Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Old Watch House, Granton

The former stone Watch House is situated directly opposite the highway/Causeway junction at Granton on the southern side of the River Derwent. It is reported to have been erected in 1838. It was there by 1847 when it is marked on an undated plan of the crossing made before the rolling bridge was constructed. It was constructed to house the soldiers who supervised the building of the Causeway.

It is a single storey sandstone building constructed in the Old Colonial Georgian style. The two foot thick walls are mortared by lime and mud. It has been altered for modern use, the original doors and windows have been removed and it has a corrugated iron hipped roof. Plans to extend the watch house were executed in 1851 providing a Watch House Keeper's Quarters and Women's Lockup. When extended it included a male and female lock-up, watch house keeper's quarters, two exercise yards and a constable's office. The convicts were housed in a stockade at the rear.

It is believed that it may in fact have formed part of the earlier convict station complex and, on completion of the Causeway, assumed a watch house function. Its location illustrates the importance of the junction at Granton. It is located adjacent to the junction of the Causeway with the road to New Norfolk.

The Watch House began operating as a service station and store shortly after WWI. The first pumps put in around 1928 with at least six situated along the front, each fuel pump belonged to a different company. The Watch House is a typical convict period structure that has been adapted for modern commercial purposes. Apart from its previous life as a service station, the Watch House has also served as a local museum, featuring many interesting artifacts from its colonial period.

Unfortunately, now the Watch House stands silent although still in good condition. It stands guard over the roundabout where travelers can either head towards the Midlands Highway or head into the Derwent Valley and onwards to the west coast.

The Watch House is in a very picturesque location with the walls of the original rock quarry, from which the convicts quarried rock to construct the causeway, as its backdrop. Well worth stopping to have a look around as you pass through.

Main Text & Information Source – Australian Heritage Database

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Caldew Mansion

Unlike so many fine old houses in Hobart, Caldew still has breathing space. It sits at the top of a rise in Cavell Street and between it and the street, there is room enough for the drive to wander a little as it approaches the house, and also room for an enormous willow and a number of fruit trees on the way. Entry from the street is through the original Huon pine fence.

The house has been there for more than 130 years, but has been owned by only two families. In each case, the first man to own Caldew was successful in his profession but each had a more memorable father. Songs and footwear were the respective sources of the fathers’ renown!

The first owner was the man who had it built, in 1861. He was John Woodcock Graves, a successful solicitor, whose celebrated father of the same name wrote one of the best-known songs of the time. This complex, unstable man later lived for some years at Caldew with his son. Graves Senior had arrived as a migrant with wife and six children, in 1834. Ten years earlier, he had guaranteed himself a permanent place in the world of popular ballads by writing “D’Ye Ken John Peel,” a tribute to his close hunting friend of that name.

Graves was a difficult man and about 1842 his wife Abigail and the children, including the eldest who would later build Caldew, left him. Some time after this he was thrown into debtors’ prison for owing money and, from there, when he was thought to be insane was taken to the asylum at New Norfolk. He escaped and, a few years later went off to New Zealand for a while, to study the growing of flax. Having this eccentric father did not stand in the way of his two sons, John and Joseph, becoming wealthy men. John’s successful career as a solicitor enabled him to build Caldew and he conducted his practice from a room directly opposite the front door. Today, this rather small room serves as a study. The house’s second owner was James A. Cuthbertson who bought the property from solicitor John’s daughter near the turn of the century. James’ father was James Senior, who set up the first bootmaking business in the colony, possibly the first in Australia. From this establishment came the famous Blundstone boot.

Caldew’s second storey was added sometime after 1861 and sits like a saddle in the middle of the house. It contains one medium-sized room and three small ones. One of the latter has always been known as “Annie’s room.” A maid’s, perhaps? Running from the medium sized room to the ground floor is one of four servants’ bells, all still in working order. At the back of the house is a new, mainly glass sun-room which exploits its northern aspect to catch the winter sun and is additionally supplied with under-floor heating. This leads through original french-windows to the main bedroom. All of the ground-floor rooms are connected to the hall which changes direction twice through arches on its way through. The double room at the front of the house, joined by sliding doors, is magnificently Victorian, with a domed ceiling and fireplaces the epitome of craftsmanship.

Somewhere on the wall behind the tall overmantel of the fireplace, on the side nearest to the original stables (and now covered by wallpaper), is a painting of a hunting scene by the first John Woodcock Graves. It is a memory of a strange, famous but rather sad man.

Pencil Drawing, Main Information & Text Sources -
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Davey Street Methodist Church

On the 27th August 1834, the Methodist Sunday School Union decided they needed to construct yet another Sunday School in the Hobart area and that it should be located in either Macquarie Street or Davey Street. At this point, the Union had at least half a dozen Sunday Schools in place already and these schools tried to make up for the perceived lack of a formal state system of education. It was finally decided that a building in Davey Street, next door to the current church, would be ideal and the the new school was subsequently set up.

It was so successful that a chapel cum schoolroom had to be constructed at the back of the block where the church now stands. By the 1860's, the school was bursting at the seams. As a result, proposals were made for the building of a new sandstone church on the site. The idea was enthusiastically supported and the foundation stone was laid on the 21st July 1870. The building was completed the following year following a design by Melbourne architects, Crouch & Wilson. The dedication service took place on the 11th August.

The tender had been for 1440 pounds for a building in the Gothic style of architecture, built to accommodate up to 350 worshippers and constructed in brown sandstone from the Summerleas quarry and white stone from Bridgewater. An interesting feature of the new church was the installation of benches instead of traditional pews. Reports in The Mercury from the times stated that the "material and workmanship are of the best and present quite an ornamental appearance"

The Davey Street Methodist Church thrived for nearly a century but eventually ended its days under that title  because of declining attendances within its congregation in the late 1960's & 70's. In 1973, the Lutheran Church purchased the building for $55,000 and renamed it St Peter's and operated their services at the site.

The fabric of the church has changed little since the opening of the church. The majority of the windows are undecorated, and as remarked by the attending press at the official opening, the light afforded by the windows was most agreeable. At the front of the church, high above the heads of those entering the church, are tall stained glass windows of great beauty decorated with floral designs in red, green, blue & yellow and illustrated with appropriate texts.

The Lutheran Church has now moved their services to Eastside Lutheran College in Lindisfarne and the church appears to now stand silent although it is still in a fantastic condition. I'm not sure whether it is still being used by any organisations. Anyone who can help with any further information regarding the current uses of the church building, please feel free to leave information in the comments. Another one of the many beautifully constructed colonial churches in Tasmania.

Main Information & Text Sources -
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman

Sunday, 12 October 2014

No 2 Arthur St, North Hobart

No 2 Arthur St is a simple, late Georgian style cottage with no complications or surprises in its design. The cottage is made from solid sandstone, reportedly quarried at Risdon and was supposedly constructed for their sister (who had just been married) by the two sons of the man who was responsible for the construction of Gatesheath next door. In its original form, it would probably have been indistinguishable from dozens of other similar cottages dotted all over the ever expanding Hobart Town area.

According to descriptions of the inside of the building, there are the usual cast iron fireplaces with decorative timber surrounds, attractive ceiling roses and simple cornices. A broad entry hall is interrupted by a single arch and steep stairs to the two upstairs rooms have a simple balustrading. The two upstairs rooms receive their natural light from dormer windows that face towards the back of the property. There is nothing on the front of the house to suggest the existence of the rooms.

Additions have obviously been made to the cottage to make it a thoroughly modern dwelling. A place to be lived in with a large degree of comfort. A lovely little cottage that is still occupied as a private residence.

Main Information & Text Sources -
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman