The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Calder, James Erskine

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Calder, James Erskine, was born at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, on June 18th, 1808, and was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Having abandoned his intention of entering the army, he emigrated to Tasmania, and in 1829 obtained a Government appointment as Assistant Surveyor. For many years he did good service as a surveyor and explorer, and no man had a larger knowledge of Tasmania. In 1841 he was appointed to accompany Sir John and Lady Franklin on their memorable overland journey through the forest to Macquarie Harbour. He served under Surveyors-General Frankland, Power, and Sprent; and in 1859 was himself promoted to be Surveyor-General of the colony in succession to the last-named gentleman. In 1870 Mr. Calder retired on a pension, and shortly afterwards was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms to the House of Assembly, an office which he held until his death. Mr. Calder contributed many valuable articles to the press on the early history of Tasmania. His papers on the aborigines, containing a large mass of original information on their habits and history, were republished under the title of "The Wars, Extirpation, Habits, etc., of the Native Tribes of Tasmania" (Hobart, 1875). He also wrote "Boat Expeditions around Tasmania, 1815 and 1824" (Hobart, 1881); "Oyster Culture"; "Tasmanian Industries" (1869); "The Woodlands of Tasmania" (London Royal Colonial Institute, 1874). At the time of his death he was preparing a work on "The Pitcairners and Norfolk Island." He married in 1842 a daughter of Mr. Pybus, of Bruny Island. After fifty-three years of service under the Government, he died at Hobart on Feb. 20th, 1882.