Historic Houses


As I walked the length of the Derwent River, occasionally I passed 19th century heritage buildings: some were falling down and others existed in various states of restoration.  Occasionally I viewed these buildings from across the River, or from near my access routes to and from the River.

Below is a selection of houses that remain as evidence of the early white settlers in the Derwent Valley district.  During my recent foray into the writing, designing and compiling of books I was introduced to the Snipping Tool available as an accessory within Microsoft Word.   I will be using this Tool in such a way as you will think I am on one side of the river but I am on the other – all to protect the privacy and wishes of property owners and managers.

Cluny House

This 1820’s house was photographed and written up on a real estate site ‘The original brick section of Cluny was established with a larger sandstone section added in 1919 from sandstone sourced from an old farm building. Original timber floors, doors, window frames, open fire places and picture rails are featured throughout the home. A wide hallway leads to the four double bedrooms. The entire front boundary of this property is on the Derwent River with the advantage of a water licence and irrigation. The fertile river flats are suitable for any number of agricultural pursuits. The entire front boundary of this property is on the Derwent River with the advantage of a water licence and irrigation. The fertile river flats are suitable for any number of agricultural pursuits. There are numerous outbuildings including a five bay garage and machinery shed and an ancient stone cottage.

Cluny House.jpg


Clarendon House

The property near Norton Mandeville was granted in 1819 to William Borrodaile and he built the house  and outbuildings from  1821 to include stables, hop kiln, barn and a walled yard.  The barn is pictured below

Barn Clarendon near Gretna.jpg

Images of the  house include:

clarendon-3  clarendon-2  clarendon-near-grenta

Glenelg House

Tasmania’s Heritage Register provides the information that ‘Glenelg is a fine two storey Victorian Italianate Villa built in 1878 to a design of Henry Hunter. The house has a good hillside setting, and is seen prominently from the road. Glenelg at Gretna has been in the Downie family for six generations. Andrew Downie, a solicitor, was an immigrant from Stirling in Scotland in the early 1820s. He was granted the 1000 acre property Glenelg by Governor William Sorell in 1824. The original Glenelg grant still lies on the property, with sandstone corner posts at 3 of the corners and remains within the Downie family. In 1838 Andrew’s brother, William also emigrated to Van Diemen’s land and began working with his brother. Andrew had no children and returned to Scotland later in life, and William’s family continued to run Glenelg over the following years.’  Refer image 1

Glenelg House Gretna.jpg

Glenelg House Gretna 2.jpg


The Dunrobin land was granted to Walter Angus Bethune in 1821, and the current external fence attests to the property’s establishment date.


You can see photographs and read more details about this property here.


The New Dunrobin is a dairy estate.


It was always a delight, amidst great tracts of agricultural land, to see isolated heritage buildings and to consider them as specimens of Tasmania’s social history.

2 thoughts on “Historic Houses

  1. Lawrence Wilson

    Wonderful images and stories. May I suggest one correction re the Clarendon House entry – the original owner’s name was William Borrodaile Wilson. I am closely connected to his family by a marriage link – WBW’s daughter married William Sorell Wilson who was a son of William Hartley Wilson.

    The WBW and WHW families were not related. More detail on our Family website



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