Past Projects

VDL & NI Excursions 1990-1999

In 1990 I decided to start going on excursions to places in Tasmania where the member's ancestors settled on their land grants after they arrived from Norfolk Island from 1805 to 1813.

Over the next six years we went on 14 excursions from Longford in the north to Geeveston in the south.

During my cleaning out drive to have more room in my unit I came across the folder that contained the 23 Newsletters that I did during this time.

Here are some extracts from these Newsletters dealing with all the excursions and also some interesting tit-bits.

1990 - Excursion to New Norfolk conducted by the late Freda Cox. We visited Atherfield, Redlands, Valleyfield, Glen Derwent and Tynwald. 

1991 - Excursion to Hamilton where we visited Strathborough and were invited in by Mrs and Mr Flint to have morning tea.

1991 - Excursion to Sorell were our guide Mary Ramsay kindly took us first to Thorpe Mill and then on to Dennistoun. Afterwards visiting Nant and our last stop was WEntworth House.

1992 - Longford and Evandale Excursion. This was our first and only week-end excursion. In Longford we took a bus tour to see the land that was taken up land by the NI who had arrived in there in 1813. We spent the night in Longford going on to Evandale the next morning.

1992 - Hobart Excursion. We were very lucky to have the late Martin Davis conduct this walk for us. We started at The City Hall and walked up Macquarie St to Barrack Street where we had lunch at the pub, after lunch  we continued on into Davey
Street before retracing our steps to Harrington Street and then finishing at Argyle Street. The group found Martin a most interesting guide and he had them all on their toes answering his questions as to the type of stone and brick work in the buildings. 

!993 - Broadmarsh Excursion. From Hobart tracing as many of the Rivulets as we could before going on to Bridgewater and then to Broadmarsh before returning to Pontville and then back to Hobart.

1993 - Midlands Excursion. Pontville, Kempton, Jericho, Colebrook and Richmond. A wonderful full day enjoyed by all.

1993 - Hobart Revisited. Theatre Royal and the Campbell Street Criminal Courts were we took part in a play based on a real trial.

1994 - Ross Excursion. Were we visited the bridge and was conducted on a bus tour by a local guide, we then visited Jerico and Oatlands. Somercotes was our next and it turned out to be a most interesting of the day.

1994 - Port Arthur Excursion. where we were again lucky to have Martin as our guide. After lunch at the Dunalley Pub we went on the the Cascades, then Coal Mines at Salt River. Our last party of the day was to Palmer's Lookout before returning to Hobart.

1994 - Tunbridge Excursion. Lunch at the Tunbridge Manor and then on to Tunbridge Wells.

1995 - Hobart to Geeveston Excursion. By bus travelling first to Sandy Bay then on to Hounville to Geeveston where we had lunch, returning to Hobart by Fern Tree and the Huon Road.

1995 - Forcett and Tasman Peninsula Excursion. First to Midway Point then to Frogmore and then on to the the Peninsula.

1996 - Lady Nelson Excursion. This was by way of introducing the group to something different by spending the day on board the Lady Nelson sailing as far as Bruni Island and back. Not everyone's cup of tea even though it was a most beautiful day. I thought there would have been more interest as most of their ancestors came by ship but I am afraid they enjoyed having their feet on dry land much better then on the deck of my Lady nelson.

1996 - Bruny Island Excursion. This was the last of our excursions and was conducted by Cathy Duncombe, and very enjoyable it was. 

On each excursion (except New Norfolk) I printed a book of the places we were to visit and the members were able to buy the book on the day. This was very popular but they were threatened with all sorts of things if I found them reading it instead of listening to me give the talk.

All of these book are still available as I receive many enquiries for them as a means of visiting the places of interest. (see my book list)     

Tit-bits later (to be continued)

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Prime Seal Island Dig 1989

Prime Seal Island Dig 1989


In her story, “The Settlement Mark" in the Ancestry (Vol. 27 No 1) Margaret McKenzie asked if anyone had been on an Archaeological dig. This question and Margaret’s interesting story brought back memories of some of the digs I have been on. One in particular comes to mind possibly the hardest digging or camping I have ever encountered.


Since coming to Tasmania in 1960, we have, as a family, camped all over the state, in the heat, rain, wind and snow, as well as spending three years digging at Port Arthur during the summer, as a volunteer. So I was no stranger to the difficult times while camping and working in a trench all day. So when I was asked to go to Prime Seal Island in 1989 I jumped at the chance.


The dig on Prime Seal Island was a follow-up on a previous one a couple of years before.  Being in a cave it was certainly going to be different to digging under the floorboards in the Commandant’s house at Port Arthur.  The cave was thought to have been occupied by aborigines before the land bridge was covered by Bass Strait, and it was hoped we would find some evidence of this.


Our party was made up of eleven people, three archeologists and eight volunteers, three from Flinder’s Island and the rest from Tasmania and the mainland.


We all met at Whitemark on Flinder’s Island, where we spent the night, before leaving the next day for Prime Seal Island. It was the bumpiest sea voyage I have ever had. The boat was a high powered speed boat, that was up in the air more times then on the water, before crashing down with a bang. We had to hold on for our lives for what seemed like hours.


When at last we arrived at our destination we had to first pile into a rubber ducky with all our gear, tents, bedding and personal bags, and row to the rocky outcrop, from where we had to haul our gear up onto the cliff-top. By this time I was wondering if I had been foolish at my age ( I was later to find out I was the oldest) to volunteer. But by the time we had our tents up and viewed the beautiful scenery I had forgotten my worries.


The men were soon busy erecting the cooking tent and Elspeth (the only person I knew) and I started setting up the kitchen.  The set up was very primitive just a canvas top with side poles. The only cooking appliance was a small gas stove with no base. (we cooked for eleven people with it on the ground for the whole ten days) We also had two camp ovens, two eskies of food, two water containers, and that was about it.


Everybody placed their tents where they could have a view of the sea and Flinder’s Island in the distance. All of a sudden the camp was in fits of laughter. One of the women volunteers had brought a large family tent, but had forgotten the pegs. Soon fixed, the men went off and made some wooden ones.


It was a great first night, with something to eat and a glass of wine and interesting people to talk to.  We were all looking forward to our first day of the dig.


The cooking difficulties was not our only problem, as the island is uninhabited there were no facilities such as toilets and water. When we arrive it was decided that we would have to dig trenches for toilets (like we did at guide’s camps, not a very pleasant thought) In the end it was decided to use a shovel instead.  This was embarrassing at first, as we had to wait till the person brought the shovel back to camp. We soon got over that and were yelling for them to get a move on.


The other worries we had was the island was covered with spider holes (like our big trap door spiders in Queensland)  So we had to be very careful where we dug a hole, and watch for snakes, we were warned to keep a look out for them.

(I have since found out that they were wolf spiders, a mainland species not found in Tasmania)


The dig was in a cave at the top of the highest hill on the island, and at 7am the next morning we all set off like the seven dwarfs up the hill to work.  Our first job was to clear the weeds from the front of the cave. I grabbed what I thought was some thistles but what turned out to be stinging nettles. Pain shot up my arm and this was nearly the end of my stay, as it ached all day and made me feel quite sick.


Not wanting to make a fuss I keep on working, not to do so would have meant the other volunteers would have had more to do, besides there was no way of getting me off the island.


Soon we found we were short of water and from then on had to be very careful with it. The hardest was washing ourselves in salt water in our tents. Sitting on my bed with a bowl of salt water was no fun. To have fresh water for our tea and coffee Ron would walk a couple of miles down to an old tank at an abanded house and fill up one of our containers every couple of days.



Our island dig continues and all the inconveniences were forgotten during the day as we took our turn of digging, carrying sand, sifting and cataloging. From our advantage spot on the top of the hill we often watched the dolphins while we had our lunch. I think they knew we were there each day and come to perform for us.


I was very lucky one day while I was in one of the four foot trenches, I found what is believed to be a 30,000 year old complete scallop shell (only because I was in the right hole at the right time, but it was a thrill for all that) Steve, our leader said it was the find of the dig. This find also proved that the aborigines used the cave during the time of the land bridge before the forming of Bass Strait.


Our finds were mainly small animal bones. The team were hopeful that the next part of the project within the inner cave there would be more interesting finds. The inner cave, which you had to crawl into on your hands and knees, was very spooky, dark and full of crickets and no doubt the dreaded spiders.


One day while working in the cave Steve said we only had one lot of meat left and it was silverside, did anyone know how to cook it? Thinking it was a good opportunity to go back to camp, as I still wasn’t feeling too good, I offered, if I could go down early. On arrived at the camp I lit the camp-fire and put the camp oven on with some onions and potatoes and the silverside and covered it with water. After leaving it for a while I went back to see how it was going, and to my horror found the top covered with maggots.  What on earth was I to do? There was nothing else to eat so it had to be the silverside, like it or not. I would have to eat it if I expected them to! I removed the potatoes and onion and replaced the water with some fresh salt water and continued with cooking it.  I kept telling myself our ancestors must have often done the same thing before ice chests and refrigerators.


Everyone was full of praise for my cooking, which made me feel guilty so I called Steve aside and told him what I had done. Steve only laughed saying when he had cleaned the esky out a few days before he had found the bottom full of them and had just emptied them out and put back the meat.  I never told anyone on the team about it.  


So between the nettles, spiders, snakes, blowflies and the blown meat, this was to me my most remembered dig. It’s funny how we remember the hard times in detail but are incline not to remember the good ones so vividly.



Volunteers on Prime Seal Island (last day)


When I arrived back on Flinders my friend put me to bed for a week, and told me I was very lucky as she remembered her mother telling her of a child who died from being stung with what is known on the islands as Man Nettles.


Names of those who were on Prime Seal Island:

Steve Brown, Robbie Sim, Ian Thomas, Tony Walker, Ronnie Summers, Darell West, Tom Rayner, Elsepeth Wishart, Phillis Pitchford, Cathy Lincoln and Irene Schaffer .


A report of this dig can be found on

Irene Schaffer













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Chigwell Project 2004



Chigwell Project 2004

In 2004 the Glenorchy Council set up talks between the residents of Chigwell and the children of the Mt. Faulkner School, encourage them to take part in discussions about the past and present history of the surrounding districts.

The children were introduced to the story of John Faulkner who arrived with Lt. Col. David Collins in 1804, with his family. They particually found his convict past interesting.

A story was written about John Faulkner and the class made it into a play. This play was produced at the end of 2004 by the childen themselves and was very well received by the community. They also took part in visiting the historical houses in the area and took a series of photos that were displayed at the Moonah Arts Centre along with the play.

The residents met once a month and their stories were recorded along with many photos that were collected.

A brochure showing some of the historical places was produced by the Glenorchy Council. A book was also written and can be seen on my book list. ("Historical Houses and Inns")


Green Man Inn

Main Road Berriedale

The Green Man Inn was one of the first inn to be built between Glenorchy and Austins Ferry. However the Barley Mow at Austins Ferry was the first inn along the Derwent River between Hobart and what is now known as Bridgewater, built in 1816, and later called the Baltonsborough Inn in 1819. From 1820 it was known as The Roseneath Inn.

Across from where the Green Man Inn would have been situate.
Just the place to smuggle out the spirits made from the
maze grown on the foothill of Mt Wellington.

 Hobart 7 mile on otherside site of the Green Man Inn. 

he 1832 map show where Samuel Bird land was situated and the spot where the Green Man Inn was locate the seven milestone, near the cove that was later called Lowestoft Bay.

The 1832 map shows Samuel Bird’s land grant north of Thomas R Preston (this land was later granted to Thomas Y Lowes) The map also shows a dwelling, which would have been the Green Man Inn. This is the only mark shown on the map from O’Brien’s Bridge to Austins Ferry.

Samuel arrived in the Colony on board the Marshall Wellington in May 1821 aged 29. He came highly recommended with letters from Lord Bathurst and the Treasury Chambers in London. The letters stated that he was a sober hard working young man who had worked for the British Government in the Bay of Heligoland during the British occupation between 1810-1819, as Superintendent of building the Barracks there

Granted 200 acres of land by Governor Arthur at Ouse on the banks of the Clyde River,
[2] Samuel tried his hand for the first time as a grazier. In March 1825 Samuel wrote to the Governor, that he had 100 horned cattle on his land, and requested more land as he now had a wife and one child to support and wished to branch into agricultural pursuits. Samuel married Lucy Pickett.[3] in Hobart in 1823. Their son George Samuel was born in 1823.

From 1857 to 1859 the license was again in the hands of the Bird family this time Samuel’s son, George Samuel Bird.
In 1858 the inn was occupied and owned by George Bird. On the same valuation roll Edward Durrant was living on an acre of land at Glenorchy.

Thomas Kemp Workman held the license between 1859-60. For the last ten months Charles Atkinson became the licensee of the Green Man on the Lowestoft Estate, until it burnt down in May 1861.

It is not known when the inn acquired its bad reputation possibly after Samuel died. Along with the Dusty Miller Inn at O’Briens’s Bridge they were known as gathering places for notorious characters, especially moonlighters who kept their illegal stills in the hidden, shady gullies on the lower slopes of Mount Wellington.

Samuel wrote again in May that year pleading with the Governor to grant him more land suitable for farming. In the hope of impressing the Governor Samuel explained that his wife (of good family connections) had received from Mr George Salter 100 head of cattle and that he owned a valuable house in Macquarie Street.
[4] He also stated that he now had an amount of farm implements as well as one mare, fourteen pigs, and 50 pounds in cash.[5]

These were difficult times as many more free men were arriving in VDL. It had been the custom before 1824 that free settlers came and claimed land without having to pay for that privilege. After 1824 they were required to bring an amount of cash with them. With only 50 pounds in cash Samuel’s prospects of more land seemed very remote. By late 1825 he was a very disappointed man with more family expected, he again wrote to Governor Arthur informing him that if he did not receive more land he was intending to go to NSW to settle.

All this was to no avail, the Government however did grant Samuel an additional grant of 18 acres of land at Glenorchy in 1828.
[7] The land was valued at 18 pounds with 5 pound quit rent. Situated near the 7th milepost on the high road from Hobarton to Austins Ferry.[8]

It is possible that Samuel built the inn himself, it was licensed by him in September 1828, until his death in April 1830 aged only 38 years.

Lucy Bird had been given 200 acres of land by George Salter at New Norfolk before she married Bird. This land was sold to Duncan Ballantine and another in June 1830 showing that money was still scarce regardless of owning the Inn.

Lucy took over the lease and married Edward Durrant at New Norfolk in 1830, transferring the license to him. Lucy and Edward Durrant had two children Edward Thomas born at New Norfolk in 1831 and Emma in 1833. It is not known if this marriage survived, as in 1834 three of the children were placed in the Queen’s Orphanage at New Town. George aged 11, Mary 9, and Edward 4.
[9] All three children were discharged from the orphanage in 1839.

The licensees of the Green Man over the next few years were Peter Bodeson in 1833 and Ramsay Williamson in 1836-37.

Across from where the Green Man was situated in the low hidden inlet in Lowestoft Bay, where no doubt the spirits were hid until the time was right to row the casts down the Derwent to Hobart Town. This is now a quite restful place and to visualize it has having been a haven for smuggling is hard to imagine.

Because of its reputation, an investigator was sent to spy on the Green Man during its heyday. In his role as a lodger, the investigator made himself affable and spent freely. Affected by potency of the spirits, he divulged his mission to a damsel who had ensnared his affection. Soon the official went missing and all efforts to trace him failed. Many years after the Green Man closed some workmen found an old well nearby. At the bottom of the well lay a skeleton. After all sorts of conjecture as to the identity of the remains, the talk of the missing official was remembered

The location of the Green Man has been under discussion for some years. Thought to be across from the Berriedale Caravan Park where there are some remains of a sandstone foundation. The foundation could have belonged to a house or some other dwelling of the early period.

There has also been much speculation as to the stables that stood for many years between the properties that Lowes and Bird owned. One writer remembered crossing over from the rail-line fence and to have a look at what was left of the once famous Green Man Inn. Only the stables remained with a trough where the Coach-horses quenched their thirst whilst the passengers did likewise at the bar.

Another early local recalled his ideas on the elaborate stables that he also believed to be those of the Green Man Inn.

From research carried out in undertaking this project on the historical homes I have found that whereas there was stables attached to the Green Man Inn they would not have been the elaborate ones that can be seen in the following photo. When the Inn was burnt down in 1861 the land was advertised in the Mercury. The twenty acres (once granted to Samuel Bird) was to be sold. The public was told it was bounded on the high road to Launceston, and by the land bounded by T.Y. Lowes Esq.

The Mercury went on to say the ‘The spot is well known as the site of the Green Man Inn, recently destroyed by fire’
[13]. The purchaser would be entitled to all the material on the ground, as well as weather-boarded stabling[14] and about 200 fruit trees. A first class freestone quarry was also on the property. The stables belonging to the Inn would have been built with timber not stone and therefore I believe they are not the ones on Lowes property.

n 1858 the Valuation Rolls showed The Green Man Inn Glenorchy, 20 acres as being worth one hundred and twenty pounds and that G.S. Bird was the owner and lived on the property. The property belonging to T.Y. Lowes in 1858 was 472 acres, valued at three hundred pounds and contained a house, barn, and stables, home and farm. 

[1] CSO1/ 150/3650

[2] LSD354/5 p341

[3] Lucy was the daughter of Samuel Pickett (First Fleeter) and Mary Thompson (Second Fleeter), both were convicts who later lived on Norfolk Island.

[4] This property was once owned by George Salter.

[5] CSO1/150/3650

[6] ibid.

[7] Hawkings. David T, Bound for Australia p187

[8] LSD409/1 p106

[9] The Orphanage records showed that the children’s mother was married to Thomas De Little a carpenter at Glenorchy, no further information was found about this man. CSO5/93/2074.

[10] 1858 Valuation Rolls AOT

[11] Glenorchy 1804 –1864 Alison Alexander

[12] Tasmanian Road and Tract. By E. T. Emmett

[13] Mercury 28 May 1861 p4 c1

[14] Stable building or accommodation


© Irene Schaffer



Chigwell House 2004

was first built as a wooden structure. It was built by William G Ellison about 1837. Ellison ran the Hobart Town Courier in Hobart Town and traveled to work every day by steam ship.

In 1839 Chigwell was put up for sale. Described as a valuable dairy farm and country residence, beautifully situated and commanding the most delightful view. The two-story house stood about three hundred yards from the main road.

On the ground floor were five rooms and five more upstairs. There was a detached kitchen and laundry, a store loft, a dairy, stables for two horses and a harness room, chaise house, men’s lodge, fowl house, barn, and neatly laid out garden. The permanent stream at the back of the house provided water through an acqueduct, and the whole property formed an agreeable retreat with an easy distance from town.

In 1846 Ellison again put Chigwell on the market. Of the 50 acres of land six were sown for hay, and four were in turnips. Additions since 1839 were a small brewery and stables for six horses. All buildings were of stone. This time the estate was sold and Ellison moved to Hobart Town, where he became Mayor and Usher of the Black Rod in the Parliament

Chigwell was then bought by a Dr Rowe. Nine months later he sold it after it was thoroughly repaired, to Mr Henry Bilton. In 1849 an advertisement showed he had increased the land by 100 acres.[3]

The 1858 Valuation Roll records that Henry Bilton was letting the farm of 100 acres farm at Glenorchy to Alexander Waddle and that is was valued at £200.[4]

Between 1858 and 60 two fires devastated the house. The first, everything except the stables and the coach house was destroyed and in 1859 a second fire occurred. The fire was said to be deliberately lit.






Lowestoft House Berriedale 2004


Thomas Yardley Lowes arrived in Hobart on board the Thailia on the 27 April 1823. With him was his wife Anna Maria Theresa and daughter Mary Ann.

On leaving England Lowes thought he would be establishing the first distillery in Van Diemen’s Land but on arriving in Hobart he learnt there were others already in production. He did however build a distillery and a malt house on 20 acres along the Hobart Rivulet. Around part of his property he built a ten feet stone wall. This property was later sold to the Government and used as a factory for convict women.

Thomas’s father and mother, James and Elizabeth Lowes, came out from England arriving on the Orella in October 1827. They lived in Argyle Street. James died only two months after their arrival. Elizabeth lived in Hobart until her death in 1861, aged 78 years.

Because of a shortage of grain Lowes decided to change his occupation. He moved to Liverpool Street where he set himself up as a merchant, auctioneer and estate agent. In 1829 he was the cashier at the VDL Bank. He also was the treasurer of the New Town Race Course in 1830.

The land that Thomas Lowes acquired at the Derwent (New Town and much later Chigwell) had been granted to Thomas R Preston in 1806. It was later taken over by Thomas Capon in 1823.

In 1830 Lowes had 130 acres of land, and by 1835 it had grown to 500 acres, all in what was then known as New Town (now Chigwell).

The property that the Lowes settled on covered over 500 acres, it reached from the River Derwent to Faulkner’s Rivulet and beyond, and down to what later became Berriedale Road. It was here that he built his first house Dairy Plains. Behind this house he also had a farm called Livilands. (This was where Mrs Lowes made her famous cider in the 1840s).

Interesting to note that by 1901 this property was made up of a Villa and grounds covering 183 acres, a cottage and farm on 48 acres, another cottage and farm on 50 acres, a farm on 20 acres and 80 acres of land. The value in all was 7,320 pounds. By this time it belonged to the Cameron family.

Dairy Plains was replaced by a new home and renamed Lowestoft about 1850. Folklore has it that Lowestoft was a replica of the house that Napoleon Bonaparte lived in on the island of Saint Helena, when he was exiled there in 1815, and died in 1821. This story has been around but no proof could be found. There are a number of different painting of Longwood (as the house on St Helena is called) as the front was changed many times over the years. It is certainly very much like Lowestoft. As to why Thomas Lowes would copy this house that was built so many thousands of miles from England and Van Diemen’s Land, is a mystery. One small piece of information, and after much research can find no connection, was that a Sir Hudson Lowe was Bonaparte’s English gaoler on Saint Helena.

Thomas Y Lowes became the largest land holder in the district and with his connections with banking, horse racing and cricket he often entertained on a large scale. In 1840 while still residing at Dairy Plains he entertained 500 guests at a cricket match on his land. He was also Captain of the Buckingham Military Corps. His men drilling on the property, being brought out from Hobart in Cooley’s coaches.

Mary Ann Lowes daughter of Thomas and Anna Maria aged 32 married Francis Oscar Towdear (Tondeny) in October 1848. The couple did not stay in Tasmania.

Thomas Yardley Lowes died at Lowestoft on 5 October 1870 aged 73. His wife Anna had preceded him. She died in 1861 aged 68.

Thomas Yardley Lowes was buried at St Paul’s cemetery behind the church. His headstone also records the death of his wife Anna Maria Theresa who died on 29 November 1861 aged 68.

To the memory of Anna Maria Theresa Lowes died Nov 30 1861 aged 68


The Hon. T.Y Lowes MLC of Tasmania

Died Lowestoft Glenorchy

Oct 5 1870 aged 73

Early in 1834 Surveyor- General Frankland advised the Colonial Secretary that he thought it very desirable the government should form a nucleus of a village at Glenorchy by obtaining ground for a church, a parsonage, and a schoolhouse. This was not forthcoming and in 1838 Thomas Lowes asked permission to rent the land. It was agreed and Lowes was informed that if the land was required in the future he was to vacate it, in the meantime keeping the fences in good order. A church was never built and the land was later absorbed into the Lowestoft property.


 Lowes Bridge

The bridge over the Faulkner Rivulet (at what is now Chigwell) would have been built by Thomas Y Lowes well before 1832, possibly about the same time as the barn, allowing him access from his property on the south-east where his farms were, to his north-west land.

Tradition has it that this may have been an alternative route used in winter when the main road was muddy and impassable for the horses and carts. This would have been a very long way round and as it would have had to have gone over the Faulkner’s Rivulet, its possible this route would have been much in the same condition at the main road. There is no suggestion of a road or track on any of the early maps and I believe that this bridge was used by Lowes and his farm workers, and not by the general public.


© Irene Schaffer




Undine 2004

Undine Inn was listed in the Hobart Town Gazette in 1834 as a coaching inn. Undine and the other inns, Berriedale, Traveller’s Rest and The Green Man were all in operation well before this date, but possibly not licensed until then. The name Undine was later changed to Rosetta Cottage and between 1842-1848 was a seminary for young ladies. It later became a boarding house, private hotel and then a private home. Early owners included Peacocks, Jillette and Hurburgh and Elliss.

 Between 1894 and 1900 the licensed for the Hotel was issued intermittently to Ernest Peacock. In later years it was in the hands of the Golding family and advised as a holiday resort with fishing, swimming and the best of wine and spirits.


The land that Undine was built on, had been granted by Governor King to John Berrisford in 1813. This land covered 140 acres. His son Joseph was also granted 140 acres, next to his father’s land.


John Berrisford arrived on the First Fleet in 1788. He was a private in the marines and had been allowed to bring his wife Hannah with him on the Prince of Wales. Joseph and his sister Mary were born in Sydney before the family moved to Norfolk Island, where they had another three children.


In 1808 John and his family sailed on the City of Edinburgh to Hobart Town where they settled on their land along the River Derwent, now known as Berriedale Bay.


By 1809 John Berrisford had 3 acres of wheat planted, 2 sheep and 4 swine on his land, now reduced to 120 acres. His son Joseph had 1 acre of wheat, ½ acre barley and 1 sheep, 1 goat and 2 swine on his 140 acres. Both were receiving stores from the Government for themselves and their families.


Unlike some of those who did not settled on their grants John Berrisford did. All of his children had married by 1813. Four of the daughters married men who had land close to their father’s farm.


The grants granted to most of the early settlers before 1813 became official in 1813. Joseph however had problems getting his grant recognized and in 1826 wrote to the Governor complaining that he had not received his official document. He also stated his land had been damaged by the government cutting down trees and digging gravel pits on it for the past three years, while working on the road. Cattle were also a problem as the Government cattle were wandering on to his property and had reduced the grass on his pastures. His grant, like his fathers were both registered in 1813.


In 1815 both their signatures were recorded with many other inhabitants of Van Diemen’s Land as wanting the Criminal Court established in Hobart Town.


The Hobart Town Gazette reported in 1816 that Mr Berrisford had begun to cut his field of barley on his farm near New Town, which was proof of the great mildness of the season. The mild season did not continue, and later that year John lost 14 sheep that had died in the rain after being shorn.


In 1817 Joseph Berrisford advised the Government that he would supply 800 lbs of meat to the Government Stores.


A caution to trespasses, warning people to keep off his land, was places in the HTG in 1818 by Joseph Berrisford and George Oakley (his brother-in-law) at Woodstock Bandicoote Hills, situated between Humphrey’s Rivulet and Faulkner’s Run in Glenorchy. Signed by A. Waddle (another brother-in-law).


Like many other settlers who were becoming established in and around Hobart both father and son joined the A.B.S. (Auxiliary Bible Society) in 1819.


When the Norfolk Islanders first arrived in Van Diemen’s Land they were given land in return for the land they had on Norfolk Island. They were also to be vitualled from the Government Stores for two years. Both John and Joseph were well established on their land by 1819 and were off the stores. John had 15 acres in wheat, 1 acre in barley, 1 acre in beans and 1 acre in potatoes. He also had 82 acres in pastures, 25 sheep 15 bushels of grain in hand. Joseph had 8 acres in wheat, ½ acre in beans, ½ acre potatoes, 22 acres in pastures.


Their land went from north-west of where Strathaven is today, to the south-east past Rosetta High School. From the foreshore the land ran south-west and took in what is now part of Mary’s Hope Road, and went towards Montrose Road.


John Berrisford died in 1821. His wife Hannah lived for another twenty one years. They were both buried in St. David’s Cemetery in Hobart.


An accident took place in 1823 when Joseph was returning home from Hobart with his wife and mother in a bullock cart. One of the animals took fright and galloped off with the vehicle, which was upturned. Joseph had his leg broken in two places. He was also dreadfully bruised. While this terrible accident was happening a man rushed out of the bush and hit Mrs Berrisford senior over the head in a most inhuman manner, robbed her of some dollars and then made off. It was thought that Joseph would recover but his leg may have had to be amputated. The good news was that the thief was caught the next day and was put in custody.


By 1835 some of the land had been sold or leased. Joseph continued to live on what was left of his 140 acres.


In 1858 he had a house farm and orchard on his now 50 acres of land. This property was called Dudley. The full value was given as £200.

(c) Irene Schaffer





Montrose House 2004


Robert Littlejohn arrived in the River Derwent in 1804 with Lt. Col. Collins. Lt. Col. Collins left England in 1803 with a small amount of free settlers and over 300 convicts on two ships. The Calcutta carried the convicts and the Royal Marines and the Ocean the free settlers. Their destination was Sorrento (Port Phillip) but after arriving there, Collins decided it was not suitable, and abandoned it in favour of Risdon Cove, on the River Derwent.

The Calcutta was ordered to returned to England and the Lady Nelson was sent from Sydney to assist Collins with the removal to Risdon Cove of his free settlers and some provisions. The convicts and Royal Marines were sent on the Ocean, leaving a small attachment of soldiers and convicts at Sorrento to follow on at a later date.

Again Risdon Cove did not suit Collins requirements, and within a few days he removed his settlers and convicts to Sullivan’s Cove (Hobart Town).

Robert Littlejohn (Lyttlejohn) was one of the free settlers and he would have sailed from Port Phillip to Risdon Cove on the Lady Nelson. On his arrival he was granted 100 acres of land along the River Derwent near the mouth of Humphrey’s Rivulet. By 1806 he had a quarter of an acre garden on his land and in 1809, 3 acres under wheat, and one and a half acres in barley, plus 8 sheep and 2 swine.[1]

In 1813 he was granted an extra 120 acres of land. This land was situated along the Islet Rivulet bounded on Berrisford’s and O’Brien’s properties, this was where he built his home and called it Montrose.

During this time he appeared to be running the two properties. In 1817 a warning was issued to trespasses by Captain Blyth, on land known as Gunning’s farm. His neighboroughs were Robert Littlejohn and Miller. Littlejohn’s house Montrose seemed to be his residence and the other his farm.

Robert Littlejohn was born in Scotland and had received a very liberal education there. He devoted a considerable portion of his time to botanical researches of which he was passionately fond and collected several rare indigenous plants. A man of some wealth, he was known for his water-colour drawings. John Faulkner jnr, in his diary, recorded his childhood memories of Littlejohn, as a poor broken backed man. He was well thought of in the district where he was in the habit of teaching the settler’s children.

Fourteen years after arriving in the colony Robert Littlejohn aged 62 died on the 26 November 1818. He was buried in St David’s cemetery by the Rev. Robert Knopwood. No headstone was erected.

In 1819 Littlejohn’s probate was granted, his nephew Robert Ogilvie a mariner was the administrator. The muster for 1819 recorded Montrose Farm with 120 acre in pastures, with 10 cattle. It was in Robert Ogilvie’s name.

Montrose was for sale in July 1819, described as a beautiful farm, containing 120 acres. The house was only thirty yards from the rivulet and it afforded an ample supply of water for domestic purposes at all seasons. Interested persons were to apply to Robert Ogilvie, on the premises.

Montrose House was owned and leased to many families over the years. One of these was George Pierce, who in 1878 was taken to court by Martin Cash for allowing his sheep to damage Cash’s fruit trees. Cash alleged that the sheep had eaten the hearts out of the trees and also taken off all the buds. The case was dismissed.

The suburbs of Chigwell, Claremont and Montrose, were all named after early established homes.



[1] Schaffer. I, Land Musters and Stock Lists in VDL 1803-1822. 1809 Returns for General Muster p55

(c) Irene Scaffer




Berridale Inn 2004

The Berriedale Inn was built on the 60 acres of land that was originally granted to George Woods. The first licensee was William Williams in 1833-34, but was possibly operatin  before that date.

Ike Undine and the Traveller’s Rest it fulfilled the need for coach stops from Hobart to Launceston.

The inn and 20 acres of land was for sale by S. Williams in 1845. It had a garden, stables and offices. From 1845 to 1970 many different proprietors ran the inn. It was the scene of steeple-chases, plough competitions, and shooting matches, well into the 1900s.

There were a number of women who names were recorded as the licensees during those early times. Mrs Mason who had taken over when her husband died, held the Berriedale license between 1863-69.

Martin Cash, one time bushranger who later became a well known resident living at Montrose during this early period would often visit this part of Berriedale.

In 1866 while Cash was passing the inn, Mrs Mason called to him and asked him if he remembered her, but he could not recall knowing her previously. She then stated on the occasion of one of his robberies he had remarked that she was the gamest woman in the Colony. This reminded Cash that he had said this to a young lady found at Mr Clarks, at Tea Tree, ‘when me mate and me borrowed some money from that gentleman’.

The Berriedale Inn closed its doors in 1972. It later became the community centre.

© Irene Schaffer


Traveller's Rest


Traveller's Rest

The Traveller’s Rest Inn’s  first licensee was John Ferguson in 1834.  Samuel Wellard took it over in 1846 and was the proprietor until 1849. During this time Wellard served on the jury in Hobart that sentenced Martin Cash to a term of imprisonment on Norfolk Island, for murdering Peter Winstanley in 1843.

This inn was sited on the main road, opposite the present day Claremont Fire Brigade building and continued to operate as an inn until 1856.

Together with the Berriedale Inn, Undine, the Traveller’s Rest was a stopping off point for coaches to change horses, in the colourful days of coaching.

By 1870 the inn became a private residence and subsequently it was considerably altered. It has been a hostel for women workers at Cadburys and a private home.

In 1945 it passed to Dr & Mrs P Pitt and named Connewarre.

(c) Irene Schaffer

(from my book "Historical Houses and Inns" with collection of photos)




  Chigwell Barn

 The Chigwell Barn would appear to have been part of Lowes property it certainly stands on what was part of his land in the 1840s. It was either used for grain or a distillery, being as it was close to the Rivulet. It was not unusual for outbuildings to be larger than the house the family lived in around that time.

Over the years the barn has been used by the Chigwell community and continues to be a focal point for school child minding and meetings for local residents. This building continues to be an important historical part of Chigwell as well being a useful centre.

Bilton then built a new colonial Georgian style house, which is still standing today. In 1860 he advertised it to let, as a first rate dairy of 100 acres, divided into sixteen paddocks. The high road now ran through the property. The new stone house[5] contained twelve rooms, as well as two store rooms, a dairy and a cellar. The outbuildings, now thoroughly repaired, consisted of a Men’s house, laundry, wash house, brewery, coach and gig houses, stables, harness rooms, cow and cart shed, piggeries, fowl house, tool house, and every other possible convenience. The property declined in value from £200 in 1860, to £100 in 1867 and £60 in 1871.[6]

‘By this time a small township had grown up around Bilton’s original large house. There was drama in the 1870s when the main railway line from Hobart to Launceston was built. It ran through Bilton’s property. Offered compensation, which he was not satisfied with and so accepted none at all. A suburban service, and later trains from Cadburys factory in Claremont meant that it became easy to commute to Hobart for work and school.’[7]

Henry Bilton and his wife continued to live at Chigwell until Henry’s death in 1889 at the age of ninety. The estate was sold and a succession of owners came and went. Joseph Eagle Knight who owned the nearby property of Windermere (where the Claremont High School now stands) bought Chigwell. He let the house and 35 acres to Frank Bond, a progressive and energetic wattle bark merchant who also owned Claremont. Bond employed forty men to produce bark and established a brick works.[8]

By 1895 Knight sold Chigwell estate now consisting a house and twelve acres to William Nicholas a farmer. Around 1900 Nicholas let it John Reardon and then to Augustus Piesse before moved to Devonport. The house had eleven acres and a capital value of £600.[9]

From 1907 Chigwell had many owners until 1939 when Mr John Cameron Mc Phee bought it. He lived there for about twenty years. Born in Victoria in 1878, John McPhee came to Tasmania in 1909 and in 1911 married Alice Dean from Longford. At first he ran a business college then a stationary and office equipment company. In 1919 he entered the House of Assembly and in 1928 led the National Party to government, but resigned as premier in 1934, when he was knighted. He was re-elected in 1941 and retired in 1946 to concentrate on his business and charitable interests.[10]

When the McPhees arrived at Chigwell the house had seventeen and a half acres of land. They later sold a two and a half acre block beside the road, and on the rest they ran cows, grew tomatoes, and kept a large number of fowls and sold eggs. There was also a pine plantation, a large garden and a lawn tennis court. Lady McPhee daughters described seeing ‘a ghost of a funny old women’ outside the dinning room door.[11]

John McPhee jnr remembers the daily life at Chigwell roaming over the paddocks, climbing the pear trees that had grown to a great height. He built a air raid shelter during the Second World War up in the quarry behind the house.

It is possible this was the quarry the sandstone was taken from to build Chigwell.

Sir John McPhee died at Chigwell in 1952. His wife and large family continued living there. The Government however was building various housing developments in the area and in 1957 acquired thirteen acres from Lady McPhee and built houses there. By 1964 there were 846 houses on the new suburb called Chigwell.

Lady McPhee sold Chigwell to Mr George Croucher in 1959. It was said to have been in a run-down state and the Crouches had spent many years doing it up. The verandahs were enclosed and the stables turned into dog pens. The house was sold in mid 1970s to Mr George McGregor for the sum of $51,500. Later they offered it to the Government but they declined.

The Housing Department later bought it in 1979 for $88,000, it was said to be in excellent condition, and was recorded by the National Trust. For sometime it was used as a community center. It now stands empty and in bad condition.

In September 2004 a feasibility report was conducted by the Tasmanian Government and Housing Tasmania to establish the cost etc. to bring this historical Georgian residence back to its former glory and be used by the community.[12]

This historical home has now been restored.

[1] Alison Alexander. Chigwell House: The Ups and Downs of a Colonial Residence THRA P&P 47/3. p 176-179; Hobart Town Courier 18 October 1839

[2] Alison Alexander

[3] ibid

[4] Trudy Cowley. 1858 Valuation Rolls for Southern Tasmania including Franklin and Hobart

[5] The sandstone appears to have taken from the property to build the house

[6] Alison Alexander

[7] Alison Alexander

[8] Alison Alexander

[9] ibid

[10] ibid

[11] ibid

[12] Feasibility Report Adaptive reuse of Chigwell House. Revision Draft. On line

© Irene Schaffer













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