Nietta, Tasmania

North Motton

North Motton

North Motton is a village and dairy farming district on the Preston Road about 10 kilometres south of Ulverstone. Land in the area was occupied by William (Billy) Motton in 1854, after whom the area is named. In 1865 a handful of Primitive Methodist families settled in the North Motton district including Nathan and Sarah Brothers, John and Ann Eagle, Isaac Brett and the Revell family. North Motton was one of four locations in the greater Ulverstone region where the Primitive Methodist migrants from Scotland settled and built churches; with other churches built at Gravel Hill, Norfolk Creek and Penguin. In 1877 the church was used by the Department of Education for a day school and a Sunday school was also established around this time.

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The foundation stones for the new building were laid in December 1902 and the occasion was reported by The North West Post: “Methodism and North Motton have grown up together, the pioneers of this rising and prosperous district having been active adherents of that section of the Christian Church. The rapid growth and expansion of that part of West Devon has caused the old Methodist Church to become uncomfortably small for the ordinary services, and it was decided to build a much larger one on the land adjoining, at an estimated cost of £400. The contract for the erection of the building was let some time ago to Mr Manser for £385, and the work has been pushed on as rapidly as possible”.

Nothing of the church remains apart from a wall which stood in front of the church and the cemetery which contains the headstones of many of the early members of the church. The cemetery also has a headstone in remembrance of Chrissie Venn, a 13-year-old girl whose unsolved murder in 1921 was a sensation at the time. Her ghost is claimed to haunt the area of her murder.

The former Marsh Paddock Inn at Exton

William (Billy) Walter Motton was born in 1821. He married Ann Motton (born Lyall) in 1849. Ann was born circa 1829, in Westbury, Tasmania. They had 14 children: Annie Sophia Barnard (born Motton) , Margaret Herbert (born Motton) and 12 other children. The three storey Marsh Paddock Inn on the Meander Valley Road in the village of Exton (formerly Marsh Paddocks) was built for William Motton in c.1855. Billy sold his wheat and oat crop and all his agricultural equipment and animals in 1855 to set up the Inn. Billy Motton was the former owner of a stage coach business which operated between Westbury and Launceston in the early 1840's. The stage coach was named "The Morning Star". He was known locally as "Billy the Peacock" because of his fancy dressing style and as a young man had been a very successful jockey - second to none according to his own report. The former "Marsh Paddock Inn" has been used as a private residence for a number of years.

Billy sold the Marsh Paddock Inn and all his other business and residential properties at Westbury and Young Town in 1861 and with the proceeds built or bought the Bush Inn at Deloraine. He then sold the Bush Inn and moved to Brandy Creek (now Beaconsfield) to take over Smith's Temperance Hotel, which he renamed the Brandy Creek Hotel. Gold had been found in the area in June 1877, a rush began and the Brandy Creek goldfield quickly became a sea of canvas tents. Motton bought the hotel to take advantage of the gold rush and the development of the town. William died at Brandy's Creek (Beaconsfield) on the 26th September 1878, aged 58, a year after the town's Post Office was opened and gold mining commenced. He was buried in the Anglican And General Cemetery in Westbury.

The catalyst for the development of the caves around Mole Creek for tourism was probably the establishment of the Chudleigh Inn in 1850 by John Ritchie, with William Motton, its first licensee. The solid stone building still stands as a private home on the eastern edge of the Chudleigh village opposite the old Van Diemen’s Land Company store. In 1851 Motton transferred his public house licence to Joseph Sheen, who was the first to advertise the Chudleigh Inn as the gateway to the Westward Caves, as he called them, and a guiding service through those caves.

The patriarch of the Motton family was James Alexander Motton, born 14 October 1791, Surrey England, and died 19th December 1881 Beaconsfield, Tasmania. He arrived in Hobart Town in November 1819 on board the Regalia, the first passenger-only ship to Van Diemens Land (there were no convicts on board). Jameshad married to Mary Ann (Williams) in 1818 England, their first son, Robert George, was born 23rd October 1819, one month prior to arrival in Tasmania. They had 9 children. William (Billy) Walter Motton was their second son. William had 13 children - his three sons were William Peacock (unknown - 1934), Richard and Walter, the latter being a fine horseman, a skill he learn from his father. Walter jnr played a prominant role in horse racing in Tasmania and camesecond in the 1868 Melbourne Cup on Strop. Billy then brought Stop back from Melbourne and won the Hobart Town and Launceston Cups.

William Peacock Motton and his wife Elizabeth Motton (nee Blair 1856-1926) had only one son, William Henry born in ulverstone on 1st August 1890 - he joined the A.I.F. and left Sydney to serve in World War I on 17.6.1918. Upon his return he married Thelma Reid (1905-1988). William Henry Motton died in in 1961 in Richmond, Victoria. It is believed that no Mottons remain in Tasmania.

North Motton
North Motton Road, 1890s