Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Glen Clyde House

This lovely building was originally built by convicts for James Jackson in the early 1840's. Jackson had been transported to the colony in 1823 and ultimately received his pardon in 1829. By 1845, Jackson had the building licensed as a coaching inn and it became known as The Tasmanian Lass Inn. The building is notable for its style of construction and many people felt that it was almost as though it had been picked up and transplanted from rural Ireland rather than being typically Tasmanian.

In the early 1860's a major extension was added to the building with a large rounded entryway for coaches and around this time the Inn became known as the Glen Clyde Hotel. An interesting feature of the upstairs rooms would be appreciated by anyone who has had to deal with the demands of modern fire protection and protection of guests. Embedded in the floors of the upstairs rooms are forged rings. They are situated by the windows so that a rope could be fixed to it and used as an escape mechanism in the case of fire.

The Glen Clyde Hotel continued to operate as a hotel until 1924. With the decline of horse drawn transport, the old coach entryway was used as a skittle alley. Skittles was a favored pastime of the menfolk in the early 1900's. Teams would travel the length of the Derwent Valley playing against other hotel teams. Given the number of hotels that were dotted all across the Derwent valley district in those days, the process of getting around them all to play skittles must have been a very time consuming time although it was probably a very pleasant pastime.

From 1924 onwards, the building subsequently had a variety of roles, including a period of use as a maternity home and as a clinic for the local, travelling dentist (who charged two shillings and sixpence for an extraction). From the mid 1940's through to the mid 1970's the building was used as a motor garage, after which time it began to fall into disrepair.

In 1975, private owners bought Glen Clyde and began restoration work. Parts of the front wall had been knocked out to allow access for the motor vehicles into the internal workshop/ Sandstone blocks from the old Hamilton brewery were used in the reconstructive effort and they matched perfectly. Red, white & blue paint was sandblasted from the front of the building and a king sized "Ampol" sign was removed from the roof. Restoration continued into the 1980's as the building was transformed into colonial tea rooms and a major art & craft gallery supporting local Tasmanian arts & crafts.

Glen Clyde House is permanently listed by Heritage Tasmania and is one of 16 heritage listed buildings in Hamilton. It sits among nearly a half acre of gardens and is a lovely place to take a break on your journey through Hamilton.

Main Text & Information Source -
“From Black Snake To Bronte” – Audrey Holiday & John Trigg
Glen Clyde House Official Website - Glen Clyde House