Over the hedge

De­spite be­ing on a ma­jor road, the New Nor­folk prop­erty Rose­down has been turned into a lush, wel­com­ing sanc­tu­ary

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Email jes­sica. howard@news.com.au

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.

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