Sunday, 4 January 2015


Tynwald sits on 40 riverfront acres, and was built early in 1830 by John and Martha Terry. In October 1818, John and Martha, their eight daughters, three sons and two millstones sailed from Sheerness, England on the Surrey, the only “free” settlers on a convict ship to Sydney, Australia. Possibly unhappy with the terms of the lease and the size of the allotment at Liverpool, south west of Sydney, Terry moved his family and business to Van Diemen’s Land.

Arriving in Hobart Town on the Prince Leopold on 6 December 1819, the family proceeded to build the mill on 100 acres at Elizabeth Town (soon to be renamed New Norfolk), where the Derwent and Lachlan Rivers met. By the end of 1820 Terry was grinding wheat on what was now known as the ‘Lachlan River Mill’. Further to this, he took up a grant of 1,400 acres at nearby Macquarie Plains (later renamed Gretna). This property he called ‘Askrigg’, named after the village of his birth. In 1827 he purchased ‘Slateford’, a property at Hayes.

In about 1822, on the ‘Lachlan River Mill’ estate, Terry built a granary; circa 1830 the family built the house that was to later be named ‘Tynwald'; and, after introducing hops to the estate in the 1860s, John’s youngest son Ralph built an Oast house. All three buildings still stand to this day and can be seen in the grounds.

Terry’s letters back to England provide an insight into thoughts many early migrants must have experienced, looking with wonder at a land very foreign to them. In a letter written in 1822 he described some of his first impressions. John Terry died at his home on 8 July 1844. The millstones that accompanied him from Yorkshire now sit outside St Matthew’s Close in New Norfolk. A window dedicated to John and Martha Terry appears amongst the impressive stained glass windows of St Matthew’s Anglican Church in New Norfolk.

Lachlan Mill & the original estate stayed in the Terry family until the depression of 1890 when it was sold to the prominent politician, William Moore. Moore decided to modernize the existing Georgian structure and extended it dramatically, creating the imposing mansion that can be seen today. He built wide verandahs embellished with ornate iron lacework. A touch of England was introduced with the addition of bay windows and his most striking feature was the addition of the imposing tower from which to savour the glorious river views. Moore changed the name of the property from Lachlan River Mill and renamed it ‘Tynwald’ after the parliament on the Isle of Man.

From 1913 until 1969, Tynwald was owned by the Plunkett family who continued the hop growing enterprise first started by John Terry’s son in 1860’s.Tynwald continues to stand magnificently to this day and provides colonial accommodation & restaurant facilities.

Such is the aura of the mansion that the ABC produced a children’s series based at Tynwald called the “Willow Bend Mystery”. This eerie tale was based on the reports of a resident ghost inhabiting the halls of Tynwald. This shouldn’t prove an issue for any visiting guests as the female ghostly presence is said to be invariably friendly. No self respecting mansion should be without its own resident ghostly figure!

Main Text & Information Sources
"From Black Snake To Bronte" - Book by Audrey Holiday & John Trigg
Australian Dictionary of Biography - John Terry