Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel

Murray Street, Hobart was named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie during his visit to Van Diemen's Land in 1811. It was named after Captain John Murray who had been one of the administrators who were tasked with looking after the running of the settlement during the period following the unexpected death of Lieutenant Governor David Collins in March 1810.

By 1825, retired soldiers from the Royal Veteran Company of New South Wales began receiving land grants in the area around the northern end of Murray Street. The soldiers had received the land grants and a small brick cottage in lieu of free passage back to England and a pension. There were approx 30 small cottages constructed in the area which created a small community that became known as "Veterans Row". The cottages were constructed by the Royal Engineers Department and were described a small huts consisting of only three rooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom.

As the small community became established, other services began to spring up in the area. One of establishments that became a popular meeting place for the soldiers of Veterans Row was the Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel. The hotel was first licensed by William Cleary in May 1834. Cleary was one of the veterans who lived in the area. The pub was named after a former Governor of New South Wales and became a regular meeting place for the community of veteran soldiers.

During the mid 1830's, Cleary was also involved in other business ventures and he took out a lease on the nearby Government Lime Kilns. The pub became a place for those wishing to purchase lime to place their orders.

William Cleary died in 1850 and his wife, Agnes, gained permission to continue as the pubs new licencee and keep the pub operating. When Agnes passed away, the operation of the pub was taken over by her son, James. By the late 1860's, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Hotel had ceased to be licensed and had become a private residence. It appears that this has been the situation ever since as the building still exists and is in wonderful condition although probably nothing like it's original layout. It remains in use as private units to this day.

Main Information Sources - 
Information Signs at the Site
"The Story Of North Hobart - Street By Street" - Donald Howatson 2013

Sunday, 27 July 2014


Considered by some as a Georgian style sandstone masterpiece, Cottesloe stands on land that was first owned by Lieutenant Governor William Sorell. In the 1820's the land passed into the hands of one William Kermode who was a merchant and settler and eventually became a founding shareholder of the Bank of van Diemens Land. Kermode has also previously received a large land grant near Ross. It appears that between this time and Kermode's death in 1852, he used the area as an orchard and had a small dwelling house on the land.

It appears that sometime during the 1850's, the land was sold and it was William Fairchild, who was a timber merchant and the former licensee of the Shipman Town Arms, located on the opposite side of Colville st, and which later became the Shipwright's Arms Hotel, who began construction of Cottesloe in 1855. However, Fairchild was destined not to see his new townhouse completed as he died in 1855 with construction incomplete. The property was put up for auction in 1859 and at the time, it was stated that "the building could be completed at a trifling cost with the necessary cut stone already having been stockpiled on the site."

Obviously at some stage following the auction, the house was completed and exuded an atmosphere of late Georgian charm.  It contained typically high ceilings featuring elaborate cornices and an imposing arch in the hallway. The floors were of polished timber. The entry path contains a very old sundial and led to large paved areas with stone steps leading to the doors. Surrounding the property is a solid stone wall topped with pointed wrought iron fencing.

It became a very attractive house and one that subsequent owners decided to live in for long periods of time. in fact, for the half century between 1898 and 1948, Cottesloe was home to only two families. In 1898, Joshua Hamilton, who was associated with the Bank of Van Diemen's land, and his family, called Cottesloe home and it wasnt until 1921 that the ownership of the property changed hands when it was purchased by William. S. Verren, who lived there until around 1948. Since then, the property appears to have remained a private residence and does so to this day.

The house carries the highest classification of the National Trust and is on the register of the National Estate and is also listed , although only briefly, on the Australian Heritage Database. A beautiful building.!

Main Text & Information Sources
Australian Dictionary Of Biography - William Kermode
"The Story of Battery Point - Street By Street" - Donald Howatson 2012
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Hamilton Inn

It certainly could be said that the Hamilton Inn would appear to be one of history's great survivors. From being one of over a half dozen coaching inns in and surrounding Hamilton, the Hamilton Inn has outlasted all of the others, having been continuously licensed from the 1830's until the present day.

There appears to be a couple of differing accounts as to the origins of the Hamilton Inn. One account was that The Inn was constructed by John Collins and his wife, Elizabeth, following their move to Hamilton from Hobart Town in 1832. John was a convict who had been sentenced to transportation to the colonies for seven years for theft in 1821. John was only 17 years of age at the time. Somewhere in the following years, John and his wife appear to have gotten themselves in some sort of bother by "keeping a disorderly house for the reception of lewd persons of both sexes". It would seem this incident was what caused John & Elizabeth to pack up their belongings and move to Hamilton. 
Another account as to the Inn's origin was that it was constructed by Postmaster William Roadknight as a private residence and shop in 1830 and was first licensed as The New Inn in 1838.

The Inn may have begun life as the Hamilton Inn, but over the years it has been know by various other names. It appears to have been known locally at some stage as The New Inn. Sometime around 1860, the name was changed and became Hart's Hotel. Following a major fire in the region during 1932, the Inn was known as The West Coast Road Hotel.By 1956, it was the Hamilton Hotel and finally in 1986, it's name was reverted back to The Hamilton Inn, a name it carries to this day.
The major fire that struck the Inn in 1932 almost saw an end to the pub as it appears that the Inn sustained major fire damage. A humorous story from that time is as follows

"Apparently the Hamilton school children were let out of school on the day of the fire and many of the kids helped out with the big clean up around the Inn. To show his gratitude to the children, the publican gave all the kids what he though were water damaged bottles of cordial. It wasn't until the children began complaining about the taste of their cordial, that the publican realized his mistake - he hadn't given them cordial, he had given them bottles of rum by mistake"

The Inn rose from the ashes and has continued to provide shelter, a good meal and a cold beer. Major renovations and restorations have taken place over the years by various owners as they all sought to bring the Inn as close as possible to its original form. 
A beautiful place to visit. Stay a few days or swing by for a quiet ale!

Main Information Sources - 
From Black Snake to Bronte : "Heritage buildings of the Derwent Valley in Tasmania" By Audrey Holiday & John Trigg

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Wellington Grange

Wellington Grange is a stone mansion house that dates from the 1850’s. It was built by John Fisher and he lived in what was described as a ‘desirable and commodious gentleman’s residence until his death. In 1899, the trustees of his estate agreed to lease the property to a local group who were seeking to set up a homeopathic hospital, that would go one to become only the second hospital of its type established in the southern hemisphere.

The Hobart Homeopathic Hospital was opened on 26 September 1899 by Sir Edward Braddon, the Tasmanian Premier, on Cascade Road South Hobart. It had 23 beds and was a training school for nurses. Descriptions from the time stated that “Viewed from the Cascades Road, the house, which stands a little off the road in the midst of four and a half acres of land, is a solid square building of grey stone, showing eight windows to the north. The avenue leading to the house is from the Cascades Road, and the principal entrance to the building faces the east, on which side there are five windows.

The house carries with it one acre of land; but there are in addition three and a half acres attached, a portion of which is let to a market gardener. Should, therefore, the property be at any time bought by the hospital committee they will have the abundant grounds necessary for a large hospital, and the confirmation of the building at present on the land will adapt itself to any mode of enlargement which might be adopted.

The house is built of stone, with slate roof, and has been thoroughly overhauled at considerable cost, and is now in first-class order. The drainage, ventilation, and all the adjuncts necessary for making it a perfect hospital, on a small scale, have been carried out under the supervision and to the satisfaction of the secretary and engineering inspector of the Central Board of Health. The internal arrangements are in harmony with the exterior of the building. The rooms are large and lofty, well ventilated, and fitted with all necessary for the comfort of patients and those having care of them.

The ground floor is occupied by the hospital staff, and the upper floor contains the wards for patients - one for men, one for women, and a third for children." It was reported at the time of the opening that the patients could breathe the pure air from Mount Wellington and the eye of the sick person would be gladdened by the varied scenery by which the property is surrounded.

The hospital operated successfully for approx 30 years before falling on hard times. By March 1930 the Hospital was having financial difficulties and it was taken over by the Anglican Church in 1932, re-named as St John’s Hospital. During the 1930’s the management started an expansion program of the facility with the addition of operating theatres and more wards with the final outcome aimed at producing a self contained institution.

St John’s was steadily developed throughout the 20th century to become the thoroughly modern hospital of today. However, the Wellington Grange Mansion house remains at the very heart of the hospital to this day.

Main Text & Information Sources -

“The Story Of  South Hobart – Street By Street” Donald Howatson 2012