The Eastern Shore Sun newspaper for December 2016 provided a community news story which added to the knowledge of the history of ferries plying Derwent River waters. Turn to Page 11 for the full story and photo.
Two hundred years ago the first licenced ferry travelled from the fledgling township of Hobart across to the eastern shore to a place very close to where I live. The landscape would have been so different; trees would have covered the area where my house now stands. I wonder if the weather was as warm and pleasant as it has been in the past few weeks around the Greater Hobart area – even exceeding 30 degrees. Wind is a constant across Tasmania, and the early ferries would have needed skilled personnel to bring their craft safely across the expanse of water and into moorings – especially considering the fact that early vessels were rowed across the river.
Earlier postings on my blog introduced some information about the Derwent ferries, and this latest article supplements what I have offered previously. While you can search the blog for many posts that mention ferries, key posts are Ferries on the Derwent River and Historic Granton Tasmania .
As the owner f the Black Snake Inn, the oldest ferry inn in Australia your recent posting was of interest in two ways.
Firstly the information about the ferries, I had the first replica wooden ferry boat built in the late 1970s as a co-operation between the ship builder Max Creese and myself.
He did most of the work and I did all the research and detailed finishing off.
It is now on display as part of the National Maritime Museum of Australia’s collection, and is named the Ramping Lion, and is more or less identical to the typical ferry boats used on the Derwent in the early 19th Century. Sadly as usual most books on early ferry boats don’t make any mention of this first replica built in the 20th century as it happened sometime before the real rush to ownership of hand built wooden boats.
But another issue of interest was the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Victoria House, again sadly the connection to the Black Snake Inn has been missed out. An historian contacted me a few years back saying he was doing the research of the history of Victoria House and enquiringly as to the whereabouts of “Ardelia” at Granton, which was the first incarnation of the Victoria aged care facility also written up in the Eastern Shore Newsletter. After some research, it appears that after the Inn Licence for the Black Snake Inn lapsed, it was a farm house and shop but also under the name of Ardelia – possibly the first aged care facility in Tasmania later to be transferred to Lindisfarne.
Thanks George, this is all exceptionally interesting. I appreciate this comment. Cheers