Friday, March 20, 2009

Botanical Gardens, Clarendon and the Salmon Ponds

The Salmon Ponds


Pete's Vegie Patch - that pumpkin was HUGE!
The Botanical Gardens Hobart

We met friends from Lakes Entrance, Di & Bob, for lunch at the Gardens - they are caravanning too, and will be returning on the Spirit of Tasmania on the same day as us. We wandered up to Pete's Vegie Patch, Pete being Peter Cundall of the ABC television's Gardening Show. Pete is retired now, but his enthusiasm has inspired thousands over the years - and at 80-plus, he is as fit and active as can be, a great advertisement for the therapeutic benefits of gardening. The vegie garden is all organic, and looks wonderful - it was hard to resist the impulse to harvest the beans which were ready for picking, and all the other goodies. The espaliered apple trees particularly caught our eye - and of course the HUMUNGOUS pumpkin!
We left Bob & Di and went on up the Lyell Highway to Gretna, where I knew Clarendon was located. Clarendon was built by my 3x great grandfather William Borrodaile Wilson. It is rather confusing, as I have 2 Wilson families in my tree who are not related, but who intermarried. This William B Wilson arrived in Sydney in 1819 & was on the same ship (the 'Surrey' as the Terry family, whose daughter Grace he married in 1821). He was granted land & arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1819; he is doubtless the Mr Wilson who came by the 'Daphne' on 1 July of that year (Hobart Town Gazette 3 July 1819). Because of the inaccuracy of the original survey of the Derwent in this district most settlers received much more land than was intended. Wilson obtained an order for 800 acres from Governor Macquarie and it was measured out by surveyor GW Evans. Later the block was found to contain 1272 acres (C801/180/4337).

On 22 March, 1821, Wilson, aged 23, was married at Hobart Town to Grace, aged 22, eldest daughter of John Terry of 'Lachlan Mills' by whom he had a large family (in May 1831 he had '8 children with the immediate prospect of another' (Terry pedigree, Archives Office of Tasmania; CS01/180/4337). In 1825, after some argument over the extra land he had unwittingly received, he was granted an additional two hundred acres of land. In 1831 he was allowed another 247 acres. Wilson's brother (perhaps one Thomas Wilson about whom nothing has been discovered) was also granted land in this district. In 1825 Wilson claimed that he was building a flour mill. In 1831 he stated that he intended erecting 'works for the manufacture of woollen cloths'. Whether either of these was constructed has not been found (CS01/180/4337).

In the depression of the early 'forties Wilson became bankrupt (Hobart Town Courier 19 Aug 1842). The Hobart Town Courier of 16 September 1842 contains the following notice:

Sale of a Most Valuable Estate

The Auction Company's Agent,
Is instructed to SELL BY PUBLIC AUCTION,
on the premises, On FRIDAY, the 23rd instant, at 12 o'clock,
(by order of the assignee of Mr William Borrodaile Wilson, and with consent of the mortgagees,)
All that most DESIRABLE and VALUABLE PROPERTY, known as 'WILSON'S FARM', situated on the MACQUARIE PLAINS, bounded in front by the river Derwent, and adjoining the estates of Messrs. Spode, Fenton and Terry. the farm comprises about 2,000 acres; a considerable portion is in a high state of cultivation, about 100 acres are now under crop; 14 miles of fencing has been recently completed; and the homestead surpasses any in the district, having been erected at an expense of upwards of 4,000 pounds. A considerable portion of this estate might be irrigated at little expense by means of machinery from the Derwent.
There is at present a water-course cut, which secures a fall of about fifteen feet, sufficient to turn any power of machinery, and there is upwards of thirty feet fall in the Derwent in front of the property. Nearly 1000 acres might be brought into cultivation. Nevertheless, this estate, with all its natural advantages and important improvements, must be sold, without reserve, at the times price.

Presumably it was at this time that John Walker, the well-known Hobart Towan brewer and miller, bought the property. Certainly the Colonial Times of 7 September, 1844, contains a notice of milling charges at his 'Clarendon Mill', Macquarie Plains.

In 1848 Wilson was living on his own in an unfinished brick house at The Falls belonging to Mrs Bridger. Thomas Wilson was living nearby in another uncompleted brick residence belonging to WB Wilson. Grace was a resident of Burnett Street, New Norfolk (Census returns 1848). WB Wilson was still alive on 28 August 1851, when his second daughter Mary Ann was married to the Reverend Charles Simson on 3 September 1851. Grace Wilson died on18th April 1855 after a long illness. WBW died on the goldfields of Bendigo in 1854. Perhaps he had gone there trying to rebuild his life after losing Clarendon in the depression of the 1840s.

After 1945 the property was resumed for soldier settlement, divided in two and both farms bought by Terry descendants.
It was wonderful to see the home with my own eyes, although it had been let go badly by previous owners. The current owners are restoring the home as they can afford to, and I was very grateful to be allowed to photograph this piece of family history.
We left Clarendon and went back to New Norfolk, and then out to the Salmon Ponds, where we saw huge brown and rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon, and wandered through the very interesting museum which traces the history of trout fishing in Tasmania. The first trout eggs were brought out packed in moss, then in ice, all the way from England. It was thought that they would not survive - but they did!

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