Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hanover Cottage

John Aldridge, Pilot for the Port of Hobart Town, purchased a block of land on the northern side of Cromwell Street, Battery Point for ₤60 when the area was first subdivided in 1833.  The block was located near the top of the hill and commanded ‘a beautiful view of the Town and River.’  Aldridge built a house and advertised its lease in the Colonial Times in February 1836.  He described it as ‘A Comfortable Dwelling-house, containing a dining and drawing-room with folding doors, five bed-rooms, kitchen, store-room, and large wash-house newly finished and completely painted, suitable for a respectable family.’  (It is noted that the foundation stone for St George’s Church, on the opposite side of Cromwell Street, wasn’t laid until October 1836.)

John Aldridge died in June 1855 but his widow continued to rent out the property to various tenants, including Captain John Austin who had spent many years transporting military and prisoners to the colony and was credited with having brought more people to Tasmania than any other man.

Mary Ann Hartam purchased the property for ₤700 in October 1873.  Mary Ann and her husband, Charles, were popular hotel-keepers and she was the owner of the Criterion Hotel in Liverpool Street.  They called their new home Hartamville and arranged for Edward C Rowntree, architect, to design ‘alterations and additions’ which were tendered in October 1874.

Mary Ann Hartam died in August 1876 and, despite the fact that he was already 65 years old, Charles remarried and had two sons and a daughter with his second wife.  Charles died at Hartamville in February 1887 and the ownership of the property was subsequently subject to a dispute that went all the way to the Supreme Court.  Charles’ second wife had assumed ownership of Hartamville but the Court heard that Mary Ann Hartam had made a will leaving her property to her adopted son, Robert Charles Hartam McLauchlan.  Even though the will had mysteriously disappeared, the judge found sufficient secondary evidence to prove its existence and contents and ownership of Hartamville passed to McLauchlan.

Robert Charles Hartam McLauchlan put Hartamville up for sale at auction in January 1905.  Adverts described it as a ‘large and commodious family residence … the house is constructed of brick, and has a verandah back and front, contains 10 large and commodious rooms … and is in every way suitable for a gentleman’s residence.’ William Bispham Propsting and William Richard Frederick Propsting purchased Hartamville in June 1907 and they rented it out to various tenants including Thomas Bennison, the city coroner.  The Propstings sold the property for ₤1,750 in August 1923 and it was subsequently renamed Wyuna and operated as a boarding house.

I have been unable to find any further information regarding the property although somewhere along the line, the cottage was renamed Hanover Cottage and it is under this name that the property is listed in the Australian Heritage Database. The dwelling is now a private residence. 

Information Source: Australian Heritage Database