Dalness

Clan Mackinnon was descended from royal Scottish blood, and in its heyday controlled vast areas of land on the Isle of Skye, in the northern Scottish highlands. The clan was turfed off these lands for supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Jacobite uprising, which had hoped to restore the House of Stuart to the throne. During the clearances that ensued, tens of thousands of highlanders were rounded up and forced to settle on poor land by the sea, to make way for large-scale sheep farming and...

Forcett House

Forcett House was the home of James Gordon, farmer and magistrate, after whom Tasmania's mighty Gordon River was named. Built in 1832 on a sandstone knob that commands panoramic views over Pitt Water in southern Tasmania, it was at the time part of an estate of some 600 acres. Forcett House has been beautifully preserved, thanks in part to the dryness of the sandstone on which it sits. A unique feature of this convict-brick homestead is its clerestory (pronounced clear-storey), a small upper...

Summerhome

Moonah is a bustling working-class suburb five kilometres north of the Hobart CBD. It's an unlikely location for an old Tasmanian country mansion. But 170 years ago this was rural Tasmania, and it's where one of Hobart's most illustrious early entrepreneurs, Henry Hopkins, took his family for summer holidays. The paddocks and bush that surrounded Summerhome in the 1830s have long since given way to industry and suburbia. But Summerhome has stood still while everything around has changed....

Peppers Calstock

Old Pictures Cheshunt

Few get the opportunity to laze about a stately Georgian mansion and absorb all the grandeur it evokes. The homes you enter in this book are private. Unless you are part of their inner circle, you might not have even known they existed. As for those who live in them well, they're usually too busy running farms, raising families and keeping on top of never-ending maintenance to ever really get the chance to sit back self-indulgently. So that's where Peppers Calstock comes in, an impressive home...

High Peak

Stained Glass The High Pek

When the Grant family made the move from their Hobart city home to High Peak in the 1950s, their friends threw a party to say a proper farewell. Which was very 'Hobart' when you consider that the new location at Neika was only about fifteen minutes' drive from the old one in town. But situated high on the slopes of the spectacular Mount Wellington, there is a sense of isolation in this subalpine environment of forest and pristine creeks, and this is what made High Peak such a perfect summer...

Highfield

From the King of Iceland, to a convict explorer for the Van Diemen's Land Company, with headquarters at Highfield, north-west Tasmania this was just one of the many remarkable turns taken in the life of J0rgen J0rgensen, both in Tasmania and abroad. As a young Danish adventurer who idolised Captain Cook, J0rgensen was first mate on the Lady Nelson when it berthed in 1803 at Risdon Cove, just north of what was to become Hobart, where European settlement of Tasmania started. Back in the northern...

Belgrove

Tasmanian Wooden Trophies

As Peter Bignell tootles around in the tractor on his historic sheep, beef and strawberry farm, you'd swear you could smell hot chips or dim sims. The owner of Belgrove, in Tasmania's Southern Midlands, near Kempton, makes a habit of visiting fried food establishments in the area to collect their used cooking oil, which he converts to biodiesel to power his tractor, ute and even his home's central heating. The original Aga stove in the kitchen is next in line for biodiesel conversion, which is...

Beaufront

Peppers Calstock

Cashed-up and in the market for land, young English solicitor Philip Smith could hardly have timed his arrival in Van Diemen's Land better. It was April 1832, and ten days before a proclamation had been issued to announce the sale of 32,000 acres of government reserve at Ross, in the Tasmanian Central Midlands. The grazing land was to be sold in eight blocks of 4000 acres in order to fund a government home for orphans in Hobart. Philip bought seven of the blocks on behalf of family and friends...

Exton House

Ellenthorpe Hall

If maintaining hedges that stretch for fifty kilometres sounds like hard work, try an eighteen-year home restoration that is still continuing. But the results certainly vindicate the massive effort. When this property's 170-year-old hawthorn hedges burst into a haze of soft white blossom, it's a spellbinding journey down the long driveway they line. It leads into an old, tree-framed lane that opens onto a turning circle in front of Exton House in Tasmania's Central North district, described in...

Dunedin

The country at Dunedin, near Launceston, isn't arable. It's so rough that mustering of cattle and sheep still takes place on horseback, and the back run of the farm is so rocky that it's known as the goat hills. Which only makes the hectare of gardens this property is renowned for all the more remarkable. For Annabel Scott, who moved to Dunedin as a young married woman in the 1970s, gardening has become an addiction. With every year her garden beds have become bigger and better, more diverse, a...

Mona Vale

Mona Vale House Tasmania

It has hosted royalty on more than one occasion, a showbiz sensation and a famous World War I field marshal. Yet it's the simplest things, and what it is today, that makes Mona Vale really shine a family home, the hub of a modern farming business, a home that flourishes with ordinary day-to-day life although it's no ordinary home. You need a cherry picker just to clean the windows. Mona Vale is sometimes called the calendar house. It has a window for every day of the year, fifty-two rooms,...

Country Houses of Tasmania

Mona Vale Tasmania

Behind the closed doors of our finest private colonial estates Photographs by Alice Bennett Text by Georgia Warner Copyright Alice Bennett and Georgia Warner 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 the Act allows a maximum of...

Bentley

Mona Vale Tasmania

It was by chance that John and Robyn Hawkins found themselves in the Chudleigh Valley, touring on a back road between Deloraine and Cradle Mountain. On passing through the narrow 'eye of the needle' entrance to the Chudleigh Valley they found a stunning landscape laid out before them. So when Bentley, one of the district's original land grants, came onto the market, the memory of this beautiful vista eventually lured the Hawkins from Moss Vale, in the New South Wales Southern Highlands, to...

Ellenthorpe Hall

Mona Vale Tasmania

For almost fifteen years, many of the most eligible young women in Van Diemen's Land could all be found under the one roof at Ellenthorpe Hall. For this period of time from 1827, the two-storey sandstone mansion, sixteen kilometres west of Ross in the Central Midlands, was regarded as one of the most fashionable boarding schools in the land where instruction took place in everything from harp to French, useful and decorative needlework, mathematics and dance. It was the work of Hannah Maria...

Belmont

For years, Belmont stared down on John Pooley twice a day, as he drove between his Coal River Valley farm and Hobart business. By chance one evening he and his wife, Libby, enjoyed a glass of wine in the stone-walled courtyard by Belmont's blue-tiled pool. They fell in love with the house. When friends who were renting it mentioned the house might soon be sold, the Pooleys snapped it up before it went on the market. Five years later, the Pooleys still cannot believe their luck as their stunning...

Lake House

Lake House Sherrard Tasmania

When returned serviceman Bruce Wall won Lake House in a ballot as part of the post-World War II soldier settlement scheme in Tasmania, it was on the condition that he knock the uninhabitable homestead down. At the time, the austere Georgian mansion was being used as a barn. Its heavy cedar doors had all been removed, and possums and other wildlife had moved in. Mr Wall ignored the demolition order. Later, a leading member of Tasmania's National Trust, he set about quietly restoring the home in...

Hollow Tree

At Llanberis, in the sleepy little hamlet of Hollow Tree, the next generation of Halletts is about to move in. But beforehand, there's a little bit of work to be done. Such as rewiring no easy task when you're dealing with half-metre-thick sandstone walls. The unusual Gothic-style home is being repainted and re-pointed, and a chimney has been taken down, brick by brick, to be reassembled more securely. There have also been remarkable discoveries during the renovation, such as masses of horse...

Scott Wilson Wesleydale

Quorn Hall Tasmania

Chudleigh is a tiny 'village of roses' in a picturesque valley in Tasmania's Central North. It is possibly the last place you'd go looking for an old stone fortress but, in the early 1830s, this area was the very frontier of the known world. And a former Irish army officer who, at the age of sixty-three, decided to go farming on the edge would have needed some protection from the powerful Aboriginal tribe that called this area home and controlled access to nearby ochre mines. The stone compound...

Egleston

Northern Architecture

The decision to sell their famous family estate, Kameruka, was gut-wrenching for Frank Foster and his wife, Odile. It meant severing ties with more than 150 years of a Tooth dynasty tradition, about 4000 hectares of prized beef and dairy country on the New South Wales south coast, an 1834 verandah-lined homestead and gardens that were a six-time winner of the Sydney Morning Herald garden competition. But it also led the couple to Egleston, near Campbell Town in the Central Midlands, and they...