The Black Snake Inn

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Location: Granton, Tasmania, Australiamap
Surname/tag: Black Snake Inn
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Historic Legacy

Standing prominently on the right bank of the River Derwent, at the foot of Snake Mount, the end of a spur extending northward from Mount Faulkner, is a large 2-storey stone Rustic Gothic Revival building, the former Black Snake Inn (Fig. 1).[1] The historic landmark is the enduring legacy of an English convict William Presnell (abt.1764-1839) and his American son-in-law George William Robinson (abt.1800-1839). The present local stone building stands with a fine northward vista across the river extending 180° from Mount Direction in the south-east to Mount Dromedary in the north-west. Reputedly the oldest surviving ferry-inn in Australia, the doors of the former inn first opened in August 1833. It replaced an earlier, nearby, rudimentary structure of the same sign. Standing close by the site of its predecessor, the Half-way House later Black Snake Inn, the present building, which opened as the New House, Black Snake during August 1833, before quickly reverting to Black Snake Inn, has had comparatively few owners (see list of proprietors below). However, it has had countless numbers of travellers pass by, many of whom paused to enter its doors to seek refreshment during the 50 years it served as a public house (see list of licensees below). Subsequent to that period, the landmark has served as a gentleman's country retreat, renamed Ardilea, served as a female convalescent home, a farm house, a road house and, most recently, a private home.

Prehistory to Settlement

Prehistory: The landmark building stands on land that had been traversed by the people of the Palawa South East nation for countless generations. Little, if any, evidence remains of their passage and likely occupation of the flat ground adjacent to a small rivulet for a camp site. It is possible, however, that there may be a shell midden located near the front of the site, not far from the water's edge.[2]
European Visitors: The roll-call of explorers, adventurers, visitors, making landfall on the south-eastern shores of the island named Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) by the first European visitor, Abel Janszoon Tasman, sailing in command of the yacht Heemskerk and the flute Zeehan during late November-early December 1642 is extensive. After Tasman came: Nicholas Marion du Fresne, in command of the ships Mascarin and Marquis de Castries in March 1772; Lieutenant Tobias Furneaux in HMS Adventure during March 1773; Captain James Cook, on his third (and final) voyage of exploration (1776—1779) in HMS Resolution during late January 1777; Lieutenant William Bligh in command of HM Brig Bounty during late August-early September 1788; Captain John Henry Cox, a British privateer sailing in the brig Mercury stopped by during the winter of 1789; Captain George Vancouver in the Discovery and Chatham sailed past without dropping anchor during early 1792; Bligh commanding HMS Providence and HMS Assistance called again in February 1792; then came a French expedition commanded by Rear Admiral Antoine Raymond Joseph de Bruni d’Entrecasteaux with the frigates Recherche and Esperance, during late April-early May 1792; followed by a second visit during late January through February 1793. During these latter 2 visits, each of about 5 weeks duration, the delineation of the south-eastern coast of Van Diemen's Land became clearer. Towards the end of the second visit, as d’Entrecasteaux was cautiously navigating what would later be named the d’Entrecasteaux Channel, he dispatched a boat from the Recherche on 14 February 1793 to go ahead to explore the broad inlet he had observed at a distance during the previous visit. The boat, under the command of Jean-Baptiste-Philibert Willaumez was away from the Recherche for 5 days during which time it had travelled "4 leagues" into the narrowing waterway, apparently reaching near present-day Mt. Direction, whereupon Willaumez concluded that the inlet was in fact a river rather than a strait and as a concequence returned to the Recherche. d’Entrecasteaux named the discovery Rivière-du-Nord. The expedition then resumed it's intended voyage.[3]
Barely had d’Entrecasteaux departed after his second visit than Lieutenant John Hayes of the Bombay Marine, taking the long way around during a speculative voyage to New Guinea, arrived with 2 ships: the Duke of Clarence, 250 tons, 14 guns and the Duchess of Bengal, an armed snow of 100 tons under the command of William Relph, also a Bombay Marine. The Duke and Duchess arrived off the southern coast of Van Diemen’s Land on 25 April 1793. A chart published in 1798 showed that Hayes conducted 2 extensive surveys, one into a narrow westward-opening channel, the other into a broad northward-opening channel.[4] The order in which the surveys were undertaken is not known but it is his exploration of the broader channel which is of interest here. Hayes larger ship, the Duke, dropped anchor in 7½ feet of water opposite present-day Risdon Cove. The smaller Duchess continued upstream until coming to anchor in 5 feet of water in ‘N. E. Reach’, possibly opposite what is now known as Old Beach. From there Hayes continued his survey by boat, possibly reaching as far as present-day Sorell Creek. Thus Hayes was the first European to explore the upper reaches of the River Derwent, so named by him being unaware that d’Entrecasteaux had already named the river. Hayes' chart shows names scattered over various features. The mountain behind the future site of the Black Snake Inn was given the name 'Asses Ears'. Having completed the 2 surveys over 45 days, Hayes resumed his voyage to New Guinea.
The next visitors of the upper reaches of the River Derwent were the now famous explorers Matthew Flinders and George Bass in the Nofolk Island built decked sloop Norfolk. Flinders evidently had a copy of Hayes' chart to which he only added one name, Herdsmans Cove, and made a few alterations to description of the features. Being a somewhat smaller vessel than the Duchess, the Norfolk was able to navigate as far as present day Green Point. From there, Flinders and Bass continued by boat to take a party up-river to a similar point as that which Hayes had reached. Reversing course they then returned to the sloop to continue their voyage.
The last of the pre-settlement visitors were members of the scientific expedition of Captain Nicholas Baudin which arrived off the south-east coast of Van Diemen's Land on 13 January 1802.[5] Baudin, in command of 2 ships, Géographe and Naturaliste (Captain Hamelin), dispatched Ensign Louis-Henri Freycinet, accompanied by François Péron (naturalist) and 3 unidentified sailors in a large dinghy from the Géographe to explore the Derwent.[6] As the party made their way upriver the dinghy ran aground on a mud-bank opposite Herdsman’s Cove. After camping for the night 23/24 January 1802, they explored on foot upriver as far as present day Buddins Hill, opposite the point that Flinders & Bass and reached in their small boat. Having observed the course of the Derwent from the summit they returned to their campsite to spend another night before rowing their dinghy back to the Géographe. Thus the party of French explorers/sailors were the first Europeans to traverse the future site of the Black Snake Inn. During their exploration, the party found 14 huts or break-winds of bark with several fires still burning in front of them. The fires held flat stones, warm and greasy, where it was supposed the Aboriginals had been cooking the meat of kangaroos and birds, the bones of which were scattered in the vicinity.[7]
English Settlement: Sensitive to the French exploration of adjacent coasts, Governor Philip Gidley King (1758-1808), the 3rd Governor of New South Wales, sent Lt. John Bowen, R.N. from Port Jackson to establish a settlement at Risdon Cove on the River Derwent.[8] After the first foray south failed to reach its destination due to bad weather, Bowen set sail again. Bowen’s eventual arrival at Risdon Cove in the 326-ton whaler Albion, Captain Ebor Bunker, was preceded by HMAT Lady Nelson, Acting-Lt. George Curtoys who had spent a night at anchor at Relphs Bay, then had crossed to Stainforth Cove (New Town Bay), then crossed the river again to Risdon Cove. The settlement was named Hobart (by Bowen, presumably at Governor King’s direction?) comprised 49 persons, members of the New South Wales Corps, free settlers, their families, 21 male and 3 female convicts. [Risdon Cove was named by Hayes after William Risdon, 2nd officer of the Duke of Clarence.]
Having established a camp at Risdon Cove, Bowen subsequently took a boat excursion upriver to Herdsmen's Cove. He described it as a spot 'with banks like Noblemens' parks in England, beautifully green'. He thought it would take 'very little trouble to clear and plough the land, if only he had a hundred men'.[9] On 29 SEP 1803, Bowen sent the HMAT Lady Nelson to Sydney with several requests for support.
Governor King, In response to a request from Bowen, dispatched the Brig Dart with Lt. Moore, and 5 privates of the NSW Corps, with 42 prisoners, of whom 20 were volunteers. With the new arrivals, the colony numbered 100 persons. Amongst the new arrivals was James Meehan, Assistant to the Surveyor General. Over the next few months Meehan undertook the first ‘survey’ of ‘interior’ of the new settlement, exploring as far west as present-day Whites Valley, which drains into Meadowbank Dam. Upriver from Herdsmans Cover he described the terrain across the river as ”The land on this side appears to be high, forms several ridges of high hills, some of which appear to be moderate good pasturage – but unfit for cultivation.”
HMAT Lady Nelson arrived at Risdon Cove on 9 February 1804 beginning the transfer from the settlement at Port Phillip which was to be abandoned.
Lt. Governor David Collins (1756-1810) arrived at Risdon Cove per 481 ton, 12 gun Transport, Ocean, John Mertho. Collins disapproved of Risdon, relocated settlement at Sullivan’s Cove on 18/19 FEB 1804.[10]
Governor Phillip King issued, on 24 September 1804, a General Order for Van Diemen’s Land to be divided along the 42nd parallel, to be administered as 2 counties: Buckinghamshire (South) and Cornwall (North). The order remained in place until 25 May 1812.

Black Snake

Slithering serpent, startled settler! This combination would seem to have been the origin of the name of the Black Snake locality that was, for a time, the outer limit of the developing settlement at Hobart (Hobart Town, Hobarton), Van Diemen's Land, later Tasmania. A perusal of the 19th century Tasmanian newspapers will reveal that these encounters were a regular occurrence often with dire consequences for either/both snake and settler.[11] Just as the well-known Australian term “Black Stump” is an imaginary point beyond which the country is considered remote or uncivilised, an abstract marker of the limits of established settlement, so Black Snake, the district, was to the fledgling settlement at Hobart Town. Rather than the proverbial stump, the marker was the Black Snake Swamp (now Goulds Lagoon, Granton). The earliest known usage of the name “Black Snake” pertaining to the general locale of particular interest here appeared in the journal of New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who visited Van Diemen’s Land during the latter weeks of 1811. Macquarie recorded:[12]

Wednesday 27th. Novr. 1811.
At 6 o’clock this morning Mrs. M. and myself, on Horseback, accompanied by the Gentlemen of our Family and Lieut. Gunning, set out from Hobart Town on purpose to visit and inspect the Farms in the District of New Norfolk.—We rode to a Farm called Black Snake Point on the South side of the River about Twelve miles from Hobart Town, where we halted to Breakfast; after which we proceeded on Horseback again to Tea-Tree Point, three miles farther up the River, where we embarked on board of Capt. Murray’s Barge, which we found waiting for us there—We set out in her at 12 o’clock, and after two Hours and a half’s rowe up this fine River, we arrived at Mr. Dennis Mc.Carty’s Farm in the District of New Norfolk; 5 miles from Tea Tree Point on the north side of the River, where, finding a comfortable Farm House, and a hearty rural honest welcome, we took up our residence for this day and Night.—

After spending the evening and following morning touring the settlement at New Norfolk, which Macquarie named Elizabeth Town, after his wife, Macquarie’s party…

…set out on our return to Hobart Town in Capt. Murray’s Barge at 12 o’clock.—We had a pleasant Rowe down the River as far as Tea Tree Point; but the Tide & Wind being there against us we were obliged to land; and having walked 3 miles to Black-Snake-Point, we found our Horses waiting there for us, and rode home from thence; arriving at Hobart Town at half past 7 o’clock, very keen set for our Dinners…

Given the rudimentary nature of the track that Macquarie and his party had been travelling, Macquarie very likely over-estimated the distance from Hobart Town to the farm at Black Snake Point. After Macquarie's use of the name, the next known use of “Black Snake” occurred in The Van Diemen's Land Gazette and General Advertiser of 20 August 1814 where the Black Snake Swamp was described as the boundary for the Hobart region of the “GENERAL MUSTER of the Whole of the Inhabitants (Civil & Military excepted).” In August 1817, the muster boundary extended as far as "Black Snake upwards." How far upwards was anyone's guess.

Barely 2 km 'upwards' of the former Black Snake Swamp is a rivulet running off Snake Mount. An undated chart (plan) prepared by surveyor John Helder Wedge records both Snake Mount and Snake Rivulet. The first newspaper appearance of the name Black Snake Rivulet dates to April 1830.[13] The rivulet became the focus of a small community of Norfolk Island evacuees (convicts, settlers, their families and their overseers), the first Europeans to ‘locate’ and were subsequently granted land at the Black Snake. A little further afield there were Calcutta settlers, i.e., those who had sailed from England to Port Phillip on the Calcutta, former members of NSW Royal Veterans Corps, soldiers discharged from other military units and free settlers.

With the arrival in 1808 of the evacuees (convicts, settlers, their families and their overseers) from Norfolk Island, the first European to ‘locate’ the land on which the Inn stands was a former convict, settler, evacuee, Richard (Cornelius) Burrows. Burrows and his family were amongst 242 ‘settlers’ who arrived at Hobart Town per the 500 ton City of Edinburgh, Simeon Patterson, on 2/5 October 1808. He was mustered at New Town on 10 May 1809 holding 16 acres of land (2 in wheat, no livestock). He and his family were being victualled by the Government. He was mustered again in 1811 but no details of land or livestock were recorded. It is likely that Burrows had subsequently ‘located’ 40 a. of land further upriver adjoining 60 a. of land similarly located by James Healy (Fig. 2).[14]

Burrows and Healy were amongst 9 settlers who subsequently received grants in the vicinity from Governor Macquarie in 1813.[15]

Healy’s land was bisected by the as then unnamed rivulet draining the northern-eastern slopes of Snake Mount (480 m.), the terminus of a northerly spur of Mount Faulkner (900 m.). It is likely that the grants were surveyed by the ailing Deputy-Surveyor G. P. Harris (1775—1810). James Austin, who had served as a valet and cook for Harris, built a cottage during 1809 on land he was granted in 1813. Other grants were issued in the vicinity in 1817, 1820 & 1823.

Burrows’ grant was likely the farm at “…Black Snake Point on the South side of the River about Twelve miles from Hobart Town…” where Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s touring party paused briefly for breakfast during his tour of Van Diemen’s Land in 1811.[16] Joseph Lycett’s 1824 view of Mount Dromedary shows the Inn standing on a small point.[17] In that view, the small hut of neighbour James Healy (Haley) stands downriver, with the rivulet joining the Derwent in between. Healy also arrived in Hobart Town on the City of Edinburgh, and had received the first grant in the district, 61 acres straddling the lower length of the rivulet. Black Snake Point was never recorded on a map but was ca. 2 km past Black Snake Swamp (now Gould’s Lagoon) which, in 1816, served as the notional boundary of Hobart Town. The next settlement, of sorts, was, according to Macquarie’s journal, located ca. 8 miles (13 km) upriver at New Norfolk, soon to be Elizabeth Town, albeit briefly.

In those early years, around the time that the first ‘road’ to the interior was formed by Denis McCarty, the river served as the main thoroughfare. The dangers inherent in the use of unwieldy craft on open water where winds could be particularly variable came to the fore on 27 February 1818. The ferry operated by Richard Burrows Sr. capsized in the vicinity of Austin’s farm while returning from town. Burrows and 11 of his passengers drowned.[18] Richard Burrows’ grant appears to have been leased purchased by William Presnell soon after the 1819 Muster with the Burrows family relocating to Sorell Rivulet.[19]

Presnell had been convicted at Chelmsford Assizes, Essex, in 1798 of having “With force and arms... then and there being found feloniously did steal and drive away against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity" several calves, cows and a mare. He was sentenced to death, commuted to transportation for life. He arrived at Port Jackson in October 1798 per transport Barwell. He was assigned to work for James Badgery from whom he apparently learnt bread-making. Presnell was next sighted on Norfolk Island in 1802 cohabiting with Ann Fowler, who had arrived at Port Jackson per Royal Admiral in 1792. She had been convicted of stealing some men’s clothing and was sentenced to death, commuted to 7 years. She was by then “free by servitude”. Presnell, wife and 3 children arrived at Hobart Town per the City of Edinburgh. Presnell received a pardon in 1816 by which time he was in business. He obtained an allotment of land bounded by Argyle and Collins Streets and the Hobart Rivulet, on which the Hobart Private Hospital now stands. When Hobart’s streets were re-aligned, Presnell acquired building materials to build a structure from which, during the next 14 years, he operated a bakery, a carting business, an inn and a brewery. He also occasionally supplied meat to the Commissariat from 1817, albeit is comparatively small quantities.[20]

In November 1822, the infamous American sealing brig General Gates, Abimelech Riggs, 4 years out from Boston, arrived in Hobart.[21] On board was George William Robinson, a Massachusetts born sealer who had endured 23 months abandonment on Amsterdam Island (which he called St. Paul’s Island) then 19 months on Kangaroo Island.[22] He sought permission from the Governor to leave the ship and was paid off with 10 gallons of rum which he used to pay 3 months’ rent. Presnell’s 20 year old daughter, Elizabeth, born on Norfolk Island in 1802, soon attracted the penniless young American’s eye. They were married at St David’s Church in 1823.[23] Robinson was soon in business with his father-in-law and then possibly in his own right although Presnell, as financier, was intimately associated with Robinson’s numerous business ventures including a futile, albeit adventurous, return to sealing in his own ship, a story that will be told elsewhere.

Half-way House, Black Snake

On 16 February 1822, Presnell’s son, Thomas, surprisingly young, received a license to sell beer only in the Half-way House, Black Snake.[24] This may have been Richard Burrows’ rough bush house re-purposed or a newer structure. Thomas Presnell may have had a ‘minder’, Arthur Connelly, a former gaoler.[25] The enterprise had an uncertain start conflicting with the demands of agricultural activities on the adjoining land. In 1824 the license was granted to Mrs Ann Bridger.[26] Much has been made of Bridger’s occupation of the Inn but, in reality, it was brief and without particular note apart from being visited regularly by the Rev. Bobby Knopwood. No extant record exists of recent historians’ claims that it was “a shady thieves’ kitchen” or of “chequered fame”.[27] Proximity to such dubious characters did occur on occasion, notably so on 27 August 1824 when 5 or 6 escapees from Macquarie Harbour raided several houses in the Black Snake locale, but not the Inn itself.[28] Amongst these so-called “bush-rangers” was the not yet notorious Matthew Brady. Coincidentally, Bridger had announced her intention to depart several days earlier and had certainly departed before 2 months had elapsed by which time another inn, The Golden Fleece, had opportunistically opened further along the road towards New Norfolk.[29]

When Bridger departed for New Norfolk, the license lapsed again and may have remained so until late 1826. By this time, William Presnell had been joined in the colony by several family groups: youngest brother, John Presnell, with his wife and 5 children; then his nephew, Thomas Presnell Jr., son of his younger brother, Thomas Presnell, who subsequently arrived with 3 children and, most significantly, the family matriarch, 85 year old Sarah Presnell.[30] It seems likely that during Bridger's time as a licensee of the Half-way House, Thomas Presnell, son of William continued to work the adjoining farm. He was likely to have been joined by his cousin, Thomas Presnell Jr., who was at the Black Snake before early April 1826 as the following notice revealed.[31]

STOLEN or Strayed, from my Premises at the Black Snake, on the Night of Sunday last, or early on Monday Morning, a fat black and white SOW.—I hereby offer a Reward of Two Dollars to any Person returning her, if strayed; and if Stolen, twelve Dollars will be paid upon the Conviction of the Offender or Offenders.
Thomas Presnell, Jun. April 11, 1826.

At that date Thomas Sr. who was licensed to operate the Black Snake Ferry, claimed ownership of the Black Snake Farm of 50 acres occupied by his son, Thomas Jr.[32] The area stated, 50 acres, would have been 40 acres originally granted to Richard Burrows Sr. and an adjoining 10 acres purchased from James Healy. The latter extended the land holding such that it was bounded on the east by the rivulet. The Half Way House appears to have re-opened its doors as the Black Snake Inn during 1827 when Thomas Presnell Jr. was fined for selling spirits without a license and was subsequently licensed.[33] Over the next 6 or so years, other members of the extended Presnell family held the license of what had by then become the Black Snake Inn. Thomas Prangnall, William Presnell’s son-in-law, was the licensee on 25 August 1828 when bushrangers raided the Inn and made off with provisions and 28s. in silver escaping by boat across the Derwent. Prangnall enlisted some nearby Veterans, followed the bushrangers across the river shooting from the boat, wounded one and forced the booty to be abandoned:[34]

Bushrangers.— …On Monday last, five men armed, entered the Black Snake Public-house, and robbed it of all the tea, sugar and provisions it contained, together; with 28s. in silver being all the money they could find, with which they proceeded very deliberately across the river in one of the ferry boats which they seized. while, these proceedings were going on, Mr. Pregnall escaped by a back way to where a party of the Veterans were stationed with some of whom he closely pursued them in another boat, and fired several shot at them before they landed, some of which must have taken effect, as marks of blood were afterwards discovered in the boat. So soon as the robbers landed, they fired a volley at the party in pursuit, without effect, and immediately made off, without being able to take away any of the swag, with them. They afterwards proceeded, to the house of one Conolly, who keeps a small store in that neighbourhood, where, after tying a man named O. P. Bob, who passed for Conolly’s son, they, again supplied themselves, by making, a clean sweep of every thing useful in Conolly’s possession. It, appears they had some idea that O. P. Bob lived somewhere in that neighbourhood, as they made frequent enquiries about him, and from the manner in which they expressed themselves regarding him, (he will we believe, agree with us) it was good for poor Bob they did not know who lay tied beside them.

William Presnell, aged ca. 65 years, retired from business in early March 1829, sold his “…valuable premises … at the corner of Collins and Argyle streets, near the Market place” to George Lowe for £1500 and relocated to the Black Snake.[35] There he tended to a thriving market garden and orchard of 15 acres established on the left bank of the Black Snake Rivulet (the name appears to have been first used ca. 1826) which he had acquired from Healy. He had likely used the proceeds of the sale of his town property to purchase the remainder of Healy’s grant taking his total holding to 100 acres.

Five images of the Half-way House / Black Snake Inn were captured during these early years. The first, a sketch by an unknown artist, dated post 1822 by the watermark of the paper, shows 2 structures on the Burrows/Presnell grant (Fig. 3). The building nearest the river appears to be well-built with a house sign hanging from a post in front. There is a rudimentary building standing to the rear of the other.[36] Lycett’s 1824 view, also shows 2 buildings and, puzzlingly, several cottages further upriver. The third and fourth images (Fig. 4, Fig. 5) dating from the December 1827 visit of the French ship Astrolabe show rather different views of the same building.[37] Puzzlingly, the fifth image (Fig. 6), dating from 1830, shows a rudimentary structure standing on high ground with the house sign in front and the newer building not evident.[38] It is difficult to reconcile the differences in these views just as it is difficult to accept the inclusion of a fully rigged ship sailing on that stretch of the Derwent River. Both Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 show buildings on the end of the finger of land now known as Green Point but was then known as Cove Point. The apparent differences have been attributed to artistic license.[39]

After years of dithering, in December 1829 construction began on the long promoted bridge across the Derwent at Bridgewater, which name was first used July 1830. Construction of the causeway 400 m upriver of the Inn took 6 long years; the bridge 13 more years:[40]

BRIDGE ACROSS THE DERWENT.—We are informed that operations have commenced towards that great work of Colonial importance, the intended Causeway and Bridge across the Derwent at the Black Snake. The erection of temporary barracks for the accommodation of about four or five hundred workmen is going on, and poles, marking out the line of causeway, are being put up. Such undertakings stamp the worth and prosperity, and indicate the future consequence of a Colony.
...The New Bridge.—The utmost exertions are making in the construction of the new Bridge over the Derwent at Bridgewater, as is, we understand, the new designation of the spot where Mr. O'Connors people are now employed. If that meritorious public officer succeeds in rendering the Bridge passable within three years, he will be entitled to the highest praise.

New House, Black Snake

The prospect of an increase in passing traffic bound for the “interior” adding to that making their way to thriving New Norfolk was likely the impetus for the construction of the “New House”. A four-horse stage coach, "The Eclipse", started running between Hobart Town and New Norfolk in August 1831.[41] The proprietors were George Wise, who had purchased William Prersnell's property in Hobart Town and Philip Mills. Wise soon withdrew from the venture leaving Mills to carry it on. Mills subsequently opened the as a staging post taking business away from the Black Snake Inn. The Fox Inn was located 900 m closer to Hobart, on an 1823 grant to Margaret Wishart.[42]

The chart extract (Fig. 2), dating ca. 1835, certainly pre-1838, when the road from Austin's Ferry was formed to run alongside the river rather than over the hills some distance up from the river, shows 2 triple-fronted buildings aligned ca. 30° off axis. This may be the first indication of the present-day building.

On the yet to be propitious date of 26 January 1833, William Presnell agreed to lease his property to his son-in-law, George William Robinson for the term of 42 years, reviewable at 21 years, for the annual consideration of £187..4s. payable weekly. Presnell signed with a "X" markItalic text. The "Memorial of Indentures of Lease" displays all the usual complexity associated with such transactions:[43]

All that Messuage dwelling house or tenement situate standing and being in the said District of Glenarchy on the South West side of and fronting to the road there leading from Hobart Town to New Norfolk and which said Messuage or Dwelling house or tenement is now used as an Inn called or known by the name or sign of the Black Snake and is now in the occupation of one Thomas Pragnal. Together with the stable outhouses outbuildings Yard Garden and premises thereunto adjoining and belonging and likewise in the occupation of the said Thomas Pragnall. And also all those — several [?] enclosures or pieces or parcels of Land adjoining or lying near to the said Messuages Tenement or sum and heretofore occupied therewith and containing together by admeasurement including the scite of the said Messuage Tenement or Inn outbuildings yard and Garden and with the scite of certain other Messuages and buildings and other yards Gardens and premises of one hundred acres or thereabouts (be same more or less) And also all that other Messuage Cottage or Tenement erected and built upon a part of the said one hundred acres of Land and now in the occupation of the said William Presnell with the appurtenances to the same last mentioned Messuage Cottage or Tenement belonging And also all that Messuage Tenement or dwelling House of stone lately erected and built or commenced but not yet completed upon other parts of the said one hundred acres of Land thereby demised or mentioned so to be and as yet unoccupied Together with certain outbuildings and erections thereunto adjoining or standing near the same and thereunto belonging and intended to be used as stables and otherwise.

Aside from the important detail that the Memorial was a lease, not an absolute conveyance, it is evident that work had already started on the construction of the “dwelling House of stone lately erected and built or commenced but not yet completed”. Thomas Prangnall remained licensee of the Black Snake Inn for the time being. Robinson remained licensee of the Mail Coach Inn at Lovely Banks but one must think that he spent little time there, leaving his wife to attend to the passing travellers.

Unfortunately, no details of the designer/architect have survived. The site chosen was closer to Hobart Town and on lower level than the original Inn which stood upon a ridge about half-way across the width of the frontage of the former Burrows grant. The site was set into in an excavation ground rising on reach side and at the rear. The foundations formed a large 2 room cellar with a flagstone floor. The walls were built with local cut stone and fill. The labour included free tradesmen, convict assignees to Robinson and, possibly, ‘loans’ from those labouring to construct the causeway. The use of ashlar stone facing on the face of the building points to a skilled stone mason being employed.

Thomas Prangnell, William Presnell's son-in-law by his marriage to Presnell's younger daughter, Sarah, who had been licensee since February 1828 returned to his former occupation of butcher in Hobart Town and George William Robinson, obtained the license. The “New House, Black Snake” opened on 7 August 1833. The name, however, soon reverted to its less pretentious predecessor.[44] Robinson was now licensee and vigorously responded to Mills’ competition with his own coach service.[45]

The first description of the new Black Snake Inn appeared in an advertisement in April 1835:[46]

TO BE LET, with immediate possession, that most desirable Establishment known as the BLACK SNAKE INN, with all its lucrative advantages arising from the Coaches and the Ferry. The Inn itself is a spacious Stone Building with every convenience, comprising 15 rooms, namely 3 large parlours, 2 well finished sitting rooms, 6 up-stair rooms, 4 of which are neatly finished. The kitchen contains a large oven, dresser, &c. with bed-room and store-room attached. The stables are large and commodious, with coach-house, piggery, and fowl-house; also, a large garden well stocked with fruit trees, &c. of the choicest kinds.
The FERRY crosses to Green Point, and its contiguity to the great undertaking at Bridgewater, now nearly complete, ensures it constant traffic.
The COACH ESTABLISHMENT has 4 horses as good as any on the road, 2 sets of 4 in hand harness, with a new and well finished coach, a 4 wheeled phaeton, which is now running on the road, a curricle and horses complete, nearly new. The coach, phaeton, and curricle, with the horses and harness, may be taken at a fair valuation, and a liberal credit given, as well as much of the furniture in the house, with boats, oars, sails, &c.
The INN has been newly stuccoed, and is pleasantly situated on a rise about 40 yards from the Derwent, with a carriage drive in front. It is not above 600 yards from Bridgewater Causeway, and is rapidly increasing in business, the traffic between New Norfolk and Hobart Town constantly passing the door, which will be increased when the Bridge is opened by that from Launceston and all other parts of the country.
A FARM of 100 acres at the back of the premises will be let, if wished, with the other property. The proprietor is desirous to let this most desirable and profitable undertaking solely on account of his family, and the delicate state of his health preventing him from all that attention that it deserves. Persons willing to undertake it will please to apply personally or by tender to the undersigned.
Black Snake, April 23, 1835.

The description of the building is closely reflected in the fabric of present structure nearly 200 years later. The numbers of rooms vary slight because of rearrangement of internal walls within the stone walls, something that happened on several occasions. The kitchen with oven, storeroom & bedroom was an outhouse, standing immediately behind the main building. George Robinson's "delicate state of health" foreshadowed not too distant events.

Charles Darwin, exploring the River Derwent terrain during his global voyage of botanical and geological discoveries, paused to enjoy a meal at the Black Snake Inn on 16 February 1836.[47] George & Elizabeth Robinson would have had no idea of how significant a person their guest was to become; nor would any other citizen of this remote settlement.

Whether business competition, or his emerging ill health, was the reason, Robinson decided to offer the Inn for sale. To this end he subdivided the land, creating 3 roads: George Street (the lower part of which survives); Washington Street, the lower part of which is now the entrance to the current land holding, the upper part being Black Snake Road (formerly Lane) and Union Street which is within the boundary of Cypress Grove property. Robinson obviously remained a patriotic American after 14 years in the colony. A brief extract from the lengthy advertisement provides an indication of the man and the attractions of the property:[48]

...The situation is a beautiful and luxuriant valley well watered, admirably sheltered from the blasting elements, intersected by the main road, whereon the coaches are continually passing, over-looking the Derwent’s majestic course, abounding (particularly hereabouts) with the finest fish, the sportiveness of which is only occasionally interrupted by clouds of water fowl; add to this the beauty of the surrounding scenery, the pureness of the atmosphere, and the liberality of the vendor,...

The sale was ostensibly a great success attracting a large crowd. The Inn and (Presnell’s) garden sold for £2,400 and the adjoining land in excess of £8,000 or so it was reported at the time:[49]

EXTRAORDINARY SALE.—It is impossible to risk opinions of the value of land in the neighbourhood of this overgrown town with any chance of accuracy. On Tuesday Mr. Stracey made one of the most productive sales ever known in the Colony, more so even than that considered so great of Mr. Macmichael in May last, of the portion of the Dynnyrne estate, for which he obtained one hundred pounds per acre. Mr. Stracey sold the premises called the Black Snake Inn and garden, fourteen or fifteen miles from town, to Mr. Charles Day, for the sum of two thousand four hundred pounds, but yet more extraordinary, the land adjoining it, not quite 100 acres, of any thing but good quality, produced the enormous sum of EIGHT THOUSAND POUNDS!! After this, who can venture to say one word of depreciation in the value of property, as of poverty or embarrassment, or any gloomy forebodings. The concourse, of people at the Black Snake sale, was unprecedented on any similar occasion, and as may be supposed much competition existed. We understand Mr. R. L. Murray proposes to dispose, early in the new year, of about four thousand acres of land, in the immediate neighbourhood of the town in small farms, of from 100 to 150 acres each, upon the unprecedentedly favorable terms to purchasers of twenty-one years credit, at two and a-half per cent, interest!

Robinson exchanged licenses with Charles Day who had recently been the licensee of the Fox Inn. He took the license of the Fox Inn to “the house at Glenorchy, that originally belonged to Mrs. Strickland, now the property of Mr. G. Wise” (now the site of the Connewarre Clinic) where he continued as a publican. However, rather than being wealthy beyond his dreams he soon found himself insolvent. His son, James Robinson, later wrote "[My father] was quite a young man when he died,... Owing to certain business transactions which my father had got mixed up with, but of which it is no use going into, my poor father died a poor man." An unfortunately incomplete draft of a lengthy legal document , a Letter of License, reveals that the extraordinary sale was anything but:[50]

...George William Robinson did some time since sold property at the Black Snake to a very large amount and several of the purchasers having failed to fulfil their purchase and many of them not having even paid their deposits And whereas the said George William Robinson in order to give a clear and undeniable title to the said property paid off sundry annuities for securing the payment thereof the property was liable and whereas the said George William Robinson is justly and truly indebted to us his creditors in the several sums of money set opposite our respective names and seals which by the reason aforesaid he is at present unable to pay and satisfy...

William Presnell, 74, died on 13 June 1839 having made good of his opportunity to start afresh after escaping the hangman more than 4 decades earlier.[51] George William Robinson, 39, died on 7 September 1839. The cause of death was “Enlargement of the liver” symptomatic, arguably, of excess consumption of stock-in-trade although enduring nearly 4 years of abysmal diet during his protracted voyage from Boston also likely contributed.[52] Over the next nearly 5 decades, the Inn had a succession of licensees albeit with fewer proprietors, see the lists of proprietors and licensees below.

Another traveller who passed the Inn was Louisa Anne Meredith. It is not known if she paused for refreshment but pause she did, to make a sketch of Mount Dromedary which showed the gothic styled Inn and the Bridgewater causeway (Fig. 7).[53]

Fig. 7: Louisa Anne Meredith; Dromedary from road to N. Norfolk (n.d.) [TMAG].

William Champion, through auctioneers William Ivey & Co., offered "THAT valuable Property at Bridgewater, Known as THE BLACK SNAKE INN, Together with Seventy Five Acres of Land, In One Lot. The House is admirably adapted for a first rate Inn, and has always commanded a large business being, from situation and accommodation, the only convenient HALF-WAY HOUSE TO NEW NORFOLK. The Land is rich alluvial bottom, and is known to have borne the largest crops in the neighborhood. The garden is well stocked with the best fruit trees obtainable in the colony." The property was passed in.[54] Four months later, the property was again offered at auction by William Ivey and Co. On this occasion the land was offered in 2 lots: The Inn standing on 15 a. 0r. 2 p. (the original Queen Victoria grant to Nathaniel Henry Olding) and ca. 57 acres of composed of 4 allotments. The successful bidder was John King who paid £2,500. King paid £1,000 down, the balance of £1,500 being a mortgage to William Ivey (of William Ivey & Co.) at interest of 7%. King, a native of Cantley, Norfolk, had been tried and convicted at the Norfolk Assizes for an “Offence against the Game Laws. Taking game by night”, also “Poaching at night, Armed” for which crimes he received a sentence of 14 years. He was transported to the colony per the Lady Kennaway which, after an eventful voyage, arrived at Hobart Town on 13 February 1835. King's convict conduct record lists several minor infractions but he received his Ticket-of-Leave on 3 March 1841. King, 28 years, labourer, married Elizabeth Smith, spinster, 22 years, in the Parish Church of Trinity, Hobart, on 2 June 1841. Elizabeth Smith, born in Herefordshire, had been employed as a milkmaid at Cantley, Norfolk. She and her younger sister were tried and convicted of burglary at the Hereford Quarter Sessions on 31 December 1838. Both were convicted and sentenced to transportation, for 10 years and 7 years, respectively. Both arrived at Hobart per the transport Hindostan on 11 September 1839.

After their marriage, John & Elizabeth King had 4 children: Elizabeth, Caroline, Harriet & John. Only the birth of Harriet, on 10 October 1845, was registered albeit not until 7 March 1846. The informant was John King “labourer, Glenorchy”. A later record states that John King had been resident at Bridgewater; where is unknown. Tragedy struck the family in August 1853 when John & Elizabeth King’s youngest children died 14 days apart: John, aged 5Y 5M, and Harriet, aged 8Y 10M. The causes of their deaths were, respectively, croup and scarlet fever, the latter of which was particularly prevalent at the time. The informant in both cases was their father who was described as a “farmer, Glenorchy”. Both children were buried in the small cemetery of St. Peter’s Church, South Bridgewater. Their burials were, respectively, the 11th and 12th since the first burial occurred in October 1847. Thus King was undoubtedly familiar with the Black Snake Inn although he may not have been a patron.


Late during the night of 19 April 1857 the Black Snake Hotel, as the former Inn had become, was extensively damaged by a “great conflagration”. Fortunately, all within survived. Rumours of suspicious circumstances prompted an inquest to be held before the Coroner at the behest of the insurance company. The inquest, held in the nearby York Hotel, failed to identify the cause. The evidence of 9 witnesses taken during the inquest which lasted 10 hours was reported:[55]

...Nothing but the bare walls and three chimneys were left standing. The house which has been destroyed was a substantial stone-built one, and stood on a slight rise, about fifty yards off the road side. The only sign of its having been an inn is a fragment of a board, inscribed “and spirits” suspended from a nail. ...John King, the owner of the late premises; who, we learned, has since the fire, purchased the residue of the lease granted by him to Mr. Hagan. It was stated that the latter had been a severe loser by the fire, although he was insured. ...The house was one mass of flame in a very short time, and in about an hour the roof fell in and the premises were burned down, so that we could do nothing to arrest the progress of the main body of the fire. ...The wind blew from the direction of New Norfolk on the night of the fire. Had the wind been in a different direction, the whole of the stabling would have been swept away.

Landlord John King, who had purchased the Inn only 12 months previously, held an £800 insurance policy, and William James Hagan, the licensee, a £700 policy for the contents.[56] Setting aside the initial shock assessment of total destruction, the actual extent of damage is unknown. No request to tender to undertake the repairs was advertised. Nor did advertisements calling for carpenters or joiners to do the work appear in the classified columns of the Hobart newspapers. In fact, the rebuilt Black Snake Inn rose like a phoenix from the ashes, entirely without notice. It is evident that repairs were made to the fabric within the still-standing stone walls. It is likely that efforts were made to reuse as much of any surviving structure as possible. Whereas there had been 2 staircases in the original structure, the rebuilt structure only has one, very likely in the same position as previously, over the entrance to the cellar. The roof almost certainly gained a new profile. During the inquest the roof was described as "The back part of the house was a skilling. The front roof was of the ordinary kind.” Whilst that is not as descriptive as desired the new roof was of Gothic Revival design. Further, various features of the facade and windows lead to the description of the building as being of Victorian Rustic Gothic design.[57]

John King's "booth" was apparently in service during the reconstruction. Four months after the fire it was reported that a man named Robinson, an ostler at the Black Snake, whom having consumed an excess of beer for a wager, suffered "delirium tremens" the following morning, cut his throat in an attempted suicide. [58] John King was granted a license in December 1857.[59]

After the reconstruction, King maintained ownership until 1873. October 1876:[60]

And about
Close to the Railway Station.
Instructed by the Proprietor, Mr. RICHARD RODDA, will sell at their mart, early in November,

THAT REALLY FIRST-CLASS HOTEL, known as the “BLACK SNAKE,” together with about NINE ACRES OF LAND, situate 10 miles from Hobart Town, and about 300 yards from the South Bridgewater Railway Station.
The house is substantially built of freestone, is of two stories, and contains 12 lofty and Spacious rooms; stone kitchen and store room detached, together with skittle ground and stabling sufficient for 25 horses. The land consisting of nine acres, under cultivation, with the garden and orchard; is enclosed with new post and rail fence. There is a never failing spring of water within a few yards of the front door, and, in fact, every convenience and facility inside and outside to conduct a large, and profitable business. The New Norfolk Coach changes horses at the door, and other conveyances make this their regular house of bait. This property forming a safe and remunerative investment, is worthy the attention of capitalists.
Terms.—Deposit at time of sale £600; balance by two bills at 6 and 12 months bearing interest at 7 per cent, secured on the property, or the whole may be paid in cash.

Richard Vale Rodda, defaulted on the mortgage in 1883 causing a 3-way legal dispute between King, who had maintained an interest and another mortgagor, widow Anne Jane Grant. Around this time the land on which the Inn stood was reduced in area to 8 a. 1 r. 11½ p. although subsequently adjoining areas were added and removed. The Black Snake Inn appears to have ceased operating ca. mid 1883. It had long ceased to serve travellers as the Half-way House to anywhere. The Inn had witnessed a variety of human tragedies over 6 decades: unexpected natural deaths, suicides, murders.

The decline in passing trade may have been, in part, due the laying of a railway line along the river bank. A retaining wall which runs 2-300 m. upstream from near the front on the Inn has filled-in the several small bays that were evident in both Joseph Lycett’s 1824 painting and Meredith’s sketch. Increasing river height has, arguably, further contributed to obscuring the original shore line. After several years of construction the railway opened 1876.


The property passed briefly through the ownership of several others before being purchased by David Hamilton Hughes ca. mid-1888. Hughes, born ca. 1853 at Antrim, County Antrim, Ireland, named the former inn Ardilea. The name was apparently after the residential estate of that name located 2.5 km north-west of Belfast City Hall.[61] He built a private jetty for his custom-built steam launch Lancer and obtained a permit for a crossing of the rail line.[62] In 1892, Hughes and his family departed for England, never to return. Shortly afterwards, the YWCA leased the property for use as a “female convalescent home”. On 20 April 1896, Ardilea was auctioned. Whilst the auctioneer’s description of the “Gentleman’s Residence” may have been less colourful than George Robinson’s advertisement of 6 decades earlier it, nevertheless, provided interesting detail about the former inn, turned convalescent home. turned residence:[63]


THAT DELIGHTFULLY SITUATED Suburban Retreat, known as "Ardilea," distant 11 miles from Hobart, with rail, road and water carriage front the door, and in almost hourly communication with the city.
The House, a two storey one, is constructed of cut free-stone, with front balcony, and is tastefully surrounded with shrubberies. It contains 10 good rooms, with pantry, kitchen, dairy, coachhouse, 3-stalled stable and loose box, and every other necessary convenience to fit it as a gentleman’s residence, having unusual advantages; water laid on all over the house.
The area to be sold comprises 8a. 1r. 11½p., of which 1¼ acres are down to orchard, planted with choicest trees, now in full bearing. …It is well watered, and has also a large underground tank, computed to hold many thousands of gallons.

The new owner was Joseph Charles Alexander, late of Wyniford River, a remote tin mining district in the north-east of the Island. Alexander, an apparently successful 50 year old tin miner, had recently married for the second time and had chosen to leave the rough life behind for something more comfortable. Alexander expanded the orchard and it seems likely that it was he who added the verandah on 3 sides with the north-west side enclosed with narrow windows. After Alexander’s death the property was put to auction on 29 August 1916. The description of the property included an adjoining 15 acre block that had been purchased at an unknown date:[64]

Fig. 8: ARDILEA, (n.d., view from jetty) [GBB].

“ARDILEA,” situate at Granton, comprising of about 23¼ acres, part orchard of quince, apricot, apple, etc.; part farm land; and the balance grazing and bush. Has a large frontage on the Main-road, and is close to the railway station; is splendidly situated, and has a beautiful view. On the property there is a substantial 13 roomed Stone House, including two large halls, in good order, verandah nearly all round house, with conservatory at one end, and small balcony; fitted with acetylene gas, stables, coachhouse, and usual outbuildings; also right of use of private jetty…

Ardilea failed to sell. Alexander's widow, Flora, and son, moved to Pirie Street, New Town, before May 1919 taking the property name with them.[65] The former Ardilea was then leased by Alexander’s trustees to Walter Tribolet, a local orchardist, until 1921 when he became sole owner.

Orchard & Roadhouse

Tribolet continued to work the property as an orchard. He sold the property to a young local farmer, Keith Dickenson, in 1937. A refusal by Henry Jones & Co. to purchase his fruit prompted Dickenson to sell his produce directly ‘out front’. Requests for vegetables & eggs then prompted Dickenson to open a shop in the lower front of the building. Demand was such that the shop expanded to include all of the large front room which became a general store. Less than 2 years later Dickenson, compelled by family circumstances, advertised the house, with general store for sale:[66]

FOR IMMEDIATE SALE, ORCHARD AND STORE AT GRANTON. 23 acres, 5 acres apricot orchard (300 bushels sold last year), 2 acres market garden, water available, 2 storey stone house, 10 rooms and all conveniences under one roof, 4 roomed W.B. Cottage. Flat in house and cottage at present let, returning over £1 per week. Also general store business in main dwelling. £1,500. £400 cash, balance can remain. Full particulars from K. Dickenson, Granton.

Fig. 9: Charles L. Good, Aerial View, ca. 1938, Hand-coloured [GBB].

The latter had operated a photography business in Hobart and had flown over the property and had taken an aerial photograph (Fig. 9). When Dickenson advertised the property for sale, Good purchased without hesitation. Charles & Freda Good made significant structural changes to the fabric of the building. The front verandah, which continued around the north-west side to the conservatory, and the conservatory, were demolished. Only a vestige of a verandah along the south-east side remained. The roofed balcony was demolished and a double-bow glazed extension enclosed the original recessed entrance (Fig. 10). Placed prominently over the windows was the 2-part sign "ROAD HOUSE". This became the name known to all who recalled passing the building years after it ceased to be a commercial The white picket fence was taken down and the “shrubberies” so prominent in front of Ardilea were replaced by a functional rock-lined drive-way for motorists to pull-in off the road. A small lychgate for pedestrian access came & went. After Charles Good’s death on 23 August 1948, the property passed to his widow, Freda Good, who, faced with difficult decisions, continued with the orchard but sub-let the roadhouse, removed the internal staircase & relocated it to the stables. Mrs. Good lived upstairs while the successive roadhouse lessees lived downstairs. A business card (see above) for an early lessee appealed to all classes of travellers.[67]

Fig. 10: Granton Roadhouse (Courtesy Mrs. Dianne Wood (upper), Mr. Robin Bird (lower)).

The front verandah (with skylights) has been demolished and the roofed balcony has been replacedwith an extended cantilevered floor fitted with a curved wrought iron balustrade.

Private Residence

In November 1967, after the orchard had been cleared and the Roadhouse had ceased business, the property was purchased by George & Isabel Burrows.[68] The area of the land purchased was the same as had been delineated by the title in 1883. It has since been reduced by the compulsory acquisition of nearly 6 acres for the 1975 extension of the so-called Northern Outlet. The deep cutting of the Brooker Highway now isolates the remaining property from the mountain behind. This loss was offset by a small addition resulting from the realignment of the lower section of Black Snake Lane. An early order of activity for the new owners was to close off the drive-way to ensure motorists no longer called-in to the former Roadhouse while passing. Whilst the petrol bowser had previously been removed, the underground tank remained and had to be removed. A ‘skywalk’ servicing the upper floor was demolished as the 2 levels of the house were internally ‘re-connected’, albeit not with the original staircase, which no longer fitted, but with a ‘re-cycled’ fire-escape staircase which remains serviceable to this day. Then followed considerable re-arranging of the landscape and attempts to plant a small orchard which succumbed to rabbits coming down out of the forest above.

Fig. 11: A fresh start with enthusiastic new owners, ca. Spring 1978 [GBB].

Fig. 12: Snowstorm, 25 July 1986 [GBB].

George Burrows, an enthusiastic collector of colonial furniture, some of which may have graced the former inn during earlier years, still lives on the property. George Burrows’ occupancy is the longest of the 186 year old (new) Black Snake Inn, the enduring legacy of an English convict and an American sealer.[69]

The historic property was advertised for sale with the listing on the website of the principal selling agency, Fall Real Estate, Hobart, and several national agencies, appearing on 23 June 2021. The so-called 'marketing script' offered a few highlights and warned of the issues that would face a new custodian:[70]

650 - 652 Main Road, GRANTON, TAS
The Black Snake Inn

The old, self-professed, amateur Innkeeper of the Black Snake Inn has poured his last ale, unharnessed his last coach horses and is ready to take his ferry onto the calm waters of retirement. So, as this is the first time the property has been marketed in more than 80 years, you have the chance to purchase this magnificent, if faded, Gothic home and return it to its former glory. You will stand on the same land where Governor Macquarie ate breakfast in 1811; where Charles Darwin dropped in for a meal, years before writing his famous treatise. This is the land where bushrangers roamed and raided; this is the land where people crossed the Derwent to Green Point; this is the land where the original ferryman and all his passengers were lost when his punt overturned.
But for you, this is the rare opportunity to follow owners as diverse as a horse and cattle thief who escaped the gallows; a sealer; a market gardener; a coachman; an eccentric, and of course, a diverse range of purveyors of rum.
So, what brave soul, awaits you? It will be a task almost Churchillian in scope. You will need to deal with Heritage; with Council; with the new Bridge designers and the likely loss of some land by acquisition. What are your opportunities? Here you will own 1.3929 hectares of land, on three titles, a few metres from the mighty Derwent River with two houses and the possibility of some sub-division all in a historic precinct (STC&HA).
Just imagine it as a distillery destination, where you can sit with your family and friends, tucking in to a Devonshire Tea, or savouring a dram, as your children lick chocolate ices, while you all watch the graceful water fowl, as so many others have done over the last two centuries.
The Black Snake Inn, long unlicensed, will need your loving care, but when complete, you will own an outstanding and beautiful period home that will be cherished for generations to come, while perhaps turning it into a thriving commercial enterprise.

The next chapter in the history of this landmark building awaits...


The Black Snake Inn stands near the north-east corner of an 1813 Macquarie grant of 40 acres to Norfolk Island evacuee, Richard Burrows. The property was subsequently aggregated with the adjoining 1813 Macquarie grant of 60 acres to James Healey also a Norfolk Island evacuee, to form, ever so briefly, the Black Snake Inn estate of 100 acres.

  • Burrows' Farm, Richard Burrows, ca. 1809 to 1818, Macquarie grant # 141, 20 SEP 1813: Following the tragic death of Richard Burrows Sr., in February 1818 the grant passed to John Burrows, possibly in conjunction with his mother Elizabeth and brother Richard Jr. He/they may have leased the grant to William Presnell for the next decade until Richard Burrows sold it to Presnell.
  • Healey's Farm, James Healey, ca. 1809 to 1819, Macquarie grant # 140, 20 SEP 1813: Scant records show the subsequent 'interested' parties: R., E. & J. Burrows (Richard, Elizabeth & John Burrows); James Cobb; Kemp & Co. (Anthony Fenn Kemp & Richard Barker), Merchants.
  • The Black Snake Inn, William Presnell, Whether by lease or purchase, Presnell, who had a cartage business in Hobart Town, occupied Burrows' Farm from ca. 1819. He established the Half-way House (later the first Black Snake Inn) on the property in February 1822. Ultimately, he acquired the property from John Burrows (date unknown). Presnell leased part of Healey's Farm from 1819, subsequently acquiring the whole, ca. 1830-31, after it had passed from James Healey via several other people. Presnell may have been leasing all of Healey's Farm prior to that. Thus the new Black Snake Inn was established in 1833 on an aggregated 'estate' of 100 acres. It is likely that the aggregation led to Thomas Wood Rowlands (1800-1847), Solicitor, then David Hoy, shipwright of Macquarie Harbour, though George Cartwright, Solicitor, successively holding mortgages. Presnell subsequently leased the entire property to his son-in-law, George William Robinson, who was undoubtedly responsible for the construction of the new 2-storey stone building. Presnell 'gifted' the property to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Robinson, with his wife, Ann Fowler, and each of his other children having an 'interest' in it. However, as with many such projects, finances became stretched. Frederick Coape Smith (1798-1882), a Captain in the Honourable East India Company's Bengal Native Infantry, held a large mortgage in absentia also through Cartwright and his associate Joseph Allport. It is evident from the foregoing roll call, members of the legal profession had become intimately involved and would become even more so. So many people, investors, solicitors, with their 'fingers in the Black Snake pie'; a tasty delicacy for the moneyed class. As a consequence, the proprietorship of this property over more than 2 centuries has rarely been straight-forward; indeed, quite the opposite!
  • Sub-division & Auction; The Black Snake Inn estate was subdivided into at least 42 allotments & sold at auction in November 1836. As is the way with real estate, allotments were subsequently aggregated and sub-divided again and again. Today, the land on which the former Black Snake Inn stands, has been reduced to only a small remnant of Burrows' Farm, albeit recently extended by a small remnant of Healey's Farm. The following list includes only those proprietors of the land on which the former Black Snake Inn still stands:
  • Charles Day, 22 MAY 1838—
  • John Clare, 16 AUG 1839—
  • Nathaniel Henry Olding, 25 JUN 1841—28 OCT 1842 [Queen Victoria Grant];
  • John Hedger, 28 OCT 1842—6 JUN 1850 [Mortgagees: Thomas Porter Bonell Biscoe, Bengal Civil Service; Edward Abbott; Edward Paine Butler. Hedger insolvent >>> T. Y. Lowes assignee];
  • Joseph Allport & Wife, 24 JUL 1851— [Biscoe replaced by Thomas Giblin and John Lord];
  • William Champion, 26 APR 1854—18 JUL 1855 [Former hat-maker, Publican, Bellringer];
  • John King, 18 JUL 1855—23 MAR 1874 [Mortgagee, William Ivey then, from 24 MAR 1859, Thomas Hewitt (dec. 11 MAY 1859, replaced by Richard Micajah Cleburne), William Lindsay (dec. 20 JUL 1862) and Robert Espie (dec. 28 APR 1863), executors, administrators and assigns of Robert Grant for his widow, Ann Jane (Espie) Grant];
  • Richard Vale Rodda, 23 MAR 1874— [Mortgagee, Ann Jane Grant (dec. 27 JUN 1882)]
  • Frederick McPherson, 22 OCT 1883—21 JUL 1888 [Mortgagee, James Robert Meech];
  • David Hamilton Hughes, 21 JUL 1888—ca. 20 APR 1896, Ardilea, [YWCA, APR 1892—mid 1895];
  • Charles Joseph Alexander, ca. 20 APR 1896—28 JAN 1916;
  • * Thomas Murdoch, Charles Robert McKay & Herbert Simmons in trust for Mrs. Flora Alexander;
  • Walter Tribolet & Donald Hamilton Tribolet, 21 MAR 1921—19 DEC 1924 [Orchard];
  • Walter Tribolet, 19 DEC 1924—16 NOV 1937 [Orchard];
  • Keith Dickenson, 16 NOV 1937—2 AUG 1939 [Shop, General store];
  • Charles Leslie Good, 2 AUG 1939—23 AUG 1948 [Roadhouse, 16 DEC 1939];
  • * Perpetual Trustees Executors & Agency Co. of Tasmania Ltd In trust for Mrs. Freda Doris Good;
  • George B. & Isabel Burrows, 23 NOV 1967—16 FEB 1999;
  • George B. Burrows, 16 FEB 1999—19 JAN 2022;
  • Government of Tasmania, 19 JAN 2022—?

Licensees, 1822—1883

Despite unsourced assertions that Richard Burrows held a license for a public house, no record of such has been found. The following is a list of the licensees for the Half-way House / Black Snake Inn:

  • Thomas Presnell Jr., son of William Presnell, 22 FEB 1822—License may have lapsed;
  • Mrs Ann Bridger, 11 OCT 1823—ca. AUG 1824 [Widow of publican, Cape Colonies];
  • Thomas Presnell Jr. (1800-1880) nephew of William Presnell, initially unlicensed then 6 OCT 1827—ca. FEB 1828;
  • Thomas Prangnall, son-in-law of William Presnell, 23 FEB 1828—11 JUN 1833;
  • = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
  • George William Robinson, son-in-law of William Presnell, 11 JUN 1833—
  • Charles Day, 15 NOV 1836—
  • William Elwin, 6 AUG 1839—
  • James Lester, 9 JUN 1840—
  • George Conner, 8 AUG 1840—
  • Thomas Cartwright, 3 MAR 1841—
  • John Hedger, 28 OCT 1842—7 NOV 1853 [Insolvent June 1850, but continued as licensee];
  • Stephen Sandford, 7 NOV 1853—
  • Henry Lamb Shelverton, 7 FEB 1854—
  • William James Hagan, ca. May 1856— ca. 19 APR 1857 [Night of Great Conflagration];
  • John King, purchased residue of Hagan's license, re-licensed 19 DEC 1857—
  • William Harvey, 11 AUG 1858— [William Hanney?]
  • Peter Albertus De Roock, ca. 3 JUN 1859—11 Sep 1859 [Deceased, aged 35 years];
  • Mary Ann De Roock, widow, 13 SEP 1859— [Returned to Hobart];
  • John King, 9 MAY 1860—
  • Robert Lewis, ca. 15 SEP 1861— 5 AUG 1862;
  • John King, 5 AUG 1862— ;
  • Richard Vale Rodda, ca. JAN 1874— [Rodda relocated to Royal Hotel, Longford]];
  • Mrs. Mary Maria Brown, ca. 11 APR 1876—2 JUN 1876 [Deceased, aged 48, briefest occupation];
  • Mr. Thomas Dunphy, 6 NOV 1876—14 MAR 1881 [from Executors of Mary Ann Brown];
  • Mrs. Rebecca (Cox, Crann) Sharp, widow, 6 MAY 1881—17 APR 1882;
  • Mr. William Simpson, 1 MAY 1882—17 APR 1883. [Clearance sale, license then lapsed].

From the above it would seem that there were 25 individual licensees who occupied the Black Snake Inn/Hotel during the 5 decades it was licensed. That number may understate the actual total. One might suggest that a swing door was essential.


  • The Black Snake Inn; A Brief History, V2 (9 NOV 2020) by Daniel K. Cerchi [revised & expanded text].
    APPENDIX — Timeline: Proprietors / Licensees / Events; omitted due to formatting constraints.
  • The Black Snake Inn; Select Sources 1986-2021, 300+ pp.
  • The Black Snake Inn; A Brief History, V3 [work in progress].
  • ADB; Australian Diction of Biography (Online).
  1. A. H. Holiday; THE BLACK SNAKE INN, Granton, Tasmania, 1987 [D. K. Cerchi].
  2. Pers. com. George Burrows, 27 June 2022, recounting how, when a trench for a new drain for the building's cellars was excavated during 1975, it cut through what was thought to have been a midden. After the drain was laid the trench was closed without further action or investigation.
  3. Bruny d'Entrecasteaux; Voyage to Australia & the Pacific 1791-1793. Edited & Translated by Edward Duyker and Maryse Duyker, Melbourne University Press, 2001, pp. 153-5.
  4. National Library of Australia; A chart of Van Diemen’s Land, the south extremity of New Holland with the new discovered river by the ships Duke and Duchess from Captn. John Hayes 1798. Published 12th July 1798 by Laurie & Whittle No. 53 Fleet Street, London.
  5. Baudin, Nicolas Thomas (1754–1803) (ADB); N. J. B. Plomley; The Baudin Expedition and the Tasanian Aborigines 1802, Blubber Head Press, Hobart, 1983.
  6. Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet (1779 – 1841)(Wikipedia); Péron, François (1775–1810) (ADB).
  7. Report to Commander Baudin by Henri Freycinet on his exploration of Rivière du Nord cited in Plomley; pp. 27-8, 114-118. See particularly the sketch map on p. 115.
  8. Philip Gidley King (1758-1808), (ADB). John Bowen (baptised 14 February 1780 – 20 October 1827) was a Royal Navy officer and colonial administrator (ADB).
  9. [Schaffer] TBA...
  10. Collins, David (1756–1810) (ADB).
  11. Tasmania hosts 3 species of snake, all of which could qualify for the soubriquet “Black Snake”: the Lowland Copperhead Snake (Austrelaps superbus); the Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus); and the White-lipped Snake (Drysdalia coronoides). The dark colour of Tasmanian snakes, compared to their mainland relatives, is an adaptation to a cold environment, enabling them to absorb heat more quickly than lighter coloured snakes would do; hence, they are all effectively ‘black snakes’ to any observer maintaining a cautious distance. All three species are venomous, although the White-lipped Snake less so and is not known to have caused any deaths of humans. Consequently it is not possible to attribute the name to a specific species of slithering serpent. Any of the three serves the purpose. Tasmanian Snakes (11/08/2021).
  12. Macquarie, pp. 58-9.
  13. TAHO; AF398-1-14; | Buckingham Roads 14, Parish of Glenorchy; The Hobart Town Courier, 24/4/1830, p. 2 (Trove).
  14. TAHO, AF396/1/23, extract. Note the 11 mile marker located in the vicinity of upper George Street, Granton.
  15. TAHO; LSD405/1/1; 140, James Healy, 61 a. although the chart shows 60 a.; TAHO; LSD405/1/1; 141, Richard Burrows, 40 a. Both grants were dated 20 SEP 1813 being amongst 347 issued in Van Diemen’s Land during 1813.
  16. Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales, Journals of his Tours in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land 1810-1822, Library of Australian History with the Library Council of New South Wales, Sydney, 1979.
  17. Joseph Lycett, Mount Dromedary, Van Diemen’s Land. Plate 34 in Views in Australia or New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, John Souter, London, 1824–25 (National Library of Australia).
  18. The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter, 28/2/1818, p. 2S (Trove)
  19. At an unknown date during the 20 months between the death of Richard Burrows Sr. and the General Muster of 11 16 October 1819, his family, widow Elizabeth (Cole) Burrows and children had relocated away from the original grant just west of the Black Snake Rivulet. The Muster recorded William Presnell holding 80 a. at Hobart Town, by purchase. This holding has not been identified; it may have been at Sorell Springs. The Muster also recorded John Burrows at Herdsmans Cove holding 40 a. granted by Gov. Macquarie & Richard Burrows Jr. at Hobart Town, holding 120 a. by grant (60 a. granted by Gov. Macquarie) and 60 a. by purchase). Hobart Town in this instance extended “as far as Black Snake upwards”. Upwards would seem to have extended as far as, possibly beyond, the Sorell Rivulet (not mentioned) as the descriptions for Elizabeth Town grants seem mostly located towards “the interior”.
  20. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 18/1/1817, p. 2, 800 lbs, 21 February; 24/7/1818, p. 2, 500 lbs. 17—23 October; 19/6/1819, p. 2, 500 lbs, 16 October;…
  21. Boston Daily Advertiser, 20/10/1818, p. 2: Cleared—Brigs Gen. Gates, Riggs, Pacific Ocean and Canton, A. Winship;… Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 9/11/1822, pp. 1-2 (Trove).
  22. TAHO; CSO 1/320/7578, pp. 433—40. Robinson had sailed from Boston on 20 October 1818. He was landed on Amsterdam Island on 12 April 1819 with at least 4 other companions. The confusion regarding the names of the islands stems from geopolitical intrigues between the European powers of that era. After a voyage to the Bay of Islands, NZ, the General Gates was ‘arrested’ and returned to Sydney where Riggs was charged with helping convicts escape the colony and fined £6,000. The General Gates returned to Amsterdam Island in March 1821 to pick up Robinson who had ‘harvested’ 7,000 sealskins in the interim. Robinson was then landed on Kangaroo Island. Meanwhile the General Gates continued to prosecute its voyage to NZ, around the Pacific and to Canton before finally returning to pick Robinson up. Upon hearing of some of his shipmates’ tales of the extended voyages Robinson wisely left the ship at the first opportunity, upon arrival in Hobart.
  23. TAHO; Marriages, RGD36/1/1, #641; Chaplain: Wm Bedford; Witnesses: John & Elizabeth Eddington.
  24. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 23/2/1822, p. 2 (Trove).
  25. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 2/3/1822, p. 1 (Trove).
  26. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 10/5/1823, p. 2 (Trove), arrival per ship Thalia on 27 April 1823; 11/10/1823, p. 2 (Trove), license granted.
  27. Joan Woodberry, (text) & John Alty (drawings); New Norfolk Sketchbook, Rigby, Adelaide, 1977, p. 14. Alison Alexander; Glenorchy 1804-1964, Glenorchy City Council, Hobart, 1986, p. 19. Neither author provide a source for the comments, none found elsewhere.
  28. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 27/8/1824, p. 2 (Trove).
  29. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 20/8/1824, p. 1 (Trove); 22/10/1824, p. 3 (Trove). Henry Thomas Fitzgerald (ca. 1801—ca. September 1826), son of Thomas Fitzgerald (ca. 1775—2 September 1824), announced 7 weeks after his father’s death that he had opened “… an INN, for the reception of Travellers, at that delightful Villa, known by the name of Addington Lodge, about 4 miles above the old Black Snake Public House, on the New Norfolk Road.” Addington Lodge was reputedly built ca. 1820 as a retreat for Governor William Sorell and named after J. H. Addington, at that time Secretary to the British Treasury [The Mercury, 6/7/1935, p. 5 (Trove)]. The Lodge was the address given on a letter written by a new arrival, John Boultbee, seeking a grant of land from Governor Sorell. The letter was probably dated 1 September 1823 [Begg & Begg, 1979, p. 47]. The Lodge stood between the road and a swampy section of the Derwent just short of the 15 mile marker. This was part of an 1823 grant of land made to Frances (Ford) Cawthorne, a former Governess of Sorell’s children. An alternative account suggests that Cawthorne’s son-in-law, Richard Barker, had built the lodge; certainly a ca. 1832 chart shows his name adjacent to the site [TAHO; AF396/1/23]. It is possible that he acquired the house after Sorell’s departure from the colony. Whether or not the Lodge was the 2 storey structure that later became known as the “Haunted House” is far from certain & yet to be confirmed.
  30. John & Eleanor (Skelton) Presnell, accompanied by 5 or 6 children, arrived at Hobart per Midas, Capt. Watson, on 12 January 1821 [TAHO; CSO 1/79/1760, pp. 148-149]. Thomas Presnel Jr. was present for the Muster conducted on 10-12 October 1822. The date and ship of arrival has not been found. Matriarch Mrs. S. Presnell & family arrived at Hobart per Regalia, 360 tons, Captain Thos. Collins, on 30 December 1822 [Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 4/1/1823, p. 2 (Trove). The unidentified “family” evidently included Thomas Presnell Sr. and 3 children, Harriet Presnell, George William Presnell & another (unidentified).
  31. Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, 14/4/1826, p. 4 [ (Trove)].
  32. Hobart Town Gazette, 2/9/1826, p. 2 (Trove).
  33. Hobart Town Gazette, 8/9/1827, p. 4 (Trove).
  34. The Tasmanian, 29/8/1828, p. 3 (Trove).
  35. The Hobart Town Courier, 14/3/1829, p. 2 (Trove).
  36. State Library of NSW, Dixson Library; Views in Van Dieman's [sic] Land, ca. 1822-1829, John Watt Beattie; [DL PX 51]. There are 2 versions of this sketch, the watercolours used are different in the treatment of greys. This version (No. 1) has a much heavier use of black ink.
  37. J. S. C. Dumont D'urville; Voyage de la corvette l'Astrolabe execute par ordre du roi, pendant les annees 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, Atlas (2 eds. 1833, 1839?). Plate 164 (1833), Vue De Midway-House, sur le chemin d’Elizabeth-town (Ile Van-Diemen). Barthélémy L’auvergne & Louis Philippe Alphonse Bichebois (Lith). (1839?) L’auvergne, Lith. A. Bès; Plate 164 (1839?) Vue De Midway-House, Sur le chemin d'Hobart Town à Elisabeth Town (Ile Van Diemen). Louis Auguste de Sainson, Lith. de Bichebois aîné.
  38. Mrs. A. Prinsep & C.F. Tomkins (Lith); The Black Snake Inn (1833).
  39. The author wrote to Mrs Helen Rosenman, translator & editor of Dumont d’Urville, Two Voyages To The South Seas, in early January 1989. Mrs Rosenman replied “I seem to remember Geoffrey Stilwell… expressing his puzzlement over the identity of that picture,” suggesting I write to Mr. Stilwell “…Curator of the Allport Collection and the Crowther Library in Hobart, and a walking encyclopedia on early Tasmania”. The author did as suggested whereupon Mr Stillwell “passed the buck” to the State Archivist, Mr. Ian Pearce, who replied on 6 June 1989 “Although the two buildings shown in the Prinsep and Lauvergne prints appear different, they are, in my opinion, the same building, drawn from different angles, and with differing degrees of artistic licence. there is no documentary evidence to suggest that there was another building on the site, and as you know, the FOX was not licensed until 1835.” That viewpoint has also been expressed on several occasions by George Burrows, expressing concern/dismay at the author’s “literalist” view of art. So artistic license it is!
  40. Colonial Times, 11/12/1829, p. 2 (Trove); The Tasmanian, 16/7/1830, p. 7 (Trove).
  41. The Hobart Town Courier, 27/8/1831, pp. 1, 3 (Trove)(Trove); 3/9/1831, p. 2 (Trove)
  42. The Hobart Town Courier, 21/9/1832, p. 3 (Trove); Colonial Times, 6/11/1832, p. 1 (Trove); 13/11/1832, p. 1 (Trove). It stood on ground between present day 560 and 592 Main Road, Granton.
  43. Land Information System Tasmania, Historic Deed 01/2252, registered 26 March 1833. The witness to the agreement was Benjamin Nokes, a former convict per the transport Indefatigable.
  44. The Hobart Town Courier, 9/8/1833, p. 3 (Trove).
  45. The Hobart Town Courier, 18/10/1833, p. 1 (Trove).
  46. The Hobart Town Courier, 24/4/1835, p. 3 (Trove).
  47. Margaret Davies (Ed.); Charles Darwin in Hobart Town, Royal Society of Tasmania, 2009, p. 108, citing Banks, M. R. & Leaman, D. E. 1999: Charles Darwin’s field notes on the Geology of Hobart Town—a modern appraisal. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania.
  48. The Hobart Town Courier, 7/10/1836, p. 3 (Trove).
  49. The Tasmanian, 4/11/1836, p. 7.
  50. TAHO; NS3857/1/1, "Letter of License". LETTER OF LICENSE, contracts. An instrument or writing made by creditors to their insolvent debtor, by which they bind themselves to allow him a longer time than he had a right to, for the payment of his debts and that they will not arrest or molest him in his person or property till after the expiration of such additional time. The 1130+ word document contains several blank spaces for the period on months for which the document was to be in force, the amount of the Robinson's liability, and the date. the names of the several creditors have also been omitted. There are 3 wax seals attached.
  51. TAHO; Deaths—William Presnell: RGD35/1/1 #194. Death registered 19/7/1839; informant was John Bryant, Hobart Town Sexton
  52. TAHO; Deaths—George William Robinson: RGD35/1/1 #239. Death registered 24/9/1839; informant was John Bryant, Hobart Town Sexton
  53. Louisa Anne Meredith; AG1721.65 Louisa Anne Meredith, 'Dromedary / from road to New Norfolk'. Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart. The sketch is undated but is catalogued by TMAG in a sequence of sketches dated through the late 1860s. A visit to TMAG and discussion with the curator, Dr. Mary Knights, provided no resolution as to the date that the sketch was made.
  54. Colonial Times, 10/2/1855, p. 3; The Hobarton Mercury, 9/3/1855, p. 2.
  55. The Tasmanian Daily News, 30/4/1857, pp. 2,3 (Trove).
  56. The Courier, 20/4/1857, p. 3 [1].
  57. Victorian Rustic Gothic: ?????
  58. The Mercury, 31/8/1857, p. 3 (Trove) However, he seems to have survived as neither a registration of death nor report of an inquest has been found.
  59. Hobart Town Gazette, 22/12/1857, p. 1157.
  60. The Mercury, 10/10/1876, p. 4 (Trove).
  61. Hughes arrived at Hobart from Sydney per s.s. Tasman on 13 Feb 1874, aged ca. 21 years. Around mid-1881, he appears to have privately acquired Morville, a sheep farm located ca. 5 km north-east of Richmond, from Captain George Killen (b. Donegal, Ireland); Hughes’ name first appears associated with the property on 4 June 1881. Killen’s wife, who had been chronically ill, died on 30 June 1881. David Hamilton Hughes, Morville, Richmond, youngest son of Thomas Hughes, Esq., University Square, Belfast, Ireland, married Alice, second daughter of the late William Searle, Esq., Laburnum Park, Richmond at Richmond on 6 September 1881. A son, Alexander Thomas Hughes was born on 28 December 1882. A daughter, Lila Kathleen Hughes, was born on 16 July 1884. Hughes remained at Morville until after March 1888 when he sold the property by private sale. During the next several months he disposed of his livestock and machinery.
  62. The Mercury, 28/2/1889, p. 2 (Trove). The launch was built by Messrs. Dalgleish and Taylor of the Domain shipyard with the engine, boiler, and fittings manufactured by Mr. John Paterson, engineer, of Hobart. The keel length of the Lancer, was 30ft. 6in., the depth, 3ft. 2in., and the beam 7ft. 10in. It was built of ¾in. Macquarie pine, with blackwood timbers, and the wood fittings were of American pine. The engines were high pressure, and open fronted, with two 4in. cylinders and pistons giving a 5in. stroke. The boiler pressure of 150lb. per square inch, the highest ever obtained in Tasmania for any boilers except those of locomotives, resulted in the engine producing a nominal 4 horsepower. The launch was expected to attain a maximum speed of 10 knots.
  63. The Mercury, 7/4/1896, p. 4 (Trove). The origin of the name is unknown. The previous advertisement had it spelt as Ardelia.
  64. The Mercury, 7/8/1916, p. 8 (Trove).
  65. 1919 Commonwealth of Australia, State of Tasmania, Supplemental Electoral Roll, Commonwealth Sub-division and State Sub-district on New Town. Flora (McKay) Alexander died at Ardilea, Pirie Street, New Town, on 27 November 1944 , The Mercury, 28/11/1944, p. 10(Trove).
  66. Keith Dickenson; To take a chance, 2004, pp. 34-5; The Mercury, 1/6/1939, p. 2 [ (Trove)].The brief advertisement ran for 3 days.
  67. From a diary of local events kept by Granton resident, Lindsay S. Hanney, (courtesy Mr. Robin Bird).
  68. George Burrows; numerous pers. com. [Perhaps numerous is understated!]
  69. William Presnell, the 4th great grandfather of the author & George William Robinson his son-in-law.
  70. Fall Real Estate, accessed 1 July 2021.

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