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From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Gun; Percussion Carbine, .577 Cal. Colonial Tasmanian issue Artillery carbine, Pattern 1861. Muzzle loading "Cap and Ball" musket. Wood stock and ram rod. Inscriptions are on the stock and breech. Gun was made for Herbert & Co. London by Isaac Hollis & Sons, Birmingham.
L 101 x W 18 x H 5 cm
Object Registration
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, shipwrecked-coast, flagstaff-hill, flagstaff-hill-maritime-museum, maritime-museum, shipwreck-coast, flagstaff-hill-maritime-village, firearms, gun, muzzle loading musket, isaac hollis and son, hebbert & sons, military supplies, lee enfield
Historical information
Hollis Brothers were first recorded trading from 11 Weaman Row in 1840 but appear to have started trading a little earlier. The firm later became Isaac Hollis & Sons and claimed establishment from 1814. Richard & William Hollis were recorded trading in Bath Street Birmingham from 1814 to 1818 so it may be that the Hollis brothers were descended from them. The brothers were Isaac Hollis (b.1815) and Frederick Hollis (birth date unknown), but Frederick died 20 December 1839. Isaac was recorded in the 1841 census living in Weaman Row. He was a 25-year-old gun and pistol maker, married to Emma 1821. They had two children, Isaac (1837), and Henry (1839). After Frederick died, Isaac carried on trading under the name of Hollis Brothers until 1845 when he re-named the business Hollis Brothers & Co who traded up to 1848. In 1844 Isaac entered into a short term partnership with William Tranter at 10 & 11 Weaman Row, presumably to complete a particular contract or supply certain parts. This partnership lasted until 1849.

In 1848 Isaac took in Isaac Brentnall Sheath as a partner, and the firm of Hollis & Sheath was established, expanding into 10 Weaman Row. Hollis & Sheath were licenced makers of percussion breech-loading guns. In 1861 the firm changed its name to Isaac Hollis & Sons on the departure of Isaac Brentnall Sheath. Isaac Sheath died in July 1875. By about 1870 Isaac Hollis and Henry Hollis had taken over the day to day running of the business. Isaac Hollis was responsible for the overall management and the marketing of the firm's products. Henry was responsible for manufacturing. The firm became volume producers of inexpensive trade guns and sporting guns for the South African and the British colonies.

In 1870 the firm opened a shop at 44a Cannon Street in London; in 1871 this moved to 83 Cheapside. Isaac Hollis Jnr died October 1875 in Birmingham aged 37. He was never married and in 1876/1877 Henry registered a limited liability company, Isaac Hollis & Sons Ltd, but by 1879 they were again trading as Isaac Hollis & Sons. From 1879 the London shop was at 6 Great Winchester Street. From 1932 to 1933 the London business traded as Hollis, Bentley & Playfair Hollis, Bentley & Playfair finally closed in Birmingham in 1953.
When Made
Mid 19th Century
Made By
ISAAC HOLLIS & SONS (Gun and pistol manufacturer)
This gun is a typical example of the type of firearm issued to the colony's military in 1861. Specifically made by Isaac Hollis and Sons for the military market of the time and sold through contractors Hebbert & Sons, military suppliers, in London. The gun was probably issued from the Hythe Armory to British troops (a training facility) or police prior to coming to Tasmania Australia around 1861.
Inscriptions & Markings
Last updated
30 Sep 2019 at 11:12AM