Thursday, 30 October 2014

Traveller's Rest Inn

This pub was originally built as a private residence. Susan Strickland had purchased some 10 acres of land sloping down from the eastern side of the Main Road to the River Derwent in 1832 and proceeded to have constructed "a truly delightful cottage residence" The property was advertised for sale in the "Colonial Times" in November 1835 and the notice highlighted "the inexhaustible fishing available from the Derwent and the bustling and amusing scene of the main road in front". Located on the main road with all the traffic heading to New Norfolk & Launceston passing the front door, the property was ideal for use as a public house.

The premises were briefly licensed as "The Happy Abodes" but the name was changed to "The Fox Inn" when new publican, George William Robinson, took charge of the Inn. One of the interesting activities that Robinson undertook at the Fox Inn was to organize a rifle shooting match where 40 geese, 20 ducks and 10 turkeys were to be fired upon from 150 yards at 1 shilling per shot. Refreshments of the best possible description were to be provided at a moderate charge.

By late 1840, the Fox Inn was advertised for sale when it was described as a substantial well built brick house of ten room, with good stabling and out offices. The notice also stated that the Inn ran a good trade though was capable of being materially increased. Shortly after, however, the Fox Inn had been closed down and by September 1842, William Henry Wilmot had established the Chigwell Academy, a premises where Wilmot was offering to educate 12 young gentlemen for 12 pounds 10 shillings per quarter. Unfortunately, the Chigwell Academy was not a success and soon closed.

The building was in a great location for a pub and the premises were licensed again by February 1845, this time as "The Travellers Rest Inn. The new publican was Thomas Chapman who had married the widow of George William Robinson (the Former Publican). In January 1861, The Mercury reported that there had been a catastrophic fire at the Travellers Rest. The fire had occurred in the early hours of the morning and although all the occupants managed to escape safely, nearly all the contents of the building were destroyed. The building had to be substantially rebuilt and it's not clear how much of the original structure remained intact. John Acquilla Peasegood took over the license for the Travellers Rest in 1875 and he would be it's last publican.

A large proportion of the trade for the pubs along the Main Road was associated with the coaching services between Hobart & Launceston. That was all to change with the opening of the Main Line railway in 1876. Travellers now travelled in the comfort of the train carriages rather than the coaches and the impact on the many coaching Inns was dramatic. The Travellers Rest only last one more year after the opening of the railway.

The building subsequently became a private residence. it was purchased by John Tomlin Cramp, a retire merchant from St Marys in 1903 and front facade appears to have been remodeled around that time. Cramp renamed the property "Connewarre" and developed it into a complete gentleman's suburban residence complete with orchards, conservatory, boathouse and jetty. Connewarre remained like this until the 1960's when the grounds were subdivided. The building now houses the Connewarre Medical Centre, continuing to serve the local community as it has done in one shape or form for close on 180 years.

Main Information & Text Source - "The Pubs of Glenorchy" - Donald Howatson, July 2011

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Turriff Lodge Hop Kilns

The hop kilns are all that remains of what is probably one of the most important pieces of Tasmanian history. It was part of the country estate which was used by a succession of Tasmanian Governors and was was originally known as "Governor's Retreat" or "Government House". It was constructed very early in the settlement of New Norfolk, well before 1820 and perhaps as early as 1815. It was constructed by Lieutenant Governor Davey and had a suite of rooms for the Governor along with servant's quarters and other facilities.

"Governor's Retreat" commanded a magnificent view of the Derwent River and had extensive gardens that ran down to the river. It had 19 or 20 rooms, linked by long passage ways and was said to be extremely difficult to heat. Over the years following Davey's original construction, it had been added to in a rather haphazard fashion. Surrounding the house was approximately 100 acres of prime farmland and this farmland would go on to have a major impact in the growing of hops and the whole hops industry in Tasmania.

In the early 1800's, a great deal of experimentation was going on in an attempt to perfect the growing of hops here. Hops were brought to the "Governor's Retreat" farm from Maria Island in 1846, under the auspices of the then Governor, Sir Eardley Wilmot. By 1849, the property had been leased out to Ebenezer Shoobridge, who was a well known pioneer of the hop industry in the Derwent Valley. However, by 1860, Shoobridge had left New Norfolk, and after a succession of leases of land elsewhere, finally settled in Bushy Park.

In the meantime, the hopfields at "Governor's Retreat" were becoming run down. It wasnt until 1871 that Alexander Riddoch, a well to do landowner from Glenorchy, came to it's rescue. He renamed the property "Turriff Lodge", after his Scottish home, "Turriff", which is 30 miles from Aberdeen. By 1878, his efforts had reclaimed the farm for efficient hop production.

Over the following years, a number of other farmers had cared for the production on Turriff Lodge with the last farmers being the Onslow family. The property was compulsorily acquired from them by the government towards the end of World War 2 for the construction of a school and hospital (Neither of which were ever constructed). The Lodge, which had been the lovingly cared for home of the Onslows for close on 30 years was left vacant by the government and vandals wreaked havoc on the place. They burned floorboard, ripped out fireplaces and smashed windows.

This was pretty much the end for this most valuable historic residence as it was ultimately bulldozed to the ground as the area around the original estate was subdivided and sold off. The hop kilns remained in place and in good condition, set in well kept grounds. As the subdivisions continued through the early 1990's, the kilns were purchased and have become a very distinctive private residence and continue as such to this day. A real and important link to the very earliest days of the colony.

Main Text & Information Source - 
"From Black Snake To Bronte" - Book by Audrey Holiday & John Trigg

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Old Watch House, Granton

The former stone Watch House is situated directly opposite the highway/Causeway junction at Granton on the southern side of the River Derwent. It is reported to have been erected in 1838. It was there by 1847 when it is marked on an undated plan of the crossing made before the rolling bridge was constructed. It was constructed to house the soldiers who supervised the building of the Causeway.

It is a single storey sandstone building constructed in the Old Colonial Georgian style. The two foot thick walls are mortared by lime and mud. It has been altered for modern use, the original doors and windows have been removed and it has a corrugated iron hipped roof. Plans to extend the watch house were executed in 1851 providing a Watch House Keeper's Quarters and Women's Lockup. When extended it included a male and female lock-up, watch house keeper's quarters, two exercise yards and a constable's office. The convicts were housed in a stockade at the rear.

It is believed that it may in fact have formed part of the earlier convict station complex and, on completion of the Causeway, assumed a watch house function. Its location illustrates the importance of the junction at Granton. It is located adjacent to the junction of the Causeway with the road to New Norfolk.

The Watch House began operating as a service station and store shortly after WWI. The first pumps put in around 1928 with at least six situated along the front, each fuel pump belonged to a different company. The Watch House is a typical convict period structure that has been adapted for modern commercial purposes. Apart from its previous life as a service station, the Watch House has also served as a local museum, featuring many interesting artifacts from its colonial period.

Unfortunately, now the Watch House stands silent although still in good condition. It stands guard over the roundabout where travelers can either head towards the Midlands Highway or head into the Derwent Valley and onwards to the west coast.

The Watch House is in a very picturesque location with the walls of the original rock quarry, from which the convicts quarried rock to construct the causeway, as its backdrop. Well worth stopping to have a look around as you pass through.

Main Text & Information Source – Australian Heritage Database

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Caldew Mansion

Unlike so many fine old houses in Hobart, Caldew still has breathing space. It sits at the top of a rise in Cavell Street and between it and the street, there is room enough for the drive to wander a little as it approaches the house, and also room for an enormous willow and a number of fruit trees on the way. Entry from the street is through the original Huon pine fence.

The house has been there for more than 130 years, but has been owned by only two families. In each case, the first man to own Caldew was successful in his profession but each had a more memorable father. Songs and footwear were the respective sources of the fathers’ renown!

The first owner was the man who had it built, in 1861. He was John Woodcock Graves, a successful solicitor, whose celebrated father of the same name wrote one of the best-known songs of the time. This complex, unstable man later lived for some years at Caldew with his son. Graves Senior had arrived as a migrant with wife and six children, in 1834. Ten years earlier, he had guaranteed himself a permanent place in the world of popular ballads by writing “D’Ye Ken John Peel,” a tribute to his close hunting friend of that name.

Graves was a difficult man and about 1842 his wife Abigail and the children, including the eldest who would later build Caldew, left him. Some time after this he was thrown into debtors’ prison for owing money and, from there, when he was thought to be insane was taken to the asylum at New Norfolk. He escaped and, a few years later went off to New Zealand for a while, to study the growing of flax. Having this eccentric father did not stand in the way of his two sons, John and Joseph, becoming wealthy men. John’s successful career as a solicitor enabled him to build Caldew and he conducted his practice from a room directly opposite the front door. Today, this rather small room serves as a study. The house’s second owner was James A. Cuthbertson who bought the property from solicitor John’s daughter near the turn of the century. James’ father was James Senior, who set up the first bootmaking business in the colony, possibly the first in Australia. From this establishment came the famous Blundstone boot.

Caldew’s second storey was added sometime after 1861 and sits like a saddle in the middle of the house. It contains one medium-sized room and three small ones. One of the latter has always been known as “Annie’s room.” A maid’s, perhaps? Running from the medium sized room to the ground floor is one of four servants’ bells, all still in working order. At the back of the house is a new, mainly glass sun-room which exploits its northern aspect to catch the winter sun and is additionally supplied with under-floor heating. This leads through original french-windows to the main bedroom. All of the ground-floor rooms are connected to the hall which changes direction twice through arches on its way through. The double room at the front of the house, joined by sliding doors, is magnificently Victorian, with a domed ceiling and fireplaces the epitome of craftsmanship.

Somewhere on the wall behind the tall overmantel of the fireplace, on the side nearest to the original stables (and now covered by wallpaper), is a painting of a hunting scene by the first John Woodcock Graves. It is a memory of a strange, famous but rather sad man.

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