Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Falls Of Clyde Inn, Bothwell

The house was constructed in 1831 for Sandy Denholm, a blacksmith. It is a two storey brick and stucco Georgian building with a stone rear section, It was first licensed in 1836 as The Falls Of Clyde, later called The Young Queen from 1851 – 1877 and still later it was known as Maskell’s Hotel. By the late 1800’s the building was known as The Coffee Palace, a coffee house hosting accommodation forming part of the temperance movement from the mid 19th century.

A double storey home of 382 square metres (excluding cellar), boasting a reception room, formal dining room, large living room and 9 bedrooms (4 family bedrooms and 5 guest bedrooms). Bathrooms are located on the ground and upper floors. The residence includes a large country kitchen containing the original bakers oven. The flagstone flooring and exposed wooden beams in the living areas create an historic ambience and make for a unique entertaining and living experience. There are 9 fireplaces throughout. A number of outbuildings are located at the rear, including storage sheds and former stables.

The twentieth century has seen the property operate as a boarding house, doctor’s surgery and residence and antique store. The building is in wonderful condition and remains a private residence to this day and is a really distinctive part of the Bothwell streetscape.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Youtube Video by NationRE on Fall of Clyde from October 2010. 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

St Matthew's Church, Glenorchy

The Church of Scotland submitted a petition to the government in August 1839 requesting the erection of a church at O’Brien’s Bridge (today’s Glenorchy) and agreeing to pay a proportion of the cost.  O’Brien’s Bridge was still a ‘retired and secluded locality’ at that time and the Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen’s Land Gazette asserted that there were ‘no more than about five Presbyterians in the whole district’.

The government agreed to the scheme and the new church was designed by James Blackburn, the great colonial architect who had arrived in the colony as a convict after he had been convicted for forgery and transported in 1833.  The Colonial Times reported that the church would seat two hundred people and predicted the building would be ‘an ornament to the settlement.’  Tenders were called in November 1839 for the construction of a ‘Scotch Church’ and Messrs Kirk and Fisher were appointed to begin construction  on land that was donated by George Hull at a cost of one thousand five hundred pounds

The foundation stone was laid by His Excellency, Sir John Franklin, the Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, on 20th December 1839, and he named the new church St Matthew’s. It was an impressive early Romanesque Revival sandstone church and features of the building include a square corner tower with smaller, octagonal towers to other corners and a row of blind Norman arches in relief..

St Matthew’s was formally opened for public worship in November 1841 when there was a collection in aid of funds as the building had cost ₤1,500 and there was still a considerable debt.  The Courier took the opportunity to comment on the church’s architecture:

‘The church is of dressed freestone, in the Norman style of architecture, with a square tower, which is placed at one of the angles of the body - not in the centre of the front as is customary. It does not appear to us that there is anything incongruous in this, however much it may be opposed to custom - on the contrary, as it is beyond doubt that perfect uniformity of figure in small buildings tends to produce an air of formality, we think the architect commendable for having disregarded established prejudices. On the whole we admire the building,’

The first minister for St. Matthew’s was the Rev. Charles Simson who arrived in 1841 and remained as minister until 1870 Between the years 1842 until 1872 there were approximately 160 burials in this churchyard and after that most people were buried at Cornelian Bay

It is interesting to note that the cemetery attached to the church was at the front of the building and this land was later acquired by the Glenorchy City Council for road widening.  In return the Church was given a small block of land at the rear of the Church (now used for car parking) with a house that had been occupied by the Barrow family.

It was at this time the headstones were removed and placed around the Church. The building still stands on a prominent corner location and is essential to the main road townscape of Glenorchy.

Main Text & Information Sources – 
Australian Heritage Database

Historic Photos – 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


The building which now accommodates the Friends' School was previously known as Hobartville.  The land was originally owned by David Lord, a wealthy property owner, and given to his daughter, Grace, at the time of her marriage to William Wilson. Wilson was a merchant, shipowner and whaler.  Wilson commenced building the house in 1832 and intended to have a two storeyed home which at least twelve or fourteen good sized rooms. The house was named Hobartville. Large stable were added at the rear of the house and for a time the Hobart to Launceston coaches overnighted there. The grounds were laid out to include several acres of fenced paddocks including one in which kangaroo & emu were kept. Wilson died around 1837 and Grace died in August 1844.

Hobartville was subsequently acquired by James Lord, Grace's brother.  James was a landowner and politician, and was interested in horseracing and hunting with hounds.  Hobartville became a regular starting point for hunts which then ranged over Mount Stuart and Knocklofty at a time when the area was still largely undeveloped.  James died at Hobartville in May 1881 and his widow, Mary, died there in December 1884.

The Hobartville estate was then subdivided for residential development and most of it was sold-off in November 1885, although Hobartville and the surrounding 5 acres were retained until it was purchased for the Friends' School in September 1888.

The property was notable for the six hundred feet of brick wall on its western boundary'. The wall is very high and is topped with broken glass embedded in mortar and would have surely discouraged even the most committed burglar.  The bricks are bonded together, rather appropriately, in English Garden Wall pattern with three rows of stretchers followed by one row of headers. The wall appears to date back to the early 1830s when Hobartville was built.  At that time there was a Government brickfield located nearby at the site of today's North Hobart Football Oval and presumably the bricks were manufactured by the convicts working there.

In 1923 Ernest Unwin arrived in Hobart with his wife Ursula, their son and daughter to take up the School's Headmastership. Unwin initiated a huge building program and the School's resources were enhanced. In this period the distinctive appearance of the School changed - with the addition of the magnificent front portico, the Hodgkin Hall, the original science and art block and the boys' boarding wing giving the Hobartville building the look that it has today. The Friends School remains a vibrant part of the education system in Hobart.

Main Text & Information Sources – 
Australian Heritage Database
Interpretive Signs at the site.

Historic Photos – 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Gaolers Residence, Oatlands

A memorandum from Lieutenant Governor George Arthur, dated September 1827, announced the erection of the first gaol at Oatlands. A log-jail, containing four cells for eight men each, will be constructed at Oatlands under the superintendence of Lieutenant Vachell Staff Corps, who will supply the tools from his stores and furnish the carts. A free overseer at a salary not exceeding £25 with 2 carpenters 2 sawyers and eight labourers will be furnished by the Engineer for this work. A small log hut for the Gaoler was commissioned at the same time.

The Gaolers residence was a crudely built hut of logs lashed together. A sod skillion was attached to the rear and the roof pitch was deemed very unsatisfactory, the whole being very low and damp In May 1831, Edward Bolger, Gaoler at Oatlands wrote to the Civil Engineer requesting a new Gaolers residence, as the old one was past service. He also requested repairs to the gaol which had not been repaired since a previous escape attempt. Bolger’s requests apparently fell on deaf ears, and eleven months later the Sherriff’s Office demanded action, reporting “It appears that the Gaol at Oatlands is really in a very dangerous insecure condition, in as much, that any person from the outside could without any difficulty and in very few minutes liberate all the prisoners confined therein.”

John Lee-Archer traveled to Oatlands in May 1832 to inspect the buildings. He reported that the Gaoler’s residence was in a very poor state and barely fit for repair. He recommended contracting repairs to the gaol, which included replacement of several logs and generally securing woodwork and whitewashing  Lee-Archer recommended that the entire complex (the Gaol, Gaolers House and Constables House) should be enclosed in an eight-foot high fence, with gates between the residences and gaol

The Oatlands Gaol was opened in 1836 and housed up to 76 prisoners at any one time, both male and female. Prisoners were sent here for various offences, but the longest sentence ever served was only 18 days long. Between 1844 and 1860 a total of eight men were executed at the Gaol. The Gaol was run and organized by a Gaoler and from 1837 to 1878 a total of eight Gaolers were appointed. They and their families lived in the Gaoler’s Residence and shared their home with the prisoners. Three of the Gaolers – William Glover, Peter Pegus and William Gumley – were known to have had children of various ages who lived in the residence from 1838 until 1873. It is not known whether any of the superintendents who resided in the property from 1878 onwards had children.

After 1863 much of the Gaol building was demolished, as it was beyond the needs of a municipal facility. The yard and the solitary cells were demolished in 1937 and in 1954 a public swimming pool was added to the site. The Gaoler’s Residence survived this destruction and some of the outer walls are also still standing. Over the past three years summer archaeological programs have been run at the site by the Southern Midlands Council as part of a larger project to renovate the Gaoler’s Residence. . The archaeological program worked to uncover the men’s yard, the privy, the gallows and the solitary cells, amongst other parts of the old gaol.

The Gaoler and his family lived on the second floor of the Residence, while the first floor was shared between the Gaoler and the prisoners. An 1835 plan shows that the first floor housed two kitchens – a men’s kitchen and a women’s kitchen – as well as a lobby, store room and porter’s room. The second floor housed two bedrooms, the Gaoler’s kitchen, an office and a parlour. During renovations to the Gaoler’s Residence, toys and other domestic artifacts were discovered under the floorboards of the bedroom, kitchen and rear bedroom on the second floor. The roof of the upstairs bedroom had collapsed and the floorboards needed replacing due to water damage. The floorboards were made of Tasmanian hardwood, which expanded and contracted from fluctuations in the weather, and often had large gaps between the boards allowing many artefacts to be lost beneath them.

Underneath the floor archaeologists found more than 100 toys, including four Noah’s Ark animals, a doll’s arm, Frozen Charlotte dolls, chalk, a ceramic doll’s tea pot, and a metal tea cup, a ceramic and a wooden doll’s plate, a vase, a paper puppet, a tennis ball, four dominos, a wooden whistle, and 16 marbles. A study project focused on how the identification of the toys could identify the status of the families, the gender of the children and the use of the rooms in the Gaoler’s Residence. Many of the toys were handmade and have therefore been difficult to identify or date. The Noah’s Arks, for example, were usually hand crafted and, because of their religious significance, often the only toys that children were allowed to play with on a Sunday. Four partial Noah’s Ark animals were recovered from the underfloor deposits: a camel, a weasel, a pig and a hedgehog.

Archeologists have been able to identify positively the date of only one of the toys – an ace of spades printed by the United States Playing Card Co. It is a Bicycle playing card, number 808. The ace of spades depicts the statue of freedom, which in 1865 was placed on top of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. The ace of spades in the Oatlands collection is a racer number 1 series, which was introduced in 1895 and ran until 1906. During this period there were six families living in the Gaol, and the date range of the card spans the majority of their occupation of the Gaol. Three of the families had children; however playing cards were used more by adults than by children. There were 66 other playing cards in the underfloor deposits that are also Bicycle playing cards. These are the 808 series of playing cards and have blue and red patterns on their backs. The 808 series was introduced in 1885.

The Gaoler’s residence, still being almost wholly intact has served a variety of uses since 1938, including a private residence, WWII soldiers base, an art school and public meeting rooms (Country Women’s Association and Rural Youth). The building has served no specific purpose since the early 1980’s, with regular maintenance by the Southern Midlands Council preventing its deterioration, the Oatlands Gaoler’s residence offers significant potential for a variety of future uses.

Main Text & Information Sources –