Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Toll House, New Norfolk

The population of the New Norfolk settlement had been reliant on river transport for supplies which came up the Derwent from Hobart. The river divided the settlement and row boats & punts were used to ferry people across the river. In 1834 a company was formed to build the first bridge across the Derwent River.

However, it wasn’t until 1840 that work got underway with Governor Franklin present to witness the first post being installed. The bridge was officially opened in January 1842 although it was ready for foot traffic in early 1841.

It was built by private enterprise on the basis that all vehicles using it would be required to pay a toll.  The toll house was built at the same time, in order to collect charges from all using the bridge. The money went towards paying for its construction. Toll money was collected until 1874.

Although the bridge has since been replaced, the original toll house still stands.  It is a one-storey, octagonal building and has been used for a variety of purposes over time.  Since then it has been vacant, used as a youth hostel, and is currently used as a centre for Tasmanian arts and crafts.  It was declared a historic site in 1961.

Main Text & Information Sources &  historic photos -  
Tas Parks & Wildlife Service website - Toll House, New Norfolk
Interpretive Signs at the site
Toll House official Website - The Toll House

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Former Tasmanian Brewery, Hobart

By the late 1850’s, John James had constructed a stone built brewery on the south east corner of Elizabeth and Warwick streets. He named his enterprise the Tasmanian Brewery and his family began to brew beer there and did so for nearly the next 25 years. The James’ family’s “Six Guinea Ale” was most favorably spoken of by many beer judges and was very popular in many of the hotels in Hobart.

In 1883, James’ brewery was one of three of the smaller Hobart breweries that were purchased by the Cascade Brewery business and then closed down. This was an anti competitive practice that was not regulated at that particular time.

By 1895, George Adams, the promoter of the Tattersalls sweepstakes, had come to live in Tasmania after legislation prohibiting his betting activities had been passed in the mainland states. Adams decided to become involved in the brewery industry and he purchased the old Tasmanian Brewery building. By 1903 he had replaced the original stone building with a newer brick structure. However, Adams unfortunately died in 1904 and his new brewery was never extensively used for producing beer.

The premises were subsequently acquired by Coogan & Co who utilized the building as a furniture factory and the Elizabeth Street frontage was remodeled as the showroom area. The building currently has a number of small businesses operating out of sections of expansive building, with a furniture store still taking pride of place in the Elizabeth Street frontage and several floors being utilized by an antiques business, the Antiques Warehouse.

Main Text & Information Sources – 
“The Story of Central Hobart – Street By Street” – Donald Howatson
Australian Dictionary of Biography - George Adams

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Albert Street Cottages, Oatlands

The block of land that these two cottages sit on was originally granted to John Goulder, a freed convict in 1839. Goulder had previously settled on the one and a quarter acre block in 1832 and in the same year he built a large weatherboard house. By 1839 he had fenced his land with stone walling and erected a two storey stone house, complete with outbuildings. The stables building remain the only original building surviving.

By 1840, John Goulder had become a successful shopkeeper and in 1842 he became the licencee of the Inverary Castle Inn which he renamed the Kentish Arms. By 1844, he had purchased the Bridge Inn in Pontville and the following years he purchased a property in High Street, Oatlands

John Goulder passed away in 1880 and by 1885 these two cottages had replaced the original two storey cottage. It is believed that the materials from the original house were used in the construction of the new cottages. The cottages are in wonderful condition and are beautifully maintained and form a lovely part of the streetscape.

Main Text & Information Source - 
Interpretive Plaque At The Site

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Government Gardens, Port Arthur

The Government Gardens are a stunning formal garden where you can trace the steps of the ladies and officers who resided at Port Arthur and strolled along these paths, shielded from view of the convicts behind the garden’s fences and plantings.

Originally established in 1830 as a timber-getting camp, the settlement quickly expanded in size, large cultivated plots laid down to supplement the rations of the convicts and officers. Accompanying this was a setting aside of small plots for the tending of ornamental gardens by the officers. The penal settlement of Port Arthur aimed to be self-sufficient in fruit, vegetables and herbal plants for the needs of convicts and militia.

Officers were allotted their own gardens and more formal 'government gardens' were established. Several commandants and officials were members of the Royal Society so had access to plant material from the Society's gardens in Hobart.

As early as the 1830s ornamental trees were planted at Port Arthur. By 1838 the avenue leading to the Church from Tarleton Street was lined with young trees provided by the Governor of the day, Sir John Franklin.

It was Commandant Champ who, in 1846-47 developed the Government Gardens as an ornamental garden primarily for the enjoyment of the ladies of the settlement and where officers and their families could escape the taint of the convicts under their charge By the 1850s this had reached its zenith with the well-tended gardens of the Commandant's House and Government Gardens drawing comment from the visitor. The gardens were much admired and reached their peak in the late 1860-70s.

With the closure of the penal settlement and the establishment of the township the large swathes of cultivation and tended gardens were allowed to go fallow, smaller gardens sustaining the dietary and aesthetic needs of the townspeople.

The historic site today mirrors this past. After the closure of Port Arthur the gardens were neglected until reconstruction began in the 1990s.Large swathes of well-tended lawn are interspersed with the ornamental beauty of the reconstructed Government and Commandant's Gardens, or the tidy vegetable plots of an early 20th century residence. Together these areas provide unparalleled insight into the lesser-known aspects of the convict settlement and free township.

Main Text & Information Source