Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cornellian Bay Cottage

This is not the oldest building in the the new colony but it almost certainly was the later farmhouse for the the first enterprise commenced  by Lieutenant Governor Collins within days of his arrival in the Derwent. This was the the cottage at the Government Farm. Collins chose the fertile flats behind the beach at Cornellian Bay because he had to quickly ensure a supply of grain and vegetables to feed his little settlement and to pasture his stock

The Rev Robert Knopwood, the colony's first chaplain would often walk to the farm when it was first established as he recorded in his diary. It originally extended all the way from Self's Point almost up to Cleary's Gate. In 1807, Collins appointed former convict and ex officer Andrew Whitehead to act as its manager. By 1813, Whitehead had marked out a race course on the northern part of the present cemetery site - and so Rev Knopwood had another good reason to visit there far more frequently.

In 1843, an article in the Hobart Town Courier advertised the Government Farm for sale, mentioning 120 acres of land and amongst other building, "a good dwelling house". A map of the area, dated the following year shows no evidence of the present cottage but then again it shows no evidence of any structures at all. The current cottage seems to have been built at some time in the 1840's when the farm was still in operation.

By 1848, the Hobart City Council was having difficulties with the various small cemeteries throughout various parts of town rapidly filling up. After a tussle with various developers who wanted the area for a residential development (Sounds very familiar in the modern era) the council won the battle for the site and it eventually became Hobart's new general cemetery.

It has been the home of the Southern Regional Cemetery Trust since 1987.

Main Information & Text Sources -
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman