When Lieutenant Governor David Collins arrived in February 1804 and chose the Sullivan's Cove area as a place for his settlement, one of the key reasons for his choice was the presence of the Hobart Rivulet as a source of fresh clean water for the new settlement.
He was sure that the rivulet would be a constant supply of fresh water with its source being high in the adjoining mountains. A consistency of supply was one thing but it would be useless to the settlement if the water was not kept clean and pure. Collins issued a general order that cautioned the settlers against polluting the stream by any means whatsoever, under threat of being severely punished.
It didn't take too long before industrial interests found the force of the rivulet's flowing waters to be strong and reliable enough to turn water wheels etc and in time, there would be flour mills, distilleries, breweries, timber mills and tanneries dotted along the banks of the rivulet exploiting the potential of the flowing waters. By 1870 there were three tanneries where hides were turned into leather based in the lower part of Weld Street, South Hobart. At the time this street was known as Elphinstone St.
This house and it's attached barn appear to have been associated with the tannery crafts. The buildings are in good condition and currently being used as a private residence. It is a very distinctive presence in Weld Street and in my opinion, give a real indication of what the area used to look like. It's a very interesting looking building and it's a shame that it's not so well known, but then that's probably just how the owners like it. Interestingly, the property doesn't appear on the Australian Heritage Database or the Tasmanian Heritage Register but based on the history of the area, this property probably deserves to be. Let's hope that it is included in the near future.
Main Information & Text Source -
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman