The sheen on Shene

No.  The historic Shene property is not reflected in the Derwent River. Nevertheless it shines bright in my memory for the number of stunningly well restored and conserved 19th century sandstone buildings.

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The Shene Estate, located just north of Pontville, covers many acres only a few kilometres inland from Bridgewater which sits on the Derwent River.  A few months ago a brilliant photographer, one of my blog followers, presented a set of images that stopped me in my tracks (pun not intended) – have a look.

When I visited last Friday, one of the owners, Anne Kernke enthralled me with the history of the property. Long term blog readers know that I get excited by many things and where possible I try and make a connection with the Derwent River, simply because I want to write a record.  I was on high alert the moment Anne mentioned the Derwent.  When she said that one of the key family members died near Pearson’s Point which is the location where I suggest the mouth of the river is located on the western shore, I knew I had reason to create a post.

Edward Paine/Payne emigrated to Van Diemens Land in 1820 and his eldest daughter married Gamaliel Butler who established the Shene estate. Unfortunately Edward drowned when travelling in a small boat with others because a boatman went “to the mast-head, which a small boat would not bear”. The boat capsized and it seems Edward could not swim. Anne Kernke has provided the following information: “an ill-fated boat trip to North West Bay, where Paine was looking for land to purchase.[1] The Hobart Town Gazette gave a very detailed account of the day’s tragic events:

It falls to our painful lot to record one of the most distressing and melancholy accidents which has ever occurred in this Settlement. On Saturday afternoon last, Mr. Edward Payne (who arrived recently in the ‘Deveron’), Mr Wickham Whitchurch, Mr James Kay, and Mr George Read, Superintendent of Government carpenters, left the port in a boat with three men to go to North-west Bay. On their way, they put into Tinder-box Bay, about 10 o’clock at night; but not finding the landing good, they determined to go on to the Government huts at North West Bay. When the boat had got about 300 yards, from the shore, the halyards being jammed in the mast-head, one of the boatmen went up to clear them, and in an instant the boat overset. With difficulty, and by the assistance of a Government boat which was in the bay, all were saved but Mr. Payne and Mr. Read. There was scarcely any wind or swell at the time; and this unhappy accident was caused solely by the man going to the mast-head, which a small boat would not bear. Mr. Whitchurch is an expert swimmer, and knowing that Mr. Kay could not swim, laid hold of him, and conveyed him within 50 yards of the shore, but from extreme weakness, was compelled to leave him for his own preservation. Mr Kay, although he never swam before, struggled through a thick bed of sea-kelp in deep water, and made the shore. Mr W. in the meantime floated on his back to recover his strength, until the Government boat came to their help.

Late on Sunday evening, accounts of the melancholy event reached Hobart Town; and upon its general circulation on Monday morning, it occasioned a sensation of feeling and regret proportioned to the estimation in which the unfortunate sufferers were held, and the loss inflicted by their sudden and premature fate. The body of Mr. Payne was found on Sunday, near the place where the boat overset. A Coroner’s Inquest on Tuesday gave a verdict of Drowned by Accident.’[2]

1]Journal of Peter Harrison, 1822, Royal Society of Tasmania, p.40 (typed copy)

[2] Hobart Town Gazette, 13 July 1822, p.2

On the following day, the distraught Mrs Paine was visited by the Reverend Robert Knopwood, who spent the evening trying to console her for her loss. Several days later, Knopwood conducted Paine’s burial service at the Hobart Town Cemetery (now St. David’s Park) on the 6th July 1822. The headstone was removed when the old cemetery was converted to the present day park.”  St David’s Park is in the Salamanca precinct which sits by the Derwent River at the edge of Hobart’s CBD.

Currently, to help support the expensive and meticulous restoration work across the Shene property, the owners provide guided tours by appointment, keep polo horses and will soon have competitions (the Hobart Polo Club now call Shene home and they use the 1851 stables as their clubhouse), they operate a distillery making a filtered and an unfiltered smooth tasting Gin, and much much more. More information can be read on the Shene website.

2 thoughts on “The sheen on Shene

  1. WendyForsyth

    Hi there is an error in your history. Edward Paine was the brother (not father) of Sarah Paine who married Gamaliel Butler. Their father was also an Edward as was Edwa d’s son which makes it confusing. My Great x3 Grandfather, John Phillip Deane, travelled out to VDL with Edward Paine on his last trip in 1822 and was on the boat with him off Tinderbox when he drowned. JP Desne was executor of his estate.

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