Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Wilmot Arms Inn, Kempton

This classic Georgian two storey house was constructed in 1841 by John Ashton and was first licensed in 1844 and named the Wilmot Arms Inn to honour the newly installed Governor, Sir John Eardley Wilmot. Ashton came to Van Diemens Land as a free settler and chose to settle at Green Ponds where his uncle, George Ashton, who was an emancipated convict and was already prospering in the new colony. John Ashton came out to Van Diemens Land with his wife & family.

John Ashton owned the Wilmot Arms Inn until 1875, when he died at the age of 77 after a long and painful illness that he bore with “Christian fortitude”. However the Inn had generally been leased to tenant licensees with Ashton running the post office next door. The Wilmot Arms was one of about eleven Inns in Green Ponds that vied with each other to attract the custom of not only the locals but also of the travelers that passed through along the Launceston to Hobart road.

The Inn was last licensed as a public house in 1897. The house continued to be used as a private residence through until the 1960’s. By the 1970’s the building had been restored to its former glory and operated as colonial accommodation and tea rooms.

The Inn has retained its early colonial atmosphere and is now a private residence which also operates as a bed & breakfast colonial accommodation. For its age, the Wilmot Arms remains in wonderful condition.

Main Text & Information Source –
Interpretive Sign at the Site

Sunday, 26 June 2016

W.D.Peacock Convalescent Hospital

William Davidson Peacock (1847-1921) was a Tasmanian fruit exporter, born in Gloucestershire who emigrated to Hobart in 1869 and worked in his uncle’s jam factory. In 1885 he was dismissed after refusing to manage a jam factory attached to a distillery, which offended his strong temperance principles. He established his own jam factory, and in 1895 entered the European fruit export trade.

W.D. Peacock was a pioneer in guaranteeing full cargo space to induce European ships to take on fruit in Tasmanian ports, whereas previously Tasmanian exporters had to ship fruit to the mainland, and thence onwards to Europe. By 1898, W.D. Peacock and (Sir) Henry Jones were sharing this high risk strategy. Their companies dominated the Tasmanian fruit export industry.

In 1910, Jones purchased a controlling share in Peacock’s company, and on Peacock’s retirement in 1919, Jones took over his company. The W.D. Peacock Company is well-known particularly for the wonderfully colorful labels on their crates of apples and pears.

W.D,Peacock owned this beautiful mansion in Swan Street, North Hobart on a substantial plot of land. When he passed away in 1921, his will bequeathed the property to the state of Tasmania for use for the benefit of his fellow Tasmanians. In 1940, the then Premier (Mr. Cosgrove) announced that Cabinet had decided to accept (the building and land in Swan St., Hobart, which had been bequeathed to the State under the will of the late Mr. W. D. Peacock).

Mr. Cosgrove said it was intended that the building should be used as a convalescent home for patients discharged from hospital. lt was intended to extend the privilege to those in moderate circumstances.  It was officially opened as a Convalescent Home for Women in March 1943.

The house and property continues its community work to this day as the Hobart & Southern Districts Adult Community Mental Health Services, part of the Department of Health & Human Services where it is referred to as the Peacock Centre. A fitting tribute to the generosity of W.D. Peacock.

The original Peacock house has been lovingly restored and appears to serve as the administration centre for the Peacock Centre.

Main Text & information Sources – 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Old Watch House, Bellerive

This building was constructed in 1842 as a Watch House. Designed by Alexander Cheyne in 1838, the Watch House served many of the functions of a modern day police station. It provided accommodation for police constables, as well as separate confinement for men & women and solitary cells. Sited on a slight rise in the land, it was ideally suited to overlook Kangaroo Bay and the developing village.

Following the inauguration of the Clarence Plains council in 1860, the Watch House served as council chambers until the construction of a purpose built town hall in 1929.The police moved to the building next door in 1930 after which Professor Miller moved the Social Institute library to the Watch House from the former Social Institute building. After World War 2, the building was renamed the Bellerive War Memorial Community Centre and continued as a library until the opening of the new Rosny Library in 1960.

In 1975, following the Tasman Bridge disaster, the old Watch House was used by the Social Welfare Department. Today, it’s used a as community arts centre and provides a space for community participation in the arts and also provides a home for the Bellerive Historical Society.

Main Text & Information Source –
Interpretive Signs at the Site

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Site of Luckman's Mill, Battery Point

Cromwell Street is the home of St George’s Church, Battery Point’s most well known landmark. In the early 1830’s there was an equally well known landmark on the other side of the street. James Luckman built a large windmill there late in 1834, shortly before the construction on the church was started.

In March 1836, the Hobart Town Courier reported that “Luckman’s Mill was a very handsome round building, in which the circular roof and sails balance and adjust themselves to the wind by means of a fan wheel on the opposite side. It’s situation on the crest of the hill, along with its red brick wall and white sails made it a very conspicuous landmark for vessels sailing up the river.

In July 1849, James Cowgill purchased the windmill and made a number of improvements including the erection of an adjoining steam mill in 1861 which increased production capacity and allowed for milling production to continue even on still days.

The mill fell from regular use in the 1870’s and it was ultimately purchased by the Grubb Brothers for 900 pounds in October 1883. They quickly arranged for the windmill site’s demolition and then went on to advertise for the sale of the bricks.

The Grubb Brothers then used the site to erect a pair of grand two storey Italianate townhouses, complete with arched entry porticos. These townhouses still exist today and are in wonderful condition, continuing to be used as private residences.

Main Text & Information Source – 
“The Story of Battery Point – Street by Street” – Donald Howatson 2012

Historic Photos – 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

St Luke's Church, Campbell Town

The history of St. Luke's Church is almost as old as the township itself. The township was founded by Governor Macquarie, of New South Wales, in 1821, during one of his visits, Tasmania then being a dependency of that State. The first clergyman to arrive was the Rev. William Bedford in1833, who held services in the old police offices which afterwards became the Council Chambers, the oldest building in the town in December 1833.  The last public ceremony performed by Governor Arthur was the laying of the foundation stones of the Campbell Town and Ross Churches, both of which were set in place on the same day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon of October 20, 1836.

The first baptism took place on December 11, 1833, that of Charles George Henry Care Clarke, son of George Care and Hannah Maria Clarke, of Ellenthorpe Hall, who was born on May 25, 1832, the Rev. William Bedford, Jr., being the officiating minister. In all, there had been 2,370 baptisms in the church by 1933. The first recorded burial was that of John Paine, farmer, of  Bendemere, on June 14, 1834.

In 1835 plans for the proposed church were prepared by John Lee Archer, the civil engineer under Governor Arthur. It was soon discovered that part of the base had been laid down without foundations being laid. A new contractor was called in to complete the construction. This, however, was not the end of the problems as the whole building was found to be so poorly constructed that extensive repairs were required before it could be consecrated.As soon as this work was finished, the Church was consecrated by Bishop Nixon on June 11, 1850.

On the blackwood notice board in the porch, on the right as one enters the church, the following information appears over the list of rectors: "Erected into a Parish, 1833; foundation stone laid by Governor Arthur, 1835; re stored, and new vestry, 1920." The lectern in the Church was given by Mrs. George Wilson, and Miss Leake, of ‘Rosedale,’ gave a new pulpit during this period. In 1876 the organ and choir were moved from the west to the east end of the Church. New altar rails, new lamps and a new Communion set. Also a new bell, which weighed five hundredweight, was installed.

The bell was swung on a tripod in the grounds as the brickwork of the tower was too weak to hold it. The present vicarage was built in 1888, mainly through the generosity of Miss Sarah Leake. The following year the tower was strengthened and the bell placed in it. The handsome English pipe organ was manufactured by J. W. Walker, London, in 1862.

St. Luke's Church is an imposing bright-red brick structure, with tiled roof, and is nicely situated amid pinus insignis trees at the north-eastern end of the township, on the east side of the Hobart Launceston main road. Excepting that two bad cracks developed in the southern side of the building a few years ago (one at each end), the church is in a good state of preservation, and stands in the north-western corner of the cemetery, which contains many striking monuments, those outstanding being to the families of Leake, Foster, Jones, Towns, Palmer, Harrison, Crow, Curtis, Powell, Flanagan, Bush, and Valentine.

Interest surrounds the life of the Rev. Kenneth William Kirkland, a rector of St. Luke's, whose humble tombstone in the local cemetery discloses that he died on October 2, 1866, at the age of 27 years, two days after his only child, Susan Annie Kenneth, who died on September 30 1866, at the age of five months. In 1865, local identity Dr Valentine made church history by objecting to the ordination of Rev Kirkland. Valentine’s objection was regarding Kirkland’s refusal to give up some high church practices which Valentine disagreed with. Kirkland was eventually ordained at St David’s in Hobart. In the end, Kirkland was only Rector for 12 months.

The church remains an active part of the Anglican diocese to this day as part of the North Midlands parish.

Main Text & Information Source – 
The Mercury – 30th November 1933 -
Interpretive Sign At The Site