Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Salmon Ponds

To the European immigrants in the mid 1800’s, the Australian environment was very different to the land they had left behind. The early settlers soon realized Tasmania, with its cool climate and many lakes and rivers would be ideally suited to some of the animals and plants from their homeland
To make their new surroundings more like ‘home’ they introduced European plants and animals. Salmon was one of the many species chosen for introduction, largely because of the popularity of fishing but also because of the anticipated economic benefits.

Due to the popularity of salmon fishing back ‘home’, and also in the hope of economic benefits, the Salmon Ponds hatchery was built to receive live salmon eggs (ova) which were to be transported from England. Initial attempts during the 1840s and 1850s failed. The problems faced in transporting the live ova were massive: long sea voyages, some of which was across hot environments, a distance of almost 20,000 kilometres, and all this time the ova had to be kept cool and moist. Several attempts failed, and sadly on these voyages all ova were lost.

A small number of trout eggs, however, had been included with the first shipment of salmon eggs. They were hatched and raised along with the salmon. The salmon are a migratory fish so when released, it was expected that the salmon would return to the Derwent River. Several releases were tried  but for some unknown reason the salmon never returned. Unlike salmon, trout are generally non-migratory and they quickly became established throughout the State’s lakes and streams. The foundation of today’s valuable recreational fisheries had been laid.

The Salmon Ponds at Plenty, built in 1861, is the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere. The Salmon Ponds are set within the original 19th century English style gardens, where beautiful English trees up to 150 years old still flourish. From its earliest beginnings, the property was designed with visitors in mind.

Landscaped grounds were filled with exotic trees to create a network of display ponds were established within the gardens at the hatchery and the Salmon Ponds were open to the public. With its hatchery, rills, ponds and running water, grassy swathes and unusual trees astride water channels, the Salmon Ponds was an instant success with visitors. Some of the original trees from China, Japan, and Mediterranean countries, are now 140+ years old.

It is a rare example of a 19th century English style public open space and was made possible by the generosity of Robert Cartwright Read of Redlands Estate next door who was willing to lease a portion of his land. The Salmon Ponds site was also one of the earliest uses of grassed areas in garden design and the original Hawthorn hedges still form the boundary of the ponds and are the backdrop to the river walk.

Located at the northern end of the river walk is the Hawthorn archway. This was the original entrance to the Salmon Ponds as visitors embarked from the train or other transport at Plenty township and walked along the riverbank past Redlands Estate to enter.

The first ‘hatchery’ was a tent with wooden sides, but in 1870 the tent was replaced with a small wooden building, and over time this was enlarged to become the structure you can see today. Trout raised here, using eggs harvested from wild fish, are used to complement Tasmania’s world renowned fishery.

The flow of water through the salmon Ponds is a key feature of the garden. In the 1860’s, Redlands Estate installed a convict built, gravity fed system taking water from the nearby Plenty River to irrigate their hops fields. This water source was shared by the  Salmon Ponds and still supplies the water required by the hatchery.

Located on the site is the ‘Sanctuary’, an old fishing shack built in about 1947 by a Mr William Burrows, a Commissioner for the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Commission as it was then known. He built the shack using the wood from packing crates used to bring a car chassis over from mainland Australia. This shack is a classic example of many of the shacks built near lakes and rivers throughout Tasmania over the past century.

Also on site is the Museum of Trout Fishing which is located in a cottage built for the first superintendent of the Salmon Ponds in 1865, and was successively occupied by the Keepers of the Ponds. The Stannard and Jones families continued an unbroken family succession spanning 109 years as Keepers of the Ponds.

The kids can feed the trout in the ponds as they wander around the magnificent gardens (Fish food dispensers and tubs are available at a number of spots around the gardens for only $2.00 per tub of feed) whilst mum and dad can have a relaxing cup of tea and pancakes at Pancakes on The Pond, the onsite restaurant/café. A peaceful and fascinating place to spend some time with the family or just by yourself.

Salmon Ponds Website: http://www.salmonponds.com.au/

Text & Information sourced via Salmon Ponds website & via information signs & pamphlets at the Salmon Ponds

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Franklin is a small township on the western side of the Huon River in the south-east of Tasmania, between Huonville and Geeveston. At the 2006 census, Franklin had a population of 453
It was named after Sir John Franklin and his wife Lady Jane Franklin who subdivided a large property there formerly owned by John Price to settle families of modest means. The Franklins had a ketch named Huon Pine built at Port Davey to provide a direct link to the settlement at Hobart.

Founded on a base of forestry, agriculture, ship building and subsistence farming with the aid of convict labor, Franklin became a busy river port and the cultural and commercial centre of the region. Originally used for mixed cropping, especially potatoes and other vegetables, by the late 19th century Franklin and its immediate surrounds was a major apple orcharding region. With the collapse of Tasmania's export fruit industry during the 1970s the region reverted to mixed farming.

Until the 1930s Franklin was the major town in the Huon Valley. It was thriving with the shipping that docked at its many jetties. Franklin boasted its own Court House (now a gourmet café), several hotels, banks and a Town Hall (now the restored Palais Theatre). It even had its own hydroelectric power station, driven by a local creek.

With the establishment of a better road across the Sleeping Beauty Range mountains and the growth of the nearby town Huonville, Franklin went into decline over the next few decades as the river ceased to be the road to Franklin.  However, it has recently had a resurgence as a popular tourist town and has had an influx of interstate 'Seachangers' who have revitalised the town. Much of old Franklin remains with many fascinating architectural styles readily seen in the main street.

Franklin's first settler was said to be a 'bolter' named Martin in 1822, though the first official settler was John Price who purchased land in 1836. Lady Franklin bought land in 1838 and tried to create a 'decent yeoman' class through renting small holdings to distressed settlers. River transport took their potatoes, palings and shingles to Hobart and by 1850 the township boasted a church, school and post office. By 1866, when Franklin was proclaimed a town, its population far outstripped that of other local townships, and Franklinites could enjoy local ale from Spooners Brewery at the Lady Franklin Hotel or seek moral and intellectual improvement at the Mechanics' Institute (1860).

With its Magistrate's Court and Police Force, the town became the Huon's administrative centre, its economic life underpinned by timber, ship construction, apples and small-fruits, and a vibrant retail sector. But Franklin's geography barred further progress, and Huonville, with its more productive hinterland, became the Huon's centre. The failure of reclamation works in the 1920s, aiming to provide land for expansion, symbolized Franklin's future.

Recently Franklin has undergone a transformation, revitalized by tourism and its shipbuilding school. It has recently had a resurgence as a popular tourist town and has had an influx of interstate 'Seachangers' who have revitalized the town. Much of old Franklin remains with many fascinating architectural styles readily seen in the main street.

Much of the information sourced via Wikipedia; Franklin, Tasmania

And from historical signs within Franklin itself.

Wooden Boat Centre

Monday, 10 June 2013

Cambridge Chapel

The circumstances connected with the movement to establish an Independent Chapel at Cambridge are rather sketchy. Early records have many interruptions, and there have been many changes in the boundary of the parish. A few years after the Brisbane St Congregational Church was opened on 20th April 1832, a member of that fellowship then residing at Cambridge, found no means of religious instruction for the local population. He requested Rev. J. Beasley to visit the district in the course of his travels in Van Diemen’s Land.

Rev. Beasley established a fortnightly service there, which was continued by his successor, Rev. Alex Morison the first Australian student to enter the Congregational ministry. During the pastorate of Rev. Morison, steps were instituted to erect a Chapel at Cambridge, in which to minister to the growing Congregational fellowship. Land on which to build the edifice was generously donated by Mr McRorie, a local landholder.

There are no records concerning the erection of the Church, which traditions claim was designed by the famed convict-architect James Blackburn, who drew plans for the historic Sorell Presbyterian Church about that period of time. Constructed of sandstone, this simple dignified Chapel, located near the modern Tasman Highway, was dedicated and opened for public Worship on Easter Monday, 28th March 1843.
The Church, still in use, though an unpretentious building, embodies history and could not possibly fail to meet the eye of all who travel the busy Tasman Highway.

The first anniversary of the new Church was celebrated on Easter Monday, March 8th 1844. In the presence of a large congregation the officiating Ministers were Rev. J. Bell and Rev. F. Millar. The following year, 1845, special services were held on Easter Monday, March 24th, to observe the second anniversary of the House of Worship. The morning service was conducted by Rev. J. Jarrett, and at 2p.m. Rev. J. Beasley was the celebrant. Collections were made at both services to provide suitable seats for the Chapel.
Even during those early years the Church was subjected to vandalism. Bushrangers spent one night within the hallowed walls while waiting to raid a homestead at Sorell. Their planned raid however was short-lived, police discovered their hiding place, and duly arrested them.

After the departure of Rev. Alex Morison to Melbourne, the Rev. M. Parker took charge of Cambridge, and labored diligently in this service until his death in May 1845. After the demise of Rev. Parker, Cambridge was supplied by the resident minister at Richmond, Rev. William Day, formerly missionary at Samoa. The Chapel at Cambridge was afterwards serviced by successive agents of the colonial Missionary Society, including Joseph Foote, Jesse Pullen, Robert Anderson, Henry D’Emden and Andrew Blackwood who subsequently settled at Hampton Park, Sorell.

Among those early colonists buried in the old Torrens Street Cemetery at Richmond, is the Colonial Missioner, Joseph Foote, who collapsed in the Congregational Chapel at Richmond on July 9th 1848, while preaching the Gospel to his congregation which comprised many convicts. He died the following day.
During September, 1854, Rev. Henry B. Giles, formerly an agent of the London City Mission, took charge of the Cambridge and Richmond stations. His labors at Cambridge were marked by encouraging results, Church services were well attended, a Sabbath school re-established, and a house for the minister erected.
The usefulness of the residence however, was short-lived, within the space of a few years, fire destroyed the building which had been situated east of the Chapel, and within the boundary of the church grounds, leaving only traces of the foundation visible.

After the departure of Rev. Giles, the pulpit of the Cambridge Chapel was shared by various ministers, and Colonial Missionary Society agents until the arrival of Rev. D.B. Tinning at Richmond in 1869. During Rev. Tinning’s twenty years pastorate at Cambridge, the small band that made up the fellowship earned the respect of other Christian denominations and exercised an influence out of proportion to its own congregation. The numbers of folk attending Divine Worship increased until the chapel could not accommodate all who wished to hear the services. This was overcome by the erection of a gallery, situated within the entrance of the Chapel, and no doubt would have provided additional space for the younger members of the congregation, thus assisting the elderly folk to obtain seating in the pews.

After having been closely associated with Richmond during the early years the Cambridge Church, soon after the departure of Rev. Tinning, about 1890 became a preaching place for ministers and laymen residing at Bellerive. These were difficult times for ministers and laymen, as they endeavored to carry out their Christian duties among the scattered congregation. In the main, traveling was done by horse and trap, but on some occasions was restricted to walking long distances to preach the Gospel and visit the sick. In 1924, Cambridge and Richmond became part of the Lindisfarne parish, which at that time was in charge of Rev. W. Owen Lewis, who remained their beloved pastor until his death on 29th January in 1947. His burial took place in the Cemetery near the Chapel at Cambridge.

In June 1956, Cambridge became part of the joint Lindisfarne - Richmond congregations, under the Joint Advisory Council, and some years later, after the Enabling Act had been passed by both Houses of Parliament in Tasmania during May 1971, to provide for Church Union with Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches, the Cambridge Congregational Church became the Cambridge Uniting Church.

Even after the passing of over one and a half centuries of time, the Chapel has retained its original outward appearance which speaks volumes for the workmanship performed by the stonemasons of yesteryear. The interior also, has lost little of its former glory, excepting the removal of the primitive plaster, which has been replaced with modern pine lining, and the six Gothic windows, each made up of twenty-seven small panes of glass which have been skillfully substituted with perfect replicas of the original.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Bruny Island Ferry

The first vessels to actually ferry people between the mainland and Bruny Island occurred in Bruny Island's pre-history, they were the bark canoes made by the Nuenonne tribe who lived on Bruny Island and along the shores of the D'entrecasteaux Channel as well as up the Derwent River to the area around Sandy Bay. Depending on seasons the Nuenonne people would live either on Bruny Island or the mainland. The main quarry for their stone tools was on the mainland near Kettering so they would use their canoes to carry tool making material over to their Bruny Island campsites. The unique construction of these canoes, long strips of buoyant bark bound together into three independent hulls, meant that they could not capsize even in rough weather.

The written history of Bruny Island began with the arrival of the first Europeans in the late 18th century and then the British settlement of Hobart in 1803/04. It was not long before Europeans moved into the D'entrecasteaux Channel and onto Bruny Island. Of course the only means of transport was by boat.
The first European to make a permanent home on Bruny Island was James Kelly, the Hobart Harbor pilot. James Kelly made his mark on history by being the first man to circumnavigate Tasmania in an open whale boat. He is also remembered by history for the discovery of Macquarie Harbour. Like many others at the time Kelly made his fortune in "Bay Whaling" from the camps on the shores of Bruny Island.

James Kelly built his home on the North West tip of Bruny Island and the location was called Kelly's Point. Now it is called Dennes Point after the Dennes family who bought James Kelly's properties on Bruny Island. The first ferry jetty on Bruny Island was built on Kelly's Point and was a regular stopping place for Channel ferries and other vessels.

From the 1820's ketches ferried goods and people between Bruny Island and Hobart. Small rough jetties were made in sheltered bays or people simply rowed up onto the many sandy beaches along Bruny's shores.
As land was cleared and agriculture thrived on Bruny and up the Huon river and new breed of boat men grew. Sailing ketches ferried produce, people, mail and hardware to Bruny as well as up the Channel and to the Huon River settlements

By the 1850's Bruny Island was well settled. Whaling and small cropping had given way to large sheep farms such as Murryfield. These changes brought affluence and culture to Bruny Island. Regular horse races were held on the Bruny Island race track on Murryfield and people were brought down by ferry from Hobart for a weekend at the Bruny Island races. By this time steamer driven ferries were completing with the sailing ketches for the Bruny Island ferry business. Soon the sailing ketch would be relegated to history and a new era would begin... the era of steam.

Whilst most of the ferry traffic to Bruny Island came from Hobart there were also some locally operated ferry services between Bruny Island and other population centres in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
One of these was a very small affair. The ferry operating from Three Hut Point at Gordon to Sheepwash Bay on South Bruny was a 3 metre boat driven by sail and oar. The ferryman was one George Davis who rowed the couple of miles carrying passengers between the three pubs at Gordon and their homes on South Bruny.

When George Davis retired the Gordon to Bruny ferry service was taken over by Teddy Spong who also carried the mail across to South Bruny twice a week in his little ferry. Its is said that Teddy Spong only missed one crossing of the Channel in two years and that was because such a gale was blowing up the Channel that local residents chained up his boat to prevent him making the crossing in such dangerous conditions

Since 1954 there have been four different vehicular ferries operating from Bruny Island
The first full time vehicle ferry to Bruny Island was the S.S. Melba which ran between Kettering and Barnes Bay from 1954 to1961. After she was retired from the Bruny run she often worked as a replacement ferry if the others needed to be repaired.

Next was the Mangana which ran to Barnes Bay from 1961 until 1983.
In 1983 the Mangana was replaced by the Harry O'May . The replacement of the Mangana co-incided with a change in the ferry route to Bruny Island. A new landing platform was constructed at Roberts Point on Bruny and the shorter route cut the time of the ferry trip from Kettering to Bruny by more than half.

The Harry O'May continued ferrying cars and passengers to Bruny Island until 1991.
In 1991 the current Bruny Island ferry, the Mirambeena took over as Bruny Island's ferry and has been doing a fantastic job every since.

Text, Information & vintage photos sourced from the
Bruny Island Ferry History Archive