Over the hedge
Despite being on a major road, the New Norfolk property Rosedown has been turned into a lush, welcoming sanctuary
IN 1985, the property known as Rosedown in New Norfolk was made up of two conjoined semi- dilapidated cottages, a hawthorn shrub and one golden delicious apple tree.
Fast- forward to the present day and now it attracts hundreds of visitors a year looking for inspiration for their gardens or just to admire the handiwork of Ian and Brenda Triffitt.
The Triffitts have faithfully restored and extended the late Georgian homestead as well as cultivated a world- class garden full of roses, conifers, daffodils, lilacs, hydrangeas and much more over about two hectares.
As long- time residents of New Norfolk, the couple jumped at the chance to own the historical property, which is believed to have been built in the late 1840s.
By the time the Triffitts purchased it in 1985, Rosedown had seen better days. ‘‘ I didn’t want to live in it,’’ Brenda said. ‘‘ I didn’t even see an electric stove in the house anywhere. Turned out the previous owners had cooked everything in the dining room on an open fire!
‘‘ We think it was built for the workers who came out from Kent for the hop industry.
‘‘ In Old Pubs of Australia it is also listed as an inn but that’s about all we know about that.’’
Originally owned by the Shoobridge family, who began the hops industry in and around the Derwent Valley in the 1820s, it housed those who worked in the fields and orchard.
Situated next to the Lyell Highway, the house was suffering due to all the passing log trucks, with cracks appearing in the walls.
The Triffitts took to completely gutting one of the cottages, tearing down the dividing wall and replastering the entire building to create one large home.
The original weatherboard lean- to at the back of the house was removed and replaced with a new brick section.
However, the bricks themselves are actually 20 years older than the main home, having been taken from another historic New Norfolk property.
Glass atriums have been added on either side of the extension to allow the natural light and views of garden into the house.
Gardening was rarely on the agenda for either Ian or Brenda but since being bitten by the renovating bug both inside and out they also became involved in the Open Gardens Australian scheme. They have now been involved with the scheme for about 20 years.
‘‘ It was a latent interest,’’ Brenda said of her favourite pastime.
‘‘ With three children going to school in Hobart we just saw life through the windscreen of the car for years and then we bought here and had time to do the things we really wanted to. I was just going to have a small garden with roses but that soon changed.
‘‘ I think the garden reflects the symmetry of the house; it’s a lovely big extra room but without a ceiling.’’
Brenda has taught adult education gardening classes from the property in the past as well as hosting various charity events.
The pair vow to keep enjoying the property while they can but accept that they will not be able to keep up with all the maintenance as they age.
‘‘ It’s a sanctuary; it’s very peaceful despite the highway out the front,’’ Brenda said.
‘‘ You feel as though you’re away from everything and everyone if you want to be and yet we’re not much more than half an hour from the capital city.’’
AREA: A vase of flowers from the extensive garden ( above) and a creeper adds character to the original front section of the home ( right).
OLDE- WORLDE: Rosedown at 134 Hamilton Rd, New Norfolk ( left); and ( above, clockwise from top left) kettles sit on the cast iron stove; flowers in the garden; the dining room; and owners Brenda and Ian Triffitt.