Homage to a time gone by

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS - REG WATSON

ACROSS THE HIGH SEAS Pauline Y. Buckby. Self pub­lished ( avail­able from py­buckly@big­pond.com)

PAULINE Y. Buckby is a Tas­ma­nian his­to­rian and au­thor who has sev­eral books un­der her belt.

Her lat­est ef­fort deals mainly with the town­ship of Tun­bridge and those who lived there. Tun­bridge may be a small vil­lage which is by- passed by the Mid­land High­way, but it has not al­ways been so.

Many years ago, I was able to take some pho­to­graphs for the late Jack Weed­ing’s book His­tory of Tun­bridge and Wood­bury.

The two books are com­pli­men­tary to each other. And like Weed­ing’s, Pauline’s is full of great de­tail and in­for­ma­tion.

It sur­prised me greatly to learn how busy Tun­bridge was; three ho­tels, three churches, a school, post of­fice and Trot­ting Club con­duct­ing race meet­ings on reg­u­lar bases, a cricket club, foot­ball team, and Hazel­wood’s store.

Hardly any­thing re­mains to­day. It was also the so­cial point where balls, con­certs and so­cial gath­er­ings were com­mon.

Those days have sadly passed. In­deed it was some­what amus­ing to read a news­pa­per re­port from March 1932 when it stated, “For a pleas­ant hol­i­day or a week- end, a trip to Tun­bridge would be hard to beat”.

We must re­mem­ber it was also a great area for trekking, hunt­ing and fish­ing and still is.

An in­ter­est­ing por­tion of the book deals with the ho­tels, such as the well known Tun­bridge Ho­tel, no longer li­censed and is now known as Tun­bridge Manor.

Built by con­vict labour in around 1840 it had a gaol un­der the liv­ing room.

Over­all, the prop­erty is still in good con­di­tion and out­side there are sta­bles, garages and var­i­ous sheds which are all lo­cated on ten acres bor­der­ing the Black­man River.

The Pow­ell fam­ily were a lead­ing clan begin­ning with Thomas Pow­ell who ar­rived as a con­vict to Van Diemen’s Land in 1845.

Pauline writes in de­tail of the fam­ily and the Sut­ton fam­ily when Thomas Pow­ell and Sarah Sut­ton united in mar­riage.

In 1868, Thomas brought Hope Farm, Tun­bridge pre­vi­ously known as the Vic­to­ria Inn, which was first li­cenced in Oc­to­ber 1843.

The other fam­ily un­der scru­tiny is the Lodge fam­ily when Joseph Lodge, a con­vict, ar­rived in VDL and be­came a shep­herd to Robert Har­ri­son, of Wood­bury, near Oat­lands.

Joseph did well for him­self, pur­chas­ing 25 build­ing al­lot­ments at Tun­bridge plus 32ha of land within the town boundary.

We have to re­mem­ber Tun­bridge was al­most in the cen­tre of the main road be­tween Ho­bart and Launce­s­ton and was – as we have seen – a thriv­ing com­mu­nity un­til the com­ing of the rail­way in the 1870s.

Pauline also re­lates the royal vis­its to the town, such as the one in 1868, by Queen Vic­to­ria’s son Prince Al­bert, and later in 1920, the Prince of Wales, son of King Ge­orge V.

His visit was to thank Aus­tralia for its sac­ri­fices and con­tri­bu­tions made in World War I.

His royal train stopped at Tun­bridge for lunch.

“The whis­tle of the train brought those who spent the time in wait­ing com­fort­ably seated in their cars or their ve­hi­cles, scur­ry­ing across to the sta­tion.” ( The Mer­cury, July 23, 1920).

Pauline pays homage to the early set­tlers, par­tic­u­larly the con­victs, when she writes: “We should not feel shame or judge our con­victs for the past mis­takes, they lived in a time when in­jus­tice was of­ten the norm and some­times, the poor needed to steal in order to sur­vive.”

A good book for any­one in­ter­ested in Tas­ma­nian his­tory, in­clud­ing plenty of records and anec­dotes.

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