Monday, 29 April 2013

Hobart Town Hall

Hobart Town Hall, erected between 1864-1866, is important as the first permanent council chambers for Hobart Municipal Council. Designed by noted architect Henry Hunter, to complement the adjacent Royal Society of Tasmania Museum, the buildings of the Town Hall signify the establishment of municipal government in the Colony of Tasmania.

The site is associated with the first and second Government Houses established in 1804 and 1811 on the prominent site selected by Lieutenant Governor Collins at the head of Sullivan's Cove. Until 1857 the area was the administrative and residential centre of the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s Land.
The area of Hobart dedicated to government functions was one of the first areas to be used by Lt Governor David Collins when he arrived in 1804 to replace Bowen, who had established an earlier settlement at Risdon Cove. The first Government House was erected in 1804 as a residence for Collins. The second Government House was begun within three years in the area of Elizabeth Street. Over the years works were undertaken to the rambling building which at times was in a state of decay. Further work on the building was suspended until 1853 when it was determined that a new Lt Governor's Residence would be built in the grounds of the Domain.

Hobart had been proclaimed a city in 1842. The four streets defining the site of the Town Hall were completed following demolition of the old Government House in 1858, on completion of the new building. The Municipality of Hobart was created in 1852 when the first Council meetings were held in temporary premises. In 1855 the Hobart Municipal Council applied for land in the Queens Domain to erect a Town Hall, but this was refused. In 1858, when the city was incorporated, meetings were still held in temporary buildings.

A competition held in 1861 was to determine the future design of the Town Hall. Henry Hunter, who had designed the adjacent museum, was invited to produce the final design for the new Town Hall. The building was to align with the adjacent Royal Society of Tasmania Museum and due regard was to be paid to the Argyle and Davey Street frontages as well as the two main frontages to Macquarie and Elizabeth Streets. In 1863 the Government notified the Council that it disapproved of the plans for the Town Hall on the grounds that it included new Police Buildings. The approved building works omitted the service wing on the Cove side of the site.

The foundation stone was laid in 1864, the building taking two years to complete by builder John Gowland and Clerk of Works James Porter. The stone for the buildings came from two separate sources: a quarry at Knocklofty, and a new quarry on the Derwent River, near Bridgewater. The first section erected included the Argyle Street wing fronting on to Macquarie Street. Tenders received in 1866 for the remainder of the building included one from Gowland and a second from Wiggins. The new contract was awarded to Gowland.

On completion of the building, Council described the structure as being attributed to the 'Italian style, producing some of the more striking characteristics of the Venetian School'. The overall detail and treatment of the elevations was styled after the Farnese palace in Rome. The classically styled Town Hall with breakfront and balancing wings makes an imposing contribution to the streetscape. The resultant urban space provides an appropriate setting for the building as focus of a historic precinct. The building is a fine example of a Victorian Italianate public building achieved through bold massing of architectural forms and intricate detailing. The overall cost of the Town Hall was close to 20,000 pounds.

In 1871 a stone wall was erected around the boundary, with trees obtained from the Botanical Gardens for landscaping.

The Town Hall has strong, ongoing associations with the Hobart community and is important as a place highly valued by the community for its symbolic, cultural and social associations. In the month leading up to the federation referendum of 3 June 1898, the Hobart Town Hall was the venue for a number of important federation meetings, as well as housing the office of the Southern Tasmanian Federal League. Shortly after its formation at a meeting at the Australian Natives Association’s rooms in Hobart on 3 May, this organization applied to the city's mayor to use, free of charge, a room in the Town Hall as an office space until the day of the referendum. The request was granted, whereupon the room became for the duration of the referendum campaign the centre of operations for the 'yes' vote.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Franklin Square, Hobart

Governor Lachlan Macquarie was Hobart’s first town planner and in 1811, he laid out a large area including what is now Franklin Square and named it George’s Square in honor of the King. He intended it to be the site of a church, a court house, a town hall, a public market, a main guard and public garrison parade area.
From 1817, regular musters were held there, segregated so that free men, free women, convict men & convict women were all assembled on different days to be counted. No one could forget that Hobart Town was a prison! The site was even the original location of the first substantial Government House, initially constructed in 1817.

With the end of transportation in 1853 everyone relaxed. The former parade and muster grounds became a public park. Colonists still homesick for the rich greens of England planted oaks in 1863, and later added elders, elms, limes and other European species. The variety is wonderful and the new park must have been very popular.

The 1850’s were boom years for Tasmania. There was plenty of money around from whale oil, the Victorian gold rush and wheat production. There was also great confidence in a glorious future for the newly independent colony. Grand public buildings are a traditional means of expressing such optimism so in 1860 a new Supreme Court building was built facing Macquarie Street on Franklin Square. At that time it was decided that criminal & civil sittings should be held in different buildings. Civil cases were held in Franklin Square whilst criminal cases were tried in the former chapel at the Campbell Street goal. The new building in Franklin Square also accommodated the Executive Council and rooms were provided for the Governor. It is still in use as a court.

The discovery of rich mineral resources in the 1880’s bought renewed confidence in a bright future and by 1884 extra buildings were being constructed next to the Supreme Court building to provide improved accommodations for the public offices. It now houses the offices of the Department of Premier and cabinet.

In 1923 it passed into the control of the Hobart City Council who embarked on major improvements including repairs to the pond and stocking it with goldfish, placing cane baskets around for rubbish bins, paving and gravelling of paths and new garden beds and lawn areas.

Much of the effect of this work was spoilt by the air raid trenches dug in 1942. The multiple jet fountain and colored lights were installed in 1964 and an ambitious remodeling program won a national award in 1986.
It is now a popular place for workers at lunch time and a forum venue for political rallies

Monday, 22 April 2013

St Mary's College, Hobart

St Mary's College is a Catholic girls' school established in 1868 by the Presentation Order, which was founded in Ireland to educate poor and disadvantaged children, especially girls. In 1866, Bishop Murphy appealed to his sister, Superior of the Presentation Convent in Fermoy, to assist him by opening a catholic school in Harrington St, Hobart. Mother Murphy and a small group of nuns arrived in 1866. In 1868 Mount St Mary's (as the school was known) received its first pupils, including boys and boarders.

The fine sandstone convent building was designed to “sit astride a grassy rise” by the convict architect, Henry Hunter. Originally there were two schools on the present-day campus - St Columba's (a free primary school for the poorer community) and Mt St Mary's. The two were eventually merged. Although it is primarily an all-girls school, until the opening of St Virgil's College in 1911 on the block behind St Mary's, the college catered for boys in senior grades as well.

The College continued to develop on its prominent site next to St Mary's Cathedral, the boarding house closing in 1971. Today, St Mary's College embodies the special charisma of its founding Sisters in offering a faith-oriented quality education to girls from kindergarten to Grade 12, with boys from kindergarten to Grade 2. St Mary's College is still administered by the Presentation Sisters, with lay principals from 1999. The original convent and school-rooms are still on-site today.

A respected and flourishing educational institution, St Mary’s College has nurtured the spiritual, cultural, academic and sporting lives of many thousands of Tasmanian students in three different centuries. The convent building is in immaculate condition and beautifully situated, easily visible as you drive along Harrington St, nestled next to St Mary’s Cathedral. It is truly a beautiful example of mid 19th century architecture.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Triabunna House

Triabunna House was built as an inn for Thomas Martin, a publican, to provide accommodation for the military from Maria Island.
It was repossessed by the mortgagor, George Rudd, in 1846.  Triabunna House was a public house and shop until 1859 and was finally sold to Robert Robinson as part of George Rudd’s bankrupt estate for 275 pounds. Although it was a large house, the timber extensions were made in the late 1880’s. It is thought that Robert Robinson built the buttressed front windows and doors to advertise the stone from the Okehampton quarry.

The wooden additions were used for the installation of the electric telegraph and the Post office and Annie Robinson and her daughter, Clara, were the postmistresses until 1911.
The shop specialized in clothing, dress materials and haberdashery. Annie Robinson was a dear old lady who always wore a cap. She wrote to her son, Fred, saying “Its is well I can earn my own living and don’t want for pensions”

The excellence of the Robinsons and then the Thompson Family Boarding House was known throughout Tasmania. From 1906, it provided accommodation and meals for visitors and passengers on the horse and motor coaches and a new dining room was added in 1925.
A meal cost 2s 6d with a choice of 2 soups, 2 entrees, 2 meats with vegetables and a choice of sweets with tea or coffee. All the food was locally produced, for they had their own cows, poultry and vegetable garden. Apples and pears can from the Rostrevor Orchard, a mile away which for many years was one of the largest orchards in the southern hemisphere.

The Thompson family managed the boarding house until it closed when the bigger dining room opened up at Thompson’s Spring Bay Hotel further down the road.

Text & Information sourced from signs around the streets of Triabunna.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Cascade Brewery

Cascade started from an unlikely place - the Old Hobart Gaol. Serving time for not paying his debts to England, Peter Degraves felt there was something more to the Cascade streams, something great. It was there, in his cell, that he drew up the designs for the Cascade brewery. Once freed, he rolled up his sleeves and made his vision come to life. It can be said that remarkable men are capable of remarkable things. Peter Degraves was exactly that. Landing in Hobart on his ship "Hope" in 1824, Degraves instantly felt the opportunity that lay before him. So he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. In 28 short years, De Graves would go on to build the Cascade Brewery, finance and build the Theatre Royal, establish sawmilling in Australia and develop a profitable shipbuilding business. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. Degraves was twice imprisoned in the Hobart Town Gaol. But that didn't interrupt his drive.

While sitting in his cell, Degraves designed the Cascade Brewery and redesigned the Gaol. The man was never without a vision. He might have been an Englishman by birth, but Degraves embodied the Tassie spirit of hard work, dedication and ambition. It was said that upon landing in Hobart, he made a promise to produce "genuine beer… beer that cannot be excelled in this colony." And in true Tassie fashion, he achieved what he said he would, and much more. The brewery business was booming. By 1850, 48 breweries in Tasmania were eyeing the market share.  So Degraves and his team put their heads down and got to work.

Soon, word on Cascade's quality started spreading. The result? The brew from Hobart, Tasmania, was being sold in Sydney and Melbourne. Cascade was now at the top looking down. The design and corporate logo began with William Piguenit. He was a Tasmanian, the first ever Australian-born landscape painter and a draughtsman by profession. On his time off, Piguenit took great pleasure in capturing the varying moods of Mount Wellington and the brewery's surroundings. His mind's eye was astonished and delighted at the "lofty and rugged mountain ranges, deep ravines, great valleys, more or less precipitous and covered for the greater part with dense forests and impenetrable scrub." (Mike Bingham - Cascade: A Taste of History). It inspired him. So it was only natural that in 1870, he drew an advertisement for C. & J. Degraves. His work was ornamented by sketches of the brewery along with the Tasmanian tiger (also know as a thylacine) and that's how Cascade's association with the thylacine started. To this day, it remains one of the company's prominent symbols and continues to live on the Cascade Premium and Premium Light labels. The tiger now triumphantly stands on a carved barrel above the entrance to the company's head office in Hobart, sculpted in the 1870s by Edward Martin Richards.

Peter Degraves led a remarkable life. Yet all good things must come to an end, and at the age of 74 he passed away. 30 years later, a new era was ushered in when the brewery was purchased from his sons by Messrs. John Wemyss Syme, Charles William Chapman & James Aikman. Inheriting Degraves' vision and thirst for hard work, the group acquired another Hobart brewery and floated Cascade Brewery Limited as a public company on May 26th, 1883.

Fatty Appleton was one colorful brewery worker. He worked down on the docks loading and unloading Cascade barrels from the ships in Hobart. Short, stocky and stout, Fatty was well known for carrying a firkin barrel under each arm. This skill would later prove handy for "crowd control" down at the local whenever things got out of hand. On March 1st 1922, Cascade acquired the manufacturing interest of J. Boag and Son in Launceston, who continued to produce its unique beer for the North. Unbeknownst to Cascade at the time, this move would later play a crucial role during the disastrous fire of 1967.
Five short years later, major extensions took place. And while things looked different from outside with three new floors and a new brewing plant, Cascade's defining identity remained the same - quality. Bushfires and Southern Tasmania were no strangers. The hills around the brewery were thickly wooded and had called upon the fire hoses many a times. But what was about to happen was like nothing Southern Tasmania had seen before.

On the morning of Tuesday, February 7, 1967, the front page headline of the Hobart Mercury read: "Bushfires menacing the State: Danger could be critical." They weren't kidding. By 10 a.m., the temperature was 33.5°C and by 12 p.m., it was 39°C. The peak came at 1:30 p.m. with 40°C and winds gusting at 65 knots. Just like that, Southern Tasmania exploded. 1300 homes destroyed. 500,000 acres burned. The height of the blaze was so powerful that looking back, experts figure that the energy released by the fires exceeded that of several atomic explosions. It was a fiery inferno that could be seen from just about anywhere. It's been said that a Japanese trawler skipper heading for Hobart quickly headed back for the open sea when his eyes took in the burning coastline. He was convinced that nothing could survive it.

However, while all this was going on, the brewery remained isolated from the sweeping disaster. Workers went about their usual business. In fact, at the time, that Tuesday was historic for a very different reason. In the bottling cellar, the new rip-top cans were being filled for the first time ever in Australia. But that all changed at 2pm, crisis descending on the brewery in the form of a wall of fire. Within 15 minutes, the whole building was burning fiercely. Workers ran home to check on their families before returning to valiantly fight off the flames but to no avail. They were losing everything by the minute. And while they kept fighting until there was nothing left, the real battle for Cascade's future was just about to begin. Not everything was smooth sailing. A large part of the building was wiped out.

Armed with the same drive that defined Cascade, General Manager H.J. Gray began rebuilding while the ashes were still smouldering. He then proclaimed that production would return in 12 short weeks. But Gray was wrong. He would be off by one day. In the meantime, Gray couldn't let Hobart's beer supply run dry. So he arranged alternative supplies, first with beer from the only undamaged tank, then from Boags along with Carlton and United Breweries. Hobart continued to have cold beer flowing even while the ashes were still hot.

By 1983, Cascade had grown beyond Degraves' wildest expectations. It now employed over 600 people, and indirectly thousands more. Cascade had also grown past beer with cider, soft drinks, vinegar, black currant and apple juices under its name. One century after breaking ground in Hobart, Cascade is a name synonymous with Tasmania.

Text & Information sourced from the Cascades brewery website.