Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Rectory, Hamilton

The Rectory at Hamilton was built on land that had been first granted to Henry Browne in July 1839. Browne had sold the land for 35 pounds in 1841 to Messrs Thomas Marzetti & John Dobson. Marzetti & Dobson didn't appear to develop the land too much in the following 4 years and in 1845, they ultimately sold the land to storekeeper, James Jackson who paid 31 pounds for the block and was the first to begin development of the land when he subsequently built a house on it.

The exact date of the construction of the house has been lost through the passage of time but clues have been discovered on the site. perhaps the most interesting is a sandstone block into which had been embedded a bootscrapper. This appears to have been around from the earliest days of the building and is inscribed with the year 1847. This would appear to tie in well with the date of the acquisition by Jackson. James Jackson appears to have owned the property through until 1865 when, unable to repay 400 pounds for which he had mortgaged the house in 1859, the property was auctioned off and subsequently purchased by Reverend George Wright for 375 pounds.

Rev. Wright had been serving the people of Hamilton since 1846 after the need for Anglican Church infrastructure had become obvious early in the life of the settlements of the district In fact in 1837, the Hobart Town Gazette had reported that, in their classifications of Hamilton's free inhabitants by mode of worship, those following the Anglican faith out numbered the other faiths by a figure of about 7 to 1.

In February 1884, the land and the Rectory were transferred from the Rev. George Wright to the trustees of the Hamilton Endowment Fund for the sum of 500 pounds. Over the following 100 years or so, the situation remained the same and during this period, it was the only rectory in Tasmania used but not owned by the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania. This didn't change until July 1978 when the property was transferred to the Trustees of the Diocese of Tasmania.

The Rectory is a substantial building with superb cedar fittings and although it is in the very heart of the Hamilton township itself, it still enjoys wonderful views of the area.. Over the 150 odd years since Rev. Wright first moved into his house, a further 23 ministers have called the Rectory home. It's easy to imagine the stories that could be told from within the stone walls of the Rectory as parishioners over the years have sought good advice, comfort and ministry from the various ministers.

It may also still hold plenty of surprises for there is supposedly a closed off cellar within the building complex which, as far as can be established, has not been entered for many years. The Rectory has now become a private residence and has been maintained in wonderful condition.

Main Text & Information Source - 
From Black Snake to Bronte : Heritage buildings of the Derwent Valley in Tasmania. Drawings by Audrey Holiday, Text by John Trigg