Wednesday, 25 March 2015

St Peter's Church, Hamilton

St Peters Church of England at Hamilton is one of the oldest existing churches in Australia, and even pre-dates the founding of Melbourne. Built of freestone with a tower which has an opening for a clock, which for some reason has never been installed and with only one door under the tower. The reason for this was almost certainly to prevent the congregation, which in the early days was about 50 per cent convicts, from attempting to escape.

The plans for the church were designed by the Government architect, John Lee Archer. The cost was stated at £700 minus the tower and the first committee for the construction of the church was appointed with Mr. D. Burn as Secretary. The Government agreed to pay half the cost of the church and construction began in 1834 with J.J. Turnbull as builder. The foundation stone of St. Peter's, Hamilton, was laid by the Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, Colonel George Arthur, on Thursday, June 26, 1934.

Prior to that date meetings of residents of the surrounding district interested in the erection of the church had been held, and subscriptions invited and generously responded to by leading residents. Apparently the walls had to be rebuilt in 1835 just after the laying of the foundation stone by Lieut. Governor Arthur in June, 1834 and the new builder contracted to complete it was W. Sibley after Turnbull had found himself in financial difficulties.

It was stated that the church would be completed within two months, but that did not mean all interior fittings and furnishings, because a further reference states that the building was completed and inspected in June, 1837. The church was consecrated on May 8th, 1838, by the first and only Bishop of Australia, the Rev Dr. W. G. Broughton, who also consecrated the burial ground. The first confirmation service was held on the same day at 10:30.

There were plans to add a spire to the tower in the 1920s but they never eventuated.
There are headstones around the church that date back to the 1830s and some of the regions earliest pioneer settlers. One headstone of particular interest is that of Sarah Lane who died at the age of 8 years in 1844.
The inscription on the headstone reads:
Lieth the mortal remain-
Of Sarah Lane
Died 3rd Nov.r 1844
Aged 8 years
This little inoffensive child
To Sunday school had trod
But sad to tell was burnt to deat-
Within the house of God”

The dropped 's & h' are the result of the stonemason who didn’t measure out his work very well but saddest of all is the fact that this little girl died tragically in a fire while attending her Sunday School. Quite incredible and very sad.

St Peters remains an active and vibrant church to this day and is part of the Hamilton Parish

Main Text & Information Source - St Peter's Church, Hamilton

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Lyons Cottage Historic Site, Stanley

Lyons Cottage was the early home of the Honourable Joseph Aloysius (Joe) Lyons.  Lyons was Premier of Tasmania between 1921 and 1928.  He went on to become the only Tasmanian Prime Minister ever elected, between 1932 and 1939. Lyons Cottage is where he spent the first few years of his life.  It contains a number of antiques, historical photographs and information on the Lyons family.

Lyons Cottage is significant on a number of levels.  While it is important simply due to its association with Joe Lyons, it can also be considered of significance in relation to its humble appearance.  It implies that anyone in Australia, regardless of their background, can be elected to the highest office in the country if they have the ability.  On another level completely, the cottage demonstrates the characteristics of a single storey, weatherboard Victorian Georgian dwelling.

The cottage itself seems to have originally been part of an allotment that included an adjacent hotel property. The hotel was built by Joe’s father, Michael Lyons, in 1849.  He sold the hotel in 1854 but retained the lot where the cottage now stands. It is not known exactly when the cottage was built but it was certainly constructed before 1870 as it appears in a photograph taken in that year. The cottage is just one storey and, when first built, would have only had four rooms – two at the front, one more and a kitchen at the rear. It was also constructed fairly cheaply – from plain timber on the exterior, and with interior paling boards rather than more expensive lath and plaster.

It really is quite a modest dwelling, even for the time. Renovations most likely took place during the early twentieth century, and additional rooms have been added to the rear at some point.  It was acquired by Parks and Wildlife (PWS) in 1976 and, at that time, was in a fairly poor state of repair.  In 1979 PWS undertook repairs of the building in order to retain the original and humble appearance of the home, similar to how it looked when Joe Lyons was born in 1879.

Main Information Source - Lyons Cottage Historic Site
Australian Dictionary Of Biography - Joseph Lyons

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Star Inn, Hobart

The Star Inn was first licensed in 1839 and was sited about three doors down from Molle Street on the northern side of Goulburn Street. The Star Inn appears to have remained open steadily until 1900 and seems to have had only 5 or so licencees in its lifetime. It is reported that the Inn was a popular place with sporting people and groups from around Hobart.

Henry Marshall took out the original license in 1839 and he held it until 1852. In 1853, Mary Marshall took over the license but it seems she only held the license for part of the year when Henry Marshall took over the license of the Star Inn. Not sure if this the same Henry Marshall who had the initial license but this time the license was only held until 1856 before a further change took place. John Venebles took over in 1856 but didnt see out the year. He was replaced by William Morton who held on to the license until 1860. There is a bit of a gap between 1860 when William Morton appears to have relinquished the license and 1886 when M.A. Watt appears to take up the license of the Inn.

M.A Watt held the license until 1893 and it appears that changes were on the horizon as the Star Inn is listed as becoming a private house around 1900. The building still stands in Goulburn Street and remains as a private residence although still proudly displaying  its Star Inn sign from a time during its life as an Inn. The building is still in very good condition and one can imagine the patrons entering the Inn to celebrate their sporting victories or to drown their sorrows after a gallant loss!

Main Text & Information Sources - 
"Here's Cheers" - C.J.Dennison
"Pubs In Hobart From 1807" - David. J .Bryce

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Green Ponds Store, Kempton

The Green Ponds Store was built about 1840 by William Henry Ellis, an emancipated convict who had been transported for embezzlement. Ellis amassed a considerable fortune and by 1843, he had built Dysart House, a grand coaching inn and his store. This store sold everything the local community needed, from ironmongery to ladies lace gloves. Butter for sale was supplied by Mrs Johnson of Lonsdale while such luxuries as wallpaper were all imported.

Buoyed by the success of his store, Ellis arranged for additions to be made to the store in 1852 which enlarged its overall floorplan by more than double. Following his death in 1860, the store continued to operate under the direction of Ellis' sons and operated well into the 20th century.

Unfortunately a fire in 1996 destroyed much of the building including Ellis' 1852 additions. At the southern end of the building is a large public well built by W.H.Ellis to help attract customers to the store.

The building is currently in private hands and it appears that a restoration program is well underway on the building.

Main Information Source - Interpretive Sign at the site.
B&W photograph - Tasmanian Archives - Green Ponds Store, Kempton