Lady Jane FranklinPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

The museum and gallery commemorates Lady Jane Franklin and acknowledges her role in establishing Franklin, as well as her significant contribution to Tasmania.

She purchased the land that the town stands on, subdivided it, and sold it to rural workers. This was a deliberate attempt to give working people the opportunity to buy land they would otherwise not be able to afford.

Jane Franklin was the second wife of Sir John Franklin, who was appointed lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land in 1836.  A woman of idealism and great mental activity, she was determined to assist in the creation of an 'infant nation' (her friend Dr Arnold's phrase) rather than to play the traditionally passive role of governor's lady in a convict colony.

Through her efforts Tasmania became the intellectual centre of the Australian colonies during Franklin's term of office. Under her influence he founded in 1839 the society which became in 1848 the first Royal Society for the advancement of science outside Britain.

Encouraged by Elizabeth Fry, to whom she sent detailed reports on Tasmanian conditions, Lady Franklin had attempted in 1841 to form a 'Tasmanian Ladies' Society for the Reformation of Female Prisoners', but attacks in the colonial press forced the temporary abandonment of this project.

Her greatest interest was the foundation of a state college. On the recommendation of Dr Arnold, John Philip Gell was appointed principal of this institution, to be known as Christ's College, and the foundation stone was laid on 7 November 1840. The deadlock produced by sectarian jealousies eventually led the Franklins to favour the idea that the college should be professedly Anglican, that being the denomination of the majority of the settlers, but this was not fulfilled until a second founding in 1846. When she left the colony in 1843 Lady Franklin made over 162 hectares  she had bought near Hobart for the benefit of any collegiate institution which might be founded with the bishop's approval within the next twenty years.

As early as 1839 Lady Franklin had established an agricultural settlement on the banks of the Huon, named Willingham after a brother of Sir John's.   

She was the first woman to climb Mount Wellington and to travel overland from Melbourne to Sydney and from Hobart to Macquarie Harbour.  She is remembered above all for the search she organized from 1850 to 1857 for Sir John Franklin's lost Arctic expedition. 


Address:Huon Highway, Lady Franklin Museum & Gallery, Franklin, 7113
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -43.0853049
Long: 147.0139083
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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