Some­thing for ev­ery­one in this Le­gana beauty

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jes­sica Howard Any­one in­ter­ested in putting their own amaz­ing home up for con­sid­er­a­tion for house of the week can email jes­sica. howard@ news. com. au

BUILT by a par­doned con­vict, lived in by a fa­mous jam maker, and once home to one of the big­gest or­chards in the south­ern hemi­sphere, Fresh­wa­ter Point is one of the old­est water­front prop­er­ties in Tas­ma­nia.

With sweep­ing views across the Ta­mar River, Dr Peter Wal­lis’s Le­gana prop­erty of­fered a unique com­bi­na­tion of as­sets to which he and his late wife El­iz­a­beth found im­pos­si­ble to say no.

Liv­ing in Mel­bourne at the time, the cou­ple bought the house in 2003.

“I spent a good part of my youth in Tas­ma­nia so I had idyl­lic mem­o­ries of my childhood there. For about 10 years I would browse Tas­ma­nian prop­er­ties and wist­fully think about it,” Peter says.

“When I came across Fresh­wa­ter Point it was the com­bi­na­tion of his­tory, wa­ter frontage, a vine­yard, jetty and Tas­ma­nia that was a win­ning com­bi­na­tion.”

El­iz­a­beth agreed to take a look at the prop­erty so Peter could “get it out of his sys­tem once and for all” but in­stead fell in love.

“We went and had a look at the prop­erty and went away to have lunch,” Peter says.

“I said, ‘ Well that was nice but too ex­pen­sive’ and she said ‘ We have to buy it!’.”

More than just an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing prop­erty, the 1820s beauty has some great his­tory to boot.

“It was built by a con­vict called Jonathon Griffi ths who came out in the Sec­ond Fleet,” Peter says.

“Af­ter a num­ber of years he was granted his par­don and be­came quite wealthy. He was sit­u­ated in Launce­s­ton where he also built the fi rst bridge over the Ta­mar. In those days there wasn’t much road traffi c so he pointed the house to­wards the river be­cause most peo­ple would come by boat.”

“There were a se­ries of own­ers through­out the 1800s, the most no­table be­ing Henry Jones of IXL fame. Then there was a fel­low called No­belius who es­tab­lished an or­chard which at one point was one of the big­gest in the south­ern hemi­sphere.”

The prop­erty was be­ing run as a bed and break­fast when bought by the cou­ple – a ven­ture they de­cided to keep up for a few years with the help of lo­cal man­agers and af­ter a small ren­o­va­tion.

Wall­pa­per was re­moved and car­pets ripped up to re­veal con­vict hand- sawn floor­boards.

Spe­cial­is­ing in colo­nial restora­tions, Bruce Cr­erar and his team then un­der­took another, big­ger ren­o­va­tion in 2007.

Us­ing as much re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als as pos­si­ble and built sym­pa­thet­i­cally to the pe­riod, the re­sult was the project be­ing hon­oured in the Mas­ter Builders Tas­ma­nia awards.

A ma­jor part of the sec­ond ren­o­va­tion was the ad­di­tion of a two- storey folly which con­tains the mas­ter bed­room with views over the river and gar­dens.

Set on more than 3ha of sprawl­ing grounds, the gar­den is as big a fea­ture of the prop­erty as the home.

The English- style gar­dens fea­ture cen­tu­ry­old elm trees and the vine­yard.

The Wal­lises had been in­volved in the Open Gar­den Scheme in Vic­to­ria 15 years ago and Peter is now or­gan­is­ing to do the same for the Fresh­wa­ter Point gar­dens in mem­ory of El­iz­a­beth. “It’s just a mag­i­cal place,” he says. “It’s very quiet and you could be miles away from civil­i­sa­tion. The gar­dens are a de­light any time of the year. We of­ten have peo­ple vis­it­ing and it’s very re­lax­ing for them too. It’s got an aura about it.”

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