A nest tucked in the trees
NAMED after an Aboriginal word meaning “nest’’, Malunnah at Orford is a slice of Tasmanian history. The cottage was built in 1868 by well- known poet, prolifi c author and award- winning artist Louisa Anne Meredith and her husband Charles.
The Heritage- listed, fi ve- bedroom, twobathroom property – which would be wellknown to anyone who has been to Orford because of its prominent position close to the road on the Hobart side of the Prosser Bridge – was built from local East Coast stone.
It has a gabled corrugated iron roof, with evidence of the original shingles still visible while the front porch is supported by Oyster Bay pine.
The spacious house has many fascinating features, including vaulted ceilings, some in baltic pine, split board walls and ceiling in “the nursery’’ and a sandstone rubble fi replace in the kitchen.
The 1.17ha property overlooks the sparkling Prosser River, while some of Louisa’s trees and shrubs are still growing in the pretty cottage garden.
Louisa and Charles married in 1839. He had emigrated to Van Diemen’s Land in 1821 with his father George and family, who had been pioneers in grazing and whaling on Tasmania’s East Coast.
Louisa was a published author in England before moving to Australia. Her work was inspired by colonial Tasmania and its wildlife.
She was also an early member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Charles held a number of political positions, including serving as police magistrate in Launceston, colonial treasurer and minister for lands and works.
He was an advocate for free trade and was also responsible for the fi rst bridge over the Prosser River in 1866.
Charles has both a mountain range in North- West Tasmania as well as a fountain on Hobart’s Domain named after him.
After Louisa owned the property, the next owner was a Mr Mace, who had previously lived in Buckland in about 1889.
During the 1930s it was owned by a Mr Salmon, then it was bought by the current owner’s father in the 1950s.