Sunday, 18 January 2015

Harvest Home Inn

The Land on either side of New Town Road started to be subdivided in the mid 1830's. Pubs were the first buildings to be erected, offering meals & overnight accommodation for travellers. One of the oldest on the road was the Harvest Home Inn which was first licensed in February 1836.

From 1881, the publican of the Harvest Home inn was Thomas Dewhurst Jennings (1824 - 1890). In his time , Jennings was New Town's biggest ever personality - Literally! And his fame spread across the Tasman to New Zealand in this newspaper report from the Tuapeka Times, Volume XVII, Issue 1057, 9 July 1884, Page 3

"Mr Thomas D. Jennings, for whom it is claimed that he is the biggest man in Australia, keeps the Harvest Home Inn on the New Town road, about a mile and a half from the centre of Hobart. He is 5ft  lOin high, weighs 32 stone, measures 68 inches round the chest, 82in round the waist, and 20in. round the calf. He is perfectly healthy, and boasts that he has never taken a dose of medicine in his life. Mr Jennings was originally a strongly built man, and measured forty inches round the waist when he was 29 years of age but he did not begin to put on much flesh till he was about forty. He is now sixty, having been born in Yorkshire in the year 1824.

For many years he kept the Derwent Inn, at Risdon Ferry, in Tasmania. Three years ago he moved to his present state of location. The oddest thing is, he says, that he never realizes the idea that he is unlike other people, and when he sees them staring at him it makes him laugh. He does not walk much, though he can do so, he says, " as well as any man," so he uses a pony cart, which is rather rough on the pony. The subject of this extraordinary development is extremely temperate, eats only two meals a day, and drinks very little. Drinking, he says, reduces his bulk, but he cannot stand it.

At the Theater Royal in Hobart they have to open both folding doors to let him into the stalls, and by the fact of the doors being opened the public know he is coming to the theater. Mr Thomas Jennings intends to get married again and is by no means worried about his age, which he carries remarkably well, being indeed the only instance of a fat man who has preserved his health and his bulk together."

The property was eventually de-licensed in 1918 and became a private residence. The building still exists today although it looks markedly different from its heyday. It still remains a private residence.

Main Text & Information Sources - 
"The Story Of New Town - Street By Street" - Donald Howatson 2011
Tupaka Times Newspaper Article - Papers Past Website
Historic Photos from Thomas J Nevin - Photographer website - Thomas Nevin Photographer