The house at Slateford started it's existence as a two roomed, rubble walled dwelling in the mid 1820's. The land was a grant of 500 acres to George Brooks in 1823, three years after his arrival in Van Dieman's Land. All did not go well for Brooks and the property was ultimately acquired by the hard working and enterprising John Terry who owned and operated the Lachlan River Mill at what was known at the time as Elizabeth Town (Soon to be renamed New Norfolk).
John Terry had been a miller back in England and had moved to Sydney in October 1818 with his wife, eight daughters, three sons and two mill stones. Sydney did not seem to appeal to Terry and he moved his family again in 1819 to Elizabeth Town where he established his milling operation. He took up another grant soon after and established his property "Askrigg" in nearby Macquarie Plains (Now known as Gretna). In 1827 he purchased the property known as Slateford from George Brooks and his son, Thomas, moved to Slateford and proceeded to farm the property.
Even by the standards of the day, when the construction techniques dictated to use bulk to overcome and lack of building skill, the walls of the original dwelling are extremely thick, being two and a half feet thick. The upgrading that was to follow over many years was predicted by the inclusion of a very attractive pine front door. the door was topped by a fanlight, part of which comprised some fifty or so segments of pine painstakingly crafted into a curved shape.
Attractive weatherboard additions at the front of the house were thought to have been the work of Edward terry in about 1880 - 1890 and it was further extended, at the rear, in the 1930's. It is interesting to note the resilience of the 19th century weatherboards which face the prevailing weather. It is also interesting to speculate on the actual location of the house. Whilst it overlooks the Derwent River, it's not that close to the river bank, nor is it high enough up the bank in order to take advantage of the views on offer.
In the days of shingle roofs, there was not the option of collecting rainwater as is commonplace now, so a fresh water supply was a key consideration for the siting of the house. It had been believed that a spring was located just behind the original part of the house thus providing the required fresh water. Later tests were to prove that water was in fact present right where family legend had the spring located.
The millstones that accompanied John Terry on his journey from England now take pride of place outside St Mathews Close in New Norfolk. It would be great to know if the Terry family still own Slateford.
Main Text & Information Source -
"From Black Snake To Bronte" - Book by Audrey Holiday & John Trigg
Wikipedia - John Terry
Australian Dictionary Of Biography - John Terry