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Download PDF by A; Warner, G Bennett: Country Houses of Tasmania

By A; Warner, G Bennett

Tucked into the folds of Tasmanias wild panorama is an array of lovely historical houses from a time whilst existence was once less complicated and grander - and maybe extra of an adventure.The early pastoral settlers of Tasmania have been a hardy and whimsical bunch: younger males out to make their fortunes; suffering households hoping for a clean begin; and feisty girls eager to make their very own mark. From the landed gentry to convicts whod gained their freedom, those women and men created an antipodean England within the difficult Georgian and Victorian mansions they equipped. Alice Bennett and Georgia Warner have accrued jointly the tales of those homes, and of the folks who've undergone them through the years.

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The Cameron family built the Bentley homestead in 1879, an elegant single-storey house based on a Melbourne ‘town villa’. According to John Hawkins, ‘the most famous episode in his career in the federal parliament was when it was being debated whether the federal capital should be built at Canberra or some other site. The decision lay with him. ’ After Donald Norman Cameron’s death in 1931, Bentley changed hands a few more times and was subdivided along the way. When it was bought by John and Robyn Hawkins, the acreage stood at 560 but this has since been more than doubled, as has the size of the ‘villa’ to create one of the first important Tasmanian country homesteads of the twenty-first century.

The whole valley is home to the most important limestone karst in the southern hemisphere, which is listed as the Mole Creek Karst on the Register of the National Estate. More land was added to the Bentley estate by its next owner, entrepreneur Phillip Oakden, who, among other things, introduced blackberries to Tasmania and brought Lincoln sheep to graze his land. A founding member of the Launceston Horticultural Society and the Union Bank in Launceston, Oakden was responsible for planting more than six miles of hawthorn hedge that is such a feature of the property today.

Malua and his brother, Stockwell, were bought by former premier of Tasmania Thomas Reiby at one of Calstock’s two-day yearling sales. Reiby was determined that a Tasmanian horse would win the Melbourne Cup, and Stockwell did indeed lead all the way down the final straight in 1882—only to be pipped at the post. It is said the dramatic second-place finish so frustrated Reiby that he got out of racing then and there, selling Malua to J. Inglis of Victoria. The Australian Racing Museum describes Malua as the most versatile of all Australian champion gallopers; from sprints to staying events, and even the steeplechase, he left them all in his wake.

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Country Houses of Tasmania by A; Warner, G Bennett


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