Wednesday, 20 August 2014

St Mark's Chapel, Bellerive

200th Post!!!!

In 1826, there was a small Chapel of Ease on the site now occupied by the former St Marks Chapel. At the time, it was one of only 5 churches in Van Diemen’s Land.  In January 1851, the newly appointed chaplain of Clarence Plains, the Reverend W Murray, initiated actions to secure land for a new church at Kangaroo Point (now Bellerive). During the following month, the Colonial secretary advised the Church of England authorities that Governor Denison had approved the granting of a three acre allotment for the erection of a church. The land is on the southern corner of Queen Street (formerly Bidassoa Street) and Scott Street, about 250 metres from Bellerive Beach. Construction of the chapel was undertaken by John Pitfield and was funded by public subscription, with a grant from the S.P.C.K. (Society for Promotion of Christian Knowledge)

Bishop Nixon consecrated the completed building on Tuesday 1 June 1852, in a service attended by Governor Denison. The chapel was described by 'a frequent visitor' in 'The Mercury' (11 September 1858), as "a neat little building, but having nothing to recommend it either out or inside, saving its simplicity". Nevertheless, the building served the Bellerive Anglican community for over fifty years, until May 1904 when the new church of St Mark (located nearer the main road to Rokeby) was completed.

The 'chapel of ease', as the old church was known, became a Sunday School, and also served a number of other community uses. By 1917, the building had fallen into disrepair and was struggling to find its identity. By 1927, the 1st Bellerive Sea Scouts were established and took over the occupation of the building. In 1932 restoration work was undertaken and since the 1930s the building has been used at various times by the girl guides and boy scouts. During the Second World War the chapel accommodated Red Cross activities.

Following the drafting of a formal lease document between the Anglican trustees and the scout movement in 1960, further repair work was undertaken. An unsightly toilet block was added to the rear around 1970. The building still accommodates the 1st Bellerive scout troop.

Set on a gently sloping block on Bellerive Bluff, the former St Mark's Chapel has a rather barren setting, with sparse planting and scattered gravestones. The surrounding yard includes a number of graves of early pioneers, the most notable being the monument by J Gillan, to the memory of Edward Abbott. It is a sandstone obelisk set on a stone pedestal and capped with heavily molded stones. The inscription is as follows: in memory of Edward Abbott Esq. who departed this life April 4th 1869 aged 69 years. He represented the district of Clarence for many years in both houses of parliament and was warden of this municipality since its commencement. This monument is erected by his friends as a testimony to his worth.

It is of interest that one headstone, still readable, dates back to 1840. Archival records for the chapel only detail burials from 1867. During the period from 1867 through to 1890, there were 121 persons recorded as buried at the site. A lovely little chapel which really evokes memories of a bygone era.

Main Information & Text Sources
Australian Heritage Database
Signs on the site compiled & erected by local historian John Sergeant in 2009
Bellerive Historical Society –

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Star & Garter Inn, Richmond

The shop (formerly the Star and Garter Inn) and two dwellings were erected in the early nineteenth century as two workingman's cottages and an inn, types of co-joined structures once common but later becoming rare.  The land where these buildings are situated was granted to William Wise by Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur in February 1832.  It was part of a one acre block that extended between Bridge and Bathurst Street.

Wise split the parcel of land in two and in November 1841 he sold the northern half, which fronted onto Bridge Street, to Thomas Burgess for ₤250.  The conveyance document refers to the ‘dwelling house and stables erected by the said William Wise and lately occupied … by the widow White.’ Burgess sold the premises to William Cato, a storekeeper and transporter of goods between Richmond and Hobart.  Cato’s store only operated for a couple of years before the property was sold back to Burgess.
In October 1845, Burgess licensed the premises as a pub, the Star and Garter.  (This was the name of a famous pub on Richmond Hill, south-west London, England.)  The Star and Garter was operated by the Burgess family until 1864 and then by Henry Briggs until 1871.

The construction of new transport infrastructure in the early 1870s substantially reduced the amount of traffic passing through Richmond. The opening of the Sorell Causeway provided a more direct route between Hobart and the south-east, and when the Main Line railway was constructed it passed some eight kilometres to the north of Richmond. With less through traffic there was less demand for public houses and the Star and Garter was advertised for sale in November 1874.  The notice in The Mercury stated that ‘the Hotel contains Bar, Parlour, Dining room, Kitchen, and Scullery on the ground floor, large Cellar, and 8 Bedrooms up stairs … adjoining the Hotel are two stone fronted Cottages.’  The property didn’t sell at auction and wasn’t licensed as a pub again.

In October 1878 the premises were purchased by Thomas Clements, a carpenter, for ₤275.  Clements occupied the main building (the old pub) and rented out the two adjoining cottages.  Unfortunately, Clements went bankrupt and his mortgager auctioned the property in March 1885.  This time it was described as ‘a stone and brick dwelling house containing 12 rooms, with a fine shop front on Bridge Street.  Adjoining the shop are two stone cottages containing five and six rooms respectively, at present occupied by weekly tenants.’  Again, the property didn’t sell at auction and it was subsequently rented out by the mortgager.

The property was purchased for ₤360 by Edward Shearing in August 1917.  Shearing lived in the main building and rented out the adjoining cottages.  Shearing owned the property for more than thirty years. The buildings are still in excellent condition and are used by small businesses including an antique shop, an interior design business and a beauty shop.

Main Text & Information – Australian Heritage Database

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Former New Town Town Hall

The 1890's were quite an important time in the development of New Town. Throughout the mid to late 19th century, New Town had retained a semi rural character. While the area contained some of the finest mansions and summer homes of the more wealthy settlers, it was still an area used for orchards, dairy farms and market gardens. By the early 1870's the main line railway between Hobart & Launceston was constructed and passed through New Town and the suburbanisation of New Town was under way.

Just prior to this period, following on from the granting of self government for the colony in 1856, local councils began to be introduced in Tasmania. The residents of both New Town & Glenorchy were both wanting to form municipality's based around their town and disputes ensued around where the locations of boundaries between the two should be. By 1864, the New Town Rivulet was declared to be the southern boundary of Glenorchy. This meant the northern section of New Town became part of Glenorchy although it continued to be known as New Town.

Although all of this took place over a fairly short space of time, it would take another 30 odd years for the New Town municipal board to be finally established. In 1892 the municipal board was established under the name of the New Town Town Board. At this time, New Town had about the 3rd or 4th largest population in the colony but the area contained no public buildings at all. Following public meetings regarding the development of public buildings submissions for competitive designs were invited in 1896 with Thomas Searell being ultimately declared the winning architect.

By May 1896, the Town board published notices of its intention to borrow funds to pay for the construction of the new buildings. The requirements of the Local Bodies Loans Act indicated that boards were forbidden to proceed with loans if one third of their ratepayers opposed the loan. Unfortunately for the board, it was around this time that some local ratepayers, feeling cost sensitive, began to oppose what they believed was an unnecessary expense. The 804 ratepayers in New Town were asked to vote on the loan in June 1896 and in a cliff hanger result, 266 votes were recorded against the loan - 33.1%! Incredibly close to the one third that would have scuttled the project.

Tenders were called for the construction and the contract was awarded to Messrs R & J Duff. In an ironic twist, cost increases meant that a hall for large gatherings could not be included in the initial construction, although it would have been possible to add this to the rear of the front offices at a later date. It was the absence of a public venue suitable for large gatherings that had been the major driving force for the construction of the new building. The New Town Town Hall was officially opened in December 1897. It became an impressive landmark building on New Town Road.

However, it seems the building was only to serve the New Town community for a short period of time as the seat of its local administration. In 1908, the New Town Town Board was replaced by the newly formed New Town Municipal council which was responsible for a much larger area including parts of Mt Stuart and Lenah Valley. By January 1920, the New Town Municipal Council was amalgamated into Greater Hobart and the Hobart City Council owned the building until after the Second World War..

The building, still in immaculate condition and a real landmark along New Town Road, is now used as private office space. It would be interesting to know how many of the local peoples would realize the original history of this magnificent building and it's place in the development of New Town.

Main Text & Information Source - 
"The Story Of New Town - Street By Street" - Donald Howatson 2011

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Weld Street House & Barn

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