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 1830's until the present day.

There appears to be a couple of differing accounts as to the origins of the Hamilton Inn. One account was that The Inn was constructed by John Collins and his wife, Elizabeth, following their move to Hamilton from Hobart Town in 1832. John was a convict who had been sentenced to transportation to the colonies for seven years for theft in 1821. John was only 17 years of age at the time. Somewhere in the following years, John and his wife appear to have gotten themselves in some sort of bother by "keeping a disorderly house for the reception of lewd persons of both sexes". It would seem this incident was what caused John & Elizabeth to pack up their belongings and move to Hamilton. 
Another account as to the Inn's origin was that it was constructed by Postmaster William Roadknight as a private residence and shop in 1830 and was first licensed as The New Inn in 1838.

The Inn may have begun life as the Hamilton Inn, but over the years it has been know by various other names. It appears to have been known locally at some stage as The New Inn. 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

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