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 late1830's until the present day.

The story of the Inn's origin was that it was constructed by Postmaster William Roadknight, a pardoned convict, as a private residence and shop between 1826 - 1838. The original building was constructed with the help of government service labor. Roadknight was the Policeman, Mill Owner, Poundkeeper and first Postmaster of Hamilton. The property was first licensed as The New Inn in 1838 by John Mowatt.

The Inn may have begun life as The New Inn, but over the years it has been know by various other names. 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

A Huge Thank You to Ian Sampson who provided me with some corrected information to what was on the original post.

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

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Kerry Lodge Bridge, Franklin Village

Kerry Lodge Bridge, also known as Strathroy Bridge and Jinglers Creek Bridge, is a fine stone bridge built by convict labour in 1835 and considered the earliest major bridge on the Midlands Highway. The bridge is still in operation today on the old Midland Highway, also known as Hobart Rd. The new Midland Highway was upgraded and redirected during the construction of the southern outlet into Launceston, bypassing a number of Launceston outer suburbs and allowing motorists to travel into the city centre at almost highway speeds. The bridge can be seen from the new highways sections off to the side of the road as you cross over Jinglers Creek

Kerry Lodge Bridge adopts the name from the nearby property where Theodore and Hannah Bartley, the parents of sixteen children, lived. In 1830 Bartley sold a farm of 200 acres at Kerry Lodge to Lieutenant William Kenworthy, the Inspector of Public Works at Launceston, who later became concerned in the building of the bridge. Kerry Lodge House was demolished and the property now forms part of Strathroy.

Kerry Lodge Bridge is located on the original Midland Highway, some six miles (9.6 kilometers) just south of Launceston. The bridge was authorised by Lieutenant Governor Arthur, with work commencing in 1834. Lieutenant William Kenworthy was in charge on site, with John Lee Archer in overall charge in Hobart. Archer was also responsible for designing the magnificent Ross Bridge.

This bridge and causeway of bluestone masonry stands some six miles south of Launceston, its high single barrel vault across a deep gully. The massive facades are decorated with a colonnade of narrow pilasters, string courses and relief panels in the parapet walls. The copings are of random rough stones set on edge, unusual in Tasmania and particularly curious because at the time the bridge was built it was intended to have moulded freestone copings.

After an initial delay in consideration of tenders for the supply of lime, work was under way in February 1834 and by October correspondence was entered into about the provision of freestone for the coping of the parapet walls, a plan which did not materialise. The government records from 1835 states:
"This convict built bridge has been completed and a Stone Coping has been put on the parapet walls. The expense of convict labour performed amounts to 19 pounds no shillings and 4 pence and the further sum of one hundred and nine pounds seventeen shillings has been paid for stone lime and cartage.

Strathroy Bridge was added to the Tasmanian Heritage Register in April 2012 and in May 2012 the National Trust applied to the Launceston Council for funding assistance to install lighting at the bridge. Jingler's Valley, through which the railway passes after leaving St. Leonards was named after an outlaw who once made it his headquarters, hence Jingler's Creek.

This is a beautiful example of a convict constructed bridge and although it doesn’t seem to get the recognition of the likes of the convict bridges at Ross, Richmond & Campbelltown, it is an excellent example of the national transport infrastructure that was created during the convict era and that still survives and provides service to the travelling community to this day. Well worth taking the time to stop and check it out as you travel to and from Launceston.

Main Text & Information Source - 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Knocklofty Terrace Bounday Marker

Here's an interesting little curio of a bygone age.

West Hobart's beginnings was as a semi - rural region on the outskirts of town on the lower slopes of the foothills of Mt Wellington. It originally consisted of small dairy farms, orchards and market gardens. The first residents were presented with fantastic panoramic views of the ever growing city and the river estuary below them. The hilly terrain made access to the area rather challenging for pre motor car residents and also kept the pace of local development quite slow.

There seems to have been an abundance of sandstone discovered in the area and several sandstone quarries were established around the Knocklofty area. These quarries ultimately provided flagging stones and sandstone blocks for building in the region. A number of fine buildings such as St Marys Cathedral used this local sandstone. The Knocklofty area went on to become a centre of brickmaking with a brickworks established in 1882 by well known local builder, Rippon Shields. The brickworks continued operations until the mid 1960's when it was closed and ultimately demolished. Throughout this time, the council bounderies were being established and becoming what we know as the suburbs of today.

This little curio can be found on the intersection of Knocklofty Terrace and Poets Road and is one of the old sandstone Hobart City Council boundary markers. The council boundary originally ran along Knocklofty Terrace. It is only a small piece of history but it's wonderful that it has survived to this day. It's easily accessible and can be easily viewed.

Main Text & Information Source - "The Story Of West Hobart Street By Street" - Donald Howatson 2014

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Matilda

The Matilda is one of the 12 oldest fishing/sailing vessels in the world, as listed in the International Register of Historic Ships (England 1993). It is also the best remaining example of the double ended fishing boats that were common around south east Tasmania until the late 1940's.

It was built around 1886 , probably not far from when it currently stands, at Old Wharf on the northern side of Sullivan's Cove. By 1895, well known professional fisherman, James Moody owned it and named it after his wife, Matilda. The boat was then based at Port Arthur and worked around the Tasman Peninsula. After the Tasman Island lighthouse was commissioned in 1906, the Matilda carried mail & passengers to and from the lighthouse.

When Charley Moody enlisted in the merchant navy at the beginning of WW2, the Matilda was sold to the Spaulding family of Nubeena. They used it for recreation and commercial crayfishing. Hobart fisherman, Les Bennett then bought the Matilda and based it at Constitution Dock where he would sell his catch direct to the public. Les & the Matilda also won the fishing boat race in 1955 Hobart regatta. By 1974, Les was too old to continue fishing and he sold the Matilda. Eventually it was returned to Port Arthur and displayed on site.

In 1999, the Port Arthur Historic Site authority  transferred the Matilda to the Hobart City Council who restored it as part of the Mawson Place project. The Matilda had been modified many times to suits its multitude of roles. It has now been restored to its appearance from the 1940's. When it was built, however, it didn't have an aft cabin or an engine. In calm weather, the crew would have to row.

the Matilda is now displayed on a pontoon at Mawson Place, rather than in the water so as to minimize the amount of historic fabric that had to be replaced. The Matilda is a fragile yet enduring reminder of Tasmania's enduring connection with the sea and of the many ways that in which Tasmanians have "Gone Down To the Sea In Ships"

Main Text & Information Source - Information Board at the Site

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Fuselier Cottage

Much of the building that took place in colonial Hobart Town made use of the abundant supplies of available sandstone. This gave the streetscapes of Hobart town a really appealing and distinctive look. Originally built as a gentleman's residence in Battery Point, this pretty little cottage was built using sandstone but also included quite a lot of bluestone. This made for a really different look to many of the other buildings surrounding it.

It was built around 1840 for Angus Mcleod, a Scottish musician and soldier who was the bandleader for the 21st Royal Scottish Fusiliers regiment. When his regiment arrived in Hobart Town in 1833, McLeod started to consider retirement from military life. This suggestion was warmly received by the Hobart Town Courier who wrote that "the colony has recently acquired a considerable accession of musical talent" in the person of the recently arrived bandmaster and that staying here was definitely on his mind.

When his regiment did eventually go on to India, Mcleod did stay behind and the year prior to having Fusilier Cottage constructed, he had a notice inserted in the Courier noting " Mr Mcleod, twenty five years master of the band of the 21st Royal Scottish  Fusiliers, having settled here following the departure of the regiment for India, informs the public that he teaches and tunes the pianoforte, likewise teaches the violin, clarinet, flute and all other wind instruments".

The following year he gave a successful public concert and eventually moved into his newly completed new home. In honour of his old regiment, Mcleod decided to name his house, Fusilier Cottage. The place became a virtual musical headquarters with Mcleod taking on many musical pupils but also as the headquarters for his new  Quadrille Band which provided musical entertainment for the population of Hobart Town.

The original building contained only four rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs with ceiling a little more than 2 metres high. Both these rooms have dormer windows which face the back of the house, leaving the existence of the 2nd story hidden from street view. the design is of a very simple design, without much embellishment. The Windows are of a generous size and let in plenty of light

Well before McLeod died in 1863 at the age of 77, he had moved from Fusilier Cottage to Sandy Bay because he had a large family well settled into the colony and the Cottage was not large enough to bring up such a large family. For many years after the McLeod family had moved on to Sandy Bay, the house continued to be a family residence. One family lived there from shortly after the first world war to well after the end of the second.

Today the property is still in private hands and still continues to take pride of place in the wonderful existing streetscape of Hampden Rd, Battery Point. In my humble opinion it is still as striking to look at as it must have been when first constructed.

Main Text & Information Source - 
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman