Standing the test of time
MUCH has changed in the 110 years since Bellerive House was built as shown in the photograph, taken around 1920, on the left. The roads have been paved, many more homes have popped up around it and part of the River Derwent has been reclaimed.
However, Tassie’s renowned beautiful natural landscape remains much the same, with a snow- capped Mt Wellington forming the backdrop of a scene dominated by the Derwent.
In much the same way, the solid home has remained where others have not, while also being given a modern touch.
Coming to Tasmania in 2004 to try their hand at running a B& B for the fi rst time, David and Jacqueline Grant were sitting at the Bellerive pub when they made the decision to buy the Cambridge Rd property.
“We’d looked at a couple of possibilities around the state but they involved too much change and then we saw this house in the Mercury real estate guide,” David said.
“We were in Ulverstone and due to fl y back to Sydney the next day, so we got straight on to the agent who let us wander around for two hours and it was perfect for what we wanted to do.”
Moving into the four- bedroom heritage- listed house in May 2005, the couple set about learning more about the home and putting their own stamp on it.
“It was built around 1905 and was called the ‘ Highlander’ at that stage, presumably because the nearby hotel was also called that,” David explained. “We’ve met so many people since buying the house that know someone who lived here at some time.
“Over the years it’s been divided into fl ats and had teachers from the nearby school renting the rooms.
“Cookie from the radio [ Bob Cooke, one of the former hosts of 7HO’s Cooke and Moore Show] lived here for a while and did some of the renovations.
“The lady next door told us that in the 40 years she’s been here, there have been 17 different people living here.”
New to Tasmania, Sydney- born David and New Zealander Jacqueline met in London and had been living in Singapore shortly before moving to Bellerive.
Settling into whichever room was free at the time, the renovations to turn the building from a large Federation family home into a modern bed and breakfast took about four months.
“We came here not knowing anyone or having anywhere to stay, so we had to stay here while the work was being done,” Jacqueline said. “The builders would tell us when we’d need to move to another room and it was winter so it was pretty cool.”
Upstairs saw some of the biggest changes, creating three spacious guest rooms each with an opulent en suite.
The amazing frameless shower in the Derwent Room has the best view in the house overlooking the river and mountain.
Downstairs, the 1970s pine kitchen was gutted and completely refurbished with a modern French country feel and the former dining room was converted into the Grants’ living area.
The pair have their own bedroom, bathroom, living area and offi ce with separate entry so they can come and go without bothering guests.
“It took me a while to get my head around having people in the house,” David said.
“For me that was the hardest thing to get used to. Now it doesn’t worry me at all.
“It’s amazing the different sort of people you meet. Sometimes they become friends and regular visitors.”
Rich silk textiles and antique furniture collected from their travels decorate the interior.
Despite the high- profi le location, the house is surprisingly quiet and private.
Landscaped gardens and a rear courtyard make for the perfect spot for a quiet afternoon drink or a cuddle with retired guide dog Tashi.
After years of travelling the globe, the Grants are content with their new lifestyle.
“We’ve done a lot of travelling and it’s kind of nice to be settled here now,” Jacqueline said.