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William Gibson

Advertisement for Gibson's Flourmills, c 1893 (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

William Gibson (c 1822–1871), miller, commenced flourmilling in 1864 using a converted warehouse in Morrison Street, Hobart. Following his untimely death at 49 as a result of a mill accident in 1871, his son, William George (1848–1905), took over the business at the age of only 23. His continuing investment in new technology and his own engineering skills, combined with the mill's strategic position on the waterfront, led to the mill outlasting all others in Hobart.

Various members of the Gibson family, including a third William, grandson of the founder, continued to play a pivotal role. By 1933 Gibsons was almost twice the size of its main Tasmanian competitor, the Launceston-based Monds & Affleck. However, in 1972 the latter bought a controlling interest, and Gibson's mill closed in 1979.

Further reading: J Cassidy & K Preston, Thematic study of the Tasmanian flour milling industry, Launceston, 2000.

Jill Cassidy