Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Boa Vista Mansion Gatehouse

A small classical building of simple charm, this building was constructed as the entrance lodge to Boa Vista Mansion.
Boa Vista was built for Dr James Scott, the colonial surgeon, in 1828.  Boa Vista's grounds extended to some 20 acres, comprising the land now bounded by Argyle, Stoke, Park and Lewis Streets.  The 'Magnificent Mansion and Pleasure Grounds' were offered for sale in July 1834 and the property's description included reference to the 'Fancy Entrance Lodge, comprising five apartments.'  Boa Vista wasn't sold and remained in Scott's ownership until his death in 1837. Boa Vista briefly became the venue for Thomas Braim's Proprietary School in 1839, but it closed after only two years.

John Walker, the owner of a brewery on the Hobart Rivulet, purchased Boa Vista for ₤1,900 in 1840. Walker subsequently rented out the property and it was occupied for several years in the late 1840s by Bishop Francis Russell Nixon, the first Bishop of Tasmania.
Boa Vista was purchased by John Hampton, the comptroller-general of convicts, in 1851.  Hampton created a new street (now known as Boa Vista Road) and subdivided the northern portion of the estate in 1854.  Hampton gained a degree of infamy in the colony when he refused to give evidence to a Select Committee of the Legislative Council that was enquiring into the operation of the Convict Department and whether Hampton was exploiting his position for personal profit.

Samuel Moses, acquired Boa Vista in 1855 and lived there for a number of years before leaving for Britain in 1862.  Boa Vista was subsequently rented out to various tenants including John Lord, a politician and sportsman, and Samuel Smith Travers, who introduced Royal Tennis into Australia and built the tennis courts in Davey Street.  When Boa Vista's lease was advertised in March 1868, the newspaper notice included reference to the 'Lodge at entrance, comprising four rooms and store room.'
Boa Vista and about 14 acres of land was purchased from the Moses' estate by John Cole Kemsley for ₤4,250 in February 1902.  Kemsley began subdividing portions of the estate and a newspaper article in September 1903 reported that he had effected 'much needed improvements' and that the 'splendid old house' had been 'put in first-class order'.  The Boa Vista Lodge was advertised for rent for 10 shillings in May 1904.

The King's Grammar School was established at Boa Vista in 1904 but only lasted for a few years.  In 1906, Samuel Clemes purchased Boa Vista and relocated his Leslie House School onto the premises.  Clemes had been the schoolmaster of the Friends' School but resigned in June 1900 after misunderstandings with the management committee.  The Leslie House School was renamed Clemes College in 1922 and amalgamated with the Friends' School in 1946.
By 1959 the Boa Vista mansion was starting to show its age, with the western wing 'partially demolished and shored up with timber.'  The building was completely demolished in around 1970, leaving the entrance lodge as the only physical remnant of the property's long history. The gatehouse building  now forms part of the entryway to the Friends Junior School complex in North Hobart.

Information source: Australian Heritage Database