There’s some­thing about Bruny

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard

‘O NCE you fall in love with this is­land, you’re a goner.”

Those words could be at­trib­uted to pretty much any of the many peo­ple I re­cently met while vis­it­ing Bruny Is­land for the day.

But it was the cus­to­dian of the 125- year- old prop­erty Lumeah, Di Wilkin­son, who spoke them as we sat sip­ping tea in the black­wood ( sourced from the is­land as you would ex­pect) kitchen watch­ing the rain pour over Ad­ven­ture Bay.

This is Di’s per­ma­nent home but she also runs the prop­erty as self- con­tained ac­com­mo­da­tion as well as work­ing fi ve days a week in Ho­bart, run­ning a gallery and gift shop out of the house’s for­mer break­fast room and wash­ing dishes two nights a week at the Bruny pub.

“That’s the sort of love af­fair it is,” the ex- Queens­lan­der ex­plained. “Lady Lumeah is a de­mand­ing woman.” Di has owned the house for four years and con­verted it to so­lar power, in­stalled the gallery which fea­tures is­land artists and made the prop­erty into the sort of hol­i­day home where fam­i­lies can come and get back to na­ture.

This ven­ture is one of the many dif­fer­ent phases of the house’s his­tory.

“The house has been a sawmill man­ager’s house, gen­eral store, post offi ce, camp­ing ground, board­ing house, back­pack­ers and ac­com­mo­da­tion,” Di said.

“She’s part of the Bay. She’s just sat here and watched the world go by.”

The orig­i­nal sawmill man­ager and builder of Lumeah was Fredrick Gray Jr who learnt the trade from his fa­ther who had been trans­ported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1847 and was as­signed to the De­graves fam­ily, of Cas­cade Brew­ery fame, where there was a sawmill be­hind the brew­ery.

Fredrick Gray Snr was the pi­o­neer of the tim­ber in­dus­try on Bruny, orig­i­nally hav­ing a mill at Lu­nawanna be­fore it was moved to Ad­ven­ture Bay by his three sons.

“There were heaps of work­man’s cot­tages along this stretch too,” said the great grand­son of Fredrick Gray Sr, Rod Gray.

“They sold squared beams that were up to 100ft long. Some of the piers at Princes Wharf in Ho­bart were made from them. They also sold to South Africa and Lon­don. But the mill burnt down in 1918 and was never re­built.”

Tim­ber of all kinds fea­ture through­out the house which sleeps up to 11 peo­ple.

At some stage the front of the home was repo­si­tioned and what is now a spare bed­room

tends to sit empty the ma­jor­ity of the time. “This was maybe the sit­ting room, the fi rst room peo­ple en­tered,” Di ex­plained.

“But any­one who has ever stayed in this room, in­clud­ing me, has not wanted to stay in it. It’s just a feel­ing; it just doesn’t feel good. Whether it was where they laid out bod­ies I’m not sure. That is what they did in those days.”

To cel­e­brate Lumeah’s 125th birth­day, Di is host­ing an open day on De­cem­ber 1 in the hopes of dig­ging out even more of the home’s

She’s part of the Bay. She’s just sat here and watched the world go by

past. “The idea of De­cem­ber 1 is to get as many of peo­ple to the house to tell their sto­ries of liv­ing, work­ing or stay­ing there and to write in the book I’ve bought to record ev­ery­thing in,” she said.

“It will stay with the house for fu­ture own­ers. There’s a gap from about 1910- 1950 which is a blank for us, so any­one who can help, it would be very much ap­pre­ci­ated. But any­one can come down and wan­der through the whole house be­cause there won’t be any guests.”

Lo­cated at 3 Lumeah Rd, Ad­ven­ture Bay, the house will be open from 10.30am- 3.30pm.

Visit www. lumeah- is­land. com. au for more in­for­ma­tion.

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