand and small son on his shoulder.” Very sad. Thousands of miles from home, no family support.
JAR eventually settled into life at Somercotes and over time got to knowAnnie Daly , a cook at Horton College which was located across the main road from Somercotes. As an aside Horton College was once a highly prestigious residential college in colonial Tasmania. It has since been demolished, with only the portico remailing. Annie was 10 years younger than JAR. (Go JAR!) They eventually married and had 5 children. Annie died in 1875. However, in 1879 or thereabouts JAR married Eliza Hollis; 28 years his junior (crickey) and they had two children Ernest (1880-1956) and George (1882-1886). JAR lived until 1914 and Eliza in 1921.
Zooming forward to the present, Somercotes is still operating as a successful mixed farm with a strong focuse on cherries and colonial accommodation. They have two cottages near the main farm house named Standaloft and Hoodless. And yes as a family unit we have visited Somercotes and stayed a couple of nights in the Hoodless cottage. Very interesting experience.