A chronicle of Colebrook
CAST aside preconceptions of literary style, sophistication, organisation and publishing finesse.
This is raw, authentic, intimate and unadorned material. It is a work of historical gold.
It’s a familiar story about a vibrant country community in the first half of last century that becomes overwhelmed by hardship and modernity. Sadly, many of their stories have not been told. Herein is the value of this work. Colebrook was originally named Jerusalem by Jorgen Jorgenson because the valley with seven surrounding hills reminded him of the biblical city.
The name, however, languished and its official name was gazetted as Colebrook Dale in 1834 and eventually became just Colebrook.
It is located in the upper catchment of the Cole River basin and was populated by predominantly Catholic farmers in the 1830s.
A few of their descendants still reside in the district.
The names Duggan, Beven, Zantuck, Housego and Clarke are still in evidence among residents.
Profiles of these and other prominent family histories are provided here in extraordinary detail.
The fledgling farming settlement thrived on the rich black earths and extended into adjoining valleys.
Colebrook was buoyed by the establishment of a military and convict road- gang station in 1840.
Quite substantial stone churches and a clutch of small one- or- two- teacher schools at Colebrook, Eldon, Yarlington and Spring Hill, as well as a Colebrook Convent, school emerged towards the end of the 18th century. These and their students are described in great detail. The schools coalesced the community.
The major impact of the linking main north- south railway in 1876 energised the town and can not be overstated.
Colebrook railway station was a staging and maintenance centre and was a hive of activity.
The Railway hotel and the Colebrook memorial hall were popular places for gathering after football, cricket, shooting and chopping events.
Sale days brought the whole community together. Robust weekly dances were great successes.
All this came to a dramatic end with the disastrous bushfires of February 7, 1967.
That terrible conflagration devastated the township to the extent that it has never recovered. It remains a shadow of its past.
However, the journey is not over. Tasmanian author Helen J. Osbourne has provided an invaluable wealth of information here.
It will provide a source of pride and recognition to pioneering residents of the Colebrook district.
As well, it provides in- depth research that will be of interest to the broader fraternity of Tasmanian historians.
From Jerusalem to Colebrook is available from Just Tassie Books, The Hobart Bookshop Salamanca and Fullers Bookshop Hobart.