Sunday, 31 January 2016

Infant Orphan School, New Town

The Infant School was opened in 1862 to relieve overcrowding in the Boys' and Girls' Schools either side of St John's Church. It also housed the hospital for the orphan school. The rear of the building had an unusual radial spoke arrangement which has been demolished. The main block is flanked by two single storey wings which were raised to two stories circa 1880.

The Infant Orphan School, constructed in 1862 became the Female Charitable Institution in 1879, operating as a lying-in hospital and home for girls considered to be 'mentally defective' as well as providing accommodation for women who were destitute. After the orphan school closed in 1879, the noteworthy wrought-iron verandas were added and other alterations were made. The building became known as New Town Charitable Institution.

The New Town Charitable Institution was housed in the former buildings of the Infant's Orphan School after it closed in 1879. In addition to the Boys' Training School and the offices of the Neglected Children's Department, the Institution provided accommodation to people who were poor and aged, or had disabilities. Between 1896 and 1911, the offices of the Charitable Grants Department were at the Institution. Since 1874, the Infant Orphan School had been used as a lying-in hospital for young women with intellectual disabilities and the Institution continued to serve this purpose.

The New Town Infirmary replaced the New Town Charitable Institution in 1912. Its residents included children detained by the government for various reasons. The New Town Rest Home, run by the government, replaced the New Town Infirmary in August 1934. It provided accommodation to children and adults placed there for many different reasons.

The government changed the name of the New Town Infirmary to the New Town Rest Home in an attempt to avoid the stigma of poverty associated with the institution. The Home provided temporary accommodation to state wards and permanent accommodation for people who were elderly and infirm, with chronic illnesses, or who were certified under the Mental Deficiency Act 1920.

In 1936, New Town Rest Home became St John's Park. It is now owned by Southern Cross Care (Tas.) Inc and is part of its Rosary Gardens Residential Aged Care Facility. It is used for medical and administrative purposes. It also contains a kiosk for inmates and staff.

Main Text & Information Sources – 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Savage's Store, Bothwell

This building was constructed by H.J Savage as a general store in the mid 1850's. The Evans family, who were related to Savage, later ran the store and were still trading there in 1907. During World War 2, the building was used as a store for scrap paper and after the war had ended, part of the premises were used as tea rooms.

Bothwell Masonic Lodge purchased the building in 1955 and used it for several years with the ground floor operating as an art gallery from 1984. The Post Office was relocated to the building in 2007 from its previous location in Alexander St bringing with it some of the original post office furnishings including the original counter. It continues in this role to this day.

Main Text & Information Source - 
Interpretive Sign at the Site

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Lake Frederick Inn, Oatlands

The Lake Frederick Inn was built by George Aitchison in 1833. Aitchison orginally came to Van Diemen's Land as a convict in 1819. He was a stonemason by trade. The Lake Frederick Inn was built from stone and 50.000 locally made bricks. By the time Aitchison began construction of the Inn in 1833, he had completed his convict sentence and was considered a fine "mechanic" as tradesmen were known at the time.

In fact, Oatlands owes much to George Aitchison as by 1829, he had constructed the now demolished York and Albany Inn and was the mason in charge during the construction of St Peter's Anglican Church in Oatlands as well as many of the other fine buildings located throughout the township.

Aitchison originally built the Lake Frederick Inn as a coaching stop. In 1834 John Jubilee Vincent, the son of the founder of the nearby Callington Mill became the first licencee. In later years, the Inn was renamed the Lake Dulverton Inn when Samuel Page took it over and used it as a service post for his coaching line.

Sometime after 1853 the Inn was also known as the White Horse Inn. The building has stood the test of time and remains in wonderful condition and is a distinctive part of the High Street streetscape of Oatlands. The building is also an important entry on the Register of the National Estate as an important example of an early coaching inn.

Main Text & Information Sources - 
Interpretive Sign at the Site
"Oatlands - A Colonial Treasure" - Walter. B. Pridmore

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Star Of Tasmania Inn

The grand two storey mansion that still stands majestically on the corner of Napoleon Street & Sloane Streets in Battery Point was originally built in around 1840 by one Thomas Harbottle. It subsequently changed hands and by December 1856 was licensed as the Star of Tasmania Inn with Richard Carpenter as the licensee. The pub was perfectly situated to serve the many ship building workers who toiled in the various shipyards along the eastern side of Napoleon Street.

It would appear that the Inn had only 4 licensees in its history as an Inn and it was licensed for the last time in 1873. The Inn appears to have closed not long after this and for a while it was operated as a boarding house before reverting to a private residence.

The beautifully preserved Star of Tasmania Inn remains a private residence to this day.

Main Text & Information Source – 
“The Story of Battery Point – Street By Street” – Donald Howatson 2012
“Here’s Cheers” – C.J.Dennison

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Green Ponds Probation Station

At least as early as 1828, a military station was established at Green Ponds as part of Governor Arthur’s chain of military posts to protect European settlers from the increasingly hostile Tasmanian Aboriginal tribes. Also it is very probable that a road station was established at Green Ponds around the same time while Major Bell was completing his line of road from Hobart to St Peters Pass (the fore runner to the old Hobart – Launceston highway).

By 1837, the Constitution Hill road gang had arrived in Green Ponds and set up on the site of what became the Green Ponds Probation Station. The stone cottage on the right of the existing current day buildings dates from this time and was originally the Superintendents Cottage.

Road parties were part of Governor Arthur’s system of graduated punishments for misbehaving convicts. If convicted of a moderately serious offence (such as repeated insolence or drinking) the offender would be sent to a road party for up to 12 months to be put to hard labour building the roads. The work was very demanding physically and living conditions were often very poor. At Green Ponds the convicts huts had no fireplaces leading to outbreaks of fever during winter. Food was often scarce or misappropriated by the overseers. In 1837 for example several road station convicts were convicted of breaking out at night and stealing vegetables from neighboring gardens.

The most famous convicts to be housed at the Green Ponds station were the men known as the “Canadian Rebels”. These men, who were actually mostly Americans, had been sentenced to transportation following an unsuccessful uprising against the British in Canada. By this time, the probation system was in effect and the Canadians were sent to a series of probation stations ending up at Green Ponds in September 1840. Many of the Canadians kept journals, thanks to which we have descriptions of conditions at this station. As well as the usual activities of quarrying and breaking stone for roadmaking, some of the more highly skilled Rebels helped with the construction of the Kempton Bridge and St Mary’s Church.

The Green Ponds Probation Station closed down in 1841, after which the site became the headquarters of the Green Ponds Police. A Court House was set up in the old Superintendants Cottage and in 1848 a large Watch House (District Gaol) was built on the site to the left of the Superintendant’s Cottage, part of which, the original men’s cells, can still be seen today. In 1880, the Green Ponds Municipality paid over 300 pounds to build the middle section as its new council chambers which are still used to this day.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Interpretation Signs at the site. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Whitestones, George Town

Whitestones is believed to have been built in 1839 as the Steam Packet Inn, licensed by Augustus Wood. Its location close to the wharf made it a popular place for accommodation, especially when the paddle steamer "Gypsy" began a regular service between Launceston & George Town in 1843.

One visitor in December 1845 recorded his weekend in George Town. Arriving by the "Gypsy" on Saturday afternoon, he stayed at the Steam packet Inn. An after dinner walk around the town that evening, was followed by an early morning swim in the Inn's bathing house and then a long walk along the banks of the river to Marion Villa. He returned to the hotel for breakfast, changed for church, and in the afternoon took a stroll to the signal station at nearby Mt George. next morning he had another swim, a walk and a hearty breakfast before boarding the "Gypsy" for the return trip to Launceston.

Augustus Wood remained in charge of the Steam Packet Inn until 1846. It may have continued as the Macquarie Hotel until 1852 under Wood's management. How long it continued as a hotel is unknown, but it was still licensed as the Steam Packet Inn in 1862, and was still being used as a hotel in the 1880's.

Many who stayed at the Inn complained of footsteps on the stairs and someone passing through locked doors. It was supposedly the ghost of John Batman and could be seen at the top of the stairs. If this was true and it was John Batman's ghost, he must have been really lost because the building did not exist during the time Batman was living in George Town and thus he would never have stayed there. In later years, Whitestones was used as a private school and is now a private residence.

Main Text & Information Source - 
"Treasures Of George Town" - George Town & District Historical Society 2003
Model version of Whitestones part of the wonderful Model Village of 19th Century George Town recreated to scale by volunteers and can be viewed at the George Town Watch House