Stand­ing the test of time

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

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.

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