Side by side at Mount Nassau are two attractive houses of about 1830 or 1840 vintage. The main house is a two storey brick dwelling with a rather simple, classic Georgian design. Inside it has a characteristically small spiral staircase that is the bane of removalists of any era.
The 2nd dwelling appears even older than the main house. The original part of this structure is brick but had had stone additions over the years. Both houses have a panoramic view of the Derwent River, being perched atop a cutting through which the Lyell Highway passes on its way to New Norfolk.
The original grant was given to Ebenezer Geiss in the 1820’s. The property then extended through to the riverbank and was next door to Governor Arthur’s Derwent Valley Farm. Mount Nassau was bought by the Rathbone family in about 1913 and the family has continued to own the property ever since. Prior to coming to Tasmania, Frank Rathbone ran an ostrich farm in Port Augusta, SA.
Mount Nassau was particularly well endowed with a fine quality limestone. The Rathbones went on to quarry the limestone for many years and there is evidence of the old lime kilns still around and nearby the property. After the 2nd World war, the need for lime diminished although new markets for agricultural lime opened up afterwards.
Inspite of the property being so close to Hobart, the property is still operating as an agricultural farm and is the home of the Derwent Estate Winery.
Main Text & information Sources –
“From Black Snake to Bronte” – Audrey Holiday & John Trigg