The next areas within Clarence Plains to be settled on the eastern shore of Hobart's Derwent River, were Rosny, and its neighbours Montagu Bay and Lindisfarne to the north. Private properties had been built in each of these localities by the late 1820s, commanding excellent views across the Derwent to Hobart Town and Mount Wellington. All three suburbs are named after the three fine houses established. Although private estates and farms began to spring up throughout the district, settlements were generally isolated, with Bellerive, Cambridge, Lindisfarne, and Richmond the only major settlements of note. In 1836, Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, George Arthur divided the island into administrative counties, and Clarence Plains fell into Pembrokeshire. Despite this, the Clarence Plains region became a municipality in its own right in 1860. In 1862, Bellerive also became the administrative centre of the municipality, and the Eastern Police District, but for much of the late nineteenth century, Clarence Plains experienced little development, remaining primarily agricultural.
A review of colonial defences in the 1870s saw a complete overhaul of the coastal defences of Hobart, and a new fortress called Kangaroo Battery was constructed between 1880 and 1888 just to the south of Bellerive. An industry that flourished throughout Clarence Plains was fruit growing, and by the 1880s several prosperous orchards were located within the region. A rare attempt at commercial opportunism was the short-lived Bellerive-Sorell Railway (1892 until 1926) which had its terminus on a long jetty extending into the Bay on reclaimed land that now makes up part of the Bellerive Boardwalk.
It was hoped that is could eventually be connected to the Tasmanian Main Line at Brighton, thus providing rail access to the south of Clarence Plains, Sorrell and the Tasman Peninsular, but engineering difficulties and economic problems led to its abandonment
St John's Catholic church was built in 1836, and is considered the oldest Roman Catholic church in Australia.
Site of Stanfield's Mill 1816-1908 South Arm Rd.
It continued to grind the grain for the Clarence Plains district until at least 1876. The miller's cottage was burnt down in 1900 and the now derelict mill blew down in 1908. It must have been an impressive sight - standing 10 metres high, approximately the height of the back section of the Police Academy which is precisely where it stood. The sails reached a further 7 metres.
Site of "Horse and Jockey Inn" c.1833 and Blacksmith's
The interpretation sign on the wall of the supermarket gives a history of this first Rokeby "shopping complex" up to the 1940s.
This beautiful house was also totally destroyed by the 1967 fires.
3 South Arm Rd., the small cottage with a tall picket fence, is the oldest weatherboard building in the village area. In 1860, this was the Clarence Plains Board of Education School, but, by Federation, it was a private home. Three stages of its history, and the changes to its appearance over 140 years, are shown on the sign at the trail start. Divided by the Clarence Plains Rivulet, the land came originally from grants to Edward Kimberley and David Lord.
Next door, the building dated 1880s, is possibly older, and was the Rokeby State School until 1944-5. It combined a schoolteacher's residence and schoolroom, but for many years there was no connecting door. A press item of 1897, described the break-up for the Jubilee holidays, in the "once populous, but now almost deserted village of Rokeby". After prize giving, the children sang a well-rehearsed "God Save The Queen" and were addressed by the Church Rector. On Empire Day 40 years later, the Warden of Clarence, gave the address, distributed bags of boiled lollies, and gave the children, who included his grandson, the rest of the day off. A Mass Centre before the opening of John Paul II in 1982, it is now the well-loved and cared - for Clarence
Clarence Plains has always been important both for its Aboriginal and European heritage. This area, called Nannyeleebata, was valued greatly by its traditional owners for the land itself, its birds, animals, the natural vegetation, the shoreline with Its major harvests of seafoods, and the landscape within which all this was held.
In 1808, the area named by John Hayes in his expedition of 1793 was to get a new type of land manager. Settlers from Norfolk Island, some of whom had been "freed from servitude" after their comparatively small crimes in England, were granted land in what was thought to be, correctly, a rich agricultural area.
All were to make their mark, both in the provision of food for the new colony, and in developing a community which has lasted and grown over the years. The early influence of the Church in the person of the gregarious Colonial Chaplain Robert Knopwood meant that schools came to the area as early as 1820.
In this open area of country, sheltered by wooded hills, with ready access to Ralph's Bay, with a then permanent rivulet, Rokeby village grew. By 1866 there were 180 inhabitants in the township, surrounded by pastoral and agricultural properties.
With grand mansions, working farms, humble cottages, schools, inns and places of worship, outdoor activities of cricket, horse races and ploughing matches, Rokeby continued its pleasant and peaceful existence. The semaphore and steam ferries had improved the links with Hobart, and, at Federation, life was good.
Thomas Jamieson: Surgeon’s First Mate (Sirius) was on Norfolk island from 1788 until 1799 (not continuous) looking after the medical needs of the people on the Island with John Altree After being discharged from the books of Sirius he was appointed surgeon in the colony at Norfolk Island. Leaving the Island he took a years’ leave in England. On his return to Sydney in 1802 he became Acting Surgeon General of New South Wales in the absence of William Balmain. His partnership with Elizabeth Colley produced four children.
John Turnpenny Altree: Assistant to the Surgeon (Lady Penrhyn) to Thomas Jamison for approximately three years. He returned to England in 1791 by Waaksamheid with the crew of the shipwrecked Sirius. He received a payment of £12 pounds for his work on Norfolk Island.
John Batchelor (Sirius) was a private marine 55th (Portsmouth) Company. He drowned from a fishing boat on 15 June and King buried his body near the flagstaff. Batchelor’s wages were paid to his father.
Charles Herritage/Heritage (Sirius) was a private marine 55th (Portsmouth) Company. He decided to stay as a settler on the Island and was discharged from the books of Sirius on 7 March 1791. He left Norfolk Island by Sugar Cane for Bengal in 1793 after selling his 60 acres of land to Thomas Restell Crowder for £60 pounds.
Roger Murley/Morley (Sirius) was an able seaman but was brought to Norfolk Island for his skills as a weaver. The flax that Captain Cook wrote about was his main task but they were unable to locate the flax amongst the dense vegetation. In 1789 he was made constable and in 1791 was a storekeeper. Morley left the Island by Supply to embark with the Sirius crew members on Waaksamheid to England in March 1791.
James Cunningham (Sirius) midshipman was lent from Sirius to Supply with the first group to settle Norfolk Island. On 6 August Cunningham was sent to give assistance to Supply on her first visit to the Island after the original landing. Heavy surf was running and the boat overturned drowning him, William Westbrook, John Williams and able seaman off Supply Laurence Tomlinson. Cunningham’s wages were paid to ‘the Right Honourable Elizabeth Countess Dowager of Glencairn’.
William Westbrook (Sirius) was an able seaman and sawyer from Fareham, Hants. He drowned on 6August with James Cunningham, Laurence Tomlinson able seaman off Supply and John Williams convict. His wages were paid to his brother Edward.
John Williams/Floyd (Scarborough) drowned in the boating accident on 6 August with able seamen William Westbrook, Laurence Tomlinson, and James Cunningham. Williams’ body floated ashore on the 13th and was buried.
Charles MacLauglin/McClelland (Alexander) was 14 years old when convicted and sent to the Ceres Hulk for stealing a purse full of money. While on the Island he received lashings for stealing eggs and rum from the surgeon’s tent. He sustained a fractured skull while chopping wood, recovered, and for stealing potatoes was sent to Nepean Island in irons, on short rations, for four week. McClelland had left the Colony by January 1793.
Nathaniel Lucas (Scarborough) Being a carpenter by trade he became a valuable asset in the community and was also a successful farmer with a land grant. He married Olivia Gascoigne and they had 13 children, loosing twins in an accident caused while clearing trees near his house. The Lucas family were settled in Port Jackson by the early 1800s. His craft in building many of Sydney’s fine heritage buildings is well known today.*
Edward Garth (Scarborough) Tried at the Old Bailey for stealing two cows; the sentence of death was later reprieved for seven years transportation to Africa. From the Ceres Hulk he was sent to Portsmouth for embarkation on Scarborough. As a successful farmer on the Island, he cultivated life stock and grain on his land grant. In 1793 he was elected a member of the Norfolk Island Settlers Association. Married to Susannah Gough they raised six children on the Island, before leaving in 1807 aboard Porpoise for Van Diemen’s Land. The Garth family lived on lands at Clarence Plains and Queensborough.
John Mortimer (Charlotte) was tried with his son Noah and Edward Westlake on two counts, the first of theft of a wether sheep and second of sealing 40 pounds of mutton. He was sentenced seven years transportation on the second count. Mortimer farmed successfully on a land grant before being transferred to Van Diemen’s Land in 1808 aboard Lady Nelson
Father - in- law of Edward Westlake
Noah Mortimer (Charlotte) was sentenced to seven years transportation for his involvement in the two counts as his father John and Edward Westlake. When he departed the Island with his wife Mary Cottle, their son and father John aboard Lady Nelson in 1808, he left behind nearly 56 acres cleared, buildings, a barn and a shingled roofed house, valued at £40 pounds.
Step/Uncle of Susannah Westlake
Edward Westlake (Charlotte) was 34 when he went aboard the Dunkirk Hull after receiving seven years for his involvement with John and Noah Mortimer. Although he left a family in England he had eight children with Elizabeth Wood (Neptune 1790). Westlake was a successful farmer on the Island and at the time the family departed in 1808 for Van Diemen’s Land by City of Edinburgh, he left buildings valued at £20 pounds and 22 of his 82 acres cleared.
Susannah Westlake/Mary Ann Shone
John Rice (Charlotte) was sentenced to be hung for house breaking and stealing valuables, but was later reprieved to seven years transportation. A rope-maker, he became one of the convicts most trusted by Commandant King. He was a successful farmer on the Island and was still there when the 1805 Census was taken.
Richard Widdicombe (Charlotte) was sentenced to seven years transportation for theft of a wooden winch and other goods. On the Island he was subsisting himself on an acre lot and sharing a cow. As he had no intention of becoming a settler he left the Island in 1793 aboard Chesterfield bound for Sydney before sailing to India.
Six Female Convicts
Ann Innett/Innet (Lady Penrhyn) Bowes recorded Inett as a former mantua maker (dressmaker), aged 30, when she boarded Lady Penryhn following a seven year sentence for stealing a quantity of clothing. On the Island she became Commandant King’s mistress. Their son Norfolk was the first born child on the Island recorded his father. Their second son Sydney was baptised at Sydney on 9 July 1790. King raised the two boys and educated them in England. Both had distinguished careers as naval officers. Ann made a good marriage with Richard John Robinson at Parramatta and lived a comfortable life. Richard Robinson left the colony in July 1819 by Surrey and Ann followed him in March 1820 by Admiral Cockburn
Olivia Gascoigne (Lady Penrhyn) following a seven year sentence for stealing goods from a dwelling house Olivia was held with Ann Inett in Worcester gaol until ordered to Southwark gaol, before being dispatched to Gravesend. Bowes gave her age as 24 and her occupation servant. On the Island she married Nathaniel Lucas and had 13 children before returning to Port Jackson in 1805. After Nathaniel’s death in Sydney she went with six of her surviving children to Van Diemen’s Land, settling on 100 acres in Port Dalrymple.
Susannah Garth/Gough (Friendship and Charlotte) was tried at the Old Bailey in 1783. Sentenced to seven years transportation, Susannah was aboard the Mercury transport when mutinous convicts had taken control of it. She scrambled down the side of the ship with 65 other convicts and while trying to get to shore was taken aboard Helena and then committed to the Exter gaol. Spending six months on the Dunkirk Hulk Susannah was discharged to Friendship. Married to Edward Garth on the Island, they had several children before leaving for Van Diemen’s Land aboard Porpoise. While living in Van Diemen’s Land, aged 71, she stated on oath that she was the first woman ashore on Norfolk Island.
Their son William married Susannah Bradshaw/Jillett
Elizabeth Colley (Lady Penrhyn) had a fourteen year sentence, the longest of the entire group, for receiving stolen goods. Aged 21 when delivered to Lady Penrhyn in January 1787, she gave birth to a stillborn boy six months later. Children born to Elizabeth on the Island are thought to be fathered by Thomas Jamison. On 1 August 1797 she received a ‘conditional pardon’ and in 1801 she was marked gone to England – possibly with Thomas Jamison when he returned on a years’ leave.
Elizabeth Lee/ Lees (Lady Penrhyn) was aged 23 when sentenced to seven years transportation at the Old Bailey for stealing a large quantity of wine and spirits and numerous other articles. On the Island she was an independent woman supporting herself by growing and selling her produce to the stores. She left Norfolk Island by Chesterfield in April 1793. The ship sailed to Port Jackson, then back to Norfolk Island and on to Bengal presumably with Elizabeth aboard.
Elizabeth Hippesley/Hispley (Lady Penrhyn) was 28 when sentenced at the Old Bailey for the theft of articles from a master butcher she had persuaded to go with her to her loadings. On 30 January 1788 Surgeon Bowes recommended her as one of the six women to be sent to Norfolk Island having uniformly behaved well during the whole of the voyage. Elizabeth was an independent woman supporting herself by growing and selling her grown produce to the stores on land at Sydney Town. She married marine settler Robert Stephens in 1794 before they returned to Port Jackson. Stephens joined the NSW Corps and following his soldering career returned to England with Elizabeth and their son in 1810 on HMS Dromedary.
Land was first granted to Sgt. James McCauley and his wife Maria. He was a non-commissioned officer who arrived with Lt Col. Collins in 1804. The first reference to him in regard to his land at Clarence Plains was the 1819 muster where it was noted that he had:- 400 acres - 46 acres in wheat, 1 acre in barley, 2 acres in beans and 4 acres in potatoes, 100 bushels of grain in hand, and 347 acres in pasture.
Sheep were his main stock, of which he had 356 plus 28 cattle. He and his wife were on Government stores, as were his 3 servants.
During this time he was also a Constable in the district.
The survey map of the District of York1844 shows a large section had been granted to Elias Grimsey including most of Calvert's Hill to where it joined to the property of Elizabeth Mack. Elizabeth was the adopted daughter of Rev. Robert. Knopwood who had helped secure a land grant for her in the area. Elizabeth and her husband Henry, established a farm called Woodland Green but in 1830, Elizabeth died in childbirth with her second child at the age of only 22 years. Eight months later Henry married her friend Christiana Smith - they had a large family and prospered at Woodland Green. Today many descendants of Elizabeth, Henry and Christiana Morrisby still live in the area.
John Robert Morrisby purchased ‘Waterloo' from widow Mary Busby in 1898 and worked the 50 acres beside Pipe Clay Lagoon in orchards. This was reported as "where once it was a wilderness of fern and scrub now produced apples, pears, apricots, cherries and in between the trees, rows of peas and root crops. The soil was enriched by seaweed and by alluvial deposits carried down from volcanic hills nearby". John Morrisby built a large apple shed near the lagoon and transported the fruit cases by tractor to a jetty and then onto a trolley to the ship's sides for delivery to the Hobart markets. At the peak of the districts rural development 4 jetties existed in the lagoon.
The Subdivision of Cremorne
After the First World War the property ‘Waterloo' was divided between two Morrisby sons, Alfred and Allan, and the half nearest the beach was called Cremorne after Alfred wife's former home in Sydney. The homestead, ‘Cremorne House' was built about 1909 and still stands on a knoll overlooking the village.
One of the rarest of all eucalypts, ‘Eucalyptus Morrisbyi' is endemic to the Cremorne area and has been named in recognition of this family's long association with the district.
Alfred Morrisby sold the estate of Cremorne in 1943, and it was subsequently subdivided and put on the market in stages from 1946 by Hobart real estate agents, Shaw and Tregear. There were 201 blocks along the waterfront, along the lagoon and some inland and by 1949, 121 had been sold and 48 dwellings built, virtually all weekenders. There was also a reserve, giving public access to the beach. The new township was naturally called Cremorne.
As a postal destination, the village was known for some time as ‘Pipe Clay' and the Sandford area was known as ‘Muddy Plains' or ‘Clarence Plains'
William White, a zinc worker, was one of the first to buy and purchased a block in May 1946 to build a house as a weekender. In 1947, William brought three other blocks using one block to build Cremorne's first shop, White's Cash Store, where he sold basic stores at holiday times.
Cremorne developed and was officially proclaimed a town on 12th October, 1959 - published in the Tasmanian Government Gazette 21st October, 1959.
The Cremorne Progress Association was founded in 1948 and was formed with the idea of fighting for amenities in the area and a better access road and initially worked out of a small wooden building situated in the park on Cremorne Avenue. The road into Cremorne was at first a dirt track with holes which sank deep into the sand and it was the Progress Association which, on many occasions brought gravel to fill the hole, with the local residents carrying out the work themselves.
In 1962, land in Wisteria Avenue was offered for sale for the building of an outdoor bowling green and after a group of interested residents in Cremorne formed a committee, the property was purchased. In 1972 extensions to the club house and greens of the Cremorne Bowls Club were under-taken and in 1993 the greens were changed from natural grass to a new synthetic green.
By 1968 the Progress Association had achieved a sealed road into Cremorne, street lights, rubbish tins and development of the Beach Reserve, again often through working bees with the residents. Early in 1970 the Clarence Council built a sealed road along part of the back beach along Pipeclay Lagoon, which many did not approve of and to this day the road has not progressed any further.
The 1960s saw many regattas in Cremorne on Pipe Clay Lagoon beach with children's activities on the sand and yacht races in the bay.
At this time Cremorne was a popular destination for a day trip to the beach for many families.
Cremorne suffered in the 1967 ‘Black Tuesday' bushfires and the destruction would have been far worse but for the efforts of volunteers and prisoners from Risdon Prison. The bushfire raged down the peninsular towards Cremorne, burning the old homestead of ‘Woodlands' and very selectively destroyed thirteen houses.
The school bus driver came to stand by at Sandford school in case they had to evacuate but they kept the children there and no one was hurt. The rector at St Martin's Church, Sandford went to Cremorne to help, but could only get about half way in. "There wasn't much we could do, but some people and I helped by putting out fires on the HEC [electricity supplier] poles with buckets of water, and that was about all we could. The fire was so fierce, we just saved a few poles and that was about it."
Some of the local families - mothers and their children took to the beaches for safety. The police blocked access into Cremorne from the turn off at South Arm Highway but residents ignored the blocked road in a desperate bid to save their homes and took to the lagoon beach to drive into the township.
In the late 1800s steam ships were used as the main means of conveying freight and passengers between Hobart and the surrounding southern and Southeastern rural communities. The S.S. Nubeena was typical of the river steamers of her day.
She was a wooden hulled vessel of 93/138 tons built in 1890 by W. Bayes at Battery Point, for W.J. and G. Whitehouse and W. Pitfield of Hobart who traded as Whitehouse Brothers.
On Friday 7 October 1910, she berthed at Koonya on the Tasman Peninsula. During the day about 40 head of cattle were loaded for transport to Brown's River (Kingston). She left Koonya at 6.00pm with the cattle and 18 passengers aboard.
On the trip she had to again call at Dunalley where the voyage was delayed when she had to stop and retrieve one of the cattle that had jumped overboard, leaving Dunalley late at around 8.10pm bound for Hobart.
In the vicinity of Slopen Island, in Frederick Henry Bay, captain John Franklin, having clerical work to attend to handed over to the mate, Gordon Vickary and left the bridge. The night was dark with a westerly wind blowing and in order to avoid a beam sea, Vickary was told to keep the vessel "up to windward". The order, it appears was obeyed too literally, with the result that by the time she had crossed Frederick Henry Bay the steamer was a few miles off course. At 10.40pm she came ashore in a heavy swell, on the beach at Pipe Clay Lagoon, now known as Cremorne. The news of the accident reached Hobart about 1am on Saturday morning. Arrangements were made for another steamer S.S. Breone to proceed to Pipe Clay Lagoon to collect the stranded passengers but by the time she arrived the majority had either walked or been transported by horse-drawn vehicles to Bellerive where they had caught the early morning ferry to Hobart. It was also reported that hospitality was provided by local residents and that no one was injured except for one passenger, a man, who had slipped on the deck and hurt his wrist.
The S.S. Nubeena appeared to have been badly damaged and the next morning was found to be firmly embedded in the sand and was given up as a total wreck.
A further report appeared in The Mercury newspaper on 11 October which said that the ‘S.S. Nubeena' was in a fairly upright position but was buried in the sand to a depth of 6 feet. At low tide it was possible to walk around the vessel. Expert opinion was that the ship's back was broken.
The details surrounding the wreck and how it came to be so far off course were brought out at a Marine Board inquiry held on October 24th, 1910.
The board found Captain Franklin was at fault. When leaving the bridge he should have been more careful in giving directions on the course to be steered and made sure that the mate clearly understood the position of the steamer. The Board decided to be very lenient and ordered Captain Franklin's certificate to be "suspended for 3 months from the date of the stranding."